Friday, July 27, 2012 0 comments

Knitting: Honeycomb Stroller Blanket for South Africa

I had fun making this blanket! I was able to use some of the Herrschners yarn I had picked up in that $10 box of yarn last year, as well as some Caron Dazzleaire I picked up at Dollar Tree this past year.

After reading through other people's project notes, I decided to cast on 148 stitches to get 18 honeycomb hexes.
This blanket also used about four skeins of yarn (2.2 skeins of the burgundy, 1.8 skeins of the green).
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 1 comments

Knitting: Tumbling Blocks Blanket for South Africa

Do you remember me mentioning the babies they're sending home in South Africa wrapped in newspaper? Well, I've been working on some blankets for them, in addition to the hats and socks.

The hospital isn't actually in Lesotho like I originally thought, but it is in South Africa. Since it's not quite as cold there as the mountains of Lesotho, we were able to use acrylic yarn for the blankets. If we made them out of wool, they would be entirely too expensive to ship (because they would be so heavy).

I made this with Lion Brand Cupcake yarn that I picked up at a thrift store within the last year. I had four skeins, but I only used a little more than 3-1/2 skeins. It was a good bit less yarn than the pattern called for, so I was a little nervous that I wasn't going to have enough. 

It all worked out, though, and I really love the blanket. I had a blast making, it, too, since it's done in entrelac.
Monday, July 23, 2012 3 comments

Knitting: A Very Special Washcloth

This is probably my favorite dishcloth/washcloth to date. Isn't it incredible? It wasn't nearly as hard as it looks, either.

When I first saw it, I would have guessed that it was worked from the inside out, but it's not. You start at the outside edge and work your way in. 

For the first ten pattern rows, I had this nagging feeling that something was "off", but apparently it wasn't because it turned out exactly like it was supposed to.

This is a good deal bigger than the rest of the cloths I've made, but it's going to be part of a gift for my sister-in-law who decorated her bathroom in a beach theme. I don't think she reads my blog, so I should be safe to post this.
Friday, July 20, 2012 0 comments

Crocheting: More Dishcloths

Since I showed you the knitted dishcloths last time, I thought I'd catch up on the crocheted dishcloths I've made this time.

I made a matching set of my favorite Simple Stripes Dishcloth. I used Peaches & Creme Gold and Sun Flower colorways for this set. I discovered that if I simply eliminate one or two rows from each dishcloth, I will have enough for a set of two on future dishcloths, using just one ball of the solid yarn.

I made another one with Natural and Fiesta colorways, as well as a matching Scrubbie Dot:

These will make a great matching set.

This one is called Daydreaming Dishcloth (free pattern). I tried the reverse single crochet border, but mine looked awful. Instead, I switched to regular single crochet and did two rows, working three single crochet in each corner stitch.

This is an alternative to a sponge, aptly named Double-Thick Sponges (free pattern). While it's not as thick as a sponge, it looks like it has potential for sponge-lovers. You can't beat it for the time involved, either. I added a border and still finished in less than 30 minutes.

This is another pretty stitch pattern that's quick to finish. I would add an extra row next time, though, since mine turned out more like a rectangle than a square. I would also add a few extra sc at each corner, since it seemed to go in at the corners instead of staying squarish. Here's a bigger picture so you can see what I'm talking about:

Last but not least ...

I really like this scrubbie! It could be used for dishes or in the shower (just not the same scrubbie). :) I made this from a recycled linen/cotton sweater, and I love the feel of the yarn!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 1 comments

Knitting: More Dishcloths

Did I mention that I had a bunch of cotton yarn on hand? Well, here are some of the dishcloths I've knitted since my last post. Most of these are going into my gift stash, probably for Christmas since they're green.

Box Stitch Dishcloth (one of three patterns at this link)

As you can see, I made a goof on this one, but I didn't notice it until it was finished. Oh well, it will still clean dishes just as well!

This was my introduction to entrelac, and now I'm hooked! I don't think I picked up some of my stitches the right way, but it's not all that noticeable. After I had done several entrelac projects, I realized you pick up the stitches differently on a knit row than on a purl row. That should have been obvious, but it never occurred to me.

This one is so pretty! Here's a closer look at the stitch pattern:

That's it for now. I'm sure I'll have many more to share in the coming months, though.
Monday, July 16, 2012 1 comments

Knitting: Hats for Rhode Island Homeless

Since we mostly send 100% animal fibers to South Africa, I chose another charity to use my acrylic yarns for. I decided on the Ravelry group Knit & Crochet for Rhode Island Homeless (most items go to Amos House), mostly because I can mail the items there inexpensively. There are so many worthy charity groups out there that I had to narrow it down some way, and postage costs helped me decide.

Every now and then I take a break from my animal fibers and pick up an acrylic that I need to use up. I have a pile of grey and burgundy acrylic that I picked up from a thrift store awhile back. Since Amos House needs donations for adults (whereas most of my other knitting focuses on children), I decided those were both good colors to use.

Here are a few of the hats that I have ready to send in my first box:

This pattern is the Chunky Dean Street Hat, available for free. It might not look like it, but this was fast, easy and super-fun!

This one looks very similar, and the only way I can tell the pictures apart is to look at the crown. It's called Malibu Bulky Mock Cable Hat, available for free on Ravelry. To make it an adult size, I cast on 80 stitches. This is another fast and fun hat.

This one is called simply Man Hat (free pattern). I made two of these, but the first one was a tight fit on my husband's head, so I added 8 stitches to the second one. It fit much better.

Last up is the Basic Bulky Manly Man Hat (free pattern). Let me tell you, this would fit a giant's head! I'm sure there are some homeless men with extra-large heads, though, so hopefully this will help out. Did you notice the brim is extra-long?

It can be folded up for extra warmth around the ears.

Well, that's all for my current hats for the homeless, but I'll be sure to post more as I finish them.
Friday, July 13, 2012 2 comments

$50 Grocery Shopping Trip with No Coupons!

It's been ages since I shared a post about my grocery shopping, mostly because I've gotten out of using coupons. It's not that I think coupons are unethical or anything, but my source dried up. As a result, I didn't see the point in posting about boring grocery shopping trips.

However, I recently got some great deals without coupons, so I thought I'd share some pictures and details for inspiration. If you've ever thought good, healthy eating was out of the question on $50 a week, I hope you reconsider after you read this.

One more thing before I show you the pictures ... I have begun making a monthly menu plan so I know how much of each particular meat and vegetable we'll need for a month. That way, when they go on sale, I can get enough to last us until the next sale without having three times as much as we need.

Lest you think we are tied to a strict daily menu, we're not. I simply choose a meal that we're "in the mood for" from the menu plan, regardless of what particular day it may be on. It works great for us!

For any die-hard, make-it-from-scratch readers, please excuse the brownie mixes. At $1/box, they're much cheaper to buy as a mix. I make them about once a week when we have company over.

Here's a quick breakdown of what I got, pictured here:

* 5 brownie mixes @ $1/box
* 10 frozen vegetables (16 ozs each) @ $1 each
* several pounds of boneless pork loin, cut into chops @ $6.61

* 4 bags shredded mozzarella @ $1.55 each
* whole roasting chicken @ $4.75
* honey-roasted turkey breast lunchmeat (1 lb each) @ $2.50 each (buy one/get one sale)
* 2 packages of steak (3 meals' worth for us) @ $4.46
* 2 roasts (4 meals' worth for us) @ $5.39 each (buy one/get one sale)
* bananas @ $2.92

Grand Total: $55.71 (a little bit over $50, but I made up for it the next week)

I was pretty excited about this shopping trip, especially since I was able to purchase about 3/4 of the meat we needed for the month, as well as all the vegetables (our small family only eats half of a bag at a time), except potatoes.
Monday, July 2, 2012 3 comments

Knitting: More Socks for Me

I made another pair of socks for myself, and this time I didn't have to follow a pattern. I'm pretty pleased with myself because they actually fit.

I decided to make these with the same heel as my last pair (it's quite different), and they ended up being a bit lower than I usually wear them, too. I'll have to keep trying to find an ankle sock that fits exactly the way I like them, but I really like these and will definitely use them.

I used another ball of yarn I picked up at a thrift store. It's called TOFUtsies by Southwest Trading Company. It's also a superwash wool (50%), but it has some soy protein fiber and cotton in it, too. I only paid $1.25 for a ball that will make me two pairs of ankle socks. Yeah!

I already have my next ankle sock pattern picked out, so I'll keep you posted when I find the perfect one.