Wednesday, March 2, 2016

February craftiness

February didn't see a lot of yarny crafting, but I did begin a new project! The warmer weather inspired me to cast on a light poncho for walks when a t-shirt isn't enough, but a jacket is overkill. ;-) Yes, we've already experienced days like this. I've even taken the boys on walks in just a t-shirt already! Hello, global warming!

So off I went in search of a pattern, beginning with those available for free or already in my current collection of patterns. If you knit or crochet and haven't checked out Ravely and their awesome pattern search functions, you really should! I was able to not only search for free/already owned patterns, but also choose the yarn weight (sport, in this case) and yardage range as well as the type of project (poncho). I found a pattern that caught my eye and realized I likely did not have quite enough yardage to complete the project with the stash yarn I had in mind. So what's a good non-new product-shopper to do? Get creative, of course!

My solution? I pulled two different yarns from my stash that I thought would play well together:

Aslan Trends Class in jungle green and Louet Euroflax in kiwi lime
After a repeat or two, I knew I'd made a wise choice. I love the fabric I'm getting! I considered swapping off the yarns with each pattern repeat resulting in wider stripes, but instead went with alternating the skeins every other row. This has quickly become my favorite way to knit with variegated yarns. Not only did this mean I wouldn't have a ton of ends to weave in (woo!), but alternating the skeins would break up any pooling I might get with the variegated colorways on their own. Because I chose two yarns with similar colors, the striping is subtle and the resulting fabric is simply variegated overall. Added bonus? The cotton/viscose yarn is soft and pretty - the bamboo lending some sheen to the project - but it's also super splitty making it a bit of a pain to work with. The linen is a bit rough on the hands, but not splitty at all. Alternating skeins gives me a break from each yarn's drawbacks and makes this a much more enjoyable project to knit. :-)

Lace Cotton Ponchette, free pattern by windloop
Gus decided to help with the photoshoot. ;-)
I still have many, many repeats to go, but I'm making progress! I've keeping up with an average of a repeat a day so far and am nearing the halfway mark. The linen will soften up considerably once it's washed too so this should be a comfy wrap with a nice drape when finished. All the details can be found here (including a couple corrections to the pattern).

What else have I been up to? I picked up a puzzle from Goodwill and definitely got my $3 worth putting all 1000 pieces together to form this:

Cafe at Night by Vincent Van Ghogh
For the record, impressionist paintings do not make for easy puzzles. ;-) This one took me 9 days, start to finish. For any puzzle lovers, check out the thrift stores! I see puzzles that are still sealed fairly regularly. My guess is they were unused gifts. Yay for passing them along for others to enjoy! :-) Selection is more limited than a store, but you can't beat the price! And if you're a gambler, go for one that's been opened but be forewarned that pieces may or may not be missing. A friend just got one that was missing 1 piece. :-/ But I've heard others have had good luck with pre-loved puzzles. Hopefully this one gets picked up again by someone. It's already beed disassembled, the box taped up and put in my donation bag. If you do have a puzzle with missing pieces, remember, they're paper and recyclable!

Good thing that got finished fairly quickly so I could have my sewing table back though because I also picked this up last week:

Goodwill puts everything with a specified color tag half off each week to move things out before they get pulled and shipped to their Outlet stores. I rarely find anything I need with the sale tags, but I also rarely look at the clothing. The thrift store near my house has a similar tactic, but they sell anything with the specified color tag for only $0.49! No matter what it was selling for originally. I picked up a nice picture frame recently from there that happened to have the right color tag and it's now hanging on my bedroom wall. I plan to eventually replace the current print in it with one of my own - just have to decide which image and have it printed. Anyhoo, I stopped in last week and decided to take a peek at the men's suit jackets to maybe find one I could repurpose into doggie wear. What did I find?

Yep. Cashmere. For $0.49. :-) I also picked up a 100% wool suit jacket for the same price. I'll soon have the best dressed dogs in town! You better believe I'll be browsing this section again down the road. I have the first nearly completed:

I started with the wool coat and used a harness I have for them as a jumping off point and made a few changes. Fits great! I just need to finish the fasteners. Amazingly, I didn't have appropriate buttons so I headed back to the thrift store this week to see what I could find in the ultra cheap clothing.

Cheap, secondhand buttons galore!
I found two dresses with lots of buttons - 11 from one, 10 from the other! While looking, I spotted the embroidered brown cotton skirt. It just screams bag to me. :-) It even has a nice coconut shell buckle I can reuse. So, I'm good on buttons now and will of course repurpose the fabric from the dresses as well.

Last Fall, I found a ridiculous deal on a feather comforter and duvet cover ($5!) and I finally pulled it out and got to work after finding a big pet basket (also $5) at the thrift store. Super easy project! I reused the original closure section from the duvet cover so I only had to cut out the oval shape and stitch it up. For the stuffing, I only had to run one seam down the comforter next to a stitch line already present (it was stitched in a grid pattern already) so I could cut off just the amount I needed.

Took a little patience wrangling the comforter through my sewing machine and made a bit of a feathery mess, but totally worth it!

There's room for both dogs and a cat... or Phoebe.
I'll probably make another critter bed with the remaining comforter and duvet fabric, but I doubt I'll be bringing home another feather anything. I think I'll be vacuuming up feathers forever as it is. LOL

In case you missed it, I also recorded a tour of my craft room a couple weeks ago. :-)

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