As I mentioned in my Appalachian Trail Koozie post, for Secret Santa at work, I drew a colleague who had recently hiked the entire Appalachian Trail (AT). I was looking for a cool AT themed gift. I found some really cool signs/plaques on Etsy, but they were outside of the Secret Santa budget. I decided to make my own. I bought a wooden plaque from Michaels. I then made my own stain by putting some old steel bolts in vinegar overnight. (I had seen the idea on Pinterest.) It brushed on clear, but turned the wood a nice vintage-like brown/grey. Using PowerPoint, I designed a hiker on a trail. Using the same method I used for my wedding signs, I transferred the design to the plaque. It turned out great, and he loved it!
I haven’t written a blog post in forever. A lot of that is that it takes a lot of effort to figure out a pattern I improvised from pictures after I already gave away the actual product. I’ve been lazy. I decided to play catch up just sharing what I’ve been making. If someone wants the pattern, I am more than willing to share!
First up: a Dallas Cowboys mason jar koozie. I actually did not love how this turned out. I was knitting at a friends’ child’s birthday party and their neighbor asked if I could make them a mason jar koozie with the Cowboys logo. I said sure. I figured out a pattern for the letters, but it was really wide. Knitting with number 2 needles and worsted weight yarn (which is ridiculously tight if you know knitting) the letters went more than halfway around the jar. The only way I was going to get the letters on the front was to use super fine yarn. That would have been a crazy number of stitches, and I would have to buy new yarn instead of using stash yarn. Considering I had already spent a lot of time ripping out my work to even get the letters mostly on the front half of the jar, I really didn’t want to go through any more effort. Next I tried several different crochet star patterns, none of which were pointy enough. Lastly, the letters ended up too low. I’m a perfectionist. Here is how it turn out. Not my best work.
Time Required: 6 Movies (Due to a lot of ripping out)
My friend Cassie bought me a knitting pattern book, Knitting 24/7, for my birthday last year. It is full of fun, modern patterns. She pointed out that there was a really cool pillow. I took note and decided she was getting the pillow for her birthday. While the pillow looks nice, I really hated making it. I started it at the beginning of October on the car ride back from our wedding and just finished it two weeks ago!
Why I didn’t like the pillow:
Construction Type: I very much like my projects to be seamless if at all possible. This pillow was the opposite of that. The front of the pillow was made by knitting in a round with a steek. A steek is basically an extra stripe in the fabric that you will cut through. Yes. You have to cut into your knitted fabric. Then you have to sew up the edges so it doesn’t unravel. Scariest thing ever. You also have to knit a bunch of extra stitches, and I’m lazy. After the front is made, the knitter must pick up stitches at the top and bottom of the pillow and knit the two back halves. After all of that, the sides have to be seamed. It would have been much easier to start at the center of the back, knit to the top, knit the front from the top to bottom, and knit the back from the bottom to the middle.
My Own Error: I started out making the pillow on some very old circular needles my grandma gave me. They were stiff and I was having a hard time working the project in the round and pulling the front design a little too tight. I was really frustrated with the needles and was really wishing for new needles. For Christmas, my husband bought me a new set of circular needles. He wanted me to try them and I was super frustrated with the ones I was using. I knew that the tension in the project may change a little if I switched, but I was ready to quit on the project. I switched needles. They were wonderful. It was so easy to keep working the project. After about an inch of more fabric, I noted that my tension had gotten looser. I was concerned, but decided the pillow should stretch it out. As I kept going, I noticed a major difference in the old knitting and new. I didn’t know if a pillow was going to be able to overcome the problem. I sat the project down for a couple of months. I didn’t want to make the back (the pillow was very large) if I couldn’t fix the front. My husband talked me into finishing it. Despite the fact that the pillow was knitting too tight horizontally, it turned out wide. The height was perfect. Several people complained about this problem on Ravelry, so I wasn’t the only one. I ended up sewing and stuffing my own pillow to fit it perfectly. The change in tension isn’t obvious in the overstuffed pillow.
My friend Parnak’s baby shower is today. I’m so sad that I’m missing it! I still have a lot of things to do for my wedding and just didn’t have time to drive to San Antonio, spend a whole day, and drive back. In addition to the “real” present that I shipped, I sent these sweet little baby booties. The pattern is available in Booties by the Dozenby Kay Meadors. This is my go to book for baby booties. I love these patterns! I didn’t alter the pattern from what is written. The pattern is really simply, so I don’t really have any tips either!