Monday, August 21, 2017

Knitting Update

I've had this project on my needles for what seems a horribly long time. I decided I needed to dedicate myself to getting it finished. I carried it with me for a couple days to get the lacy bind-off done.
I lost at yarn chicken and had to bind off the last couple dozen stitches in a quick knit-two-together through back loop way to not run out before the end. Now I just need to block it.
This is some fun yarn from my Aunt Betty that I am going to work up into a simple boomerang shawl. this is a little heavier than worsted, so it will be a cushy garter beast when it is done.

I have another project on the needles and I'm thinking about what's next. Do you have a favorite pattern? Something you go back to again and again?

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Gaming Table

Our dining room table is where we eat breakfast almost every morning and dinner almost every evening.
It is just the right size for four people to join in a board or card game and sometimes those games can push the limits of the surface. In 2012 we used some parts from IKEA to make a gaming surface to help increase the capabilities of that table. If you're wondering why we don't just put the expansion leaf in the table I want to point out this is a second-hand table and we have no recollection if it came with a leaf, and if it did, we have no idea where that leaf might be now. The top measures approximately 42" wide by 47" long. We decided it was time to really expand the surface to allow for more people to join us at that table.
After taking a couple measurements, and drawing a couple rectangles on a piece of graph paper, we stopped by the home improvement warehouse to pick up the hardware I figured we would need and found everything we needed on the shelves. The original plan included a tabletop from IKEA, so the plan changed during the shopping. Not that this is a problem. This project requires a couple power tools including a drill and a saw of some type. We also used measuring tape, pen for marking, screwdriver, saw horses, extension cord, safety glasses, dust mask, an electric sander, and some shop rags.
We decided to go big with this project. I'll go over the details of how w put together a top that fits over the top of our existing table. We used four brackets to hold the panels together. These are on the underside outside the perimeter of the frame that goes around the top of the table. We don't have a carpenter's square, so I grabbed one of my quilting rulers to make sure the brackets were lined up on the join.
As you can see. I made a small error when I measured for the inner brackets. Other than a dozen holes on the underside I didn't need, it wasn't an issue. We built a frame on the underside of the top to keep the top centered on the table.
The rest of the frame was added to fully surround the table top to prevent the new tabletop from sliding around. Screws were placed every 6" so it is a little overkill. Then we moved the brackets outside the perimeter of that frame. This will prevent the brackets or screws from damaging the top of the table.
We turned it over to make sure it fit over the table top. It was a close thing, but with the weight of the top I don't think it will be an issue. The weight of the top and the general prevalence of adult behavior in my house means it is safe. I don't think I would recommend this method to families with toddlers or other young people that climb on the furniture in an attempt to visit the emergency room several times before their 12th birthday.
We put the gaming top in the center and it is so much better for all sorts of games. Although, now we need about six more chairs. We tested it out with our two board game friends. We had plenty of room for Time Stories and dinner on the new table.

3 stain-grade wood panels 16" by 96" by 3/4"- $30.97 each
8 1-3/8" by 6" metal straps - $1.88 each
3 six-foot lengths of 1" by 2" lumber - $1.07 each
#6 x 5/8" screws - for attaching the metal straps- $4.58
#10 x 1-1/4" screws - for attaching the frame on the underside - $5.58
Howard's Feed-n-Wax - $7.98

We bought some wood glue, but didn't end up using it on this project.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Knitting another Dotted Rays

This is some of the yarn my Aunt Betty shared with me. I really like the effect a striping or ombre yarn will give to the Dotted Rays shawl by Stephen West so I decided to cast on another one.
Bulky knits are fun. I rarely knit to gauge with shawls. I pick the yarn, knit fabric I like with the size needles I like, and just go until I'm almost out of yarn. I don't think shawls need precision when it comes to knitting. I'm not going to overthink it or become a slave to the pattern. This pattern is one that works well when you think about shawl construction as an adventure. Once you have the basic idea down, you can just go with it.
I was only 50 grams in for this photo, so it isn't a small shawl. I had a total of 300 grams of this yarn to work with. I worked until I had less than one 50 gram ball left and bound off. The I-cord bind off uses way more yarn than you think it will, particularly when you bind off loosely. As the wedges become bigger, I used two balls of yarn at a time, alternating rows between the balls, to get the stripes to stay a little wider.
I've stopped trimming the ends of the yarns when I mend them in until after blocking. It seems they always poke out just a bit after blocking so I just wait until the finished piece is blocked and then trim those little ends off.
I love pulling the points on this shawl to open up the holes in the work. Why knit that detail if you aren't going to see?

Working with a heavy-worsted weight yarn makes this knit up quickly and you still get a great finished piece.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Big Damn Tote

As some of you may know, I'm a big fan of the television series Firefly. The single season was a great time and I was sad Joss Whedon had only that one season and one movie to tell us a small piece of the story of the 'verse and "them that choose it".
Spoonflower is a great place to find custom print fabrics to create fun projects. This Firefly themed print is one of those fabrics that makes a Browncoat smile. This is the second time I've used this print. The first time I used the Eco Canvas. This is the Heavy Cotton Twill. It is the perfect weight fabric to make sturdy totes.
I used cotton strapping I picked up at a local big box craft store for the strap. It seems a small thing, but it does speed construction. The tote is a roomy 18" by 18" with a square bottom approximately 4" deep. Perfect for toting all sorts of things.
I didn't really want to send this bag off to its new home halfway across the country but it was made as a special request. Because Browncoats have to stick together.