Refocusing

I’ve not blogged for a couple of weeks, due to a combination of begin busy and working on non-photogenic projects.  Please accept this photo of Lily “assisting” me with cutting out a pair of pajama pants as an apology:

You weren't planning on using this any time soon, were you?
You weren’t planning on using this any time soon, were you?

This year has gone very fast for me, and now that it’s December, I’m realizing I really need to focus on my christmas projects… I have five things I’d like to get done before christmas:

1) A pair of fingerless gloves for my little brother.  I’m using the lovely Hidden Gusset pattern from Knitty and some grey Regia sock yarn.

12-1-14 B gloveThis one is probably the most important to me, although knowing my brother, he’d find a glove and a half (still on the needles) under the tree hilarious.  I’d prefer to avoid that, however.

2) A knight on horseback hand puppet from an ancient kit I’ve got.  So far I’ve finished the horse and just need to make the knight.

12-1-14 Horse12-1-14 horse headLook at that cute (or maybe slightly disturbing…) face!  This one needs to be done by Dec 15 if it’s going to get done, as I don’t want to try to finish it at my parents’ house.  It’s not critical that it get done, either.

3) A dragon hand puppet from a similar kit.  This is the one I was working on earlier, but it got put on hold for a bit due to misplacing some of the pieces.  I’ve got them, so I just need to finish it.

Dragon projectLike above, this needs to get done by Dec 15 or not for this year.

4) Chocolate truffles.  I made truffles from How to Cook That‘s chocolate truffle recipes last year, and they were amazing, so I’m going to make them again (I’m planning on making orange, raspberry, caramel, and hazelnut praline).  I can’t start them until I get to my parents’ house, but I do need to write out the ingredient lists in advance so we can get everything we need.

5) Christmas crackers.  I always make homemade crackers to pull.  Like the truffles, this will be done at my parents’ house sometime between the 15th and the 25th.  I need to make some extra crackers this year, so I’ll try to get photographs of the whole process and put up a tutorial on this blog.  While I don’t need to start the crackers themselves yet, I do need to make some extra prizes at some point, which I can do now.

My projects for this year’s holidays work out pretty well, as I have some to do in the next two weeks, and some to do the two weeks after that.  I think I can get them all done, and as long as the gloves, truffles, and crackers get done, I’ll be okay.

What (if any) holiday crafting are you doing?  Or are you more organized than I am and are already done?

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More hanging project storage

The past month has been craaazy for me, and I haven’t really been crafting much.  However, I did manage to finish up all the bags I wanted to make for my hanging project storage system.  Before it looked like this.  Now it looks like this:

Craft Wall UpdateA little eclectic, but much less plastic, which I’m quite happy with.  The three center bags were made following these tutorials: brown bag, blue and white bag, blue-green bag.

I liked all three patterns a lot, but I discovered that if you’re going to be hanging your bag, drawstrings are not a good idea as the bag hangs too low.  I also wanted larger bags for larger projects, so I came up with my own design based on scaled-up versions of my favorite features of the aforementioned patterns (both outer bags — the left one has interfacing while the right one does not, which is why they look a bit different).

As for what I have in the bags, from left to right:

Dragon projectA dragon puppet from a kit I’ve been working on for ages.  I’d like to have it and it’s matching knight puppet done by Christmas, but I rarely think to work on it, so I’m hoping that having it on the wall will help.

Headband projectA knitted lace headband that just needs a few finishing touches (namely connecting it into a circle) before being photographed and listed in my Etsy shop.  My camera was not cooperating today, so it doesn’t really show, but the yarn is sparkly gold.

Socks projectSupplies for a pair of cabled, knee-high socks for me. As you can see, I’ve barely started them, and already I need to rip back since I realized my calculations were off…

Washcloth projectAbout a fifth of a cotton dishcloth with a dragon pattern.  I have quite a bit of cotton yarn that I’ve been wondering how to use, and a lot of people seem to use it for dishcloths.  I’ve never used it for that before, so I’m testing it out (with my white since I’d like to know how much it stains as well as how good it is at cleaning).

The last bag has a couple of greeting cards that need a few finishing touches before being listed in my Etsy shop.  No photo at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll have one later.

So far this method of storage has worked really well for me — I actually finished all my mending that I’d been putting off for ages yesterday so I had room for another project!

Yarn Laundry Day

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a couple of yarns in need of washing for various reasons. The first two are from knitting projects that I’m not going to finish, and so just a dip in hot water to relax the kinks from being knitted.  The third is a ball of sock yarn that I picked up at the local used craft supplies shop for $0.50 — it’s never been used, but is quite old.

YarnsToWash

I wound them all into hanks on my niddy noddy (from last post), then put them one at a time in a bath of warm water and a little liquid laundry detergent.

WashingYarn

After letting the yarn soak for 15 minutes or so, I gave the yarn a couple of gentle squeezes, drained it, and rinsed. I discovered that my used craft supplies store yarn, despite not having any scent when dry, smelled awful and turned the water yellow after washing. That one went through an extra wash and soak in vinegar water before rinsing.  After rinsing, I hung the long hanks from plastic coathangers in my tub to let them drip dry. (Don’t hang wet yarn from metal coathangers. In related news, cream of tartar will take rust stains off of yarn.)

HangingYarn

Finally, I wound the clean and unkinked hanks into nice cakes.  My longest yarn made such a big cake that I had to slip a toilet paper tube over my ball winder to have enough room to hold it all.

WindingYarnNow I just need to finish some of my ongoing projects so I can start knitting with this…