Repurposed Piano

As excited as I have been to finally post about this … I have been procrastinating. I wanted this post it to be as perfect as the subject matter is. I’m not sure why I’m being mysterious about it, if you are friends with me on Facebook or Ravelry you’ve already heard. So…here it goes.

I have received the ultimate gift one can give a knitter (outside of unlimited purchasing power at the yarn store of their choosing.) For my 35th birthday, which was last weekend, my husband gave me a beautiful, one of a kind, and extremely special to me yarn hutch/cabinet / thingy (I’m unsure what to call this piece of furniture to fully do it justice.) Here is the story of how it came to be.

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When I was a kid we had a crappy old piano in the basement. I taught myself how to play from my Mom’s old piano books until she signed me up for piano lessons. I enjoyed that horrible old piano until I graduated and moved out of the house. Many years down the road I was married and my parents were looking to get the piano out of their house, so it came to my house. I played it some, but mostly it was just another piece of furniture for me to put knickknacks on. Many more years down the road my husband starts asking if we can get the piano out of our house. No one really uses it and it takes up an awful lot of space. The piano held a lot of sentimental value for me, but he was right. There was no real reason to keep hanging onto it. (Even if my kids ever really pushed to take piano lesson I also have a hugely awesome Casio keyboard they could learn on.) I put the word out that we had free piano up for the taking. Probably not surprisingly, no one wanted a piano that has been out of tune longer than I’ve been alive. I was about to list it on Craigslist and see what happened when my husband started suggesting taking it apart and making something new out of the pieces. (I think originally this idea horrified me more than just giving it to someone else to enjoy.) Eventually I agreed and watched sadly as MY piano became many bits and pieces. For months he worked on this thing in the garage. Originally he was building this as a piece of furniture for his home theater, but when the basic structure was finished and he tried it out down there he knew it didn’t fit. I have been hinting/nagging for years that he should build me some sort of storage unit for all my yarn. (Because lots of baskets and bins stacked in the corner of the living is not really a great or attractive system.) He liked the idea but always kind of put it at the bottom of the list. It seems like fate that MY piano would transform into MY yarn cabinet. I am in love with sitting next to it (and all my yarn in it) and knitting in the evenings.(I should note that not ALL my yarn fits in here. Yet) I am so amazed at my husband’s ability to build things. I don’t understand where he gets it from or how his brain works to make marvelous things like this come to life. It was fun to watch him work on this and really amazing to see the finish product.(Thank you for letting me brag about my amazing gift and my husband who built this for me.)

Part of me wants to leave this as a stand alone post like it deserves, but I do have some finished knitting. I finished the Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper for Baby Girl. I have even hand sewn in the zipper and handed it over to my Mom to machine sew it in more firmly (that is usually the part I procrastinate on.) I also finished the hat I bought not one, but two knitting books to get the pattern for Baby Girl. It is Bunny Tail by Susan B. Anderson. I actually first knit the ears with the yarn held double for the inner ear, but it made the ears too heavy and flop forward. (I included one photo below that shows the hat when it had one of each type of ear I tried.) I took them apart and just knit the ears with the one color. They are still way cute! I also knit two other baby items. My sister’s friend is having her first child and my sister asked if I’d knit something for her to gift to this new little girl. I did some Saartje’s Booties…but in the round! Someone took this great pattern and made it in the round, which is genius! I so much prefer knitting things in the round. I also knit Mini Tearsa by Taiga Hilliard. My niece is modeling the items for her  new friend who will be born shortly. I do have some new things on my needles, but I’ll wait and post those soon in a new post!

If you read this whole thing you are amazing – thanks!

I can’t believe how fast summer has flown by. A few short weeks and we’ll be back to school! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

 

 

Busy Having Fun!

I keep meaning to come and make a post since I finished the Kismet tank top for Minnie. We’ve just been having too much summer fun! Every time I get a few minutes to sit still I think, “I should go write a post,” but I’m too exhausted to follow through. So, this will be a quick one.

I did get to knit and knit and knit while I sat by the lake at our family camp and watch my kids (and nieces and nephews) swim. It was a glorious 4 days away from real life and I hope I can make it work to go again next summer! (Stay tuned for some camp photos below.) Mostly I knit on the Kismet tank for Minnie. I actually got so into knitting it that I read my pattern wrong and knit 6 extra inches on the back (whoops!) It was easy to rip it back and finish it up. I did finish it there at camp besides the blocking and buttons. Once it was all finished up me and Minnie had a little photo shoot! I would highly recommend this pattern! I have been looking through this designer’s patterns to see what else I want to knit!

After I finished the Kismet I started a cowl with the yarn from the  Brickless…I have already ripped it out. I wasn’t feeling that one either. I need to keep looking to see what to do with that yarn. Then I cast on the Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper for Baby Girl. I love this yarn! I’m knitting her the 12 month size. It is good mindless knitting and it shouldn’t take me too long to finish up. I am undecided what I’m going to work on when I finish the sweater.

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Here is a little photo collage of our summer including: Family Camp, Fourth of July and Como Water Park.

Enjoy your Summer!

Summer At Last!

How is it the end of June already? I wish I could quote the old cliché here that time flies when you’re having fun, but I feel like I’m still waiting for the fun to start. I guess that is how it goes when you work 40 hours a week and your fun is restricted to the weekends only. I have a couple of days off coming up that will give me a four-day weekend. I am taking my kids to family camp that my father-in-law has been nice enough to get them to for the past several years. I plan to sit by the lake and supervise their swimming while I knit and knit and knit. Doesn’t that sound fabulous? I have taken to eating my lunch at work outside everyday that I can so I feel like I’m getting to enjoy some summer. I typically soak in the sun while I eat, knit and listen to my most current audiobook.

I promised I would post the impromptu item I was working on for Baby Girl when I was done. I finished about a month ago already, but here they are. Leg warmers! I love leg warmers on babies. They are both adorable and practical. That being said, I’ll have to wait to see Baby Girl get some use out of these. The size range on these is about 3 months to 3 years. Right now she is too skinny to keep them on her little legs, but since it is summer that works out fine. I used a solid yarn with a variegated yarn. I almost made it though a whole color repeat. I kind of love that these coordinate instead of exactly match. (This pattern is Legwarmies by Alana Dakos)

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My daughter felt much neglected, knitting wise, during the months leading up to Baby Girl’s birth. And, looking back at the number of things I knit for Baby Girl, I guess she has a point. So, I made it my first priority to cast something on for Minnie. She actually wanted a fun pair of rainbow leg warmers too, but I told her I’d knit those in fall since she shouldn’t wear leg warmers during MN summers anyway. For a few years now I have been thinking of knitting her a summery top. I decided on the Kismet pattern by Sara Gresbach. (If you are at all interested in knitting a summer top, go look at my Ravelry profile(GreenEyed79), there are oodles of tank top type patterns in my favorites.) I am nearly done! At a certain point you split the round you’ve been knitting in and knit half for the front and half for the bank of the tank top and sew them together at the top of the shoulders. I am anxious to see how this fits and how it looks after it is blocked. At the bottom edge there is a little seed stitched edge that is probably supposed to keep it from rolling up but right now that part is always folded up over the body, so hopefully blocking will remedy that I have gotten no other work done. Just knitting and knitting on the tank top. (It has been good TV knitting as it is pretty mindless to knit endless rounds of stockinette.) I do want to get back to my Eiffel Towel shawl! I also plan to start on a Zip up the back Hooded Sweater for Baby Girl soon.

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Last week I went and spent a gift card at my favorite yarn shop (Amazing Threads in Maple Grove, MN) that I’ve been hoarding since Christmas. As I poked around looking for the best yarn to spend my money on I thought about how I go about spending a gift card. Typically I do not go in with a specific project in mind. I just wander around and buy what calls to me the most. Which is probably stupid. That is probably why some of the yarn in my stash has been unused for as long as it has. I wish I was better about shopping for specific projects. This time I did spend part of it on yarn for the hooded sweater for Baby Girl, but the rest was just random yarn that I liked and thought might knit up into something nice at some point. How do you spend your gift cards?

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I’ve been looking at my list of unfinished projects again, big mistake! How do I let things get this out of control? I need to sit down and seriously consider if I’m going to finish these items or if I should frog some of them and reclaim the yarn. I am pretty sure that the Shaelyn is getting frogged. I have come to hate that shawl. Something went wrong with it and I have spent hours trying to sort it back out and I’m not getting anywhere. And after all this time I just don’t love it like I used to. I should save the yarn and knit something else out of it.  Same with the Brickless…for as anxious as I was to cast it on, I’m not sure I’m feeling it anymore. I also think I should have used larger needles. I should go online and see what else I could do with yarn from both of these projects before I frog.

My sister has gotten some proofs back from her newborn photos shoot of Baby Girl. They are so gorgeous! I was especially excited to see photos of Baby Girl modeling some of what I knit for her. Here are few are my favorites. These photos were taken by Rebecca Zenefski. Her website is: www.byrebeccastudios.com you can also visit her on Facebook at: facebook.com/byRebeccaStudios

Enjoy your summer! Eat your lunch outside in the sun if you have to!

Here’s a picture of my kiddos from their last day of school.

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Knitting for My Sanity!

I didn’t want to post another blog entry until I could announce that I had a new job. I’m not sure why it mattered, but alas, I have too much knitting to share to put off doing another entry. I really hoped that I would not be laid off for very long. It has been a little over a month and I’m starting to have major cabin fever and anxiety about money. I am doing as much applying for jobs and interviewing as I can. I’m sure the right thing will come along eventually. I just hope it is soon! Until it comes along I’m doing A LOT of knitting!

I did make Baby J a hat. I love it, but it turned out a bit too big. His Mom can just hold onto it until it fits. I knit him Charlie’s Sock Yarn Hat by Aimee Alexander. I liked the pattern so much that I’m planning on trying again with different yarn and I’ll knit it a size down this time. The yarn on the first hat is Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock Yarn in the Mockingjay colorway. The yarn I’m planning to do the second is called Cartoons and is by Knit Picks.

 

I decided I wanted to try knit something with beads in it. I maybe should have started with something using more normal yarn. I decided to do the Ice Queen cowl by Rosemary Hill. It is knit with Rowan Kidsilk Haze. It is SO soft and so thin. It is like knitting with bunny fur (yes, I know kidsilk is made out of goat fur.) I think it is turning out well but it is lace and until I get done and block it, it is hard to tell for sure. With the tiny fluffy yarn and the beads it is the most challenging thing I’ve knit in a while.

I finished the Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper that I was working on it. I think I successfully sized it up to a 24 month size. I just need to put the zipper in and mail it off to the person who is gifting it. Then I have another to make for a baby that is due in about a month! I will cast that one on soon.

I loved the feel of Baby J’s sock yarn hat so much that I decided to make one for me…but with a more feminine pattern. I looked through lots before I decided on the  Fietsbellen Hat by Natalie Selles. I am just working on the brim part right now. It is a fun honeycomb cable pattern.

The last thing I’m working on are monsters! My niece has been not so subtly hinting that she and her brother would like a monster like I knit for Baby J, for Christmas. She has been complementing my knitting and projects….how can an aunt say no to that! Last time they were here I had her help me pick colors, hypothetically, you know, incase I ever have time to knit some monsters!

Oh…and while at JoAnn’s today I saw a display of stuff to make parachute cord bracelets and thought I’d try that out. My sister-in-law knows how to make these and I’ve always thought they were neat. I need to go check some other stores to see if I can get some more colors, but here are my first attempts! I used a tutorial for this: How to Make a Paracord Survival Bracelet.

And this is almost a month late…but here’s a picture of my Harry Potter and Mermaid on Halloween!

Hats!

Life threw me a nasty curve ball this week and I’ve been glad to have my knitting to distract myself a bit. On Thursday morning I went into work as usual and after three busy hours was called into a conference room to be told my job was being eliminated due to budgetary concerns. By lunchtime I was back at home sitting on my couch, stunned. After submitting my resume online to a job placement firm and setting up an appointment to meet with them I pulled out the new winter hat I’d started earlier in the week for LJ. Now it is Sunday night and I finished that hat, started and finished Minnie’s new winter hat and worked some on both my other current projects. I don’t know exactly where this job mess is going to go, but knowing I can de-stress with knitting helps a lot. I’m going to take advantage of my jobless state to spend some quality time with my kids. Tomorrow I’m going to have lunch at school with Minnie’s. On Wednesday I’m going to watch the Halloween parade in the school hallways and then help with Minnie’s class’ Halloween party! I’m also going to have lunch with LJ some day next week, we just haven’t decided on the best day yet. One of my biggest regrets as a Mom is that I never have time to go to the school and help or just BE there. So, this layoff has at least one positive!

Last week after going on and on about being responsible and finishing more unfinished projects before I let myself cast on anything new I promptly cast on a new pair of socks…I know…it is a sickness. I bought myself the book Socktopus by Alice Yu for my birthday. It is full of really great sock patterns and I’d been imagining since August which pair I would cast on first. I went with the Rumpled! socks. They are gorgeous! I am really enjoying them so far. I am realizing that the pattern would pop so much more if I would just by solid colored sock yarns, but I always fall in love with the variegated ones.

 

I cast on another Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper. I won’t say anymore about that because it is a gift. However, on this one I’m using Brava acrylic yarn by Knit Picks. It is a very lovely yarn for an acrylic!

For LJ’s new winter hat I did actually cast on the Koolhaas hat that I talked about last week but didn’t make it very far before I changed my mind. It is a HARD pattern. Every other row has like 50 cables…ugh. I love cables, but not that much. I did watch a video on-line to find out how to cable without needles and that helped a bit, but not enough with such a cable intensive pattern. Instead I pulled up some patterns and asked LJ which he liked. He picked the Hurricane Hat pattern. It was a quick and easy hat pattern. He hasn’t stop wearing it since I finished it and from him that is amazing. A lot of the other hats I made for Logan haven’t gone over so well.

For Minnie’s new winter hat I also started with something different. From the book 101 One Skein Wonders I started the Scalloped-Edge Hat. I was using the yarn weight suggested, but this thing could have fit two heads into it. I’m not sure the yarn was labelled with the correct size. I visited the yarn store on Friday and picked out something different to work with. Instead I knit the Embellish This! Hat. I sized it up to fit Minnie. Then I searched for the perfect knitted flower pattern to embellish the hat with. I went with the pattern Flaunt It! It is a pattern for a neck warmer, headband and wrist cuff with flower embellishments. I just used the flower part of the pattern.

I have been admiring all the hats for little boys. I think Baby J needs a cute winter hat from Auntie. Speaking of Baby J. Here is a picture of him wearing the sweater I knit him. I stole this from my sister’s Facebook account, hopefully she won’t mind too much. I love the colors in this picture and how happy he looks!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Still Busy, Just Quiet

I haven’t posted in nearly a month! There’s a couple reasons for that. First, it’s summer and life is just busier in the summer. And second, both of the new things I worked on in the last month were secrets! My nephew has turned one and his birthday party has happened so I can share now.

I finished the Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper for Baby J! Despite having knit this same pattern, in the same size, in the same yarn before it presented a challenge. On Friday night I sat down to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony and finish the second sleeve of the sweater. The first of these I did took a little under two skeins of yarn. As I neared the last couple inches of the sleeve I could tell I was going to run out of yarn. Sure enough. So yesterday the kids and I took a trip to the yarn store to buy one more skein which I needed less than 20 yards of. I didn’t manage to get the same dye lot but I honestly can’t tell the difference…whew! Last night I hand sewed in the zipper and did a decent job considering I’d never done that before. I’m going to have my Mom sew over it with her machine too just to make sure it is firmly in there. I had planned to have enough time for my Mom to sew the zipper in for me, but life happened and I was not in a knitting mood for about a week and a half…more on that later.

The surprise part of Baby J’s gift is Iris the Gourmet Monster! J can feel free to name him whatever he would like; Iris was just the name on the pattern. Rebecca Danger has a wide variety of monster patterns! They are all adorable and SO cute! I have actually knit another Rebecca Danger plush for Baby J. I did Wasabi the Gregarious Pug for him for Christmas. Fun patterns! I chose to make this monster smiling so my felt mouth is a bit different from those in the pattern. My kids are totally begging for me to make them one of these too. I saw online someone who made some out of sock yarn instead of worsted weight and so it is a cute smaller version. I’m dying to try that…maybe my kids with benefit. (The yarn I used for Iris is Crystal Palace Yarn Cuddles.)

My sister’s birthday is exactly one week after Baby J’s! So I have also been working on her gift. I also gave it to her at the party today. Using Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage Yarn (which I’d been dying to try) I knit the Commuter Fingerless Mitts. These were fun to knit! They have an interesting construction. They are made so you can unbutton the cuff from the front and wrap it around the fingers and button to a hidden button in the back for added warmth. The yarn did not disappoint! I enjoyed picking out fun buttons. I found these ones at Jo-Ann’s.

My birthday is exactly one week after my sister’s! We are five years and 51 weeks apart. My Mom used to like to say that she was my early sixth birthday present! I’m not knitting myself anything for my birthday but I did order the gift my husband and kids are giving me! I am finally indulging in a full set of the interchangeable needles and cables from Knit Picks! I picked the NEW Sunstruck set! I am beyond excited for these!

Now, earlier I mentioned that I had very little knitting interest for about a week and a half. Partly it was sore muscles and partly I just couldn’t get my head in the right place. Consider this my public service announcement to anyone reading this. I will start this off by saying that I’m so, so lucky and I know that. I am thankful that things didn’t end up worse than they did. On July 19th I was rear ended quite spectacularly at 7:30AM on my way into work. The 18-year-old driver that hit me wasn’t paying attention to the ebb and flow to early morning stop and go traffic. I don’t know if he fell asleep or was busy texting or whatever, but it was a mistake. I urge everyone to PLEASE don’t drive if you are distracted or tired. It just doesn’t pay. He and I both walked away from the accident but our cars both had to be towed away. His car actually briefly started on fire after he hit me. I did go to the ER to get checked over and I’m fine. His car insurance company claimed full liability for the accident almost immediately. I am in a rental car on their dime and if/when they ever decide if they are fixing or totalling my car they will be paying for that as well. I’m still bummed that our NEW car now looks like this (below) but cars are replaceable and people aren’t!

To end this on a happier note…we are attempting to grow our own pumpkins this year! They are growing fast and it is amazing how quickly they are spreading! They are just starting to flower!

Happy Summer!

Summer Is Here!

It’s summer and at my house everything shifts just a little bit during this time of the year. My time-table doesn’t change at all because it’s summer, but my kids’ does and it is amazing how much it can affect everything, including my knitting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still knitting, it just isn’t as all consuming as it was for me this winter and spring. In the summer my kids are home all day long. Until two they are with Dad and then a babysitter comes and hangs out with the kids until I get home. Because they’re spending so much time at home I end up feeling like I need to get them out of the house some evenings. We have been running errands or going to the little beach about a mile from our house. We also need to work going to the library and on walks or bike rides into the mix more. As I’m being more active with them I find that I’m more tired in the evenings and my knitting gets neglected. Which is why it has been more than three weeks since I last posted! But, I still have things to share.

My brother got married almost two weeks ago. It was a gorgeous day! You will probably recall that I knit a lace garter for my new sister-in-law to wear on the big day! Yes, I know I have talked about this at length previously, but I wanted to share one more picture of it on the bride’s leg with the dress, flowers and ring all adding to the romance of it. I’m still so happy with how this project worked out.

I cast on the Kimana, which is the second part of the American Girl Knitter’s June KAL, but I’m avoiding finishing it. I just have one sleeve to go, but I can’t bring myself to work on it. In working on this I’ve discovered how terrible I am at seaming together things knit in pieces. This must be why I lean toward patterns that are knit all in one piece! I am so disheartened with the seaming job I did at the shoulders of this sweater and then on the first sleeve, that I just don’t want to work on it. I should probably just rip out the seaming I did, do a little research and try again…but for now I’m just avoiding it.

Of the things I already had in progress (four, that aren’t seriously hibernating) I have only worked on one in the last several weeks. I have made quite a bit of progress on my Shaelyn Shawl. I love how this is turning out and can’t wait to add it to my wardrobe in the fall. The pictures I posted of it previously didn’t do it justice, so here is a closer up view. Oh, and if I didn’t say so before, this yarn is really lovely! (Quince and Co.)

My nephew turns one in a month!! Holy Cow, where did the time go? I have cast on the Hooded Baby Sweater with Back Zipper for him. Since my sister already knew I was going to knit this for him I was going to keep the color a surprise, but she caught me knitting on it…oh well! It is Cookie Monster blue! It is the same brand of yarn I used for the last one of these sweaters I did (Berroco Vintage Colors) except in the colorway VintageBlue Note. I am liking how it is coming along. I’m glad that since I ruined the surprise of this one that I have another knit gift in the works for Baby J ~ stay tuned! I have been realizing lately that I have knit quite a few things for Baby J, but there is a reason. While I knew how to knit when my kids and older nieces and nephews were born, I wasn’t addicted to it like I am now. Not to mention that when my kids were little I had no time for anything besides taking care of them. Baby J has been my one big chance to lavish my knitting on a baby so I’m taking full advantage of it, because who doesn’t love baby knitting?

This weekend Minnie and I are going to be “camping” with family up north.  My husband has to work and LJ will be away camping with family from my husband’s side. As I’ll have to be the driver on this trip there will be no car knitting, but I’m looking forward to knitting and soaking up some sun while supervising Minnie in the pool!

Happy Summer Everyone!