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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Some Knitting and Some Climbing

Summer is really whipping by. It is hard to believe that in a few shorts weeks the kids will be back to school again. We made a trip to the Upper Peninsula of MI a week ago for a family funeral. We packed a lot into the short 24 hours we were in town. (See photos at end of post.) It also meant a lot of extra knitting time for me, which is always welcome.

Since my last post I have finished and started a few things:

Busy J turned 2! I knit him a couple of things for his birthday. One is the Braided Ball by Marleen Hartog. I meant to take photos of it while I was at least assembling it because it was interesting. I knit 6 strips and then you kind of weave them together to form a ball/cube. It was fun to make but a bit puzzling to put together correctly. The other was a pattern I just couldn’t resist. It is called Knit Hedgehog by Purl Soho. This pattern is written so amazingly! I want to knit it again just because it was that good! I will confess that I had started my knitting for J’s birthday on another pattern. For ages and ages I have had the Sydney the Stashbusting Snake pattern queued. Well…I got a good foot and a half into knitting him and decided to stuff what I had finished to see how he was looking. When I stuffed him it revealed big holes where the wrap and turns were made. It looked terrible. It looked like there was a dropped stitch that had run all the way down. I am reasonably sure I was doing the wrap and turns right…so why did it go so wrong? I gave up that project in favor of these two. I am not sorry. Maybe someday I will try Sydney out again.

I did finish another After Thought Heel Sock. Well, really I re-finished it. The first time I finished it, it was too small. I took measurements so I’m not sure how I messed it up. In the end I picked up stitches right before where I started the toe decreases and then cut the toe off and unraveled back. Then I knit until it was long enough and finished it up. I was probably two and a half inches short. What was a thinking?? Now I need to hurry and finish the second one before they become too small for my ever growing 7 year old.

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Finally, I have been working on the Saroyan shawl/wrap. It is gorgeous! I love it! I am a little addicted to knitting it. I am probably about half way done.  It is deceptively easy and the yarn is divine. One repeat is 14 rows. So I let myself knit between 1-3 repeats every time I sit down with it. I am hoping to wear it this fall.

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Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Here are some photos of our climb of Sugarloaf  Mountain while we were in MI.

It’s Been A While

So, it’s been a while since I last posted…like a few months! Yikes! I’m not sure where the time went. Since I posted last work has been busy, school has ended for the school year, summer arrived, camping trips have commenced and two holidays have happened! I have thought a few times about writing up a new post and then before I could sit down and do it I got busy with other things and forgot. Sorry! I do have a fair amount of knitting to share!

I really wanted to make my kids’ amazing teachers great knitted gifts. I never manage to start in on these early enough though. Both teachers got homemade key chains from the kids along with a Target gift card and a small knitted item. I made both teachers the Heart Pin by Hannah Fettig. It was a quick and interesting little project. I was not totally thrilled with how they turned out, but was out of time to be too fussy. Both teacher seemed to like them though! (I heard Minnie’s teacher put it directly on and wore it for the rest of the day on their field trip!) Sorry, the quality of this photo is not great, it was taken on my phone and it is the only photo I ended up with.

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I finished some socks that had been languishing forever in the ‘almost done’ state. The trick was to ONLY take this project along on a car trip out-of-town. It was the only thing I had to work on, so naturally it was appealing. I love how these turned out. I am not a big fan of cold weather, but these will be fun to wear once fall comes around again. (These are the Traditional Gansey Socks by Wendy D. Johnson.)

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Upon finishing one of my unfinished pairs of socks I was reminded how much I do like knitting socks, but I tend to let myself get sidetracked when they are involved socks with lots of design and patterning. I have been hearing of the after-thought-heel in old podcasts of the Knitmore Girls Podcast that I’ve been catching up on and thinking…that might be the way to go. More or less you knit a big tube with ribbing at the top. You need to knit in some waste yarn where you plan to knit the heel in later and then do the normal decrease for the toe. I found a pattern with great directions and tried it out. I love it!! I have knit one sock of a pair for myself. I decided to start a pair for Minnie before finishing my pair, but in doing the math to figure out how many to cast on to make them her size I went too small. I have a baby sock instead of a Minnie-sized one. I have cast on once again for her and this one will fit…we have already tested it. Next…I need to figure out some patterns/designs to work into these quick plain socks…I’m thinking cables! (The pattern I’m using is the After Thought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman.)

I almost forgot about this one…I started this back in Mid-May when we went up to Breezy Point for the weekend. These are some mittens that I queued ages and ages ago and still love, so I finally took the plunge and cast them on. I love how they are turning out! (This pattern is Galileo Mittens by Laura Chau.)

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One of my biggest regrets right now is that my current job doesn’t allow me to knit at my desk when work is slow, like my previous job did. I would be getting tons of knitting done right now. Oh well, it just forces me to take the time in the evenings to make sure I get some knitting in. It would be nice to have more time though as I feel like I have so many projects going or that I need to start right now. I do have one other project in the works it is for Baby J’s 2nd birthday. He isn’t a baby anymore, maybe I’ll just start calling him Busy J. I can’t share it yet, but I will say that it is another project that I queued ages and ages ago on Ravelry and there is a certain satisfaction in finally getting around to knitting it for someone.

I will leave you will some of my favorite pictures from our summer so far. Hope your summer has been and continues to be wonderful!