knitting

Blocking Acrylic Yarn: You Can and You Should

I admit that I can be a bit of a yarn snob and really only like to work with wools and other natural fibers.  I just don’t like how acrylic feels under my fingers and I can usually knit a sweater with a basic wool like Knit Picks WOTA for less than the cost of lunch out for me, I don’t even bother with acrylic.

That said, I sometimes have to reach for an acrylic or a blend every now and then for specific projects like this cowl.  I found a really amazing stitch that I thought would make a pretty cool cowl or gaiter and went about figuring out how to knit it in the round.  After about 3 inches into the project, I realized that I’d have to block this sucker and it would be a bit harder than just soaking it and laying it out on a towel in the corner of the living room.

Let’s look at the before.  It’s cute but not at all what I envisioned.

I dampened the cowl slightly and pinned it to my ironing board and got my iron ready.  To merely block the cowl, turn on the steam (or use a garment steamer but mine has somehow grown legs and walked off a couple of weeks ago.  My house is not that big; there are only so many places it can hide but I can’t find it anywhere…)  You want to hover over the piece WITHOUT touching the iron to the piece.  You don’t want to melt your piece to your iron.  I don’t know what would be worse – messing up your iron or messing up the piece you just spent hours making…  Pat your piece into place.  If I have areas of texture like this guy, I like to pinch the areas that need a little more definition.

Blocking Acrylic Yarn
I’m hovering over the piece without touching the iron to it.

Now let it cool and dry overnight.  Look at how that opens up the work, evens everything out and just finishes off the piece!

If you want to KILL your piece, (that term is just so scary but the process is pretty painless), you can place a piece of fabric between your iron and gently touch the iron down on the piece.  I do not put any weight on the piece but tap and lift, tap and lift.  “Killing” the yarn removes the elasticity from it and makes it permanent (by essentially melting the yarn slightly).  You get a much softer and gentle drape to the finished piece by killing it.  Killing your finished piece gives it more of a commercial, “store bought” feel so keep that in the back of your head when you’re knitting for those tweens or older kids who are too cool to be caught dead wearing something homemade (even though the stuff we all make is WAAAAYYYYYYY cooler than anything you can get in a store…)

 

It’s National Craft Month

Spring cleaning is well under way at The Monster Household and I’m really taking stock of what I have, what I need to pass on to other crafters and what I need to buy to finish my umpteen million WIP hanging out in the studio.  So many projects that just need a button or snap or hem or one tiny detail that would make it finished and ready to wear.  But they never seem to get to that point because I never make a list of all that little stuff I need and when I’m “in town” (the nearest town with a decent fabric store is an hour away) I forget everything I actually need and bring home a ton of stuff I don’t need.

This year I’m making a point to get a list together and just order what I need online so I can finally finish my projects (cough,mittensthatweneeded5monthsago,cough) and start clearing off some of the counters and shelves in my sewing room.  Craftsy is having a sale on supplies now through the 27th so I’m heading over to snag some things at awesome prices!

 

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Craftsy Sale- up to 60% off supplies!

 

*Contains affiliate links.

Frogging

I knit.   A lot.  Like a lot,  a lot.  Like a few things a week a lot.

But I have never knit a sweater for myself.

Not for lack of effort.  I scour Ravelry fall after fall, collecting all my favorite sweater patterns that would be good possibilities.  And yet, each winter, i do not have a sweater to show for my time.  Why?

Because I keep frogging the things.  I don’t know how many half sweaters I’ve made.  At least 5.  And yet, last night, I frogged another one I started about a month ago and started a different one.  I usually know by about 3 inches in to the sweater that I’m not going to like it but I proceed on until it’s about halfway finished before I give up…

So, let’s hope that this sweater sticks and I finish the darn thing this time.  😉

 

Do you ever do that?  Just frog and frog the same thing over and over again until something clicks?

The Wellig Hat is here!

TheWelligHatCover

Do you ever have one of those projects that is just SO cool in your head and you sketch it out and start on it and it just doesn’t quite come out right?  So you start over and make changes and it STILL doesn’t come out right?  This hat has been frogged and reworked off and on for the past 5 months.  I think this was the second or third pattern I started and have had to set it aside to work on other things a few times.

 

The Wellig Hat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What appears to be a simple striped slouchy hat is so much more. Short rows make the stripes wider in the front, pushing the whole design down and back, emphasizing the slouch of this hat. A simple 2 color pattern can be made in a variety of different color combinations, creating a wide array of looks from the same pattern.

TheWelligHat-13 TheWelligHat-9 TheWelligHat-8 TheWelligHat-7 TheWelligHat-5 TheWelligHat-2

Your pattern will be instantly downloadable upon checkout. You will need Adobe Reader to open and read this PDF file and 8.511 paper to print out the pattern. No paper copy will be mailed to you.

You may sell items made from this pattern in small batches. Please credit pattern to The Eli Monster. Pattern is copyrighted; do not sell or copy pattern

What the heck IS that and why do I want to make it? Free Pattern Inside

 

 

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What IS that thing?  Why did I make it?  Why would you ever need something like that?

If you have little girls, you make find yourself needing one more than you think.

 

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A’s hair was too short to put up into a “proper” bun and she needed one for her recital this weekend.  So, being ultra cheap, I decided I didn’t want to pay the $5 at the beauty supply store to buy a hair donut.  I didn’t even want to spend the $1 at the dollar store to buy one.  I wanted to spend nothing, nada, zip, zilch, whateverelsemeans$0.  I have a big ol’ tote full of tiny balls of yarn and a movie playing so I grabbed a ball that closely matched A’s hair color and sort of figured it out as I went…

 

I made a tube and once it seemed long enough, I bound off and started sewing it up into a donut shape.  Before I closed it up completely I stuffed it with some polyfil I conveniently keep in a bag under my nightstand (doesn’t everyone store random stuffing by their bed?  I like to be able to craft if I get inspired in the middle of the night, I guess…)

It took me about an hour start to finish and I was watching a really bad movie at the same time so it wasn’t really any time out of my day.

Download The Dancing Donut Below!

The Dancing Donut

You’ll want to match your yarn as close to your hair as you can just in case your ponytail can’t completely cover it.  I knew A’s hair would have a little bare spot so I made sure that her feather hair piece would cover that bald spot.  No one could tell unless I moved her feathers and pointed at it so I’m pretty dern confident that you couldn’t tell once she was on stage.

recital-2That was A, backstage pre-recital.  Isn’t she just the cutest!  She was super excited-probably more about the little goodie bag and flowers at the end than actually being on stage but isn’t that what life is about in preschool?

 

 

 

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