Friday, January 30, 2015

Lucky's Under the Sea Nursery

When I look back on 2014, I was amazed on how few knitting projects I had completed.  I then realized that I had spent a lot of time and effort on two major design projects: Lucky's Under the Sea Nursery and Lucky's Under the Sea First Birthday Party.  Can you tell that we like a theme?  I was planning both the nursery and the first birthday party at the same time so my thoughts melted together a bit.

How did this happen?  How could I be planning the nursery and the birthday party at the same time?  Lucky roomed with us for the first 8 months of his life, so I started thinking of the nursery theme on pinterest as I was pulling ideas for his birthday party.  I am so proud of this room that I wanted to share it with all of you!

Before I get into where things came from I want to give a big shout out to Mimi and Poppy.  Without them this room never would have happened!  Thank you so much!

Lounge Chair and a Half with Storage Ottoman from Crate and Barrel with my No Sew Pillows

We are still living in an apartment so all of the things we did to the nursery are things we can take with us when we move.  This also meant that we couldn't paint the walls.  With white walls, I wanted to get colored furniture (versus white) to stand out.  I didn't want to go with all wood toned items because I wanted the room to be distinct from the rest of our apartment.

Bayside Dresser from Land of Nod in Denim

Did you know that you can request paint and fabric swatches from the Land of Nod?  We ordered swatches of the "Make a Splash" bedding set (sheets and changing pad cover) in addition to a swatch of the finish on the dresser and night stand.

I might have avoided a bedside lamp all together, but the "Thar She Glows" Table lamp was too cute to resist.  I wish that Lucky's wooden toys would stay neatly displayed on the bedside table as they are in that photo!  We didn't really need an end table for the nursery, but I wanted to get a matching piece to the dresser so the furniture could grow up with the baby.  

Storagepalooza from Land of Nod in Midnight Blue

We are very happy with the quality of most of the furniture, however we had some major issues with the Storagepalooza.  We ordered 3 pieces, two 2-bin and one 3-bin but didn't realize that these pieces required assembly.  Fine, we've done a lot of Ikea building over the years, so this shouldn't be a problem.  Unfortunately both of the 2-bin sets had pieces that were miss drilled so they could not be assembled!  Land of Nod has fantastic customer service, so they sent replacement parts... but one of the replacement parts was also miss drilled!  This was really frustrating but ultimately I am happy with how quickly the customer service helped me with these issues.  I just wish that this hadn't happened in the first place.  

Ikea Sundvik crib in black-brown

Lucky's crib from Ikea didn't match the blue/grey furniture, but we found a way to bring it into the theme of the room.  I modified the crib with custom printed fabric decals that I ordered from Spoonflower.  (Spoonflower doesn't offer the decals anymore, now you would order one of the wallpaper types that comes with a sticky backing.)  

With the remaining sticky fabric, we cut out and placed some of the animals around the room, like over the light switch.  

We also put some Nautica Whale Wall Decals on the closet door.  These are removable so it was really easy to position them the way we wanted to.  

I am not a painter, but when I found the three panel whale art on Pinterst I knew that I wanted it for this nursery.  The navy and gray match a lot of our theme and the bright blue can be found elsewhere around the room.  I painted the panels with chalkboard paint and then use a chalk pen to create the whale.  

We have even more whales around the nursery.  The Whale Shaped Mirror came with a piece of paper to help you drill the holes correctly to hang it, which was very helpful.  Unfortunately the sketch of the whale around these holes did NOT line up with the whale itself!  We had placed the paper on the wall thinking that was where the mirror would end up , and it was VERY wrong (both in terms of orientation and spacing.)  We had to redo the mounting.  Hopefully you will read this before making the same mistake.  Also on the dresser you will find the Munchkin Nursery Projector and Sound System that we purchased one week after Lucky was born.  He falls to sleep to the sound of waves crashing on a beach.   One of the projector disks is ocean themed, but we only play this when he is very upset and needs help calming down with snuggles.  

Whale Shaped Mirror from Pottery Barn Kids

As a crafter, I love etsy.  (Is there anyone who doesn't love Etsy?)  Before we had even really settled on the design for a room I had ordered some custom name letters and a custom mobile for Lucky.  I used these as the center of the room design.  

To hang the letters, I lined them up upside down using the edge of a rug to align the tops.  I then used paper taped together to mark where the screws need to go.  This ended up working REALLY well and we didn't have to reposition any of the letters.  We used a 12-Inch Plant Hanger to hang the mobile over the changing table.  

The carpet isn't 100% on theme, but when we found this rug from Ikea with a river running through it I knew that it would be a lot of fun for play.  I can visualize dinosaur battles, teddy bear picnics, boat races and more on this river rug.

The very final touch for the room was a window treatment.  I struggled with selecting some kind of curtain because the room only has one tiny window facing an ugly alley.  We used Ikea black out shades to keep the room dark, but I wanted something pretty to go on top.  I didn't want to purchase expensive curtains that might not fit the windows in his new room when we move again later this year.  We ended up finding a navy and white striped shower curtain that fit our decor perfectly.  When I realized that we would need some shower curtain hooks to hang it up, we even found Whale Watch Resin Shower Curtain Hooks!  

We might only be in this apartment for a year, but I am really excited that we decorated it.  I know that most of these items will transfer easily into Lucky's new room when we move.  Taking the time to plan the room out on Pinterest gave us the room design I am the most proud of in our whole home.  I am really excited to go room by room and decorate our future house!

Want to see more of my inspiration?  Check out Lucky's Under the Sea Nursery Pinterest board!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sir Knight Helmet

I don't remember when my SIL saw the Sir Knight Helmet and asked me to make her one, but it was certainly after last Christmas because I immediately added it to my queue.  Flash forward to November 2014 and I have not really made anything for ANYONE for this holiday season.  I underestimated my abilities to knit and crochet gifts for people this year, but as of mid November I wanted to see if I could whip out this hat.

My head is 21” around so I selected the “Adult” Size. I know my husband would need “Large Adult,” but my SIL should be fine with the smaller version.  My SIL has a lot of hair, but I don't think this is a helmet that you could fit over a bun anyway.  

As I prepare to start the pattern, I gasp.  A "J" hook!  I didn't like the gauge I got with an H hook and the same brand yarn when I made the Minion Mitts.  I think I'll hold the yarn double for the hat portion to make things thicker and keep the stitch count the same.  Maybe I'll go to single stranded for the embellishments.  

I crocheted this hat with a size J (6.0 mm) hook and two strands of KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Worsted Weight yarn in Silver held together.  I was about to join each round but then I caught myself and read the instructions to proceed WITHOUT joining.  Look at me, reading.  I haven't done an HDC spiral before but I think it looks okay.  

After round 8, the hat measured 7" across.  It fits the top of my head comfortably, so hopefully it will fit when I start adding more pictures around.  I am gonig to leave a marker at the end of this round so if I have to tear back I know where to tear back if necessary.  Note to myself:  Light marker is last stitch of round 8, dark marker is the first stitch of the new round.  

I've done a number of crochet projects, but most of the hats have had a DC base so they whipped up really fast.  I think knitting is MUCH faster than doing a hdc brim to a hat.  Since I am holding the yarn double I do have some yardage concerns, but at the time I'm crocheting KnitPicks' Cyber Monday sale is just around the corner so as long as I make good progress before Thanksgiving I know that I'll be fine.  

The hat is fitting on my head with no ease.  Perfect!  This is the way a helmet should fit a head, right?

I finished the first two balls of WOTA on the last round of the main hat body.  The hat measured 7.75" I'm not very good at counting crochet rows, but by my best guess I have completed 20 rounds total.  I'm ready to start the back of the helmet and I still have a full ball of yarn left.  Will I have enough to complete the project?

I finished the 4 rows of the neck piece and then fastened off.  If I have yarn at the end and want this longer I can always add another row (a great benefit to crochet vs knitting!)

I felt really confused as I looked at the next directions.  What is the visor button?  OH, I just realized that the larger sizes (child-large adult) have a button attachment for the visor where the younger versions are sewn on.  I'm not crocheting a button for the visor, I'm making the visor with a button hole.  (EEk, I need buttons!)  I feel a little silly, I need to work on my reading comprehension.    

When I started the visor, I had 31 g of silver yarn left.  I am surprised to realize that the vents are sewn on, versus made in alternating colors.

Whoops, I didn't switch to a smaller hook for the visor.  This isn't a huge issue, but I'm already on Round 7 and don't want to start over if I don't have to.  Uhoh.  16 g remain after the first half of the visor.  I now know that I will need more yarn to finish this project.  I would have stopped here (I have to work on my Pins and Needles Challenge project) but I wanted to finish as much as I could of the second side so I could try to keep some consistency with my tension.  I will order another ball of yarn on Cyber Monday.  

There is a bit of a ridge in the face mask so I blocked this out while taking the break waiting for more yarn to arrive.  I only lightly blocked it by wetting the center yarn and laying flat.  

I finally have my 4th ball of silver and am ready to finish up this hat.  I whipped up the blade of the hat using ## g of yarn while watching Storage Wars.  I still held the yarn double with the J hook.  There was no round 2 written in the adult version so I did rounds 2-5 as SC around for the blade.

Now it was time to make the vents on the blade.  I really didn't want to crochet separate pieces for each vent and sew them on.  I saw some projects on Ravelry where they just slip stitched blak up in various places, and that is exactly what I'm going to do.  I used a G hook and a single strand of Wool of the Andes in coal.  After I put the vents on I did a sc border around the edge of the mask (I realized that I forgot to do this before.)  I used a single strand the G hook.

It took some playing to get the button placement correct, but I think that I'm happy with it in the end.

Seriously, how cool is this hat?  There is a slight chance that the visor will actually keep your nose warm, but mostly it is just super cool.

Would you wear this hat in the winter to keep you warm?  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tiny crochet whale - 3D

I needed a project I could work on during a movie that needed minimal attention to gauge.  I went through my queue and too many things required a lot of charts, or some design work that would have me staring at my computer.  This is a project I'd need to look at line by line, but I also could finish it while watching my move. (What movie was I watching? Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

I started crocheting with 11 g brava bulky in celestial that I had in my remnant stash.  I used a size E 3.5 mm crochet hook even though my yarn was thicker than what the Tiny Whale Crochet pattern called for.  The pattern has great step by step pictures that accompany the row instructions.  I love it when crochet patterns have this because things are so much more modular than knitting.  It really helps me when I would have trouble seeing things spatially otherwise.

I don't know how to do an invisible crochet decrease, and since I'm watching a movie (very exciting action movie!), I didn't want to stop to look it up on YouTube.  I therefore did Sc-2-tog to decrease.  (What a knitter way to write that out, eh?)

Around Row 6 I had 7 g left of yarn.  It was becoming quickly apparent that I would not have enought yarn to finish this small whale.  I had two choices:  1) rip it out and start over in a new color, or 2) finish the Celestial yarn and then add another color for the rest of the whale.  I chose option 2.  You don't see many two tone whales out there, but this is really just something for fun rather than an important project.  Plus, it could give me an opportunity to actually bust up some of my every growing stash.  (seriously, I keep TRYING to make it smaller but it just keeps growing bigger and bigger.  I don't have a similar blue in my stash, so I picked the lime green that was the contrasting color for Lucky's birthday party theme.

Thankfully whoever shipped me the safety eyes labeled the packages with a 6 and an 8.  Otherwise I never would have remembered what sizes I had!  I selected the size 8 mm safety eyes for this little whale.  Because this is crocheted in a spiral, it was hard making sure I had the placement in the right spot but in the end I'm sure that it is fine.

Keith and I had a genius idea to make this rattle.  I took two coke bottle caps, filled them with some seed beads and then covered them with tin foil and tape.  I inserted these inside of the whale and VOILA, a rattle.  (The first idea was to fill a ping pong ball with beads, but I had finished too much of the whale for that to work.)  I used two bottle caps and the vulnerable sides (tinfoil/tape) are in the middle, so it should be hard to puncture.

I ran out of blue yarn after row 15.  I needed just two grams of the green yarn (peapod) to finish up the tail.  I was SO CLOSE to one color.

I'm so happy that i turned this into a rattle.  When I sewed the robot  I regretted not adding something that rattled in the middle.

It is too bad I didn't have all yarn in one color, but now this whale really fits the theme of Lucky's first birthday party.  I hope that he likes this present!