Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Doggie Woobie for Buddy Once

Buddy Ocho (aka Baby G) is having a little brother!  Well, Buddy Once (aka Baby G2) will have been born by the time this post has been published but I started this present for him before he entered the outside world.  

The Woobie Bear visits the toy hospital (aka me!)
Buddy Ocho came to visit last December, and her woobie bear has received a lot of love.  Buddy Ocho sleeps with her bear every day!  So much love that it needs a little bit of TLC in the toy hospital to return to its former glory.

A little bit of non toxic glue and the nose was put back together.  Hopefully it will remain secure for a bit!  I'm sure that the loose ends around the edge will poke out again, but there is nothing that can really be done about that.  I'm happy to give the bear a touch up as needed in the future!

Buddy Once's Woobie Puppy

I wanted the woobie puppy to have the inverse color set as the woobie bear, but unfortunately both of the major colors were discontinued! I selected the closest colors in Shine Sport that I could.  I only had 16.5 g of cream in my stash but I know from the woobie bear that only 11 g of the contrasting teal were used for the stripe and ears, so that should be plenty for this project.

I used KnitPicks Shine Sport in Hazelnut (brown - 74 g, 164 yards), Reef (teal - 91 g, 200 yards) and Cream (unmeasured) on size 3 (3.25 mm) knitting needles.  The Puppy Woobie pattern is part of the Woobie Pattern Collection - Series 1.  By the time all of my close friends have finished having children I expect I'll have knit everything from series 1 AND series 2!  

Notes through construction of the woobie puppy
  • I have a habit of making my long tail not long enough for these woobies.  I set aside 3 arm spans of yarn for the long tail.  We'll see if this is enough!
    There was enough! I should make sure to have maybe 3.5 arm spans next time just to be safe. 
  • Round 1 starts the increases (since I did a long tail cast on and NOT a provisional cast on.)  
  • For decrease rounds, I will sl the first stitch, then follow odd round instructions. This first stitch would become part of the last CDD.
  • I hit 148 stitches with exactly 37 stitches between each marker.  Wahoo!  I haven't had issues with my stitch count in the last few woobies I knit.  Once I hit 140 sts, I started the additional deceases as follows: S1, K 15, CDD, K14, CDD around.
  • When I was closing up the neck of the woobie, I decided to try to skip a step.  Rather than transferring the stitches to on needle and then back to two needles I decided to go directly to two needles.  I ended up dropping the last few stitches, resulting in a jumbled mess.  Thankfully I was able to fix it up and then get back on track to finish up the head.
  • I normally like to start with the ears and other embellishments so that when I weave in the loose ends on the blanket body I can complete the finishing right away.  Well, I didn't have that foresight this time so when I finished the puppy head I still had to knit up the ears and spots.
  • Ahhhh!   I misread the instructions for the first ear and started too far to the top.  Time to rip this out and start over.
  • Take 2 - The embellishments are done!  I really wish that I had finished these earlier in the project.  My bad! 
This was my big Spring knitting project.   During the course of knitting Rowdy started to grow up.  I can no longer knit with him on my lap since he wants to join in with the fun!  

When I was working on the Doggie woobie the yarn arrived for another baby who arrived this spring.  In the KnitPicks box was a little card.  I thought nothing of it until Lucky ran over and held up the card and said, "This is a picture of mommy!"  Apparently any headless crocheter is me!  

Time to sew everything together!  

I struggled a bit with where to place the ears.  I'm still not sure if they needed to go higher or lower on the head.  

Is this a puppy or a bunny? The ear placement makes a huge difference and I think I ended up in an ambiguous place. The bunny woobie (which I haven't made yet) doesn't have super floppy ears and the ears are much more on the top of the head.  Next to that bunny, this is clearly a puppy.  However on its own...  What do you think?  

When I showed Keith and Lucky the woobie without the face, they both thought it was a rabbit!  Whoops!  Once the face was on and the ears were styled, it looks more like a puppy.... maybe?  Well, a puppy or a spotted, floppy eared bunny.  Either way, I know that Buddy Once will love it!  

I put a little bit of non-toxic glue over the embroidery to hold it in place.  Maybe this won't unravel as fast as the snuggle bear.  

When I went out to San Francisco to deliver the woobie, I almost brought Lucky's and Rowdy's along so they could all snuggle in person.  I finally realized that travelling cross country with two kids requires enough gear and let the unicorn and zebra at home.  They did get a lot of snuggles in before I packed up, though.  

This isn't going to be the last woobie I need to make this year.  So many babies!

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Lego Spinning Wheel

The final iteration of my lego spinning wheel. (Version 3)
When I discovered that Lego had a spinning wheel in their Sleeping Beauty set, I was very excited.  Wahoo a spinning wheel!  Unfortunately, there were two problems.  This is part of the Lego friends set and the minifigures aren't compatible with other Lego items.  Not only do they have breasts, but their feet are too big and they are rounder than the typical mini figures.  Technically you can play with them together, but they are built so differently it feels like a completely different toy.

A lego "Friend" and my Lego Chemist's reaction.

I'm not here to rant about the Friends series, I'm here to talk about how I built my lego spinning wheel out of (mostly) parts that you can find in the pick-a-brick store.  Why do I need to build my own?  I'm not opposed to purchasing Lego Friends items (I like their little animals), but the Sleeping Beauty Set was discontinued from the Lego website.

With Legos from Keith's collection, and the Sleeping Beauty Bedroom instructions, I decided to take a crack at replicating the spinning wheel.  There was one problem, this cone shaped piece.  This is the "spindle" from the movie that Aurora would prick her finger on and fall into an enchanted sleep.  I'm not sure what this is supposed to correspond to on an actual antique spinning wheel, I haven't seen anything like it on all of the wheel pictures I've looked like.  I have a drop spindle but that isn't sharp.

Version 1:

I got pretty close right away.   Instead of the gold spindle (horn) I used a short 1x3 piece, two taps and a "Round Brick 1" to look like a bobbin of yarn.  I borrowed a wheel from my Lego Flower Wagon but hoped that I could find something in pick a brick.  If I left my flower cart without a wheel then I could only use a tire like shown below.  

This really wasn't too bad for my first pass.  I wanted to see if I could do better with color matching from the pick-a-brick store.  I don't like the placement of where the yarn bobbin is located, but I plan to adjust this when I get other options.

Anyway, there is this pointy unicorn horn looking thing in the official lego set, there is no way I could replicate that piece.  I looked at all kinds of claws, horns, spyglasses and anything that could look like a horn.  I ordered a bunch and patiently waited for them to arrive.

Version 2 - Now that I've purchased bricks, I can make the lego spinning wheel in the same handedness as the original kit (versus the mirror image that is Version 1).  For the spindle, I used a "Stick Ø3.2 2Mm W. Knob And Tube" and a

I wish that I could have found the wheel and other parts all in brown.  However I was limited based on what existed in the pick-a-brick color options.   

Version 3

I played around with the taps and "yarn" a bit until I got an arrangement that I liked.  I added an extra 1x1 plate to raise up the tap and have it at a diagonal.  This will give a place for the yarn to wrap around the bobbin as you're spinning.

This version feels the most accurate and has been sitting on my window sill ever since I built it.  (Sorry Flower Wagon, I need your wheel!)  

Part List:
  • "Stick Ø3.2 2Mm W. Knob And Tube" (BLACK)
  • "Star Symbol Star W. Tube And Hole Ø1.5" (GOLD)
  • "Nose Cone Small 1x1" (RED. BROWN)
  • "Palisade Brick 1X2" (RED. BROWN)
  • "Round Brick 1x1" (MEDIUM AZUR)
  • "Right Plate 2x4 W/Angle" (DK. ST. GREY)
  • "Bearing Element 2X2, Single" (MED. ST-GREY)
  • "Plate 1x2" (RED. BROWN)
  • 3x - "Plate 1x1" (RED. BROWN)
  • 2x - "Tap Ø4.9/6.4" (MED. St-GREY)
  • Wheel "4489" from the Lego Flower Wagon.  (Nothing like it in the pick-a-brick store.)  
If I were to order pick a bricks again, I'd order one Plate 1x4 and only one Plate 1x1 in the Red Brown color.  

What would you change about this Lego Spinning wheel?  I considered wrapping real yarn around the "bobbin" but wanted this to be 100% constructed out of legos.  I know that this spinning wheel will end up in the Lab/Zoo that I want to build out of all of my little vignettes.  


Friday, June 24, 2016

Handpainting Roving with Dry KoolAid

I love dyeing yarn, and I REALLY love to experiment with new techniques.  I've dyed so much fiber with KoolAid over the years but I've always mixed the KoolAid with water before applying it to any fiber.  The only time I added dry KoolAid to fiber was when it first passed through melting snow.  What would happen if I applied dry KoolAid to presoaked fiber?  

Video Contents
  • [0:00] Introduction
  • [0:51] Presoaking Fiber
  • [1:29] Arranging wet roving to be dyed
  • [2:41] Applying the KoolAid
  • [10:04] Spray bottle to help with dissolving the KoolAid
  • [13:25] Adding more yellow koolaid
  • [13:55] After 10 minutes, deciding to let it sit even more for color to wick into the fiber
  • [14:32] Wrapping up the fiber to heat it in the microwave
  • [16:54] Ready to microwave
  • [17:31] Unwrapping the cooked fiber
  • [18:57] Washing the fiber
  • [20:29] Conclusions

I squeezed too much water out of the roving in the beginning which made it hard for the powdered KoolAid to dissolve.  I ended up adding more water back into the system with a squirt bottle to help the process go faster.

I still didn't want to massage the color into the fiber because this would be more like traditional handpainting and I was really hoping to try a different method of application.  I do like how I will end up with random spots of color. 

This project involved a lot of waiting for handpainting, which is unusual for me since the handpaining projects usually go pretty quickly.  This wasn't as long as the snow dyeing experiments, but still took a bit of time.  I let the fiber sit for some hours to avoid massaging the dye into the fiber and to let the spots of color occur more organically.  

I really loved how the koolaid with tiny bits of water looked on the fiber.  I took so many pictures!  

In the end, I got color penetration in spots on half of the fiber.  I love it!  I think this could make a really fun single ply yarn where you could end of with twists of color in rainbow stripes, depending on how I decide to spin it in the end.  I am thrilled with the amount of solid undyed roving this time. 

It was hard to line up the fiber so you could see the sections of the most color and least color at the same time, but I really like the spotted effect of the colors.  You even see a little bit of breaking in the grape section!  I know that this will be stunning once spun and it is a great candidate for a gradient spin.  

If you were me, how would you spin this fiber?  I'm tempted to either do really narrow lengths to have multiple rainbow repeats or to do an N-ply gradient.  

Monday, June 20, 2016

Sewing my Own Crib Sheets

It was really easy to find under the sea themed fabrics, accessories and bedding.  Whales and other ocean creatures are common nursery decor themes so many of the big stores sell things that work on this theme.  It was much harder for me to find Dinosaur themed crib sheets.  When shopping Keith and Lucky found some fun dinosaur fabric and pointed it out to me, and suddenly I had the crazy idea to make some of my own crib sheets.

Since I didn't know what else I might want to do with the fabric, I purchased 3 yards of one pattern and 2.5 yards of the other.  (These were purchased on separate days and at the time I didn't realize that they were part of a coordinated line.)

There are many tutorials on how to make your own crib sheet on the internet.  My favorites include "How to Make a Crib Sheet" and "Crib Sheet Pattern" and "Easy DIY crib sheets."   I decided to measure my fabric against the mattress because the first mattress we had for Lucky was recalled and the new one is pretty deep.  The other sheets we own FIT, but it is a tight fit and it can be a bit of a struggle to get them on.  I wanted to use fold over elastic instead of making a casing for the elastic so I purchased 6 yards of 5/8" fold over elastic which was plenty for both sets of sheets.

Oh no!  I noticed some light blue stains on the dinosaur fabric of the sheets.  I have no idea where these came from but they are pretty hard to notice.  I was going to try to miss them entirely but the spots are spread out enough that there will be at least a few on the sheet.  I'm going to proceed and trust that stains will happen on sheets and it will be fine.  (I know that this either happened in the wash or were already present on the fabric when I bought it.  Thankfully these stains have not turned up on any of my other laundry items so it seems like a one-off error.)  

I pressed the fabric before I got started.  Since I"m concerned about having enough fabric to fit well on the bottom of the mattress, I want to make sure I have all the width I can before I get started.  I don't plan to iron the baby's sheets between each washing, but I may as well start out with things pressed the first time to make the sheet.

The boys' mattresses are 27.5"Wx52"Dx6"H.  39.5" for the width around doesn't give a lot of overhang for the sheet on the bottom side.

I drew an 8x8" square in each corner, folded the right sides together and stitched along the line that I drew.  I then tried the sheet back on the mattress

One edge is about an inch too long.  I'm going to leave this as some wiggle room for when I secure the btoom, but next time I'll make sure to draw the squares closer to where the mattress lies.  (The other edge looks prefect)

After I decided to not modify the placement of my corners, I reinforced the corners as directed in the imperfect homemaker directions and then clipped the corners.  

After (left) and before (right) clipping the corners

Note that I left the selvage on the fabric because I needed every inch that I could get. I'm now ready to add the elastic.

I started out with 6 yards of chevron fold over elastic.  I placed a pin at the midway point so I would know if I used more than the 3 yards I'm estimating for the elastic.  I started on a long edge near a corner and using a straight stitch stitched around the length of my sheet.

I didn't stretch the elastic enough on the first side of the sheet, but I still used under 3 yards of elastic (maybe a foot or so to spare.)  6 yards is PLENTY for 2 sheets.

It isn't the tightest sheet that I've ever seen, but because the mattress is so tight in the crib I'm not worried about it coming loose from my kid wiggling around or anything like that.  I did learn that you want to pull the elastic as MUCH as you can as you stitch it to the edge of the sheet so that it will grip as tightly as possible.

I easily completed one sheet during Lucky's afternoon nap.  The cost of fabric might make this not worth it but if you're sewing other things then you can end up with coordinated sheets.  Of course, if you can't find sheets that match your desired theme than sewing them yourself is the way to go!  We'll see how well it holds up in the laundry after many washings.

For the second sheet I pulled the elastic as tight as it could go the whole way around.  Still not as perfect as some of the other tutorials show, but it will work!  I think it looks cute and I'm proud that I was able to do this all by myself.

First sheet started and finished 12.11.2015.  Second sheet started and completed 12.12.2015.