*note: in the process of replacing images*

Saturday, 27 November 2010

From Sweater to Yarn

I recently discovered that there's a small movement of internet fibre geeks dedicated to taking thrift store sweaters apart for yarn. Seems an obvious thrifty choice when you think about it - after all, if you can make one, you're more than qualified to take one apart and reuse the yarn for your own projects (especially when you're relieving the world of incredible ugliness). My local Goodwill sells sweaters for an average of $5-6, when the same amount of decent quality materials would cost at least four times that.

Here's the first sweater I thought I'd try - I paid $4.99, and it had all the right qualities for the first attempt. Worsted weight yarn, big stitches, neither loose or tight, a good mix of wool and cotton.

Via the Ravelry Thrifty Knitters group (registration required) I used this tutorial for help and got to work. 12 hours or so later, after a slightly steep learning curve in spotting the right stitches, here's the finished product:

I didn't measure the yardage (I still haven't built the yard plank I want), but it weighed around 560g - more than enough for a project in the future. While it took a lot of time (an entire day! My arms hurt afterwards!) I expect that experience to vary in the future as it gets easier to spot the worthwhile projects on the rack.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Don't let your cat eat yarn: a cautionary tale

In short, it can leave them with a bunched up intestinal tract (linear blockages are life threatening), and you with a $3000 emergency vets bill. Thankfully Dandelion is the sensible, chilled out animal in our household, and hasn't needed to wear that cone during the day when we can supervise her.

But what is that you say? Is that a new crochet project? WHY YES IT IS!

This was originally intended to be an Acorn Shrug of some sorts, but when I finally, finally, got to the end of multiple rows of double and half double crochet (an epic feat, let me tell you), it just wouldn't sit on my shoulders right. Which is odd, because I have pretty broad shoulders. So now it's just a blanket. But it's a fine blanket, one I can take pride in and put out when the Queen comes to visit.

Material specs: 8 balls of Lion Brand Wool-Ease (worsted weight) + too many hours.
Total cost: less than $20

Monday, 15 November 2010

Quick Links

A few worthy reads from recent times:

  • Things I Found At The Thrift Store: How to donate to a Thrift Store - basic but useful information that might not be readily apparent when you visit your local.
  • I want a MacAusland blanket - "First the wool is put through a washing machine that was built in 1949 and washed with liquid soap and hot water. After the wool is washed, it weighs almost forty percent less, now that the dirt and grease are out."
  • Buy This if you love America (kitchen items) - I do love America! And I truly believe one of the best ways to support this struggling economy is to make smart purchasing decisions. Not everything made inside the country is automatically great quality, but several products, especially Anchor Hocking, are affordable and well worth the money.
  • The Frugal Girl: Chocolate Cheesecake Pie - o m g. Must convince husband to make this for me, even though he has a freakish hatred for cheesecake.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Trapezoid Blanket

Blanket number one finished before winter - an improvised attempt to keep the heating bills from doubling when the cold weather finally decides to show up. It's a bit delayed, but I think it will finally get here and plunge the house below 60 degrees once again.

I say improvised by the way, because it was meant to be a rectangle, but thanks to ignorance of horizontal striping, meant the two edges gradually leaned in. If I'd not got sick and tired of double crocheting, as well as the thought of all those ends needing weaving in, this probably would have been a triangle blanket. Next time maybe? I have plenty of acrylic to finish using. Mmmm fire hazard.

Friday, 5 November 2010

The First Tomato!

The First Tomato!

OK, technically this is the second tomato, but the first one was split by the rainstorms of the other week, so this is the Official FInal Version Tomato.

Tips for growing tomatoes:

- Invest in good seedling starting soil
- Adding eggshells to the soil will help prevent Blossom End Rot
- If rainstorms approach, consider rigging up a tarp shelter to prevent fruits from splitting
- Heat is good. Heat is really rather good.

Starting tomatoes late into the season is ill-advised unless you live in a fairly warm Southern California-esque climate like I do, and I'll be planting them on time in 2011 to prepare for unpredictable weather. I'm lucky anything grew this year at all.

It's been unseasonably hot for this time of year (95-100 degrees Fahrenheit) since Monday, which seems to have led an explosion of new tomatoes on the five or so vines I'm keeping alive. At the last count I saw 7 - not counting the two poorly ones that ended up being carted off to the compost pile.

(Also there have been very few new caterpillars. For this, I am glad.)