Kiki Mariko 2 finished

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After multiple trips through the washer and dryer, my second Kiki Mariko rug is finished.

As you can see from the picture at the top, it is a little bit wonky. The felting came out a little bit unevenly, but I think I’m going to say that just adds character.  And this is a rug for us to rub our feet on when we come in from outside, so perfection is not required. It is really soft and dense and squishy, all that a rug should be.

And it used up nine skeins of bulky yarn, making a nice dent in the excessive yarn stash!

It amazes me how much felting shrinks and tightens yarn.  It is almost a third shorted than it started.  This is what it looked like before it went into the wash the first time:

Rug before felting

(It wasn’t as distorted as it appeared in the photo – the flare is an optical illusion due to the angle I took the pic from.)

I felted it as a tube, putting a cotton line through the ends to tighten them and reduce the ruffling that can happen at the edge of felted projects.

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It worked better at one end than the other, but trimming took care of some of that later.

After four washes, I cut the tube along the center of the steek.

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It was really wildly shaped at that point!

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Another trip through the washer flattened it out a lot more, and then I trimmed off the steek remnants and evened out the sides.

It is supposed to have a blanket stitch edging to finish it off, but I don’t know that it really needs it.  It isn’t going to ever unravel – the individual strands of yarn are fully stuck together.  My other idea, just for looks, it to add a canvas binding.

But for now, I’m going to use it as is.  My toes are happy!

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Happy New Year!

Rug before felting

I rang out 2017 with a glass of prosecco and the last rows of my Kiko Mariko project.  My boys stayed awake until midnight for first time on a New Year’s Eve – they were a lot more energetic than my husband and I.  At 12:06 we were all in bed.

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My sister made all the non-knit stockings hanging here. Even the dog got one.

I spent some time on the last day and the first day of 2017/18 cutting up scraps from various vacation projects.  My sister had come over to make a lot of new stockings for us all, I finished one of the charity quilts we’ve been slowly working on, and I pieced the backing for the new living room quilt.  So a lot of pieces were piled up, waiting to be sized.  I cut my scraps into 5″ squares when they are big enough, then 4 1/2″ as a second option.  If they are too small for that, they become strips or 2 1/2″ squares.  The littlest pieces go into a small bin for future tiny scrap projects like the still unfinished blob quilt.

The new year is the time to revisit my 2017 crafting goals.  Last year on New Year’s day I’d pulled out all my yarn.  We’ve moved since then, and both my yarn and fiber stash feel more organized now, so I’m not doing that again!

I went back and reviewed my crafting goal list for 2017.  To be honest, I didn’t do that well.  New shiny things distracted me from many of the older WIPs.  I can knock off maybe four of the things on that list, and a few more that I did away with because I knew they’d never get down (J’s crochet monster for example – he’s in middle school now and would be horrified at the damage to his dignity if I gave that to him.)

My spinning really suffered in 2017.  The urge just wasn’t there unless I was with my fiber friends.  I started and finished a few quilts, but the older ones are still languishing.  I didn’t get the king size bed quilt done, I didn’t knit a whole sweater, I didn’t weave a single length of fabric.  Honestly, it was the worst craft goal achievement ever!

And yet I did do a lot.  Many cowlsPatchwork furnishings.  Some quilts, though many of them were small or smaller.

And we moved!  So a lot of my crafting energy went into creating a new home for us.  House hunting, and getting the old house in sellable condition.  Packing and unpacking.  New floors, new windows, new fireplaces, new furniture, and the list goes on and on.  So many weekends and so much energy were taken up with that, so I’m giving myself a break on the less successful goal finishing.

And, wiser now, I’m not making a long specific list of goals for 2018.  Instead, my goals are to use my stash as much as possible, be judicious with the spending for new additions to the stash, and to try to finish more projects than I start, at least until the WIP pile goes down.  I still need to document that list, just as a memory jogger, but not something to beat myself up about if I don’t accomplish it all.  It is supposed to be a fun hobby, after all.  Not a chore!

I hope you got through 2017 healthy and happy – a difficult year by many measurements – and I wish you all a terrific 2018, with as much fiber, fabric, or yarn as you can handle, happy families, and good health.

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Flannel pants and rug progress

I’m trying hard to complete long languishing projects to clear out some space in my craft storage.

I had two lengths of flannel, bought on sale for something minimal like $2 a yard, that I prewashed and folded away and forgot about.  Time for lounging pants!

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These are about the world’s simplest sewing project.  I spread out  a pair of knit pants I wear to the gym and cut around one leg, adding in a half inch seam allowance and a little extra fabric because the flannel doesn’t have the stretch of the knit pants.  I cut the front down a little lower as fronts don’t need as much fabric as backsides.

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Then it is just a matter of sewing up the legs, attaching them to each other, and adding an elastic waist band.

I do my waist elastic a little differently than most patterns would call for.  It drives me crazy when elastic twists or rolls or folds, and it always seems to.  So I sew the elastic band together in my waist size, stretch it out and pin it around the flannel waist and sew the elastic down in a rollercoaster of curves to keep it in place.  Then I fold under the raw edge at the top of the pants a quarter inch and fold the whole thing over and top stitch the edge down.  The extra elastic stitching is hidden inside the pants – it is a little messy but hey, these are $5 homemade pants to sit on the couch in.  No one is going to be judging my inside waist band.  And the elastic doesn’t roll!

I’m not going to hem them until they’ve been washed a couple times, in case they shrink a bit more.  If my new gym membership pays off, I may add a drawstring later as well.  All in all, each pair took about 20 minutes to sew, and the fabric is gone from the stash, so I’m pleased.  Plus they are comfy!

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My rug knitting project is also progressing rapidly.  Ten big skeins almost gone from the stash!  I have about ten inches to go, which won’t take long on these size 15 needles.  The steek where the tube will be cut open is really obvious now.  And the true joy of steeks is that the color changes happen there, so no ends have to be sewn in.

I’m wondering now why I didn’t put a checkerboard on the ends as well.  Though I suppose most of it will be cut away anyway.

It really is using up this yarn.  Here’s all that was left of one color at the end of the last color change.52A12280-F921-4995-B7F8-8DE74C08F8EA

 

Kiki Mariko

Time to get another TV knitting project going.  I couldn’t see starting another cowl after finishing three in a row, but I wasn’t yet done with circular needles, so I turned to one of my Mason-Dixon knitting books and cast on a Kiki Mariko rug.

So many good things will be accomplished with this project:

I’ll have a rug to replace the old towel currently protecting the carpet in front of our sliding glass door.

I will get rid of at least half of a very large bag of Lamb’s Pride bulky yarn that I’ve been collecting when it went on sale.  So much space will be created in the yarn storage!

I will not have more cowls right away.  There is no need for more cowls.

I will get to knit with size 15 needles, which amuse me with every stitch – so big! So shiny! Musical metallic tings with every stitch.

I will get a rug to replace the Kiki Mariko that I knit some years ago and lost during a move.

(My kids loved that project.  I can’t believe how small they were then!)

This rug is knit as a huge, loose tube with a steek.  After felting, the steek is cut and a flat, dense, tough rug is the result.  You can see how much it shrinks in the before and after photos above.  In official measurements, it went from one full kid to 3/4s of a kid.

It is a very quick knit.  Each row adds about 3/4s of an inch in length.  Other than wrestling the stitches around the thick tube of the circular needle, it is about as easy a stranded patterns as it is possible to make.

Let the vacation knitting begin!  (I am officially on Winter Break in 4 minutes.  Go, clock, go!)