Bike bag

I wanted to post about a project that I actually finished a while ago, but hadn't taken one final and in my opinion necessary photo of, which I wanted to do before I shared it.

I mentioned a while ago that I was working on this project, a small bag to hang on the handlebars of my bike. I've been using it and I love it. It's the perfect size for the necessary items like cell phone and wallet.

I came up for the idea myself. I knew I could make something that met my needs much easier than trying to find a bag in a store that would work. That's what's fun about being a "crafty" person!

I measured to get an idea of size, and then came up with a cable pattern to use. (In fact, I liked so much how this came out that I would love to make an actual purse like it someday!) I did a giant cable flanked by two smaller cables. The yarn was Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky in gray. (More specs on the project here.)

First I made this rectangle:


Then I stitched the sides using mattress stitch. I then turned it inside out and sewed little gussets in the corners to give it some depth:


Here's what the corner and seam look like on the outside:


I wanted it lined, so I stitched this, and added a pocket:


The pocket is intended to store the little bike computers we have (a nifty little thing that has an odometer, spedometer, etc.) while not in use. I added velcro to the pocket to secure them in:


And then stitched it into the bag, added a zipper and one of my little labels:


So here's what the bag looked like before I added the handle:


Then I added a simple i-cord strap, with a clasp:


The clasp is so that I can hang the bag from my handlebars:


And last but not least, here are two photos of my bike with the bag hanging on it (the very reason I hadn't posted about this before!)



We went for an awesome 20 mile bike ride this weekend and had a picnic at a park. It was a lot of fun, and a gorgeous day. I LOVE my bike, by the way. I just got it this summer, and it was the best thing I could have done. We have gone on so many more bike rides this summer because we both love our bikes now. (My old one from college was uncomfy and just wasn't cutting it for me anymore.) That big cushy seat this bike has makes all the difference!


WIP socks and a sweater

This is just a quick post to show some WIP photos, and to test posting photos with the new online photo site I'm using now. I decided to use Flickr, and I need to test how the posting of photos here will work. From what I can tell in my blogger preview, it's working as expected. I'm just not really sure how it's going to behave. So if anyone has any troubles, please let me know! :)

So on to the knitting. Here are my Embossed Leaves socks from Interweave's Favorite Socks book. So far I am loving the pattern, and the yarn. As I mentioned before, the yarn is Knit Picks' Essential. As you can see I did the cuff in the Burgundy color, and am on the leg in Pumpkin. I'll do the heel in Cocoa (brown) when I get there.


I've done one repeat plus a little, and you can see the leaves emerging:


Fun pattern!

I had to set that sock aside though to work on this, my deadline knitting. I am making a baby cardigan (Devan, from Knitty) for my nephew-to-be for my sister-in-law's shower in a few weeks. So far I've done the back, and have a couple of inches of the left front so far. It's pretty quick knitting. I've decided to let the striping do what it wants, and not worry about it not being perfect. I think it's coming out rather cute, even with the somewhat randomness of the striping.


So far so good! That's it from here for now.


Warshrag...(and some new socks)

I completed my first Mason-Dixon Knitting "warshrag":

As I mentioned before, fun to knit! And quick...this took me about two evenings to knit. I already started dreaming up all of the fun I could have, getting seasonal colors and all. But I need to see if I'm actually going to use it first! ;)

See how well it goes with the kitchen? :)


In other knitting news, I fell victim to the wiles of yarn...some new yarn arrived on my doorstep and I cast on immediately...whoops! I told myself I would finish my Solstice Slip socks first, and then I could start my August Rockin' Sock club kit (which I've seen knit up all over the web and am so excited to start) but then some pretty fall colored yarn just happened to arrive, and well, I couldn't resist its charms. I cast on a new pair of socks.

No photos yet (it's just a ribbed cuff at the moment anyway), but I'm making the Embossed Leaves Socks from Interweave's Favorite Socks book. I think these are going to be awesome!! I got three different colors from Knit Picks of their Essential solid sock yarn, Burgundy, Pumpkin and Cocoa:

I got enough of each for a pair of socks, so I figure I can end up with three pairs in the end, but I intend to do contrasting colored heels, toes, and cuffs. So for my first pair, I cast on with the Burgundy for the cuff, and then I'm going to do the leg in Pumpkin, and then the heel in Cocoa, continue the Pumpkin for the foot, and the toe in Burgundy. I am so excited about these socks!! I chose the Embossed Leaves pattern because, well, leaves? fall colors? it just all made sense. :) I also was impressed by how soft this yarn is, and so far I love this pattern too. I doubt I'll get these done for wearing this fall, or maybe I will, I don't know. But I have some other necessary knitting to do, as soon as the yarn arrives. I ordered some yarn to make a baby sweater for my sister-in-law's shower in 3+ weeks. So once that arrives I'm not allowed to work on anything else until it's done.


A cool bug, a warshrag, and colors

So, last night my husband and I are standing by the dryer folding laundry, and he says to me very matter-of-factly, "Is that a praying mantis on the screen behind you?" I look around, go over to investigate, and sure enough! This was on our screen (click for SUPER BIG BUG):

(Yes, it was on the outside of the screen...DH went outside to take a photo.) I thought that was pretty cool. The praying mantis was huge, about 3 inches long I'd say. Fun, huh?

And now back to our regularly scheduled, bug-free knitting blog.

Yesterday I dragged the abovementioned dear sweet husband of mine to three (yes, 3) craft stores on what I thought was going to be an easy search for some Lion Brand Magic Stripes yarn, with which I want to make a baby sweater for my sister-in-law. More on that below, but first this: since I couldn't find the Magic Stripes yarn (though let's be honest here, folks, chances are I'd have gotten this anyway) my consolation prize to myself was some cotton yarn to make my first Mason-Dixon Knitting Ball Band "Warshrag" from their book. So I got some colors that will go with our kitchen and started this:

This is a highly satisfying pattern to knit! I never thought I would be the dishrag type (more of a sponge person, myself) but I figured, what the hey, at the very least it'll be fun to make and it'll match the kitchen. Plus, there are those times when one person's using the sponge and it would be nice to have something to wipe down the counter with. (yes, yes, I know I could just go get another sponge...that's not the point here...) Anywho...as I say, fun pattern, and I thought for sure that slip stitch was going to pull up the bottom but it really doesn't.

So, back to the baby sweater thing.

My sister-in-law is expecting a baby boy in December, and there's a shower next month. I know what I want to make, this cute little sweater from Knitty, called Devan. Thing is, I just found out the exact date for the shower which is a mere month away. So now I have got to get cracking. I know I can knit the little thing in no time, but I don't have the yarn yet. Which brings us back to yesterday's wild goose chase for yarn.

I knew exactly what I wanted and needed, which was the Lion Brand stuff, and was feeling pretty confident with myself. Well, that's what I get. Couldn't find a scrap of the stuff anywhere. Not A.C. Moore, not Michael's, not JoAnn's. sigh. So I am going to have to order some stuff online, which is fine with me (now I plan to get some Sockotta) but time is of the essence here. In all honesty, I wanted to get Sockotta anyway, but I figured the Lion Brand stuff would be more accessible, and I could have it in my hand and start on it right away. HA. Not so much. So back to the Sockotta.

Anyway, I am looking at the colors of Sockotta, which are great but the only problem is that whole thing of, that's how it looks on the computer but what about real life? I got some advice from a friend who suggested getting a color that's good for a boy but could be used for a girl somewhere down the line too. Great idea, but that limits my choices in a way. There are plenty of cute boyish colors, likewise girly ones too. But in between? That's tougher, and also somewhat a matter of opinion.

So right now I'm looking at these colors: #605 (blues, green and brown striping) or #5618 (big stripes of blue, green and purple?), as boyish colors. Now, I liked the look of this turquoise-y blues and greens one, but that got vetoed by two friends as being too girly: #14. (That particular color does look a lot different in the swatch on this site though.) Then there's this colorful one #15 that looks fun, but only if I can somehow confirm that that's actually red and not pink. Any suggestions? Anyone happen to be familiar with any of these colors?


I leave you now with a funny picture of Moose, who was napping with his tongue sticking out a bit. (Of course he woke up when I got the camera.) He was looking quite silly and undignified!


Pink Stripey Mittens

When we were on vacation at the shore recently, I purchased a ball of “souvenir yarn.” As I’ve mentioned before, I like to get yarn as a souvenir since I know it’s something I’ll both use and enjoy. Then I can think fondly of the place where I got it while I knit it up and when using the finished piece.

While I do have a fairly significant stash, it's mostly random leftovers. I am not very good at “stash-building” by just purchasing random yarn, since I never know how much I’d need for any given project. However, this is not true for socks and mittens! I love finding yarn for mittens since for the pattern I like to use, I don’t need very much at all, about 120 yards will do. The pattern I use is called Pop-Up Paws, but I just make them into plain mittens, since I like to find fun yarns. I’ve made one pair of the actual pop-up mittens, but even though they do have their moments of usefulness, quite honestly they’re not my favorites to wear, I prefer normal mittens. I think it’s a comfort thing, those finger parts are pretty thick between my fingers. They did come out pretty well though, they were my very first project on DPNs.

Anyway, back to the latest additions to my mitten collection (project page here):

The yarn is Crystal Palace Yarns Taos, 100% wool, and it is so nice and soft. I can tell these will be some of my favorites to wear this winter. Plus I just love the colors.

I love how the striping happened...I didn’t worry about trying to make them match, that’s not something that bothers me.

And since I am a huge fan of mittens, here are some of the other yarns I’ve gotten that’s earmarked for mittens.

Nashua Wooly Stripe (in Citrus):

I thought these were kind of fun and funky colors. I got that during a lovely day my husband and I spent wandering around a pretty town, and he patiently waited while I checked out a yarn store.

I also have this Manos del Uruguay in black (yes, this is indeed a boring photo of some black yarn), because after all I need to have some plain handknit mittens to go with my fun scarves I’ve knit, right?

This is one of my favorites, and I am excited to see how these mittens turn out. I got this yarn, Rio de la Plata (in a color I’m calling Raspberries and Cream...I can’t remember the real name), when we went to Cape May, NJ for a nice weekend getaway together. (My husband bought the yarn for me and then took it away and wrapped it as a Christmas gift. It was December, so I only had to wait a couple of weeks before I could pet it again.

Isn't it just yummy looking?

I also have some Noro Sakura (which I have forgotten to take a photo of) that’s really pretty. It has a black core with some really colorful stuff wrapped around it. I can’t wait to see how those mittens turn out! That wasn’t technically “souvenir yarn” but I still love it.

Now for a small request. No idea when I'd get to this, but thought I'd ask now anyway, while I'm thinking about it. I wanted to ask anyone who’s reading here to please offer their opinion and/or ideas, if they care to. I received the below yarn as a Christmas present from my sister-in-law, but I don’t know what to make with it. It's beautiful handspun yarn, but there’s only 70 yards of the stuff (she's not a knitter, which might account for the small yardage. Though she did also give me an enormous hunk of boucle stuff that'll make an awesome scarf). It’s wool, in a sort of gray and white. Oh and I’d say it's probably a worsted/bulky worsted weight. I would like to make something special with it since it was a lovely gift, but I’m just not so sure what 70 yds of it will make me. Any suggestions? Ideas? Thanks in advance! :)


Getting back into the swing of things

So I’m back from another blog hiatus. I’ve been back from vacation for a little while now, but still getting back on my feet. It’s amazing how much stuff gets backlogged when you don’t keep up with it on a regular basis!

I am SO ready for fall now! I love love love it. It is my favorite season, and I am already dreaming of crisp cool days and gorgeous leaves. I’m not even that upset by the fact that we will have tons and tons of leaves (and other things that drop from trees) to rake in a couple of months. Last year, our first real fall in our house, I was quite daunted by our mammoth task. But I think I realize now that it wasn’t so bad, just do what we can and it’s not the end of the world if our yard has some leaves on it for a few days. Anyway, as soon as we get back from our yearly summer vacation at the shore, which is always at the end of August, that to me signals the end of summer and I am ready to move on. Plus, knitting is more fun in the fall. :)

I have been doing some knitting since last I posted, though not a ton of it. While away on vacation I finished sock #1 of my Solstice Slip socks. Here are some photos:

I like how the garter stitch toe and heel look:

I still have not cast on for the second one though, and for some reason I was in a little bit of a knitting slump for a few days. I think, dare I say it, I was getting a tiny bit bored with my current WIPs, and just needed a change of scenery. So to remedy this, over Labor Day Weekend I cast on and almost finished some mittens. They’re so delightfully quick and fun to knit! I had gotten what I like to call “souvenir yarn” at a little yarn shop in the town where we were vacationing, and even though I have other yarn that’s earmarked for mittens, I started with this stuff. It’s knitting up really nicely, photo soon.

This is the mitten yarn I got:

And this is some novelty stuff I’ll put away for next spring when I'm itching to use these colors, to make a summer accessory scarf. I love the colors, and I wear both of these colors a lot:

(The second photo is a little more color-accurate.) Right now though I'm in mitten mode. :) I love getting souvenir yarn from places I visit, so then it has a little more meaning to me when I knit with it.

We had a fairly productive long weekend too. One thing we did was get an external hard drive on which to back up all of our files, which we’d been needing to do. We learned our lesson a while back when our hard drive in our computer kicked the bucket and we lost a lot of stuff (thankfully I’d backed up many photos on CD, but not all) so this was a good move. I feel better about the photos and such that now is safely copied. I still intend to put them on CD too, since photos are so important to me.

We also spent some much needed time cleaning out and organizing our old shed. We have a shed that’s built onto our detached garage, and it’s great for storage…except for the fact that squirrels like to nest in there. So since they were most likely making their homes on top of the rather useless “ceiling” in there, my husband spent yesterday tearing it down. He was so grimy after that I literally had to hose him down in the driveway! So now you can see up to the rafters, and there’s nowhere (hopefully) for the squirrels to nest. We plan to try trapping them in our Hav-a-heart trap and releasing them somewhere far, far away.

That’s it for now, back soon with photos of my mittens.