Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Another T-shirt Upcycle

After the t-shirt upcycle I did in a previous post, I came up with a crazy idea. I wondered if I could combine the technique with the knitting technique of cabling. I had to wait until I could get to the thrift shop to get a junky old t-shirt that I wouldn't mind ruining. The thrift shop near here is only open on Tuesdays, so I went today and found an XL tunic-length t-shirt.

So, if you want to try this out, you'll need: 
→ a t-shirt that is not only too big around, but too long by at least six inches.
→ sharp scissors
→ a measuring tape or ruler
→ three crochet hooks (size 8 or 9 works well)
→ a needle and thread

The most time-consuming part is laying out the t-shirt for the cuts. I wanted my decoration to run up the center of the front of the shirt, so I put the side seams together to find the center, and folded it there. Then I measured 1 1/2 inches away from the fold and marked it, then folded along those marks on both sides of the center. So I had three folds, held together. I used my measuring tape, and cut every 1/2 inch, about 1/2 inch in from the folded edges. The important thing was to not cut all the way through; I wanted a little space between each cut.

When it was unfolded, it looked like this:

Next, I took the three crochet hooks, and started picking up the loops. I did a couple of rows, then stopped...

Then I began switching the columns. And I just realized this picture is wrong; I changed my technique a little after I took it and forgot to take another. Oh well. I'll try to describe what I did...
I took the center hook and reached over to the next loop in one of the side columns, and pulled it through. Then I lifted that hook up and over the one that belonged in that column, so that they switched places. Then I took the hook that had its loop stolen, and use it to pick up the next loop in the center column. The hook on the other side picked up its loop as normal. Then I did the same thing, going the other way: use the center hook to pick up the next loop in the opposite side, lift it up and over the hook that was there, use the hook from that side to pick up the center loop, and used the leftover hook to pick up its own loop. It sounds a little complicated, but if you can braid, you can do it. 

Here's a closeup of how it looked after I'd done all the columns all the way up. 
 I used the needle and thread to secure the last loops at the top. 

And here's how it looks on me!
 As you can see, it's almost too short in the front now; this technique pulls up even more than the original technique did. I need to do something to the neckline; it's almost a v-neck now, but it doesn't lay flat, so I'm going to do something to fix that. I haven't decided yet what I want to do to the sleeves; I might cut them shorter and hem them, or I might leave them as 3/4 length sleeves. It's still winter where I live, and this is a popular sleeve length around here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Tiny FO

I'm participating in a service project, making tiny handknit baby blankets to donate to a NICU for micro-preemies and stillborn babies. I was going to use my Evellyn Anne pattern, but then I decided to design something new.
This blanket is 15 inches square, knit with Malabrigo Sock yarn - Velvet Grapes colorway. The pattern (when it's finished) will be called Harmony, after the baby my mother miscarried when I was a little girl. I'm planning on making a whole stack of these to donate, with sock yarn that's leftover from other projects. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

T-shirt Upcycle

I live in t-shirts. I'm a busy mom, and I don't have time for fancy button-down fashion. If it takes special laundering care, or takes extra time to get dressed in it, it's not something I'll wear often. Well, that, and the fact that the nice button-down, tailored stuff that I like doesn't fit so well when you're shaped like an apple.

I'm working on the shape of my body, so now I need to work on the shape of my clothes. Some of my plain, straight-sided t-shirts don't fit right anymore. They're too loose around the belly, but not so loose around the "girls" that I'll just get rid of them. Like the one in the picture below...
So I decided to do something about that, but I didn't want to take the sewing machine to it. I've used a sewing machine to make adjustments to knit fabrics before, and it's usually not pretty. You get funky-looking puckers when you're just trying to get a nice, neat seam. And I'm an experienced seamstress! 

I had seen a neat idea somewhere on Facebook a while back, utilizing scissors and a crochet hook, but couldn't remember where exactly I had seen it, so I decided to make a blog post about it, so I could share the idea with my friends. So this isn't my original idea, but I hope the person who came up with it won't mind my being a copycat.

Anyway, I got out my measuring tape and scissors... and I folded the t-shirt in half, so that the sides (where there might be seams if it were a fitted shirt, which it wasn't) were lined up neatly together. I laid out my measuring tape and snipped the folded edges every half-inch. I cut about half an inch in from the edge.
 So when I unfolded it, the cuts were about an inch long. I pulled a little at the sides to stretch them. And then I got out my crochet hook. I used a US8, but I don't think the size of hook matters all that much.
 Starting at the bottom, I made a crochet chain up the side of the t-shirt...just like picking up a dropped column of stitches in knitting... and then secured the final loop at the top(on the inside) with a needle and thread.
So now I have a t-shirt that's a bit more fitted, and has a fun detail at the sides! The crochet chain produces a very flattering ruched look, too. The whole project, including photos, took about ten minutes. And that was only because I had to go down in the basement to find red thread...
 I think, on the next one, I'll start it all the way at the bottom of the shirt, instead of two inches up, to avoid the little hole I got at the bottom of the chain. And when I lose a bit more around the belly, I might add in two more chains up the front, like darts, and stop them just below the bust.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bayerische Progress and a FO

I've gotten the first repeat done on my Bayerische sock! The trickiest part so far was the increase round after the ribbing. The cables aren't any harder than ones I've done before. ☻
And I finished my Unconventional Hood samples! Here's the cabled version:
 And the simple version:
And the pattern has been sent in to Knit Picks. Hopefully it'll be up on the site soon, before knitters turn to summer projects...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bayerische KAL

I'm participating in a Bayerische KAL over on Nimblestix.com. I've wanted to make these socks for a long time, and I think I'm finally ready, so I'm very excited about this.
Photo from eunnyjang.com

I'm using Knit Picks Gloss in Burgundy, and size US1 needles.
Come join us! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

First goal met!

So... I've posted about my weight loss journey recently...and here I am posting about it again. I would like to get back to the weight I was when I got married: 110 pounds. I'm short, and have a small frame, so that's not too skinny. Except that when I was that weight, I wasn't really fit. I was thin, but not fit. I probably have more muscle mass now than I did then, thanks to the past two months of serious exercise. So I wouldn't be surprised if I can't get back to that weight without looking ridiculously thin. So I'll settle for 120.

Anyway, I started this year at 180 pounds, which put me squarely in the "obese" category. And this is what I saw on my scale this morning:
That's right: I've lost 20 pounds! And that's 1/3 of my goal.

On the left, you'll see my photo from January 1(wow, the bathroom lights make me look yellowish!). 
On the right is a photo my eight-year-old took of me this morning right after my workout(which is why I look all sweaty).
I'm celebrating with a massage. I have been carrying around several massage gift cards in my purse for a while, and haven't had time to use them. I decided at the beginning of this year that I would celebrate each 20 pound loss with a massage.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Sometimes God Speaks.

I know I've posted before about how I feel lonely since we've moved to the middle of nowhere in North Dakota. Usually, I can go about my day, and stuff that feeling deep down where I don't have to deal with it. But at night, when I can't sleep, it's harder to ignore.

I suffer from insomnia many nights, and when I do, I like to pray. It helps me to focus and resolve any issues in my own mind that might be keeping me from sleep. Last night was one of those nights. I couldn't sleep, and I was praying for my friends, and praying that I would find more IRL friends who believe the way I do about things. Because while I have a lot of wonderful friends online, I don't have that many where I live. And I feel lonely.

So I was telling God about how isolated I feel, living in the middle of a wheat field. I was watching the snow fall, and thinking about how I won't be able to go anywhere for a few days because of it. I was complaining to Him that I don't feel "at home" in our church; I don't agree with some of the theology and I can't stand the style of service; I always feel depressed after a Sunday service. I was having a hard time putting into words how I feel, and finally I gave up. I told God that I know He knows how I feel and what I need even better than I know. I asked Him to speak to me. I've heard His voice before, several times. I waited and listened, but didn't hear anything this time.

And then... I felt that I needed to turn on the radio, despite the fact that it was near midnight, and everyone else in the house was asleep. I got out my ipod and earbuds, and turned on the TuneIn Radio app, which is set to my favorite Christian station in Houston. And this was the song that was playing:

Sometimes God speaks audibly. And sometimes He speaks through the Bible. And sometimes He uses a song. I just need to learn to listen better. And I need to hold on to the promise that He is always with me, and I'm never alone.