Randomly On a Sunday Morning

1. I’ve been awake since 4.

2. This seems to just be what happens on Sunday mornings.

3. I was going to get up and be responsible and start my taxes, but that plan was foiled pretty quickly since, apparently, when you are filing jointly, you have to have all of your spouses information first. It doesn’t let you tack it on at the end…which is inconvenient when one of you is suffering early morning insomnia and the other one is upstairs sawing logs.

4. I bought seeds yesterday, peas, beets, radishes, carrots, spinach, and kale.

5. I was going to plant them this afternoon, but there is snow on the ground this morning.

6. I have no clue what I did with my citron shawl overnight. It doesn’t appear to be in my knitting basket, which means I probably brought it upstairs in case I woke up early.

7. I am downstairs because I woke up too early.

8. I am in the middle of my seventh repeat, and my yarn is telling me this will probably be the last repeat before the yarn runs out. The rows are getting really long, but I like to think I can get it done today.

9. That probably depends on how long it will take me to finish the stupid taxes.

Baby Corner Preview

You guys, I am 35 weeks pregnant as of yesterday. That means the baby can come safely anytime in the next two to seven weeks. Two weeks is a pretty small number (though seven seems unbearably long), but it’s a possibility none-the-less. The dwindling amount of time until this baby arrives has been really kicked the nesting into high gear–well, as high as you can get and still work a 40 hour week and be nursing gigantic balloon feet. Mostly I’ve done a lot of laundry.

crib with bedding
The bed is together and the bedding washed.

baby corner
This is the baby corner view from the bed. (The laundry basket is full of enough clean onesies for three babies. We have generous friends and family…The dresser is in the process of getting a makeover.)

badger baskets
The super functional changing table. I love the drawers and hamper. This particular model was added to our registry because it’s brand is “Badger”. Brock is an Old English word for badger. (It also matches the crib, but you know, details.)

cloth diapers
All of the drawers are stuffed. The top drawer has disposable diapers, which I am planning to use until the cord stump falls off. (Yup, babies are always super adorable.) The bottom drawer has burp cloths and blankets, but my favorite is the second drawer. It is chalk full of cloth diapers. I know I haven’t actually used them yet, but just having them makes me feel proud. It’s a new adventure and I was able to navigate all of the information and personal preferences and strong internet opinions to figure out what kind of cloth diapering system would work best for us. We’re going with prefolds and covers, as displayed above.

lambies
Lamb toys for the baby, hanging out in the crib, keeping it warm.

And now for some knitting!
citron

I am flying through Citron. It’s the latest KAL I’m hosting via the Potwin Fiber Artisans ravelry group. We just cast on yesterday, so there’s plenty of time to join in!

Like I said, I seem to be flying through this shawl. According to the pattern, I am about 3/4 of the way done, which is nuts for two reasons. One, I just started knitting. Two, this shawl so far is just about the right size for my cat, and no amount of blocking would change that. One is easy enough to explain. I spend a fair amount of time on the sofa with my feet up, because otherwise they swell like balloons and it’s really uncomfortable. That’s a lot of built in knitting time. Two is a bit of a head scratcher. I knew I wasn’t going to get gauge using a US size 6 needle. I’ve needed to go up two needles sizes on anything knit flat for a couple of years now, but I like the fabric I got with a size 6 needles out of this yarn. I should be getting 6 stitches per inch if I followed the pattern. Right now, I am getting 8, but the shawl seems to be about half the size it should be at this point. I have also barely made a dent in my yarn…So I suppose it was a good thing I planned on knitting this thing until the yarn ran out, because I’m going to have knit beyond the written pattern quite a bit to even get this thing wearable. The only question is, which will come first, a finished shawl or a baby?

Curb Appeal

One of my favorite parts of our new house is that there is a yard. Yesterday morning I spent an hour and half outside enjoying the warm weather and sunshine while supervising the cat. (She loves to run and play in the yard, much to the chagrin of the neighborhood squirrels, but I don’t trust her to stay inside the fence when left to her own devices.) We do this with each day when the weather is nice. Wondering around the yard gives me a good opportunity to think about how to improve it through gardening.

We have our five little beds that should be ready for planting vegetables in the coming weeks, and while I’m still deciding what to plant and where, I’ve been thinking more about the rest of the yard. Our house has absolutely no curb appeal.

Curb Appeal
This is the left side of our house, which has been a rental house for at least the last ten years. There is no landscaping–of course all the grass is dead right now, but that patch of dirt next to the foundation runs all along the house, and was like that when we moved in last November when there was still just a hint of life left in the yard.

Since we moved in in late November, I didn’t plant any bulbs in these places like I wanted to, because I figured it would be too late. I figured we do some petunias or something, maybe some wildflowers later in the summer, and plant some tulips and gladiolus earlier in the fall for next year.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed this little bit of greenery coming up just to the left of the drainpipe in the photo above.
bulbs
Two little patches of some sort of bulb! These look to me like they’ve been neglected for a few years, and probably should have been thinned last year, so I’m hoping they still flower, because until they do, I have no idea what they are. I’m thinking hyacinth or narcissus from the shape of the leaves, but I could be totally wrong.

more bulbs
And then to the right of the drainpipe, I found these little guys who look like they must have just popped up through the soil. They’re different from the others, but I’m still not sure what kind of bulb they are. My guess is crocus, but really, I know nothing about flowers, other than I’m really excited that I don’t have to wait until next year for spring blooms.

Sock Day Saturday

Saturday Sock
My job completely wore me out each day this week. When I get home from work is usually when I do the creative stuff whether for pleasure or profit. This week, Monday through Thursday I did absolutely nothing but eat dinner and stare at my tablet screen. I wanted to knit, but all of my projects on the needles involve cabling. I love cables, but this week they were just too much work. I haven’t been fit for anything other than stockinette in the round–if that.

Last night, I finally cast on for a pair of socks, my favorite kind of stockinette in the round.

Saturday Sock Yarn
I used this yarn, which is very similar to the stuff I just posted in my shop, so if you were wondering how it knits up, you’re welcome.

I dyed this last year for a sweater project for myself, which I have since cannibalized to knit this pair of socks and then to turn into another baby sweater/hat/bootie set.

Saturday Sock Through Heal Turn
I guess I was really jonesing for a simple knit, because as soon as I cast this on, the stitches starting flying, and so did the ideas for all the other projects I wanted to knit. In one evening I knit what you see above: cuff, five inch leg, heal and heal turn. Today I’m going to try to finish this one and see how far I can get on the second sock tomorrow.

Shop Update

I know it’s been about a million years since I updated the Tiny Dino Studios etsy shop, but the long wait for new product is finally over! You can find all of these new items and many more sale items in the shop now.

Happy Tie Dye Lace Yarn 4
Happy in Oviraptor Lace

Madame Soothsayer Tie Dye Lace Yarn 3
Madame Soothesayer in Oviraptor Lace

Fire Flower Tie Dye Sock Yarn 3
Fire Flower Tie Dye in T-Rex Sock

Jelly Bean Tie Dye Sock Yarn 3
Jelly Bean in T-Rex Sock

Happy Tie Dye Sock Yarn 3
Happy in T-Rex Sock

Handspun Wensleydale 4
Handspun Wensleydale

Easter Eggs Falkland 3
Easter Eggs 100g Falkland Top

Gobstopper Wool Top 2
Gobstopper in 181g of Wool Top

Fun fact, everything but the handspun was dyed with food safe dyes! I haven’t played with food coloring in ages. It was a blast. I love how it enables me to mix colors on the yarn. Which is your favorite?

How I Made My Muslin Baby Blanket Set

Today, I have exactly what you all wanted out of knitting blog, more fabric printing and sewing! Seriously though, I’m having a lot of fun sewing simple things on my sewing machine and learning how to print on fabric. Thanks for sticking around to read it.

meadowlark muslin
I started off with some simple natural muslin from fabric.com. This is the kind of muslin your supposed to make, you know, a muslin out of. It’s not the traditional guazey baby blanket muslin, but since I wanted something that was more tea towel consistency to begin with, I am perfectly happy with this fabric–except for the wrinkles. I can’t tell you how long I spent pressing, and it would still be wrinkled. We’re going to blame it on my ancient iron and then move on.

babyblankethemming
After washing all 6 yards, I cut it into 3 45×45 inch squares. I still had about a 60 inch length of fabric left over for another project. I always press my hems and pin them. I’m not the neatest sewist out there, so whatever I can do to help keep my final product looking nice, I try to do.

babyblankethemmed
I gave these blankets about a one inch hem, partially because of my sloppy cutting, and partially because that’s an easy amount for me to eyeball. Also, I completely charmed with how well the thread matches the fabric.

sheep on a blanket
On the first blanket, I stamped out the sheep using a linocut I made last year and some yellow acrylic paint and a fabric paint medium. This helps the acrylic adhere to the fabric more permanently. You’ll notice when you first do you printing, after the paint dries, the paint is very stiff. This will soften up when you wash it (follow the directions on the fabric medium.)

I’m still learning how printing on fabric with paint is different than printing on paper with ink. So far, I feel like paper and ink are easier, but I feel like paint on fabric is cuter.

baby blanket painting
On the other printed blanket, I used the tiny paint roller to put on my silly stripes. I used three colors, printing the stripes one color at a time. I wanted the stripes a little funky, so I just eyeballed the spacing and didn’t worry myself with keeping the lines straight. Also, I did put an old beat up cardboard box between the blanket and the table top, because the paint will bleed through a thin fabric like this. If you don’t want the texture to your stripes like I have, choose a pristine piece of cardboard and pin your fabric down so it doesn’t move at all.

baby blankets
For the third blanket (in the background), I dyed it with Rit on the stovetop. It was pretty quick and painless, but I’m not sure how much fabric yardage I’ll be dyeing in the future. I really like the natural color of the cloth peeping through between my printing. I do love this sunflower yellow color though.

Stripey Baby Blanket
An above view of the stripes.

muslin blanket set
And here is the finished set. Three unique blankets that are perfect for swaddling and won’t be too heavy as the weather warms up.

Getting Things in the Mail

A few months ago, I heard about this thing called a bluum box. It’s like a birch box, but instead of makeup, which I don’t really think that much about, you get baby stuff! I thought, cool, I’ll give a try one of these days. Last week, I received my first box.
my first bluum box

I’m not going to lie, it was kind of exciting to get a box of goodies in the mail…

inside my first bluum box
And then I opened it.

I’m not going to say that I’m disappointed, because it has some really nice things in there. A checkerboard? Cool! Makeup remover wipes. Useful. Luna bar. Eaten immediately. Questionable parenting book. Meh. Hot or Cold Eye Mask. Possibly the best thing I never would have purchased myself but am glad I now own ever.

It wasn’t really what was in the box, because for the most part, I liked the stuff. It was really more that it just seemed really gratuitous to me. Did I really need any of this stuff? No. Well, perhaps the snack bar, because I was starving at the time, and it really did taste like carrot cake, which was impressive. But everything else, I would never buy ever. And it took me a couple of days to figure out why I was feeling so ambivalent about this box after I had been so excited to receive it. And it simply boils down to the fact that I’m not used to buying stuff.

I’m not in the habit of buying much outside necessities, and what I do tend to purchase, I usually consider tools. Yarn, needles, wool, dye, fabric, paint, books like these
new books

All of those things have potential to turn into other things that are useful or salable. They aren’t so obviously consumerish. I totally weirded myself out for a few days, trying to figure out why I felt so off about receiving a box in the mail. Getting things in the mail is usually fun! Plus, it’s a built in blog post once a month, bargain!

So yes, I cancelled my bluum box subscriptions, and I think I’ll stick to wet wash cloths to remove my makeup and actual carrot cake instead of snack bars that try to pretend they are healthy versions of carrot cake. I will totally rock that eye mask the next time I have a migraine though, and I will feel completely decadent the whole time I do.

How I Made My Own Custom Ring Sling

a handmade ring sling

With my first son, I had a Maya Wrap baby carrier that I simply adored. Between him turning about six months old and now, I have no idea what happened to it. When I found out I was pregnant last August, one of the first things I did was browse through the Maya Wrap website to see which fabrics I liked best. Slowly, over the last several months, I convinced myself that surely I could sew one myself. One of the reasons I wouldn’t let myself do that much sewing when we were living in the apartment, was because I was already getting the hankering to decorate fabrics myself, and I knew that if I was going to sew anything, I knew I was going to have print my own design onto it first. There just wasn’t room for any more stuff in that apartment. No more fiber crafts could fit, so I just focused on woolly things. But in the new house, I have a whole room to cover in wool and fabric and dye and paint…and I have done a pretty thorough job of filling it up in just two months.

osnaburg
I started out with 2.5 yards of natural osnaburg from fabric.com. I washed and dried it as soon as it came in. The edges frayed a bit in the wash, just a warning.

stripey baby wrap fabric
Then I ironed and pressed and spent a long, long time re-flattening my fabric so the paint would go on as evenly as possible. (For the record, the not-straight stripes and sometimes thin paint was on purpose.) I used acrylic paint and a fabric medium fixer (link below) and a tiny paint roller I bought at Joann for $.99 to apply the stripes.

I allowed the fabric to dry for at least 48 hours and then ironed it front and back (on the front with a piece of scrap fabric over the paint) to set the color and then threw it in the wash with a load of laundry. I made sure I took it out of the dryer as soon as it was done so I wouldn’t have to spend an hour ironing it again, and then I spent a few minutes cuddling it.

Next I trimmed all of the big unraveled pieces from the edges, and then zigzag stitched around the perimeter of the piece so that it wouldn’t fray anymore. (Warning: you will likely have to refill your bobbin at least once during this project.)

Then I hemmed three sides: the two long sides, and only one of the short sides. Leave the top of your sling, the part where the rings are attached, unhemmed unless you have a really powerful sewing machine. You’ll have quite a bit of fabric to sew through at the end.

I followed the sewing tutorial on the Maya Wrap website from here about where to sew and how much–which at this point is really just three or four quick seams, but over a serious amount of fabric. Make sure you watch the videos about how to properly thread and use your wrap.

handmade ring sling rings

What you’ll need to make this project:
Sling Materials
-2.5 yards of a 45 inch fabric
-A set of Sling Rings
-Coordinating Thread

Printing Materials
-3 to 5 colors of acrylic paint (I used Americana)
-1 bottle Fabric Painting Medium (follow instructions on the bottle)
-Paper plates and disposable spoons for mixing paint with fabric medium
-1 inch foam paint roller

My total cost for the project:
fabric $9.95
sling rings $3.79
thread $2.99
paint $5.94
roller $.99
Total: $23.66
(Even rounding up for tax and shipping, the project comes in at under $30)
That’s a fraction of the cost of an name brand wrap, and I was able to completely customize it to my tastes. My colors, a wider shoulder and smaller rings, than the original. Now I just need a baby to put in it!

Snapshots of Busy Saturday

muslin blanket set
baby blankets are finished

foodcoloringdevastation
food coloring I used to dye a lot of wool–after the cat jumped up on the table and got it all over her paws

handmade ring sling rings
a finished baby carrier

food coloring dye day
dye and washed yarn ready on the drying rack

new books
new books to read

Snow Day No. 2

We got 13 inches of snow yesterday. I didn’t take a picture, but you can’t even see our car, let alone where the drive way is. The street in front of our house, just a guess at where you should actually drive….

So we’re home again today! I’m not going to lie, this is exactly what I have been needing–a couple of extra days off work that aren’t full of weekend chores and errands and where I am not sick. Thank you, Snow.

I worked on my Snow Day Shawl all afternoon, and a good portion of the evening.

snowdayshawl

I got about 18 inches into it, so while it isn’t a shawl yet, it very well could be in a few days time. Aren’t the colors fantastic? I’m glad I decided to stripe it to make the handspun last longer. It really underplays the yarn nicely.

Speaking of stripes, I had so much fun printing stripes on to the baby blanket yesterday, that I got the paint back out today and did stripes on the fabric that’s going to become my ring sling.
stripey baby wrap fabric

The fabric took quite a bit longer than the blanket, as it’s about twice as big and I used 5 colors instead of 3, but I think it turned out fantastic, and I somehow managed to include all of my favorite colors.

fabric printing stations

Here’s some perspective on how large the fabric is. It’s set out on my six foot table I use for craft shows and the farmer’s market. The blanket is behind on the ironing board.I can’t wait until the fabric is dried and fixed so I can sew my ring sling with it. That will feel like such a grand accomplishment, even if it does turn out unusable.

But I better get busy, I am certain we won’t have a snow day tomorrow, and I have a shawl to finish.