My Free Patterns

Sunday, April 7, 2019

I'm wearing my own sheep!

So, it has been about a year and a half with our very own sheep. 3 Border Leicesters, and one......cross. I think she is a Shetland and a----

Last May was our first sheering, and I sent the wool to a semi-local mill to be made into Aran weight yarn. I currently don't have the time, skill, or if I am completely honest, the inclination to spin my own yarn. Someday maybe. Let me tell you what I've discovered:

I had each sheep spun separately so I could compare the wool.  I did this because when they were being shorn the gentleman helping us was discussing how they felt to him as we went. I wanted to see how this would translate into wearable yarn.

I've so far knitted with Evia's and Caitlin's (she is my favorite sheep by far). Evia is a ginormous sheep and I've got the most of her wool. Tiddler is the smallest and I haven't used hers yet (also because it feels the roughest). I'm in the process of working with Zoom Zoom's (the token black sheep that we actually bought for meat but she was too small and too adorable to even contemplate that fate). So far, by far, I love Zoom Zoom's wool best. It is the most squishy, lovely stuff imaginable. It is not as scratchy as the Border Leicester wool. However, I washed Caitlin's a couple of times in Eucran and the sweater was pretty good to the touch. A wee bit scratchy to begin with, but certainly bearable. 

Evia's Wool Projects:

I had this pattern in the closet. I don't particularly like the way the collar turned out, and I'm not sure I will ever wear it. I only washed this once and it is still pretty rough. Pattern: 7187 Woman's Jacket by Sirdar

This was super fun to knit and I love it. My family makes fun of me for knitting a bonnet, but look how beautifully it turned out! I haven't washed it yet, but I will for next winter!

Pattern: Neon Ski Bonnet this is a free pattern!

Caitlin's Wool Project:

I knit another Ross by Pam Allen. I had previously knit one for my daughter, and I think the sizing is weird. It is meant to be boxy, but the arms are skinny. Anyway, I learned from my previous knit and I am happy with the result of this one. 

Zoom Zoom's Wool:
This is the back panel on a Highway 61 Pullover. It is from Interweave, and so far, I love love love it. I was a bit leery it would turn out too small, but I am currently at gauge so fingers crossed. I am always to nervous it won't fit when I am done. This project is seamed, but I like to pretend I don't like but I secretly think I do. At least, for Aran jumpers. 

So that's what I've been up to. I am looking into natural dyes, so I have a long road ahead of me. I'm going to see what I can plant, or what I can harvest naturally around here and see what colors I can get. Fun!!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Winter is for crafting

I have come to the realization (very recently) that I am starting to really like winter. *GASP* And I mean real winter. Not the southern California winter I grew up with. It has been snowing, it is cold, and going to get very cold in a few days. However I am happy with it, because it means I get to be inside reading, cooking, and best of all, crafting. I also have the next several days off work for the holiday, which would help anyones mood.

This whole crofting (homesteading, small farming, whatever you want to call it) lifestyle is hard work. Good, satisfying work, but hard nonetheless. Spring through fall we worked our regular jobs, and worked the rest of the time on the farm. I'm proud of what we achieved, and I'll be even happier when the pigs and sheep are in the freezer next month. Winter means less outside work, and more relaxing and more time for creating, which I enjoy. Oh seasons, you are so wonderful. 
A year or two ago my sister cleaned out her craft cupboard, and I added a few things to mine. I do love this sort of cleaning that other people do--when it involves me getting new things for free. I got a shaggy baby blanket kit, which I stored away in my cupboard. Then this baby boom hit, and this morning as the snow fell, I knew it was time to get it done. The blanket is for my co-worker, and she isn't due until May. However, in May I'll be busy getting the garden started, and going on a trip to Peru, and there will not be time for sewing. I'm planning ahead!

All you do it sew the rectangles together in the manner laid out in the pattern, and then cut the pieces to be "shaggy." It only took a few hours, and is currently in the washing machine. Great, right? Yeah, my weak little wrists are sore from all the cutting.

I've also been on a real bag-making kick. I think because they are small and fairly easy to make, yet you can challenge yourself. I found a free pattern on Pinterest called Trail Tote, and made the small one first.Quickly realizing that it was nowhere near big enough for me, I made the larger size, using what I'd learned making the first one to make it even better. 

 This picture is me wearing the larger bag. I've been using it as a purse for a month now, I love it!

If I can find the pictures, I made a couple more bags for presents, I'll post them next. Until next time, thanks for stopping by and have a very Happy Festive Holiday season!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Babies, babies, everywhere

Hello! So not one but two of my co-workers are expecting babies, and best of all, so is my niece. I cannot believe that I'm old enough that the girl I watched come into this world is having her own baby. I've accepted it now that I've had time to digest the idea, and I'm so freaking excited. I have already picked out a baby blanket to knit (she picked forest green, it should be pretty), but I've got plenty of time because she isn't due until May. 

I was cleaning out my craft closet the other day, and decided sewing was in order to rest my wrists a bit. I've been Christmas knitting like a fiend and it was starting to hurt. In the midst of my cleaning I found some fabric that my mother bought me when MY babies were actual babies, that I never got around to using. My niece isn't into gender biased colors so I figured these were perfect.

A while ago I stole borrowed this sewing book from my Grandma. It is called Sewing in a Straight Line by Brett Bara. I like several of the projects in it, but this quilt looked pretty, and easy, and like something I could handle. My sister (soon to be the grandma) approved so I got to work. It went very quickly, and cost only around $20 for the batting, backing, cream fabric, etc. I do love to use a Joann's coupon, or three.

I messed around with placement and ideas, and then one day it just HIT ME, and I was happy with how I arranged everything. I do love it when things come together. 

I just quilted straight lines as well, because that is about all I can handle. Even that was a challenge at the start--but I got there in the end.  

I'll be delivering the present this weekend. I hope the snow doesn't make the drive too terrible!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Baby Blanket love

Interweave Knits 2016
I promised I would post two posts on completed knits back to back, and I failed. Oh well. As I sat here on my day off drinking tea early in the morning, I remembered I had to post about the baby blanket I recently finished. I have knitting on the brain in a BIG way, as this past weekend I finally figured out what I am knitting the girls for their Christmas. It is hard to plan that far ahead (at least for me), and it interrupted (gratefully?) a project I was working on already. I'm knitting a Calder Pullover and only have one sleeve left. Only thing is, I just checked and I started it last December. If I am lucky I will finish it THIS December, making it the longest ever worked on sweater. I only have 3/4 of a sleeve left too! I don't know why I hate the sleeves so much, but I do. I did the first, then the body, and thought I was done (you are supposed to do the two sleeves first but I didn't have it in me). Anyway, I will get there.

Part of what distracted me was knitting a baby blanket for my co-worker Brent. He was my trainee at one point, and I like him. He and his wife are having their first baby, due in December. I knit them a Mosaic Blanket from Purl Soho. I had wanted to knit one ever since it popped up in my inbox, and this gave me a great excuse. The only thing I did differently than the pattern was the crochet shell stitch around the border.

I love this blanket a lot. It was fun to knit, the result is impressive (at least to me!), and it turned out a great size. I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease (cream) and Caron Cakes (rainbow) for the yarn. Easy to wash, with just a bit of wool for a winter baby. Plus, I got to use my coupons that Joann's shoves down my phone every week. What with the free pattern, it was a very affordable blanket to knit.

Now I've just found out my niece is pregnant and due in May, so I get a chance to knit another blanket I'm excited about. I won't cast on until well after the new year, because I have 2 Christmas sweaters to knit for my girls, and two sweater WIP's of my own. We will ignore the hat languishing in my basket because it was just for fun and there is no deadline.

The last thing I completed that I had put off for ages was recovering my desk chair. It has a mysterious stain on it, and that chair is older than my kids, so here is before and after:

Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

I'm mostly canning tomatoes

When I looked at my blog post list and saw the last time I posted was in March.....I was a little ashamed of myself. But only a little. Spring, summer, fall, they are all busy times here on our little farm. I've been knitting, but I've also become caretaker of some sheep, planted a big garden, went on vacation (yay!), and currently I'm canning. A lot. Mostly tomatoes but today I made some pickled miso vegetables I'm eager to try. 

Before I go much further, because this is a crafting/knitting blog, these are my future yarn providers. They are Border Leicheters, and really rather spoiled girls. The ewe in the background there is going to be bred in a few weeks, the others will wait until next year when they are old enough. The black sheep is actually something else......part Icelandic I think. She was bought as a meat sheep but we all sort of fell in love with her.

In April I went on a trip to Seattle with my sister and niece, and I bought myself some Frabjous Cheshire Cat Mini Skeins. Then I came home and made a Sugar Maple top. I had almost enough, but ended up getting another skein to finish it. Poor me, I have almost an entire skein I'll have to use up on another project. I really love how the top turned out, and last night I wore it to dinner. I finished it in July and just managed to get my daughter to snap a few pictures. This yarn is so super soft, it felt wonderful wearing it. 

I've got to run now and get the girls to someplace or other, I'll post my latest project as soon as I can (it won't take 6 months, I'm too proud of it).

Monday, March 27, 2017

In which I force my knitting on people

Right after Christmas I went on a small work-related road trip with two ladies that I like a lot. Over the course of the couple of days I had decided to make one a cabled hat, and the other asked for a messy bun hat for running. All it takes is a couple of compliments on my knitting and I am off and running. Oh the joy when people WANT me to knit something for them.

First up, I knit Father Cables, with a blue Lions Brand yarn I had leftover from my Bloomsbury sweater. This pattern is free, and I loved knitting it. I just love cables, I do!

I decided to give her the hat for her birthday in February, and she loves it. I won't post a picture of her on the blog, but you can see it well enough on Poly. 

Next up I took a look at messy bun hats. I didn't really want to try to crochet, and I didn't want it plain and boring. She did ask for brightish colors since she would wear it for running, and she does like my Hermione Hat that I keep in my work car. So, all that sorted, I used another stash yarn-- Loops and Threads Impeccable Ombre (it hurt my hands but I got it done), and the Hermione Hat pattern (free!).

 It looks really rather funny to me, and I think the opening is too high, but maybe that is just me. I used another free messy bun pattern to do the opening, and there are so many different way to do it. Here is a bad bathroom picture of me in it:
All in all, a few fun hats. I also ran into another co-worker that crochets for a kids charity up north. I made her a bunch of hats last year and she was sniffing around for more, so I guess I had better get started on those one of these days........

Lastly, you've earned a moment of zen, compliments of Biscuit

Christmas knits

I'm waaaaay behind in my posts, because it is near the end of March and I'm going to post my Christmas knits. Oh well, better late than never I guess. 

Every year I try to knit the girls something for Christmas--teaching that homemade is best and whatnot. This year I made them shawls. I know, they are only 10, but for whatever reason they both really wanted shawls. Thus far I've only knit small shawls, or shawlettes, or whatever your call them, so I wanted to pick something relatively easy. I picked the Campside shawl, and I really enjoyed it (even making two!). The pattern is free, which never ceases to amaze me, people are just so giving with their talent.

I chose Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool, in the girliest colors ever (I think they are just now thinking there is a world outside of pink and purple). The yarn is 45% Wool, 35% Silk, 20% manufactured Fibers - Nylon / Polyamide. I liked the yarn, it was different than what I normally use, and was a nice change of scenery if you will.

They shawls took about a month and a half each for me to knit, in secret, with the girls beating down the door because it was locked. They love them however, and that is all that matters. 

I also knit them both a hat, from patterns I already had, and yarn I didn't know what to do with. 

Now that it is waaaaay past Christmas and time for their birthday I've knit them fingers mitts, but that is a post for another day, it took me long enough to hit publish on this one!

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