Jackets for Jakes, Day 2

Day 2

The body is done! My plan from here is to go off-pattern and crochet the hood, legs and back edging, because I am too lazy to do the tedious knitting in the round on the legs.

I started the hood, but it came out really big and heavy and otherwise odd-looking, so I’ve pulled out half and left a mess to clean up tomorrow.

Roommie found the pleather in a bag of fabric that been living in her car since she moved a year ago. She also found that she is low on fusable interfacing, and too lazy to make another Joann’s run today.

Saved by laziness!

Jackets for Jakes, Day 1

Jake will be spending Christmas in Wisconsin.

Jake lacks the natural insulation to survive Christmas in Wisconsin.

Dear Roommate and I will be making Warm Things for Jake to wear while in Wisconsin.

The obvious solution, to my thinking, was a knitted or crocheted sweater.  The process was simple enough.  I got onto Ravelry and found an adorable sweater pattern from Bernat.

Bernat KW - Hoodie Dog Coat (knit)It’s a hoodie.  How cute is that?  Seriously.

Yesterday I dragged Roomie to a yarn sale at Michael’s and grabbed a bunch of (relatively) Jake-proof cotton. We settled on the denim color because the only thing cuter than a doggie hoodie is a doggie jean jacket hoodie.

Then today, while I spent the better part of half an hour torturing the nice girl at the cutting counter in Joann’s (gathering materials for my Super-Duper Top Secret Christmas Project – details coming soon), Roommie found a sewing pattern for a doggie jacket/other embarrassing doggie outfits.

McCalls Pet Clothes M6218

This leaves only one possible outcome:

Race for the Jacket!

A build competition, if you will, Mythbusters-style. The first roommate to outfit our little friend with winter-wear wins.

Under normal circumstances, this contest would be a no-brainer.  Sewing something this small should be possible in a single night. However, the powers of procrastination in this apartment are mighty. If I can just focus a little more than she does, I may squeak out a victory.

So where are we at the end of Day 1?
In fairness, I did start with a bit of a lead.  Last night, after several rounds of gauge measurement and no fewer than three total restarts, I had completed… almost two inches of the body.

As of tonight, I have about half the body done.

Roommie has taken Jakes’s measurements, established that Jake is unperturbed by having strange things around his neck, and spent about three hours rummaging through her fabric stash for a piece of pleather she swears she has.

She has found about a dozen unfinished projects, some truly astonishing scraps from Christmas outfits her mother made for the family when she was little, and the stash of old t-shirts she spent hours looking for about a month ago.  She even contemplated using one particularly awesome shirt for the jacket:

…but ultimately decided it wouldn’t fit within the pattern.

I have seen not a hint of the pleather.  I am starting to doubt it exists.

On Unintentionally Long Scarves, or If At First You Don’t Succeed, Don’t Leave It To Clutter Mom’s House

My sister picked up knitting before I did.  I guess I had toyed with the thought before, but when I saw what she was working on, I just had to try it too, because I am a monkey – see it, do it.

So my very first knitting project was a scarf for my sister.  She had just moved to Ohio, where I hear tell it actually gets *cold* in the part of the year known up north as “winter,” and I was still in Texas, where sometimes in January or February the temperature dips into fluffy warm scarf territory for a few seconds.

I bought a set of size 13 needles and a skein of maroon homespun yarn.  (I guess I should go ahead and come out now – I’m an Aggie, as are both my siblings.  Maroon may or may not become a recurring theme.)  My mother got me started, and soon I was stitching away at a very basic fluffy scarf – about 20 or 30 stitches across, until it was the right length.

There was just one little snag.  I never made it to the right length.

I got about halfway to the desired length, and then got distracted by some other entertainment, so the project wound up sitting on the ledge of my parents’ (comically useless) fireplace for the better part of a year.  I would like to say that at the end of that year, I came home, finished the thing to my original specifications and sent it off to my sister just in time for the Ohio winter.  Alas, in reality, I came home to discover a completed scarf sitting on the fireplace.  When I asked Mom where the leftover yarn was, she said there wasn’t any, that she had just used up the whole skein.

Now, I should mention here, for reference, that my sister is well under five feet tall.

I picked up the scarf.  It was more than five feet long.

I wrapped the scarf once around my neck.  It touched the floor.

I told my mother what I had intended for the scarf.  She tried very hard not to laugh while informing me that I shouldn’t leave unfinished projects lying around, or they might just finish themselves.

We packed up the scarf, and I wrote the following note to my sister as explanation:

A few days later, I got a somewhat confused and giggly phone call.  She couldn’t quite explain it verbally, so she emailed me a picture:

Fortunately, she dreamed up a particularly utilitarian solution to our little length problem:

So my mom got a little bit of clutter out of her life, my sister got a spiffy new scarf and a really nifty pattern idea, and I learned yet another valuable lesson:  leave no project unfinished, especially in parental living space.

On Silly Hats – the Akron Edition

A few weeks ago I received the following urgent request from my sister:

Hey Sis –
Someone seems to have misplaced his ultra-warm, fur-lined, ear-flap, “Nanook of the North” hat.  Do you think you might be able to help  😉 ?   I figured even asking you might be sufficient to make the hat reappear but thought you might have fun with it regardless.
As it just so happened, I had recently been pondering just such a hat, and quickly set to work on the kind of silly monstrosity I knew I could never make use of in Texas, but which would find a happy home in Ohio.
The plan was simple:
1) Make an inner layer of something very soft and fluffy, knitting in the round with large-ish needles.  Add on a wide front flap and two smaller side flaps to cover the ears.
2) Make an outer layer of something tamer and smaller, knitting two strands at a time with smaller needles, to make a nice tight gauge that will adequately hold in heat.
3) Stitch the two together, crochet a long chain (double-strand again, of course) tassel on each ear flap, and call it a hat!
A quick trip to Hobby Lobby yielded two skeins of Caron Simply Soft in Dk Country Blue and two skeins of Yarn Bee Soft Illusion Super Bulky sapphire.  I cast on 120 stitches on size 7 round needles with the dark blue Simply Soft for the outer layer.  The inner layer I started on size 10 round needles with 60 stitches.  The 2:1 ratio made it easier to stitch together the two parts at the end, since I could stitch two outer stitches to each inner and get a nice clean seam.
I found the two separate pieces to be particularly convenient because I get very tired of doing smaller gauge knitting for any significant period of time, so I could switch to the big fluffy stuff when I was getting bored.  I underestimated the height of the outer layer a couple of times and had to perform the unfortunate task of pulling out a dozen or so rows of decrease before I finally managed to get a finished product that was deep enough to stay on a normally proportioned head.  The final product, however, was well worth the effort.  It was warm and fluffy and utterly adorable:I would like to take this opportunity to brag on the U.S. Postal Service.  The hat went into the mail on Saturday afternoon, and on Monday I received a rather enthusiastic picture text from my sister, who informed me that I did good, and that Someone loved the hat.