Monthly Archives: February 2015

Lace Hat

I bought some yarn over Christmas to make a lace hat. I figured this would be a fairly quick and easy project, but I ended up making the hat three times before it fit right. The first hat was way too loose to stay on my head and the second hat was a bit too short. The third hat fit well, though, so I thought I would share the pattern modifications that I made.

I got the pattern here, but the yarn I used was a sport weight bamboo blend. Because of the smaller yarn, I also decided to use size 4 knitting needles. As the pattern suggests, I made eight repeats of the pattern despite the smaller gauge I was using. It fits close to my head, which is what I wanted since wind and “cold” usually go together in CA. Plus, this way I can wear it under a bike helmet.

The first change I made to the pattern was to make the ribbing border a bit longer than one inch: I just made 10 rows of ribbing. This change was purely aesthetic on my part. Next, because of the smaller guage, I repeated the lace pattern 11 times rather than the 7 suggested by the pattern. Other than that, I just followed the pattern. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. And really glad to be done with it!

This one fits!

This one fits!

Water Bottle Holder

A couple of years ago, I made a knit water bottle holder so that my hands could be free when I hiked.

The original version. I knit this one.

The original version. I knit this one.

However, the carrying strap was never long enough for Lloyd to put over his shoulder. After I learned to crochet circles this Christmas, I decided I would make a new crochet water bottle holder. Crochet doesn’t stretch as much as knitting so I thought it would hold up a bit better.

Here’s what I did (Sorry if the directions are confusing; I’m not very familiar with crochet patterns yet!):

  1. Make a chain of 6 stitches and sl st into the first stitch.
  2. Make a turning chain of 3 stitches and make 11 dc stitches into the center of the ring.
  3. Make a sl st into the top of the turning chain to finish the row.
  4. Make a turning chain of 3 stitches and make a dc into the first stitch. Make 2 dc into each of the other stitches and connect using a sl st. This will result in 24 stitches.
  5. For the next row, increase to 36 stitches by repeating 1 dc into the first stitch, 2 dc into the second stitch all the way around. Connect the first and last stitch with a sl st.
  6. Next, increase to 48 stitches by repeating 1 dc into the first stitch, 1 dc into the second stitch, and 2 dc into the third stitch all the way around. Connect the first and last stitch with a sl st. This finishes the bottom of the bag.
  7. To make the sides, I crocheted a mesh stitch to the desired height. This depends on the size of your water bottle, but I made 11 rows. To make a mesh row, make a turning chain of 5 stitches. Skip two stitches and make a dc. Chain stitch two stitches and make another dc. Continue making chain stitches and dc stitches until you get back to the starting point. Connect with a sl st.
  8. Once I’d reached the desired height, I made a strap by making rows of 7 dc stitches until it was a comfortable length for Lloyd.
  9. Then I sewed the loose end of the strap to the opposite side of the bag to finish.
The second version. This one is crocheted.

The second version. This one is crocheted.

So far we’ve used this water bottle holder once, but it looks promising!

Big Basin State Park (N37.18 W122.24)

We love the coastal redwoods and, in the South Bay area, probably the best place for coastal redwoods is Big Basin. It’s a bit of a long drive, not milage wise, but on very windy, narrow roads which is a lot of fun – until you end up behind a slow driver. :(

But the drive is worth it because the park is beautiful, with tons of redwoods in a lush forest. The hike out was a very popular trail called the Skyline to Sea Trail. On the hike back, we went up a ridge for some views of the general area. It was pretty and desolate but I would still recommend the Skyline to Sea Trail or another trail in the valley as being prettier.

We also probably did a bit too much hiking for one day: 21 miles total between sea level and ~1800 ft. It was fun, but we are paying for it today.

Water! We are always excited by water.

Water! We are always excited by water.

This is pretty much what the first half of the trail looked like.

This is pretty much what the first half of the trail looked like.

Really slow newts. They just slowly go on their way unbothered by people. As it turns out they are actually poisonous.

Really slow newt. They just slowly go on their way not bothered by people. As it turns out, they are poisonous.

They don't believe in bridges on the hike, we had to ford the stream a few times. Thank goodness for wool socks.

They don’t believe in bridges on the hike; we had to ford the stream a few times. Thank goodness for wool socks.

We made it to the beach! And then had a nice lunch.

We made it to the beach! And then had a nice lunch.

Out hike on the way back took us up the ridge and had a scenic overlook to boot.

Our hike on the way back took us up the ridge and had a scenic overlook to boot.

Churro Waffles

I was looking for the Churro Waffle recipe this morning and discovered that I had never posted it on the blog, much to our surprise. So here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Baking powder, 4 tsp
  • Sugar, 2 tbl
  • Eggs, 2
  • Flour, 2 cups
  • Milk, 1 1/2 cups
  • Melted butter, 1/3 cup
  • Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon, 3+ shakes

Ingredients for the topping:

  • Melted butter, 1/2 cup
  • Sugar, 1 cup
  • Cinnamon, 1/2 cup

Preheat the waffle iron. Mix the top section of ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well blended. Set aside. Melt the ½ cup of butter for the topping in a flat sauce pan so you can fit the whole waffle in it. On a separate plate, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. The whole amount from the recipe is not necessary and I usually mix some as I go along so I don’t have as much waste. Ladle batter into the waffle iron. You can spray the waffle iron with nonstick spray if you want beforehand, but there’s enough butter in this recipe that it doesn’t really matter. As soon as the waffle comes out, dip both sides into the butter and then into the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Serve immediately.

These are really tasty and how Lloyd and I usually get our churro fix since moving out of the city. Enjoy!

[Picture redacted – because I was too busy eating them to remember to take a picture.]

Baby Hat – The Loom

Usually Jasmine is the one with the knitting and the sewing but I decided to give it a try. We had bought a knitting loom (pretty much a circle of individual needles) and I decided to be the one to figure it out.  There are a lot of good tutorials on the internet for knitting on a circular loom; this is the one that I liked best http://isela.typepad.com/files/loomknittingbasics.pdf

After a bit of practice, I was ready for a project and, as one of our friends had a baby, that was the perfect opportunity. On a 16 pin loom, I knit 28 rows with the knit stitch. Then I took a 2 ft section of yarn left over from the end and sewed through the last row and pulled it tight and, voila, a hat! I then balled up the end of the yarn and tied it tight to make a little bauble at the top and I was done.

The hat!  I like the bauble and its not bad as a first project.

The hat! I like the bauble and it’s not bad as a first project.

Overall, the loom is easy to use, but not as flexible as actually knitting. Also, it is a looser knit than needles usually are, at least the ones Jasmine uses, and as such it looks more homemade in my opinion.

Knitting in Knitted Sweater.

Knitting in knitted sweater.

The Loom, it requires some manual dexterity.

The Loom; it requires some manual dexterity.

Silk Shirt

When my parents came out to visit last year, my mom was looking for a white silk shirt but was unable to find one she liked. She asked me to make her one and I have been slowly chugging away at it ever since. This is probably the most complex project I’ve taken on so far, but I think it turned out well in the end.

I didn’t have a pattern for a women’s button down shirt (I’ve made several for Lloyd), so I drafted one myself. I based the pattern on a basic long sleeve t-shirt pattern I had for myself and modified it to have a front seam and for size. I modified the sleeves to be looser and made up the rest of the pattern.

This is the muslin pattern that I made.

This is the muslin pattern that I made and pinned together modeled by my dress form. I didn’t bother making two sleeves since they are identical.

First, I found an off-white silk in a light weight that I liked. I had worked with a sheer silk before and it was awful so I was a bit nervous about cutting the fabric, but it was actually fine to work with. The only issue that I had was the silk frayed easily once it was cut, but that was pretty manageable.

I wanted all of the seams closed so I used a french seam for the seams in the body of the shirt. This meant that there were no raw edges exposed so fraying wouldn’t occur. I learned french seams for this shirt, so a few practice goes on some scrap fabric were required first.

Interior french seams.

Interior french seams.

I also used my fancy hemming presser foot that I’d never had an excuse to use before so I had to learn how to use that as well. I really liked the results and will definitely be finding uses for the presser foot in the future.

Such a tiny seam!

Such a tiny seam!

I reinforced the button area using fusible interfacing which, in a shocking turn of events, I’d never used before. I used the same interfacing on the collar and cuff bands. It made the shirt look a lot crisper and more finished.

It took a lot more ironing that I I thought it would.

It took a lot more ironing that I I thought it would.

I hand stitched the collar to the shirt because I haven’t found a way to do it on the machine that I really like. I’ve hand stitched the collars to most of Lloyd’s shirts as well.

The finished collar as attached.

The finished collar as attached.

For the cuffs, I had recently learned how to make corded loops and decided they had to feature in the closure mechanism. This required a new button purchase since corded loops require a button with a shank – which was not what I used for the front.

The cuff closure mechanism.

The cuff closure mechanism.

The cuff with the new bottons.

The cuff with the new buttons.

Basically, I got in over my head on this one, but I think I executed it well.

The finished shirt.

The finished shirt.

The back of the shirt as finished.

The back of the shirt as finished.

Mission Peak Regional Preserve (N37.51 W121.88)

This weekend we went for a nice hike over in the East Bay to Mission Peak Regional Preserve. When I say nice, I mean that it poured on us for the first hour of the hike and then we walked around squishing in the mud for the next 3 hours. It is actually a lot of fun to hike in the rain as long as you are wearing wool socks.

We haven’t really been to the Mission Peak area, but it was really pretty with a lot of scenic vistas and I get the feeling that we will be exploring it some more in the future.

The hill. I have never seen something in my life that looked more like the hill in Hobbiton.

The hill. I have never seen something in my life that looked more like the hill in Hobbiton.

A nice view of the Bay through a valley

A nice view of the Bay through a valley.

We were hiking on the Panorama trail so we had to take a Panorama

We were hiking on the Panorama Trail so we had to take a panorama.

Dear Califonia: Resourse Protection Areas make sense and are good in a park, Cows pasturing in parks is a good dual use of space, both at the same time might be a bit silly

Dear California: Resource protection areas make sense and are good in a park, cows pasturing in parks is a good dual use of space, both at the same time might be a bit silly.

When you hike a little further you get some awesome views of the open hills beyond.

When you hike a little farther, you get some awesome views of the open hills beyond.

Mooo.

Mooo.

Pocket Repair

A few years ago, I made Lloyd a couple of pairs of cargo khaki pants. The fabric is holding up well, but the pockets have been repeatedly shredded. It turns out that pocket fabric just isn’t designed to hold up to heavy tools and rocket parts. In the past few months, I’ve been replacing all of the pockets with ripstop nylon. It was an easier process that I expected and yields much sturdier pockets.

The first step is to cut out the old pocket fabric and cut out a coorresponding pieces in ripstop nylon. This can be a creative experience depending on how many holes are in the pocket.

The first step is to cut out the old pocket fabric and cut out a corresponding piece in ripstop nylon. This can be a creative experience depending on how many holes are in the pocket.

Pin the new pocket material in place. I try to leave about a 1/4" of pocket fabric around the khaki areas and pin and sew to this.

Pin the new pocket material in place. I try to leave about a 1/4″ of pocket fabric around the khaki areas and pin and sew to this.

Next, whip stitch the nylon to the existing pocket material. I try to leave about a 1/4" border around the khaki-backed areas.

Next, whip stitch the nylon to the existing pocket material.

Use a running stitch to attach the nylon to itself at the bottom of the pocket.

Use a running stitch to attach the nylon to itself at the bottom of the pocket.

The finished pocket!

Now you have a finished pocket! This should hold up to just about anything.

Silly Hat Remake

During our Colorado road trip, Lloyd and I made an emergency stop in Moab to buy some sun hats and sun block after getting way more sun than we were expecting. The hats we ended up getting were pretty silly, but they blocked the sun quite nicely. Since then, they’ve gotten a lot of use, but are a bit too warm so I decided to modify mine to give it more ventilation.

The original silly hat.

The original silly hat.

First, I separated the brim   (which I wanted to keep) from the top of the hat. There was also a band lining I had to take out in the process.

First, I separated the brim (which I wanted to keep) from the top of the hat. There was also a band lining I had to take out in the process.

Then I took apart the top part of the hat and kept these two pieces as patterns for the new fabric.

Then I took apart the top part of the hat and kept these two pieces as patterns for the new fabric.

I cut the new pieces out of atheltic mesh that I had previously used for a Bay to Breakers costume.

I cut the new pieces out of athletic mesh that I had previously used for a Bay to Breakers costume.

After I had cut out the pieces, I sewed them back into the shape of the top of the hat and then attached it to the brim. Finally, I sewed the band lining back in place. The hat turned out pretty well and looked like it was made that way originally. I’m pretty happy with it – as a silly hat.

The finished product; it's still a silly hat, but a much cooler silly hat.

The finished product; it’s still a silly hat, but a much cooler silly hat.

Fremont Older Open Space (N37.29 W122.06)

After having made it through all of the county parks in Santa Clara, we have started branching out more into some of the local open spaces and other parks. Fremont Older Open Space is a great example of what most of the open spaces are: lots of trails with fields, forests, and hills. More or less just managed paths in the woods with some small amount of parking nearby. We like them.

Eucalyptus forest In the open space. Jasmine is trying to muster up her inner koala to satiate her hiking hunger.

Eucalyptus forest In the open space. Jasmine is trying to muster up her inner koala to satiate her hiking hunger.

On a clear day you get a nice view of all of the southbay from the open space.

On a clear day, you get a nice view of all of the South Bay from the open space.

Lovely hike through some rolling hills in the foreground

Lovely hike through some rolling hills in the foreground.