September 14, 2017

Oversized Knit Weasley Sweater (free pattern)

If you know me, you know that I'm pretty much a huge Harry Potter nerd. 
Also, my hobbies are pretty fitting of a retiree; I knit and crochet, play card games and watch Jeopardy or Netflix documentaries. So what better way to cover all my interests than to sit myself down in front of the TV and knit myself a Weasley sweater? 
This was my first ever true clothing piece of knitting. I mean, I've done hats and scarves, but nothing really fitted, so I decided to make my sweater over-sized, both for ease of patterning and for overall comfy-ness. I used this pattern as my base to modify from. 
For reference, I am 5'4" and typically a size 2/XS, so I will try to add a note (**) for where to add length for bigger sizes. If I end up making a bigger version I'll update with actual numbers. 


Yarn: I knit this double stranded with 8 skeins (1440 yds) of I Love This Cotton #82 (Burnt Sienna) and Yarn Bee Soft Secret #22 (Honey), but you could also use a bulky weight yarn.
Needles: 9mm/US 13 circular needles (this is knit flat, but the circular needle is helpful for length)
Gauge: 4"x4" = 12 stitches x 14 rows
Abbreviations: CO - cast on, k - knit, p- Purl, sl1k - slip 1 knitwise, BO - bind off, stst - stocking stitch, p2tog - purl 2 together

Body (knit 2)
   Working double stranded, CO 64 stitches**
        (increase or decrease by even numbers here for body circumference)
   Rows 1-9: sl1k, (k1,p1) to last stitch, p1
   Row 10: sl1k, k62, p1
   Row 11: sl1k, p63
   Repeat rows 10-11 to desired length.**
       (For me this was 94 rows, but I didn't count, I just tested it by holding it up)
   Bind off all stitches. Keep this as even as possible as this creates the neckline unless you
        do the optional collar below*.
Precision measuring
On one of the pieces, either Fair Isle or duplicate stitch the letter of your choice. I duplicate stitched mine because I was worried how the different types of yarn would handle the wash since the gold is an acrylic where the rest is cotton. I used the letter charts from this book from my local library to create the "M". It is 26 stitches wide and 24 rows high, beginning in row 48. If you plan knit it Fair Isle style, I would recommend making the "back" piece first and holding it to your body to decide exactly where you want the letter to fall.
Finished front piece
*Optional Collar:
   On your last knit row: BO 18** stitches, (K1P1), K18**
          (increase for smaller neckline, decrease for tighter)
   Next Row: BO18**, K1P1
   Continue K1P1 rib to desired length
   Bind off remaining stitches
Without collar
Sleeves (knit 2)
   CO 40
   Rows 1-58: Stst beginning in knit row except on rows 18, 26, 32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, and 56, where you will decrease by 2 stitches per row, ending with 22 stitches at the cuff. ** 
        (This makes a fairly fitted sleeve from about the elbows down and a snugger cuff. If you want a looser sleeve, add to cast on stitches (even number) and/or decrease on rows 18, 26, 32, 38, 44, 50 and 56 leaving 26 stitches at the wrist. Increase length by adding rows at the beginning)
   Decrease Row: p1, p2tog, (p to last 3 stitches), p2tog, p1
   Rows 59-65: (k1p1)
   Bind off all stitches

So I forgot to take pictures because I was too excited to finally be done knitting this bad boy, so the pictures are using this ornament sized sweater, but it works the same way, the ornament sleeves just don't taper. Oops. 

1) With the right sides together/wrong sides up sew the shoulders and optional collar. Reinforce the stitches at the edge of the neck, especially if you did not add the collar. 
 2) Fold sleeves to find the center pair of stitches. Align this with the shoulder seam and pin/secure with row markers because you're too lazy to go get your pins. Count rows on front and back to ensure same stretch top and bottom and secure ends. Sew.
 3) Fold along shoulder seam with right sides together. Align bottom rib and secure along edge, matching rows. Repeat along the sleeve. Sew from rib to rib, reinforcing at the ends and in the armpit.
4) Turn right side out and fold cuffs if desired. Attempt to take selfies Make your husband take pictures and brag to all your friends that you finally finished your biggest knitting project to date. 

June 14, 2017

Lily is THREE!

20 Questions with Lily Kay
  1. How old are you? Three! 
  2. What are your nicknames? Lily responds to nicknames with "You call me Lily Kay" 
  3. What do you love about Mom? "Play"
  4. What do you love about Dad? "PLAY"
  5. What do you love about Theo? "Play with Theo"
  6. Who is your best friend(s)? "Mickey!" (Who is your favorite person? "Theo!")
  7. What do you want to be when you grow up? "I don't know, you say the words" (Mom still thinks civil engineer)
  8. What is your favorite TV show(s)? "Mickey [and the] Roadster Racers"
  9. What is your favorite movie(s)? "Mickey Christmas" (any of the 3 on Netflix)
  10. What is your favorite song(s)? "Ya ya, ya ya, yayaya! Ukulele" (Twinkle Twinkle)
  11. What is your favorite book(s)? "The elephant book (That's Not My Elephant) Dinosaurumpus, Nigh-Night Books" (Good Night I Love You, and The Going to Bed Book) 
  12. What is your favorite thing(s) to do?  "Swing"
  13. What is your favorite toy(s)? "Mickey and Minnie"
  14. What is your favorite food(s)? "Bwoccoli! and berries"
  15. What is your favorite color(s)? "Wed! Wed is the best color!"
  16. What is your favorite animal(s)? Lion
  17. What makes you happy? "All of my friends make me happy."
  18. What makes you sad? "Going to bed makes me sad"
  19. What is a big thing you learned this year? "To use the big potty"
  20. How should we celebrate your birthday? "A birthday cake! With yots of candles!"

A Note from Mom  
Happy birthday, Sweetheart! What an eventful year you have had! You learned all about being a big sister (you even started to like Theo a couple months in!), how to go on the big girl potty, to do all of the ladders and slides at the park, to do 28 piece puzzles, to swim (with floaties) and to spell your name. You also attended your first fireworks, had your first trip to the ER after you swallowed a penny, and picked your own Halloween pumpkin. You then had a meltdown when the pumpkin had to stay outside, so you would swing with it on the porch. You want to everyone's friend - whether they're interested or not. You are definitely my mini-me, which your dad likes to point out when it frustrates me. I can't wait to watch you get even bigger. I love you sweet girl!

Pictures From the Last Year

May 14, 2017

House Project: Basement Family Room

Look a post not about the kids... kinda. Mike has been working hard converting the semi-finished half of the basement into a finished play/family room. I for one am SO EXCITED for them to have a space to get to run and play inside - not to mention toy storage that isn't our living room!

Here's the basement as we bought it:

And after some destruction, some electrical (that^^ was the light switch. It's now by the stairs) and some framing...

...lots and lots of framing and doors to the back and closet. The corner cabinet will be a TV stand and covers a pipe that pops out of the floor and the water shut off valves to the city.

Starting to drywall:

My dad came again and helped with some electrical (fixing old wiring to the lights and adding a circuit to the panel for a baseboard heater) and half the ceiling drywall. 

Done with drywall! On to mud and tape, and LOTS of sanding:

drywall dust escaping the basement

Now for the finishes! 
Lots more paint, baseboard and the cabinet topper. 
Topper for the shelf along the stairs. 
Painting trim
When your wife asks for risers on the stairs so they're not open, you measure and realize none of the steps are the same height... or level. Then you get whole new stairs. It's like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, just for grown-ups :) 
More paint...
Cabinet door and window trim
Carpet install!
Finishing the carpet and moving in the toys!
Electronics set up courtesy of Auntie Amanda


including the baseboard heater.