Thursday, November 10, 2016

What happened to October?!

What happened to October?! I can't believe I didn't write any blogs for a whole month. I must have been busy. The election results yesterday left me in a blogging mood. I wrote up my reaction over on Spasms of Accommodation. I was going to peel pears all day and make pear butter but I watched a Tom Scott video titled "A Brief, Personal Letter from America" that made me feel like working on my blog instead. He made this suggestion: "Make people welcome. Help people grow. Spend your time on constructive things."

Pear butter is a constructive thing, but it doesn't help people grow. I'll get to it after I share some useful knitting tips.

Looking at my photos library I see I did a lot of things in October and I remember why I didn't blog. I hurt my back and it was painful to sit at my desk. Early in the month I went to my dad's shop to use his table saw to rip a board to fix a signpost for a client. Digging up and repacking the dirt around the signpost the next day is how I hurt my back. But while I was at my dad's shop he asked me if I could knit slipcovers for the armrests of his tractor. They are made of a kind of high friction rubbery vinyl and it hurt the skin of his forearms even through long sleeved shirts. I put some paper on the arm rests and cut out templates the shape of the top of the armrest and the sides. Back at my lab I cut out a piece of black fleece the size of the top template. I sewed some black eyelet trim to the fleece by hand. Then I used a knit picker to pull bulky black Hometown USA 100% acrylic yarn through the loops in the trim and put the loops on a size 11 cable needles, starting at the pivot point of the armrest. I knit back and forth in stockinette until I thought it was long enough. I found a bottle in the lab that was about the size of the side template. I stretched the knitting over it for test fit. Then I made another one the same way and took them back to my dad's shop.

Tractor Seat Armrest Slip Covers

Cable tie for a drawstring
I used a cable tie for a drawstring, just run through the loops of the bind off.

While I was at my dad's shop to install the slipcovers I used his drill press to drill holes in some Scrabble tiles I got on eBay. They're the small ones from Travel Scrabble and are slightly thicker than the regular ones. We made a jig to hold the tiles while I drilled them. I made the hole big enough to fit small ball chain through. I keep changing my mind what to spell out.

I made another Cotton Cloche, this time in brown for fall. I used a 50/50 cotton acrylic blend. It was a bit lumpy but when I blocked it the shape came out nice.
I blocked this hat on a mixing bowl.

My new favorite hat with QI necklace
I took that necklace apart and added JO, XI, and ZA to QI. I like it better now. All the high scoring 2 letter words.

Also in October I finished another snake, a Bandy Bandy. It's very cute. I want to make a stop motion video with it but I'm waiting for an idea to occur to me for a plot. I will write up the pattern one day. This snake has a piece of weed trimmer line in it just like the brim of that hat. Makes it so it can wave its body like a real Bandy Bandy.

In October I got two new sewing machines. When I tried to sew that trim on the fleece for the tractor project my sewing machine broke. This irritated me. So I got on Craigslist and found one I wanted. But they didn't get back in touch until I'd already bought another one. Long story short, now I have both.
Morse 5900 Made in Japan zig zag machine

Singer 301 from 1951, same year as my lab.
I hurt my back again moving the table that came with that second sewing machine. It was just in time for a job I could do lying down. My last big October project was a last minute Halloween costume rush job. My friend wanted to be the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He ordered some parts of the costume online. My part was the hood and cape thing under the helmet and the tunic that looks like chain mail. The costume in the movie looked like garter stitch to me. It took me a while to get the right yarn. I ended up with Heartland Black Canyon. I made up the patterns by eye. It turned out pretty good. I'll write up the pattern one day to share.
Faux chain mail garter stitch hooded cowl and tunic