Practical Makes

Practical projects and crafts

Month: March 2015

Knitting Projects for Spring

I’ve actually finished a few knitting projects lately.  The first is my shawl. I’ve been working on it for a little less than a year.  It’s the first lace weight project I’ve ever attempted and it’s surprisingly comfortable.  It weighs almost nothing, but wearing it gives a nice comfortable warm feeling.  So even though it may have been an epic experience finishing it, I’m pretty pleased with it.



I’ve also finished one of my basic sweaters.  The first one was in “Bluebird” and it turned out great, and makes for a fun comfortable sweater.  I’m adjusting some of the measurements a little for the second version (in “Grass”) and making the sleeves a little longer but I’m overall very happy with it.  It was an interesting project since the pattern is based entirely on your own measurements and preferences.  I think my gauge was a little off since I used a bulky yarn instead of an aran. (I did swatch, but based on how it turned out, I think it was still not exactly right.)  But it’s still a comfortable sweater so I don’t really mind.  And anyway, having sleeves that are slightly short is useful when washing dishes or on bread baking days!


Another recent knitting improvement has been a gift from Patrick.  The basket is just big enough to hold my yarn, measuring tape and current project.  It also keeps my ball of yarn from rolling away when I’m knitting.  This is a bigger issue than you’d think given that I have two cats!  It also keeps my projects neat and organized and keeps them from picking up too much cat related fuzz.  If I set them down somewhere I often come back to find them claimed by one or more cats.  The sweaters actually took less yarn than I thought so I’m going to use the extra skeins to make a blue and green striped sweater.


Next up will be a teal cardigan that ends at my natural waist that I can wear with my dresses this spring, and a fun purple shawl for summer.  I’ve also got some sewing to do too.  I’ve made two new pairs of PJs for Patrick, since while seersucker is comfortable it wears faster than some other fabrics.  One of them had some polyester in it so we’ll see if that makes it more durable.  I have fabric to make myself some new PJs too.  I picked colors I thought would be good for spring and fall, one is blue with white flowers and the other is navy with red and white sailboats. I’m going to be using my favorite combination of Sewaholic’s Tofinos and Kwik Sew 3553.  I think I’ll do long pants and short sleeves to make them transitional.  I also got some plaid seersucker to make a second pair of summer PJs.

Loki for one has been enjoying all the craft time lately since it means that the papasan chair belongs to him!



Gardening in March

So unsurprisingly March includes a bit more outdoor activity than February.  And some flowers.  So far there are crocus and snow drops, and not even the local deer population has managed to eat them all before I could go out and see them! This week it’s finally supposed to warm up some; even though the average high for March is about 50 degrees, it’s been in the 30s and 40s all month.  So this week we’ll finally get to go out and plant some peas and lettuce and other spring vegetables. I’m also hoping to plant the potatoes this week too. We got the jumbo grow bags this year (4 of them!) so there should (hopefully!) be lots of potatoes. We picked up the potting soil today, so we just need to dump the first half into the grow bags this week to get started.


So far my spring seedlings have been stuck inside, though they got a taste of outdoor life last week. This week I’m hoping to get them outside some more. I’m planning to start them out in the porch on Monday and Tuesday and slowly expand that to spending the day in the sun. The overall goal will be to plant them next weekend. I’m hoping to plant my violas, pansies, broccoli and lettuce.


The other seedlings are doing well. I think next year I’m not going to start the impatiens quite so early since they’re happily blooming away in the basement. On the upside, despite all the issues I had getting to germinate I have one of each color! So in a few weeks they’ll be ready to head outside too. I’m going to plant them along the edge of the porch since that’s mostly in shade. They will be some nice color at the feet of the sweet peas and morning glories.  The sweet peas, being more cold tolerant, will get planted tomorrow so they will have a head start on the impatiens and morning glories.

At least even if it doesn’t really truly feel very spring like at the moment, warm weather is getting closer!

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