Saturday, March 26, 2011

DIY Balance Bike

Okay, well it's not done yet, but I couldn't resist posting my latest project...


We really don't need one of these, since we already have a balance bike, sort of, and we have other bikes...  but I saw a motorcycle balance bike and I thought it was awesome.  I knew my 3 year old would love it, and when he outgrows it, his brother could play with it.

I still have to sand, drill and screw this thing together, but it's a start.  I have to cut the seat supports, some inner support and the seat itself.   Real wheels might be nice too, since I just stole these from other bikes hanging around the house.   If any one wants to let me borrow their drill press or router or give me two 12" front wheels, feel free!

I'm gonna have to redesign the inner part, to make it a little easier to figure out the supports, but that'll happen a different day.  I'm too tired to think and still have to vacuum before the landlady comes over :D

Monday, March 14, 2011

Longies!!!!!

So.... Knitting.  Yeah.  Well, a picture might show this one better.


The item on the left is a scarf I knitted when I was around 8.  I didn't know there was a purl stitch, but I think it was a good attempt.  I actually totally forgot I had made this until about a week ago when my daughter dug through the 'memory box' I had in my room. The item on the right is the sample I made in highschool when I learned there was a purl stitch and that I could make stripes ( I love stripes!).  I was happy with my sample.. but it never turned into the scarf I was planning on making for myself.

So when I decided I wanted to try to make longies...  even I was skeptical that I would finish since I've never finished a project, done increases, decreases, ribbing, rounds, short rows, seed stitches...  the list goes on. So after I did very little practicing, I started on circular needles and when I got a a decent looking short row and a few rounds, I decided to keep going... despite the fact that I skipped doing the ribbing.  Don't judge, I was just happy to make progress.

I'll spare you the details for now, but here's what I learned:
  • Knitting's not that hard to learn 
  • I was casting on wrong
  • Bamboo knitting needles are worth the money
  • Double pointed circular knitting isn't as hard as it seems
  • Circular needles are awesome
  • It's quite addicting and good to do when watching a movie
Well, here's the TONS of pictures of the progress:

This side's short row turned out fair.
This side's short row wrapping needs some loving.

This is when I decided to keep going despite the fact that I didn't do the top...  I thought I'd be able to figure it out later.  My short rows need a bit of  work, that's for sure.

I got to this point and was really proud of how far I had gotten.... but when I tried it on Isaac I was a sad, they seemed way too tight.  I was pretty worried that they wouldn't fit, but I pressed on. My Kitchener stitch got a little messed up in one spot, but I was still happy with being able to do it.


I finished the leg and used the seed stitch at the bottom.  I made it an inch longer so if he grows all of a sudden it'll still fit.  I continued using a 16" circular needle for the leg despite needing a 12" needle.  It was a bit annoying.  Yes I'm totally hacking these pants together.  It was at this point that my husband told me he didn't like the colors.  :(  He could have mentioned that while I was dying the yarn... right in front of him!


I decided just before starting the ribbing to buy the Eviepants pattern.  I figured if I was planning on buying it later, then why not buy it now and see if it could help with the ribbing (and sizing issue I was having).  I'll elaborate later, but I did like the eyelets it told me how to do in the ribbing.  It took a bit a work to figure out how to join the ribbing to the pants, but what I decided was to knit an extra row on the top and then use the Kitchener stitch.  This site made it easy to understand.  You can see in the picture with Isaac that there's a dip and bulge where the cast on edge and extra row are.  After I finish stitching all of it, I unraveled all of cast on edge and last row, and it blended in nice and flat!


Everything but the drawstring and weaving in ends is finished in this picture.  Yay!  I used double pointed needles for the other leg and that worked out well. It actually fits better at the thighs than I thought it would.  He's already worn it a few times just because they was hanging around and he was cold.

ALL FINISHED!!!
So that's them!  Took me about 3 weeks, a lot of wrong knitting needles, netflix (mythbusters!!!) and peppermint tea.  It was a good experience.  I like them, but I think that next time I won't do stripes.  I realized that since I like stripes... a lot of our shirts have stripes on them, so I want a pair of solid pants next time.  I have learned an insane amount about knitting.   I love learning things.  You can see the bad short rows on the side there.  I need to do a bit of practicing before I do another pair. I also need to add in 4 stitches (96 instead of 92) so the drawstring is even next time, you can see I had to double up in the back. 

Here's the details: I used the Aubrey DoodlePants Knitting Pattern on the top half, this pattern for the leg gussets and legs, and the Eviepants Pattern for the ribbing.  Turns out I did the size right... but Isaac has unusually large hips.  Now I know.  I used Alpine Wool from Jo-Anns and dyed all the colors (except black) with kool-aid using the microwave method.  I didn't see any reviews of people using this exact yarn, but for some reason it called to me so I wanted to try... we'll see how it wears over time.  I ended up buying 4 skeins of it (all with really good coupons, so it only cost about $10 total)... And I have a lot left over (hat maybe?).  Dyeing the yarn was no problem, I enjoyed it quite a bit and the kids could help.  I really liked using clover bamboo needles.  They actually made knitting enjoyable.  When I used metal for the ribbing (that's all I could find in the store), it was SOO annoying.  I'm never buying metal knitting needles again.  Even the sound bothers me.

So... Yay!  After approximately 11,452 stitches later - I'm finished! I still have to lanolize and I *may* over-dye the yellow parts green... but we'll see.  I don't want to ruin these and I'm not sure how they'd handle the heat of being dyed again.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mario Fridge Magnets


I made these Mario Magnets for my husband.  It wasn't exactly a Christmas present, but close.  He asked for these for Christmas, but I never liked the graphics in Super Mario Bros, and didn't want to have to stare at them every time I got milk.  So we used sprite sheets we found online for Super Mario World, which we both like the graphics of. I asked Jon what he character's he liked the most and then I moved, scaled, and arranged them so they would be easy to cut.

We then printed them out on flexible magnet sheets.  I used ones we found at Michaels, which did turn out to be thinner than I liked, but these seem promising too.  Anyway, print them, and cu tthem out.  Cutting them out is time consuming, but the fun is worth it for an evenings worth of work.

Check out the fun!




 We'll have to do some fun stop-action videos with these at some point... but probably when the kids are old enough to help more than harm.



If you'd like to make your own, give your email and you can have a copy of the PNG file.