Blythe is a Bookworm Swap

The latest Blythe swap theme was Blythe is a Bookworm. What a perfect theme for me! I had a lot in common with my partner, also a librarian, and also a fan of Harry Potter and lots of other reading things. Here’s a peek at what I sent:

I made some dresses and a sweater for Kate’s Blythes:

dress for Blythe is a Bookworm Swap

dress for Blythe is a Bookworm Swap

dress for Blythe is a Bookworm Swap

Doesn’t this sweater seem like something Molly Weasley would wear? #goals

Gryffindor Long Cable Cardigan for Blythe

And I made the tiniest cross stitch ever, on 28 count fabric.

Tiny cross stitch pillow

Amiibo figure for scale (figure is 2″ high).

Tiny cross stitch pillow

I’m still shaking my head at my hubris taking on a project on this tiny scale. I now own a magnifier, though, so that should be useful for future miniature crafts. And I’m so pleased with how it turned out, so it was super worth it.

AND, here’s what I received!

Blythe is a Bookworm Swap - goodies recieved from Kate

Thanks so much, Kate! This was such a fun swap!

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Aurora

Professor Aurora Sinistra is one of the lesser-known members of faculty at Hogwarts. She appears a few times in passing but does not take a super active role. One of the things we know about her, though, is that she teaches astronomy in the tallest tower at Hogwarts, which led me to believe that she would be a fan of a big, cozy cardigan. It must get chilly on top of that tower!

Aurora Sweater for Blythe by AnneArchy

This cardigan is so big and cozy that it might also be used as a coat! Especially if you use a looser-knitting yarn like the Classic Elite Yarns Bam Boo that I used to make the blue one pictured here.

Aurora Sweater for Blythe by AnneArchy

Cozy up to the astronomy tower with this pattern available at LoveKnitting, Craftsy, Etsy, and Ravelry.

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I hope they have pudding

No pudding right at the moment, but instead we have this lovely Luna Hat, inspired by Luna Lovegood.

Luna Hat

I wanted to make something that was simple but with a subtle style. This hat has a ribbed brim and uses rapid decreases to form an eye-catching shape at the crown. The pattern is available in three adult sizes, so a range of adult head sizes is included. This just feels to me like the kind of hat Luna would wear – it’s cozy and comfortable and would accompany her unusual jewelry nicely.

Luna Hat

Don’t let the nargles stop you from finding this pattern on Etsy, Ravelry, Craftsy, and LoveKnitting.

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Hufflepuff! Hufflepuff! Hufflepuff!

K and I have been taking the dogs to obedience class the last month or so. Hermione hasn’t had any training that we know of, and Coraline (and we) could use a refresher.

It’s going quite well! Hermione is learning to sit (she’s so stubborn about it!) and stay like a champ (a relatively slow-moving champ, but she’s making progress). Coraline totally remembers her training from before and we’ve been challenging her to more difficult “leave it”s and other tasks that require more focus. Both the girls are very food-motivated, so we generally make them earn their dinner at class and when we do practice at home. We started out loading up a ziplock bag with each of their kibbles (of course our very special Bostons require special food – Coraline is allergic/sensitive to a bunch of stuff and can only eat a specific type of limited ingredient food that we’ve determined doesn’t cause her to break out in hives, and Hermione is actually on an rx kibble that is super neutral and doesn’t upset her delicate constitution). But we found that the ziplock-in-pocket system wasn’t working out very well so we asked awesome seamstress and embroiderer Susan to make us some treat pouches. She really came through! They are awesome!

I forgot to take a pic of K’s, but it has Godzilla on it and is awesome. Mine is, naturally, Hufflepuff. Eff yeah Hufflepuff!

Awesome Hufflepuff treat bag by Susan of AnneArchy

How incredibly cool is that?! I just heart it so hard.

Awesome Hufflepuff treat bag by Susan of AnneArchy

Here you can see how awesomely it works – it fits right on my belt and is SO HANDY for doing training. Susan has a lot of experience with this type of thing so of course it’s perfectly designed and functional as well as looking cool as hell. I am in serious danger of asking Susan to embroider everything I own with this Hufflepuff crest.

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FO Friday: Hufflepuff Scarf

I’ve been wanting to make myself a Hufflepuff scarf for quite some time – years, probably. I finally pushed it to the top of my to-make list and now it’s done!

Hufflepuff Trapped Bar Scarf

I looked at a number of pattern choices before deciding how to make mine. I mostly followed the Hogwarts Scarf MkII pattern from The Come And Go Room, with a few small alterations.

Hufflepuff Trapped Bar Scarf

I knew that I wanted my scarf to be primarily black, as that goes with my general style and wardrobe. I like the way it turned out: the gold stripes are a nice accent, but it’s not too overwhelmingly bright.

Hufflepuff Trapped Bar Scarf

As you’ll notice, I didn’t make my scarf as long as those in the movie (14 sets of trapped bars) or even in the pattern (10 sets of trapped bars). I went with nine sets of trapped bars, since that seemed to be a good length for me while maintaining easy wear without too much likelihood of tripping over it or having it flapping around too much. As it is, the scarf is quite wide so it doesn’t need to be doubled up to provide a good warm layer. The 1×1 rib makes it nice and stretchy as well, and I think it’ll be nice and warm.

Hufflepuff Trapped Bar Scarf

I also made the fringe a bit longer than recommended because I thought it would look nice. The original movie scarves have quite a short fringe that is just in the color of the main scarf body, but I chose to alternate colors for a little extra flair.

Hufflepuff Trapped Bar Scarf

I’m quite pleased with how it turned out! It took quite awhile to knit (compared to my usual, anyway) because the 1×1 rib is a slow-growing stitch pattern. I’m excited to start wearing it!

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hat hat hat

I have been making all the hats as I continue to use up bits of leftover yarn in my stash and knit assignments for the Harry Potter Knit Crochet House Cup. I think I may also be trying to give cooler weather a little nudge.

First off, I made a Pewter Cauldron Hat for Potage’s Cauldron Shop.

Pewter Cauldron Hat

This hat is the color of a pewter cauldron, perhaps one that has been somewhat neglected and lacks the shine of a new potion-brewing vessel. On the side of the hat are two cable twists, inspired by the precise stirring motions necessary for brewing spot-on potions. In this case, the brewer (knitter) used a synthetic fiber and smaller needles than she should have, making the weave a bit tighter than desirable and leaving the hat with less drape than it should have for this style. She did, however, learn a new technique (Tubular Cast-On), so certainly the endeavor was not for naught. Like potion-making, knitting can be a trial and error venture, and, in the eyes of this brewer (more generous than Professor Snape might be), as long as you learned something, it’s not a failure.

That one was theoretically going to be for K, but it may end up a donation.

Next up was the Wand Hat for Ollivanders.

wand hat

My wand is Ash with a Phoenix Feather core. It is 12 1/2 inches long and has a pliant flexibility. Like my wand chose me in Ollivanders Wand Shop, this hat project chose me on a recent morning when the temperature started to cool off and show that fall is really on the way (never mind that it since changed its tune and is back in the 90sF). This yarn was waiting for me to choose it, as well, as part of my current destashing project. The brown yarn is the color of Ash wood, and the knitting sections contrasting with purl rows is reminiscent of the distinctive bark of a mature Ash tree. The grey yarn brings to mind the just-hatched Phoenix chick, covered in ashes and soot following its rebirth by fire. This hat will be sure to keep its owner warm and protected from the elements and prepared for winter weather just as a wizard or witch feels protected and prepared carrying the wand that has chosen him or her.

This one I think I’ll keep for myself, though I don’t often wear earth tones. I think the grey brings it close enough to my comfort zone.

Finally, the In the Red of the Night Hat for Knockturn Alley.

In the Red of the Night hat

This hat is designed to allow the wearer to blend into the sometimes dodgy crowd who frequent Knockturn Alley. The repeated cables give the wearer the ability to twist and turn through the narrow streets and alleys, escaping notice through fluid movement. The deep red color is reminiscent of the blood-stained pack of cards Harry glimpsed in the glass case at Borgin and Burkes during his first visit there, and is a dark color likely to blend in with the wardrobes of those lurking in Knockturn Alley. The ball on top is similar to a clabbert pustule, a potion ingredient that can be found at the Knockturn Alley branch of Mr. Mulpepper’s Apothecary, though this hat’s orb maintains its red hue, unlike the pustule which would flash red in the presence of danger (not a wise thing to visually alert in Knockturn Alley).

This one is for Susan, to celebrate her being back in a climate where big fluffy hats are necessary. Hopefully she doesn’t run into any shady characters while wearing it.

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caulk of the walk

We’ve been having pretty warm weather this week so I decided to finally replace the caulk around the back patio. It has been degrading steadily over the years (I’m sure it was last replaced at least a decade before we moved in) and there were some areas that were more gap than not.

patio caulk before replacement

You can see that there have been many reapplications over the years, and the prior handyfolks did not do a very good job with scraping out the old caulk prior to reapplying. Bad job, prior people! I expected better. (Well not really. We’ve lived in this house long enough to have discovered that you did not take a lot of pride in your DIY projects. Still. Annoying.)

patio caulk before replacement

I cannot imagine and don’t even want to think about how many roly-poly bugs have been crawling in and out of these gaps. *shudder*

I looked around online, took the advice of This Old House and other handy sites, and grabbed a putty knife for some serious scraping. Most of the caulk came up pretty well, without a ton of effort. Some of the older remnants of past applications, though, were impossible to even budge, so I decided that they could stay. I cleaned it all to the best of my ability and figured – if I can’t budge it with a putty knife, then it’s probably not going anywhere due to weather.

scraping out old caulk

In some of the areas, I was able to pull out large pieces in a very satisfying way. For people like me, this is like sanctioned scab-picking with no ill after effects!

pulled out old caulk

Just look at that yucky debris on the back of the caulk! And again, note the crummy installation job the last person did. It’s like they WANTED it to look gross. Sheesh.

At this point I got really into the task and neglected to take many pics – imagine me scootching around the perimeter of the patio with the putty knife, a dry paint brush, and a shop vac. It took a few hours, during which I listened to the dulcet tones of Mr. Stephen Fry (how is he not a SIR already?) narrating Harry Potter. (Yes, I have listened to these books so many times I know them practically by heart. So what.)

Then once the alarmingly-large-in-some-places gap was cleared of all debris and dirt, I inserted backing rod. Which, contrary to its name is not a rod at all but is just a tube of foam. I got the largest diameter available at our local Home Despot, 5/8″, and I still had to double and even triple up in some areas.

inserting backing rod

Here you can see the backing rod inserted and waiting for fresh caulk. The black layer is the Caulk That Shall Never Be Moved, at least by me.

inserting backing rod

And here we have new caulk atop the backing rod. Hooray! This stuff is a lot gloopier than I expected – it’s more liquidy than the caulk I’ve used in other applications, I assume because it’s specifically made for concrete and masonry and self-levels. Still, I managed not to make a big mess out of it. Mostly.

filled in with new caulk

It’s not as 100% neat and tidy as I’d like, but I think it came out decently. And should, at the very least, keep the roly-polys on their own turf.

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