Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cold hard cash

Everyone appreciates cold, hard cash as a birthday gift, right?

If you're a great-nephew of mine, you don't simply get that in an envelope though....that would be too ordinary.

Start with a pan, in this case a disposable loaf pan. Add a bit of water and freeze it. Place the cash in a freezer bag and place it over the ice.
Adding water on top of this causes the baggie to float to the surface so weigh it down with ice cubes for a while.
If you don't like the look of the ice cubes, smash 'em with a hammer like I did to remove them. That was fun. Add more water and freeze again.
I took the completed block out of the pan the way you would a jello mold, putting it a pan of warm water for a few seconds. I set this back in the freezer while drying out the pan and deciding how I would wrap this gift.

Returning the block to dry pan, I wrapped it in gift wrap and off we went to the party. The birthday boy's mom knew I would need a spot in her freezer until gift opening time.
He thought it was odd that the gift was so cold but after unwrapping it, he could see the money inside.
Gotta love these thought there was $100 inside, another thought it was three million! Time to head to the sink and run hot water over the ice.
You can almost feel the excited anticipation in this photo of their backs, can't you?

The dark haired boy in the navy shirt has a birthday in two months. Time for me to start thinking of how to present his gift!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Infant seat afghan

The idea for this came from items I saw on Pinterest and on Ravelry. Whether this proves to be a useful idea or not remains to be seen. This will be given to my sweet daughter-in-law for her daughter, due late in April.

See the two holes in this? The idea is the shoulder straps feed through the top hole and the buckle that is between the baby's legs comes up through the bottom one.
Paper strips in place to simulate the straps and buckle:
Some knitting directions only had one hole with the shoulder straps coming over the top of the blanket. That second hole might keep the blanket in place more securely if the baby kicks a lot.

The pattern isn't completely reversible because of the color changes and how they look on the back side, but it isn't terrible. If I had done this all in one color, the reverse wouldn't have looked bad at all. I used Plymouth brand Encore yarn because it washes so well.
I used all but a yard or so of one skein of pink, slightly less of white and the grey had the most yarn remaining because of the way I patterned this. My pattern sequence is 4 rows of white, 4 rows of grey, 4 of white, 6 of pink, then 4 of white, 4 of grey, 4 of white and 12 of pink. This repeated throughout beginning and ending with grey.

The stitch pattern is a multiple of 6 plus 3. I cast on 105 stitches on size 7 needles.
The odd row directions are:  K4, * P1,  K5*  P1,  K4
The even rows are:  * K3,  P1,  K1,  P1* K3

After 12 inches, I worked 47 stitches, bound off 11 and completed that row. On the following row, I worked to the first bound off stitch, cast on 11 stitches, and finished the row.

Continue the pattern until 19 stitches from the cast on edge and work another buttonhole (for the shoulder straps) after 45 stitches, binding off 15 stitches. Continue as before on the next row, casting on 15 stitches.

Using a single strand of pink yarn, I embroidered a buttonhole stitch around each hole because I think it looks more finished this way. That is completely optional.

This blanket is just over 27" long and 22" wide.

I pinned these ribbons in place and added this note before wrapping the gift.