Thursday, April 27, 2006

White Envelope Arrived Today

It's the new OTTOBRE. Oh, how I wish I still had a little baby girl to dress.

No, I'm not one of those people who goes to the website as soon as it's up. I wait, so that I can enjoy it in print, and lovingly stare at it in my hot little hands, caress the pages, stroke the pattern sheets, you know what I mean. . .

The candidates for an actual make are: Boys' colorblocked T, Girl's gathered side seam T, and Spaghetti strap T.

No I don't have a binder for my coverhemmer (to make the spaghetti straps) but I find I can still do a decent job and it becomes a bit of a challenge. Maybe I'll get some sewing time this weekend.

I just noticed that preschool is over in 2 1/2 weeks. . . Oh no, farewell to childcare. And that's all I'm saying about it. . .

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Becky Home Dec-y

Since this blog is supposed to have some sewing in it, I thought I would post about a despised project I completed in February. I really hate home dec sewing. All that fabric to handle. Boring straight lines. Lots of measuring. Blah. . .

However, I like lovely rooms and lovely fabric. I tend to shop for lovely fabric and let it sit around for a long time aging, and then move to another house where said fabric is unusable for various reasons.

For example, when I moved back to GA I gave away a bunch of beautiful rolls of custom ordered circus animal print fabric that I never got made up for dd's room and that she had outgrown by then. I made the cafe curtains but not the bedding. The curtains had faded so much that the bedding wouldn't have matched at all, even if I had made it up.

That said, here are the swatches (from Calico Corners). The silk on the right, under the tassel, is from Fabricdotcom.

I really like the combination of colors, taupe with an icy aqua. I am seeing this combo a lot more now, but when I picked it out two years ago, it was very trendy and *new* looking. Here's the bed:

A duvet cover in brocade on one side/small plaid on the other. Zipper in the seam and cording around the edge. Small plaid gathered bedskirt, very simple, attached it to an old sheet. Here's a closeup of the pillows, so you can see the fabrics better -- I just realized it needs to be rotated, sorry.

I had to go to JoAnn's to buy some more cording for this project and spent $60. I could have bought the damn pillows for less than the trims, it just kills me. . .

I won't bore you with the details, but I included two improvements over the last bedding set I made. On the last set, I measured across the bed and added the overhang, plus 4 inches for the width. What I didn't account for was that when you put the duvet inside the cover, it fluffs out and takes some of the width away from the sides, so it ended up too short on the sides. I lived with it like that for 5 years and every time I made the bed I got a little hot under the collar.

The other improvement was to keep the comforter from sliding down inside the cover. I got this tip from the patternreview boards, to sew some elastic loops into the seam allowances on the top edge or the corners and then sew some buttons to the comforter. It works great and the annoying sliding is over.

I still haven't ordered the silk fabric to make the curtains. I got the swatch from over a year ago and it's supposed to be reorderable, so I should really get on it, I guess. Ugh, I hate making curtains, and I'm afraid I finish any of my home dec projects the fates will decide we have to move again. Happens every time. . .

Monday, April 24, 2006

Savannah, Girl Scout Style

That's me in the garden of the Juliet Gordon Low house. We took a tour and I spotted a sock on the needles in an upstairs bedroom. It was a child's sock, white wool, knit top down on steel dpns. It was 1X1 rib at the top, then stockinette with a row of garter and eyelets above the heel. The heel had been turned and it was ready to start the gussets. They had it laying on a book on a couch like someone had just been knitting and left it there.

The girls had a blast, worshipping at the birthplace all day Saturday. A couple of us moms got away for the afternoon and walked around a bit. I found a little fabric shop and took a look around, and then we found a bar and listened to a band on River Street. We took a ghostly (and ghastly) carriage tour in the evening. I bought some pralines but the disappeared before I got home (???).

Yesterday was a dolphin boat from Tybee Island and a tour of the lighthouse. We had a leisurely lunch al fresco at the Crab Shack -- they have gators! -- and then drove home. I want to go back. . .

I didn't touch the knitting needles, but used some yarn for a lanyard for someone's tour ticket. Be Prepared. . .

Friday, April 21, 2006

Here's the Barf

Here's the barf yarn swatch, after a wash and dry. The picture is taken close enough that you can see the colors, which are lovely on their own. (Fuschia, turquoise, lime) But, when take a few steps back and look at them, your eyes can't figure out what color it is at all. I don't really know my color theory all that well, but I'm guessing you have two colors opposite on the color wheel and your eyes get all confused. . . I've started the waist shaping decreases (Shapely Tank) on the front, but not making quick progress.

Yesterday was a day from hell, someone rear ended me on my way to my mammogram, just for starters -- how could it get any worse?


Last week I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Today I leave on a trip with dd's girl scout troop to Savannah to tour the Juliet Gordon Lowe house. I enjoyed the book, it is supposed to be a true story, and I guess it is a little bit. Mostly it's about a *bachelor* (Southern codespeak for Gay) antiques dealer who murders his hot little redneck boyfriend. It has some little sprinklings of history and voodoo mixed in. I've had this book on my shelf for 10 years, and couldn't get it read, and that's just not like me. So, anyway, now I feel all holy for actually reading *the book* before my trip, and all clued in and cool. . .

And now a photo from my porch. I lost one basket to aphid attack (someone pass the insecticidal soap!) and will soon lose them all to the heat.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

No piccies today. I tried to photograph my barf yarn swatch and the camera is doing a weird *no image* thing. I think maybe a new memory card is in order.

So, I swatched the yarn and, as usual, the information I get from the swatch leaves me MORE confused about which needles to use and what size to make. The gauge is supposed to be 5=1" or 20=4". My 20=3.5" which comes out to 5 3/4=1". And if I knit on bigger needles the fabric will be too airy and thin, I think. So, of course I am between sizes in the PATTERN, so I end up figuring I can choose the larger size and that will fix the difference. We'll see if it works. The swatch lost a lot of length, 3/4", after machine washing and drying, so I'll add some extra length as I knit. I cast on and finished the short row shaping on the bottom front. I liked this pattern precisely because it has the curved hemline and short row bust shaping. I can tell it's going to fit great.

I'm not going to post this picture, because I don't want to embarrass my friend in front of strangers, but. . . My friend's dh is a park ranger in TN and was sent to help search for the bear that killed the little girl. She sent me a photo of him and another ranger that was on Fox News. The funny thing is the caption below them reads *Coming up -- SEX CHARGES* right under his picture. Which is only funny if you know the guy.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cotton Socks

Finished the cotton socks. I can't make any kind of report on them until I've worn and washed them a number of times. I made a pair out of Fortissima Cotton Colori that were nice for a while, but suddenly became hard and rubbed my toes painfully. Yet they are still in the drawer, why can't I throw them out??

I was surfing for a lingerie project to make for Moll Flanders, my Knit the Classics book. I found their free pattern, the Shapely Tank. I think it will work perfectly for the Tahki Cotton barf yarn I've got. I would love to order some pretty Knitpicks Shine, but I'll be good and use stash.

This photo pretty much sums up Easter at my house.

Note the lovely Jon-Jon smocked with bunnies, the silk gown embroidered with bullion roses. . . Ha! In a way it's nice not have to bother, but just at the point that I was acquiring those kind of skills, the need for them disappeared, figures. . .

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Betty Page Tshirt

Inspired by the MOVIE, I remembered this piece of fabric in my stash:

Here's the story: (every fabric in a large stash has a story, right?) I used to live in Houston, TX very close to a large independent fabric store that carried lots of designer leftovers. Now this place wasn't cheap, no bargains were to be had, ever, and no prices were cut as the goods aged. Also, this store had a rep for not labeling the fiber contents correctly and was supposedly selling some flood damaged goods, so it was a buyer-beware kind of store. That said, they had some beautiful things, silks and embroideries like you wouldn't believe. But the knits were what kept my attention. The funkiest, wildest prints from Chanel and other designers.

The Betty Page piece came from there and as I recall there was a yellow and a light blue colorway as well as the pink I bought. I think I paid anywhere from $30 to $50 for this one yard piece. But the way I look at it, you would pay that much for a designer Tshirt (or more) right?

All I can tell you about it is that it's a 4 way stretch rib, either a nylon/lycra or a poly/lycra. I was considering using it for a swimsuit, but that would have been tricky because of the large scale of the print. Also I would need more yardage to make it into a Swimdress. So, it became this Tshirt:

I used Jalie 2005. I'm not sure how comfortable this will be to wear, a little too much synthetic for hotter weather, but it will work in transitional weather. The challenge was to fussy-cut it so that I didn't have a large Betty on a boob, and still have enough fabric left for sleeves.

Next, I'm off to bake a bunny cake. My little one refused to go to his school's egg hunt today because he wants his Dad to take him fishing. We'll see about that. . .

Friday, April 14, 2006

Needlework in Miyazaki Movies

Since I spent the last few days un-cabled, I watched a ton of movies with the kids. We are on a major
Miyazaki kick. I would say we've watched about half of the ones available in the US.

My favorite is Spirited Away.

In this movie, there is a scene where the young girl and her two friends, the hamster and the fly, are at the good witch's cottage. She gives them some yarn to spin, and the hamster runs on the spinning wheel like it's an exercise wheel -- it's just so cute. Then I think there is a brief shot of them weaving on a loom and then the good witch is trying to show the hamster how to knit and says *knit 1, purl 2, knit 1, purl 2* while he's completely botching the whole thing. They end up making a small ponytail holder that they give the girl to put in her hair and the witch says *your friends made it for you with love.* The ponytail holder sparkles then, like it's magic, a very sweet scene.

Kiki's Delivery Service has a brief scene where the pregnant bakery shop owner is relaxing on the couch (with Kiki minding the shop)and she is shown knitting a pink object, presumably a baby item.

The Cat Returns (sorry the link is to the Japanese version, HERE is the Disney version, available in the US) is very unusual because it shows quilting! Yes, the main character's mother is a quilter. . .

Haru (the teenaged girl) comes home and Mom has her quilt spread all over the living room floor. She is sitting at a table with a workbasket, scissors, small patchwork squares and a cup of tea (not a sewing machine in sight). Apparently it's not going well, she puts her hand to her head, frustrated with her project and says *can you make dinner tonight?* There is another scene at the end of the movie where the mom is waking up in her bedroom and there are tons of rolls of fabric all around and behind her bed -- I just loved it!

Based on my experiences HERE, I would say quilting could be a popular hobby in Japan. The Japanese quilts I saw at the show were masterpieces. Although whether quilting is widespread or whether there are a small number of artistes, who knows. . .

We also watched Howl's Moving Castle, in which the main character is a milliner (hat maker) and they show her sewing some cherries onto a hat.

I recommend any and all of these movies, although some of them can be scary for preschoolers, the only one that has any adult content is Princess Mononoke. Against my better judgment, I let my 9 yo watch it, but will not let my 5 yo see it. It has some gory battle scenes, 4 letter words, and adult themes -- *Mom, what is a brothel?*, if you know what I mean. . .

Thursday, April 13, 2006

So Many Blue Tarps

Here are a few pictures from my neighborhood.

Most of the front windows got blown out of this first one, it appears to be uninhabitable.

I was taking these from my car and this one is from too far away, but one of the dumpsters remains on the street. I saw the truck taking another dumpster away as I pulled up.

Here's a closeup of the same house and the pile of rubbish. Last night I went to the neighborhood book club (to discuss The Other Boleyn Girl). I talked to a friend who had quite a bit of damage and was having trouble getting State Farm to send out an adjuster. She said a rep from the Insurance Commissioner's office came by and took a report and suddenly State Farm got on the ball. The Ins. Comm'r is running for reelection, hmmm. . .

Today was mostly errands -- Easter thing sneaking up on me -- and then I Spring cleaned the front porch. I'm procrastinating on the back because the yellow tree pollen is still coming down, plus we're supposed to be getting new sidewalks back there and I'd rather wait until all the work is finished. My goal is to have a pretty and usable porch this summer, right now it's pretty nasty.


Starting the heel flap on the second cotton sock, maybe I'll get the flap done at Karate tonight.

I've been studying making T Twist from knitty, but I really want to use 100% cotton and the designer recommends against it. I did a stash sort last night and realized I have a bunch of Tahki cotton tweed in a really ugly mottled barf color. My mom started a sweater with it and did the ribbing and maybe two inches of stockinette and canned it. She gave me the whole bagful along with a bamboo circular still in the work, LOL. Hey, it was free and maybe I should try it. . . But the color is so ugly I might not wear it. We'll see.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I've been off line for 4 days. We had some tornadoes come through our subdivision, very close to my house, but no damage here. Just a few limbs down, a bit of a mess. Many of my neighbors weren't so lucky, there are lots of blue tarps around, although no injuries or loss of life.

The power was off for only a few hours, but with the cable out, we had no regular TV or a computer connection for several days. We watched a lot of videos.

I read a lot, finished my book club reading, The Other Boleyn Girl. I don't typically read historical fiction, but this was enjoyable, if a bit long. The whole time I was reading I kept wondering how much was true and how much wasn't, and hadn't I seen a PBS special about Henry VIII, and etc. but couldn't go online to look anything up. . . My knowledge of World History is nonexistent -- I have studied the same old American History a million times in school, but never anything else -- brainwashing, I tell you.

Here's what I've been knitting:

This is 100% cotton yarn. It's a little big, but I'm hoping the rib pattern will hold it in enough and give it some stretch and recovery. I also suspect it might shrink a little bit in the dryer -- you can't really tell with cotton until you wash and dry it. I figure it's close enough to finish the pair.

I'm really at a loss in the knitting department. I want to make a cotton t shirt or tank kind of thing. I haven't been over to see the new knitty or Magknits yet, so I hope for a little inspiration from them. The regular *print* spring knitting magazines were a snoozefest this time.

My knitpicks order came yesterday, with my replacement Denise set and crochet hooks. While I was there I also picked up some Jazz sock yarn (oops, but it's so cheap and I LOVE the pair I've made from it) and Sensational Knitted Socks which looks wonderful.

Here is Batty, saying *when are you going to clean this mess?*

Friday, April 07, 2006

Gone Missing

Here's what's left of my project. Yes, nothing but the clipped ends. See how pretty it would have been?

Contents of the Bag

  • Denise needle set (with two broken cables that needed replacing anyway)

  • Extra 40" cable for Denise Set

  • Completed Easter Basket, ready for felting. Made from lime and kelly green Cascade 220 and some leftover Fun Fur

  • Creative Knitting Magazine (pattern for Easter basket)

  • Two balls of Elann Sock it to Me! Esprit Sock Yarn

  • One set of size 3 Bamboo DPNs (These were 8" long and I hated them getting caught in my sleeves, so I'll be happy to replace them with some short Birch ones)

  • Zippered plastic bag with ponytail holders (stitch markers), tapestry needles, sharp scissors (with the leather sheath from my bird ginghers), 4 blue Karate Stars that belong on my ds's uniform, a set of size 11 Susan Bates DPNs, one of those cute little metal sheep needle gauges, a row counter, safety pins, two retractable tape measures, my kitchener cheat sheet, two crochet hooks, and I'm sure a few other things I'll remember later

  • Floating around loose in the bag were two dollar bills leftover from basketball season snacking, a couple of High 5 Karate awards for ds, one of my girl scout patches from the 1970s, leftover balls of Cascade 220, and probably a few McDonalds toys, a Bonne Bell Lipsmacker, some handcream

I am lucky that my Ipod and cellphone weren't in there. Why would somebody take a bag like that?? Besides the $2, there is nothing that a non-knitter could use.

The old bag was a small tote bag made from the same laminated fabric as this matching cosmetic bag. I loved it because it stayed dry by the pool or in other places with wet floors. I'm going to be heading to the Harrod's website and see what they have. The gray tabby looks exactly like one of my cats.

New Bag

While we were at the gator farm I got this bag:

It's waterproof and has some cool looking Florida wildlife, plus a zippered top. It's much bigger than the one I usually carry, so I'll have to see how I like it.

Meanwhile, I'll be heading over to Knitpicks to replace a few items. The irony of course is that I was trying to be so careful with it and keep it with me rather than letting it ride with the Bellman, so of course I lost it. Geez.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Back Home

Okay, I've tried uploading photos to blogger 3 times and it's just not working, so I'll bore you with text.

We just got home today from our trip to the
Nick Hotel, Discovery Cove, Sea World, and the Alligator Farm.

The bad news is I lost my knitting bag at the Nick Hotel. I put it down briefly to take a picture while the bellman was unloading the car and I forgot to pick it up again when we parked the car. I checked with Security about four times and no one turned it in. I'll post more about that tomorrow, in fact I want to do a little list of the missing items, just so I can think about replacing everything.

The amazing thing is that I haven't picked up the needles for 5 days (!!) and I still have a little pain along the joint of my right forefinger. It's very minor and I've been chalking it up to the knitting, but this leads me to think it's arthritis. I may be experimenting with pain relievers just to see.

Everything is fine here at home except my pansies on the porch were practically cooked spinach. I watered and am crossing my fingers for what I'll find tomorrow. I missed the full bloom of the cherry trees while we were gone, but the azaleas and dogwoods began blooming while we were gone.
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