Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Leaving for Camp

The camp has some rocking chairs where you're supposed to knit and socialize in the evenings, so I'm bringing a sock for that. The yarn is Knitpicks Dancing, which I've used before and they are my favorite socks. A definite rave review for this yarn, although the color choices are a little too bright for my tastes.

I'll be bringing the Charlotte's Web Shawl with me, just in case.

Here's a pic of the knitted squares for the vest we're making in class.

Yesterday I panicked and ran (with kids in tow) into the yarn and shop and bought two more skeins, just in case I need more. It looks like enough, but you never know.

My two other last minute panic points are that I don't have a vest pattern. For some reason I thought we were supposed to bring a jacket pattern, which of course I have (Jalie hoodie). I guess I'll run to Hancock's and buy a Kwik Sew vest pattern today. The other thing is that I think I've lost the shank adapter for my Janome Jem Gold sewing machine. I can't tell if it is just snapped onto my buttonhole foot, or if it's gone. I've been looking online for a photo of the accessories to help me figure it out and can't find one. . . In a pinch I can use the walking foot, but, I really need to figure this out.

Finally, a new suit for dd:

I've got a sparkly dolphin iron on somewhere, so I'll add that when I find it.

See you all next week with a camp report.

Amazing Lace

Here is Charlotte hanging out by the pool.

I've worked about 30 rows and it's going fast, but I'm trying to remember that as you make this shawl, the rows get longer and longer and longer. The pattern is poorly designed for a beginner because it only includes half the chart and then they expect you to go back from the center and knit the second half backwards. Probably not a big deal to an experienced chart reader, but I'm not experienced. . .

I have a spreadsheet that shows the stitch counts for every row, but if someone knows where I can find a full copy of the chart, that would be a lifesaver. I know one of my commenters said she had a spreadsheet -- must contact her to see if it's the chart or the row count thingy that I already have. . .

I'm leaving for knitting camp today and will take her with me, don't know how much I'll get to work on her. It will be our first Amazing Lace roadtrip, and my mom (who doesn't know about this blog or the Amazing Lace) will think I'm crazy taking pictures of Charlotte at camp. Hee!

Sunday, May 28, 2006


How do you like these lovelies? KWIK SEW has some of the most unattractive pattern illustrations. . .

Here, I am, trying to look like the girl in red (one of these days I'll learn how to crop a photo):

I really love this pattern. I updated MY OLD REVIEW at patternreview. You can go there and see me as the girl in blue.

We're going to Hilton Head to the beach in 3 weeks, so I thought I should get on it. I would love to make another suit today, but I'm not sure I have any suitable fabric and I'm out of the nice NEEDLE NOOK elastic. I need order elastic and powernet. Here are the straps, a little wonky coverhemming, but the great thing about the suit is that it stretches when worn, which can hide a lot of wonkiness. I choose to believe that. Really I do.

I did a lettuce hem on my serger, which is always fun:

And here's a view of the panty. I got some nice gathering on the back leg.

Here's the bra, after I cut off the straps and before I sewed it in. Yeah, it's a nasty one from the back of the drawer, but it will work great for these purposes.

I wore it in the pool yesterday and rinsed out the markings. (You really have to mark the skirt pieces on this one or you'll drive yourself insane.) The water is still a little cold for me, but if the 90 degree weather keeps up, it'll warm up soon.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Summer Reading Challenge

In the midst of picnics at the park:

class parties, etc., no sewing is being done. Knitting continues apace, although I'm still knitting the boring rectangles in varying stitch patterns for my knitting camp homework. I'll get up a pic when I'm finished, today or tomorrow.

Summer Reading

Here's the official stack:

I've got Diary of Anne Frank which I bought at the actual museum in Amsterdam, a biography of Juliet Low, which I bought in Savannah. Next, is Bram Stoker's Dracula, which I bought because I thought, mistakenly, that Knit the Classics was reading it. I think you can see the others if you click on the pictures to enlarge them. (Reading Lolita in Tehran, Son of a Witch, Dr. Strange and Mr. Morell, and the Time Traveler's Wife.) Cold Comfort Farm should also be in that stack, but it is instead here, the actual stack living by my bed:

Here we have a couple of Judy Blume books, Blubber and Are you there God, it's Me, Margaret, which I am halfway through, a couple of E. B. Whites, Stuart Little and Trumpet of the Swan, and The Secret Garden. I have a 9 yo dd, and I am reliving my childhood reading through her. I buy these books and read them before I pass them to her. It's wonderful reading these again.

Now to explain the other books in the stack. I have been trying to read Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown. A friend passed it to me because I told her I enjoyed Da Vinci Code. I read the first 200 pages and decided I needed a quick dose of the Norton Anthology to clear my mind of the numbing effect of the Dan Brown book. So, it's by my bed. Also, there is the Collected Works of Jane Austen, because I'm supposed to be reading Pride and Prejudice for Knit the Classics. I rewatched the A&E movie yesterday while I was knitting, does that count?

And, finally, an Annie Proulx book. I finally watched Brokeback Mountain, and, thinking I had everything of hers ever published, searched high and low, but can't find the first Wyoming Stories that has the Brokeback Mountain story in it. I know I read it in the New Yorker and also searched my short story anthologies, but can't find it.

So, there it is. Will I get all of these read? Maybe, maybe not. I am so distractable these days when it comes to reading, but if you can't follow your whims, then what fun is it?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Tote Bag

Okay, I said I wasn't making any this year, but dd begged me. I made one for last year's teacher with some quilting cotton that had pink flamingos on it and the teacher loved it and really bragged on it to dd.

This year's teacher loves pink and lime green and her favorite flower is a gerber daisy, so this is what I came up with. The fabric is Michael Miller that I got at Hobby Lobby. The pattern is Butterick 3799 View A. HERE are some I made two years ago.

Look at the inside. Pockets with an embroidered message. A key fob. A monogram. Lots of details. It took me nine hours to make this. I am clearly crazy. The part I hate most about these is the handles, so I thought I was taking a great shortcut using the premade bamboo ones, but then I ended up making tubes to attach them, which is basically what I hate about making handles. Figures.

If you want more bag inspiration, take a look at THIS BLOG. Hers are gorgeous.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Shapely Tank Finished

Here is the Shapely Tank.

It's very fitted and a little longer than I wanted, but considering that I added 4" of length based on my swatch shrinkage, it came out pretty well. And, sometimes cotton does that progressive shrinkage thing, so it might become shorter after another wash or two. I really like the coverage around the armholes and neckline -- it covers the bra with no gap under the arm, which is a common problem for me. Next time I will start the bust shaping a bit lower, ahem, not being all that perky up top. I love the bust shaping, I'm so glad I finally tried it. It's nice to know how to make a fitted sweater.

Here is the hemline, also curved with short row shaping. This kind of curved hem is very flattering. I'm having some problems with the garter border rolling, so I first fluffed it in the dryer (shrink, baby, shrink) and then laid it out flat and spritzed with water to fully dry.

Here is Tiggie, my blocking buddy, checking it out.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Amazing Lace Team

Here we are: me and the Charlotte's Web Shawl. . .

When I started knitting in 2002(3?) EVERYONE was making this shawl and I was too green and scared to give it a try but really wanted to make it, and I bought the pattern. My LYS in Houston never had any Koigu in stock for me to look at and I didn't want to buy it online without seeing it in person.

About a year ago, I walked into my LYS (in GA) just as a gigantic shipment of Koigu was being opened and I snatched up some beautiful blues and greens, exactly what I wanted. So, the yarn has been sitting for a year and the Amazing Lace is just the kick I need to get started.

This week and next will be Due Diligence (googling for blog entries, pattern errata, tips and tricks). Must wind yarn into balls and choose needles, etc. I'm glad it's a shawl, so I don't have to swatch. . .

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Here's the finished lace hat.

I dropped it off at my friend's today. As you can see, the lace pattern went all wonky as I started the decreases, but I figure it gives it personality, contributing to its hand-crafted beauty. Heh.

I have hardly even picked up my knitting this week, but decided to take advantage of the cool comfortable weather to plant some things. Here are some red geraniums, which give the poolhouse porch a little more pizazz.

And here are my tiny tomato transplants. Hope they make it, last year I planted early and they all were dead by the end of May due to a mysterious blight. Today I also discovered we have poison ivy, which dh discovered the hard way over the weekend (he thought the cats had fleas).

It's about 20 degrees cooler than it ought to be, so the kids are trying to swim and freezing their little bottoms off. This also means that I am spending my afternoons by the pool chatting it up rather than sitting with my gal Oprah who keeps me company while I knit. Need to start the neckline edging on Shapely soon.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Nice selection, huh?

My mom has been collecting knitting books since the 70s. When I visit, she gives me the run of her library and this is what I picked. She has all of the Alice Starmore books -- some are out of print -- the Celtic one had some nice things (including a blue ribbon vest that my mom knitted for me years ago). The Fair Isle book is beautiful, but I'm saving it for next time. Mom has a bunch of books on fisherman's ganseys -- I borrowed one that she got from a friend in the UK.

The thing about her collection is that she has tons of 80s books. Think huge, oversize tent sweaters in bold colors. She even had a Dawn French Knitting Book. Try HERE for a pic. Don't get me wrong, I love her in the Vicar of Dibley and with Jennifer Saunders, but the sweaters in this book were BIG and BOLD (think of a Wham Tshirt).

Mother's Day Goodies

Dh went to Spain last week and brought back a nice selection of goodies.

Check out the bag, made from tape measures!! I love it. He also bought some cotton/acrylic blend sock yarn (see the bag from the Spanish yarn shop), and some soaps, chocolates, olives, and French mustards. Oh, and he flew back Air France first class and gave me his lame pair of Christian Lacroix pajamas, slippers and bag of itty bitty Clarins toiletries.

We bought some local TN strawberries while we were there and wow. . . It's been years since I've had any like this. I'm planning to make sorbet with some of it. I have a new food processor to test out for this project. Probably ought to make freezer jam too. Must google for a recipe.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Lace Hat

Okay, I wish I had a *FO* photo, but I'm not finished with this hat yet. I really ought to take it off the needles right now and check the fit before I continue (no I didn't swatch!). I figure a hat is not much bigger than a swatch and this is a complete test hat, anyhow. I'm proud of myself for stepping out of the box a bit and designing this myself. I was inspired by reading
Knitting Rules by the Harlot. This book has some basic formulas and rules of thumb for designing your own hats, scarves, shawls, etc. I am usually a strict pattern follower, so this is a big step for me. The lace pattern comes from the
Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar, July 31.

Oh, and I really wanted to make a blue hat for my friend, so I'm figuring on a possible redo anyhow.

Other (non knitting)

I'm going to TN to visit my mom for the Mother's Day weekend. I'll try to finish the hat and maybe the Shapely Tank (which has been cast aside) and start knitting my Camp homework.

Got my hair colored, highlighted and cut yesterday. It looks great, but it saddens me to think that this has to last until August when the kids go back to school. Can I force dh to take a *family leave* day so I can go to a hair appointment???

When I picked up my 5 yo ds after having my hair cut, he told me I smelled like a potty. I think it was the hair products, yo??. . .

So pleased with myself, I finally figured out how to get a button on my blog, after many, many, failed attempts.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006



I hope to have a Shapely Tank to show soon. I sewed (3 needle bind off) the shoulder seams yesterday, but need to try it on and see how things look before I go on. I might have some frogging to do, we'll see. If it looks okay, I'll just have to knit the neckline and armhole edgings and then seam up the sides.

I'm trying to decide whether to knit something for a friend with breast cancer. She is a lady in my book club. I don't know her all that well, and I sent an email to the lady who is head of the neighborhood bible study group (whom I've never met) asking her if she knew my friend's preferences. Since I wanted to surprise her, I was trying to get her favorite color, ask if she is a hat wearer, etc.

The lady wrote back an email basically saying, knit what you want, someone made her a prayer shawl which she loves. Then it said *You really ought to get to know her better yourself because she is very special person.* Okay, this really pissed me off. The implication was that I was bugging her because I was too damn lazy to find out on my own.

Then I went and read at the Knitter's Review Forums a bunch of posts where people were arguing over chemo caps. There are some people who think they are ridiculous looking and a waste of time, etc, and that most people who have lost their hair want to fit in and look normal, in a baseball cap or something like that. So anyway, I am casting on for a ribbed hat and I'm going to see what I come up with. Maybe I'll just knit her some socks. I'm going to see her tonight, so I'll make sure to try and check out her feet. . .


I think I'm going to join this Summer Reading Challenge. My book club meets tonight and so far we don't have any plans to meet over the summer, so this would definitely hit the spot. I have at least 7 books piled up that I need to get to and I'll list them before June 1 when the challenge starts.


I planted some flowers today. I still have quite a few empty beds -- it always seems like the annuals are going to go farther when you're at the nursery -- I never buy enough. They were lantana, geraniums, purple coneflower. I still haven't planted my tomatoes, but the bed is ready, just need a little more time.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

School Sewing -- Teachers' Gifts

This one is for dd's 4th grade teacher:

A Humbug Bag. I love making these things. The teacher's favorite color is pink, I have no idea if she likes fairies, but I wanted to make something from stash. My kids have this little thing they say:
We're Pixies!
We're Pixies!
Since the 1960s!

I think it came from Fairly Oddparents, but I start singing this in my head when I see that fabric. I. am. crazy. heh. . .

I think I'll fill it with candy, we're supposed to send a treat one day this week for teachers' appreciation.

Okay, the next thing, for which I am very embarrassed. Ds's preschool teacher gave me some fabric and asked me to make a tablecloth and some placemats for the table in the housekeeping center. She asked in September. of 2005. . .

So, seeing that the school year ends in one week, I got right on it. Here they are:

The classroom has a ladybug theme and there is a window curtain made from this fabric in there. I had a couple of yards of fabric left, so I made a couple of Humbug Bags for his two teachers as well.

I'm feeling a little guilty, because I didn't go all out and make THESE like I usually do. I guess I've reached the point where I feel like no one else is worth 6-8 hours of my time, especially when I am halfway through reading The Da Vinci Code and Must Get Back To It. (Okay, I'm very embarrassed to admit I'm liking it. So there.)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Yarn Shop Trip

This looks like a *mystery swap* package, no? Well, it's a mother's day gift I'm putting together for my mom. I bought 3 skeins of Koigu KPPM so she can make a pair of socks, she's really into purple these days.

Speaking of Mom, we are going to knitting camp the first week of June. I got my homework assignment, which involved buying yarn. Oh darn it. . . I apologize for the horrendous photo (stupid flash!), but you can see my project here:

The class is on combining your knitting with a sewn project. We are making a polarfleece jacket and knitting the sleeves, collar, etc. I had this nice Malden Mills sweaterknit polarfleece in stash. I bought Plymouth Encore yarn, so that the whole thing will be machine washable, etc. the color looks off in the photo, but it's a pretty good match, with the marled black for contrast.

And last, for the same class, we are making a vest. You are supposed to knit up a bunch of rectangles ahead of time to put together for the front with fabric on the back. Here are the ones I'm considering:

There's a lightweight navy denim on the left, a batik in the back, and turquoise heavy denim on the right. I'm afraid a batik will look a bit too crafty and homemade, so I want something that matches well. I'm not too pleased with any of them, so I'll be going fabric shopping.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Thanks, Blogger

Here's the Shapely Tank pic:

I like how it's not able to lie flat across the bust. That means the short row shaping is doing its job. However, I don't like the curling at the bottom and since this is cotton, the only blocking it will get from me is throwing it into a hot dryer.

New Sewing Podcast

I listened to Grandma's Sewing Cabinet today and I really enjoyed it. She described her sewing cabinet, made by her grandfather for her grandmother, and some of the sewing notions inside it. I laughed because I inherited a box of notions (buttons, rick rack, seam binding, etc. in horrible colors) from my grandmother too. I can't use much of it, but I can't throw it out either.

She also covered some items recommended to equip your sewing room. The list came from the BH&G (I think) Sewing Book from the 70s. I love this stuff. The thing is that you can do beautiful work with just these items, you really don't need all the fancy new gadgets and stuff. Ummm, not that I'm giving up my serger for pinking shears any time soon, but you know what I mean.

Again, give her a listen, I really enjoyed it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Shapely Tank

Blogger won't let me show you what it looks like, but I finished the front of the tank over the weekend and started the back. I added some extra length to compensate for the shrinkage in my swatch, and man, I hope it wasn't too much. It looks way too long and the bottom edge is curling like crazy. . .


I read GILEAD last week. Wow, what a great book. I'm not generally the religious type, but this was so beautifully written. Basically, it's a story of an elderly preacher who is writing a family history of sorts for his young son. The preacher's grandfather was an abolitionist who helped John Brown in Kansas, which is the topic of another favorite book, Lidie Newton. There's something about this time period in Kansas, who knew??? We were all busy studying what was happening in the South and I didn't understand about the battles over the new territories. I saw a quilt square called *kansas troubles* in a book once, now I know what it refers to.

I also read my IRL book club selection for May, which is Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. This was a lovely book, set in China during the cultural revolution. Let me just say that I can't imagine living in a society where books are banned. Makes you appreciate the 1st amendment just a bit. . . I think I saw a movie version of this at Blockbuster, maybe I'll pick that up too.

Sewing, Lack of

It was just too crazy around here this weekend. I can keep a little knitting going, but with all the end-of-school crazy stuff, I don't see things improving for a while. The new Ottobre has me charged up but I can't get in there to work on it. A swimsuit for me is on the back burner, need to go order some of the good elastic for it, at the rate I'm going there's plenty of time.
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