Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sewing Room Update

My carpenter dropped off some of the cabinets. These two are the ends for the sewing table.

These are large fabric/book shelves and some overhead storage.

These are the overhead cabinets over the sewing machine table.

I'm so excited. His work looks really nice, I was afraid they might look junky and cheap, but he's really doing a nice job. He is a general handyman, instead of a cabinetmaker. He has done a couple of other jobs for us, so I knew he was fairly dependable. You never know with contractors, though. . .

Squee!! I will be moved in and sewing again in a couple of weeks!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Brown Sweater

This was the sunrise behind my house yesterday. It was much more dramatic when I was walking up the driveway from taking the kids to the bus stop. By the time I ran in to get the camera the orange clouds had moved.

Here's the progress on the sweater.

I already see two areas where the pattern told you to do it a certain way and my mom, with her experience and expert judgment, did it differently on the yellow sweater. First, she did not bind off the underarm stitches. I followed the instructions and picked up new stitches from that bind off -- what a waste. Now there's a bulky line where there could have been invisible perfection. . . I'm writing it down on the pattern for next time.

Also, the instructions have you pick up for the neckband at the front and knit it back and forth, then sew it together. I decided to knit it in the round and decrease at center front, but still, there's a weird disjoin because the bindoff ends right there. I'll try sewing it and see how it looks, but right now I think I'll rip it out and start picking up at center back. . .

The pattern calls for short sleeves, but I'm looking at the yellow sweater and copying the sleeve decreases from that. I think I'll have it finished by the end of the weekend maybe.

Sewing Room

My contractor is supposed to start dropping off some cabinets today. It rained him out yesterday. Hope I'll have some progress pics to post soon.

I really want to get one of these for the new room.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sewing Communities

No photos, please. . .

I listened to the Material Mama podcast and it was great. This is a podcast that centers araound sewing for your family. Even though I'm not doing a lot of kid sewing these days, I still have the issue of trying to sew with kids around, etc. I listened to the first one, where Nutmeg introduces herself and talks about how she learned to sew, etc. and the second where she interviews a sewing friend who sews for her seven children. Check it out folks. I think you can listen to it directly from her site even if you don't own an Ipod or MP3 player.

Sewing Communities

Listening to this Podcast got me thinking about the many different sewing communities I've participated or lurked in over the past few years.

I started out at the Nursing Mother's Sewing List. I was a newbie at both sewing and listservs, and remember saying a few dunderheaded things when I first joined, but people forgave me and I stayed and learned a lot about sewing.

When I joined there, I had given up on sewing for myself because I didn't understand how pattern sizes worked. Everything I made was a wadder because I was choosing the wrong size pattern. I gave up and quilted and sewed for dd at that point.

Around this time, ds was a baby (obviously, I was nursing SOMEONE right?) and I got interested in sewing cloth diapers. I hung around, lurked mostly at the Amity Mamas board, and the Sew Your Own Diapers yahoo group, which I can't find right now -- maybe it's defunct. (That's hard to believe, it used to be a huge group with at least 2000 members, wow. )

Around this time I joined the Sew4Kids4Fun group at Quiltropolis, which had a several spin offs that I participated in from time to time. My favorite is Sew4me because I'm sewing less for the kids and more for myself these days.

Next, I was active at Delphi Forums Heirloom Sewing and Smocking (you might need a login for that link, sorry). I learned to smock when ds was 18months old and dd was 5, so the window of time for wearing those garments (bishop dresses and JonJons) was very short. I hung out there and posted some for about a year.

During this time, I was also very active at Patternreview. It used to be small, and there were only about 4 or 5 new reviews per day, so you could read all of them. I felt like I had found my *sewing home* there.

I mostly lurked at the now defunct Sewing World, which is now reincarnated as
Stitcher's Guild. For some reason, this place always makes me feel like I'm not one of the cool kids, that everyone else knows some secret except me.

Most of you reading here are people who know me from one of these places. It's funny how you see the same people over and over at all these different places. Sewing people are so generous with sharing their knowledge. I would have give up on this hobby long ago without the support of the online sewing community.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sewing Podcasts

Is it Summer or Fall?

I don't think I've ever posted about the podcasts I've been listening to. I discovered Grandma's Sewing Cabinet a while back. I enjoy her enthusiasm, but I find that she tends to shill her other businesses quite a bit, which turns me off. I am not downloading her in order to listen to ads, thankyouverymuch. . .

I also listen to Annie's Quilting Stash. This is a fantastic show. She really makes me want to quilt again. Not that I've actually gone and started a quilt, but she's very inspiring and personable. A joy to listen to.

So far, these are the only sewing podcasts I've found. Patternreview put some of its tips in podcast form, but it's not the same kind of thing. I really like hearing something that I can listen to while I walk, not little sound bites broken into short pieces.

I just discovered a new podcast, Material Mama. I haven't listened to it yet, in fact just downloaded it today, but I'll come back with a review. Her name *Cookie Pants* sounds familiar to me. I think she used to have a cloth diaper business, back in the days when I was sewing diapers for ds and hanging around the granola mom message boards. . .

I listen to several knitting podcasts, many of which are professional quality -- hope the sewers will catch up soon -- it's such a great resource. . .

Monday, September 25, 2006

More Socks

Last week, I finished another pair of basic ribbed socks.

The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in color Peacock. I made a couple of pairs from this yarn two years ago and they have held up very well. No felting, they've stayed soft and nice. I know I've said this before, but you can't judge a sock yarn until you're washed and worn the pair for a while.

I'm making slow progress on the *Favorite Sweater*. See the line across the bust? Think it will block out?

I think they call it *stockinette hell.* So, I am currently knitting and watching
Everybody Loves Raymond DVDs. I never watched this show when it was on, but I got hooked by watching the reruns on TBS.

This weekend I read Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen. This is my book club selection for October. I really liked it -- who knew there was a serial killer at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago?? Not me. I really love the TV shows about serial killers (??!!) and thought I knew them all, but this was news to me. The book also goes into detail about the architects involved in building the Fair, and the ministrations they went through in order to get it built on time.

Plans for the week are to (maybe) finish the brown sweater. I am a one-project girl, and I want to cast on for the Kiri Shawl now, since I want to wear it in December. It's all about the next project, isn't it??

Friday, September 22, 2006

Charlotte's Web Shawl

Here she is!

My mom was able to hook the loose stitch back up. She took out the bind off and then went down and picked it up with a crochet hook (which I was scared of trying myself. . .).
Here's another picture so you can see the colors

If you look closely here, you can see a blip of white space. I think if I reblock it, it will be less noticeable, but it's hard to see unless you're looking.

I'm proud of finishing my Amazing Lace project. I'm only a few weeks late finishing up.

I wore it around the house yesterday afternoon. It's very pretty. I'm keeping it on the back of the couch so I can look at it all day.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Knit and Sew Like a Pirate/Sweater No. 3

I tried to post this yesterday, when I was alerted to Knit like a Pirate Day by the Yarn harlot. Blogger was timing out on me, aarrrggghh. She listed a bunch of sites for Piratey Patterns, go have a look, such fun.

The pattern for my sweater is from Little Badger Knitwear. This book is at least ten years old -- I'm surprised you can still find it. Of course, I borrowed it from my mother's extensive library. It has quite a few basic pullovers for boys with different intarsia designs (soccer ball, star, heart, etc.)

The pants are Ottobre, but I'm too lazy to look up the issue and pattern number right now. I'm pretty sure I got the embroidery design as a freebie from Ann the Gran. I used glow-in-the-dark thread.

He wore these pants OUT last year. This morning was the first cool day where we needed to wear long pants and none of the ones I've bought are small enough around the waist. I might be sewing him a few pairs again this year. However, my sewing room is not operational at the moment, so maybe I'll have to relocate to the dining room if I get desperate enough.

More of Mom's Knitting

I present to you sweater #3. She said the pattern came from Interweave.

The yarn is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. I tell you that sweater is the softest thing I've felt, ever. I wanted to steal it! Note the buttons. She taught a class for her guild on button making and this was the sample sweater for the class. She has one there with a bead on it (remember if you click on my photos, they will enlarge to see more details). That's why it looks different, she is trying different things to see what looks the best. She said the sleeves are kind of tight on this one, she added a little but not enough (I'm hoping it won't work for her and maybe she'll give it to me, ha!)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Jean Frost Jackets Sweater

This sweater is made from Noro Kureyon. The pattern is a boxy chanel-style jacket from Jean Frost Jackets. Here's a closeup of the crocheted edging around the neckline.

Mom made this as a Christmas gift for our cousin, who is a somewhat flamboyant dresser (and has the personality to match). . .

It amazes me that she has made 3 sweaters in two months, and I'm not talking baby sweaters, they are all full or XL adult sizes. She is so productive.

My Knit Picks Main Line yarn came yesterday, so I'm swatching for my next sweater (the v neck pullover). The yarn feels nice so far.

Monday, September 18, 2006

That Knitpicks Sweater

I told y'all I was going to my mom's. The best part is seeing what she's been working on since my last visit in July. Can you believe this?

This is the Palette Fair Isle Cardigan. I bought her the Palette sampler last year for Christmas, so she decided to make up their pattern. Isn't it fantastic?

Matching Socks!

As beautiful on the inside as the outside. (She steeked it in front of one of her knitting groups -- what a showoff!!)

She's trying to decide whether to put buttons on it. The buttonholes are really tiny, so it's hard to figure out what to use, but I was thinking either leave it alone or add a zipper. The band is sturdy enough that you could easily add a zipper without stabilizing it.

I just had to show you guys and believe me, the photos don't even come close to capturing the beauty. She is entering it in the county fair next week. (She usually wins, of course. . .)

The other good news is that she had made two more sweaters in those two months. I think I'll do a separate blog post about each one, to spread things out a bit this week. (I have 2 FOs to show off too.)

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 15, 2006

My Favorite Sweater

This is it. It has a bit of a long story. My mom made it and gave it to me about 5 years ago.

As you can see, I'm overweight, busty, and short waisted. I know that more fitted silhouettes are in style right now, but I have a hard time wearing them. Who wants to bring attention to a waist that looks like the Michelin Man's? The length is perfect, and I love the sleeves.

Here's a closeup so you can see the Vneck, raglan sleeve shaping, and the crappy, pilly, disgusting yarn (it's not a great color on me either). . .

The pattern is the Neck Down V Neck T Shirt for Women from Knitting Pure and Simple.

My mom is a great friend and knitter. She knit this sweater so that she could help her friend figure out the pattern. That is the ONLY REASON. The yarn was some cheap acrylic that was intended for a baby blanket for charity. Her friend was knitting this pattern and having problems with it, so Mom decided to cast on and see if she could figure it out. Then she decided she liked how it was knitting up and finished it. After that, she looked around for someone to give it to.

My next project is to make this sweater from Knit Picks Main Line in chocolate brown. In the southern climate, cotton is more wearable than wool. I'm anxiously awaiting the yarn's arrival. Man, I hope it's nice, cuz if I had THAT SWEATER in a nice yarn, I would live in it. . .

In other news, I am taking THIS MESS to my mom this weekend and see if she can work any magic or get me back on the right road again. . . If that doesn't work, then maybe I'll email that Knit Fix lady. . .

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I just found this guy on my watering can. Apparently, he is a Saddleback Caterpillar, but to me he looks like a little Chinese dragon.

Here's a better photo that I got off a Cool Bug Website. You have to love the internet. You can sit at home and look up anything you are curious about. I would have been wondering about that caterpillar for days, but way too lazy to go to the library and find a book and HOPE that it would even show him.

I found this guy last week.

He is a Parsleyworm, he will become a black swallowtail butterfly. I don't mind at all sacrificing my Italian Parsley for him. I once got to watch the butterfly hatch from its cocoon and dry its wings on my parsley plant. Fun.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I'm realizing that I've never posted a quilt photo on my blog. But, I'm also guessing this is the last one I made, and it was 4 or 5 years ago or so. And yesterday I sat around watching 9/11 shows on PBS all afternoon while I was knitting a sock.

I'm not typically a flag flyer, mostly because I don't want people to think I'm a gung ho-right wing-fascist-neocon-nut job who subscribes to *you're either with us, or with them* kind of thinking. Trying not to get all politicky on you, but maybe the best defense is to reclaim the flag for *the rest of the people* who do not think this way. Those of us with more moderate views.

FWIW, I enjoyed the discussion HERE.

Have a great day, y'all.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Here are the Fetching wristlets. I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and size 6 needles. I added a couple of inches to the length, by doing a couple of extra cable repeats. That means it took two balls instead of one.

They were easy and fun, which makes me think I might make more for teacher's gifts, but then I smack myself in the head as a reminder that I DON'T do gift knitting. . .

I didn't block them, and my cast on and bind off are little ripply. You can't see it as much when they're being worn and stretched. I practically live in these in the winter, so they will be worn and washed a lot. My old pair (made from Lion Brand Woolease) look like something the dog dragged in.

Finally I have a picture of what I did yesterday.

The old salvia and daisies were dead. I cut back the daisies to see if they will revive (I think they are perenials, but who knows?) and planted mums. I haven't planted mums in a long time. I don't like them because they bloom really quickly and then immediately die and look crappy. So then you're forced with either cutting them back and waiting, or throwing them out. I had no choice but to plant these because they were the ONLY THING at the garden center. Where are the pansies??

I'm only showing this photo because my 5 yo took it and is so proud of himself.

I have no idea what I'm doing this weekend. I need to start a new knitting project. I need to work in the sewing room. I need to clean the back porch and rake up rotten cherries.

Also, I got a flyer for a craft festival nearby that is supposed to feature spinning, But dh is out of town, so I would have to take the kids. Probably not worth it in that case. We would be stuck at the bouncy castles and candy apples and I would be trying to drag them around the whole time.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Squash and Socks

I finished a pair of socks over the weekend. They are from the 4-stitch pattern section in Sensational Knitted Socks. I think it was called basic waffle stitch. It was K 2, P 2, for three rounds and then a purl round. I used size 1s (which I hated because they were too long). The yarn is a merino/nylon blend from Ellen's Half Pint Farm. I went to my LYS looking for shorter 5" needles last week and they didn't have any zeros or ones, but they ordered some -- ha, any excuse to get me to check back with them.

I started the Fetching wristlets in the car yesterday and they're going to knit up fast. If they go as well as I hope, I might be making a few pairs for teacher's gifts at Christmas.

The weather in Illinois was fantastic -- cool and dry, you just wanted to be outside the whole time. We went to a pumpkin patch and I bought a bunch of squash and pumpkins and indian corn, and it was so cheap! I would have paid twice or more for that stuff if I bought it here.

I would feel like a dork putting pumpkins out my porch so soon, so I'm going to keep them inside until it cools off some. Dh's aunt gave me some sedum with lavender blooms, so I want to get those transplanted. My summer annuals look awful, so maybe I'll replace them with mums this week.

I stopped at the Lodge Cast Iron Outlet on the way back and got a new big skillet. I really want to go cook something now. . .

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bye Bye August

I am so glad THAT month is over. I never feel that way about any other month, but I get so worn down by the weather in August. I should be thankful that I don't live in Houston anymore, because September in Houston is more of the same.

I went in search of fall this morning and found a few things.

I've noticed red berries on the dogwood trees in some people's yards, plus the dogwood leaves are starting to get a little red.

It's been so humid here the last couple of weeks. I am happy for it because it means we've had a little rain. That means I have skipped watering for a few days, which I love.

This morning we stepped outside to go the bus stop and found a partial fairy ring of mushrooms in the yard. They were really tiny and very far apart so I couldn't get a decent photo. What is it about little boys that they must step on and smush every mushroom? I told him to be careful that there wasn't a fairy under it. Of course he said, *no, I looked*. . .

I took a few mushroom photos on my walk today. They were everywhere.

The flash came on because it was early and cloudy. Maybe I can get better ones another time. I saw one that looked like a nasty pile of rotting flesh. It stunk and flies were all around it. Very strange. I didn't figure I could capture the effect on film.

Tomorrow we go to Illinois to my ILs for their 50th wedding anniversary party. I wanted to make a new outfit, but I ended up going to the mall to Dillard's and buying one. It's a wrap dress, a la Diane Von Furstenburg (sp?) from the 70s, in a black/brown geometric print stretch poly knit. I think I'll go shopping for shoes today.

I hope to finish knitting the green socks in the car and then start on Fetching. I also need to go pick up the book my book club is reading next, Single in Suburbia. God, that looks horrible, I can't wait. . .

Have a good weekend y'all.
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