Monday, January 29, 2007

Pet Bandannas

I don't know where the weekend went. Don't have much to show for it.

I finished up these dog and cat bandannas for the Humane Society. The Girl Scouts wrote some cute little messages on them, but we didn't have time to sew them because we took too long baking dog biscuits. Here are the instructions we used. I made about 60 of these, and I figure I used 7 - 10 yards of scraps, so it was a nice stashbuster project.

Here's another Mason Dixon Ballband dishcloth. I've got a teeny bit of pink yarn I'm trying to use up.

I've got a case of the blahs when it comes to sewing. I wanted to make a new skirt to wear to a baby shower (the one I made those burp cloths for) this weekend. I have the perfect pattern, from the latest Burda WOF, but can't get motivated.

There's nothing I want to knit right now even though it's colder than a witch's stitches here. Maybe I'll start some socks. . . Or maybe some papercrafting - valentine cards or something. I signed up for a scrapbooking class one morning in February, so I need to get that stuff out. Oh, and I found an old box of soap molds in the basement -- now I'm getting excited. It doesn't help that I've developed a serious sudoku addiction. No wonder I can't concentrate on anything.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Three Clapotii

How do you pluralize Clapotis?

The Purple One

Today I finished my third (and final) one. Stats: 5 1/2 skeins Koigu KPPM, size 5 needles. Finished size 74 X 17 inches.

The Green One

I made this in fall of 2005. Stats: Knitpicks Gossamer in Leprechaun. Don't remember how much I used or the needle size, but I doubled the yarn (it's a laceweight). Finished size: 72 X 15".

The Light Blue One

I made this in summer of 2005. Stats: Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb (as called for in the pattern), 4 skeins. Size 8 needles. Finished size 49 X 18".

I really don't like the light blue one because it's too wide and short. I made the next two longer. I did not change the pattern at all, did not leave out any repeats, I made mine narrower by using smaller gauge yarns. The drape of the green one is wonderful and I was attempting to replicate it with the purple one.

I am so glad to be finished with this. I started right before Christmas, so it took me over a month, with a small dishcloth knitting break. I like the finished product, but it's a boring knit, particularly if you have made it twice before.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Some Tiny Sweaters

My mom knitted all of these sweaters.

This is a double knitted cardigan, made from a worsted weight acrylic. It's reversible. The hat is a garter stitch bonnet with Icord ties, I think it's an Elizabeth Zimmerman design, but I don't know which book it's from. I remember dd wearing this on a very cold day, riding in the stroller and screaming her head off, me trudging behind trying to get her home NOW. . .

Elegant cotton fingering weight baby cardigan. Six cables running up the back, gorgeous. One cable along each sleeve and along the saddle shoulder. I think both of my kids wore this one, small yellow stain on sleeve (didn't wash out).

Red acrylic cardigan, sportweight yarn. Raglan sleeve (click on picture to enlarge so you can see the 3d block pattern along the bottom.

Cotton intarsia sweater, I think it's a Debbie Bliss or a Rowan maybe? Sport weight cotton yarn. Seed stitch instead of ribbing on cuffs and hem. She had a little pair of purple corduroy pants that matched these. It's about a size 2 and she was walking when she wore this one.

My mom is a prolific knitter and loves to make baby things, which she mostly donates to charity. It's so fun for me to look at them now through knitter's eyes, because I wasn't a knitter when she gave them to me.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Some Toddler Dresses

This weekend I went through some boxes that had been in my attic at the last house. The boxes were open when we had the house reroofed, which means that a ton of dirt and debris fell into the boxes when the guys were hammering up there. Also, we had a bit of a cockroach infestation at that house. People think Texans wear cowboy boots for riding horses, but really it is so that they can crush the roaches when they scamper into a corner of a room.

(Remember you can click on the photo for a closer look.)

These two dresses were made from the same pattern and I'm guessing it was a big 3 pattern, because I didn't know anything else back then (1998 probably). I had my serger by then, but had only just got it because I remember having trouble with gathering the skirt onto the waist seam on one of them and then trying to even it up with a serger and making a big mess, cutting it off shorter and shorter. You can see that the collar on the navy sailor print dress is off center and a bit too short.

Ah, Dorothy's dress, a sentimental favorite. I watched the movie several times, just to make sure I was getting the details right. I made this as a Halloween costume, but she loved it so much she wore it as a regular dress. We had the little red sparkle shoes from Target to go with it.

A lapped zipper (insanity). Almost matched it up across the back. . . I remember how hard all of this was at the time. I had no sewing reference books, and was only following the pattern sheets, no internet tips, etc.

I think the pattern is still in print, or easy to find on Ebay.

It's fun to look at these and remember sewing them and my dd wearing them. Her preschool portrait was taken in the navy sailor print dress and she was crying because she wanted the stuffed animal the photographer was holding.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Monkey Hotpad

My fabric dot com order came yesterday, and with it came the InsulBrite, which is basically a poly quilt batting with a layer of mylar in the middle, which cats enjoy sleeping on.

You can also use it to make hotpads and oven mitts.

I got the Amy Butler In Stitches book for Christmas, which has some nice potholders in it. I'm not sure if I'll ever make any of the exact projects in the book, but there are a few inspiring things in it (it mostly inspires ME to buy her fabric, however, so watch out. . .).

I didn't really make this one like hers (who wants to miter corners when you can round them, huh?). I took one that I liked out of my drawer (a Crate & Barrel model) and copied it, although I enlarged it quite a bit. I wanted it to be big enough to set a large casserole on.

I used bias tape around the edges, I couldn't find the right size Clover bias tape maker in my messy room, so I pressed by hand. I used a bias binding foot to apply it. There's a place I didn't catch on the back side, but I'm not in the mood for fixing it. These feet are wonderful, but I always need to practice a bit to get in the groove of it again, ha.

You can slip your hand in it and use it as an oven mitt too.

Tomorrow I'm helping dd's Girl Scout troop sew some doggie and kitty bandanas for the Humane Society, so I spent the morning sorting through my quilting stash and pressing and cutting some squares of fabric. I'm going to have the girls serge them and decorate them. It's nice to move a few yards out of the stash, and to see some cute old fabrics I'd forgotten about.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Two More Valentine's Dishcloths

This is the Heart Lace Cloth from Smariek Knits. This came out looking very nice. Some of the abbreviations used in this pattern are not standard, which means read carefully. When it says M1, it really means M1, K1 in standard knitting pattern terminology, which threw me for a loop. I finally figured it out after sleeping on it.

This cloth is the Knitted Heart Cloth from Purple Duckie. I made a mistake near the bottom of this one, which I didn't notice until I took a photograph. I guess I made this while watching dd's basketball game, oops.

I like both of these cloths because they are stockinette. They are thinner, making them better face cloths than the garter stitch versions. I have a few tiny bits of pink cotton yarn left -- maybe I'll try to cobble together a couple more of these. My hands don't really like the cotton, they were actually happy to go back to working on the Koigu Clapotis a little over the weekend.

I dug around in the basement over the weekend, and found some old dresses that I made for dd, plus some pretty knitted items my mom made for her. They were in a box that had a lot of dirt and crud in them, so I'm washing them, pressing them, and trying to pack them away properly this time. I think they'll make some fun blog posts. . . ah, memories. . . and some really crappy sewing.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I've been Tagged by Debbie for a meme. (Seriously, go look at that gift tag at Sewing Box Stories I linked. Start saving your thread scraps. . .)

First, the Rules:
Someone Tags you, you post 5 things about yourself that you haven't already mentioned on your blog, you tag 5 more bloggers.

1. I used to work as a tax lawyer for about six years. I hated it.

2. The idea to go to law school was from one of the lawyers I worked for in college, who told me *I would look good behind his desk.* Now, with the benefit of life experience, I realize he was just trying to get into my pants. At the time I was so naive, I believed him. I applied to law school and got in. . .

3. My brother is a successful NY architect who was featured in the Architectural Digest top 100 for January. His photo is in there and he is quoted. Yay for him!!

4. I hate coconut and have since I was an infant.

5. I am married to a lawyer who makes pottery, mainly face jugs and chickens.

So, I am tagging Vicki, Saralynn, and Linda. I would have tagged Amanda C but she's kinda busy with her new baby girl right now.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Miscellany

I met my walking goal for the week, but I have to say that walking makes me tired. Everyone always says they have more energy when they exercise, but they are lying. On the days I walk, I don't feel like getting up the rest of the day, I just want to sit and read the paper or knit and watch TV. The craft shows from DYI are on HG TV, so there is actually something new to watch.

Yesterday I bought a bunch of Amy Butler fabric at fabric dot com. I got her book for Christmas and it is singing to me. It's more like a little whisper in my ear right now, but its siren song is growing louder. Ahem, no promises, but if I mention it here, y'all might expect to see something someday, right?

I still have soap on the brain too. I found this tutorial on how to make felted soap. I've been racking my brain about how to find a sushi mat (didn't even google it though, duh). I went to the grocery store today and found one.

I was buying some california rolls and there it was right in front of me. I have no idea what I paid for it.

My LYS carries gorgeous wool roving. I almost signed up for a felted Christmas ornament class from them, maybe next year.

I found a great *new to me* blog, Cathy of California. I heard about her at Craftypod. Cathy has fantastic photos of craft projects from vintage craft books, the kind of groovy stuff I grew up with and truly love to look at. Go take a peek.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Valentine's Dishcloths

This is the Love Heart Face Cloth by Rhonda from Knitting Knonsense. I'm a child of the 70's and I have always *hearted* that design. Ha.

This is Melissa's Knit Valentine Dishcloth 2004 from Melissa's Discloth Patterns. Scroll down to find it, lots of cute designs here.

This is Dishcloth #2 from the Leisure Arts booklet, Dishcloths from the Heart, by Evelyn A. Clark. I really like this one because it's big and will encase one of my large bars of soap, plus it has the yarn over edging that allows you to thread a ribbon through it.

Last is Grandmother's Favorite with a Heart. It's very cute, but it came out small. I typically make my Grandmother's Favorite bigger than the pattern. I didn't feel like doing the math to make this one bigger. I think I can stretch it around a handful of the little guest soaps.

When I was photographing these, I saw a gigantic woodpecker in my cherry tree by the bird feeder. I thought it was a hawk with a red band around its neck at first. Then I realized the red was plumage when I saw him fly. He was more gray than black and white. I wasn't fast enough to get a photo, bummer.

I have a few sewing projects percolating in my head right now. I keep pulling fabrics together, but am having trouble deciding what to work on first. Am feeling creative suddenly, it's about time.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Heart Soap

The Target rubber ice cube trays are great soap molds. I had no trouble at all popping these out. My 6-yo helped me. The soaps are really adorable. I decided to knit some washcloths to go with them, so I went to Hobby Lobby and found more ice cube trays.

I love the seashell shapes. Some of the designs they sold were a little smaller than I like to use for soapmaking. The irony is that the molds they sell to make soap in are more expensive and are the hard plastic that's impossible to unmold without ruining your soap. Also, they are really shallow. I like rounder, fuller shapes, they have a more substantial feel in your hand.

I found some nice pink yarn, Sugar N Cream dishcloth cotton. I used to have a Leisure Arts booklet with lots of heart dishcloth designs, but I can't find it. I think I'll go to the Dishcloth Boutique and find some patterns. I would love to make them from Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille instead, but my LYS doesn't stock many colors. I don't think I have time to order any either.

I remember someone posting on a soaping message board about using the Grandma's Favorite dishcloth to package a bar of soap. You thread a ribbon through the yarnovers at the edges and tie that around your bar.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Boutique Baby Burp Cloth Tutorial, Pt. 1

You've seen these in all the pricey shops. They typically have machine embroidery or chenille on them. When my now 6-yo was a baby, I got one that merely had a strip of chenille trim sewn on the bottom edge. I'm sure my friend paid a lot of money for it.

Supply list:
Prefold diapers
Fabric scrap (at least 1/8 of a yard)
Sewing machine
Basic sewing supplies (thread, scissors, marker, ruler, iron)
NOTE: You can use any kind of trim (rick rack, grosgrain ribbon are popular), but make sure it's machine washable, because these items will be heavily laundered.

Here's how to make them. Start with some Gerber prefolds (I found these at Target).

Decide how wide your border needs to be, based on the size of your print. If you are using a tiny print, you could make bias tape from it and sew that on instead. . . I decided I needed at least a two inch border with all 3 fabrics I'm using here, since the motifs were fairly large. I made them 5 inches (2 inches for each side plus 2 1/2 inch seam allowances) by 17 1/2 inches. Just make sure that your final cut strip is about an inch longer than your diaper's width.

Here I am marking the sewing line, 2 inches from the edge. Next, I drew a second parallel line 1/4 further toward the bottom edge and lined up the fabric edge there for sewing. Note that I initially intended a 1/2 inch seam allowance, but the turn of the cloth demands that you lose some of it (these diapers are thick).

Here is the two inch border strip sewn on.

Now I'm folding up the end of the strip to sew it. You will be sewing along the edge starting where the marker is pointing, parallel with the marker, folding the diaper up out of the way.

Cont'd. . .

Boutique Baby Burp Cloth Tutorial, Pt. 2

Fold the diaper out of the way and sew across both ends. Try to sew an imaginary line where the edge of the diaper would be if it were still lying flat.

What you have now looks like a pocket. Flip it right side out, enclosing the end of the diaper.

Use serger tweezers or something pointy to poke out the corners, then press it.

After pressing the front, flip it to the back and press the top edge over. Try to cover the seamline if at all possible. If not, it's going to look a little wonky but no big deal.

Topstitch the back edge down. If you have it all lined up perfectly it will match on both sides, but if not that's okay too. Try to use a matching thread so it's not noticeable. You might now decide that your back will become the front. Look at them and decide which side you like better. Tie off your topstitching and hide the thread tails with a needle. Cut tails.

This is basically the same method you use to attach a cuff to a sleeve when you are making a shirt. I prefer not to sew across the ends until after I've applied the long edge. That way you get it right the first time. It really bugs me when I pre-sewed the ends and they are off by a bit.

The next post will show the finished items. . .

Boutique Baby Burp Cloths Tutorial, Pt. 3

Here they are finished.

I added some hand embroidery to these (designs from Sublime Stitching) so I could hide the back side of my work inside the diaper. Many people add machine embroidery, there are lots of options -- monograms, pithy sayings like *spit happens* or *wild child*, etc. Remember that mom, dad or other caretakers wear these things rather than the babies.

I have put up a flickr SET so you can see all the photos together in one place.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Walking, blogging, etc.

I like being outside more. Here's my current walking total:

Yesterday ds and I went on a little nature walk. I typically cover 3 miles in an hour but it took us an hour to cover one mile with all the tree climbing, rock throwing, and stick swordfighting we did.

I've been adding some links to update my sidebar. I'll admit sometimes I feel funny adding someone because it's not like I really know them, I just like them, or find them interesting. It gives me a weird feeling, like I'm some kind of hanger-on or that someone will think I'm trying to identify myself with other people in some weird twisted way (a wannabe, you know?). I'll admit I don't add a lot of the *big time* blogs I read because I feel like those people have enough publicity without me adding my tiny amount. Or maybe it's because I don't want to look like a bandwagon jumper or something? That is so small of me. Tsk. Why do I care?

Does anyone know how to delete a comment from Blogger? I know how to restrict comments, but I can't find any option for deleting a spammy one. Anyone?

I guess I'm going to wait it out on switching to the new version of blogger. The big group blogs I belong to are offering to unsub people, but I'm going to wait and switch later when the bugs are worked out. Maybe it makes sense to shop for another provider, but I'm so set in my ways. . .

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Apple Soap

I made another batch, with a red apple fragrance. When the kids came home from school yesterday, one of them said *I smell candy*.

Here it is just poured. It was more of a purple pink at pour. I noticed a bit of a play-dough, chemically smell for the first few hours. This is not uncommon, the fragrance usually goes through some changes during saponification.

Here is is, 24 hours later.

The white areas on top are called *ash* and are the bane of the soapers' existence. This is just a light case of ash, I'll have to use my trimmer on these bars to clean them up anyway. No one really knows what causes it, but you can lay a piece of saran wrap over the top of the soap, keeping the air out, to prevent it.

The cut bars. I turned some of them so you can see the ash on the top. I used the little heart molds, but I'm going to let them sit for a few more days before I try to remove them. They need to be really hard in order to remain undamaged while you're getting them out. I have high hopes for these since the mold is a soft rubber. They will make nice little teacher's gifts -- maybe I'll knit some washcloths to go with them.

This soap is going to be ready just in time for valentines day (4 week curing period). I'm really happy with the color. I used 3 parts D&C red 28 to 1 part D&C red 33. I have a very nice berry fragrance I want to soap soon, so now I know how to make a pretty pink.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cutting Soap

Cutting the soap. As you can see, the soap is still stuck to the acrylic sheet that I use in the bottom of the mold. This allows the whole loaf to side through the cutter easily, although I do have to scrape each bar off the sheet.

Ta da! The finished bars. I make a 3 pound batch and try to make a dozen 4 oz. bars, as you can see the last few are a bit smaller than the rest, oops. I may or may not go back and trim the sharp edges with a vegetable peeler. The edges don't bother me since I use a washcloth or scrubbie, but people who rub soap on themselves directly might prefer a trimmed or beveled edge.

I found these rubber ice cube trays at the Target dollar spot. They would make wonderful little guest soaps for valentines day, no? (Reminding self that I always have trouble with molded soaps, is it worth trying again?)

I think today I'll make a batch of soap scented with red apple fragrance. I always have problems with colored soap. The last time I made red soap, it looked like the shower scene from Psycho when I lathered up and rinsed off (except in color, of course). There is an art to getting the soap to have color, but the lather to remain white. . .

Some fruity embroidery from Sublime Stitching. I almost frogged the grapes (my satin stitch sux), but they look a lot better after pressing.

I'm going to add this button, thanks to Jen at JenLa. She keeps a Page with Ga Knitbloggers, check it out.
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