Monday, April 30, 2007

Colorwork Vest

I made a great start on the vest. My mom was disappointed because she thought Merike Saarnit was teaching the workshop, but instead it was one of the yarn shop employees who was teaching it, based on a pattern called the Allspice Vest by Anna Zilboorg. Apparently, Saarnit makes yarn kits for the vest which she sells at her site.

I chose the jewel tone kit (we had a choice of pastels, autumn or jewel). It's very bright. Definitely one of those projects where you want to see how the next color is going to look, so you can't put it down. They showed us how to weave the ends in as we work and how to cast on a long tail caston with both ends of a yarn ball, so you don't run out of yarn. I had read about that, but never tried it, and it worked great. BTW, the yarn is Tahki Cotton Classic.

I'm working hard on the ripple afghan this week and plan to have an update on that. I also acquired a few new sewing gadgets that I want to post about.

Here is a fun little video to brighten up your Monday. Sewing Machine Song


Thursday, April 26, 2007


We really need some rain. Because when it doesn't rain we find poor little dead creatures in the pool skimmer. They come for a drink and can't get out. Anyone know what it is? Vole? Shrew? I have no idea.

Too late for this poor little guy, we are finally getting a rain shower today.

With no pressing knitting project to take up my time, I am making progress on the ripple. Looks like I'm about half way. I failed to notice that the Caron Simply Soft comes in 6 or 3 oz. skeins, so I didn't buy enough on my last Hobby Lobby trip. I'll make it to JoAnn's next week I think.

My mom asked me to go with her to a knitting class at her LYS this Saturday. (Merike Saarnit (sp?), how cool is that?) So, I have a weekend away, some fun knitting stuff (mom even paid for the class and the yarn!) and a chance to see my parents. Can't wait.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hot Patterns Cha-Cha-Cha Dress

I finished one of the dresses today. Pattern review is HERE.

I love how it came out. It's a little loose through the armsceyes, like it doesn't sit up in my armpit like it should. I have no idea how to change that. But it's not a style I'm likely to make again, since I don't wear dresses much at all. Even so, it was really fun to make.

Here's a neckline closeup. I used some Bemberg lining to make the bias tape for the neckline, which helped reduce the bulk a little. The fabric was a nightmare, I had to change needles about three times before I figured out I needed a sharp instead of something for knits. The serger was going chunka,chunka, the whole time -- but no thread breaks -- I love that machine!

Now I must fight the urge to go spend big bucks at the Hot Patterns site, this dress was really fun.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Felt Wee Folk

Isn't she cute? Her head is too big, but I didn't have time to go around shopping for smaller beads. I made this for my neighbor's 4 yr old. The instructions are in this book:

It has instructions and patterns for making fairies, elves, knights and princesses. The work in it is just beautiful. Basic supplies are pipe cleaners (which you wrap in embroidery floss for the body), wooden beads, wool fleece or roving, wool (or any) felt, silk flowers taken apart, and acorn caps.

I'm going to have my kids help make some. There are instructions in the book to show you how to make a simpler doll for kids, which is a nice touch, I think. Basically,there is less embroidery and sewing in the simple version.

It was a busy weekend. We handed out snacks from Whole Foods at the Earth Day festival -- the girls loved it. Dd tried out for cheerleader Friday and didn't make the team, so we have a lot of drama to deal with there. (She is threatening to *go emo*) whatever that means. She's only 10, I told her she has to wait until she's a teen to do that.

I hope to get back to my dresses this week. I want to sew right now.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono

This is the Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I used 1 1/2 balls of CottonEase left over from my sweater and size 6 needles. It took me about 3 evenings to knit it. Really cute pattern, although somehow my fronts came out a little long (but the row counts were the same??? maybe a gauge change in the middle of the project?). The neckline seems to be lower in the back than the front -- hope it works out okay.

This weekend I am taking dinner to a neighbor with a new baby, so I wanted to get a quick gift put together. The baby kimono was the perfect amount of fast and easy. I need to do something for the 4 year old sister too, but I might have to go to the store for that.

The girl scouts are working at the Nature Center all day tomorrow for Earth Day, so I won't make it into the sewing room much.

Have a great weekend, y'all. . .


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dollar and a Half Cardigan

I finished it yesterday. Wow, I always underestimate how much time it takes for finishing a sweater. I almost feel sad that it's over, but I already cast on for a baby kimono from the leftovers. . .

This is the Dollar and a Half cardigan by Veronik Avery, from the Spring 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. I made a size 41", on US size 9 Denise needles. Yarn is Lion Brand CottonEase in Snow, 8 balls. It came out to be 45" around and I love how it fits. The only modification I made was to shorten the sleeves by 4".

What I would do next time: go down a couple of needle sizes for the reverse stockinette sections and the sleeve ribbing. Otherwise, I love how it came out.

I haven't made a sweater in a long time. I admit I have made very few successful sweaters, i.e., ones that are comfortable and flattering. Seems like there's always some little (or big) thing wrong. One of my only successful sweaters is a Wonderful Wallaby in royal blue CottonEase, so I knew this yarn would hold up to washing well and be comfortable in my mild climate.

I don't have any big knitting projects planned next. I have some socks to finish, and I have some lime green CottonEase to try to make the Vneck raglan again (the failure sweater I made in brown Knitpicks MainLine in the fall). I think mainly I'm going to work on my crochet projects for the next few weeks.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Granny Square Bag

I love how this came out. My first crochet project. I made a separate bag to line it with, Amy Butler fabric for the lining, Timtex to stiffen it, and the red fabric behind the squares.

Inside are a few pockets. I embroidered a little message to the teacher it's going to. I put a key fob in the seam too. (I also tacked it to the Timtex, so it wouldn't droop down inside the bag from the weight.)

I hand-stitched the bag lining into the outside shell. The yarn is Sugar and Cream cotton in Jute, 5 balls. I want to keep this one.

On vacation I discovered that my beach bag has a hole in the bottom of it. I made it a few years ago from fiberglass window screen that I embroidered. Don't use windowscreen on the bottom of the bag! Lesson learned. I got at least 3 years use out of it though, and now I get to make a new one. Still need to make one teacher's gift bag, and I am learning toward making one of those recycled jeans bags (yah, I know I've ranted about recycled jeans) out of one of dd's old pairs.

Here's the ripple progess. I thought I might start taking a photo of it on the bed every so often to show how it's growing. Looks like I'm 25-30% done, maybe? I think it looks okay with the other stuff in his bedroom. The light in this room is terrible, so it's hard to get a good photo.

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We Interrupt the Crafty Programming

to give you politics. I apologize because I try to keep it light around here, but in light of something that happened to me on Friday and of yesterday's events at Virginia Tech, I have to say something.

When are the citizens of the U.S. going to get mad enough to protect our children from guns? What is it going to take? Why do we let any sociopath without a prior history walk into a store and wait a mere two weeks to go slaughter innocent people?

Friday I was taking my 6-yo ds to his karate class. My 10-yo dd was walking from the car to the karate school, while I waited for ds to put his shoes on. Dd comes to me and says *Mom, I see something and I need you to come right now, but don't let brother see it.* So I walk over to the front of the next car in the lot and there is a handgun laying right there, in front of the tire.

I pick it up and it has some heft to it, so I decide it's real. It was one of those small *ladies' handguns* with a pearl handle and the clip was missing, although I couldn't tell if it had a bullet in the chamber. One of the karate instructors called the police for me and they came and picked it up.

It's crazy. Guns are everywhere. My child could have picked this up thinking it was a toy and shot someone.

I know I have some readers from other countries and I don't want to mislead you into thinking that in the U.S. you find a gun on the street every day, but it happens now and then. . .

The state that I live in is close to passing a law that allows people to hide guns in their car. And I live in the road rage capital of the state. It's complete insanity, I just don't understand it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday Report

First of all, welcome to the new readers. A couple of people left nice comments, and I love comments, although I tend to forget to respond to them when I'm posting and I need to get better about that.

Sometimes I think the title of the blog is misleading, since sewing has not been on the front burner as much, but I hope the other crafts are also interesting to people. Sewing is my touchstone craft and I will never stop sewing (until my eyes quit on me or it becomes physically impossible). However, I put it down sometimes to focus on something new. I always come back to sewing eventually.

I have no FOs to show, but I've made progress on a few things. I finished the knitting on the Dollar and a Half cardigan.

Here it is blocking. I just checked it and it's dry, so I'll start seaming it and knitting the neckband later today.

A few thoughts: someone posted a diatribe about their frustrations with the pattern on the knitalong site. Basically, the gripe was that you needed to downsize your needles for the reverse stockinette stripes. I didn't do this and it didn't occur to me to do it, because I just figured that is how the design is supposed to be. Now that I've finished the darn thing, it's like, why didn't I think of that? But, those sections look okay to me after the blocking. People are talking about the Michelin Man effect on the sleeves and *Lord people, my sweater is WHITE! Talk about your Michelin Man!* Crap!

So, I'm just going to calm down and sew it up and wear it (if it fits, yet to be seen) while the weather is still a bit chill. I admit that's my motivation for getting it done, it's still cold enough to wear it this week.

So, I traced the Burda dress pattern and the Hot Patterns pattern. I still need to do some tissue fitting on both of them, to see what kind of adjustments I'll have to make. I know I need to wait to attach the hem ruffle on the Hot Patterns dress until last, so I can see if I need to make a tilted waist adjustment, which I probably won't since it will be hanging from my shoulders, but sometimes the big butt means it rides up in the back, so I still have to even out the hem. (How's that for long and convoluted??)

The Hot Patterns instructions recommended making a muslin. I love that. A regular pattern always tries to trick you into thinking Easy! Fast! And then it looks like crap on you. That said, I probably won't make a muslin since I'm using cheap fabric but will go over to Pattern Review and read up before I start cutting.

Because of the cardigan pieces blocking everywhere on my cutting table, I didn't get any further on the dresses, so instead I seamed up the granny square bag. It's going to be cute. I'll get it put together this week I hope.

Cat Fight!

*I know there's a portal here somewhere. And then I will kill you for being on my porch!*

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


Yesterday I went to Hancock's, not my usual one that went out of business, but the other one. I finally succumbed to temptation and bought one of the new easy Hot Patterns. I've managed to resist buying them for what? two years now, but seeing it in person was the push I needed. I found a pretty stretch poly fabric to use too. And it was cheap.

Here's the magazine photo of the Burda linen dress. It has an empire waist, but then nips in again at the natural waist. Hancock's didn't have any linen (except the fake poly/rayon crap -- no linen in it at all -- how can they do that and still call it linen?), but I'm thinking of using the green striped piece.

I've got a lot of work ahead of me with these guys. I need to get dh to start breaking up my beds, so I can these planted soon. I was so glad I hadn't set them out last week when we had a cold snap.

Turns out I didn't volunteer for this weekend's girl scout stuff, so I might have sewing time. I'll probably try to get the granny square bag knocked out before I start something new. I need to make a couple of baby gifts, can't decide what they'll be. I really like the tiny garter stitch baby kimono from Mason-Dixon Knitting, but I can't seem to put down my cardigan long enough to do anything else. I really need an FO or two right now.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007


My redbud tree. I've never seen blooms along the trunk before.

Finished the Dollar and a Half sleeves yesterday. Yay!! I knit these mostly in the car on the way down to Florida and back. Now, I only have the two fronts and sewing up and knitting the bands left to do. . .

This is what the ripple is looking like. I love working on this. It's so soft and warm in my lap during this last cold spell of spring. The cats like it too.

I'm about to the point where I can determine how much more yarn I need. I've almost used up the two green skeins, I'm thinking I can get 5 rows per skein, and I'm making it 60 - 80 rows long. I know I need more of the bright blue. This is supposed to be a *no dye lot* yarn, whatever that means. Crochet eats up so much yarn, I'm having a hard time estimating how much I need.

Here are the grannies. I'm plugging along, making one or two a day.

The last couple of nights I've been studying the linen Plus dress from the March Burda WOF. (Shoot, they have April up now and I can't remember how to find March to link a photo.) I just bought some striped linen that I intended for pants, but something about this dress is calling my name. I might make it by JoAnn's today after my dentist appointment to see if I can find a nice solid piece for the dress. . .

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter Fun

My lame felted eggs. I only made two because I didn't like how they came out. They look more like balls than eggs. I think if I had doubled the yarn, they would have come out more felted and solid feeling. Note to self: you hate felting. you are ALWAYS disappointed in the result. give it up.

Egg hunt in the front yard.

Cracking cascarones. The best idea I had for these was to give the kids a dustbuster and broom when we were finished. The eggs were gone in about two seconds and the cleanup took about 20 mins.

We also made an Easter Bunny cake and dyed some eggs, which I made into devilled eggs later on in the day. The kids got colored chalk in their Easter baskets, so they played with it on the driveway, making rooms and amusement parks. A fun day.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I'm Back

I think this photo sums up the vacation fairly well. I held on to my knitting bag this year, didn't lose anything (except my dignity on a few screamer rides at Universal, but that was to be expected).

Some Aztec Gold for the pirate. The best souvenir of the trip.

At Discovery Cove. This time I got to snorkel with the fish (okay, I realize it's just a big swimming pool, but still, it's very fun and the fish are so cool).

Dolphin tank at Sea World.

Of course I'm leaving out the long lines and horrible traffic. After the miserable crowded day at Sea World, we decided not to go to Disney World, but stay at the Nick Hotel and swim. Ahh, much better (and cheaper).

I made major progress on the sleeves of the Dollar and a Half cardigan (yay)! Also, made quite a few granny squares in the odd spare moment. I'll post a few updates on those projects later in the week.


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