Thursday, May 24, 2007

Ebay Finds

I always go to Ebay when I'm learning something new. I've been buying lots of vintage crochet pattern books. Look at this one:

And my favorite project,

Ah, wedding mice. Imagine springing these on a friend at a bridal shower, wouldn't it be fab?

I'm back to making granny squares. I'm about a third of the way there. I just bought the 200 Crochet Blocks book and it is making me hanker for a new project, but I'm being a good girl.

I've got all those leftovers from the colorwork vest which would make an awesome Larger Than Life bag.

This is my last post before I leave for the beach for the week. We are staying in an oceanfront house this time (!) so I'll be making my granny squares outside. . . See you in June!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Colorwork Vest

It's finished, yay! (Remember you can click on the photo to enlarge it.) This is the Allspice Vest done in Tahki Cotton Classic rather than wool. Size 7 Denise needles, although I sized down to 5s when I was knitting the armbands. Also, I put decreases in the bottom corners of the armholes to keep them from flaring.

It doesn't meet up in the front, and I had intended to make it short enough that it wouldn't need to clear my hips, but the weight of the cotton makes it stretch a bit. I think I might give it to my MIL for Christmas because it would fit her really well. . . I knew I probably wouldn't like it because I don't wear vests, but it was fun to make.

Bumblebees in the sage. . .

I also wanted to send you guys over to see Emily's tutorial on making a summery dishtowel totebag. Also check out Belinda's elastic waistband tutorial. Great info, y'all. . .


Monday, May 21, 2007

Heavenly Blue

These are my favorite flowers.

I spent all weekend weaving in yarn ends.

This is the pile I had left. And then on to knitting the neckbands, which I frogged once because the buttonholes looked bad. I decided to leave them out. I tried a new bindoff method on the front band, which came from a Knitty Gritty episode with Lily Chin. Basically you use a crochet hook to pull the new loop through rather than knitting needles. It worked a charm! Easy and fast.

I knitted one of the armhole bands and it's flaring like crazy -- see that? I'm going to knit the other one and make some decreases probably at the two corners along the bottom of the armhole where the bindoffs are. Hope that does the trick. I'm really tired of this project and just want to be done with it. Seems like the finishing is taking forever (whine, whine, whine, I know).

I am also a bit hesitant about the finished product -- I'm going to look like a participant in a Pride parade, I think. . .


Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Misc.

Well, the knitting group was a bust. I had two *maybes* who didn't show and then one who came by and I didn't hear her. I don't know how that happened, because I was waiting, waiting, waiting. The neighborhood newsletter, which was going to be my publicity for this, came out today, so I'll see if anybody else gets in touch when they see it.

I have a needlework-related tv show to recommend. I've been watching Clatterford (aka Jam and Jerusalem in the UK) on BBC America. There are quilts, afghans both knit and crochet, everywhere in this series. On the premiere episode there's a scene in the church where every surface is covered in a quilt or blanket and they are beautiful! Also see the table covers in the episode with the church bazaar and grannies over people's couches in home scenes. They show the ladies knitting at the church guild meetings too. I have a big thing for Jennifer Saunders (an AbFab fanatic) but although she writes the series, she plays a lesser role here. Dawn French is hilarious and over the top in this one, and JoAnna Lumley plays a dotty old lady which is hysterically funny. . .

I'm almost finished with the knitting on the colorwork vest, but that means still more hours of end weaving and knitting the armhole, neck, and front bands. I'm losing steam on it, because I have a couple of crochet projects on the brain. No big plans for the weekend, probably taking the kids to see the new Shrek movie.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sock Monkey Burp Cloth

Ds' class is having a baby shower for his teacher today and we were supposed to send in a gift worth $10 or under. . . I managed to crank this out quickly, no embroidery or anything time consuming. It's nice to pull something from your stash.

I am mourning the loss of my lace project (am I the only crazy person who feels sad when they finish something??). Started knitting on the colorwork vest, which should go quickly because I am past the armhole divisions now. I don't think I'll get to sewing the dress this week though. Only two or three people are coming over tomorrow for my attempt at a neighborhood knitting group, which makes me feel like not putting in an effort. I plan to bake some lemon squares, rearrange the living room and defuzz the cat hair off the couch today.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Doily Done!

Here it is. Pattern is the March Doily from the Leisure Arts booklet, A Year of Doilies, Book 5. I love the description -- *A harbinger of springtime, this lovely doily brings a breath of fresh air to any room.* Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet Thread, size 10, size 7 Boye hook. Took about a week to make. Don't remember the name of the thread color, but I chose it because it matches the paint in my kitchen and thought it would look nice on a small round table in my breakfast area. That table stays junked up with mail and backpacks and homework, but maybe someday it will stay clean. . .

And here is the inspiration for it:

My grandmother made this one at least 40 years ago. It sat on a round, glass topped table in her living room. I used to look at it all the time as a kid and I thought the pineapple designs looked like fish. . . My mom gave me the doily a while back and I bought the thread crochet book because the picture on the cover reminded me of grandmother's doily. . . The thread she used is gray, but has faded so much it looks kind of beige now.

Here's a pic of what's been going on in my sewing room at night:

Photo from Bent Objects. I've got to get in there today and make a quick baby gift. Honestly, it DOES look like there's been an uprising in there, but I think the cats did it rather than the sewing notions. . .


Monday, May 14, 2007


This is how I spent my weekend, doily making in the shade. I'll have an FO soon, I hope, but the rows get longer and longer.

The thing I love about crochet (as compared to knitting) is that you only have one live stitch going. This allows you to check the size any time, any where. Also you can check your lace pattern and find errors right away since the stitches aren't bunched up on a needle. I put a safety pin in the live stitch and lay the piece out periodically to look at it -- no life lines needed.

And here's a brief gardening update:

This rosebush was two 6 foot canes last year, leggy as can be. I pruned it down to nothing and fertilized it about a year ago. It looks like a real rose bush now. I can't believe it, I never have luck with roses.

My lame vine trellis. I was seriously considering crocheting something and sticking it up there. . . Maybe next year.

The gardenias are blooming by the front porch and they smell heavenly. We have a little bunny living there, but dh saw a cat chasing him Saturday and the hawks were all around on Sunday. Hope he makes it a awhile.

I didn't make it into the sewing room, what with all the doily-making and outside stuff, but my cats were in there raising cain all night. One of them got stuck in the bag (his head through the handle) with silk flowers and wooden beads, etc. and ran through the house trying to get it off. I've been finding stuff all morning. . .

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Doily Again

So here's another day's work on the doily. I think maybe y'all know by now that when I am learning something new I get a tiny bit obsessed. . .

Thanks to Stitchy Witch for making me feel not so alone. I guess it's words like *Doily* and *Antimacassar* that sets these men off?? A little lace never hurt anybody.

I must send you over to see this tutorial. It's for granny squares but the slip knot center ring part would have worked great on this doily I'm making.

Can you see how big my ring looks compared to the one in the pattern photo? Laura's tutorial shows you how to crochet around a slip knot so you can pull it up and tighten it -- sheer genius. She is also coordinating Rebuilding Greensburg Block by Block so go check her out. . .

I just found out I need a baby gift next week, so I'll work something up over the weekend. I still have a linen dress I want to make before we leave on vacation over Memorial Day. I would love to make a new swimsuit and a nightie/robe set too, but I think that is only a pipe dream at this point. Next week I'm hosting and organizing a neighborhood knitting group, so I'm excited about that. . .

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Thursday, May 10, 2007


I feel like I've got nuthin' for ya this week.

Here's the progress on the colorwork vest. I'm about to start binding off for the armholes. All the color combining is fun. It looks really different in the photo - maybe I need to start stepping back and viewing it from farther away.

Dh saw my *Year of Doilies* book and thought I had lost my mind and am in fact turning into his grandmother. What is wrong with that? I want to know. . .

And maybe I am, because I just can't see the damn thing. I had contacts in yesterday and it was all so tiny I couldn't tell what I was doing, plus I'm having tensioning issues. I'm determined to master it but I might have to go to the drugstore and buy some magnifiers before it's over. . .

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Podcast Rave

Yesterday I listened to Lori's new podcast, Sew Forth Now. She did an interview with Anne St. Clair of Needlenook Fabrics. It was all about knit fabrics -- structure, fiber content, sewing methods, etc. I've been sewing with knits for a long time, but still I learned a lot.

She talked about the best needles to use, interfacing your hems (must try that on my next Tshirt!), converting woven patterns to knits, etc. Give it a listen, y'all. Lori sounds so sweet in person too. . .

This week I'm planting most of my garden. We're also planning an addition to the master and kids' bathrooms, plus dh wants to add a garage (and buy a sportscar to go in it eventually, ahem). . . That means I'll be losing my gigantic rosemary bush.

It's hard to tell from the photo, but it's 5 feet high and 8 or 10 feet across. He says he'll relocate it for me, but I don't think it will be the same, it really likes that spot.

Speaking of giant plants, how's this for a poison ivy specimen?

My walks in the woods with ds now consist of me mostly yelling *don't touch that!*

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Ripple Finished

Stats: Caron Simply Soft (6 oz. skein 315 yds), 13 skeins -- 3 each of dark sage, lime, and bright blue, 2 each of dark red and country blue. Size H hook. Pattern: Double Crochet Chevrons from Jan Eaton's Encyclopedia of Crochet Techniques. Finished dimensions: 60" wide by 76" long. I crocheted two rows of each color, and had 65 stripes (so 130 actual rows). I estimate it took about an hour for each color change, and about an ounce of yarn for each.

He really loves it and slept under it last night. I tried to make the colors go with his room, but problem is, he wants to change it to a rainforest/jungle theme. So, I used a lot of green, his favorite color, which will look good when we change the room. Seems like I just made all the cowboy stuff, but it was four years ago. With the exception of the lampshade fading a bit, it still looks pretty nice. I'm going to try to put off this rainforest idea for another year at least.

Here's a shot that shows the colors better. I can't believe I finished such a big project, particularly since I learned to crochet two months ago. I've still got the cotton granny square blanket to work on, so I'll be going back to that. I picked up some small crochet thread and hooks the other day, so I might start some lace experiments too.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Last Bag

This is a teacher's gift for dd's teacher. I've never made one of these recycled jeans bags before, but I thought there was some special irony in making a bag out of the actual jeans that were worn practically every day to school this past year and giving it to her teacher. . .

I hate stretch denim. Look how the front edge ripples along the bottom where it stretched out while I was sewing the bottom gusset on. I should have ripped it out but I didn't. At least I'm giving it away so I won't have to look at it.

The back came out much better, no stretching. All the hand sewing was really hard, needling through stretch denim is impossible (callouses! sore fingers!).

And then I forgot that when you make a ribbon belt you are supposed to continue the ribbon around the back side because that part shows when you wear it. . . So I came up with a strip of red/blue for the back side of the belt.

Other than that I liked making it. I've been wanting to use this fabric for a long time and I loved the embroidery designs of the lanterns which I got from Sublime Stitching.

The little hula dancers are so cute.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sewing Meme

Today I'm going to start a sewing meme in honor of two of my friends from the Sew4Kids email list starting new blogs. I'm sew (!) excited to see them blogging!

Okay, the here's the question: What sewing project has brought you to tears?

My answer: I was a beginning sewer, pregnant, hormonal, and making a denim nursing top from an Elizabeth Lee pattern. I was almost finished with it and it was coming out just fine. I went to cut the buttonholes and I sliced right through the end of the buttonhole with my seam ripper, cutting all the way through the front edge of the shirt and the facing. . . I just could not believe what I had done. I cried and wadded it up and threw it at the wall and stayed out of the sewing room for at least a week.

Now of course I know to put pins over the ends of you buttonholes before you cut them. However, I made the mistake again about a year ago, even using pins. Somehow the seam ripper went over or under the pin. I have a buttonhole cutter that belonged to my grandmother, but it's too dull to work, but that is the best option to avoid the problem.

I thought it might be fun to find out when you have cried in the sewing room. I'm tagging Belinda and Sue. Go check them out!


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Long Slog

I'm getting there. Slowly. Very slowly. Actually, I've added 4 rows since that photo was taken. I think if I can work at least two rows per day, I might have it done in a week. I'm getting jealous of the ripplers who are making the scrappy ones, because it would be much more fun and interesting if you were pulling out a new color every time.

Even so, I can't keep the cats off of it and ds is very happy that I'm making something for him.

I've still got a Burda Plus dress on the back burner, and my Cute Book came yesterday, so dd wants me to make a few things for her. I think I'll get her to help me, they are just simple felt dolls, with a tiny bit of hand embroidery for the features. Who knows when that will get done?

I'm getting some plants in the ground this week. I'm trying to do it before we get some rain later in the week. I need to go to the garden center today for a few things. Problem is, I want to put up some twine strung on nails along the porch for my morning glories and moonvines. Dh has a big problem with my nailing on things, so he'll run out and buy some crappy trellises that fall over in the wind and make me use those. . . I'm already pouting. . .

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