December 31, 2009

Unwilling Models

On the last vacation break day I knit a new hat. Not for me - for the girl who works at JB's regular latte stand. I had knit a hat for her new baby and momma loved it so much, she requested a hat of her own. A week or so before Christmas I had a chance to visit a favorite yarn store a short drive away. I spotted a lovely hank of Araucania Aysen. This is a fabulously soft yarn made from silk, alpaca and merino. I loved the softly variegated colors and how girly it was. I chose to make Thorpe. It's a very easy hat pattern. I was going to go get a solid color to do the garter band and ear flaps, but I just made it all one color. I did do the half double edging. but I didn't add the braids. What I did do is add a chain of 60 stitches from the center of the ear flaps and then single crocheted back up. Makes a fun, curly "string" for tying the hat on. Unfortunately - bloodhounds don't have the right shape head for wearing hats. You can see that Lucy was less than thrilled with it.

December 29, 2009

Lookie What I Got!

Knit by The Princess

Yarn: Road to China Light

It's was her first "real" lace project and it's lovely. Soft, beautiful, wonderful knitting.

Couldn't ask for a better gift - now if I could just get cool enough to wear it!!

December 26, 2009

A Peak Into JB's Mind

Scary thought - I know! This is how one of my gifts looked on Christmas morning. Can you see the magic marker all over the wrapping paper? I'm pretty sure you can't read it - let me tell you what it says:
*It's amaxing what runs by the back yard.
"&" where u have to ship to for quality workmanship . . . "Aussies"
The Fex Ex guy doesn't like paw prints for signatures either. Good things there's 4 of us to vouch for package & the Australian Sheprd . . .
What a b*tch! Lucy set her strait tho, anyway Happy Holidays - Beau, Lucy, Abby & Duds
So this is how his crazy mind works. He had an entire story worked out. See that little blue lump in this photo? Over here -->
That's a "dead lamb" that was Lucy's.
So - the dogs found "sheep" running through the backyard. Killed it (there's evidence of that) and then shipped it off to Australia to get something made.
Apparently, the Australian woman they were dealing with wasn't very nice - but Lucy managed to set her straight. When the package was delivered - the Fed Ex guy was less than thrilled with a paw print signature - but he eventually left the package.
So what was in the package you ask? My new slippers!
Cloud soft Australian slippers. Love them! Funny, but sadly true, story. Hope your holidays are filled with crazy stories like this one.

December 24, 2009

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas I'm glued to the tree. I'm wondering what Santa has brought for me...
Could it be fat quarters or a pattern or lace? Or a quilt kit, I said with a smile on my face.
And that's when I heard him "Hi Santa," I said." You know...good little girls should be in their beds."
"I know I should, Santa and now I've been caught. But I was just so excited to see what you brought."
"Well, let's take a look in this room where you work. "He shook his head quickly And left with a jerk.
I heard him exclaim as he put it in gear "You've got enough stuff, I'll see you next year!"
A friend sent me this lovely poem. I hope that Santa brings you just enough of the right stuff. Merry Christmas to all.

December 22, 2009

Christmas Questions

There is a fun little set of holiday questions going around the blog world and since I haven't done much sewing - I felt like playing along. Have you started your shopping? Yes. I tend to be one of those really annoying people who do a lot of my crafty stuff really early - like January. Then I try to shop all year - when I see something I know somebody will like I pick it up. The problem I have these days is that I can't remember what safe place I put the gifts in. What is one of your special traditions? Every year on Thanksgiving we start a jigsaw puzzle. It's a family affair and everyone who's at the house has to help. The only condition is that the puzzle have Santa in it somewhere. Are you a Black Friday shopper? No! I've gone maybe once or twice. But really I hate crowds and I'm just not that into it. When do you put up your tree? Since we starting having a "live" tree about 5 years ago, we purchase our tree early in December, but it stays outside with lights until around the 23rd.
Do you travel at Christmas or stay home? Well last year we travelled and this year we are staying home. I like being home - it felt weird to not be home at Christmas - didn't feel very Christmassy at all. What is your favorite Christmas movie? I love "It's a Wonderful Life" and make my family watch it on Christmas Eve every year. I also really enjoy all three of The Santa Clause movies. Do you like Christmas baking? What is your favorite? I don't bake. I cook, but I do not bake. JB is the baker in our house. He's good - but he doesn't do Christmas baking. I will occasionally make a whack of mini loafs of quick breads, but that's about it.
Do you have a fake or real tree? Not only do we have a real tree, we have a living tree - in a pot with feet and everything. After Christmas JB plants it in the yard. I think I'm going to start leaving ornaments in the tree with the year on them.
Are you wrapping on Christmas Eve? Yep! Generally I pass off everything to JB - except what's for him. I'm a horrible wrapper - because really I just don't care. JB loves pretty packages with beautiful bows and enjoys doing it - so I let him have the pleasure. What is your favorite Christmas music? I love, love, love - Garth Brook's album Call me Clause. It's lovely. My favorite songs - Carol of the Bells. Hands down every time. As others I've seen answering these questions - I've put in photos of some of my favorite Christmas decorations. The little snow puppy over there? It's an old starbucks ornament. I love it. There's a snow man walking his snow puppy. I had to move it away from bloodhound lips because Lucy thought it was new dog toy I put out for her. Isn't the dog eating a puppy a form of cannibalism?

December 21, 2009

Last Minute Holiday Crafts

I've been fighting a sore throat and a cough all week. But for some reason when I got off the bus Friday night I was inspired. I went straight to JoAnn's and bought some supplies for the project in my mind. Over the summer I made some triangle bags. For some reason I thought they would be really cute and work great as notions bags in clear vinyl. For some reason - I did not write down the dimensions this summer when I made them. This is a little long and not really wide enough - but it's being gifted anyway. Horrible - eh? First I inserted the ribbon using a reinforced zig zag. The I sewed the end seams with the wrong sides together. I stitched them also with a reinforces zig zag. Then I pressed some wide ribbon in half and stitch it over the seams with a reinforced straight stitch. The little bag is clear - making it easy to see which notions you have.

December 20, 2009

Where I Sew

Carolyn posed the question on her blog - Where do you sew? Do you face the wall or the window?
Well - when I first moved the studio to the basement - I had my machines facing the window out into the dog yard. But then, I found out that Lucy would eat stuff if I left the room or went out of town to retreat. So, when I rearranged the furniture to be able to block her out - I put the desk with my machines on it in the middle of the room, facing neither the window or the wall. I face the room. When I'm standing at the cutting table - I face the wall - but there's also a window right there.
So - where do you sew and does your "view" inspire you or keep your production down?

December 19, 2009

Knit Minders

How about a quick little tutorial with crappy pictures? So those of you who knit know that sometimes it's hard to keep track of your place in your pattern. But you don't always have a magnet board with you. So - what else can you do? Use a knit minder - it's a two-sided magnet that will stick to itself through a piece of pattern to help you keep your place. So - let's make one, shall we?
What you need: Strip magnet, generally comes with sticky stuff on one side. Peel and stick adhesive, and ribbon slightly wider than your magnet. First, cut your magnet to the length you want. I like mine to be the size of a piece of patter - so these were cut about 8 1/2" long. You need two strip for each minder. Before you cut the second strip, stick it to the first one - paper sides out. It's important to do this before you adhere the ribbon to make sure your magnets are polarized properly and will actually stick together. Otherwise you could end up with a minder that looks like this. Ask me how I know.
Pull the paper off one piece of the magnet strip and carefully adhere your ribbon to the magnet. Slowly put the ribbon down and smooth it out. Leave about an inch on one end of the magnet. With the ribbon still attached to the spool, turn the magnet strips over and pull the paper off the second magnet strip. Leave about a 1 1/2" piece of ribbon before you start adhering the ribbon to the second magnet strip. Again - leave about an inch of ribbon at the end of the magnet strip.
Place a small piece of the peel and stick adhesive to the wrong side of the ribbon, pull the paper off the peel and stick and adhere the ribbon to the wrong side of the magnet strips.
And here's a bunch of finished knit minder sets. There are 2 knit minders per set, each with different coordinating ribbons. The short one is about 9" long and the long ones are about 11 1/2" long - to be able to keep your place depending upon the orientation of the graph.
Enjoy.

December 18, 2009

Done and Done!

Wednesday night I finished the knitting on the lime green stocking. Thursday night I braided the cast on tail and the a few other strands I added to make the hanging loop and tassel. I need to get some better photos. Here they are hanging from my "mantle." I refuse to put them in the living room where the tree will be because the mantle in that room is simply a 2X6 above the fireplace. Then we hung the plasma over it. Plus I have long wanted a set of 4 stocking hangers - I finally found one and everyone is grown. Looking at the stockings together I don't care for the lime. While the colors all looked great in hanks sitting together - I think the lime is too bright for the others. Now to finish Christmas. UGH! Hope your holidays preparations are merry and you are enjoying the season. I feel like I'm running around like a chicken these days.

December 10, 2009

We Interrupt

Abby

our normally scheduled Dogs on Thursday to bring you a public service announcement. My mom said I should stop by and tell you all about
it's a website where you can find coupon codes. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't
but Mommy was able to get 15% off her total order at Fabric.com
and Thor's Momma saved $5.
Happy Shopping!
(don't forget to add the dogs to you list)

December 9, 2009

It's Not My Fault!

Seriously! It's so not my fault. I know some of your eyes will be glazing over - but I'm rather excited. See - I've been sewing for years. Finally - I've reached a point where my clothing doesn't scream "Hey you - look over here - I made this myself." 80% of what I wear, I made. I was at my new job for 6 weeks before either of the girls knew that. Sew - who's fault is it you ask? Carolyn's. Yep - see, I've been reading her blog since day 1. I love her style, the way she sees something and just goes for it. She's not afraid of anything - at least not when it comes to sewing. So, I've been working on perfecting my skirt pattern. Getting a better fit and changing the pattern up to make it different. But I stick to what I consider "safe" fabrics, cotton, denim, twill. All very comfortable, easy to sew and forgiving. Wool scares the beejeezus out of me. Earlier this week or at the end of last week - Carolyn posted about fabric.com having a sale. I just got 7 pieces of wool for $80! There enough to make 5 skirts and 2 sheath dresses - or 7 skirts! I love that plaid wool suiting that I used as the photo for this post. So - do you think I can actually sew wool? Wish me luck.

December 8, 2009

Never-Ending Birthday

While on vacation I received yet another birthday package. This time from Bonnie. I was so excited!
On top of the fabulous book and two lovely yards of cotton fabric - she also sent me a fabric luggage tag (check out the link to her name - mine has lemons!).
Thanks Tres Bon Babble - love it! Can't wait to have time to play.

December 4, 2009

Carolyn Skirt - Variation on a Theme

The pattern for this skirt started life as Simplicity 5914. I have had this pattern for years and made it several times. Always right from the envelope. The first time I made it The Princess was still in high school, she's been out now for 5 years. Last week Bonnie posted a super cute skirt that she made. I loved it. Had to have one. And since reading your comments about jeans, I decided maybe the way to go was to make some casual skirts for work. (And I swear I wore hose, but they were shredded and I ditched them when I got to knitting.) Anyway. The fabric is a stretch twill with a huge amount of stretch. I cut the skirt on the lengthwise grain so the stretch went up and down rather than around. I quit literally made this skirt 4 times on Sunday. Just this one - there aren't 3 other versions. Sad, no? I started with the simplicity pattern, traced the pattern taking about 2" of flare out of the seams surrounding the front and back pieces. I now you can't see it, but this is a standard a-line, 6-gored skirt. 2 pieces, center front/back cut twice on fold and side piece cute 4 times. So I only took the flare out of the front/back and one side of the side panel. I put a lime green zipper in it and tried it on. Too much flare on side/side seams. Took it off, took about 4" off the bottom of the side seams. Tried it on again, not too bad. I used a lime green gross grain ribbon to face the zipper and sewed it to the bottom to give the hem some weight. Went outside to show JB - he thought the green was hideous! Went back in the house - took skirt off, threw it on the ironing board and went to cook dinner. Sunday I decided to try again. I stated by ripping. All the ribbon had to come off, the the zipper. Then I had to press everything, dig around for a different zipper and start over. Put in the brown separating zipper. Tried it on - still too much flare - seriously?! Took out just a smidge more flare at the bottom and took the seams in at the waist about an inch and a half. Good! Dug through my cottons stash and found a print with a brown background. Cut 5" strips that I seamed to make long enough. Faced the zipper and hem with the cotton print. I also cut the facings from the same print. Very happy with the skirt. Not so happy with how the photos look. Plus can I just say - I tried this one several times in the process, when I got dressed for work on Wednesday with my control top hose - it was too big. A good 2" extra at the back waste. Dang!!

December 3, 2009

Seriously? Dude!!

Last weekend - as my vacation was winding down - I finally got my arse down into the studio and made some new skirts.
I wore the first one yesterday and when I got home from knitting last night. I asked JB to take some photos so I could blog the skirt. While I was working in the kitchen and JB was taking photos - Beau did what he does almost every day when I get home from work.
Walked right up to me and stuck his head up my skirt. Seriously? Dude!!

December 1, 2009

One Down - 3 To Go!

Stocking that is! The foot looks a bit squat and wide - but it would be huge if it was proportional.
My knitting was so tight that I added 32 stitches to the cast on. Well - if you all have been paying attention - you know I like details in odd numbers - so that added 1 snowflake to the top making 3 visible.
I also did 5 rows of the tiny snowflakes rather than the 4 the pattern calls for. I moved stitches around to center the heel over the cast on. Then I worked the foot in the main color and the toe in white.
I copied someone else on Rav and added the little border detail to outline the foot and toe. I added some extra yarn to the top and braided it together with the tail left from the cast on, tied a knot and left a fringe. Then I stitched it securely to the sock for hanging. I've already started on the purple one.

November 30, 2009

What I Did on Vacation

Bread! I finally made bread. Both of the loaves here are from the first basic recipe in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Easy as pie and just as good! It took me about 15 minutes to mix the basic dough. JB was a doubter. He said it didn't look like any bread his grandma ever made. On baking day (the dough will keep in the fridge for up to 14 day) you whack off a lump of dough, shape it and let it rest for 40 minutes. Preheat the oven and then it only bakes for 35 minutes. The traditional loaf shape needs to rest for longer than 40 minutes. But it still only bakes for 35. I don't have any non-stick bread pans so I baked this in a glass pan. It did stick a little bit on the bottom. Sunday night I might a chicken and wild rice soup from our left over T-day dinner (I made Cornish game hens) and served it with the bread. There's less than a third of the loaf left. I'm quite enjoying this.

November 27, 2009

Let's Wrap This Up.

Okay - the final two pairs from pile o' socks. First up: Wisteria Waterfalls (pattern: Waterfall by Wendy Johnson). Cast On: May 8 Cast Off: May 17 - that's more like it! Needles: 2.00mm 47" circular - two at a time, toe up. Yarn: Mini Mochi. The yarn was a gift and I love the colors and how soft it is. I hate that it doesn't have a twist. It's rather like what I would expect knitting with roving would be like. I wish I had matched the stripes up. Because I have a thing for odd numbers, I modified the stitch pattern to have 5 lace patterns running up the foot. To do this and not make them huge - I decreased the number of stitches between the lace. All notes can be found in Rav. The final pair is Creative Mystery (pattern: Mystery Sock 2009 by Kristen Kapur). Cast On: October 12, 2009 Cast Off: November 7, 2009 Needles: 2.00 mm 47" circular, two at a time, top down. Yarn: Creatively Dyed Ocean. this yarn was gifted to me by Channon for my birthday last year. I put the yarn aside because I've decided I really don't like multi-color yarns. However, this one just has little tiny spots of color. To me - it doesn't say multi-color so much as a semi-solid. It's fabulous. I don't know why I put it aside so long. In fact, I probably would have forgotten about it altogether. Except another Rav Friend told me how fabulous this pattern was. So - I sent her into my virtual stash and had her pick a yarn. She picked out 5, I pulled them all and had JB pick one of those. So this pair was a true mystery and I loved every minute of it! thanks girls. So - did I get them all?

November 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S. I got up this morning with a kink in my neck. When I went downstairs to get the dogs up - I was greeted by a puddle. I threw the dogs outside for about an hour while I considered moving out or selling the dogs. Then I let them in and fed them. Today I am reminding myself of all the reasons I am truly blessed. These 4 <--- over there. Miss L, JB, The Princess and The Musical One. While they can all make me crazy at time - I'm very lucky to have 4 wonderful people in my life.
My ability to create - it helps keep me sane and grounded. The four hounds. I'm thankful that we are financially able to fix them when necessary. They bring me far more joy than grief. I'm blessed to have one goober boy who chose me. I lucky to have enough. We landed on our feet after a rough summer. I have a job that pays the mortgage and a husband who loves me. It's good.

November 25, 2009

Grape Leyburn

According to Ravelry I started this pair on April 7th and finished them on May 3rd. The pattern is Leyburn and it's a freebie. It's a great pattern that uses slipped stitches and floats to create a pattern. Just be careful to keep your floats really lose over your heel - otherwise you can't get them on. Don't ask how I know. As is my usual - these were knit toe up, two at a time, using 2.00 mm 47" circular needle. The yarn is Malabrigo sock in the grape colorway. The color is truest on the mini pair. This yarn is really soft and thin. The socks are super warm. but I'm not sure how well the Malabrigo sock will wear as socks - it might be better suited to stoles. For the record - the socks actually fit me. I was just in a huge hurry to get 5 or 6 pairs of socks on and off, cook dinner and get everyone fed before we had to get the Princess on a flight and she was snap happy!

November 24, 2009

We Interrupt This Parade

to bring you this public service announcement. Go See this Movie! JB and I are on vacation this week. While we chose to "fix" the dog earlier this year and forgo the big 50th birthday bash in Philly - we still took vacation. For some reason we only see movies while on vacation.
Today we went and saw The Blind Side. This movie was fabulous. It was about football without being about football. It was a chick flick - but not so much that JB didn't enjoy it. It's based on a true story and I for one will be paying much more attention to the Raven's #74 this Sunday while football is on.
Sandra Bullock was wonderful, strong and believable in the role. There were plenty of times when I was choked up during the movie and it held my attention enough that I put my knitting down. If you go see it - let me know what you think.

November 23, 2009

The Next Float Is. . . .

Koigu Cloverleaf Socks! My friend VeeDogKnits send me the pinkish red Koigu for my birthday a year or so ago. I love Koigu - the colors the twist - I mean really, what's not to love? After caking this yarn up I looked through my knit stitch a day for something to wake the sock up a bit. I chose the cloverleaf cable. I started at the toes and was halfway up the foot when I freaked out thinking there wouldn't be enough of the red koigu to finish the socks. So I searched my LYS for another hank or two of a contrast color to work with the red. I went with yellow - there was a fair bit of yellow in the red. I believe accents should come in three (it's a sewing thing) so these socks have yellow toes, afterthought heels and cuffs. If you remember - I was worried about not having enough yarn for nothing - I had plenty left over and made VDK a matching short pair!

November 20, 2009

Let The Parade Begin

You might remember that this summer I made JB more socks - after swearing that he was no longer hand-knit sock worthy. Well - when you make short little ankle socks - those knit picks balls go pretty far. So - after winding one ball off so I
could make the stripes match - I started a pair of Channon's heel huggers.
I got almost to the heel - about 3 rows from grafting when I ran out of yarn! UGH! So down to the sock stash in the Studio and up I cam with the some dark grey. You can tell that the heel and cuffs are a different yarn, if you look really - really closely. But who's looking that close? Since the socks were so dark, I decided to do a rolled edge rather than the picot edge as designed. Channon liked the idea so much - she added it to her pattern!

November 19, 2009

AJ

Abigail Jane - thinks everything in life is about her.
Is she wrong?
Which of your dogs has to be the center of attention?
this isn't the post I had planned
but I didn't feel like vacuuming to get the required photos
so - you'll just have to wonder what it is.
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