Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wishing and hoping

Ever want to just start putting together a whole new look for your house?

Cottage charm living room - love the quilt on the sofa and the heart doors on the bookcase:

I've been gathering ideas on Pinterest for some time and I really want to make a cozy home.  The trouble is that I don't have a home anymore to make cozy.  Oh, sure, I have a place to live, but it's not really mine.  I'm not upset by this, but it does make me more mindful of once I get my own space again how I want it to look.

I think most people these days start off with hand-me-downs.  We did, and they have been wonderful.  Some things we got just because they were on sale.  Like my dishes.  Hubby was kind of hard to please, we had a VERY small budget, and we found two sets of dishes on clearance at Target.  They have served us well over the past 11 years, but I am ready to upgrade.  I am ready to save up and make a mindful purchase.  I am also ready to carefully consider the colors painted in my home and the furniture to fit into it.  I think most of the pieces I have I want to keep, and perhaps just paint or refinish.  Then there are the textiles - you know, the pillows, the throws, the comfy things to snuggle.  These things I have more control over now.  I can make them and store them, since that's really what I want to do.  I want them to be handmade, not mass produced.  I know my children have several blankets that were bought for them, and that's fine.  I just want the rest of my house to be handmade with love.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Updates from the grey skies

I just logged in to Ravelry, and found some improvements they have made on friends' projects.  It made me realize how terrible I am about updating my own project pages.  I update things here from time to time, but hardly ever update Ravelry.  I should, as it would be a help to others.  I use it regularly for new projects, or for looking up projects that I'm curious about.  I should update my own project pages to be the help to others that I so frequently look for myself.  I guess I'm just lazy, and rarely take the time to do it.  I am also horribly embarrassed by my pictures.  I can see the shot; I just can't always take it.  I also don't take pictures often enough.  For example, I was working on Common Bean, and finished it - bound off and everything.  Then when I started to stretch it out, I realized it was too small.  So I frogged the whole thing.  I looked and saw I had used the wrong size needle - I used a 6mm, when it called for an 8mm.  My solution, as I couldn't find my 8mm, was to use a 9mm.  I jumped from a size US 10 to a 13.  I probably should have used an 11, but I couldn't find it, I didn't want to go buy one, and I knew I had extra yarn.

It's now almost done, but I am behind.  I had tried to finish it by the 15th, so I would have one Christmas project done and ready, but I still have a few rows left and need to get finished with it.  There are a ton of other things that I need to do as well.  I have some items that I think I'm going to put up on Etsy, so look for that coming soon.  A friend has a light box, and he agreed to let me use his to photograph my stuff.  I just have to get a bunch of things done so I can take pictures.  That will be next week, and hopefully I can open my Etsy shop just in time for the holidays!

What are your plans for the holidays?  Anything exciting going on?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Getting Distracted

I keep getting distracted.  Although, part of it is not really my fault.  My sewing machine decided to become schizophrenic the other day, and I had to get new thread.  I am not sure if this will solve the problem.  I have also to replace the light bulb because it has taken it upon itself to go out when I sew, rather than stay on.   However, I can't find a light bulb locally to replace the current one, which means ordering it.  So, instead of working on my sewing projects (and for some reason they continue to accumulate), I have switched to knitting.  I have actually scaled back this year on things that I'm making for Christmas, or at least I think I have.  Here's my current list:

1. My brother's socks.  He always wants socks for Christmas, of the handknit variety.  He wears them and loves them, and I happily comply with the request.  This year, he really wants Wraptor.

These are incredibly unusual socks, and will take longer than normal to knit them because of their unusual construction.  I have only made a gauge swatch for these (really, she suggests it because of the unusual nature of the construction.  If it weren't for that, I really wouldn't do a swatch.)

2. Common Bean for my Sister-in-law.  I actually found the yarn, and then the pattern for this one.  I'm about halfway done with it, I think, and I hope to finish it up this week.  Then I can honestly say I have one gift done.

3. The quilt for the 'rents.  This one is tricky, because every time I think I'm about to get started good on it, something happens.  Like my tension going wonky.  But not consistently.

I did finish cutting the squares, and I'm now ready to sew them up.

4.  Socks for hubby.  I haven't chosen a pattern yet, but I did already pick out the yarn - it's a superwash wool in a worsted weight.  I think I may do Rye, but since I haven't cast on yet, it's still up for negotiation.

And then I sit here and color for a good 20 minutes.  I got one of those adult coloring books (adult meaning grown up, not X-rated in subject matter) and I borrowed a set of colored pencils from one of the kiddos and I colored.  And it wasn't even a lot, but the amount of detail is immense, so in order for it to look like an adult colored it and it wasn't scribbled, it takes time.  How about you?  What are you making for the holidays?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall has arrived!

The temperatures have dropped, and it's lovely.  The nights are getting cooler, and knitted things are needed.  Princess' sweater is finally done.  All I had to do is sew on the pockets.  That was trickier than it sounds.  The trouble was that I couldn't make them even.  Somehow, every time I would start to sew them on, one side of the pocket would work, and the other wouldn't.  I fixed that though.

So here's the finished modified Teagan.  It's a great sweater, and it fits wonderfully.  I'll get pictures with her wearing it soon.  She's already worn it and gotten it dirty (fall leaves) and so I need to wash it.  Again.  I fixed the pocket issue by crocheting them in.  Duh - it should have occurred to me to do that sooner.  The color is more like the picture below, and not as peachy as the one above.

That made attaching them not only easier, but faster as well.  And they are stronger than if I had merely sewed them on.  The extra strength is needed, because Princess loves to fill her pockets with rocks and things.  Go figure.

New Works In Progress:

This is a quilt, so don't be confused.  My parents have a queen size quilt from my great-grandmother that is currently falling to pieces.  My dad, have all the faith in the world in me, thought I could repair it, but alas, if only I could.  The fabric is worn out - not the seams.  So, the only thing to do is to replace it.  And that is exactly what I'm doing.  There is no way I could match the fabrics she used - that was from the 60's and 70's, and what I remember is horribly faded so even if I could find vintage fabric, finding the right colors would be near impossible.  Instead, I found some cotton locally and bought more than enough to piece together an easy 12" HST queen quilt.  HST is half square triangle for those of you who don't know.  I didn't know either until I got started doing this.  The stack on the left are the pieces that are already cut, and the stack on the right is yet to be cut.  I think there will be enough for the front and back, and I may buy the binding once I get there.  I still don't have the batting either.

This is an experiment for which my children picked the color.  It is a crochet project, and there is no pattern up for it - I have made it up on my own.  I try to keep a crochet project going along with my knitting projects, just because I enjoy the difference.  Once this is complete, I'll post a picture and some more details.

This is the first sock in a pattern for me that I received a while back.  They have never progressed passed this point, and I think I need to pick them back up.  The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in Indiecita, so you can't really go wrong.  I'm just not sure about the toe-up part.  I love the pattern, but toe-ups just don't have a stretchy enough bind off for my liking.  Any suggestions?

This is my first Multnomah.  A while back, a friend suggested this pattern to me.  Being finicky and ornery, I decided not to use it then.  However, it continues to haunt me, so I have finally broken down and started one.  Dearest Ginny always knows her socks and her shawls.  She knows her patterns very well, and I should have listened when she first suggested it.  The yarn on this one is Melody from JoJoLand.  It's my first time using it, as I just found it in my stash and I really wanted to use it NOW.

Hubby bought me this yarn a few years ago, in a super stash haul for Christmas.  He's a keeper.  I thought I'd make the Blueberry Waffle Socks with it.  There are more projects, but I thought I'd just pull these out and show you.  Maybe tomorrow?  It will still be raining, so who knows what will get done?

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Moving along

This is actually easier than I thought.  I thought it would be much harder changing the flat-written pattern into an in-the-round one, but really, it's not.  The directions are making it WAY easier than I anticipated.  I had tried to use another pattern to re-write it, but once I really read through this one, there is no need for the other one.  You can see where I am - I'm still working on the shoulder decreases for the sleeve cap and armscye.  The rounds take a while, as there are a lot of stitches, but really, it's working out quite nicely.  Once I realized how easy the conversion was going to be, I'm sticking close to the pattern, but knitting freely (as in unfettered by worry).  I hope that by next week, this will be off the needles and on the Princess.  Then, it's time for some Christmas crafts.  I have a quilt that I plan on doing for my parents, and I already have the fabric washed and dried.  It's waiting to be pressed, cut and sewn.  It will be a large quilt, a queen size, but the top needs to get done quickly.  Then the back and I will need to pick up the batting for it.  Once I have all the pieces, it will be time to layer them and pin them.  Can I tell you I'm a bit worried about that?  However, I think I may have some help.  My mother-in-law, with whom I now live, has quilted before.  She may be able to help me pin it.  Once I get over the "this-is-so-scary-because-I've-never-done-this-before-and-haven't-seen-it-done" factor, I'm sure it will be fine.  I am hoping that my newly serviced machine will be up to the challenge.  If not, I think I can handle that too, as I have options.  I can either hand-quilt it (massive amount of time) or there are a few places I can take it to have it done.  In either case, I hope to have it wrapped up by the end of October.  November will be for a pair of crazy socks, that may get some knitting time here and there, as socks are easily transported.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Quest Complete

I found my swift and ball winder.  Of course the box was hidden.  It was surrounded by boxes, with stuff piled on top of it.  And it took me about half an hour to find it.  But on Sunday, I did finish this:

I think the fringe turned out well.  Here's a modeled shot:

I think he's a good looking model, don't you?  But then, I'm a little biased.  I had to rip back on the pink sweater.

I think it's even less than this picture.  I took it back and started some more decreases.  I had stopped decreasing on the front, and I ripped back to add more.  I think I was going to end up with too many.  So, I'm working on it still.  Once it's done though, I think it will be great.  It's just a matter of getting the neckline right with the sleeves.  I think I can work it out.  It's getting to be sweater weather about where you are?

Friday, October 02, 2015


I think I found the answer to my problem.  This sweater:

should be completed in another week or so.  For whatever reason, I was having a mental block on how to proceed with the neckline, since I've basically just re-wrote the pattern.  I found my answer in another pattern (since all my knitting books that would give me how-to instructions are currently in a box somewhere) and I think now I can finish it.  I also have to block the curling scarf and then fringe it to death.  I will post a picture once that's done...for now, it's sitting in a plastic bag awaiting its fate.  It's an extremely rainy day here, courtesy of a hurricane from my understanding.  I don't know if it's a good day to block something, as it would take forever to dry, but maybe in the morning I can get it started.  In the meantime, there is fringe to be made and a sweater to be finished, and then the Christmas projects can begin.