Sunday, August 09, 2015


Two things.  OK

1.  I have been sewing a lot of hexagons.  I sat down with a 10 year old friend and did some math.  To get a 56" square quilt (10 year old by 10 year old sized), I'll need a stultifying number of gray hexagons.  And something like a countably infinite number of print hexagons (not-gray).   So, they were starting to get a little unwieldy.  It was getting a little risky to reach into the stack to try to find the one with the needle left in it.

Here's the pattern I'm working toward.  I'm calling it "hydrocarbon" in my head.  It is easier to see in a direct overhead shot.

The Hexie Plan?

2.  I bought a lot of 36 zippers on eBay.  They were 99 cents but the shipping was $12.  (it is OK to laugh at me.)  It was unnecessarily fast shipping.   They are mostly nylon sport-type zippers, tending towards the 7 and 9" size range.

I did what any sane person would do.  OK.  I did what any person with 36 zippers and 1/2 a square yard of hexagons and a bunch of unearthed stash and scrap fabric would do.  I started saving zipper pouch tutorials on pinterest and sewed some.  That is where the bootstrapping in the title comes in.  I don't know what it is called otherwise to use your hobby to make tools to use while you do your hobby.

Here's the first.  A Noodlehead Open Wide Zippered Pouch  Made more from the steps than the measurements.  The fabric on the zipper tab is on the inside.  This one holds the finished hexies.

New Big Mouth Pouch

Here's the second.  It is from a box pouch tutorial  Again.  More from the steps than the measurements.  It is clever.  I wanted the edges to be finished on the inside.  I need to think about that.  French seams where possible and maybe binding tape on the edges where it is not.  This one has the thread, scissors, paper templates and unsewed hexagons and the last finished hexie with the needle stuck in it.

New Box pouch

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hexagons and Instagram

So.....I recently bought an iPad Mini.  For a software engineer, I'm kind of a Luddite.  But, the last time I went to India for work, my daughter lent me her iPod.  Wi-Fi was pretty available, at least in the hotel, and it was really nice to be able to facetime with home.  And I've been kind of borrowing my husband's iPad a lot.  And with two kids, it's nice to have two devices to hand out on car trips.

So, anyway.  I joined Instagram.  One of the neat things has been seeing what's out there in the world.  I've been seeing someone make paper pieced hexagons.  I don't know what she's making with them, but they're great.  (hopefully this embed works.)
A photo posted by Kate Basti (@katebasti) on

So, I looked up how to do it.   Template and tutorial are here.    Here's what I've made so far:
Basted Hexes

And here's what's next in line.
Hexagons to be

Apparently, this is a process project.  I'm not sure what they're going to be.  I've been craving some not-knitting handwork and this is fun so far.  When it gets tedious, I'll sew them together into something.

I'm going to try not to buy fabric for this, but I've kind of been thinking about these w.r.t. grayscale or low volume fabrics.  Or a riot of colors.  We'll see.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Wrapping things up

I started a project in February 2013.  I finished it in May.  Now I'm blogging the FO in June.

It was going to be Sonnenblume, which has a beautiful lace motif.   I got it to the part where the lace was ready to start and left it there for like 2 years, waiting for a time when I'd be ready to decipher the chart and just do it.


I got to a point this spring where I was between projects so I picked it up and looked at the chart again.  It has patterning on both sides.  The work, where I left off, had more stitches than I can really count.  OK, technically I can count that high, but I almost never do. So, anyways, I wasn't even sure if the thing was at the exactly right number of stitches for the pattern.

So I did what any sane person would do.  I improvised.

First, I kept knitting with the 4 increases for a while.  Until I couldn't stand it anymore.

Then I swatched a couple of simple lace patterns and looked through Ravelry for something pretty and uber-simple.  I found Eyelet Lace Shawlette and Black Death and maybe a few others.

The initial pattern for the increases is this:
Row 1:  K1 YO K to 1 before center.  YO K1 YO K to 1 before end YO K1.

Row 2:  K1 P to 1 before edge K1  (the edges might have been purled.  Not sure.)

I decided to do:

Row 1:  K1 YO *K5 YO* [repeat til 1 before center, fudging as necessary with remainders] YO K1 YO *K5 YO* YO K1
Row 2:  K1 P to 1 before edge K1.

When I got to a good number of repeats and the rows were getting really long, I used a picot bind off.   The bind off was super tedious.  So I took breaks more than I should have - and it turned into a big mess and I broke the yarn when I was trying to figure out what was going on with it.

Blue Wrap

Basically, the whole project was fraught with mis-steps and issues all along the way.  But, it is pretty and soft and will be a nice thing to have.  

Saturday, May 09, 2015

My favorite mug

When I got back from India, I posted the following on Facebook:

Nice to be back home again on a Saturday morning. Up early making cupcakes with Ellie, drinking coffee that my husband made, in a cup my mom threw.
This is the cup.
My favorite mug

My mom made it in 2007.  She's been doing pottery since I was little (and I am currently in my early to mid 40s).  There's a lot going for this cup other than the fact my mom made it:  it is nicely made, a pretty color and holds a perfect amount of coffee (although some weekend mornings I need 2 cups.)

It's nice to use something that my mom made - it feels connected to her.  And I like that it' is used in everyday life.  This is not something you take out only when it's Thanksgiving.  This is something I try to use (if it's clean) on any day I don't need to use a travel mug.  It may not have been made specifically to be an heirloom, but might end up as one if I don't break it by accident before then.  Actually, maybe I should ask her to make another one just like it so no one has to fight over this one.

My parents are both make things and it is neat to live in a makers' house.  They made things like coffee cups and curtains, desks and shelves.  In almost every room, you can look and see something they figured out and put together.  I remember noticing it one day when I was in high school or college and thinking it was neat.  I brought it with me - I like that you can look around my house and see things that I made and we are using.  You can look around my house and even see things that my mom and dad made and that my grandfather made (I may be stereotyping, but aircraft mechanics are not stingy with the fasteners.  I will show you sometime.)

One of the examples that makers-as-parents set is that trying stuff is good.  They can also set the example that coming up with a plan before you start is good too.  There's a time and a place for each - it depends on if it is important to end up with a certain thing when you're done.   Oh and other lessons:  there are times when neatness counts, sometimes it doesn't matter if you're doing something wrong as long as you stick to being consistently wrong in the same way.

Then there's the practicing the craft.  All through my childhood there would be one or two nights a week for like an 8 or 12 or 16 week session where she would be at pottery or upholstery or something.  I think she started taking pottery with some of her friends at a high school's community education program - probably on a lark.   She stayed with it.  She's studied at a few different studios.  Due to family situations and scheduling, she was on hiatus for a while.  But, she is back to taking pottery again and she enjoys it.  This is great to see.