Thursday, September 28, 2006

2 days in a row!

Whoda thunk?

I got out the sewing machine last night - La went to bed a little early, and I cranked some stuff out before Project Runway (another whoda thunk - no one was eliminated?)

I made the fleece sleeping bag "liners" for DH and the monkey. (no pics). And I trimmed up and did the binding on the nephew quilt. Here it is finished:

IMG_5313 I'm pretty happy with it. It's bound with that prepackaged nylon blanket edging stuff. It's not for the faint of heart. It gets all buckled and it's hard to do the corners and I'm sure if I look at it funny, it'll fray it's pants right off. But here's my rationale. It's a baby quit. It's an experience in texture and color for the baby, right? That's why the colors are a little loud, and the back is flannel (soft), and the egde is that nylon blanket edging (slippery/silky). Once I squared it up and put on the binding, it was like it all came together. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Along about the quilting phase I was having some serious doubts. The edges were all crazy, I wasn't sure about my quilting strategy. But, I think it's OK.

I even had a little time to sew up some of the coins for the Chinese coin quilt that are cut out and ready. I'm at a phase, though, where not much is cut out and ready to sew (but I did clear the stack a little) and the next step is ironing and cutting (blech.) I think I have a plan for the quilt for LaLa. I've been wandering though the quilt pictures on Flickr. Quite inspirational. So, anyway, next up for the sewing machine are finishing the green/yellow quilt, pajama pants for Lala, a dress for LaLa, quilts for La and the Monkey, and then inserting other things as they arise - bags, pajama pants for nephews, a remote caddy for the arm of the couch, grocery bags (these were both requests from DH), a couple other quilt ideas I've got....stuff like that.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I forgot to show you guys this - I made a sleeping-bag sheet for DH last weekend. I don't think he likes the sheet we used very much, but it was on clearance at Target, and I figure it'll be dark when he's using it. All it is is a twin sheet, folded in half, sewn across the bottom and halfway up the side. I made one for the Monkey the first summer he went to summer camp and now he uses it all the time. It's hardly ever cold enough here to warrant a full-fledged sleeping bag on a camping trip. My mom made something similar for us when we went to camp. I have fleece to make a similar thing for both DH and the monkey.

sleeping bag liner

I finally was feeling better enough to try the Shetland Triangle again. I did the first chart Monday night. Except DH kept changing the channel to Studio 60 from football and I ended up one stitch short at the end. Poop. I seriously debated whether to keep going or rip it back. I ended up ripping it back and doing it again last night. Success! I counted the stitches every couple of rows to make sure that I was still on track (and it's a good thing too!) I decided that knitting lace is probably for people who are able to balance their checkbook to the penny. Me? I have about a $400 difference between the bank and Quicken. (Quicken says less, so that's what I go by.) And I'm OK with that. If we ever have to change banks, it'll kind of suck, but I don't have any plans for that right now.

Here's a crummy picture of how it is now:

I like the yarn, I think. It's not great - it's a little splitty and it's slippery softness is a double edged sword. I think it'll be a nice end result, but it's a little tricky to work with.

Also on the needles:
Jaywalkers for my sister - ready to do the gusset. Will probably pick it up again soon.

Sweater for the monkey - bottom up. Nearly finished with the first ball of yarn, almost halfway to the armpits.

Garter stitch scarf - on the second ball of yarn, probably out of three.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

M is for Making: Messes and Muffins

First, let me say that the boys are camping this weekend. The troop is on a canoe campout where they have their stuff in "pickle" buckets in the canoes. They canoed several miles this morning to get to their campsite. Then they break camp in the morning and continue their canoe trip, presumably arriving at the mini-van convoy for their trip home. From what I hear 4 boys(2 canoes) from the monkey's patrol capsized today in two independant incidents. Three of the kids' stuff got soaked for one reason or another. One of those kids with soaked stuff is the monkey. Poor kid. He really didn't want to go on the camping trip in the first place.

Second, let me say that I have an ear infection (I'm surprised it wasn't strep. My throat hurt like the dickens when I went in, not my ear.) And we've been having some bizarre medical situations with our parents - DH's mom (who has early-onset Alzheimer's) is being "evaluated" at the psychiatric ward of the hosptial - she wasn't playing nice with her friends at the ALF, and it got to a point where it was affecting the other residents and it was too much for the staff to handle, and blah, blah, blah. Every night this week at dinner, DH has had a story about either (a)bureaucratic run-arounds with legal stuff (guardianship, medical proxies, etc.), (b)his mother hallucinating, (c)plans for the future (does she go back to her old ALF? Is it time for skilled nursing?) And in other news my dad recently discovered that he has prostate cancer. The good news is that they caught it early and it doesn't seem to be anyplace else, the bad news is that it's cancer. That's been kind of a lot to digest.

Well, what I'm getting to is, it's been a few weeks since I been doing the "nightly living room sweep" before bed. And I'm pretty selective about what chores I do when it's just me and La for the weekend. It'll probably take an hour, hour and a half to get the place picked up to a reasonable level, and that will probably happen Sunday. I'm very nearly to the point where I can't stand it. This is what the living room looks like today. The aisleway by the dining room table is also difficult to navigate.

La and I made blueberry muffins today. Well, La, Betty Crocker and I did. She poured everything in and did most of the mixing and put the muffin papers in the tin. Not bad for age 3. AND! She could tell me how many eggs to put in. Either by reading the label under the picture of eggs or by counting the eggs in the picture.

Here's what else I made today [pros and cons of a 4 hour nap - lots of time in the afternoon to do stuff. But the kid can't fall asleep until 10pm.] I began quilting my nephew's quilt! It's a little over halfway done.


Here it is with the new, improved backing fabric:

Not much in the way of knitting to report. I've been having trouble with garter stitch lately. I found my Wrap Style book. It was in my laptop case. I did bring it to work to photocopy, and brought it home again. (duh.) I lost the batting that I bought for the above quilt. (Maybe if I put things away?) I used the batting I bought yesterday for the impromptu yellow and green quilt, figuring that the other one would show up in time for me to use it for the yellow and green. I bought material for the yellow and green quilt. Turns out it wants to be a girl quilt. Solid pale pink for the border. Pink with frogs for the back (Robert Kaufman, scroll down to the bottom). Oh, and I picked up some Paton's yarn. SWS and merino to try out.

I finally frogged this scarf IMG_5118 and am reworking it. Still garter stitch, but horizontal. I like it a lot better this way.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Shoot, man. It's been such a long time since I've posted about my crafting....

that it's hard to remember where I left off.

I feel like we need to have a "Last time on Frog Monkey..." synopsis like they do on The West Wing and other complicated plot shows.

Well, let's just go through the photos I uploaded to Flickr, shall we?

1. The nephew quilt. No photo of this, but when I washed the backing for my nephew-to-be's quilt, I washed it with another piece of flannel that I was considering piecing it together with. That stupid piece of flannel bled on my pretty duckies. I could not believe it. I reviewed the quilt sandwich process and started thinking about putting it together last night, but decided that the imperfect flannel just wouldn't do (this is partly on the advice of my perfectionist sister, and (surprisingly) against the advice of my usually "just so" husband). So, La and I hit Joann's this morning and found lots of good stuff. We found some flannel for the back that was even more perfecter. Two choices even. Both pick up the colors in the front and have decidedly boy themes. One with trucks and one with trains. They're both clean and ready for a decision.

2. I finished my socks! (My sister is getting the jaywalkers.) I finished sock 1 last Friday at work and was so desperate to start sock 2 that I made a yarn needle out of a paperclip. Not a high precision instrument, but will work in a pinch. I started Sock 2 last Friday and worked on them through a lot of the Lake Howell vs. Lake Brantley football game. The Monkey made his marching band debut at "Middle School Night" with Lake Howell's band. Frankly, it was disturbing to me (a) to sit on the band parents' side of the line and (b) how little marching band has changed since 1989. Well, no one played Peter Gunn, and the other band played "Dr Who" (which is "after my time"). I finished Sock 2 in under a week - I think on Thursday.


3. In other FO news, I finished a trio of hats.


This one is done, but not photographed. It's also really a cranberry color, not that crazy pink you might be seeing. It's City Lights yarn - got a grab bag from Patternworks a while ago and it's been marinating since. The texture is interesting. The hat features a rolled brim followed by a 2x2 rib, similar to Alison's green and yellow hat on the free patterns page. It's for a charity. Don't know which one yet - I'm open to suggestions. It was inspired by Fig and Plum (Sep 7 and Sep 10). I'm thinking about making a scarf to go with it - the cranberry is less than ideal for the neck of a scarf, but I'm thinking about making that zig-zag one from Scarf Style with the red towards the end and a more comfy yarn in the back-middle.


And here, modeled by Coffee Cup is a doll hat and a toddler sized hat for a little girl - a friend of a friend. They are in Cotton Ease. The little girl hat also has a bit of the roll-brim combined with rib, but only 3 rows of stockinette and then the 2x2 rib. I tried like heck to embroider something on the hat, but it was drowning in dorkiness. I still kind of think it needs something, but I'm just not sure what.

4. Hey Look! It's another FO!


The curtains for LaLa's room. She has a sliding glass door for a window. I have no idea if I went about making tab-top drapes the right way, but they seem to work fine. They could probably use a lining on the back - but they're probably OK. Turns out these were mostly done. All they needed were the top and bottom hem on one panel and the tabs sewn on. Within an hour of finishing them, DH was putting up the rod - she had verticals in the room before. La seemed to be very pleased with them.

5. An impulse quilt!


This is made out of the leftover blocks that I cut out for my SIL's baby quilt, and I believe it's destined for Project Linus. It's from before I changed the palette, adding red and orange to the gift quilt. It's still not really a palette I would have picked out, but I'm starting to appreciate it. The colors feel soft and gentle to me, and I guess there's a place for that, but that's not usually my approach to kid projects. My usual strategy is to aim for "fun and exciting", and I think that comes in with the disorder of the block layout. It'll be about 31x36" when I square up the right side. I'm not sure what to put on the back. That ducky flannel that I had for SIL's quilt would be perfect, if it weren't smudged with blue. I also like the blue that I have for the edge of SIL's quilt, except it doesn't have that flannely fuzz. I think it needs something delicate and soft for the back - maybe a solid baby blue flannel or a smallish regular print.

Current and future projects?

I'm working on the sweater for the monkey:

Jaywalker socks (no new photo.)

Still anticipating the Shetland Triangle (Thanks for your help!)

I picked up a slew of remnants at Joann's today for new bags. I've started matching the fabric to aunts.

For some reason, I just really want to make a pair of mittens. Don't ask me why. They're quick? They're mostly stockinette in the round? They're fun? They're kind of interesting? I get to use my favorite DPN on them? Who knows. All of the above?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

You wanna hear a sad story?

I've been thinking longingly about the Shetland Triangle from Wrap Sytle. I found delightful yarn (K1c2 Ambrosia) at Webs and it came in the mail yesterday. Now I can't find the book. I know I had it on or around August 24. But I can't for the life of me find it. I thought I brought it in to work to photocopy the pattern. It's not on my desk or in any of the mostl ikely piles around the house. Stinky. I have no idea how I could lose a whole book!

L is for Linus

I was a kid with a blankey - like Linus. I remember having one that would get holes worn in it (I liked to rub it with my fingers while I sucked my thumb.) And my mom patched it up. Eventually it got worn out and I started another. It wasn't the same, but I broke it in eventually. And I wore that one out too. I still have pieces of it. Have you seen the saga of the blankies on the blue blog? I can so relate to her boys.

When I first started knitting, I came across Project Linus and it clicked with me. My feelings about charity knitting are similar to Norma's, I think. And I was expanding my repetoire from rectangles (e.g. 2x2 rib scarves). To big squares. My first "major" project was a blanket in cream, baby blue, and robin's egg blue, all in seed stitch. I don't think I photographed it. And sent it to Project Linus. When I first thought I'd try quilting (quite a while ago also), I made a pink and yellow log cabin quilt. An empty quilt sandwich - just the front and back, no filling, and no quilting either. It's Florida and it was my first attempt, and I really don't like to read directions. (I have a photograph of this, but I'm not sure where it is.) I also sent this experimental quilt recently.

quilt for Project Linus

I have plans for another, made of leftovers from my nephew's quilt. I'm at 1-boy and 2-girl, so I figure it's time for a boy-quilt.

I came across this blog last week, it made my day. It's not a blanket I made, but that's neither here nor there.

I have a couple more blog entries rolling around in my head and I'll get to them soon, I hope.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Vote Early and Vote Often, that's what I always say.

/*edited to add photos*/

Just because I think it's a funny phrase, and not because I endorse voter fraud. When I was pregnant and voting, the pollworkers didn't seem to think it was funny that I said I was "voting for two". Strictly speaking, I still am, since LaLa isn't old enough to vote yet (though I have to think she's a lot smarter than some of the candidates, even at 3 1/2, and not just because I'm biased, either.) We hit the primaries this morning on the way to work. We got stickers. La seemed to be a little disappointed that we all got the same sticker.

My sister and my nephews (age 2 and 4mos) visited this weekend - it was a lot of fun. My littlest nephew has turned into a happy baby since his heart surgery. What could be better? Murmurs on the mend and giggles.

I had Becky take a look at the sock options. She got to choose from several patterns, including Jaywalker, Mata Hari, and BMG Footies for the LL Icehouse that she picked out. She went with the Jaywalker. Which I had already printed out the pattern. Sadly, it's hard to do things that require paying a certain amount of attention while knitting the jaywalkers. Such as: navigating and reading about C#. I blame not the pattern so much as how transfixed I am by it and the yarn. Even the 2x2 ribbing on the cuff was a problem. I'm really going to have to make some of these for myself.


She also tried on and seemed to really like the CTH socks that were in progress. She was drawn to the squishiness of the yarn, as I thought she would be. They've got about an inch or inch and a half before starting the toes. I'm going to have to bring these in for the work knitting.


We also made freezer paper shirts. Once again Microsoft Office Clipart came through. LaLa and Becky's family all will have their own train shirts. My two year old nephew got to paint his own. As forgiving as the freezer paper technique is, he did go "outside the lines". I turned it into smoke, and hopefully didn't really "ruin" it. Photos to come. Otherwise, we might just make him a new one. We used some Jacquard paint which worked a lot better than the acrylic mixed with fabric medium, which we used on the last two rounds. I think it might just be too easy to get the mixture a little wrong. We found a nice variety of them at A.C. Moore.



Ah-ha! I also finished and felted the tote for my mom. I think I'm going to give it ribbon handles, because I just don't have it in me to make 6 feet of i-cord, and I think the "mixed-media" aspect of it might be cool. I ran it through the wash twice to get it to be about the size that I expected. Now to fringe her scarf and I'll have a nice little package to send her.


Friday, September 01, 2006

You wanna see what I've been working on?

These pictures and stuff are from Wednesday, when we had the "day off" for Ernesto. Fortunately, the storm was really not bad at all here.

I made a "library bag" for the monkey. You know what I think it needs? A freezer paper stencil.




I took the monkey's measurements, swatched and came up with a game plan for a sweater - it'll be a lot like LaLa's, but with raglan arms.


I finished turning the heel on DH's sock and got pretty far. Today I frogged that puppy, and this pair of socks is going in to time out for a while. The two were not matching, and I'm not sure where to start in the yarn color sequence to get them to match or nearly match. Time out is probably the best place for the socks now, because I'm seriously considering frogging the first one. Or just starting a different pair that will be easier to manage. But this means the needles are freed up to make socks for my little sister.


I worked on LaLa's balloon curtains. I think they're going to be tab-top curtains. The game plan is to turn under the edges of the panels, attach the tabs and hang them from the rod. Then I can see how short to make them. I've got one panel ready for tabs and the second one needs a top and bottom hem, and then it'll be caught up.


And, finally I added the blue border around the quilt for my nephew. I think it's fabulous. Here it is with the ducky flannel that will be the backing. Amazingly, I think I've become a seam pressing convert. It really does add a lot.



Oh, and I resewed my bag with the wonky corner. The bad news? It's still wonky since the side panels are not the same height. And it probably would "leak" small stuff. I learned a lot, though, if I try something like this again. But I think this is going to stay wonky. It's a great size for if I needed to bring my lunch + a sock bag + a couple packs of snacks to the office in the morning.


Oh, and one other thing. You remember that laptop case from last fall's IK that I was making for my mom? Well, I gave up on it. I'd also been obsessing about wouldn't it be cool to have felted coasters. But I would like it better if they were striped coasters. Epiphany! Felt the laptop case (It was just a straight piece of stockinette, destined to be felted one day anyway) and cut it into coasters! I think the results are snazzy. I got three sets of four out of it. One set for us (the wonky ones, of course) and two sets to save for gifts for people who might like them.


My sister's coming this weekend and I can't wait to show her the stuff I've been working on, give her the socks for her DH, and try on the potential CTH sock for her/let her pick out a sock pattern for the LL Icehouse.