Sunday, November 26, 2006

Who's up for some 3.1415?

Pie? Anyone? Finished off the apple tonight. Still have some cherry and pumpkin.

It's been a quiet Thanksgiving break here - I managed to finish pieceing 2 quilt tops, made a pillow case, and am nearly finished piecing LaLa's quilt. I just need to run it through the iron and sew two long and potentially wonky seams.

Replaced the iron in the process. The other one must have finally shorted out - it just wouldnt' heat up anymore. I have to say that I spent more on the replacement iron than I could have ever imagined spending on an iron in my 20's. Even up to my early 30's. But it had all the features that sounded important and a good reputation.

I didn't take pictures of the pillow case, although it's sure a sight. LaLa spied some Halloween fabric that I had bought on a whim (remnant's bin. +75% off) Orange, with pumpkins and sparkle. I decided I could make a pillow case out of it, but it was too short and she had to pick something for the end. What does she pick? Something from the top of the heap - lavender gingham-print flannel, of all things. It's an interesting combination.

Quilt one:

The quilt for LaLa. Here it is in thumbnails.


La La Quilt
Blue Quilt for LaLa

this weekend it became:

LaLa Quilt Progress
LaLa's quilt more progress
LaLa's quilt final layout

Quilt Two:

This is the quilt we like to call "Electric Sherbet".

Electric Sherbet Progress Here it is all pieced, it just needs "squaring up" and then it will be somebody.

Electric Sherbet Colors A shot of the color sequence.

Electric Sherbet with back fabric I picked out some crazy zinneas for the background fabrics. I swear those ladies at my LFS are total enablers. This quilt is destined for Project Linus. And the bonus? The quilt batting I lost in the closet turned up again.

Quilt three.

Chinese Coin Quilt. I'm still not sure of the destination of this quilt. I really like it. It's sort of a bizarre size, what we might politely call a "napping" size.

Chinese Coin quilt top

The picture totally does not do it justice. I have some periwinkle flannel for the back, that I had to end up piecing with a small section of the (now ubiquitous) lavender gingham flannel.

T is for Tag Blankie

I am bound and determined to catch up with the ABC Along.

When LaLa was a baby, I made her a tag blankie. The idea was based on "Taggies" - They are all over the IP on this, so I suspect it would be inadvisable to go and make a bunch and sell them on esty or ebay. Although, it seems like there wouldn't be a lot of harm in making them and giving them as gifts to your friends having babies. And they are SUPER easy to make, as long as you are able to keep track of the "right sides" (sometimes I have trouble with this).

I had her get used to it along with her Bearcat, so if Bearcat (a Carter's Snuggle Buddy toy) ever got lost, at least we'd still have the tag blankie.

She used it so much that she wore holes in the ribbons.

Tag Blankie Mark 1

We came across the leftover fleece and she insisted we make a "replacement" - she picked out the ribbons for the next version.

Instead of replacing the old one, the new one wasn't quite broken in and for a while, we had THREE blankets to keep track of. Until one of her teachers said she should leave one at home. Thankfully.


Tag Blankies - New and Old

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sweater photos!

Monkey with Sweater Here is the Monkey's new sweater on the monkey. It started life as a basic raglan sweater from Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, except that Josh's actual measurements and my "gauge" (and I use that term loosely) didn't really correspond to any specific set of numbers in her tables. Then I realized that I could use EZ's Knitting Without Tears and do the same basic thing, but make each piece the right length. So, this is a basic bottom-up in the round raglan from Knitting Without Tears. The neck is a little more wonky than I was aiming for, but the sweater fits him pretty well, and he can't wait to wear it.

I had an important epiphany while making this sweater. The Monkey is my step-son, who has lived with us since he and his dad moved in with me at age 4 [we got married when he was 7], and has lived with his dad since he was 2 1/2. I read the "why" post for the Soaring Eagles Project and realized that I was doing the mom work for this kid. I had never given myself a lot of credit (or responsibility) for that and just felt like I was doing what needed to be done, which I am, but it really hit me that his mom doesn't do any of the mom stuff for him - not knitting (which is not necessary to qualify as a mom), not checking his math homework or taking him to the orthodontist or going to parent teacher conferences or giving him Tylenol when he has a headache or taking him to Boy Scouts or cooking him dinner. He hasn't seen his mom since he was 10 (he'll be 13 around Christmastime) and only talks to her on the phone sporadically.

Monkey and LaLa in sweatersHere are the Monkey and LaLa wearing their sweaters. I don't think I ever got a "good" picture of her sweater before - only a goofy camera phone picture. See how they're both wearing wool sweaters and bare feet? High was in the low 70's today, so they only wore the sweaters for the picture. La's sweater is from EZ'z knitting without tears, the basic yoke sweater, the yoke "design" is simply reverse stockinette rounds that were in-between the decrease rounds, idea from Ann Budd's sweater pattern book, I believe.

Both sweaters were Aruacania Nature Wool Chunky, size 10 needles (about 3 1/2 sts per inch).

Monday, November 20, 2006

S is for...

0. Well before I get started, here's a finished picture of the Meathead. I knit (and somewhat felted) some leaves and attached with one of the buttons.

Finished meathead

1. Surgery. My dad has prostate cancer and he's having surgery for it tomorrow (Tuesday). They've caught it early and it should be really treatable, but even so, he's taken the last couple of weeks to get his ducks in a row. He should be out of the hospital by Thursday afternoon, if his digestive system is up and running again.

2. Slippers. I made a pair of fuzzy feet to send him. Cascade 220, 10 1/2 needles. 14 1/2" long pre-felting, 11 1/4 to 11 1/2" long post felting. Used all but about 2' of the Cascade 220.

Fuzzy Feet Before

Fuzzy Feet Felted

3. Sweaters. Fall (winter?) has finally kicked in here. I finished weaving the ends in the monkey's sweater and gave it a bath. I need to get a picture of both kids wearing their sweaters. Hopefully I can do that in the morning or over the break.

Monkey's Sweater - finished

This is the yarn I've got for the next sweaters. The green is for DH, the blue for me.


4. Sewing. Here's a look at what's next on the sewing agenda:

The quilt for LaLa.Blue Quilt for LaLa

The Electric Sherbert quilt Electric Sherbert

And the Chinese Coin quilt is all queued up too.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

R is for Read, Rip, and Re-read (my Meathead story)

I signed up for this Meathead KAL at Stitch Marker. Larissa sent the pattern Friday afternoon, and I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to remember what color LP Bulky I had in my stash. And if I had #15 DPN/16" circs. Turns out I had forest green and chocolate brown. I didn't think the decrease line would show up that well with just chocolate brown. I sat right down and whipped up a Meathead hat as soon as I got the chance Friday night. It was a really quick knit. Tried it on and it was really short. Went back and read the directions again - I missed the "middle part" between the brim and the decreases. Rip.

The color combination I chose was a little swimmy - turquoise and brown. Since it was all ripped apart anyway, I found some other contenders and swatched.

The blue and green on the right (pea green and sky blue) got two votes from my family and the pink and brown above it got one. The orange and brown got a "second choice" vote.

So my next Meathead was made out of the blue and green held together. It was really really pretty. And I thought it would be a nice "Florida hat" as it was made out of cotton. Not much practical use for two strands of bulky wool in the Metropolitan Orlando area. I started to have misgivings, but I kept at it, just to be sure.

Blue-Green Meathead I was concerned that it was as big as Gloria Jo and baggy to boot. But it is an excellent concept for an "Absorba" bath mat from the Mason Dixon book. Soft and squishy and pretty. I will say, though, that that Nature Cotton is really linty when you frog it. I'm not sure what would have made it work - maybe moving to smaller needles. I think the nature of the fiber might have been it's own undoing, though. It's just not as stretchy as wool.

Third time's the charm. I went back to my original color scheme. Swimmy as it was. I really liked how the turqouise had variations in color that gave it bright spots. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. (In my knitting life, I've found that (a)I tend to shy away from solid colored yarns and solid colored projects and (b)Outside of heel flaps, nearly all of my stockinette is in the round)

Wool Meathead The LP Bulky was "wardrobe" yarn (like a pair of black pants, it just seems like it's good to have a couple of skeins of Lamb's Pride in your stash in case of a wool emergency.) and the Nature Wool Chunky was leftover from LaLa's sweater. I got to use up most of the wound yarn and not start a new skein. The hat is currently adorned with a bread tag, making this meathead hat a "breadhead".

I do, however, have some pretty buttons in line for consideration. I'm not sure if they really balance the heft of the hat, though.

Meathead Buttons Felted leaves, anchored by a button is another consideration.

The hat is quick to knit and very nice-looking. I suspect that I will be making more of these (but probably not for anyone in my house - but only because of the thermal situation - two strands of bulky wool. November 11 high temperature was 80 (Farenheit), Nov 13 is supposed to be 76. Chilly, but not bulky wool chilly. But I bet the Monkey asks if he can wear his scarf.)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Q is for Quilt (and other updates)

Like I should be in some big rush to get to R. fah.

I've been thinking about "Q is for Quilt" for quite a while now and although I'd like to post about it rather than dilly-dally some more, I'm just not in a mood to write what I want to write about quilting.

I will say, though, that one of the reasons that I took quilting up again was the opportunity for this:

FredBlanket (An action shot of a garter stitch baby blanket I made for a friend's baby out of Cascade 220 Superwash, which is holding up pretty well to lots of love.) and inspired by these (and others, of course):

Favorite Quilts

1. aq, 2. cq7, 3. pcq4, 4. bt2d, 5. Vintage Kitties, 6. Wandbehang, 7. Decke Mai 2004, 8. Decke April 2004, 9. quilt 4, 10. Another Scrappy quilt, 11. mjs 2, 12. 06.24.06, 13. citrus baby quilt, 14. quilt, 15. Bea's bed throw, 16. Charm

Here's the latest of the latest quilts that I've been making. A Chinese Coin quilt that I think I started when I was expecting LaLa. Now I need to figure out the "in betweens" and wether I want to square off the strips or let them be eccentric (perhaps by custom cutting the in between sashing.) Also need to figure out how wide they should be too. (Wider than the coin strips? Narrow like sashing? About equal?) And in looking at the favorites mosaic, it introduces a new idea - of putting a different tone in the middle of the long blue stretches (no. 11?). Then after all that, deciding what to do around the outside.
chinese coin quilt progress

coin close ups

I might need to start using the tripod for pictures.

I sent away for some more material for anothe quilt. Never mind that I have this one, the one for LaLa, the one for the Monkey, and the charm packs that I just got. I saw some stuff I liked at J Caroline Creative that made sense right away and was on sale or short ends, so I got it. Hah.

Here's another big project that's coming along - the sweater for the Monkey. It's moved along even farther than this - I think the collar might be done, but I need to get him to try it on again. Pardon his expression in this photo - he was home sick on Tuesday when I made him take the picture (also pardon me for making the sick monkey pose for a photo for my blog.)

sweater progress

Oh, and I got a couple of totes sewn recently. I really like the grey/polka-dot one. I like the brown and flowered one too, but the grey one I reallly like. I started on #3 and hopefully will get back to it soon.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

OK. This is going to be pretty random for a Saturday

1. The monkey's sweater looks like it's going to fit him! Good news for someone who is less than precise (Hint: this will be a recurring theme today.) Unfortunately, it seems like it might accentuate his 12 year old proportions. However, it does reach his wrists and his waist, unlike his real clothes. His sleeves are usually too short and the hem is too long. His sleeves were 18" long (for 20" arms) and his waist to armpit measurement was 13". Even better news is that he likes it. He decided on a ribbed collar. (vs. rollneck) Now I need to read the next part of the directions. I'm not sure how to get it from the end of the shoulders to where the collar starts.

2. I might be a lazy sewer. I generally decide it's a good time to quit when I run out of bobbin thread. I would be pretty happy if they made a bobbin-winding-gizmo (kind of like those video tape rewinders that you'd see in the men's department of JC Penney's around Christmas time back in the VHS days.)

3. Like gauge, seam allowance can be important. These coin things that I'm sewing together for the coin quilt? Well, if I sew one string of them together with a "generous" scant 1/4" seam, and sew another with a scant scant 1/4" allowance, they're going to end up being different lengths.

4. I learned something from the blogs. Sewing together these coins had been pretty tedious. It uses a lot of thread in the lead-off because my sewing machine unthreads itself if there isn't a lot of thread hanging behind, during the needle raise (I think) - at any rate it's a real PITA. This post mentioned something about a leader-ender, and she sewed up a bunch of 2" squares, so I believe she knows of which she speaks. I don't know if I went and followed that link, but it got me to thinking. I had a stack of coins that were going to go in one strip. And the whole point is randomness, anyway, right? So I went through the stack sewing pairs together, and left a couple stitches of thread between each of the pairs (no cutting). Then cut them apart and sewed the pairs together to get 4's. rinse and repeat until it's all put together. I'd make aesthetic decisions starting at the making a set of 4 level, and am even more pleased with the strips of coins that I did this way. They seem to have a randomness that is agreeable (or makes sense or something.)

I also put together two tote bags, but again, decided it was time to quit when I had to wind a new bobbin to go with the next material, and went on to the coin quilt. Now, I'm off to do some ironing, because the coin quilt is ready for the next step.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One of these things is not like the other...

One of these things just doesn't belong.

(Do you ever catch yourself spelling in your accent? I just typed "thangs" above.)

Here's the (nearly) current state of the Monkey's sweater.

Click to get the big picture.

It's in Aruacania Nature Wool Chunky. A yarn with beautiful variation in color. And therein lies the rub. You can see where the first skein ran out in the body. Neither of which match either sleeve, and the sleeves, most notably, are completely unique. I have three more skeins of the yarn. Each one very different (at least in the hank) from the other. Tonight, I showed it to the Monkey and he got a funny look on his face. His persnickity 12 year old look. I asked him if he wanted me to knit a third sleeve and we'd see which two sleeves match the best, but he declined. Saying that being different is good. I asked him a bunch of times to see if he was sure and he seemed to be. I can't help but think he's being so flexible just to be difficult. This 12 year old business. Who can ever figure it out?

Are you ready for the really crazy part? I'm seriously considering picking some up for myself for a sweater. I really want to make myself a basic seamless sweater of some sort. And Webs still has it for a good price. Actually, I'm torn between the Nature Wool (regular or chunky), Cascade 220 Superwash, and Cascade Eco Wool + (such pretty colors!)