Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Swing and A Miss

I may need to stick to patterns for a while. Here are two things that I tried recently that just didn't work (both were attempts for the Afghans for Afghans 2008 Newborn Campagin.):

1. Toe-up, socks with a flap heel. Up to the gusset was fine. I ended up finding a pattern in Favorite Socks that had similar construction and I totally melted down when it was time to do the math to scale the heel down to a 24-stitch sock from a grown up sized sock. No photos, sorry. I had these grandiose plans of writing up a recipe and everything. Maybe one day. Seems like it'll be a good exercise.

2. Newborn sized Thorpe. It's an earflap hat, knit from the top down in chunky yarn, sized for grownups. I tried moving it to DK weight yarn, sized for a newborn. I think it would work if I picked a set of numbers to follow in the pattern, actually. But I didn't. The top of the hat kept looking too small (probably because it was limited to the size of the needles I was working on), then all of a sudden it looked too big. The hat ended up more platter shaped than cup shaped. Still feel like it's a good concept, but I might need to stick to established patterns for now.

Now, I think I'll try one of any number of newborn sock recipes out there (in my Ravelry queue are: Baby to Toddler Sized Socks from Miriam Felton (PDF), Newborn Sock Recipe by Lies (PDF), and Hunca Munca by Beth LaPense.) For hats, I think I saw some nice patterns at the knit along for the campaign.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Winter in Florida

Inspired by the amaryliss photos at Yarnstorm, here are the paperwhites that I managed to grow. I know nothing about the specific variety of flower. The bulbs came in a felt bag kit and they were a Christmas gift. I'm just pleased as punch that they worked.

paperwhites paperwhites

While I had the camera out.....

I've been meaning to photograph this experiment too:

Pumpkin plants
Pumpkin plants. This is the second go at starting the plants from seeds. The first try started OK but it took to long for me to get the plants into dirt. I started them with a trick I learned watching Sesame Street when La was little - take a glass jar, add a loosely crumpled wet paper towel, then add a few seeds on it. This works well for sprouting dried beans - you can see the roots and it's pretty neat. Turns out it works well for pumkin seeds too. Then I transplanted all of the seeds that didn't sprout and young shoots to an old Lunchables container that I punched a few drainage holes in the bottom. And last week or so, I transplanted them into old margarine tubs.

Then looking around the yard, I found:

1. A young pineapple. We have a lot of pineapple plants in the back yard, either started from grocery store pineapple tops or from the babies of those plants. Not sure if these are good eating or not. I think you have to pick it at just the right time in order for it to be delightful and you probably have to be more regular in your irrigation, too.


2. This is our golden raintree. Really, it's kind of a pest - making too many babies and shading most of the whole back yard. Mostly I wanted to show off the sky.
Golden Raintree

3. Bougainvilla blooms. Whe have a giant sized bougainvilla in the back yard - it's kind of untamed. We haven't had a really good freeze to prune it back for us in a few years, it seems.Bougainvillea

Knit-wise, I'm working on a baby-sized version of Thorpe to send to the Afghans for Afghans newborn campaign. I'm at a tricky part of figuring out how to center the front with respect to the crown darts.

Monday, January 21, 2008

More maternity leave fun

It's nice to be working on things that are open ended - things that I'm working on purely for the pleasure of working on them. Not to say that things for the baby or things for the holiday weren't fun to work on, but there was a certain sense of productiveness that went along with them. With the new baby + the 2 big kids there's not much time to do what I want to do, and I have to limit the stuff that I want to do, to stuff that I'm actually physically able to do - I can't swim yet, I can't go places where I need to cary the baby carrier at all (C-Section recovery. Not supposed to carry more than what the baby weighs. And if I have the baby in the carrier, then that is baby + C, as my mother pointed out to me, even if I have the baby in one hand and the carrier in the other.) So, here's what I've been doing for fun:

1. Chocolate Marshmallow Blues hat. Adapted from Itty Bitty Hats (a Christmas gift.) Most of it is the Chocolate Blues pattern, but the bottom edge and chin strap are from the Marshmallow Bonnet, but done in garter stitch as in the Chocolate Blues hat. Both hats had similar construction, gauges, etc., so it was an easy adaptation and confirmed, "Why not just do it this way?" instinct. It's for the Afghans for Afghans 2008 Newborn drive, due at the end of February. Needs blocking and a button.
Chocolate Marshmallow Blues

2. I finished the "Eleanor socks". Not technically challenging, but nice to make something for me. :^) Socks that Rock lightweight in Thistle. 2.75mm needle, over 60 stitches.

3. "Random Rail Fence" as I've been thinking of it. Used up the rest of the Moda jelly roll that I bought. Probably not the most efficient constructino method, but OK for not having a lot of direction. I followed the construction strategy that I used in my "lego" quilt until it was 4 strips thick. Then I cut them into 8" blocks and put it together in a sort of helter skelter way. The strips need to be squared up, then the rows will be sewed together to make the top. Eventually this is destined to Project Linus.
Random Rail Fence

4. Another Project Linus quilt - the "watercolor quilt". I really like how this one turned out. It was going to be 5 blocks square, but I was short one blue square and didn't want to cut one out. So it's 4x6 instead, which I think I like better anyway.
Watercolor Quilt top

I guess that's all I have to show right now. I'm working on a crazy invetion right now- newborn baby sized socks with an afterthought heel. The cuff is sort of fiddly, but it might be neat.

My sewing machine is under the knife. We brought it to the shop on Saturday for "regular" maintenance. Hopefully they don't find anything major wrong with it and it's like new when it gets home again. Gives me some time to write thankyou notes. :^)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Maternity Leave

It's never too soon for your first trip to the fabric store.
El and I went on Monday. I might be overdoing it a little. And frankly, my days at home might be more overdone than the days when I plan an excursion.

This group of fats was an impulse buy. La saw the set and asked if I could make something for her and her sister. I was afraid that I was the only one who would like it all together - it's a little wild and crazy.

Electric Quilt

"Watercolor" quilt - for Linus. Should end up about 40x40. Probably worth it to click on it to see the bigger view. Still thinking about how I want it to be put together - if I want the non-blue squares to be oriented the same way or if they should be random.

watercolor quilt

Material for a quilt for me. I started picking out material for this in the last days of pregnancy. But once I got it home, I realized that a queen sized quilt was not a short term project and I needed something NOW. So I ordered 2 (wholecloth ?) quilts from Sophisticated and lovely, good prices. Now I can take a little more time to figure out how I want this to be.
fabric for my quilt

I've picked up El's blanket again. We had blanket weather recently and it was nice to have a project that covered my lap. I'm on the downhill side of it. It's good to be knitting again.
El's blankie

The Eleanor socks are moving along at a good clip too. Turned the heel yesterday and started working on the gusset during project runway.

Oh, and at the fabric store, another impulse purchase was a Moda jelly roll. Much easier to resist online. Then I got it home and didn't know what to do with it. So I sewed half the strips together from selvage to selvage to make about a 40x44" quilt top (reminiscient of this one). I think the next one I'll sew the strips end to end and end up with something kind of like this one.
Jelly Roll Quilt top

And, lastly, I'm "this" close to getting back into my pre-preg. pants. I can button them, but then it hurts after a few minutes. So I'm making a test pair of elastic waist pants with pockets. Like La has. Hopefully they fit. This is what is on my list for today. They are cut out and ready to sew. This funny shaped piece is one pocket. It's kind of a grey-green (think Spanish moss) linen.

Pants for me

Friday, January 04, 2008

Got the sewing machine out last weekend ....

Finished a set of bags that were meant to be Christmas presents. Hope to get them in the mail today.

blue tote blue flower tote yellow tote

Also whipped up a batch of coasters for a friend's housewarming:

more coasters

For knitting, I've been working on my Eleanor sock:

(This one just needs to have the toe kitchnered now.)

Thistle sock

I really have a hankering to start making baby hats. Oodles and oodles of them. I ordered yarn from Elann - that cotton with elastic stuff in a whole slew of colors. It's being sent parcel post, so I figure I can finish up a few things while I'm waiting -here's a roundup (sans photos)

1. garter stitch blanket for El. I think it's on the downhill side. But too big to be portable.
2. square blanket. This needs a lot of work, and also, it's too big to be portable already.
3. DH's sweater - the second sleeve is almost done, and from there it's the home stretch.
4. monkey sock - I think it's just through the ribbing.

One day, I'll be back to working on my shetland triangle.

Hopefully I'll zip through the second thistle sock. Then I'll tackle the monkey sock and DH sweater next - hopefully they complement each other - the sleeve is good portable knitting, then to do at home once it's joined. The monkey sock is for at home knitting until I get the heel turned, then it's portable.

Oh, and I started cutting out a Linus quilt - Once the monkey goes back to school next week, I'll venture out to the quilt shop for a few more fat quarters for it.

On the switcheroo front, La is enjoying the top bunk in her "new" room. We have paint for the monkey's room. DH has cut in the corners, but the walls need paint.