Blue sampler throw

Last year, I discovered that I was in danger of being smothered by my yarn stash. What’s a crafty person to do when supplies are overabundant? Get crafting, of course. I organized my stash into color schemes: blues, reds, and naturals. The blue sampler throw was the first project I tackled. I just cast on and started knitting….

Miles and miles of stitches… enough to fit across my king-size bed.

Eventually, I became bored with stockinette, garter, and moss patterns so I opened up Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns to break up the monotony.

I was happy with the results. The only issue I had with this throw was running out of blue stash yarn before I got halfway up my bed but it is still snuggly on cold nights.

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Banner recipe

I made a banner for MrC’s birthday. I’ve seen several versions of banners all over the crafty and noncrafty web, and I was hooked. But I wasn’t hooked enough to sew a fabric banner. Here is my version of the newspaper and craft paper banner:

Start with a pile of newspapers and pretty craft papers. I made a triangular template (not shown) to trace on the paper.

From October08

I used scissors to cut out the paper because I was too lazy to change the blade in the rotary cutters (I have blades for fabric and blades for paper)… a craft knife would work as well. Put the template on the fold of the newspaper to make a diamond shape when it’s unfolded. Cut out enough for your banner message (I used on diamond per letter).

From October08

At some point, change your mind about the design because you don’t have enough colorful paper to finish the project. Instead of using the colorful craft paper, use plain white paper instead. Use your template to cut out triangles (you don’t need diamonds for this step).

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Glue the triangles to one half of your newspaper diamond.

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Break out some colorful markers, and write your message in bold print.

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Find some twine long enough for your message… attach it to the wall, or the curtain rods, or the roof… wherever you want that message to be displayed.  The folded diamond slips over the twine and hangs by itself.

From October08

Wait patiently for hours and hours for the recipient of your message to come home and read it… and be AMAZED you have that much time to make banners and homemade-out-of-this-world cupcakes (sorry, no pics of the cupcakes… but they were GOOD!).

From October08

I don’t have a picture to show but BC and I wrote birthday messages on extra triangles. We nudged the letters together to make room for them. I think that was a better idea than the original banner message. MrC plans to save his notes.

The tote bag made me do it

I’m sneaking in… thank you all so much for your well wishes.  The cheesecake, both virtual and real, was fantastic.

I made a tote!   An old client requested it, and I didn’t want to disappoint her.  I already had the machine out for another project so I made the tote.  Here it is:

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And the inside:

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I’ve done some other projects too. If I can track down the pics (or take new ones), I will post them.

Sock model

I finished a pair of socks.

Sock glamor:

Do you know how hard it is to get a decent sock shot using your own feet? I suspect sock knitters all know.

This shot looks like my feet are shy… or I have to goooo.

I took these pictures in the middle of the day, and I’m wearing shark jammies.

Sock info:

Yarn: Berroco Comfort Sock (50% nylon, 50% acrylic)
Pattern: Classic Sock Pattern from Folk Socks by Nancy Bush
Needles: No. 3 steel dpns… how I wish I had some light bamboo No.3’s!

These are classic (hence the pattern name) top-down socks with heel flaps. I have big ankles (but not cankles… I hope) so I used the largest pattern size. It is a smidge loose so halfway between the medium and the large would have been a better size for me. Not that that stopped me from immediately starting another pair in the same large size.  I refuse to stray from the pattern after losing my knitting mojo a couple months ago. I definitely recommend Nancy Bush’s book… it is working wonders for my sock mojo!

The yarn is okay.  If you need a cool sock, this will do the trick.  If you need warm socks, don’t use this yarn.  The day I tried these socks on it was 63F in my house and my tootsies were so cold.  Now it is 83F and my tootsies are comfy.  Not that I’m wearing socks today because it is too hot… bare feet are the order for hot days when your a/c is broken.

Bag versus bag… bag wins.

The weather this past Friday was awful… there were tornado and thunderstorm warnings all day. We spent the day inside… BC spent his time grousing about what was on tv while I groused (to myself) about grocery bags. Plastic grocery bags are wonderful and awful at the same time.  Wonderful because they are so thin and utile.  Awful because they are plastic and will never go away.  You’d think I would have already solved my personal grocery bag dilemma seeing as how I make tote bags and such. But, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m lazy. Being stuck inside all day with a ton of unfinished housework finally propelled me 3 feet across the office from computer to sewing machine.

My mission: an easy-to-make but strong grocery bag that MC and I will actually use. I had 2 basic patterns in mind: one based on plastic grocery bags, and one tote-bag style. An additional goal was to use stash fabric or recycled fabric.

Bag #1: This first design was based on plastic grocery bags. I took apart a plastic bag to make the pattern. I used a thrifted bed sheet as the fabric of choice.

(no, that is not my hairy arm in the picture!)

Results: Exactly like a plastic grocery bag… except that the handles are a bit cumbersome because fabric doesn’t squish down like plastic does. The recycled bed sheet was awesome except the color and pattern were too emasculating for any man to carry even with the best of green intentions.  At least that was my interpretation of MC’s reaction which went along the lines of “You made this one for me?! Couldn’t you use more macho colors??”

The pattern was also a pain in my neck (except it wasn’t my neck that was in pain, the pain was at the other end of my spine). Curves and single piece handles were awkward and required too much work for my peace of mind.

On to style number 2 (which I was hoping would not be number 2 like the first style).

Bag #2: This design is a tote bag… but different from the style of tote bags that I usually make.

Results: We have a winner (the man held the bag so it looks wonky but it lays perfectly flat). I modified the bag design because the original tote bag I based it on was made from heavier, unlined fabric. I used newly purchased fat quarters for this bag and some muslin from my stash. I didn’t have enough “manly” stash fabric, and Joann’s was having a sale, and BC was pitching a tantrum about something so I distracted him by asking him to pick some fat quarters for daddy. Whew! That was a mouthful… and then we went to the park for 2 hours where I managed to get a sunburn despite being bundled up because it was in the 50’s and the wind was blowing straight through my clothes and I was freezing, and why was I the only one there wearing something heavier than a sweatshirt including my family? Seriously.  They didn’t get a sunburn either.

Bottom line: This style was quick and easy to sew. The seams are strong. The material is strong because it is lined. The handles may be too short but I won’t know till the man actually uses them for groceries. I didn’t tell him about the handles because I didn’t want to influence his evaluation, and I don’t want to take the bag apart to put longer handles in (lazy, remember?). I did manage to use some of my stash… I can use more stash when I make bags for myself seeing as how I like feminine colors and patterns.  And wear sunblock if you are going to spend 2 hours at the park.

As you can see, I liked the pattern enough to duplicate it.

The colors are still “cute” according to the man but what do you expect when you let a 5yo pick them out after you stirred up a hornet’s nest of a temper tantrum… at least they aren’t emasculating pink flowers.

(BTW, BC insisted on putting back his original choice after MC said how much he liked the fabric… me thinks the boy wanted daddy to suffer.)

The house is still a mess… I’m thinking I need at least 10 of these bags!

I’m back

I am so happy to be home. Vacation is exhausting… especially with a 5yo in tow. I am wiped out! But we had a great time visiting snow while we were there.

One very happy 5yo:

I took this picture of BC several hours after the snow started falling. The day before rain had melted all the snow. By the time the storm was over, the courtyard here was about 6 inches deep in snow with more falling. That may not be much for you all that live in snowy areas but it was plenty for one very happy little boy from Florida.

I had plenty of time for a vacation sock:

One sock… I finished the toe at home. As you can see, the second sock is on the way… can I avoid second sock syndrome?  If I do, I’ll show it to you a modeled picture.

There was one very major mishap on the road. Fortunately, I had my medical supplies handy.

Lamb suffered a rear leg blow out. BC handed him to me and told me I could fix it. Such confidence! I had no sewing supplies with me and yarn was not going to do the job. Lamb got a bandaid. I was completely surprised that the bandaid worked!  It is still working.
Lamb is a trooper.

When two needles won’t do the job, use one.

Please pardon the quality of these photos… I really did try to take better pictures but my camera was having its little laugh.

When knitting took a nosedive, I picked up my embroidery needles. These works were my first attempts at this type of embroidery… faux jacobean.

I copied the first two patterns from a picture in my embroidery book. I chose different colors and different stitches but the patterns are similar.

This was my first attempt at creating a pattern that is mostly my own (I borrowed elements from other places but the arrangement is mine). I thought it would be cool to do a monochromatic pattern. As you can see, it is impossible to see photos of gold thread on gold lame… brilliant. It was that hard to see the pattern as I was stitching too. I used two different lamps to see the pencil marks… you can just see some of the white marks on the upper right side where I missed a small group of berries.

I need botox to get rid of my new squint lines!