Thursday, August 28, 2008

February Lady Sweater

Size: Small
Color: Agave
Yardage: 1200 yds
Needle Size: US8 Bamboo
Started: August 13, 2008
Finished: August 28, 2008

Ta da! I finished it! The FLS is finally off the needles. The pattern was easy to follow after I got use to all the yarn overs. I love the color of the handpainted yarn, and yes I'm wearing the matching earrings.

There are so many great patterns out there right now, and not enough time to knit them all, not to mention not enough places to wear them. I really want to start this pattern, Ingenue, from Custom Knits, but I think I need to finish the spiral boot socks first.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Newton's Law

It is amazing to me how I am always proving Newton's Law that an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Last week I was so incredibly busy getting ready for school, and a little end of summer vacation, but I still managed to get a lot of little projects done and some sewing and knitting too. This week is a quiet one, and I can't seem to get anything done. I don't know where all the time is going!

One thing I finally made last night is a new bag pattern from Artsy-Crafty Babe. It is called the Lily Beth Bag, and is available as a PDF download. Gotta love no waiting for the mail! I chose some Amy Butler fabric along with some gray tweed fabric. I love how it turned out. The bag is very sturdy and has some nice finishing details, but it is still light. I don't like to carry a real heavy bag.

I'm almost done with the FLS. I have a half a sleeve left, and I picked out some buttons. Maybe I just need a cup of coffee to get me going again.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kids say the funniest things!

When son was 18 months old, he called peas - balls.

When son was 4, we took him to a fancy restaurant and he ordered a cheese burger. When it arrived garnished with pretty kale leaves and tomatoes and radishes cut into flower shapes, he said, "I didn't order THIS!"

When son was 6, we were at another restaurant, and he kept putting his straw in his nose and giggling. HM said, "Don't do that!" Son said, "It's just a joke Dad."

Fast forward to yesterday:

Son (15 years old) said, "Mom, I was wondering if you could take me to a parking lot and let me drive around."

Ha, he must be joking!

Son driving at 18 months!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Making Progress

I finished the body of the FLS. The yarn I'm using is hand painted, and it has so many pretty shades of green in it. The colors range from turquoise to a lemon/lime green with many shades in between. I was very conscious of making sure the length was more flattering this time, but I also want to be sure I can make 3/4 length sleeves. I have about 300 yards left, so wish me luck!

I found these beautiful earrings on etsy. They are pieces of pottery wrapped in sterling silver, and look at how well they match the FLS!

I really need to get a better camera. My HP Photosmart does not take very good close up pictures!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Family and Small Closet Syndrome

When I married my husband over 17 years ago, he came with a starter family. He had three beautiful little girls. Well, they kindly accepted me (and all my flaws - not knowing anything about children except for being one once) into the family. They were even excited when a little brother was added to the mix a few years later.

They are each so special to me in different ways. We have shared many, many laughs over the years, and we've shed a few tears together too. They have grown into beautiful, intelligent and kind women. They each live out on their own now and I am very proud of them. I've come to cherish any time we get to spend together.

My oldest step daughter is a professional organizer, and has her own business. She also started a blog, and posts some really great organization tips. She came over yesterday to help me with my closets. Living in New England, it is quite common to come down with a case of Small Closet Syndrome, and I have a bad case of it. We have plenty of closets, but they are all small. HM has his own closet and I have two that I've made some lame attempts to organize. I'm a little embarrassed to show you my before pictures, but here it goes:
Important note: Please don't judge me by these pictures, I am a nice person and do try to keep a clean house. : )

Now you've seen the skeleton's in my closet. Embarrassing, I know, but you've got to understand that someone who enjoys crafts as much as I do, doesn't have time to clean closets too! Now for the less embarrassing after shots:

I really love how they turned out. I'm totally in love with the shoe organizer, clear bins and double closet rod. I think it will be much easier to keep clean and organized now, not to mention find things! Thank You, Wendy!

I hope you'll will pop over to her blog, and leave a message. She has some great tips, and if you ask her a question, let's just say about a craft space, she is happy to answer it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Elinor Tunic Revisited

Do you remember this? It is the Elinor Tunic from Interweave Knits. When I finished it, I swear it was longer. When I looked in the mirror, I thought it looked good. But something about the finished picture always bothered me. I thought it looked too short. So I did it! I finally went back and added an inch and a half to the length, and bound of with the main color. (I had mistakenly bound off with a contrasting color the first time around.) I'm so glad I did it. Now I think it has a chance of being worn. It wasn't that bad either. It only took about an hour. I'm much happier with these results.

I can't believe what a difference an inch makes!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Scrappy Belt and Blueberry Muffins

I found this new blog. I can't remember what led me to it. It was probably one of those one link leads to another kind of things. It's called Juicy Bits. Jessica is so talented and creative. One of her tutorials is how to make a scrappy summer belt. This was a great use of scraps, and it was fun and quick to make. I started it after dinner and was finished in a little over an hour and a half. The only thing I did different was I used iron on interfacing (only because I didn't have any of the sew-on type the pattern called for). This actually worked out well, because I ironed all the pieces onto the interfacing strip and then did all the sewing at once. I used some Kaffe Fassett scraps. I really wanted to go crazy and make more, but I summoned up some self control.

I bought a quart of wild Maine blueberries. I know - yummy! Yesterday, I made some blueberry pancakes, and today I made some blueberry muffins. They are all gone now (sad). Everyone has a favorite blueberry muffin recipe, but I'll share mine. It's from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. I received it as a gift at my wedding shower, and it has always been one of my goto cookbooks. Everything I have ever made from it has come out good.

Fannie Farmer Blueberry Muffins

2 cups flour; 1 tablespoon baking powder; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/2 cup sugar; 1 egg, slightly beaten; 1 cup milk; 1/4 cup melted butter (I think the butter is what makes them taste so good!); 1 cup blueberries.

Preheat oven to 375*F. Butter muffin pans. Mix 1 3/4 cups of the flour (reserve 1/4 flour and sprinkle over the berries), baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg, milk, and butter, stirring only enough to dampen the flour; the batter should not be smooth. Fold in the blueberries tossed with the 1/4 cup of flour. Spoon into the muffin pans, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Back to cereal tomorrow!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Work in Progress

We went to a wedding this weekend which required 5 hours in the car each way, so what's a girl to do? Knit of course! I started the February Lady Sweater. I'm using some yarn I picked up while on vacation. I love, love, love the color!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Crazy Dog?

Is it just my crazy dog who would prefer to sleep on the freshly vacuumed rug instead of her expensive L.L.Bean bed with comfy fleece cover? What do you think she is trying to tell me?

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted Weight
Yardage: almost 4 Skeins (216 yds/skein)
Color: Buscando Azul
Needle Size: US 8 Circular

Comments: I love this sweater! I think I will wear it a lot this fall and winter. It is very comfortable. It was easy to knit - top down seamless (my personal favorite!). I loved working with the Malabrigo yarn. It is very soft and easy on the hands, and I really like the over dyed look. This is a simple pattern, and I basically followed it except for a few things. First, I centered the button placket after seeing this version. Then, I made it a little longer in the body and sleeves, and I didn't make any button holes. Instead when I was done, I tried it on and decided how many buttons I wanted and where I wanted to put them. I then sewed them on to the outside, and added large snaps on the inside. Because the sweater is so simple, I added some handmade buttons to jazz it up a bit!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer Reading

Son told me that the summer reading book, Kite Runner, was not mandatory. You could read a different book of your choice instead if you wanted. Well, I saw the assistant principal the other day, and ask her, "Oh, by the way, is Kite Runner a mandatory summer read." She replied, "Yes, they will be evaluated on it when they return from summer break." Kids! I should have know better. I ran out and picked up a copy. I figured out he has to read 20 pages a day in order to finish it in the next few weeks.

I was cleaning up all the scraps from my last project, and thinking about the book that needed to be read, and an idea came to me. I layered a scrap of fabric right side up, a layer of batting, and then a scrap of fabric right side down. I did a little random quilting playing with the stitches on my machine. Then I cut the scraps into one inch strips and then cut the strip into 6" lengths. I zig zag stitched around the edges and I had a book mark! I showed son the book mark I made for him, and you know what he did, he gave me a big, genuine smile and said, "You made this for me, thank you." I love that kid.

Of course I couldn't just stop at one.
This would be a great project for a child who is comfortable with their mother's sewing machine, and needs a one hour project. Playing with the different machine stitches was fun. But you don't need fancy stitches, straight stitches and zig zag stitches would work just fine.

I promise my next post will be about knitting! Maybe I should have called myself Lucky Crafter!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Picnic Blanket with Rock Pockets

When I saw this Sew Mama Sew tutorial from Erin of House on Hill Road fame, I knew immediately I wanted to try it. This is something my son would have loved when he was little. He was always collecting rocks. Whenever I did the laundry, I always had to be sure to check all his pockets. I would always find his treasures in those pockets - rocks, bottle caps, sticks, elastics, a half eaten cracker - just to name a few of the things I would find.

My brother and his wife have an eighteen month old son who reminds me so much of my son. We were at a family birthday party a few weeks ago, and he kept showing me the rocks he would find - so cute! So I decided to make this picnic blanket for them. I know it will get lots of use, because they are always going to the park, and I know the pockets will get filled with all kinds of treasures found during the day.

Erin did a great job on this tutorial. It is very detailed and includes lots of pictures. This would make a wonderful first quilt project, because it is pretty easy. While I was making it on my dining room table, I thought it would make a beautiful tablecloth. It would also be big enough for a childs bed quilt (60" x 60"). I used scraps for the back, which makes it reversible. Totaly by mistake, the rock pockets ended up on what I would call the front, and I thought about fixing it for a few minutes, but then decided it was okay because the blanket is reversible.

Thank you, Erin!

Friday, August 8, 2008

One down...

and one to go.

I followed my "rules" and the rest of the sock knit up like a charm! I even think the second one has a chance of being made very soon. Especially since the weather has cooled considerably here in the Boston area. I now feel like it was smart to knit with worsted weight wool in the middle of a heat wave, because now I'm all that more prepared for the cool fall weather. I'm almost finished with the first sleeve of Flair and hope to finish it up over the weekend. I'm taking a break from the detailed note taking for a few days!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dos and Don'ts of Knitting Complicated Sock Patterns:

I chose the Spiral Boot Sock pattern because it was rated easy. What I didn't realize is that "easy" for a sock pattern can still be complicated because you have to follow one pattern and do another while decreasing every other row, repeat 8 times, blah, blah, blah. The pattern is well written. It's not the pattern. It's the knitter (me) who has the problem. So I made myself a list of Dos and Don'ts to follow while knitting knee socks in a 12 row pattern that I'd like to share with you.

  • Do have a piece of paper and pencil by your side at all times for diligent note taking.

  • Do use a row counter (or see above).

  • Do knit in a well lit area - preferably natural daylight.

  • Do knit at your most alert time of day and when no one will be asking you lots of questions you don't know the answers to - like "What's for dinner?"

  • Do keep a positive attitude if you notice a dropped stitch 40 rows below the current row you are working on because you didn't follow the natural daylight rule.

  • Do not panic and start ripping back, instead just darn it with a sewing needle and matching thread and move on.

  • Do take as many notes as possible about the first sock you knit, because it may be a while before you forget the pain of the first sock knit the second sock and you want them to at least look similar.

  • Do not drink more than one ounce of alcohol per hour while knitting "complicated" sock patterns, because then you could easily "forget" what row you are on even if you are in the middle of it!

  • Do not rely on your memory for where you are in the pattern even if you are stopping for just one minute to let the dog in/out. You have good intentions, but there are so many distractions along the way that it could easily be hours or days before you get back to it.

  • Do not knit late at night without note paper while drinking wine and the only light in the room is the glare of the TV. This is a recipe for disaster. (See dropped stitch above.)

Now if I can just follow these simple rules, the socks will turn out beautifully. But, no one will see them under my pants and inside my boots, so they don't have to be perfect, right?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lila Tueller Giveaway!

I was over at looking at fabric and I saw that they had a blog, and one thing led to another (you know how that is) and I ended up here. Lila Tueller is a fabric designer and she is having a fabulous contest. The prizes look wonderful and she has some beautiful patterns available here at etsy. Good luck!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

I had Saturday all to myself. HM was at an all day golf tournament, and Son was at a friends birthday party for the day. I really enjoyed my day. I didn't cook. I ate salad for dinner. I love salad. HM and Son would not consider salad a very good meal! I had chocolate for dessert. I watched recorded episodes of The Office on the "good" TV, and of course did some sewing and knitting. It's really nice to have a day like that every once in while.

One of the things I made was a flower pincushion. It's a pattern from Better Homes and Gardens written by Anna Maria Horner. She designs beautiful fabric, and has a sewing book, Seams to Me, coming out this fall. She has a wonderful blog where she shares free patterns, and lots of great pictures. I made the pincushion out of some Amy Butler scraps I had left over from another project, but I intend to pick up some of Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party fabric just as soon as I can.

I started the Spiral Boot Socks by Veronik Avery from the Interweave Knits Summer 2007 issue. It is considered an "easy" pattern, which I'm sure it is, but I'll have more on that later.

Flair still needs sleeves. It's just too darn hot to knit a sweater out of worsted weight Malabrigo wool at the moment.

Today my nephew is coming to visit for a few days, so I baked some cupcakes for the occasion.

Just a Betty Crocker mix, but I did make real butter cream frosting. I better try one to make sure they are okay! ; )

Friday, August 1, 2008

Making Covered Buttons

After making covered buttons for the Lotus Cami, I decided to take it one step further and make some embroidered covered buttons for Flair. Oh yeah, Flair, I've been working on Flair for about a month, off and on, in between other projects. I thought I'd give it even more flair with some pretty buttons. I have seen many embroidered button tutorials on the web, and lots of fabulous finished buttons too.

I'm using some hounds tooth tweed and adding french knots. The floss I'm using is from Week's Dye Works. They make beautiful hand over dyed floss. The colors are gorgeous. I'm hoping they won't run. I'll have to try soaking one in cold water.

This project was so much fun that I want to add embroidered buttons to everything. Oh, someone help me! Oh, and if you don't like to embroider, but like the buttons you can find some for sale here. I bought a yo yo dish towel from Simply June, and I love it!

Flair just needs some sleeves and then she will be finished!

Have a great weekend!