Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gingerbread, Snow, and Project Pix

Last night, we made a Gingerbread house (cheating, with a kit). Max really enjoyed himself.

Some snaps of Teri's backpack (hope she got it! FedEx couldn't seem to figure out where her house is. I'm relying on the fact that she never gets near her computer to not spoil the surprise ;-).

I'm rather pleased at how it turned out. Not bad for no pattern. And much better on my second attempt! (It had gotten really big & shapeless, so I frogged and tried again with a more defined round bottom and fewer stitches).

And we had some snow back in early December. Here's the snowman Max & I made with the inch or so of snow (pretty much actual size ;-).

Here's a photo for scale. It was really a snowball snowman.

A quick peek at a few of the assortment of Christmas cards.

There. Enough photos for you Lucy?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pathetic Blog Break

Sorry for the radio silence here. Been busy? Isn't everyone this time of year? I have very few projects to show for it too, but here's what's been up on the project front:
  • Christmas cards - done! And arriving soon! It was fun to do them all a little bit different this year, although it took longer. Cool paper, and cool cutout designs, plus a little ribbon I had laying around for some, and my famous Crop-a-dile for eyelets on some. Maybe I'll post a couple of pictures of my favorites.
  • School auction quilt - finally, finally, finally!, got all the sun-print fabric squares back from all the kids. I now have a complete set of 12 squares, ready to sew up. 2 Moms have volunteered to help piece, one has her row back to me, one I expect any day now. Taking Thursday & Friday off this week, so I should have time to work on them then, or on Saturday's DOS.
  • Knitting - not much! Ordered enough yarn for Juno (Estelle Alpaca Cashmere Tweed - super yummy, and it went on sale at Ram Wools), but still don't have the pattern, so no progress there. Finished up Teri's backpack (picture coming soon) and sent it off as a Christmas present (oops, just spoiled that non-surprise). Cast on, frogged, and cast on again for a wrap for me (Cozy in Nashua Julia, Velvet Moss). Not really thrilled with the lace pattern for this - I just want a simple rectangular wrap to keep at work and keep me warm. Maybe I'll be lucky & get a stitch dictionary for Christmas and I can find the perfect easy lace for my own custom wrap.
  • Sewing (or rather, altering) - ordered some cord pants from Lands End, which fit well in length & hips, but sadly are saggy in the waist (i.e., falling down!). Trying to alter them to fit my waist (starting with the super-on-sale, can't return, green ones ;-). I hate sewing clothes. And altering is almost worse. The green ones are unpicked, ready to take in. Definitely need to take these to DOS for a consult with the master sewers there.

Hey - very cool idea on Chef Messy's blog - all homemade Christmas. Whattdya say, Robertsons - up for that next year?

Monday, November 26, 2007


I followed Lucy over to The Blog Readability Test and found out that this blog rates post-grad. Hmm. Seems unlikely, maybe it's all the "technical knitting jargon" :-).
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Friday, November 2, 2007

Birthday shout outs to Lisa & Jana

Happy Birthday to Lisa (today!) and Jana (was Wednesday!). Hope it's a good year for both of you.

I always think of Hawaii when I think of Jana now, because she got married there several years ago. So here's a Hibiscus for her to remind her of the islands:

The pinkish hue isn't just the picture (although it's a little darker in the picture than in real life). Taking an idea from shadow trapunto, I layered a bright pink fabric behind a nice white to give it a little pink flavor. Seemed like fun.

And Lisa loves roses (and other flowers) so I thought I'd send her a bouquet of them (cut from the rose fabric I used for her book several years ago):

Also for Lisa, another cool, cozy, comfy bamboo hat. Same yarn (different colorway), same needles as the blue hat, made-up pattern:

Now I ask you, do you see any purple in the colors in this hat? Nor did I. But when I washed it in cold water and then let it air dry, these annoying purple stripes appeared at the folds. What? Where did that come from? Wandering dye, I suppose. Washed again, inside out this time, and dried without folds (over a glass column), and the stripes on the outside were gone, but remained on the inside and at the bottom, just fainter. I've instructed Lisa not to dry this near anything light, for fear of future purple stripes. Wacky.

Blueberry's candy haul

A picture says it all.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Blueberry!

Max the blueberry very much enjoyed his halloween and ALL the candy he got. Hoo boy did he get a lot of candy.

Before T&T at Riley & Reed's house:

Being a blueberry at ours:

We couldn't seem to get a picture showing just how darn cute he is in this. Ah well, you'll just have to imagine. And he's so happy to have a blueberry costume. Who knew?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Falling behind

I've got more projects than I can shake a stick at right now. Stay tuned for:
- Max the blueberry
- A couple more hats
- Some mini-quilt surprises
- A mesh-knit backpack that Teri requested

I think that's all that's on the needles or queued for the sewing machine. Now get back to work!

Legos, Beach, Family

Well, San Diego really isn't a lot of fun right now, but it sure was a week ago when we were down there. Shout out to Teri, Bob, Bryce, and Juliet - hang in there.
Look, that Lego-lion ate Bryce & Juliet!
Legoland was fun, so was Mission Beach. Here's Bryce preparing for a dip.

And here's Juliet enjoying her seaweed island.

A couple of sand monsters...(Max rather regretted this later, when trying to get all the sand off again. Juliet didn't mind the sand one bit.)

And here's the cute hat that we got Max at Legoland, that he lost within an hour of playing in the surf. We miss you cute Lion Lego hat. Ah well.

The La Mesa train was fun to explore. Go Green Butterflys!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Felted bag? Check!

Finally, another post!

I finished my felted bag tonight. It was all dry from blocking and I stabbed the holes to insert the handles. It turned out fun! I like the color combo, but it's a shame that the variegated yarn stripe doesn't show up very well on the bag proper. It was really pretty before it felted, now it's just a little lighter stripe. Ah well - it's supposed to match the handles.

Colin's really impressed that the floppy giant-size thing I was knitting felted down into an actual handbag-looking object. Wish I'd taken a "before" picture, but I was just so impatient to try the felting that I didn't think about taking a snap until it was already in the wash. TOO LATE! You'll just have to make do with the "after" picture, plus a few stats.

  • Yarn: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in Chocolate (3-5 balls? can't remember, unwilling to check ;-) and Winter Night (less than 1 ball), plus Shamrock in Doyle (2 balls). Probably should have held the yarn double to make it even sturdier. It's pretty sturdy, but a little floppier than I wanted.
  • Needles: 10 1/2 circular (36 inch)
  • Pattern: Took inspiration and general instructions from this Booga Bag pattern, plus the picture of the Oregon Tote.
  • Original knitted size: 14 inches (height), 16 inches wide (side to side), 9 1/2 inches (base width)
  • Felted size: 7 inches (height), 13 inches wide (side to side), 6 inches deep (base width)
  • Capacity: 1 hardback book, 2 balls of yarn, a circular needle and a swatch. Well, so far at least.

Very little progress on other projects. I really want to do Juno, but am having issues with yarn. I found this Alpaca/wool/cashmere blend that feels just wonderful, but doesn't give me good stitch definition for the cables. I might try some different needle sizes, but I'm not sure it'll work. I do like the denim color, though (see inside bag above). Definitely need more swatching before I can commit to a sweater's worth of yarn. And anyway the Local Yarn Shop is sold out of Rowan Mag 40, so I can't get the pattern right now anyway.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Something tweedy

I have a hankering to make a tweedy sweater. Of course, I'm allergic to wool, and almost all tweeds are wool. So I guess it better be something that I can wear a shirt under, which rules out this one: Everday Tweed. Anyway, I'd prefer to try a cardigan. How about this one: Quick Knit Jacket. Not super exciting. Hmm. This one looks way too hard for me yet: Skye Tweed Jacket. But it is gorgeous and shapely and feminine - soo pretty. Hey, how about this one? Emma Jacket. Oooh - now this one is gorgeous! And it's just a ribbed cardi underneath that amazing cabled collar, so shouldn't be too hard: Juno. So, which one do you like best? Which would look best on me? (I'm leaning towards Juno).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Max's hoodie - c'est fini!

Okay, I don't speak French, but it just seemed appropriate somehow.

At long last, here's the completed hoodie - front, back, and close-up of the pocket & placket:

And here's our model, Max himself, looking well-rested for his photo shoot this time (first thing this morning, and he wore the hoodie to school today).

I'm not really pleased with how the hood turned out, but I don't feel like doing it again. I think this is the only part that I wasn't very successful working out without a pattern. None of my books have hood patterns, and the free patterns I looked up online just had you knitting sort of straight. In this case, it ended up too narrow and when the hood is up, it forms a sort of point right on the top of Max's head.

Perhaps it's just one of those touches that makes it charmingly homemade? Or I'm just fooling myself. In any case, Max seems to be pleased with his hoodie.


  • Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby Yarn in Pale Blue (Max picked it out at JoAnn's) - most of two big skeins
  • Pattern: Started with the idea of Debbie Bliss's Bill sweater, but ended up with my own creation, based on sizing and directions for basic sweaters in The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns.
  • Needles: Addi Turbo circulars, size 7
  • Modifications: All of it, basically. A made-up pattern of garter stitch hem, side vents, and neckline, K3P1 ribbing for the body and set-in sleeves (my first sleeves!), a kangaroo pocket, and a hood. Had to do the sleeves twice to get the length right, did the hood twice but didn't quite get it right. At least it'll stretch to cover.
  • Things I'd do differently: cast on fewer stitches for the garter stitch hem, or increase for the ribbed body - it's a little wavier than I'd like on the hem (I did the fewer stitches & increase for ribbing on the sleeves and it turned out just right for those cuffs). Oh, and obviously I'd re-do the hood one more time to get the right shape & length, but I already weaved in the ends and I just don't feel like trying to undo it now.
  • Overall satisfaction: High! I like it a lot, and Max seems to like it as well, and I learned so much on this project. I might be ready to tackle something with sleeves for myself now. I also feel very pleased that I did it without a real pattern too. Maybe I'm an honest-to-gosh real knitter now!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Okay, really truly, almost done with the hoodie

You know how you get so focused on finishing a project that you forget to check if it's shaping up correctly? Well, I do ;-). I was happily knitting up Max's hood, just straight up for 12 inches, and then when I folded it over to check how it would fit, realized, hey - heads aren't straight! So, I've ripped/frogged/pulled out 8 inches of stitches, and reknit, increasing a couple or four stitches every few inches to give a little bit more space for his noggin, and now I'm back to...just an inch to go! Plus weaving in ends, of course. Always fun to do stuff over...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Max's hoodie is nearly there, plus Whistler pix

Well, it's got a front, a back, two sleeves, and a pocket. It's blocked, and sewn together, and now all that is left is the hood. Got 3 inches of it so far, so it looks a bit like a sailor collar. Cute! Tempting to stop there, but then it wouldn't be Max's hoodie, now would it?

Here's the sweater while blocking:
And here's the real thing, being tried on by the cutest (and sleepiest, it was bed time) model ever:
(The bulge in the pocket is the extra yarn, just a little attractive detail for the photo - oops.)

Stay tuned for the finished product soon!
Here are some cute snaps from our Whistler trip. Max & Colin (the day we wore Max out with all the walking around):
Abbey & Casey in the gondola going up the mountain, before Casey really realized what he was in for. I guess 25-minutes-each-way mountain gondola rides aren't quite so fun for someone not fond of heights.
And here's me, wandering off path a bit - wanted to see what was on the other side of the rocks, and hey, it's mountain vistas!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Yet more quiltlets

This one for Jody for her birthday - hint: they're supposed to be roses:
This one for Nona's going-away prezzie:

A little too much contrast on this photo, but it's a white, wholecloth with trapunto, about 12x12 inches. When Nona found out I quilted, she piped up, hey I've always wanted a trapunto purse! Well, it's not a purse, but it's trapunto. Had to get some technique books from the library for this project:

Exploring Machine Trapunto:

More Celtic Quilting:

Whitework Quilting:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Quick hat for Lisa

I wanted to send something soft and comforting over to my sis Lisa, so I knitted her a hat out of this wonderful bamboo yarn. Soooo soft. Very smooth, silky, light, and cool to the touch. Here's me in an extremely goofy and rather disturbing picture (that's what I get for trying self-portrait in the bathroom), modeling the hat before I packed it up and sent it off. Loved it so much, I'm making another for myself!


  • Yarn: Royal Bamboo in color #47
  • Pattern: Head Huggers Lace-edged women's cap
  • Needles: US size 6
  • Modifications - none to the pattern, but given that I was knitting in the round, I had to modify how I knit. No combination knitting when knitting in the round. It was funny, because my knitting really loosened up from normal - must be all the non-twisting I was doing. I originally knit the Medium, but when it was too big for me, I tried again with the Small. Much better!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's my birthday, happy birthday

Well, happy 40th to me! And thanks everyone for your wonderful words in my book. I absolutely love it and you. Here's my cake. Thanks Colin!
Candle action, and the gorgeous roses that greeted me this morning...

Max REALLY enjoying the packing peanuts and box that my book came in.

Wish you were all here to see it - when you're next in town, I'll haul it out.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Yay, it's cute!

But don't put anything too heavy in there, or with pointy edges, or sharp (like knitting needles ;-). This thing STRETCHES! With elastic in the yarn, it's no wonder. Oh, and someone please show me how to do a kitchener stitch with combined knitting? I suck at grafting. Yicky - don't look at the handle joins, okay?

Yarn: Skacel's Schulana SuperCotton
Pattern: Elisa's Nest Tote
Needles: US size 11 circular (for bag), US size 8 double-pointed needles (for handle)
Modifications: yarn substitution, that's about it. Might be the first pattern I used pretty much as is!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

So ugly it's cute, or just plain ugly?

So, I got this yarn. It's a little homely. Just a funny color combination (what looks grey in the picture is really olive-y/dusty green, then there's that mustard yellow and rosy pink). But it was $3/ball at Ben Franklin, and I was tempted. I think it's so ugly, it's cute, but others have their doubts. What do you think?

I'm using it anyway (it's Skacel's Schulana SuperCotton), to make into this: Elisa's Nest Tote. I think it's turning out great. The yarn is fun and stretchy and oh, the wild color combo. Wacky!

Oh, and did I mention that I went back and bought the rest of the balls they had (only 6). Not to mention, I'd also bought two backup yarns, in case I didn't like that one.
Hmm. I think I officially have a "stash" problem now. AKA, big useless piles o' yarn waiting to be made into something. Plus, too many projects on the needles. Max's hoodie is waiting for me to figure out if I've messed up the sleeves. Then I'll get going again. I've given up on the felted bag for now, cause if you do combined knitting, and you knit in the round, you end up twisting stitches all over the place. Yick. So, I went to "regular" knitting and it's slower and frustrating. So, sitting on the needles, gathering dust, until I decide that I should just knit it flat and seam it.

Aside from that, some more quilted postcards. One for Teri:
And one that I think I'll keep:

We've been busy making stuff this summer! Here's a snap of Max relaxing after a hard day of berry picking and jam making.

This batch set up. Yay!