Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Gift Bin Failed Me

In the garage, I have a big Rubbermade tub where I stockpile knitted baby gifts. I used to try to go baby by baby, but then a few of my friends had TWINS, and that just destroyed that theory and put me behind for about 2 years. So, I started making them ahead of time--generally going with 2-year-old sweaters as it's too hard to figure out what size & at what time of year to intercept a baby. Sure the 3-month or 6-month sweaters are cute, but what if it's a big baby and instead of being the right size in the fall, that puts it into the right size smack in July? Occasionally I still do 12 month & 18 month sweaters, but rarely anything younger.

My Grandmother called me to see if I had a sweater for an upcoming baby boy. She has been a crafter all her life, but now her eyesight has almost gone, so now she only quilts, but she loves homemade things and gifts, so for the price of the yarn, I can provide her with baby sweaters. Works great on both ends, and it's a rather cool connection to have. So, I went to the gift bin, opened it up to see what blue sweaters I might have (she's a traditionalist and I don't think purple or teal is going to fly) and.....

NOTHING!!!!

I have three or four pink BSJs--plus a few other pink sweaters--but little boy sweaters? Zilch! This is a bad sign, because there is nothing that will bring on a slew of new babies like falling behind in gifts. So,I cast on for a new BSJ yesterday. I love stripes on them, and I've gotten a lot of questions about how to stripe the jacket and have it look okay, so I thought this would be a good time to explain. In garter stitch, to stripe and have it look like normal stripes (like in the picture above), you need to do an even number of rows. 2, 4, 8--it doesn't matter, but you need to start the strip on the RIGHT SIDE row, like in the picture above. This is the wrong side of the sweater:
which is the row I do the decreases on (you can see my little safety pin marker). I am doing 2 rows in each color, and the edge where I'm carrying the yarn is going to be sewn anyway, so I am not cutting the yarn after every stripe--I just leave it free & grab the other yarn. Simple, and no ends to weave in.

And since today is Finishing Friday and I don't start anything new on Fridays, last night I cut outred napkins. Since we have at least one party every month--and sometimes several--I do a lot of seasonal decorating--fall, spring, winter, summer and Christmas. To make things easier to store & to take advantage of leftover wedding decorations, both summer & Christmas use red & roses, so some red napkins with white trim will tie in nicely to each. Then they can also come out for Valentine's Day, which I would generally not decorate for except for Soup Night. For parties, it's cute. For every day....that might be a little nauseatingly cute. :)

Theo was of course right on-hand for the sewing:

The Mystique....

So, I've been enjoying my new reputation as the Queen of Productivity, but thought it only fair to admit the truth: The embroidery machine can work all by itself.

I program the machine, hoop the towel, thread the machine, press start AND I CAN WALK AWAY. When it wants a new thread color, it stops and waits for me. So....while the machine was merrily spitting out towels, I was doing other things. So....not quite as impressive, but at least I didn't get part of the towel accidentally folded underneath the hoop and embroider a towel sleeve around the hoop that would have to be cut away in order to get it off the hoop--an achievement I mercifully did BEFORE starting this blog. There are always reasons to be thankful for being slow on the technology front.