Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Okay, I'm Ready To Talk About It Now

Let's take a minute and refresh everyone's memories, shall we?

Remember the ill-fated pajama top incident?  (For a refresher, see here, here, and here)  Remember how I had finally purchased some solid brown coordinating flannel to make a new top, and how I drew that bag for the Project of the Month for September?
My trust sidekick and I decided we had better get cracking, so I cut out the back and the facing, then opened the material up to cut out the remaining pieces, only to discover......
I don't have enough material!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Can you believe it????  I think I got this material from Joanns (having not saved the info because I got as much material as the pattern said, so I assumed there was no reason and brown flannel is brown flannel), so I'm hoping to be able to match it and have a swatch stuffed in my purse for when I've calmed down enough to be reasonable and not come home with 14 bolts of the silly stuff.  Obviously, I was not happy.  Theo even found it safer to move to some fabric I'd left lying on the floor....
 and sewing and I decided we needed a little time apart.  

I consoled myself with some work on the new socks, 
 then--prepare yourselves for a shock--I dug out the Kauni cardigan!!!!!
 It had been languishing in my knitting bag since I ran into problems with adding a new ball of yarn.  I was toying with how to proceed (and putting off frogging a few rows because this is really sticky yarn), but I was in a bit of a destructive mood after the pajama incident, so I cheerfully ripped back the knitting, and found a yarn end that would give me a "blended" change.  The change is not at all visible, and I have now even divided for the neck!

I decided to join the new yarn with the color changes going in the opposite direction.  I'm not sure how this will turn out, but I don't have very much farther to go on the top, and I thought it would be nice to have some new color combinations.  And the second ball of yarn is about to need replacing as well, so I can change things in a few rows if I need to anyway.
We'll see how it works.  You can't really see from the picture, but the current color pattern is a rusty red on a turquoise background, which is seriously ugly by itself but won't be that noticeable (hopefully) on the overall sweater.  I'll go back to the color-chasing scheme for the sleeves, as I like that look much better, though I might space them out just a bit more so the pattern is a bit easier to see. 

I need 30 more projects by the end of the year.  Which makes it a PERFECT time to pick up a sweater knit with fingering weight yarn, don't you think?????

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I've Recovered!!!!!

After a few days of rest, hot pads, hot tubbing, and serious humiliation, I have recovered from my recent fruit beating, and have finished one sock in the stretchy yarn
which I think might actually work with this pattern.  I hope so--I have 4 more pairs of socks worth of this yarn.  

Feeling thoroughly sorry for myself, I also started a new lace scarf
which I like in theory, but will probably frog & restart because the pattern has a 1-stitch stockinette border on each side that I want to get rid of, and I think I'd like the scarf a bit thinner and with a little bit bigger bottom border.  I want it to be a little scarf to tie around my neck when I wear the new tan microsuede ensemble since the decorative stitching thing didn't work out, and I really can't wear tan without looking like some sort of faded banana.  

Speaking of fruit, yesterday I was even able to successfully cut up 5 trays of apples to dehydrate without any apple arse-kicking, so later today I'll be doing more trays and even a few jars of pickles--hopefully without incident, although those late-season cucumbers do get a bit mouthy at times........

Friday, September 24, 2010

Apple Butter Kicked My Ass

You might have noticed there haven't been any posts recently.  Monday I decided it was time to use some of the apples we picked and make apple butter.  I think the last time I made it was about 7 years ago, so I had had sufficient time to forget the previous trauma.

There are apple butter recipes that don't require you to core & peel the 6 pounds of apples--I know this now.  Unfortunately, I did NOT know this on Monday.  So I spent two hours standing at the sink peeling and coring apples.  I don't know if it's an age thing or the fact that I have never really used a paring knife for 2 hours nonstop, by the end of the day my hand was a claw.  I thought it would be a good idea to do some stretching, which strained my wrist.  Whether or not it was the stress of the claw, the wrist or the 6 hours of standing in the kitchen....but I then threw my back out.  Fingers aching, wrist throbbing, and now having to lay flat on my back...there has been NO sewing and very little knitting.  There ARE, however, 12 freakin' half-pint jars of #@*&^#$@ apple butter!!!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Finishing Sunday

Which is totally lacking the alliterative neatness of Finishing Friday, but some weeks I'll take what I can get.  What it is lacking in alliteration, however, it makes up for in productivity.  First up:
The baby reefer jacket is done!!!!!!  Well, almost.  Those buttons aren't actually sewn on yet, but even though I can get distracted at almost any other point on a sweater, being distracted enough to not sew buttons on hasn't been a problem.  So, it is finished enough to make the list.  And secondly....

Now that the sewing room is overrun with machines, space is seriously at a premium, so I have decided to focus on space-saving projects for a while.  This
is my first storage idea.  I think it will be a great place to store my seam rippers (notice the plural), embroidery scissors, screw drivers, and other things that I need to have on-hand while sewing.  It was really a quick project, too.  After measuring I decided I needed 2 pieces of black material 25" by 18", then stuck some fusible fleece to the top layer

then for the pockets I knew I wanted two longer pieces because I wanted the pockets to "bulge" for easy access, so I cut two 5" by 30" strips of the pink.  I sewed them together at one long edge using 1/4-inch seams, then pressed the seam to the inside, and I did decorative stitching across the edge for fun, but topstitching would have been fine.  Then I pinned the pink to the piece of black with the fleece, putting two small "tucks" in for each pocket
then basted the pockets on.  I also stitched the seams in to form the pockets, then with right sides together, pinned the other piece of black material to this one and stitched a half-inch seam allowance almost all the way around the square, leaving about a 3-inch opening so I could turn it right side out.  Then I pressed it and slip-stitched the opening closed, and top-stitched about 3/8-inch from the edge on the sides & top.  I think the whole thing took less than an hour. 

AND NOW THAT I HAVE FINISHED TWO MORE PROJECTS, I'LL FEEL NO GUILT AT ALL ABOUT CASTING ON ONE OF THOSE LACE SCARVES!!!!!!!!!!!

Honestly, the things I'll do to have a little fling with laceweight....................

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Why Is It......

.....that when I have very little crafting time, I get a wild urge to start new projects?

With a party we're hosting tonight, salsa and pickles to can, and lots of apples to take care of, I have a mad desire to cast on a new lace scarf.  To placate myself, I dug out the ball winder and got this

and this

ready to be cast on, and so far that has placated me enough to return to this
which is REALLY close to being finished.  I had made the two button bands a bit shorter than it called for because I was really concerned about running out of yarn, but I have finished the knitting and still have this
much yarn left, so I'm adding the missing rows back on.  Then I just need to sew in the sleeves, add buttons, and weave in ends and it will be done!!!!!!!!!!!!  Which is good as it's a baby gift and the baby was born about a month ago.  Thankfully, it's for 12-18 months. I know better than to try to make anything for a "newborn."  That's just asking for one of my friends to have twins or a 10-pound baby.

I have a bunch of microsuede material in my fabric stash, which I bought before I realized that the stuff is a bit of a nightmare to work with, but I thought I'd try it out on a pattern with no zippers or buttonholes, and decided to practice with the tan material, which isn't a great color for me and would be the least-disappointing to completely botch.

All went well, and then I decided to be clever and add some decoration:
Microsuede is not easy to embroider on, so this is actually a free-standing lace inset that I put on water-soluble stabilizer, then hand stitched on the shirt.  The theory worked well.
The reality.....not so much.  Had this ACTUALLY been a true free-standing design, it should have worked, but the design obviously wasn't a true free-standing design.  So, I'll be removing it and perhaps doing something by hand, or some very light decorative stitching.

Speaking of which, I love having two sewing machines, but the one thing I had wanted in a second machine was more decorative stitching options, and that just isn't something Bernie can do.  I am really glad I got the Bernina as it actually sews better in many ways than Jeeves does, and for fussy things like moleskin I can do much more adjusting, but I was still wishing I could do more decorative stitches.  So, I did a bit of research on Husqvarna machines that AREN'T irritating people and that seem to have been made prior to the new get-them-to-constantly-upgrade policy, then started hunting Ebay and Craig's list to find........
Jeeves's little sister!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This is the Platinum 770, which is the same series as Jeeves so everything is interchangeable, but instead of embroidery, this one does
Decorative stitching!!!!!!  And being a used machine, I got it for just over $400.  The person selling it probably wasn't the original owner, because it arrived with mis-wound bobbins, the threading done wrong, without the plate to cover the bobbin and, for unknown reasons,
a Husqvarna serger foot.  At least it fits my serger, but I thought it was odd.  It works great, though, and I'm guessing it hasn't been used much.  It was dirty, but there wasn't much lint in it, it doesn't have the normal wear marks that Jeeves has, and the case was really dirty, so I'm guessing it's been sitting idle for quite some time, so it probably is "newer" than Jeeves in some ways.  I'll need to track down a second bobbin cover if I want to use it while embroidering, but I have seen NOTHING but positive reviews about this model on sewing machine reviews, so it seemed like a good solution, as it will be years before I could afford a new machine with decorative stitching.   And we've already done our first project together,
which worked fine once I figured out how to change the thread tension (Jeeves does it automatically). 
These are our "fall" towels, and I've always thought they needed a bit of dark brown, and originally I was going to add some more decorative stitching right down the middle, but I like it as-is, so two towels are done & we are counting them as project 68 because A) It takes a lot longer to do this on both ends of two towels than one might think, B) I did have to go two months without a sewing machine at all, which put me behind schedule through no fault of my own, and C) It's late in the year and I am getting a bit desperate.......So, PROJECT NUMBER 68 IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sutton's Law

After an 11 week absence, one is finally going to get their sewing machine back right at the time when one is too busy canning to be able to use it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm Back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No more dog sitting!

I have found the camera cord! 

The new power cord for my laptop arrived!

And yesterday was my 40th birthday (which explains why this update is coming today instead of yesterday)

So....

I spent Sunday and yesterday crafting, and to show for it I have:
a new bag for fall.  This was Jeeves's first project, and at first I thought he was having problems still, but it turns out the problems were being caused by the microsuede I used for the lining.  I added a little free-hand decorative stitching to the outside, and am really quite pleased with the results.  It's a bigger bag than I ever usually carry, but that does mean I could carry more knitting than usual, so it's really a win-win thing, don't you think?

Then it was time for the true test for Jeeves,
and he does seem to FINALLY be fixed.  Whoo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Someone is even happier to have Jeeves back than I am...
And in another week, he might finally stop sleeping on top of me at night, which would make rolling over SO much easier (for me, not Theo).

And.......

That's right.  It's a new knitting project.  Because, you know, I was getting so low on them.  Actually, it's a pair of socks made with the obnoxious stretchy yarn.  Because the pattern I used for the yellow socks has an all-over ribbing built into the pattern, I thought it might be a good match for this yarn.  Now (theoretically--which almost never works out for me in the knitting world) if I combine that with small needles AND a shorter foot than I would usually use, I'm hoping the obnoxious stretchiness will work WITH the pattern rather than against it.  Let's hope!  I still have 9 1/2 balls of this stuff in my stash!!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

JEEVES IS HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And when either:

A) I'm no longer dog sitting and shuttling back and forth between two houses

or  B) Myself, my camera, my camera cord, and the one laptop cord that we're now sharing are all in one location, I'll show you the bag that is my first finished project with the newly-returned Jeeves!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ta-Da!

Not only because we finally have a picture of the socks, but also because I have figured out how to share a picture of the socks from my laptop.  This is very big news, because it means that A) the puppy has not chewed up a second cable, and B) I have figured out the Linux/Ubuntu methods of sharing pictures, which are different than the Windows/Microsoft software programs on my desktop computer.  In all other things, I really have learned to prefer Linux (especially on that money issue), but getting photos onto the blog has been a bit.....problematic.  I have been able to add them sideways or upside down, but tonight's right-side-up achievement is, perhaps, a first. 

So....I will also show you the September Project of the Month
which is the brown pajama top for Andy's coffee pjs, which wouldn't be quite as necessary now that I've found the missing pajama top.....except for the fact that now I can't find the extra material that I was going to piece together to make sleeves.  So.....I'll go ahead and finish this and hope that at some point in the future I locate ALL of the pajama top parts long enough to get it finished. 

Hey, a girl can always dream..........

Sunday, September 5, 2010

So, You Might Be Wondering.......

What happened to the blog updates?  Well, I am dog & house sitting for friends, and in order to get ready for that, I spent Friday running errands and Saturday making salsa.  Then I wasn't here for 24 hours before one of the dogs chewed up my laptop cord, so as soon as my battery ran out, my laptop was done.  Andy ended up loaning me his cord until we can order a new one from Dell, so here I am.  Or at least as long as Andy's old laptop holds out.

However, there has finally been some knitting, and the Sunshine Socks are done!!!!!!  They would be project 61, so 39 left to go and 117 days left to get there.  Theoretically, the part for Jeeves should have been shipped 13 days ago, and IF they couldn't find an even slower method of shipment than predicted, and IF the repair guy works this week and IF they bother to call me when Jeeves is actually ready and IF they actually fix the existing problems without creating any new ones, I could be embroidering in 2-3 days.  Yep--holding my breath on that one.  In the meantime--to make Husqvarna even more endearing, I have discovered that even though the machine that was replacing mine just 4 years ago used the same cards for embroidery that Jeeves does, and in spite of all the sales literature promoting their warranties and all of that, Husqvarna seems to have stopped making cards & accessories for my machine, so the only way that my really expensive Husqvarna sewing machine--the one with that 20 year warranty--will even have a CHANCE of working in 16 more years is if I never have a problem with my cards or card reader/writer, OR if I can pick up parts on Ebay as other people get so disgusted with Husqvarna that they decide to sell everything they have & if it is in working order.  Considering that I just found the exact model I have going for about $500 on Ebay leads me to believe that Husqvarna's other customers are angry as well.   Interestingly enough, MY dealership--the one that knows DARN good and well how hard it is to get replacement parts for the machine I have--has a machine like mine that they are trying to sell on Ebay for $1200.  I did double-check to make sure they weren't "accidentally" selling mine--and I removed all none-essential pieces this time so they don't lose more parts for mine.  The most amazing thing out of all of this is they actually asked if I would be interested in trading my machine in on a new model.  How could anyone possibly be so utterly clueless as to imagine I would ever buy so much as a new needle from Husqvarna ever again after all of this?  9 weeks for a repair on a machine that is supposed to be under warranty???  Knowing that if I spent $4000 or whatever it is to upgrade to their newest model that I may not be able to get parts or accessories for it in just a few years?  It will be a major personal growth achievement for me if I get through all of this without popping my Husqvarna dealer in the nose when I finally get Jeeves back!  And I wouldn't lay 50-50 odds on that at this point........

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September 1: 4 Months and 40 Projects To Go

It's the first of September, and my totals for the year stand thus (don't you just love it when you can use an obscure old word like "thus?"):

Finished projects:  60
Total skeins of yarn used:  39.1
Total yards of yarn used:  8673.5
Total yards of fabric used:  63.69

With 4 months to go, I need 40 projects, and I'm really hoping to hit 100 yards of fabric used for the year.  I would have sworn I have used up more than 39 skeins of yarn, but as there has been a lot of lace happening, that probably makes sense.  BUT.....could I at least reach 50 by the end of the year????????

And what am I doing working on a quilt????????????