Thursday, October 30, 2008

NUMBER 11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Getting past WIP number 10 has been a lot like losing that last 5 pounds (except that those five pounds are still with me). By the third attempt Theo could no longer stand to watch
but after much frogging, a little yarn stretching, and finally having to leave off the overlapping part of the band, the chemo cap is done:
It's actually a pretty cute hat, but I'm not even slightly tempted to keep it. For one, it was a pain to make and I'd like to not have it around as a reminder. For another, I have a longish-type face, and I don't look good in hats without brims. In fact, this one makes me look like a pencil. So, it will be donated to a cancer hospital.

WIP number 12 is getting close. I found the front, finished one side, and have started on the other. It's sort of a race now to see if I can hold out long enough to finish anything beyond this one before the starteritis bug gets me. I'm hoping for 14, but I could live with 12. Heck, finishing 2 WIPs in a row was a new personal best, so I'm rather stunned to have made it this far at all.

Then again, I was also shocked to find out how much yarn I have, how many WIPs I had, and how many knitting books I actually have, so my knitting is rarely--if ever--tinged with any sort of reality.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We Don't Have Hat

So....last night when I was about halfway through the edging on the hat, it became quite obvious that I was going to run out of yarn. I ripped back, then thought I would just do a normal K1P1 ribbing rather than an edging so I could just stop wherever I wanted, but by the third round it became obvious that I had far too many stitches to create anything even resembling a hat ribbing. So, I ripped back again, then ripped back a few extra rows for more yarn, then started the edging again--this time using one less stitch. Which brings me to here:which is about where I was last night. Sigh......

Since all existing projects were basically thumping me, I moved on to an idea for an upcoming birthday gift--copying from a similar project I ran across in a book.

I cut 3 circles of about 4.5 inches in diameter (turns out a vase downstairs makes a perfect template), then putting the right sides of two together, did small seams of about 3/4 of an inch (turns out it will need to be about 1/2 inch seams, but we'll get to that in a minute.
That created 2 circles held together only at the edges, and when the circles were folded in half with the wrong sides together
I had this:
Then taking the third circle right side toward the best looking side of the first piece, I sewed around the edges, then clipped the curves:
The strange white spot is the selvage. I used scrap material for my prototype.

Turning it right side out and pressing it all flat, I was left with
I think I'm going to make a set in Christmas colored crepe back satin for a friend. If they're all slightly different, I think they'd be really helpful for parties--maybe with satin stitching around the edging to add a little sharpness? Thoughts?

Knitting Law #412

She who is foolish enough to brag about a project being done the following day will spend the night ripping back because she is running out of yarn.

Monday, October 27, 2008

There May Finally Be a Finished WIP # 11....

...not right now, of course, but maybe tomorrow!!!!

Still reeling from the ignominy of getting my crafting arse kicked by the blouse-that-shall-not-be-named, I am going for the last easy one--the chemo cap. I'm down to just the edging and it's moving fast.

Could I finally get past the "10" rut I seem to have landed in? And will I, in sheer frustration, finally send the fussy blouse through the food processor? Tune in tomorrow for As The Needles Churn.......

Sunday, October 26, 2008

We Needed Time Apart

OK, I admit it, the blouse is kicking my a**. It has 2 pages of instructions aside from being a silky-slidy material that I must have been out of my mind to select. Today it has driven me to the lowest depths......

I cleaned.

Not just any cleaning even--bathroom cleaning. Now there are some bad projects, but when you would honestly prefer to scrub toilets than work on the project, that's a whole new level of "bad."

Battered and beaten by a yard and a half of polyester, I needed stockinette stitch, so I dug out this
which I'm not sure has even been granted photo space on the blog before. It's a chemo cap made from Elann Esprit, which I started at least two years ago. The yarn is elastic & stretchy and a nightmare to work with until I sort of got the hang of it. It's based on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pi Shawl, and I'm just a few rows short of the sides. When the stretchiness of the yarn got to me, I switched to Fleur, and have started sewing on the beaded edging:
while the cats waged a rather strange battle over the fleece:At this rate I might never get my fleece jacket....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Little Hiatus

I have still been on a sewing rampage--it's just taken me a little while to be able to talk about it.

First, let it be known that I love microsuede. I love wearing it, touching it, buying it (unfortunately)--love, love, LOVE it. It is, however, the very devil to sew with. This is microsuede.The pattern calls for a zipper. People brighter than I would stop right there saying "No, that's a bad combination." I, of course, plunged right ahead. 2 hours later--most of it filled with the sort of foul language that even makes the movie industry raise their collective eyebrows--and the dress has a working zipper. The seams are by no means perfect, the material doesn't exactly cover the entire zipper, and it doesn't look great, but I do think the odds of the zipper spontaneously falling off the dress are pretty low, so it is now in the washing machine for the final run-through.

Not having learned a darn thing, I decided that it would be a good idea to attempt some new challenges while in a state of high frustration, I moved on to this:Eventually, it might be a silky tunic-type shirt. Or stuffing for a pillow if it keeps up the sort of behavior it was exhibiting last night.

I should know that I can only really handle one challenge at a time. I don't generally sew with silky fabrics--they slide around WAY too much for me to handle. But I love them and am foolish enough to keep buying them, so I decided to have another go. Fine, had that been the only challenge. However, you'll notice that instead of button holes, there are button loops. There is a reason that wedding dresses with 328 of those loops going up the back of the dress cost a fortune. It's to cover therapy for the seamstress.

Finally, I got the darn things cut, sewn, turned (which I'm still not ready to talk about), cut, pinned, basted, and finally sewn--thinking all the while that I was smart enough to have laid them out so that the seams wouldn't be visible:
Yup, every last one of them is facing the front. I could have sworn that would turn out the other direction.

Theo could no longer watch the sewing carnage:
Finally, that horrible tunic has driven me to lengths nothing else has been able to do:
I finished the sleeves for Ruched Magic and have attached them to the back of the sweater, and now need to find the half-finished front that's lurking around here somewhere.

I'm trying to refrain, but I could really use some time with a nice, quiet sock right about now......

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Proper Motivation

Inspired by either the thrill of getting to do new projects or the horrifying realization that I do not have enough storage room for the new fabric, I have been churning out the sewing projects like someone training for the Amish Olympics.

First, I finished Andy's fleece jacket
which he has been wearing almost nonstop since I finished it, then I finally broke down & put a zipper in a skirt I started a couple months ago--

which in true Toni fashion, has been finished one month after it might have been practical to wear. Then Theo and I went to work on the Soup Night napkins
then distracting Theo with a little decoy fleece
I was able to get a jumper cut out and sewn relatively fur-free.
The seam going down the back is the basting where the zipper would be right now if I had one. I actually keep zippers on-hand, buying them with the fabric (sometimes) and stocking up when they're on sale and not a single one is even close to the right color. It wouldn't have even done me any good to have thought about it on Monday when I was on my Joann's shopping spree as this is STASH fabric--not new fabric--so I wouldn't have known that I was going to need a neutral zipper, but it is frustrating. after all, how many times in a sewer's life is she actually willing to put in a zipper?

This is the pattern:
and in spite of my initial hesitations, this is one of my favorite patterns. Generally, I try to stay away from any sewing patterns with the word "easy" printed on them. That is pattern manufacturer lingo for "it's time to play mind games with the customer." But, this is my third go-round with this pattern, and if I weren't afraid of the Sewing Gods who are every bit as nasty as Knitting Gods and armed with sharper implements, I'd say it actually was a pretty easy pattern. HOWEVER, I have not actually said any such thing, so I am thankfully unlikely to be maimed in a freak sewing machine accident tonight..........

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Fell Off The Fabric Wagon.....

I made it 9 months and 20 days without buying ANY new fabric. Yesterday.......

There was a sale at Joann Fabrics.

I actually new I was going to buy fabric, because I needed a couple things for Christmas gifts. What I was not ready for was the great apparel fabric on CLEARANCE--some for $2 a yard.

Then I ran into this:
which I thought would make a lovely addition to Soup Night.

Then when I got into the clearance area......

Leaping off the wagon would be more accurate.......

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Project Lust

I have 17 unfinished WIPS on the needles. I have finished 10 WIPS in a row. If I can just do 4 more, I will have finished more than half before starting something new. Just 4 more.....

I REALLY WANT TO CAST ON SOMETHING NEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Surprisingly, I don't have an actual project in mind--just ANYTHING new.

Finally last night I could stand it no longer, so I dragged out some fleece from the fabric stash,
and finished this today:
I'm thrilled because that makes 3 more yards of fabric used from the stash this year and frees up some space in the sewing room closet. Theo is also thrilled about the extra space in the closet.
Calisto isn't too impressed either way.

My need for a new project wasn't completely sated with the fleece jacket, so my trusty sewing sidekick and I started a fleece jacket for Andy.
I guess that was finally a little too much estrogen for Theo, so he went out for some Testosterone Time
while I worked on the sleeves for Ruched Magic.
I just need to get to 14......I just need to get to 14.......I just need to get to 14..........

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Progress - Maybe

So Theo and I have been working on the checkerboard baby blanket
and using a joining foot and a zig zag, I sewed 6 strips of blocks together. As rectangular didn't require cutting more blocks and square did, we opted for the rectangular blanket.
The problems started when I started trying to sew the strips together. If you haven't worked with fleece before, it doesn't stretch at all in one direction, and stretches like a maniac in the other. After several attempts using various setting on my sewing machine--not to mention lots of "quality time" with the seam ripper--I used my quilt basting spray to stick little bits of water soluble stabilizer to hold the blocks together, and zigzagged them together:

It's still a bit puckered, but not nearly as bad as it was. The biggest problem is that there is no way to spray little strips of stabilizer with basting spray without getting basting spray all over one's hands. You can blame any typos on the fact that my fingers keep sticking to the keyboard. And for future reference, soap and water, rubbing alcohol, Clorex wipes, and industrial hand cleaner all fail to remove basting spray from skin.

If I had it to do over, I'd use the two-thread flatlock on the serger to put the blocks together. That is, if I knew how to do a two-thread flatlock on the serger. Blame Nancy Zeiman and her videos for this little endeavor. Trust me, it looked really, really easy when she did it. She has been taken off my Christmas card list for this little episode in my life.

My next attempt is going to be using a stabilizer that gets sticky with water--and I think ultimately disolves. I've been "organizing" the sewing room, so when I find it I'll let you know. Theo wants no part of cleaning or organizing, so Calisto is helping me.
As you can see, it's tough work.

The most positive part of this whole fleece's a relief to go back to sewing seams on Fleur! Look for progress pictures tomorrow!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

There Has Been Sewing--My Sidekick is Back!

As the only thing more boring than sewing sweater seams is discussing sewing sweater seams, we'll be passing over Fleur for the evening. Progress is being made, and I get to work on the beaded edging as soon as I finish one more seam. I think it's best to admit the existence of one's inner child, and mine responds really well to bribery....

Last night Theo helped me wrap up a very belated birthday gift for shipping
then we (meaning me, as I'm the one with the opposable thumbs) cut out fleece squares for a baby blanket. This shows it as just a little less than a yard on both sides, but I have enough blocks to do one more row on one side, which would make a rectangular blanket. Should baby blankets be square? I do have more fleece.

When the size issue is resolved--so many jokes there, and I'm just going to pass right over them--I'm going to zigzag stitch the blocks together. I'm thinking a berry colored thread to match those dark pink moons--or maybe it should be light pink? Thoughts?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fanfare! Fanfare!!!!!

OK, that would have been much more effective if I knew how to add sounds to a blog--and didn't find them annoying.

I have used over 100 balls of yarn this year!!!!!

101 to be precise, since I'm knitting the two sleeves simultaneously.
They'll be shaped for a raglan-style sleeve, and why the designer didn't attach them at that point and finish as one piece is anyone's guess. I started this sweater--formerly known as the Glitterspun Sweater as I couldn't find the pattern & the actual name--long enough ago that I wouldn't necessarily have questioned the designer's directions. I know--it's hard to believe I ever had THAT problem. Oh well. I'm sure that somehow sewing seams is character building.

I tried to convince Calisto that she should be the new knitting side-kick,
but she's pretty shy about public appearances.

Theo, like many celebrities who let fame go to their heads, may have developed a drug problem--
there was a little too much catnip this morning, and he has spent most of the day comatose on the couch. If he doesn't snap out of it by then, this weekend I'll try laying out fabric to cut out a pattern. That ALWAYS gets his attention.

16,085 yards so far!!!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


My time this weekend is still being mostly consumed by those stupid tomatoes which seem to magically replenish themselves each night, but there have been occasional craft-related breaks. I finally washed and blocked Andy's sweater,without the help of Theo, who is now on strike for a bigger by-line, fame having completely gone to his head,and I found some sparkly red ribbon that looks much better with the gift bags--
even if it doesn't photograph very well. Then I spent a little time with the baby aran sweater,
which will eventually be a gift for some close friends when they have their first child. They aren't actually expecting yet, but I find it best to get a jump on these things.

I also assembled some wire shelving in the sewing room
hoping that if I look organized I might actually be organized. It's a long shot, I grant you, but I find optimism much more inviting than realism. I have magic tomatoes, so anything is possible--at least in my world.