July 31, 2008

Dogs at Play, Part 2

Remember Dogs at Play?

See, they really were chasing Lucy.

That's her tail in the top right of the photo,

with Abby right behind her and Beau bringing up the rear.

Oops - they caught her!

Lucy is laying on the ground, Abigail is telling her to get up and run

And Beau is chewing on her nose.

Dudley had to get in on the act.

July 30, 2008

Big Brown

I spent most of the last weekend knitting. We went to a friend's house for a birthday dinner on Sunday. Luckily for me, since I can knit in the car, it's a long drive. At the point, I have divided for the sleeves and big brown is just straight stockinette. I have just started the waist shaping. When I took these photos I had enough yarn in the second skein to knit one more row. The sweater got to go to the dentist with me. All the staff at my dentist's office know that I knit while they are working on me. Yes, I knit like a freak and I don't look. That means I can keep my hands and mind busy and not focus on what they are doing. I have now started the waist shaping and was able to work 5
rows at the dentist. I haven't read all the way through the pattern to know if there is either a seed stitch bottom border or a hem. Right now the stockinette in the back is rolling horribly. Hopefully that will either block out or be given some weight to make it lay flat. This is the first sweater I have ever knit from the top down and I'm really excited about the construction. I'm already thinking about how I can knock off my favorite oatmeal cardigan - it has raglan sleeves and a shawl collar. I'm also thinking about how I can make a little round necked, convertible collared cardigan. I'm having fun with this and while I've named it "Big Brown" I know it's going to be an often grabbed item in my closet.

July 29, 2008

This Weekend Was All About Knitting

But, I took a vacation day on Monday and finished the Take 2 Dress. It looks horrible on Lou - hopefully, it will look better on me.
First, photos I promised VeeDogKnitter- the one on the left shows how I lay the front pattern piece on the fold to take out some of the flare from the center front. The top of the pattern piece is 5/8" (seam allowance) from the fold and then I just layed it "straight."
Because the bodice I was using this skirt for didn't have a center back seam - I also placed the back pattern piece on the fold. This time just placing the seam 5/8" from the fold all the way down the length of the piece.
Let me say - adding Kwik Sew 3337 as the skirt to the Butterick dress wasn't really well thought out. This skirt doesn't have side seams - the side panels wrap around your hip. The dress calls for a side zipper. The skirt uses a center back zipper, the dress has a deep V that overlaps in the back. It went together okay, but I could have made better choices. I'm actually going to take the original dress apart and use Simplicity 5914 as the skirt portion.
Anyway - here is the Take Two dress on Lou. It's no wonder I can't sew for the body I live in - Lou is padded out to fit a body that is about 15# less than I am currently. The dress looks horrible on Lou - hopefully it will look better on me. There will be no photos of me wearing the dress anytime soon as we are headed into a couple days of rain. But I promise to make JB take a photo or two as soon as the weather cooperates. And now I've done it - I've taken elements of one pattern that I love and added them to another that I know fits. It worked and wasn't really that hard.

July 28, 2008

A Funny Little Story

Saturday JB had to work. He works one Saturday a month. I generally prefer when he works on a day when I have plans, but it didn't work out that way this month. So, after spending a few hours (yes, I said hours) with the computer on my lap (uh -laptop?), watching sewing shows on PBS, while drinking coffee and talking to the dogs (JB was working remember?) - Beau talked me into going down to the studio. I was sitting at the sewing machine when Abby came running in from the yard - tell held high and when right to the gate. She was telling me there was someone here. I couldn't hear anyone, but who am I to argue with a little dog? So, I told her, I'd go check. Looked in the garage - JB wasn't home, there was nobody in the living room. But I turned off the tv and locked the front door. I just like being locked in when I'm home alone. And since I was up and moving I decided it was time to get ready for the day. So, I took a shower, dried my hair, got dressed and put on some makeup. Then I could run errands. I opened the garage door and went to the check the mail. When I walked to the mailbox, I could see 2 packages sitting on my front porch. So, while I couldn't see anyone in the house - Abigail was right - there was someone here. It was Keith, Mailman Extraordinaire! This is what he left. One package was for the The Musical One, but the other was for me. It was from Chan. We had been chatting about sock yarns and her recent purchases. I mentioned that I had been wanting to try louet gems fingering weight. She mentioned that she had some in her stash, that she had no desire to knit and that it would be plopping into an envelope and heading to me. I had fair warning that the yarn would arrived tangled and I'm okay with that. I'll untangle it shortly and it will become some socks. There are some beautiful stitch markers tangled up in there. Apparently this yarn smells a little too much like a sheep for a sweet dog to resist - or it smelled like his momma. But one very precious boy got into this yarn. Unfortunately it was making the yarn hang like a weight around Chan's neck. I have a little something up my sleeve with this yarn, but you all will have to wait to find out what.

Samples

If you came by just for the beaded lace sample - just scroll on down - it's there. However, if you stay you'll have to listen to me babble for awhile. First up - this beat up cigar tin I got from my Grandmother. For as long as I've know, it has held her tiny crochet hooks. I have all of those. And yes, at the end that is someone's teeth marks - I don't know who's, but it just adds to the character. The hooks inside this beat up tin were also my Grandmother's tiny steel crochet hooks. In her day she made lovely lace angels and snowflakes. I have enough of the tiny starched beauty to decorate a small tree. Next, can I just say that I love the way a hank of yarn looks once it all nicely wound up into a cake? This is the creamy latte cashwool that is being used for my SotSiii stole. It's almost like knitting with air. It's so tiny and fine. The beads that I decided to use are size 6 seed beads. They are clear with a bronze liner. I had 3 options for use on this project and after knitting all 3 into the swatch, I think the bronze lined beads looks best. Of course the real sample will make an appearance at Knit Night for an up close and in person opinion from my friends. Here's the close up of the bronze beads in the swatch. Me likely. I actually washed this swatch and blocked it on our bed - that way I had a white background for the lace to stand out on.
Okay ~ here's the full swatch, all of the rows - washed and blocked. I used an Addi US 4 lace needle. I like the way the needle tips grabbed this fine slippery yarn. I have my doubts where this looks lacy enough and I might go up a needle size - but really, I think it's fine. My swatch measured 7" wide and 6 3/8" high. I wish I had taken a pre-blocking photo - blocking really is magic. Opinions on any of this, anyone?
Oh - Chan - this is fun - there is still time to join. And you have some beautiful purple lace in you stash!

July 27, 2008

Daisies

Have I mentioned how much I love them?

These 3 happy bouquets are on my dining room table currently.

I love them - how happy :)

July 26, 2008

Secret of the Stole

This year is the third Secret Stole knit-a-long. I have wanted to be a joiner for since I started hearing about the first stole. I think I first heard about it through The Harlot. Anywhoo - this is a mystery lace stole designed by Nautical Knitter. This stole also has beads that added with a crochet hook as you are knitting. I have never knit with beads and the one "real" lace project I have going on - is the one project I absolutely have to concentrate on, so it's very slow going. Thanks to my friend Golden Tracks, I joined the Ravelry Group as well as the Yahoo Group and I got an email when the group started. About a week ago we got the swatch chart and the supply list. I started looking for lace weight online and ended up ordering Baruffa Cashwool from Little Knits. The first yarn into my cart was this pretty light lime-yellow as I thought it would look great with the lining for my red wool coat. I'm glad a threw another color into my cart, because now that's it here - it's not limey enough to work with my red coat, but will look fabulous on The Princess. My second color choice was creamy latte. This is going to be what my stole is knit from. I love this very pretty soft brown lace yarn. I also have beads, but haven't photographed them. The plan is to knit my swatch today while the house is quiet. It's just me and the dogs for awhile. The way this works is one a week beginning August 15th, you get a 'clue.' It's that week's knitting graph. I believe I read that this stole has 9 clues. There is a theme to the stole which will be revealed at the end, if you haven't guessed it already. We don't have any vacation plans - so I'm hoping for enough quiet Sunday mornings to keep up. If you are interested in joining this knit-a-long, often referred to as SotSiii - click on the yahoo link. You need to get "approval" to join and the sign-up are limited. Be back later with a beaded swatch.

July 25, 2008

Crafting Again

This little bag has now been received by my friend Chan. I had started out to make her the 'perfect' bag. The first bag I made wouldn't be it. It might work for a day or two, but it wasn't going to fill all the dreams she has about a bag. So one day when posting about a top I had finished, I noticed that the pattern had a little handbag included. Hey - I said to myself - that might work. I looked at the pattern and thought it might be a little big. See Chan doesn't want a huge bag, she'll put too much in it and hurt herself. So, I cut some width off the pattern and a bit of the length too. I added a piece for the bottom, so it had some contrast on the outside. I think it's fun. I used some bead pins and attached beads to the bottom as 'feet.' (Chan, those can easily be removed by taking the bottom stabilizer piece out.) I also put a pocket on the inside for a phone and added a little loop for attaching keys. Unfortunately, once it was finished I think I trimmed too much off the pattern, it's not large enough to hold a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of patter - which was important. So, the making with continue - but not until after I made the revised version of the sundress :)

Just for Fun

Melly showed this fun thing the other day. wordle will make a fun picture of your blog. Go try it - it's fun and who couldn't use a little more fun in their life?

July 24, 2008

DOT

Dudley - August 18, 1998
Abigail Jane - December 1, 1999
Lucy Lou (she was named after Lucille Ball) - August 11, 2003
Beauregard James - August 11, 2003
We have some birthdays approaching.

July 22, 2008

A Good Foundation

Ever since reading the comments on the hard post, I have been on the lookout for better foundation garments. Not necessarily spanx, because I have some and I don't love them. For me - spanx does not live up the promises. Mine fall down, the legs roll up and bunch and they are very uncomfortable. I'd rather wear control top nylons - just saying. I recently purchased the new People magazine. In it there is a Fruit of the Loom ad that shows a real woman wearing her underwear. She's dressed in a fruit of the loom fit for me cotton boy shorts. What caught my attention with this ad is that fact that the woman looks great, she looks comfortable and while she's not model skinny - she's a normal, healthy weight, there is no bulge over the top of her panties. In that same issue, there is also an for curvation. While that woman also looks fabulous, she has a bulge over the top of her panty line. I don't want that - but I also don't want to wear panties that reach the bottom of my bra. So, I'm asking you - what do you wear? Are you happy with the fit? Does your underwear help you feel sexy, even if it's cotton? I know - personal questions, but if you don't mind - inquiring minds want to know. As for the "hard" post - I'm doing better. I still have really hard days, but the sun has been out and the top has been down on my car. I'm taking days for myself, literally doing nothing, and refusing to apologize for it when JB gets home and asks what I've done all day. I'm eating better. Spending more time in the sewing room and knitting. Thankfully, I don't feel like I'm trudging through molasses anymore - thanks so much for all your comments and emails. I truly appreciate it. Blogging is wonderful - for the support alone, but knowing that's you're not alone - Priceless.

July 21, 2008

Mockery

After sewing off the top of the bamboo socks - I immediately wound this beautiful Claudia Hand Painted Yarns into pretty little cakes. I have been watching the periodic progress of Miss C's Mockery Socks (which were actually designed by Live 2 Knit, it's a free pattern - go look). Well I really like knitting both socks at the same time (Thanks Cami, you were right). But I also love my double pointed needles - so, generally I will cast on with double pointed needles and get started that way - work a few rounds, then move the sock to the long circular needle and get the second sock started. A few rounds with my sharp, pretty double points, then both socks at the same time. I thought this pattern would look best in a semi-solid - this lovely pistachio color fits the bill quite nicely. There is the occasional splash of strong color - but I've worked the first 10 rows of the pattern tonight and it's working up nicely.

July 20, 2008

Bamboo Meadow

I finally finished something. These socks have been named Bamboo Meadow by me and the "Jim Carrey" socks by JB. He says when he sees them all he sees if Jim Carrey in The Mask. These socks were knit using Knit Picks Essential Sock Yarn in the meadow colorway. I used a US 1 needle, knit both socks at the same time from the toes up, magic looping all the way. I did a 60% short row heel and reversed the stitch so the bumps are on the outside of the sock, rather than on the foot side. The stitch pattern is a semi made up one. I saw a friend knitting a pair of socks at knitting group that she called big bamboo. Upon doing an Internet search, I couldn't find any such stitch pattern. I used a 4 stitch repeat and proceeded as follows: Rows 1-5: Purl 1, Knit 3, repeat to end Rows 6-7: Purl 1, Knit 3, *Purl 5, Knit 3* repeat around Rows 8-12: Purl 1, Knit 3, repeat to end Rows: 13-14: Purl 5, Knit 3, repeat to end. What you get is a stitch pattern that loosely resembles the knobs on a bamboo plant. JB was getting tired of helping me photograph socks, so he decided we needed to compare Miss Lucy's socks with mine. As you can see - she doesn't have socks. Oh, by the way, I made these with a turned down cuff. So after getting the leg to the height I was after, I reversed the pattern so when I folded the top down - the right side of the pattern would show - pretty nifty :)

July 19, 2008

Take Two

See, I really like this dress. And I've really wanted to have it in my closet for a long, long time. So, I'm not letting the disappointment of the last one not going to stop me. In fact, it is prompting me to do something I've never done before.
I'm making this dress again - this weekend. I'm using this pretty green and purple swirled cotton that I've had for almost 10 years. This new thing that I'm gonna do? Well after taking the bodice seams in as well as grading the shoulders down, I've been flat measuring to see if my favorite quick sew skirt will fit onto the bodice of this dress. I have never mixed pattern pieces from different envelopes - not even within the same pattern company.
So the KS skirt has gores and falls straight from the waist into a full skirt. Finally - after a couple of failures with gathered skirts - I'm finally starting to get it - step away from the full gathered skirt - it doesn't work on you! But I get tons of compliments on the KS skirt.
In fact, I wore the daisy skirt with a white tee to the mall yesterday to get a hair cut and attempt to do a
little shopping. The only salesperson I could get to talk to me, was a woman in the makeup department of Nordstroms, who jumped out and grabbed me as I was walking by. She said "Oh, where did you get your skirt? I love it!" I had to break her heart and tell her I made it - she wasn't going to be able to have one. She wasn't the only complete stranger to comment on my skirt yesterday.

July 18, 2008

Flattered!

The Musical One ("TMO") has never had any desire to learn any of my hobbies. She doesn't sew, she has no interest and frankly I haven't sewn for her since she was in 1st grade - other than prom dresses. A couple of weeks ago my phone rang while I was at knitting night. It was TMO, she said "I think I want to learn to knit. Do you know where I can take a class?" Nope, I said. Actually, I said of course. I hooked her up with the owner of my LYS. She called and scheduled a private lesson. They are quite reasonable - it was $20 after buying needles and some more yarn (I sent her with 'good stuff') she spent less than $50 and has the materials to make 2 scarfs. I haven't paid too much attention, because I don't want her to loose interest if I'm interested. Anyway, she's a true lefty - she moving her fabric from the needle in her right hand to her left, but she's tensioning in her right hand. I think she's doing a combination of picking and throwing. But like I said - I'm not paying too much attention. At this point she only knows how to knit and will take another lesson to learn purling. The yarn I gave her was 2 balls of Noro Silk Garden. It was left over from a past project. So - are you ready for this - her first class was yesterday. This photo was taken before dinner and by the time she went home for the evening - she had a length of fabric 15 stitches wide by about 14" long! She might already be addicted because after we were done eating, she said to JB "Will you hand me my knitting?" Sometimes you just have to wait for them to decide what you are doing is cool. I'm flattered that she's finally decided that making stuff is okay. Happy Knitting everyone.

July 17, 2008

Dogs at Play

Lately we have been letting the dogs play in the front yard.
Lucy likes checking out the yard.
Run Lucy
the other dogs are gonna catch you - run! Okay, now I'm tired. Can I have a cookie mom?
Head on over to Dogs on Thursday and check out other dogs at play.

July 16, 2008

Don't Tell Me

The dress is too big! I don't know what my problem is lately - I either sew for my really old body - the one that was 90+# heavier; or the slightly older body - the one that was 20+# slimmer; but I can't manage to sew for the body I'm currently living in. Looking at these photos - especially that side view - I really need to start standing up straight! I need to get some better foundation garments. I need to start working my arms out! However, I've said it before and I'll say it again - for 44 I don't look horrible! This was a super simple dress to make and while I'm not sure the style is particularly flattering on my - I might actually make it again. In another fun summer cotton print. Both of the bust darts need to be lowered. The front is too wide, but I believe I could keep the back the size it is and just overlap the back sections more. That would make the need for a specialty bra unnecessary. Some people spend a lot of time on photo shoots. I'm obviously not one of them. I had just finished the dress and ran upstairs to try it on. It was about 8:00 p.m. and JB had just got home from work. he was going to take the photo on the back deck with the coolers in the frame. At the end I was looking at something and he snapped a photo. I don't have a photographer who keeps snapping until he gets a flattering photo - he takes one shot - either use it or don't! The dress is Butterick 5028 and the original post can be found here. And from Sommerset, how about a parting shot? I love daisies! I think they are such fun, innocent, friendly flowers. We have a bunch in the yard - and I thought one might like to be shown with my daisy :) Yep - it's really a tattoo on my foot!

July 15, 2008

Gifted Moth

If you remember, when I posted about how blessed I was by all the goodness that Chan sent in my 9-5 package. I had also promised a separate post about the hand knit item. Although I was corrected by Chan that her Miss Sissy was really good, but not good enough to knit the wee little sock that was in my package and was also hand knit - but I think y'all know what I meant. Well, Chan sent me the Wings of a Moth that she knit. It is a beautiful soft pink and is to die for! You can see better photos of it on Chan's blog, here (scroll down) and here.
Chan gives all the yarn, pattern and needle details on the second link to her. It's fabulous!
She's so right, it's light as a feather, yet warm. I have worn this several times. But I can never get JB to snap a photo - so finally resorted to posing it around the house and taking a couple of close up shots. I think I'm getting a little bit better playing around with JB's camera - these are all straight out of the camera - so far I have progressed into playing around in photoshop of the camera's software. I have issues about crossing too far into the spouse's hobby.
I think the funniest thing about this little beauty. . . well I have been reading and emailing with Chan since sometime late last year (October/November). Anyway, she's very very good about emailing people who leave comments and then we email back and forth a bit. Well, when she finished the Moth and showed photos I told her it was beautiful, but was she actually going to keep it for herself? She asked why she wouldn't and I told her that since she started knitting lace, everything she had made she had gifted. I believe she told me she was keeping it - Imagine my surprise when it showed up in my box. My dogs wanted to sniff every inch of it and Lucy tried to eat it - but I'm keeping it safe. Thanks Chan - I love it! It is a wonderful bit of friendship and warmth.

July 14, 2008

I've Never Been an Earthy Girl

Earthy colors, yes. But working in the earth - no.
However, this year having a garden and growing food I'm just loving hanging out in the yard. I love the fact that I'm able to harvest food - right from my own yard.
These peas, for instance - when I saw the first one on the vine - I squealed. Really. Now, I just snap one off every couple of days when I walk by and eat the yummy little gem.
I'm really enjoying this. I can't wait for new foods to be ready. We have planted our second go round of both radishes and spinach. I fixed the last of the first spinach in a ham frittata last night and it was yummy. We eat lettuce from the yard most every night and soon we will have corn, squash, carrots, and beets - it's all good.
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