Saturday, July 28, 2012

I Have A Scratch In My Record

Do you remember when records were records?  When they were flat black disks with one continuous groove that you gently set a tone-arm with a needle on (yes, kiddies, an actual metal needle) to play?  Remember how it'd skip if there was a deep enough scratch?  I realized this morning that I'm like that record needle when it meets a scratch.  I repeat things.  I get stuck in a groove and do something over and over until someone either lifts me out of the rut or puts a metal washer or a quarter on my tone-arm (that's how you dealt with that issue) to weight it down so it moved along.  (This blog comes with a complimentary lesson from the Rube Goldberg School of Obsolete Gadget Repair; not to be confused with the Hank Angermeier School of Toilet Repair, but that's a story for another time.)

I started making Too Early Birthday Preemie Hats last month--and I can't stop.  When I finish one, I cast on another.  I seem to be working my way through all the colors of Premier Yarns' Everyday Soft Worsted Prints, at least all the ones I own.  I'm up to four and number five's OTN but not pictured--yet.  Oh wait, I have it with me and I have my camera... back in a jiffy.  As you can see, I am not a champion of pastels for babies.  I like seeing the little darlings in bright colors, makes them look like people instead of dollies.

The only other crafty thing I've done in the last week is add a 14" strip onto the "blanket" of gray fleece that Durwood uses to keep warm when he's sleeping, and I won't be taking a photo of that.  Picture an bunk-bed sized piece of pale gray fleece, now with a strip up the side.  That's it.  We're the perfect couple to sleep together--not.  We keep flannel sheets on the bed year round (not my preference) and in summer have a cotton woven "thermal" blanket over them.  That's not enough for Durwood.  By the middle of the night, after his 3:33 AM cup of tea, he's got his fleece throw pulled over the top half of himself.  I, on the other hand, shove the cotton blanket down to my hips when I get into bed and usually spend at least part of the night out of the covers all together.  The older he gets, the colder he gets; the older I get, the hotter I get (and not in that way, either).  Like I said, the perfect couple.

Oh, okay, the Hank Angermeier School of Toilet Repair story...  When we moved into my folks' house when we needed more room (we swapped houses, they moved into our duplex because they wanted less room) I took the lid off the toilet tank to put in one of those 2000 Flushes things to find a black, mans' sock draped over the top of the float & fill mechanism.  I shook my head, fished it out, and tossed it into the sink, then I flushed the toilet.  It was like I'd turned on a fountain.  Water sprayed out the top of the fill tube, arcing at least a foot above the tank.  Not being a fool, I grabbed the sock and slapped it back where it had been which effectively stopped the leak.  Didn't have to buy a package of toilet guts, turn off the water supply, drain the tank, and replace the innards.  The sock was a simple fix and one of the hallmark lessons of the HASTR--be creative and work with what's at hand.  I did eventually really fix the toilet but the sock worked just fine in the interim.

Friday, July 20, 2012


It was difficult to resist twirling every time I got up from the desk at work on Wednesday and Thursday because on Tuesday night I (finally) sewed up a polyester rayon-ish skirt that I've had cut out for nearly a year.  I paired it with a black tee on Wednesday and loved wearing it.  So much so that I paired it with a cocoa tee on Thursday and wore it again.  What?  No one came in on both days plus it looked totally different.  Totally.

 I zoomed along making the miters of the Bandwagon Block #9 and I'm nearly ready to start the log cabin parts.  When this block is complete I'll only need to make three more before sewing up time.  Yay.

I pulled out my ball winder and got control of some skeins of yarn threatening to tangle themselves into a snarl this morning.  Both had knots about a quarter in so I snipped them and am using the short parts for preemie hats.  Not that I wouldn't have used the entire skein for that since it's soft, bright acrylic that I like to use for this hat pattern.  Preemie hats need to be sterilized and wool just can't take it, plus new parents don't need one more thing to take special care of, so acrylic it is.

I fully intend to cast on an ankle sock tonight using this variegated Fixation yarn until it runs out and then finishing the sock with the pale yellow.  It'll be in a shoe anyway, so what's the difference.  Plus you know how I am about socks.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Bag Jag, The Movie

Not really, no movie, but I can't seem to stop making bags.  On Saturday I went downstairs into the studio (sounds much cooler than "the basement," doesn't it?) and made another medium sized one and my first large one.  Being the design maven that I am (not) I made coordinating bags that just happen to go with one of the small ones I made on Friday.  (Would you look at that?)  The linings all match but I confess that I stole the lining photo styling from Noodlehead's blog.  But it was such a brilliant way to show it! (she bleats defensively)

(good thing Durwood's taking a nap, a squirrel just chased a flock of sparrows off the spilled birdseed below the feeder.  he's determined to train the squirrels to leave "his" birds alone.  oh, that reminds me to pack a couple pairs of binoculars for our trip...)

On Saturday I also finished the first miter of Bandwagon Block #9.  I had to rewind the ball so that the green was the starting color.  I love this long repeat stuff, it's like I'm using a couple different skeins when it's really all the same.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

'Nother Hat... With Bags

This time you get the preemie hat first because it is just so cute.  Plus this is my blog and I can make it any way I want to.  So there.  The president of the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild, VJ, started an outreach project last fall going to a retirement home in town and starting a knitting group.  I hoped to go but didn't manage it even once.  Turns out one of the ladies came back to knitting and over the course of the year not only did she turn into a baby hat knitting machine (she's up to 58!), she even dyed her hair.  Now that's a renaissance, and all because of knitting.

I have mostly worsted weight yarn and, honestly, it's about the smallest yarn I like to knit with, so I searched online and on Ravelry for a preemie hat using worsted and found the Too Early Birthday hat.  I had some red (of course I did, are you surprised?) variegated yarn on hand and had just learned the Magic Loop method of knitting in the round so I cast on and zoomed off.  I confess that it is acrylic yarn but preemie hats need to be sterilized to be used and wool yarn can't take the heat so acrylic is the right yarn for this use.  This is very nice, soft, non-splitty yarn in bright colors that makes excellent hats.  (I'm not anti-baby colors but I think babies, especially the littlest ones, need bright colors for stimulation and to make them look awesome and not like dolls.)  This turquoise one is perfect for that baby with an affinity for the ocean.

Yesterday I cranked out a couple small zip bags like the medium ones I made last weekend.  This pattern is so well written and easy to follow, plus I'm using heavyweight fabrics so I don't need to put interfacing in.  Takes out one step and eliminates one supplies need.  Booyah!  I'm loving these bags.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Bag Jag...with Hat

I've really been getting into sewing lately, what with the quilting Block of the Month (BOM) I signed up for over at Craftsy (if you think you'd ever like to make a quilt you should sign up, it's free and forever, you can jump in whenever and play along) and the instant gratification aspect of sewing.  One of the quilters I'm following on Craftsy is applekrisp whose blogs as Sister of the Divide so I cruised over to her blog and, lo and behold, she made some zipped bags I liked the look of.  I thought, hmm, I have fabric, a bale of fabric.  I have zippers.  I have fusible interfacing.  And off I went.  

By bedtime I had 3 of the medium size made and finished.  I will be making more, small and large ones.  I'm already thinking of the fabrics I have in the armoire... and zippers will be 50% off at Hancock in 2 weeks.  Uh-oh.

Speaking of instant gratification, I went downstairs and resurrected the yarn and pattern to make preemie hats on Friday before Friday Night Knitting.  I had to have something yarn-ly that would finish quickly.  I love making these little hats in this bright variegated yarn.  Babies need color, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hot, Hot, Hot

It was so hot today that I hid in the basement sewing the July Block of the Month quilt blocks.  I sorted out the fabrics into possiblities and then changed my mind when it came to the second block.  I decided the fabric I originally chose was all wrong for the "big picture" so I tapped into the ones that I'd organized and I think you'd agree that I made the right choice. 

Here's the fabric I didn't choose.  Not the right one for the quilt, is it?

Here's the Traditional Dresden Plate block.  Don't you love these colors?

The Modern Dresden Plate block is the one that dodged a bullet when I took a second look at that orange and purple fabric, although I know that the size of the wedges would have made them look like random designs, still I'm glad I changed them.

I have been knitting on the log cabin border of the eighth Bandwagon Block, I have.  It's just that it's been so hot... even sitting in the a/c and knitting seems too hot.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sewing Strips

As if I don't have enough projects in the works already, I downloaded a quilting book, Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts by Rayna Gillman, to my Kindle last week.  Remember that I ordered those 3 bags of quilting cotton scraps last winter?  I've used a few of the wider ones in the quilt blocks I've been making but I didn't know what I'd do with the rest.  Now I know. 

I spent a bit of Friday afternoon and a lot of yesterday sewing strips together into strip sets.  Putting my own spin on the directions in the book (when have you ever known me to follow directions to the letter?), I didn't cut curvy edges, I just sewed the strips.  They weren't straight, those edges, so I got the random wonkiness she talks about.  I do think I made my sets wider than she did, but I've got a nice sharp rotary cutter (or 6, I have all of Mom's too) to fix that if I'm in a mood to.  

 I also dumped out and ironed the pound of really narrow strips.  There are A LOT of strips in a pound.

I'm going to put the sets and the ironed narrowest strips aside until I know more about how to make a quilt and then I'll be slashing, inserting, turning, reslashing, and generally making a mess with these strips and sets. 

I will not be buying fabric.  Cross my heart.