Friday, April 17, 2015

On the Needles...

At last, I think I have this lace pattern figured out!

Ahhh, boo boos are gone.  Although I hated ripping the eight inches of lace out, on this side there was a big glob of stitches where I messed up on the number I needed to complete the last pattern and I had to just do increase stitches when I should have been doing pattern stitches. 

Last night and the night before, I knitted after supper.  I have eight repeats of the lace, each repeat is four rows.  So four hours of knitting got me 32 rows.   

167 times 32 is 5,344 stitches!  If only I could knit while walking on the treadmill...  lol!  JUST JOKING!

I also checked the gauge -- so I needed fewer stitches.  Before I had 200+ on the needles, and I'm down to 167.  Before I ripped the measurement was about four inches bigger than I really needed.  It would have been like a swing coat!

When you have stitches all scrunched up on the needles, the garment looks only as big as the needles you're using, so for example I was using a 40 inch circular needle, and the stitches got bunched up in the center as I pushed them around to knit.  But once I spread out the front and measured it, it was way too big.  I don't like tight clothes but it was ridiculous.  The lace looks nicer when it's spread a little.  Too much fabric hides the pattern.  Besides I will use less yarn this way.

Moral of the story, check your gauge.  I know, it seems such a useless process sometimes, like prewashing fabric. 

Speaking of which, I have all my prewashed fabric lengths ready for cutting out some pants for myself this weekend.  After church quilt guild, and the youth auction, so maybe Sunday afternoon.

Fingers crossed.  I am getting tired of nothing but black pants and navy blue pants. 

Sew --  knit on!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Frog Stitching

Remember this project from a couple of weeks ago?  Yeah, I thought I was so smart, I'd finally started knitting something for myself.  This is a fairly simple lace pattern, as far as lace patterns go in knitting.  The yarn is a worsted weight, meaning 8 skinny strands of fiber twisted together into a fairly thick yarn, and I'm working on a size 9 needle.  It was going as fast as 230 stitches in each row can go when you have to count and pay attention to which row you're on.
Key words:  Pay Attention.

This is the left front.  It looks pretty good at this point.

This is the back.  Also pretty good.

The pattern is February Lady Sweater.  You can find it on 

So if you look at the 'back' photo, you can see the line of stitches between where the holes are.  The holes are offset every other row so they move out from that center line. 

That center line SHOULD line up.  All. The. Way. Down. The. Sweater.

They. Didn't!

I had knit several evenings, probably a whole seven or eight, doing maybe another six or seven inches of pattern.  If you look at the first picture, my project is laid on top of the pattern, which is on letter sized paper, 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches.  At that point in time my sweater was about 10 inches from shoulder to where I was working.  So add six inches to that and you can guess how many stitches I had made.  The math makes my head hurt.

I was admiring my work when I saw it.  Actually them.  Five of them... five lines that took detours into LARGE holes and went sideways by a stitch.

One stitch.  I almost cried.  So I sat there thinking, would anyone notice?  Oh God, please let me close my eyes, open them again, and have it not be true.

I asked DH if he could see what I did.  He wouldn't see a thing, I told myself.  He can't find a bottle of catsup in the fridge unless it's on the edge of the shelf promising to fall out.

He said, oh yeah, I see it.  Is that big hole supposed to be there?

Dead before I even started...

This lace pattern goes over 7 stitches and repeats.  I count as I knit, one two three four five six seven.  I should be starting the lace pattern over again after seven, if I have lived right in that moment.

I know how to fix a booboo in knitting.  You can knit over to the place above the error, un-knit or frog stitch just that stitch down to the error, fix it and knit each row back up to the top.  In theory.  You can do a column of stitches or just one.  I've done it on smaller widths, or when the error was closer to the needles.  So I tried pulling out some spare needles and un-knitting those seven stitches that contained the first error, but there were SO many rows knit, I lost track of the pattern about an inch past the error and it just kept getting worse.  And I had this to do in FIVE places!

<<insert groaning sounds here>>


Frogged back to the beginning of the lace!

Rip it!  Rip it!

I unwound two large balls and put them back in the project bag.  Maybe I can wear this next February!

Knit on...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Managing Stashes - Enablers

It's not always my fault.  Really, it's NOT!

Last night my daughter stopped over for a chat.  She had a big tote bag with her which her father was eyeing with suspicion.  After we talked for a while she said "I brought you some yarn."

I said "Oh, gosh" or words to that effect. Eye rolls from hubby.

Understand that my daughter is a talented person.  She does cross stitch like a pro, and knows how to sew but chooses not to.  She also does not cook.  Well, frozen pizzas and stuff in the microwave, but she is best described and most comfortable with the title of career woman.  Lucky for her she married a good cook and her older daughter likes to cook too.  And she hates to shop!

I know...right?

She always tells me it skipped a generation.  So when she tells me she brought me yarn, it could be great but it could be anything!  And she works in a hospital so where did she get yarn??

She took this bag out of her tote. 

"My coworker had to get her mom into assisted living or a nursing home and she was cleaning her house out.  She brought some stuff in, and I said I'd take the yarn."

It's NOT MY FAULT!  The stuff just comes to me like iron filings to a magnet!

She said she only took the stuff that looked new with labels on it.  There were some loose skeins and some individually wrapped packages of kits, yarn and patterns, from Annie's Hook Club.  Like Book Club but for needleworkers??  LOL!

Here's a pattern for fall veggies, beets, carrots and what I can only assume is an eggplant. 

 The package contained green, purple, orange and red yarn.

Then there was this grocery tote bag pattern:

With this lovely green cotton yarn inside:

A purple shawl pattern:

With Caron Simply Soft yarn in the shade of Grape:

A placemat kit, obviously in holiday colors:

Three loose skeins of Cuddle yarn from Joann's in mint green, it's sport weight, so for a baby project, or maybe socks??

And two more skeins of Simply Soft, one in pastels and one in green:

More Annie's yarn... this is one brand I did not have in my stash previously.  (I did a google search on Annie's Hook Club, and it appears the value of these kits is about $20 each!) This is worsted weight and feels a bit rough on the fingers.  I wonder if it was supposed to be a kit.  There was a piece of cardboard in the plastic bag, but no pattern.

And last but not least, a big skein of sort of a dusty aqua with no label.  It feels like a Red Heart Super Saver yarn, maybe a 12 or 16 ouncer, one of those "Big Saver" things.  Or maybe it's an off brand, but it is very soft.  The color is truer at the top of the picture.  It was dark when I took it so the camera was working hard in artificial light.

So at least she didn't bring me any UFOs.

Knit on!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Managing the Stash. Or Not.

Spring is always a great time in southern Wisconsin.  The sewing expos start popping up after the holidays, and people cannot WAIT to get outside after being cooped up by all the snow and cold.

My friend Marlene called me a couple of months ago and asked if I was interested in going to Schaumburg IL for Sewing Expo.

I know, I know, I do not need any more fabric.  Or notions, or patterns. 
Need has NOTHING to do with it.  You know I'm right.
Since the University of Wisconsin announced that they are not holding the expo at Platteville, I've been kind of mourning the loss.  The organizers always seemed to find fun local shops to come in and display their wares and you discover new places to put on your 'shop hop' maps.

Do not get me wrong, I still L.O.V.E. Sewing Weekend in Beaver Dam.  It has maintained most of its quality even after the sale of Nancy's Notions to the parent company of Babylock.  But once a year is not enough.  (This year it's May 7-8-9.  You should go.  Seriously, you should!)

(I think I blogged last year about the local transportation for Sewing Weekend.  I'm trying to slim down a little -- my purse and TOTE bag, that is! -- in order to get through that bus aisle faster.)

But I digress.   We needed some sewing girl time.  So south we ventured...  I have to say I was a tad bit disappointed in the Schaumburg show, as were my enablers companions.  Not too much variety, and not too much in the way of garment sewing. 

Not to fear, I did attend one pants fitting lecture which I liked, and I found some fabric... I was home by dinner time on Saturday and washed my pieces in preparation for some garment sewing this coming week.  Keep your fingers crossed, this year I might even wear something I made to Sewing Weekend!

Sew on!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happy Easter and a Finish or Two!

I hope you had a blessed holiday weekend, whether you celebrated Easter or Passover.

Hubby and I have been going to early church services for so long, it seems only right that we go to Sunrise Service on Easter morning.  It's very moving and beautiful.  We start outside around an outdoor firepit and process into the beautifully decorated sanctuary.  Our pastor is a very good preacher, and his sermons really always seem to hit the mark.

Normally we go separately because hubby likes to leave right after, and I like to stay for coffee and a bit of visiting.  We went together this week because it was Easter.  We were driving home at 7:40 a.m.  I said "Wow, on a normal week we wouldn't even be getting there at this time!"

After breakfast I took a nap.

The family came over at around 2 p.m. and we had dinner.  Pot roast and ham and roasted veggies and salad and a key lime pie for dessert. 

And of course a few Easter Eggs, carefully crafted and dyed by Miss A and Miss E.  Miss A was the BOSS this year (as she normally must be!) and Miss E was allowed to do some eggs (but not many) by the little tyrant crew chief.  Of course at 13 and a half, one is much too dignified to appear to CARE about those things, but she is artistic and wanted to contribute SOME of her talent!

You would think with three dozen eggs cooked, she could get some of them, but little sister had a PLAN and we just had to go ALONG.  Or ELSE.  LOL!

We have these cute little egg shaped plastic cups for dye, color coded, and the plastic plus the towel saves us from cracked eggs during the coloring process, unless of course they fall elsewhere...

 The "invisible crayon" provided many minutes of excitement while waiting for the dye to become the proper shade.  I used vinegar so the colors were supposed to be 'vibrant'.  If they wanted pastels they just dipped less.

I am SO sorry, this photo will NOT rotate, no matter what program I use to save it!  Can you tilt your head just a bit?  She had stations set up for really wet eggs, dry eggs, and undyed eggs. 
And I normally would not post a picture of my grands with their faces showing, but her hair was up and her shirt was just TOO good to pass up... it's one of Dad's that she used for an artist's smock.

One dozen finished!  The green one says 'green egg'.  To eat with your ham...

We sacrificed a car wash towel and it now has a lovely dotted pattern.
I'm sure the dye will wash out of the towel, and NO dye got on my rug or on the Crew Chief! 

The youth auction quilt and pillows were delivered.  The auction is in two weeks, that was cutting it short!  I sewed a lovely label on the back.  The throw pillows were donated by a lady who was cleaning out her sewing room in order to move. 

The quilt is 50x60 inches so the perfect lap or dorm quilt, with two coordinating but not matching throw pillows that I made from the left over pieces.

It was expertly quilted by my friend Suzi with fans, and a straight line pattern in the border.

The back, before the label.  Of COURSE there's no photo of the label...  duh me!

Head tilting is required... sorry.

The top is on the right side... sigh.

Pillow No. 1 has a flange around the edges, which was a challenge to get under the presser foot!

Pillow No. 2 is a simple log cabin pattern, featuring the cherry fabric in the center. 

My last finish this week was a doll dress for a cabbage patch-sized doll.  The dress was made from the lining and overlay of my cousin's wedding dress.  She gave it to our cousin Amy to make pillows from after her wedding a couple of years ago.  She doesn't know my aunt decided that this doll she has and wanted to give to her should have a wedding dress (or that I should make it!)  So if you see Kelly, don't tell... but since I doubt she reads this blog we can take a look.

Full front view.

Detail of the collar.  That's the corner of the overlay at the front.

Skirt detail.  The edge is one piece, and the flowers are all separate pieces, sewn down individually.

I could not find a piece of the overlay large enough to cover the whole skirt without cutting off many of the lace flowers and beads.  Lace is just motifs such as the flowers sewn onto netting, so I cut the netting away and just basted the motifs right to the dress.  This was LOTS of hand sewing, so it took and with all the pins needed I poked myself a LOT.  With all the beads and sequins, it could have been a disaster in the sewing machine.

I supposed I could have sewn them down to another piece of netting and THEN applied that to the dress, but that would have been too easy or logical, or would have required planning.  Such as doing that before I put the dress base together...

So this just needs a closure and it can be delivered.

Two things crossed off my project in process list! 

Sew on...

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday News

I'm very excited about Tuesday this week!  First it's not Monday, which can be so stressful.  I read somewhere that more heart attacks happen on Monday than any other day of the week.

My Monday was stressful.  I had a rather adversarial conversation over 40+ emails with a person in our finance department over a project I set up that said person thought was not correct.  At the end of two days of back and forth and a couple of phone calls Person said 'I'll have to look at this and call you back'.

No call back ever came, but I expected that.  No additional email happened either and I had to discover for myself that the project got approved.

Bless me for a fool, but if I am wrong I say so.  Person in finance cannot do that.  My project manager and I were thinking that we'd have to go to lunch and have a very large adult beverage after the 40+ emails.  Instead we had a commiseration laugh, did a fist pump and moved on.  We were right, yay for us!  Get back to work... lol!

Today, however, is going to rock!

A woman who took my card at the December craft fair, with a promise to call me about a doll clothes project, actually called this weekend.  She had requested a quote for a dress made from her wedding gown for her granddaughter's doll, but her granddaughter requested clothes she can actually play with.  Sensible woman that she is, she decided her granddaughter is right.

She's coming over tonight to shop.  Yay!!  I finished up two dresses and sewed buttons on sweaters last night to be ready.  I hope she buys the pink corduroy coat because I made a dress with the same fabric I used on the lining.  It's the perfect outfit for Easter!  Now if I can only find a pink hat...

Over the weekend I spent about two hours looking for my husband's military discharge papers.  He can sign up for something with them, and they were not in the briefcase.  In the process of searching the closet in the den I reorganized two bins of yarn and updated my inventory on Ravelry.

I had previously bought some hanging bins, filled two, bought two more. Filled those.  In addition I have the above mentioned two large plastic bins and a laundry basket overflowing with balls wound from partial skeins left over from other projects!

You can get these hanging bins at several places on the web, just Google 'yarn organizing ideas'.  They are priced anywhere from $9.99 to $14.99 each. 

I am up to over 100 yarns in my inventory.  Ladies and gentlemen, it's embarrassing to discover what you have stashed, and then come home to a box of new yarn on the table...  my grandchildren were over on Saturday and I had some yarn in the kitchen.  They are learning about money so they asked me how much it cost.

We had a discussion about how some yarn is $3 or $5 in stores but some special yarn is $20 or $30 because it's different fiber or it's specially dyed.  Eyes opened really wide at the thought that something could cost $30!

I am glad I'm doing an inventory on Ravelry because if God Forbid my house ever burns down, an insurance company would not BELIEVE how much yarn I have in that one closet!

I'm thinking I might have to de-stash.  Sell on Ravelry?  Have a rummage sale?  Decisions, decisions!  And then someone gifts me with their stash and I can't say no.  I can't knit as fast as I buy.  I am going on a yarn diet, I swear.  Maybe.

With stuff this gorgeous, my resistance is very low.

I was pleased to discover that I had several batches of yarn in large enough quantities to make some sweaters for myself or the grands.  I normally just buy stuff to knit accessories or doll items, although my addiction to the Loopy Ewe may change that.  The yarn I got from there this week feels so nice I might make myself something!  That is after I finish the February sweater still in process.

And the Ninja Turtles...

The one on the upper left is from the pattern I have.  I found some orange tee shirts at the Goodwill that will be cut up for the mask.  I should have three done by Saturday and there is one more base in process.  Then I have to make one for my grandson.

Happy Tuesday to all.  Sew and knit on....

Monday, March 30, 2015

Lots Going On

"Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says...."Oh crap! She's up!" Unknown

There has certainly been a lot going on in my life this week, but not much I could or would have wanted to blog about.  Let me just say this:  get an annual mammogram, do the follow up, and when someone tells you that you don't know what you're talking about, question that.  Get a second opinion.  Everything turned out fine, (I was right) but there is one radiologist I will never, ever see again if he's the only one in the state, and one that is my hero.  'nuff said.

I also bought a new car this week.  I had a car that was going on 14 years old and had a LOT of miles on it.  It was in very good shape and I probably could have driven it for another two or three years, but DH was getting nervous about things going wrong and that was that.  Note:  Nothing was GOING wrong, he was just nervous about what if.  Then he decided that I probably needed to have an incentive to keep going to work every day.

So off to the dealership we went.  Four hours later I drove home in the 2015 model of the same car I've been driving for the past 20 years.  So I got some nicer amenities, such as heated seats and a moon roof, but it's a Corolla, the same as my last two cars.

I love the new car smell.

I also have been working on a quilt for a fund raiser at church, along with some matching pillows. 

Suzi has it all quilted and bound, now I am doing a label and finishing up on the pillows.  It will be auctioned off to raise money to send the high school kids on a mission trip to a Minnesota Indian Reservation.  It is beautiful and someone will get a treasure!

Someone called me and wants to look at doll clothes this week.  I didn't have much left after donating some of THOSE to the auction too, so I ran up a couple of dresses.  I need to get some more buttons for some of the sweaters I knit but didn't finish, and then she should have a pretty decent group to review.  I also made the most darling little coat with some pink wide-wale corduroy.  I lined it in pink and white stripes.  Of course my phone was dead or dying so there is no photo yet.
Happy Monday!  Sew on...