Busybody

I’ve had a good Sunday.  I woke up, painted, mended a blanket that mysteriously got a hole in it:
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(I was going to patch it but I don’t think you can tell where the stitch was, so I’m just going to leave it there.)
And… I dealt with this:
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I wanted to clean stuff out of my Dad’s house, since I don’t live there anymore and it’s not doing any good way up there.  I got a BIG laundry basket of old clothes and miscellany; an under-the-bed tupperware of fabric; and these three containers of yarn. The entire trunk of my car was full!
So I spent the day sorting yarn into “Future Projects,” “Misc. Arylic Yarn,” “Misc. Wool-Slash-Animal Fiber Yarn,” and “Misc. Sock yarn.”
So… know anyone that wants some acrylic yarn?  I’m not going to use it… pretty much ever.  I just don’t like the way that Red Heart looks when knit up, and I don’t like the way it feels.  Some other Acrylic, like Caron Simply Soft or Vanna’s Choice, are ok… but Red Heart is just not soft enough for my picky hands.
I think I’m going to take the Misc. Yarn to my knitting group and give it away there, then maybe post some of the stuff here and see if anyone wants it!

Game of Thrones Needlework

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I’ve been working on this since I saw an episode of Game of Thrones where they were talking about stitching the different house mottos.
“We do not sow”… change one letter, and it becomes adorably ironic. Pair that phrase with my subpar sewing abilities, and I think that it looks pretty good!
Because really, I don’t sew.  My grandma taught me how to sew when I was little (before I learned how to knit) and I ended up sewing most of what I tried to sew to my pants leg.  My dad has a few things that my grandma urged me to make – a needlepoint of some girl holding a present, a cross stitch of a cat.  I even have a pretty epic pillow that I made when I was in the third grade, but mixed up most of the colors.  It looks pretty wild and crazy.
Anyway, I don’t sew.  But sometimes I get the urge to sew, and lately it’s been hitting me.  Lots of blogs have been posting cute needlepoint kits, and I’ve been looking at this kit on etsy almost every day… but not buying it, because money’s tight and maybe I’ll wait until I get Christmas money or whatever.  You know.
So when I got the urge, I just sort of did it.  I sketched out the image of what I wanted first, so that I could make sure it was symmetrical.  Then I used transfer paper to put it on the fabric, and just followed it with thread.  Here’s a photo of the drawing in case someone wanted to print it out and do it themselves.
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How To: Lacey Tea Towel

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I feel kind of guilty tagging this as a “tutorial” because it was so quick and easy! My dad gave me some tea towels (because well, you really can’t have too many tea towels) and I decided to give it a bit of girly flair.  I was inspired by towels that I saw at W’s mom’s house, and I thought “Wow, how easy would that be to make…!?”  Plus, it can cover up tears, stains, or scorch marks when you leave your tea towel under your electric kettle and nearly set the fire alarm off and have to run the towel outside and wave it around in the snow…
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Oh, is that just me? Anyway, all you need is a towel, some lace (I bought a spool of lace for about a dollar at Wal*mart ages ago: no idea why.) and needle and thread or a sewing machine. 
Sew the lace in rows into the towel.  For best results, pin the rows a little less apart than the width of your lace.
I wish I had some ribbon to finish this off! I think it would also look good mixing different types of lace, or maybe just add a lace edging along the very edge?  So many possibilities! And I still have a whole spool of lace left! I wish I more tea towels.

Giving in to Temptation!

Today I woke up. I worked for two hours.  Then, I researched stuff so boring that it’s not even fun to blog about.  Then I wrote a paper.  Then I went to class.  Then, more research and homework.  Then, class again.  Then dinner.
When W left to shoot his two-quarter, I told myself I would get a head start on the weekend’s homework (Why do teachers like to make assignments due on the weekend? Do they think we don’t have anything better to do?)… and as I sat down at my desk, my knees bumped against a box. 
It was the Singer Simple that I got for Christmas.  Why hadn’t I opened it yet?  Oh, right, school.
I figured I had done a good job today. I should treat myself.
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I unboxed the machine, ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the automatic threader, sewed some scraps of fabric, sewed up some seams I needed to mend, sewed up a little tutorial for tomorrow… and then…
Well, then I ran out of things to sew.  My eye lingered on my bag of quilting stuff. I HAD SAID that I wanted to cut all the pieces first, then sew, but did I really?
No, not at all.
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So, there’s four squares and the center of a flower done! I’m proud that I managed to line up the diamond pretty well, and proud that I remembered to iron (almost) all the seams flat, but I’m a little disappointed at the fabric choice.
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You can’t even see my seams! Hopefully it’ll look more like a flower when the side petals are on!
But anyway, that was my evening – see you tomorrow for a sweet, quick tutorial.
P.S. – If you think I’m some sort of quilting prodigy, here’s my four squares before I sewed them. Hopefully I’ll get better at this whole “cutting pieces the same size” thing.
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Strides in Quilting

I worked for six hours today, then spent two hours sewing.  While it doesn’t feel like I’ve accomplished much, I have hit two milestones today.
First, I finished cutting the 40 edge pieces! I realize that I will probably need to go and find more fabric (Maybe twice as much, since I want to use this color for the back.)
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Then, I finished cutting the pieces for my first flower! Yup, this is flower one of 25.
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This quilt is going to be HUGE. Really, really big – but that’s good, right?
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I started cutting the pieces for the second flower, but my hands started to to hurt.  The rotary cutter is not so good for your wrists, I guess.
Now I’m off to eat veggie lasagna and perhaps some bananas foster afterwards 🙂  I’ve done so much today, it feel great!

Crafty Math

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Have you ever dreamed of a craft project?  A few nights before Christmas, I dreamt of this quilt.  There was a little boy with curly blonde hair and blue eyes wrapped up in it, sitting in some green grass, grinning.  And that was it. 
Of course, after I got my sewing machine I had to make this quilt – though I’ve never quilted before and have very little idea of what I’m doing.  I bought the basic materials to make the top – yellows and oranges for the center of the flowers,  and blue for the background, and different prints for different flowers. I even nominated fabric from my gigantic stash of fabric to serve as flowers.
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Today, I sat down and drew out templates, deciding how big my pieces will be.  I want to make a queen-sized quilt, so I’ll need a lot of fabric.  I don’t have all the stuff I need (batting, or backing, for example) but I figured this is going to be a long project, so I can buy more stuff as I need it.  No point in spending mucho dollars on something I won’t use for ten or eleven months, I thought.
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Yes – I bet understand quilting takes a lot of time. I thought about this as I hunched over on the floor of my childhood bedroom and measured and cut.  Hey, maybe I should cut all of the pieces first, that seemed to be a methodical way of doing things.
So I took out my paper and pencil, and did some calculations.
To make a 100×100 quilt, I will need:
40 edge pieces
100 center peices (the center of the flower)
80 petal pieces
That’s not hard math. That’s 220 squares!  I’m a little intimidated.  I think the actually sewing is going to be a ways off, while I contemplate how I’m going to tackle this task. I think it’s kind of funny that I decided to do this quilt with squares with a ten inch diagonal, instead of squares with a 5 inch diagonal, which was my other idea. That would be even more squares!

And Thus Another Christmas is Conquered!

The presents are delivered.  Everyone loved them! I’m pretty excited that this Christmas went so well, especially since I made more hand-knit items then ever before this year – five!
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Even the slippers, which I was really nervous about, were well received.
As for me, I made out like a bandit.  I got a new sewing machine, some rocking boots, and books, to name a few of my favorite gifts.  I’m already planning to quilt a bit, having little experience in quilting but a lot of experience reading about quiliting… so here’s hoping.
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Also in the realm of my life… my Dad’s  computer got hit by a pretty nasty virus, and I’m having some very bad family problems.  I don’t like keeping secrets, but the women of my family gathered around a table today and made the decision not to tell certain people in the family things “so that they can enjoy the holidays.”  I’m happy I got to sit with my family and give my input, but I don’t believe in keeping secrets.  I’m pretty bummed out about it – can’t post here, of course, it wouldn’t be a secret – but if  you could spare a prayer or a kind thought, I would appreciate it 🙂

Pre-Quarter Crafting

I returned to school on Friday, partly to prepare for the upcoming quarter and partly to just sit and relax somewhere without feeling guilty for not visiting family.
I also spent some time cleaning up the apartment for the quarter, and organizing things! One thing I did was do this spiffy wall art above my bed, using contact paper.
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I plan to spend a day making some paper snowflakes to further spruce up my room.  I’m not a big Christmas decorator, but I do love decorating for the winter season with snowflakes and of course, warm throws.
Also on the list of things accomplished were these: Oreo truffles, which I am quasi-famous for 🙂 
Oreo Truffles
My Christmas knitting is reaching a bit of a paniced state.  I know I can finish everything, I just have to TRY HARDER, darn it, and not get so distracted by shiny things.  For one, I underestimated the size of my brother’s feet, his socks look like Christmas stockings!
Giant Sock!
I’m knitting them in Plymouth Yarns (a worsted weight) on size 5 needles, that I bought at the Yarn Crawl. He told me he wanted “slipper socks.”  What are slipper socks?  Slippers? Socks? These are more sock-slippers, I guess, because they’re just thick socks. But he tried them on before I left (to make sure the heels are in the right place) and he liked them! So good!
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Oh, did you notice the cool stitch marker? It was an odd earring, then I was inspired by Jordan at In It To Knit It! You should check out her tutorial here.
There’s another project I’m working on, but it’s still in the planning-esqu stages. I’m sorry to say that I’m hoping once again to get into Knitty – and I’m close to actually submitting this time 🙂 So, if I get rejected, it will just be a for-sale pattern, like Borneo.  
Also, W is working on a stop motion puppet for his two quarter, who need clothes! So, I taught him how to use the sewing machine! I’m also knitting him a scarf and a pair of miniature mittens, but I figured I could do another post on that later 🙂
But, as part of W’s sewing machine training, I made him he made this pencil case.  At least… part of it.  The seams were a little uneven, and I tried to fix things but just ended up screwing things up even more when I added the zipper.  So the result was this.
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Hey, it still holds my pens and pencils… so so what if it’s a little different? It’s my pencil case, made with love from W 🙂 
Pencil Case

Knitting (And Other) Updates

Whew! It seems like since I came back from my trip I’ve been working double time to make up for all the stuff I missed! But while I was gone, I managed to finish a lot of stuff, and start a few new things, so here we go!
My first FO to share… I finally finished my mom’s socks! I managed to mess up the bind off twice, and ended up using a really nice sewn bind off that Joansie from Knitting By the Ocean told me about! And it worked awesomely! I’ve been plagued by too-tight bind offs, and she really saved my butt 🙂 Never more will I be fearing the end of toe-up socks.
My second FO is this hat, which I am test knitting through the Free Pattern Testers group on Ravelry.  I still have to finish filling out my comments, but I’m super happy with how the hat turned out! I’m so lucky that I got the chance to test it, and I’ll post up when the pattern is for sale to the rest of the world. 
This is meant to be FOR ME. Let’s see if we can keep it that way! If I had to knit it over again, I would add an extra repeat to make it a little more floppy. 
And now, a picture of a current WIP.  
It’s a baby sweater! The pattern I used was Little Coffee Bean, and I love the way this is going.  I used Cascade 220 Superwash and size 5 and 6 needles for a denser fabric.  I made the size for a 6 month old, but I really think that it lies somewhere between 3 and 6 months because of my needle change.  W’s sister is due in May… so I hope her baby gets a chance to wear it!!
 Off the subject of knitting: Samson is adjusting well to his new surroundings.  Ash brought him to club and he sat with us on the couch, and we plucked him a bit.  We’re thinking of shearing him, since he doesn’t like to be plucked very much… 🙁
 Also, I’m making these! Clothes for stop motion puppets! I have to admit, I don’t like sewing as much as I like knitting.  It doesn’t help that I thought I would be a kind of advisor to this: showing them how to cut out the patterns, lending them my machine, sewing the stitches – but it turns out that they want me to do the whole thing, which wouldn’t be a problem if I didn’t have 12,000 other things to do.  I don’t really know anything about their film, but I’ll show you guys when it’s done (I hope!)

Other than that, things have been gearing up at school.  It’s week 8 and I spent two hours today calibrating equipment for my sampling project tomorrow – I’m nervous! If a single thing goes wrong, I could fail the class… and so many things have gone wrong!

Phew.  Anyway, there’s where life is (right now at least).

My Random Monday

1.   
This week is a major “Get stuff done” week for me.  I want to work on every little thing.  Erm… actually, I have to work on every little thing. I’m moving out on Saturday.
2.  
I’m pretty bummed about everything.  No W.  No Lotus.  Leaving work.  Having to do dishes.
3.  
I just saw a ten-year-old girl wearing a suggestive tee shirt.  Why am I leaving this town again?
4.  
I turned this:
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Into this:
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In 36 minutes. It will be the FROG for my old floor once school starts, which is why it’s so simple. Each week, a new person that has done something nice (like helped someone out, or done something good for the floor) is given this doll and must add something to it.  By the end of the year it is decorated to the nines! I must remember to post a picture of it in May.
5. 
Why didn’t I put my sewing stuff in the living room table six months ago? Maybe the reason all of my sewing has been neglected all this time was because it was shoved in the studio.  Oh, no. I remember the reason! It was because I messed up on every project that I started on the machine.  Because I don’t sew so well.
6.  
People seem to think that I sew well, which sometimes makes me think that I sew well, then I sew something and I realize that the people that think that I sew well don’t sew.  This puts it all into perspective.
7.  
When I was downloading photos of the narwhal, I found out that I had photos of Lotus that I had forgotten about, so, here you go:
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She is cuddled in a blanket in W’s arms after a bath. No clear pictures of her face (she was moving around and being fussy) but you get a good idea of her mood.