Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pillow Talk Part II: Sew Fun

Since the sewing machine was already out, I felt like I was finally ready to sever the relationship with the yarn pillows I had started making and make them out of this great fabric my parents bought me instead. That homespun yarn truly does remind me of the boyfriend you dumped and then went back out with a couple months later with second thoughts and sentimental musing thrumming on your heart, only to find yourself dumping him again a couple weeks after that when you realized that, nope, the original dumping wasn't a mistake after all.

I sewed up two of these seat pads for two wicker chairs using this brown zebra print. It's hard to see the true colors but it's a beautiful cream and brown. I'm not a big fan of black and white zebra print. I completely messed up the first pad, but I'm sure no one will notice. I think I did a better job on the second one probably because of my father's impromptu measuring help when he stopped by today.

Then I made two covers for the pillows I was going to crochet. 

This fabric has a lot of rich gold, red, and brown.


I have very limited sewing experience, so let's just say that there was a lot of tongue biting and cursing that went along with what should have been a pretty basic exercise. I'm just happy it's done, and now I'll be putting my sewing machine away for awhile.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Crochet Hook Roll

Maybe I feel a little guilty about neglecting my crochet hooks, because I decided to make a Crochet Hook Roll to keep them organized. I followed this great tutorial.

It took quite some time before I got around to making this. I purchased a couple fat quarters from the craft store about three months ago (my husband helped me pick out the patterns/ ribbon). I got the interfacing around a month after that. I measured and cut the fabrics over three weeks ago. I was starting to feel like this project was never going to be completed.

Part of the delay was, ahem, a baby named C. There was no way I could concentrate on understanding the pattern (something I struggle with even under perfect learning conditions) with him crawling about. I needed a sizable chunk of uninterrupted time.

Eventually the heavens opened and the sound of angels' trumpets could be heard: I was gifted with a 2 1/2 hour nap, and I actually had the drive to make this once and for all. Although truth be told, I didn't do any pressing where the pattern called for it. This was partly because I didn't want to wake the baby upstairs, and mostly because I was too lazy to do it.

Even with all my delays (I thought I was going to have to throw in the towel in the middle of it when my bobbin ran out and I couldn't fill a new one), this turned out to be an easy and very satisfying little sewing project. I feel so organized having all my hooks in the same place. Now I just have to think about how to organize my growing knitting needle collection.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

If at First You Don't Succeed...

So, with the success of K's yellow sweater fresh in my mind I enthusiastically and precociously set off knitting Baby C's "evening stroll on the boardwalk" sweater. You may recall that I planned on adding a tunic-style embellishment to the hem (as well as a hood and tassel ties at the neck).

Almost every night I sat with my yarn in my lap, needles clicking furiously, oozing confidence that I would easily be able to turn my vision into reality. I'm not sure where this confidence came from. I literally have knitted only one hat and one baby sweater my entire life. All of a sudden I think I'm an expert. I love it!

So, I made great progress this week before I ran out of yarn. I attempted the tunic hem and totally messed it up. I'm going to rip it out and try again. I had an art teacher once who said to "put down your paintbrush when you get tired" because that's when you're likely to mess up you artwork; you're tired, not focused, and maybe your heart's not totally into what you're doing. That's how I felt by the time I reached the hem of this sweater. I should have just put that "paintbrush" down. Anyway, I'm going to get more yarn this weekend and then spend the necessary amount of time figuring out how to make the hem I want. I know this isn't a race and I can take my time, but for some reason I want these projects completed, like, yesterday. This goes back to the recurring impatience issue.

With the boardwalk sweater temporarily on hold, I had to have something else to work on, so I cast on another sweater. It's the same pattern, but I decided to just make a crew-neck, striped sweater for Baby C. I've had these two yarns for almost a year and kept imagining them striped together. I'm using 5.5 mm needles, so it should (fingers crossed) fit him next fall.

This pattern is so versatile that I plan on making one more (at least) sweater for him using it. It will be a light blue roll-neck sweater. I'm going to get started on it once I free up some needles.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's a Girl!

K had her baby! She's an adorable little girl, and I think she will look very cute in this baby sweater. Although she probably won't be able to wear it until next year.

I found the pattern on Ravelry and thought that it would be a good option for either a boy or girl especially in a warm yellow color.

This is my first knitted sweater, and there was a certain learning curve for me when following the pattern. I followed the advice of another knitter and just casted on 62 stitches from the very beginning, instead of trying to do increases at the neck. Once I got to the raglan increases, I used this video to learn how to M1 stitch . My next area of difficulty was the sleeves. I used that crazy Magic Loop Method, mostly because I don't have double pointed needles in the right size. I used this video to learn how to use the Magic Loop Method . After knitting one sleeve, I noticed an annoying little gap under the arm, I used this video to learn how to pick up stitches from a previous row appropriately. The video is for a dog sweater, but it's the same technique.

It was somewhat challenging for me to knit this because of my inexperience. However, I really wanted to make it for K and I had a deadline!

After presenting it to K I had a weird reaction. I was relieved that I had completed it, happy she liked it, but my hands felt completely restless. So....I'm making another one for Baby C. right now! It will be a lightweight summer sweater-cover up. I'm using a white cotton yarn I've had forever, in a bigger needle. I'm going to make it into a hoodie, maybe make the bottom a tunic style, and add two little tassel ties at the neck. I see this as an "evening stroll on the boardwalk" type of sweater. Regardless of where he wears it, I hope it turns out cute.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Craft Bucket List

Here is a list of some large projects I would like to tackle at some point in my life before I kick the bucket (which will hopefully occur sometime when I'm in my 90s, preferably in my sleep, maybe while wearing the following sweater with the cathedral quilt and hexagon throw pulled up over me, with a crewel pillow behind my aged head):

Cathedral Window Quilt

I love the effect you get from the folding of the fabric. It truly is a mixture of origami and sewing. I know this requires a lot of pressing, and at this point that gives me flashbacks from when I was trying to make the baby "quilt" with my gigantic pregnant stomach. I think I need a little more time to pass before I can revisit quilting.

The Dude's Sweater from The Big Lebowski

This pattern is a copy of the sweater Jeff Bridges' iconic character wore in the movie. I'm still not sure if I am willing to put the time and effort into making this. It would definitely be fun to have, but when would I wear it? Hmmm, maybe I don't want to look like The Dude afterall. And it would require a ton of time and dedication to essentially look like a slacker. I don't know if I can live with that kind of irony.

Crewel Pillows (these are from Williams Sonoma)
I really admire the Middle Eastern style of crewel work. Before I attempt this I need some tutorials (haven't really been able to find what I'm looking for), crewel needles/ hooks, and appropriate thread/ fabric. I need to research this more.

Hexagon Throw (picture from Garnet Hill)

This is the project I'm most likely to accomplish b/c it's in my skill level, and I'm very comfortable with granny squares. I really only need to think about yarn color for this.

So, these are the bigger projects on the Craft Bucket List for now. I have a lot of little things on the horizon that I'd like to accomplish, but these are the longterm committments that sit in the back of my mind. It's dusty and cobweb-y, but there are honest-to-god thoughts back there, I swear.
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