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Friday, March 29, 2013

A New Old Friend

yarma 
Look what Mickael got me for my birthday!  (Turning 40 this weekend - not nearly as scary as turning 30 for some reason.)  I had been wanting a treadle machine for a while now and he told me to find one and he'd get it for me.  So I started watching Craig's List.  And I watched, and I laughed (no, your nasty, old treadle with the charming family of mice living in it is not in good shape for it's age and it's certainly not worth what you're asking for it).  I laughed some more.  Craig's List is probably the easiest place to find an old treadle machine, but apparently it's also a great place for the delusional to sell things too.  I'd been doing my research and knew what was a reasonable price for a treadle machine, and I knew which models I was interested in.  So I watched, laughed and waited.
yarma
Last night, I looked again.  (I had already peeked at lunchtime and didn't see this listed).  I saw her and I knew she would be worth checking on.  It was a Singer 66-1 Red Eye, she has the 7 drawer cabinet (there's a wide but shallow center drawer with no knob that needs a new bracket on one side), and it looked from the pictures that she was being kept in a house (which would be easier to clean up than one that was "Barn Fresh").  I called and we were able to go out and see her last night.  We were met by two very nice ladies and an older German Shepherd who stood waist high to me, and was a complete gentleman.  The machine had been the seller's husband's grandmother's machine and she (the seller) didn't sew, but was using it as a table.  I took a look at it and even though the treadle belt isn't on it (it's in one of the drawers, but they can still be purchased as well), it seems to be intact, move smoothly and well.  There is only one bobbin, but Singer 66 bobbins are easy to find and she takes modern needles.

I will be cleaning her up and oiling her and getting her ready to sew again over the next little while and I thought I'd drag you, the blog along with me.  She's not really dirty since she's been in a house, but the machine part could use some TLC, and it's a great way to get to know her.  Max and Logan have already welcomed her to the family.
yarma
You want to know the best part though?  I checked the serial number to find out her age and apparently she was manufactured on March 27, 1923.  She just turned 90 years old!  The fact that our birthdays are 50 years and a handful of days apart seems like she was meant to be mine!

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Something to Attach the Sleeves To

yarma 
Yes, I've started the body of my cardigan.  It's worked bottom up, in one piece and then the fronts and back will split at the underarm and be worked separately.  I tend to have a problem with my momentum once I hit that split for some reason.  That's why I started with the sleeves.  I'm hoping that having the sleeves all finished and waiting, will help push me over the hump when the bodice divides into it's separate parts.  I don't know why this is an issue for me, but I've noticed that on bottom up sweaters, I lose interest and become easily distracted when I split the back from the fronts.  I don't have this problem on top down sweaters and I think it's because I get past the longest rows (on a raglan, the lower yoke has fronts, sleeve tops and back all going at once) at the first of the project - when I'm coasting along on the excitement of a new sweater.  In a bottom up cardigan, the fronts and back don't take long to work at all, in fact they move pretty quickly since you work on one at a time, but mentally I lose interest.  Maybe it's the fiddliness of having three separate parts, that all have yarn ends and shaping going on, I don't know, I just know that this has been a problem in the past and I'm trying to make it less of one.  I'll let you know how it goes when I get there.  I've got a ways to go before I get to the underarm split though!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A New Portable Project

yarma
I'm taking a break from the hexipuffs for a bit, and I was wanting to knit another pair of socks.  Periodically, I knit a pair of socks for Mickael, and he has proven to be very sock worthy.  He wears his handknit socks around the house and sleeps in them, and once a pair of dark gray, solid socks got to go to work on a casual day (I'm sure all the other socks were jealous that day).  I always keep Mickael's socks in the colors he likes (gray, navy, forest, black) and I like to keep a few skeins of Mickael Sock Yarn in the sock yarn stash to knit up for him.  A while back I bought two skeins of Ultra Alpaca Fine in solid black.  I knew the black would be boring (and any patterning on Mickael Socks must be subtle), but I knew he would love a pair of black socks and they would definitely get worn, so I decided it would be worth it for him.

I've been looking for a stitch pattern on and off for a while, because while I know they're black (and stitch patterns won't show much), I also know that if I were to knit the socks in stockinette I would either die of boredom or quit the socks out of self defense and deny their very existence.  Finally, I stumbled across a sock pattern that I knew was subtle enough for Mickael, would work in black, and would keep me interested, without making me crazy (the yarn is black after all).  That's a tall order for any stitch pattern!  I'm knitting him the Go With the Flow socks, sized to his manly feet, and I'm loving the way the pattern works up to look like a herringbone!  The stitch pattern is all knits and purls, but there's just enough there to amuse me.  I think he'll like the texture when they're all done, but it's still very manly - right?  The yarn is very soft and I think it will make a nice pair of socks to keep his feet warm, while he's saving humanity from zombies, or whatever game he's playing.

And just in case you were wondering, Caleb is on a hand knitted sock suspension because of the speed he's growing, and he's doing a weird thing with his socks where he pulls the sock toe away from his toes and twirls it around and around, stretching out the end of the sock.  Also he told me that handknit socks were itchy.  Right after that he realized what he'd done and said that they were also very soft and made from love and magical fluff.  Sure kid, whatever.  No socks for you!  Besides, he just got a big blanket anyway.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sleeves, Check!

yarma 
I finished the sleeves to my Tide Pool Cardigan last night!  (The pattern is Olive Basket, but mine is neither olive, nor basket-y.)  I will definitely be blocking these (along with the finished cardi body) before I sew them up.  They are very roly poly at the seams!

When I first started knitting, I read the directions and they said to block before seaming up a sweater.  I didn't know what blocking was and I really didn't want to waste the time, so I'd just sew it up and be done.  Of course, my seams didn't lie flat, and I needed five hands to sew them up, but hey, I was done!  Yee Haw!

Then one day (I can't remember why) I blocked my pieces, then I sewed them up.  It was amazing!  The seams didn't fight me when I was sewing them, they just lay perfectly flat and cooperative.  The finished seams also were flat.  I couldn't believe what a difference it made.  Maybe the directions are there for a reason.  Who knew?

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Endpaper Mitts - Finished!

yarma 
They're all finished!  These were a fun way to get back into some stranded colorwork, they used up some extra yarn (although not all of it - I probably have enough for a second pair), and now I have a(nother) pair of mitts.  I used the Endpaper Mitts pattern and the yarn was The Loopy Ewe's Solid Series in Navy, and Socks That Rock Lightweight in Maia.  I knit them on US 1's (2.25 mm) and they fit perfectly!

I think there will be more colorwork projects this year - this was just the beginning!

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Meet Fifi!

yarma 
This is Fifi.  She's going to help me model shawls and scarves.  Don't worry, Logan will still be helping out for my own knits, but for pattern samples, I think Fifi will do a fabulous job, don't you?  Photographing a shawl for a pattern isn't easy because of the size of the thing and getting at the right angle can be tough.  If I were to model it, I would drive Caleb or Mickael nuts with retakes and trying to get them to photograph what I want.  With Fifi, she will model the shawl, showing you what it looks like on a human shape (without head, arms, or legs, but you'll get the idea).  Hopefully, she'll be well behaved and help with the marketing around here.

Logan helped me put her together; Max stalked her, but has since OK'd her; Mickael isn't really a fan but he'll get used to her; and Caleb doesn't like or trust her.  He's pretty sure she can move around and will kill him in his sleep.  He had a tiny coat rack in his nursery when he was little that he thought moved around the room.  We tried and tried to work him through his fears, but when he woke up crying and shaking in fear of it, we quit and the coatrack went to live elsewhere.  At that point we realized that for whatever reason, he wasn't going to be OK with it and while I'm pretty sure you can't buy demon possessed coat racks at Hobby Lobby (where I got before he was born, you know to hold his tiny jackets, not to give him nightmares), he wasn't listening to logic.

That was about seven or eight years ago though and he's twelve now, so he's going to have to suck it up.  Whoever heard of a psychotic mannequin of death named Fifi?  I got her at Amazon, and apparently my "search ""psychotic mannequin of death"" did not match any products."  So we're good, right?

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Max's Day

yarma 
Oh, I didn't see you there, I was checking on the birdies outside.  Mommy said I could tell you all about yesterday on the blog today!  She says she was tracing off a sewing pattern, I say whatever it was, it was AWESOME!  Best kitty afternoon ever.

There were pens (I like to use them as lightsabers), lots of papery things, and clear things!  I hate clear things.  Clear things are always trying to hide from me and be sneaky, but I see them and I give them the discipline for trying to be sneaky.  Also, I bite them.  Mommy says the clear things from yesterday were rulers.  I don't care what she calls them, they were bad and they needed the discipline and the biting.  The best part of the AWESOME afternoon wasn't the clear things though.  It was the papery things.  Mommy took the papery things (she called them pattern tissues and told me it's very delicate, whatever) to the sewing room (I love the sewing room, it makes me purr) and she did something to make them smooth (Mommy says the word is ironed).  I wasn't paying attention to what Mommy was doing.  I was trying to take the seam ripper to my secret treasure stash, but she made the papery things all smooth, and then she took the seam ripper away from me and said, "That's not yours."  Do you know how many times a day I hear that?  Silly human.  It's ALL mine!

Anyway, then she carried the papery things downstairs very carefully and Logan got fussed at because he tried to kiss them.  Apparently the papery things don't like dog spit.  I don't either - it makes my fur all spiky and then I have to take a bath.  Then the papery things were put on the table and I did what any self respecting cat would do - I made a cave in them.  Mommy sorted me out of the papery things, put me on the floor, and told me to stay down.

I didn't.

You would think that after the fifth time she pulled me out of the papery things, she would have just given up and left me to my cave, but she didn't, she just kept taking me out of them and putting me on the floor.  Then I noticed that she had some of the papery things on the kitchen island with the clear things and the pens.  (They always tell me not to get on the kitchen island either, but it's nice up there and the Logan doggy can't snarfle my nether regions when I'm up there.  I've found it's best to just ignore the humans when they make irrational demands.)  Anyway, when I saw what Mommy was doing on the island, I knew she needed my assistance, so I leapt to her aid.  If I'd have had a cape, that leap would have looked amazing!  Anyway, can you believe what she did?  She made a funny noise, dropped the lightsaber she was drawing with and scooped me up and dumped me on the floor!  Of all the rude human things!  I just don't understand these people.  I offer my expertise and help and this is the thanks I get!  So I jumped back on the table and made another cave in the other papery things.

Mommy says she did get everything traced off, in spite of my assistance.  (I think she means "thanks to my assistance."  Sometimes Mommy talks funny.)  I hope we can do that again soon.  Now that I know what she's trying to do, I can be even more helpful to her!  I've got to run now - it's time to fold laundry and you wouldn't believe what a mess she makes of it without me.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Almost There

yarma 
I've gotten more done on my Endpaper Mitts!  I'm now past the thumb gusset and doing the last little bit before the top ribbing!  The end is in sight now.

Also, there might be some sewing later today, or at least I'll get a pattern traced off!

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sleeves

yarma 
I'm still working on my sleeves for my cardigan.  It's always interesting how hand dyed yarns knit up, and as you can see, the sleeves are different.  I don't think it bothers me though, and I'm not sure why it's not bothering me, normally this kind of thing bothers me.  There's going to be a body between the sleeves, so it's not like they're really going to be together a lot, and also, I knew going into this yarn (Cove!  Oh how I love thee!), that there would be weirdness.  Maybe I need more caffeine, but sleeves that don't quite match aren't disturbing me at the moment.

I do plan to alternate skeins on the body.  I mean, I'm not just letting everything fall apart here.

Still being good, haven't started anything new yet!

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Monday, March 18, 2013

We Now Return To Normal

This morning Caleb is back to school, Mickael is back to work, and I'm cooling down from my run.  Logan is inspecting his bowl for any stray food molecules and Max is sitting in the window watching birds.  In other words, it's Monday.  Last week was wonderful.  Lots of lazy mornings, days filled with whatever we wanted, and a couple of family adventures.  I read, I knit, I read some more.  It was just a really good week for all of us.
yarma
One of the things I worked on was my second Endpaper Mitt.  I've started the thumb gusset now.  These won't be needed until the weather cools off again in the Fall, but I still want to get them finished up soon.  I'm wanting to get several projects finished.  I feel like there are too many loose ends and there are other things I want to start.  I'm trying so hard to be good and finish up what's already started, but my attention wanders and I'm dreaming of new projects.  Maybe it's the time of year, I love seeing all the trees budding.  The Bradford Pears are blooming and Red Buds are full of glorious color.  All the new growth of Spring is probably what's making me want new projects around here.  Whatever it is, I'm determined to get a few things finished up before I start anything new.  Remind me of that later, would you?

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Nothing to See Here

We're on Spring Break this week!  Not going anywhere, but I've decided to let blogging take a vacation.  I might blog, I might not.  Everything will return to normal next week (just like in Real Life), but this week, I'm going to leave it all in the air.  Mickael is taking a few days off, so there might be some adventuring, or we could just run around in our pajamas the whole time.  Who knows?  That's the fun of Spring Break!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Project Bags

yarma
I did a little more sewing!  These are the Drawstring Bags from this Craftsy class - it's a free Mini-Class.  I changed the piecing on the outer bag fabric, and I used Hem Tape for the ties instead of fabric ties like the pattern calls for.  Also, I added some lightweight interfacing - I interfaced the entire outer bag fabric and the lining was interfaced where the drawstring goes.  I was originally looking for Grosgrain ribbon for my ties, but couldn't find anything that matched, so when I found the Hem Tape, I decided to go with that.  Both bags are lined in the plaid, because I had a lot more of that fabric.  The other two fabrics were just fat quarters.  I think these were some sort of reproduction fabrics, I want to say late 1800's for some reason (1880's?), but they might be as early as the Civil War.

When I went to grab the pictures from Flickr, I realized that these bags would go with my Cove yarn really well - particularly the floral bag on top.  They're too small to put a sweater project in, but they will fit a pair of socks in progress nicely.  Max tried to climb in, but he didn't fit as well as he'd have liked.  The pattern is an easy one to sew up, all straight line sewing, but it would also be really easy to change the size of the finished bag to fit whatever you need it to.  As the pattern is written, this bag finishes at 9 inches wide by 11 inches tall.  The drawstring takes a bit of the height away, so keep that in mind if you're trying for a certain size.

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Sleeves Strike Back

yarma 
I've gotten more done on my sleeves, in fact I'm either finished with the cuffs or just a couple of rows away from finishing the cuffs (I'm going to remeasure once the caffeine has taken hold).  They are deep cuffs, but they are essentially done.  Next is stockinette stitch - glorious stockinette stitch, that I can work without looking (can't do that with the cuffs, must pay attention to those).  I'm looking forward to the rest of the sleeves.  Odd rows, knit.  Even rows, purl.  I won't have to think, just knit!  I love seed stitch and it's variations (which is what the cuff is made of), but it doesn't just flow off the needles for me.  I have to pay attention to it.  I love that it lies flat, I love it's bumpy texture, I love the look of it.  I just don't enjoy knitting it as much as I love the finished product.  Thankfully, I think it's worth knitting, and it's not like it's a hard stitch to work, it just takes more concentration to do it.

Oh, and I still love the color, did I mention how much I adore this color?  Cove:  It's just so weird and yummy all at the same time!  Every time I knit with it I want to scour the Internets and buy ALL THE  COVE.  Just in case they stop dyeing it or something.  Or like the end of the world comes and I can't get it anymore.  (I know Madelinetosh is just down the road in Ft. Worth, but I'm operating under the assumption that if zombies show up, they'll probably quit dyeing yarn for the near future.)  Yesterday I noticed that The Loopy Ewe has Cove in Pashmina.  I'd probably die of bliss!  Can you imagine - weird Cove beautifulness in cashmere and silk blended squishyness?  It would be like taking Logan to an All You Can Eat Meatball Palace - he'd just pop!

Ok, well that got a little strange.  Never mind.  Carry on with your Wednesday.

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Hexipuffs

yarma
I have a few more hexipuffs finished.  Since I was pulling them out of their project bag to weave in the ends and put them into the Finished Hexipuff Bag, I thought I'd just share them quickly.  Last time I shared my hexipuffs, there was a question about what they were.  Well, Caleb and Max like to try to swipe them (Max thinks they need killing, Caleb just likes to squish them), but their real purpose is to make one of these.  I'm making Finished Hexipuff Bags of 50, figuring it will be easier to know how many I've got, but so far, I only have one bag of 50.  I'm working on my second bag now.

Yes, this is a long term project that will drag on for thousands of years, why do you ask?

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Monday, March 04, 2013

Sweaters 2013 - Sweater #2

I started my new sweater for my Sweaters 2013 Project AKA Knit Something.  The pattern for this cardigan is the Olive Basket cardigan.  It has no buttons or fastenings of any kind (so that's something I don't have to figure out).  It's knit from the bottom up, and I know from experience that I tend to stall out once I hit the place where the fronts and back divide on this type of construction.  In order to avoid this known issue of mine, I'm going to start with the sleeves, so that when I hit the fronts and back, they'll be all I have left.  I don't know if it will work or not, but it seems to me that momentum might just get me past where I tend to stall.
yarma
When this pattern came out, sometime last Fall, I knew it would work with one of my favorite colors of Madelinetosh yarn - Cove.  The variegated blues, browns, and muddy greens should work well in the simple lines of this design.  I'm using the Merino DK yarn base for this.  You can see in the photo, the start of a sleeve cuff (the other cuff is just visible at the right), and you can see what a weird color Cove really is.  I can't explain why I love it, I just do.

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Friday, March 01, 2013

Stick A Fork In It, It's Done!

yarma 
I finished up my Woodstove Season Cardigan yesterday.  This was my first sweater for my Knit Something: Sweaters 2013 project.  Above you can see the yarn both unwashed and after washing (below).  You can see how it fluffed up, straightened out and softened.
yarma
Once the sweater was dry, I sewed the pockets on and set about figuring out the button/buttonhole situation.  I tried it on and marked placement for the buttons and then went to my handy Knitters Book of Finishing Techniques (also where I got directions for sewing on the pockets).  I chose crochet loops for buttonholes and sat down and made them.  Ten of them in total.
yarma
Then I sewed on the buttons, opposite the buttonholes.  I used quilting thread (the buttonholes were too small for yarn) and I put a little piece of ivory felt on the backside of the buttons to add some stability.  I got the buttons from BeadFreaky, she made them this color, just for me, just for this sweater.  (I love that Etsy sellers will customize things.)  Then I tried it on again.  And I loved it.  I'm wearing it today.  Want to see?
yarma
The front and sleeves are stockinette while the pockets and back are the textured chevron pattern.
yarma
Here's a shot of the back.  The lighting wasn't that great this morning so it was hard to get the texture, but you can kind of see it, which is really how the sweater looks in real life - the texture isn't super obvious, like a cable would be, it's more subtle.

I love the finished sweater.  It's a little oversized, but with the shaping it doesn't look like I'm wearing a paper bag either.  There's room enough underneath it to wear layers, so it will be great for colder days.  I used a discontinued yarn from Beaverslide Dry Goods (it had previously been knit into another sweater but I never wore it, so I frogged it and re-stashed the yarn).  The yarn I used is very similar to the yarn called for in the pattern, Brooklyn Tweed Shelter.  I have some Shelter in the stash and comparing the two, they are both two ply, woolen spun yarns that are soft and cottony feeling.  (Both yarns are 100% wool, but they feel kind of like cotton balls for some reason.) If I ever knit this pattern again (and I like it enough that it's a possibility), I would leave off the front band stitches when I cast on, and just knit those last.  It's an extra step, but doing them that way means I get perfectly sized buttonholes that are perfectly spaced.  I do like the look of the loops on this though!

Have a great weekend and I'll show you the next sweater next week!

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