Monday, June 26, 2006

Toes in the water

Many knitters come to a point in their craft where they feel restless. You've got the basics down; you've branched out and you're learning more everyday. Somehow, it just isn't quite enough. Something is missing. You crave....something. You're just not sure what. I've been restless in my knitting for awhile now. Branching out into lace and cables has helped expand my horizons but I've been needing something more. Awhile back I posted about my favorite white T-shirt and designing my very own homage to that old shirt. Well, I've gone and done it. I've calculated, swatched and decided for long enough. So, this weekend, I cast on and now, I'm just past the underarms. There's something very liberating about doing it yourself. Making your own path so to speak. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed designing. I haven't designed since college. Back then, I sketched clothes I dreamed of creating. Now, I'm working on sketching knitting and crochet that swirls around in my head. I've got four other projects in mind already. Yarn is sourced and the sketches are being fleshed out. Hopefully, my restlessness will be eased. Really I just hope the sweaters turn out the way I see them in my head. That's the real challenge isn't it? To envision something a certain way and mold your materials to make it become real. Speaking of challenges, I'll issue one to you, dear readers. Whatever your medium, push yourself past your current boundaries. If patterns are what guides you, toss them aside, outcome be damned. It doesn't matter if what you render works out, it's the process you take along the way. What did you learn? What worked and what did not? Get where I'm going here? Sometimes, shaking it up a bit can bring life back to your knitting (or sewing or crocheting,etc). Feel free to drop me a line and send me a photo of what you did and what you learned. I'll be posting my progress along the design route as I go. Till next time, I'll leave you with a few pics of some of my finished items. A felted box, a refashioned cami, and progress on the nosegay doily.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Mr Robot-O

Okay, let me start with a quick aside to Jeanie--since you asked, I've modeled the car coar. Notice how I'm not showing my face. That's because I'm dying of shame! No way on earth I'm being photographed in those bloomers either!! So I was feeling, well, a little off my mojo for awhile and really needed something to convince myself I was able to create something that wasn't a home-ec reject looking thing. Eureka! A fellow CP'er issued a challenge on creating a nosegay doily. Now, I'm not a doily girl but the challenge was to interpret it in your own way and do your own thing. That I can dig! So I whipped out the pattern, my yarn and hook and got ta goin'! I now have a newfound appreciation for all things doily. My interpretation is going to be a shawl in mercerized cotton. I thought about doing a purse but I really would have to line it and just wasn't sure I wanted to do that. Maybe for another doily interpretation eh? Feeling really jazzed over my progress on the doily shawl, I convinced DH to wrap me up in duct tape. Oh stop it! It's not what you think! He was kind enough to help me do my duct tape double dress form this weekend. Glad I did it, not sure I'll be doing that again, thank you very much. As DH was wrapping, he said, "Hope you remembered to go pee cuz this is gonna take awhile.!" Once you get going, there's not turning back. You can't even sit down! Gyaaahhh! Towards the end , not only was he singing his own praises about his uncanny ability to mold the duct tape perfectly he was doing his own rendition of the Double Origato Mr Robot-O song. Still, humiliation aside, it was worth it. I've cast on for squash blossom. 462 stitches. I cast on 462 freakin' stitches. There is not enough wine in all of the world to get me to cast on that many stitches again. I had to di it twice because I messed up the first time. A woman can get dangerous after casting on that many stitches twice. Needless to say, I'm only on row one. We'll see if this one makes it to the FO pile. On the sewing front, things are going much better. I've refashioned many things and actually used the dressform already. Two of my grandmother's shirts are now retro aprons. One of my old maternity sweaters has recovered my office chair. So, all in all, it worked out okay!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bloomers are for girls and some yarn is just crap

Oh my what a productive weekend I've had! I jumped right onto a pajama outfit I'd picked out to sew. Feeling ecletic and basically because it looked comfy, I picked out a junior pattern that was a baby doll shirt and bloomers. Big. Mistake. You know that nagging feeling you get that something just isn't going to turn out as you'd hoped? I should have paid attention. I had that feeling as I was sewing the top. Noting to myself that I looked like I was with child when I tried it on, I thought, "Well, maybe with the bloomers it'll all come together." I decided that the bloomers needed length because my butt hanging out is not my idea of cute or comfortable. Never ever lengthen bloomers. I looked like a cow caught in cotton flannel. Is it possible to look thirty pounds heavier? Oh yes, it absolutely is if you wear this outfit. At least I dissolved into hysterical laughter before I felt very much my age. Still, I'll wear the top to sleep in, maternity look and all. DH actually asked me not to even go out to check the mail in it. I sewed quite well. I just picked a doozy that's all. Add to that my crochet car coat disaster. I whipped it up as part of the stashalong. The yarn was LB colorwaves and I'd had it forever intending to make this coat. Let's just say it wasn't all I'd hoped; that I think colorwaves is craptastic and I'm not frogging it. Why not? Well, for starters it took too long to make. Also, I doubt the yarn could withstand the frogging, it barely withstood the crocheting. Plus, it does actually fit. It's just really ugly but I do see myself wearing it around the house to keep the chill out. Just never ever in public or around guests. In mason dixon warshrag news, I've finished another washrag. Oh how I love that pattern. I'm going to have a whole drawerful by the time I'm done. What next? I'm deciding today but I know for sure that I've got the following on tap:

Nosegay Doily challenge from a fellow cp'er (crochet list)
Shirts into aprons (Wardrobe Refashionista)
Tempting II (upcoming SKC KAL)
loads more warshrags
doing the gauge swatch and starting my own sweater
should I throw in socks? maybe I will!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ball winders and wash rags

Okay, hopefully blogger will cooperate with me this go round and allow me to post though my post won't be nearly as witty and well thought out. I just finished my first washrag from the Mason Dixon Knitting book. Please go and run to the store to get this book if you don't already have it. It's rare to find so many useful and pretty patterns in one spot. Not to mention that these ladies have a wonderful, reader friendly way of writing. Hold a minute...I'm having a psychic vision..yes, I see, I see...why.. it's me doing lots of projects from this book. Specifically, I'm lusting after the nightie and robe. Oh August come soon so I can go and buy the yarn!!! Till then, I will use my stash to make lots of washrags. In the spirit of recycling, I dug out a cotton/linen blend vest I got at the thrift shop a few months ago to use for some prissy powder room handtowels. I just love that word prissy. In stashalong news, I used my yarn enhancement day for June to purchase the yarn for my first ever made it all by myself with no pattern top. I chose Elann's Esprit in bright white. I like the texture and already have an idea of what I'm going to do. Now I just have to crunch the numbers and get gauge. I've got two sewing projects and an embroidery project in the works as well. It'll be a busy summer at the Bal casa for sure. Sam, the pic of the ball winder is for you! I love mine and highly recommend it. Till next time! Alicia

It's done!!

Never again will I sew plaid anything! Initially matching the plaid wasn't so bad. The trick is keeping the plaid matched while you sew. Apparently this is something I'm not too skilled at. Still, I'm happy with the end result. Now that I've finished the couch, I'll share the how to paint your couch info.
1. Choose a fabric paint and decide on a color. Order three times the paint you've estimated you'll need. Plan on the painting taking about five times as long.
2. Tape up any parts of the couch you don't want painted.
3. Lay a tarp down and put on clothes you don't mind ruining.
4. Buy a bottle of wine to be consumed after you paint. You'll need it.
5. With a paint brush and a sponge brush, alternately paint and do a dab press method to ensure full coverage. If you're back isn't killing you by the time you're 1/4 of the way through, you're probably not doing it right.
6. Let it dry for at least a week. No really, let it dry! I got paint residue on some clothes because my seat cushion was still a little damp when I put it back on the couch. Patience was never a virtue I possessed.

If this all sounds a little daunting then I've accomplished my goal. By the time you consider paint and labor (oh the labor!), you might rethink being cheap and just go get new furniture. By the time I was done with these couches, I would have sold everything that wasn't nailed down just to buy some new ones. It sucked that bad! Mrs Pao, I promise a pic of my yarn winder this afternoon and a further explanation of my duct tape dress form!