Thursday, May 17, 2007

Finished Object Report, Part II

I volunteered to help out Enthusiastically Human's rag rug project. Not so very altruistic as I knew I had t-shirts to use and needed to find a home for them. But when I read the description of who this project will help, it did tug at my heart. And even though I vowed not to crochet any more rugs, I broke out the scissors, t-shirts, and a crochet hook and gave it a try.

So here's what I came up with:

The colors don't quite match the irises as the purples are fading, but the whites are coming in nicely to compensate.

I am much more pleased with this effort than my last rug failure. The round size was challenging as I was using conflicting instructions, but I finally re crocheted until I got it to lay flat. I really like the colors and am pleased with the squishy factor that a good rug should have. I wish I had one more shirt to make it a bit bigger; it falls a few inches short of the 24" round goal.

Now I'm off to figure out the mailing!

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I fell hard for a tutorial handbag over at tiny happy. And when I visited a friends' mom and saw the fabric she used for new drapes, I knew it was a match made in sewing heaven.

Nice friend's mom donated fabric for the effort. I thought maybe I needed kind of like a half yard and here's how the drafted pattern fit the hunk-o-fabric.

Good call on the "yard"age. I was so excited to make this I whipped it up Monday between ALL the moving fun calls and came up with this:

Yikes! Those handles are WAY too wide, so I whipped them together on the wrong side:

Much better! Here's the finished bag hanging on the tree-that-the-new-owners-wanted-$1000-for-because-it-was-hit-by-lightening-3-summers-ago:

OK, so maybe that gash would make me a bit queasy, but that tree is going nowhere any time soon.

Here's what I thought of the bag pattern:

  • No seam allowance was provided (or I couldn't see it) and made for some educated guessing. I went with 1/2" which is standard for nothing, but fits between the usual 1/4" quilting and 5/8" clothing allowances.
  • I really like the width of the bag, but would consider a pleat at the top center before connecting the bag with the lining because the bag hangs oddly - or perhaps reduce the width by a couple of inches.
  • The straps would look better if they were narrower and shorter (as I am a shorty myself).
  • The fabric looks even better than I thought it would - love it!
  • When your mom shows you her newest sewing creation, the correct answer IS "That's the most beautiful purse ever!" Ding, ding ding: winner! And you DO get bonus points if you ask for a littler version so you can match you mom.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

New Frontiers

We're enjoying many visits to the house, meeting with contractors about building a garage, painting some of the very tall walls inside, and just figuring out where everything will go.

And while I've been doing boring stuff, the kids have been exploring. They discovered this tree face:

And a friendly neighbor dog we've named "Bus":

I think the kids are really going to like this place...

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Peonies and Other Bloomers

The peonies are here, the peonies are here!

This week, the first blossom burst on the scene:

Since they are my favorite flowers, the first peony bloom is big news around here. And as this will be our last season here to enjoy them, the blooms are even more cherished. The whites always get off the block first, but the pink (and the clematis) are not far behind:

And what else could be blooming?

A new project is blooming, whose colors seem a lot like the irises that are peaking in the back bed:

What will it be? I'll give you a few hints: it will use up the old t shirts I've been saving and will help some kids in needing a soft touch to start their days.

And now that I've posted these pictures, I'd better go get cranking to finish it up for the reveal!

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Goodie Bags

A fun package arrived in the mail yesterday from

They're Envirosax's reusable grocery bags. Instead of boring, plain, bulky canvas, they are lightweight, waterproof, reusable bags made of a thin polyester that reminds me of parachute material. I first heard about them at Shelterrific and loved the fun prints. I've been trying to use less plastic grocery and shopping bags, and I thought this would make the effort much more fun.

This little red bag is about the size of a small pencil bag and it holds 5 full-size totes. Here's a peek inside:

Those are the re-folding instructions in the background.

And here are the bags in their full-size glory:

Yikes! They're HUGE. I put a half-gallon carton on the bags for scale. These bags would each easily hold two gallon jugs plus other groceries. And they're so light and thin that they easily fold back up into the little red sack.

Now, if only we lived a little closer to Trader Joe's....


Tiny Hat Parade

I've had the joy of working with tiny hats over the last few months. A kind soul donated a large lot of baby weight yarn to the church's knitting ministry. A perfect fit as the group decided to make hats for the local hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

I took it as an opportunity to go through the bunches of baby hat patterns that I had amassed to do some pattern test knitting. And the winner is....

The Handle Hat by Larissa at Stitch Marker.

This pattern calls for sock yarn, so I thought that the sport weight yarn would work well, and it did. I made the pattern three times, changing only the needle size each time and adding an eyelet row on the smallest.

I wish I had written down the sizes (wasn't that why I started blogging?!), but I think that I knitted with #3, #4, and #5 dpns. The shape of the hat and the finishing of the little handle top make this a fun knit. Perhaps a bit more length might make it more wearable for a little longer, but I really like this hat for sport weight yarn. I liked the feel and size of the the #4 hat best.

I also tried the simple hat calculator and knit these two:

The first version is on the right with an eyelet row. The second is the correct depth called for in the pattern, but you would need to roll it many times to prevent it from looking like a conehead garment. I didn't like the shaping on the top - the first one I followed the pattern as written and the second I modified the top using the pattern's suggestions for smaller sizes. I think they are both too pointy and would want to fiddle with the final rows more to feel comfy with this pattern.

Procrastination does pay off! I waited to "deliver" (couldn't help the pun!) the hats to the NICU when my friend had arrived to deliver her little girl and was able to drop off hats and see a brand new baby. Very fun. And did I bring her a hat? No!

She got these cut little booties from Last Minute Knitted gifts. It is the Angora Baby Booties pattern. I started them on her birth date and had them ready the next morning. I used double strands of Kid Silk Haze and #4 dpns. This pattern is by far the best toe-up sock method I've seen. Advice that is not worth much as I haven't done any adult toe-ups yet, but this pattern rocks.

The stash reduction is in full progress as I finish more projects and start using some of my own yarn. More updates soon!

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Happy Mother's Day!

Wishing the moms out there a Mother's Day filled with glitter, paper, beads, decoupage, grout, clay pots, tissue paper, and LOVE....

Pardon me while I return to being pampered.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Happy Kodomo-no-hi!

We invited friends over today to celebrate Japan's Children's Day, a national holiday, once Boys' Day, celebrating the healthy growth of all children.

A symbol of the holiday is the fish-shaped windsock, representing fish swimming upstream. Parents hope that their children will overcome obstacles as they grow up and become adults.

And here are my little swimmers:

We stocked up on Japanese snacks, hung a few windsocks, folded hats - and we were ready!

Here are the kids making their own carp windsocks ...

and hanging them in the trees. They looked so pretty:

And here is the traditional turn-your-friend-up-side-down-upon-meeting greeting:

And after that , it was time for the samurai hats...

and the samurai fights!

We used the traditional iris leaves as mock swords. They pack quite a sting if you get slapped by one.

We were lucky with the prettiest weather and very fun friends.

What a fun day!

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007


With all the moving excitement and the general stash-busting around here, knitting time has been scarce. I have finally gotten into the Argosy groove and can make progress instead of constantly backtracking. The good thing about going back is that if you do it enough, you can't go back any more and get to start all over again!

Here is my progress to date. I have two skeins of Hempathy and this is about a third of the way into the scarf, but since my productivity has soared (to a full crawl!), I'm hoping that I am at least half done.

I added a picture of my shoot location for the iris fans I know (and this is the small bed!).

Doesn't the scarf look a lot like a caterpillar?

For Sale

The Half by Half de-stash came at just the right time, because:

We're moving! We found a really cute house (about 7 miles west of here) totally by chance and life has been a complete whirlwind ever since. I saw an email post about the house and 12 days later (really!) we accepted an offer on our house. We went from zero to sixty in 12 days; my head is still spinning! Luckily we'll have about three weeks to move and it will all be over by the end of June.

One of the final selling steps left was the house inspection that happened yesterday. Imagine my surprise/horror when I stepped out of my house to see this:

Here's a close-up:

Ack! Our poor neighbors had a complete sewage line failure and had to replace it. I hope the inspector and the buyers didn't notice. I closed all the window treatments on that side of the house - do you think that fooled them?

If you want to join us out in the country, the neighbor's house is still up for grabs!