Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cold Floor Socks

The weather is beginning to get warm here so the A/C will soon be working overtime. 

One of the A/C friendly things about this house is that most of the ground floor floors are ceramic tile.  Although I may not like the color too much, it does help to keep the temperatures down by being cool to cold all season long.

In the winter that doesn't bother me as the floors do seem to warm up but in the summer they are down right frigid.  All that cold air pooling on the floor may make the rest of the room delightful but my feet end up freezing.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I wanted to try my hand at another pair of DK weight socks and these are what I came up with:

Pretty Colorful, yes?

The yarn is Plymouth Yarns Dream Baby DK Yarn.  It is all acrylic/nylon and has a very soft hand.  The colors are wonderful... sort of like a fiesta for the feet.

The spiral pattern created by the color changes was an unexpected bonus.

Cold floors?  Bring them on!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Coiling

This past Saturday the Saturday Strippers met to experiment with sewing baskets.

Yep, sewing not weaving.

The process if pretty basic... take some clothesline, cover it in fabric, coil the result and zig zag it together.

Pretty straight forward HOWEVER there were five of us working on this and all of us ended up with a different take on how to do the actual covering and sewing together.

Check out these two bowls:

Both of these were created by covering the clothesline with 2  1/2" strips of fabirc by folding the fabric over the rope.  In the bowl on the left all the raw edges were left exposed while the bowl on the right (mine) folded the raw edges so that they were enclosed.

These coasters were created two differents ways.

The two on the left and bottom were made by wrapping narrow strips of fabric (about 1/2 - 3/4" wide), on an angle around the rope so that the raw edges were exposed.  The one on the upper right was made by sewing 1 1/4" strips of fabric onto the rope, the seam trimmed, then the closely covered rope coiled and sewn down. 

Similar looks but different processes.

This one was made in a beautifully controlled manner.

2 1/2" strips of fabric were first pressed the long way with right sides together.  Then raw edges were folded into the iddle and pressed again.  Then the cord placed into this little packet and sewn down.  Then the whole strip was coiled and sewn into this mat.  It will eventually become a basket/bowl.

So there you have it.

Five people, five variations, five great results.

If you are intrigued by this process, here are a few links that you might find useful:



Also, here is the link to my first attempt at this process using the Bali Bags pattern which yielded a very different result.

What a great way to use up some left over bits of fabric and to get a usuable result.

Have a good week!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Are You Sure This Is Not Going To Hurt?

The Knitter's Book of Yarn

I tend to be someone who likes to know the technical details behind whatever I am doing.  When it comes to knitting I like to know the whys for a procedure as well as the hows.

For instance, to knit means, to me, to pull the loop toward me while to purl means to push it away from me.  For others its all about front loops and back loops which is incomprehensible to me.
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While browsing through the new Kingwood Branch library I found the Knitter's Book of Yarn and I have fallen in love with it.

Every other book for knitters seems to concentrate on the weight of the yarn....fingering, worsted, chunky etc.  and gives you ideas on how to use these weights of yarn in different projects.

This book  concentrates on how the yarn is made, the number of plys and how the construction of the yarn itelf makes it suitable for different projects.

For instance, a single ply yarn can be any weight from lace to chunky but is unsuitable for projects that will get a lot of wear and tear as it is relatively fragile.  More plys means more strength.


Imagine light bulbs going off every where.

Success in a project is not only dependent on the skill of the knitter but on the weight and number of plys of the yarn.

I have only sampled the contents but I am already intrigued and can't wait to get my own copy.

I see that the author has another book just on wool.  I am sure that it as fascinating as her first book and I intend to get my order into Amazon as soon as possible.

If you would like to sample the Book of Yarn and you live in Kingwood, I will be returning it to the library this weekend so it should be available to you on Monday.

New Spring Clothes

Not for me but for Alex and the Girls. 

The harnesses I bought last Fall for them were getting pretty ratty.  I decided to use the old harnesses as a pattern for making new ones from some sweet Japanese fabric I purchased recently at Sew Crafty Houston.

Aren't they cute?
Alex's has little trucks on it.
Kelis's has cupcakes

and Kimora's has chocolate hearts.

I did learn a couple of things while making these.

First off, although I hate big box stores, a 24 hour WalMart, that still carries sewing supplies, is a godsend at midnight when you run out of pre-made bias binding.  Kimora nearly did not have a harness for this morning's walk when I realized that what I thought was bias binding tape was actually hem tape.

Secondly, all Vecro is not alike.  I used the extra soft kind for these harnesses while the originals have extra-strong Velcro on them.  There really is a difference in holding power and, although I have not had any troubles keeping the harnesses on them (yet!), I will probably have to replace the wimpy stuff before too long.

Thirdly, those little screws that hold you presser plate on your sewing machine can get lost in the workings of your machine.  Even though you pick it up, turn it upside down and shake it for all it is worth the screws will not fall back out.  Fortunately I had a couple of another machine that had screws that fit.

Note to self:  buy more screws for the next time this happens.

This whole project cost me about $12.00  as most of the supplies were stash items and I re-used the fittings from the old harnesses. 

Next up... new leashes.

Until then, have a good weekend!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Creative Tale

I was wondering around JoAnn's last year and noticed that the upholstery fabrics were on sale so I decided to take a look.

I saw some wonderful braided curtain tie backs in cream and black and some coordinating buttons.

Not anything I could use until I saw a wonderful black and cream plaid mid-weight fabric from JoAnn's Christopher Lowell line.

A light bulb went off that the tie-backs, buttons and fabric would make an elegant tote.

The whole purchase was less than $10.00 so I was feeling pretty smug until these purchases got bruied under some quilting projects.

Fast forward until a couple of weeks ago when these purchases finally saw the light of day from many months ago.

Instead of burying them again, I bit the bullet and made this:
Pretty elegant, even if I do say so myself.

Further validation is that the Girls really seemed to like it as well.

Just goes to show every female knows a good bag when they see one. 

I am especailly proud that the outside pocket is almost invisible on the ouside as I actually matched up the plaids.

What was Alex doing while the Girls and I were admiring my handiwork?  Eatiing the sticky weeds in my lawn!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Stray Sock Creatures

One the joys of collecting others discards for the quilt guild Fish Pond next year is that I get a chance to see all the books and magazines that others don't need anymore.  One of the books I have  been intrigued by is Stray Sock Sewing: Making One of a Kind Creatures from Socks.

Daniel (just Daniel), the author, explains in great detail how to use socks, new or used, to create some really cute little critters.  While his socks are perfect for each application, I found some good substitutes at Target the other day for $0.25 a pair.

Here are the two I made while clearing out the Tivo this evening:

The one on the left is a long eared imaginary animal while the other is sort of a cat.

I think I need to work the faces before I consider giving similar toys to any small children.

Until then I think Alex will enjoy them when I stop admiring my handwork....some time tomorrow.

I hope your week has gone well and that you have lots of fun stuff planned for your weekend.  My weekend is over-planned right now and I am trying to figure out what to delete.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cross Stitch Scarf

I bought some super fluffy acrylic yarn at Twisted Yarns just because I liked it.  I had no idea what I was going to use it for but while cruising the One Skein Wonders books (101 Designer One-Skein Wonders: A world of possibilities inspired by just one skein and One-Skein Wonders) I found a wonderful scarf of multi colored yarn knitted using something called a cross stitch.

Here's how it came out:

Although it was my original intention to make this for myself it just might make it into the Orphan Foundation's Red Scarf Project for later this year.

Yes, I know it is not red but they have begun to accept scarves of any color and I think some guy would realy enjoy the colors of this one.

BTW - all that fringe happened because I became bored with the pattern after seven feet of it so I used the balance of the yarn to make fringe.  There is no more yarn left and lots and lots of fringe!

Sew Crafty Houston Craft Swap

Look at all this loot!
Need I say more?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sock Club #2

The April entry in this year's Twisted Yarns' Sock Club are a pair of DK weight socks celebrating spring and our favorite provider of natural yarns...sheep!

I picked the kit up on Saturday the 10th and finished them on Monday the 12th.

Yup, I was obessed about them.

The obsession comes not from the actual product but because these socks contained a couple of things I have never used in socks.

One was the heavier wieght of yarn from traditional sock yarn.  I actually had to give up my size 0 needles for some size 3s... it felt like I was using baseball bats.  In addition, the duplicate stitched sheep added some bulk on the sides of the legs which I thought would feel weird but doesn't.

Here's how they turned out:



The designer is Lisa Carnahan of Lisa Knits and the yarn is Rowan's Cashsoft which is 10% Cashmire.  I just machine washed them and they seemed to felt up a bit but are still wearable and comfortable.

I am knitting up a second pair usng the same weight of yarn without the duplicate stitch embellishment just to see if I can make a wearble pair of DK weight socks a second time.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vietnamese Bib

My younger brother's work in South Korea is almost over. 

I have really benefited with him being there with the wonderful textiles bits he brought me last Summer. 

Recently he and a friend made a grand tour of other Asian countries and sent me this wonderfully hand-crafted bib from Viet Nam.

The white design is handwork while the red braid appears to be machine made.  The shiny neck bit has little bells hanging on it while the two rectangular pieces are sewn to the bib only on one side.

I see a baby wearing this bib and being entertained all day chewing on the neck bit, jiggling the bells and trying the tear off the rectangular pieces.

I do not see a child wearing this while eating! 

I currently have it hanging in Sweet Sadie's and several customers have asked about it agreed that it would distract a baby for many moments.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Disappearing Nine Patch

The Saturday Strippers met a couple of weeks ago and worked on disappearing nine patch blocks.

This is a very simple block if you follow the directions. 

First you create a square nine patch block using high contrast fabrics either by color or design.. 

Press it flat then cut it apart into four even squares by slicing down the middle both horizonitally and vertically. 

Flip the resulting squares around any way you want and this is what you can get: 



Aren't these amazing?

My effort was not as successful.

First I did not use high contrast fabrics so the resulting peice looked muddy.

Then I cut the horizontal and vertical lines incorrectly.  I forgot to double check my measurements so instead of ending up with four 6 1/4" squares I ended up with more rectangular pieces.

Not a successful project for me but a process I will experiment with in future.

If you like the look of the above quilts here are a couple of links to some sites that have had fun with this in the past.

http://www.popularpatchwork.com/news/article.asp?a=5294

http://justpurelovely.typepad.com/justpurelovely/2008/02/project-a-tutor.html

http://quiltsatcs.blogspot.com/2007/04/disappearing-9-patch-tutorial.html

You Know You're in a Dachshund Home....

When....

1 Every purse and coat pocket is rifled when you walk through the door.



2 The bed has sausage shaped lumps under the covers.


4 Your face gets licked by a dog standing on the back of the couch.


5 When you come into the house after being away only minutes and you are greeted like you've been gone for 10 years.


7 When the owner's introduce their Dachshund as their other son/daughter.


8 Footstools are placed strategically around the furniture and bed.


9 The house is decorated with Dachshund items.


10 The owner is decorated with Dachshund items.


11 Gates are placed in each doorway.


12 After the doorbell rings, you can't hear a thing for 10 minutes.


13 The alarm clock is set for HIS wake up time.


14 Dachshund "nose art" is proudly displayed on each window.


15 There are at least 45 balls laying around the house.


16 All socks, underwear, and shoes have holes in them.


18 You have to look before you take a step.


19 All squeak toys no long have squeaking ability.


20 The doors to many rooms must remain closed.


21 The owner's bed never remains made.


22 Rugs and furniture are all dark colors.


24 You will find dogs instead of clothes in the laundry basket.


25 When you arrive, you find the living room covered with chewed up toilet paper rolls, Kleenex, etc�


26 All snow is shoveled from the yard to protect the "Ta-Ta's" of male Dachshunds.


27 You notice small fox holes in the yard.


30 All waste baskets and trash cans are elevated at least 3 ft. from the ground.


32 A cupboard is full of tiny clothes that were purchased before the owner realized that Dachshunds would rather remain nudists.


33 Company doesn't come around much anymore.


34 The owner talks a lot about getting a super king-sized bed.


35 The living room looks like it's covered with snow due to the batting which came out of de-stuffed toys.


36 Blankets cover each piece of furniture for better burrowing purposes.


37 The owner had no food yet his Dachshund has plenty of premium dog food.


38 The mailman is warned, "Watch out our he'll bite a hole in your sock."


39 The mailman passes a brightly colored card to other mailmen saying, "A dangerous animal lives inside. Do not use mail slot."


40 Bricks are placed inside trash cans so they don't get tipped over.


41 The Dachshund gets kisses before the owner's significant other.


42 The owner runs around looking for a "sitter" if they're going to be gone for more than a few hours.


43 It is too dangerous to walk around the house without shoes because of partly chewed up Nyla-Bones.


44 Little blue pee-pads are placed by the back door.


45 You notice that The Dachshunds receive more Christmas presents than human kids. .


47 The grass is mowed very very very short.


48 There is always plenty of toilet paper to pick up poops.


49 The owner's bed is covered with no less than 4 gutted toys, 3 balls, and 2 nyla-bones.


50 You are immediately told not to sit in the dog's chair.
 
It's amzing how many of these items are true for my home ;-)
 
Thanks to Dachshund Rescue of Houston for this post on Facebook..

Monday, April 5, 2010

Knit Your Vegies!

Why eat them when you can knit them and avoid making any decisions.

I have finished up a couple more of the Knit Picks Fruit and Vegetable patterns. 

Here's how they turned out... an orange slice, a pea pod and a cabbage.

The orange slice was felted then the handle, lining and  zipper were added.  I'm not sure waht to do with this one but maybe some high schooler will think its a blast to use as a prom purse.

The pea pod also was lined and a zipper added.  I am now using it for the money I collect for the Kingwood Quilt Show fish pond next year.  I sell things early for half the final price so I will have less to store before the show.

The cabbage is lined with a zipper and I am now using it as a case for my camera.

I know what you're thinking....what if Alex decides that a cabbage would be a good thing for him to hide?

So far he has not been interested.

Maybe he doesn't like cabbage?

Two left to finish up - a slice of kiwi fruit and a bunch of grapes.  Both need significant felting so they can't be finished until I have a dark load together.

Wish me luck!

Too Fast for the Camera

Alex was chewing on an old bone today when I took this shot.

Even though there is a feature on my camera to do stop action his tail was wagging so fast that it is a blur.

Good Boy!

Very Clever

Sandy the Wonder Girl gave me a very clever tote bag from Forever Twenty One.

Closed as a  little handbag

Open as a larger handbag

It even has a magnetic snap closure at the top and is made out of heavy duty duck cloth.

Now all I need to do is decide if or when I will decorate it!

Thanks Sandy!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

More Done

Well, I'm not more done (still medium rare if you must know) but my quilt from the Charlotte Angotti class last autumn that was called 'Let me Suprise you...More' is done.

It only took me a couple of months to move from complaining about not having the right pieces left to complete the quilt as advertised, to having it quilted, bound, backed, washed and onto a bed.



The colors look a little washed out in the strong Texas sun that we had yesterday but, I think the photo does do justice to the glorious pink of this quilt.  I ended up bordering it only in the green trellis fabric and bound it in the stripe cut on the diagonal.

Alex and the Girls have already decided that it is a perfect nap quilt and spent several hours today giving it a test drive.

One thing that really went my way in finishing up this quilt is that I was able to use some Kona Cotton in Grass Green for the backing and it only cost me about a dollar a yard when I picked it up last summer.  I was a little surprised, that even though the fabric was from my stash and not bought to match anything, that the green actually matched one of the stripes in the binding. 

Serendipity...you've got to love it!

Now it's my turn to try it out.