Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Twinkle Toes Socks

Installment #5 of the 2010 Twisted Yarns Sock Club was the Porifera Socks from the recently published book Twist & Knit.  It is a relatively simple pattern that includes a nice little lacy bit at just above the toes and just below the cuff at the top of the leg.

Kinda cute, yes?

The yarn used is Tosh Sock from Madelinetosh.  It is hand dyed and I chose the Georgia O'Keefe colorway.  Why a blue green sock yarn would equate with Georgis O'Keefe I'm not sure but the yarn was easy to work with and machine washed and dried beautifully.

Three new skills, for me, were included in this pattern: a provisional toe cast-on, a wrap and turn heel and a stretchy bind off that you do with a yarn needle.  The toe went well, the heels...not so well and the bind off was a breeze. 

There is one error in the pattern that made me crazy in the beginning.  I prefer a sock pattern with 60 stitches in it.  The cast on chart showed a 60 stitch cast-on but, as the stitch pattern is based on 8 stitches, 60 stitches would not work.  In this case the author meant me to use the 64 stitch cast-on.  A small and relatively minor error (the 60 listed should have read 80) but one that caused me to rip out about 30 rows and re-start my first sock from the begiining.

I am making another pair of these socks in less expensive yarn and without the lace pattern so I can practice my new skills.  Why do I see myself knitting alot on Thanksgiving Day while watching movies?

OH!  and I call these my Twinkle Toes Socks because the first day I wore them my RA was acting up and my left foot would not stay flat without a lot of pain so I spent most of the day walking on my toes to ease my way.

Have a great Turkey Day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mabel's Fleece Hat

Friday afternoon three intrepid sewers and one gallent cutter gathered at the Elmgrove Community Room and made fleece chemo caps.

What a great time we had with an abundance of great food and overflowing creativity.

The basic hat is simple:

Cut your fleece at 22" x 13" with the 22" side being the stretchy side.  13" is the maximum height but it can be cut down to as little as 9".

Sew up the 13" sides for the back of the cap.

Sew one end of the resulting tube as the top of the cap.

You are done!

The creativity comes into play when you decide what else to do with your cap.  Bunny ears, fringed top knots, boxed corners and mountainous peaks were all tried and worked!

Here is a shot of Mabel with her hats waiting to get loaded into my car for the trip to a local chemotherapy group:

And an aerial view of the same group:

Even people who sew once in a blue moon seem to have been suckered into buying fleece at one stage of their life or another.   Take it out today and make some of these easy caps.

Your stash will thank you and all those benefitting from your largese will be gratful of a soft cap for their hairless heads.

Don't know where to take them when you are done?  Call your doctor's office and ask the staff for the location of the chemotherpy group they use or ask a friend who has had cancer where they went and take them there. 

Thank you to Janetta, Susie and Liz for joining me in this project and to Sweet Sadie's for providing the turkey and cranberry sauce.

Have a creative weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Alex's Running Away From Home Tote

Back in May I came across a pattern for a really large tote bag.  I called it My Running Away From Home Tote and wrote about it here.  I made another one at a Strip club session and you can see that post here.

This past Friday another group wanted to work on this bag and, while I love this project, I really don't need THREE bags to run away from home with so I decided to make a pint size version.

Insted of starting with 5" squares of fabric I started with 2 1/2" squares of fabric.  I actually used up some of the remains of a block making project and some fabric that had not been cut yet.

I think this is pretty cute:

It's just the right size for Alex to run away from home with all his essentials in one place...his Greenies, his battered toys, his piece of Elk Horn and a kid sized bottle of water.

I don't need to encourage Alex to go walk about so I will be giving it to a friend for her or her 3 year old grandson to use.  This should not be a surprise to her as she asked for it at Friday's session.

You may get a chuckle out of this..

While I have been writing this post Kelis (the little girl) has been upstairs barking at something at the front of the house, Kimora (the big girl) has been barking at someone walking by the backyard fence and Alex (the middle sized boy) has been on a living room chair trying and failing, once again, to get onto the kitchen counter.

I hope your week is going well and to the Americans out there.... Thanksgiving is not supposed to cause stress just warm fuzzy gatherings.  Get an extra dozen eggs in the house and if the turkey won't thaw and the yams look green, you can always be thankful for scrambled eggs.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Another Lawn Dress

What is a Lawn Dress?

It is a dress that you make with high expectations  but, in the end, it just doesn't meet the standards of polite company.

The dress that ends up on your back while you mow the lawn or weed in the garden not while flirting with sun tanned young gods at the beach.

I've made one before (see here for that post) and knew I could never make the same mstakes twice.

Once was enough!

A couple of weeks ago I decided it was about time that I made a dress but this time I would make one under the expert tuteledge of a real garment sewing teacher.  She shall remain anonymous as my failure should not reflect on her teaching skills.

We used Kwik Sew pattern 3151 and I chose a wonderful homespun orange striped fabric. 

 Don't they look nice together?

I love orange and thought the V-neck would show off a little bit of cleavage.

In the three classes we meaured ourselves, pin fit the pattern, sewed and clean finished the seams, inserted a long zipper, did a blind hem and made those cute little bust gathers.

 I waited until I got home to try it on.

BIG mistake. 

I should have tried on the bodice earlier in the process so that I could have seen that the arm holes are huge for me and the bust gathers too little for even for my modest boobs.

I could try to re-work the bodice as I have lots of this fabric but, as I was taking pictures of this dress on me for this post, I realized that the color looked awful on me.

I mean I looked like a diseased pumpkin.

Not a pretty sight... sort of stomach turning if you must know.

So now I have another Lawn dress... for mowing the lawn and weeding the garden and not for strolling on the beach during the hot summers here.

Again, if you see me in this dress in my front yard, just keep going and pretend not to know me.  You will be doing us both a favor.

On the other hand....I have some lovely white linen with little grey swirls on it that could be another version of this dress...hmmmm.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

International Quilt Festival 2010

Just a small samplng of the quilt show portion of the Quilt Festival this year.  More can be seen at

 Although Baltimore Album quilts leve me cold this award winning one is quite charming.
I love that the maker decorated the back of her quilt!!
 This quilt was constructed in pieces then assembled with the sections joined by knotted cording.  FABULOUS!

 I think I have some of this fabric but not the skills displayed!
 One of my teachers - Gilbert Muniz - won the garment competition.  I wonder who could fit into this corset!

A close up of the teeny tiny quilting done on most of the quilts.
Part of the show area ... in total about the size of one and a half football fields... just for showing the quilts!
That first quilt!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Boring Quilt

Last time I posted I had noted that the quilt we worked on at Saturday Strippers was very boring to put together.

Being a little OCD about these projects ( I don't want any to end up in my UFO pile!) I spent most of last week finishing up the top.

This is how it turned out:

Yes, it is right out of the sewing machine and needs a pressing.

Yes, it does not have borders and may never get them

Yes, it did turn out better than I thought it would.

Not sure how to quilt it but I envision a trellis of leaves winding its way up the beige parts like a meandering vine... or not.

Right now its about 72" x 84" which makes it an over-sized twin size quilt or a skinny queen size quilt.

I don't have enough of the original fabric to make large borders so I guess it will stay this size.

Lessons learned:
  • Boring construction can yield good results.  Maybe not show quality but definitey fine for a utility quilt.
  • Random selction of fabrics does not yield an even distribution of fabric.  There are at least four instances in this quilt top where identical fabrics are either next to each other or across from each other.
  • Cutting all the fabric before you get started does not mean you need to use it all up.  My OCD required me to use up almost every square inch of what I had cut for this project when I really should have tried out the basics first then decided how big I wanted it to be.
The International Quilt Market has begun and the Festival part starts Wednesday evening.  I signed up for a couple of classes and I am looking forward to the creatve energy that this type of gathering generates. 

Time with quilts and time with visiting friends makes it worth the price of admission.

Have a good week!