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May 25, 2006

Ack! Baby Shower!

A couple of days ago I realized that my friend's baby shower is coming right up (June 2) thus vaulting me into Emergency Gift Knitting Mode. Here's what I've got so far:

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It's the Child's Placket-Neck Pullover from the most aptly named Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Recognize the yarn? Yup, it's a stashbuster! I had four balls of the Handwork Cora left over from my Apricot Jacket.

I made pretty good progress on it last night, but now I’m starting to regret picking such a plain pattern. Does anybody out there have any ideas for baby-boy-appropriate embellishments? I absolutely refuse to make it sports-themed, but I'm open to other suggestions. Maybe something with fish? The mum-to-be is a biologist. Any ideas (fishy or otherwise) would be greatly appreciated!

May 22, 2006

Gussied Up: the Very Fast Chair

I'm branching out! The knitting has been languishing because other crafty things keep stealing my interest.

Thunk and I were at the fabric store last week when this terrifically tacky red glitter vinyl caught his eye. I was a little skeptical at first, but I’ve been wanting to redo the computer chair and it was only $3.50. Who could pass that up? Chair makeover ho! Unfortunately, the pics did not accurately capture the Extreme Glitteryness which is this chair, but you can use your imagination.

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Materials: 1.5 yards of fabulous glittery vinyl, one old Steelcase chair in need of help, staple gun, pliers, spray adhesive, screwdriver, razor knife thingy.

Time required: one rainy evening.

Procedure: Unscrew seat and back from frame and remove old vinyl (the most time-consuming part of the whole process was using pliers to remove all the old staples). Using old vinyl as a template, cut new pieces a few inches larger. Staple and glue vinyl back on (I reused the old foam which was still in good shape and stapled things where they had been stapled and glued things where they had been glued). Screw seat and backrest back onto frame. Easy peasy!


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the chair out to pasture.

Final Verdict: Love it! In the right light it looks just like Dorothy's ruby slippers (except, you know, chair-shaped). It's been dubbed the Very Fast Chair because, well, it looks very fast.

May 18, 2006

Finished: Modified Minisweater

The sun came out for about five minutes yesterday evening so Thunky and I tore out to the back yard to get some pics of the minisweater. A half hour later it was hailing.

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The Specs:
-Pattern: Minisweater, by Stephanie Japel, free pattern from Glampyre
-Yarn: Cascade 220
-Skeins: 1.5 skeins in Celery (9407)
-Needles: size 8 circs
-Start to finish: May 6 - May 17
-For: Me

The Mods:
I wanted mine to look like Diana's so I left off the triangle edging and omitted the puffy sleeve increases. I also liked Diana's overlapping fronts, so I did that too (which was good, because if I hadn't wanted it to overlap I would have had to leave out the front increases entirely since the thing would have met in front just fine without them). I also changed the number of CO stitches to reflect my tighter worsted gauge...I think that's it.

The Minisweater Experience:
This thing practically knitted itself. For a while I suspected that Thunk was sneaking in rows, but he denies it. It's quick, it's cute, and the pattern is infinitely adaptable. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

The Buttons: The buttons were a pain. I thought I had the perfect vintagey ones picked out but they were all wrong (they stood out too much...it looked like my sweater was glaring back at me out of the mirror). I went out and got some nice matchy-matchy ones on Tuesday night and then I realized that this seemingly symmetrical sweater refuses to sit flat on one side (the left side there between the button and the edging). I have sewn and resewn both buttons and still it continues to taunt me.

I'm not quite sure what to do about this...I know if I wear it I’ll be constantly fiddling with my top. Any suggestions? I'm at a complete loss here. I'm thinking of just sewing it all together (buttons just for show) and pulling it on over my head.

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Final Verdict: Um, I don't know yet? I like it right after it's been adjusted and looks all friendly (see pictures) but five minutes later when it's all bunched up on one side I want to throw it on the ground and jump up and down on it. I'm reserving judgment until I figure out the fasteners.

p.s. It's thundering and hailing again.

May 15, 2006

Free is good...

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For those of you who are big on Amy Butler but think your sewing skillz might need a little boost before you're ready to drop 12.95 for a pattern...check out her free downloadable pattern selection here (click on the link in the lower right corner). There are a few patterns of the simpler variety, including that pillow pattern there, and one retina-frying quilt pattern for the more advanced sewists. All patterns are 100% guaranteed to make you want to run out and buy her fabrics.

In knitting news: the minisweater has been done for days but I’m having a bit of a button crisis. Button shopping is scheduled for Tuesday night. In addition, the rain and general gloominess have sapped my crafty powers. The extended forecast looks like at least five more days of the same. Anybody want to invite me to come and stay with them in some sunny corner of the globe? Perhaps someone out there has a spare tropical island? I am willing to swap yarn.

May 10, 2006

Where did that come from?

Look! It’s a nearly completed modified minisweater!

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You’re right…that’s not natural light.

This may quite possibly be the quickest knitting project ever. I started it over the weekend and have been halfheartedly knitting at it (an episode of Buffy here…a horrifically inane Adam Sandler movie there…). Much to my surprise, I bound off the bottom last night. I should say that it does help that I don’t have much, um, surface area up there.

The yarn is some Cascade 220 from the stash (I originally bought it for mittens, which is what I tell myself every time I grab two skeins of something) and it looks like I’ll have more than enough to finish. I should have a FO in the next couple of days!

In other news, I took the day off yesterday and, among other responsible-adult-type things, did the budget. It looks like the vintage needle purchase and the Weekender Bag pretty much cleaned out the yarn money fund so you can count on seeing a lot of stash yarn over the next couple of months. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

May 8, 2006

Monday

I hope y'all had a lovely weekend...I did! I started up a new project but neglected to take any pictures for you. So in the meantime, hoof it on over to Hello Yarn and take a gander at Adrian's fabulous mittens. This is the first pair (that I'm aware of) that anybody has made using my pattern. So thrilling! I just love all the little additions she's made.

And, since it's not a blog post if there's no picture, here's a preview of things to come:

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May 4, 2006

Finished: Weekender Travel Bag

The bag, it is finished!

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The Specs:
-Pattern: Weekender Travel Bag, by Amy Butler
-Start to Finish: April 24 to May 3
-For: me (sewed along with the Sew? I Knit! crowd).

My opinion of the pattern? The pattern was all you could ask it to be: cute, and well written. I was a little surprised at how complicated the whole operation was (lots of shopping, measuring, cutting, basting, pinning, ripping, resewing, and hand stitching involved there) but it was worth the trouble. I’d recommend it for any of you sewey types out there. Just watch out for that piping. It’s a doozie.

How did I do? The finished bag is a bit lumpy, but in a charming way. I'll be the first to admit that it was filled with laundry and pinched and prodded into submission before its photo shoot. In real life it’s a bit more schlumpy and casual. I was right in thinking that the pattern was a little above my skill level, but I learned a lot and I’m really glad I tried it…sometimes you just get lucky and things work out.

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Final Verdict: Yes, oh yes, we like it!

And for those of you who want to know...

The Damage:
-Sewing machines required: 2 (sometimes you just need a different zipper foot).
-Number of times I cleaned and oiled one of the above machines hoping that it would magically improve my sewing skills: 3
-Sewing Machine needles sacrificed: 2 broken, 1 bent, 2 blunted.
-Spools of thread: 3.5 (by the end it wasn't even coordinating).
-Number of times I said "Ow!" while making this bag: 2,541 (pins, rotary cutter, needles, iron...sewing is a dangerous sport)!

May 1, 2006

So where's the bag?

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I spent the weekend sewing away like a madperson on my Weekender Travel Bag for the sew-i-knit! bag-along (which ended yesterday) but I'm not quite finished yet.

Aside from realizing that I’d blown through all my thread before I was halfway through the project, things are going really, really well. Piping may be my nemesis, but yesterday I conquered and subdued it (with the help of lots and lots of thread). I do fully realize that my sewing hubris may cause the lining to spontaneously combust on me, but I’ll take my chances and say that this is looking to be the best sewing project yet…finally knocking that camouflage dress I sewed in college out of the top spot.

Tonight's Assignment: To stitch a couple more bits of the lining together and get it to go inside the bag. That’s it!

Of course, being in hypersew mode, I didn't pause to take any pictures. You get more vintage needles today, ok?

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