Friday, July 10, 2015


At four o'clock it will be perfect!!

Party on...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Princess and the Babylock

Last week I blogged a little bit about Miss E and the Babylock sewing machine I won at Nancy's Notions in May.  Here's an update of her first project.

First she learned how to thread bobbins, that was fun.  There were only four of them in the machine packet, and that's enough for now, but we put that on our shopping list.

We're sewing at my kitchen table.  The light in great in there, and she has her notebook and her accessories box, and of course will be well hydrated. 
She's stitching together a bunch of five inch squares that I had in my stash management storage.  I told her to take anything she wanted.  She took browns, blacks, grays and a few miscellaneous squares like orange/black check and some plaids.  I should have taken a photo of her laying them out, that ended up being quite the process.  I don't think "random" is in her wheelhouse.  She is a planner and gets a few OCD tendencies from Gramps down through Mom!
Anyway, once she was satisfied with the layout, she sewed and pressed and sewed and pressed, and this is the resulting small quilt top:

Adding a narrow border in, what else, black!
Pinning in the last border strip. 

This is the inner border. She has a wider brown border left to attach.
This turned out pretty nicely as a first 'on my own' project.  Since Miss E already knows how to operate a sewing machine, most of what I did was just coaching on the process.  Once she understood what she needed to do, she was off and running, and only came to me if she had a question. 

One border seam didn't catch for a couple of inches, so she learned how to unsew, which taught the value of putting in more pins.

The experience was altogether very pleasant for everyone.  In the process of the lessons, we thought of things we added to our shopping list: 

  • 1/4 inch seam foot -- not in the basic kit
  • magnetic pin catcher
  • thread nippers

...and she already shopped the pattern section of our local Joann's for some likely next projects.
The pattern on the left, the sleeveless duster is Miss E's preferred next project.
There will be some shopping in my stash for an appropriate fabric.  She's requested a black and white print or floral.  I'm sure I have something suitable, and if not, we'll go shopping!

Rita, if you're reading this, thanks again!

Sew on...

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Today I am going to start walking on my lunch hour.

When I got dressed this morning I was not happy with my side view.  I have never ever been thin.  Even as a child I was on the higher side of normal... not fat, just substantial.  And I've lost and gained back the equivalent of several persons over time. 

It's a struggle for me. Just thinking about losing weight makes me hungry.  I've been eating better kinds of food but portion control is a problem, and how many days in a row can you eat a salad for lunch anyway?  Just to be a rebel I had French fries yesterday.  Then I got home and DH had picked up a Culvers shrimp dinner for me. 

At least it had cole slaw in it, otherwise I would not have eaten a veggie yesterday!

I work at a sedentary job.  I am practically chained to the desk and some days I get so involved I forget to get up and go to the bathroom.  People hunt me down when I'm away from my desk.  Hey, if I'm so important, maybe I should get a raise... but I digress.

This. Must. End.

I am resolved to walk for half of my lunch hour at least four days a week.

Dang the people who are heating up such wonderful smelling lunches in the break room!

Let's hope I can last the week.  Wish me luck.

Walk on...

Monday, July 6, 2015

February Ladies' Sweater Challenge

Really it's me challenging myself to actually complete knitting one thing for myself. 

Normally I knit small things such as doll or baby sweaters.  Mittens and hats are my speed, and even some scarves and shawls.  Not too big an investment of time because I tend to get bored before they're finished.  Right now I'm looking at my yarn stash and I can see three or four works in progress that need some sort of finishing.  One just needs the side seams sewn, for goodness sake!  You'd think I could do that much...

So when I found, and all of those lovely project photos, many with FREE patterns available for the download, I said to myself -- YOU can do this!  Start to finish, maybe not in one calendar year, but before you're too old to wear a nice sweater, you CAN knit one!  An adult size!  Come ON -- just do it!

I cast on the starting number of stitches and happily knit along in garter stitch (knitting every row, right and wrong sides), doing the increases to turn the corners at each of the raglan sleeve lines.

Once it got large enough to get my arms through what will be the sleeves, I started the lace pattern.  It's over four rows and seven stitches.  The pattern forms these nice leaves.

Of course there was a problem from the get-go, because I could not get my fingers to do the left-leaning decrease.  Knit two together?  No problemo!!  But slipping and back loops and psso and all that jazz, I couldn't do it while counting rows and stitches, so I just knit two together for every decrease.  The pattern looks just a tiny bit different than the actual knitting, but if anyone is close enough to see that, we had better be engaged!

Then of course there was the error or should I say there were multiple errors knit in.  And Frog Stitching (ripit, ripit) and reknitting.  I swear I should have the lace pattern memorized, since I knit so much of it!!
Then there was the hole, and the tear down... I pulled out 21 rows of the seven stitches where I did the yarn-over above the other yarn-over and knit in a gigantic hole.  Yes, lace IS holes, but this one dwarfed the others around it!
big hole... just begging everyone to look at it!!

Preparing to un-knit 21 rows of the pattern so I could reknit them on some short needles.
I reknit the offending 7 times 21 stitches, carefully counting rows, and turning my work so the purl rows on the wrong side would be knit as purls.  When I got back to the top, I should have been ready to knit those seven in pattern.  I should have ended on a purl row.  Seven purl stitches, no yarn-overs in the bunch.

I did not.

Instead I had a knit row, with knit tog's and yo's.

Oh dang!

If you look very closely you can see right in the center of this picture where the pattern takes a slight jog; everything looks good to the left, and it looks good to the right, but down the center, not so much.

At this point, it was after 10 p.m.  I decided that I was taking a bigger risk tearing those stitches out again and redoing them a third time than just leaving the whole mess alone.  After all, will anyone notice it while I'm galloping by on a horse?  Or is it if THEY are galloping by on a horse?

Regardless, I am leaving in the booboo.  Only God is perfect, and I am not going to try to pretend otherwise!

Besides, I have only about 4 inches to go before I'm done with the sweater body and can get started on the sleeves.

These items are soooo much easier to knit...

Have a great day!  Knit on...

Post #325!

Wow, I didn't realize I had written so much!  Of course it feels like I just started doing this...

Friday was a work holiday, and if you read my blog last week you know I took some vacation days on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday, Miss E came over with her sewing machine (Rachel, the famous Babylock) and she learned how to wind bobbins, thread the machine and sew a 1/4 inch seam.  She laid out her 5 inch black, brown and gray blocks and put together the center of a small lap quilt.  She got as far as sewing on the first border, and she has a second chosen but not sewn on. 

She kept saying "Is my face in the picture?  It's not, is it?"
I also taught her how to use a ruler and rotary cutter to square things up.

Thursday we took Aunt Zel to Joann's and bought some yarn to fix a run in one of Miss E's sweaters.  Then we hit the Goodwill store and picked up a bag of cotton tee shirts because we wanted to try bleach stamping.

This is an easy way to embellish tees with rubber stamps and bleach.  I saw it first on one of my favorite blogs, Hanging By A Needle and Thread.  Here's a link:

This is a gray shirt that turned pink after bleach hit it.

This one faded but didn't change color.

Miss E's shirt surprised us all, dark blue turned orange-red.

Our crew chief, Miss A

We used plastic bin lids to keep the bleach on the front, and clean rubber stamps from our art box.  You need paper towels, bleach and water, and damp clean tee shirts.  We laid them on the grass to dry when we were done.  I only paid $3 per shirt, so if we didn't like the results, we could toss them with no guilt whatsoever!

I tried doing some work in my sewing studio, but other than moving stuff around and refolding yardage, not much was accomplished.

However, on Friday, Miss A and I were picked up by my friend Suzi for some exciting Retail Therapy.  Originally we were doing Ben Franklin Crafts and some resale shops, but decided to start with Quil-tagious, a new-to-me shop in Mukwonago.  It's actually been open for about a year.  A friend of my cousin Nancy opened it with her sister or sisters... and Nancy said it was cool.

It was!  They had a whole wall of Kaffe Fassett prints.  I succumbed immediately...

and picked up a selection.  Love the red, purple and teal combination, and the big splashy florals and 'suggestion-of-florals' that are his trademark.  He's not afraid of color, and I love that!

Friday night at family sewing night we made some additional fidget blankets for Shelley's nursing home.  By the time we got home to bed Miss A was too tired to watch the fireworks that were going off it seemed like just outside our windows.

So yards into the stash far outstripped yards out this week.  I bought 6-7 yards at Quil-tagious plus a half roll jelly, and 8 or so more at Ben's.  I did find some fat quarters that felt rather patriotic...

and some insane dots!!
These will make some awesome bindings...
Next post might be about my crazy knitting fiasco.
Sew on...