Monday, December 20, 2010

zig zag

There's not much I like more, when it comes to patterns, than a zig zag!

I started randomly working on this with no end in mind - kind of like that last thing, which has turned into a quilt top (and still isn't finished - needs to be a little bigger and I'm envisioning a chevron row or two in its future!) It could totally be a baby blanket, but I'm not sure I can give it away! I was also thinking of a quilt top with maybe a border between two lengthwise halves which could be coordinating colors, but totally different patterns! who knows - right now I'm just having fun making it! every chance I get, I add another row. Who knows where it'll end. If I actually used my dining room table, I'd call it a table runner, but who am I kidding? I probably shouldn't admit that out loud.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

big catch

The pillows that I just finished for my oldest nephew (he's 9) are cracking me up!

I happened to find this panel with the remnants at the fabric store - one of those things that are printed and you cut them out and make stuffed animals of them. I'd never looked at them before because it kind of seemed like a cop out, but these are really cool! He's big into fishing, so I liked the fact that they're realistic fish and not cartoon-y. Plus, it did take more than just cutting out two halves, sewing them together and stuffing them - the pectoral fins are separate from the rest of the body, and each of the fins are lined with batting then quilted before the rest of the body is stuffed. I think he's going to love them - aside from the fact that they're fish, they're also BIG and when you're 9 years old you judge gifts based on their volume!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More gifts, in the bag!

I think I'm doing as well this year as I did last year on making stuff for all of my family! whee! I just finished this little aviator hat for my youngest nephew, Jude.

I hope it fits him - for some reason it doesn't seem deep enough (long enough? I'm not sure how to describe that dimension of a hat - you know what I mean, right?) so I'll just keep my finger crossed.

I also finished up my parent's stockings by lining them, which was super easy and I think it really makes them nice. Plus, stuff you put inside won't get all hung up on the floats.

Then last night I made this bag for my oldest niece.

She loves pink and is also into asian stuff (well she says she's into Japanese stuff, but she really doesn't know the difference!) so I had a fat quarter bundle that I picked up at JoAnn's a while ago and it was all asian type prints which was perfect. The solid pink was from a skirt that I got at a thrift store and wore a couple times before deciding I was too into it and subsequently de-zippered and de-lined it and put it on the fabric shelf - that may be my best recycling ever! Oh, and I used a heavy pink fabric to line it - stuff I bought year ago, of course, which I think gives it some strength, since the outside is basically just cotton quilting weight stuff.

I think it came out great! I'm not finished yet, but I'm totally ahead of schedule!!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Guess who's engaged!! ME!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

ornament swap - ready!

I stumbled across this ornament swap and thought it sounded mighty fun. I just finished my ornaments for my swap group - there are 10 of us in this group, so I had to make 9 and if all goes well, I'll get 9 handmade ornaments back! wheee! After several different ideas and kind of wonky prototypes, I decided upon these little birds and I love them!

I suppose I should have made 10 so that I'd have one to keep, but I didn't (and even though I could obviously make another, I honestly probably won't. who am I kidding?)

I still have to put a loop on them for hanging, but I have until Tuesday, which isn't the deadline, but it's the day that I have it scheduled for myself. Around this time of the year I make a schedule for myself because otherwise i just get all panicky and keep making list after list after list because I think it'll help but it's really just taking time and not getting anything accomplished. So this morning I just wrote out each day until Christmas with 2 lines for each date then gathered up all those little scraps of paper with my goofball lists and plugged each thing into a slot. It's comforting. And I feel like I can see that I can get it all done before Christmas and have some slots for the stuff that I've undoubtedly forgotten (like cookie baking! duh!) but I can also work ahead (like the ornament pictures and blogging were scheduled for tomorrow!) and that's cool too. I realize this sounds really stupid for non-list making people. Ugh, it also kind of makes me sound anal and a little obsessed with organization and order - which under any other circumstance is totally the opposite of me. oh well, I do what i gotta do!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

righty lefty

I'm making colorwork Christmas stockings for my parents this year and you'd think that I'd have done enough colorwork to know better than to do what I did. This is what happens when you hold the color you'd like to pop out more in your non dominant hand:

It was fine for the top part where the name is in blue on a white background, but then for the snowflake on a blue background I really should have switched hands but I didn't and I just felt like the details on the snowflake really got lost. So I ripped back 38 rows and started over. Much better!

Monday, October 25, 2010

and the pod is open!

the very next day the carrion flower was totally open! it's at a very odd angle, so this is kind of an up-shot:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

almost there!

It's not quite big enough, but it's getting there!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the strangest flower

It's happening again.

See that gigantic bud hanging below the shelf? Yeah, that's a bud for the most amazing and gruesome flower ever. I realized that this this is on a quite regular blooming cycle when I looked up the blog post from the last time it happened - it is just days off from being exactly 2 years ago. And I remember last year a bud formed too, but for some reason never opened. If you remember, I did a little research the last time the flower formed and found out that this particular cactus is from Africa and that its blooms are meant to look like dead rotting animals, and that they also have a stench so that it'll attract flies which pollinate it. I'm over the initial shock of that (some things should just remain un-Googled!) and I'm just looking forward to the flower, which if you didn't know any of the details about it, is really really amazing looking - even when you do know the details it's gorgeous, but you're like "yeah, I can see how those little red lines are supposed to look like veins, and the hairs are supposed to look like, well, hairs." This is just about the best thing you could hope for in October right before Halloween! You may not be able to tell from the picture, but the bud is like a nearly translucent pod that looks so alien you expect to see something alive in there if the light passes through! I love this thing!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A weird request

A few months ago my 10 year old niece called me at home and asked if I could make her a Carmelite outfit. At time I didn't know what a Carmelite was and she tried to explain it to me and ended up with an exasperated "aunt Chris, can you just look it up online?" It cracked me up! I got the idea that it was a nun outfit, except brown instead of black. And yes, I looked it up online like she told me to. I don't know how many other 10 year old want nun outfits, but that sounds about right for my niece. I told her I'd make it for her birthday because she's one of 5 kids and I know well enough that you can't give just one kid something and not the rest - her birthday is this weekend, so I finally finished it up.

I used a halloween costume pattern and then kind of winged it for the wimple part. I guess it really should be like a hood, but I just took a rectangle of fabric and pleated it and then sewed it to one side of the veil hat bit and pinned the other side.

It'll either be ok, or it'll look like a white beard. Who knows!? I'm going to take a little sewing kit in case I need to make changes and I might be cool and sew some velcro to the side instead of making someone have to try to not stab her head with a safety pin every time she puts it on! She wanted a cape too, but that might have to come for Christmas! Oh yeah, the veil is being modeled by a big jar of cat food - it was kind of all I had that was remotely head shaped!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

a little plastic surgery

not for me - for my little plastic one! I've been customizing my little girl over the past couple weeks and I finally got her all back together. I tried to take a bunch of progress shots, so if you're all "ugh, she's taking about that doll again" you might want to just tap out now! :)

Here's her "before" shot

Then I opened up her head. The first of several kind of horrifying steps. I mean how often have you used the phrase "then I opened up her head"? There just aren't a lot of situations where that's an appropriate thing to say!

Weird look into a head!

Gaa! then unscrewed the whole shebang!

Unscrewed and took apart many small things which I smartly put into a little box so as to not lose them! look at me, thinkin' ahead! These pictures also helped me quite a bit when I had to reassemble and I was like "uuuh, there how did this thing go again?"

Then I sanded her face so she'd be matte instead of shiny - that right there made a world of difference to her look! I had to go to a woodworking shop to get the kind of sand sponges I needed and there i bought this overpriced set of files which I used to carve her mouth - sound scarier than it ended up being!

Took her eye mechanism out which required some tools and serious manhandling. I assured her that this hurt me more than it hurt her, because it really did! there are a surprising number of pointy surfaces there!

The hardest damn part was yanking out these damn eye chips which are apparently attached with the will of the devil, or something similarly powerful! this is a gluestick stuck to the eyechip and yes, it's the most recommended method. I couldn't make that up! you ought to see pictures where folks do this without taking the head apart - just picture a doll with two glue sticks jutting out of its eyes! none of this is pretty (until the very end!) I replaced her eyechips with amazingly lifelike Ana Karina chips (she's on Etsy) - I just did 2 sets because they're pricey! I left her original pink and pale blue chips but pulled the green and blue ones. Unfortunately the chips didn't entirely come out - bits chipped off and stayed in the little recessed ledge where the new chip would sit down in. there was a lot of cussing, chipping, prying and filing done and I still didn't get the stuff all the way out. Consequently, the new chips don't quite sit flush which causes her eye mech to not roll as freely as it should. that's a bit frustrating.

Ok, at this point I kind of got lax on my picture taking! I replaced her eyelashes, painted on new lips with a wider shape and used high gloss finish over them, then redid her eye makeup and blush with chalk pastels, painted on freckles, and miraculously got the whole works back together. I'm so much more in love with her now - I didn't even think that was possible!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's Woolgathering Weekend!

Today was the annual Woolgathering fiber festival in Yellow springs and I went with Catherine and Rita. As usual, it was tons of fun and also exhausting - I'm not sure why it wears me out. Maybe something about walking for 3.5 hours and being in hot tents! Speaking of tents, this year there were 3 instead of 2! well, actually more like 2.5, but still - more vendors! I didn't go with any notes or plans this year - usually I have a bunch of potential projects written down with necessary yardage for each one. I decided to just keep my eyes open for local stuff, hand spun, hand dyed - that kind of thing! I didn't need more yarn, but the woolgathering isn't the time for that kind of thinking - It's once a year and I let myself splurge because I won't be able to get the majority of it any other time. I think I did pretty well with my plan to get get commercial stuff - in fact, I feel like there was less commercial stuff being sold this year!

I bought some cashmere! I'm going to make my mother a triangular shawl for Christmas. She, of all the people I knit for, deserves cashmere!

Then I got this alpaca handspun yarn from Alpaca Meadows - I don't think the colors really show in the picture well - it's fantastic! only 66 yards though - I'm thinking I can eek out a hat if I use relatively big needles (it's pretty thick and thin stuff) and maybe do the ribbing in a solid yarn. I think it'd be a great semi slouchy beret!

Then, from one of my favorite sellers - Amazing Grace farms - I got this handspun hand dyed wool. It's actually yarn from Hilltop Heritage Farms, but the woman at Amazing Grace was selling it for her. I believe she sold the babydoll sheep to the Hilltop Heritage folks who recently move in just a few miles from her! She's a great lady and she obviously loves what she does! oh, I also got some soap from her.

Additionally, I got some big alpaca socks from Stewart Heritage Farm, in Xenia, for my uncle. They have the socks made for them, but the wool is from their own alpacas, which is very cool! The husband was really selling those socks - he was just standing by the basket talking about how much he loved them - and my favorite line was "I've never been a guy to get all that excited about socks!"

While we're talking yarn, I've got a quandary involving some on the needles. I've been working on these Alpaca Sox legwarmers (which in my case are not made of alpaca sox yarn) and i've realized that they're just way too big - and when i look at other people's projects on Ravelry, I've seen it's a common problem. why didn't i look at that sooner? i want them to be very legging like - like a sock that comes over the knee, but doesn't have a foot! these are slouchy. I decided to just do the top ribbing now and see if I can wear them pulled up over my knee so that the bottom hits me about mid calf - sort of like knee warmers! the bottom won't show anyway because I'll wear them with boots. If they're still slouchy being pulled up like that, they're going to have to be ripped!

goodbye legwarmers?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Guess who arrived?

After a long plane trip from Hong Kong, Miss Pinky finally arrived today in Dayton! She says hello!

Even though she's a knock-off Blythe, I adore her! I'm also aware that Miss Pinky is a terrible name for her, but it's all I've got for now. I kind of wanted to see her in person before I gave her a name! So there are certainly some differences I can see right off the bat between this doll and a real Blythe: 1) her joints are much looser - her waist, arms, legs, and head swivel like a Blythe, but much easier - in fact, if you have her standing with her weighty head a little too far off center, she'll bend right over backwards! Also, her arms are on ball sockets so they can go outspread, not just up and down - I think that's different (?) 2) her eye movement is odd! You pull the string and her eyes close. And they stay closed. you manually flip her eyelids open and her eyes have changed but there's just no opening mechanism!
She has pink eyes (it might just be me, but these seem a little off center!)

Blue (which has a little glue residue on it, but that can be cleaned.

I didn't take a picture of the others, but she also has bright green and a very clear pale blue - I love those!)

Even though she was super tired after her pan-Asian flight, she agreed to try on some new outfits, like these jeans and a sweater (which is totally going to be a cardigan after I get some buttons! however, right now it's on backwards as a pullover.)

She'll be a little jet lagged still tomorrow, but she's totally up for meeting everyone at knit night!

{just for the record, I'm very aware that a grown woman with a doll is somewhat goofball, but I'm ok with that. Making tiny clothes is great fun!}

Friday, September 3, 2010

Victory at the Fairgrounds!

This morning my friend Catherine and I went to the Montgomery county fair (and to the Butter Cafe for breakfast!) I suppose a fair in the morning isn't as action packed as a fair in the evening, but I still expected a little more of something - it was fun, but there just wasn't as much to see as I thought there'd be. I've never been to the Montgomery county fair, and I suppose I'm maybe comparing it to the Ohio state fair that I went to as a kid (which is probably not a very accurate memory - kids tend to remember things much bigger than they really were!) Regardless, we didn't have to fight any crowds, which was nice, and we got to see a bunch of animals, which i LOVE!!

These little pigs were only a week old! I put my hand through the cage and go to pet them as they ran past - they were sooo soft and their little snouts felt like rubber (as did their teeth - which was good since they were chewing on my fingers!)

We also saw a bunch of sheep, goats and cows, but I did't take any pictures of those, for some reason - I was probably too buy petting stuff! These chickens weren't really up for being touched, but doesn't this one make you want to? it looked like fur.

The bunnies were, of course, adorable! There were a couple angoras there too!

Then there's other stuff you see at the fair - like prize winning bales of hay, plates of field corn, apparently really perfect onions (i dunno), and odd stuff like elaborate displays involving bushel basket and what Catherine decided was a petrified baby (it was one of those freakishly lifelike dolls that do look kind of like a drugged child sitting there!) and stuff like these decorated vegetables with googly eyes:

Then of course, the important stuff - MY STUFF! I won ribbons for 6 of the 7 things I entered!! I got a couple spoiler reports from people who went before we did, so I knew about it and was pretty excited. However, when we got there and I saw the competition, I realized that I wasn't beating out much in most of the categories! oh well. it's still exciting. The one odd thing (to me, anyway) was that my Wollmeise Ishbel didn't win anything! and it was somehow put by the sign for stuff made by people 65 and older! nice.

Catherine and I felt that their display skills were a little lacking - for example - why lay a lace shawl out all folded up? Catherine took it upon herself to rearrange some of the ribbons that they put across the items so that you couldn't even see the stuff!

My mom's cabled sweater got a blue ribbon! oddly, there were no other adult sweaters there at all! what?
My apron won a blue ribbon! the apron next to it was its only competion

My bird in hand mittens won a blue ribbon! this was the category with the most other items in it, but honestly it was kind of mostly stuff like odd hats and fun fur scarves.

My little amigurumi lamb won 3rd place in the crochet animal category, but strangely I did not see what won second place. This big thing next to him won 1st place. hmm. I guess he's impressively loopy.

My little turtle came in 2nd in the sewn animal category - a batik elephant won, and he was pretty cool. Bender got 1st place in the knitted character category! oh yeah, no other competitors there either. However, the rules DO say that if there's no competition the judges will only award a ribbon if they feel it's warranted. I'm still baffled by the Ishbel situation. It's just a county fair, I suppose it's not worth getting so miffed about!

So that's how I ran the row at the county fair! (don't worry - I won't let it change me!)