Monday, October 10, 2011

Loft Pillows

Pillow fever continues!  Sunday was a great time to nest the loft with two new additions to the couch.

I love big, floral patterns.  Especially against a solid background.

Isn't this fabric cute?

Cutting pillow squares from the folded selvage.

Marking out the squares (in faint blue tailor's chalk).

Pinning matching piping to the right side of the fabric.

Both sides sewn together, with an opening for the pillow form.

A happier couch.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hot Stuff

I used to have a pair of oven mitts and potholders in the kitchen until one mitt and potholder reported to the RV for duty.  I've been making do with the one glove/potholder system, but it's been affecting my relationship with the oven.  Was this to blame for baking less cookies?  Or broiling less cheese?

  After I found some of Grandma's cute quilted gingham fabric, I knew I had to make myself a new pair of oven mitts and potholders.  They remind me of Dorothy's dress in Wizard of Oz, which I didn't see until high school, but luckily did, thanks to my friend, Toto & family, who took pity on my sheltered cinematic life.

Front and back sides of oven mitts and potholders stitched together.

Adding extra wide double-fold bias tape as trim to the mitts and potholders (to cover up the messy edges).

Pinning trim to the edge of potholders.

All the edges of the mitts and potholders pinned.
Ready for action!
I just might have to make cookies tonight...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Craft Loft Transformation

I took over the loft area by slowly engulfing each foot of space with a computer station, yarn balls, and sewing projects.  I was far too successful, too fast.  The loft area is the first space you see when you walk upstairs and was used as a dumping ground.  The drafting table doubled as my crafting table and office desk.  This meant that everything went on top of the table:  computer, printer, sewing machine, baskets, etc. or directly on the ground below it, mostly because there were no drawers.  I had a lot of crafts organized in boxes, but everything was spread out.  The bookshelf was in an inaccessible corner.  I figured we could utilize the space better.  I found a great crafting system on Craigslist (I love recycling and recycled prices) and this is what happened:



Jeff installed 18 feet of counter and track lighting overhead that can be flipped on with a switch; no more turning off individual floor lamps!  Everything has been organized in sections: office, sewing, cutting.  The bookshelf is just to the right of the sofa, so you don't have to look past me to watch TV!

Laundry Room Organization

The laundry room was in need of some organization.  It went from piles on the washer, dryer, and ground to this:

1.  I bought baskets to sort and label: detergents, fabric care, and cleansers.

2. Then Jeff added a shelf for more baskets and to hold a jug of distilled water, so I can just pull  the spigot forward to easily fill the iron or clothes steamer.  Jeff also added a hook to hold an extension cord, in case I need it for the iron or steamer.  Best of all, I moved the steamer from the master bath to its rightful place!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack

Ryan just went on his first ever Boy Scouts camping trip and
I made him a stuck sack to carry his sleeping bag.

It took less than an hour since I wasn't concerned with exact measurements. 
Here's what I did:

1.  I pulled a sample to gauge measurements and cut the fabric by eyeballing it. 
You will need one super long piece for the main body and a circular piece for the bottom.

2.  I sewed the circular piece to the bottom edge of the main body piece, then I sewed the edges of the main  body piece together except for the last 2".

3.  I folded the top 2" in half and sewed a 1" drawstring casing.

 4. I flipped the bag right-side out, and painted Ryan's name using Martha Stewart stencils.  

5. I placed a scrap fabric over the paint and ironed for 30 seconds until dry.

Then, I took Ryan's sleeping bag...

and threw it in the stuff sack.

Ryan was one happy camper!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Outdoor Floral Pillows

My sister asked me to make a pillow form for her, and afterwards, I thought, "Why stop there?"  There were some lonely adirondack chairs on the porch that could use some decor.  I made some pillow forms using my Grandma's polyester filling and some scrap fabric.  Then I pieced together two upholstery squares and  added piping:

and used some Martha Stewart floral stencils to paint this on:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lizard Socks in Vegas

On a recent trip to Vegas, I opted to pack less because 1) I was flying, and 2) I just read an article about how men travel more lightly (in which underwear recycling was implied...).  It was more difficult packing my knitting.  For a  past trip abroad, I brought as much yarn as I could in my travel tote, thinking that I would have countless hours at the airport, on the plane, and in transit to knit.  Well, I did have time, just not that much time.  I returned home with plenty of untouched yarn and even more souvenir yarn.  So I only took a sock project, with simple stitchwork.

Good thing, because I left with this... 
kept at it for another week... 

and look at that!

The yarn did all the work.

The socks kind of reminded me of the lizards in the desert.

What do you think?

Hope my sister enjoys these birthday lizard socks!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Yarn Detox

It's been several rinses and the 8 skeins of  vintage Pauline Denham Knitting Worsted in Bay Leaf still looks like this:

I'm sorry if you were eating. 

However, if you don't succeed at first....

try, try, try rinsing again. 

Did I mention that this is Night 3 of this yarn soaking in the tub?

This is certainly not good for a relaxing soak in the tub,
unless you're green yarn.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Giving Some Old Yarn Some New Life

Recently, my dear Grandma left behind a great stash of fabric and yarn that my aunt generously suggested that I rummage through in case I found something to keep.  What a stash!  I probably returned home with a carload of fiber, and that just a bite of the apple!  The yarn may be 20-30 years old, a tad musty, but it is 100% wool, in colors I would wear, and handy for sweaters.  How nice would it be to make a keepsake out of Grandma's yarn?!  I couldn't believe that each skein was marked about a dollar each!  There's no way I could buy eight skeins of wool yarn for less than ten dollars these days.  While the yarn smells a bit stale, I'm set on saving this yarn. After felting a few in the washer, I found some suggestions online that recommended rewinding the skeins into hanks and soaking them.

So, I flipped a chair over and wound the yarn around and around...

Secured the hanks with yarn...

Added some Eucalan wool rinse from the LYS...

and now the yarn is soaking in the tub overnight...

Hopefully, it smells better in the morning!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Barely Enough to Cover the Wrist

The last time Jeff and I went of town on a weekend trip, I took part of my sweater project with me.   I figured I would put a big dent in the project, that this cake would be whittled down to nothing...

What I ended up with was a humble start and the sleeve cuff beginning to form. 

The rest of the weekend was spent playing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Supersized Green Screen

Jeff wanted a green screen last summer for making a music video for a local contest.  He even went to Joann's with me, found the hue he liked, and bought all that was in stock.  This was one and a half bolts, which cost about $40, but a savings when thinking about repapering the garage walls in green paper again.  Jeff even offered to make the green screen, having used a sewing machine to make a costume before.  Then I opened my mouth.  "I can make the green screen."

I put the fabric on the sofa next to the sewing machine to encourage me to work on it.  The green pile just sat on the sofa untouched for weeks, reminding me I hadn't worked on it another day.  Then, the band broke up.  No music video.  No green screen.  Then the green fabric was moved to the closet shelf and sat untouched. 

Until last month.  Jeff started getting spring fever about the upcoming music video contest, and the fabric came off the shelf.  I had better get a head start!  So I unrolled the green fabric, so it looked like the red carpet, only green.  Then I cut the fabric into six 9' long pieces that was measured 4' across.  Jeff wanted a casing at the top, so he could hang the curtain off of PVC piping or rope.  This was going to be a really big curtain.  I made a 4" casing.

There was so much fabric spilling over to the left...

This is just how big it really turned out.  Welcome to our new photo studio.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sweater Swatch

Swatches are time consuming.  Why knit a square before a project when you can just start a project?  I have made a dozen projects without a swatch - scarves, hats, mittens, even socks... and they turned out ok.  One sock was slightly larger than the other... but that was attributed more to a first try than to faulty gauge...  However, more complicated patterns have changed my mind.  Why spend weeks and a good portion of the paycheck on a project that doesn't fit?  (or one that only someone else will fit?)

So there.  Is a swatch.  That measured exact on my first try.  This reaffirms that I never needed a swatch.  Although, they do make handy coasters at a moment's notice.  And a nice square to remember how a yarn looks and feels, like all those samples at the LYS.

I pinned the yarn label to the swatch as a reference to the dye lot and care instructions.  I can also use my swatch if I am in a pinch for yarn to mend a project at a later date.  I'm a swatch convert.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


It's not the royal wedding cake, but it's certainly cake - yarn cake! My first knit sweater is certainly cause for celebration.  How many times have I talked myself out of a long-term knitting project?  Or a large scale project?  Plenty.  Well, no more.  Why? Because I saw beautiful green cardigan designed by Norah Gaughan in the Vogue Knitting magazine, Winter 2010/11 issue.  I have yet to find a photo link, so here's one to VK's 360 video of Norah Gaugan's Cardigan .  

If you ever have lived in S.F. (like yours truly) or along the coast, cardis are a must, even in the summer.  This cardi is made out of Berrocco's Ultra Ulpaca (alpaca/wool blend) in #6725 and Ultra Ulpaca Light in #4275.  The alpaca feels really soft, and the "pea soup mix" yarn has great subtle color variation of green, light green, and yellow.  So, I ordered the yarn from my LYS, waited two weeks for the yarn to arrive, then a wonderful friend transformed the hanks into these beautiful cakes.

They're really fun to squish.

And to knit with.

Monday, February 14, 2011

To My Valentine

I love you, Jeff.  You're sweet.

Here are all the reasons I love my Jeff.  He:
  1. makes me laugh.
  2. makes the morning and evening commute better.  (We carpool.)  And he drives so i can knit.
  3. does major home projects for me.  (Thanks, honey-do!)
  4. loves to travel. 
  5. lets me incorporate yarn trips into our travel itinerary.
  6. is a great dad.
  7. loves big dogs.  We adopted our sled dog, Dakoda, together.
  8. makes great music videos.
  9. takes amazing photographs. He is also the official photographer on our travels together.
  10. is my go-to tech guy.
  11. is a mean, lean, fighting machine.
  12. gives the best hugs.
  13. camps.
  14. gave me my first veggie garden ever.
  15. gave me space to plant all my flowers.  He dug some of those holes, too.
  16. took me to a tree farm to get me my first real Christmas tree.  It's an annual tradition now.
  17. bought me my first bicycle.  After I learned how to ride one.  I'm still learning.
  18. hiked Half Dome with me.  He guided me and another couple we met up to the top!  We couldn't have done it without him.
  19. thoughtful.
  20. adores my family and I adore his.
  21. is always game for random adventures.
  22. believes in the power of the coffee machine.
  23. can grill a mean flank steak.  (He also put an end to my vegetarian days.)
  24. bought me a really sweet gift today.
  25. all these things and many more!
Happy Valentine's Day, Jeff!
 You have my heart.  Because I sewed one for you.

There's more homemade Valentine love!
Jeff's mom also makes amazing cards.  Here's the Valentine's Day card we received this year:

See?  Amazing.