Saturday, February 9, 2008

I do actually quilt too!

First off....The finished very first pair ever. True they have a few minor boo boos but all in all, they fit, are comfortable and were really fun to do. Thank you again Yarn Harlot for your lovely basic sock recipe. It was a lifesaver.

And because I plan to use socks as a portable project. Here is the next one. The yarn is a bamboo/wool blend in a nice denim color, perfect for jeans.

But wait! I ran to AC Moore for a completely non-craft related purchase and found myself browsing through the sale bins of yarn. I swear I didn't start out in that aisle but before you know it, I had purchased all the remaining skeins of a pretty wool blend to make myself something quick. I wasn't planning on making myself anything other than socks but I just couldn't turn down pretty yarn marked down to $2.75 per skein. So last Saturday, I cast on not only the bamboo socks but this "Mistake Rib" scarf (pattern compliments of Crazy Aunt Purl) and a cable headband (as seen on the Shrinking Knitter blog). Never let it be said that I don't use my blog reading time wisely.

So I started the scarf first because I was eager to try the "mistake rib" pattern. It looks very cool and knits very fast.

Then when I saw how quickly it was eating up the precious limited amount of inexpensive yarn, I thought I better do the cable headband first so I'm sure I have enough. The joy of finding inexpensive yarn can be quickly squashed by having to go on a massive online search to supplement it later.

I made several of these headbands for Christmas gifts and they turned out beautifully. But this is pretty bulky yarn and I'm not sure it is working. I'm willing to keep working for a while and see. Stay tuned for more details.

So now I'm alternating between the scarf and the cable in anticipation of actually using these items while the weather is still cold. The socks are waiting for a while unless I have a great opportunity to take them somewhere where actual knitting can be accomplished.

So after all that knitterly talk, I'm getting to the point of my post. I am a quilter too. Yes, I am! I know you may not be able to tell that from my posts so far but it is true. Hold on to your hats! I'm about to start on a new project...never mind the 17 UFOs.... As evidence that I'm not just talking about quilting, I spent today washing up some lovely batiks in greens and purples and tomorrow I will iron them and hopefully start some sewing.

Here is the evidence that I do work with fabric in addition to yarn.

So that is my knitting and quilting update. For the purposes of my sanity I will concentrate on only the quilting project and the scarf/headband knitting. Unless a weakness overcomes me and I feel the need to cast on yet another knitting project. Let's pray I have the stength to stay away from the sale aisle!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Advantages of Being Sick

I lost almost a week to a nasty cold complete with cough/sneezing/sniffles/sore throat but there are a few bright sides. One I'm feeling much better now --thanks for asking. The other is that my sock is no longer in time out. One of the advantages of sitting on the couch is that a lot of knitting can happen.

When I last left you with my sock saga, I was having an "issue" with turning the heel that involved tears, a lot of frogging of knit rows and dropped was not pretty. I was slightly uplifted by the idea that I was the victim of bad instructions. So I pulled out my trusty Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules and looked up her basic sock recipe. After all, she makes socks all the time so I was consulting the best. Well I am happy to report that her very easy-to-follow instructions had me turning the heel in no time and feeling very smug about the whole experience.

Here it is:

It actually even fits! Yes, my feet are that small and the best fit for me is to buy children's sizes. So when my husband asks me if making socks is "worth the effort", I can say YES! To have pretty socks that fit is awesome.

Look! The little sock has a friend:

And now before I'm finished with the second sock, I'm already planning the next pair.

I did promise my husband that I will make him a pair of felted clogs first. However that doesn't mean I can't cast on a sock for my portable project...felted clogs are not portable projects, the instructions are just too tedious.

Besides, why shouldn't I have just as many knitting UFO's as quilting UFO's? But that's another story for another time.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I Want To Make Socks Too!

I've always prided myself in being someone who was a little ahead of the times. I started collecting teddy bears when I was in high school and after I got sick of getting teddy bears in every conceivable form, I was pretty tired of them. Then teddy bears became popular and I was really done.

I've also always collected tacky plastic snow globes from places I visited. At first it was hard to find them. They were totally out of favor and only the most tacky dirty places had them like rest stops along highways and scary looking little shops on busy streets. The search was half the fun! But then I started receiving "gifts" of snow globes. Soon everyone was bringing me snow globes from all over and it was getting easier to find them... They have made a comeback! I was on the "cutting edge" of snow globes and now they are everywhere. I don't think I'll give up my collection --it brings me too much pleasure. I just love the hunt and I still try very hard to find the tacky plastic ones. Since they have become popular, they are often have resin bases and glass (!) globes... Don't get me wrong, they can still be tacky but I love love love when I find the plastic ones.

A number of times in my life it seemed I was interested in something right before it became really popular. Hmmmm wonder if I can make this talent work for me somehow. A predictor of trends.....

Okay, so what was my point? Oh yes, ME...ahead of the trend. So when the knitter world started getting excited about socks and sock yarn, I resisted. I'm not jumping on the bandwagon to start knitting socks. First off, they look scary. Second, I'm not doing it just because everyone else is.

Then, I started touching sock yarn and seeing other knitter's sock projects. And it appeared to be a portable least that's what the other bloggers said. So I succumbed. How hard could it be? I can do all the typical knitterly things. I'm no longer just doing garter stitch. I've successfully cabled a whole bunch of really cute headbands. So last weekend, I headed off to my favorite yarn store and interviewed the ladies there about the best method, tricks of the trade, etc.

I decided on a project and decided to use a simple pattern and 5 double pointed needles after rejecting the double circular needle method, the magic loop method and an interesting approach that the shop lady showed me where she knits almost exclusively on a 12" circular needle.

So here is a picture of my project from yesterday afternoon when I loved my sock.

Since this picture was taken, I have knitted the heel flap and attempted to turn the heel. This was not pretty and I was practically in tears at something like midnight when I finally gave up, put the sock down and walked away. This morning, I reviewed some other patterns and do believe that I was a victim of poorly written instructions. So later today...much later today...I will sort through my other patterns and see if I can figure it out.

So instead, I'm moving back to a cool quilting UFO that is partially first machine quilting project (other than a small bag I made to practice free motion quilting). I started this a few years ago and am now eager to get started on it again.

It is a series of fabric origami squares. You actually fold the fabric just like origami paper and then sew it into a frame. You can actually pick up the little flaps of the origami. I've already done a "stitch in the ditch" outline around each white background using white. I think the sashing and border with be done with a cool metallic in the same colors as the quilt. I haven't decided what I'm doing with the white background of each. The origami itself must stay un-quilted so the flaps still move. Here's another picture:

So little sock, you must now take a "time out" while I work on something that doesn't require holding five needles at once and reading some very bad instructions...

Maybe joining the crowd wasn't such a good idea.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Okay So Now I Have a Blog

I've been threatening to do this for a while and I finally decided to just go for it! I did have some experience with a different blog under a different name for a different purpose (maybe I'll share that later) but I found it hard to maintain because I didn't find the content all that interesting.

So how about a place to show my various quilting and knitting projects and general commentary on life.

Reading blogs has become a part of my day. I don't read everyday but I do have a few that I check out pretty consistently. They are listed over on the side. They are my "regulars" although I often follow links to get to others.

I've got a few projects to share but nothing I've taken photographs of yet. Instead I will share a photo of a project I finished awhile ago for a little guy who is very eager to be born. I just sent it off to Nana (a friend of mine) and she said it was a hit. But the little guy must be so eager to wear my gift that he wants to be born early...too early. So we're all praying for the little guy to hang on for a few more weeks.

Here's the hat..too darn cute huh?

This was really fun to do and I've actually made a few of them for baby gifts. Here's another version:

Sorry for the slightly blurry picture...serves me right not checking the quality of the photo before sending the gift off to the recipient.

Anyway, I think you could have a lot of fun with this....peaches, pumpkins, oranges, etc. A whole fruit salad. Hope I can continue to find babies to be my models.

Okay, I'm going to call this post finished for now!