Super Secret Santa Sewing Update #4


I’m happy to report that my Christmas crafting 2010 was mostly on time. I delivered the table runner on time but didn’t have a good pattern in mind for the fiber I purchased so I made a gift certificate and presented it with the fiber. I also finished socks for Jason on Christmas Day. I didn’t wrap them but I did let him try them on so I knew how much further to knit. He only wanted another inch or two added so I have yarn leftover to make Boo a matching pair of socks or two.

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Super Secret Santa Sewing 2010 #3

Well, planning will only get me so far. During nap time today I was able to knock out most of the male cardinal block. When Boo woke up he needed much comforting because I was running a sewing machine when he woke up so I didn’t hear him immediately. I don’t really know how long he was in his crib awake and unhappy. Once settled, I recalled that Grandma L. is able to put him in a highchair while she cooks and he seems content. I wondered if I pulled him next to me in his chair while I sewed if he would find it interesting. I discovered that he is only interested in watching me sew if he can have his own bits of fabric.

Luckily for both of us I accidentally sewed and cut the wrong pieces so I had some extras that I could give him. I sewed them into a small block when Jason got home and turned Boo loose. He toddled around with it like it was treasure. Then I was able to finish the first block. While looking it at I realized that I originally wanted it set on point but designed it square.

We had family dinner tonight, so when we returned home I started work on the female cardinal. I wisely cut all the background squares Thursday when I was cutting the pieces for male block. I changed the color scheme again, the picture doesn’t do the female justice, she’s got a little purpley-pink tuft on her head and the tail doesn’t look that dark. I went to work cutting and then piecing. I am so chuffed with the results, most of my points line up, the ones that don’t sort of look like tail feathers and perhaps it was on purpose. The blocks look as good if not better than they did in my head, which is saying something. I’m not the best with color and I’ve never designed a pieced pattern before. I looked at a lot of different pieced cardinals and then combined what I thought were the best features into my own. The only thing that I wish I had remembered was that I wanted the birds to be mirror images of each other rather than duplicates. I should have flipped the female on paper instead of thinking that I would remember. You’ll notice they are both facing to the left, not one left and one right, I’m not redoing it. What Granny doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

Now I have to rework the center blocks in my head because I designed everything in my head on point with triangles. Luckily for me I only have squares now, much easier, I hope. I also have a knitting project to do as well. I had planned a cowl, but tonight she asked for a Calorimetry like mine. I assume I can pick different colors. I’ll do that first and then the cowl if there’s time.

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Super Secret Santa Sewing 2010 #2


Progress, of sorts, was made today. I was able to finish the basic shapes in Inkscape and then cut paper templates using SCAL and my Cricut. Originally I had thought I would put all the fabric through the Chricut, but when I looked back at the pieces of fabric I chose they are not large enough for any error with the layout. The Cricut is wasteful at times because it needs extra to cut through. I’ve packed up my drawing, my fabric and am seeking color matching advice tomorrow. I kinda like how it looks, but I’m not sure how pleasing to the eye it actually is. Here are the pics.

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Super Secret Santa Sewing 2010 #1

Every year for Christmas, my husband’s family pops names into a bowl and each of us selects one person to give a Christmas gift to. We are encouraged to make it if possible. This year I have Granny again. I last had her in 2006, where I cross-stitched a stocking that took me a few years to actually complete. In my defense, I started the project too late and had a very busy next year.

As the following is super secret, please, for the love of everything good, don’t tell a soul. It’s why I’m putting it here, to keep it under wraps.

I have been contemplating this year’s present since we drew names. I have finally settled on a couple of things, the largest being a Northern Cardinal table runner. I have hunted high and low for the perfect pattern and not finding it I created one with Inkscape with the goal of cutting all the pieces with my Cricut. I couldn’t get things lined up just right so last night I sat down with paper, pen, and a ruler to draw. I’ve taken measurements of my drawing, made copies to color and am ready to head back to the computer for more drawing. I’m pleased with the results so today my goal is to size all the pieces with a seam allowance and get it back into Inkscape for cutting. There are entirely too many pieces to cut by hand. By next weekend I hope to report that pieces have been cut and I have started sewing them together. There will be a male cardinal at one end and a female at the other. I will use neutral border colors and center mounting squares so that Granny can use it any time of year. I haven’t decided on the quilting yet, but there’s plenty of time.

The second part of my gift is a handspun, knitted cowl (neckwarmer). I didn’t purchase enough fiber, so I’ve ordered more to be dyed but it won’t ship until the 19th. I was able to spin 50 yards in an evening, so my hope is that I can spin the rest (150 yds) the week it arrives and then knit. Merino-tencel is a difficuly blend for a newish spinner. I’ve received lovely advice that I think I’ll follow when I get the rest of the fiber-spin over the fold.

The last part of my gift came about as a a compromise on an earlier idea. I thought to make a fabric wallhanging of her family tree, but I do not have access to an embroidery machine for lettering. It would take me too long to hand letter as my handwriting leaves much to be desired and too expensive to have the work done by the companies in the area that specialize in those kind of things. I found a neat poster that maybe she will enjoy filling in and then we’ll mount it somehow and hang it when she’s used her beautiful handwriting to complete it.

Stay tuned for pictures and updates.

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Saturday’s Survey 03/13

I had a busy week on the crafting home-front. I finished up cloth diapers for Boo. He now has 25 homemade ones and 6 purchased ones. I’m using the purchased ones for overnight as they seem a bit more absorbent. I may make more, I need to get the too-small diapers out of rotation and have two or three days at home to evaluate the quantity. I have plenty of fabric to make conservatively 15-20 more. I can’t see needing anywhere near that many. I’d like to save the fabric to make smaller or larger sizes in the event we need other sizes. The ones I made have hook and loop closures so that it grows with Boo, hopefully to as big as he needs.

I won a contest from The Counting Sheep Farm. I get a surprise box along with some superwash fiber I ordered. I’ve been participating in a stash down contest. Please don’t ask why I am buying more fiber while I am stashing down, I just am. I wanted some sock yarn and I don’t want to spin wool that I have to hand wash, so I saw she had some superwash on sale. The only contest is to challenge ourselves to knit/spin from the stash. We earn points that we can redeem in the store for a percentage of one item or several depending on the number of points we redeem. I added points this week by wrestling with my works in progress. Along the way Rachel, of Counting Sheep, offers mini-contests where we can earn coolie prizes. Stay tuned for pictures of what’s in my goodie box. To participate in the stash down for points and win any contests you must be a member of Ravelry and join the group for Counting Sheep Farm.

I finished a dishcloth that had been on the needles because I ran out of yarn. I finally found the yarn and reunited it with the dishcloth. I’ve made a bunch of these garterlac dishcloths. Feel free to search the archives for more. It’s a neat looking dishcloth that let’s one practice enterlac easily without fear of messing up “good” yarn.

I also finished my first handspun project, a hedgehog. I spin the brown belly and creamy paws. There is actually one strand of homespun brown knit with one strand of fun fur, but it’s difficult to see in the pictures. There are no eyes or nose because Boo is too small to have those pieces on his toys. He seems to like to grab at the fun fur, much the same as he grabs at the furbabies in the house. At least with the hedgehog he’s not hurting anyone.

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Foggy February

I haven’t been focused on crafty things as much as I would like to lately, Boo (understandably) takes up more time than I seem to have in a day. With one week left in February, I’m not sure if I have finished much but I’ve had fun thinking about crafts.

After Christmas, I needed a quick break from long projects so I knitted a bunch of quick things:

  • Spinning Wheel bag
  • Lunch bag for Jason
  • Two reusable mop covers (which desperately need to be tested)
  • coolie ear warmer

I took lots of knitting with me out east when we visited my family for a week. I started knitting a bear for Boo before he was born and am stuck on the head. I keep ripping it out and trying again which slows the progress. I also brought my Christmas cross stitch project, an advent calendar. I purchased it as a kit a number of years ago, 2006 I believe, and work on it when I can. Now that Boo is here, I need to finish it. Next on the needles will be mittens and a hedgehog from my homespun yarn that I finished just before our trip. Already on the needles to finish: aforementioned bear and a few other plushie toys.

On the spinning front, I just ordered larger bobbins, more smaller bobbins and some attachments for the wheel so that I can ply longer sections at a time. My prototype ball winder is great as long as I keep the right amount of tension on the yarn. I attached another clamp so that I can keep one hand on the yarn at all times. Next up I need a swift, I think that may take care of some of the tension issues.

I need to finish Julie’s placemats, 11 more to go I think. I’ve started thinking about my Christmas 2010 project, I’ve got an idea, but it needs some work.

Boo’s borrowed cloth diapers are getting small, so I’ve been cutting out new ones like crazy. Seven cut, two more sewn but needed modifications and zero in currently circulation.

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Whirlwind Weekend

I’ve had a busy weekend spinning, knitting, and cutting fabric for Boo’s diapers. The spinning is brown Shetland wool I bought in November with my spinning wheel. I’ve certainly improved my spinning since then. I made a 3ply yarn this weekend and I think the best bobbin was the last one I prepared and the worst was the middle. It appears as if I spun with my attention on something else during that second one. I had huge deviations in thickness over the bobbin. I have about 354 yards so far, with a bit more on the wheel still to ply. I’m going to n-ply or Navajo ply because I don’t have an even amount left, the middle bobbin ran out much quicker because I measured the bobbins by weight and some of the fiber was used up in thick areas rather then length. N-plying will allow me to ply each single against itself so I can’t run out. I think I’ll make mittens, scarf, maybe a hat of some sort.

I finished some this weekend: a reusable washable mop cover and a Calorimetry for keeping my ears warm. I followed a free pattern from a big box craft store sponsored by a big yarn maker for the mop cover or it’s online. I didn’t so much like the pattern and won’t make it again. I didn’t make pieces and sew it together, instead I picked up stitches and made the rest up as I went. The Calorimetry is from Knitty. The light brown thing is the bottom of a lunch bag for my Sweet-ums. It’s almost finished now, I’m working on the last few rows, then I have to make the draw string and handles.

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A new iPod

Late this summer my Nano developed a problem. I was no longer able to use the center click wheel. The iPod still played music/podcasts, I was just unable to select what I wanted to play in what order. It started at the beginning of the list, then I had to fast forward to the episode I desired. I attempted to fix this by only putting on a couple of episodes at a time, which was less than ideal, but worked as long as I had enough listening material. I toyed with purchasing a replacement wheel and inside electronics but was concerned about wasting money if I didn’t fix it. I was also a bit envious of the amount of space on newer iPods. When the Nano was in tip-top shape, I regularly filled it and had to leave off music lists or newer podcast episodes. On Friday, I will finishing paying for my “new” iPod Classic. I purchased it before Apple released its new line in September, but overall I’m happy with my purchase. I have a smaller Classic, 120GB, as opposed to the newer 160GB one that was released in September. I looked at other brands, other sizes, other others and decided that between the ease of use of iTunes and a similar price point for other mp3 players with comparable size, the Classic was what I wanted.

And it’s that time of year again, what’s on the iPod in the podcast realm. Many old favorites are still in the mix, some no loner on the list have discontinued new episodes, some have become a bit erratic, some just don’t suit me any longer and some I try again after a hiatus.

I’ve still decided not to review any of the new podcasts nor explain why others are no longer on the list. My skin isn’t thick enough when the podcasters leave me feedback. I feel guilty when I share my opinion which hurts complete strangers. Yes, they put themselves out there. Yes, I am trying to be unbiased, I have no stake in the success or failure of a podcast so I’m not playing favorites. Moving on . . .

Standard disclaimer-not all podcasts in my list are suitable for family listening, please check reviews left on iTunes and the shownotes for the podcasts to determine if you would enjoy or be offended by a podcast.

Still hanging on:

New-ish, but staying for a bit longer:

On probation:

If I add too many more to my lists, I’m going to have to take a screenshot and color code them as old, new, and on probation. If you have a podcast or know of one related to literature, crafting (knitting, crocheting, quilting, scrapbooking, stamping, etc), gardening, real-life stories, etc that is not commercially produced (we all know that Lion Brand Yarn has good things to say about itself, but I’m still not going to listen) leave a comment.

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T minus 9 days

So the dress was a complete flop, first time in my life that I failed miserably with a sewing project. I bought a dress Tuesday night, with some cute shoes. It should all turn out nicely, unless the shoes make me too tall, then I’ll go barefoot. I know where I’m going to get the cakes-just need to order them and make our cake. I need to find holders for the unity candles and finish the scrapbooks. I have my cube just about cleaned out, I can grab everything else in one trip tomorrow and turn everything else in the 21st.