Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Year End Totals

This is usually one of my favorite posts of the year, but this time around I keep looking at my totals and refusing to believe that I only finished three quilts -- two baby quilts and little wall hanging -- in 2015. That can't be right!

What seems even less possible are the socks -- twenty five pairs this year. After 2014, I thought I might want to take a break from the sock knitting, but that's not what happened. I decided to try some more complex patterns and wound up knitting more pairs than ever before. But knitting soothes frazzled nerves and my nerves have needed soothing.

There was lots of mindless stockinette and ribbing, letting the pretty yarn do most of the work....

And there were some more challenging socks. Some, like Fischernetze and the Catnip socks, weren't as complicated as I thought they'd be. The Owlie socks and the Fly socks just about did me in. They weren't that hard, but they were  sure nerve-wracking.

I embroidered a bunch more vintage designs for the Garden Party quilt and although I've probably got enough done for a lap quilt, I'm still having too much fun to think about stopping anytime soon.

2015 was a wild year.  I don't know what 2016 has in store, but I definitely hope there's a lot more quilting involved!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The First Thing I Did After I Got My Sewing Machine Back...

Any guesses what I did almost immediately after setting my newly cleaned and oiled sewing machine up? 

Yup, I broke my needle. It seems like those dang  things either break as soon as you put a new one in, or they don't break at all.

While I was breaking my brand new needle, I was putting together a basic zipper pouch so that I could keep up with LiEr's zip a bag tutorial series. This one is unlined with an unfaced zipper. I know what an unlined bag is, but I'm not as clear about an unfaced zippper (aside from the fact that it's the only kind I've ever done.)

The hardest part of this bag was figuring out what I wanted to do. There's no pattern in the tutorial, just an explanation of the technique and why you shouldn't make a bag this way if you have a choice. While I was rummaging through the sewing room, I turned up this fabric. It's lightweight corduroy, from an estate sale or scrap bag or someplace like that. Pretty, but not suitable for a quilt. I knew I'd do something with it eventually.

Now it's a zippered pouch to tuck circular knitting needles into. That'll work!

This post is linked to Pieced Pastimes

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Last Socks of 2015

Red Heart Heart & Sole Lakehouse

I think it's safe to say that I'm giving up on the new incarnation of Red Heat Heart and Sole. I didn't have nearly as many trouble with the Lakehouse socks as I did with the Bayou pair, but this stuff just isn't as nice to knit with as the other craft store sock yarns I've used. (Heart and Sole with Aloe is different stuff. I love knitting with it, but I've only got one color left in my stash.)

I usually use one skein for each sock so that whatever yarn I'm left with is evenly divided for my next project. This time, I finished the first sock while watching TV with my hubby and didn't want to get up and dig out the second one. The whole time I was knitting that second foot, I was wondering if joining a new skein would throw off those spiraling stripes. I solved the problem (or maybe there wasn't one) by switching to the new yarn just before starting the short row heel. It seems to have worked.

Between socks, I've been doing some reading...

A Head Full of Ghostsby Paul Tremblay takes place fifteen years after the exorcism of Marjorie Barrett, whose story became a reality television sensation. Now a journalist is interviewing Merry, who was only eight years old when the tragedy unfolded.  At first the book seemed to have a lot in common with The Exorcist and every other exorcism book or movie I've read and watched, but there are other things going on in this story. I enjoyed this one.

This post is linked to Patchwork Times and Yarn Along. The book came from the library.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Best of 2015

Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a best of 2015 linky party where we show off our best posts of the year. 

Alex's Nail Polish Quilt 

This one, which still needs to be quilted, was my biggest and best project of the year. The bottle block is a free download from the Fat Quarter Shop, scaled down by Lori at Bee in My Bonnet.  She made six blocks for her version. I made....a lot more than that. If I didn't have to keep the thing to a reasonable size, I might still be pulling fabrics for more blocks! (If you want to see the motivation  for this project, check out Teenage Daughter's blog.

Let's Knit a Pair of Socks

Over the past few years, I've knit pair after pair after pair of socks. Forty-two adult pairs in the last two years alone. In response to the questions about what pattern I use for my basic socks, I wrote a tutorial on how to make your own socks, customized to your foot size and gauge.

My Own Old Fashioned Bed Turning

My mom unfolded all of the old family quilts onto a bed in her guest room and I took pictures, telling the story of each one. I never realized how many different women in the family made quilts. These days, it's just Mom and I, but Great-Grandma and her mother, and my Grandma's sister all made quilts that are still with us.

My New Sewing Machines

Three new sewing machines joined our household this year. A very kind blog reader gave one to my daughter for her dressmaking adventures, I bought home the Viking that had been Grandma's, and I found this pretty blue Singer 338 at the thrift shop for seven dollars and fifty cents.

The Durian

My husband and kids and I continued our tradition of daring each other to try new things. The youngest two are especially motivated to taste new foods when there are bragging rights involved. I knew we were going to wind up with a Durian sooner or later, so it seemed like a good idea to get it over with. The guy in the produce section told us that the flavor is like garlic powder and banana pudding had a baby. Hubby thinks it tastes more like natural gas. I can safely say that I'll never be eating this stuff again, but it wasn't as awful as I expected it to be.

I've got lots of plans for 2015 involving sock yarn and fabric and sewing machines (but no scary spiky fruit!) 

Quilty Goodies for Christmas

As soon as I get my sewing machine back, I'm doing something with this jelly roll. It's Sturbridge from Moda and it's absolutely gorgeous. I must have been even more tired on Christmas Eve than I realized, because I would have sworn the dark fabrics were green. I don't know if I'm going to look for an existing pattern or design something of my own.

Weekly Stash Report

This will be my last stash report of the year, so I'm adding the yardage for the pair of socks I just finished and the ones that will be done by the 31st. (If they fall apart the way the Bayou socks did,  I can always come back and edit the post.)

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 6 1/4 yards
Added this week:  4 yards
Added year  to date: 454 3/4 yards
Net added for 2015: 448 1/2 yards

Yup, my total fabric used for the year is six yards. I don't want to talk bout it. Or think about it. There's maybe another ten yards used in tops that I didn't get quilted, but yikes! Even last year, I managed to use up fifty yards.

Yarn Used this Week: 800  yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 9900 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 15263 yards
Net Added for 2015: 5363 yards

The yarn numbers make me happy. I'm ending the year with more yarn than I started, but it's the exact same amount of yarn that I purchased at the Knitpicks sale last month. I'm starting the year with pretty supplies, which should help curb the yarn buying urge for a while.

This post is linked to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Fly

The Fly Socks

Can you see the flies with their lacy wings and bobble eyes?

I'm thrilled that this pair of socks is done -- and that they fit! I don't know how much I'll actually wear them, since the bobbles go all the way down to the heel. That's okay with me. I have no problem with pretty projects that are carefully tucked away for special occasions.  

The Fly Socks  Super Sock Scarefest

The pattern, The Fly, is from the Super Scary Sock group on Ravelry.  I didn't get my pair done in time to count towards the knitalong, let alone start the second pattern (the Wicker Socks) that I'd fallen in love with. It just wasn't the right time for me to try competitive sock knitting, at least not when the project required 36 bobbles...

I'm linking up to Flash Your Finishes, Tuesdays With a Twist

Friday, December 25, 2015

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {12/25/15}

Merry Christmas! I don't expect anyone to be linking up this morning, but I wanted to have the party here if you do have something you've finished this week and want to add it later, or if you're celebrating on a different day, or not celebrating, or whatever your plans for the holiday are. 

Ten years ago today, I was in the hospital on bed rest with my youngest. On December 9,  I'd gone in for a doctor's appointment, hoping to confirm I felt crummy because I'd picked up another bug. (That's also the one year in my adult life that I've come down with the flu and I'd already spent Thanksgiving in the hospital, hooked up to an IV that was dispending anti-nausea meds.)   It's hard to know that Christmas is going on out there and not be able to really participate.

Leif was finally born on January 17 and he got a quilt in the NICU. That, along with Quinn's NICU quilt, is part of the motivation behind this whole baby quilt project of mine. 

 Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Zippers - Maybe it's Finally Time

I've told you how I feel about zippers. In my entire sewing career, I've installed five of them. There was the pink tote bag in high school home ec, which had a cheap zipper that immediately failed, there was a skirt I made in that same class, there was the one I put in the cat bed that the cat has still never slept on, and there are the two that I put in circle skirts Teenage Daughter was making out of vintage sheets she raided from my stash.  She's come a long way since then and doesn't want or need my help with zippers anymore.

Zippers are like buttonholes and set in seams and paper piecing. I can do all sorts of things without them and, when a wonderful free tutorial pops up in my Pinterest feed I remind myself how horrible they are and quickly move on to something else. (Like pieced curves. I like those!)

It was definitely a sour grapes, I-didn't-want-to-do-that-anyway sort of situation.

My dislike of zippers didn't stop me from buying all of these at an estate sale a few years back. They were supposed to be five cents a piece, but the lady didn't feel like counting them all, so I got a big pile for two bucks. The plan was to make some cute things we'd  found on Pinterest that didn't involve actually sewing with them.

Then I saw the latest tutorial series that LiEr over at Ikat Bag is doing and I think I've changed my mind about zippers. I read through her Make a Bag tutorial series yesterday. There are so many different options that it had my head spinning, but she makes things sound so possible!

I can knit lace shawls. I can knit socks. I can piece curves and make quilts and do the quilting myself. If I put my mind to it, I can probably manage zippers....right?

I want my sewing machine back! The ones that are here and in working order don't have zipper feet, except one of my daughter's and it would be rude to ransack her bedroom closet to figure out where she stores it.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

There's a Sad Empty Hole Where My Sewing Machine Belongs

It was a decision that made sense at the time. My Janome has been fussing and not sounding quite right since I made the little black and white wall quilt. There's never a happy time to be without my machine, but I figured I'd take it in and back off from the blog a bit to get ready for Christmas. Hopefully I'll have it back before the first of the year and be ready to hit the ground running.

There are at least six other machines here that should be in working condition, but there's still a holiday to get ready for. It turns out that skipping blog posts and putting my knitting and sewing almost completely aside doesn't get me ready for Christmas any faster....

That'll be good to know for next year when I want to sew and I'm feeling guilty about it!

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 6 1/4 yards
Added this week:  0 yards
Added year  to date: 450 3/4 yards
Net added for 2015: 444 1/2 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 400  yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 9100 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 15263 yards
Net Added for 2015: 6163 yards

This post is linked to Patchwork Times.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {12/18/15}

 Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Same Yarn, Different Color

When I bought the yarn for the Cursed Bayou Socks I also bought a second colorway. I didn't expect Heart & Sole to be much different from Heart & Sole With Aloe and I'm still not sure whether to blame my fingers or the yarn.  I'm not dropping stitches and the stripes are pretty instead of annoying, but the yarn has an awful tendency to split and unravel while I'm kitting with it.

Along with the knitting there's been reading...

Cherry Tucker and Hogzilla -- what more could a fan of Larissa Reinhart's books ask for? The fifth book in the series, The Body in the Landscape, has Cherry tagging along on a competitive hunt for a giant feral hog. She's been hired by Max Avtaikin to paint the portrait of the winner and the dead pig. It seems like a good opportunity to earn some money and she's even got free time for some plein air painting... until she finds the first body.  That death may or may not have been an accident, but someone is determined to sabotage the hunt and possibly to kill one of the hunters. The books in this series are always fun and this one kept me guessing.

I enjoyed Dark Inspiration, a haunted house novel by Russell James. Doug and Laura Locke move from the city to Galaxy Farm, unaware of the house's bloody past. Doug is preoccupied with the taxidermy he discovers in a locked attic and his wife is enchanted by ghostly twins who play with her in the room that was once their nursery. The two of them are experiencing completely different hauntings and each is keeping what they know secret from the other. The book starts out slowly, but by the end I was hooked.

The publishers provided me with ARCs. This post is linked to Patchwork Times and Yarn Along.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Odd Things That Turn Up in My House

My youngest son handed me this scrap of paper, asking what it was.

Around your waist a measuring line please place,
But not too tightly, 
 t is not well to wear tight bands and we 
  nt this to be done rightly.
   r each inch a cent please place 
  thin the apron pocket, 
 t will bring a smile upon your face 
To wrench it from its socket.
But, if your pocket book is flat  
Put in less than  that. 

Creepy and a little unsettling isn't it? At least out of context and with no idea where your child got it from. It starts out oddly but more or less innocent sounding -- then there's that whole "wrench it from its socket" thing.

I wanted to know what this weird bit of verse was. Teenage Daughter and I both thought it was some kind of sewing instructions, except for the wrenching part.  I did a Google search, halfway expecting to find that this came from one of those books that my boys love with all of the weird little pockets and removable clues that are made to look old.

There's a slightly different version of the poem in an online history of St. Luke's Episcopal Church of Wamego, Kansas. It was distributed along with little cloth aprons as part of a guild fundraiser in the 1930s.

I don't know if this little bit of paper worked its way out of one of the broken drawers of my treadle sewing machine or fell out from between the pages of an old cookbook. Maybe it came from the same place as that antique needle case that materialized last year.  I could go through that sewing machine cabinet to see what else might be hiding in there....or I could wait to see whatever other bit of neat ephemera pops up when I'm least expecting it.

That sounds more fun.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Rustic Stripes

This is the pair of socks that made it all better.

Same pattern, same size, same needles and techniques... but a different brand of yarn. After my misadventure with the last pair, I cast on with some Patons Kroy. I can't remember which day I cast on, but these socks knit up fast.

 I'm not sure I love this particular striping pattern (what's with that white?) but the way the yarn works up is just wonderful and makes thick comfy socks that I love. And if it keeps my toes warm, even better!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

It's Been Raining

Happily, I haven't had much need to go out into the rain, because it isn't as fun as this little kitten makes it look.  It was that plastic hair bonnet that made this transfer, which is from the same set as the kitten on the bicycle,  a "must stitch" block for my vintage embroidery quilt. I haven't seen one of these in years. Do ladies still use them? 

This is one of those rare blocks where I chose my colors in advance. I knew that I wanted a very light pink for the bonnet, a fairly dark pint for the umbrella handle, and a medium pink for the skirt and umbrella fabric. Then I needed cat and rain colors that would work with those. It does make things easier to know which flosses I'll be using, but I'm not sure if I'll stay that organized for every block.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {12/11/15}

 Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I Knit A Shrunken Head

I love the things that short rows can do!

The facial features of this little bag are formed with short rows and a couple of strategically placed cables. I couldn't for the life of me figure out the embossed stitches that form the lips, so I improvised and placed a couple of stitches to hold them into position.  That works, although I wish I could've figured it out the way the pattern was written. I'm still debating whether to tie the lips with twine. 

Tsanta is a free pattern I found on RavelryThe yarn is Red Heart Super Saver left over from other things. 

Youngest Son has claimed the bag and is keeping cheat codes for his Nintendo games in it.  It's fun and morbid, in a whole Ripley's Believe it or Not sort of way.  I'm trying to tell myself that all of those shrunken heads we saw at Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe and Marsh's Museum last summer were probably fake anyway. And wondering if I could knit a Fiji mermaid. 

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Those Second Socks...

My sock knitting slump seems to have ended with the finish of that last miserable pair. As soon as they were done, I cast on with some Patons Kroy in Rusty Stripes. I wish I'd written down the date I started this pair so that I could tell you exactly how fast they're coming together. I've gone from the toe to the heel of the second sock in three days and the first sock moved just as quickly. That's not unheard of for me, but it's faster than I've knit in weeks.

I also cast on the second fly sock. One more repeat of the flies and I'll be able to move onto the heel and foot, which should be the easy part. (Hope I didn't jinx myself by typing that!)

Over the past couple of years, I've really come to love cozy mysteries. When I see a new book coming out in one of my favorite series, I jump at the chance to read it. From Bad to Wurst, the lasted Passport to Peril book was worth jumping for. It's always entertaining to watch Emily cope with her regular tour-goers. On this trip, the adventurous seniors are in  in Germany for Oktoberfest. Emily's mother and grandmother are always entertaining and in this book they're more fun than ever. I'd suggest starting this series with the first book so you can enjoy the character development, but it's possible to jump in with the more recent titles.

Paint the Town Dead, the second Aurora Anderson Mystery by Sybil Johnson, deals with a tole painting convention at a newly built hotel. Between the unexpected mid-class death of a local painter and angry neighbors protesting the hotel, the plot moves quickly, without as much emphasis on the characters and painting as there was in the first book.

When a local artist is found murdered, there are a number of suspects including the husbands of the women who modeled for his nude mermaid paintings (even though the finished work doesn't bear much resemblance to the real life women) and the man who's trying to buy his valuable piece of real estate. A Well-Crafted Alibi by Cozy Cat Parker is short, but it contains an intriguing mystery and a cast of character that I'd like to read more about.

I'm linking up to Yarn Along and Patchwork Times. From Bad to Wurst and Paint the Town Dead were ARCs provided by the publishers. A Well-Crafted Alibi was a freebie from Amazon.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Now I Want a Tea Set ...

I'm going to start this post by saying that I love old dolls, even the ones that could be considered creepy. After hearing too many scary stories at childhood slumber parties I had a couple of dolls that I didn't want in my bedroom at night. (Anyone else remember the murderous china doll who got off of the shelf by walking on her long fingernails?)   But I have't been really spooked by a doll in years.

This little lady was always creepy. She has a walking mechanism and teeth. Thirty-some years after the teeth and moving legs scared me, she's gotten even spookier. When you lift her up, her head creaks and swivels on the neck joint just enough to be unsettling.

Taking the pictures for this post started to feel like I was taking post-mortoms.  Teenage Son played the role of hidden mother, holding the blanket up behind Dolly and keeping her upright.

I don't know if her teeth or her tongue are more unsettling. Maybe it's the fact that her mouth has realistic depth to it. Someone told me once that the teeth are ivory, but the body of the doll seems to be hard plastic. (It's definitely not bisque or composition.)  I can't find any markings on her, so if anyone does know what she is, please leave a comment. I'm not having much luck with my own research.

She's been in the family for years and as far as we know was part of an adult's collection. It makes me kind of sad to think that maybe she never got to be played with. She was made for tea parties and riding in a doll stroller.

This post is linked to Bella Rosa Antiques, Ivy & Elephants

Monday, December 07, 2015

What I'm Working On

This weekend I cut up some light and dark blues for a new baby quilt and some red felt for a Christmas ornament that I wanted to make last year before the calendar got away from me.

Looking at the picture, I can see that one of the fabrics that looked dark in real life is blending in with the lights. Maybe I should pull out another dark and make a substitution so that the finished quilt will have enough contrast. Or not. If I pair it with the lighter lights, it'll work.

I'm linking up to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

The Cost of Sock Yarn

The yarn actually came last week, but I wanted to give it its own post. I'm loving the annual Knit Picks Big Yarn Sale, which was also the source of the gorgeous Christmas yarn I got last year. After looking at the prices of the different sock yarns I use, it really makes sense to wait and stock up again next November....or to just buy the Knitpicks yarn for full price when they come out with pretty new colors.

My favorite craft store yarn sells for $7.49 a skein and it takes two skeins to make a pair of adult socks. If I've got two forty perfect off coupons from different sources (so I can use them at the same time and try to  match dye lots) I can make a pair of socks for $8.98.

Full price sock yarn from Knitpicks is going to cost me around $11, and with the sale prices I just paid it's more like five or six dollars a pair. So why am I digging around for coupons and making the best of the limited selection of colors in the craft store? (If you're asking why I'm not knitting up the sock yarn I already have, you might not have seen how many pairs of socks I've made lately.)

My latest sale order really messes with my stash report totals for the year, but it'll keep me knitting well into 2016, hopefully until the next good sale. I'm really excited about the Chroma, which does long gradual color changes. I've got three different colorways to play with and I can't wait to see how it works with highly textured socks.

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 6 1/4 yards
Added this week:  0 yards
Added year  to date: 450 3/4 yards
Net added for 2015: 444 1/2 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 0  yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 8700 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 5324 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 15263 yards
Net Added for 2015: 6563 yards

This post is linked to Patchwork Times. I've got no affiliation with Knit Picks, except for buying and using a lot of their yarns over the years.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Sometimes it's the Camera

I saw a garland of dried orange slices on Pinterest. They looked so pretty with the sunlight shining through them and we had some lemons left over from a recipe that were getting past their prime. (Or maybe not, but that was how I justified using one of them.)

Here's what I learned from the project --

Next time, I should use a sharper knife and make more uniform slices of fruit.

Tying slices of  dried lemon on thread so that they're evenly spaced is harder than it sounds.

So is hanging them from a window frame with thumbtacks while four different family members wander through the kitchen asking what you're doing and why.

What I couldn't do was get a decent picture. I tried different times of day and different angles, blaming the light. It was later in the week that I figured out what was happening. My wonderful intelligent camera was focusing on the tree and blurring the fruit slices. Once I told it that I was taking a portrait, it focused on the fruit and blurred the branches.

It's not just a matter of making the thing and having it turn out the way you hope it will. Sometimes it's a matter of making the thing and having it look as good in pictures as it does in real life.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {12/4/15}

I've got a couple of baby quilt tutorials that seem to have fallen through the cracks. I made them before the linky party began and before I got the idea of keeping track of the baby quilts by giving them actual people names so they've never been on the list in the sidebar. In case you've missed them, here they are:

Extra  Scrappy Pinwheels -- I've made this one twice with the pieced border, which goes together pretty quickly, despite all of those little triangles. 

Two Color Quilt -- Uses the AcccuQuilt Kaledoscope Die. This one goes together so quickly I've made it three times. 

Strawberry Stars --This one was designed as a wall quilt, but if you added a fourth row of berries, it would be just the right size for a baby quilt.

 Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

A New Friend or a Tasty Snack?

I made some mistakes when I was tracing this one, getting confused between the kitten's tail and the plant next to it. Because I'd used a Frixion pen, I went ahead and stitched what I had, but the whole time I worked on it, I was holding my breath hoping that a hot iron would take off the extra markings. It did. (And yes, I've read the warnings about using these pens for quilting. In every case but this one, I'm stitching over the lines of ink so I don't worry about it. This time, I was willing to gamble a bit rather than cut a new piece of muslin and retrace the entire design.)

This is one of the new hot iron transfers I picked up at Walmart. I've had it on fabric for a couple of months, but I couldn't make up my mind about what colors to use beyond the really obvious -- red striped stockings, black shoes, blue dress, red hair..... It's those white aprons that always trip me up.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Third Time's the Charm!

I'm so glad to be done with these socks! I loved the colors in the skein, and the way they were knitting up....until I saw took a picture of them outside and saw the wide stripes. After that, even though I hadn't noticed them while knitting indoors, I couldn't not see the way they looked in the picture.

The stripes weren't the biggest problem. The problem was when I got halfway through the short row heel on the second sock and nothing lined up. Thirty-seven pairs of socks in the last two years and as stressed out as I was then, none of my heels came out that badly. I unraveled it back to the foot and tried to pick up the stockinette stitches, but I couldn't manage it. So I ripped it out and started over.

It wasn't until I made it through the toe on my second attempt at the second sock, set it down for just a moment, and dropped more stitches than I could pick up, that I really started to hate this project.

On my third attempt, I was so careful not to drop any stitches or mess up the heels that it sucked every bit of joy out of the knitting process.

I'm happy they're done and looking forward to casting on in any yarn but this one.

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts and Patchwork Times.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Vintage Barbie Patterns

During the brief period that my daughter was interested in Barbie, these patterns were nowhere to be found. I'm glad they finally turned up.  Now I want to pull out the outfits that Grandma sewed for me and see which came from these patterns. I know I've got that caftan in a particularly exciting double knit polyester...

Have you seen? Brittany over at Va-Voom Vintage is making reproductions of the entire 1959 collection of Barbie outfits for her daughter. They're seriously amazing! She couldn't find the right fabric for the apple print dress, so she painted some herself.

I love the original Barbie stuff, but I think the days of finding it in thrift shops are long past. In addition to my mom's Barbie and Ken, I've got two other old Barbies and an original Skipper that Mom and Grandma found in thrift shops when I was little, along with the plane and the boat.

Maybe I could sew some of those outfits I wish I had.


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