Monday, October 25, 2010

Basic Fingerless Mitts and Other Adornments for the Hand

My job is keeping me pretty busy these days.  I try to carve out recreational time, but I still end up working long hours during the week and part of the weekend, so I don't have much creative time.   There's not much sewing going on here, but I do knit.  Sewing seems to take more energy than knitting, while knitting seems to quiet and center me.  I can also more easily pick up projects for short bursts of time.  Doing a row or two in odd moments doesn't require the time commitment it seems to take to quilt.

I made this great free fingerless mitt pattern in a dk weight wool I picked up at Tuesday Morning, of all places.  The yarn, Hacho, is a soft and colorful Peruvian wool, and I needed less than one skein (about 130 yards) for the pair.  Tuesday Morning is a discount place that gets home decor stuff, linens, gardening supplies, dishes, toys, and some craft supplies.  You never know what they might have in the yarn department, and they never have more than a few balls of each color, but it's generally high quality yarn for a discount price, and just the thing for small projects.

And here's another small hand adornment, but sign of a bigger project in the making.  Michael and I are planning to get married.  Of course the way we're doing it hardly counts as wedding planning.  When you're our age, marriage is about the logistics of sharing our households and families.  So we're working on it, and when we figure out all the details, we'll tie the knot, no big rush, no deadline. 

This is a lot different from when I got married in my late 20s, but wonderful in its own way.  Michael and I have been a couple for several years, and have been very happy together.  We've liked not being married and having separate houses.  But looking toward the future, this is the direction we've decided to take.  I feel very lucky both to have such a great partner --he really is one of the most wonderful people I've ever known-- and another shot at marriage. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sewing a Knitting Needle Case

I was in Jo Ann Fabrics with my 40% off coupon burning a hole in my purse when I saw this packet of 5 sets of sock needles.  I bought it to have spares, since I feel a major sock knitting jag coming on, plus 5 sets of needles for $10 (less 40%) is a great deal.

When I got home I decided to make a knitting needle case to keep track of these skinny needles.  I found a 10" orphan block left over from an old project, and I cut a piece of scrap flannel to the same size.

For the inner pockets, I cut another 10" square of fabric, then folded it in half with the pretty side out, and marked some lines for stitching the pockets.

For the top flap, I cut a 6 x 9.5"  inch piece of fabric, folded it so the right sides were together, stitched up the short sides, and then turned the right side out.  The top flap isn't sewn into pockets, but is left loose.

After adding a quilt-style binding and a tie, I marked the needle sizes on the pockets with marker and sorted through my collection of new and old needles. 

Not bad for a little impromptu project.  Plus I found my way back to the sewing machine, where I spent some time on the Madonna quilt I'm making with Debra.

Sometimes I guess I have to just put a toe in the water and see if I'm ready to take a dip. 

Sunday, October 03, 2010

More Knitting

I guess I've been doing more knitting than sewing these days.  It's not that I don't want to sew, but after a long day at work, it's about all I can do to sit upright on the sofa and knit a few rows.  This is what my coffee table looks like these days.  I'm trying to finish the Faire Isle vest for my mom that I started in the Spring.  I have a few technical problems to solve, and then I think I can do the shoulder shaping, cut the steeks, and do the ribbing.  I want to get it to her in the next few weeks to that she can wear it this winter.

You can see my copy of the John Sayles film Lone Star there too.  It's a wonderful complex narrative on life along the Texas-Mexico border, a great film you need to see multiple times in order to see the interconnections between the various story lines.  The film is organized like a patchwork.  There are lots of pieces, but you have to stand in the distance to appreciate some of the ways they're linked together.

I finished a few small projects in recent weeks.  Sometimes I need to make something easy and quick just to deep my momentum going.  I made this Multi-directional Diagonal Scarf from a free pattern.  Judy at Stitch Along with Me had made it I think, and I loved the way it looked.  I made mine wide like a shawl.  The pattern is dead easy, but looks complicated.  I used Lion brand Amazing yarn, which is 50% wool and 50% acrylic and has long beautiful color repeats.  I think I'll use this a lot this winter.

I  finally finished this pair plain ribbed socks in Kroy sock yarn.  The yarn is great: I love these colors, and it doesn't bag after wearing like some other sock yarns.  It probably took me a year to finish these socks, and they feel so good on my feet I wonder why I don't make more.

I also made a baby sweater in acrylic DK weight yarn for Michael's grandchild #2, who is expected in December.  Nothing is as satisfying to knit as a baby sweater, and since this will be a winter baby, I wanted to make the sweater in a small size so that she'll wear it right away.  Paxton Preemie and Newborn Jacket is a free pattern on Ravelry with sizes for preemies and for small and regular newborn sizes.

When you're done with the sweater, you get to pick buttons, which is almost as much fun as the knitting.

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...