Friday, November 30, 2012


All sewn up, but still button-less. The buttonholes are made, and a needle threaded to sew the buttons on.. so almost, but not done yet.

I'll get to the buttons later today. This is the longest (and best liked) length so far. It has welted inset pockets, (like the scarlet O'Hara one) and buttons like the dotty one. So it's the same, only different. I like the look of the inset pockets best. It's a lot of work for a simple garment, but then the devil is in the details, isn't it? Fitted, lined, with inset pockets, back ties...Lots of details. The result is still a casual little vest, but a rather nicely made one.

Right now, I am taking a break from zigzag binding the edges of the skirt pieces. This skirt is the same 6 gore skirt that has been my most frequent choice (I have also made a 4 gore A-line a few times for variety)--and it too, is slightly longer (another 3 inches). Longer is better for the winter months.

In my collection of sock kits—I have this sock yarn. I have some socks already that will go with this turquoise, but

I am on to other spool of thread, too! This is spool 3 for this color. If I follow through, and make a man-tailored shirt of the solid poly-cotton that I used for the lining.. I will likely need yet another spool. But then, I found a good use for the empty spools.

A Martha Stewart craft—perfect for me, since I have A: lots of colored paper and card stock B: a circle paper cutter, C: a bunch of empty spools!  I likely have dowels the right size too, and a glue gun... I don't think I have gold beads the right size, but—I have gold paint.. and I can find something to act as a topper.

Meanwhile Take2 socks have turned heels, and stitches for the gussets picked up, and even 2 rounds done on the gussets. I am on my way to having them finished!

Even with finishing these, and perhaps another secret pair next month—I am behind my goal of getting 24 pairs of socks knit this year. Its was an overly ambitious goal.. in my best year ever, I knit 19 socks, and those were just knit, not knit and documents, too. Documenting the details takes almost as much time as the knitting!

I am thinking too, about making a new list of things to knit for the new year. Some, like some of my sock designs, will carry over, and some new items will be added. Its as clear as day that I don't need another shawl—but I am thinking about knitting one anyway. Actually more than 1. One blue one, (in a pretty sock yarn, to match socks) one in green (once I finish the green leafy shell –the same one that I haven't knit a stitch on in the past week), and one in a peachy color. Not really a match to the Take 2 socks.. but a good go with color.

And there there is this chocolate brown wool that been making noises.... I have a chunk (8 oz or so) of fingering weight shetland wool, and another chunk (another 8 oz) in an almost perfect color match—which is somewhat amazing!--in mohair.

Plus, I am planning to do some more videos... There are cast ons I haven't documented, and techniques I want to share, and.... well I have more plans than time!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Best Laid Plans....

often go awry!

Tuesday, I had a doctors appointment--(or rather a Lab appointment) The white jacketed vampires sucked my blood (vials of it!) --and did such a good job, there wasn't even a pinprick of blood on the gauze bandage and not a hint of a bruise—which is pretty impressive since I get bruised with a hard look.

It was raining Tuesday (some parts of the area got snow, but my area of Queens didn't) and I got chilled. Partly it was all the errands I ran while I was coming back from the doctors. When  I finally got home, (early afternoon) I was chilled to the bone.

I crawled under the covers to warm up, and fell asleep. I woke up just in time to head out to Tuesday knitting—which was pretty quiet—Just 2 of us. I got home early from knitting and since I had napped, stayed up late. By the time I went to bed, I was a round short of 7 inches on my Take 2 socks.

Yesterday, it was doctors again—only not for me. A good friend , B–who is a pig headed guy—has gotten an infections (an ulcer) and it's drained all his strength—so he asked for help. I drove him to the doctor, (and then parked the car after dropping him off at the front door). Then waited with him,(his HMO is deplorable—over a 2 hour wait—past the scheduled time for the appointment!) Then I drove him round and helped him fulfill his prescriptions—which involved several stops-- when the first 2 pharmacies didn't have the drugs in stock.

B is a smart man in many respects, but he likes to maintain he has perfect health—that his real problems (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and some nasty side effects from these conditions) don't exist. Which is how a small blister became a huge, open, infected wound.... I know, I too suffer from wishful thinking (it's not so bad, it will get better on its own)--but eventually I concede defeat ... I see a doctor, I get the treatment I need, and recognize, while I do have generally good health (knock wood)--I am not 20 anymore, and I need to take better care of my self, and act my age. (which while I steadfastly maintain is 47—only I know it's not.)

B (10 years my senior) is a bit pig headed. He maintains A: he is healthy (when in truth, he has some serious health concerns), and B: he is still young (not really!) Even if he did have perfect health, he is older, and some things are slower (like wound healing) and letting nature take its course, isn't going to work anymore (well not all of the time). And then there is C: his attitude that all Doctors are all idiots (an attitude that doesn't really help!)

Yes, some doctors are idiots—but it seems that his doctors weren't all wrong (and his underlying heath issue have contributed to his slow healing)—But he has fought them tooth and nail on this—Until eventually, after a million tests, it was pretty clear—B's self diagnosis of the problem (a hairline fracture in his foot) wasn't really the problem. He claimed it was a stress fracture that caused him to limp, and the slightly limp was why he got a blister... (but really couldn't explain away why the blister didn't heal, and why it got infected.)He refuses to use a cane--even though he is virtually unable to walk.  He is convinced he doesn't need one.  But other patients at the HMO thought I was his daughter... He shuffles like a much older man, and looks 90--instead of using a cane and walking like a younger 65 year old.  (Me? When my arthritis is bad, I don't hesitate to use a cane! Thankfully, I only need it a few days/times a year. but when I need it, I use it.) 

B has been good to me over the years—and while right now, he is whining and whinging (with some just cause, he is pain) just about non-stop. I try and maintain my cool and do what I can to help him—though I didn't realize that yesterday's good Samaritan effort was going to take the better part of 6 hours! I am not cut out to be a companion to a sick old man.

Late in the afternoon—when I might have been writing a blog post—I got (and took!) the opportunity to go out with a knitting friend. A light lunch, and some knitting, and some shopping, and some how, the hours flew! I didn't get home till 9 PM! I should have been tired out, but it was refreshing to do something enjoyable. 

I did get some knitting done.. My Take 2 socks have flaps (and one has a turn in the heel, but not the other!) and my turquoise print vest has been pieced together—as outside and lining.. but these two pieces haven't been joined-yet. But they are pinned and ready to go.

So today was a lazy day—putzing around doing some cleaning (well emptying the dishwasher) and paperwork (end of the month, and some bills are do, and more are do next week) And there will be knitting and sewing, too.

Monday, November 26, 2012


 To where I want to be.... That is—back to where I was!

The socks are once again about 6 inches along.. and this time, super stretchy. They are looking good—this stitch has a lot less texture, but it still does the job of breaking up the colors—in a pleasant way. Another inch or so, and it will be time to start the heel... A classic flap/turned/gusseted one I think. Its my favorite heel for top down socks—I like the way it looks, and the way it fits.

There is a chance of pooling with gussets, and after, when half the sock is simple stocking knit.. But, I'll take my chances. There is a 50% chance the pooling (if any) will form on the sole of the sock—too --but really, does it ever?)

In addition to the socks, I started a small knit top—a simple one, knit top down, with saddle shoulders in double leaf lace, and the body will be worked in the same rib as in the leafy green socks. The same yarn too! --It will be a rare occurrence of a pair of socks and matching top. Who know—maybe this will become a trend. I doubt it, personally. For the most part, when its warm enough to wear wool socks, it too cool for a sleeveless shell. Even if I do end up layering the shell under a shirt.

You'll have to trust me on the rib—I haven't gotten there yet.. just neck band and the saddle shoulders (or rather 1 full shoulder saddle and one still under construction) so far. I don't often knit clothes on size 2 needles-- there is a lot of me to cover and progress will be slow. But it was pointed out, a simple top is about equal to 2 pairs of socks.. Or, rather, in my case, since my top will be both longer and wider—about equal to 5 socks/or maybe 3 pairs (but small pairs--200 to 250 g of  sock yarn –(my sock usually only use about 90g's) But I can knock out a pair of socks in 2 weeks if I work at it, so it really shouldn't take too much time. So a big project (by stitch count) —but really not a huge one.

Bits and pieces of sewing done, too. Another jumper finished, and skirt cut. A vest was cut when the jumper was cut—well-- all but the lining--and now that's cut, too. 3 coordinating casuals. I have a wrap skirt in this print, too. But its a bit short—great for the summer, but I like my winter skirts a bit longer. Still, I might once in a while, wear the vest with the wrap skirt. After these pieces get done (the vest, then the skirt) then... Another jumper!

This next jumper will be different . One with a dropped waist (instead of raised one) and more shaping in the bodice, too. A bit more flare in the skirt, too. So just about every element of the design will be changed. I like the jumper I just made—but I now have 4 different versions of this—and well, enough is enough!

Time to make something different. I don't see much sense in making my own clothes and have total control of the design—and then just mass producing the same thing, over and over again. It is convenient to use the same pattern over and over again—and vary a detail or two. But there come a time when some real changes should be made.  And I have reached that point.

But it will still be a jumper—so not too different.. I really like jumpers.. pop on T shirt and a jumper, and I am dressed and looking neat. More casual than a proper dress—but just as convenient. No zippers to fiddle with--either while sewing or wearing—unless I want to add one as a decorative element. Just pull it over my head and be done. Something I can wear with a long sleeved shirt in winter, on its own in the summer, and with a short sleeved T in between.   

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Be Thankful

It's so easy- and there is so much to be thankful for.

We live in an age (anyone reading this, at leas) were we have so much beyond our basic needs.
Lights—Lovely bright lights in the evening! Glittering holiday lights. Street lights, and traffic signals—there are so many lights have become common place.
I am thankful for Windows...with glass! In the not too distant past, window were taxed (because they were a luxury item!) and glass? So expensive only the rich had glass panes. (and now, I have double panes!) I love my windows and views.... they are amazing.

Solid walls too... with insulation. And floors. Dirt floors and drafty walls that did little to keep the cold out aren't that far in the past.
Central heating! How spoiled we Americans are! We hardly recognize what a luxury it is to just have heat. Not heat hard fought for, with chopping wood, or shoveling a ton of coal (from coal shed/room into the furnace, and then shoveling and carrying out a half ton of coal ashes!) I remember coal... I never had to do the hard part—but even the easy part (laying a fire and lighting it) was a constant daily effort. We live warm and cozy lives and hardly every give a thought to how easy that is for us.

Water! Do you ever think how wonderful it is to have running water, (and drains and sewers?) Its beyond wonderful to have a shower EVERY DAY! And clean laundry, and safe to drink water all the time.

It's easy to be thankful for family and friends.. but I am thankful for strangers, too. I feel safe with strangers. I live in a society that functions well for millions and millions of people. Sure there are some inconsiderate ones.... but there are so many who are just OK. Who don't do anything special.... but just are easy. They don't threaten, they don't harm me. In some cultures, every stranger is a mortal enemy until proven otherwise.. but not strangers I come in contact with...every one is a potential friend—and dangerous ones are far and few. (and for the most part, I have avoided contact with them!)

Look around at your life, and retain the amazement!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Can You See

the mini (3 stitch) cable braids? I can't. But I like the texture of the stitch-- even if it isn't as clear a pattern at I thought it might be. I think it will also break up the colors, to, and make pooling and spiraling less evident.  Its a bit to early to see if I am right about that... But time will tell.

Braiding (cable braids) are just like real braids—three strands (or stitches) first, out side right to center, then outside left to center, then repeat. Or you could do it the other way, Center to right, then center to left.

The first method results in <<<<<< the second, >>>>>>--only vertical, not horizontal...

/\ \/
/\ \/
/\ \/
I am twisting the stitches (right over center, left over center) every other round –so its not that much of task. A simple 4 R repeat—and 2 of the rounds are knit every stitch.

 I have more time to day than I realized—and less on Friday—so a post today—and likely one late on Friday--or maybe nothing till Saturday.  Today--I plan to get all of yesterday's clean clothes put away (they aren't yet)--but a percentage need some touch up ironing--including the cottons that got preshrunk.  Sewing, too-if i have enough time.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Now You See Them

Then you don't. I love the stitch pattern—I love the texture: I love how it looks, and how it breaks up the hand painted color way in an interesting way. I don't even mind than I have to work 10 rounds to have 7 complete rounds of knitting done.

What I do mind is:  while they readily slipped over my heel when they were shorter, with each round, its more difficult to slide the socks on. I want taller, not shorter socks.. and this stitch pattern, as much as I love the it  —isn't going to cut it.

So its time to frog (back to the ribbing.. there is nothing wrong with the cast on and ribbing) and start again. I am thinking of a braid like twisted stitch.. One I have used before –not quite a cable... but cable like. But so fine and over all.. it really doesn't look like a cable—though it does look rope like.  A slight variation on the stitch used for these socks.  It worked well with self striping yarn.. vaguely breaking up the stripes.  I think it will work well with this yarn, too.  

Tomorrow, I will be away (and Wednesday, and most of Thursday, too) so don't expect to see a blog post for the next few days.. Maybe I'll be able to squeeze one in.. and maybe I won't.)

But just think of all the news I'll have for you on Friday! These socks will have been transformed by then, and I plan to start my leafy rib shell tomorrow—I might have something to show you in that regard, too. I will be sewing this afternoon (right now, I have some wash going—I actually got it together, and did laundry before it became oppressive!) --included are the last of the cotton bolts..(all but 1) being prewashed and preshrunk.

They likely won't get ironed to the weekend, and who knows when I will get around to sewing something from them... Well one, a multi shade of blue in a very abstract sort of print might get made up pretty quick—I really like it. But what to make? A vest? (a waste—I will be left with a lot of fabric—but not quite enough to make anything else) A skirt? Maybe... a shirt dress? Or maybe a man tailored shirt—thought I have quite a few of those! (but none in dark blue)

Well what ever I chose, it's a ways off yet!

I am going to end with wishes that your Thanksgiving holiday is good one;  that your travel is easy, and your day a fine one. For me, its Over the river (not really a river) and through the woods (real woods) to grandmother's (not yet a grandmother) house (well, a restaurant near her house)we go   The WE being my daughter and her husband--and me too.  The perfect feast—someone else cooks and cleans up, and there are no mountain of left overs to nibble at!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Pox on Sox

 Or maybe just some pock marked socks.

I wanted something with texture... Even though this nectarine inspired color way should be knit up as smooth and glossy as that stone fruits skin.

So I went looking for texture. I didn't want cables. I wore cabled knee high sock for many years in elementary school—50 years later, I still hate them—or the idea of them—enough that I have no desire to knit any.

I've done lace, and I've done ribs, I wanted something different. Then I found this stitch. I supposed, if I skied, I might see the texture as moguls. But I don't ski, and snow doesn't come in these bright colors.

I think the texture is like a pock mark. I am old, and started to travel young—I had a “routine” small pox inoculation as an infant, and one again age 8, and again 10 years later. These were required by Health Dept. for over seas travel. (A few years later,--in the early 1970's—small pox was considered eradicated, and the inoculations were no longer required-for infants or for travel.)

I know what pock marks look like—the scars have faded—but I still can see the texture. (Should the world erupt in biological warfare, I feel safe from small pox—I might not be totally immune, but I suspect my immune system retains a vestigial memory)

Pockmarked is just the word to describe the texture of this stitch pattern. I am knitting pox marked socks.. So a Pox on Sox—to be cute. In brightly colored, hand painted yarn. (Loin Brand Sock Ease—over dyed marshmallow color—part of a group of yarns I dyed earlier this year.(see link above)) 

The cuff is a bit deeper than I usually knit (1.75 inches vs the more common 1.5) and neatly feeds into the 6 stitch repeat of the stitch pattern.--D'oh--that's why I started with 3 X 3 ribbing.
 The pattern feels a bit slow to knit.. but I have made some progress.

The texture flattens out a bit when stretched.. But it always retains some depth and texture.   A success I think--The socks don't look nectarine-ish but I still like the color way and the texture. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Twist Tail

Yesterday I mentioned how putting a twist into a long tail cast on changes it. And I promised to show you exactly what I meant. Here are 2 sets of cast on stitches. (I know, I know, not the clearest photo—but the close up details are better.)

Standard long tail cast on
First (closest to end of needle) a dozen stitches cast on using the long tail style of cast on. Nothing remarkable about them.

Long Tail Cast on with a braided effect from twisting

Followed by (closest to tip of the needle) a dozen stitches cast on using a braided/twisted long tail cast on. Notice that it's clear even in the slightly blurry image I started with, that the braid is easy to see.  
Depending on what you do next (after the cast on) the edge will be very or not very noticeable.

If R1 is all purls,  the braid will roll forward. 
If R1 is all knit the braid will roll under.
If R1 is ribbed (as my R1 is) the braided edge will be centered on top (and not very noticable).
You might ask: "WHY Bother?" (if it isn't all that noticeable)--Well I like the smooth edge it creates with the ribbing. I know a few cast ons that are great for 1 X 1 ribbing, and the open/closed (aka Estonian) cast on is great for 2 X 2 ribbing, but I don't know of any cast on that is especially suited to other rib patterns--except changing how you work the cast on (--that is working some stitches and knits, and some as purls as you cast on) but I don't like the slight uneveness to the cast on edge with that method.  I like this cast on for its very even edge.

A pretty amazing change, huh? Other perks--It's not quite a perfect match to a standard bind off—but it's close. And it's also a bit stretchier than a standard long tail cast on. It's not stretchy enough for lace--but it's great for socks.  A small change to your technique, and a big change to finished results.  An especially easy cast on to learn if you already know how to do a long tail cast on.

So once again—How to do it:
Cast on one(standard long tail cast on) Lift the thumb yarn (bringing it forward (closer to you) UP and put it on the index finger. The yarn on the index finger gets dropped (to the back) and then pulled forward to wrap around your thumb. With yarns now in a new position, you are ready to cast on one stitch (and repeat the process.)

The motion is fast and easy—the down side is the tail of the yarn gets twisted round the yarn coming from the ball (but it's not hard to slide all the twists down,--and the 2 yarns will untwist).

You can see the movement in my video on the Braided Long Tail cast on.--even though that video shows how to work a 3 strand/(3 color) braid, the twisting/rotating of the yarns is the same. At about/ just before the 3 minute mark I am very clear how to bring the thumb yarn up to index finger--(and you see how the index finger yarn naturally want to fall to back.) 

The video shows a multi-color braided long tail—but the technique also works for a single color of yarn –and just 2 strands. If anything, its easier to do with just 2 strands—and while it twists up just as the multi-color one does, it is easier to undo the twists.

The new sock—are coming along—slowly--Since apparently I can't count. Not only can't I count, but I didn't notice my count was off (even through it messed up my rib pattern) until I had knit 2 inches of ribbing worked!  So—all the progress I made last night was undone.. (and is being redone)

I've found a nice pattern stitch, too. Simple (but slow going) a mostly stocking knit stitch pattern that has a deep puffy texture. But you'll have to wait till tomorrow to see it!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Socks Done

Need I say more? I ended up with a light blue cuff and then 2 rows of simple double knitting before sewing a kitchenerd tubular bind off, in the dark blue. Wove in all the tails too, so they are done and finished.

And if the old socks are done, well it stands to reason, new socks started! In the bright clear colors of dawn—all rosy pink and sunshine yellow. Well--that how today dawned.  Lovely but cold.(I was awake at dawn—and admired the sky—and then rolled over pulled the covers tight, and slept for another hour and half—7:30 is not too slovenly a time to get up.)

These socks are top down, (just because the last pair I knit were toe up) with a simple cast on--a long tail with a twist. 
Not a twisted long tail but a twisted/ braided one. Start with a standard long tail. Make the tail a bit longer (an inch or two for sock—more for more stitches or thicker yarn.. NOT a lot longer.. but....)

Set up (if you use a slip knot to start, make one; if you use a twisted that) *Make one standard long tail stitch. 
Twist the yarns:  Bring the thumb yarn up and over to index finger, drop the index finger yarn down, and set it up on thumb. Repeat.

The tail yarn  and ball yarns will twist up, (and it becomes annoying by about the 40th stitch cast on!) so stop and let them untwist (slide all the twists down, and let the tail end untwist)

The difference between this version of long tail and a standard long tail is almost imperceptible—when you look at them-- Especially when working with a standard long tail set up.

It's a bit more obvious (and the braid is more noticeable) if you use two contrasting colors. Or for that matter, 3 colors, or 4 colors.

The twist –as many twists do—creates some extra slack in the yarn. So you get a firm edge that is stretchy—perfect for socks—or any edge that needs extra stretch. I have a video showing this cast on—using 3 colors.... (3 separate yarns) (if you don't under stand how I am moving the yarns) The same twist/rotate motion works for two yarns-- be they 2 separate yarns (contrasting colors) or just a standard ball and tail –(and it also works for 4 separate yarns/colors--or if you are crazy 5 or more colors)

These socks are going to have a 3 X 3 rib for the cuff. I don't much like a knit and purl cast on (be it a knit cast on, or a cable cast on, or even a knit and purl long tail cast on.) I like a smooth top edge. I like this cast on for a nice stretchy edge, that is slightly decorative and just a bit different—but very easy to work.

I'll have some good photo's to show you tomorrow.--The my photo 'studio” is getting too much sun light now (it's afternoon) for a good shot.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Must Have Been Drunk

Or blind; or blind drunk. There must be some excuse. I woke up this morning and looked at the progress made on the Ocean and Sea sock. The pattern is correct—but upside down... the light color waves connect to the dark ocean, the ocean waves to the sea.

Well--I am not undoing it. Let's just call it choppy seas and let it be at that.

A few more rounds of the light blue, and then a single band of blue, ribbing and a bind off. Or maybe ribbing in the light blue, and a tubular bind off in the dark. I haven't decided yet.

 Either way, I'll actually have a bit of yarn left. But, the end is in sight. What next –well, what socks next? Another secret pair? Or something simple or something else? I am leaning to something pink and coral and golden in hue-- 5 of the last 6 pairs of socks have been shades of blues or greens—I want some thing warm and golden to knit now.

The leafy arm warmers got the last inch done, and bound off, too. So another project is done, too.  For sure, I am casting on to make another pair of these--in the left over skeins (2 almost complete skeins, and 2 skeins of just a few yards. Enough, judging by the green, to make a pair almost as long.  I just need to work out the number of stitches, and get to work.

Monday, November 12, 2012

There is Still MORE Yarn!

My arm warmers (who needs arm warmers when its 60°?) are almost done—Un-stretched, they are over 12 inches long;   though they shrink a bit in length when I stretch the ribs open. I have more than enough yarn to knit another half inch. By the time I am finished, they will be long enough to cover my arm from the elbow (actually just above the elbow) to below the wrist. I could add a thumb hole and make them more like a  fingerles gloves (opera length!) than sleeves-but I like the idea of sleeve/arm warmers better.

I am definitely knitting another pair of these! Well- not quite the same-- as much as I like the stitch pattern, one pair in this stitch pattern is enough. So, next, a different stitch pattern—or maybe two or three! First will be a pair in spicy brown to match the diamond brocade vest, then a pair to match a colorful cowl I have, then.... Well I some more of these in the future.

But before I get ahead of my self, I am going to finish the Ocean and Sea socks. Then start another pair of socks, because, I am behind on my schedule. My collection of homemade sock club kits are collecting dust! I never got to the dragon socks. (and the year of the dragon is quickly coming to a close!) and the black eyed susy socks haven't been started, (or really even planned beyond the yarn!) And there are other bags... what was the plan for them? It's been so long, I will have to find my idea book and look up my plans. Not to mention there is a skein of white sock yarn that's been made into a hank—for another custom color pair of socks sometime in the future (as if I didn't have enough patterned and painted sock yarn as is.)--or plans for that matter.  I have more ideas for socks than I have sock yarn, and if I were to knit a pair a socks a month for the next 5 years--I still would have sock yarn to knit.

Plus there is the plan for a shell with the same leafy ribbed pattern. The plans aren't much—just some numbers on a scrap of paper, plus a stitch pattern. But I have the yarn, and the needles, and what more do I need?

It is mild today, --foggy this morning when I first got up, but now mostly burnt off-- but winter is coming, and I need warm clothes. Speaking of which—a jumper won out.. in a soft overall turquoise print. A full button placket down the front-- in this version.  But otherwise no changes. The same scoop neck, the same back ties, the same hidden pockets. Just a bit difference up front where it is most noticeable to make it look different. Eventually, a skirt from this fabric, too, and vest. It's almost boring making the same thing, over and over again. But they are comfortable separates—skirts and vest that create a dress look, or that mix and match with other skirts or vests, quick and easy dressing with jumpers. And each set has small changes—longer, or with different pockets, or different front center details. And a few T shirts—long or short sleeved, and I am good to go.

And when I wasn't knitting, my other plans for the winter include soup.  A  pot of soup got made (Chicken and Sweet Potato--you can find my recipe here) An other pot (Carrot and Ginger) is on the stove.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Done! Done! Done!

 A skirt, a matching vest, and knit vest.
Not done? Socks.
Started? (and galloping along)--Arm warmers!

I had envisioned brown buttons for the vest—something to match the lining. But with out a car, my choices are limited. I could schlep around the city looking—or I could settle. I settled. Nancy thought the red buttons were the best. (I could have also gone with a creamy white, or the green).. The appeal of the red buttons is beginning to grow. They look even better when you don't see the dark brown lining fabric.

I know, I know, the pockets on the vest aren't perfectly lined up.... I worked hard on lining them up side to side—and total screwed up top to bottom. But no matter.

The skirt has a hidden button and hook and eye closure. And as all my skirts do, hidden in seam side pockets. It's only week late. Still, when I consider how many years I have talking about making some skirts, (and have even been knitting socks to match the skirts I was planning to make) Well- a week delay is small potatoes.

I have a lot of socks that will match this dotty set—Yellow one, orange ones, brown ones, red ones.. But then, I do have a lot of socks, don't I?--And the dotty vest will do double duty—since it also will pair up well with other (solid) skirts. Lined vest are comfortable layers to wear for added warmth as well as style. And the Diamond Brocade vest will pair up well with the dotty skirt, too.

So now I have 2 sets of 3 pieces—the Scarlet O'Hara blue, and this dotty set. Sometime soon, set 3. But maybe a solid jumper first... or a shirt dress, or.. another solid skirt... or the Scarlet O'Hara jacket... It's been a long times since I have been on a sewing jag like this. Its hard to chose what to sew up next.

The Diamond brocade vest is (as you can see from above) done, too. I should have made it longer. I have enough of the yarn. There is enough left over that this vest is going to have separate sleeves (arm warmers) to match. In spite of being a bit short, its warm and comfortable. Simple but not too plain.

And while I didn't knit a stitch on my Ocean and Sea socks, I did start the green Leafy Rib arm warmers. They are fast knitting compared to socks. The pattern is an easy one to knit—I know it by heart having learned it while doing the socks. And the work goes really fast on great big size 5 needles.

At this point, I am not sure that I am going to add a thumb hole even. Just long and simple arm warmers—with the emphasis on long—I am going to knit right up to the last inch of yarn and make them as long as I can.  I am guessing that will be 9 inches or so. But I won't mind if they end up even longer.
There is so much yarn in my stash,and I am busting with ideas for things to make with the yarn. Still, I am tempted today to head over to Smiley's sale and buy some yarn. Then I look at all the yarn I have, that I haven't knit yet, and say NO—It's not likely Smiley's is going to go out of business, and even if they did, they are far from the only yarn store I know or shop in. Enough! (I'll go next time there is a sale.)

Beside, while I got knitting and sewing done, there is soup to be made—I never got any cooking done.

Friday, November 09, 2012

A Little Progress Here;

A little progress there. Slowly things are coming together.

The dotty vest has buttonholes—but hasn't had the buttons sewn on yet.
The dotty skirt is together, and has a waistband –but no hook and eye or button yet, nor a hem.
The diamond brocade vest has armholes, and soon will have a bound of neckline too, but its not done yet either.
The socks? Well, not so much progress there; but I haven't forgotten about them.
Lots of work done, but nothing completed.

Wednesday—in the cold wet nor'easter, I was out and about for several hours—Not so much errands as helping a friend. And I caught a chill. One I just couldn't get rid it of it. I got home early in the afternoon (1 PM or so) chilled to the bone, and spent the rest of the day huddled under blankets, drinking hot fluids, and fitfully sleeping. I just couldn't get warm or comfortable. I was achy all over, a fevered too.

But it passed--what ever it was.  Yesterday I was feeling better. Not 100%, but good enough to get up and dressed, and do something. To start, I made soup—so next time that happens, I have soup at the ready!
Soup (chicken and sweet potato), and stew(ground nut stew)--More ready to eat quick suppers packed in the freezer in –along with my pyrex® bowls of curried chicken. Slowly but surely, I am filling my freezer with easy dinners. Next time I have a bad day, I'll at least have some comfort food ready to eat.

Gingered carrot soup next—and maybe even a second pots of carrot soup—one with ginger, and one with chestnuts. I haven't always liked chestnuts.. but my tastes have changed over the years, and this nut is the last to make the collection (I LOVE nuts!) I wish I had a source for chestnut flour—I love chestnut pasta—and I think ravioli's of chestnut pasta with pumpkin filling would be a lovely combination. One worth the effort of making fresh pasta.

I got some sewing done, too, and some knitting, and some cleaning--well not so much cleaning as putting away (and throwing away!--my sewing room waste can was overflowing and now has been emptied) Bits and pieces, here and there, nothing much, but more than I could manage Wednesday afternoon.

So today is a day for finishing.. The vest, the skirt, knit vest, too. It's for making soup-- even as the cold weather retreats again for the moment. Maybe if I am very productive—I'll even get some more work done on the Ocean and Sea socks.

I have the green DK yarn for the leafy arm warmers at the ready—and needles, and some scribbled notes to work from. I am itching to start them—but I won't—not till I finished all the things I need to finish.

By tomorrow, I should have a bunch of things finished, and ready to photograph--and arm warmers cast on!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

I Did My Part

I voted.  Did you? If not, why not?
(There is no good excuse!)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Cabin Fever

Not me—but a few friends—and they thought going out shopping with me was the cure. So all my plans for the weekend went up in smoke—and what lovely smoke it was!

I love sewing, but spending time with friends beats almost any other activity hands down!

So I got some shopping done, too—and now my dinner for tonight (and Wednesday and likely Friday!) is in the oven cooking.. I finished up the last bit of turkey breast that  I bought and cooked  2 weeks ago on Friday.  Then on Saturday—bought another one (on sale, of course!) . Today I loaded up on vegetables (I was out with a friend who has a car—so I could buy with out a thought of carrying them home)

Now, the turkey breast is in the oven along with pan of root vegetables that are roasting—carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, shallots, and sweet potatos—a big pan full. I put the cut up veggies in a plastic bag, added a single spoonful of oil (so much easier and more effective than trying to do it in the pan!) and some spices. (salt, pepper and some Mrs Dash blend (see note below)) 

When they come out, some will be put away for a dinner later in the week, some will be dressed with some balsamic vinegar.. and make up most of my dinner—along with some of the roasted turkey—Sound yummy doesn't it? A perfect dinner on a beautiful fall day. The weather will be nasty later in the week--some more of the veggies will likely become a soup.  

 I really enjoyed being out and about today, and over the weekend with all the sunshine and brisk air--and good company to go along with it the good weather. 

And I'll enjoy my sweet chunky root veggies that are a nice change from all the salads I have been eating (I bought a bunch of salad greens, too, I haven't given up on salads yet!--or cook greens either). While the oven is on, I am going to roast a pear, too, for dessert--a zip of fresh ginger in with the pear, I think, too.

So no skirt yet, and no buttons on the vest (but I do have buttons!) and no button holes, either. Though, purchasing buttons were one of the side trips this weekend.

As you know, I have ads from AdSense on the blog--(just got my once every 4 month check this week—perfectly timed to a Smiley's store sale!--there is more shopping planned.)

I was invited to join a program where I promote a product (like Mrs Dash) or some brand of balsamic vinegar, and I can get more money (pennies!) and I've passed on it. The AdSense money one of my sources of pin money—a way to treat myself to some unneeded (but desire) thing (like more sock yarn... Who doesn't want more sock yarn?) but I don't want to turn this blog into a commercial shill.

But Google and the like have spiders, and they try to match ads to interests (and food post get food ads) but for now, I am not interested in promoting any particular brand—If I mention something—its just because I do use it, (and I am not promoting it) I thank each and every one of you who do click on the ads.. I love getting a check in the mail—even if it only happens 3 times a year!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

All Roads Lead to Rome.

 Or to Paris, or to New York... Well, not all roads. The US Interstate highway system is a major exception. But in NYCity... Most of the roads, and bridges and tunnels do lead to Manhattan. (midtown, downtown or uptown).

Getting from where I live (central Queens) to do volunteer work in south Queens? It can't readily be done. I could take 2 long bus rides. If I had a car, I could drive reasonable close—but one characteristic of south Queens (the flooded zone) is there is no place to park.

The (normally) easiest way to get to south Queens? Through Manhattan! Take the express train to 42nd street, transfer there for the A train, (another express) and the trip—while miles longer than the bus ride, is faster.

Only that path is not available (still) and I don't need to be adding to the congestion as people try to get to work on already inadequate systems.

I am at home, not doing volunteer work, because of a limited ability to do anything. Since last year—and my minor/major infection and hospital stay—I recognize I have to conserve my strength. I can't go at it (any it) with both barrels—not with out paying a price.

My contributions to this disaster have been small—a small collection of phone chargers—and a blanket to a group that has the ability to get these to where they are needed. Many of the displaced have their cel phones... but the chargers are lost—my near horder instincts mean I have (or rather had) a collection of chargers.

That and a blood donation—the need is great even though there aren't a lot of injuries. The red cross lost a supply of blood with power outage. I can manage to donate blood easier than most other things.

That and a little money is all I can do for the moment.

Other than that, I can watch things coming back to normal. Seeing planes once again on their way to LAG (I live in the approach) and knowing that airport is not just open, but operational.
That and hearing a LIRR train lumber by (almost a mile away—but I hear it all the same-it's an urban noise I am attuned to).
That and looking at the sky line and seeing more and more of Manhattan lit up every time I look.

There is still a ton of work to do—while about half the household/customer once again have power, there are still nearly 1 million customers with out—and it's getting colder every day. But an amazing amount has been done to restore things to normal.

That and sew.

The dress is finished, and the vest (mostly) too. It needs buttons! I have lots of thread, but no suitable buttons. Buttonholes, too, since I am not so foolish as to make a buttonhole and then try and find a button to fit the hole.

I like the vest better this little bit longer... I might sew on a snap or two, just so I can wear it until I find the right buttons. Today I will make the skirt.

It makes me feel productive to make my own clothes—skirts, and dresses, vest and tops, and socks. I do it all (well, no, not really—I never make undies or bra's!) I like my one of kind wardrobe of custom made clothing. They are better made, and cheaper (well only if you don't count my investment of time—but since I am making the invest for my pleasure—and not someone else's profit I think it is fair not to count my labor as a cost.) Three pieces-- a dress, a skirt and vest—for about $30—all in all. What with the fabric, the lining, the bias tape, thread, buttons and other notions—it's still only about $10 per piece—which is a more than reasonable price.

Psychologically, it makes me feel better to be putting things together as so much of my little corner of the world is falling apart—and I am not involved in any special way putting it back together.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Been Sewing

 And have an almost complete dress to show for my effort. I still need to bind the armholes and hem it; but it's almost done—and looks like a dress.

This is the 4th time I've made this dress/jumper. The first version was a light weight cotton in a light blue and white print—and it got a matching jacket. Next came a linen version—black with a silvery print. Both of those versions are very summery and worn as is (as a sleeveless dress) The heavier weight Scarlet O'Hara blue cotton has been worn as a sleeveless dress in the summer, and as a jumper--with a t shirt underneath a few times already.

This version will likely most often been worn as jumper—with a short or long sleeved t shirts underneath almost all the time. It might get dressed up a bit by wearing a brown or red blazer like jacket over it—I have one of each. I have some sweaters that match, too— and lots of T's in go with colors--so its a good fit with clothes I already own.

I like that pattern—it's simple enough (just 4 pieces to cut for the basic pattern)--with darts to give it some shape and fit, plus a seam at the waist line (raised waist line) to suggest a waist (with out any real waist shaping except at the side seams) Plus back ties to actually give some shape to the waist. The design is a pull over dress--with no back zipper or opening.  Fast and easy to sew, and easy to wear.  Not shapeless, but not fitted either.

I added pockets (almost invisible in the side seams) to ever version I've made—this version also has a small patch pocket on the left breast. It has some contrasting piping, too, at the neckline, for a bit of interest. Minor details are changes every time I make it. Though some remain the same.

Like the hidden inseam pockets—so better than patch ones for the most part. They give the dress a more finished, dressy look—not that this is a dressy dress. But it looks like a dress or jumper (and not like a house dress).

The first version was pretty much as the pattern views showed (except for the addition of pockets) The next version, in a dressy black linen, had a small placket at the neck and two silver buttons.

Scarlet O'Hara version had a full front opening—with pearl snaps. This version has piping and patch pocket on the breast. Simple, subtle changes to each version—combined with total different fabrics and different prints—makes each dress look remarkably different.

Today I will finish off the dress, and make the vest—Which as already been pinned together. I cut this second go round of the vest longer (by 2 inches) but with the same straight edge hem. It will have patch pockets, not inset ones, so that is another way it will be different different than the previous one. The pockets aren't large—but they are big enough to hold something (like a purse pack of tissues, or, my cell phone. The vest is much simpler than the dress—I should be able to finish it in a day. Then Saturday—the skirt—and I'll have a new set of co-ordinates.

Later next week—a repeat—with the other fabric print. I haven't decided what changes I will make to the jumper--(a button down front? Or another small button placket? A sporty zipper down the front?--That's a possibility.) The Vest will get some changes, too—maybe a zip closure there, too.

Then there will be one vest (Scarlet O'Hara) with snaps, the next (dotty) with buttons, and the third with a zipper. No major changes to the basic design—just a little something to each one—to make it a bit different. After all, variety is the spice of life.

Speaking of spice--I made some progress on my Diamond Brocade Vest, too, Look: the beginning of the neck shaping—the end is in sight now!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

A Utility Day

 That's how I spend yesterday. Laundry—mounds of it, washed, dried, ironed (well some of it ironed) hung up and put away! Piles of dirty laundry become oppressive after a while. Every time, I promise myself I won't wait till I have mounds.. and every time, it seems, I fail.

One load was wool socks(OK I lied, the socks are still on wire coat hanger blockers, dried now and waiting to be put away) Another load, some clothing that is being donated—I wanted the clothes fresh looking. The third load was lengths of fabric.. 4 pieces of 100% cotton that have been washed in hot water, and machine dried—and in the process, pre-shrunk. They also have been ironed and made ready for cutting. And there were 2 more loads of just clothes.. undies, and PJ's, skirts and what not.
(The hamper is once again half full with stuff that got missed, like linens. And there are still another 3 length of fabric to wash and preshrink—Maybe I'll get at least another load or two done next week.)

Now, with lots of clean clothes to chose from, I WANT MORE! I am thinking about what to sew next. A jacket (from the Scarlet O'Hara fabric)? It's on the short list. Or a jumper/dress or a skirt (either of the prewashed/preshrunk prints-I have 2 lengths of each). Or a skirt and jumper from one print—and I'll see if I can't squeeze in a vest too—I think I can. That will be a nice set. A cloth vest from either of these fabrics will match the khaki skirt or the chocolate skirt I just made—and other skirts I plan to make.

Should I cut this solid blue?(below)--I have 4.25yards of this heavy weight blue broadcloth. It's 60 inches wide, so that's enough for for a skirt and jumper (but not enough for a vest too). I also have the plum twill, and a grey twill, and the brick red even weave-- All of those are remnants—and just enough for skirts and nothing more. Maybe I should I cut a skirt of the grey? I have my grey (knit) vest from last year (well from last spring—finished just in time to be not needed.) And I have a few pairs of grey socks, with plans for more (and a grey scarf!) Or a black one (everyone needs a nice simple black skirt!) Still, if I get my spice vest finished, it will go well with the dotty print. Maybe a double cut... A jumper/skirt and vest from both of the just washed lengths. Then the decision will be which one to sew first!

Decisions, decisions! I have LOTS of brown thread—and a lots of black, too so I am leaning towards the black/blue/brown print. The brown thread would also work for the dotty print. For that matter, I have at least a spool (more than enough) of brick red, and plum and grey—I remember buying them 2 years ago when I first started to talk about making some new clothes. I have fabric, I have thread.. I just have to make a decision and get to work!

I made a little progress on my Ocean and Sea socks—and then realized I made a mistake and had to tink back 2 rounds and undo half of what I did. So last night, I worked on the spice vest for a change. Another inch knit; another 3 or so inches to go—less really what with the neckline. And I continued to plan out my shell—tweaking the number of stitches I need to cast on to start it. Mentally working out the plan—I intend to knit top down, but not a raglan—so the first few inches will be knit separately—as front and back before I join into a round.

There is enough green in the dotty print, that a green shell will match it---though a sleeveless shell won't get much use in the winter! Oh yeah, I got the snaps on the Scarlett O'Hara vest—so it's all done.