Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Blast From the Past

UFO's are nothing new to me. Nor are finished project that never found a home.

Like this. A single pillow case (the mate is still not finished being embroidered.) with crochet lace for the edge. These projects survived 3 moves! Finally, I am getting around to finishing them.

The crochet? Its a pattern from a booklet sold by Woman's Day magazine sometime before 1978. I made a lot of crochet lace from that book. 10 years ago, when I was moving, I gave some lace to my D-I-L, a lace collar and cuffs (That she too, has failed to use! No doubt someday my granddaughter will have the opportunity not to use it too)

I have 2 rings of this yellow lace (42 inches each) to trim the edges of pillow cases I started to embroider before 1978--  some 37 years ago! 

I found these pillow cases (and another pair--not embroidered at all)  while on my hunt for the white embroidery floss.

I have been finishing up the other case, and will give it a good wash (this one was washed earlier this week) and sew on the lace and have a pretty pair of pillow cases. These kits (pre printed cases) are so old, they are 100% cotton. I have had completed sets in years past—my summer pillow and sheet sets.

100% cotton is cooler feeling (more absorbent) than poly-cottons, and my summer sheets used to be embroidered cotton top sheets, and embroidered pillows, and no spread or coverlet at all. I feel (and have always felt) that embroidered sheets were pretty enough on their own—just pull up and smooth the sheet, fluff the pillows with the embroidered ones on top and the bed was made and pretty enough.

The sheet wore out over the years, and finding 100% is not as easy. But maybe at some point I will make an effort and make some more/new embroidered top sheets and pillow cases. I still don't have any window air conditioners, and I need cotton sheets more than ever. (NYC is in a near heat wave—it won't quite reach 90° ( 32°c.) today, --but last night (overnight) was hot too, with the low being 78° (25.5°) which is uncomfortable warm. Tomorrow will be back in the 90° again, but at least a little less humid.

As for the white floss and grommets? A BUST! I had not realized my local ACMoore store was closing—and my visit there Tuesday was a sad experience. A few bits here and there, but nothing much is left at all. There was some floss, but white and black, gone! And grommets (and all scrapbooking material) gone--except for a few picked over bits.

What I did find was some #3 purl cotton in a silver white, (and some silver floss) and some off white (a cream shade)--I think the sneakers are going to be done in the silver and silvery white... the cream? Well it will be used for something, at some point.

I have 2 options left for the grommets—Michaels, and a local store (well not local to me, but local to my DD) that is one of those have everything stores –it's called Raindew—and it's a small chain(3? 4? stores) in Queens. Next week my DD and family are off to New England—a wedding and a week away for some rest and relaxation. I'll be visiting to feed the cat--not my granddaughters, and will stop in Raindew to see if they have what I need.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Embroidery done, punch found (not really lost) and grommets too. Too bad there are just 6, (not even enough for 1 sneaker) and in several different colors (I want all white). I think I want white ribbon, too, but green is a close run in my thought process. The punch will make holes, and will also set the grommets, too.

The question of the day is: Where is my white floss? I am sure I have white floss... but I can't find any. No doubt, the second I come home from the craft store, with a skein in tow, several skeins will jump out at me.  White floss is needed to do a corner flower or two of embroidery on my black sneakers.. (I have lots of white and black summer prints--a pair of sneakers with a little floral print will be a good go with!) 

I have errands to run tomorrow, and likely the last will be to AC Moore for floss, and for grommets, and maybe some worsted weight cotton for some potholders.... (and maybe more if I think of other things I need.)   Its been months since I have been to AC Moore, so who knows what will grab my interest! There will be just a smidgeon of embroidery on the black sneakers, so they should be done in heart beat—by the end of the week I hope.

I have a huge selection of floss (some of it so old, it has 5¢ price tags!) I used to do a lot of casual embroidery on collars and cuffs, on my clothes and on my kids clothes. I've always liked have personalized clothing. Embroider is one way to achieve individualized clothing—These sneakers have taken a few weeks, but I haven't worked on them continually, but picked them up and put them down. I am pleased with the results. Even if they aren't entirely finished.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Day or Two Away

From a completed bouquet..

It been hot, and I have been busy do all sort of dull and boring things. Re-organized my desk top for the umpteenth time, rerouting the cable wire, (new back in the spring) the phone wires (I now have VOI instead of a land line, and might yet drop that and go strictly with a cel phone at some point in the future), moved the printer (twice!) and have (for the moment) a very nicely configured set up. I hung some art work, too, and pictures (grandchildren). I spend a lot of time on my computer, (and this has been truer than ever, as I have been doing major editing and rewrites to my web page)--so I like having photos of family near by.

Even with a thimble and pliers, sewing the hard canvas of the sneakers is not easy. And this design is the densest I have ever done. In the past, I have done scattered flowers and butterflies, and bees, with more white space than embroidery. These sneakers are different, with much more embroidery than I have ever done before.

I have bought this brand of sneaker before, and I have been pleased with the life of them (3 or 4 years on average) so it's worthwhile, but my fingers cramp, (and get pricked) and well, its a lot of work.

But the end is in sight now—just a few more flowers and leaves to add, and then some holes to punch (and bind with with metal eyelets) and ribbons to thread, and they will be done—Just in time for mid summer—Lughnasi!

These will be the perfect magical shoes to wear for that magical day and night.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Dribs and Drabs

Of this and that, and nothing completed.

The weather has been the worst of the summer—Hot, hazy, humid days –and NIGHTS. 5 of them in a row. But 2 night ago, a High blew in (with thunder storms announcing it's arrival!) and I slept well for the first time in days.

So what have I done? An scant inch on the Blue beaded sock—I am ready to start the heel flap (but haven't yet) My darling little grand daughters love my knitting, and are always eager to see me knit. It I don't, they search out my tote bag, rifle through it, and find my knitting. They bring it to me, (leaving the balls of yarn a room away!)

Miss J grabs hold of the needles and twists them round –clearly trying to make them do something.. Miss C is less interested. Both girls are endlessly fascinated by the retractable tape measures. They are likely going to find one in their Christmas stocking in a few months. They may break them, but that's OK. Better to break one of their own, than mine. I already have purchased 1 Christmas present—I am very particular about toys--I am pleased no end that the Fisher-Price toy (a walker that converted to a sit and ride on toy) is still being played with—I like toys that have options and grow with children. It's hard with twins.  They each deserve their own presents--but there is limited space. 
And while interest overlap, they are 2 very different personalities. 

My sneakers bouquets are growing, but there is still more white space than flowers—it will take a few more flowers and leaves to tip the balance. Its really a lot of embroidery to do, and working in the tip of a toe, with canvas as a medium is hard on the fingers—even with a thimble. But I am loving the way they are looking.

I have a pair of black sneaker that are going to have a very few little flowers and leaves sewn on them, too. I have a lot of black and white summer clothes, black and white shoes will be a nice go with. But those will only have embroidery on the tongue of instep—nothing at the tip of the toe (and a lot less embroider in total).

A distraction has been a small infection--(my own fault)--an evening walk that included a short cut over a meadow a few weeks ago was pleasant—but it left me with a ring of bug bites round my ankles.. I scratched at a few, infected them as I did, and now I am playing catch up in getting them healed. They aren't less itchy with inflamation, either!

But all is not "progress going no where" —I have continued working on my my web page, especially the double knitting tutorial, and upgraded two recipes for pot holders into two real patterns.

One of the patterns, Windows, found on Ravelry, actually predates my joining Ravelry! Some one else added it. The second one, Steps has a Ravelry link to the Double knitting tutorial web page.
Both of these links are directly to the Double knitting tutorial.

There are several other pot holder patterns in the tutorial—all of them will eventually get upgraded –from sparse recipes, to full on, line by line patterns.

So that's what I have been doing—dribs and drabs, and nothing much—certainly nothing finished.. but soon...

Saturday, July 04, 2015


So a little bit of embroider last night, and a little more this morning, and a few little flowers are complete. My penciled outline is fading and rubbing off as I work, but that's OK—it was just a guideline. My flowers (and feathery leaves) are free hand.  The whole project is  almost a sampler of stitches. Daisy stitch, and satin, french knots (plain and ones with tails) even a few little bullion stitches make up the bouquet so far.

The trick is to start at the toe (the hardest to do) and then as you work your way towards the tongue, things get easier and easier. I have already added a few more colors—and will likely add more still...and more stitches, too. Some couched stitches, and some seed and double seed. More bullion stitches, more satin. More leaves too, and some stems to fill in some of the white space—though some will be left.  

Some tools are needed—First an assortment of flosses (and I am being lazy and using all 6 strands of floss at once), plus some embroidery/crewel needles, a scissors, a thimble and small pair of needle-nose pliers. Those last two are a real MUST. Sneaker canvas is heavy, and it is hard to work the needle from the inside. As much as possible, I go down, (into the sneaker) and then reposition the needle so it comes right out again. Grabbing the needle with the pliers makes this type of sewing possible.  If you don't know how to do emboider, a small booklet would be plenty--The whole bouquet could have been done in lazy daisy, or its variations (herring bone is really just a lazy daisy variation, as is blanket stitch)--Personally i like french knots--I think each one looks like a little bud or mini flower.. Clusters of french knots, make great flowers.

The flowers are perfect. Not perfectly even, but with some small irregularities. The embroidery has some small errors, too—but the final results (or even now with just partial results) look fine. Unless you have some one prostrating them selves at your feet, no one is going to notice small imperfections, These are not heirloom work—Embroider on sneakers is ephemeral.... Here today, and gone in a few years—a bit of fun and personalization that isn't expected to last through the ages.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

All Over the Place!

 I still haven't picked my blue socks back up—but I have knit a few (unsuccessful) swatches--

And I have taken a skein of homespun (From Robyn Love) and made it into a cake for knitting up--
It is a beautiful skein—Baby Icelandic wool and baby alpaca—fine, soft and warm—and interesting. It start out a soft solid silver color, and evolves into a darker silver grey tweed. I love the evolution!

The plan (there is always a plan—even if for no other reason than to deviate from the plan!) is to start at the back, and work a medallion in the back—with silver—and then at some point, bind off some stitches, work some stitches (onto a holder) bind off more, and finally work the last quarter—turning the center squarish medallion into a rectangle.

At some later point, I will stop and work the stitches on the holder, making the starting medallion center back. I have done book markers, knit from number 3 pearl cotton this way—but never a shawl. So it will be a first—but its a good compromise—I love lace worked in the round, and I love rectangular shawls.. so this way I get both.

I've done other stuff besides knitting, too. Some of it a case of “if you say A”— It started when a light bulb failed. So I planned to change it. Finding the right bulb involved clearing and cleaning a shelf in the utility closet. Changing it meant I had to move some furniture. While the furnature was out of place, I cleaned the baseboard and floor. There were some cobwebs in the light fixture, too, so more cleaning. The table cloth (on the end table that was moved) came off, and got put in the wash, and got washed—there is always laundry to do!

While I was at it, a beautiful photograph I had received as birthday present—last year, not this one—That I had finally gotten around to framing (earlier this year) - needed to be hung up. So more stuff got moved, so I could hang it up. As I did, I couldn't help but notice how dusting the windows and window ledges looks..So out came the glass cleaner, and while cleaning the glass, it made sense to add the sun filter film—which should have been put up a month ago—but hadn't been.

So a single light bulb evolved into a day or two of chores! Worse, there is nothing like cleaning up one corner of a room to make you notice how dusting and cluttered the other corners are.. and A leads to B, and B to C, and soon, there is a whole alphabet of work done--or to be done.  No, I didn't get any knitting done.. but there was a whole lot of work going on! Nothing big or special, just a light bulb to changed, that led to a mountain of things getting done!

Meanwhile, along with all the other stuff, I did get to my sneakers. I started by adding a lightly drawn design, and to sort through my skeins and skeins of floss to make a selection for my sneaker bouquets.

The bouquets will be daisy loops, and satin centers, clusters of french knots, and bullion stitch rose buds. There will be satin stitch and herringbone stitch leaves, and stems of, (what else?) . Stem stitch. —lots of colors, and lots of flowers, in lots of different stitches. There are still holes to punch and metal eyelets to add, for the ribbons.

This design is a lot more planned and organized than the last pair I did (back in 2006,) Who knows what the next pair will look like a decade from now.. (and thinking about it, I have embroidered sneakers about once a decade since my teens--) I love the look, and they last a few years, (and I forget what a pain they are to do..)

Embroider is something that comes and goes in my life—another childhood craft that I still practice.
I suspect i will do more of it the next few years--I embroidered details on my clothes, and on my daughters clothes, and likely will do the same for my granddaughters!

Finally, I got to the main branch of the library, yesterday, and filed for my NYC ID card..It won't be here for a few weeks, but at least it is now on the way!

So--I have been busy--and I will get back to my knitting.. but not today.