June 17th, 2008 | 3 Comments »

Who knew that I was a capable seamstress? Based on the string of foul words that came out of my mouth the last time I attempted to sew something with a machine, I would have never dreamed it possible. Apparently, the right tools make all the difference in the world! I recently acquired a loverly NEW sewing machine from John Olin and Margaret (hi there folks!) and it looks something like this:

Singer Esteem say hello to the world. This thing is truly wunderbar. The first very important item of business was to fill out the warranty card, you know, just in case you monkey strength the thing and have to have something, er, replaced. (I didn’t do that by the way, but it has been known to happen to other appliances, like the Cuisnart.)

Then you can sew. Once I got through the basics I was ready to rock and roll, the Singer Esteem (don’t you just love that?) is a MUCH nicer machine than the one I inherited a few years ago, but in all fairness, it was a 50 year old dinosaur of a machine so it is like comparing apples to fossilized apples or something. my Esteem is light weight, easy to understand and it sews like buttah. I lined my rosebud bag and finished it last night! It took two tries, but I made lemons into lemonade. My first lining was much too small, so I made a second, better lining, and the first became a snazzy hidden side pocket see?

Notice the stripes in the pocket and in the bag go opposite ways, let us pretend I did that on purpose (I like the effect though) I also used my zigzag feature because that is how I roll. And here is the finished bag on the outside:

All in all, not a bad project. The actual knitting was done in a flash, then add about 2 hours to sew on all the roses, leaves and insert the handles and another 2 hours (give or take) to do a lining. I am very pleased with my new summer bag!  Hey, thanks Jenny for the pattern suggestion, and again to John and Margaret for the snazzy new machine and of course, I’d like to thank the academy…

June 29th, 2007 | 3 Comments »

Again, I’ve made “Amanda’s Squatty Sidekick.” I don’t know what came over me with this pattern, I just loved the shape so much, I’ve used three different yarns and have been very pleased with each result, and I suppose I needed to share the sidekick love with some friends that would appreciate it. It really is a great little bag.

3rd Sidekick Before Felting:

You can see here where I totally spazzed on the pattern on Monday, I was enjoying the SNB company at Inman Perk so much I didn’t bother to read the pattern- why would I need to after making so many? I did a garter bottom instead of stockinette (oopsie). I was also using a gauge needle that was too big for the handspun- by about 2 1/2 sizes- but it was all I had with me and I was so far gone by the time I realized how badly I could be botching this bag, I just figured I’d go with it- what the heck- felting is forgiving, right?

After Felting:

Felting is VERY forgiving. I can’t even tell I made the mistake. In fact I had forgotten all about it until I was groggily sewing on the button this morning. And a big fat pishaw for gauge on this puppy, it felted up beautifully, too big needles or not. Yay for not ripping out this bag!

I can’t for the life of me remember the yarn I used- although I’m sure I have the band lying around somewhere. I bought it at Quilted Hearts last week, it is a handspun wool, mostly blue, with a few little “tweedy” effects- some bits of red, black and white- it gives it an overall denimy look. I dove into the button stash and surprised myself by really liking it paired with this gold button (it gives the casualness of the bag a little bit of “flair”). This is a gift for a very special friend, and I hope she likes it!

This ends my handbag (and probably felting) projects for a little while. This weekend, I’ll focus on that second baby sock, why not?

Have a lovely weekend!

June 21st, 2007 | 1 Comment »

I managed to finish the second squatty sidekick (insert sigh of relief here.)

It felted almost immediately to the perfect size. I put it in the dryer and zapped it for about 20 seconds to “inspire” the drying process. It was still relatively damp when I went to bed so I couldn’t wrap it as planned, but I had a gift bag that did the job perfectly. I know that I say that I won’t ever wait until the last minute again, but it always seems to happen. I’m in the middle of a pair of socks for a baby girl. Actually, she is a twin, so I should really make two pairs of socks, but you know what? I don’t like making socks. I knat on this project on the way to and from Memphis and made one stinking sock and the beginning of the cuff of the second. The baby is teensy, so I went down a needle size to 00 (I know, I had no idea they went down that small until recently) and I think I’d rather gouge my eyeball out with those size 00’s than finish those impossibly small and rather adorable socks.

I am currently working on some red fisherman hats for a Life Aquatic costume for me and some pals to wear at DragonCon this year. I didn’t take a photo of the work in progress because I’m not so used to the blog as a method of documentation of process.

But I do have a little more eye candy. Last week, I assisted my fella at an event for kids that required us to dress as pirates. The really good costume (Jack Sparrow) was the featured guest- the rest of us were fillers- some better than others (Foxy was an awesome Pirate- she kept stealing crayons from the kids.) My costume, however, was a hodge podge of my own clothes, and my pirate voice sounded most unfortunately more like Popeye the Sailor Man- albeit slightly less intimidating. Good times.

June 20th, 2007 | 3 Comments »

I wouldn’t categorize this as a “knitting blog,” as I fear that would be too much of a commitment. What would happen if I stopped knitting for a few weeks and made, I don’t know, a series of impossibly complex birthday cakes?

Such as the three cakes I made during a two week period this April:

I digress. I did just promise this would be my first (of many) bits of knitting content. Last night I pushed to finish another felted bag for my coworker’s birthday TOMORROW. The pattern is called “Amanda’s Squatty Sidekick” and I found it through Jenny (Hi Jenny) and Interweave’s Knitting Daily.

So, I was knitting away in bed (the living room had been taken over by video gaming men) and I was watching a fascinating show about Amelia Earhart on the National Geographic Channel, and I literally fell asleep while knitting the handle of this bag. I woke up with a stockinette imprint on my cheek a little after midnight and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. Now, I am very nearly finished, just a kitchner stitch and the little flappy thing and button, but I have to felt the damn thing and have it finished as a gift tomorrow, and I just don’t know if it will be dry by morning. Of course I could wait and give it to her on Friday. But that would suck and make it look like I waited until the last minute. Which, I suppose I sort of did, but how was I to know how much I was going to love this bag? I gave it the prototype a test run last week in Memphis and it was the perfect travel purse (see photo). It held just the right amount of stuff and fit snugly and safely under my arm while I walked through crowds of people. It is the Goldilocks bag- not too big, not too small, but just right. It is, however, made of wool. I discovered quickly in the line to get on the shuttle at Graceland that when standing in direct sunlight with a big bundle of wool under your arm it does tend to make you… moist. Or feel like you are carrying a hairy cat in the sunshine.

Well, say a little prayer to the knitting goddesses that the new bag is dry and fabulous by morning! (photos to follow.)

Posted in Knitting