Thursday, July 30, 2009

Arm Flab Cozies

At a certain age, a woman's upper arms start to "flutter." That's the nicest way I can say it. I don't mind wearing sleeveless shirts and dresses around the house, but I don't go out in public that way.
The first arm flab cozy is a handspun linen Whisper Cardigan. I modified the pattern to suit my yarn, but I didn't take any notes. I enjoyed spinning the linen. It's a bit rough against the skin, but it's absorbent and cool to wear.
The second arm flab cozie is a top down raglan without a front. Sorry that the modeled photos shows bulging, sunburned cleavage. My husband was being sneaky when he took the picture. Bamboo actually feels cooler than bare arms. This shrug was my best friend in Korea.
The third one is a One Skein Wonder. I used the leftover cotton yarn from a skirt I knit last year. It's the warmest to wear, but I like it enough.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I made a hat

I knit a leaf beret. The pattern is from Melissa of fame. I modified it a bit because I wanted a beanie, not a beret. I didn't have the right yarn for a beret. Plus I have a huge noggin. I don't want to call more attention to the vast size and Charlie Brown-esque roundness of my giant head.
The yarn is some handspun I've had sitting around for over a year. I like the deep forest green with the leaf pattern. I love the look of the leaves in the bulky, bumpy handspun.
I've got a lot going on right now. Some good things are happening. I'm working on showing some of my work in a real, grown up gallery. I am really excited about this. It's nice to know that all the pain I've slogged through this year has been turned into something good. Validation is a great selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor. For reals.
I recorded a piece for Insubordiknit's podcast. I forgot how bad I sounded while I was battling my allergies this spring. I hope you take the time to listen to this podcast. It's all about fiber arts as therapy. You know I relate to that.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sewing Again

I've been inspired to sit at my sewing machine and make fun stuff again. I finally caught up on all of the old Threadbanger podcasts and couldn't wait to start. If you like crafting, you really should check them out.

The first thing I made this week is a pencil case for my 6 year old. If you can't tell, it's a puppy. I modified the zakka bunny pencil case from Zakka Sewing to suit Isabel. She loves it. Rather than pick apart my mistakes, I've decided to throw myself into making stuff without being critical. I'm enjoying. I think I might be relaxing. I can't be sure.

I've been sewing underwear, too. I used the Cheeky Panties pattern from Burda Style to recycle t-shirts. I have a stack of old tees ready to reconstruct. Apparently, any time I buy my husband a t-shirt he sneaks it downstairs to the GIVE AWAY basket. Meh. His loss is my gain.

I went to Joann's and bought some proper lingerie elastic. Even without the right kind, these knickers are wearable. I've made a few adjustments to the pattern to fit my booty. Now all I have to do is sew.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Celebrating my heterosexuality* with socks

*To all of my gay friends, I know you don't mind as long as we don't make out in public.

I know most of you prefer your socks to match--probably almost all of you do. If you love the symmetry of twin socks, I support that. Most of my handknit socks are heterosexual. Two socks give me two chances to making something unique and special.
I used to wonder why I think of socks as individuals. I think it comes down to two reasons. The first reason came from my second stepfather. He referred to sock mates as "brothers." I really hated that guy. Everyone knows that socks have mates. They pair bond like humans.
The second reason is probably that my dad is an identical twin. I was raised with the attitude that the more two people look alike, the more they are really exactly the opposite. I guess I've always thought that being exactly like something else is somehow bad or boring.
Maybe I'm just thinking about my marriage too much these days. I have to start a new life with my husband after being single for a year. How am I supposed to pick up the pieces of our old life? The thought of living together again is frightening.
I knit this sock couple from Knit Picks Risatta. It's probably the best elastic yarn I've used, but I don't really like elastic yarn--it splits and feels weird. One is knit from toe up, one cuff down. I made up the cable patterns as I went along.
Whatever their differences, these socks are mated.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lots of color

I bought some Red Heart sock yarn (Spring Stripe colorway) at Joann's a few months ago and forgot I had it. I threw it in my suitcase when I went to Korea to give it a test drive. I've been in a crocheting mood lately, so I decided to try out a Clapochet.

I've tried to crochet a Clapotis shawl a few times before. I had no idea that a pattern already existed. It was pretty easy and has the distinctive Clapotis diagonal stripe. I like it. I used almost exactly 3 skeins to get a smallish shawl. I am thinking of adding some buttons to make it convertible like Wisp.
My car needed to be washed very badly.I had my camera with me and got a few pictures. My daughter loves riding along. Her favorite part is the tri-color polish spray. I have to agree with her. Both of us love color.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shortening a toe-up sock

I finished my entrelac vacation socks. They are gorgeous, but too long. It's pretty easy to adjust sock length on cuff-down socks, but toe-ups and afterthought heels are a bit of a challenge. I'm never willing to unravel a whole sock to shorten it 2 cm and I'm not afraid of grafting, so I do surgery on my socks to get them just right.
I had a camera handy, so I decided to document my process.

The first step is to mark the sock where you want to shorten it. A locking stitch marker works great. Then you start picking up the entire row by putting the right leg of each stitch onto spare sock needles.

Lookin' good!

The you pick up a stitch one row above the picked up row and pull it until it's about an inch long. Cut this stitch. Now unravel the clipped row. I used a crochet hook to pull out the stitches. (It won't unravel the same way as regular knitting because you're working in the opposite direction. You'll need to pull the end though each stitch.)

Ah, that's better!

Now you graft the toe shut. You could use the tail you just unraveled, but I didn't want to deal with kinky yarn. I cut a new length of fresh yarn and wove in the ends.

Brand new toes! They fit.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I love lunch.

I came back from Korea obsessed with two things: crochet and cooking. Even though we are home for lunch every day, I've been packing the Korean version of bento, dosirak, like a mad woman. The fact that I have a daughter who love white rice more than any other food is only encouraging me. (The girl could live on rice balls.)

I want to share my love of lunch-packing with everyone, so I crocheted this little buddy for my friend's birthday.

All I had to do was crochet a square with cotton yarn. Then I added a few rows of mesh. I crocheted a few lengths of chain to thread through the mesh. When open, the square protects the diner's lap. When the chains are pulled tight, the lunchbox is safe and secure.

I found this box at Walmart for about $7. The lid can be frozen to keep food cool all morning. The silverware were included. The sides secure with clips and seem to be fairly sturdy.

I hope she likes it. I might consider making some more for Christmas. What would you think if someone gave you a lunchbox as a gift?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Catching up a bit

I'm in the mood for a bit of housekeeping, so I took a few pictures.

I worked on these entrelac socks on my many airplane and bus rides on vacation. I even took them out a few times on the subway. This was the perfect project to bring with me. Sock knitting will always remind me of Korea. They had many stores dedicated to fancy, cute socks. Since you have to take off your shoes a lot in Korea, you need nice socks.

I sewed this purse for my trip. I wanted a crossbody bag that would keep my hands free. I made a zippered interior pocket to protect my passport, money, and boarding passes. (I lose things easily and it was a relief to know that they were safe and sound.)

I got the fabric at Joann's with a 40% off coupon. I really loved the colors. I got more compliments on this bag than anything I've ever made.

I also put a pocket on the strap for my iPod or camera. It was really handy. The pleats on the outside were an accident. I cut the lining too small. I love the look of the gathering. I plan to make other bags with deliberate pleats.

Months ago, I joined the Phat Quarter ATC Swap. I got my package late because the artist lives in England. The card she sent me was funny, a little sad, and very pretty. I was really honored to receive this.
Her packaging was also a treat. She wrapped everything, including some vintage buttons on a handmade card, in sewing patterns. Then she tied it all together with floss and a big button. It was such a treat to open a package like that. I am really inspired by Megan to pay more attention to how I mail things. There is no reason to be plain and boring.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I am back from Korea. I had a marvelous time. Eventually I need to sort out everything I did and saw. I actually got some crafting done. I didn't actually finish anything, so I won't blog about it until I do.

I bought some bento lunch boxes in Seoul. My new hobby is packing cute little lunches to eat outdoors. I hope your summer is as great as mine!