Thursday, June 24, 2010


I'm in the SewHappy bib challenge! 

I completed this bib with the topstitching method.  The back is solid blue dots.  It matches one of the self-binding baby blankets I made recently (which had trains on one side, dots on the other and the binding).  I used cotton flannel and all-cotton batting.

This one isn't complete, so it probably won't make it into the challenge -- I got the wrong kind of bias tape.  (I could make my own, but I'd have to buy fabric specifically for it, as I don't have enough matching fabric, so it's cheaper -- well, it is if I buy the right kind -- to buy it.)  It's leftovers from the recent baby quilt (scroll down a few posts) -- alternating cotton and cotton flannel.

This is the back.  I'll be using brown bias tape around the edges. 

I'll also make embellished burp cloths (from prefold cloth diapers) with the rest of my scraps.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Grandmother Quilt

I did it -- I went to Sunflower Quilts and got a quilt kit, as I mentioned below.  My dental hygienist sent me there, which entertains me.  Had great fun at the shop, and last Saturday made these four blocks (not perfect, as the corners really aren't exact, but I'm very pleased), and yesterday made four more.

I'm always impressed by the women who can apparently do everything.  With a full-time job, getting home after 6:30, a husband who likes to eat dinner together, and an 8:30 bedtime, on my days off I can either make stuff or do housework/buy groceries/etc.  But the people who do both, and have kids, impress me.  I approve of homeschooling, and, if we weren't in a place full of good schools that I can trust, we might consider it if necessary, but I don't have the self-discipline and organization to do that.  I taught high school, and in a parochial school where we came up with our own lesson plans and lectures (none of that cushy stuff that some of my friends in public schools have -- and that I've seen/used when subbing at public schools, where your lectures and lesson plans are all pre-made by some syndicate!  (And yes, I know, not all public schools do that -- but some very highly-ranked and highly-regarded ones do)), and it was certainly a lot of work!  I certainly can't understand single mothers who homeschool (respect them, yes, but grasp how their lives function, no) -- if you're also having to earn a living for you and your children, how do you do it and also manage to teach multiple levels of children and stay with them all day?  The 1990s Supermom (who had a high-powered job, ran a perfect house, and raised perfect children with no hired help) stereotypically ended up on speed for a reason, I think! 

But, that said, my goals for the rest of the day:
-bring the workbasket downstairs to corral some of the loose knitting/clothing repair projects
-3 loads of laundry
-find books that are owed to various people (good thing working at the library means no late fees!)
-go to post office (across the street)
-grocery/gas (Costco?)
-plan meals for the next 2 weeks
-water plants (and, if enthusiastic, mow as well)
-call AT&T to figure out why the TV won't work
-only if all else is finished: play!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cricut sale!

Cricut sale -- this is a serious sale!  I'm tempted... although I suppose it's still out of my price range, and I'd probably never use it...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Baby hat

So many pregnant friends... one's due in October and wants hats, so here's a sweet one with laceweight mohair blend from Yarnorama in Paige, TX, my favorite store (if only it were closer!).(Ravelry link.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Baby quilts

I've never been good at coming up with colors and fabrics that go well together, and I've always been a sucker for kits of any kind (Himself knows the way to please me -- get me sets or kits or samplers!)  So, when I saw these baby quilt sets at Joann's, I had to get them.

2 friends, one pregnant, one I just found out adopted a newborn five months ago.

I do like the way these turned out.  The doggy quilt is backed with the faces from the center top and bottom panels; the duck quilt is backed with the blue dotted flannel.

I especially like that there's no binding involved, just like the self-binding baby blankets I like making.  No batting either, which I don't mind using, but batting is expensive.  Just turn and handstitch the opening closed.  I don't like handstitching either, and I think it looks better with topstitching anyhow, so I topstitch across the opening and all the way around.  A little stitch-in-the-ditch (nasty hard when one side of the ditch is yellow or brown plush!), and you're ready to go!

I'm thinking of making bibs or burp cloths with the extra fabric scraps.  We'll see.

Of course, what did I do but go out and buy a larger-sized actual (with-binding-and-batting) quilt kit for my grandmother for Christmas...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Christmas birds

Can't find the SD card (that happen to anyone else?), so: here's some pictures of little things I made for my cardinal-loving grandmother last Christmas. I love kits!
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Top-down short-row socks

(Pictures forthcoming!)

Back from New York (with the bride cross-stitch not yet finished...), and we went to a yarn shop in Tarrytown:  Flying Fingers

Got some nifty sock yarn and a teensy 8" Addi Turbo needle (I've been converted... there's a real reason they're more expensive; unlike Lantern Moon where I feel you're just paying for pretty, Addi's quality is worth it), and, as I have what I've recently seen described as "startitis," I just had to start my socks right away. 

Problem is, I didn't have a pattern.  I looked in one of the books they had for sale to get a concept of gauge (I don't know off-hand the circumference of your average sock), and I cast on 64 sts on my little size 1 needles, ribbed 1x1 for a while, then realized I didn't want to do any of the patterns I had in my own sock book (using to make something fancy for the kid brother) when I got back to the hotel.  I'm not a huge fan of heel-flap socks, and I agree with Himself that short-row socks "look like real socks," so I had to use my memory for a short-row pattern.  I really do prefer toe-up (use 2 balls, stop when you're finished, and you don't have to worry about running out of yarn -- if you've got too little yarn, you've got short socks!  Rather than having to have a different-colored toe...), but I'd already started, so had to go on from there (hate frogging unless something's become unusable).

So, here is a very generic short-row sock pattern, designed for the experienced knitter who understands the concepts of sock knitting:

co 64, join.

Ribbing: rib 1x1 for as long as you like ribbing.

Top of sock: stocking stitch for as long as you want the top of the sock. 

Short-row heel: k 1/2 a round (32 sts), turn; sl 1, p to 1 stitch short of the beginning of the round, turn; sl 1, k to 1 stitch short of the previous last knit stitch, turn; sl 1, p to 1 stitch short of the previous last purl stitch, turn; continue until there's 16 sts left on what you're working through.  Now do it in reverse: k to the first slipped stitch, k it, sl 1, turn, p through what you just did to the next slipped stitch, p it, sl 1, turn; repeat until you've worked across all 32 sts.

Body of sock: k around until your foot starts to taper.  (I never do the "2 inches before desired end of sock" thing -- it never works for me.)

Toe:  k until 3 sts before halfway around (29 sts at first), k2 tog, k 2, ssk, k until 3 sts before you reach the beginning of round, k2 tog, k1 (end of round), k1, ssk; continue, either alternating with k-all rounds or just repeating this decrease-four round (depending on how quickly your foot tapers!) until 6 sts remain.

Cast off with kitchener stitch. 

Wear your sock!

(Or, if you're not me, weave in ends and make the sock look pretty first, then wear it!)

One nice thing about top-down socks: they're easier to try on mid-sock than toe-up socks!