7.28.2012

Quilts Are Meant to Be Used

In the hot summer I try to find time to mend all of the socks and quilts. I know it is easy to keep that precious quilt in storage and save it. I do have some packed up, but for the most part I like to use them.

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Quilts are made by someone who has put a great deal of themselves into them. Picking out fabric and the pattern. Whether it is a scrappy quilt, made out of necessity with bits and pieces of leftover fabric. Or a special quilt, with new fabric picked out just for that project, they tell a great deal about the person that made them.

I made this quilt with random plaids and solids, with white strips in-between, I like that I didn’t have any rules to follow. I just cut and sewed. I almost never put all white or light color on the back of a quilt. If making it for a gift I tend to, but for myself, I love to use prints on the back, I didn’t take a photo of the back of this one, but it is a red, yellow thin stripe. I thought I looked good with the front.

012Scrappy strip quilt, fun to make, no rules

I haven’t made too many quilts, but I tend to really enjoy the scrappy ones. It allows me to make more decisions. Solid fabric, prints, checks, dots, flowers, and pattern also. Placement of the colors and design. With a few changes a fugly quilt can be made beautiful. This maybe due to the fact that my first attempt at a quilt was a crazy quilt, growing up in the 60’s and 70’s was a time when hand work was experiencing a revival. Getting together with friends, listening to rock music often was accompanied by several women working on a groovy crazy quilt, or granny squares. Crazy quilts, originally popular in Victorian times experienced a new popularity among the peace and love crowd. We made our crazy quilts with an assortment of velvets, blue jeans and vintage anything that we could cut up and use. Then used embroidery, buttons, lace, ribbon and just about anything else that struck our fancy for the seams, often no one had a sewing machine, and we just hand sewed them together, because, hey what was the hurry?

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I had a love affair with Amish Quilts and their lovely simplicity. I loved the black against the distinct colors. This magical combo allowed the women to showcase their hand quilting skills

BetsyLydia2.6Modern Day Amish Quilter Betsy Lydia who makes quilts in the old way to sell.http://www.amishhandquilting.com/

Then I saw a special on PBS about the Quilts of Gee’s Bend, I fell in love with the earthy quilts

Gee's Bend is located in southwest Alabama on a sliver of land five miles long and eight miles wide, a virtual island surrounded by a bend in the Alabama River. Without a ferry service for decades, the residents were confined by the river unless they made the hour-long drive to the county seat of Camden, directly across the river from Gee's Bend

This small, remote, black community in Alabama, where works have been found by three and sometimes four generations of women in the same family, are quite unique. Few other places can boast the extent of such artistic achievement, the result of both geographical isolation and an unusual degree of cultural continuity.

They have a special beauty to them.

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Lola Pettway (b. 1941). "Housetop" variation. 1970s. Corduroy. 89 X 74 in (on left)

Jessie T. Pettway (b. 1929) Bars and string-pieced columns. 1950s. Cotton. 95 X 76 in.(on right)

No matter if you quilt is a simple pattern, ornate, applique or scrappy, it is equally loved and beautiful. Made with the same amount of care and love, take you quilt and give it a big hug.

Interested in learning more about quilts and making quilts? Check out Quiltville, it is the Ravelry of quilters.

7.25.2012

Cool DIY’s, Recycle that Shirt!!

I love DIY’s, here are a few that caught my eye….

From SeeKateSew, I love this tutorial on how to make a great looking hoodie from a mens sweatshirt, I’ve seen these for sale on Etsy! Thanks Kate!!

From MadeByLex a tutorial on making a Peasant Blouse from a Man’s shirt, very good looking and cool to wear!

From TalkToTheTrees, a great looking Tee shirt dress with fabric with around 6$, so cute, so many options!

 

From SecretLifeOfABioNerd on youtube a tutorial on how to make Summer Bandeau Bra!! Cute and breezy, there is also another version of this that is twisted in the front, see below

bandeau bra

No Sew Cut out Heart Tee shirt from MoreLisa on youtube

I would probably make the heart cut out a little smaller, but very cute!!

nosew heart tee

Get creating!crafty_4

7.21.2012

Iced Sweater from Knitty DONE!!!

Yay! This definitely was a slog-a-long! I started it in July of 2010 and finished it in July of 2012. Sound the horns, where is my knitting tiara!!

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But in my defense it was a long road. I had many gauge issues, due to using a yarn that was thick and thin (Colinette Point Five in the colorway Cardinal,) bought, of course for another pattern, then frogged, (see this post).  Now this yarn is a beautiful, hand painted yarn, which is why I bought it, but I detested knitting with it. It seemed to suck all of the moisture out of my hands, (this may just be me). So I had to knit in small increments of time. The skeins are only 55 yds in 100 gms, so I had a crazy strategy of using multiple circular needles to knit it with. I had one circular at the collar, and bottom, and one circular on each sleeve. (gauge issue post here)

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I had the body done, kept the live stitches on all of my circular needles and figured, due to my limited number of balls of yarn, I would knit the essential parts of the pattern first, I decided I could make it into a vest if necessary. This involved me knitting a couple of rows here and a couple there, with 4 balls attached. I was pleased to finish the collar and decided I could make the sweater short if necessary, but ended up getting it a good length. From there I progressed to the sleeves, I had 4 balls and decided to knit until they were gone. Two rows on one sleeve then the other. Hey I could do an odd length of sleeve in between wrist and elbow. Well, by the time I ran out of yarn, it was just above the elbows, Ick, (another post here, you can see my many circular needles attached, ha!)

By that time the yarn colorway was discontinued! Ugh!! I shopped and shopped, consulting many LYS employees and fellow knitters, what color/yarn could I finish my sleeves in? After much gnashing and grinding of teeth, it was decided that I had to have more of the original yarn.(search for matching yarn post here)

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So with help from some great knitters on Ravelry and Knitters Review, I was pointed to an Ebay seller in the Netherlands that had 4 skeins. I bit the bullet and bought two more. I didn’t want to put more money into this sweater but was” all in” at this point to finish it.

It took about 3 weeks to get the extra skeins and they were indeed the correct color and matched great!

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At that point all I had to do was finish the sleeves. You will not believe the amount of yarn I had left over!!

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I’m very, very happy with the results! Love the yarn, it is so bulky, I think I will wear this as a sweater coat.

The sweater in the pattern has toggle closures, I haven’t decided what to put on mine yet!

As an aside here is my hair with color 006 - Copyone year ago at my brothers wedding. As you can see now, my hair is totally grown out. No color, liberated from the bondage of every two weeks of coloring it!

7.19.2012

Things I’d like to Make….

Since I’ve been juicing, I’ve found it is good to have an apron. It is fickly hard to find one. So I was pleased to find Tipnut, has links to almost 100 free apron patterns!! From plain and manly to ruffles!

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From CluckCluckSew, her Strip and Flip Baby Quilt, great to use up some scraps of fabric or just buy some random colors that you like!

Rainbow Strip and Flip Quilt Tutorial

Congrats Lynn from ColorJoy for getting into Knitty, Check out her lovely fun socks! She is a wiz at combining color into patterns! Visit her blog for more cool patterned colorful fun!

Crystal

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Try some Needle Felting with this classic looking blanket! Thanks to A Beautiful Mess!

DIY Needle Felted Blanket

Get Crafty!

7.16.2012

This and That….

Update on Syd, post surgery he got a seroma, about the size of a grapefruit, which then involved a drainage tube being inserted. Fun!  A lot of drainage, but better out than in. So I spent my weekend doing laundry and cleaning up after dribbles. But his side looks quite a bit better now that all of the fluid is out!

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Sometimes it is good to be lazy!

I did get some knitting done. Working on my Dummy Clap Shawl, it is super east and fast. I’m knitting it with some Brown Sheep in a pound cone from my stash,  the yardage looks like it is 1400, in a deep maroon, beautiful yarn, and lovely to work with. It is Top of The Lamb. See link for information on this yarn, I would use it again. I’m already trying to track some down, I believe I bought at a weaving shop. It would be lovely in a shawl.

From Brown Sheep Company about Top of the Lamb yarn, This single ply 100% USA grown wool yarn was expressly designed and dyed in colors that could be woven in rugs by the Navajo Nation.  It is still spun today in both worsted and sport weight in almost the same colors that were selected in the beginning.  If you have ever had the privilege of owning a rug from the Navajo Nation there is a good chance that it was woven from Top of the Lamb.

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It is good to be knitting again, especially when I have company, Syd and Penny like to sit with me while I’m knitting. I promised Syd I’d knit him a sweater, he is so used to putting on his tee shirt to cover his boo boo.

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I did swatch for the Zuma Tumic from the Custom Knits 2 Book, I’m using some hand dyed yarn.

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But I promised myself I would finish the Iced sweater before I cast on, how silly of me, I only have about an inch on each sleeve and I stalled out. Now that I pull it out and look at it, I’m impressed and like it better than I thought I would. It will be a very warm sweater/coat.

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More on that later, now that we are back from the vet, drainage tubing is out and it is time for a nap. Of course Penny has to keep on eye on things.

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Keep Knitting….

7.10.2012

Wouldn’t You Like to Be Knitting Here…..

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Makes me think of a Beatles song! *grin*, it would be nice to be on a blanket with my knitting here, and a bottle of wine or a beer!

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I got a collection of hand dyed yarn out, and am trying to decide if I can knit it in a way that the top is lighter graduating into a darker blend on the bottom. I’m thinking of making the bottom design darker blue. More on this later…..Swatching now..

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Happy Knitting!!Yellow_Dragonfly

7.08.2012

Custom Knits vs. Custom Knits 2 by Wendy Bernard, Part I

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I am in love with top down and bottom up in the round construction for sweaters. Consequently I’m always on the look out for books that use this technique. Wendy’s Custom Knits came out around 2008. I purchased this book off of Amazon without being able to look through it. (I will buy in the round sweater books sight unseen, *grin*). I very much liked the style of the sweater shown on the front cover.

I expected this book to be a bit more user friendly for beginning knitters. (like Elizabeth Zimmerman books, she takes you by the hand and leads you through the process if needed, otherwise knit on), I do like her advice of finding styles that work for you, look at the bought sweaters that you own, and flatter you. My favorite is her “reality checklist” for picking a pattern out. I am especially guilty of seeing a photo of a women in a field of flowers, who looks nothing like me, wearing a lovely sweater and have to buy this pattern and yarn. If you follow her checklist, it will eliminate some heartbreak and problems with your knitting. She walks us through ease, choosing yarn, size, taking our measurements and even making your own dress form, if you wish.

Wendy puts the chapter at the end of the book that explains “elements to alter”, so after picking your pattern out, you need to read this section, especially if you are a newbie to knitting sweaters.

Her patterns, and many others do this, say for example, knit x number of rows and then start the cuff,  for the sleeve, body etc.. instead of knit for 15 inches, or your arm length etc.. This can be a problem, when knitting a top down sweater this is one of the greatest things, try it on as you go, and you will know what is going on, and where to tweak the pattern, before you get into a big muddle. She does mention this on her first page, but for anyone not familiar with this style of knitting,she could emphasize this a bit more.

I was leery, of several of the patterns due to the photos, the armpits appeared bunched up on the models,(I don’t see that she covers this fit problem in her alterations, Elizabeth Zimmerman does, and you would want to add an inch or so before you start the arm to give it more underarm ease), and she favors cardigans that don’t close in the front, (looks good if you aren’t busty), just be aware of this if you want your sweater fronts to come together and plan for some alterations.  The Round Yoke cropped cardigan on p. 104 looks very ill fitted on the model, if it looks bad on the model, I’m not gonna knit it.  However, if you view it in some Ravelry queues it looks much better on some average knitters.

I did knit one pattern from the book, I bought it to knit the pattern on the front, but ended up knitting the Lion-Neck Cardigan. I did have a number of starts and stops and alterations, thanks to the Ravelry knitters, I was able to get some advice, and finally scrapped the ruffle, which I thought gave the sweater it’s cool and innovative look, and just added a shawl collar. That made it into a normal shawl collar sweater, which I do wear and very much like. But I wish the ruffle would have worked out.

Below is the Lion Neck cardigan, Whoa, I don’t have that color hair anymore, and I’m a few pounds lighter. *grin*.

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I would still like to knit the sweater on the front of the book which is Updated Old Classic. A round yoke Fair Isle pullover, with a lace across the front, and bell sleeves. After looking at this book I find this is almost the same pattern that is shown on the front of Custom Knits 2, with a few minor differences. Overall I liked her first book, but think it is better for a intermediate knitter and not a beginner.

The one thing I have learned in my years of knitting, before you start, look the pattern up in Ravelry and read the comments of the knitters who have are in the process of knitting it. This is a great community, and I’ve gotten so many helpful tips from them!

See Errata for Custom Knits patterns here

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Coming soon: Review of Custom Knits 2 Book by Wendy Bernard

7.06.2012

Make Your Own Body Butter Bars and Knitting

I promise I’ll get to back to knitting content soon! I have frogged my DummyClapShawl, I originally thought I wanted a larger, lose gauge, but decided since the finished product will have dropped stitches to create the lacy areas, they would be too large and prone to getting caught on everything.

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From this (above left) to this (above right), yes that’s better!

In addition I decided to use this yarn (I think) for a sweater (Zuma Tunic), Pattern from Custom Knits 2 (book review to come soon) by Wendy Bernard. I have Wendy’s first book, Custom Knits, if you have that one, I would say the 2nd book is a must! Very helpful she has extensive info on how to alter patterns, both for fit and to add and delete different components of the pattern.

In the meantime, I am in a constant search for products for dry skin, hair and nails. A relatively new development for me. I’ve always had oily skin so have been very oil phobic. It has been hard to see oil as a good and necessary thing.

I found the Body butter bars: a “lotion” in bar form that you rub on your body after a shower/bath, and then blot yourself dry. Heaven, best one is from Lush King of Skin. But I’ve heard you can make these yourself. I found some tutorials….let me know if anyone has made them, I’d love to know if it is worth the trouble or I should just go on buying them.

 

Some of my favorite products I’ve found along the way, (lots of them your ideas, Thanks to all of you!)

HAIR: After letting my hair color grow out, and being shocked at how white it was *gasp*. I was horrified and then disappointed that it wasn’t all white. It is still a mix in the very back. If you have gray/white hair, (or you do and you color it) conditioning it is the way to make those crazy, wiry, curly white hairs soft and manageable.

My favorite deep conditioners are: Ojon Damage Reverse Instant Restorative Hair Serum, this is my HG, I was intrigued with this product and finally bought it (didn’t want to pay the $$ for it, but it lasts for a long time, hair isn’t greasy, just soft and shiny, LOVE IT!!,  Argan Oil Deep Penetrating mask (I like this one from Sally’s Beauty), also Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Keratin Intensive Hair Treatment.

Daily conditioning: I like to add a smoothing product, I’ve tried everything from John Frieda Frizz Ease to Argan Oil, among other oils and smoothers. Trial and error here, I’d say buy the smallest bottle to try, and start with a small amount, you can always add more. Also if you have blonde or white hair, look at the color of the product, anything with a yellow caste can be deposited on your hair. Current favorite: One and Only Argan Oil Treatment, and also John Frieda Sheer Blonde Dream Creme Instant Silkener,(hard to find)

Protection from sun/surf: Only one I’ve tried but love, John Frieda Beach Blonde Life Preserver Hair Conditioning Oil, I got mine at Target.I’ve heard many people say they love the Orofluido Elixir is wonderful, it does have a yellowish cast to it, so I’ve not tried it.

Face: Currently I’m using St. Ives Moisturizing Olive Cleanser, also like DHC cleanser. I am still on a search for a good moisturizer with SPF in it. I’m using Skin 79 BB cream and love it. Also layer on some glycerin at night.

Lips: Can’t keep them from splitting and cracking. Tried every chap stick like product I’ve seen even Vaseline. Best so far is Carmex, and the old fashioned chap stick that smells funny. Still searching

SKIN: Ick, Wash with a gentle cleanser for body. I’ve tried numerous body washes, one of my favorites is CeraVe hydrating Cleanser.also good St. Ives Body Wash Creamy Coconut Triple Butters:

Lotions:  I’ve resorted to putting on the more expensive at night, and layering products. I always have a lotion, cream on first, topped off by an oil to seal it in. Often times using something thicker on top of this (at night) on my elbows/knees/hands. Favorite products: Savannah Bee Royal Jelly Body Butter, Cheaper daily moisture Curel Continuous Comfort Fragrance Free Moisture Lotion.

All around super helper for lips (not tasty and doesn’t stay on), knees, elbows, heels, and hands, great and available everywhere, I discovered or rediscovered Aquaphor, it comes in tubs, and tubes, I always have some in my purse, car, etc. Warning: this is uber greasy, but works.

For cracks on knuckles: This was introduced to me by my husband, a carpenter, who’s hands are thick with calluses and short a couple of finger tips. Krazy glue, yes it works great, I work at the hospital and can’t have open cuts on my hands. Krazy glue makes them stop hurting and allows them to heal fast, and they are not open to infection. My favorite kind has a brush in it, easier to control. Good for all kinds of boo boos.

krazy glue with brush.

Get your pointy sticks out!!NeverPokeMadPeople

7.04.2012

Happy 4th Of July

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I know it is a little late to start, but if you are headed out to a picnic or family gathering you might need a festive article to knit or craft, all free patterns!

-Free Ravelry download Uncle Sam hat for your pooch! Hey you can get this one done today no problem! (crochet)

-I adore this mini red, white and blue sock pin! Although I don’t think I could get it done in time! Pattern by Kathy North

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-Knitted American Flag 9” x 7'” finished size by Dori Johnson  (knit)

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-4th of July PotHolder, by by Priscilla Hewitt, you can get this done for the Hostess! (crochet)

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-American star coasters, can do!!

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So do some patriotic knitting!