Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jacob's wish is my command. . .

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thank you, Queen Susan

OK, so I know I sound like some weird-o, but I have to say that, once again, Susan B. Anderson had the answer I was looking for!  Shocker, I know.  I was sitting in the living room watching "Last Comic Standing" and began to daydream about what could be the answer to my horrible stitching dilemma.  Suddenly, I flashed back to the cuteness of the Dream Catcher Baby Blanket.  On her Spud and Chloe blog, dear, lifesaving Susan posted videos on how to do the mattress stitch and how to stitch bound off edges with cast on edges.  At last!  I can now go to bed and have some dream catching of my own.  I'll post as soon as the seams are finished so that you all can "ooh" and "aah" about my glorious seams. 

Birthday Dress Drama

Somebody talk me down!  I'm on the ledge, ready to cut with scissors.  It all started with a trip to ravelry.com; doesn't it always start that way!  The best laid plans of mice and knitters, I suppose. 

As I said, I had gone to Ravelry looking for inspiration.  My daughter's first birthday is coming up in July and I really wanted to make her the perfect dress to mark the occasion.  I found my muse in the Child's Glamour Dress.  With the word "glamour" in the title, I just knew it was the one.  If you're not familiar with this pattern, it knits from the bottom up in two pieces, but as I am currently worshipping at the alter of Elizabeth Zimmermann,  I am too good for the flat knitting of the plebes, I ONLY knit on circulars.  So, off I went. 

The skirt portion is intended to be knit entirely in feather and fan pattern which is quite adorable, but wasn't giving me the look I was going for with my Knit Picks Felici self striping yarn.  So, I decided to just have the feather and fan as a decorative edge and knit the rest of the skirt in stockinette.  Once I finished the skirt, I was feeling pretty smug.  I was convinced I was a master knitter now.  After all, I'd watched ALL of EZ's Knitting Workshop cds.  Here is what the skirt looked like:

Now comes the bodice. Being that I've never knitted a bodice before, I was not confident in how to translate the pattern into circular.  (EZ gold badge getting a little rusty at this point).  So, I knit the front half rather nicely and ditto for the back.  I really liked how the yarn gave thicker stripes for the top.  My ego was slowly returning.
Now, the time had come to knit together the selvages of the bodice.  To my obsessive / compulsive horror, the front stripes and back stripes did not match up exactly!  Argh!  I decided to chill at this point and told myself that it would add to the charm of the "glamour" dress.  Ok, so now all I had to do was seam up the selvages of the bodice.  Herein lies my nightmare.  Those selvages ripped off my golden Master Knitter badge and stomped all over my knitted heart.  Every time I seamed them up, they ended up with holes next to the seams.  Check it out:
Now, rather than knitting happily into the sunset, I must spend the next . . . however long. . . figuring out how to fix this problem.  What do you think?  Kitchner?  That's the direction I'm headed in now.  Help me fellow knitters. . . you're my only hope. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First Time's a Charm

I have to start off by saying that I absolutely love making things.  I've always been crafty of sorts.  Every summer for the past 10 years, I've decided to take on a new craft and master it or at least gain a decent amount of working knowledge on the subject.

I attempted cross stitch but the x's kept getting BIGGER and BIGGER because I don't have the patience that one needs to cross stitch well.  If anyone needs a kitchy little sampler of capitol X's, I'm your huckleberry.  Perhaps those in the moonshine industry could use my services for their jugs.  By the way, does anyone still make moonshine these days?  It sounds so edgy, doesn't it. . . moonshine.

Another summer, I tried painting but with a toddler running around the house, having the time to completely wash oil base paint off one's hands with turpentine  before touching children just wasn't there.  I had to have free hands in an instant for the inevitable "don't put your toy in the light socket" toddler tackle.  I don't know about your kids, but my kids are so darn fast!  It sometimes seems that they're going in fast forward headed towards that light socket while I'm running pathetically in slow motion with Chariots of Fire playing in the background saying, "Noooooooooooooo!"

Jewelry making was a fun summer.  It was so much fun going downtown to Harwin Street where one can haggle their little heart out to get things rather cheaply.  I read one time in a flea market how-to book that one should arrive at said flea market wearing their oldest, rattiest clothes, no jewelry and carrying only cash.  Apparently, one doesn't want to look like they have money in order to get the best deal.  The true flea market aficionado will look homeless or like a cast member of "Hee Haw" with teeth blacked out while they're opening their wallet to pull out $400 cash to buy an antique table for the cardboard box that they supposedly live in.

For me, jewelry making was about the gathering of the berries stones.  I spent countless dollars buying really neat semi-precious stones, but by August, I realized that I really don't like to wear jewelry very much.  My husband says that he wished I'd had that epiphany in early June.  I told him that one can't control epiphanies, they come when they come and sometimes at inopportune times.  He responded with something clever, but that shall be left out of this discussion.  You can take the boy out of seventh grade. . .

The Summer of Quilts was pleasant.  While I'm not a great seamstress, I can sew a mean square.  I made a yellow and cream gingham quilt for my grandmother (more fun stuff about her in future posts) and an American flag quilt for my son.  He is so silly in that whatever craft is in season for that summer, he suddenly has always wanted me to make him one of those.

This is how that conversation usually goes.  I've created a template for it because it is pretty standard.  Just insert the name of the craft du jour in the blanks.

Jacob:  "Mommy, what are you doing?"
Me:  "I'm learning how to _____."
Jacob:  "Hmmmm."
Me:  "Hmmm?  What do you mean, hmmm?"
Jacob:  "Oh, nothing.  It's just that I've always wanted you to make me a _____ but you're always so busy doing stuff."
Me:  (sigh) "What kind of ______ do you want?"

This conversation is then followed by him excitedly bringing  me a pad and pen so that I can write down the details of his order.  Does this sound familiar to anyone else?  Too funny.

Anyhow, as I mentioned in my About Me section, I first dabbled in the dark art of knitting on a road trip in the fall, but this one stuck.  With most crafts, I have limited my allowable obsession time to the summer when I'm not teaching (Did I mention I was a teacher?), but Knitting would not do what it was told.  It's very naughty that way, Knitting.  I kept telling it, "Now Knitting, you know that I am seeing other crafts.  Sure, we can have some fun this summer, but after that, we both have to go back to our real lives.  I'm not an exclusive kind of craft girl, Knitting."  Knitting suggested that we just take it slowly and see where the road takes us.  I agreed.  That summer was lots of fun.  We went to restaurants together, to the park and even to the movies.  We had a great time!  August arrived and with it came the strangest sensation.  "I don't want our summer to be over, Knitting, but school will be starting again next week and it's time to say goodbye.  Sure we had a good time, but we knew it had to end."  I looked one last time at those sad, lonely bamboos and I could swear that they seemed to say, "Just one more hat and I promise I'll let you go."  I agreed.  Surely just ONE more hat wouldn't hurt, and since I'm making just ONE more hat, I should at least make it a skill builder.  Why not go out with a bang.  Enter Chile Con Yarne's Cupcake Hat stage left.

Now I don't know about you, but when I discovered Ravelry and then saw this hat, it is as if a light shone down from the heavens with a full choir singing "Hallelujah".  One cannot discover Ravelry and then say goodbye to Knitting for 9 months.  It's simply not possible.  Right then and there, I got down on one knee, quickly Emily Ocker-d a ring and placed it on those sweet size 7 bamboos and settled down right then and there.

Every crafter that I know has had their seasons of sewing those crafty wild oats, but when you find The One, you just know.  You . . . just. . . know.  By the way, don't even get me started about when I discovered the queen of the Itty Bitty, Susan B. Anderson.  Those nesting boxes were my first true knitting baby.  I was like Julie and Julia with Itty Bitty Toys.  Love Susan!!!!

Anyway, enough is enough, more prattling later.