Year of Projects: Week 34

All the yarny and non-yarny things.

One of my best besties is getting married next month. We’ve known each other since college, and have had SO MANY ADVENTURES together! I was thrilled and honored to be asked to be a bridesmaid and was over the moon excited when her mom asked if I could put together her bridal shower. This has honestly been taking up a LOT of my creative energy lately. This past week was prep to the max. I found time to knit and crochet, but the shower (held yesterday) took up almost all of my headspace.

We held an outdoor Tea Party, with 7 total guests. She was COMPLETELY surprised!

Table Set-up.

The day started out with torrential rains that ended by morning, and the afternoon was clear, SUNNY (so bloody sunny), and warm. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a MORE perfect day! I forgot to wear sunblock, so now I’ve got some interesting tan lines.

Yes, I’m outside. Yes, I’m wearing a mask.

The only pictures I took were of her opening gifts, and a couple pictures of the table set. I forgot to take a picture of the cakes I made all decorated and plated. I topped each cake with raspberries. The cake is a vanilla cream cake baked in ramekins, and the icing is an “ermine frosting”, also known as a boiled milk frosting. I couldn’t get the frosting consistency QUITE right, but gosh darn: IT WAS GOOD. I also made some Rosemary Butter Cookies and they were bagged for favor gifts in addition to the truffles from a local business: The Perfect Truffle (they ship!).

Also no pictures, but I was able to get vaccinated this past Wednesday. The Mass Vax program in my state opened up to all residents a week ago. I was able to get registered, make and appointment and receive my shot in less than 72 hours. They were using the Johnson & Johnson one-shot that day. I don’t have a preference, so I was taking what they were offering regardless. I had a couple of weird hours on Wednesday, but mild overall.

Fiber Stuff, the REAL reason for YOP Updates

YOP list check-off: Kyyyyle. It’s done! I started it back in November. All the ends are wove in. Its washed. It needs to have its photo taken and be shipped to the recipient. I like it. With the slip stitch join, some of the blanket buckles, washing it helped a bit; still not perfect. I wasn’t about to take the thing apart and SC the squares together. My oven mitt used 3 balls of stash yarn. It’s been washed and dried a couple times: still too big and not felted enough, To be Continued. Started the solid version of the Justine blanket. This is a worsted held single, as opposed to a DK held double. The solid is more regular and intentional in its color and directional changes. It does highlight technique much easier than a very busy multi (which I still LOVE).

The Original. Totally different now that I really look at it. Drat.

And that’s it?

Phew, What a Week

This week hasn’t actually BEEN crazy, but it’s FELT crazy! I have had a LOT of errands to run this week, finished knitting up the oven mitt (its been washed 3 times now, still not done), started working on the Beta Version of the Justine Blanket, I’ve spent most of this afternoon in the kitchen (working on something I can share next week).

I also broke my 2 months of no yarn buying this morning- NO REGRETS. I have a few upcoming projects that I don’t have the materials for, and I got it all on sale at WEBS, including a yarn that screamed: TURN ME INTO A SWEATER. The yarn is a fairly large needle recommendation (a 9-11!), sometimes a quick knit calls your name. I finally found a chunky weight green yarn in an acrylic blend. It has been eluding me the past couple weeks. Seems everyone wants the same color green I need for one of aforementioned projects!

No pictures, but I got vaccinated on Wednesday! Monday came the statewide official announcement that COVID vaccines are available to all 18+. I signed up (Monday) via my state’s Mass Vax website, and was contacted the next day (Tuesday) to set up an appointment. I took the first available shot and time slot. The Johnson&Johnson 1-shot, the next day (Wednesday).
All the correspondence indicated that this was a drive-up site. It wasn’t. The signage was TERRIBLE, and then I got anxious and annoyed that I was going to be late because I had NO clue where I was going. I was fine, timewise.
Once I figured out where I was supposed to go, it was fine. No wait, I just kept moving through all the queues. All the RNs and healthcare professionals were FANTASTIC and personable , the nurse that administered my shot placed it just right (so I didn’t bleed like with my flu shot). The National Guard made sure everyone was guided to the right lines, had all their information, and were overall very helpful at the clinic.
I brought my crochet which was great for my 15min post-shot time. The crochet also helped me avoid any real discomfort at the injection site. My last tetanus shot was more painful than the COVID shot. I had mild side affects about 24 hours after my shot I was really disoriented, for about 2 hours. Then as suddenly as it started, it was GONE. I spent most of that time sitting on my back porch kinda crocheting, kinda zoning out and trying to keep getting up and doing stuff. Normal people would go lay down and take a quick nap. Today I feel fantastic, like a normal person.

Next week, the kids start back with Hybrid Learning. To call them excited is an UNDERSTATEMENT. My daughter is excited to show my son to his classroom on the first day and to see some of her friends and her teacher in the classroom. My son is excited to finally be at school with his teacher (who he has adored virtually) and meet a couple of his peers. I’m excited to get a couple hours in the morning where there could be SILENCE.

Year of Projects: Week 33

Sew you think you can craft?

This past week the kids had “Spring Break”. Since we are still in the grips of a pandemic, we stayed home. I got a LOT of sewing done. I finished 18 placemats. I chronicled them in four separate posts last week(Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 3.2). This checks off a task on my YOP list!!

Ta-da!

For those keeping track, this completes one sewing task on my YOP 20/21 Part 2 list. Other YOP projects include chugging away on the Kyyyyle blanket, my new hot/oven mitt (part of using stash yarn). Patterns are coming along. It seems I will be releasing a clutch of them together!

Interesting story: Last night, about 2:27 am, I was awoke from a deep slumber by the sirens of (literally) a dozen emergency vehicles. I thought they went to a different part of the neighborhood, until bright flashing lights filled my bedroom. So, still groggy, I went down stairs to see what the commotion was (there were no sirens by this time). In front of my house, there was an ambulance and a fire rescue SUV with the brightest lights ever. My whole first floor was lit up. There were EMTs, police officers, fire fighters all milling around. The street was BLOCKED with emergency vehicles. No less than 5 fire trucks showed up: 2 from the next town over. Now its the middle of the night, and I wasn’t about to go outside in my PJs just to be a nosey nelly. It SEEMED that the fire was in the next townhouse cul-de-sac on our street. Eventually they vehicles parked outside my house left, so I went up and went back to sleep. The kids slept through it ALL, which is nice because their rooms have windows at the front of the house! Today went for a walk to be low-key nosey about what happened last night. NOTHING. No obvious signs of the commotion of last night! With that many fire trucks, I was expecting to see SOMETHING amiss.

Today the kids and I iced a “Peeps Bunny” shaped cake. I think the cake was over cooked. I’ve yet to find a vanilla cake recipe I like! The marshmallow frosting was exactly what you would expect. I don’t like marshmallows, so I was thoroughly unimpressed. Next year we’ll try again, with a not gross cake and maybe a stabilized whipped cream frosting instead. It LOOKED good at least, and the kids claimed to love it. After the picture, we added a little mouth and SO MANY jellybean buttons on its tummy.

I haven’t used a blow-dryer on my hair for a few weeks and I’ve been hating my hair. But today, with the help of a ton of styling products and my blow-dryer, I’m satisfied with how my hair looks today. Next week, I’m dying it purple again. I have 1 or 2 more dark dyes before I bleach out highlights for summer!

Beware: the Smolder.

Shoddy Seamstress Adventures: Placemats Part 3.2

Other stuff too.

I mentioned in my last post that I found 6 placemats that I started a long time ago. I used quilting cotton on both sides and iron interface batting in the center. I “quilted” the fabric a little bit to keep everything flat. Two of the placemats were already bound, TERRIBLY. I wish I took a picture before seam ripping the binding off of both “finished” pieces. A third was pinned. There was not enough binding left to complete the remaining placemats. I had used a 1/2″ double fold bias tape. I currently have 1″ double fold bias tape. All of the placemats now have 1″ binding.

The other issue, these placemats were substantially larger than the ones I just finished. I used my template to trim. Spoiler: I didn’t take into account seam allowances in the new ones (facepalm).

This means I have 6 additional placemats, bringing my total up to 18. Not bad. Even if 6 of them are an inch large. I have still successfully completed a long languishing sewing project!! Maybe I’m starting to becomes a Less Shoddy Seamstress.

That was yesterday. Today we are starting our prep for Easter. We hardboiled 3 dozen eggs for the kids to decorate tomorrow. The kids and I made “giant pocky” and dipped pretzel rods this afternoon. The chocolate is setting up now.

I’ve been engaged with fiber arts too. I started knitting a new oven/hot mitt. Its slow going. I think my previous ones were double strand as opposed to triple. Meh. I’ll make it work. Still crocheting away on the Kyyyyle blanket. I have to finish 5 squares and the border and weave in all the ends before washing and mailing it out. It doesn’t lay as flat as I want, I single crocheted the squares together, and that hasn’t made it pucker in the past. Maybe washing it will relax the whole thing. Regardless of how I feel about the aesthetics, it is nice and warm and hand made for a friend. Who I’m absolutely certain will love it and use it.

The weather has been unexpectedly chilly, so all my zinnia planting machinations will need to be delayed until next week. The cold spell has been an opportunity for me to get a few more wears out of my knits. Right Round today (no pic) and my Stained Glass Sally Cardigan yesterday. And yes, I’ve been drinking ALL THE TEA.

Tea and (short-sleeved wool) cardigans.

Shoddy Seamstress Adventures: Placemats Part 3

DONE!!

Phew! What an adventure! This morning, I finished up my new placemats. Instead of freehand sewing the interior rectangles today, I measured 2 inches from the side and then again from that first line, then made a pencil line rectangle as a guide. I measured yesterday’s prototype and most of my lines were at about 2 inches. Not bad for just eyeballing it.

It took me just over 2 hours to finish the remaining 11 placemats. I toyed with the idea of washing them before using them. But I’m so excited to just use them that they are now on the table ready for dinner.

Since spouse took the kids to some toy store an hour away, I decided to get fancy and go out and clip some cherry blossoms and daffodils. I wore inappropriate shoes for rain- so on brand. I clipped the flowers from a bunch of different spaces (like the inside of a copse of trees), we have a decent amount of pedestrian traffic; I didn’t want to take all the beauty for myself. I also didn’t clip any from yards/spaces that weren’t mine.

6 placemats in a vintage straw bag that belonged to my Great Grandma (b. 1899-d. 1985)

Completing this project used 4 yards of décor stash from my fabric collection. I was able to consolidate most of my fabric into one large bin, and half of one small bin. I found some quilted placemats I started 9 or 10 years ago. I just need to finish putting on the binding 4 of the 6, literally, some binding. They are about an inch larger than the ones I completed. I could (and should) trim them down and spend an hour binding all of them again. The binding that’s complete is hot trash, even by my standards! A project for another day.

Soddy Seamstress Adventures: Placemats Part 2

Actual Sewing done today.

I didn’t get the project finished today (didn’t think I would). I took the kids on a playdate to an outdoor park/playground with a friend. We picked up sandwiches up and had a lunchtime picnic in the empty pavilion. It was a windy day. I got to run to intercept friend’s toddler from the parking lot and again trying to keep the paper plates from blowing away. I had my favorite sandwich ever: Tuna Salad. Honestly, any tuna salad sandwich is my favorite. Unless its a tuna melt (ew, warm mayonnaise). But I digress. I didn’t get to sew until mid-afternoon and worked for just over 2 hours.

Yesterday I managed to get all the pieces cut. Today, I put two fabrics together and sewed. I put the right sides together and used a 3/8ths-ish inch seam around most of the rectangle, I left an opening of 3-4 inches to turn the placemat right-side-out. I also cobbled together a couple additional placemats by piecing together some of yesterday’s remnants. I have 12 total placemats. After sewing all the pieces together, I ironed ALL of them nice and flat. I sewed a 1/4″ topstitch around each placemat. Tomorrow I’m going to “quilt” 2 more rectangles into each placemat to keep them laying flat. I free-handed one so far. The remaining 11 I am going to use disappearing ink to outline my “quilt” lines.

All of this is stash fabric, so they aren’t as well matched as I would have preferred. Regardless, I’m super excited to finish up the project tomorrow and use them at dinner!

Shoddy Seamstress Adventures: Placemats Part 1

When we move into the house back in 2012, we purchased a new dining room table. The top is really pretty, and I didn’t want to cover it up with a tablecloth. I found some cloth placemats at Home Goods, and purchased all they had. Without counting, I think I have 12. Even from the start they weren’t perfect. They are square, as opposed to rectangular. Half of them haven’t lain flat in years (the interfacing has separated and bunched), no amount of ironing has helped. With all the frequent washing of the past 7.5 years, the fabric is finally starting to fray. They keep moisture rings off the table, so not all is lost.

Not the worst offender, but still NOT good.

I’ve been planning on making my own placemats even before we lived here. Today, I embarked on that journey.

My cut flats

I’m using the home décor fabrics from my stash. The brown and green ones are from a short stint of tote bag making from a decade ago. The white print is a fabric cast-off from an acquaintance, also from a decade ago. Yesterday I pre-washed all the fabric on hot (how I wash my table linens), dried them in the dryer, and today I steam ironed all the pieces. I also have a negative of the white fabric; this however attracts too much lint and will look dirty perpetually.

I’m going to pass on the lint attractor for placemats.

I won’t need interfacing because all the fabrics are a sturdy canvas. I made a template (that is NOT squared) and cut out all the pieces I could from the fabric I pre-washed. I can make 9 placemats. If I piece my scraps together, I can make at least 3 more (total of 12).

Who cares if its meh, its out of my stash and about to be useful.

Unfortunately, I have other things I want to do today that does not include an afternoon of sewing. Even though its spring break for my kids, I still have housework to do and showers to take, and a trip to Target planned for toothpaste, vitamins, and marshmallow fluff. I know, I’m living the dream over here. Don’t worry I have plans to regale you with the ongoing adventure of placemat sewing later this week! Stay tuned for more exciting adventures.

Year of Projects: Week 32

Dreaming of Yesterday’s Sun

My brain. So I have 7 patterns in various states of written. A TON that I need to make a reality. I said to myself the other day, “Self, no new patterns until we get some releases out”. What does my brain do?? IT PRACTICALLY FORCES ME TO KNIT A NEW DESIGN. The nerve!! This time I wrote my notes into pattern within hours of actually doing them. I also want to make a “prettier” pair, the ones I knit are ugly.

Do you know how difficult it is to take a picture of the back of your heel while wearing a pair of socks?!?!?!?!?!?!

I did a Fleegle heel, which is WEIRD. But it works. I don’t want to talk about the yarn. The hand is nice. The colors are fine. The self patterning of the yarn, blech. I used all but a tiny 5g bit. WINNING. Stash-Busting, AND some socks. The yarn was a gift circa 2009/2010?

I’ve dubbed these the Fratelli Socks

I actually forgot!! I finished ANOTHER pair of socks this week. Some boring toe-up striped short-row socks. These I worked on in short intervals while my spouse read bedtime stories to the kids. I wrote a post about them mid-week.

GOODNESS me, I seem to have had a productive week craft-wise! Here I was, thinking my week was a bust.

This project is a surprise, so I can’t show the finished project: but I made THIS. I used size 5 with an aran held double and a size 8 with 2 strands of fun fur and one strand of the belly aran.

I somewhat regret not going and getting my longer DPNs for the project. I have a few pair of 6″ double points, and I dislike using them immensely. Mostly because I get stabbed in the palm, repeatedly. I know some people that LOVE the short length, but between my large hands and my hold, they don’t work for me. Lets talk about Fun Fur. I had a bunch in a “get rid of” bag buried in my stash. The project used a bit over half of 2 balls. I will make another similar/smaller to use the remainder. I guess all yarns do indeed have their place.

I use wool felted oven mitts in the kitchen. I have since I made this first one back in 2008. Then another one (it was blue), that I never logged into Ravelry so I have no idea what year I made it. After about a decade of use, the first wore out. I made a replacement last year (2 years ago), but it never quite was thick enough. I thought about sewing a heat-proof lining. Never did it. My blue felted mitt finally wore out; after burning myself I decided it was time to give it up. The only place that was worn out was the top. SOOOOOO I cut out pieces from the bottom and sewed it to the grip area of my not quite thick enough replacement (the pink/brown). Its not so thick that its dangerous, and the area that needs the most heat protection has it! I know exactly what I’m going to do when I make a 2nd felted oven mitt: use some other felted wool to line to grip area. Approximate time to cut and sew: less than an hour.

There you have it. A productive week of small projects. Adieu!!

Creature of Habit

I am, at my core, a creature of habit. This applies to all facets of my life. How I cook, how I style my hair, and extends into my fiber arts. I’m not opposed to new things, quite the contrary. But the familiar is comforting and is easy to fall back on.

Since designing for release (as opposed to designing for me), I’ve started going outside my comfort zone a little more often. I have never really called myself a sock knitter, until this past year or so. Mostly because I worked only the most basic of socks.

Behold, the Fleegle!!

My first sock was a top-down, short-row heel, grafted toe(but I did 3 needle bind-off for some reason) vanilla sock. I still have them. I still wear them. I’ve followed a small handful of patterns, and I’ve made a heel flap in 3 of them (all top-down). Most of the socks I’ve knit without a pattern are either top-down (more recently toe-up) with a short-row heel. I’m COMFORTABLE with whipping up a short-row heel. Out of habit, when its time to work the heel, I instinctively start thinking about short-rows. In the past 13 months I’ve taught myself a new toe-up cast-on (Aggie’s Simple Cast-On), the Peasant (afterthought variant) heel, and now, the Fleegle Heel! I even tested out a method of increase I’ve dubbed the “Split Increase”. Who knows if its a “real” technique; but I did it, it worked, its going in a pattern, so its a real technique now!

Not the most elegant LOOKING of heels, but its not difficult, has no pick-ups, and fits just fine. I’m even writing it into my new house-sock pattern, because why not? I decided to be bold, live dangerously, and not let habit dictate EVERYTHING I make.

Finishing A Thing

Finished!! A pair of socks.

I like to have specific projects for specific areas. Like a trail of fiber bread crumbs strewn all over the house (much to the chagrin of my spouse). Today’s FO was the socks I had upstairs that I worked on during story/bed time (10 minutes at a time). I am uncertain of when I started these socks, likely January 2021. I worked one and the 2nd toe between start and last week, then finished the 2nd sock in a few days.

The yarn is some mystery yarn that is a wool/acrylic blend that I purchased off of EBay in 2008 or 2009. I would call it heavy fingering or maybe even sport weight. I work it up on a size 2 with good results. I dyed each of the 8-12 skeins a different color with a variety of Wilton Cake Icing dyes set with white vinegar. For these socks I striped a reddish pink and a light pink. I gave not a lick of care about color jogging. And the gauge is a bit off between the two. The striping SHOULD have been the exact same; the striping is fraternal. Theoretically I have enough yarn to make a reverse pair. I don’t think I will.

Construction notes: toe-up using Aggie’s Simple Cast-on, size 2 needles, short-row heel, short leg, 2×2 rib (10 rows) and a work-2-together bind-off. No actual pattern followed, increased to 64 stitches around, I think. Worked entirely on DPNs one-at-a-time. The stripes help me keep track of the rows.

My next socks will be another thick pair of “In the House Socks”. I don’t know when I’m starting those. I have a LOT of designs that are in the end stages and I’m not ready to start all over again.

Can you spot the differences?
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