Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas gifts were well accepted

These three little vests took most of a year. I started the black one during hockey season. The two patterns are easy to knit, so they didn't distract from the action. Hockey ended and the vest was put aside. Midsummer, I realized I needed a more active plan.

By mid July, I had the back finished and was up to the armpits on the front. Disaster strikes! I ran out of the Ivory sprinkles I was using for contrast. This was Wool-Ease bought about ten years ago when Woolworth's was going out of business. With the vest back to the ball of yarn stage, I started again with white for contrast. I had lots of that! I finished the front and back and all the bands. That's when I discovered that the sides were different lengths. Grumble, grumble, retreat back to the armpits. So I knit that vest twice!

If the vests look long, they are. The kids all have long torsos and there is growing room. Knit, knit some more and the red vest was finished. Time is getting short and I still have the blue vest to do. Black and red yarn are Wool-Ease sprinkles. The ivory sprinkles went into the blue vest. The solid on that one is blue heather. The little guy put his on backwards, so he's getting help here. I checked with my daughter before starting the project. No sense knitting something that won't be worn. I was happy to see the boys in vests the day of the Sunday School Christmas program.

Family Christmas was celebrated at my son's house on Saturday, brunch and gifts were the plan. Good thing, since I finally finished the blue vest about 9:00pm Christmas day. I was knitting a pair of felted clogs, which needed their run through the washer in time to dry. Past history of clog making said that they dry quickly if placed on top of the boiler. So far I have always done this in cold weather, when the heat was on. We have steam heat in our house. They were dry by Friday afternoon and were wrapped up.

It is pajama day at son's house on the day after Christmas, so all the kids and some of the adults came dressed for bed. One daughter and family went to the grocery store on the way to the party, in their pjs and slippers. All gifts were received happily. It's a mixed blessing for the whole family to like what I knit. Socks were knit for birthdays and I ended up doing 19 pairs. I didn't even knit any for my husband.

We do have a crafty family, with most everyone hand crafting gifts. I addition to knitting, I sewed 6 pairs of flannel pajama pants for grandkids and DH. At least those went quickly. Other hand crafted gifts given were: carving boards made from 3 different woods, Christmas balls decorated with plastic clay and crocheted dish cloths. The family quilter has been moving across the country, so her sewing machine was quiet this holiday.

Finally, I can really relax. I'm trying to turn this pile of yarn into a pair of socks from left over yarn. It's one of the December challenge options for the Ravelry Sock Knitters Anonymous group. I need to cast on in December and finish by Jan. 31.

I'm off work until January, so I have more knitting time. This is a poor picture of my progress. There are eight different sock yarns involved, all left over from other projects. I didn't know whether the sock would be ugly or interesting. Interesting seems to have won. The stitch pattern is a slip stitch pattern from the first Barbara Walker treasury. Once I had the pattern set up, it was easy to follow. I'm weaving ends in as I go, so no clean up later.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Peaceful Christmas Day

The Sewing is Done!

I made 6 pairs of flannel pj pants. DH got one pari this morning and the rest go to the teen-age grandkids tomorrow at the family hoopla and pajamas all day party. Three pieces are from my fabric stash. Once upon a time long ago, I was going to make flannel shirts for DH. I don't remember him wearing flannel shirts, but whatever. This is a good use for the flannel. Both mothers thought it was a great idea. I like that there is only ONE main pattern piece, so the sewing went quickly. I needed that this year.

Knitting is still not done

Yesterday I finished a pair of slippers and felted them last night. They are a little odd looking, because I used a different yarn for the top than I used for the soles. This is an in progress picture. The whole project only took a couple of days, and the soles used up some odd balls of Lopi that I inherited from my mother 20 years ago.

I'm still working on the last vest for the littlest grandson. Last Sunday both boys were wearing vests, and I checked with their mom before starting the project. Just have one armhole band to knit and sew up the sides. I need to get a picture of all three vests before I wrap them. It's raining outside, but I hope to spread a sheet on the porch and lay all three on that for the photo. Indoor photos won't work! I can do indoor photos of small things by putting them on a good background and using natural light from a window. Both of the above photos were done that way.

I'm baking Nut roll and Poppy seed roll

I didn't realize it, but I have never done this before, but it became my job to carry on the family tradition. My mother-in-law always baked them for holidays. Her job was taken over by my oldest daughter. Oldest daughter is now living in Florida. She'll be up for the holidays, but without time to bake. Today is quiet and I have the time.

I solved an on-going problem - where to buy ground poppy seed. I asked in the produce department of my favorite store and was sent to the bakery. Success!! The dough is made and probably has risen by now. The fillings are made. I should go upstairs and see about putting it together.

Christmas Dinner

This year we have been invited to follow a tradition of a boyfriend/almost family member. We are going to a Chinese restaurant tonight with said man and our daughter and her boys. Just like in A Christmas Story.

Tomorrow's mayhem is a brunch affair. Potluck pancakes etc. and nut roll and poppy seed roll, and lots of gifts.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas is coming

Of course, I'm knitting like a crazy person. Ill also be sewing some quick gifts. I have been working on knit vests for the younger grandkids. I should finish the last one in time.

Knitting - I still have to make a pair of Fiber Trends clogs.
Sewing - I have 6 pairs of flannel pj pants to make.

For my birthday, DH gave me tickets to see "The Christmas Story" at The Cleveland Play House. It was a fun night. The narrator was grown up Ralphie. We'd seen the movie, so knew what was coming, but it was a little different on the stage. This is the last time it will be seen at this venue, since the Playhouse is closing their huge complex and downsizing to another location. They will be sharing theater space with other groups, which makes sense, but sure breaks tradition. Cleveland Clinic has bought the present site.

Grandkids church program
The youngest ones take part in a Sunday School Christmas program. This year they told a story of how the star over Bethlehem was picked. All the children were stars. These are my favorites, taken at the reception following. They're standing in the pot for the tree, silly kids. You could see the faces this year! Last year the littler one was a cow with a hood. I had trouble even later, recognizing her. That was a more traditional story with shepherds, animals and wise men. I think there were more kids too.

Two more days of work and then my shop closes for the rest of the year. I may be in there sewing gifts, but I can spend a lot of time with DH and doing house stuff.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Popping up for air.

The blue socks from last post are now in Illinois, along with the Christmas stocking. The socks were a belated birthday gift.

I'm working on vest #3 for the little grandkids. This is the littlest vest. These are Christmas presents.

Another pair of socks was finished and delivered in time for a December birthday. Someone's favorite colors are orange and green.

I've been busy at work. Not enough work to have hired help come in, but a little too much for me to handle some days. It has to do with what needs doing and what problems crop up. There are a number of projects that need doing before Christmas. A coat lining is at the top of the list, followed by a needlepoint rug repair, and two denim skirts to make.

Things were slow a couple of weeks ago and I was able to make a pair of pants for myself. I've been trying to spend 30 minutes a day sewing for myself or family. Some days it works and some days it doesn't. The pants are nothing special, no pickets, no waistband. Fit is pretty good and I'm working on improving it. I'm tired of wearing pants that don't quite fit. I'm between sizes in RTW and they aren't made for a mature figure anyway.

I was also able to make a jacket from the same fabric as the pants. I don't expect to wear them at the same time. This is the pattern I'm using. Picture taken in a mirror, so everything is reversed.

The jacket is unlined. I may line it if I make it again, so it doesn't hang up on the shirt underneath. The neckline is a problem. I either need a turtleneck or a wide neckline under it. The fabric is a poly/wool inherited from my mother-in-law.

I fancied it up with top-stitching thread and a bound buttonhole. I have red velveteen left over from the minister robe. If there is enough of it, I'll do a lined version of the jacket. This time, I can buy more fabric if I want to. Old stash doesn't give you that option.

It's finally wooly weather here in Cleveland. Temps in the 20's and windy. This fall, my shop varied between chilly when the heat was off and hot when it was on. Outdoor temps in the 50's and 60's. Now that it's cold outside, sweaters are in order. I'm in office space and the building boiler was repaired over the summer. I'm glad it works better, but knowing how to dress is a challenge. I'm looking at more jackets and cardigans for the in between weather. I need a loose jacket to work in for comfort.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Catch up post

Christmas stocking finished! Rayven Rose will have it for her first Christmas.

Blue socks finished and delivered.

One Christmas vest finished finally! I actually knit the whole vest twice. I had the back finished and the front worked up to the armholes when I ran out of contrast yarn. Started again with a new contrast. All bands were worked and I went to sew the side seams. The back was shorter than the front. Retreat! All is good now finally. That's one of the problems with using stash yarn, when you run out, there is no possibility of getting more of the same yarn.

I have started the second vest for that family.

Socks are being knit for the July birthday IOUs. One pair is finished and will be given at Thanksgiving. The other pair has one sock knit.
The mate is started.

The second pair is a Sock Knitters Anonymous challenge, which means that I need to finish by the end of November. I also need to knit a pair of orange socks by December 6th, for a birthday later that month.

What's happening at the shop?
My latest challenge is to create a robe for a minister. Copy the size of he black robe and the colors of the white robe. I learned a lot about robe constructions from this. Luckily the black robe was starting to fall apart, so I could see how the velvet parts were made.

The shapes are cut from cotton duck, which is like white denim. Velveteen is hand sewn over the duck form and the appliqued to the robe. You can see the front band in progress. Sleeve bands were made the same way.

The sleeves were interesting. On the table is a sleeve from robe fabric. There is lining fabric for the top of the sleeve, with a seam at the elbow. This lets the outer part blouse out. When I pinned it to the robe without the lining piece , it hung to the hem!

I used 3/8" white grosgrain ribbon for the crosses. I doubled it to avoid shadowing. The front band is snapped with a fur hook at the top. I needed to apply the snaps before the front band on the left, which covers them.

There are front pleats which are longer than my ironing board. I also did not have any way to support the robe while pressing the pleats, so took it to the cleaners for professional handling. I work for these cleaners, so it was done while I waited. Now I just need for the minister to recover his health and come try on the robe. He was in the hospital the last time I talked to his wife.

Every so often, I get a really interesting project in addition to the usual alterations and repairs.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Christmas Stocking and more

Sunday 4:30 PM
Christmas Stocking Step 3: Stocking cuff; knit 1 row, combining stitches from cast on 1 to 1 with this row. Knit stitches on both rows together. Remove crochet cotton. Knit a row of k2tog, yo repeated across row.

Step 4: Start main color. Leg is 44 rows or about 6 1/2 inches. Girls (patterned) stocking; main color, knit 8 rows, white, 2 rows, main color with pattern 30 rows, white 2 rows, main color 2 rows.

This stocking is for Rayven Rose. I was going to work on it until lunch time. Color work is hard to stop. I always want to see how it is going to look when knit. Late afternoon sun makes shadowy photos. This one might have looked better with flash. I'll have to remember that for another time.

The floats are really long in this design and are caught up with the other color on the back side. I worked all through the first football game. The packers beat the Browns. I wish we had a better team! Next step is the heel.

Blue Diamonds
I haven't worked on it today, but I'm 3/4 done with the leg pattern. It needs to be finished by next Sunday.

I have a vest for Christmas to work on now. I need 2 more of these for the three grandkids.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'm tired!

Saturday night 10:26 PM
I really don't feel like knitting my first priority socks, the blue Luci's Diamonds. They need to be finished before next Sunday, so I keep on knitting them. I think I'll feel better when I finish the leg. This is sock #2 after all. The leg is 3/4 done, so I'll be heel knitting tomorrow.

I put in a full day at work, as usual on Saturday. I work from 10:00 - 5:00 on Saturdays. The big project of the day is a ministerial robe. I've never made one before, but I have two samples. One is the correct size and one is the desired color. The body of the robe is done. It's white poly gabardine and somewhat translucent. I've underlined it with white lining. The robe is attached to the yoke. the next step is the sleeves. I'll get some photos Monday.

I haven't sewn the side seams yet. I have to check the sample robe to see if I sew them before or after putting in the sleeves. Before sewing the sleeves, I have to do the velvet bands. I have velveteen which needs to be sewn to a foundation of cotton duck. This gets sewn to the full outer sleeve before assembly. This will make more sense when I take pictures, but under the really full sleeve is a more normal one.

The lack of cotton duck required a frustrating trip to JoAnn's. I found the duck easily enough, but I was about 8th in line at the cutting counter. The checkout line was worse. They did have enough workers to clear the line quickly. Finally at the checkout and the register wouldn't take my tax exempt number. It seems that database was down. I finally had to pay the tax and get it refunded on next visit.

Finally, I could go home, walk the dog, and have a quick dinner of chili from the freezer (thawed earlier in the day). I love winter meals that make enough for at least one freezer meal. Tomorrow I'm making beef soup with lentils.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Christmas stocking

9:10 AM
It's that time again. Knit another stocking. This is #27 in a series. Great granddaughter Rayven Rose was born earlier this year and a request went out for a stocking. I wasn't sure I wanted to knit one, but the Ravelry SKA group had a stocking as one of the October choices and I said to myself, "Why Not"

I have charted an original design with a bird and a rose. (The girls get different designs, the boys get stripes of some sort.) I will start the cuff,because it will be good knitting while I get my hair cut and don't have my glasses on. It's plain knitting, round and round, it's even big yarn and needles.

I was hoping for a green stocking this time, but since the colors alternate within a family, and her mother's stocking is green, hers should be red. Yes, I have records of all the stockings. My notes have become better as I get older. I save the charts. I have photos of many stockings. The only one that got lost and needed replacing was the one I didn't have a picture or a chart for. I just had a note of what the picture had been.

I give stockings for Baptism gifts and when marriage adds to the family, I do the stocking in time to be hung for the holiday. Last year we had a wedding and my daughter wanted a stocking for her new husband (I wasn't sure).

Step 1: Using a provisional cast on, cast on 64 stitches. Working with white, join without twisting and knit 14 rows.

2:40 PM
Done! Working on step 2: K2tog, yo; repeat to end of round
Done! Knit 15 rounds. Working on it. I figure this will take about a week to make.

The cuff is lying on a quilted throw make by my quilter daughter.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I had a reading problem.

I have overcome it now, but I had a problem. I have been reading a series of books about ancient Rome by Colleen McCollough. There are six long books about Julius Caeser, his times and the people around him. This time through, I read the books in order. The first book is about his uncle Gaius Marius. The last book deals with Ceaser's death. The closer I got to the Ides of March, the less I wanted to read. You can't change history, but I didn't want Caeser to die. I finally got past that part and am finishing the book.

I sometimes find the same sort of problem in knitting or sewing. I really enjoy the journey and don't want it to end, so I work slower.

Sock progress
Blue socks - one finished, one restarted with the knit stitches in the rib twisted this time. The two socks are supposed to match. I've been playing with gusset decreases. I like these better now than I did when the sock came off the needles. Deadline: the end of the month.

Black socks
One finished. the second started. The deadline was in July. I'm going to finish the blue ones first. An IOU was given to be redeemed by the time the weather gets cold (soon approaching).

I actually made myself a blouse and wore it this week. It's an old Vogue pattern. Sewing for myself goes slowly. I don't have much time, and don't really NEED clothes, although new ones are always nice. Another piece of stash fabric used up. I didn't have enough length for long sleeves.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's definely Fall

The leaves are changing and falling, as well as the acorns falling, although they've slowed down. The neglected garden has a few interesting plants, not what I chose, but interesting.

The soup pot is in use again. Today I made one of my favorites Pumpkin soup by LynnH. Pumpkin, applesauce and peanut butter. Quick and yummy.

Speaking of interesting, a customer called my dressmaking shop and asked if i could shrink a dress for her sister. It seems the sister had undergone weight loss surgery, loved the dress and couldn't wear it any more.

There's always a problem when shrinking dresses because you can't shrink the neckline. This dress was basically strapless, with a halter tie at the neck. The bodice was pieced and darted strangely, but I had enough fabric to work with and the design lent itself to downsizing.

I keep forgetting that I have an old camera at work, so no before picture. I removed the bodice from the skirt and took out 12 inches, some on either side of the front ruffle and the rest at the sides and back. The ruffle piece was kept ans is and regathered to fit the new size. Four inches were removed from the waist (she must still have a tummy).The skirt was shortened 4 inches from the top, so I had to move the pockets. I hope it fits, but it matches the measurements I was given.

I made some purple socks for granddaughter AE. She's a short adult with a size 2 shoe. She loves the socks. I love them too and want to sell the pattern, so only a sneak peek.

The white vest is quite old (1996), but I love it and wear it often. I designed it and dug it our of my archives to put for sale on Ravelry. A web site where I can sell patterns is still on my to do list. I called it ZigZag Vest. It knit from worsted weight cotton. I needed new photos for the pattern.

There are more grandchildren socks in the works. Black socks for a July birthday grandson. I sent an IOU in his card.

I also have a pair for a granddaughter with an Oct. birthday. I'll see her Nov. 1, so not much time. Knit faster! I dream about quitting work, but I own the business and I'd have to bring too much stuff home. I have no place here to put it right now. Guess I'll keep juggling sewing and knitting for a while longer.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

More socks finished

I finished the yellow mystery socks this week. Looking for new backgrounds for photos, I tried the base of our birdbath, I'm not really happy with how it came out, but here it is.

Our local library started a knitting group. Big success. There were about 30 people there of all skill levels. Five of my friends came. We will talk up our guild and other fun things like Knitters Fantasy in April.

I'm back to catching up on birthday socks. I've got a good start on AE's purple socks. Her birthday was Sept. 15. I still have two pairs of grandson socks to do from July. One pair is started in black for CD. The other pair is waiting for October. Solid socks on Ravelry has picked blue for the month of October and SG is getting navy socks.

Not much knitting for Christmas. I had to restart MB's vest because I ran out of contrast yarn. The front is almost finished.

Work has picked up at the shop, so not much sewing for me, not that I was doing much anyway. I finished a pair of slacks recently, pull on with elastic waist. Boring and not entirely successful. I'm still playing with fit issues. Next up is a new blouse. Today I get to attach veils to combs, hem pants and a dress, and a couple of other things. Maybe I can get a little time on the blouse. It's cut out.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Signs of the season

The times, they are a-changing

These maple leaves were the first color I've seen, with this tree far ahead of the others in the neighborhood. I'M NOT READY!!

Dogwood trees show color and seeds. I don't remember seeing the seeds before. I don't often walk the dog past this tree, but remembered it from when it flowered.

The oak trees are bombing us with acorns. Squirrels are eating them like crazy. Cars run over them in the streets.

It's Goldenrod time. Luckily I'm not allergic. I was surprised to find these in a front yard, but I've seen other plants around too.

The Black Eyed Susans have been blooming for a while, but they also mean the end of summer.

We have Socks

I've been working on a pair of socks from a mystery pattern on the Crystal Palace blog. They are finally finished. The beads were an afterthought by the designer, so not in the pattern. I got a better picture when I finished the first sock.

The yarn is CPY Panda Wool. It's 51% Bamboo. 39% Wool. The color is Ultramarine, a blue green semi-solid. Teh pattern had 3 heel options, from plain to fancy. I usually wear heelless shoes, so I chose fancy. There were two instep options regarding where the "leaf" pattern is placed. I don't know if I wish I had placed it closer to the ankle.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stealth project finished!

I mailed it yesterday. It joins the growing list of designs that I can't talk about.

I finished a set of dishcloths yesterday. I had been working on them at work while customers changed their clothes. I need something that doesn't require much thought and doesn't have much pattern to follow.

I'm reaching the toe of the first CPY mystery socks, the green one.

Last weekend we had another family party for Labor day and to say goodbye to a grandson who joined the Air Force. He's now in boot camp.

He built a "slip and slide" from 3 tarps and some duct tape. To make it slippery, they used up all their Mom's dish soap and most of a bottle of shampoo that she didn't like anyway. Big kids slid! The bag was supposed to make it more slippery.

Little kids slid. They even tried wrestling. It was good clean fun!