Category Archives: Crafts

Restart

Frog (verb): to unknit, rip back, unravel, unwind or undo.  Usually accompanied by tears, chocolate and alcohol, amounts depending on the severity of the situation.

Ene’s scarf is frogged.  All the way back to the cast on.  I recast on all 375 stitches and knit back across the first row.

Why put myself through this pain and suffering?  Here’s what the lace border should have looked like:

correct border

correct border

This is what it looked like in too many other places, including the center point of the scarf:

ugh

ugh

So I’m back at the beginning and I will be paying MUCH closer attention to my stitches.

nascent stages ... again

nascent stages ... again

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Knitting Update

Last December I cast on for Ene’s Scarf in a luscious sock-weight yarn in deep burgundy and black.  I’ve been slowly picking away at it as my schedule hasn’t allowed a lot of quality knitting time.

I haven’t touched the shawl in a good couple months.  The last time I looked at it I realized I had made some pretty hideous mistakes at the beginning.  We’re not talking a couple missed yarn overs, but some massive, pattern-altering mistakes.

I’ve only completed chart 1 and 2 which make up the border of the shawl, so in the grand scheme of things, not that much.

I know what needs to be done … frogging lace is so heartbreaking.

::sigh::

Consolations and words of knitterly wisdom are welcome.

Sewing Machine Meme

This came from Sew, Mama, Sew.  Check out their fantastic site.  It’s a treasure trove for sewing-minded crafters.

What brand and model do you have?

Singer … don’t know the model.  It’s from the 1960s, though.

My Old Gal

My Old Gal

How long have you had it?

A few months, but it’s been in the family for years.  My mom got it when she was about 10 from her grandfather.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?

Oh god, I have no idea!  LOL.  Not sure what the rate of inflation is from the 1960s to now on sewing machines. Anyone have any guesses out there?

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?

I’m new to sewing but I have big plans for home dec, especially once I move in with my fiance, but I’ve been bookmarking bag and clothing patterns like a mad woman.  They’re all over on delicious.com/AbbyT/sewing if you want to check out what I’m dreaming about. I’m also in love with what I see people doing with vintage sheets and pillow cases and have decided to start stalking my local Goodwill, Salvation Army and other second-hand stores looking for fabulous fabrics. So yeah, I’ve got big plans.  Now I just need the time.  🙂

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?

Right now, not very much.  I made little rice-filled footwarmers and an apron for Christmas, but that was the last action the machine saw.  The rest of the winter was spent getting my yoga teacher training certification, but now that that’s over, I want to get back to sewing.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?

I love my machine.  It’s got great history and I feel like I’m participating in something so much greater than myself and what I create when I use it.  She doesn’t have a name yet, but I’m sure she’ll tell it to me one day.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?

She sews a great straight line … which considering that’s about all I know how to do, it works great for me! 🙂

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?

The instructions and extra feet were lost years ago so I am learning the machine blind.  Makes for interesting stitches and mistakes!

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!

The most interesting story about my machine is its history.  It was a gift to my mother in the early 1960s from her Grandpa Fritz.  She used it all through high school and college and I remember her making/mending costumes on it for my school plays and productions.  My mother’s a very creative person, though I doubt she’d think that of herself.  Sewing wasn’t a real passion for her, though she always had a great sewing box filled with goodies and this wonderful machine.  When my mom took the machine to get cleaned and serviced, she was shocked to see all the new computerized machines in the store.  I got a hilarious call on my cell phone telling me “You’ll never believe this!  Sewing machines are all computerized now!”  I love my old clunker of a machine, the fact the she weights 40+ lbs, is solid metal inside and out, and most of the markings have been worn off through time and use.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?

For learning, absolutely.  For basic stitch work, definitiely.  For complicated stuff, maybe not since all the extra parts and instructions are lost. 😉

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?

Durability.  Cost.  Ability to do the types of projects you want to do.  Learnability, which is not a real word, but I’d want a machine that is intuitive and easy to learn.

Do you have a dream machine?

The one I have now is pretty dreamy, though I’m sure someday I’ll start coveting a new, computerized machine.  But in the meantime, I love my old girl.

presser foot and needle

presser foot and needle


Mindful Knitting

What do knitting and yoga have in common? A whole lot more than you might think. 🙂

On today’s podcast list was the most recent episode of   “Cast On” by Brenda Dayne.  Brenda recently spent some time (captured in this podcast) with Tara Jon Manning, author of Mindful Knitting talking about the importance of meditation, breath and finding a little time every day to connect back with yourself.   For some this will be through yoga, or knitting, or gardening, or taking a walk, or anything that allows them to take a break, breathe deep and relax.

What I liked most about this podcast and the concept of doing something gentle for yourself is how it translates into greater compassion for the external world.  It also takes a certain amount of discipline and self-accountability to do this every day.  Not like a “beat yourself up because you missed a day” kind of discipline, but just enough to make you feel that much better when you set aside the time to do it.

In times like these, we all could do with a little more accountability and a lot more compassion.

What do you like to do during your day to connect back to yourself?

Why are you waiting to start?

Holiday Round-Up

Can I just say how very glad I will be to get on the bus tomorrow afternoon?  6:10pm, baby – I’m outta here!!  Twelve days in beautiful Rangeley Maine with the Family.  The Big Guy will be joining us for New Years.  Besides lots of sleeping and eating, there’s skiing, snowshoeing, working out at the amazing fitness center (yoga!), maybe renting a snowmobile for a day and doing some sightseeing, ice-skating, and copious amounts of warming alcohol to be consumed.

This holiday season has been particularly insane, but the upside is that an insane life means a great deal of blog fodder to share with you so let’s get started!

There are a ton of FO’s to share (FO = Finished Object for the non-crafters).

The winter warmers came out great and have received praise from the Roommates.  I don’t get into my bed without it!  How I ever lived without one of these beauties is beyond me.

the woodsy ones are for Mom, the pink are for gifts

the woodsy ones are for Mom, the pink are for gifts

The first “real” sewing project concluded on a lucky half day.  HBS, like many businesses last Friday, decided to close early and send all non-essential staff home. (Librarians?  Non-essential?  I think not, but it’s not a point I’m about to take up when it means a paid half day.)  Anyways, I had a lovely free afternoon which I spent very happily at the sewing machine, finishing Mom’s Christmas present …. a brand new adjustable apron to match her new kitchen.

Wine = fuel for all creativity

Wine = fuel for all creativity

Side Note: why, on God’s green earth has it taken me this long to discover the wonder and awesomeness of Instructables?!?!  Someone take away my crafter’s card.  I am not worthy.

Since most of New England was completely snowed in all weekend, I also had plenty of time, along with the help of Dexter, Season 3 and Mad Men, Season 1, to finish the  Striped Scarf from Brooklyn Tweed.  (Details of the project on Flickr and Ravelry).

Apologies for the lame-ass modeling job, but I wanted SOMETHING to put up, even if it was the dorkiest pic of me EVER.  I’m thinking of running a seminar for The Roommates on “How to Take Pictures of Handknits.”  Anyways, here’s the finished scarf:

Keeping warm!

Keeping warm!

So, while the weather was doing this:

So glad this isn't my transportation

So glad this isn't my transportation

… I was tucked away, working on the above projects, wrapping presents, doing web work for Dad (making it snow on his WP blog was awesome!), stumbling through the blizzard-like conditions to get to yoga, stumbling back out for the Boston Pops holiday concert, and having one of the best and busiest weekends ever!  The weather outside may have been frightful, but the weekend was delightful.  (I’m still ready for vacation though!)

The reward

The reward

Holiday Crafts & Gifts: Winter Warmers

Every holiday, I try to make as many handmade gifts as possible and time allows.  It usully end up in a race against time. The best example of this — two years ago I knit a pair of mittens for my Mom while sitting behind her on a flight to Germany.

This year I’m in much better shape.

Continue reading

Preparing for Take Off

On Thursday, at 9:45am, I will (hopefully) take off for a five day trip to Seattle, WA to see one of my best friends.  Since the flight was booked using a voucher from giving up my seat on an earlier flight back in April, the route is a little, well, circuitous.  It also happens to be on US Airways, which is not known for being very customer friendly.  But hey — it was a free flight!!

Due to the loop-de-loops my various flights will be performing across the country, I am not checking a bag.  If I do, I know I will never see it again.  Ever.  This, as you can imagine, it proving challenging in the packing department.  Does my make-up count towards the 3 oz limit if it’s powder?  What about mascara?  Stick deodorant?  What about knitting needles?  And the two granola bars I bought?

The TSA’s website is fairly helpful, though I understand it is always up to the security officers on duty to allow or deny anything.  At least this time around, I’ve switched to a Massachusetts state driver’s license, since my previous (and only) driver’s license from Maine was not recognized by TSA.  Maine is the only state one of a handful of states that is are non-compliant with Homeland Security’s guidelines.  (Check out the letter from Homeland Security to Maine’s Governor Baldacci.)  Anyways, at least I don’t have to worry about that anymore!

Anyone have any helpful tips/tricks for packing when you’re not checking a bag.  How about from the knitters?

Addendum: Looks like TSA might be considering relaxing the liquids/gels rules.