Saturday, February 25, 2006

Well, it's about damn time!

Pattern: Badcaul socks by Anna Bell.
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM in colorway P111 (two different dyelots hence the "fraternal twins" look).
Needles: Two US 1, 24 inch circulars.

I'm forgoing the start/stop dates as you all know my little fall had me out of commission for a couple of weeks.

I think the badcaul pattern will be my go to sock pattern. I mean I am in LOVE with this pattern! How could I not be?

They grow so fast toe up. The cable pattern is easy to memorize, knits fast & looks mighty impressive! I love these socks so much I am thinking of using the flickering flame colorway from Marie for another pair. The bluejeans is going to become Elfine socks. I implore anyone thinking of knitting these to do so! They are such a wonderful knit!! They are also comfy! I wore them yesterday & they are lovely on the feet!

Speaking of Anna, did you guys see her Birdie pattern? **Swoon**

I've been spending a ton of time on etsy lately! Thanks to all my blog friends who bought buttons! I am working on some print gocco cards & shirts this weekend. Hopefully they will be up on Monday.

I have been spending some of my earnings on etsy as well. One of my favorite sellers Wingnut had an awesome sale the other day where I picked up on this cutie. She has the most amazing needle felted goodies. I adore the Banana boat owls. I had the chance to see some of her felties in person during a trip to Savannah last fall. They are really outstanding in person!

I am also really enamored of Orange Peel Enamel. Check out her necklaces! They are amazing!

Oh & Oobee's creations are really wonderful!

Lastly I will leave you with Isaac's favorite etsy shop I cum sunshine. We met them at Indie Craft Experience Atlanta and Isaac got one of there AT AT shirts. He gets tons of compliments on it!

If you guys do buy anything on Etsy and want to post pictures of it, I started an etsy flickr group- etsy love.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Bishop Method: A review

Karin has actually been waiting with baited breath for this so, here goes.

At first glance "The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction" by Bishop & Arch seems just like any other "home sewing guide" from the 1950's. It's chocked full of antiquated sayings and measurement/size guides that will make today's size "small" feel like a whale. If you can get past all of that and ignore the dated material it is actually chocked full of really useful sewing information.

The book is broken down into 15 chapters starting with a basic "how to" on sewing and the use of equipment and machines, covering everything you could want to know about cutting, patterns, measurement & tailoring and ending with adding details. At this point I think it's pertinent to say that the basic "how to" is really basic. If you have never sewed before I would not recommend this book as your only guide. An absolute beginner should use this in conjunction with lessons or a different book.

The fundamental things that they harp on er em I mean "principals" are:
Grain Perfection
Accuracy in preparing, cutting & marking the fabric
Cutting to fit
Perfection in stitching
Perfection in pressing

There are 10 "torn projects" (torn refers to the idea of perfecting the grain before sewing). The projects have fairly easy to follow directions (once you get used to the dry dialog) and all but 2 (the poncho and the pleated skirt) are really quite cute and could look very modern done in the right fabric. They are all accompanied by pictures as well as diagrams (very useful)!

From the simplest "torn projects" you are then walked through measurements and pattern buying then into cutting, preparing and sewing your garments. All the chapters include multiple pictures, diagrams and references to other chapters (in case of confusion). Also included is a thorough glossary of terms used in the book as well as basic sewing terms.

The latter chapters are very detailed in making items work for your body type and working with any and all patterns to suit your needs.

For the price of $.01 + shipping at Amazon I would say this book is a "must have" for anyone who wants get serious about making clothes!

I hope this helps all you sewers out there!! Now I'm off to work on my Badcaul! My finger is feeling much more knitterly today!!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Bionic hands....

Well, mine are feeling quite bionic yet but, better!

Thanks so much for the outpouring of support and amusing stories of your own klutzy ways! Who would have thought such a bunch of klutzy folks would have picked up a hobby that requires the use of long pointy sticks?

I owe lots of you emails & will get to that soon but I thought for now a little update was in order.

My finger is feeling better. It's definitely still sore but I can move it easier each day. Part of the problem is it's been really cold here the past few days & cold + sore is a problem. I woke up this morning feeling optimistic and tried working on my carpet bag. Something just wasn't right yet. I was slow to get in a rhythm and honestly I just kept screwing up. I lost track of my count a couple of times & had to frog back. Lets just say it wasn't meant to be for me to pick up the needles today.

Not knitting has been rough. I've been doing a lot of reading but I really needed a crafty activity so on Saturday I decided to make some buttons.

We have a professional 1 inch button maker for doing band promo stuff. I had been meaning to make some buttons out of these free waterlogged 1951 encyclopedias that we have. This seemed like the perfect opportunity so I went to work.

2 days and much punching, cutting and pressing later I have 32 sets of buttons up for sale in our Etsy shop. I think they turned out really nicely (if I do say so myself).

I also washed the fabric for a couple of sewing project for this week. I'm going to make an apron based on instructions from the Bishop method book. I'm also going to be daring and try a clutch purse of my own design. It will give me an opportunity to try putting in a zipper.

Oh & Angela asked for my thoughts on the Bishop Method book that I've been reading. Well tomorrow I will be posting a full fledged review of the book!

I know you will all be waiting with baited breath!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The post in which I admit to you guys that I'm a total klutz

As evidenced by the trip that resulted in a sprained finger on Sunday morning. Yep. It's been this way my whole life. As long as I can remember there are stories of me tripping & falling.

There was the time when I was 5 and we were all jumping out of Jake Nelson's tree house. I was really afraid to do it so I hesitated then went for it. My hesitation left me too close to a tree branch where my jeans got snagged & I got stuck. Yeah, I was hanging from the tree by my favorite pair of jeans with scooby doo embroidered on the pockets.

When I was 9 I had the biggest part in the school Christmas recital. I got a new fancy frilly dress & super shiny patent leather shoes that were also slippery. After reciting my lines perfectly I turned to walk back to my place in the chorus & ended up sliding a couple of feet and landing with my frilly dress over my head.

I could go on & on like this for hours. The time I gave myself a blackeye learning to windsurf or when I broke my toe chasing my cousin around the house. My favorite was last January when I broke a finger zipping up a kid's coat. Yeah, that one says it all.

I think the best part of my lack of coordination is that my maiden name was get this-Grace. There were endless jokes about my sheer lack of grace. Oh the irony.

Sunday morning was no exception. I was running to answer the phone & lost my balance. I caught myself but sprained my right pointer finger in the process.

So I have now pecked out this entire post SLOWLY & can't really knit or do much on my sewing projects either. It is feeling better today, the swelling is gone & the Dr. said I should be good to go by Sat. or Sun. A whole week without knitting! EEEK!

I've been doing a lot of reading on knitting & sewing the past couple of days. I found a really cool book about making your own clothes called The bishop method of clothing construction which is chocked full of 1950's sewing goodness. It has really easy to follow instructions & patterns too.

Oh & Agnes and Bekki both left really great tips for putting a zipper in in the comments of my last post. Thanks so much guys! I really appreciate all the advice.

So for the next couple of days I will have to live vicariously through all the olympic knitters & folks getting ready for their Sew? I knit! projects.

At least I have project runway to look forward to tonight!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sock love

This picture is for Coleen who graciously requested a picture of my finished Badcaul sock. As stated before I adore this pattern beyond belief. A sock with cables knit up in less than a week!?!?! It just might be my new favorite sock pattern!!

I came home to find more sock knitting goodness left by my beloved husband. It's 4 skeins of Color your own sock yarn from knit picks & 2 skeins of amazing hand dyed sock yarn from Brooklyn Handspun. Marie's colors are even more amazing in real life. Isaac chose "flickering flame" and "bluejeans". I'm really thrilled that he was able to get me some of her yarn. He knew I was low on sock yarn & asked me for my favorite sites. I immediately pointed him towards Marie! I really lucked out to get 2 skeins!!

The "blue jeans" colorway is destined to become Elfine socks. Can you tell I am totally in love with all of Anna's patterns? Marie will be posting more yummy sock yarns tomorrow in her shop if you are so inclined! I really want some of the superwash she mentions here. Superwash sock yarn in flickering flame? Double Yum!!

Thanks for all the responses about my sewing! I am really excited about starting the sew-along. I'm glad to see so many of my blog friends have joined too!

I decided to upload a few of my favorite fabrics to a new photoset on flickr.

I think I am going to do a trial skirt with the vintage wrap skirt pattern I have. I have a ton of fabric that would look good & it seems it would be an easy first skirt since there is no zipper. The Betsy Ross pattern I ordered requires a zipper. I have sewed a zipper into the lining of a bag before & it looked OK but it was on an inside pocket not on the back of a skirt. Maybe I need to practice some more of that before I start the skirt.

Any experienced sewers wanna give me some pointers on putting a zipper in a skirt?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I'm Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You

I've been listening to a lot of the Silver Jews for the past week or so. The new album Tanglewood Numbers is amazing, perfect & profound. It is a huge departure from their typical sound of the past few years & I think the change is good for them. As a matter of fact I think a little change is good for us all now and again.

That's why I spent this weekend getting to know my new sewing machine a little better. Now I'm a novice sewer in every sense of the word but I've had a machine for years. It just didn't come fluidly or naturally to me the way knitting did. Sewing seemed more like a chore than a joy. A hindrance vs. creative outlet.

That all changed when we found this gem at a thrift store.It's an Elna Lotus. It's tiny and works like a champ. I had no idea that a sewing machine could be so easy to use. My old singer dressmaker could do a ton of fancy stitches but they were no use to me as I got frustrated just trying to thread the bobbin.

I whipped up a few basic bags out of vintage pillowcases to practice on & they actually looked good (as opposed to my old look- chewed up and spit out by an angry woodchuck). It was fun and I actually found myself wanting to do more of it!

With that spirit I'm all signed up & ready to start on my project for Sew, I knit. Our first project will be a skirt. All I need to do now is figure out which pattern to use (I'm either using Betsy Ross #001 or a vintage pattern for a wrap skirt) and decide on which fabric. It's funny even though I haven't really enjoyed sewing in the past I cannot pass up vintage fabric. If you thought my yarn stash was bad.....

I also finished my first Badcaul sock yesterday. These socks knit up so fast & the pattern really rocks! The cables look so great in the koigu & it's so soft & squishy!

Now if only my other WIP's were moving so fast.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A bloggers (silent) poetry reading

In honor of friendship I'm adding this selection to Grace's Poppies silent poetry reading.

I do not offer the old smooth prizes,
But offer the rough new prizes.
These are the days that happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is called riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve.
However sweet the laid-up stores,
Hoverer convenient the dwellings,
You shall not remain there.
However sheltered the port,
And however calm the waters,
You shall not anchor there.
However welcome the hospitality that welcomes you
You are permitted to receive it but a little while.
Afoot and lighthearted, take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before you,
The long brown path before you, leading wherever you choose.
Say only to one another:
Comrade, I give you my hand!
I give you my love, more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law:
Will you give me yourself?
Will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick together as long as we live?

--Walt Whitman

Laying low...

First of all I want to thank you all for your wonderful words on my Angelica. It was really heart warming to read them all! You guys are great!

So the reason I thought that picture was bad was probably because I felt like death warmed-over when we took it. I had a low fever & a terrible head cold but NOTHING was going to keep me posting a picture!

On Friday we headed to jacksonville. Let me publicly declare my love for my husband once again. He drove the entire 5 hours to jax so I could sleep. Ah, true love!

Once I got doped up on enough cold medicine we had a really great time in jax. The double your pleasure 30th birthday party for Dusti & Amanda was so much fun! It's so great to get to see all our friends in one place. It was so hard when we first moved to Atlanta from Jax. It seemed like we missed out on so much in everyone's lives. We eventually got into a lovely little groove in Atl complete with scrabble competitions, indie movie film fests & some wonderful knitting pals. It's such a different dynamic here than in Jacksonville but I love it just the same. Now if all our Jax friends would just move up here! I do miss them terribly!!

With my head cold, traveling & partying I didn't get any knitting done over the weekend. So on Monday night I was determined to learn the turkish cast on. It was a lot easier than I thought. I played around with it for awhile til I really got it down. It makes such a nice clean toe!

Tuesday I actually started on my Badcaul socks. I can't believe how much I love knitting toe up! This pattern is really easy to memorize and is knitting up in no time!

Here is a close-up of the cables:

I'm using some Koigu KPPPM sent to me by my wonderful secret pal Janet. The mates are going to be slightly mismatched as anyone who knows about yarn knows that if it's not from the same dyelot it can't be guaranteed to match. That can be triply true for Koigu. I don't care at all since I love the yarn & the pattern so much!

Now I'm off to work on the scalloped carpet bag from Handknit Holidays. Remember that one? Well, in my quest to destash & finish up all my WIP's it is the first up! I think it will be perfect for spring!

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