Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Three Little Mittens

Since we only live 3 blocks from each other, we do like to knit the same things:
Lisa, Veronique, and me!
Of course, they're both done with their second mittens, but alas, I am still chugging along. But I finished the everlasting cuff, at least. Lisa's is Louet Gems Pearl, and mine and V's are Habu cashmere--hers is 3 ply and mine is 2 ply.
Now go and visit Lisa and send her your well-wishes--she had a bit of a skiing accident, and is incapacitated right now. Yikes, skiing is scary!
And now, for the latest meme. I couldn't resist this one, it was called Bookworm, and when I grabbed a book... well, you'll see.

BOOKWORM – nabbed from One Scheme of Happiness

Instructions:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.
6. Tag 5 people


So I picked up the nearest book in my office, which happens to be "Running With Scissors" by Augusten Burroughs, turned to page 123, and got this:
"No, no, no, that's not what I mean."
The next 3:
"It would be a staged suicide attempt. A ruse."
"Oh," I said.

Can't quite find the day's motto in that, but it did make me laugh!
And I'm not so great with tagging, so if you want to be tagged, you're it!

And just for fun: In case you don't know what to do with that old dollhouse....

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Not Much Knitting Happening Here...

...but I swear, I've been busy! Last week, Casa Yarnmonster was invaded by our very talented Australian friend, Michael, who was in town to attend a music conference. Also here were my dad and our two Irish friends, Eamon and Kevin, but they weren't all staying in my apartment! They were all here to promote their show, Music at the Crossroads, which is SO amazing, and if you're ever in Galway, or if they come here, I strongly recommend it (they're also online here). I pretty much spend the whole week with these guys, with one quick dip into the Point for Spiders, and wow, was I exhausted by the end of it! But I did get to see a lot of really fantastic music (and some pretty weird acts as well) and spend some QT with friends and fam.
So to save this post from being picture-less, remember all of that Christmas knitting I was doing? I think I forgot to ever show off the actual FO'S!
So here are my Mom's Norwegian Mittens:
See how happy she is? That's because she lives in Georgia, where it's not even cold enough outside to put on a jacket when she photographs her mittens! We'd be that happy too, if we were modeling our mittens in 60 degree sunshine.
And little brother David's pirate socks:
People, welcome to the nightmare that is intarsia in the round. If I ever try that again, the pattern is going to have to be so irresistible, so beautiful, that I can't help but knit it. But Lil' Davie liked his socks, and that's what's important, right?
And Dad's scarf:
Again, displayed outdoors among Georgia greenery. But he requested it, so what was I to do? I was very glad to see it in action this week in NYC, though, wrapped snuggly around my dad's neck. There's nothing quite as yummy as the feeling one gets from seeing one's handknits keeping our loved ones warm and happy, is there?
Now I'm off to (hopefully) sew the hem and facings on a dress I started making, oh, 4 or 5 months ago. And cast on for Anemoi Mitt #2!
And BTW, I am SO glad everyone likes the tutorial so much! It was so much fun to make, I feel like doing another one. Hmm, does anyone want to learn how to play the ukulele...?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Drawstring Bag Tutorial

I made a couple of these reversible bags before Christmas for all of the little sock, stocking, mitten, and hat projects I was carrying around, and so many people have requested instructions on how to make them, I have been spurred into action and have made a little tutorial! Thank you, Steph for prodding me on the subject, and Lisa and Veronique for physically forcing me to do it. :)
I really threw these together, so it's not a perfect pattern by any means, and if you can think of a better way to do things, go for it. But here's what I did.
Materials: For a smaller pouch, you can use 2 fat quarters, or for a slightly roomier pouch, 2 half-yards (which will leave you a lot left over). The measurements for the roomier version are in parentheses. You'll also need about a yard of ribbon or cord, and you can use a double cord stop for your drawstring, if you like.
1. From each piece of fabric, cut one piece that is 6" x 6" (6.5" x 6.5") and one piece that is 9" x 21" (10" x 24").
Fat Quarter Layout:
Your shorter side of the rectangle is what will eventually determine the height of your pouch, and you'll be losing 2" from your original number, so if you want a taller/shorter bag, plan accordingly.
2. Next, take one rectangle and one square, and, right side (RS) of square facing up, lay the corner of the rectangle about halfway down the square, RS facing down. You will be aligning the beginning of one of the long edges of the rectangle with half of one of the sides of the square:
3. Now sew this segment, with a 1/2" seam allowance, starting 1/2" from the start of the rectangle, and stopping a 1/2" before the square ends underneath. I stuck a pin in where the square ends so I would know to stop a 1/2" before then:
4. Now this sounds tricky, but it's not, really. You're going to lower the needle into the fabric, but raise the presser foot, and essentially hold up the top (rectangle) fabric while rotating the square underneath so that the next side of the square is again aligned with the long edge of rectangle:
Basically, you've got a square, and a long rectangle, and you're sewing the rectangle onto the square, wrong sides out. The corners are going to be wonky; just try to get them as flat as you can--you'll snip the corners later to give them a little more ease.
5. Sew down this side, stopping a 1/2" before end of square.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 twice, and then repeat step 4 again. You're now about to start sewing on the side that you started on at the beginning. You're going to sew all the way to where you started, being careful NOT to stitch over the little 1/2" flap of fabric that you left for yourself at the beginning. Sew right up to it, holding it out of the way (it can be helpful to use a pin to mark the spot where you'll stop here as well). You should have at least a 1/2" of fabric remaining:
Your corners will look like this:
So snip off the corners of the square, and do about 3 little snips into those really tightly pulled corners of the rectangle (being careful not to snip all the way to the seam). This will give your corners some ease:
7. Sew up the edge seam. If you have more fabric on one edge than the other, trim the edge with extra:
8. Now repeat steps 2-7 with the second fabric. I swear, you're almost done!
9. Leave one bag inside-out, and turn the other right-side-out and tuck it into the inside-out one:
10. With chalk or fabric marker, make a few marks around the top of the outer fabric, 1 1/2 " from the top. Then sew around, along these markings, through both fabrics, and making sure to leave about a 2.5-3" opening:
11. Turn the whole thing right side out by pulling the bag through the 3" opening you just left. Tuck one bag inside the other and press the edge flat all the way around where you just sewed. Your seams should all be hidden on the inside of the bag now.
12. Sew all the way around the top of the bag, 1" from the edge. I marked a 1" seam allowance on my machine rather than marking the fabric again:
It should end up looking like this:
With the 3" opening you left still open in the top of the bag, but now only opening into your fully lined drawstring channel:
13. Now tie one end of your ribbon or cord to a large safety pin:
And thread it though the channel.
14. When you get it through, cinch the bag tight with your hands so you can figure out how long you want the cord. Cut it, and if you're using a cord stop, thread it onto one side of the cord. Now, holding both ends in one hand, tie a knot (the kind pictured below won't untie):
Scoot the knot around, moving your cord stop as you go, till the knot is hidden in the depths of your drawstring channel. Cinch that baby up, and voila! You are finished!
Pouches by me, Lisa, and Veronique:
Close-up:

This is what your table should look like by the end of it:Much thanks to Veronique and Lisa for helping me out with making this tutorial! I hope you like it. :)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

100th Post!

And some new Endpaper Mitts:Pattern: Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Koigu KPM in colors 1110 (paprika) and 2335 (mustard), 1 skein each
Needles: Addi #0's for ribbing, bamboo #1 dpns for the rest
Mods: None!
I loved this pattern, it was easy and fun to knit. I learned how to do an Italian tubular cast-on, as well!

Coming very, very soon: a tutorial for making small, reversible drawstring pouches for your knitting!

Monday, January 08, 2007

5 Weird Things

Since everybody's doing it....
1. I play the ukulele. I mean, not like a frat boy in a grass skirt, I mean I actually play songs. I was in a special class for smarty-pants kids when I was in school, and in 4th grade one of the moms decided to pass on her gift of playing the uke to all of us. We all bought $20 ukuleles, shipped from Hawaii. We were even on cable access TV once in Virginia! I later upgraded, and gave my original to my brother, who still has it.
2. I LOVED the Dragonlance books. The originals, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Some people might not think this is weird, but most do. I would ride my bike over to a boy's house in my neighborhood to borrow them.
3. The foreign language I am most... educated... in (though far from passable) is Mandarin Chinese. Chinese, I *heart* you!
4. I am super weirded-out but people who are not "lovers" (ie. boyfriend-girlfriend, husband-wife, girlfriend-girlfriend, etc. etc.) kissing on the mouth. The Italian quarter of my family is really into this, and my Grandma passed on a wicked case of cold sores to my poor Dad, who, as a wee tot, couldn't really object. I'm not a very touchy-feely girl already, but this just sends me over the edge. Anyone who leans in for my lips ends up getting a mouthful of my hair.
5. I have a nearly perfect short-term memory. I can sit down and study something for about a hour, like names, dates, details, etc., and then regurgitate it back to you pretty much verbatim for the next week. Eventually, the info fades into the background, but the general gist usually remains.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year 2007!

It's time to turn over a new leaf!Well, I didn't really have any resolutions for 2006 that I can look back on (except to have healthier eating and exercise habits, at which I failed most miserably), but I do plan on making a fresh start for 2007. Perhaps the blog (and the looming "look back" in January of '08) will be my inspiration to actually stick to my resolutions this year?
First, the knitting:
1. Knit from the stash!!! For God's sake!
--OK, so I'm not going to join the KAL, because I just know I won't stick to it. But I'm trying to come up with a system. Like, must finish 2 stash projects before buying more yarn. Or something. Because I really am a yarn-monster.
2. Knit a colorwork sweater.
--Got my Christmas Lite-Lopi kit from my MIL ready and waiting!
3. Let's take a page from Gleek's book and say we'll steek something!
4. Make another lace shawl or 2. Because I so love Birch.
And then, the other stuff:
1. The tried and true, "better eating, more exercise".
2. Go back to yoga.
3. Do more stuff outdoors. We tend to be a little lazy at my house, but I need to just get up and get out the door more often.
4. Actually finish the sewing projects that I start. I have 2 really cute dresses hanging in the closet, just waiting for me to [hand] stitch the hems and facings. I would like to be a better sewer, but it seems to come only in spurts for me.
I headed off to Cancun to meet my parents and brother David. Mexico was beautiful--warm, sunny, with gorgeous beaches and yummy food (Mexican happens to be the universal favorite food of every member of my family).

Mom and Dad:David, being deep and introspective:We managed to tear ourselves away from the beach long enough to go visit some very cool Mayan ruins:
So that's it for my first post of the year! Starting this blog has been one of the best things I did this year--I have met and reconnected with so many people, many of whom are now some of my dearest friends. Much thanks to everyone who's reading--Happy New Year from your Yarnmonster! :)