February 2010

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drapes: finally had some uninterrupted daytime hours to do the math for the living room pinch pleat drapes. (Thank you God for MIL.) Even started cutting and seaming panels. It’s going to be tight but it will work. 21 yards of fabric. This is definitely my biggest project ever. Deadline approaching—delivery of new couch—March 15ish.

socks for me: off to a great start with a hand-dyed handspun that I really like and stalled big time on the heel. I’ve turned a short row heel several times now without incident. In fact I think I have turned this same heel as many times as I’ve made socks total. Not good. I really don’t know what the problem is. I’m about ready to give up and find a toe-up heel flap even though I don’t care for the look. Dissappointing because this is my Ravelympics project and otherwise I am confident I would have been done by now with both socks. three days left, I don’t think I’m going to make it.

mailing: I know this is ridiculous but I have three things here that need to be mailed, two of which have been sitting for more than a month. I just need to seal, label and get to the post office. We have a very nice post office here. I don’t know what my problem is. Same as Annie’s.

cleaning/organizing: yeah, lots of that. at times it seems hopeless but I think things are getting better. I’m still seriously considering borrowing a pick-up and just hauling everything to the dump. Okay, not really seriously. I can’t stand to waste anything someone could use. So I pick through at a turtle’s pace, giving away, freecycling, etc. This could be so much easier if I didn’t care!

I think that’s all I’m actively working on. There is a rather long list jumping around on the back burner of my brain as usual. It will all have to wait. I’m going to SPA Knit and Spin this Saturday and I intend to enjoy myself, meet up with some new friends and learn some new tricks.

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How awful is that? I did not sew a thing in the month of January. Oh wait, I forgot about the dance practice skirt I made for the girl. I blocked it out of my mind because although it fits, and the girl likes it, it did not turn out how I intended at all. Like the difference between turning left and turning right.

She got this sweet doll for her birthday. Originally the doll had blue and yellow socks/shoes that were sewn on which was a problem to the girl because we don’t wear shoes in our house. Therefore she does not want her dolls to wear shoes in the house either. So I did some surgery and the doll now has permanent pink tights. I also made a pink flowered dress at the same time. Apparently I neglected to take a picture of that.

So anyway, the girl has been pestering me for doll clothes. I don’t remember making doll clothes as a kid, I made lots of things but I don’t particularly remember making doll clothes. And I don’t remember my mother making clothes for my dolls either. Now I know why. It’s annoying.

But about the sewing of the moment, raglan sleeve pink shirt with picot edging repurposed from little girl’s turtleneck. White tutu made by cutting the foot off a ruffly toddler sock. No sewing. Instant gratification. Tutu wins.

doll shirt repurposed from little girl's turtleneck and doll tutu made from cut off toddler sock


I believe some of my readers like to do cross stitch. If so, speak up!

I received this lot of cross stitch books, a nice assortment of DMC floss, floss keeper cards and Aida fabric from a neighbor. I haven’t done cross stitch in a long time so I’d like to give this away to someone who will use it. I can’t think of anyone locally so I thought I’d post here. I can include an embroidery hoop for an interested beginner. The chart in the back is for a unicorn. I had to smile remembering how popular unicorns were with us girls when I was in junior high.

cross stitch patterns and floss

And if there is further interest, I have a few original charted designs that I can share by PDF.

There was also a strange package of wood pieces in the bag. If anyone knows what this is, a virtual brownie bottom ice cream sundae to you! xoxo


ETA: Thank you friends. These are spoken for and I will contact recipients for addresses.

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This post is for you, ArTchrJan.

rag rolled hair curls

Okay, this is actually the back of the girl’s head while she is working on the project to follow. She asked for curly hair so I put her hair up in rag rolls, too cute huh? Anyway, here’s her beach scene collage cut with the “special” scissors. We have an assortment of scissors with different edges like waves, scallops, etc. That’s a person on the beach and a sea monster in the water.

construction paper collage

Friday the boy brought one of our plain canvas bags to me and asked to paint it. The girl immediately wanted to paint too of course. As usual, I requested they make a sketch first. Otherwise the girl is apt to just scribble. Here are the results, including the feet of the artists; a Pokémon ball (or so I was told) and a tiger cat with red rat. And now we have a one-of-a-kind library bag! I think I’ll request they paint some others.

pokemon ball painted on canvas bag

tiger cat and red rat painted on canvas bag

And this project is a little older, maybe a week or two ago. the girl and I made this juice can lid mosaic out of Sculpey. Actually she did most of it, rolling the clay through the pasta machine and cutting out the shapes with canapé cutters, I just helped fill in the blue background and worked the oven.

polymer clay sculpey mosaic flower on juice can lid

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I remember watching the Olympics as a kid and I was always most interested in the winter events. Downhill skiing, all manner of ice-skating, and luge/bobsled are probably my favorites. Through college I didn’t have as much time to pay attention but I do remember sitting with Rich rolling our eyes at Bob Costas’ commentary.

I think the kids are old enough now to enjoy watching. I haven’t had a chance to look up the schedule, but it’s fortunate that this is February break here and we may be able to watch some events live this coming week. We’ll mix that up with some winter sports of our own. Skating on the town pond, and maybe some sledding if we get some fresh snow, the stuff we have is rock hard and dwindling. The L.L. Bean MotherStore is running a week long series of mostly free events for kids; I think we’ll be checking out the Taxidermy Safari, maybe some puppets and juggling, crafts and hot cider, and definitely the Chewonki Foundation‘s Live Owls of Maine exhibit. The boy has already previewed the last one at school but I’m sure he’ll be excited to go again. Owls are pretty high on his favorite animal list.

ravelympics 2010 banner

And what is Ravelympics? Ravelympics is a for-fun spinning/knitting/crocheting/weaving/whatever kind of fiber crafting event held on Ravelry, a sprawling online community of knitting/crocheting, weaving/spinning type people. Annie sucked me into Ravelry and now I’m being sucked into Ravelympics. The basic idea is that Ravelers will be participating in challenging yarn events during the Olympics. There are all kinds of categories to choose from and all you have to do is tag your project, post photos and start and finish between the official opening and closing ceremonies. This is good for me, I need deadlines!

handspun hand-dyed three ply light fingering yarn BFL bluefaced leicester spiced pumpkin

So here’s my project/event: I’ve been working on figuring out what socks to make for myself from the spiced pumpkin yarn I spun and dyed. I’ve finally picked the pattern (Irish Ale by Nic W a.k.a RedScot) and figured out my gauge, I hope! Of course, I can’t just follow the directions, because, well, that’s just me. So I’ll be knitting these socks toe-up instead of cuff-down as written, which means some scary upside down freeform thinking that I have to be able to duplicate on the second sock! I may or may not add the “froth” at the top. If I do I’ll have to spin some bunny fur. And at the end of the Olympics will be another fibery event, NETA’s annual SPA, Knit and Spin in Freeport.

And I doubt I can go two weeks without spinning so I’ll probably start on the last six ounces of oatmeal BFL. I’m planning on spinning into sock weight three ply and dyeing it blue and green for Topographie inspired socks.

ravelympicsbob Vancouver Olympics 2010

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Kids and cats

It’s been nearly a year since Duke (ginger cream) and Lila (tuxedo) joined our family. It didn’t take all that long for them to seem content and even comfortable in our house but it’s taken quite a while for them to get lap cozy.

Here’s some cozy with Lila.

The girl in a rare slow moment with Duke.




vintage drum shade floor lamp

This picture is intended both to motivate me and to show off this cool vintage lamp I found.

I now have all the materials and instructions necessary (I hope) to sew pinch pleat drapes for my living room. The fabric is Del Hi by Valori Wells. When I saw this fabric I knew right away this is what I wanted for my living room drapes. Warm grey and dark brown graphic flowers, avocado trailing vines and a sleek brown fleur-de-lis silhouette of a stripe against a khaki ground—a bold pattern in a neutral colorway. And despite my previous aversion, after reading the highly informative and funnyRetroRenovation blog and studying pictures of other houses similar in style to ours, I finally decided that nothing else would complement our ’50s ranch interior as well as pinch pleat draperies. And I love the fact that they can be opened and closed so easily and still look good. There’s really no other style like that.

But back to the picture. Here you see just the unsewn fabric hanging over the current poor excuse for a curtain rod. Because I haven’t gotten up the courage to start working on these drapes. Humongous pieces of fabric and a fair amount of math will be involved. Not that I have an aversion to math, I used to be quite good at math. I just don’t usually care to involve math in creative matters.

I am not one to buy antiques but I fell in love with this vintage floor lamp at our friend Rick’s barn, a.k.a. the Potato House, in Houlton, ME just off Route 95 before you get to the Canadian border. Usually open on weekends. If you like old stuff, you can spend hours going through old books and records, decades of furniture, knick knacks and doodads of every sort. The lamp bears no indication of when it was made or who the maker might have been. It does appear to have been rewired at some point. The metal parts need cleaning but the wood is beautiful and the drum shade is in great condition. It works well as a reading light and also casts a warm glow over the rest of the room.

Rich is “trusting” me on this one, the drapes I mean (oh, maybe the lamp too?). And I know it’s off my usual quiet track but I like where it’s headed. It’s going to be a comfortable, good looking room . . . little by little.


worsted weight brown yarn hand spun

I spun up more of the mystery brown wool and ended up with about the same weight as the first two cakes. It’s split into three skeins because that’s all the bobbins would hold when I was plying the singles together. I need to come up with a bigger solution for plying. I hate having to split my singles just because they won’t fit on the bobbin on the spinning wheel.

I’m halfway through the second sock with this yarn using 3/2 rib on the top of the foot and the leg, based on the Lifestyle Toe-up Sock Recipe. Worsted weight knits up fast! And with some extra reading since the last pair of socks, this one fits Rich’s foot much better. :)

hand knit man's brown wool sock

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skeletonized maple leaf against the snow

We haven’t had any new snow for quite a while. A few light dustings. Still the wind blows and animals leave their footprints.

skeletonized maple leaf and animal footprints in the snow rabbit

A tiny maple leaf, skeletonized by time and weather. Could those be rabbit footprints?

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