Sunday, April 26, 2015

A busy weekend at home.....................

How do weekends become so busy?  My husband was away for 48 hours and I thought I had all the time in the world, but time has sure flown by.  This weekend was about tying up loose ends.  I spent a large amount of time Saturday morning getting my house in order, cleaning floors and bathrooms just to get a handle everything before I start a very, very busy week with two new evaluations to fit into my busy schedule at work.  After cleaning, Little Buddy and I went to Joann's, I had to get a new crochet hook.  I was a bit startled that I did not have a hook in every size.   After finding the  hook in need, I had the great idea that Little Buddy needed some bigger blankets.  He loves those very soft lightweight flannel blankets for babies.  He is much too big for those now, so down the baby aisle we went to find suitable fabric.  

After a quick wash and dry I cut these blankets out and finished them by making a very simple serged edge.  Now Little Buddy has a blanket that will cover all of him and Mickey Mouse, too!  And I had a office/studio space that had to be cleaned again!

I started on my new project which is what I needed that new hook for.  Funny thing is the new hook was still the wrong gauge, so now I am using a D hook that I already had.

I used nap time on Friday and Saturday afternoon to finish the project on my loom.  Listening to Sycamore Row by John Grisham made the time fly by.  I gave this table runner a good soaking and it is now trying to dry outside in our heat and humidity.  I am not sure it is making much progress.

Little Buddy and my Teenager spent a while in the pool.  Little Buddy was so excited, and Max was barking his head off like a crazy dog.  He does not like people to be in the pool and when anyone goes underwater he gets a bit crazy.  He is so brave he will only step into the pool on the top step.  He does not like to swim.

Little Buddy's aunts came by this morning so I could go for a nice long walk.  They played with him while I was gone and when I got back they all went in the pool.  He had the best time and I think they did, too.  Little Buddy is so pale, we call him Vampire Baby.  He looks especially pale when held by his very tan aunts.  I think that he will be taking a very long nap this afternoon.  They will be leaving soon to return to Wisconsin for the summer, it will be hard on my little guy to not have them around.  It will be hard on me too as I depend on them to stay with him when he is ill and I have to work, or to take him to an appointment every now and again. 

Max is exhausted, all these lifeguard duties can wear a boy out.

Thank you all for your kind words about the anniversary of my Mother's death.  She is not suffering and in a much better place, so in many ways I am extremely thankful she is no longer here, but I miss my Mom, the one I had growing up and into adulthood.  I am blessed she was so wonderful.

Hope you have all had a terrific weekend.
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ariane and a year........

I finished my latest crochet sweater Ariane this afternoon.  I just needed to steam block it and add the buttons so it was a quick finish after work.  

This project was much harder for me than it should have been,  I simply could not get the stitch count right on every single row of the yoke of the sweater.  I was driving myself mad because I like things to be perfect and work out the right way and this did not.

I used the English version of this French pattern.  I am grateful for the translation but I have a feeling something was off in the pattern.   It just did not make sense.  There was to much left to chance, do you hdc in the beginning stitch, why was there two row 18's for size medium?  I swear I dc'ed a few too many stitches together and added stitches to get the right stitch count in every row until I got to the lace pattern.

This yarn is stash yarn from that gorgeous yarn store I visit in Franklin, NC, Silver Thread and Golden Needles.  Do you remember my visit there last June to celebrate the life of my dear friend who passed away from lung cancer?  This is their store brand yarn and I adore it.  I bought the same color, "Silver Mine" a few years ago in a thicker weight yarn.  I knit a short sleeve shrug with it and put on a crochet border, I love it and do wear it which is a rarity with me and things I make myself.   The yarn is called Cherish, hand dyed specifically for the store, and this sport weight yarn had 300 yards per skein.  I used almost two full skeins on this project, approximately 570 yards for size medium, so it cost me about $32 dollars to make.  I also used a size G hook for the bodice part of the sweater and switched to a H, for the lace portion so it would have more stretch and drape.

The buttons were straight from my button box.  I have a small cardboard box filled with a few extra buttons from different projects.  I was lucky these beauties were right there ready to be used.

The pattern is free on Ravelry, the English version is right there, too.  I am not saying don't make this, maybe your counting will be spot on.  But if you can fudge the stitch count a little here and there and not get all crazy and OCD about it then this is your pattern.  I am a little on the perfectionist side so this was a tough one for me.  I would also suggest working in a bigger size hook than the suggested G hook.  It would add more drape and stretch to the fabric you are creating.  I did several more rows of the bodice but I did them in HDC, and DC, alternating rows.  I was getting off count even more after the rows with a space in them so I had had enough of those.  I also didn't want the lace portion to start so high up on my chest,  so I adapted as needed.  I had a lot of yarn to use so I also did one more pattern repeat of the lace, remember I am tall so I need to accommodate for my length.  I hope you like it.  

Next I am going to tackle Vicki Chan's Jamie.  I know it looks surprisingly similar to this Ariane sweater vest.  I have to say in a total moment of frustration I bought and downloaded this pattern because I just did not think I could figure out what I was doing wrong with Ariane.  But then after reading the pattern it requires sock weight yarn and I really wanted to use this gray so I persevered and thought I would make Jamie when I was finished.  I already have the yarn in my stash so I am going to get started tonight. 

Seems like I am making a lot for myself lately.  It is easy to make scarves, hats and shawls for others, sweaters not so much.  They are really time consuming and they are hard to fit.  I think I deserve a few new things even if I rarely go anywhere but work, therapy for Little Buddy and a walk around the grocery store.  Now I will be ready when I do go somewhere!  I am loving using up stash yarn.  It is giving me a great sense of satisfaction to try and find the right weight yarn with the correct yardage in my stash.  So far so good and I have not purchased yarn for months.

Tomorrows is the one year anniversary of my Mother passing away.  I know it should be a day like any other day but it really isn't.  I miss her, but I have been missing her a very long time.  This marks a year without my BIL, my dear MIL and my Mother.  Next month marks the anniversary of my friend Bruce passing away from lung cancer.  They have missed so much, and they are missed so much.  

Have a great weekend.
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Monday, April 20, 2015

Mrs. Josephine

A while back my babysitter delivered a big tub of yarn to me.  Her friend's mother had passed away and she was giving it away.  Terri thought I might like it and might be able to use some of it.  The  bin and a few extra bags of yarn sat in my garage for a few weeks until I had the time to go through it all.   I felt strange going through this woman's yarn, sort of like I was invading her yarn privacy.  But as I started looking at the yarn my curiosity got the best of me.  

My first question was she a knitter or did she crochet? 

On the side of the bin were some patterns, ah.......she liked to crochet.  And based on these patterns she liked to make things for little ones, maybe her grandchildren?

I found this note with some directions on it, was it her handwriting or that of a friend?

Some of the yarn was so old.  I wonder when and if she had to give up her crochet hook?  Did she keep the yarn years after she was unable to make a stitch?  I think I would, because it would calm me down just being able to look at it even if I could not use it.  

There were all sorts of little bags filled with bits and bobs of leftover yarn.  I am assuming these were from blankets or baby items she made for those she loved.  Maybe she donated some of them or made them with a group of friends?

At the very bottom of the bin I found an envelope addressed to Mrs Josephine, I thought this might be my mystery crocheter.  Inside were bands from yarn skeins and a thank you note from a grandson.  I think my Mrs Josephine was well loved.

There was also a bag filled with crochet thread and these beautiful bits of crochet.  I wonder if they were made by Mrs Josephine or even her mother.  They are old and delicate, very fragile.  

I packed these beautiful pieces up to give to my babysitter so she could give them back to her friend.  They are treasures made by someone she loved.  I kept the thread and this old crochet book with very intricate patterns.  I could not just send that off to someone who would not appreciate it.   I threw out the tiny bits of yarn and scraps of patterns, and I donated the rest of the yarn to a group that makes lap blankets for nursing home residents.  My Mother had quite a few of those when she was in the nursing home for three years and they were very much appreciated.  I loved getting to know Mrs. Josephine, even if it was only through her yarn stash.  I am glad she had crochet to help her through the times in her life, both good and bad.   And I am glad she got enjoyment from making things for those she loved.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Jordan II and an incredible surprise in the mail................

You know I can't make just one of something, oh no there has to be at least two.  You have seen me make five of the same shawl, and sew five of the same shirt, which you know for the most part was an utter fail,  Thank you for all your wonderful comments about my sewing adventure, and of course all your bits of advice, I need all the help I can get. 

My second Jordan - sleeveless pineapple top is finished as of yesterday.  I started it on April 3, so that is not bad.  It would have been done sooner if I had not spent my entire weekend sewing useless tops.

This was made with Misti Alpaca Tonos Pima Silk, 85% pima cotton and 15% silk, with a size H hook.   I made it with a bigger hook this time to add more drape to the garment.

I only had two skeins of this yarn with a total of 663 yards used.  I literally had one yard of yarn left at the end.  I did not have enough yarn to make the last row of the 36 row pattern, so after row 35 I just did a sc border to finish it off.   This yarn is from my stash.  I think this is yarn I bought last summer when the yarn store I used to go to in Tampa closed.  If so it was a bargain.  I should keep better track of all that.

Really I am just so in love with this pattern.  It is fast and easy and the directions are incredible.  This Jordan is shorter and wider than my last one, more fun I'd say.  The green one is a bit more elegant.  Not that I am going anywhere elegant these days but I am ready if I do.

Now I am going to try and tackle the Ariane.  The original pattern is in French but there is an English version out there too and they are both free.   I already have the yarn from my stash and I am ready to get started.  Wish me luck. 

So yesterday I ventured out to my mailbox to find a surprise in the mail.  I mean a huge surprise.  
A package from the funny, and amazingly wonderful Pammy Sue.

See she even makes me laugh with her package.

Pammy Sue recently made this incredible doily and she didn't like it.  Really,  how could you not like this?  I told her to send it to me, but I was joking.  She was not.  I cannot even begin to tell you how incredible this doily is.  It. Is. Stunning!

Even though the color does not show up correctly in this photo it lets you see the incredible detail.  Really this is just an amazing piece of art.  

Pammy Sue as I told you in my note to you I am just stunned.  So, so stunned that you sent me this beautiful doily.  It is amazing., and so is your generous and big heart.  You make me laugh, you are such a bright spot in my day.  I love to visit you and see your amazing work, and now I have an example of just how amazing it is.  Your kindness pours out of your blog and into all of us, thank you for that.  And thank you for thinking of me.  Blogger's always seem to know when you need a bit of a lift, and this found me at the perfect time.  You are the best!

Not a bad way to start my weekend that is for sure.  Hope you are ready to start yours, too.  Have a great day.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sewing disasters.................

We all know I can't sew, so why, oh why, do I keep trying?  I suddenly get the need to dust off my sewing machine, find a pattern and fabric, and then disaster strikes.  I spent every spare moment all weekend making three new shirts.  

Lets take a look shall we?

Exhibit A:

While this doesn't look to bad don't let the picture fool you.  The puffy sleeves make me look like I am a five year old, nothing against five year old's mind you, it is just their clothing is not appropriate for me.  The sleeves reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry has to wear the puffy shirt on TV for an interview.  Gosh I still miss that show.

Having nothing to lose I cut off the sleeves and tried to make a sleeveless shirt like my last two.  I cut these three shirts out at the same time, marked then and took great care with everything, I mean really meticulous care and I ended up with two great pieces of sewn fabric, with crazy neck and arm bindings, and gatherers that were too tight.  When I tried it on I looked like I was wearing a racing back shirt, but the racing back ended up being the racing front.  I can't even tell you how ridiculous these are on.  There is no saving them, no donating them, no nothing but putting them in the garbage bin or the fabric pile where I already have a lot of materiel left over from cutting them out..  

Exhibit B:

Love the linen type fabric, cool and breezy but a pain in the you know what to sew on.  It frays, it gathers in weird places and it does not like to be serged.  But really it has to have an over-lock stitch as it frays, and frays, and frays.   Garbage bin here you go, another disaster that really was all my fault.

  I didn't even bother editing these pictures you need to see how pathetic these are in all their real glory.

Exhibit C:

Now how can three shirts cut out and marked all at the same time come out with two that don't fit and one that does?  I hate the binding, my sewing skills stink but I think I could actual wear this one if I wasn't leaving my house.  Of course I will have to get the wee bit of blood out of the neckline where I had cut myself with my rotary cutter without noticing until I saw my very red blood drop on this very white shirt.  Could I have bled on the two that made it in the garbage bin?  Apparently not.   

New Look Pattern 6891 you are officially retired.  I know you say easy in big bold letters but you simply were not that easy for me.  You tempt me with your photo and beautiful adaptations and wooed me in, yet I did not do you justice.  It isn't your fault, I take full responsibility for my sewing disaster.  Just the same I don't want to see you again any time soon.  If I was in my six grade home economics class I think I would have gotten a D on this assignment, well maybe be a C as 3 out of 5 are at least wearable even if I don't dare venture to far in them for fear someone will run pointing at me and screaming, "Homemade! Homemade!  Look people she can't sew!"

I think I need more flower pictures and a good bottle of red wine to calm my frayed nerves.  To bad I don't drink.

I think I am going to stick with playing with yarn, well that is until I am tempted again to dust off my machine and try again.  You see there is just something inside of me that thinks I should be able to do this even if I can't.  I see you all out in blogland making dresses and pants!  I mean pants for Pete's sake and I can't even make a tank top.  I am in awe of you all, and maybe just need to be happy with who I am and that is not someone who sews successfully. 

Hope you are having a more successful week than I am. 
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Monday, April 13, 2015

An adventure with Little Buddy

I had grand plans on Saturday.  Out local nature preserve was having an Animal Safari for kids 12 and under.  A one mile walk, stations with some animals, sounds perfect to me. 

We started out with a good pace walking along the wooden trail that covers the swamp.

Much of the area I live in was once swampland, including right where my house is.  There is no way I am wading in this alligator/water moccasin infested water!

We saw tiny baby raccoon's being fed by a bottle.

This visually impaired barred owl was so gorgeous.  After this photo he opened his mouth really wide and you could almost see down his throat!

The land in the preserve is beautiful, much like Florida used to be.  The area is huge and actually butts up to the back of my house which is why we see so much wildlife here in my busy suburban area.

Little Buddy had a good time walking, well most of the time.  He didn't understand that there were stations and we had to keep moving.  He had two big crying spells, which is not like him at all.  Half the time I had to carry him from one station to the next.

We saw toads, frogs, turtles and snakes.  Yes we have had enough of the snakes for a while.  He got very upset at the turtle station and cried as we left.  When we were home and he was calm I asked him why he was crying so much on our adventure and he said, "I wanted to go in the gate (pen) with the turtles!"   I explained to him that only the turtle teacher was allowed to be in the "gate" with the turtles, not the children, moms or dads.  He seemed to understand that.

When we got home it was time to wash off the bug spray, dirt and sand from the not so perfect adventure. 

Max, the lifeguard stood by ever vigilant to make sure no one got too crazy in that pool.

Not the most perfect adventure but an adventure none the less.  How was your weekend?

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