Friday, September 28, 2007

I sewed!

I think I got turned off of sewing for a while after I finished Plainspoken. Although I love that quilt, and it has a nice prominent place in our house, I just didn't have the tools or the time to make it as nice as I wanted it to be. So my (er, technically Katie's) little machine sat unused for a bit.

Then I realized maybe I just needed to bite off a little less at a time. Enter the One Evening Project.
Oilcloth Lunchbag!

Katie started school last week, so I figured she needed something to make her classmates jealous keep her lunch in.

This only took an hour or two, despite my less than amazing skills, lack of a walking foot, and the fact that these two characters were harassing me the entire time.

If I do my one and only trick maybe you will take me outside?

See how I'm gazing towards the window? I am very subtle.

They can be kinda distracting. So, yeah, don't look too closely at the stitches or anything, but this is a totally useful and very satisfying little project.

The pattern is here (identical print totally unintentional), and I found it via My Half of the Brain, which if y'all aren't reading yet, you should really check it out. That's also where I found this nifty little tutorial, which has me thinking about hand sewing... and maybe hand quilting... and what's that? Smaller bites? I'm sure I never said anything of the kind.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Came for the yarn, stayed for the fluffy bunnies.

This Sunday, we caught the tail end of the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival -- my first time at such a yarny, fibery, ungulate-filled event. I loved it.

I harbor some not-necessarily-all-that-harebrained fantasies about being a nurse, working a couple shifts a week, and having a little farm with chickens and goats and alpaca.

I mean really. How can you resist such a fluffy beast? (Not to mention the fiber obtained therefrom.)

This dude actually came within inches of following us home. The ANGORA! And the cute! Alas, we caved at the last minute to the notion of wise deliberation and forethought, blah blah blah.

Here's what did follow us home:

If I'm ever going to have that alpaca farm, I have to learn to spin, right? I figured I'd better start small, in case I totally hate it.

My virgin voyage to the land of STR (across a scummy pond, apparently). Oh, yes, my pretty, I have plans for you already.

ps. More OFFF pics here, including a real live yak and camel.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Eye Candy Friday: Farmers Market Edition

I like looking at foods second only to eating them.

Have a good weekend, y'all! I'll be spending mine recovering from a very long week by sleeping, looking at bodies, and *gasp* sewing. If it's not entirely disastrous I might even show you the results. (Of the sewing part.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

FO: Fifi pour Maman

Apologies for the artificial light; it was nighttime when we celebrated Mom's birthday, and believe me, no one else I know could model this. She's wery leetle, my mozzehr. See how the lightswitch is at shoulder height?

She's also in ridiculously good shape. Seriously, she's about 63.2% of my size and could probably kick my ass, if she ever took the notion into her head. She doesn't really like showing off the guns though, so she doesn't wear tank tops or cap sleeves much. I assumed she'd wear Fifi under a jacket or shrug or something, but she opted to wear it over a long sleeve shirt instead.

I think it actually works pretty well.

The dirt:

Pattern: Fifi, by French Girl Designs
Yarn: Rowan Calmer, in "Chiffon", ~3.5 balls. I have no idea how I used so much less than everyone else who made this size, but I'm not complaining. Extra Calmer = Shedir!
Size: Followed directions for 33.5" bust, but at tighter gauge -- I got 6 spi in stockinette.
Needles: US7
Modifications: I added several inches to the length, but other than that it's pretty much by the book. I did lose the pattern a couple repeats into the bias rib section of the torso, so I had to make that one up from what I could remember -- I can see where the change is, but I don't think anyone else can, and both methods look fine.

This shot is 100% candid and I love it. Props to The Lady.

My thoughts on this pattern? Well, since I'm a strong believer in the Good-Bad-Good method of criticism, here goes: As far as the Big Picture, I love everything about this top. The shape of the sleeves, the staggering of the cables, the clear contrast between the yoke and the rest of the torso, yet with the continuity of that one central cable. It's great.

When we get down to the details, however, it just doesn't all come together as cleanly as I'd like. Sure, there were the errata, but since I sort of only kept one eye on the pattern anyway, I didn't even notice and just did what made sense, which was, of course, what the pattern should have said to begin with. But also, where the cables are staggered, the spacing isn't consistent or symmetrical. To correct this would have required changing the spacing of the cable twists throughout the whole garment (which coincidentally would have made the cable repeat and the bias rib repeat line up MUCH better, but that's another issue entirely), so I left it alone. No harm done really. Just my spatial, mathy side grumbling a little.

All that said, besides being cute in general, this thing is so precisely my mom's style that I can't be unhappy about it. I'm chalking this one up as a win.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

"One, two, three... [Chomp.] Ah-three."

You know how sometimes you're working on something and you promise yourself you won't cast on anything new until it's done, but then it ends up taking a bit longer than planned, so that you have ample time to dream about all the many things you could be knitting if you could just finish that one damned project, and then when you finally do finish it you turn around and find you've cast on for three things in 24 hours?

Yeah, me too.

These are Things One and Two: Charade in Louet Gems Sport and Twisted Tweed in Trekking. I generally go in for intricate, lacy socks, but lately I've had a hankering for something simple and eminently wearable. Still, I couldn't decide which of these two somethings to start first -- I was actually feeling some non-trivial tension over it. WTF? I knit for fun, remember? What is the Liberation Movement for, anyway, if not to remind us that this is our craft and we can do whatever the hell we feel like with it, whether that means knitting one sock or three? Onto the needles they both go. I'm actually not finding myself all that enamored with either of these yarns, though I do love the colors (and of course, the patterns).

Speaking of three, Thing Three is top secret; Xmas knitting has begun! My sincere apologies to the Ravelry-less, but a certain The Lady is among your number, and it's the best place I can think of to keep things from her prying eyes.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Since last we spoke...

I've been busy.

We tackled the next round of renovations: knocked out some walls, rebuilt some other walls, and added a bathroom to the upstairs. (Yes, we got some professional help for this part.)

I married two of my best friends from high school. (Yes, i get a huge kick out of the fact that "marry" is both a monotransitive and a ditransitive verb. As in, "The Oregon constitution won't even let me marry The Lady, but I married two people this weekend!"*)

I spent a lovely weekend at my friend Lara's parents' place on the North Umpqua River. (Yes, Lara's dog Gypsy looks just like Bailey. But with one blue eye!)

I also fell even more in love with our friend Vaden, a little fellow with a temperament as sweet as his vocabulary is enormous. How many 2.5 year olds do you know who say "Stella, you should turn around, the water behind you is so pretty. Can we go down to the river's edge?" THE RIVER'S EDGE. This boy kills me dead.

Then I came home and felted my beautiful yarn. Ugh.

Just to twist the knife a little harder, the unfelted parts look like this:

Still nice and shuzzy, and a really amazing shade of coppery brown. Note to self, and anyone else who might be embarking on their virgin dyeing excursion: Use a pot large enough to stir the yarn freely, or else some parts of the water will get significantly hotter than others. Also, don't make your first attempt with yarn you really love.

It's not actually quite as bad as that first picture makes it appear -- I might still knit up a swatch and see what it looks like. Nevertheless, I feel very very stupid and disappointed.

On a happier note, Fifi is finished (actually finished, as of this writing, not missing a wee bit of sleeve as in the picture). Full FO report to come next week when I get modeled shots from the birthday girl (my mama).

* Uh, actually those are both monotransitive... but you get my drift.