Wednesday, July 30, 2008


A couple times when this blog was young, I got some spam. Not much though, and I've never bothered with comment moderation or anything. Why do some blogs get so much spam and others, none?
I was happy to see a comment yesterday by an unfamiliar name. I clicked it, and instead of getting a blogger profile, I got a page about coupons for clothes. I noticed that the word 'dress' in her comment was highlighted and underlined, so I clicked it. Same page for coupons. Is this a subtle hint, LOL, or have I been spammed? It's almost reassuring to get spam. At least then I know this is really out there in cyberworld. But what does Annabelle do? Search blogs that show clothing? Yawn. Get a life. Get a real job.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sew....What's New?

Due to Meg growing faster than Lucy, Lucy is having a dress shortage issue. I like Meg wearing dresses right now because she can go diaperless but still look dressed. Until she does sumersaults on the front lawn. Anyway, she is much more successful with the potty if she has nothing on......not even underwear! So, I let Lucy choose some fabric for a new summer dress. The one she chose had been bought to make a sling to sell/donate/give away, but no one has wanted one yet :(

This is the same pattern I've used for all the other dresses, but sleeveless. I had to go buy 7/8" single fold bias tape. We went to Wal-Mart first, and they had only a couple selections in single-fold, and none were the right colour AND the right size. So I went to FabricLand, but didn't take my package. Somehow, I changed 7/8" into 5/8" but all they had was 1/2" (most actually had no size given) and I knew 5/8" was close to 1/2".....ended up getting a burgandy colour like the really thin outline details, and the great gals at sewing forum helped me figure out what to do. Lucy wanted really narrow shoulders, but I didn't want to change it too much for the first time. It ended up perfect, even though I was just guessing at how much more to trim back the armhole. I like the bias tape, although the selection is crappy, so I bought a gizmo to make my own!

It's a stretch cotton so I actually made a size smaller than her Christmas dress. I think.

I recently wore my rayon flowered dress that I made for the cruise last October. I'm a little self-conscious in it. The pattern gave 4" of ease for the top, but being the shape it is, I knew that was not a good idea! As it ended up, the back was too big and I had to modify after it was done. I don't mind the front view (taken last October):

but the view I see worries me:See how much bigger I am on my right side? I was before the reduction too, but now that I'm smaller, being unequal seems more obvious. I don't like how the fabric gapes away from me. It's like the left cup's right edge (where it goes under the other side) should be snugger under the bust, and the right cup, especially, should be bigger. Bigger cups, smaller bodice?This is what other people see, I think, LOL. I'd like it to cover more and fit my boob better. When I wear that pink 'Infinity Dress' made with knit interlock, it molds to my bust. Am I being overly self conscious? I'm pretty short, so I think others are looking down my top, seeing what I see, LOL! (OMG, what's that extra roll beneath my bust?!)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Random Megs

I wanted to post pictures of the new wool diaper soaker I knitted so ladies in the soaker knitting group can tell me how to improve it. But there were so many cute Meg pictures that I just had to post them too! I know I should put them over on my other blog, but tough, they're here now!

This is my first "Curly Purly" soaker (the name is from her blog name). I haven't added any leg cuffs/bands yet; I wanted to see how it fits. There's a little extra bulk in the front...esp. considering she's a girl, LOL. I think I need to start the leg holes a little higher and cast off a few more sts (I had added a few extra stitches to the body, but all sizes cast off 5 for the leg holes, so I just cast off 7 to get rid of some of the extra sts).

I love this picture, even though she's not wearing the best outfit. It's not often that I get to do something with her hair!
Sibling high-jinxs while on a road trip. That's the "throw up bucket" on her head. Look at how white her blankie is!!
This is half a tin of 'frozen' blueberry Fruitopia, a few minutes before it was time to take Huey to school. Oxy-Clean to the rescue!!

Since Huey had a butterfly-release party at school, Meg has been fascinated with butterflies. This is her using her/Lucy's Cinderella skirt to make butterfly wings!

This is a pretty dress I made for Lucy on the KnitSmart, Summer 2005 when she was 2 1/2.This is Meg, now 2 1/2, in that dress.....gee, a little short!This is Megan last November, in the same dress. Gee, think she's grown? LOL.
This is Lucy and Rob on their first 'Co-Pilot' ride. We bought the Co-Pilot from the neighbour to try to help Huey learn to ride a bike. He was so excited to get it and try it, but then wouldn't get on it.
Gotta go, I think Meg has the bag of cherries on the couch and is eating them. She thinks you need to eat AROUND the pit....

The Elephants Are Coming!

I read a nice blog frequently, and she made one of these cute little elephants. It uses worsted weight yarn; great for using up scraps. I showed the picture to Lucy, who of course wanted one right away. We picked out a few colours and I got started. Of course, I got sidetracked; it's not very portable despite being small, there's sewing and stuffing and going to Wal-Mart to buy poly-beads....
but it got done finally last week. I had visions of making many of these to use up scraps, but I think I'll pass on that idea. I do have some other elephant patterns I want to try though. And, this striped idea would work well for any animal pattern that has enough detail that you know what the animal is supposed to be even if it would never appear in those colours in the wild. But not too much detail that it would get overwhelming and distracting to have both colours and details. Ya know what I mean? LOL.

Friday, July 11, 2008

STR Gather Moss Anyway

I really hate the picture from yesterday, so I have to post again to push that picture downwards! LOL.

I don't often show works in progress, unless there's an issue. Well, there's been an issue for a year. Last year after my surgery, the wonderful Cindy of Noro Enablers Anonymous brought me a skein of Socks That Rock, already wound up, ready to go.
And I was ready to go, but I wanted to not rush it, and find the perfect pattern (and finish some things first).
I searched and searched for a (free) pattern. I found patterns for STR Medium weight. I found gorgeous patterns for nearly solid STR. I found MANY patterns I wanted to knit, but knew they wouldn't work with this beauty. I finally found one free pattern for this yarn weight but I was a little skeptical. Back in February when I squashed my toe and went to the hospital, I printed the pattern and started it while waiting in the ER. I was LOVING the yarn.

Until I got to where the colours stop going diagonal and start going into vertical pools. It's hard to see in the photos, but each of the colour pools is actually made up of one row stripes of two colours. The turquoise is light and dark turquoise, the pinkish is magenta and green I think, and the yellow is yellow and lilac. There was no change in the stitch count, no change in the needle size, so the dye job on the yarn was doing this all by itself. Mmmm.At first, I kept going, saying "This was one of the most thoughtful and appreciated gifts I've gotten in a long time, I don't care what it looks like, I just want to wear this cozy yarn on my feet". I was hoping the pattern would change again. I actually did knit some of the sock pattern I had printed up (oh, about four rows), but ripped it back to the ribbing and kept going, hoping that just a 'plain' sock would show the yarn to it's best, rather than trying to fight a texture onto it. But after awhile, I just couldn't take the vertical pooling anymore. It was shifting, but way too slowly.

So, I hit the pause button earlier this spring. I thought. I joined Ravelry. I searched more, bought more sock books. But, the thing with socks is that they don't usually vary in their stitch count by very much as you work through the sock. I could do a lace pattern that adds sts on some rows and takes them away on another, but then there's texture issues, and really, not enough variation in the stitch count to throw off the pooling.

Then, I found it. Entrelac socks! We had a workshop in the winter/spring with the Georgetown guild; it's something I've never done and have thought about it, but didn't find any patterns that really turned me on enough to learn something new (despite loving learning new things, they still have to have a reason to learn them). Back to Ravelry, and it turns out that I have two entrelac sock patterns from two different magazines---one mag which I rarely buy! And, if I remember, I bought that issue to read while I was in the ER during all the post-surgery complications, so how 'fateful' is that?! I still need to actually try entrelac, esp. in the round, but I am optimistic that it is the answer for this gorgeous yarn.

Something about the yarn makes me want to go back and change all the text colours to yellow, magenta and turquoise!! I LOVE the section of the turquoise; totally reminds me of our cruise!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Just like the pink dress, the purpley socks, and the striped elephant, this next project was also "Gotta do it now". I had seen on a sewing blog where a lady took some old sheets and made simple, casual pants. She loved them, and likened them to 'wearing your bed all day'. When I was redoing our bedroom in April, I got a bag of linens from Freecycle, but there wasn't much I could use. There were some pretty sheets that I thought would be great for 'wearable muslins' or even a pair of these pants. I made the first (and so far, only) pair of pants out of one of these sheets. The colour is just like medical scrubs, and the fabric is a bit....stiff. I had thought about making a skirt instead (so they wouldn't feel so scrubs-like), but I don't think there's enough drape.

The reason I chose this sheet was for the 'bleach' stripe at the top end, and it had a nice deep hem that I could use as is! I actually measured myself this time, and found that I didn't need to shorten the legs!!!! However, the rise? I had to shorten that quite a bit!!! I used wide, non-roll waistband elastic, which is quite comfy. The rise ended up being a smidge too high, so instead of taking out the elastic and the casing, I folded it inwards and stitched it down. Now the rise is a smidge too short in the front over my post-babies belly.

I do not look good in elastic waist pants. To get the fit over the belly, I have too much on either side of the belly, but just taking in the hip seams is not the answer (too little over the belly; too much in the sides equals out like a math equation). The belly rise needs to be a bit longer to compensate, but truth is, I really don't need the extra gathering around my waist (OMG, that's the first time I didn't type it as wasit in a LONG time). But if I used darts, I'd have to use a zipper and that negates the easy, loungy construction/feel of the pants. They also fall pretty much straight down from my widest part, just like Stacey and ....what's his name....tell women to do, but there's a lot of fabric around my ankles, LOL. I have pretty decent legs but you sure can't tell from the photo! (I put the camera on the bathroom counter and used the self timer. Perhaps a different angle would have been a little nicer?!).

BTW, I made these back in May. Probably the May long weekend, or Mother's Day. Still a little behind in posting!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Peace, Dude!

So, having wanted to do cloth diapers since Huey was born, I finally asked on Freecycle last fall. My friend had some she gave me, and I finally sewed some early this year. If I had known I could sew them, I would have done so sooner; like just before Meg was born and I tried sewing slings and realized that indeed, I COULD sew, LOL. In many old knitting books are patterns for 'soakers' or panties to go over cloth diapers. Everything old is new again, and wool soakers are a hot ticket item in the cloth diaper world. Lucky for me, I can knit. Even luckier, I have knitting machines, and a local source for one of the most popular soaker wools, "Peace Fleece". I went out there the last week of school on the day Lucy had a full day field trip and picked up 3 skeins for the longies (wool pants worn over a cloth diaper) and a bunch of skeins to use with the Noro. And a few other skeins of stuff....

Just to try this out, I found some very similar yarn in my stash. Wound into skeins, decidedly itchy (but the burn test indicated some artificial content), it had no labels and sat unloved. I used every last inch, and had to seam with some matching Patons Classic Wool. Being that Meg is ummm....large and 'old' (in the cloth diaper world anyway), there aren't many patterns to chose from so I had to do some math, and dissect some other patterns. I used the LK150 and it went decently quick (for a trial pair, in the round by hand would have meant they could be tried on, and that would have saved time ripping out and re-knitting, but the knitting is SO fast by machine, LOL). The picture doesn't show it well, but the blue is a mottled, heathery blue. I tried them on her, and they pretty much fit, but the front waist is too baggy, so I will sew ribbon on as ties. Doing eyelets for a drawstring in the midst of the ribbed band is very time consuming on the machine. The legs are slightly flared, by increasing the tension number (to knit looser) every 5 rows, ending with a rolled cuff.

I actually did a test swatch of the Peace Fleece to get the correct gauge. Glad I did, although the row gauge ended up being off. Way off. I started at the top, the seam runs from center back to center front waist. So both pieces have bum shaping, and each piece is an entire leg. The difference between the swatch and the finished row gauge was about 1 row too few per inch. So, once I had knit both pieces (including converting all that ribbing), and seamed them together, THEN I got to find out they were much too short in the rise (the legs ended up being good!).
So, I unsewed down the seams a bit and I CUT the last row of ribbing (next to the stockinette section) and picked it out. I put it back on the machine, and worked upwards. Due to the increases that I had done originally after the ribbing, you can see little 'blips' but I don't mind. I think next time, I might start with an open cast on, and not do the ribbing. Then, once off the machine, do the ribbing upwards by hand, in the round. Or, I might do a hem with elastic, or a drawstring.
When I started the striping, I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but I wanted it to look like the grey was getting less, and the pink more. But after I did the first 2 rows of pink, then 4 rows of grey, I realized that I would be out of grey rows really quickly. So I did two rows of grey, and each pink section was one more row. Two more rows would have made it more noticeable, but from a distance you can see the effect.

So, I lanolized them yesterday and they had a beautiful two days to dry in the shady back deck. I got her ready for bed, but it was a little early, and I was pretty sure she was ready to poop. So, I just put a 'regular' cloth diaper on her (flannel fitted pocket), and went to get the camera. I came back up, and she was leaning on Lucy's bed (in the picture), with a very concentrated look on her face, a stench in the air, and she shouted "No, Go!". LOL. She looked just like she was having a contraction, LOL. I came back later and changed her, and put on a double stuffed velour pocket. Oh, so soft, LOL. Anything soft or knitted, she makes her blankie sign.

The ribbing is a little tight at the front to stay up at her waist, but they're much better than her regular pajama pants. I added 15 rows to the body, and 3 more rows to the ribbing, and they could still be higher (they will pull up to her belly button, but not stay there). I used 202grams after seaming and trimming the ends, so I could still make them a little bigger and use just two skeins (although I used 1 1/2 of the grey and 1/2 of the pink, so I have 117g left). It sells for $7.50 Cdn locally (plus tax), so for $15 (plus tax), I can get a nice pair of wool longies. Rob is a little not convinced, LOL, but hey.....I've been getting up and changing her disposable diaper EVERY night, and she's still usually got wet pajamas in the morning, so this can't be any worse. And in fact, last night, I forgot to put a diaper on her, and somehow, in the 45 minutes of pre-sleep activities, she never mentioned it!

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Power of Four

Grumperina might not like four (I can't believe she's been knitting for only four years. I remember when she first started and we 'met' through Gosh, I wish I had started knitting AFTER the internet took off!), but it does have some important qualities. It's pretty important when it comes to socks and mittens, for one.

I'm calling these intermission socks. I actually had a time, back in May, when I didn't have much on the go, knitting wise. My mom's secret sweater was just not working, I had the Montego Bay scarf, but that was ho-hum, a few other little things. I had just gotten two sock books and there were a few patterns using Cascade Fixation. I was currently using it to make a Zaftig ( and thought "I"ll just whip up a pair of socks to finish off some of this Elann version of Fixation." I really wanted to use up this verigated yarn, but it was less than two balls. I had a lilac colour that was supposed to 'go with' it, but elann's idea of 'go with' isn't the same as mine. That's happened twice now. The pattern I wanted to do, I checked out on and decided I didn't like it in the verigated yarn. So, I just used the suggested needle size and number of sts, casting on from the toe. It was too big. I think it started with 56st, and I ended up using 48sts. The first one went fine; I did it up through the heel (a short row heel, even though I don't like them, I figured the stretch would help; and I added an extra three short rows at the top of the heel). Then I started the second one, just before my knitting group headed off on a road trip.

I got a little way up the foot of the second one, and thought "Hey, it's striping differently, even though it's the same ball of yarn." I did a few more rows. It kept striping. I counted sts. I had only 44sts. Four can be a powerful number with striping yarns!

You can see where I added the missing four sts (I think I did it over two rounds to spread it out a bit), and the subsequent change in pattern. It's the sock on the left up top. I don't mind it. They are very short, basically ankle socks, and very strange feeling, but nice for the summer as my slippers are very worn out and I don't feel like making myself a pair of felted wool clogs right now. Despite trying to avoid ladders by knitting one more stitch on to each needle, there are very visible ladders up both socks, but not just one ladder; there's two ladders separated by one stitch. What's up with that?!
(BTW, I've had these done for almost a month!)