Sunday, April 13, 2014

Argyle love

 I set out to knit a pair of argyle socks for my DH because after all he watched the boys while I took the class.

It turns out that these socks unfortunately fit our 8 yr old, and not my DH.  Oops.  Well, the boy is excited about them, even a little extra excited because he is getting them out from under the nose of his daddy.

I guess this means a second pair is in order.

The class I took was from Anne Berk, a wonderful teacher.  I would actually love to take another class with her.  She did a nice blog post about teaching our class where you can even see a photo of me and some girls from knit nite. 

I intend to buy her book when it becomes available.  It will probably be great.  Until then, I have about 3 more socks to make if not 5 if my younger boy chimes in.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Feeling Super

Recently one of my best friends knit a couple of one inch tall super hero characters for my boys.  I kinda wanted to steal them for myself, but they are very loved and take care of by the kids.

It made them feel super to get them and she did a super job of knitting them.  Well of course she did, she's a super knitter.

Anyhow, I'm finally feeling super myself after finishing my Alabama Chanin DIY skirt.  I work it around town last weekend and it was a lot of fun.

The girls a A Verb for Keeping Warm got a kick out of seeing it, as the all the employees at Heath Ceramics.  I felt like a rock star.

I hope to get back to Verb to their Alabama Chanin sew in event later this month.  It's on a week night so it will take some doing to actually end up there, but I hope to go.  If you're in the bay area, check it doesn't cost anything but you will want to register to hold a chair for yourself.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Alabama Chanin DIY Skirt: final progress report

You may be sick of hearing about my Alabama Chanin DIY skirt and if you are I have some good news for you.  It's almost done!

This is probably my last progress report on it.  From here on out I have a few evenings left of cutting out pieces but the sewing is finally done.  

Maybe I'll wear it on Easter or something.  Or maybe I'll just wear it to the grocery store.  It's a stretch goal to wear it to my monthly weekend quilting group on Saturday, but I think I might actually make that happen if I get busy in the evenings.  We'll see.  I guess I should probably get some photos of me wearing the finished garment too.

Last weekend we made a lightening fast trip to Chicago to visit a relative on my husband's side of the family, a trip that was long overdue.  Chicago is one of those cities that I think you could explore forever and never be done with it.  I always leave wanting more. 

Details about all that coming up next time.  Hope your week is going well and that you're finding a little time here and there for creative work.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Happy Monday - Eww!

Sorry to gross you out. but I thought that you could use a little pick me up since it's Monday, after all.

Why is it cool to have blinking glowing teeth if you're 8 yrs old?  Does it mean that I'm old because I find this kind of disturbing?  I think I'm officially over the hill now.  

Anybody care to join me?!  Ewwww.... 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fun-mail from The Workroom

Ever since I visited The Workroom in Toronto, I have been wanting to go back.

With no trips there on the immediate horizon, it seemed high time for it to come to me.

I didn't order a lot, just one piece of incredible Liberty of London fabric with jewels on it and a few colors of sparkle floss by Lecien.

It still made my day when this happy package arrived from Canada.  Would love to get back there someday soon.

Until then, I have some plans for this Liberty fabric.  Serious plans!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Taking More Photos & Adventures on deck

Getting out there in the field with your camera isn't always easy.

If you love to shoot film, sending your film off for processing and having it scanned is just another step in the process.

We recently went to San Francisco with the family and took photos on the Golden Gate Bridge because our niece had sent us her Flat Stanley.

I want to get out and do some more shooting this spring and summer.  Not sure exactly where it will be yet, but we have some ideas.

Until then, more shooting around the neighborhood is probably in order and maybe even a little more photo taking around the house would do in a pinch.

 I do hope to get back to San Francisco sometime soon.  

Stopping in at a few favorite places would be nice, including:

Flora Grubb  - plants to die for
Heath Ceramics - always a good day when you can stop by here
Fluevog Shoes - some are too out there for me but many are calling my name

Taking a ferry to Sausalito for maybe some lunch at 
Farmshop...mmm, looks yummy, right?
Peapod Fabrics - it's been a while since I've stopped by here.  Awesome fabric, outrageously difficult parking 

Until then, I'll be on the sidelines of the baseball field taking pictures of those little monkeys you see above.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring has sprung: getting to know a stranger

Last year I bought a "Snowball Hydrangea" plant when I was shopping at Filoli.  Ever since I bought's been the plant that makes me go hmmm....

I waited all last summer for it to bloom and all it did was grow really huge and make a LOT of leaves.  No flowers.  At all.

At first I talked sweetly to the plant.  Whispering sweet nothings into its foliage with thoughts of making blooms.  When that didn't work things eventually escalated to me making nasty threats involving a shovel and the compost pile.  

Finally I decided that waiting may pay off, so I left it alone and forgot about it for the most part.

This weekend it decided to produce two very tiny blooms.  They are really quite adorable. 

I'm not exactly sure if the plant itself is an Annabelle Hydrangea or not, but I think that is the other name for this plant.  I'm glad that I didn't kill it after all.

In other news and wanderings, I discovered a very cool shop called Fringe Supply Company when I was in the Sincere Sheep booth at Stitches West.

They carry some interesting looking scissors in their tools section and have some buttons that are made from real horn and bone that are to die for. 

Hope your week is off to a good spring-y start.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Old Flame

I dug out my modern house blocks and started to think about putting another border on them.

I was so in love with this project and these blocks before that it is practically a crime that they have not been made into a quilt top.

How about some advise on setting the blocks here...

I like the fabric on the right and think it is a good allows the quilt to come together.  I think something is still missing though.  

Maybe a very thin dark 'frame' of maybe 1/2" black or almost black fabric around all the blocks first?  They sort of need something to frame them up.  

Ideas?  Help!  I'm crowd sourcing this one!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Imitaion is the sincerest form of flattery

First let me say that I did not make this amazing shawl, but I did have the great pleasure of photographing not only it, but I also got to take photos of my beautiful friend Marianne, who actually did make it.

I was so inspired by it that I dragged her around looking for the exact same yarn so I could get pretty close to the version that she made.  We'll see if I ever finish it.  I'm not quite the knitter that she is.  The pattern is called Catkin.

Taking photos of your finished projects doesn't have to be all that tough.  There are a couple simple rules of thumb I use and they serve me pretty well:

  • Only use natural light: no photos at night, no photos using light bulbs or camera flash bulbs
  • Get up close: this usually involves putting your camera into macro mode, which often has a small flower icon on it.  I know, you may have to use your camera manual.  This is seriously not rocket science here.  Try it, you'll like it.
  • If it works, rock that light:  Meaning, find the best light that you have available to you and use it.  Use it, use it, and use it some more.  If you only have good light in one room of your house during a certain time of day, only use that spot to take your photos and do it when the time is right.
  • Have a photo party:  When the light is good, whip out several things and take photos of them in batches.  This will allow you to use them at 2am to do blog posts ;)

    Good luck and happy shooting!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Let it Rain!

In some parts of North America, people are getting a little relief from the snow.

Here in the California Bay Area, we are finally getting some long overdue rain and we're all really excited about it.

Kids get to bring out super-hero themed umbrellas and I get a good excuse to stay in and do some extra sewing and knitting.

During the last storm my kids got the block village and build a pretty considerable tiny city up.  Including a section of London, a small railroad, and a forest full of trees and sheep of all things.  That would be a knitter's dream forest!

I actually don't mind a little stay at home catch up.  I also discovered that after several hours of culling away that my office does indeed have a floor that does not include boxes all over it.  I minor miracle really. 

The really big news this week is that Flat Stanley arrived at our house.  It was sent to us from my niece.  He is busy learning to drive, and also learning to knit.  I'll have to teach him how to quilt as well perhaps later tonight. 

In other random wanderings, I found Yumiko Higuchi's amazing site devoted to her embroidery.  It makes me want to run out and embroider everything.  I was never a huge fan of embroidery, it seemed very grannie to me before I saw Yoko Saito use it in conjunction with applique.  Now that I've seen how Yumiko uses it, I could understand getting really really into it.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nice to meet you: A Blog Post written by an in-progress Skirt

Hello.  Nice to meet you.

I am Marisa's DIY Skirt (in progress) and she asked me to write a guest blog post for her today about my life as a half finished skirt.

Let me start by saying that I am really thrilled that the entire back half of me has now been stitched and all the cut-outs are complete.  I'm feeling really confident when people admire me on that side.

The front of me, as you can see from the above, has been progressing slowly but surely.  There is still a long way to go.  One of the front quarter panels is almost done, and the other one is almost started.

Marisa does not neglect me, so please don't think I'm trying to throw her under the bus here when talking about my half completed state.  She puts new stitches on me each day although she's busy and at times only works on me for 15 minutes.  I'm still feeling the love, and I know that she will eventually complete me.  I'm not getting the feeling she will give up on me.  I am admittedly complicated...a project that cannot be rushed.

I hope that your long term complicated sewing projects find inspiration from this blog post and that you can also empower them to write in your own blogs.  It isn't every day that a Skirt gets to write a blog post.

Best wishes to you, and perhaps I'll come back and write again when I'm almost complete.  I'm really looking forward to getting out of the house.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stitches West 2014: Recap

Stitches West is a knitting convention in San Jose, California.

They have lots of vendors and tons of classes so for me it's a great chance to pick up some cool new yarn and take a class or two.

This year I took the argyle sock class with Anne Berk.  She was an awesome teacher and everybody in class learned a ton.  Class was especially fun because three of my best friends took it with me and we had a serious blast.

The above photo is of swatches that we all made in class.  Mine is the aqua colored one near the lower center.  

I'm looking forward to making some fun socks with what I learned.  I may even make some mitts for the kids.  That would be even faster to finish.  

Spring is coming though, so time to knit faster is here.

I got some yarn from this vendor Plucky Knitter.  They have their own yarn base that no other vendor uses, it is made strictly for them.  It gives you amazing stitch definition and I think that may be due to it having more twist in the yarn.  Either way, their yarn is hard to come across so the booth was wall to wall people.  I did work my way in though so plucky socks are on the horizon. 

I also got some Bugga! yarn and started in on a shawl called Catkin.  It may take me a zillion years to finish it.  Maybe more than a zillion.  I'm still very focused on my DIY Alabama Chanin skirt, so the knitting is happening a certain pace I guess.

Oh and I tripped over some stitch markers by Neese's Pieces that were made out of hand blown glass.  Very unusual and pretty.

Next year I hope I can take another class with my buddies.  I cannot remember when I've ever had so much fun.  See So Sue's blog post about it here, and check out my friend Sharon's blog Knits are for Kids too!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Stitches West 2014

There are only two 'events' in the quilting and knitting universe that make my pulse rise.

PIQF (of course!) and Stitches West.

Last night was the Stitches West market preview, so I took a run over there in the evening to check out the yarn and take advantage of the late hours.  It was a real hoot.

I ran into boat loads of podcasters, including the Knitmore Girls, The Yarniacs, and Never Not Knitting's Alana.  I also had a sighting of the Knit Lit Chicks but they were on the go so we didn't get to chat.

It was fun to see all the latest goodies in the yarn-land.  I ended up with a couple more balls of sock yarn because, well, one can never have too many socks.  Right? 

My family may be sick of all the hand knit socks I make them but they have yet to ask me to stop and the kids are growing out of them at times too.  I have a bit of a more is more approach to socks.

The most fun I had was of course in the A Verb For Keeping Warm booth where I could have just stayed all night, but resigned myself to a couple of yarn balls  (including what you see above) and headed home.

I'm taking an argyle sock class all day tomorrow so wish me luck with that.

Have a great weekend.  If you're in the California Bay Area, stop in at stitches...the colors are amazing and it smells like clean sheep!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hot Air: Airplants Like to Listen to Rock Music

I won't show you photos of the plants in my yard because they are more or less hibernating and looking rather sad.

It's nice and toasty inside so my little air plant is happy as can be.  I play rock music for it - recently Tame Impala's release called Lonerism.  Well, suppose I play it for me too.  Pretty addictive.

Our little kid has been fighting a bug this week.  No fun for him and no sleep for parents.  I'm sure you probably know the drill.  He seems to be on the mend, so perhaps our week will get back on track. 

We took a casual 7 hr drive (each way that is) this weekend to LA for some fun with the extended family.  It was a blast and I made good use of time on the road.  Amazing amounts of progress were made on my skirt.  It's actually almost done!

Ok, it's nowhere near done.  Sorry to excite you.  I did work on it a lot, at least 5 or 6 hours in total and I did get almost all the cutting done on the 2nd of the 4 panels.  As soon as I'm done with that it will be all down hill (pun intended) from here.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Hand Handspun

I tried on the handspun wrist warmer I knit ages ago.  

When I made it I thought the colors are too wild for my taste so I never made the 2nd one.

It hasn't been cold enough here so far this winter to need them really, but the more I look at the the more I like it.

Am I starting to lose my mind?  Look at all this wild color!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

When Quilters Make Garments: Nani Iro Jersey

My quilting needles have been bumping into the squishy-ness of cotton jersey lately. 

It feels like trying to nail jello to a tree when you compare it to the act of working with quilting cotton. 

The Alabama Chanin DIY skirt that I'm making is still on the front burner and it is progressing but it seemed like a tank top to match would be a fun project.  I cut out a corset top from the pattern in her book and made it with jersey Nani Iro that I got from awesome online shop Superbuzzy.

It's my own person Japanese twist on this cool process.  I have a few more alterations to make and I'm even toying with adding a few beads to it.  I might also put some of the gray fabric used on the skirt around the neckline and arm holes to tie it together. 
Either way, it's looking good but not done yet. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Knitting Homework & The Fine Art of Procrastination

Getting ready for my argyle sock class...

There is a tiny bit of homework which seems to be knitting up quickly.

I'm looking forward to class more so because some of my best friends will be taking it with me.  If I never learn how to knit an argyle sock, I'm not sure it will matter much.

I put the homework off as long as I could and there is some small sick pleasure to the art of procrastination. 

It's looking like it will end up coming together before the class.  Sweating = done!  Ok, mostly done that is.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Music Addiction: Fed

Spotify finally came out with an app that sends basically and music you want to your phone.

The free version has ads which isn't a big deal.  

I did some comparison shopping on wireless speakers and although the Jawbone mini Jambox doesn't sound better than every option out there, it's certainly the best looking of them all by far.

Please find me happily rocking out to Young the Giant (from my home town!), Calvin Harris, and San Cisco

Will it make me sew any faster?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Winter Sunset

Not the best sunset photo I've ever taken, but probably not the worst either.

It had some pretty colors and we caught it as we were waiting for my weekly half hour of knitting to start.

Oh, I mean, my son's weekly half hour piano lesson.  How easy it is to mix those two things up, isn't that funny?

Monday, January 27, 2014

DIY Skirt - Progress Report

My Alabama Chanin DIY skirt is still progressing along.  Not sure if you can tell from the photo, but it's almost half done.  Only a small part of the upper right is not sewn yet.

I'm liking the look of it and I also really like the feel of it.  The way the fabric feels is actually different after you the all the sewing and cutting.  It has a better drape to it.  I'm excited to finish it and wear it.  The sewing process is slow though and my creative time is pretty limited these days.  It is a blast though and the Olympics are coming soon so that may help me finish it off.

In celebration of the Olympics, we are getting a Tivo.  They are supposed to be easy to use so I'm looking forward to that since our DVR that we have now is simply put horrible.

Meanwhile, I'm catching up on some old shows trying to watch a few things on the old DVR before we kick it to the curb.  I only have 1 more Downton episode left to watch. 

Hope this week ends up being less hectic than it looks like it might be.  Hope that you have a nice week too.  Squeeze some sewing time in.  Just do it!