Monday, October 06, 2014

Progress, Actual Real Progress

The mermaid tail is growing and growing right before my very eyes.

I'd forgotten how fast and satisfying crochet can be.

I will not become a hooker.

I will not become a hooker.

I will not become....

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Halloween Looms

Wanna see all the impressive progress I've made on the quilts this week!


I'm just kidding.  I haven't made any progress on the quilts.  They've been neatly folded on my kitchen table while I quietly freak out about Halloween.

Cause you know, Halloween is in like 25 days, which is just over three weeks away.  And I have to make a bunny costume, a mermaid costume, and a pink princess dress "with laces."

I don't even know if she knows what "with laces" means.

I've decided to start with the easiest costumes first, working my way up to the elaborate pink princess dress.  That way, when it comes down to the wire on October 30th (which it will), and I'm staying up all night to finish the costumes (which I will) I'll only have one costume left to worry about.  I don't want to spend three weeks working on a slippery satin princess dress complete with floor length sleeves and a matching veil only to turn around and realize I've only got 23 hours left to make a bunny costume and a mermaid costume.

So Friday I sat down to make the white tutu for Sweet Pea's bunny costume.  Cause bunnies totally wear tutus.

And of course, the first thing I did with the tutu is put it on the baby and take pictures.

Lots and lots of pictures.

I still need to sew the bunny tail on it.  But in order to do that I'm going to have to pry it off Sweet Pea's body.  She's been wearing it since Friday, only begrudgingly taking it off only to sleep.

With the bunny costume well in hand (just need to sew on the tail and buy some white leggings) I turned my attention to the mermaid costume.

Remember when I said I wasn't going to jump ship from knitting to crochet?

I lied.

I am totally crocheting this costume.  It only took me three days to figure out the crocodile stitch, but now that I *think* I've mastered it the rest should go fairly quickly

*fingers crossed*

So once again the quilts have been pushed to the side in favor of more pressing projects.  Plus I don't have fabric for the back of the quilts yet.  I *had* fabric for the back, but I've since decided that I don't like it for that (I'd rather make matching jammies for the girls with it), so I am back-fabric-less.  I couldn't work on the quilts even if I wanted to.

Which I don't.

Because Halloween is like 25 days away.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

My Middle Name is Danger

I have discovered the way to ensure that I actually complete a sewing project.

I do not have a craft room.  Two children ago we rented a house with enough bedrooms that one was a dedicated office/craft room.  But that was two children ago.  I still have the same number of bedrooms but now I have a computer in my dining room and a closet under the stairs to store my supplies.  A closet I share with the seasonal decorations, and Christmas seems to be acquiring more and more of that precious real estate every year.

When I sew I sew at the dining room table.  And at the end of my sewing session, right before I feed my children at said table, I pack everything up and tuck it safely back into the depth of The Abyss, where it patiently waits until I have the time and energy to drag it all back out again.

And as the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.

If I leave my sewing out I inject an element of danger into my crafting.

My project is left where a bored child can wander in and remove all the pins from a piece waiting to be sewn.

My setting are constantly readjusted by a child who declares she can't stop touching the sewing machine "It is just so shiny Mom!"  I  never know what stitch setting it will be on, or what new and inventive ways they will create to change my tension settings.

And lets not even talk about the food aspect.

My children eat at that table.  They are varying ages, so they have varying age appropriate degrees of table manner, but the one who is the neatest never ends up eating by my machine.  It is always the one who creates a pattern on the sewing arm with mexican rice.  Or draws her initials with peanut butter.  I'm sure the shiny aspect is playing a factor here.

And at any moment chocolate milk could be spilled on the entire project.

Apparently I like to craft under the threat of imminent destructions.

Because if I leave my project out, unprotected, exposed to the elements..,

I get stuff done!

Tiny squares become strips of sewing...

Strips become half squares...

Half squares become entire stars...

And stars become quilt tops!!

Now the hard part starts.  I have to turn quilt tops into quilts.

In the mean time...

 I've done a bit of knitting on my blue monstrosity.  I waffle between being impressed by how cleverly I'm blending two yarns into a gorgeous sweater, and being certain I am making the most bright gaudy sweater ever.

Not sure yet which way this one will play out.

 I've got to work on that giving up sleep thing so I can get more done.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Stroke of Genius

I did everything I could to find more of that variegated blue yarn.

I searched on-line.  I poured through Ravelry stashes.  I visited every Big Lots in the valley, even going so far as to make poor underpaid Big Lots employees (yes employees with an s) climb tall ladders of questionable stability to search for the elusive yarn in unmarked boxes high on the shelf.  I think one was a fellow crafter.  She seemed to understand my desperation.

It was a fools errand, and I knew it.

Yet still, I searched.  I hoped.  I crossed my fingers.  I wished on stars.

To no avail.

I need to face reality.  After three valiant yet ultimately disastrous attempts, maybe I am simply not destined to knit an Olive Basket Sweater.  Maybe the universe is screaming a message at me.  Maybe the universe knows this is a bad idea.  Maybe the universe knows this is the wrong sweater shape for my body type.  Maybe the universe knows that in some random version of the butterfly effect, by finishing an Olive Basket I will somehow trigger the start of the much awaited zombie apocalypse bringing an end to all civilization as we know it.  Maybe the universe simply hates me and doesn't want me to feel the happiness it knows this sweater would bring me.

Maybe the sweater and I aren't destined to be.

And still I pondered.

There must be a way to make more yarn magically appear using the power of my mind.

And I started to wonder.  Could I possibly mix in another yarn?  A yarn of similar weight?  A yarn in a shade of blue to blend in with the other colors? Could I stripe it with another yarn without it looking striped?

Would something like that be crazy enough to work?

I think it might.

It changes the tone of the entire sweater.  Rather than being shades of blue it is more of a turquoise sweater with accents.

But I dig it.

Of course this is where I have to frog all I've done and start over from the beginning so it all blends.  Which is fine.  Because I knit a gauge swatch, and I got gauge, but as we all know, gauge swatches lie, and mine told me a whopper of a tale.  My gauge in practice was 5.5 stitches per inch.  My gauge at go time was 5 stitches per inch.  Which means my sweater was a full size larger than intended.  And I was already worried I was knitting it a size too big.  A size too big is cozy, two sizes too big is just ill-fitting and a sloppy waste of time.

So frogging, and casting on for a size smaller seems like the right thing to do.

I frogged and I wound all my balls into pretty pretty yarn cakes.

I'm calling this my blue period.

You'll notice that in addition to the variegated yarn for my sweater, and the solid blue yarn for my sweater, there is also a large quantity of blue/green variegated yarn.

This is for Queen Bean's Halloween costume.

Cause I've got plenty of time to do that.

I'm knitting an adult size sweater, knitting an infant costume, I need to make a white tutu for Sweet Pea's costume, Bird needs me to sew her a full length pink satin princess dress "with laces", and oh yeah, I'm still trying to finish my white whale of a crib size quilt and matching twin size quilt.

Plus the usual Mom of five kids, wife to The Greatest, chauffeur for my teenage daughter duties (now I know why parents are so excited to let their ridiculously young teenagers get their drivers licence).

All the time in the world.

I am prepared to completely abandon the entire concept of sleep, and to start mainlining caffeine until sometime next January.

It seems like a solid plan.

P.S. Squishy baby is a nickname that didn't stick.  What did take was The Bean, Beanie, and most of all she like to be called Queen Bean.  Moving forward I will honor her preference.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Last night after the kids were all safely tucked in bed I sat down with my sewing machine.

I was determined to sew the last of the squares into strips.

I would not be defeated.

I am a warrior.  I am prepared for battle.  I will conquer my white whale of a quilt.

I loaded up on caffiene and turned up some motivating music as loud as I dared (which in all honesty wasn't very loud, because I had just tucked all the children safely in their beds.)  I was ready to go all night.

I was going to DO.THIS!

I sewed four strips.

And then...

I ran out of thread.

I quit.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Abject Failure

I've been pondering texture lately.

Queen Bean isn't eating solid foods yet.  So we spend a lot of time thinking about the texture of food we are (unsuccessfully) feeding her.  Puree, lumpy, meltables.  We spend a lot of time thinking about the tactile aspects of eating.

Textures of hand crafts.  The tactile feel you create with sticks and string. Smooth stitches, or lumpy knots.  Crochet is overwhelmingly preferred for photo props because crochet's knotted stitches inherently have more depth and feel compared to knitting's stockinette stitch.  While I'm not feeling the urge to trade my needles for a hook, I want to knit more textures, cables, moss stitch, waffle stitch.  I want cuddly textured sweaters.

With that in mind, I cast of for Olive Basket... again... in a different yarn... cause hope springs eternal.

The good news is I'm in love.   I LOVE the basket weave border.  I love the variegated colors.  I love how the variegated colors are knitting up and playing with the different textures.

The bad news is I don't have enough yarn to knit the sweater.  Not even close.  And since I bought this yarn at big lots well over a year ago I'm not likely to get my hands on more of it.

*le sigh*

Back to the drawing board.

Speaking of textures, I think that is where my deep love of quilts comes from.  I love how the different fabrics combine to create a pattern.  And then you lay quilting lines on top of that.


All those textures.

Quilts are easily the most superior form of blanket.  Unfortunately, as I've blogged before, my deep love for owning quilts is far greater than my kind-of-like for making quilts.

Never-the-less, I am determined to finish the quilts for Sweet Pea and Queen Bean.  I worked all afternoon Sunday.

I made great progress. I was really getting somewhere.  All my little squares were FINALLY sewn into strips.  It was really going to start coming together.  It was only going to get bigger and bigger from here, snowballing into a real life quilt top.


Only to discover...

I was sewing the green star squares in the wrong order.


I was so tempted to just leave it.

But since the other four color were all sewn in the opposite direction, the perfectionist in me could not abide this atrocity.

*le sigh*

Good thing I'm handy with a seam ripper.

So it was a weekend of failure all around.  Feeling failure.  Knitting failure.  Quilting failure.

To cheer me up, lets look at some pretty textured hand knit socks.

Full disclosure:  These are my friend's socks.  She knit 3/4 of this pair, and then an injury with a farm animal put her out of commission.  (you can't make that up)  I came in to knit the last heel/foot so she can finally have a pair of socks made from her own line of hand dyed yarn.

The pattern is Nemesis.  It was fun to knit, and maybe someday I'll knit a Nemesis of my own.

And cause I can...

Sock Sushi!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Progress of Sorts

My smooshy squishy hat grows.

It is smooshy and squishy and I love it.

Unfortunately the fact that my shooshy squishy hat is growing does not mean I have finished my Knit Picks project.  It means I've worked on the project I can throw down at a moments notice to take care of the little ones.  I've worked on the project that requires little actual brain power.  I have not worked on the project that takes my full attention.  But I'm in the home stretch with my Knit Picks project.  I expect to knock it out friday, and never speak of it again.

On the plus side, I made yarn soup today.

And then, in an unusual turn of events, I actually blocked the soaked items out to dry.

So there is that.

And finally...


Her sweet face kills me.  And those arm roll!  She is the reason I don't get anything done.  If she's awake, we're playing!