25 November 2008

RIP Beloved Socks

I finished a pair of socks this year out of Artyarns Ultramerino 4 that I loved. They were finished during my first hospital stay of the year. I LOVED THEM. I can't even describe my love adequately. As soon as those socks came out of the dryer, they were on my feet. I wore them every day in the hospital after my delivery. I wouldn't wear them outside the house because they might get dirty in my shoes. They were basically thin slippers for my house. I wore them too much, washed them too much, and didn't consider that I probably should have reinforced the heels and toes with some nylon thread.

Two nights ago, while wearing them, I noticed that my normally cozy warm feet felt a little draft on my heel. One sock had a hole in the heel. On close inspection, the other sock's heel had gotten dangerously thin. It was with a heavy heart that I threw them into the trash bin last night. I loved you, socks. You did a good job. I'm going to buy more of the Artyarns, and I'm going to reinforce it this time, but it'll never be the same. You were with my during both my hospital stays and you are the first pair of knit socks I wore out.


Most Recent Socks

20 November 2008

Sewing Makes Me Cry

As everyone knows, blogs without pictures blow. Sorry for those bloggers who don't use photos, but this is like a universal truth. It's also why blogs with great photos get large readerships. This is how I know that my photos need work. If I had great photos, I'd have a ton of readers even if I posted once a lifetime.

Anyway, I've been photoless recently, with a ton of podcast reviews, and whatnot, but, if I want people to read, I need to post. I've been sewing more than knitting recently, and after knocking out a few bibs and burpcloths as seen in the past, I decided I was a more confident person who was going to move on to sewing booties. Wow, my first pair sucked.

Fleece Booties

Those booties are coming apart. You can probably see it if you zoom in on the large size. I didn't cry, however, because from doing it that first time, I saw where my mistakes were, and planned a second try. I also decided that it was clear it was time for me to move on to patterns. So, I went to Joanne's and bought five (for five bucks)! There were some cute patterns there such as a baby bunting and a cute dress. The highlight purchase, however, the one I would start with, was Sewing for Dummies pattern 4178 for bags.

On the good side, I don't appear to be a dummy. On the bad side, I appear to be even more stupid than dummies. I opened the pattern hopefully, and started to read. Shortly thereafter, I became all "notches", "Sel?", "WTF!?!"

Sewing for Dummies Too Smart For Me

I would keep flipping to newer and more complicated descriptions of what to do.

Sewing for Dummies Too Smart For Me

I'm not sure if I'm meant to sew, people. This shit looks hard to do. I mean, I see a knitting pattern, and there is no panic (unless it includes putting in a zipper which is a matter of sewing). I open up a simple sewing pattern and I have a breakdown.

I tried to pull myself together, but I think it might actually be time to start buying some of the books I've wanted regarding sewing. Next paycheck, I'm going to plunk down some money on one of the more conversational ones. January, I'm going to get myself the Reader's Digest guide. I'm going to work through their stupid little projects too. I clearly need to.

18 November 2008

Podcast Review Thursday

It's that time again! Review time for crafting podcasts.

Knit Picks Episode 73: Eh, it was a decent episode. At least it wasn't another damned interview! Kelley talked a lot about fair isle projects which doesn't really interest me. She also talked about how she doesn't like to be too organized with a "project interest" notebook because half the fun is in not being too organized, and she lost me with that. I'm the exact opposite of this woman, I think. It got better when she got to book reviews and her personal life knitting. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep with this podcast just due to the pure number of interviews she has and the fact that I don't care for her interviewing style.

Knitter's Wading Pool Episode 15: This was an interview with the author Maggie Sefton. Ms. Sefton writes some mystery books centered around a knitter/yarn store. I started to listen to the interview, but after ten minutes I lost all interest. I'll hope the next episode is more interesting to me.

Never Not Knitting Episode 9: As usual, Alana just discusses her experiences with yarn and has some stories about projects. Loved her discussion of how she shops because this is exactly how I shop. I also tend to pick up a bunch of stuff from the shelves, and then, slowly return them to the shelves after feeling guilty for picking them up, leaving a store empty-handed. I also got overwhelmed when I went to Rhinebeck and then I bought yarn because I felt I had to. I also never know what to do with gift certificates! Still love this podcast.

Manic Purl's Episode 18: BLAH! BLAH! It's all spinning all the time. I still love this podcaster, but I hate that everyone is so focused on spinning.

SockTart Episode 11: Knitting for Victory. This episode spent a lot of time discussing Rock Band and the latest World of Warcraft expansion. This is absolutely fascinating to me, but if she has trouble gathering a knitting audience, I would not be surprised. I'd be sad as well. Oddly, some of her comments about World War II sounded anti-United States, as did some of her comments about recent events. This is kind of disheartening. Can't you all just like us now that we voted Obama into office?

Welp, I'm giving Cast On another try and I plan to start at the beginning, so that'll take a long while. Anyone else have some recommendations for me to try? I'd also gladly welcome any sewing podcast recommendations.

15 November 2008

New Publications

As Sophy already announced, both Twist Collective Winter 2008 dropped, and Interweave Knits announced its preview for the Winter edition.

I always like to pretend I'll actually knit items from knitting publications, so shall we play "Kitten's Knitting Pretenses"?

I'm in love with Victoria's Yoke Pullover and the Dainty Stripes Pullover. I'm also always unable to resist adorable mittens and socks, so there's one of each in Interweave that I adore. As a bonus, the mittens are made of Pastaza, a yarn I already know I adore and want to buy more of. Sure, it sheds like a bitch, but it has such pretty stitch definition and it feels so nice.

For Twist Collective, I'm pretending I'm a girl who's ever knit a hoodie, because I fell in love with Vivian. I'm also in love with Rebecca, but they biased me towards it by showing it knit in a beautiful red. (Secret way to make me love any knit pattern that's halfway decent: show it knit in forest green, gorgeous reds, or a rusty or pumpkiny orange. I will fall in love.)

Now, I must be off. I have sewing patterns to cry over. Sewing -- it's so (HAHA! PUN!) hard. Sigh.

11 November 2008

Podcast Review Tuesday!

It's that time, folks... The time to talk about crafting podcasts. (Notice how I casually have moved from 'knitting' podcasts to 'crafting' podcasts? I am smooooth.)

Well, last time I wrote about podcasts, I said I was going to listen to Knaked Knits and give you my impressions. Well, after six episodes, when I looked at my podcasts and realized I had at least ten more or so, my heart sunk. The next time I went to turn on my podcasts, I just couldn't face it. Any time I avoid listening to a podcast and feel it is my duty to listen to it, I know it's time to remove that podcast from my list. There was nothing bad about it, just nothing I cared much for either. I didn't find it to be too interesting. Your mileage may vary, of course. I found that my knitting habits and personal life didn't overlap very much with the podcaster which probably caused my disinterest.

After that, I started Never Not Knitting. After the first episode, I knew this was one that I would add to my permanent rotation. After the second, I was telling Paul how the podcaster was really good at podcasting: entertaining, lively, funny, and able to use her podcasting equipment smoothly. Furthermore, she works at a yarn store teaching classes and does finishing work for the customers there. She tells stories of her past failures humorously and is able to tell funny stories about her job without being mean. At one point in the second episode, she has a great fake conversation between her conscience and herself. It had me laughing which is very rare. I have already worked through half of her existing episodes (only nine) very quickly, and I hope to be through them by Thursday. Love this podcast! Again, I can't recommend it enough. It might be my new favorite.

I've started listening to a sewing podcast called Sew Forth Now. I haven't listened to it enough to get a serious feel for it, but I'm not in love yet. I'll give it several more episodes and perhaps skip ahead a bit since it started two years ago.

As for other podcasts you know that I listen to, Stash and Burn's Episode 65 is all sweater based and has great info on sweaters you could possibly knit very quickly. I was intrigued but I'm not doing any sweater knitting soon, so it was not the best episode for me. The latest Knit Picks' Podcast was another damned interview, so I gave it a skip. Too many interviews from them recently and I've not listened to a single one. I hate her interviewing style.

This is a picture-less post, but I thought I'd give you all a quick update on my knitting. The Slytherin scarf (ravel it) is at a standstill, but Helen's socks (ravel it) saw some major work done today. I'm working on the ankle pattern now! Sweet!

10 November 2008

Linking to a Giveaway or Etsy Store

I hate to do this because I hate pimping out my blog to attempt to win stuff at other blogs, but I'm going to do it. I hadn't been going to, but when I visited the Etsy store I was going to link to, I fell in love a little. The store is Jojoebi's Etsy Store. If you are interested in sewing yourself, the post for the giveaway is at her blog.

Anyway, the real reason I'm linking to her store is that she has basically let me know through this giveaway that Etsy users sell fabric! This rocked my world. For instance, I could make Nathan the cutest little bib or burp cloth or pak'n'play cover from this awesome fabric. Or maybe I could make MYSELF a pillow case out of this adorable autumnal linen/cotton blend.

Okay, I'd post more, but I have got to go search Etsy for other fabrics now. I want to make, in the next several weeks: Booties for Nathan, a Pak'n'Play cover, and holiday pillowcases. Sewing has opened a whole new crafty world for me. I mean, just look at this bib I sewed for Nathan.

Another Bib Another Bib


09 November 2008

Sewing, Sewing, Sewing!

Everyone in the world is participating in some kind of weird November promise to post every day, or write 50,000 word novels, or knit a sweater, and I've dropped off the face of the Earth. I'm so mysterious.

Perhaps you've wondered if I've dropped dead. Perhaps you simply don't care what I've been up to. I mean, I have about two subscribers, and both of those people I talk to on a regular basis. Hell, I live with one of them. I'm going to soldier on with this blog, regardless. If you wonder what I've been up to, I've been minding this little handful.

Perfect Pumpkin

Love him though I do, some days it is hard to blog or craft or relax too much. (Did you notice my gratuitous use of cute baby photos to entice you all to read my blog?)

Last week, I went nuts, however, and sewed up a storm. Okay, a small storm. A tiny storm. Look at these cute bibs and the burp cloth though!

Bib Set Bib
Burp Cloth

That is some cute cupcake flannel, isn't it? Here's the story behind it all. Two weeks ago, I was bemoaning the fact that I haven't sewn anything with my new machine and that I appear to be terrified of it still when I came across a nice little bib pattern. After a lot of reviewing the pattern, I decided it appeared relatively simple and that I was going to try it. Then, the same night, I found a free pattern for a burp cloth that looked pretty simple. I read those simple patterns about fifteen times each, before making a list of things I needed.

The next day, courage and Nathan in hand, I went to Jo-Ann. A nice employee there asked me if I needed help, and my voice nearly cracking, I told her I had no idea what to do. I showed her my list of things I needed to get based on the size of the finished items, and she took me to the flannel area. I asked her if I was just supposed to bring her the bolts of cloth, and she told me yes. I brought up several of the bolts and told her to cut me a third of a yard each, and I also bought a fat quarter of the cute pink cotton on the one bib. (I had the green cotton from a previous trip, and I had done nothing with it.)

The people at the counter were all very encouraging when I told them this was my first time sewing a pattern. When I got home, and Nathan went to sleep, I started to cut out and piece together the patterns. I messed this up several times before coming up with my patterns. After I finished this, I start the long arduous process of cutting these bibs. I expect that an intermediate sewer could have whipped these bibs out in seconds, but I was so inexperienced with it all, that I would keep wondering if I was screwing up.

I then started to sew. (BTW, in case you think I'm a complete moron, I did pre-wash the fabrics and press them with our suck-ass iron.) Well, my first bib and burp cloth were presentable, but only barely. I took the curves of the bib too fast and they were more pointed then gently curved. The burp cloth I didn't turn fully inside out and it is oddly flappy at the edges due to that. This had taken me roughly eight billion hours, so I put everything away, and decided to continue the next few nights.

The next night, I made Nathan a bib and burp cloth set that are not pictured in this post. The burp cloth was such a monumental failure, though Paul liked the tiny cupcake I had stitched onto it. I ended up with a burp cloth with one wrong side facing out, even though I would have sworn that I had sewn that together with the wrong side facing out prior to turning. Sigh. I was too disheartened to rip the whole thing out. I just finished it up.

On the last night, I finished the green bib above, and that's probably my best bib. It has relatively nice stitching due to my figuring out a good way to round tight corners. I tried to blind stitch the opening together with a bit of success. All in all, I'm happy with my efforts, and I think it's time I moved onto other sewing patterns, though, I'll probably whip out a few more bibs in the future for other babies (and possibly more for Nathan if I have some flannel scraps or if Christmas or other holiday flannels come out).

I'll have pictures of the other set next post (which will be five years from now, roughly).

As for knitting... Well, I guess I got past the top of the leg of Helen's second sock. I just need to buckle down on those socks, but I got so distracted by sewing last week, that I only worked on them one night. Bad me! I'll try to post later this week with some updates on podcasts. I found a new one I love and a new one I didn't like so much. Look for my reviews later.