Monday, May 26, 2008


Something I've never told you guys - I've had this fantasy of being a button lady for quite some time. By that, I mean I imagined having a large collection of beautiful buttons of all shapes, colors, sizes, and materials that I store in a vintage tin. I love the idea for a variety of reasons. Similar to the joys of having a yarn or fabric stash, imagine the fun of rummaging through and admiring the beauty and possibilities of all those practical baubles. Of knitting a sweater and consulting the tin with the knowledge that the perfect closures can be found within. The memories it'll create for Sophie as she whiles away an afternoon playing with the colorful whosits and whatsits at the kitchen table. I already had a small (as in it could barely be considered a collection) assortment of buttons that I kept in an entirely unromantic clear plastic box. And Sophie already does like to take them out and play with them. But I tend to use them up faster than I purchase them. Recently I took a trip to the fabric store and bought a few cards of new buttons, that had no immediate use in mind. Actually, I originally had five times as many cards piled in my shopping cart, before I talked some sense into the impulsive shopper in me (you'd be amazed how quickly $1.50 - $7.00 a card can add up).

When I got home, I called my mom and asked her if she happened to have any old cookie tins lying around. She told me she'd look, and true to her word, the next time I saw her she handed me a genuine vintage cookie tin. I quickly placed my growing collection into their new home and sat back to admire.

Oh, and by the way, it would be completely ridiculous to go into a fabric store and not actually buy fabric, don't you think? I knew you all would understand my reasoning. =)

Unlike the buttons, this is stash with a plan.

The top three are cottons for summer dresses. The pink and white striped is a cozy flannel for button up pajamas w/matching pants. The mauve baby corduroy is for a pair of capris. And the white muslin on the bottom is a very light weight cotton for lining some fabrics that I want to sew summer tops/dresses with, but that might not be quite opaque enough to maintain a girl's modesty. ;)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Never Again

I can't tell you how many times I've browsed my knitting books or Ravelry, found a pattern I wanted to make, selected the yarn and then discovered I didn't have one of the knitting needle sizes I needed. This was mostly in the case of circular needles. I found it very frustrating to not be able to cast on until I'd hunted down and purchased the right needles. And it was never as simple as buying for example, the size US 6 24" circular the pattern said I needed. I tend to knit loosely compared to many pattern's gauge/needle size recommendations. So I'd have to buy a size 4, 5, and 6 to ensure I'd be able to get the right gauge. Well, those days are over my friends!

I ordered the Knit Picks Options set, the size 0-3 24" fixed circulars that the Options doesn't include, 16" fixed circulars in sizes 0-9, and the 6" double pointed sock needle set. Oh, and one more thing was in the package:

My first sock yarn!

I've never knit a pair of socks before, and I'd like to try in the near future. That's two skeins of Knit Picks Gloss (70% Merino, 30% Silk) in the Dolphin color way.

I was finally able to cast on th Summertime Tunic on Friday. It was one of those projects that I didn't have the correct needle sizes for. More details and pics to come.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

When Your Knitting's Got You Down, Say Sew What

The Mini Sweater, my first top down's a failure. =( I ripped back and fix the shoulders/sleeves to make them wider. Then I put the sleeves on holders and knit my way down the body, made a nice neat button hole, and bound off. I tried it on right away only to discover this:

It fits in the sleeves, it fits in the front. But the back......................that's a whole 'nother story. In order to fix it, I would have to rip waaaaaay back to nearly the beginning, and well, I have no desire to do that. I could save the sweater in hopes that one day I'll sprout an enormous hunchback and be able to wear it. Or not. I'm frogging this thing. I'm dying to start on some summer projects. Maybe one day I'll attempt the Mini Sweater again. It is such a cute pattern.

I was feeling pretty disappointed from my failure, and wanted a quick project to restore some of my crafting self esteem. So I whipped up a summer dress for Sophie on the sewing machine. I altered top B on this pattern to be a dress:

I just need to make the bow for the neckline, add the elastic to the waist, and sew the hem. But here's a sneak peek:

It's in a light weight cotton blend with tiny blue and white pin stripes that my camera refuses to see.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Spitting On My Knitting

I've learned a new technique, and I'm a little excited about it. First, see exhibit A:

That used to be two ends of yarn

While working on my Mini Sweater, I reached a point of needing to attach another ball of yarn when I was very near the end of a row. I didn't like the idea of ripping back that row and then waisting such a long tail of yarn. I remembered that recently I had been listening to some of the older Stash & Burn episodes, and they had talked about spit splicing and given a link to a tutorial. The Jaeger Extra fine Merino I'm knitting with is a perfect candidate for this technique (100% wool and not superwash). I was amazed how quickly and easily the two ends felted together - in less than 30 seconds of rubbing them in my palm. Being the skeptical type, who doesn't believe something unless she's tested it out for herself, I of course gave the newly attached join some good hard tugs to make sure they were secure, and they were - impressively so. This is a technique I plan to use wherever possible in the future.

Since we're on the topic of the Mini Sweater, I'll give you an update. You may recall that the last time I touched it was a couple months ago. I had reached the point of needing to slip all the stitches onto scrap yarn in order to try it on, and then promptly set it aside to cast on for another project. Two days ago I finally tried it on and found that it wasn't yet big enough. The sleeves have to meet under your arms before you're ready to move on to the next step. So I put all the stitches back on the needles and knit eight more rows, including four increase rows. Then I tried it on again. The sleeves still didn't quite fit, yet the front and back were starting to look dangerously close to the verge of being too big. Grrr. >= ( It seems my deltoids are a little bigger than most people my size. I'm currently knitting on the sleeves by themselves and hoping that works out.

Remember how my plan was to finish the Child's Classic Ribbed Cardi before I went back to the Mini Sweater? Well I'm happy to report that things are coming along as planned - the Cardi is finished, finito, done-da-done-done-done! And I love it. It's currently sitting on my ironing board, folded up all pretty. I occasionally glance over to admire it. =) I'm hoping to get pictures of it on Sophie and put together an FO post sometime next week.

Happy knitting.