Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Bag A Day?

I am still plodding through the sewing lessons in my Stitch By Stitch book. Today, I made a case for my knitting needles out of the lesson for a portable place mat. I ran into a few snags and am hoping to recreate another one of these for a friend, so that I can perfect the art of making continual bias tape. Once I get it down, I'll post step by step photos.

In the meantime, I also took a tote bag class at the local Joann Fabrics store and am quite happy with the way it turned out! So is my daughter who now has a bag to keep all of her ballet clothing/ street clothing in when she goes to class.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Girls' Fiber Weekend

Every season I have my friends and family from IL come up for a girls' fiber/crafting weekend.  This weekend we focused on dyeing yarns, shopping for good foods, having coffee at the local coffee houses, spinning and listening to music.

On Sat we had the kitchen completely covered in dye equipment, but it really was so worth it and we turned out some great colors!

Jacqueline getting her dye on!

Nicki working on her skeins

The disastrous kitchen

Hanging rainbows

Could the be a more fun way to spin?

The finished product!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I have recently become addicted to this song and to this video.  I know that it shows some skin, but I think it's done in a very artistic way.
Gotye's voice reminds me of some of the old Sting and the Police tracks with a little Peter Gabrial mixed in too, but I like the instrumental portion and the way he uses his voice much better.
So, here you have one of the songs in the playlist I've been listening to when I paint my yarn.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I guess I got a little ahead of myself in my last post about helping me learn how to spin.  I realize I never posted about actually getting a spinning wheel!

I am happy to announce that I am the proud new owner of an Ashford Kiwi which I have affectionately named Gideon.  In the Bible story, Gideon attempts to test God with a bit of Fleece.  You can find the whole story here, The Story Of Gideon ; of course, I always suggest a person read the Bible. 

It seems that many people in the Kiwi owning community paint their wheels, but I rather like the unfinished look, so, before assembling my wheel, I painted just the engraved kiwi himself to personalize it a bit! 

My husband, who is so wonderfully patient and supportive, spent the night putting my wheel together, while I watched my favorite tv shows and knit up this fantastic pattern, Simple. by my friend Alicia Plummer.
I have to point out there, that it's the type of handspun wool in this hat, which was spun my my dear friend Jennifer, and the handspun made by Alicia that had me inspired to learn to spin myself.    My ultimate goal is to be able to hand dye my own roving, then spin it into my own squishy wonderfulness!
Speaking of hand dyeing, I also have a few photos to share of my hand dyeing progress!    I'm thinking of listing my hand dyed yarns in my Etsy shop, so keep an eye out for them!

Ok, back to my wheel, so I have all of these great dreams of spinning, and I watched a bunch of Youtube videos, which make spinning seem so incredibly effortless, and so once my wheel was assembled, I spent a day treadling as suggested, and then broke out some of the roving I'd just purchased.  I had to move my daughter off of it first though, who kept rolling around in the "clouds".

And then I spent the next two days cursing and wanting to cry.  Here is my first batch of "handspun".    I have a great appreciation for the hand eye coordination that spinners obtain!  This is not an easy task!
Luckily, with some practice I got into a groove and finally got a full bobbin worth of yarn.   Of course, it's not perfect, but at least it somewhat resembles yarn!

I wanted to post these pictures for other newbie spinners who might run into troubles.  Just keep practicing!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Help Me Learn To Spin!

I just got my new Ashford Kiwi and am so excited to start learning to spin!  Only problem is, I have no idea where to start.  I'm going to try later today watching this video with some Romney roving that a local woman is selling me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vanity Fair

I am happy to announce that my newest pattern Vanity Fair is now available on Ravelry, Craftsy as well as in my Etsy shop!

Awhile back I had upcycled an old shirt into legwarmers for Avrie by simply cutting off the sleeves and hemming the bottoms with Stitch Witch.  The Stitch Witch is the important thing to remember here since it was fast and didn't require stitching (stitching stretchy t-shirt fabric can be tricky!).  You simply fold up the hem with the Stitch Witch sandwiched in between and iron!  Woot Woot!
I loved the way the detailing turned out with the buttons at the top and so, decided to recreate a Me sized version out of 1 skein of FABULOUS Ella Rae Silky Merino yarn.

I love these legwarmers because they're lightweight enough to wear with a dressy skirt and slim enough to fit under my boots and get that perfect amount of slouch at the top without looking too bulky.

So here you have them, Vanity Fair.
I would like to add here that full naming credits go to my fabulous friend Alicia (who you can find on Ravelry as AliciaPlum)- she is reading this fantastic book and suggested the name.  I have to admit, the name couldn't fit these little ladies any more perfectly!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

For The Love Of Dyeing

Really, this hand painting thing has become a bit of an obsession. 

Yummy Rice And Beans

My mom, who is always finding new, fun and healthy recipes shared this simple and delicious recipe with me this weekend. 
With so few ingredients, it's easy and quick to whip up and has such a wonderful, fresh taste to it, I've decided to keep it in the fridge as a snack!

Summer Rice And Beans

2 grilled chicken breasts (if desired)
2 cups of brown rice (prepared)
1 can of beans (your choice here!)
1 jar of Newmans Own Tequila Lime salsa
2 limes
sour cream to top

Make the rice per the packaged directions, rinse beans and add them to the rice
Squeeze the juice of 2 limes over the rice and beans. Chop and add cilantro.
Serve with salsa and dollop of sour cream.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Full Of Beans!

Today I took Evie to a friend's house for a really great play date!  My friend brought out a "toy" for our girls to play in that I had never seen before, but that was so absolutely fantastic that I had to share it here.

This tub full of noodles, beans and other fun toys gave Evellyn an hour of leg kicking, noise making, sensory enjoyment!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Knit Pray Love Hats

I've finished up 2 little hats to contribute to the Knit Pray Love cause that I had posted about awhile ago.  I don't know that anything I've knit has felt so special as this, even though it was something so, so very simple.

Again, I urge all knitters to find a cause, if not this one, then another to donate just a small portion of your talents to.  Here again is the link with some information.  http://cure.org/curekids/community/air1.   Just take a moment to again, imagine if it were you, or if it were your child.  Then thank God for the comforts you do have and ask him how you can help someone else.  There is no greater power than the power to touch another person's life with kindness.

Just A Few Things

I thought I'd make a short post about just a few of the things I've been working on.
First off, I have to take a second to tell you what amazing and truly fascinating friends I have.  Yesterday, my wonderful friend Alice came over to help teach me how to sew.  The few hours spent at my kitchen table were filled not only with fantastic sewing tips, but also some of the most fantastic stories I have ever heard!
Alice knits, Alice is an artist, Alice is a teacher and Alice sews.  Now, Alice hasn't sewn for just anybody (although she's sewn for quite a few people, that's the great thing about her, nobody is just an "anybody").......  Alice has sewn for the circus!  That's right!  This girl has done costumes for not only people, but elephants and horses too!
I will say that there were a few mistakes made in this little shirt due to my mind wandering through circus parades and not paying attention to the patient machine in front of me (or my teacher), but it was so very worth it!  And Alice was quick with the seam ripper and showing me the fastest way of ripping out those naughty rows of stitches.  I suppose you learn these types of tricks quickly when you're sewing for an entire marching band. 
Here are some photos to illustrate what Alice showed me.  
Rip a few stitches, a few inches apart (pins to illustrate)

Then, just pull your fabric apart and bada-bing! (my right hand would be pulling too, but it's taking the picture!)

In my world, this makes mistakes a lot less frightening!  After Alice left, I worked a little more on my shirt, but quickly got stumped again as to how to sew my bias fabric around the armholes without sewing the front to the back. The holes are sized for a baby at 2 yrs and so they won't fit around the machine even after I remove a portion of the deck.  I'm sure there's a special way to fold the fabric, but  I have yet to figure this out, so stay tuned because once I do, I will be sure to post!  If anyone has a Youtube link that might help me, feel free to post!

Alice?  Alice?  Coffee date anytime soon?

I know, I know, I probably chose housewares fabric, but it was inexpensive and I actually quite like the print!

Back in the knitting corner, I'm working on a new design while still stepping out of my comfort box.
This year is all about stepping out of my comfort zone. To me, to only do things I'm comfortable doing would be like creative suicide. So, in the name of uncomfortableness I've stepped away from my bulky yarns and bought 3 skeins of sock weight yarn.
I'm finding it to be an absolute rush to work with!  It feels so feminine and dainty and has completely taken on a life of it's own.  I love when the fiber does a bit of the design work for you!
I've limited myself to only knitting for a bit at night, so this project will probably take a while longer than my typical projects do, but I'm really enjoying it and relishing the moments I am spending with my needles.
Keep your eye out in the next few weeks for the premier of Vanity Fair......