Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Inspiration

Dear Mom,
I've been giving myself a daily dose of creative encouragement by reading books that are meant to awaken, keep awake, defend, nurture, support, inspire the creativity that is in us all.
Today it occurred to me that what I need is a book that will make me feel creative about vacuuming.
Love,
Kim

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sprung

Dear Mom,
I can stop holding my breath.....I think Spring really is here.
Over the past couple of weeks I've searched hopefully for and rejoiced at each tulip and daffodil poking up through the earth; I've tried remembering what perennials were planted where and looked for them, too. But yesterday there were some undeniable signs that spring has arrived here on my patch of the cul-de-sac.
A chippy gobbling up seed.

Pussy willow catching the setting sun.

Forsythia in bloom!
We've been able to sleep with the windows cracked open and wake up listening to the birds.

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
~ Thoreau



Love,
Kim

Saturday, February 27, 2016

This hat wanted to be a tea cozy.

Dear Mom,

I finished my Baa-ble hat on Thursday night.
It fits.
It is very cute.


Too cute to be
a) on my head where I cannot see it
or
b) in the closet most of the time, where I cannot see it.

The hat started telling me it wanted to be a tea cozy.
I tried it on the tea pot. The tea pot wanted the hat to be a tea cozy.

This afternoon I worked up the courage to add crocheted steeks to the sides as spout and handle openings.



Confession: After cutting my steek open, I am reminded why I do not like the crocheted steek vs machine sewn steek. Some of the yarn floats across the inside of the knitting did not get caught. I used my trusty E-6000 glue to secure the ends that might work themselves loose.

Love,
Kim

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Baable Hat

Dear Mom,
I was the very lucky winner of The Lamb Camp Yarn giveaway over on the Punkin's Patch blog! On Saturday morning I saw that I was the winner and the yarn was in my mail box yesterday. Thank you Sara!
There is enough yarn here, dyed by Sara, to make a Baable Hat.
This Lamb Camp yarn feels springy and smoosh-y and I can't help but want to squish my face into it, which I must stop doing so I can wind it into balls and do a gauge swatch if I am to be ready to begin the KnitAlong that starts tomorrow!
Love,
Kim

Friday, February 19, 2016

Faith Restored

My faithful, hardworking sewing machine,
a 1961 Singer Slantomatic 503, aka Judy Jetson.
1961 was a VERY good year.



Dear Mom,

Merchant and Mills has restored my faith in sewing. It all started with the Factory Dress and has continued through 3 pairs of the 101 Trouser. I have the fabric for a fourth pair in my stash. While the Factory dress went over my head and fit without need for alteration, I didn't push my luck with the trousers and made a practice pair with an old bed sheet, figuring I could use them as pajama pants. I am glad I did. The crotch was fathoms deep. I could easily pull the waist band up to my bra band. Comfy, but NOT the look I am going for.  I ended up taking 4 inches out of the crotch depth and adding 5 inches to the leg length. I made the cropped tapered style, but wanted my wool pants to have long legs. I will make a true cropped pair in linen for summer trousers. After my first pair, I've deviated from the pattern only to add belt loops and elastic to the waist, skipping the grommets and drawstring so I can wear my pants with a belt. (I will  return to the drawstring waist for summer linen pants.)

The biggest challenge is in finding quality wool fabric in the appropriate weight and desired colors. One CANNOT, whether knitting or sewing or painting or whatever, expect excellent results when using inferior materials!  We are very fortunate to have a wonderful fabric store nearby, The French Seam, and I was able to find warm camel color and rich navy wools, but no store can have everything. I took a risk and ordered an olive wool from Sultan's Fine Fabrics. My gamble paid off. The color and weight were everything I'd hoped for and I LOVE the pants.  Riding high on that success, I ordered a classic grey flannel wool from Denver Fabrics. Again, I was very happy with the fabric I ordered and that pair of pants is next in my sewing queue. 

Despite (or maybe because of) my renewed sewing vigor and faith, I am thoroughly disgusted and disappointed with most every visit to the chain big box "fabric" stores looking for notions. More craft than fabric, filled with poor quality quilting cotton and fleece, a more fitting name for JoHanncock Fabrics would be WeBeFleece. -let me digress here.... is Fleece the gateway drug? Does the No Sew Fleece blanket get people interested in sewing? Somehow I doubt it, but if that is what it takes, then shame on me. But 8537 different kinds of fleece but no navy hem tape and only 3 of every kind of button????!!!! Pleeeeze. Okay. Rant over- Thanks to your referral, I've started ordering hem lace and elastic from the WAWAK website.  I went a little crazy planned ahead and ordered 12 yards of elastic. And then yesterday, in the midst of sewing Trouser 101 v3.0TheNavyPair, I had a hankering for the wonderful tailor's ham and pressing aids we had in my high school tailoring class. (I am imagining an entire Merchant and Mills wardrobe for myself.) WAWAK to the rescue.  


 These, along with 2.5 yards of fusible interfacing (thinking ahead again), are on their way. That WAWAK site is Dan.Ger.Ous.

Up there, in that stack-of-fabrics photo, is fabric for a spring Factory dress- the green- and two Top 64s- the small check and, buried in there, a beige dotted swiss type cloth with small coral and chocolate brown flecks . The other fabrics pictured are my pants fabrics. 

Happy Sewing!!
Love,
Kim


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

On my needles

Dear Mom,

I took advantage of the sunshine yesterday to take some photos of the projects on my knitting needles.
I also got a quick stealthy photo of Olive before she realized I had a camera in my hands.

 First up,  #2 Pencil Socks. This cleverly dyed yarn came from the appropriately named etsy shop Yarn Enabler. While I was ordering the pencil socks it seemed silly not to order Paper to go with them. My Young Lady plans on wearing one of each.


In early December I started knitting a Yoga Shawl. I am not doing yoga, just knitting a shawl called Yoga.  Certainly Yoga Shawl is much more appealing than Elliptical Machine Shawl. This is a pretty simple knit- a long rectangle with some stitch patterning on each end. The thing about this pattern that appealed to me is that buttonholes are worked in half of one side and on one end (obviously buttons are sewn on the other half of the side and opposite end) to make this rectangle very versatile. The designer has a video demonstrating some of the ways this shawl can be worn-- scarf, wrap, poncho, faux cardigan. I am using one of my favorite yarns- Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool.  My hope is that the versatility of this shawl makes it perfect for traveling. The challenge to this project will be finding the 30 or so buttons I will need!

I am most excited about this next project.  I haven't been this excited about a knitting project in a long time.  This one is not a quick knit. It is, however, a forever, classic sweater.
This is Meg Swansen's Fair Isle Cardigan from the book Meg Swansen's Knitting. I am using Harrisville Shetland. Choosing colors was overwhelming until I decided to go with the palette I saw looking out into my backyard on a rainy autumn day. Despite the fine yarn and needle size (I have over 300 sts on my needles) the knitting goes quickly as I anticipate the color and pattern changes on each row. The only down side to this sort of knitting is that it is definitely NOT social knitting and is barely even TV knitting. Anything on television has to be a companion, not concentrated viewing while I knit this.

All these projects should be enough, but I catch myself wanting to cast on something quick and simple like fingerless mitts, or something completely mindless like a garter stitch hat or shawl.  So far I've managed to resist temptation and not spread myself too thin....

Stay WARM!
Love,
Kim