December 11, 2012

A new Skill!

This is an official SQUEE!

I learned how to knit entrelac tonight at Guild!  I have wanted to do this forever and ever.  I have two books on it.  But, I've never even tried.

Just a small little picture:
So so very cool!  Now I want to knit all the things! A huge shout out to our Guild Membership Mistress who helped me learn this technique!  Thank you!

It is December, and that means swap!

I'm a sucker for swap, it is true.  And this December is no exception--swap is coming!  Planning has started chez the boppings, and on Artisan Square.  This year the concept is two capsules with a linking piece.  I've been toying with two different concepts--one inspired by Eileen Fisher's awesome mix and match clothing, and one called 'Doing it Designer' where I would use all kinds of patterns from different independent designers to create a mix and match wardrobe.  I'm not sure which one is actually winning at the moment, particularly since I have fabric for both, washed and ready to sew.

Option 1:  Doing it Designer,
An exploration of Designer Patterns in a corporate casual lifestyle...

These are the patterns I was thinking about:

Tops:
Cap Sleeve Top from Loes Hinse, V neck option
Paco Peralta Cowl neck top, or some variation of this idea (but I have this pattern, so I want to try it)

Style Arc Kaite Top
Paco Peralta Cowl top


Pants: 
Style Arc Skinny Jeans

Bilbao Pants, narrow leg

Style Arc Linda Pant

 Linking Piece, coat:
Linking Piece: Paco Peralta Dolman Coat, which looks exactly like this inpiration piece!

I've made wearable muslins of the Loes Hinse patterns, and both of them are a hit.  The Linda Pants, and the Kaite top also have been a hit, and are totally going to work in some way.  But, I haven't tackled the Paco patterns yet, and the coat kind of intimidates me a little. 

For colours, I've been thinking of red, black and grey, with a plum coat, since I have plum coating fabric in the basement fabric store.

Option 2:  Suitcase Sally
An exploration of patterns , inspired by Eileen:


 A lot of the same patterns, but different fabrics, and a totally different vibe.  Teal and Black Rayon Lycra, tiger print blue/black/white knit, some black ponte,  and some dark grey stretch denim.  The left side is for work, the right for play, and the goal is to have it all fit in a carry on suitcase, to go for a quick trip.  Again, I have all the fabric in my basement, washed and ready to go.  I just have to start.

And, I can't decide!  Argh!



November 18, 2012

Exercise, and pattern reality

About a month ago, I realized that I was getting old lady wings. 

This was a horrifying realization. Between the stress level I've been dealing with and the wings, it made me realize it was time to try something different to get exercise.  I've been going to a weekly Karate Aerobics class, which is fun and gives me a chance to see my god-son on a regular basis, but a whole bunch of things were making it impossible to find a way to exercise outside of that class, and I wasn't always able to go to class. Getting to the gym with my current schedule was just not going to happen, which was why I was looking at different options.  My life has been, well, insane is a nice way to put it, but I digress.

A search of Amazon for a no equipment workout  led me to this workout book.  Mark Lauren trains Navy SEALs for a living.  He starts his book with the statement: I don't train movie stars to look good on film; I train men whose lives, and the lives of others, depend on being fit.  This totally changed my own perspective on fitness.  The 'You are Your Own Gym' book contains workouts that can be done in 20 to 30 minutes.  So far, the equipment includes a towel, a table or chair, and a door--we all have those.   And he walks through how to do the exercises, and how to modify them (both less and more challenging) to make them doable.  There is an ipod app that is FABULOUS! I can totally see how his work outs would work for someone who is stuck in a third world country and has maybe a chair, door, and tree. Or an over stressed teacher who needs to work out to manage her stress level. 

I decided to give the whole thing a go, and so far, I have been managing to complete the work outs  three or four times a week.  I'm now about half way through week 3 of the beginner series. I'm modifying lots of stuff to make it challenging but not impossible, and I am doing it.

Which brings me to the next portion of my post:  if you work out consistently, even if it is only three or four times a week for twenty minutes, you will tone up.  And, you will have to take in all your clothes and redo all your basic patterns.  

Today, I traced, cut and sewed a swing dress in the size I always make, based on measurements, and then promptly took four inches to make it fit. Since I did that to the last two pairs of pants, and two skirts I made, I have to say I must be a slow learner.  It isn't the pattern's fault the clothing is too big--it is my body image issues.  My youngest asked me why I keep sewing the same thing when the patterns don't lie.  I am not the same shape I was, let alone the same size I was, but my brain, and the picture that I carry in my head of what shape I am, have not caught up to the reality of my pattern size.  It is a different problem to have, one I haven't had before.   This may mean that SWAP may become a necessity, not just for fun.  We shall see. 

July 31, 2012

Sewing sewing sewing weaving....

Oh, I've been having fun.  I've been sewing for the pattern stash contest.  I will never win the most made but I have made quite a few items, some of which worked for me and some of which were disasters that shall never be repeated..  So here are a few pictures to show what I've been up to:

The good stuff:
McCall's 2772
Bathing suit.

Fabric:
3/4m polyester lycra swimsuit fabric;
1/4m bathing suit lining, nude
Notions:
1" swimwear hook
 1/2" bathing suit elastic for waist and for lower bodice edge
3/8" bathing suit elastic for everything else.

I made this exactly as the pattern suggested (strange), and it looks like the pattern, too!  Only issue was that the band is loose on me, so I've taken out about 2" total on the back by adjusting the hooks.  This one is going to get made again for sure.

Dress:
Textile Studios 1407 Barcelona dress

 Fabric:
I eeked this out of 4 m of 45" rayon batik, and I mean eeked.  I pieced the back to get the full swing of the drape of the skirt. (It is supposed to take 3.25 m of 60 fabric).
Notions:  
none except thread, gotta love that!
Time--about an hour, all together.  Fast and silly, but totally comfortable.  Maybe not the most flattering dress I own (particularly this long and in this almost glow in the dark print print), but it will work as a bathing suit cover up.  And it is comfortable.  

Tshirt
Ottobre Designs 303 Women's best tops


Fabric: 1.2 m of cotton stretch lace
Notions: thread
Comments:  I'm sad this one is not in print any more--it is a fabulous pattern.  If they have back issues of the magazine it is in, I would suggest you run and grab one because it is totally awesome.  Only change I made was to add 1 1/2" to the bicep measurement to give me some ease there.  And the usual shorten 4", since I'm short.  Otherwise, totally easy and quick and perfect.  I like the ottobre block. 

Shown with another yoga skirt, this time shortened about 4" to make it fit the piece of fabric that I had left.  Um, and the waistband was pieced, too.  I had a 4" square remnant when I was finished.

Sweater: 
Christine Johnson Swing jacket 519
 
 
 Fabric:  2 m lightweight rayon poly lycra, black.
Notions: thread :D
Comments: I shortened the sleeves 3 inches but didn't do anything else.  Next time I'll shorten above the waist by an inch so the pockets don't hang so low, and I will shorten the bottom by about three inches because this hangs to nearly my knees. It works great as a bathrobe! And it is wrinkled because I had to drag it out of the bag I had stashed it in because I've been wearing it non-stop since I made it last week.  For the win! 

And now, for something completely different:
Weaving! 


Warping...  
In the beginning, there was just a little bit...
 
And then some more

And then an awesome 2 m long shawl!



 This is my very first weaving piece on my 'newish' rigid heddle loom.  The loom was a story all by itself, and I will share it, dear readers, another day.  Suffice to say, I was very happy to find out that the Knitter's Loom Heddles fit this, my 20" garage sale bargain! 

My shawl came out just over 2m long, and 15" wide after washing and blocking, and the edges are actually very even, which, for a very first project is just...Awesome!  Squee!  

Warp:  cotton fingering weight, burgundy, 160 threads, far too long in warp length (I cut off another 130" from the end of this after I realized how long the warp was!)
Weft: acrylic fuzzy cream, fingering weight mystery cone yarn (gotta love the Romni basement bargains!)
10 epi heddle
Even weave technique.




July 23, 2012

Yoga Skirt Sihlouette 2010


Fabric: 1.2 m blue cotton rayon lycra knit

Notions: thread, and 33 inches of 1 1/2" elastic

Pattern Silhouette Yoga Skirt 2010

Pattern Description:
3 pattern piece slightly A line skirt for knits, with wide enclosed elastic waistband

Pattern Sizing:
Includes child sizes 8 to 18, and Ladies sizes 1-8, Size chosen for pattern are based on finished measurements of favourite garments. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Absolutely!

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very easy.  This is a serious doll clothes garment.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Super easy pattern. 
I found that I did not use the correct size because my hip drop was slightly less than the pattern, so with shortening, pattern was perfect.  I ended up shortening the pattern at the waist by 1" to get the correct size and shape. 

Fabric Used:
Very light weight Rayon Cotton Lycra knit.  This is a lovely clingy fabric. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I shortened the pattern to my preferred knee length.  I also widened the waist based on my own measurements, which are between the size 3 and 4 Ladies. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Well, I made two of them, and plan on making more, so yes. 

Conclusion:
This one is a keeper.  I'm trying to make a series of clothing based on easy wear, easy care clothing shapes.  I recommend this pattern highly.


July 13, 2012

A 'new' approach to sewing...

Seriously, this is not a 'new' approach to sewing, but a tried and true approach that I haven't tried before, so it is new for me.  Why it is new for me I am not sure.  I've been sewing for a really long time. I've drafted my own slopers and patterns and made custom wedding dresses.  You would think that I had figured this one out before (!!) but I actually haven't tried it. 

There is a  'new' contest running on Pattern Review--the Pattern stash contest. I am going to enter this contest (again).  If you haven't heard of it, the rules are pretty simple: pick a pattern you haven't used that is older than 6 months in your stash.  Make it, review it, enter it.  One point per pattern--she/he with the most points wins, and there is a random draw, too, for those who didn't make the most patterns. So, has anyone seen my pattern cupboard?  When our local Fabricland moved out of the mall, I bought one of their pattern drawer files, and now it is nearly full.  I think it is time to sew something up.  Something! Anything!  It goes with my fabric stash of insanity, which needs to be sewn down to the point it fits on the huge shelves.

But this time, I am going to use my Sure-Fit blueprint to actually fit those patterns to me, so I don't have as many waders as normal (at least for fit--style is another question altogether).  If you haven't tried this system, it is definitely worth looking at.  I've used it for me (petite and pear, but a European 42), for my MIL (14 on top, 28 on bottom), my SIL (18 on top 28 on bottom, but a very different shape) and my other SIL (18 all the way darlhing!) and it has worked for all of us.  Pants that fit, whoohooo. It is kind of like doll clothes for people--measure, connect the dots, sew it up, make tiny changes.  The service is excellent, and the product has been around for many years, but I think it has been under-used. I haven't used the dress kit, so I am going to count that for one of my untried patterns, but I have faith that it will work for me since the pants and shirt kit both worked for me. 

I am not taking courses this summer, so I have time.  I certainly have enough stash to sew stuff up and get it off the floor.  And, if nothing else, I will get some new clothes out of the deal.   

July 10, 2012

A dress inspired by Madmen and Flowers

 Finally, a sewing post!
Yes, I am alive, and I have not been sewing--well, I haven't even really been crafting either. School is out, and I have been sleeping and resting and cleaning.  I had an injury in May, and until today I haven't been near much of anything, except my spinning wheel.  I can spin without my hands hurting, which is nice, but it doesn't finish my husband's anniversary present or anything else on my list, which is huge.

However, today I finally woke up feeling better, so, inspired by the Headmistress Challenge for the House Cup, I have dug into my deep stash, and made something for a portkey--a dress, that can go formal or less depending on my day.  



Fabric:
1.2 m of printed French terry, overdyed with navy blue.  I could have used less, but cut the whole piece for length, and then shortened it after this picture.


Pattern: 
Silhouette 109 Hoodie and top
Pattern Description:
Pattern contains v neck hoodie and sleeveless top, both for knits, with multiple dart front pieces B, C and D (French dart style).

Pattern Sizing:
8 sizes, chosen based on finished measurements of favourite clothing. I choose to make a top in size 4, in a D cup with no changes except to lengthen the top into a dress. I was a little afraid it would be small, based on the measurements, but it was fabulous!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I will be honest--I hate the drawings this company uses on their patterns. The drawings don't reflect what the clothing actually looks like, and most people will not take a chance on the patterns because of the drawings.

This top is not a cap sleeve top (which is what I originally got from the drawings), but a jewel neck sleeveless shell with French darts and a bit of flare to the hips. It makes up true to size, and without adjustments, it fits perfectly around. The shoulders are at the shoulder seams, not extended like in the line drawings.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Haha, instructions are for sissies...Really, I didn't even look at them. I sewed the darts, the shoulders and side seams, serged around the openings and turned and top stitched.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Besides the line drawings? Nothing. This is a great pattern, easy and quick.

Fabric Used:
Printed French terry that I over-dyed using RIT navy in the washing machine to get it an awesome colour.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I scooped out the neck (1" at the shoulders and back, an inch and a half at the center front) to make this a more boat necked style, which is more flattering to me than the jewel neckline. I lengthened the side seam about 21" with an a-line look, and then cut it off to knee length, which means I should have only lengthened it about 17" total. I have a totally comfortable sleeveless dress that pops over the head and looks classic.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I took a chance, and just sewed up some languishing stash using the pattern without any real changes except to lengthen it into a dress, and I will say that Peggy rules.

Before making any adjustments, I recommend that others do what Peggy suggests--pick your size based on your favourite finished measurement, trace and go. Based on this first garment, I would agree with Peggy's fir suggestions in her webcases--don't mess around. Start with the bust needed and go from there.

My next one I will actually do petite shortening (1" at the armhole, and one inch between armhole and waist) because the dart actually ends at my high hip which is a little low on me, and the armhole is just that little bit too low. Still, even without the changes, this is a totally wearable garment. I also think this will make a great summer shell that isn't too tight or too loose, which will be nice. My clothes from last summer all need to be taken in.

Conclusion:
This is seriously a sleeper pattern. I can't believe no one has ever reviewed the top before. 


And a few more variations of this dress:
Plum double knit, knee length

Printed Rayon Polyester Lycra, with scoop neck and black lingerie elastic trim for contrast
 

April 6, 2012

A thought on Good Friday

There are a lot of different interpretations about good Friday, and the cross.  Almost as many interpretations as preachers, I think.  But something struck me today, sitting in the service.

In some ways, I think of Good Friday not as a way to redeem us, but as an experience.  In Good Friday, Christ went through more horrors than most of us will ever face.  He saw the worst of people who should have had the best interests of others at heart and didn't--the government, the religious leaders, his friends, the military.  All of them let him down or hurt him in some way. 

He went through it all and he still got up in the morning. 

He was changed by his experiences (who wouldn't be?).  But he still had compassion and caring, and cared about the important things.  He was able to winnow the dross from the grain, and focus on the stuff that mattered. 

I hope, as I grow older and change, and deal with my own experiences, I can be like Christ.  Pulling the good from the bad, and still able to see the good.  Still be able to show compassion and caring in a very real way.  To me, this is the meaning of Easter. 

March 5, 2012

Would it pass the trouser test?

I've been doing the 'sew your own wardrobe' for a number of years now, and the one thing that has continued to trip me up is the whole idea of a neutral. 

Almost every wardrobe plan has a variation of: Sew a neutral base and add colour to it.  Inside column, outside column, capsule, all of them use neutrals as the base.

But--what is a neutral? And would I really wear it?

Some people would say that it is a colour found in your eyes, hair or skin tones.  There are a lot of great references for this idea, not the least of which is 'Triumph of Individual Style' (love this book; if you don't own it, you should get a copy!) and Nancy Rix's blog and wardrobe ideas.  Even so, I have hesitated to really use the idea until today, reading on Artisan's square, when I came across this comment: would you sew trousers in it?

There are lots of colours I love.  Seriously love.  Like red and white and electric blue.  White is the one that really stands out to me--it is a neutral.  Lots and lots of people wear trousers in white.  Not me though.  For my wardrobe, if it won't pass the trouser test, it isn't a neutral.  Neutrals are deep and dark in my world--dark denim, grey, black and if I really work at it--deep plum, and navy.  But I have to work at the last two.  

So, what colours, dear reader, are your neutrals?  And, would you wear trouser in them??

February 12, 2012

Pettiskirts, and a little of this, a little of that...

Once again, the week has been busy.  I think it is always busy, part of the reason that I haven't blogged consistently in the last year.  In fact, I think my life has honestly become too busy.

Take today for example:  arrive early at church, for choir practice, meeting after school for planning for senior youth group (my youngest is this age, and I have agreed to be one of the parent helpers; one of 5, I hope), ushering for a concert at church, and the final 'supper and shred search committee papers' party for hiring our new minister.  It is a little more packed than normal (take out the last two, and it is a normal Sunday chez The Boppings), but you get the idea.  Way too busy. There is only one thing in there I can really sneak out on early, and I probably will.

But it definitely begs the question: what is busy enough, and needs 'efficiency' and what is just too busy?  I haven't figured this one out (as you can all see from the above schedule).  But that is my goal for the year--cut to the jewels, and focus on that.

On the crafting front, I've finally cast on my OWL project (and nearly finished the first ball of yarn!) and I'm humming along on the squares front, too. 

I also finally sat down at the sewing machine for the first time since the plum pants (which are getting too big!) and sewed a pettiskirt.

What I thought I was sewing, from the Martha Stewart Living Instructions, 
Well, what I sewed was more like two half pettiskirts, one of which is not going to work, and one which will be beautiful. 

I foolishly started with the instructions from Martha Stewart Living.  Let me say that you should just not go there.  I have a half finished tiny pettiskirt that is not able to be finished because I did not have enough stuff.  It is maddening.  What a useless and annoying tutorial!   It leaves out many steps, doesn't refer to many things, and is plain wrong on the fabric count.

If you double check the math, however, you would have quickly realized that her numbers are wrong, and that she does not explain nearly enough of anything to actually accomplish the project. Had I read further, on other people's issues with the tutorial like this one, I would have quickly realized that I was going to have a problem.

I, of course, since I was in a hurry and the project is way over due for my friend, did not do the math.  I thought--Martha Stewart.  Should be ok.  That seems, a, little, light for fabric, but ok.  Um, yeah.  Trust your gut.  It was about 3 yards too light on fabric.  I have one part of one ruffle finished, and half of the second on the back.  It is just...aggravating.  I am going to finish it, but I have to go back to the store and purchase about twice more stuff than I have currently in my spare time.  Right.  Notice the schedule above?  There is no spare time.  Has to be done, though. Just too annoying to get it this far and not finish it.

(I will insert a picture of the half finished skirt here, later).

When I ran out of ruffle on the first half of the skirt, I gave up, and went back to my instructions from You Can Make This for pettiskirts.  I pulled a blue mystery fabric from the stash, and some white lace I have on a roll that cost me all of a dollar from a yard sale, and started again.  Longer ruffle cut lengths.  Flat construction (ever tried to put a full 8 yard tulle ruffle on an already constructed waist band?  I did it with the Martha Stewart instructions and I can tell you it is Not Recommended).   I changed a few things from the instructions--like using my ruffler set at the 2:1 ruffling ratio instead of trying to pull the ruffles by hand, but all in all, the whole thing works much much better than anything else.  And, seriously?  Their estimation for the amount of ruffle fabric is 2 1/2 yards just for the ruffle.  Martha Stewart had you purchase 3 yards total for the project.  Yeah, math.  But, even half finished, you can see how much better this one is going to be.  It isn't pink, but it is beautiful. 

(Insert picture of the half finished pettiskirt in blue, here!  )

I'm hoping that the princess twirl factor will over ride the 'not pink' factor.  If it doesn't, I'm keeping it! It will work as a faeryfest skirt for me.

February 5, 2012

A little squee...

One of my squares for the insanity blanket was featured in this month's House cup blog. project showcase. Squee!

I'm onto square six--and I am half way through the last colour of the middle cross.  I think I am going to do several middles before I tackle the outside borders (which are not as exciting and are actually good travel knitting). 

I pulled out all the yarn I think I will use for these square, and...I'm not sure I will actually have enough wool to make the silly thing!  I have a large black bag space full of yarn, but it is actually not the equivalent of 16 balls  of RHSS.  I might need to buy more.  Eep.  If I do, I do.  But, wow--the thought actually boggles my mind. 

February 4, 2012

Pomodoro, or how to master the marking and report card challenges

This week, I faced reality.  My marking bucket was more of a marking graveyard (does anyone else's get that way?) and I was having trouble facing the 'gigantic green basket'.  So, I decided to apply two things I had heard on different podcasts and start facing the music and dealing with the stuff.  Not just school stuff, but report cards are due in a week, so they are the highest priority right now.

First, on the Knitpicks podcast, I heard about the Pomodoro technique.  Essentially, in the easiest form, it is focus on a job from a list for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break.  There is, of course, way more to it than just that little description, including a book and sheets and lots of other issues (like, staying on task, dealing with interruptions, making your time efficient, and lots of other stuff), but I wanted to see if it would help me get through my marking bucket. It did.  I accomplished 7 pomodoros today, and all that is left is the pop-up books.  I can do this; I'm estimating they will take another two pomodoros tomorrow, which I can definitely manage if I work on them between church and the super bowl party. 

I also started working on a 'Worry Journal', something I heard about from Cogknitive.  This is a book that you write down all the stuff that is worrying you, and all the things you are doing about the stuff that is worrying you, or the steps you need to take to deal with the stuff worrying you.  Essentially it is a fantastic journal to keep track of all that stuff you have to do, eventually. Then you do what you need to do from your list, and write everything into your book.  Everything.   I love it.  I am keeping track of my list.  I am getting stuff done.  I am accomplishing things. 

And, more importantly, I am not totally exhausted while doing it. 

February 1, 2012

Weekly check in and a proud of me moment!

 (Warning, long picture free blog post ahead.  Don't say that I didn't warn you.) 

Today, I took the difficult but necessary step to look at my finances.  If we ever want to purchase a house, I have to get things back under control, and the first step is to figure out why the month is so much shorter than the money.  Because it is currently much sorter than the money, and it should not be. 

So, step one: try and log into phone bill.  Be unable to log in to phone bill.  Give up after cursing at computers, phones and all manner of things, and call phone company to get them to help me reset what ever I need to reset so that I can actually see my bill from cell phone.

I love my phone company, Telus.  I've been with them nearly ten years, and they have always been great.  The only time I have ever been irritated with them in the last ten years has been when we tried to separate out my daughter's phone from ours, but that is a whole other story.  I am not a high volume user of phones but I do text, and I love my phone.  When I could finally get online to look at my bill, my lovely customer service representative, Monica, looked at my bill, and announced that I was seriously paying too much for what I was using and that she needed to fix this. How often do you get customer service people like this working for a phone company? 

So, with a little bit of time, and a lot of patience on her part, which included her calling me on the land line so I could look up a phone number I was calling frequently (seriously? I don't even recognize the number!) on my phone, we got it all sorted out.  My bill has gone down by 2/3, I have caller ID, and since I also paid them much more than needed last month, I don't need to pay them for a little while.  A long little while.  A full HPKC term long little while.  (Yes, that would be nearly three months.  Go me!)  No wonder the month is a little shorter than the money.  If you pay three months worth of bills after Christmas, the month is going to be shorter than the money. 

Onto the important stuff:

Jacob James was born on the 21st.  5lbs 5oz tiny and about 3 weeks early, just like both of his cousins.  Needless to say, we've been focused on baby, not house, home, or other stuff.  Baby!  Squeeee!

January 23, 2012

An update, and a hat:

Well, this year I'm going to try doing weekly updates.  Sometimes I might even manage it!

This week's update is brought to you by a hat, specifically a hat to go with these mittens.
Double stranded worsted, knit on 6mm needles (windproof!, even when made of Bernat Super Value yarns).  The pattern, written in two sizes, is here.
But, I could not find a hat pattern that matched them.  (Seriously?  No one has ever made a hat pattern?).  My prototype is slightly too tall for my head, ( did 4 full pattern repeats, but only neede 3)  so the pattern I've written here takes that adjustment into account.

Newfoundland Adult Hat Pattern in Bulky:

Supplies Needed:
6mm needles, dp and circulars if desired.
Bulky weight yarn (or doubled worsted weight).  approx 100 yds bulky in MC, and 80 yds bulky in CC.
Note: Hat as pictured took about 200 yards of worsted in black, held doubled, and about 140 yards of yellow worsted held doubled.  Since this is a stash project, I was not as picky with the amounts, so your mileage may vary. 

Cast on 72 stitches, and join in a circle being careful not to twist yarns when joining.  K1 P1 rib (or desired rib pattern to match mittens) for 2" or desired length.  For a fold up brim of just ribbing, I would suggest 4", but this is up to you.

On the last ribbing round, increase one stitch every 8 stitches around by kfb.  (*Kfb, rib 7* around row).  Totals should be 84, which is a multiple of 6 stitches; adjust as needed during purl rows).

Pattern in round:
row 1, 2 : with mc, purl

row 3, 4, 5, 6: *k4 contrast, slip 2 as if to purl*
note: carry mc up inside hat, so that the bar is not seen.
row 7, 8: with mc, purl
row 9, 10, 11, 12: *k1 contrast, slip 2 mc as if to purl, k3* repeat around

Repeat rows 1-12 three times (or desired depth).  End with rows 1 and 2 before beginning hat decreases:

Decreases: Using MC:
row 1: *k10, k2tog*
row 2 and all alternate rows: k
row 3: *k9, k2tog*
row 5: *k8, k2tog*
row 7: *k7, k2tog*
row 9: *k6, k2tog*
row 11: *k5, k2tog*
row 13: *k4, k2tog*
row 15: *k3, k2tog*
row 17: *k2, k2tog*
row 19: *k1, k2 tog*
row 21: k2tog, around row.  Break yarn, and draw through all stitches.  Fasten off.

Finish hat with a pompom using both colours.

January 16, 2012

Updates on the insanity so far...

Here is the Blanket of Insanity, as of a week ago:
Three squares nearly covers the bed; 5 squares gives a good hanging edge length wise.  4 squares across gives a good hanging edge width wise.  This is exciting, because that means that 20 squares, or a variation of 20 squares, will make it perfect.  25 squares is huge!  I am currently working on square number 5!  I am nearly 25% done!   My Phoenix project will be 6 squares for this insanity it 8 weeks.  I can do that.  I think. 

Quote of the week, by DD2, on the way out the door to my sister's baby shower.  (The little darling is scheduled to enter the world on Feb 1, and I can hardly wait.

"I feel like a Disco Ball!" 
Notice the sparkles on the walls and floor from her skirt! 

The big item for the shower was this quilt top, constructed by DD1:
It has a couple more borders on it right now, and will have a backing and edging and all that, but wow, am I ever proud of her!  Great job, don't you think? 

On the sewing front, I've made a pair of pants from the Laura pattern from style arc, and I am wearing them right now.  There is fabric on the table for two more, possibly three.  A dark grey stretch for a dress pant, a dark grey denim, and a stretch black striped dress pant fabric.  I may not get a swap done, but I will have pants that are not all black.  

January 6, 2012

Continuing on the weight loss journey.

I won't be staying with the official Weight Watchers site in the new year.  Even though I think it is a good value and it had some good tips, and I would recommend it, I am not a meeting person, and a good look at the budget this week means that money is going to go elsewhere.   I'm pretty convinced that any tracking system will help you; overall, theirs seems pretty balanced and healthy lifestyle oriented. I will be continuing to work on the weight loss, though, mostly because I feel better when I weigh less.

I found a great I phone app that uses the new points plus system for tracking.  I've used the new WW system for three months, so I can say that the new points system allows for my eating restrictions without a lot of hassle, or feeling stressed or depressed.  My anaphylactic allergies mean I can't eat anything 'low fat' (poultry, eggs, fish, shellfish), mangoes, melons or peanuts.  Every other diet plan I have looked at over the years suggests eating strictly low fat proteins, and normally melons as a primary fruit because they are filling and low calorie, or seriously penalizes you for having to eat beef or pork (this was an issue with the former WW point system) because they are trying to encourage 'lower fat/lower calorie' intake. The new one doesn't do that. 

So, my sewing plans for SWAP are going to be a little fluid, because I am losing weight.  I didn't think I was, and then I started sewing clothes this week and needing to take them in.  Seriously?  But, the pants pattern  fit in October!

This is good, and bad at the same time.  Good because I feel better, and look better.  Bad because it means that I am going to be putting energy into transitional clothing.  I already put three tops I made this summer that fit really well then into the black bags of blessing this week, along with two pairs of nice tailored pants.  My new resolution is no tailored pants until I've stabilized. 

January 4, 2012

Inspiration.

I've been working on the border of the next square, and tidying the next area of the house.  We are now up to 10 black bags, plus the old tree and the old lights and a few other things that will go in tomorrow's pick up, but tonight is sewing night. 

Sewing night means that I need a little inspiration, which I found here.

Isn't this top just the cutest thing ever?  Hers is cute, and inspiring.  I can sew this!  Check back in tomorrow, with hopefully my version of this finished top.  You should check out her blog--it is totally fun and inspiring.

January 3, 2012

Calculations, and plans.

Calculations, and reality:
Ok, the blanket has officially been renamed the Blanket of Insanity.  I calculated that 20 squares will take  7600 m of RHSS.  That, my friends, is a lot of knitting.  I've made three squares, and the fourth one is ready to have the border knit on. 4/20 is 20% done!  My date of finishing? June, since we will have been together 25 years in June.  25 years.  Wow. He used to have hair.  I used to be a size 6.  Neither of us are the same.  But, life is still good, and we are going to celebrate with a blanket of insanity. 

So, Plans for the year.

1.  Finish this insanity of a blanket!  Before our anniversary.  And stick to it, in spite of the insanity of the blanket.  I can knit 20 squares.  I know that the thought of 80 squares was beyond me.  I can do 20 squares.  (I am currently ignoring the fact that each of my 20 squares is made of 4 squares, so I am really making 80 squares.  Ignorance is bliss in this case.)

2.  Knit from my stash!  4 out, 1 in.  I haven't decided whether it is m for m, or ball for ball.  I'm leaning to ball for ball, ignoring the bigger balls as well, bigger.  And make one for me, one for someone else.  I am going to add right here, that according to the calculations, the blanket will need about 3600 m of white.  I definitely do not have that much white in the stash, getting enough white to finish the silly thing is going to be a challenge.  I'm not going to stick to the 'stash only' thought for the blanket.  I have enlisted some of my Ravenclaw Friends to help  provide white, and we will proceed from there. I am allowed to purchase for the blanket. 

I'm also toying with knitting a km a month; it is only 1000 m.  I can do that.  Really.  Particularly if I am knitting the blanket of insanity (one square a week would let me pass this goal).

3.  Get the house fully useable from top to bottom, so that we can host Christmas 2012.  This means a huge destash and ruthless declutter.  It also means thinking through how to sleep over many people in a very small house.  And feed people, and have many people enjoy many places.  Time to have less stuff and more useable space and more fun.  So far, I have decluttered the front hall closet, and half of the upstairs bedroom.  This is a long term plan; it is doable.

4.  Focus on the good stuff, and let some of the crazy go.  It is time to move on from some things, like faeryfest.  One of the things I will do is send some (many) costumes over to faeryfest, for them to use and store.  We are not going to act in the cast this year, which means that a lot of our costumes can move on.  After being in the cast the entire time it has run, I think that it is time to be willing to try other opportunities.  There are lots of other crazy that can go.

5.  Get the finances straight.  Pay off the bills, and the credit cards and the debt, and build some possible equity.  I'm not as committed here as I could be.  But, I've spent about a week and a half not spending money, so we will see.

6.  Get some exercise, and eat right.  Use the inhalers.  Take care of me.  The usual. Given.

7.  Compete a swap, with fabric in the stash.  Swap is a doable and effective way to have clothes that work.  When I was thinning today, I realized that what I was keeping was all the stuff I had made that worked from the last three attempts at swap and continuous sewing.  So, swap works.  And, I am going to complete one this year. 

8.  Spend some time in gratitude and prayer.  Keep a 5 items of gratitude journal.  Spend some time praying. 


I could add more, but I'm not going to because these are the important things.  More than that would be too much.  Now, on to working on the borders of square 4.