Friday, August 26, 2011


After a solid week of feeling really disgusting, I am now very much better.  I hate when I feel sick.  Hate it.  I whine, whinge, complain, kvetch, grouse, you name it, I do it.  The poor Hubbs has to listen to it all, but I listen to him when he's grumpy so it's fair play.

At any rate, I'm now pretty much human, and thank you very much, but I don't need to do this again for a year.

To celebrate my lovely good health, I'm taking the day off and playing.  I should be doing tons of stuff and I know it.  But one week of gross and pain needs a reward.  So, I'm sewing a doll dress, and then I think I'll bake a loaf of bread, and then some delicious knitting.

No pics 'cause I have nothing to show you except me as a happy camper.  ;-)

You know what's coming tomorrow:  Yep, Hurricane Irene is heading our way.  The wind will blow, the rain will flow, the driveway will overflow, and I'm trying to convince His Nibs to put the backyard  furniture into the garage.  He figures he'll tie it all together and that will make it safe from 90 mph winds.  I think the winds will pick the mess up and swing it against a window and we'll have serious ventilation.  Let's hope he's right, 'cause if he's not, he'll never hear the end of it from me.  Not that I would pick on him or anything.  Not me.

All you east coasters, batten down your hatches, make sure you have flashlights, candles and matches, books to read, knitting to do, and a good supply of water.  Yep, I know:  bottled water.  Sometimes you just have to buy the stuff.  If there's any left at the market.  As much as I'd love a summer house down the shore, am I ever glad I live inland and miles from the ocean.

Stay safe, all!  And if you are across the pond or somewhere where you are not going to have weather, enjoy the peace!

scrapperjen - Thanks.  I'm feeling much better although I still have to watch that dairy moment.  We were so lucky with Irene!  No damage and a power outtage of only about 5 hours!

Everybody else with comments:  Thank you.  We are just fine, my body is behaving again, and I'm back in the world.  Yippee!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Disappearing Nine Patch or The Yarnarian is in Love!

I just made my first disappearing nine patch.  Yep, it's been around for a long while, but I'm new at this, so it's all fresh and delightful to me.  This has got to be the way new knitters feel when they discover something wonderful.

First pic:  the original 9 patch cut in half lengthwise and widthwise.  So you see what it looked like originally.  Embiggen to get the full picture.

First variation:

I like this one very much. For one thing, those green hearts are all in the same direction now, which I like.

Next two variations.  The hearts are kind of all over the place, but they are little squares, so I don't know if it matters very much.  

Eh, on the next one. Looks kind of disjointed to me. Perhaps if the little hearts were not mixed up?  Although I do like the stripy effect of the long rectangles.

What about these next two?  Is this not neat?  And what happens when I make some more 9 patches, cut them the same with more or less the same colors and then put them together? 

I'm not great at statistics, but I can see lots of permutations here, and all from one very simple block.  I think this is my kind of patchwork.  I totally admire traditional work, but the fact is that I really cannot sew a straight line.  It looks like I can, but you can't see the inside, and I'm not showing you.    This I can do, and think of all the varieties of blocks I can make.

What about if I made a 9 patch and then cut diagonally from corner to corner?  Oh my word, my head is spinning.

Now to get to the yarny end of all this stuff:  Think of the colorways I can come up with from 9 patches.  What about if I made garter stitch pieces to match the sizes in one of these variations.  Garter would be perfect, and I could use some variegated yarn and some almost solid.  Oh dear, the head is spinning some more.

Folks, if you have never tried to make a 9 patch, it's easy peasy.  Even the woman whose seams are wonky can say that.  Go try it out.  Hey, you don't even need a machine.  Go sew by hand.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chit chat

Look what I dyed yesterday for a Ravelry group. The colorways are exclusive to them, and the second two are clearly influenced by my fabric collecting. Isn't it neat how one activity can lead into another?

There is a color sensibility in quilting fabrics that isnot seen in yarn dyeing, at least not by me.  I never would have put together the middle colorway had it not been for a batik I used.  I wonder where this is all going to lead me?  I seem to be back in variegated mode after a long spell of almost solids, and it's good to be there.

Want a good freebie pattern for variegated yarns?  This one works with everything!  You can get it on Ravelry.

Picture? I can't fine one. bizarre, I know, but if you click on the Ravelry link you'll get both pic and pattern.

Sewing news: The lastest blocks from the FWQAL:

They're laid out on point because that's how they will appear on the quilt.  Eventually.  Sometime in the far far future.

A couple of cutie outfits for the girls.  The one on the left has the most adorable little pleated skirt.  Not hard to sew at all, which surprised me.  Now I want to do lots of them!  The one on the right is wearing the top made for the pleated skirt.  Hey, these things are interchangeable.  I spread out the pleated one so that you could actually see the pleats, but it does lay nice and flat when I'm not fooling around with it.

And now I'm off to finish the dyeing for the Ravelry group. Yes, the back is considerably better. Still twinges, but after Thurs and Fri, this is a piece of cake. I could do without it entirely, but this is tolerable. By Fri it should all be gone.

Gotta run. Talk to you soon.

Wall-to-wall books - I don't call it playing with dolls 'cause they'd all think I was daft.  I call it "sewing for the grandkids' dolls".   Sneaky, aren't I?  I know someone who makes the most wonderful doll clothes and she donates all of them to a local charity.  She gets the fun, some kid gets a treat and everyone is happy.  So, you can do it too.  Tell people that you are making them for your daughter.

Kate - Thanks, Kate.

scrapperjen - Thanks.  You know I'm having fun here. 

Do the Day - I based that one a new fabric I bought.  This fabric buying is neat for new colorways! 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The woman can now walk upright!

This, boys and girls, is a major improvement. Yep, the back is still in spasm mode, but now I can actually stand up straight, so I'm on the mend.

I did a little bit of sewing today. It hurt to sit at the machine, and to get up, but the walk down to the basement to press was good. I know, I should have an ironing board near me, but this way, I get an aerobic moment out of my sewing.

So here's what I did: 2 blocks from the Farmer's Wife Quilt-a-long. So far, I've sewn doll garments, and 2 quilt tops with my fabric cut with a rotary cutter. This is the first time I'm working from templates and I'm not sure I like it. It's different, and yet it seems to work fine. The advantage of being a novice quilty person is that I don't know anything, so everything is new to me, and I get to see how I like doing things. I know that there are pieced patterns for this QAL, and I'm going to try that next.

I love picking out the fabrics. I'm using some charm squares, fresh fabric, and some odds and ends. It's grand fun, especially since you know how much I love to play with color. This is totally different from yarn dyeing, and it's a neat challenge.

The book shows the blocks on point, and I like that, so that's why the patches are placed that way. I don't know what I'll use for the sashing, binding and backing, but I have years to go before I worry about that.

Knitting is happy: I'm winging a cardigan for the dolls out of my fingering wt yarn left over from some long-gone project. I'll show pics when I get something done. I'm totally fooling around with this. Not pattern, just holding it ho to a doll to see the fit. That's the beauty of garter stitch.

Look at this fabric I bought to make the girls Halloween cloaks. I may or may not do that, but I have to figure out how to use this witchy fabric; it's so adorable.

OK, going off to sit and knit. Sitting is not great for the back, but I'm tired of walking around and standing. Happiness is a back on the mend! Those lucky folks who have never had a back spasm, have no idea what they are missing!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm still selling my back.

Any takers? I can sit, stand sort of, lie down, but boy does it hurt whenever I try to switch positions. Better than yesterday, but not much better. I have a long way to go, here. Growl.

Kitten With a Whiplash - Blech is all I have to say. Good thing I am supplied with books, Kindle, and lovely knitting. Piffle upon bad backs!

CarolynJean - Yep, I have done chiropractic, PT, you name it. It just comes on when I eat too much dairy. I am lactose intolerant, and usually behave myself and take Lactaid before eating dairy. But this week I was a wise-guy, and didn't and now my back is seriously unhappy. Weird, I know, but there is a correlation, Only I'm the only one who knows it. The doctors think I'm nuts, but I know when I overdo dairy, that I'm going to have back pain. It's as if gas pain moves around to the back. Ah well, it will go away and then I have to get back to doing core-strengthening exercises.

Scrabblequeen - What a pair we are!

merrilymarylee - Might be related it IBS. Who knows? I would just like it to go away already. It's getting mighty boring.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Want a used back? I'll sell it to you.

I have this lower back, really just above the buttocks, and every once in a while, it goes into serious orbit. Spasms and other wonderful things. Ick. Double Ick! I hurt. Took 2 Advil, and nothing else hurts, but the back is not any better. Do I sit or stand, walk or not? It doesn't matter; it just plain hurts. I'm walking around bent over like a very very old lady. Hey, even the Mommie isn't bent over. If I had a wart on my nose and a witchy hat on my head, I could pass for an evil witch, that bent over.

Enough of that kvetch, Here's one of the girls in her new top. Made it yesterday, didn't miter the middle of the top, but too bad on that. I can't figure out if I should sew or read or knit today. Gotta find the right position for that rotten back.

Growl, grump, complain nonstop.

I have some pretty yarn from my stash (bought before I dyed yarn) and it matches the colors on this outfit very well. Seems to me that the doll needs a shawl.

Ruth and Jo - got any good swear words that I can use? I've pretty much used up my supply of good ones, and my cursing is getting boring. I think when this is over, that I shall go back to working on my core muscles; that's got to help the next time the back is bad. Growl!

Wall-to-wall books - It is so much fun, even when I mess up, which is very often.  Good thing you don't see the insides of the clothing!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wish I could show you, but I can't.

Knitting!  I bet you thought I forgot all about it, but I'm still happily knitting away.  The thing is that I can't show you what I'm working on because it's the Oct/Nov edition of the Light and Dark Lace Club mystery KAL.

What I can tell you is that I have the most wonderful NEB going.  This one is different from other borders I've done, very very easy, although you do have to pay a bit of attention on the wrong side rows, but really neat.  And that's all the info you get at the moment.  Hah!

Here are a couple of patterns from the L&D Lace club that are now available for purchase.  The one and only Diadem!

And the very pretty Avira.

In the sewing box are 3 new outfits for the girls. I'm starting to think fall fabrics; I'm royally sick of all the summer colors. Not a great pic, but I was in a hurry.

Back to playing. Today is my Unbirthday. In 6 months it'll be my birthday, so I'm celebrating my Unbirthday today.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fabric purchase.

I didn't buy one single piece of fabric today.  Not one. 

I did cut out a pleated skirt and a ruffled top for one of the girls. 

Didn't knit one stitch today either.

Did prep a bunch of yarn for a dye in this week.

I'm doomed, totally doomed. Doomy doomy doomy doomed!

First I had a fabric, thread, and stitchery collection. I still have it even though I'm not doing any of that lovely stuff.  But someday.....

Then I had a yarn/knitting book collection.  Still have it of course, although I'm putting a lot of knitting books in tubs today because I need the shelf room.

Then, my bad sister visited, and got me crocheting, so of course, I have a crochet book collection.

And now?  Doom, ladies and gents, Doom!  The worst kind of obsessive compulsive disorder there is:  fabric collection.  Shoot me know.  I'm totally addicted.  At least once or twice a week, I haul out all my bags and admire my ever-growing collection.  This is sex at its rawest!  (Uh oh, now I'll get the dreaded not suitable for kids reading injunction.)  I have to look at it, fondle it, drool over it, pair it up with matching or mismatching mates.  It's a sickness of the worst sort, and it's all Miss P's fault.

Miss P:  are you reading this? You had to visit me in April and bring me The Quilt.  You must have planned this wicked behavior forever.  Says your gram:  if an 8 year old can do it, so can a 67 year old.  Well, now you're 9, and taking a break from sewing, and your poor, lonely, much-maligned Grammie is totally caught up in fabric and sewing.  I'm doomed, I tell you, doomed.

Let's get to the meat, ahem, fabric of the matter.  Saturday, Hiz Hubboness and I went into the city (aka New York for those poor unfortunate folks not lucky enough to live near the city) for a trip to The City Quilter.  We took the train of course, got out at 32 St, and walked down to 25th to The City Quilter.  Oh my gosh.  Fabric.  lots of fabric.  my favorite fabrics of all:  batiks.  And the best part?  Competitive prices.  New York prices can be higher than out in the burbs, but not this store.  And they will cut a 1/4, 3/8, etc cuts of fabric.  So, for the great price of $25 and change, this is what I scored:

7 pieces of fabric, each enough to make doll clothing for less than what an outfit from the AG store would cost.  And they are quality fabrics!  I may use them for quilts or for doll clothing.  Doesn't matter, at that price I can always buy more.  And if the fabric is no longer there, there are tons more to choose from.

I'm very lucky in my location.  I can drive or take a 2-stop train ride to Aardvark Quilt Shop in Morris Plains, and they have a ginormous selection of fabric.  Beyond amazing!  Also nicely priced, and they are lovely people, to boot.  And I can drive about 45 min to a Joanne's, although I'm so lazy that I don't do that unless I can convince the Hubs that he wants to take me.

And then there is the internet.  Online shopping is fabulous.  Here's what I scored this week.

All bought from sewfreshfabrics on Etsy., and at incredible prices, even with the shipping!  Are they not weird and wonderful.  I think they are for quilts just because of the size of the prints, although the last 3 might be OK for dolls.

And then more from Sew Fresh Fabrics:

Don't ask what I'm going to do with these, but they are so cool!

And finally, these pretties bought from I can't remember where.

So I think I maybe have enough for the rest of the year.  Yep.  Not.  But I haven't ordered any fabric yet today.  The day is still young, however.

Off to tubify more knitting books, and then move the quilting books to the empty shelves.

Scrabblequeen   - I swore way back when that I was never going to sew again.  Famous last words.  The neatest part about this all is that the fabrics are now showing up in my head as yarn colorways.  This never ends, does it?

Friday, August 12, 2011

My first block

Here's the first block for the Farmer's Wife Quilt-a-long, hereafter known as the fwqal.  Notice that I can't sew a straight line.  I think my seams match, but the rest is not great.  This is me at my best.   I think I will put sashing between the blocks if I ever turn it into a quilt.  This way I hope to hide my wonky edges.  Sigh.   BTW, this is a baby simple block, and it still took me forever.  I had fun, so that's what counts.

You real quilters out there, I'm no threat to you.  Just in case you were worrying.  tee hee.

The big, big lesson from all my sewing is that I'm not great at it.  I'm adequate, occasionally.  That's not the lesson.  The lesson is that I can really enjoy myself and not be good at something.  A large dose of humility, but that's good for everyone.

Good projects

I'm very happy with all my WIPs these days.  I'm doing the next mystery shawl for the Light and Dark Lace Club (the next edition is probably in Oct.) with lace yarn, and loving every minute of it.  Even the occasional tinking doesn't bother me.  Can't show you pics because it is a mystery, but trust me, it's pretty and very pleasant to knit.  I'm knitting on this in the evening while we're watching Castle on DVD.

Then I have my crochet afghan.  I'm at the crocheting the border around each square part of it.  Not exciting, but pleasant donkey work.  Again in the evening while watching Dr. Who or Lost.  Since I really pay attention to the tube, I can work on this pretty mindlessly.

Sewing!  I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying this, and how much I'm learning.  This week I learned that lengthwise grain barely stretches as opposed to crosswise grain.  I read this in a book by Marti Mitchell, but me being me, I had to find out the hard way.  That was the Chicken and Eggs bag of the previous post.

I finished the top to my latest Schnibble.  There is a serious goof here.  I bet you can find it, too.  I was thinking about taking out a few sts and redoing the messy part, but then I realized that it's close to the stitching line, and when I finally quilt it, I'll make sure to fudge it with my stitches.  Yep, I can do that.  I did embroidery for centuries.  In fact, when I was in 5th grade and in a boring summer, my mom taught me how, and I've done it for years and years.  Not these days; but probably at some point again.

Can you see my goof?  It's in a pale green section.  Embiggen to really see it.  Oh, piffle, I can see it even this small.  Growl.

What did I learn from this little quilt?  I think it would have helped had I starched the fabric first, at least my own cuts, and not the charm pack ones.  That green was a devil to work with.  Kinda floppy and now I wish I had starched it.  I've not done starching before, but I'll try it out the next time.

I also learned about getting those teensy little points to come together.  Man, that was hard.  In fact, I found the whole piece to be hard.  It got easier as I went along, however.  Good learning project, and now I'm not so afraid of little points matching up.  OK, I'm still scared of them, but I've done it a bunch of times on this piece, so I think I could do it again.

Doll clothing?  The girls are nekkid again.  The clothing is going to Miss Rose when we visit her the next time.  I'm alternating between Pen and Rose to make things equal.  Plus, Miss Rose tends to like girlie stuff, while Miss P likes black backgrounds.  It's nice for me 'cause I can work with different fabrics and enjoy myself.
I made a pair of pants yesterday from an old pair of twills that are totally out of style.  I never realized just how heavy twill fabric is.  Duh!  Jeans are twills, so why I didn't think of it is beyond me.  I was going to put on pockets.  Made them, but the fabric is so heavy that I couldn't turn them right-side out.  So no pockets.  Like the doll cares.

And today I'm going to get brave and start the Farmer's Wife Quilt-a-long, AKA fwqal.  I have the book, but out the patterns for the second block, picked out the fabrics, and in a little while I'm going to start to work on it.  Wish me luck.

scrapperjen - It's there.  Look at a light green block with white polka dots in the second row about a block or two in from the left.  See that little bulge, pleaty thingie?  That's it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Chickens and Eggs!

We have a running joke with the grands about chickens.  We're always telling them awful chicken jokes, and we tease them nonstop about the birds.  They are now old enough to totally ignore us when we get on chicken toots.  Too bad.  We had fun with them.

I'm wild about chickens, myself.  I like to eat them, drink soup from them, admire their general chicken-ness.  So when I saw this crazy fabric, I had to get some.  Clearly I needed a chicken project bag.  And then I thought:  Well chickens and eggs go together (duh!), so I also had to get this one.

And here is my new clucky chicken and egg bag in progress:

How do you like your eggs? These are sunny-side up.  mmmmmm.  I like mine over medium, with a bit of runny yoke but no runny white.

Here's the bag all finished.  It wasn't that hard, given that I can't sew a straight seam, but getting the stupid ties into it just about put me over the edge.  And then I realized that the ribbon was navy and not black.  Too bad, 'cause I'm not doing that again.  My bag, my rules.

I can't seem to get the photography of the yellow right.  Think egg yolk, and sort of a batik fabric, and that's the color of the yellow next to the black stripes.

I got the idea from this blog.  Didn't have the fabric, but I did have my chickens, eggs, polka dots and lots of weird yellows.

It was a lot of fun and here's what I learned:

     a.  Fabric really stretches much more when cut crosswise rather than lengthwise.  I had read that somewhere, and I can tell you that it's the truth.  Good thing to know because I have the feeling that I'm going to do more log cabin projects, and cutting those logs, particularly the long ones, will be done on the lengthwise grain.  This one is important.  And now I know it from experience.

     b.  Fussy cutting (that's where I deliberately cut out my chicken) is neat.  Wastes a lot of fabric, but I have 1/2 yard of my chickens so I can probably make a dozen of these chickie bags.

     c.  Cursing when attempting to get that little safety pin through the side holes is entirely appropriate.  I had a good vent.

And now there's a project in it already:  a little cardigan for Miss P's AG doll.

Kitten With a Whiplash - All I have to say is cluck cluck.

Scrabblequeen  - I already put a project in it, and I'm happily knitting away.  I knit at night when it's too dark to sew. 

merrilymarylee - Cluck to you too.  I'm happy to say that I am indeed wearing a bra today.  I'm at the age where there is a bit of droop factor.   

Monday, August 8, 2011

I dye for you.

I truly do.  And the dyeing mojo is back, thank goodness.  It sort of disappeared over the summer, but now my fingers are itching to dye a lot, so, I'm happily dyeing for you.

Here's this week's collection: A Potpourri of Penny Yarns. All are OOAK, and Penny, as you now, has over 450 yards of 75/25 SW merino/nylon goodness. It's soft, durable, and takes dyes beautifully. Penny is my go-to yarn for everything from socks, to scarves and shawls to sweaters to tops for American Girl Dolls. And it feels so nice when you knit with it, too.

The 3 greens on the left are Highlands, Lowlands and Terrain.

You can see how they progress from dark to a nice medium set of greens.  They are not pure green; there are blues of varying kinds tossed in.  Fun for me, and fun for you to knit.

The two in the middle are Heather and Citrus:  Heather sold immediately.  Sorry, all you Heather lovers.

And the final two are Peachy Keen and Butterscotch.  Peachy Keen is done in a new type of dyeing for me that produces a very neat yarn.  Butterscotch reminds me of butterscotch and vanilla ice cream with caramel on top.

Where?  In my Etsy shop:

I'm off to sew some more.  Between the sewing and the knitting and the crochet, I barely have time to read, and I have the latest George Martin book and keep falling asleep over it.  This may be a great book that I've slept through.

Wall-to-wall books - Boy, do I ever understand!  I'm not this way with yarn anymore, but now that I've rediscovered sewing, I'm buying frabric like it's going out of style.  We're both serious fiber junkies, no?
Do the Day - Alas, Heather sold instantly, and I can't do it again.  It was a mish mash of colors that looked awful, so I added a bit of other colors and this is what came out.  If I could do it again, I would.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The beginnings of another little quilt

This one is Little Red from Nelson, Carrie - Schnibbles times two

You'll notice that my fabrics are totally different from the ones in the pattern.  I never make anything in knitting, crocheting, or sewing that is exactly like a pattern.  My curiosity always leads me to use other fabrics or yarns.  And you know how easily I get bored, so why do something the way it's already been done?

These are early days here.  I think I can finish up the blocks today.  My sewing hasn't improved unfortunately.  I'm afraid this is as good as it's ever going to get.  We have a few blocks that look wonky to me, but not terribly so, and I do have lots of fabric if I need to substitute a block.  But I'm having a grand time playing, and I'm never entering anything in any competition, so it's all fine with me.  The Hubbo likes what I do, not that he's any judge of my abilities. 

And that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Scrabblequeen - I kinda like it too.  I sewed the first row together and by golly, most of those little points came together.  5 more rows to go and then sew the entire thing together.  Then I have to pick out a border or two and such.  I really really like doing this.

LivvyLove - I love to use different color schemes than what was originally used.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Girls are thinking about late summer.

Yep; they're starting to get tired of all the pastelly goodness, and get serious about clothing.  After all, summer is half over and enough already of the heat.  So here they are, not quite pastel (well, except for the summer jammies).

Girl on left is wearing a cutie dress from Liberty Jane. The pattern was actually not that difficult; I must be getting used to sewing, finally. Cutie on the right is wearing her jammy top from Liberty Jane (yep, I really really like doing this one, and use it mostly as a top), and pants from a Joan Hinds pattern.

Then we have these 3 ladies:

All patterns from Liberty Jane. Can you tell that I really like these patterns. Easy for the most part, except for those bias binding moments. But now I think I've conquered that bit. Whew!

The denim skirt was from a huge denim dress that I bought at a thrift shop on Cape Cod (one of those stuff-a-bag-full-of-merchandise for $5). I have tons of the fabric left, too.

scrapperjen - It's becoming an addiction! I can sew these so much faster than I can knit them in skinny yarn.

merrilymarylee - You need to get a doll of your own. I know; it's beyond dorky and silly, but it is such fun. Even the Hubbo, who knows I'm daft, likes these little things. You can always donate them to a toy charity! Or find someone with grandgirls, and give them to her.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Diadem is Here!

It's August, and I promised that I would release the pattern this month. Diadem was the April pattern for the Light and Dark Lace Club. She's been exclusive to the club for 4 months, and now it's time for her to make her appearance for everyone.

Isn't she pretty? Here are the specs:

Intermediate pattern.

Style: Shawl is knitted top down, and is semi-circular in shape.

Yarn: 450 yards of fingering or sock yarn. My shawl was knitted in Zen Yarn Garden Serenity (80% SW merino/10% cashmere/10% silk, 2-Ply Fingering Weight).

Notions: At least 2 stitch markers, preferable many more to set off the patterns so that you won’t have to count them. Tapestry needle.

Needles: 5 (3.50mm).
Finished Measurements: approx 12” X 74”

Cost: $6.00

And where can you buy the pattern?

Ravelry, of course!


Scrabblequeen - Of course it's a NEB! Hah!

Wall-to-wall books - Thanks!


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