Fitting a Sweater and Contest Winnings

When I first moved up to the Philadelphia area from Memphis, TN, I came ill prepared. I didn’t own a proper winter jacket and didn’t own more than two sweaters. My soon-to-be-MIL at the time took pity on me and passed along many of her sweaters to me.

This was one of those sweaters.

It’s incredibly warm, being made of wool and it’s a lovely deep green. Yet, I rarely wear this sweater out in public. The trouble with it is the tight ribbing at the hip area. Goodness knows that is not an area I need to be drawing attention to. It doesn’t help that the rest of the sweater is baggy.

After being inspired by One Pearl Button’s blog, I decided I would finally tailor the sweater. I’m not quite as ambitious as Alli is though. I stuck with just cutting off a lot of the excess fabric along with the annoying ribbed edges and adding a clearly defined waist and hip area.

If you are wondering how I made the flower decoration, it was easy peasy. I just cut a daisy shape out of fleece fabric and stuck a big button on top. The only stitching required was sewing the button onto both the flower and the sweater.

I even wore the sweater out today … in public.

When I got back home, this little package was waiting for me.

My contest winnings from Sew Spun!

It’s a mini pincushion and a needle book. She also enclosed her most recent purchase: a Moo card. I have got to get me some of those.

Thank you, Mandy! I just love them and plan to put the needle book to work right away.

Design scrapped and Chili coasters

Just to prove that not all of my crazy ideas come out smelling like flowers, behold my latest design.

My idea was to create cutouts shaped like diamonds in an otherwise simple scarf. It seemed like a great idea until I started knitting it and had to maneuver 3 balls of yarn.

Perhaps blocking would correct the distortion of the diamonds, but it would take some major redesigning in order to make it fun to knit. So, I’m moving on.

Last night, I realized I hadn’t bought a Christmas present for my brother-in-law. So, I whipped these coasters up.

They were so easy to make. It only took two pieces of fabric and one piece of low loft batting per coaster. All pieces were cut into 5-inch squares. Then, the fabrics were placed together with right sides facing and the batting was laid on top of the fabric. I stitched around the squares with a 1/2-inch seam, leaving a 2-inch opening on one side. Next, I cut the corners and trimmed the seams. Then, I turned the squares right side out and hand-stitched the opening closed. Voila. Coasters.

I wish all gift giving was so simple.

Meet Maria and her Diamond Dish Scarf

It came yesterday!

It’s an adjustable dress form! I’ve wanted a dress form for years, but (1) could never find one that had my exact measurements and (2) could never find one that was reasonably priced. The beauty of this dress form is that you can adjust the bust, waist and hips to your exact measurements. I found it on Amazon of all places with free shipping.

I named her Maria. I didn’t like the idea of having two Marie’s in the house. That would have been weird.

Maria is sporting a skirt that I made for myself a few years ago as well as a sweater made for me by my MIL. The sweater was crocheted and given to me as a Christmas present. It’s so warm and fits me perfectly as Maria so kindly proved.

Note to my MIL: I removed the buttons because – to be frank – they wouldn’t all button this year. Dan isn’t the only one gaining weight from my cooking. Yet, I really love the sweater like this. Thank you!

In knitting news, I finished the scarf I had been working on.

Of course, I had Maria model it for me. She doesn’t fidget quite as much as I do when standing in front of a camera.

Since it was such a simple design, I am offering it as a free download.

Back to Sewing

As soon as it starts getting warm outside and buds start to open, I spend all my free time outside in the garden. Now that the weather has turned colder and all my plants are hunkering down for the long winter, I have been yearning to sew again.

I finished my first project since Spring, tailoring not included. Though I would love to show it off to you, it’s a Christmas present for one of my blog readers. I can’t trust him/her not to peak. I know I would peak if given the chance.

Instead, I’ll show you the next project I plan to tackle with the goal of completing it before Christmas.

The pattern is from Marie-Madeline Studio’s line and is called the Brooke Handbag.

If finished on time, it will end up as a Christmas present, but I’m not sure to whom. Rarely do I know who a project is going to be for until after I finish it. It makes sewing much more enjoyable if deadlines and strict instructions can be tossed out the window.

By the way, Marie-Madeline is having a giveaway on their blog.

Since we’re speaking of Christmas, I can’t help but brag a bit. Don’t hate me, but I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping. Wait. Let me rephrase that so the family doesn’t think ill of Dan. Dan and I are almost finished with the Christmas shopping. Right.

It’s true I do the lion’s share, but then I love to hunt and to track down the perfect gift. Dan acts as my sound board and my cheerleader. It’s a good marriage.

Those are just some of the kids’ gifts … and we don’t have any kids of our own!

I hope to complete shopping by Thanksgiving, so I can dedicate the entire month of December to Holiday cooking and baking. I missed baking cookies one year because I had waited too long to shop and prepare for Christmas. It scarred me for life. I will never let that happen again. Food is a big part of what Christmas and the Holidays mean to me.

Review of Blue Sky Alpaca’s Dyed Cotton Yarn

In January when I had purchased this yarn from Loop, LYS in Philadelphia, I had confessed my hatred of cotton. To reiterate, I stated the following:

1. If my hands get the least bit warm, cotton sticks to them like feather to tar.
2. Cotton lacks the stickiness of wool. Wool wants to lay down with its fellow kind. Cotton has no such feelings. Thus, as the Yarn Harlot would say, “it’s not as forgiving as lovely wool”. It separates with the flick of a needle and is slippery to boot.
3. It’s not as warm. In Pennsylvania, the cold months outnumber the warm months. It’s important to have something warm nearby at all times.
4. It’s not as easy, fun or enjoyable to knit as lovely wool. It takes a steadier hand and more patience.

After using up the first skein of this yarn in the scarf I am knitting, I am singing a different tune.

Though I can’t deny any of the above statements, I must admit that I have enjoyed knitting Blue Sky Cotton.

Not once has the yarn separated on me. Not once has the yarn stuck to my fingers. Of course, the latter could be due to the fact that it’s Fall and temperatures have already dropped enough that Jake has no trouble going twice the distance we normally walked in the summer.

However, the best part about the yarn is its softness. It’s not as soft as alpaca or merino, but that is hardly a fair comparison. I wouldn’t rate it any lower than one rung down though.

Speaking of the scarf I am knitting, it’s 75% done. It has been such a quick and easy project.

Knee Warmers and an Old Scarf

After casting on and ripping out the knee warmers 3 times over, I am finally making progress on them.

Let’s see if I can recount all the things I did wrong that warranted the 3 frogs.

Well, first, I cast on too many stitches. And not just a few too many. Try 4 times too many. Math was never my forte. In my defense, I didn’t actually cast on all those stitches. Halfway through, I thought to myself “Gosh, Dan is bigger than me, but I don’t think anybody has knees quite this large.” Giggle.

The 2nd frogging was due to the fact that I was knitting the knee warmers in the round, but trying to follow the instructions detailed by Barbara Walker. Her instructions, of course, were for knitting back and forth.

Having been defeated while knitting in the round, I cast on the 3rd time for working straight. Two rows into the warmers, it donned on me how I could adjust the instructions to knitting in the round. At least the 3rd time, I frogged the project with glee.

This 4th time has not been without its problems. I messed up one set of the increases, but I refuse to rip it back. Nobody, except you and I, is going to know that I increased 6 rows before I should have. Though this mistake has decreased by desire to knit the knee warmers. Maybe I can just rip back to my mistake. Grr.

In other news, I would like to thank Lime & Violet for featuring my Cabled and Ribbed scarf on their blog, The Daily Chum.

I designed this scarf 3 years ago for a local alpaca farm.

From Cabled & Ribbed Scarf

Much to my chagrin, the design was rejected. The farm owner wanted a lacy scarf instead. After completing the lace scarf along with 3 other designs, I finally came back to the cables and ribs. Remembering how much I enjoyed knitting the swatch, I decided to self publish it. I’m glad I did.

Finally Some Knitting

There is no more baseball. Somehow I have to get through 107 days before Spring Training will start. I hope to get some sewing, spinning and, of course, knitting done. I’m on a good roll. I already have knitting projects to show for.

The Grey Rievaulx cowl is washed, blocked, and waiting to be packaged up for my Aunt’s birthday. (Ravelry link here).

Forgive the furrowed brow, I took these pictures by myself, which required running back and forth between the camera and the tree. I had trouble getting in the right spot and saying “Cheese” before the flash went off.   

As mentioned previously, this cowl was designed by Kelly. I made one change to the pattern; I extended the ribbing section to 6 inches rather than the recommended 3.5 inches. I’m glad I did. It still has a lovely drape, but it allows you to wrap more material around your neck when the wind starts blowing. It hasn’t really started getting cold here in Pennsylvania, but it’s only a matter of time now.

But, wait, there’s more. I started on a new scarf design, a Dishcloth Scarf.

I am making this scarf as part of the class I will be teaching in the Pottstown Knit Out, Washcloths – How to Design and Knit Them. If you are in the area on Saturday, January 17th, please stop by.

World Series Parade

I was there!

The Phillies have only won a World Series Championship once before in 1980. Though I was alive in 1980, I wasn’t in Pennsylvania at the time nor do I recall much from that year. It was 28 years ago. Whose to say where I’ll be in another 28 years. As far as I was concerned, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Don’t tell Dan that. Poor guy had to work.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day.

Painted Men


2 men climbing the street sign

End of the parade – People filed in behind the line of police and Phillie staff

To see the rest of the pictures, peak into my Picasa album.

World Series Parade 2008


Don’t forget to vote today!

After voting, we’ll be heading into the city to get Stoned. Tria, a wine, beer, and cheese cafe, is hosting an event featuring beer brewed by Stone Brewery. (Get it? Stone Brewery. Get Stoned. I thought it was a cute play on words).