Monday, June 25, 2007

weekend craftiness galore

vintage linen daisy skirt

After rummaging through my fabric stash, I decided to make a basic a-line skirt out of some fun vintage linen fabric with giant flowers. I had a basic Butterick pattern, but a little bit of searching on the internets found me this wonderful tutorial from Green Kitchen. It really shows every step of the process and has a painless method for installing the zipper without using swear words. The only swear words I used in the process had to do with not being able to get the right top thread tension on my petulant sewing machine. The thread looked like a straight line while the bobbin thread looked fine - any suggestions?

yarn dying adventures

My friend Rachel and I also dyed two pounds of sugar and creme cotton yarn in a RIT dye extravanganza. Mostly just to see what we could come up with color-wise. I needed some more colors for the mitered-square blanket I've been working on forever and Rachel has some sort of crochet project up her sleeve.

And in plant news, you may remember this little egg with tiny seedings from my easter post:

egg plant

It grew up into a lovely petunia plant and had it's first flower today! I'm so proud of it and always amazed to see something that starts out as a tiny seed turn into a whole big plant with just soil and water.

petunia from seed

Friday, June 22, 2007

giant rhubarb, normal sized sock

giant rhubarb

We were invited for a cookout at a friend's house last night and on the way out I was offered some rhubarb from their garden. Now since I've been more of a city girl I didn't know that rhubarb was actually disguised as a huge tropical plant, I've only ever seen the stalks at the store or the farmers market. It's so huge! I may have to attempt strawberry pie part deux - with rhubarb. Either that or fan myself with the leaves.

monkey sock no.1

I've also been working away at the socks for my sockapalooza 4 pal. Here's #1 and the second one is almost at the heel. The monkey pattern is pretty addictive so I think I'll have to knit another pair of monkeys for me. This weekend's plans include yarn dying for the mitered square blanket and hopefully skirt making. We'll see how that goes. I'll keep you posted. Happy weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Pedro and I are BFF for sure

You all should definitely meet Pedro


Pedro is our friends' green checked conure. We had the great fun of having him stay at our house for a birdie sleep over with Syd the cockatiel while his parents went out of town. Pedro figured out pretty early on in his stay that I was a complete softy since I would give him his favorite treats and pet his tiny conure head whenever he snuggled next to my hand. In no time at all whenever I left the room, he would fly over and land on my shoulder whispering "pedro, hey pey" in my ear. I'm pretty sure we're best-friends-forever. I'm not quite sure how to tell Syd there is a new parrot in my life. But don't worry, Syd will always be my main man. A girl can flirt occasionally with other birds, right?

In other news, I decided to have a fun afternoon. I went to our local farm to pick up our CSA (community supported agriculture) share, and I picked an insane amount of strawberries. Enough to make to two strawberry pies, several smoothies and bags to freeze. I may have been out of control. But it's strawberry fields forever over at the farm and I hate to see any berries go to waste.

Can I tell you how much I love our farm share? Elliott and I split our share with a couple of our friends. Over six months we get weekly installments of amazing produce - whatever is in season. There are also lots of u-pick crops like the strawberries and flowers, beans, tomatoes, and peas. The particular CSA share that we have also raises literally tons of additional food for the local western mass food bank. I think it's the best deal in town and it helps the local community.

I'm not exactly sure what it is but physically being on the farm makes me incredibly happy, actually giddy with joy. On share pick up days there are all sorts of families and kids about, all enjoying the farm. It makes any day sitting in front of the computer so much better. Maybe it's the basic miracle that you can put a seed in the ground and with a little care and water it will turn into a huge plant in no time at all giving you delicious food and more seeds. And pie! Son't forget about the pie.

strawberry pie goodness

Thursday, June 14, 2007

birthday fun

Last Friday was my 36th birthday and I had the most wonderful day. I took the day off of work and did a large number of my favorite things:

1) Elliott and I went to the beach. And not just any beach but Crane's beach in Ipswitch, MA. It was a bit overcast and not quite as warm as I was hoping for but it was so nice to lay on the beach reading while hearing the ocean waves rolling in and taking small cat naps.

crane's beach

2) We split a lobster roll and fried clams at Woodmans in Essex.

3) We hit the Crate and Barrel outlet store and got a rug and a bookcase for our apartment.

4) We somehow managed to stop by Wild and Wooly in Lexington and visit the annual sale area. I may have gotten some birthday yarn...

5) We had Ethiopian food with fabulous fun people: blogless Alicia, Tomoko and her husband Jude. A delicious time was had by all.

6) We all had an afterparty involving chocolate ganache cake and more than one kind of ice cream. Again, a delicious time was had by all.

7) There were many sweet presents including:

glass earrings

vintage glass bead earrings made by cat bishop from Elliott.
Check out her etsy store!

knitting po

knitting po! made by my friend Tomoko

photo frame

A lightweight photoframe made with paper I designed. made by my friend Tomoko

And many other gifts, but I didn't want to show you all how spoiled I got this year!
I'm off to St. Louis for the weekend to celebrate the grand opening of a project I've been working on for many years and to celebrate my wedding anniversary. See you all soon!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

hey look! more knitting!

I've been scheming for a while about making a striped seamless yoke sweater. Apparently its all stripes all the time around here. I think the stripes need to work their way though the system. There is no stopping the stripes. Hah! My thought is to make a seamless yoke sweater that has larger stripes on the bottom and smaller stripes in the yoke section. I'd also like to add some yarn-over holes and weave some ribbon through at the start of the yoke. I also want to try this out in kid size to see what I think. Mostly because it will take less long to knit and be less of a yarn commitment. Plus this idea might look garish on a grownup but easily be something that some cute kid could pull off.

Here are some quick sketches of what I'm talking about. It's harder to explain what I'm scheming about than I thought!

yoke sweater sketches

I got three colors of Cascade 220 superwash to try this out:

cascade 220 superwash

My current plan is to use the lightest green for the borders and only in the yoke. So the sweater would have larger alternating stripes of olive and blue, then the yoke would start with the lighter green and have thinner stripes of all three colors. I'm going to have to add an extra larger stipe in the back before I start the yoke, so that the neck shaping is in the right place and the sweater doesn't fit strangely. I could also add some neck shaping at the end , but I like when the seamless yoke sweaters have the rings of colors and patterns decending from the neckline. I realized that most seamless yoke sweaters have solid color bodies so you can hide the neck shaping below the yoke. I'll keep you posted on how that extra stripe will turn out. Here's where I'm at so far. I'm making a sweater that will hopefully fit a 1-2 year old, using Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns

ella yoke sweater

In other exciting news the peonies are out. I picked some up from the flower cart / farm stand down the street. It's the most charming thing you can imagine. They basically have flowers out in a little cute cart all summer and a coffee can to collect the $3.50 per bouquet. What a deal! That buys you about 15 irises and 3 peonies that smell amazing! Of course there is inflation even here in the country. Last year the flowers were only $3.00.

birthday peony

peony goodness.jpg

Monday, June 04, 2007

weekly update of fun and fo's

That's right - I've got your fo's right here - more than one even. Okay so they're smallish, but they're done.

1) Sweet baby cap
I saw this cute little hat that Adrian at Hello Yarn made and I had to make one too. Plus it uses up extra sock yarn and who doesn't have extra sock yarn? Well maybe a lot of you, who knows?

sweet baby cap

Pattern: Sweet Baby Cap
Yarn: leftover regia sock yarn - I have no idea what colorway
Needles: 3's
Size: 6 months

2) stripey goodness happy socks
These socks make me so happy. I love the colors and the chunky stripes. It's almost cold enough to even wear them today - where did summer go?

blue + green stripy socks

blue + green stripy socks

Pattern: basic toe up socks with short row heels
Yarn: Lang Jawoll - leftover green and one skein of blue
Needles: 2.25mm dpns
Gauge: 8.5 stitches to an inch
Size: size 8 1/2 foot

Last Wednesday I saw the Yarn Harlot speak at the Calvin Theater admist hundreds of knitters. That's right hundreds of knitters - approximately and exactly, at least 500 knitters came to welcome the Harlot. Her talk/stand up humor was brillant and punctuated by the clicking of hundreds of knitting needles. My people!
I had the pleasure to meet Jessica aka Frecklegirl and to score a Ravelry button. Ravelry is Jessica's brillant new site for knitters. Essentially it is a great place to store your fo's, inventory your stash, keep a list of future knits, research patterns and chat in forums with hundreds of other knitters. I've been trying it out for a few weeks and I have to say it's been extremely helpful in getting organized and deciding what to knit next. It's still in beta form and you can get on a waiting list to join here.

And last but not least, I started knitting some Monkey socks for my sockapalooza 4 pal. More to come!
monkey progress