Sunday, April 27, 2008

Of Dandelions and Lace Heels

Greetings and Dear Laura:

WOW - you are just putting out projects like crazy! Way to go! I guess having all those classes coming up must be really inspirational.... The skirts look great, and very comfortable.

Funny you should ask about the heels and magic loop. It's been a bit of a theme for me this week as well. I'm working on a new theory.

It's like dandelions. My Goddaughter Renata LOVES dandelions. They're her favorite flower - and what's not to love? They are everywhere, they are free, you don't get in trouble for picking them, and mom is always willing to put the bouquet you picked in a glass and admire them. I remember a piece of open ground near their house that is completely yellow with them in the spring. We were driving by one day, and she sighed and wondered why everyone's lawn couldn't be that pretty! She has a point - dandelions are a perfectly fine plant, they are plentiful, hardy and edible. They are a weed and a pest only because they appear where we don't want them to.

I was reminded of this while working on the heels of my toe-up, two-at-a-time magic loops socks. I was kind of procrastinating (I know, I know - me, procrastinate?) about getting to the heels. Somehow, as much as I want to love them, I struggle with short row heels. I can do short rows - really I can. But somehow, heels kick me in the behind. As I was surfing for a pattern that I might be able to knit (!) I noticed that every method claims to be the way to knit short row heels without holes. (Me, I'm just trying to knit them without getting lost in the pattern.) It occurred to me that there was a lot of fuss going on about holes. Holes aren't inherently bad. Heck, when I think of how people get intimidated about knitting lace, when all it is is adding holes to your knitting on purpose....and then it struck me - Holes are the dandelions of the knitting world, and the last thing I need to worry about is holes in my heels. I have decided to embrace them. I don't have holes in my heels - I have lace heels! And glory upon glory - I have two short row heels! Only a little lace, but more importantly, I only had to rip the first heel ONE time, and the second heel not at all!!
The part I struggle with is at the point when you begin closing the heel, and the directions often tell you to knit or purl to the gap, perform some knitting together, then turn and do the same at the other end. But the knitting together seems to leave a bit of a gap, especially on the right side, so I never know exactly WHICH gap I'm heading for. So, I decided to mark every gap as I made it during the first half, so I knew where to go doing the second half.

So ta-da! I have two heels, a little lacy, but not too bad. I think I'm going to work on modifying the short row heels to have a nice little line of "lace" as a design element!

I want to thank you for sharing your red and white sock angst. I took that lesson to heart when I noticed that my stripes were a little off. I had finished the first heel, so I took a row off of the second sock before beginning the heel, to make the stripes match up better. For that I did need to take the first sock off the "loop," so I did the second heel by itself and then moved the first on back before continuing. Now I just have to head for the cuff! I'm making better progress since I'm not avoiding the heels.....

So, to your question about the 60%. I'm such an airhead - I'd heard you say that you do your heels on 60%, but somehow I thought that meant that you left 60% of the heels stitches unworked as opposed to the usual 50%. Your current question finally let me see that you mean instead of having 50% of the total sock stitches involved in the heel, you use 60%. Duh!
(LOL - after working out and typing a 2 paragraph note on how to move the stitches around, I thought to check the comments and saw that Lee-Ann answered you, which is good because a) it took me two days, and b) she was my teacher for magic loop, so she's the authority!!) Anyway, you shouldn't have a problem - just do what she said! (And since I know she's reading, maybe Lee-Ann knows some short row heel secrets..hmmmmm)

I also have to point out some striping magic going on in my socks. You might notice that the striping pattern is not completely even. The darker color stripes vary in width. Which makes it TOTALLY amazing that I pulled out the yarn from the center of both skeins and started with the first piece of aqua that I found, and yet they match! I had no idea that the striping wasn't equal, so the fact that these socks are pretty much identical is nothing short of a knitter's miracle! YAY!

I mentioned that I procrastinated getting to the heels. I saw some cute dishcloths on the Homestead Lutheran Academy and was inspired by the Checked Slip Stitch cloth. Something small on larger needles was really appealing, so I knitted one, and then started a second with the same yarn but the colors reversed. However, now that I'm passed the heel, I'm back on socks.

So, there you go. Other than that, work has been occupying much of my time and thought. The closer this project comes to "go live" date, the more convinced I am that if I have to learn one more complex piece, I'm going to max out my brain. I'm mostly amazed that there aren't pieces leaking out of my ears as it is. I come home too tired to knit most evenings, and THAT'S tired! Knitting at Lunch and I have a plan tho - Tuesday we're planning a road trip to Indy to see the Yarn Harlot, so there will be updates this week. Hmm, wonder if I can figure out mobile blogging....dare I use precious brain cells figuring that out???

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Not going to make my goal...

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

With slight ambivalence, I share with you that my initial strategy for working this pair of socks, using magic loop and knitting both socks at the same time, is not going to work. In spite of not being particularly fond of the method, I was going to at least prove to myself that I could do it. Here is what I have so far:It is a set of two toes and feet, almost to the point at which I must begin thinking about knitting the heels. You might remember that I knit my short row heels using 60% of the stitches -- otherwise the socks are way too tight. My quandary (which I thought was spelled "quandry," by the way, until I spell checked...): Is there a way to get 60% of the stitches onto one "leg" of the magic loop without completely removing one of the socks from the needle? I'm thinking it might be time to break out the dpn's... Of course, I'm sort of a "toe-up rookie", so any thoughts you might have on the matter would be very much appreciated!

I continue with "skirt fest," finishing up another skirt out of stash leftover fabrics this morning. The lighting is very poor -- it is quite gloomy outside (just had a thunderstorm), but this should give you an idea of the thing. Instead of gathers, this one has "flounces." I love flounces! I call it "casual with a bit of funk." I also call it "getting something from nothing."

Tomorrow, I regret I'm not going to be attending "last Saturday knitting." We're going to spend a good portion of the day in Milwaukee...

Tomorrow is also the annual Crazy Legs run, an event which raises money for the UW athletic department. It's not my favorite "charity", though it is a fun event and I participated in it last year. This year I didn't sign up, because we're going to be in Milwaukee. However, I received TWO e-mail notices yesterday about it being time for me to go pick up my race packet. Between that and the phone call I received this past week about voting for Hillary in Pennsylvania, I'm beginning to wonder how my name is finding its way onto these "lists." Perhaps winning the lottery without purchasing a ticket will be next?

Well, back to work.
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

A big "two thumbs up" for "white whole wheat flour." DH and my kids were unable to detect that whole wheat flour was substituted for half of the white flour in the original pretzel recipe. Can you guess which pretzels my kids made? HINT: My kids are not bound to the notion that a pretzel must be any particular pre-specified shape...
About four years ago, I knit a purple, hemmed, cotton top, in the round, from the bottom up. I wore it a couple of times, but because it was cotton, I quickly ended up with a top which belled out at the bottom, and lost a couple of inches in length. It was not very flattering, to say the least, and though I loved the color and the overall design, I just never wore it because I didn't like the way it looked on me.

EXHIBIT A:For about three years, I've been thinking that I really ought to cut off the bottom from just below the front embellishment / diamond, and then make a new bottom which fixes everything I don't like about it. So, yesterday, not sure why, but I felt a sudden urge to tackle this. I removed the section below the green marker shown in this next photo, picked up the stitches, and started knitting from that point *down*.

EXHIBIT B:I removed some of the waist shaping on the lower half of the "hour glass," and then switched to slightly smaller needles to help prevent the thing from stretching as much. I'm also adding additional length to compensate for anticipated shrinkage in length. And, I'm *NOT* going to use a hem. I like hems very much, but in this particular top, I think it just made the lower edge fan out even more, in addition to making the lower edge look more bulky. So instead, I'm going to do a simple bind-off, then finish the bottom edge the same way all of the other edges are finished -- by working a row of single crochet, then a row of backwards single crochet.

It's a bit of a crap shoot -- I couldn't even verify my stitch count, because I pulled out the original pattern, and then realized that I had corrupted it quite a bit, and I kept no records of my modifications... But...I wasn't wearing it at all before, so what's the worst that can happen with it...

I'm sewing another new skirt which will coordinate well with perhaps I can eke out another "something for nothing" outfit:My seven year old had an "early release" today, which means that he is home two hours early. Our school district has one of these every month, and they seem to be random in how they are scheduled. This month it's on a Thursday, last month it was a different day of the week. I don't know what parents who actually have jobs do in order to plan for these... And, I might know of one mom (ahem) who actually forgot about an early release when her son was in kindergarten two years ago, and this particular mom (ahem) was walking home from the library with her then three year old and noticed her five year old was standing outside the house when she got home -- and had been for about forty minutes! It is so nice that this mom has a wonderful neighbor living across the street who came over and played outside with the five year old until I got home...I mean, until the mom got home... (I understand that since then, this mom has instituted a large "family calendar" which has helped considerably in keeping track of many things.)

It looks like rain today. I can't complain, however, because the past few days have been gorgeous, and after all of the biking and playing tennis, etc., I think my muscles need a day off...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)
P.S. You may have noticed that I've been taking a break from Mission Possible: 2008. I plan to resume that in May, at the latest...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Christmas knitting and other misc

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

A couple of quick notes regarding some "loose ends" (how's that for incorporating a knitting term into "everyday language"?)...

You were right, Marit! I was granted admission into my kids' knitting haven once they needed help with their knitting projects. The "knitting help" they need usually involves untangling yarn, which I feel qualified as an expert to do, having a great deal of experience with it.

Cindy G -- Here is a picture of the "white whole wheat flour" I bought at Woodman's: According to Allison, it can be substituted for regular "white flour" at a higher ratio than typically done with "whole wheat" flour, and it doesn't taste as "healthy," even though it is actually made with the "whole wheat." We're going to make another batch of pretzels today, and I'm going to try substituting half of the white flour with this "white whole wheat flour."

Allison -- Your comment about my son's tactics for driving me crazy, and wearing his cardigan for no reason being #43, cracked me up! Today is "day 5" of the unexplained sweater wearing behavior, and this morning he told me that he "likes wearing" his sweaters... What IS going on??!

And Cynthia -- Lauren commented that you are knitting socks which have matching stripes with** no extra effort**??!! Is this true? (Actually, I don't want to talk about it :-)

A few days ago, I received a phone call from the Clinton campaign imploring me to vote for Hillary today in Pennsylvania. Am I even allowed to do that from Wisconsin? I have a cost reduction idea for her campaign...

I started my Christmas knitting! My five year old has observed me scrambling to finish a gift sweater for dh on Christmas Eve for the past two years, and suggested that this year, I start working on the sweater a little bit earlier. I so very badly wanted to make dh the Cobblestone Pullover. I showed the picture to dh months ago, just to get a sense of whether or not he liked the style, and he didn't seem very impressed by it. I know it would look *fabulous* on him, and went ahead and bought some dark, plain yarn (Cascade 220) for it. Realistically, dh is not a big sweater wearer. If we're going out some place special, he'll wear one, but that doesn't happen a lot. So, I decided that making a style he doesn't even really care for might not be my best move. I finally settled on making him a cardigan. He does not have any cardigan sweaters right now. This will be plain (stockinette). For the front, I'm debating between a typical vee-neck, or a Mr. Rogers zipper style. I have the back just about finished:I'll make the sleeves next, so that I may continue to think about my options for the front...

In sewing news, I made a couple of removeable pillow covers (for the couch pillows) out of fleece: I was going to cut fringe on the outer edges, but decided that I liked the "flange" look, so left them that way. They really brighten up the couch!

I've also been going skirt crazy. I wear a skirt or dress almost every day in summer, because I find them comfortable and cool. Here is a skirt I didn't like -- made me look frumpy. So, I added some length to it by inserting a panel from fabric I had on hand, and then twisted it after it came out of the washer let it dry all wrinkly. I think this will look much better on me now... Here's another skirt made out of fabrics I had on hand: The fabric choices aren't necessarily what I would have picked if given all of the options at the fabric store, though I think it worked out okay by selecting leftovers from my stash, getting "something" from "nothing." I let this one air dry all twisted up, too, for the wrinkly effect...

And, my daffodils, my favorite flower, the flower of hope! Last fall, I planted about a dozen bulbs for this lighter colored variety, and the score is squirrels nine, my garden three: They are lovely, none-the-less!

And our weather has been fabulous! We went hiking here last weekend: We all ended up with wet feet, and after my five year old's hat got knocked into the "rapids", he started crying, though dh was able to retrieve the hat. It was little solace to my five year old that the *hat * was knocked into the water, and *NOT* the five year old. We've had similar incidents with having to retrieve his hat from various locations, so I think he has some hat "issues." But I digress...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Red and White Socks Angst

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

With everything you described in your last post, I am amazed by your calmness. Now that you have your "emergency knitting bag" ready to go, perhaps you won't *need* it any more! I hope that everybody continues to improve toward full recovery.

Thank you for your very kind reviews of my Tangled Yoke Cardi. It really was a wonderful pattern to knit, and I'd make another one in a heartbeat! I've worn the sweater four times this week. I'm glad for the grossgrain ribbon along the front edges, too. Without being too stiff, it really does give the front bands some needed (in my opinion) stability.

In a move which is making me quite suspicious, TODAY, my seven year old, also known as "tee-shirt boy," is wearing the Fana cardigan I made for him two years ago. This past winter, as I've been wearing a long sleeved knit shirt underneath a wool sweater every day, he has been wearing tee shirts. (Our house has an average temperature of about 64 degrees F, but it doesn't seem to phase him.) I have practically begged him to wear this sweater on a few special occasions, because it looks so nice on him, but for the most part, he has just never wanted to wear it (because "it itches"). So, this morning, when he came downstairs **wearing** his Fana cardigan, VOLUNTARILY and WITHOUT ANY WARNING, I was shocked. Should I be concerned? Things that make a mom go hmmmmm.......

In my continued preparation for starting grad school in June, I'm happy to report that I passed my background check. The next thing I'm tackling is making sure I'm immune to Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Hepatitis B, Chicken Pox, and verifying that I don't have TB. Immunization records are not enough for this -- I must have my blood drawn and checked for the various antibodies...

Anyway, spring is springing and life is good.

Here are the red and white socks in progress:
I spent considerable mental energy trying to determine whether or not I could live with the **different** heels. The words of one of my former bosses echoed in my head: "Perfect" is the enemy of "good enough." I decided these heels were going to drive me crazy, and were not "good enough", so I ripped back to where the tangled yarn is in this next picture, removed two rows of red and two rows of white knitting, and then continued on up the sock. (For anybody keeping score at home, that one heel was knit THREE times. I guess the third time really is the charm.)Note that when I got to the top of the sock by row count, the top red stripe was skinnier than on the first, I knit a few extra rows and called it a day. And so, one sock has more rows of knitting in it than the other sock. Not in my character, but you know, "perfect" really is the enemy of "good enough."

Finished!:Mission Possible 2008: nine down, three to go.

Would you believe I have a similar, only longer, list of Mission Possible sewing projects, too? I've been so much more productive on the whole lot of it just by giving it all a little bit of focus. I know that when school starts in June, my time is going to be re-allocated, and I don't know how much time I'll have for my hobbies, so I'm trying to crank through lots of loose ends now! It actually makes my brain feel less cluttered, too!

Have a great weekend!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Monday, April 14, 2008

“Knit On, with confidence and hope, through all crises.”

Greetings and Dear Laura:

First of all, let me say how much I love your sweater!! I'm impressed with the results of your focus, and hope to turn that into inspiration for my own UFO's.

The theme for the weekend was "emergency room" and having said that, I will assure you that the biggest scariest things were eliminated pretty quickly, for which we are very thankful.

Friday night, my brother called to let me know that my niece Amanda, who is 24, was on her way to the hospital via ambulance with symptoms which could be a stroke. (You don't normally think stroke for a healthy young woman, but several years ago, one of my cousins had a stroke within a few weeks after her baby was born and we found out that is somewhat of a risk group. My cousin got immediate help and after months of treatment and rehab made a full recovery.) Amanda's doctor quickly eliminated stroke - she was having a seizure. They gave her medication which reduced and then stopped the involuntary movements and relieved her headache. By 2 am, we knew that a CT scan was clear and they would do further tests in the morning. Her husband stayed with her at the hospital, and my brother and sil came back and took over with the kids. (Amanda has 3 little girls; 4 1/2, 2 and 6 months.) Saturday's MRI was also clear. Today they got the results from the EEG, and the doctor says that they didn't find any tumor or damage from a stroke. They will still run some more metabolic tests, but they have ruled out the scary stuff.

Saturday afternoon I got a call from a friend. She was having symptoms that you should not ignore and asked if I could watch their children while her husband took her to the emergency room. I was happy to do so, and again they were able to quickly eliminate the scary diagnosis and start her on medication. She was home again in about 4 hours, and by Sunday morning was much improved.

The only issue to deal with on Sunday was my flat tire. Since it had the courtesy to happen in my garage, so that I didn't have to deal with it in cold, rain, traffic, etc, I had no complaints. In fact, my father has a "spare car" in the upstairs garage, so I didn't have to mess with the spare or anything. I drove his car today, I have the tire in the trunk and will have it fixed after work and be back on the road. Doesn't even count as a crisis, after having the previous two days to put it into context.

However, over the weekend, I had to think of the quote from Elizabeth Zimmerman which is the title of this post more than once. I had the comfort of faith and prayer for my heart, but my hands still needed something! As I headed to the hospital Saturday to see if they needed anyone to bring food or run errands, I packed knitting. I remembered my father's heart surgery, and spending several days in the hospital waiting room. I finished my WIP's the first day, except for a project that was too complicated for my state of mind. Not wanting to repeat that, I knew I didn't want to work on my two-at-a-time socks on size 0 needles! I remembered a sock project that I started last fall - basic socks on size 3 dpns, and so I packed that.
Knitting at Lunch gave me an emergency sock bag for Christmas, but I hadn't filled it yet, so in went the sock project! I also grabbed a ball of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and the appropriate needles and packed that in another project bag. I can cast on 100 stitches and make a cabled-baby hat from memory. So, now I am prepared for knitting emergencies!
Emergency Socks Fetching Hat Kit

Last week, I grabbed a ball of
Puffin by Crystal Palace that I had on hand. (Yes, I'm avoiding the socks on size 0! I love small, but it IS slow going and sometimes I want fast!) The Puffin is super chunky, so fast is the word. Knitting at Lunch found a pattern for a Bunny Blanket Buddy and we each cast on and finished one last week. I did another one yesterday while I was curled up in my chair, decompressing. The pattern called for the head to be reverse-stockinette double-knitting, but I changed it to stockinette. I also went with little ears instead of bunny ears. The blue one is a bear - I think the pink one looks more like a cat, but Knitting at Lunch thinks fox. I'll give it to a child and let them decide!!
Blankie Buddy IMG_4193.JPG

So - keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

Amazing that I actually finish things when I focus on them!

The front of my brand new FINISHED Tangled Yoke Cardigan:...and the front cable (self-portrait, literally):...and the back:...and the front bands:Revisions I made to the Tangled Yoke Cardigan pattern:

1.) Eliminated lower half of waist shaping. I casted on a smaller number of stitches, and worked the ribbing straight (no decreases) up to the point in which the waist shaping increases began. (In effect, I included only the upper half of the "hour glass".) I was a little bit wary of this, but it ended up working out well, since the ribbing flared out just a little bit on its own, anyway.

2.) I reinforced both the button and buttonhole bands with grossgrain ribbon. I used pink with white polka dots (a hint of "whimsy"). I first cut two pieces of grossgrain ribbon the same length as each other, and about an inch longer than the front band sections. I cut the ends of each ribbon with a pinking shears. I folded the ends under by about half an inch each. I sewed one piece of ribbon to the button band (hem stitched around the edges). I fused some interfacing to the wrong side of the other piece of ribbon and made nine buttonholes with my sewing machine (after carefully marking the proper locations with a marker which has "disappearing ink" -- found at sewing stores). Note that I intentionally made my sewn buttonholes a little bit larger than I typically would have for my buttons, just to allow a little "leeway" to properly line up the buttonholes in the ribbon with the knit-in buttonholes on the buttonhole band. Then I sewed the piece of ribbon having the buttonholes to the buttonhole band (hem stitched around the edges), making sure that the buttonholes on the ribbon and the front band lined up. I was surprised by how well these buttonholes function...without having to sew the inside edges of the buttonholes together to keep the ribbon and front band together...

3.) I used 5/8" buttons instead of 1/2".

I love, love the yarn -- the sweater is very soft and light, though incredibly warm (probably because of the alpaca content). I'm so tempted to make another one just like it, or maybe convert the pattern to try it with worsted weight yarn... For now, however, I remind myself that I must continue to focus on current stash / wip's.

The completion of this cardigan brings my current Mission Possible: 2008 score to eight done, four to go...

Have a great Sunday! My son is putting together his science project today. He's been doing the work on it for the past few weeks. He didn't like any of my ideas, though I think it's a good thing that he figured out mostly on his own what he wanted to do... He's been trying to grow crystals out of sugar...

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tangled Yoke Cardigan Blocking!!

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

After a lengthy hiatus in the land of "finished knitted goods except for the last few steps," my Tangled Yoke Cardigan has busted a move. I knitted on the buttonhole band, wove in the ends, kitchener stitched the underarms, washed it, and am now blocking it:The buttons aren't sewn on yet -- I just put them on top of the buttonhole band to see what they'd look like on the sweater. (They aren't quite so bright in real life... ) Close-ups and shots with better (outside) lighting so that the cable isn't washed out in the photos will be posted when the thing is finished....

The buttonholes called for in the pattern are "one row buttonholes", which I've never done before, and which require a little bit of turning the knitting this way, then that way again, etc., but I really like how they ended up! They do not require any reinforcement at the corners, and look great!

My GOAL is to finish sewing in the grossgrain ribbon by Friday night, so that I may wear this sweater to a concert that night. The whole grossgrain ribbon thing is tedious, and just the sort of thing I'd be tempted to put off until next fall, so wish me luck!

We had chicken soup for dinner last night, and I made these pretzels to go along with it. They were yummy, and a big hit with dh and my kids. I'm trying to minimize my saturated fat intake, so did not even brush them with melted butter, though they tasted great, anyway. I'm going to take Allison's suggestion to get some "white whole wheat flour" (as she commented in my post regarding the pizza crust) and use some of that the next time I make these pretzels, too.

And, my next home project is adding a valence to this window:I'm going to get started right now...while both kids are at school...

Have a great Wednesday!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bag grommetted, buttoned, and lined...

Greetings and Dear Cynthia,

I could feel the Fort Wayne spring weather just reading your post! How uplifting! And, nothing like clearing out some cobwebs and dead bugs after winter! I'm so glad that you enjoyed your nice spring day. Also, awesome resourcefulness regarding the knitting needle/stylus! Knitting needles -- not just for knitting any more!

Both of my kids have been knitting on looms a lot lately. (I'm going to let them do a "guest post" soon.) It is a blessing and a curse. In fact, they have started a knitting club which clearly doesn't include me. This sign was in my five year old's doorway:It says:




If I've taught them nothing else, I've taught them to say, "Thank you."

I'm trying to crank out three or four Mission Possible: 2008 projects this month. Since I have several things near completion, all that's really needed is a little bit of "focus", which is difficult for me when I get to the "finishing"..... Have I ever mentioned that I don't like the "finishing"?

First item of business is my mini-bag (pattern by Amy Anderson).

I added grommets (which I then threaded my felted I-cord through and knotted the I-cord ends on the inside of the bag). I had to create little holes in the felted fabric for grommet insertion. I thought to myself, "Hmmm....I don't think we have an ice pick / awl. I wonder if we have something else which might be pointy to use to create a hole." I thought about the contents of my tool box. Then I remembered that I am a KNITTER, and I have a lot of POINTY STICKS....which worked great to create the holes for the grommets...

I added a button, positioned opposite the buttonhole which was knitted into the bag prior to felting it. Then I debated about whether or not to line the bag. It has a rather small top opening (since the bag tapers), so it's difficult to easily get inside the bag for fitting a lining, etc. However, I didn't want my keys to ever poke through the bag, so I decided I would add a lining after all.

First, I cut two pieces of fabric which were a little bit larger than the flattened bag. I allowed about an inch on all sides except the top (which is going to be folded down later, and sewn in place *below* the grommets and button/buttonhole).Then I serged around the sides and bottom of the lining, right sides together:

To give the bag some dimension, I made a fold at each of the lower corners by bringing the side seam to meet the bottom seam. I then stitched about one inch from the resulting point, and trimmed off the point (which was done by my serger automatically, but trim it off with a scissors if you are using a regular sewing machine for this):

So, here is the lining:

I turned the bag inside-out (so the "wrong side" was on the outside). I turned the lining right-side-out (so the seams were on the inside). I then put the bag **inside** the lining, so the wrong side of the bag is in contact with the wrong side of the lining. I turned the upper edge of the lining under by about an inch, so that the folded edge of the lining was just below the grommets and the button/buttonhole. I pinned the lining in place:

Then I hemmed stitched the lining into place along the top folded edge.

Next, I turned the bag right-side out. I cut a piece of plastic canvas the same size as the cardboard which I had placed in the bottom of the bag as it was drying (just after I was done felting it). I put this piece of plastic canvas in the bottom of the bag to help it keep its shape:

Voila' !! Now I'm using the bag as my purse :-)
Note that the lining is just a tinge larger than the bag, and this is okay, and better, I think, than having a lining which is on the small side... The bag itself might stretch a little bit, too, once it is holding keys, ipod, cell phone, etc., though the lining will temper this.

Well, time to get to the grocery store before it's too crowded, though as far as that goes, weekdays are nothing compared to the amount of people who are there on the weekends!

Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Signs of Spring

Greetings and Dear Laura:
Oh, I'm so glad to hear of the outcome of your local election. It's great that you are part of making the system work!! Hats off to you!
We had our loveliest weekend of the year so far, and I was bitten by some "spring bug!" I've really been noticing how dusty and closed-in my apartment has gotten over the winter, and so I made a run at some spring cleaning this weekend. I had ambitious hopes of getting it all done, but in the end I was happy just to get through one room.
I moved all the furniture around in the living room, washed down everything in sight, and vacuumed up all the dead bugs. Of course, 2 hours later I could see new bugs heading for the baseboards to die. It is the time of year when I'm always checking to see if I have yarn scraps on the floor, or bugs. Pretty soon those little fingering-weight crawlers will be out!
And here's what Purl was doing while I was working! She's obviously my dog - she takes her napping very seriously and puts a full effort into it!
IMG_4185.JPG IMG_4184.JPG
I did make some progress on the two-at-a-time-toe-up-magic-loop socks - only another inch to go until I start the heels. I also started a swatch of some Puffin yarn that I found recently. I think I'll just turn it into a soft face cloth for a baby, since I just grabbed one skein to try.

I also have a bit of "knitter creativity" to share. My cell phone is a Treo 755p, which I really love. It has a touch-screen, and comes with a stylus that fits into the back. I use that a lot for selecting numbers (and playing games!) A couple of weeks ago I lost the stylus, and didn't really have time to hunt one down in a store or online. Guess what! A Brittany Cable Needle works just as well, and even fits into the slot for the stylus. Plus, I always have a cable needle...just in case!

The very BEST part of the weekend was crawling into bed last night - a bed freshly made with sheets and blankets that spent the day hanging on the clothesline. I love that smell!!
Keep knitting!
Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Incumbent came in 2nd !

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

Too weird about our parallel worlds lately! I'm so glad to hear that your good hand washing skills have paid off in nobody else in your family getting sick from your Easter cooking! I really don't remember having the hand washing discussion with you and my mom, though I totally believe it happened -- since I am a bit of a pest that way. You reminded me of this comic I used to have displayed in my bathroom:Ahem...

In any case, to help us stay on parallel paths, I decided to try my hand at knitting two toe-up socks at the same time on one circular needle:These are **not** on my Mission Possible: 2008 list, though they are from stash yarn, purchased at Stitches Midwest last summer. The yarn is Regia Stretch. I **love** the short bursts of color. I can't say the same about making two socks at the same time. Though my favorite technique for starting sock toes uses magic loop on a long circular needle, I really prefer working with five dpn's for the rest of the sock. Also, only one sock at a time, to prevent tangles which arise by working with two yarn sources... That said, I am committed to finishing this pair of socks on this one circular needle, at the same time, just to be able to say I did it :-)

We're having homemade pizza for dinner. The last time I made it, my partially baked crusts ended up looking like this:
I've been trying to incorporate more whole wheat flour, so I used about a 2:1 ratio for my white to whole wheat flour amounts. The crust on the left in the photo was rolled; the crust on the right was patted into place. Could the rolling cause the huge bubble which formed in the crust on the left? I am tempted to try throwing my crust up in the air to get it big and flat and round, the way I've seen it done at some pizza parlors. I am sure, however, that I would end up with something more like this:...except instead of my sons pajama bottoms in the ceiling fan, it would be pizza dough...

You might be wondering, why are my son's pajama bottoms in the ceiling fan? I was wondering the same thing. I've told my kids many, many times not to throw things in the house. So, I asked my five year old, "How did your pajamas get up in the ceiling fan, since you aren't supposed to throw things in the house?" His response: "I was just trying to get them into the laundry basket." (Note that the laundry basket lives in the closet, and on the FLOOR. Some things I will never understand...)

OH, I almost forgot the biggest news! It's a great day in my district! The guy I was working for in the race for alderman WON -- and he did not let any dust settle before he handed five of us each a different sign up sheet to begin forming neighborhood committees to start working on some projects. He said he would "bring people together," and I think he meant it. It's been a lot of fun!

Okay, now it's time for me to make a crust. Just for kicks, maybe I'll see if there are any pizza dough throwing tutorials on the web...

Have a great weekend!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)