Friday, October 29, 2010

Sock Knit Along

I am soooo ready for a rest.  Well, finally things are settling down for me - I have lots of stories to tell over the winter, let me tell you!  But for now I can kick back for a bit with my feet up.  And I am prepared - I have my stuff for Judy's Sock Knit-Along which starts November 1st.  Here is the link for the knit-along - LINK
I have never knit 2 socks at a time, but I am willing to give it a try.  So, here are my supplies.  I got one needle at 16" for the front of the socks and a 24" needle for the back of the sock.  The lady at the shop said it would be easier to keep track of with 2 different sized needles.  OK.

Do you just love the afghan on the bed?  It is at my sister's house - a friend of hers made it this summer for her guest bed - a queen sized bed!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Refooting a Sock

Here are 2 socks that my friend's Mom knit for her - she wore out the foot on the left sock so her Mom "refooted" the sock - as you can see - she didn't have enough of any 1 color to refoot so she made do with what she did have.  That is the way it is where I live - nothing is wasted.  Do you refoot your socks?  You just cut off the bottom part leaving extra room to pull back the yarn so you can pick up the stitches and refoot.  
Most everyone around here knits socks, mittens, etc. and you know knitters when we get together - love to show our current project to each other.  Well, her Mom showed me the current sock she was knitting in this pattern and I really wanted to try the pattern.  Except... well her Mom has been knitting this pattern ever since she was a little girl but there is no written pattern - my friend and her Mom just knit from memory.  Have any of you ever seen this type of pattern?
Yesterday my friend and I were traveling together and she brought these 2 socks and some notebook paper so we could write down the patterns.  She would look at the sock and then write down what to do.  And not only that - she is lending me these 2 socks to refer to if I get stuck - she has an entire drawer full of them since both she and her Mom knit them.  And then Mom refoots them when the foot part gets worn out.  Yup, I would say she has a drawer full.  So, these 2 lovely socks are mine for the winter - she probably knew what she was doing when she didn't give me a matching pair, LOL!  That red pair is knit out of the most wonderful, softest wool ever - I think they would be on my feet constantly if I had 2 of them.  Oh right - I will have 2 of them once I knit up my own pair!
You can just see the corner of my friends sweater sleeve - she knit that sweater over 14 years ago and it looks brand new to me.  Last time we were together my friend grafted my sock ends, well yesterday she taught me how to do it and we fixed my son's socks that I showed last post with pointy toes!  Plus she had some hunter mitts (fingerless gloves with a pull over mitt) that she let me graft as well so the method would stick in my head.  For some strange reason I think that the order of grafting a sock is similar to hooking up jumper cables to a car.  Well, whatever works to help you remember, I suppose.
This week was the end of bow season and the start of gun season for deer.  You allowed 1 deer for each weapon.  My friend's husband was lucky enough to get 1 on the last day of bow and then 1 on the 1st day of gun.  I forget what the doe weighed, but the buck is 80lbs.    If you disagree with hunting, consider this - if people around here are thrifty enough to take the time to refoot a sock, well then, you better believe they are happy when they have  2 deer in the freezer before deer season is over.  Bow season here was very poor this year and I know that the people who did not get a deer during bow are very anxious to at least get a deer during gun.  I know lots of places don't let you put out apples for deer, but here you can and even with the apples out the bow season was 75% less than last year.  I am hoping that all my friends get their deer this fall.

Sometimes I think we live in a society that is all too eager to throw something out and buy new rather than fixing a small part that is broken.  It is nice to live where I do, with people that appreciate the value in the small things in life and are happy to take the time to teach you how to do it too if you are interested.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Knitting Some Socks

Can't get this photo to rotate, but here is a photo of some socks I've made up.  The stripped ones are from my very favorite pattern - Briggs Little Fine Socks - they are ribbed right down to the tip of the toe so do take some time to make up.  Also - this pattern has a "reinforced" heel that wears extremely well.  But - they have a pointy toe, which is fine for toddler's, but not bigger feet.  I have some waiting time tomorrow for appointments so I will unpick the toes, pull them back to 10 stitches and graft them together.  I am not even sure when I made these - I found them in the bottom of my knitting basket the other day when I was rummaging around for something.  
The 2nd pair - well, I don't really have a pattern.  Cast on 52, k2, p2 for 2"", knit around for 6", blah, blah, blah.  But obviously, I forgot the blah, blah, blah part because the toes are a bit different from each other (1 still needs to be grafted).  I made the 1st sock in Austria this spring and the 2nd sock over the past 3 days - it went fast once I actually sat down and finished it - I have a big incentive because I need my needles for another project.
I always make socks for my son, but never for myself.  But tomorrow I am starting a pair for myself, I am so excited.  My friend's Mom showed me her knee socks and it is a pattern I have never seen before.  When I asked about the pattern - well - they had never seen it written down before but have been making this type of sock for years (my friend has a drawer full and is lending me a pair of hers to use to look at for the pattern).  
It has been busy around here - I have tons of things going on believe me, and hopefully soon I will get a chance to blog about some of them, but for right now I am right out straight.  I had to put all my sewing away - no time for a sewing mess right now (that is a good thing about knitting socks - small, mess free and portable).  I had hoped to make many Christmas gifts this year, but I think that my pre-sewing Christmas time has come to an end so I will have to call this year good.  At least I did get a few cute things made up.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sewing Fleece Hats and Mittens - McCall's 4985

Here is a new pattern I tried out today - McCall's 4985.  I like it -so am hoping it fits the little great-nephew it is for.  NOT sure about the mittens, although they are cute.  I just don't think they will stay on with the wide cuff so I might add a bit of elastic to the inside.  I think the hat sizes run a bit small and the mittens a bit large!  So, adjust accordingly - I actually e-mailed a niece for her son's head measurements for a different hat I am making for him - always handy to have measurements in hand, although I know that is not always possible.

This is my son's standard hat - not sure what is up this year because I have that bubble up top, but I may be able to fix that yet. It is actually a combination of several different patterns, redrawn, retraced, redone - so really I can't even refer you to a pattern for this one because it is really my own pattern at this point.  But he likes these hats and they keep his ears and back of neck warm.  He likes a matching neck warmer.  I blogged about how to make the neck warmers in 2007 here Neck Warmer - just click on that blue link and you will see the post.  I am hoping to make 2 more sets for older cousin's of his.
And for a baby in the family!  OK - he is just learning to walk so not an infant anymore.  I have to add tassles to the tops and also velcro to the bottom tabs.  This is a pattern I made up for my son when he was younger and he loved this hat!  But looking at McCall's 4985 you can come up with something very similar using those pieces as a basis - just extend the ear flaps to come down under the chin - also I cut my hat band straight across the back of the neck for extra coverage.  I still have to make matching mittens - 1 side maroon the other side yellow.  I will be making the tried and true mittens I have made so many times for my own son - not warm enough for snow play but just perfect for cold days at the playground, getting into a cold car, etc.  I blogged about that mitten pattern in 2006 here  -Mitten Post .  They are sooo easy to make with no set in thumb and perfect for the little ones.  I just zig zag a thin elastic to the inside to help them stay on.  *Edited to add - on my newer mitten pattern version I have made the thumb point up a bit more and added a bit of a thumb gusset - photos for another post!
So that is what I got sewn today! All these projects were made with scraps from all the pants I have made my son - so I am busting scrap stash at the same time!  Took the day off from paperwork, my carpenter is off on weekends and my season is winding down so I actually had the day off.  It was nice to just putter around and play with my Christmas list a bit - there are 20 kids in my family under the age of 12 and I do hope to be able to make a little something for each and every one of them this year.  A big undertaking, I know, but at least I am working on it!  The weather up the Eastern Seaside has been windy & rainy so this was a nice project for today.
I enjoyed a nice tea out with my next door neighbor - lots of yummy desserts and I picked a few small bites to try out.  Always nice to get out and have a change of scenery.  Better than staying home and missing my Mom whose birthday is today - she lost her battle with cancer in 1999.  But it does make me happy to be making things for the younger kids and remembering how very much my Mom loved all children.  Half the town called her Nana!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Scrappy Quilt Blocks

Do you ever make piles and piles of scrappy quilt blocks and then forget where you were going with the project?  Usually I write my thoughts, notes, design ideas down on a piece of paper... color in my design idea even - and include it in the box with the project.  Not this time!  Just a few vague notes about having to make X more segments, blocks, etc.  Hummm.  So, I laid them out like this - doesn't look right.   Well, you have to start somewhere in the figuring out process!

Maybe I was thinking they should go something like this?  If I were making this layout for a bed though I would have the dark lines running up and down.  But I know that wasn't what I was thinking either.  Still, it is very cool and maybe I will use this idea at a later date - just wondering if I set them zig zaggy if the lines will create an interesting pattern - must try that thought out before I sew these ones together!

The layout above looks great - actually I will make a quilt just like this layout, but instead of cutting that background fabric into squares, it would be much faster/cleaner looking to cut sashing rectangles with 4 patch cornerstones.  Click to enlarge the photo and you will see what I am talking about.  So, knowing me - this was not my original plan for these blocks either.  But I do like it!

Maybe I was thinking something along these lines?  Thin sashing in between each block with a scrappy square corner stone?  Or maybe my plan was to set it with an alternate block?  I can't remember!  But I have plenty of that pink background left, so I know my original plan called for using more of it!  I think I will do the sashing/corner stone idea.  This week I made 2 more of these blocks and have been playing with the layout.  Not a whole lot of progress, but at least I am thinking about it!  

Friday, October 08, 2010

I Like My Bird Feeders

I like my birdfeeders.  Every spring and fall I hang them out (plenty of berries for the birds in the summer, but after and before their long migrations - I like to treat them to sun flower seeds.  And, as you can see - they enjoy it!  This round feeder is fun.  It is interesting that when the food runs down too low for the top feeder to reach the food anymore - the purple finches will feed each other - the finch on the bottom will get out a seed and feed it to the finch on the top.  It is almost like they are kissing and one of these days I hope to get a good photo of it... but they are so fast!
 I only have 2 feeders, but they attract 100s of birds a few times a day.  Literally.  Because we are along a major bird migration route.  I can sit right outside on the bench and they are so close to me.  Goldfinch, purple finch, chickadee, nuthatch (ah, but he is a fast little bird and I haven't been able to get a photo of him yet)... then along come the big blue jays and scare all the little birds away.  They take turns though.

 I have busy days, but I always have a few minutes every day to sit outside and watch the birds.  I feed the birds on 1 porch and the stray cats on another.  But the funny thing is - the crows love to steal the cat food.  They hop closer and closer to it and look at you out of their "side eyes" - almost saying - they are invisible and you can't see them!  They crack me up!  It is a small price to pay for daily enjoyment and entertainment.  It is a stressful world that we live in - it is good to find happiness in some simple things!

Monday, October 04, 2010

6 Pointed Star Quilt Progress

I started this top last summer, I think?  I had already pieced 5 star segments before putting it away, but somehow I lost 1 small strip of fabric that was needed to complete the final star segment.  So, this week week I re-made the strip and got the star all put together.  On Thursday I have quilting group and hopefully I will get the raw edges basted down and then I will baste the entire star onto a pieced backing.  Because I can't think of any other way to do it!  To make the entire quilt rectangle - I will add an extra top and bottom decorative border made up of left-over diamonds.  
Here is a photo of the little project box I am working out of - plenty of diamonds to make those extra borders!  And you can see how I drew out my color scheme and the ruler I used.  The notes at the top of the paper tell me how many diamonds in each color to cut.  I know you can strip piece this all together, but I have tried that before and my angle just wasn't exactly perfect and my star didn't connect together the correct way.  So for me, it worked better to cut each individual diamond and now I have a star that fits together correctly and lays flat.  When you think about it though - it really isn't that many pieces to cut.  Sometimes I think quilter's are getting lazy with our love affair for rotary cutters and alot of beautiful patterns are no longer being made.
I am probably a little bit too busy right now to sew, but you know, it is my stress reliever and I have had a busy few weeks.  Just in the past week... 1) House guests overflowed the upstairs flush and my downstairs living room had a waterfall coming out of the ceiling (insurance adjuster has already been here, carpenter starts tomorrow, but I still have a deductible and new flooring needs to be picked out).  2) I had to bring my sewing machine (which got wet) to the nearest dealer to see if it is fixable - 4 hours away.  I had to leave it there so that means I now have to go back to get it at some point in time.  3)  My car was side-swiped when parked in a parking lot so I have had to get that to the body shop.  4)  I accidentally got my thumb bruised when a rat trap went off when I was trying to move it over a bit - fortunately it didn't snap on my thumb - that probably would have broken it - but when it flipped up it still got me somehow.  Ouch.  The good news is that I got the critter though - it was a red squirrel - which are very destructive and chew wires.  No critters allowed in my kitchen!  Oh - in case you are wondering what to bait the traps with - both rats and squirrels love gum drops - you can really wedge them onto the trap so there is no chance of them being able to steal the bait and get away! 
And through all of that - I still have had a full work load.  So, I think a little sewing was in order to calm my nerves, don't you think?  And now I am seeing stars!  Or at least 1 big star.

*Edited to add:  Thankfully I do have a 2nd sewing machine!