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My mom and I went out for thrift shopping and lunch today and she gave me a copy of the Sew What Skirts book I’ve been hunting for.  Yay!  Now I can put the pretty fabric I got at Fabricland on the weekend to good use.

Today at Value Village I also scored two metres of this pretty fabric for $3.99:

It reminds me of a summer sunset.  I think it will make a nice wrap skirt.

Prompted by Pamela Wynne’s latest post I also picked up Simplicity 4077 at Fabricland.  I’ve been scouring Ebay and Etsy for some cute printed cotton. I’ve put a bid in on this lovely Denyse Schmidt Flea Market Fancy number:

but there’s still five days left in the auction so I’m trying not to get my hopes up.

In Knitting Knews I mysteriously received another copy of Interweave Winter 2007 in the mail so if anyone is in need drop me a comment.  I will need you to cover shipping, though.

Enid is inching along.  Although it feels more like millimetring  along. A quick knit this is not.

I love that contrasting hem.  Who cares if no one we’ll see it but me?

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In January I decided to try making a few cloth pads. I thought I’d try them out and if I hated them, no probs. I started off with this tutorial but I’ve made a few changes and figured that I may as well add to the knowledge pool.
These are super easy and cheap to make. Having some sewing skills is helpful but a beginner could tackle these with minimal frustration.
Alright, let’s get started.
Materials:
  • disposable pad (I use Always in the yellow package. I think they’re regular with wings)
  • 1.5 m of flannel (this will make 12-15 pads)
  • small, sharp sewing scissors
  • thread
  • sewing machine
  • hammer in snaps
  • pins
  • an old towel
  • a magazine
  • a hammer
  • a snap applicator tool thingy (not sure what this is called but see pic below)

*Note: it’s helpful to do these steps one at a time like an assembly line if you’re making more that one pad (for example; cut out all your shapes, sew them all, attach the snaps)

  • Step 1: Get your favourite disposable pad and slap it on your doubled over flannel. Trace the pad or just cut around the disposable pad adhered to your flannel, as I do. Make sure to add length to the wings because the wings on the commercial pads just stick to your undies while your wings have to overlap each other.
  • Step 2: You will now have two pad shapes cut out of flannel. Take your towel and cut out some rectangles with curved edges about an inch shorter than your pad. Sandwich your towel liner centered between your two pad cutouts.
  • Step 3: Stick a pin through the layers to keep it in place. You can use more pins if you’re worried about it shifting a lot.
  • Step 4: Set your sewing machine on zig zag and on the smallest stitch length. Stitch two channels on either side of your pin, backstitching at each end.
  • Step 5: Carefully zig zag all around your pad as close to the edge as you can, backstitching at beginning and end. As you work around, align and pinch the layers so they stay put.
  • Step 6: Your edges will be a bit ragged. Take your small scissors and very carefully snip any excess fabric outside the zig zag being careful not to snip your stitches.
  • Step 7: Working on the floor, hammer in your snaps with a magazine underneath so you don’t ruin your floors. Make sure to place the male snap (hehe) on the upper side of one wing and the female snap (teehee) on the lower side of the opposite snap.
That’s it! You’re done. I can make a bunch in about an hour.
How I care for my pads: When I remove the pad I rinse it in the sink right away with a little hand soap and I wring it out really well. I store them in a mesh laundry bag until my cycle’s finished.  I wash them in the machine on hot with my sheets. Most of mine look barely used.  I know storing and cleaning is some people’s big concern but I have to assure you that the pads don’t smell. It’s the plastic in commercial pads that don’t breathe and make things stinky.
Pros:
  • these are really environmentally friendly
  • they are so comfortable. there’s nothing to accidentally get stuck to your inner thigh and they get softer when you wash them
  • there’s no weird foreign chemically materials cradling your lady business
  • it’s mad cheap. I got all the supplies for about thirteen pads for under $15 and they will last me a very long time
  • flannel comes in all kinds of fun patterns.  I also had some pink sheep fabric but I used it all up
I know some people think reusable pads are icky and I understand that but I personally think they’re the bee’s knees. I’m happy to field questions but I’m not really interested in people’s grossed out comments. I’ve read the criticisms and I feel the benefits outweigh them.
If you don’t feel capable of making these yourself there are tons of Etsy sellers who sell premade ones. Or you can contact me and we can probably come to an arrangement.

Wicked was finished so quickly I didn’t even have time to post progress photos.

 

 

Pattern: Wicked from Zephyr Style.

Yarn: 10 balls Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Aran in Peacock from Cumberpatch U.K. So squishy!

Size: 36-39″

Needles: 4.25 mm and 4.5 mm circulars, 4.5 DPNs

Time: February 13th – February 20th! Thank you Twin Peaks Gold Edition!

Modifications: I think I’m a convert to this customizing your sweaters business. Especially with a sweater so customizable. I used an Aran weight yarn instead of Worsted so I cast on for a smaller size than I normally would. I did the yoke with the 4.25 mm needles because I didn’t want it to be quite so wide. I added the waist shaping. I added a few rows to the seed stitch border at the bottom. I did quite a few decreases in the sleeves or they would have been really big. I cast off the underarm stitches and then cast some back on instead of just leaving them as the pattern called for because I had heard it left a big hole. When I picked up the sleeves I also picked up some stitches from the cast off underarm edge.

I would have preferred long sleeves proper but I don’t think I would have had enough yarn. At least it’s not short sleeved. I don’t get short sleeved wool sweaters. Seriously. If it’s too cold for a t-shirt than it’s too cold for not having sleeves.

This is my “it’s so comfy it makes me a narcoleptic (like I needed any help)” shot.

Ideally I would like to keep the sweater train on the rails and finish Enid (as a pullover) and the Cabled Cardigan from Runway Knits before it gets too warm to want to knit them. Given how freezing it is outside today I probably have a little while yet. I’m also worried that if I leave them until next fall I will be swayed by all the fall and winter knitting magazines hitting the stands with all their glorious sweaters and I will lose all motivation. Thirdly, I want to get rid of my stash. No really, I’m serious. At times all these queues and stash lists, while organisationally friendly, can feel a bit like a chore list. I would like to instead start getting inspired by a project or a design idea and find the perfect yarn for it instead of stockpiling in moments of weakness. So there.

Funny story; Erin and I have officially kicked off our package exchange and wouldn’t you know that the first thing we sent to each other, without any previous mention, was Momiji dolls.

We also have matching Kokeshi dolls that we got in Japan. Sisters!

She also declined the offer of the skirt so if anyone has a need for the above-the-knee skirt with a 31 inch waist that I mentioned last post let me know. I’ll charge for shipping only.

This weekend I made:
It was very good. We’ve been eating it for breakfast, ignoring the fact that it contains four types of sugar.
2. A skirt and three-quarters. I started one skirt combining two patterns to try to get what I had in mind (a yoked, above the knee skirt) but after installing the zipper I realized it was way too small. Being single-minded, I attempted another, this time drafting my own pattern.
This was also too small, perhaps due to my increased coffee cake consumption. I’ve offered it to Erin and I’m waiting to hear back from her but if not I may give it away elsewhere. Stay tuned. I was sad because it is cute. I went out yesterday to find this book but being the newly instituted Family Day all the bookstores were closed. At least I learned how to effectively install a zipper.

While stalling on buying new needles for Wicked I made another hat.

Pattern: Koolhaas by Jared Flood from Interweave Holiday Gifts

Yarn: Some mystery tweed that Melina brought back from Ireland

This is also a gift but I’m worried it will be a bit big for the small-headed recipient.  I have no idea why.  I was initially worried that this would be too small because the yarn appeared to be lighter than Aran weight.  In the end I had to omit an entire pattern repeat or this would have been too long.  It’s a mystery.

What a great pattern though.  If only it came with the stunning Brooklyn Tweed photography.  At least foam head likes to model.  I was seriously tempted to paint a Bowie lightening stripe across her face yesterday to jazz her up a bit but it may turn off some of my Etsy customers.  But then again, do I want to take money from those who do not love my Bowie?

EDIT TO ADD: I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately to share the Koolhaas pattern or to direct people to where they can get it.  It is copyright infringement for me to share the pattern and I’m not sure where else you can get it other than finding a back copy of the Interweave Holiday Gifts 2007 magazine.

Just before finishing Koolhaas up I made some soup for dinner from a cookbook which shall go unnamed because it sucked.  Not wanting to chuck about eight servings of leftovers I added some ingredients and made it a whole lot tastier.

White Bean Soup

  • 2 cups great northern beans – soaked, rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 piece kombu
  • 1 celery stalk – halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 onions – thinly sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic – whole
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary – chopped
  • dash + 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. temari (light soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • dash cayenne
  • 1/2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup grated romano cheese

Cover beans in water and bring to a boil. Add kombu, celery and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet. Add onion, whole garlic, rosemary and dash of salt. Coat vegetables in oil and simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.

Add onion mixture to beans and simmer for thirty to fourty-five minutes, until beans are soft. Blend soup with an immersion stick blender until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. Taste for seasoning. Serve hot.

I love having soup with a really hearty bread and this one is my current favourite. Nummy.

On Saturday after I finished my Road to Golden I knit up another Earflap Hat.  This one is for a gift.
Pattern: Earflap Hat from Handknit Holidays
Yarn: Cascade Magnum (thanks again to Cara for the donation of her purple extras!)
This one is not quite as pointy as it should be because, well, I ran out of yarn.  But I think it will still be well received.
An important word about the Basic Cabled Mittens pattern: Astute Anna pointed out a few major omissions so if you uploaded the pattern before February 11th, please upload the newer version.  Thank you!

I can’t believe it worked.

Pattern: Road to Golden by Lisa Shroyer – Knitscene Fall 2007

Yarn: Ella Rae Classic from Little Knits, 3 skeins Beige, 2 skeins Lemon / Lime Yellow, 1 skein Aubergine, 1 skein Lilac, 1 skein Apple Green. I totally took my colour queues from Nicole’s RTG.

Modifications: Get comfy. I almost never change patterns. I figure the designer is a designer and he or she knows what he or she was going for. Who am I to doubt their artistic vision? Plus I’m kind of lazy.  In the case of RTG I loved Lisa Shroyer’s design BUT it had the exact same neckline as my Marseilles Pullover and I can barely stand wearing that thing because it rubs on my neck and I HATE that. I can’t really walk you through my modifications in a detailed and logical manner because that’s not at all how I executed them. I just don’t have that kind of brain. Just before the arm joining round I began a neck steek. I tried to figure out how many stitches I would need to decrease at the neck but my numbers were way off so I had to wing it in the end. I did more decreases at the top. I did a neck steek about seven rows before the last row. I did a crochet steek, I picked up around the neck and knit some rows in garter stitch.

I literally could not be happier with this, as if the plethora of pictures didn’t indicate that. I want to wear it every day and to be honest I’ve never had that inclination with one of my handmade sweaters. For starters it’s not stiflingly warm, unlike my other sweaters. I was really starting to think I would have to convert to wool / cotton blends exclusively because I would just about pass out on the bus when wearing my handknit sweaters, and I’m not even a naturally warm person when it comes to body heat. But if a stranded sweater can be just the right amount of warm, I have not lost my faith in the power of wool.

The only thing that has clouded my happiness is that the needle I used for this seems to have disappeared into a black hole somewhere and of course it is the same needle I need for Wicked. I refuse to buy another one until I locate the first one but to be honest I’m starting to doubt it ever existed.

Yay!

My respect for full time pattern designers has skyrocketed over the last few days. And let me tell you; I already respected them plenty. I would draw a graph of some sort for you visualizing my increased respect if I could but I can’t because you know what: I suck at technology. While working on three patterns plus adapting a previously written one simultaneously this week I’ve realized that while I may have the knitting skills to pull this stuff off I DO NOT:

1. Know very much about taking professional looking photos of my knitting

2. Have a very good camera

3. Have the technical savvy required for this pattern writing business such as resizing a photo for e-mail or making graphics and charts

4. Realize that there is a huge difference between knowing how to read a pattern and how to write a pattern

5. Have the ability to keep up basic hygiene and diet while working on patterns

6. Have a flux capacitor which enables me to go back in time and remember how I designed something a year and a half ago

7. Know how to hold my foot in an awkward position for more than five seconds enabling it to be photographed crisply

8. Have the ego to face rejection of a pattern I have worked so hard on

You would think that facing these crippling flaws I would know when to quit, but no dice. The sock pattern has been submitted and I have added two free patterns to this here site which you can access if you scroll up and click “free patterns”. First; the Isolde Newborn Hat.

So called because that was the working title of the baby in utero. (side bar: I can’t even get this line to left justify after centering the hat photo. That’s how much I suck. Nevermind: fixed it! Confidence restored somewhat.)

And second a Basic Cabled Mittens pattern.

This one comes with a hefty disclaimer that I can’t guarantee that your mittens will look like the mittens above by following the pattern as written. I made these ages ago and have tried my best to reverse engineer them but I’m not confident that your cable won’t end up on your forehead. So, I’m offering a prize to the first two knitters who attempt these mittens and e-mail me with comments or corrections. We’ll see how that turns out.

I also received my Little Knits order yesterday and quickly found that I no longer had any idea what I was doing when it comes to Road to Golden. When knitting a raglan yoke there are dozens of things happening at once, and again I was finding myself wishing for a souped up Delorean to let me travel back three weeks ago when I last set this down.

I should probably go eat something.

According to Canada Post at least (and perhaps actual geography? Not one of my strongest points). My Ella Rae Classic from Little Knits is still on a donkey somewhere (I completely blame the post office – not the awesome LK staff) but I got my beautiful Wollmeise yesterday evening.

Snapped in the waning light.  Claudia included her generous little extras.  The bag underneath the goodies has an extensive list of German-English knitting terms.  Fun!

This news of Seattle’s extreme distance also comes at a sad time as I had to say goodbye for now to Robyn on Friday.  Robyn’s greedy husband lives in Seattle and she insisted on moving to Vancouver to be closer to him while she waits for U.S. immigration to realize she is an upstanding and well-educated future citizen.

B.C. has taken both Robyn and Jane from me in the last few months.  Damn your warm weather and scenic views B.C.!  Damn you!

 And today’s Erin’s birthday! 

Here we are thirteen years ago!  We no longer rock the cat posters and bandanas but we are no less rockin’.

Because:

  1. I went to the gym today and hopefully worked off the Superbowl pizza and Blue Sky Root Beer of last evening.
  2. During the game I finished Zuluknitty sock #1 and I have to say: it’s great.  I’m so happy with it.  I can’t wait to get the design out there.
  3. I have a shift tomorrow at good job which helps me stave off some of the guilt over avoiding bad job.
  4. I’m going grocery shopping today and I love grocery shopping.
  5. Winterlude is on.  I’m growing fonder of Winterlude and the weather has been so great since the great Friday storm that I really want to get out there and take part.