Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Life Skills class...not as inconsequential as I thought

Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and she might have put a sewing machine to shame. ~James Edward Austen-Leigh, about Jane Austen (James was a nephew to Jane Austen and wrote a memoir about her)

She may have been able to put a sewing machine to shame, but I sure wouldn't.

You could accurately compare my sewing abilities and skills to that of a blind six year old, and I do not exaggerate. Do not think I am being shy or humble about my skills, as Lizzy said in the 2005 P&P  "I'm not afflicted with false modesty, when I say I play poorly..." and so she did play poorly and so do I, sew exceedingly poorly. I can knit, crochet a little and even cross-stitch with the best of them, but sewing is a whole different can of worms.

I passed the sewing part of my life skills class in high school by asking the teacher for help so many times she essentially did my whole project by the end of it.

Last year I knit a checkered purse and I sewed it together so that it was lined with a cloth shopping bag, I think I have a picture of it along my left sidebar. The purse is square, I had to sew 5 straight lines, thats all. It took me four hours and I broke 3 sewing machine needles in the process.  Are you starting to comprehend my abilities here?

SO when I discovered those knitting needle holders that roll up and hold all of your stuff my first thought was, where can I buy one!? Oh no, my friend Nikki says, I have invented a killer pattern that is better than those other ones. She shows me her complicated diagram complete with measurements and ruler straight lines and I drift into a flashback of the 'drafting' part of my life skills class, my teacher had crazy eyes and my lines were never straight enough eventhough I had totally used my hot pink metal ruler.

When my brilliant friend shows me the finished product two thoughts flash through my mind.
1) that is the coolest most amazing knitting needle case I have ever seen and I really really want one... and 2) there is no way on this planet earth that I will be able to make that.

She tells me how much fabric I will need to buy, I nod, write it down and start desperately devising a plan as to how I can create another 'can you help me' sewing class situation wherein I get my talented seamstress friends to make mine for me, we could do it as a Twisted Stitchers (our knitting club) project.

Enter my fairy Godmother.

The most amazing, generous, skilled, brilliant, fun, beautiful, magnificent, fantastic, wonderful woman.  I can't add enough adjectives to explain how awesome this woman is.

She got the pattern from Nikki to make one for her daughter Emily (a fellow twisted stitcher) and she made me one too!! It is the most beautiful thing I have ever beheld. The fabric she chose, so cool and sparkly, I am obsessed with it. I just sit and stare at it, roll it out look at it for a while, then wrap it up, put it away only to find a need to take it out and admire it again.

Life Lesson learned: Surround yourself with amazing people to do the stuff for you that you really suck at.

Now all I need is to find a way to use algerba in my life and I will take back all I ever said about the ridiculous nonsensical things they teach you in high school that teachers claim you will use later in life but never do.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Basket Bedlam

"If I could but know his heart, everything would become easy."   Sense and Sensibility

Understanding is a valuable thing to posess. It makes difficult things, less difficult, confusing situations, less confusing. You know what they say about people who assume, what about people who presume? Is there any common saying to make you feel stupid when you presume something? They basically mean the same thing right?

I will say that my recent knitting folly came as a result of a presumption made by myself, definetly not an assumption!

There is another saying 'there is no such thing as a stupid question' ? I have never agreed with that, I agree with the idea that if you don't understand something you need to speak up and ask for clarification, but there definetly are stupid questions.

Anyways, I am not sure where I am going with all of this... bottom line, I had a very stupid moment the other day.

On Saturday I saw a cute pattern for a little knitted easter basket with comments that it was a really quick knit and only would take an hour or two to make. I figured I would whip a couple up to hold the little fuzzy chicks the easter bunny was going to bring my kids the following morning.

The pattern seemed simple enough, I grabbed some scrap yarn I had laying in my stash and started knitting away. Three and a half hours later I had finished ONE BASKET!  ONE!

AAAAND it looked nothing like the picture in the pattern, or the pictures from the other projects shown on ravelry. It still looked cute, and I wasn't sorry for the time I spent making it, but STILL, the other one looked cuter... and I still had one more to make... say good-bye to another 3 1/2 hours...ugg. 

I sucked it up, Sunday morning I made another one, and it was cute... kind of.

I read over the pattern again and again and still couldn't find any reason why my little baskets looked so different. I looked at the projects on ravelry again and found the answer in one of the little comments someone wrote about their basket. She said "I modified the pattern a little, so I could knit it in the round."

Wait, WHAT! Wasn't this pattern SUPPOSED to be knit in the round?

Need I go on?

It made sense that it would be knit in the round, baskets are round after all. I read the pattern again and low and behold it was missing those four crucial words. "Join in the round."  WHATEVER!

Apparently knitting on straight needles and seaming up along the side, made all the difference in this case.

I couldn't have even asked a stupid question, it just seemed so obvious to me that if you were going to knit a basket, it would be knit in the round....

If only I had a dashing Mr. Knightley (as seen in the new Emma) to scold me by saying "Better be without sense than misapply it as you do."  I would still feel just as dumb, but would find solace in the attractive man taking such an interest in my knitting endeavours.

I'm only showing you pictures of my basket creations so you think they are cute and aren't seeing what they should've looked like and wishing I had had more sense.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Little Monster booties

I love knitting baby booties! I am addicted! They are so cute and usually quick and easy to make. I wish I knew more people having babies so I could knit them all booties.

Plus I love being able to say "Oh I just knitting my booty" or "I gotta go work on my booty" hahah such simple things make me giggle so hard.

ANYWAYS my best friend just had a little baby boy and I was so excited because I was able to knit some booties that I have had my eye on for a while. (always keeping my eye on them booties! hahaha, seriously how old am I? 5? don't care, still funny!)

They are little monster baby booties, I found the pattern on ravelry and they are ADORABLE! I am obsessed, I want to make them for everyone I know. Maybe when I have time I will play around with the pattern and try to figure something out.

I also made a matching hat to go with the booties and though I made them myself I have to say, THEY ARE SOO CUTE!!!

Little Monster Hat

I wanted to make a hat to match some really cute monster booties I made from a pattern I found on ravelry. I knit them with 8mm/US11 needles so it went really fast and is so simple, two things that I am a fan of. I fell in love with the yarn I used for the booties, it's so cute and soft and fuzzy. It is also a little stretchy so if you wanted to make a hat like this with a different yarn you may have to modify the pattern to make it a little bigger. Also I made the pattern to fit a newborn so if you are knitting for an older baby or maybe one with a big head you may want to up the cast on to 40. Have fun!

1 ball Moda Dea Dream Solid yarn in leaf

Scrap yarn in alternate colour, you won't need very much
1pair Size 8mm/US 11 dpn needles or  Size 8/US 11circulars,
if you are brave enough to try the double magic loop method that I love so much
1 pair Size 3.5mm/US 4 douple pointed needles
Yarn needle


Loosely cast on 35

Knit rows 1 - 23

Row 24:  K3, K2tog, repeat all around

Row 25:  knit all around

Row 26:  K2, K2tog , repeat all around

Row 27:  K2tog all around

weave through remaining stitches


Cast on 10 onto 3.5mm/US4 dpns

Knit rows 1 - 6

Row 7:  K1, K2tog repeat, (7 stitches remaining)

Row 8: Knit all around

Row 9:  K2tog, K2tog, K1, K2tog  (4 stitches remaining)

thread yarn through remaining stitches and pull tight, leave a really long tail and use that to stuff inside the horn.

Cut another piece of thread and attach the horns onto the hat.