Monday, March 19, 2007

Pajama Time!

They might be stripey, or polka dot. But we can all pajammy in whatever we've got. It's Pajama Time! Pajammy to the left. Pajammy to the right. (Jamma jamma jamma jamma P! J!)

Well, mine are polka dot. And even with my crappy craftswomanship, I'm ridiculously happy with them. I've been pajammying to the left, to the right, and all over the place this weekend. I could live in these pants. If it wouldn't be gauche to wear them out on the town, I would. (Or, if I were a U-M student. Apparently if you are 20 and slightly drunk and it's St. Patrick's Day, you can wear just about anything, including pjs, and walk around town in the middle of the day. But since none of those things holds true for me, I am resigned to wearing my pjs only in the house. Which I am doing a lot. A LOT. I mean, if I'm home, I've got these on.)

I mean come on, brown with pink polka dots and pink lace trim? What's not to love? (mismatched polka dots at the seams notwithstanding)

pattern: Simplicity 4380
fabric: basic cotton tonal dot brown/pink fabric from JoAnn, bought on sale in August for $2.99/yd.
notions: lace, elastic, drawstring (which I ended up not using)
total cost: roughly $15
started: hmmm, how do you gauge this with sewing? When did I start? When I washed the fabric? When I cut out the pattern? When I cut out the fabric? I don't know, I did this one in fits and starts. I cut out the pattern pieces many days ago, cut out the fabric pieces sometime last week, maybe Wednesday? Began the actual sewing on Thursday.
finished: I called them done on Friday, though I still might go back and re-do the elastic. Turns out I cut it too generously and really need it a bit tighter.
modifications: The pattern calls for a wide elastic waistband with a ribbon drawstring tied in the front. I didn't buy the right kind of drawstring (I bought actual drawstring, like the kind you use for sweatpants, instead of the ribbon or twill tape called for) and it turns out I don't have a buttonhole or zigzag foot for my machine (needed to make buttonholes for the drawstring to come out of), which means the buttonholes I tried to make are disastrous. I also had major confusion over the pattern instructions for the waist, and was unhappy with how high the waist ended up being when I did what I thought the pattern called for. So I skipped the drawstring, folded the waistband in, sewed it down and called it done.
notes: I learned to love my seam ripper with this pattern. I sewed the pieces together wrong two times - all the pieces. I had the whole thing assembled wrong. Twice. After the third time, I think I finally got the concept of pant construction (these are my first pants). Next lesson to learn? How to match fabric correctly along seams....

Still, I love these pants, and I looooovvve this fabric. Which I already knew.

But my favorite part?

The lace cuffs.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Just in time for spring

I'm always a little behind with jumping on bandwagons. So right before the temperature shot up to 70, I made a Calorimetry. I'm sure I'll still get to use it though - this is Michigan, after all. Chances are, we'll get another good snow right around Easter.

pattern: Calorimetry
yarn: Malabrigo, Azul Profundo, a minimal amount
needles: KP Options, size 8
notions: a plain little black button
started: March 8
finished: March 9 (this is really a one-night knit, but I started too late at night to do much more than cast on and knit a few rows)
modifications: everyone talks about how ginormous this knit is if done to pattern specifications, so I followed the lead of others and only CO 80. It fits all right, but with my gigantic head I probably should've done something more like 88, for a little more ear coverage.
verdict: cute, functional, quick, easy, I like it. It doesn't particularly match the scarf I made it to go with (my scrunchable, in the same colorway), but that's all right. It's also a very different look for me, especially with my most recent haircut:

the hair really pops out of the top there and looks a little funky
but sometimes, funky is good
Overall, this knit made me really happy. And it was the perfect second diversion (after the clogs) to get me psyched up for my second run at the Tomten, which is now well underway.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Back to "normal"

Now that My Old Man is back home, and no one in our home is ill, and I've gotten over the shock of buckling basement walls, and my Tomten troubles seem to have been solved, and the sun is shining bright and late, things are getting back on track around here.

First, I knit something.

pattern: Fiber Trends felted clogs, women's size 10
needles: KP Options size 13, 24"
yarn: KP WOTA in Arctic Pool Heather and Lake Ice Heather
started: March 1
finished: March 7
for: my friend Carol, who (in addition to gifts from Italy) received a "gift certificate" from me for a knitted item of her choosing (I gave her about seven options) - I gave her this for Christmas. Yes, I am a bit late with the follow-through. But not as late as I will be for Julie, who received the same certificate and picked the same option. Soon, though!
mods: none
notes: I've knit a couple of these in the children's size before, but this was my first adult pair. I was surprised at how quickly they went, given how much larger they were than the children's ones, and they could've gone even more quickly if I hadn't had so much going on these last several days. I wasn't completely sure about fit, so I left them a little on the large size and will send my friend instructions on how to felt them down a little more. I know that some people give their clogs away unfelted, but I really don't want to shock and horrify her with the ugliness and beastly size of the unfelted clogs.

Then, the boys started getting more enthusiastic about potty learning. Little Buddha even asked for a potty seat like he saw at his friend Graham's house, so he could use Mommy and Daddy's toilet.


Of course after every success (or even effort), there is a bit of celebrating.
And for Little Buddha, celebration must always involve accessories.
Especially hats.

Finally, there has even been some sleeping going on. Last week nearly did me in with the lack of naps and the early, early rising. But now that Daddy's home, the boys seem to have settled back down. And our wonderful babysitter has started putting Tiny Dancer to sleep in my study, where he can't harrass his brother, who usually is ready to nap. When I've tried putting him in my study, he's been into everything - cameras, computer, craft supplies. But somehow she has made it work, and he is going right to sleep.

There is something so tender to me about watching little ones sleep. Magical, even.

Sophie likes watching him as much as I do.

Takes my breath away.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

No whining in this post, I promise! I have a yarn savior, and she rocks! After my near-meltdown over running out of yarn for my Tomtens and then discovering the yarn I needed had been discontinued and sold out since I had bought some a week earlier, I posted a comment on Cara's blog making reference to my woeful situation. Next thing I know, Blog Angel Megan, having read my whiny comment on Cara's blog, packed up and sent me 3 hanks of the yarn I needed - gratis! She even went to the trouble to frog a scarf to get 2 of the hanks for me. How freakin' cool is that?!

KnitPicks Sierra, in Pool
(I know the picture doesn't do the color justice, but I was entranced by the late winter late afternoon light)

I'm starting to believe in yarn karma. Several weeks ago, I sent HamaLee a ball of Malabrigo. Then within the last week, I received 3 skeins of sock yarn from Dave and 3 balls of Sierra from Megan. If I got a sixfold karmic return on my yarn gift, I wonder what kind of yarn karma Dave and Megan are about to receive?

I think those 3 balls of Pool have me set for the blue portions of my Tomtens. That just left me needing some more Lettuce to do the green portions. Solution? You guessed it....

I'm going to frog and harvest from the first sweater I ever made.
My Old Man was never completely comfortable with the fit - he didn't feel it was as flattering as he would like, and therefore it has not gotten all that much wear. At first I felt sentimental about the possibility of frogging my first sweater, but now I think it feels right. In fact, it feels very resourceful and Zimmermanesque to be reusing yarn in such a way.

I haven't yet faced the frogging (of the sweater above or the ill-fated Tomten) b/c I took on a very small interim project. But right now I'm feeling the bloggerly, knitterly love. So all of you who were kept awake at nights wondering what I was going to do to solve my terrible Tomten troubles, can rest easy. ;)

Oh, but when it comes to yarn karma? Sean has us all beat, for sure.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Good, the Bad, the Tomten ... and an Invitation

The Good

I heart Criminy Jickets. Remember how I won a contest over at Dave's place because I actually went back and counted the number of blog comments he had gotten in the last year (and they he drew my name from among those who had guessed right)? Well this week I got the sock yarn he sent me. And, WOW.

Brooklyn Handspun
Winter Sunrise
480 yds

Louet Gems
370 yds

Is this guy generous, or what? I am seriously excited about this yarn. The Brooklyn Handspun is planning on becoming socks for me. Me! And the lovely eggplant is going to be some kind of cabled sock (possibly these?) for a friend who is soon going to have to undergo brain surgery for a benign tumor. She's a knitter, and from the first time I met her a few years ago, she openly declared her love for purple socks. And she's Canadian (from Ontario, just like Dave). Seems fitting to me that the lovely gift yarn would end up as a pair of socks back in Ontario.

Thank you, Dave! You're awesome!

The Bad

It's been a rough several days at Chez Earthchick, which would explain my blogging silence. My Old Man is out of town, which means - of course - that one of my sons got sick (I promise you, whenever one of us leaves town, at least one person at home gets sick). It was the stomach kind of sick, too, so, yeah, nasty. General crabbiness, whiny-ness, and deranged sleeping habits (on all our parts), along with comfort eating and utter lack of productivity (on my part) ensued.

Then I discovered that the walls in my basement are probably buckling.

At any rate, not much luck in the craft department since all of this transpired, and no FOs to show, except for these.

Tiny totes I made for my boys for Valentine's Day (a couple of days late). I filled them with Hershey's Kisses, which the boys ate immediately, and now they are the perfect size for holding their favorite plastic jungle animals (you might make out a leopard in the one on the right). These were a good test run for me - I learned from some things I did majorly wrong - and I still have fabric left to make more. I'd like to make several in various sizes and colors to try to help with our toy clutter issues. Got the tutorial for these here.

The Tomten

Here's the main reason I've had no crafting success to post of in the last two weeks - all my energies and craft time have been focused on this. If you care to read the whole long whiny sob story, you can do so here. The upshot of it is that: a) I will be frogging the thing I have spent all my knitting time on for the last 2 weeks (and which I had already woven in all the ends for); b) I will not have enough yarn to complete the two Tomtens I had planned; c) KnitPicks has not only discontinued the yarn I was using (Sierra), they have already sold out of the two colors I needed (which I had just ordered more of LAST WEEK, at which time there was no indication that they were discontinuing it); d) for the first time in over a year, a knit project has reduced me to tears; and e) I actually had garter stitch nightmares last night (I don't remember details, I just kept waking up unhappy, with visions of Pool and Lettuce garter stitch in my head).

[If anyone out there has 2 or 3 skeins of Sierra in Lettuce I will happily buy them from you. An alternative I'm considering: frogging my first sweater and harvesting the yarn from there.]


An Invitation

I can't end on such an unpleasant note, can I? Of course not. So how 'bout a party? There isn't music or dancing, but there is mingling, and there are prizes, so join the fun - the Ultimate Blog Party. You don't have to be a craft blogger, or a mom, or even all that much of a partier. But if you want to spread the blogland love and get entered for prizes to boot, then come on in.

So how's that for ending on a completely different note?

[ETA - because this post wasn't long enough already! - I just realized I was supposed to introduce myself a little for anyone popping by for the Blog Party. Oops. Okay, so I'm a wife (to My Old Man), a mama (to my twin two-and-a-half year old sons Little Buddha and Tiny Dancer), a minister, a knitter (bet you figured that one out already), and a sewing novice. In addition to blogging here, I also have a personal simplicity project that I am chronicling in my other blog, here. If you want to know more, there are 100 more things here. Thanks for stopping by. And welcome!]