December 2008 Archives

Does Baking Count As a Craft?

Things are pretty crazy right now around my house. We are hosting a Boxing Day Brunch and are cooking all the food for it. It's lovely and wonderful and I *LOVE* doing it. But it does make for some rather full days.

Today I started the baking. I made sugar cookie dough, raspberry swirl cookie dough, my sister-in-law's chocolate sandwich cookies, pinwheel cookies, and peanut butter kiss cookies.

I'm a cookie baking MACHINE

Tomorrow I'm going to bake the sugar cookies and raspberry swirls. I'm also going to make my Great Aunt Ruth's candy cane cookies. And I thought I'd try a new one: lime something-somethings. We'll see how it goes.

Day One

I also need to make the stock for the risotto, the cranberry bread, and the monkey bread for Christmas morning. All by 4, which is when we are headed over to a friends' house for Christmas Eve. Me thinks my day will start early.

I also am trying to get two stockings done. Hahahahahahaha, yes, I know. But we'll see. Even if I end up with just a Christmas tube for the second one, I'll be happy.

Erik's Christmas Tube, 6:45 PM

E's fair isle snowflake stocking is coming along nicely. It took me awhile to figure out how to do the heel, but now things seem to be moving again. I'm planning on making the second one solid green with a white border, heel, and toe. That should go a lot faster.

Erik's Stocking, 2:20 AM

I'm really happy with how it's coming out. The tension varies a bit, but since this won't actually be worn, I think it will be okay.

I Love My Viking!

A little over a year ago, my mother upgraded her Husqvarna Viking sewing machine to a newer model. I had gone to see my folks while on the East Coast for a business trip and they gave me her older one. I already had her Singer machine from the early 70s, a machine that is as old or older than me. My step-dad packed up the machine super well and I carried on the train from CT to Philly, and then on the plane back to San Francisco.

The Viking sat in it's well-packed box for about a year. This machine is quite the upgrade from the Singer. It scared me. The idea of a sewing machine with a computer felt a bit intimidating (which is kinda funny given how much I use computers on a daily basis). When I reorganized my craft room, I unpacked the Viking and set it up on the work table. But there it sat... until this weekend.

I've been working on these wall hanging quilts with the Dutch fabric. I've been using the Singer to do all the piecing, since I was afraid that the Viking would take too long to learn how to use. But the Singer has been acting up a lot lately. There is something off with the tension in the bobbin and it keeps breaking the thread. This is really annoying since I now can't stitch more than 4 inches without having to stop and rethread the needle. I quilted one of the wall hangings with the Singer and was so frustrated that I decided it would be worth trying the Viking.

OH MY GOD! I can't believe I was afraid of this machine. It has changed my life. All I've done so far is stitch straight lines, but that in itself is amazing. Straight! Lines! The thing I love most about this machine is the speed control. The Singer is either painfully slow or omgfullspeedaheadcrazyfast. Which leads to very uneven stitches, no matter how hard I try. But the Viking... it paces itself. The biggest problem I have is that I get hypnotized watching the needle go up and down and my eyes go out of focus and the line swerves. And it's quiet, so quiet. Ahhhhh....

I've now finished the two little wall hangings and quilted the third last night. I'm going to add a bigger border to the last one, since I have so much backing fabric left over. I find that I'm looking around trying to find other things to sew, just so I can keep using the machine. Stay tuned for photos... I was so excited about quilting last night I forgot to snap any pics.

Ester Cabled Shrug

I was able to convince E to take photos of my knitting this weekend. I'm busy finishing up the last of the Kitmas presents so his help was greatly appreciated.

I wanted to show my Ester Cabled Shrug, that I made for the AP company party on Dec 1. Yes, this is the sweater that I bought the yarn Saturday afternoon, took to Carmen del Playa Mexico, knitting while sitting at the pool, and finished just in time for the party.

I originally ordered the yarn online, but there was a snafu at the online shop and it didn't go out in time. This was actually for the best, as I was trying to match colors online, which is always fool-hearty. The yarn that eventually arrived is gorgeous, but completely the wrong color. So I hiked over to ImagiKnit and picked up the Malabrigo worsted in fuchsia, which was a perfect color match.

I worked on this while in Mexico a lot. I brought it with me to the pool. I sat in the common area of the hotel and knit while we chatted over dinner. I pulled it out on the airplanes and while waiting in the aiports (all four of them!). But it still wasn't enough.

For some reason my internal calendar was off and I thought I had an extra day when in fact I didn't. Opps. This led to 14 hours of knitting (with a 3 hour dinner and car riding break in the middle). At 2 am I decided that it would be better to get up early and resume knitting than to knit while that tired. I got up at 6 am (yes, 4 hours later) and knit for another 4 hours. Yes, that made for 18 hours of knitting within 24 hours. I do not recommend this approach.

I blocked the whole thing on the kitchen counter. I sprayed it lightly since I wanted to make sure that it would be dry in time to wear that evening. The length was spot on, but it was significantly shorter on the width. Like, 7 inches shorter in places. I was able to block it to get back all but a few inches in most cases. But blocking on the counter with just masking taped towels was a bit challenging. I got home from work and knit up the sides. Luckily there were only 2 seams.

I love this! It was able to block just fine and is plenty big around the back. The problem is that it doesn't come close to meeting in the front. With this dress I'm able to wear it open and it's fine. But if I were to knit it again I'd try to add more length some how so it could close.

It feels wonderful - so soft. Everyone at the party loved it and was so surprised that I had made it. The pattern was easy to remember (and I'm horrible about remembering patterns) and easy to do. My hands still haven't fully recovered though. My knuckles still ache a bit, and this is two weeks later. Of course, I've been knitting, hand sewing and writing longhand a lot. I need to just let them rest, I know. But it's so hard to do during Christmas.

Ester Cabled Shrug:
Started: November 22, 2008
Finished: December 1, 2008

Yet Another Hat

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I'm working yet another hat project. This one is also a gift, so I will decline to say for whom (if you end up opening this on Kitmas, please, act surprised). I cast it on this weekend (picked up the yarn on Saturday) and started working on it. But while on the plane out to Austin on Sunday I decided that it was too small and would make the next size up.

Cable Hat

My fingers are itching to work on it again. I made good progress on it Sunday night (finished up the first skein). It shouldn't take that long to finish. I'm realizing that Erik's cable scarf really tweaked what my expectations for working with cables are. There were so many types of twists and turns in that pattern. And the Gretel hat too had lots of different cables. This one feels so easy in comparison. It reminds me a bit of a pattern that you would find at the Gap or something, and that disappoints me a bit. I don't want anyone to think I bought this.

I am so loving the knitting bags that I put together last month. They were so worth the time. I took a photo of my traveling knitting kit.

Traveling Knitting Kit

I have all the yarn and needles that I will need, a tapestry needle, tape measure (that's the sheep), stitch counter, cable needle, and oh yes, the pattern. The bags are the perfect size to carry all this around in.

Gingerbread Cable Hat
Started: Dec 6
Finished:

Marathon Knitting

Egads it's been awhile since I posted. I wanted to get something up here quick. Photos will be coming soon.

Erik's Celtic cabled scarf is finished! I just need to block it so the cables stand out a bit more. it's a little scrunched together. I ran out of yarn 4 rows before the end of the pattern, but unless you look closely it's hard to tell. Most importantly he's happy with it. Yay!

Tonight is my company's holiday party. When I realized that my trial wedding dress would arrive in time for me to wear it to the party, I had the brilliant (HA!) idea that I could knit a little bolero sweater to go with it. I found an adorable little cable pattern on Knitty.

After all, I spent all of Thanksgiving week in Mexico. I could just sit and knit by the pool all day long. Which I did. And I also knit on the plane. And while hanging out with Erik's dad and step mom. And in bed before I went to sleep. And in the car while doing errands on Sat when we got home. And the thing still wasn't done.

I've spent 14 of the last 24 hours knitting. My hands have the cramps to prove it. But the good news is that the thing is done. It's pinned and blocked on my kitchen counter as I type thing. I didn't get it soaking, I just sprayed it with water so it was lightly damp. I'm hoping it will be dry by the time I get home tonight. I still have to weave in the ends and sew up the seams, but that shouldn't take too long. All of my lengths on it came out spot on, but the width is a lot smaller. I'm hoping that it's just that the cables pull tight. I was able to stretch it out to within a half inch of the specified widths for blocking. I'm hoping that it won't be too small.

Anyway... photos to come soon. I've been too busy knitting to document the process.

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  • One woman's adventure with yarn, fabric and needles.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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