Thursday, February 26, 2015

Preteen Wool turtle neck dress

This one took about a month to complete. I'm mighty proud of the fact that I only had to tuck in three yarn tails. I hate seams, and there's not a single one in this dress. My next project will have at least two, :(  as I've not come up with a way to avoid them with the method I'll be using. There's got to be a way, I've just not figured it out yet. ;)  
While this may look a little "huggy" my experience with this yarn is has been that it will relax some after the first hand wash and might not continue to hug quite so snuggly.... at least that's my modesty seeking mama hope. It's a natural wool color, but it may return as a dye project in the future, as I've told my girls they can dye them if they so choose with any Kool-Aid they prefer.

Friday, February 20, 2015

And after that...Girasol Rainbow Wrap Conversion

Okay...I'm making myself stop after this one... or at least I won't buy anymore for myself after I finish with this rainbow beauty. It's becoming an obsession.

This weekend I'll be knitting...but I really wish I could be sewing!

Update:... I've changed my mind. This s such a delightful wrap, and now that I know a few tricks in how to make it work, it won't be getting cut up anytime soon. Besides, my machine is going to be in the shop for at least another week. The positive side of that is the repairman really seemed to know his stuff and his diagnostic seemed spot on with what I was expecting after I read the service manual. So I'm hopeful that he's going to get it up and running as good as new, and it will be worth the wait indeed. That machine has been ailing for years, but even so it still sewed much better than any new machine I've had my hands on. They just don't make them like they used to. My Bernina 731 is all metal, and solid as a tank!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Next...Ellevill Paisley Vanessa Soft structure carrier wrap conversion

Even though my sewing machine hates me, and is now in the shop (please be cheap and easy to fix) I've begun another wrap conversion attempt. While not the most esthetically pleasing, my 3 year old loves to be in the "blue carrier" so much, that I've got a serious itch to try this again and see if I can do even better this time around. After I went back and altered the straps I found the sweet spot with my big fluffy straps, which I adjusted so the padding goes under the buckle. It makes carrying the 35+ pounder feel like next to nothing.

I picked up this wrap remnant from a mama on Facebook (my new buy, sell, and trade market place), which had been cropped to be converted into a ring sling. My half was almost, but not quite enough for all the pieces I will need. As soon as I saw it, a dress fabric I once used popped into my mind, and sure enough I had a yard in my stash. Thus it became clear I needed to make the exterior side panels with this thicker floral print cotton canvas, to give the flimsy bamboo/ cotton Ellevill more structural integrity, as this paisley wrap is not as thick as the Natibaby Dandilion wrap had been. Since this will be a smaller carrier I feel it will be alright, as a much lighter load will be carried by it. All interior fabrics will be the soft wrap, and the key strap points will be anchored into the canvas fabric.

Getting to work on these little projects makes me feel more... excited... happy... productive! Accomplished....

Also, I just cast off the hemline (but there's no hem) of my oldest's daughter's wool knit dress. Tomorrow I'll begin the sleeves. After that one is complete I'll need to sneak in a baptism gown.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Wrap Conversion

I'll start by saying my sewing machine did not like this project. I broke more needles than I could keep count of sewing this soft structure carrier, and there were things I wanted to do that just weren't going to happen with my machine. Finally, since hatching the notion to convert my wrap, it is done!
I even had enough wrap left over to make a ring sling , though not enough for a padded shoulder, but with fabric this thick, it's not necessary.

The wrap was Dandies by Natibaby, size 6. Now it's a toddler sized soft structured carrier conversion with plus sized straps (so dad can wear it too) and an adjustable panel (for my tall torso kids with short inseams). Yes, that's solarveil in the center. Admittedly, even though I adjusted my Personal Fit adjusters up an inch from the carrier I mimicked, the hood is essentially useless when the PFA's are cinched all the way down (which I have to do for me. But since this carrier's body panel is so tall, I don't think I'll ever actually use the hood for head support. Perhaps we might use it for shade...or not. I'd have to rethink that aspect of it should I ever take on a project of this magnitude again.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Woolie Sweater Dress

 We're all really happy with how this dress turned out. With no seams, knit entirely in the round, from top to bottom using circulars from the turtle-neck collar, down in a yolk sweater method, and finally the sleeves were completed using double points, leaving only three yarn tails to tuck.

So I just cast another turtle neck collar onto the small circulars and will try again for the pre-teen version of this dress up next.

Monday, January 19, 2015

All that's left now is the sleeves

Casting off the hemline last night, I hope to finish the sleeves by the end of this week.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New listing Item #00001

This hat can be found in my Etsy shop.

Since there are literally thousands of other baby hats on Etsy, I'm guessing it's still legal to hand knit a hat and offer it for sale? So I'm going to institute a record keeping strategy, assign a number to each item I knit. If I have a rare moment and complete something that isn't destine for our own closet, than I will try and list it.

I've made plenty of hats for my own kids this winter, so this is a spare we don't need. While it fits my youngest (who is presently 22 months old) he already has two hats, and favors one in particular, so he doesn't want nor need another.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Knitting compulsion

This is more of a compulsive creation stemming from my desire for winter time sweater dresses for my girls. My rough guestimate on my gage was off, so instead of being a dress for my oldest, in all likelihood, this will be for my middle daughter. Sleeves will be last, and thus far I'm about waist deep, the intent to knit all the way down to below knee length.

I'm making it up as I go along... as usual, top to bottom, no seams, knitting in the round with circulars. The yarn is fisherman's wool worsted weight, natural.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hat season

Right now, I like to knit hats. A few of these sat on needles for weeks at a time, but the big green one took about a week, which means I'm knitting more. Tis the season for knitting in the round!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Baby carriers for sale: Updated

Since I'm technologically challenged I'm hosting my own pictures here on my blog for some baby carriers I'm needing to re-home. PM me if you're interested.

The mei tai with the country print is constructed with cotton canvas and has been lightly used. I made it back in 2005. the top straps are only very lightly padded in the upper region with 100% cotton batting. This was triple stitched. Asking $20 OBO ppd

 Our Kelty 2.0 structured carrier is also available. Some light use dust stains, is in good condition. Attached back pack means Dad can haul the kid and a lot of stuff!  Asking $40 if local pick up, but $50 if needing to be shipped.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Oat bran blueberry muffins

Mine went like this:
 12 muffins   24 muffins

3/4                 1 1/2  cup brown sugar
2                     4 eggs
3/4                  1 1/2 cup apple sauce
1                      2 small  banana
4                      8 tablespoons grown flax seed
2                      4 teaspoons baking soda
2                      4 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2                    1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2                3 cup all purpose flower
1 1/2                3 cup oat bran
4                      8 tablespoons coconut oil
3/4                   1 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Bake at 400 degrees for 16-18 minutes the night before a busy day, and wake up to breakfast ready to roll.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Birthday Cake

After perusing Pinterest for ideas for a first birthday cake, all of which were overwhelming, I was struck with the notion to bake a cake with blueberries. Google to the rescue, this Lemon Blueberry Layer cake recipe by Sallys Baking Addiction jumped out at me. It's in the oven as I type. First impression; The batter is yummy! The plan is to let it cool over night and then finish it up tomorrow. Will update!

Baby's 1-3 all had carrot cakes, #4 had pumpkin cake, and #5 had chocolate (he's already pinging on warp speed, so it doesn't really make a difference to his energy level). This baby needs something different. He likes a lot of stuff, but is a big fan of blueberries, which must be why I'm being called to make this cake.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Grooming Angora Dog

We adopted a two year old Bichon Poodle (Poochon) mix a few weeks ago. Her winter coat was long and matted in many places (sides, legs, belly, and around the neck and ears). Initially I tried to comb it out since it's still winter and a long coat would be nice for the cold temperatures. However, she wouldn't let me do enough to remedy the matting, and it only seemed to get worse.
First hair cut;
cleared the matting
 This dog will require frequent grooming, an expense we going to minimize by doing the work ourselves. Perfection and mastery are fully expected to require lots of practice. Having about five years of angora rabbit grooming under my belt gives me some experience to spring from. Between cutting the boys hair (which I'm still working to improve) and now clipping the dog's hair there will be plenty of opportunities for practice this spring and summer. While a fluffy coat is lovely, it requires constant combing, and so it will be partly up to the dog as to how long we'll keep it. Now that we're starting off with a clean slate, perhaps she'll be better about allowing us to brush her feet. However, if she persist in being super sensitive about it, we'll just keep her clipped short at all times.

Scouring the reviews on amazon for advice specific to poodle type coats, I settled upon the Andis two speed clippers, which were well rated. Since I was trying to removed matting between clipper swipes, I turned them off and on frequently to prevent them from heating up. I used grooming scissors to cut out really bad matting, a steal comb to smooth out the coat, and clipper guards in an attempt to salvage some length of the coat along the back and head. However, I had to take it down much further than I'd hoped when the guards wouldn't allow for cutting through any matted parts. Since my clippers were not running non-stop, and the dog is petite, over heating didn't seem to be too much of a problem. Just in case I had picked up some Cool Care spray after reading reviews that strongly recommended it. While the Andis clippers didn't specify this, it did come with a large bottle of clipper oil, which keeps the clipper blades lubricated and running smoothly.  It was nice not to have to purchase that separately, as I did the guards and will need to do if I want different blade sizes. The clipper comes with a standard size 10 blades attached. I felt this was short enough for my purposes. Larger numbers cut even shorter, and smaller numbers cut to yield a longer length. My desired look is the teddy bear cut I've seen on Pinterest.

I never clipped any of my former angora rabbits, which could cause even more matting. I'd read the best wool care was combing it out and plucking away molting wool. Plucking was the only way to completely remove all the molted wool, as shearing left short molted pieces. While unbelievably time consuming (time I no longer have in my life...maybe one day, but not now) that was how I always took care of my rabbits. However, most angora folks, especially folks with many rabbits, sheared their rabbits, because it was simply faster. Indeed, after clipping the dog this weekend I wonder how I managed to never clip the rabbits. How much easier this will be then combing, brushing, combing, painstakingly separating matting.... what a relief to just buzz it all away. Now I feel like Scarlett O'Hare, "I will never go clipper-less again!"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Use for old textbooks

Whenever my husband needs a weight for something, the first thing he reaches for is my old nursing school textbooks. When he needs to go on a ruck march, a few of these quickly add up to the 30-50 lbs he needs to weigh down his backpack. Unable to use a vise clamp for glue work, such as the time when he wanted to apply pressure to our t-molding strips over the newly installed kitchen floor, a couple of hand bells and my nursing text books were called up for duty. So if you're about to graduate from nursing school, unless you want to retain those books as really expensive weights, sell them back. On second thought, do they even print up these monstrosities anymore? Perhaps there's now an apps instead of textbooks.

Sump pump or swamp thing that is the question

Whether it will pump endless gallons of water away from my yard, or sit idly by as a sinister swamp creeps closer and closer towards my back door, that is the question.
Yesterday, the swamp thing immerged and showed us it's true colors.
I give this 3/4 horse power (HP) flotec a big double thumbs down!  Time to find myself a new friend named Wayne.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Skin care for knitters

It's winter, my skin is dry and cracks form on my fingertips constantly. Like a paper cut, only wider, this really hurts. As a kid my mother showed me how to use scotch tape on a paper cut, and it works wonderfully to ease the pain. While working in the E.R. I learned that plastic tape was hard on frail and sensitive skin, and I discovered paper tape. One of my pet peeves was discovering an infant or elderly patient with plastic tape all over their delicate skin. The bruises and skin tears that would occur from tape removal were horrible. I'm definitely a paper tape proponent. Sure it can wash off over time, but it doesn't damage the skin the way the plastic tape did. And when my fingers are cracked and split, I find comfort and pain relief in a bit of paper tape. Often I can wash my hands or get them wet a couple times (as it dries quickly) before I have to replace the tape. This is cheaper and more effective than a Band-Aid in my opinion.


Friday, January 31, 2014

Bad figure skating costume

Hey! Someone knit that horrendous looking headband. Back when my girls did a wee bit of figure skating, I always wanted to find a way to incorporate knitting into one of their costumes, but that is not what I had in mind.

No, my girl's aren't skating anymore, but I'm still a fan of figure skating. In their defense, bad costumes have their place, as it gives us low brow folks something to talk smack about.

knitting for profit

Saw this article online, What's it Worth? by Sam Hunter of Hunter's Design Studio and had to comment.

This is how I began to feel about knitting...there's no way anyone would pay me, even minimum wages, for the time I spent knitting my goods. For a solid year I did knit none stop trying to keep up with orders for my knit goods on Etsy, I made many, many dresses and sold them for prices that were competitive with the typical catalog. And at the end of it all, subtract materials and not even factoring cost of labor, I made a whopping $300 in profits...hardly enough to purchase a low end kitchen appliance. I love to knit, and wish I had more  hours in the day, to make things for folks, but my time away from my kids sure isn't worth such a measly price.

Gross Domestic Product

Reports that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) went up yesterday catch my attention. Indeed I patronize Lumber Liquidator, Home Depot, and the LG appliance line this month. My local contractors saw a spike in business when I hired a duct cleaner to clear my dyer vent, an appliance repairman to fix my stove, and finally my favorite local plumber to repair the leaky pipes in the kitchen. Oh I'm good at consumerism! Perhaps I have personally driven up the GDP thanks to me leaky kitchen sink pipe and the need to do some serious kitchen repairs this past week.

However, my own personal GDP as an Amazon affiliate is an absolute 0%, and I'm about to get a pink slip from the program. I am not so good at advertising.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, so if you're wondering if becoming an Amazon affiliate really pays, I'm one example of when it doesn't. It seems to me that if you already have a large web following, or have a fantastic idea that generates buzz then it certainly is a good idea to monetize your blog, but don't get your hopes up that the money is going to just start rolling in.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014