Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tea Cosy Finished!

My tea cosy is finished! It is just a little bit short - you can see the bottom half inch of the tea pot in the picture above.
My jumping off point was the tea cosy pattern in the One Skein Wonder book, and I mostly followed the pattern, but I thought the moss stitch they call for for the sides was boring. I wanted a breakfast theme, since I'll be using it mostly at breakfast time, so I looked in my stitch dictionary and chose waffle stitch for one side and leaves for the other. There was a shortage of breakfast-named patterns, so I decided that the leaves are tea leaves, which is fitting.

I'm happy with the result. I still have almost two full skeins of this red yarn left over. I'm not sure what I'll do with them. I guess for now they go back into the knitting bin in my closet.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

CMS/Colloquium knitting

On Thursday, I knitted about half of the foot of the second sock. It's coming along fast!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A false start on the tablecloth

I pulled out my heirloom tablecloth last week to start finishing it (Yes, this means I finished my super-secret embroidery project, but I haven't wrapped up or given the gift yet, so I'm not posting about it yet). I somehow managed to find online instructions for the little squares - turns out they're called eye stitch.

I made one little square, but it is not quite right. It's the one on the upper right in this photo. It's too bulky and the hole is not big enough. It was pretty difficult to get the threads to line up right while I was sewing it. So my conclusion is that I'm using the wrong thread. My aunt told me that she was using DMC thread, so I bought white no. 5 perle cotton. Now I'm thinking I need no. 8, so it's back to the store before I can get going on it again.

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, January 20, 2012

CMS/Colloquium knitting

In CMS and Colloquium yesterday I finished the foot and turned the heel of the first sock, and made the toe of the second sock. Now I need to dig out stitch holders to put the first sock on while I knit the second foot ...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Two Purses!

I spent my Martin Luther King Jr morning doing a bit of housework and my afternoon making two purses. On the right you can see my Italy purse, now finished! I used about half a yard of some yellow seersucker that Robert's Grandma gave me last summer for the lining (and I still have almost 3 1/4 yards left!) The color is just perfect, and it's nice and light so I can see what's inside. I put in a zippered pocket on one side:
I feel like I really expanded my sewing skills with this purse: I used FOUR different feet on my sewing machine - regular, zipper, butttonhole, and button. This was my first time to use the button foot (on my Mom's machine, you don't use a foot for buttons, but this was nice, since I didn't have to worry about holding the button in place) and the buttonhole foot (my machine is fully automated for this, but it took me a while to figure out how to make it work. My mom's machine, you mark the length of the button on the fabric and do each step in turn). It was the second time I've used the zipper foot, but the first time without Evelyn's supervision.

The zipper turned out pretty well. There's a little bend in the stitching where the zipper pull was when I sewed it, but my thread matches pretty well, so it's not too obvious.

I wanted a top closure, but I didn't want to mess around with a zipper and then have to figure out how to sew it nicely into the outer bag, so I used a cute flower button I found at Joann's, and made a reinforced buttonhole tab on the other side:
The other purse was so super quick and easy that there's been some debate over whether it counts as a finished object. I think it does. I found this tutorial while I was poking around the interwebs for purse pocket ideas for my Italy bag, so when I was at Joann's buying notions I picked up 1 1/4 yards of this floral fabric on sale so I could try it. I didn't even pre-wash or finish the edges! My one quibble with this purse is that the knots and tails made in the construction are now inside the bag, along with whatever items you're carrying. But for 5 minutes of work and less than $5 worth of fabric, I really can't complain!
Edit: As Evelyn pointed out, she helped me with the zipper on another project, not the buttonhole. Next time I'll try to do a better job proofreading ...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Colloquium/CMS knitting

Last week was the first week of the Spring semester - and we had one colloquium and one CMS, as usual, but not in the usual order. There was a "special colloquium," a.k.a. a job talk, on Tuesday but no colloquium on Thursday.

I can't remember if I've posted about these socks yet, but I started them while I was in Denmark over New Year's. My Farmor was fascinated by the toe-up construction. Even though she's knit tons of socks, she had apparently never seen any construction method other than the standard cuff-down one.

My concern with these socks is that when I bought the purple yarn (Lorna's Laces sock yarn) several years ago, I only bought one skein. I guess I was new to sock knitting, so I didn't quite understand that you really need two 50 gram skeins, and it was pretty expensive, but it was so beautiful I couldn't not buy any. So I'm making contrasting toes and heels with green yarn, which is leftover from another pair of socks. My plan is to knit one foot, then the other, and then alternate on the legs to see how long I can make them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christmas continues!

I came home from visiting my dad's side of the family to find more Christmas presents waiting for me. Robert made me this thread rack! It has three rows of pins for thread on each side, with shorter ones on the top row for bobbins and longer ones on the bottom row for full spools. It has a hinge on the top, so it can be laid flat for storage or hung on a wall. It is so wonderful!

My old thread storage method was to throw the spools in my sewing machine box and put the bobbins in the little case with my straight pins, so this is a great improvement.

I also got a book from my Aunt Sherri and her family: Knit Your Own Dog! It is absolutely adorable. Now I need to decide what kind of dog to knit ...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Quilt for Farfar

My grandfather had a stroke at the beginning of December and moved to a nursing home just before Christmas, so my mom and I decided to make a quilt for him to have in his new room - but we didn't have a lot of time to finish it before my dad was leaving to go see him. With my mom's help, I made the quilt in 48 hours! We picked out some fabrics my mom had in her stash, and I randomly assembled the top following this tutorial for a disappearing nine-patch, except I strip-pieced it using 6-inch strips instead of 5-inch squares. Robert helped me lay out the blocks according to the 3-color rule (no two adjacent patches can be the same color), my mom did most of the basting for me, and I machine quilted it in the ditch and bound it entirely by machine. I have to admit, I'm not totally wild about the machine binding - it looks pretty bad on the back - but I didn't have the time to do the binding by hand. I finished the quilt and tucked it into my dad's suitcase about two minutes before we had to leave to take him to the airport.

The quilt is approximately 48" by 64" - lap quilt size.