June 27, 2007

Imaginary You?

Recently I subscribed to Knitting Daily. This is a daily "discussion" delivered to your email box by Interweave Knits. Sandi Wiseheart is writing a daily blurb about knitting and how it affects her life. Currently, she is working on Tomato, written by Wendy and published in No Sheep For You by Amy Singer. On Friday, Sandi wrote: "I am a big girl. That's a fact. However, and this is the interesting part: I am not as big as I think I am. I suspect this is true of many of us gals. We are so brainwashed by the media that, in our minds and in our mirrors, we see ourselves as—literally—larger than life. However, I am not larger than life-sized (and neither, I suspect, are you). I am simply "life-sized." But I forgot how powerful my imagination is. When I cast on for Tomato the first time, I cast on for No Sheep For You by Amy R. Singer that imaginary big girl and not for the actual big girl I am."

Personally, this struck a cord with me. As many of you know, I was once a 'big girl.' Most days I still feel like a big girl and I see a big girl in the mirror. However, my friends say that I'm no longer a big girl. I think this is a discussion that happens alot in the minds of women across America, around the world, really.

So, how do we move past our imaginary selves and start creating for our life-sized selves? I can't tell you the number of times I have knit something that ends up too big because I think my tape measure is wrong, it's old, it must be stretched, I can't possibly be that small - whatever my rationale is for making something a size too big. Then what happens, it sits in my closet for a year or so and then I give it away. True, some of the joy in knitting and sewing is the creating, its feeling the yarn flow through your fingers, fondling fabric, going through the motions, learning new techniques. But has to be acknowledged that another part of the joy is actually wearing something that you have created with your own two hands. Turning flat fabric into something three dimensional that fits and looks flattering and saying (When some lady in the supermarket won't quit going on about what a great skirt you're wearing. Yes, that actually happened to me recently.) Thank you - I made it :)

So, talk back - do you create for the life-sized you or the imaginary you?

June 26, 2007

So How Big of an Idiot are You?

This is how big of an idiot I am! Great Yarns, my favorite LYS hosts knitting in the garden on Wednesday nights. It's free, there's food, beverages (adult and otherwise), and a lovely garden to knit in. A couple of weeks ago, June 13th to be exact, I went and met my friends there and we knit for awhile. I have been wanting to knit lace for sometime, so before I left I talked to Fontelle (the owner) and told her what I wanted to do.

She went and grabbed Victorian Lace Today and I thumbed through it. I really, really wanted to make a triangle shawl with a knit on border, but I fell in love with the scarf pictured on page 36. I love it!

So, I bought the book, some Addi turbo lace needles, and two hanks of hand-died Malabrigo baby merino lace weight in shades of grey.

Finally, yesterday before work I wound the first hank into a tiny little yarn cake. I put the yarn and the needle into my work bag so I could cast on at lunch. During the day yesterday when I needed a break, I pulled the yarn and needle out of my bag and started looking for the pattern. Yep - not in the bag! IDIOT!

So, I get home and settle down on the couch with JB last night and grab my needle, the tiny little yarn cake, and the pattern. I cast on 121 stitches (I think), and count - 116 stitches; hmm; add 5 stitches; count again - 125 stitches, slip 4 stitches off the end; count again - 121 stitches! YEA (IDIOT x2 because I can't count!)

Read pattern, work 8 rows in garter stitch. Easy enough I can do that. This scarf is worked over an 18 stitch pattern. This morning, I sit down with needles, yarn, pattern ready to start knitting lace and the next bit of instructions say - work the 16 ROW pattern repeat 3 times. I read work the 16 stitch pattern - okay, well the pattern is worked over 18 stitches, which stitched do I skip? I get online, I look for errata to the pattern, none! I check the Victorian Lace Today Knit-Along to see if anyone else had a problem with this. I count stitches in the pattern, I read it again, finally I just load it all into my bag and bring it to work with me.

It wasn't until I called Wendy at Great Yarns this morning and read the pattern out loud to her that I realized what the problem was. I was reading the 16 ROWs as 16 STITCHES. IDIOT x3. So tonight I will begin working on the lace border and hopefully at this week's Knitting in the Garden I will have something to show. I should say that I have never knit lace before and this pattern is rated as Experienced, but come on! I should be able to read!!!

June 25, 2007

Manic Monday Miscellany

Okay - I'm having a hard day. It got better this afternoon, when for whatever reason, everything anyone said was hysterically funny. So, here's how my week is planning on going: *tonight, finish the pink dress. This morning I made the white sash, cut, sewn, pressed, top stitched - done! I pinned the lining to the zipper tape and it only needs hand sewing. *find a quick, easy fun project to get sewn this week *cast on my new malabrigo lace weight for the scarf I have planned *Tuesday The Princess is coming over so we can cut and piece the back of her duvet cover. We finished the front last night. *Wednesday knitting in the garden with my girlfriends at Great Yarns *watch The Closer! *get back on the treadmill *the weather is turning nice so talk JB into walking dogs again. *Friday is a PSD - I'm not doing housework, I'm not procrastinating and doing other things. I have a dress cut out and I want to work on it.

June 24, 2007

What We Do for Love

Edited to add the promised photos. I promise to edit this later to add photos, because it will make more sense with photos than it does right now - but here's the story anyway! Yesterday morning The Princess calls to ask if I will help her cut the backing fabric for the duvet cover she has been working on for months! Of course, I say, bring all your stuff over. She arrives, front, extra front border fabric that hasn't been added yet, and duvet in hand. I'm cooking breakfast, so first we eat. Then I get hubby off to work - he has to go in to work on a friend's car. Then we move the dining room table to get a large expanse of open floor. Then we have to clean all the dog hair up. Finally she lays her duvet on the dining room floor and puts the tiny little section of patchwork (again, remember she's been working on this for months) in the center of her duvet. Next she pulls out some lovely chocolate brown home dec fabric that is to be the borders for the patchwork. Well - there isn't enough! She needed about 3 yards, and she bought a yard. By now it's noon and she has to be to work at 1. We jump in my car and race to JoAnn Fabrics where she originally bought the border fabric. Of course, they don't have it any longer. But they do have another textured fabric in the same color and it's on sale for $5/yard. This will work she says and I love that the textures are different. This will just add to the "Eclectic" feel I'm going for on the front! I drop her off at work and head home. Once again I measure for the borders, after clarifying if she wanted to put the top and bottom on first, then the sides, or the sides and then the top & bottom. As I'm putting the top and bottom borders on her piece of patchwork, I notice that the seams on some of the patchwork are coming apart. This patchwork is done with all different types of fabrics, different weights, etc. Some are quite ravelly and The Princess is afraid of the serger. So, I went through her patchwork piece and made sure all the seams were sound and were going to say intact. This is important because the Summer before she started 9th grade she made a great Navy Blue skirt to wear on the first day of school. This fabric was a very ravelly peachskin silky. She put a lovely embroidery on the front on the skirt and installed the best invisible zipper I have ever seen - not one bubble or bump! Keep in mind that she is afraid of the serger and wouldn't let me do anything on this project! I believe she was 15 or 16 at the time! Well she wore that skirt to school on her first day of high school and you can just guess what happened. Yep! The seams shredded - by the time she was halfway through the day the only thing holding her skirt together was basically the backstitching! She had a jacket that she tied around her waist and nobody knew, but she did. She has refused to make a stitch of clothing since then! Oh she's design it. She'll buy the fabric for it. She'll even wear it, but she won't make it! I couldn't let this happen to her again - so I secretly reinforced all the stitching lines :)

June 20, 2007

No Third Sock Syndrome Here!

Third Sock? you say. Gaylen - silly girl, it's second sock syndrome, not third sock! What, who, are you knitting socks for? Well - here's the story. On our recent quick trip to Canada I grabbed some knitting to take along. Really - who wouldn't? At least 6 hours in the car each way! I grabbed the wool twin set I'm working on as well as a ball of self-stripping Trecking sock yarn. I pulled my nice shiny metal, size 2US double pointed needles out of my bag of tricks and proceeded to cast on for a sock. In the car, in the hospital, visiting at the folks house - I worked on the first sock. Finally - I finished decreasing the toe and grafted the remaining the stitches. Then I tried it on. I have long said that I love knitting socks, I just hate wearing hand-knit socks. And then, I have the nerve to get my feelings hurt when The Princess, The Musical One or JB won't wear the socks I have knit. Well now I get it. That first sock - it was just too loose. I didn't hug my foot at all, the pattern didn't show very well because the needles were too big for the yarn. I could have left it, finished the second sock and gifted the pair to someone who wouldn't know the difference. But I wanted these socks. So I ripped it! The little cake of sock yarn - that's the first sock in its current state. For the second sock (currently the only finished one) I cast on with US1s and knit the entire leg and heel flap with the ones. After turning the heel, I switched to US0s and finished the gusset, foot and toe on the smaller needles. This time I'm using Clover Bamboo double points. I really like my shiny metal double pointed needles, but the stitches are looser. Immediately after finishing the second sock, I cast on for the third and final sock. But now - I need to know - does anyone have a pattern for a tiny, fingering weight, baby sock? I will have enough of this yarn left to make a pair of socks for baby - I hope.

June 19, 2007

Meeh

Okay - I'm so not in love with The Pink Dress. I think it's because it just looks so blah! I really like this pattern, though, so may try it again in a cute cotton print. I'm reserving judgment as I think it's just the fabric that makes it look so meeh to me. I think this paraphrased comment from Camillaknits says it all: "The pink one looks lonely and pale. Perhaps if you bought her a nice prep grosgrain ribbon belt in a shockingly 'Lilly Pulitzer' lime/ turquoise/pink colorway it would perk the gal up. Or decide that you will only wear the pink dress with a strawberry daiquiri in one hand and a giant floppy hat on your head. Just call everyone 'dahlin' when you wear her royal pinkness and no one will notice the dress (though will they suspect you've had aneurysm?)" The good news is that The Princess likes the dress. It would appear to be a bit small across her larger than mine bust, but she likes it. She did take Claire's suggestion and ask for a white tie, which I have yet to make. For that matter, I still haven't sewn the lining to the dress at the zipper or run it through the washer. But it will happen and soon. It looks like the hem is slightly uneven in the side view - but I'm okay with that. Since I put pink lace on the lining of the skirt, she also asked me to shorten the fashion fabric so that the pink lace would peek out. We may do that when she gets home from Connecticut. More about the adventures of The Princess to come. Now that I'm late getting ready for work (I had to catch up with all my blog reading) I guess I should go get in the shower. My life is finally starting to feel normal again - I did take most of Friday off (I had to go to the office for a meeting and was there for about 3 hours). I got Costco and regular groceries done, laundry mostly finished (hand knits that need to be hand washed remaining), and housework done. I also caught up with my shows recorded on the DVR. Carolyn did you see the Season Opener of The Closer last night? Loved it! So glad she's back on!

June 14, 2007

Pink Dress

The Pink Dress is Simplicity 3877, View C. I made this dress once before and you can see it here. I love the Happy Dress which is what it has become known as. This version isn't floating my boat - maybe it needs a time-out in the magic closet. It's still not finished. I still need to stitch the lining to the zipper, and it needs to be washed and have a good pressing. But the rest is done. This dress is fully lined because the pink polka-dot fabric was very thin. I lined and underlined the bodice. So the front of the bodice has 2 layers - one fashion fabric and one is a lightweight white cotton. I made a second skirt and added lace to the hem of the white lining. But, I wasn't thinking ahead - I put the pretty side of the lace on the public side of the lining - so all the seam allowances on the skirt portion are on the inside. What is the best way to handle that? If I wanted all the seam allowance together so the dress was pretty on both the inside and the outside, then if the lining showed, so would the seam allowances. I don't know - did I do this right? At this point - I don't love it. To me it just screams 'made with loving hands at home.' I'm hoping that it's the super crappy JoAnn's poly-cotton fabric that I used and not my sewing skills, but I'm reserving judgment for another day.
If nothing else - maybe the Princess will like it. She would look very cute in it. By the way, the dress is a little loose on me - maybe I over padded the dress form. I also think I have a little bit more of a waist in real life and I hate to think that my hips really look like that - but I guess I'd have to put the dress on and take a picture of me wearing it to prove that. Since I'm still wearing a bathrobe - that ain't about to happen today! Next Up - And instant gratification project. I am in need of a new skirt, just because I have some cute fabric waiting, I know I can make it quickly and it will look good!!! Tonight JB and I are off to see Tim McGraw & Faith Hill! I'm very excited.

June 13, 2007

To Work or Not To Work

That is in fact the looming question. You see, I have every other Friday off, it's a great perk of my job. I now have part-time, reliable help to do my job who is guarantee to be here on the Fridays I have off. Now here is where the issue comes in. I took Monday off to fly (in a Chrysler Crossfire) to Barrier, British Columbia, Canada to visit with my in-laws. My Mother-in-Law is still in the hospital, but doing well. So, do I use a vacation day for Monday or work on Friday to make up for it. Let me just say that I have 15 paid vacation days a year and that I only used 13 days during my first calendar year working here. So far this year (which ends with November) I have used 4, so I still have 13 days left. JB has used far more of his 15 vacation days this year than I have, because he took vacation to help with the roof - so since he can't carry any over from year to year and we both took 3 to go to Arizona, and then he took another 6 - he only has 6 days of vacation left for this year. Also, because life has been less than normal - I am way behind on house cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, the fridge needs cleaning, I need to run to Costco, the dogs are almost out of food and if I don't get some good quality face time with my sewing machine soon - the men in the white coats are going to come get me. So, I believe the answer is Not to Work. But, what do you all think?

June 11, 2007

Can I Just Have Normal Again?

My life has been anything but normal since the last day of May. First we went on vacation in May, late nights, early mornings, lots of time spent in the car and no regular meals. Fun was had by all. Then we came home and I had about 10 days of my normal life. You see I'm really an early to bed, early to rise kinda girl. My life is a routine - boring, but a routine that I know, love and crave! In those 10 days I started working out again. I added reading back into my life - which I love and can do while on the treadmill. I was cooking dinners, packing lunches and basically just settling back into my routine. Then, we had to get the exterior of the house painted before the roof was installed. So, that meant extra stuff to do. Yard work and cleaning outside. Taping, painting, deciding on colors. Back to a little bit later nights. Friday, June 1st they delivered the roofing materials and on Saturday, June 2nd my brother arrived from Butte, Montana to put on the new roof. Saturday was mostly spent on the painting, and all the prep that involved. I got to be chauffeur, running people to pick stuff up - roofing nails, whatever - all about sending me. The men got on the roof around 1:00pm on Saturday when we ran out of paint. I was sent to get more. House got finished painting and roof finally got finished too! The roof took much longer than anticipated for a couple of reasons, first my brother's friend who was coming to help bailed at the last minutes. Second - we live in Seattle and my brother picked the only week it rained to come do the roof. and Third - there was entirely too much roofing delivered (34 bundles) which they moved around the roof several times before bringing it down and returning it. On Monday we went to the Mariners' Game. The rule in our house is if you go to a game you always stay until the end! So - late night. I didn't take vacation while my brother was here - so I had to get up in the morning and go to work. Tuesday, we were suppose to go out to dinner, but the rain stopped and the boys didn't get off the roof until after 9:00p - no dinner out, but we did BBQ - late. Late dinner, late to bed. Wednesday we made it out to dinner, but not until around 8:00. So again, late home, later to bed. Friday, my brother headed home. We were all up early to load our old TV into his truck and get him on the road. However, on Thursday we got a couple of emails from my sister-in-law that my MIL was in the hospital and according to SIL on her 'death bed.' Let me insert here that I have the best bosses ever. When I asked them on Friday about taking Monday off because we had to take an emergency trip to Canada to see my MIL, they kicked me out of the office early. Thankfully, MIL Is okay and we got up there to see her. In the process, we spent 7 hours in the car on Friday, a good portion of Saturday in the car and at the hospital and, more hospital time on Sunday. We left really late Sunday night and got home in the wee hours of the morning on Monday. Of course, I have to stay awake to make sure that JB stays awake - so super late night and a late morning. I feel like it's only about noon right now and it's almost 5:00! I just want to get back to my regularly scheduled routine! I'm going to be happy to head to bed at 10 tonight. I will make sure the alarm is set and go to sleep with every intention of getting up and getting a workout in first thing tomorrow. Right now however, I'm taking advantage of an unplanned afternoon and working on the skirt lining for the pink polka-dot dress! Happy Sewing.

June 6, 2007

Just a Little Update

I haven't touched the sewing machine in days. The pink dress is still in the same state of undone. I did manage to get the skirt portion of the dress added to the top, I also tried it on, and although it will be a little bit big it will be fine. The dress will be fun for this summer. I have the white cotton lining pieces for the skirt all cut, serged and ready to be sewn together. But my days have been spent working and cleaning up the yard. All that I am allowed to do is clean up the yard. The roof is almost done - would have been done days ago if not for the lovely Seattle Rain. They worked for several hours last night in the drizzle, the did however have the brains to come off the roof when it was raining super hard. I did manage to sit on the couch this morning and cast on the front of the pink shell for the twin set I'm working on. First time I'm touched knitting needles in days. Felt good to just relax. I put a crafting show on DIY, made a cup of tea and knit away - at least for 45 minutes. As for other projects on the plate - I'm still trying to find the perfect crocheted lace for the lining on the black & white skirt. I have another dress cut out - which will hopefully be a wearable muslin for the brown & pink rayon dress to be made this Fall. Did I mention that JB got a new tv for Mother's Day? Well my brother is taking the old projection tv home with him. So after that finishing the curtains from last year becomes a front center project in my life. I will be so glad to have them done and not have the big stack of fabric sitting on my cutting table. It will also be really nice to be able to move the furniture around in the living room. With the big tv it was impossible to move the placement of anything. But the new tv is mounted on the wall over the fireplace. Okay - enough rambling, now I'm off the clean up the fallen shingles on the front lawn.

June 5, 2007

Tired

It's been a really long weekend that started on Friday. So far, nothing on the home improvement front is actually finished. We found one wall that totally got missed with the second coat of paint. Now it needs to be brushed by hand. The roof is taking longer than I thought it would, and also, longer than my brother thought it would too. Of course it doesn't help that I keep making them get off the roof before they are ready - but such is life. Oh, and Monday it rained! Apparently the "boys" were on the roof in the rain - glad I was back to work. On Sunday we had the neighbors over to BBQ to thank them for all their help - equipment, knowledge about painting, staff etc. I made two fresh rhubarb crumb pies. Unfortunately - they didn't both get eaten and are now sitting in my kitchen! On Monday, I pulled the guys off the roof early, because my brother had never been to a professional baseball game. Having a team in town who is currently on a winning streak didn't hurt any. The Mariners managed to pull a win out of the 8th inning last night. We were worried that it wasn't going to happen. The Princess went with us because had an extra ticket. We had garlic fries and ice cream. Great dinner - huh? But we danced - every time a good song played, we sang and danced. Man did I get a workout. I forgot how much I love attending baseball games! When we got home - The Musical One had a friend over (she couldn't go to the game with us, because she had to work late) and they were baking cupcakes. This is what was on my kitchen counter when I got up. Silly her, or maybe me, I left those cakes unattended while the dogs were eating and I went to the powder room. When I came back into the kitchen - less than 5 minutes later - one of those little heart cakes was missing! I know Lucy Lou is a counter surfer and I know that plate should have been moved - I also know that she knows all of this. What I don't know is why it is my responsibility to move her baking out of the paths of the dogs?
Does this look like the face of a dog who did anything wrong? Nope! That's the way she always looks - totally innocent. Stinker! But she's the only one who will actually put her feet on the counter to get what she wants. When you stand 25" at the shoulder - pretty much nothing is out of reach when you stretch!
Finally, I'll leave you with the cutest picture of the Beau
Man. He loves his big bear! He picked this guy out at a garage sale and carried him halfway home 2 summers ago. He carried Big Bear all through the house and goes through streaks when it is the favorite toy and when noisy toys take favorite spot. But one day last weekend Big Bear was in favor.

June 2, 2007

Home Improvements

This is what's going on at my house this weekend and for the first couple of days this week. We are getting a new roof and the house if being painted. Nothing like lumping all the major projects into one weekend. The problem: JB is as much of a procrastinator as I am. We have known that the house would need to be painted when we bought it. We then engaged in a little game of "maybe next Spring." Finally, we were ready to start our kitchen remodel and knew that doors and windows would be moved and new siding would be added - so we put painting off a little bit longer. The kitchen remodel has been completed for more than a year - closer to 16 months at this point. In April 2006 our roof sprung a leak along the valley that shows in the above photo. JB patched it and the leaking stopped. Yeah. Roofing project delayed. When my brother came for Thanksgiving - he said he would be happy to come out this year for his 'vacation' and help put the new roof on. That is JB in the blue shirt and my brother in the white standing on the roof - apparently, if you look at it long enough it will roof itself! Anyway, our neighbor is a professional painter and he said that at the very, very least any part of the house that you had to stand on roof to paint had to be done before the roofing - to avoid over spray on the new roof. So, JB and I both had Friday off, he spend the day finishing the prep work for painting and I ran the errands. the neighbor sent and employee over yesterday and they got the first coat of paint sprayed on the top of the house. This morning, we had 2 more of the neighbors guys show up at 8 and then helped finish all the prep work and continued spraying. When they left at 1:00p.m. The upper portions of the house were finished - 2 coats applied and the lower portions of the house all have one coat. Now to decide on the trim color. I know it's hard to tell but the house is now a very olive drab green (think Army uniform green). I like it - but it's dark the trim will have to be light and bright. After spending most of the morning running errands - money to pay the painters, water, sandwich stuff, nails for nail guns the proper valley metal etc. At 1 I was sent out to get another 10 gallons of paint. Man is painting a house expensive! It has taken close to 30 gals of Sherwin Williams highest end exterior house paint. Thank goodness the neighbor is a professional painter, I guarantee you we used his discount! When I finally was able to come in the house, you see I'm a girl and not allowed to help paint or roof. The mailman had brought me a box from Kansas! Jessica sent me a package and this is was in it: A really cute batik puppy. Some yarn bras, a row counter, some point protectors, 2 skeins of KPPPM in a fabulous color! I think they have to become Monkey's. She also included the cutest little card with a picture of knit sweater on the front. I wonder where she found them. I leave you with a picture of the batik puppy. I think he's adorable. This is one of her first sewing projects - that wasn't a quilt top. Can't wait to see the skirts she makes. Thank you Jessica.
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