Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stained glass quilts : 3 of 4

For Christmas, my parents requested four table covers for the occasional tables in their living room. They have really nice handcrafted mission-style furniture and wanted handmade table covers for them. I wanted to stick with the arts-and-crafts-movement theme of their living room, so I spent hours on the interwebs researching stained glass designs by prairie school architects.

I managed to finish three before Christmas, the fourth and largest one will have to wait until after New Year's. Each piece is made to fit a specific table. This first one is a 10.5" square, it's the simplest and completely covers the top of a fern stand.


The second one is a 14.5" square for a small occasional table.


Details of the second piece.


The third is for a side table that will hold a beautiful stained glass lamp and some knick-knacks.


Apologies for the photo quality... I spent so much time sewing these that I did not have time to take proper pictures before they were gifted. I'll take better photos of the fourth piece, I promise.

I didn't keep close track, but I think these three pieces took about 100 hours and $75 in materials. The gold batik is one solid piece, the binding and "lead" are both made out of bias tape. For the lead I used a Clover 3/8" bias tape maker. I used fusible interfacing to iron the lead and red accent pieces to the gold batik. Once the design was fused in place, I made a "quilt sandwich" with the top, batting and back. For the first two pieces, I machine-basted along a few of the bias tape lines before quilting. This did not seem to help much, the backing still bunched a little bit. For the third piece, I started quilting at the bottom left side and worked my way up and over, and that turned out much better. After the quilting was done, I buried all the ends on the front and back of the pieces. I was afraid if  just trimmed the ends they might start to unravel in time. The binding is hand-sewn for the first piece and machine-sewn for the second and third.

I'm incredibly happy with how the second and third pieces turned out. I feel like the first piece is a bit plain in comparison. I'm looking forward to starting the fourth piece, about 22x40" for a coffee table, after New Years. I already have a design sketched. My parents were thrilled with the table covers and have already requested more.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pattern for sale: Bryant

I finished a pair of fingerless mittens this summer, and just finished getting the pattern ready for sale on ravelry. The mittens feature 2 cable patterns that integrate nicely with the ribbing on top and bottom. The cable patterns are mirrored for right and left hands.






Yarn: Malibrigo Merino Worsted

Needles: US5 and US7

Pattern price: $3

Ravelry pattern page

Friday, November 20, 2009


I'm not sure how I feel about this pattern. It is ridiculously large and holds a ridiculously small amount of stuff. I like the idea of pocketbooks, but the shape for this one seems so awkward. I tried to make it accommodate more stuff by adding darts in the lower corners, but the darts ended up being so small (due to me not taking seam allowance into consideration when drafting the pattern) that they barely expand the bag at all.


Pattern: From In Stitches, by Amy Butler

Thursday, November 19, 2009

3 day hat

I finished a Koolhaas hat this weekend - cast on Thursday, done on Saturday :)


Yarn: Cascade 220

Needles US6 and US8 circs, US8 DPNs

Modifications: Added 2 rounds of ribbing for a slightly longer hat.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Paperback book cover

With the weather cooling down I'm doing less bike commuting and more bus commuting. Bus commuting = reading time. I wanted to take better care of the paperback books I read on the bus, especially the ones I am borrowing, so I devised a book cover:



I love it. It's thick enough that it protects the book from getting bent up and bruised in my purse, but it only adds a few millimeters to the bulk of the book. And the inter-office mailing envelope type closure means it will fit books of almost any thickness.  As long as the books are of the same format. I learned there are, unfortunately, three different formats for paperback  books:

A Format paperbacks are 110 mm x 178mm (4.33" x 7.01")in size,
B Format paperbacks are 130 mm x 198mm (5.12" x 7.8"),
C Format (trade paperbacks) are 135 mm x 216mm (5.32" x 8.51")

Doh! Guess I'll be making 3 different sized paperback book covers.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Marlo Bloom purse

Alternate title: Covering up your mistakes with bias tape

A couple weeks ago I made the Heather Bailey Marlo Bloom purse. I spent an hour at Joann fabrics looking for 2 coordinating fabrics for the project. My requirements were 1) not cutesy 2) in a dark color and 3) had a pattern repeat less than 24 inches. This was all I could find. I'm not a fan of the color red so I spent a long time looking for something anything else... but I eventually settled on this.  I'm actually really happy with the fabric now, it's grown on me.

My purse handles are edged with bias tape. This was not part of the pattern instructions. The pattern instructions did say to line two timtex handles up back-to-back and perfect the shape so that each pair of handles was exactly matching. I was not as meticulous about this step as I should have been. After I ironed fabric to the handles with fusible interfacing I realized that my handles are not at all the same shape. Even being just a millimeter off makes a big difference. When the pattern says perfect, it means perfect.

Also, fusible interfacing and me just do not get along. Even if my handles had been the perfect shape, I did a really bad job of folding the fabric around the handles and fusing it to the backside (or inside) of the handles. The edges of my handles were a mess, already starting to fray, and had globs of fusible interfacing melted all over.

I had two options:  I could start over and try to make new, better handles.  Or I could try to cover up my mistakes with bias tape. This was a tough call, since after 8+ years of sewing a lot I have never been able to use fusible interfacing or bias tape properly.  I opted for the bias tape since it seemed more likely to yield a durable end-product and you can rip out and re-sew bias tape if you make a mistakes. There is really no undoing and redoing mistakes with fusible interfacing. I made a lot of mistakes with the bias tape. Like 2 hours worth of mistakes. But I eventually got it right.




Friday, November 13, 2009


I finally have a yarn swift! I couldn't bring myself to pay $60+ for a fancy schmancy umbrella yarn swift so I made do without one. Then I found a great Instructables tutorial for making a yarn swift. My husband made this one for about $18. It rocks. I wound every hank of yarn I own into a center pull ball last weekend.


Action shot. Whee!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Alpaca Yarn!

I went to Peru this summer and all I came back with were these balls of yarn:



Ok, that's not really all I came back with. I came back with a ton of pictures, great memories, an Inca Cola tshirt and possibly the swine flu. But this is all the yarn I came back with. It was surprisingly hard to find yarn in Peru. I ended up finding these yarns at the Pisac market at the very beginning of our two week trip. I thought surely if I am finding yarn this early on in the trip, I will find even more of it later. Wrong-o! This was it. Oh well. Really this is all I needed - some sport weight yarn for mittens and some lace weight yarn for a scarf or shawl.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hexacomb cardigan

Look what I've been working on:



Yarn : Tahki Yarns Cotton Classic

Pattern : Hexacomb Cardigan, Interweave Knits Spring 2008

I've been working on this f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I really don't like purling because it takes me 4 times longer to purl than it does to knit. For that reason I really do not enjoy working on sweaters that are not knit in the round. But I really enjoy wearing cardigans. So I am slowly, slowly working on this cardigan.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sophia bag

About a month ago I finally finished the Sophia bag that I purchased materials for last summer. This was the most challenging sewing project I've ever done, but it was totally worth it. Here it is:



I have a serious procrastination problem. I start projects, then I get to a point where I make a mistake or am not sure that the finished project will meet my expectations, and then I stall. For months. Or years.

With this project I stalled after I attached the top panel to one of the side panels. It was at that point I realized that piping + curved seam = headache. Even using an invisible zipper foot I had to sew the seam about 6 times, each time a millimeter closer to the piping than the previous time. It ended up looking fantastic on the outside, but the wrong side is a total mess. So I put it away for a few months until I forgot how much I hate piping.

I sewed for an entire Saturday in August and finished the bag. I realized how much I hate piping about 5 minutes in, but I managed to convince myself that the ends were worth the means. And I was right. This bag rocks.

If I make another one, and I think I will, I would put more interfacing in the side and top panels - after a month of use it is starting to lose it's shape a bit. I would also make the lining a bit smaller, for some reason my lining was a smidgen too big. I would also consider adding a zipper pocket on the inside, a pocket between the handles on the outside, and some sort of inside divider to keep my knitting/reading/lunch separate from my phone/ipod/wallet/notebook.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Single Skein September

I signed up for the Stash and Burn Single Skein September ravelry group, fully intending to knit up 3 hats, 2 pairs of mittens, 3 scarves and a bunch of socks. I had a 2-week trip to India lined up (for work) and I thought I would be knitting through the 24 hour flight, the 1 hour commute each way to work every day, a weekend roadtrip, plus in the evenings at the hotel.

Here is the grand total of my knitting during the trip:


The top bit of a Foliage hat.


And the start of a strangling vines scarf.

The only knitting I did was on the flight to India. Once I got to India I spent every waking moment at work, shopping or sight-seeing with coworkers, or at the hotel sick. Road and traffic conditions in Bangalore (paired with my tendency to get car sick) were not conducive to knitting while commuting. I had a fantastic trip though, despite being sick and the lack of knitting. It was really productive work-wise, I got to know my coworkers better, see some amazing temples and palaces and eat some great Indian food. And I shopped. A lot. I hope I get to go back next year.

So, my new plan is to knit up just one single skein during the month of September. I think I can manage to finish the Foliage hat by the end of the month.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Aleita seams

I have spent over 4 hours trying to seam the shoulders of my Aleita vest. I'm really good at kitchener stitch over stockinette stitch, but somehow kitchener stitch over ribbing eludes me. Here's the latest unsuccesful attempt on the right side:


And the different, but equally unsuccesful attempt on the left side:


Somehow no matter what technique I use, the further I go the more 'off' the ribbing gets. Ugh. Things go awry after the first 8 stitches. The pattern has you bind off 8 stitches every row for 4 rows; it's hard to accomodate for the extra rows after those first 8 stitches. I'm going to give it a couple more tries tonight.

On a different note, check out how well the super-marco function works on the new camera! It's a bajillion times better than the old one.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Farewell, Atari!

I spent a good chunk of my early childhood playing Atari games. My parents gave me their old Atari 800 and I've been meaning to hook it up to the tv for years, but I never got around to it. This weekend I decided it's time to find the Atari a new home, one where it will actually be used. Because, believe it or not, it is still in working condition. I dusted the thing off for a photoshoot (with my new Canon 200SX - hopefully it has the lifespan of the Atari) before posting it on craigslist.





My parents even saved most of the documentation. This stuff is great!


Bounty Bob, the star of my favorite game ever - Miner 2049er. I don't think I ever got past level 8 of 10, despite hours and hours of trying.


Super Breakout, my second favorite game ever. This was the only game I played that used the paddle controller.


A Basic programming guide for the Atari. I never used this. It was news to me that the Atari was actually a *computer* and not just a game console. Turns out it is still one of the most powerful 8-bit home computers available. Check out the Atari Museum for more fun facts.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Leyburn socks

I started another pair of socks:


Pattern: Leyburn socks (ravelry link)

Yarn: Schachenmayr nomotta Regia Crazy Color 4-ply / 4-f├Ądig

Needles: US2

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Left / Right socks

The left / right socks are finished!


It's not obvious in the picture above, but for a better fit the socks are tailored differently for the left and right feet.


Yarn: Crystal Palace Maizy

Needles: US2

Pattern: I used the Knitty magic cast on to cast on 28 stitches for each sock using one long circular needle. On odd numbered rows I increased 1 stitch (by knitting in the front and back loop) at the beginning and end of each side of the sock - so 4 stitches total per row. On even numbered rows I knit all stitches. After a few increase rounds I stopped increasing on the inside of the socks and increased only on the outside.

The toes of the socks fit really well, but the ankle is a little baggy. If I make my husband another pair of socks I would decrease a few stitches around the ankle.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Evangeline mittens

I just finished a pair of Evangeline mittens for my sister's birthday. They're a super quick knit - I believe these took me about 4 hours - and the pattern is easily memorized.

I made a couple of mods to the pattern. I switched the overlap of the center cables so the gloves are mirror images of each other. I also added two stitches to the row before the thumb - one on each side of the 4 stitches that the pattern says to place on a stitch holder. I placed 6 stitches on the stitch holder (the 4 specified plus the 2 new ones). I cast on only 4 stitches above the thumb (as specified in the pattern). I think the extra 2 stitches make the mittens fit a little better - my original pair fits pretty tight around the thumb.


Pattern: Evangeline Mittens (ravelry link)

Yarn: Cascade 220

Needles: US7

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Falling Leaves socks

My first (and maybe last) pair of lace socks have been languishing on the needles for over a year. I'm trying to finish them before spring so that I can use these needles for another pair of socks, but as you can see it's slow going.


Pattern: Falling Leaves Socks

Yarn: Lane Cervinia Calzetteria

Needles: Adi Turbo US1.5

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Arm warmers

I'm done with winter. But unfortunately winter isn't done. I knit some arm warmers so I could start wearing short sleeve shirts again.


Yarn: JaegerSpun Wool-Silk DK weight

Pattern: modified Staghorn Cable Wrist Warmers (ravelry link or download)

Needles: US5 and US6

Monday, March 2, 2009

Baby Surprise

I mailed a package today for my new niece or nephew:


Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Colortweed

Patterns: Baby Surprise Jacket and Magic Slippers

Needles: US3 (sweater) and US1 (slippers)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Seafoam Scarf

I finally found an appropriate scarf pattern for the 100 grams of Art Fibers Golden Chai that I bought in September 2007. The seafoam scarf...


It took me about 14 months to decide on a scarf pattern for this yarn. I'm sure it won't take me another 14 months to finish the scarf... my goal is to finish it in time to wear this spring.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


I love the binary hat pattern! I think the pattern is so clever! Had I not been on a tight deadline for making this hat (it's a friend's birthday present), I would've made the hat say something in binary... but I couldn't think of something witty to say that used exactly16 characters (there are 16 cables in the hat, each representing one binary number). Maybe next time, I'm sure I will be making more of these in the future.

binary hat

Pattern: Binary hat

Yarn: Lamb's Pride Worsted

Needles: US6 and US7

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Free pattern! Staghorn cable wrist warmers

I just finished writing up a pattern for staghorn cable wrist warmers. The pattern starts at the wrist, so it's easy to make them longer or shorter depending on the amount of yarn you have. Mine each used up a ball of yarn about the size of an apricot. These are a super quick knit and a great use for small amounts of yarn left over from other projects.


Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, can substitute any worsted weight wool

Needles: US6 and US7 dpns

Gauge: 5 sts and 5.5 rnds per inch

You can download the pattern here and view the Ravelry pattern page here. Happy knitting!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

I can still sew!

After months of not sewing at all, I put together this quilt top. In a day. Now I just have to put the borders on it and, um, quilt it. I really want to quilt it myself with my Bernina 830, it's a lap blanket so it seems like it's of a manageable size. but there are a few obstacles in my way. First, I have to practice quilting. I am not so good at it. I don't have a walking foot, so I'm going to have to get good at free-motion quilting. Second, I have to find a way to stretch the quilt so that the backing, batting and quilt top don't pucker. Third, I have to clean off my sewing table so there is room to actually quilt. I'm aiming to have this quilt done by the end of the year.


Friday, January 2, 2009

2008 / 2009

2008 finished projects:


2009 WIPs:


2009 knitting stash:

BeroccoSoxNoro sock yarnyarnGoldenChaitofutsiesyarnMalabrigoLace

My goals for 2009:

  • Finish all the WIPs and knit all of the yarn above

  • Get (and keep!) knitting stash under 5 miles of yarn

  • Finish 2 quilts

  • Knit one colorwork piece

  • Create one original knitting pattern

  • Sew one purse

  • Sew 3 shirts

  • Take (and frame!) more pictures