Friday, December 31, 2010


This is kinda embarrassing to share. I know every crafter has a project or two tucked away unfinished, but this took procrastinating to a whole new level. A long, long time ago I spun a two-ply alpaca yarn. Then a long time ago I decided to knit it into a neck warmer for a friend using a lovely pattern from Spin Off magazine. It's a fast knit and I got to the required length in no time. But then I couldn't decide if I should stop there, or make it a bit longer. So I put it away. That was about a year and a half ago. Recently I pulled it out again, determined to finish the damn thing. (Think of the neck warmer as my albatross, albeit a super soft and cozy one.) I decided to stick with the length suggested in the pattern, then literally I only had to knit a couple rows to add button holes and finish it off. For more than a year it sat needing just a few rows of knitting. Then a few minutes and it was done.

The neck warmer is so soft and warm. I wore it for a while after adding the buttons and I didn't want to take it off. God bless alpacas and their wonderful, wonderful fleece. I resisted the urge to order some more alpaca for another project, reminding myself of my huge fibre stash. To be fair, I have some lovely stuff but nothing quite as wonderful as alpaca.

After the much-delayed finishing of the neck warmer, I did start on another one. I was half done in no time. Anyone want to place a wager on when I'll finish it? One year? Two years? I'm aiming for before global warming makes it obsolete.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Portrait in white

I've been meaning for a while to take some photos of my dog Marie. Her face has turned almost all white and she looks just so pretty. When I adopted her about six years ago she was mostly black with a bit of white. Now it's the other way around. This spring she'll be 11. That's a good age for a greyhound to reach and she's still got a whole bunch of silly in her.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Crafty sleuthing

My mom recently went to a gathering and was admiring a woman's lovely beaded pendant. Being a crafty person who can't stop themselves from wanting to figure out how something is made, my mom asked the woman about the pattern. But she simply refused to reveal anything. Odd. The next time my mom and I got together, she tried to explain what the pendant looked like - even making a little sketch. I couldn't quite figure it out from the pencil scratchings, but a simple google search found the exact pendant in seconds. "That's it!" my mom exclaimed. God bless the internet!

So here's the one I made. It's a very simple design, although rather fiddly because you're stitching together three rings. It's difficult to see in the photo, but there are two rings on the inside next to each other.

I really could have used larger crystals, but generally it looks good. Of course you can't go too wrong with sparkle. I think I'll try a couple more variations with different focal beads. I just need to rummage through my stash a bit. But for now I must go and wrap the pendant for a stocking present tonight. Ah, what would I do without the last minute?

Crafty Christmas

I sewed a couple more lunch sets for Christmas presents for friends. I don't know about anyone else, but I use mine all the time. Although I think I need to finally make myself a full set complete with napkins.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Look, Ma! No raw edges!

My mom coached me through making these pillowcases that have a nifty hidden seam where the body and cuff meet. French seams at the edges finish the pillowcase nicely, leaving no raw edges.

I wanted to make something for my very sweet neighbour who brought me a Christmas sack full of wonderful goodies - homemade soup, buns, cookies and Marie's favourite treats. She's having knee surgery soon and I thought the perfect thing for her recovery is a set of crisp, cheery new pillowcases for when she's stuck in bed.

Of course, being me, I decided this late last night. After rummaging through my fabric stash, I found some bright, flowery fabric that has a sateen feel. (Ah, the the cool side of the pillow!) And then I wanted to whip them up after work today. Seriously, what am I ever thinking?

Last night I nearly short-circuited my brain looking at a pillowcase my mom made me and trying to figure out how the heck she put the cuff on. After a quick phone consultation with her today and a big ah-ha! moment, I got started.

They turned out really well. And, true to form, I want to make a whole bunch more now.

Here's a look at the inside with the hidden cuff seam and lovely French seams. I'm thinking a good sleep is guaranteed on these pillowcases.

And for my encore tonight . . . I also sewed another lunch bag. It's pretty much the same as the first, just with slightly different dimensions. This project I actually did whip up!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

From dye to carder to wheel

This small skein is from the merino I dyed with chestnut husks. What a lush brown and the yarn is soft and airy.

The process was long - from dye pot to drum carder to spinning wheel - but the results definitely worth it. Now onto the marigold-dyed merino!

Another spinning caddy

I made this drawstring pouch for my lazy kate with fabric from the same line as I used for my handcarder caddy.

A perfect fit! Plus I had the teeniest strips of fabric left to make a pouch for the metal rods that go into the kate to hold the bobbins.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Heaven and Hell

I've noticed two extremes when I'm at the sewing machine. If I'm not cursing at yet another stupid mistake, then I'm heartily praying what I'm doing is going to work out. Why, oh why does it only take seconds to sew a hem and then many tedious minutes to rip it out?! At least more often now I see the impending mistake before I sew it in. Progress!

This lunch set - complete with my should-be patented placemat and napkin combo, and lunch bag - went surprisingly well.

The lunch bag is my own design with an idea borrowed from this nifty pattern for fabric produce bags. Instead of just one layer of fabric, I lined mine with a complimentary fabric.

In the end, the rapid-fire swearing and pleading behind me, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out - even when you look close!