Post Date: Friday October 28

I realize I promised pictures of the Halloween costumes for Friday.  I realize also that I failed to meet that promise.  And I could give you a million excuses as to why.  For instance, we ended up not going to the knit night Halloween celebration because it was raining and thundering and my spur of the moment meeting ran late.  Secondly, my weekend was so jam-packed with activities I could hardly breathe, and ended up taking 2 hours of mommy-time with a bottle of wine last night.  But really, I had moments throughout the weekend that I probably could have sat down and written this post, but as soon as I thought to myself “Ugh, I have to write that post about my costume” – I felt like I was working, and I really didn’t want to.  I don’t want this blog to be something I am forcing myself to do, something that needs to be maintained regularly (although, I really would like it to be).  I want it to be fun and interesting and sort of theropeutic.

That all brings me to today, right now, while I am sitting on the living room floor with a glass of wine and a ball of sock yarn, working on the first of my holiday projects, waiting for the sweet potatoes and rice to be ready, writing this post.

This weekend, I actually had a full Saturday off, with social plans for the evening and a babysitter lined up and everything.  It was amazing.  We went to the farmer’s market and bought loads of fresh veggies, and then we spent the afternoon piecing together Odin’s costume for the evening’s shindig.

I had spent the previous ten days shredding and knitting a dress out of recycled plastic bags.  It was somewhat tedious, but the effect was fantastic.  I was going to be a bag lady – complete with cats (which I spent the evening throwing at hapless party-goers).

Odin, was a dirty old man, and I thoroughly enjoyed painting his face.  I must have aged him 60 years.

He dressed complete with suspenders, cane, and pipe and flirted with young women on the CTA as we traveled to the party.

We left the party a little later than I would have liked, and I didn’t get a handful of hours of sleep before I was up and working at the coffeeshop the following morning.  The rest of Sunday, I sort of lazed about, trying to fully gain consciousness.

Monday, Ellette’s school had a Halloween parade and class parties, and I popped in early to do face painting and help out.  Then, that evening, we had trick-or-treating.

Ellette dressed as Gir, from Invader Zim.  Nobody really caught on to her costume, but she had fun anyway.  Although, somehow last night (whether it was candy-induced or a legitimate bug) Ellette was sick.  Twice.  We kept her home from school today and I got to wash all of her bedding and then some.  She’s feeling much better now.

Yesterday, however, I did dress up for work.  We all did, and even some of our customers.  It was fantastic.

What did you do for Halloween?

Busy Bee

Today I found myself absolutely, ridiculously free.  The brown yarn I need for the Dr. Who scarf was shipped separate from the rest, and still has not arrived, and so the project is on hold.

Over the weekend, I still needed a project to work on, so I started and completed two more pixie hats.

Unfortunately, I lost the ball band and can’t remember the yarn specs.  This is my own little pixie hat pattern which I have never written down, and don’t really plan on writing down.  It’s quick, easy, and uses a complete ball of bulky yarn.  I love it.

Today, i decided to finally turn some of the fabric from my Grandma into a dress.  My own creation, which sort of resembles a mumu except that I am making a waist cincher to go with it.  (I am currently experiencing problems with the waist cincher’s cinching mechanism, and so the ensemble is not completed yet).

I also spent half of the day working on those knee high socks I promised Ellette, which I then ripped out after completing the cuff because there was no way the sock was working with the cables.  I cast on again after getting Ellette off the bus stop.

Retro Rib Sock Pattern from 25 Favorite Socks by Interweave.  Yarn is Malabrigo Sock.  Tomorrow I have to take a train up to Milwaukee (because my car needs to see the car doctor again), and that gives me 2 solid hours of train knitting time to really crank these babies out.  I’m looking forward to it.

Do Not Look Behind the Curtain

I said don’t look!!

Instead, look at this:

Skirt #12 by Norah Gaughan – one of my favorite designers ever.  I want to marry her.  This one is knit in Queensland Bamboo and I absolutely adore it.  The color is “Celery” and it is way brighter than in the picture ( I was initially worried it would be too green).

Ok, so that’s not doing that great of a job at distracting you from the glaring absence of the tie skirt from last week.  You see, one sewing machine had a broken needle (and I have no replacements at hand) and this:

had me saying all sorts of curse words as it decided it just wasn’t going to catch the stitches through the ties (it worked on other fabric, just had a vendetta against the ties).  So, in a display of mature integrity, I took a steaming hot shower and watched cartoons with the little one and finishing the band on the skirt until Odin returned from errands to tell me what was wrong with the machine.

Before he could actually get to it, however, my moods had been up and down all day until I realized I was getting a headache.  Then, I realized my teeth were hurting, which at first I thought was odd.  Then, when a dark spot formed on my right eye I made the horrifying connection that I was getting a stress-induced migraine.  I used to get migraines a ton as a child, but once I reached 18 years, they sort of faded.  In the past year, I have had 3, which is just annoying.  I pre-empted the migraine with some medication (the only time I take it) and some homeopathic stress-relief tincture.  I attempted to socialize a little bit, but eventually had to have a lie down.  It was at this moment that Odin decided he was going to work on the sewing machine – right outside the bedroom door.  I wanted to strangle him.  In another moment of maturity, I took some homeopathic sleeping pills and knocked myself out.

This morning, I ripped out the band of the skirt and knit it on smaller needles (I was drowning in it) and then blocked the piece.  I also cast on:

The March Square for the Tech Square Afghan, as well as April’s:

Please ignore the fact that it is only March the 21st and April’s square is much farther along than March – which hasn’t really even been cast-on yet.  You try picking up 244 stitches from a provisional cast-on without loosing focus.  I needed a project I could take with my to an after-school activity.

If this all hasn’t satiated you yet, I have also written out and uploaded the Flower Faery Dress pattern from Ellette’s birthday:

Which is available for your proofing here.

For now, I am off to see the wizard about dinner.

All Tied Up

I am bringing this to you a little late tonight, but I must tell you.  For several hours this Sunday afternoon I had the house completely and blissfully to myself.  So, naturally, I spent a good deal of time reading blogs and knitting that never ending skirt.

I did, however, begin work on Part 1 of a 2 part DIY project for you.

All Tied Up Skirt
Now, I previously posted  about the tie dress that was in progress – which is mostly finished.  There are just a few tweaks that need to be made to the final product.  I did manage to get one day’s use out of it before a little mishap occurred, which is fixable.  In this day, Brooke photographed the piece while I was working and put it on his blog, all about ties, which you should definitely check out.

Anyway…he recently came into the shop again and handed me another bag of ties, which I added to my collection and this weekend began to work with.

So, naturally, Step 1, consists of combing every thrift store in your area for a selection of mostly complimentary ties.  If they do not match entirely, do not worry, this can be fixed fairly decently by a later step.

In the image here, I have chosen an array of greens, browns, pinks, and khakis to make a skirt out of.


Step 2 – decide how long you want your skirt to be.  I had decided from my hip to about my knee, so I measured and snipped. Using the original tie, I measured every tie on top of it, from the edge of the triangle point (not the tip!) to the snipped point.


I also decided that I wasn’t going to waste anything.  The number of ties I had wasn’t quite enough to fit around my hips, so I used the thinner ends of the ties as well.  This would create a nice repetition and dynamic to the skirt overall.  Some of the ends I did not use, which will more than likely end up in a later project.

Step 3 – After this, the center seam of the ties need to be ripped out.  This is the most tedious job so far.  Some of the ties had labels super-stitched to them (and some were glued, which I found odd).   The heavy lining can just get tossed, unless you can think of something to use it for.  I tried, but inspiration was elusive at best.

Step 4 – Lay out the ties how you would like them to go in the skirt.  I will advice you to take two things into consideration.  The first, the weight of the ties you are using. My ties were all different in weight.  If you have a portion of the skirt consisting of mainly heavy ties, the drape and sway of the skirt will be changed.  Also, if you width of the ties isn’t dispersed, the same thing will happen.  The pointy bit on the ties don’t always match up in length, and this can make a difference in appearance.  So, I advice you to mix and match to find the right combination for you.

Step 5 – From here you begin sewing.  You will notice the creases work wonderfully for lining up the ties and sewing them together.

Step 6 – Once you finish, the last two ties will get sewn together to make a circle.  These two will only get sewn halfway, however, to make room for the zipper

Step 7:

Step 8 – trim the excess fabric on the underside of the skirt, where you split the seam earlier.  You can either serge the edges or trim them.  I serged on the dress, but my tension was too tight.  It was a pain to adjust the tension as the weight of the ties change.  So, on the skirt, I didn’t bother serging, and simply snipped.

This is where I stopped for the day.  Part 2 will be presented next week.  Then, I will be adding the waist band.  I can’t decide between buttons, or a tie.  Maybe you have some suggestions?






12 Dancing (Faery) Princesses

What a day!  I apologize for not posting yesterday like I had intended.  By the end of it I was significantly exhausted.  I curled up on the couch with a salad and watched The Lost Boys.

Anyway, I think we sucessfully turned our home into Neverland.

I was somewhat amused when guests began arriving.  I heard “charming,” “cute” and “beautiful” along with “Is this what your place always looks like?”  Do I seem like the kind of person that lives in Neverland always?  Haha.  Although, admittedly, part of me doesn’t want to take down the decorations.  I could just leave them up, but I don’t think the others in the house would appreciate that.  Ellette might, but not the boys.

Our cat, while a little shy at first, thoroughly enjoyed the attention she got from the gaggle of girls.  She especially like this girl here, who let the cat chase her wand (the cat also kept jumping at her skirt!)  Eventually, towards the conclusion of the party, the cat was exhausted and overstimulated, and took to hiding under the couch and avoiding the girls as best she could.

Odin, in his rather dashing top hat, helped the girls make their faery houses as I was in the other room doing facepainting.  It was a huge help to have the activities separated by room.  The guests arrived and were naturally drawn to the living room, where there were boxes of dress up clothes and wings strewn about.  Some of the girls changed their outfits and wings several times throughout the party.  I gave them all faery make-up, and then one girl asked for a dolphin on her arm as well as the make-up and I had half the party coming up to me asking for the same.  It’s amusing how easily the girls start micro trends.

Here’s the best group shot we have; Odin stood on the couch while we opened presents.  Ellette loved her haul, including mostly art supplies, many of which were faery themed, obviously.  She couldn’t wait to get started and hated that I told her to wait until her guests had left.

Afterwards, a massive dance party ensued:

Followed closely by Follow-the-Faery until mothers arrived to collect their children.  We all had a blast and I have no regrets about inviting a dozen little girls into my house for 2 hours.  I would do it again if that’s what Ellette wanted.

After everyone left, our cat fell asleep on the couch, and when I took a picture she gave me this look:

You may also have noticed that Ellette is wearing a certain lavender hand-knit dress in all of these pictures.

She loves her birthday dress!

One more picture before I leave.  Our neighbor’s son, Matthew, cheers for his older sister’s basketball team.  He’s sort of the cute 5-year-old tiger mascot.  Before the party, his dad brought him over to our house, where I completed his ensemble with a bit of facepaint:

Reconstructed Roses

A couple weeks ago my stepmother offloaded several bags of stuff onto yours truly.  I do not particularly like stuff, let alone bags of it.  She thought I might find some of it useful, and insisted she would not be offended if I did not keep it, so I loaded the bags into my car and took them home with me.

In one of the bags I discovered this somewhat hideous dress that had a really nice pattern and swing to it.  I could never picture my stepmother wearing it, but could see how she purchased it thinking that maybe she would one day (and then perhaps thinking better of it).

There is this weird gathering at the navel region , which I think is the worst possible region for gathering.  Instead of being slimming, it puckers and made me look pregnant.  The sleeves were just sort of handing there, ill-defined, and there were darts, but too much fabric for bust shaping.  The whole top half was all drab and shapeless.  The front and back both went up to my neck, smothering me, and the back had a heavy metal zipper.

Initially, I was going to make it into a spaghetti strap dress, but after trying to negotiate the weird and useless darts proved too frustrating, so I simply took a pair of scissors across the midsection.

Then, I ripped out maybe an inch of the zipper, folded it at a 90* angle and folded the hem over it, sewing it securely in place.  This was a very quick and easy fix to an otherwise ghastly dress.

The puckering isn’t too bad when it’s pulled down on the hips far enough.  The modified zipper works perfectly, and I absolutely love the spin factor.  I may shorten the skirt a bit, but must wear it out and about before deciding if I look like a fool or not.  It took forever to find a good photo – I looked short and squat in most of them.  I am not sure if that is a result of the skirt or the photographer.

Also, I noticed the puckering works perfectly in this fashion too:

It’s a little tight around the upper hemline, but otherwise it looks nice, if I do say so myself.  And, it is definitely a complete transformation from what it was!

Now What?

I’m casting off project after project and I’m on a budget.  That means I have been spending quite some time staring at my stash and perusing Ravelry for ideas.  Not having a really good LYS means that I can at least save money on yarn and am forced to thin the stash to knit.  On the other hand, I start doing things like visiting WEBS and finding AMAZING deals on bamboo and silk yarns ($2.50 a ball, how can you pass that up?).  So, now I am waiting on a yarn splurge to arrive in the mail before I begin my next major project.

In the meantime, I have cast on a pair of bloomers (don’t ask) and cast off Ellette’s dress.  While I have not yet woven in all of the ends, I at least have everything blocked and stitched together for you to see:

Now, the photos hardly do it justice.  I added the double strap after I cast off the hem and realized how heavy the cotton was.  After I blocked it I was a little disappointed.  I wanted it to be more flowy.  Maybe my perception of it will change once I see it on Ellette and not hanging stiffly on a hanger.

This is the hem – a modified Feather and Fan pattern.  I like the scalloped edge, almost exactly what I was going for.

So, now I must wait for March 3rd.  That is Ellette’s birthday, and I can’t wait to see the expression on her face!

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