Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Back to K1...

I knitted a few rows of my Eros yarn that I bought to make some scarves but ripped it out. The yarn is rather interesting, since it's not really a yarn. It's more like string ladders.

My aluminum needles kept slipping out and I was just rather frustrated with the whole thing. Maybe I'm not knitting correctly. I have to let go of my one needle to wrap the yarn around for the stitch and of course when I do that, the needle often slips out. I taught myself from a book and the last time anyone showed me how to knit I was about 8. Sooooo...I decided to pick up my "Knitting in Plain English" book and read it instead. May I'll just start over and perhaps reteach myself how to knit right handed.

In fabric news, my in-laws sent me some teal green Thai silk from their recent trip to Thailand. I'm not really sure what to make with it, but it is lovely stuff. I'm also awaiting a package from Wazoodle. I haven't heard from them that it shipped and if my order didn't go through, then I guess it's supposed to be that way. I REALLY don't need any more fabric. I just bought two more big plastic storage boxes at Costco last night because I've used up all the others. I'm up to box 24 or 25 or gosh, I don't know, maybe 26. I'm trying hard to resist buying more fabric but it's so hard.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

A Knitting Needle Box

I have this great wooden box that my parents found for me during one of their flea market shopping trips. I don't think it's very old, but it's quaint. The lid is stamped with an impression of a ball of yarn and two knitting needles and the words "Knitting Needles", in case the picture wasn't enough to tell you what's stored inside it. A ruler is stamped along one edge of the flat, sliding lid. Still inside are some ordinary aluminum knitting needles, a few rubber needle protectors, a crochet hook, an odd "crook-shaped" aluminum needle and an assortment of double pointed needles, bound together by rubber bands. The needles are worn on the tips. I imagine who must have owned this box. Perhaps it was among the treasures of an elderly woman who passed away. Her children and grandchildren had no interest in knitting, despite the numerous baby blankets, afghans, and judging from the number of dpns in the box, socks or cabled sweaters that she knit for them. The box was probably part of the estate sale and then it ended up in the flea market. I like the box and the imagined memories it holds. It's a practical box, since needles are often too long for boxes made for pencils or stationary items. So my needles are slowly finding their way into the box, to mingle with those of the unknown knitter.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

New Bedroom Decor?

Aren't these sheets too cute? A bit pricey though. Now if they were monkeys knitting then we might just have a new bedroom decor. They'd be ultra cute in the spare room, which when we are finished should have room for a folding cutting table and of course my stash of fabric and yarn. So it'd be appropriate, right?

Sewing, Quilting, and Embroidery Shopping in One Big Place

I went to the PCM Expo in San Mateo today. I always get a sense of overload when I walk into one of those shows. I started by filling out my door prize card, but alas, no free goodies for me. I did a run through of all the vendors and took note of what I might want to come back to and then had an overpriced (and not very good) hamburger and soda. They had some free seminars throughout the afternoon so I sat in on one about doing cutwork and hardanger on an embroidery machine. It was very good and I learned of yet another type of project I want to do. After the seminar I roamed the vendors again and did some shopping. One booth had a lot of fabrics that were from Japan and some that looked Japanese. I bought some beautiful textural cotton with Japanese print to make a handbag out of. I also bought some fat quarters and a couple patterns to make small wall hangings. I like quilting, but I just haven't been able to devote time to making a large quilt. I also bought some yarn to make some fashion scarves from the one booth selling yarn. There a huge yarn show in Oakland this weekend (Stitches) and I was thinking about going. But since I've just added at five more projects to my list, I really didn't need to buy yarn for more projects! Besides, I went to Stitches once and that really was overload. I'm fortunate to have three good yarn stores within reasonable driving distance, so it's not like the show is my only opportunity to buy yarn and supplies. And of course there's the internet. But although I have no problem buying fabric without feeling it first, I don't think I could by yarn unless I knew exactly what I was buying. Yarn definitely has to be felt first. I didn't buy anything else at the show. I was tempted by the embroidery designs, but the show prices didn't match what I can get on the internet and since there weren't any that I just had to have, I passed. I also had to ask myself what I would do with the designs. I really liked a set of salt water fish, but what would I do with them? One might be ok on a sweatshirt of T-shirt, but after that, what do I do? A wall hanging quilt? No, it'd look too much like something hanging in a sewing machine store. Besides, I have other real quilts I'd rather make and display. The other reason not to buy the designs is that I have software to make my own designs. I'm just too lazy to do it - or rather I'd like to think I'm just too busy doing other stuff to sit down and spend time on it.

I decided not to go to Stitches tomorrow - and there will be no sewing or knitting projects tomorrow either. The project of the day will be to work on the hallway walls, skim coating and priming, and maybe also sanding the floor. The project yesterday was installing a dishwasher. We bought a Miele and put it in last night. The old one did not want to come out. After much yanking and pulling, it finally relented and we found out why it was stuck. A bit of now misshapen metal on the top had a nice, screw-size hole in it. When we screwed down the plywood for the countertop, the dishwasher must have been in place, and although we didn't intentionally put any screws where the dishwasher was, one must have gone a bit sideways. The new dishwasher is very nice but the configuration of the racks is quite a bit different than the old one. It will take me a while to get used to it.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

A New Dishwasher

Just because you buy a supposedly high-end appliance doesn't mean it will be reliable and last a long time. I did expect it to last longer than 5 years though. First the plastic buttons broke. Since the buttons are integrated into the control panel, it was a somewhat expensive fix, but still cheaper than buying a new machine. But now it won't finish the rinse cycle. It counts down to "1" and continues to run and run and run. A Google search revealed that our dishwasher is not the first to have this problem, and it looks like it's the heating element this time - the sensor doesn't see that it's hot enough to advance to the dry cycle and yup, open the door and the burst-o-steam you'd expect to get at that point, is not there. Yes we could order the part and fix it (we fixed the first problem ourselves), but what if it isn't the heating element? What if the control panel is shot? Since the dishwasher is white and not stainless like we want, and this is the second problem in its short life so far, it will probably be history. We're going shopping this evening for a new one. And seeing all those people on the discussion board with the same problem makes me think I should look into a different brand. So now we add "install dishwasher" to the top of the list of house projects.

And those house projects keep me from working on sewing and knitting projects - guilt free. What I need to do is get out the knitting and work on it while I watch TV.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

So Many Projects

I was first going to label this entry "too many projects" but actually I don't have "too many". I have a lot of hobbies and I want to do many things. Therefore I have many projects. But too many? Right now, here's what I have on the burners for sewing and knitting. Now mind you this list of projects also has to compete with the house projects (painting the hallway, refinishing the wood floors, landscaping the backyard...), the scrapbook projects (still haven't finished my honeymoon album and we've been married over 7 years), the dollhouse (so many cute miniature things!), the genealogy (I've promised printouts and CDs to cousins and siblings), the garden (no fresh veggies this year...again?), my skating (if we're going to pass our tests, we need to skate more!), and my French (will there be French 2 or is French 1 as far as I'll take it?).

Burda 2560 blouse: It's a "muslin" since I'm using fabric I don't love but I'm making it up as if and in case I actually want to wear it. It's also practice for when I cut into the fabric that I do love.

A fake fur throw: This was inspired by a Sandra Betzina project that she showed on the PBS TV series America Sews. The throw is also in her book Sandra Betzina Sews for Your Home. I'm using a snow leopard print fake fur on one side and a short pile zebra fake fur on the other with black microfleece for the border. I started this last year as a present for A but didn't get it finished. I couldn't keep the cats off of it and they kept pulling the pins out. And since it was getting to be warm out and not fake fur throw weather, I stuffed it in the closet.

Curtains for the family room: Well, this really isn't a full blown sewing project. I bought navy blue velvet curtains from IKEA and they just need to be hemmed and the panels joined together because they're going on a traverse rod. I know I should get these done before it's too warm to put them up.

Pillows for family room: I have the fabric: short pile "painted pony" fake fur and short pile cheetah fake fur, and I have the pillow forms. I just have to make the covers. I think I have some polyester suede somewhere in a similar color and would like to do one side of each pillow in that and also maybe do some piping. Hence, the pillows will take a while to get done.

Quilt: My first and only quilting project (unless you count two very small wall hangings) is still unquilted. It's pieced and safety pinned to the batting and backing. One reason I haven't touched it is that I'm afraid that in the nearly five years it's been sitting in this state, the pins have leached their metal onto the fabric. I am afraid. I don't want to look.

I could go on for days describing the other projects I have in mind. I have hundreds of yards of fabric and a couple hundred patterns (yikes!) and nearly all were bought with a specific project in mind. If I can keep from buying more fabric or more patterns, these projects will slowly work their way to the top of the pile. I'm trying to identify these projects, like I did above in hopes of focusing on them and being reminded of them. I have a couple of collapsing mesh containers that I think will be good for housing the supplies for these projects. If they are "in sight", maybe they'll be "in mind" and I'll work on them.

My knitting projects are also backed up. Right now I have two unfinished projects.

Cream and pink baby dress: I don't remember who I started this for. Or maybe I just started knitting it figuring that if I ever got it done there'd be some child in the family that could wear it. I think it was the latter. It's super soft yarn that I purchased from a yarn store that was closing. I have many balls of it. I should have knitted it on my knitting machine because the yarn is lightweight enough and the pattern is simply stockingnet. But portions of it were knitted when I sat in the room with my father as he lay dying of cancer. I wouldn't be able to frog it (rip rip) due to those memories. I may never finish it either.

Off white cotton sweater: It's a pattern from Knitter's magazine and naturally it has a complicated stitch pattern. I thought stockingnet would be boring so I chose this one instead. But now I can't be put it down and pick it up later without having to relearn the stitch and spend huge amounts of time just trying to figure out where I left off! I worked on this a lot during long flights to D.C. for work. I also worked on it during the wee hours of the morning when I was working. It helped that my work at the time consisted of being present in case there were any problems with the satellite we were babysitting. Yes, babysitting. I was sitting crew duty monitoring a satellite we'd just launched and since it was the "health and safety" crew, we didn't get to do the fun stuff of deploying solar arrays and firing rocket engines. Our job was to just watch it for 12 hours in case it spontaneously did anything wrong. It never did.

I have some yarn for other projects that I haven't started: luscious rayon yarn for a vest, soft chenille for a hat, and colorful yarn for socks. Knitting socks is my "new" project obsession. I don't know why...

So that's what's on my horizon for projects. Now if I could only find the time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004