Archive for the 'sewing' Category

How I spent my Spring Break

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

One of the benefits of working for a community college is that I get Spring Break off from work.  Here’s what I did over the last week:

I took

my cat to the vet to get her teeth cleaned.  The poor thing had to have a tooth extracted.  She wasn’t happy.

I almost brought

this dog home with me.  The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office uses an old jail facility as an animal shelter.  The inmates take care of the animals and county employees walk them at lunch time.  I was having lunch with my friend Amy and we ran into a woman walking Cheyenne.  We’re not ready for a dog yet, but she was so cute I almost brought her home anyway.

I finally finished

knitting my tank top.  I started this, oh, about 7 months ago.  Of course, part of this time included ripping out the completed back after I realized I had screwed up the shaping and then not being able to find the remaining yarn after I packed it up for the move last October. Here’s a close-up of the knot…

As for specs, I used Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool and the pattern is from her Viking Knits Collection Book 1.  The tank fits great, but it’s itchy enough to remind you that the yarn is a wool blend.

I cut

the fabric for making these pants…

In doing so, I also learned that 1) while patterns come in a range of sizes, you have to make sure that the packet you purchase actually contains the size you need and 2) the sizes for patterns don’t match up with retail clothing sizes.  I normally wear a size 12, but according to Butterick, I’m a size 18.  Yikes!

I bought

a label maker.  I’ve always wanted a label maker, and I broke down the other day and finally bought one.  I love it!

I planted

and…

Finally, I re-started

my hubby’s sweater (sorry, no pic!).  I say re-started, because I finished the back of it last summer, but then I started on my tank top and we moved and yadda, yadda, yadda.  In any case, it was a bit of a rough start, because I didn’t write down the size needles I had been using.  Hopefully I figured it out, because otherwise the back of the sweater is going to be slightly off from the rest of the sweater.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Because I prefer to end on a happy note, I’m going to reverse these.

The Ugly

I brought my car in for its “regular maintenance” today.  During the inspection process they found so many things wrong with my car that the poor guy had to pause for a brief moment in middle of his list so I could let it all sink in.  If I didn’t have such a long commute that took me through the middle of a desert in high temps (which they will be before too long) I would have stalled on some of the repairs.  But the thought of my motor mounts giving out (item #1), my coolant leaking all over the road resulting in my car overheating (item #3), or my car not starting after work because my corroded battery cable can’t give it enough juice (item #5) in the middle of said desert and heat made me decide that it was worth the $1600.  Oy!

The Bad

We had a pool leak specialist come out and confirm that our pool has an under surface leak.  The good news (if there can ever be one for something like this) is that we have two options for dealing with this.  The leak is inside three valve thingies in the stairs, which are part of the floor cleaning unit (which we don’t use, because we prefer the vacuum crawler guy).  We can spend $3,000 ripping the stairs out and replacing these vavle thingies or we can just cover them up and detach the floor cleaning system, which will cost a fraction of the price.  We’re going with the cheaper option.  Unfortunately, between the specialist’s visit and buying the necessary parts, we’re still looking at a tidy sum.

The Bad (continues)

I took one of my kitties in for her annual check-up and I received the news that I had prepared for, but still didn’t want to hear.  She desperately needs her teeth cleaned.  There goes another $400.

The Good

My boss at work was promoted from Interim Library Director to Library Director.  This resulted in him moving into the old Director’s office.  Which had the lovely domino effect of me moving into… are ya ready for it?… his old office.  I have a real, honest-to-goodness office now!  Here’s one corner:

Did you notice the walls?  The kind that aren’t fabric and won’t fall over if you lean on them?  Here’s another shot:

I love my new office!  And check out the toy I bought for myself…

It’s a monitor-mounted whiteboard.  At the bottom are two little sections where you can use push-pins.  I went nuts when I saw this in Staples the other day!

The Good (see, things continue to look up)

I had thought that the Yarn Focus Challenge was going to be really tough, especially after I went out and bought yarn right after the challenge started.  But after I got over the difficult Super Bowl weekend (I swear, every yarn store was having a freaking sale!), I haven’t been tempted to buy any yarn.  My goal for this second month is to make it through without buying any yarn.  That way, when I completely go nuts, I’ll have two days to play with.

The Beautiful (well, to me anyway)

I decided last year that I wanted to learn how to sew.  After buying a sewing machine and trying my hand at pillows (and promptly boring myself to death) I decided to attempt pajama shorts.  After so-many-months-I-lost-count, the damn things are finally done!

And, I wouldn’t normally show you my back end on purpose, but amazingly I think the shorts look better from behind than the front.  So, I give to you… The Money Shot.

Lunch blogging

Friday, January 5th, 2007

I have a few minutes before my lunch is over, so I thought I’d write a quick post letting everyone know I’m still here.  As everyone is writing about their resolutions for the new year, I’ve been deciding whether or not to resolute this year.  I’m horrible with resolutions.  I never stick with them.  I decided before the new year that maybe I should simply try having some “goals” this year.  Yeah, I know, semantics.  Anyway, if I decide to go the goal route, here’s what I’m thinking of…

- Blog more.  I used to blog pretty often and I can’t seem to get back into it. 

- Knit and spin more.  I did both over the holidays, and my fingers were quite happy!  But here’s the catch… I need to do both with the yarn and fiber I already own.

- Use my lovely, but neglected, sewing machine. 

To accomplish the first three items on this list, I’m joining in on Rebekah’s Yarn Focus Challenge and Friday Night Spinners.  For the last item here, I’m thinking about Lolly’s Project Spectrum 2.0 (because I knit too slowly to make the project useful, but sewing might actually be doable.)  But I’m still undecided, because I have a tendency to join things and then not finish them.  (hmmm… maybe that’s another goal?)

Of course, these are my more crafty goals.  I’d also like to…

- Finish losing weight.  I got halfway to my goal and just kinda stopped.

- Get in shape.  I’m thinking of trying the 100 Miles by April 1st, but I won’t actually join the blog (I have a hard enough time blogging here).  I’ll just keep track of my own miles.

- Read more.  I never realized how much reading and knitting I got done on the bus, until I started driving to work.

- Create a budget.  I created a budget many years ago that was really helpful in tracking my spending.  But a new job and new house equal new salary and new bills, making my old budget useless.

- Get organized.  Which is part of…

- Finish unpacking.

Ok, I’d better stop because I’m depressing myself now.  Let’s hope that by telling everyone my goals, that I’ll actually achieve them.  Well, some of them.  Ok, one of them?

Loopy!

Monday, November 20th, 2006

I had my colonoscopy this morning.  I discovered that of all the tests and procedures I’ve had to encounter up until now, this was (surprisingly) not too bad.  Not exactly as easy as an ultrasound, but much better than my abdominal Cat Scan.  Thankfully, they didn’t find anything seriously bad, such as tumors.  They did take take a couple of biopsies of some areas to see if they can find something wrong, but there wasn’t anything obvious.  (This info was retold to me by my hubby, because thanks to the wonderful drugs I was given, I can’t remember a thing from the conversation the two of us had with the doctor.  In fact, I don’t even remember the doctor being there.)  As weird as it sounds, I’m hoping they find something.  I’d love to finally figure out what’s wrong, get it taken care of, and move on already.  Argh!

In addition to “preparing” for my test (which was so much fun!), I bought Sarah’s old serger and a cubby-hole-style bookcase for my craft room.  Once I manage to get everything assembled and unpacked, I’ll be sure to take pictures.  Of course, at the rate I’m going with pictures, they’ll be downloaded and posted about 3 months after the room is complete.  ha,ha!

Can I afford another craft?

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Don’t answer that, because it’s too late.  But more on that in a bit…

First, I have to tell you about my incredible Wednesday night.  Yes, I realize I’m a tad late in posting about this.  And if you read any other Arizona knitter blogs, this is old news.  But look!

It’s me!  With the Yarn Harlot!  In a really blurry photo!  I have to say that Stephanie is a really, really funny woman.  But above all else, she is completely and truly down to earth.  And I absolutely love her description of Arizona. (If you look at the first group photo, I’m in the second row, to my left is my sister and Mel’s arm and then to my right is Pam and Heather.)  As others have said, if you get the chance see her speak and meet her, do so!  You won’t regret it!

In another fit of craftiness, I learned how to sew this weekend.  Yep.  First knitting.  Then spinning.  Now sewing.  I think I might need to look into a second job in order to pay for all of these hobbies.  Anyhoo, my sister taught me the basics of machine sewing – how to thread the machine, how to use the foot pedal, etc.  Then, I made a pillow.  Wanna see it?  Of course you do!  Here’s the front:

And here’s the back:

And, just for the hell of it, the side:

Personally, I think it looks pretty darn good!  Of course, my sister is an excellent teacher.  However, I discovered that sewing a pillow for a first sewing project is much like knitting a scarf for a first knitting project.  Great for learning the basics, but they can become boring pretty quickly.  I have enough material to make three more identical pillows.  I’m going to make them, but I’m guessing that I’ll never sew a pillow again in my lifetime.  Ok, maybe I’ll make more pillows, but they sure won’t be squares!

In random news, remember how I had to take my cat into the vet because she had a weird ulcer thing on her lip?  Well, at the time I had spent $400 trying to find out what was wrong.  All we came up with was that it was some sort of allergic reaction, but it was an allergy to her external environment and not something internal (which is a good thing).  The antibiotics she was prescribed got rid of the lip thing, but two days after finishing the medication, the same thing happened to her ear.  More antibiotics and the ear thing was fine, but it was back on her lip.  What the?  Just as I was debating on whether to bring her back to the vet, I discovered the problem.  I was playing with my other cat in the back bedroom (aka the cat room/junk room/fiber room) and I heard a noise coming from a set of cabinets.  I looked over and saw that the plastic handle of a bag of fiber was sticking out of the bottom drawer and my not-so-bright cat was rubbing her lip against the sharp edge of the plastic handle.  I spent $400 and a month of forcing antibiotics to discover that the cat is too stupid to avoid sharp plastic objects.  $400!!  So far, her lip is starting to look better, but I’m going to keep a close eye on it to make sure that really was the cause.  ($400!!)

Finally, since it’s Monday and I haven’t done this is a while… it’s weigh-in time!!

Starting weight: 188 lbs 

Weight as of 6/26/06: 173 lbs

Weight loss: 15 lbs

Target weight: 155 lbs

Pounds to goal: 18 lbs

Have a great week!

Remember me?

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

I meant to post pictures of our Sedona trip when we got back, but I had to sort through 167 pictures, most of which are almost identical pictures of red rocks and clouds.  I apparently had a one-track mind in my photography.  Rather than bore you with the same picture over and over, I’ll include one of the red-rock-cloud theme and then some of the photos that I took from our (very-brief-because-it-was-freakin’-hot) hike in Red Rock State Park.

I also made two discoveries while we were in Sedona.  One is that while San Francisco has painted hearts and Phoenix has painted horses, Sedona has… um… painted javelinas?

The other discovery (and I swear that I didn’t know this, although my hubby is sure I secretly knew) was the Red Rock Knit Shop within walking distance of our hotel.

I swear I didn’t know!  Of course I had to stop in and by some yarn.  I got some Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool.

My thought is to use the green as some sort of contrast color against the brown.  And I think it’s destined to be a tank top, although I haven’t entirely decided.  One possibility is this tank in the Summer 2006 Knitter’s magazine.

After we got back from Sedona I got out my poor, neglected wheel and started spinning this superwash merino roving.

Here’s what it looks like so far…

Sorry for the blurry photo!  Since I only have 4 ounces, I’m thinking that I should get some solid color roving to ply with this.  This will extend my yardage, but I’m not sure what color would complement the purplish-pink colors that are primarily coming out.

In another fit of craftiness, I’ve decided to learn how to sew.  A friend at work knows basic sewing techniques, but she wants to take a class to learn more.  I told her I’d take the class with her, but there’s a slight problem.  I don’t know how to sew and I don’t own a sewing machine.  The first part of this problem can be taken care of by my sister.  She’s been sewing for years and has offered to teach me the basics.  But I’d like to learn on my own machine (especially since the sewing classes require the students to bring their own machine).  Problem is… I don’t know what to look for in a sewing machine.  I don’t want to spend a lot, so I was looking at machines in the $100 range.  (Amazingly, the best reviews I’ve found so far are for the Hello Kitty machine.)  But I’m not sure what the product descriptions mean.  30 stitch function?  80 stitch function?  Free arm design?  Needle positions?  Help!  What do I want?  What do I need?  Does it make a difference if I’d like to eventually use the machine for quilting?? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

By the way, I haven’t posted a weight update in a couple of weeks, so here’s a brief recap.  The first week I broke even.  The second week I had lost a couple of pounds.  Which brings us to tomorrow’s weigh in.  I’ve been a bit, um, random in my point-tracking this past week, so I’m not quite sure what to expect.  Eek! 

Oh!  And on a completely random note… I get to see the Yarn Harlot in person on Wednesday.  Woo Hoo!!