Monday, June 22, 2009

sorry! I will be back in just a few days.

I will be back soon. Life is a bit crazy (and a bit ugly right now). I did have to take a tiny break from crafting (I went almost a week of no crafting). I realized that I need to create things (have craft time for myself) because it helps me forget some of the ugly things in life. I am now back to crafting but as many of you know I am dealing with a bunch of ugly, unkind, and bothersome things in my life right now. Adding to this difficult time is Zee hasn't been sleeping so until I get some sleep I don't think I will know how to properly deal with all the troubles that keeps popping into my life. I hope after some sleep everything will be OK. Sleep and letting time pass sometimes have a way of working things out.

I am so lucky to have my family and some wonderful friends who have been by my side. My friend Kris is a life saver (OK, that is a bit extreme BUT she is a true tear saver). Kris is one of my best friends (we have been friends for 12-14 years now). Over the last few weeks she has called daily and helped me stop crying and even start laughing so many times (more times than I can count). She has her hands full with her 2 autistic children yet still has time to help me with my dumb little problems. I love her and feel so blessed to have such a wonderful friend who lets me know I am not alone when life gets a bit ugly.

I will be back with nothing but happy thoughts in the next couple days. I promise to find a way to push ahead and put the ugly stuff behind my by the end of the week. I will also start posting again by next Monday on my family/school blog. Nobody wants me to post on that right now because all I would do is cry and complain about more the little things that are bothering me. By Monday I will be back to my happy self! I promise!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Them darn socks!

OK, I am about to eat my words!!! I am sorry everyone! I know I said that I doubt I would ever learn to darn socks. Well that is true I didn't ever think I would want to darn socks! AND I didn't really learn how. But I did end up taking a stab at sock darning this week. To tell the entire story I first need to show you one of this years finished projects I haven't shared yet. Here is a picture taken end of Jan. beginning of Feb. of some socks I was working on.
It was my first time knitting 2 socks on one set of circular needles at the same time. I love this method and it was very easy for me to pick up. I was knitting 2 socks at the same time on 2 sets of dpns and that was a more complicated way of doing things and required 2 sets of sharp dpns in my lap (not very safe with little children climbing on me). If you are wondering the sock yarn is NOT one I would recommend to anyone. The yarn is Moda-Dea Sassy Stripes Yarn. The color is called vintage. It is a sport weight sock yarn. IT STUNK! As in the smell! It had a very strong odor! Rob thought it smelled nice. BUT he didn't have it in his face forever! Not a skunk stink more like a excess dye or sizing smell. I have bought some fabrics in the past with the same smell. It smells kind of like new denim jeans. The cost was about $5 for a small ball so it was $10 for a pair of socks and I don't spend much over that to buy wool sportswash, no odor, sock/fingering weight yarn. Next time I am yarn shopping I will pick the wool and skip on this stuff! HOWEVER, if I needed some sock yarn and it was on sale or the only sock yarn I could get my hands on I would buy it and give it another try (I don't hate it enough to refuse to ever use it again I am just stating that I have knit with several yarns that are a lot nicer yarns for about the same amount of money I spent on this stuff). The yarn was a bit thicker than the sock yarns I am use to using and it squeaked on the needles. It is an acrylic yarn and I wonder if it squeaked because it was acrylic or because I sized down the needles a size to knit them a bit tighter (in hopes they would hold up longer). As I was knitting them my hubby suggested I make them longer socks. Because of that I knitted and knitted until I used every last bit of yarn. It took me forever to finish them ( I worked on them for over a month). Here they are!
I think I finished them just before my parents came home from Florida. I think that was the end of Feb. This is the only picture I have I didn't have time to wash or block them I ran them over to my mom. She told me she could smell the odor but thought the smell didn't smell bad to her (but she didn't have them in her face for a month). The smell did wash out after she washed them.

OK, I know you are now wondering what this has to do with me eating my words. Well my Mom got a snag in her socks and ended up with a hole. She sent them back to me to fix. Here is the hole in the toe.I noticed the heels are already worn very thin and looking like some tiny holes are starting. This set of socks I am sure I knitted them for long wearing heels. I knit them tight and the yarn is a strong acrylic. My Mother LOVES her hand knit socks. She had to wear them a TON to have them this worn out like this by the end of May!
I didn't have any yarn to match so I took 1 inch of yarn off the ribbing of both socks. My hubby thought I was confused in how to fix socks when he saw me taking an inch of the knee when the hole was in the toe (I laughed at that). I used the yarn I took off the top to sew up the hole in the toe (I am sure I didn't do a proper darning but I did my best at fixing the hole. When I look I can see the spot I mended but it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. After fixing the hole, I went over the heels adding a bit more yarn (added a layer of new yarn). I copied the stitches to make the heels thicker making them two layers thick. I hope that helps the socks hold up longer. I now see that my Mom loves all the socks that I make and I think the best way to fix the wearing out sock problem is to make her up a large collection! She now has 4 pair I knit for her but I see that isn't enough! I hope to get a few more knit up over the next couple months. Then maybe she will have enough to rotate so they hold up a bit longer.

Here is the mended socks. This time I did wash them and block them. I hope they last longer than 3 months this time!
Here is a close up of the fixed toe.
Here is a close up of the fixed heels.
After I finished them I thought how cutting out the heel and adding a new afterthought heel would have been quicker. I like making afterthought heels when I knit socks I just need to remember to do that on my sock mending. The socks don't look as good as they did new but they don't look real bad so I guess they are OK. I do hope the thick heels hold up a bit longer. 2 layers of sports weight, acrylic yarn, tightly knit should hold up. I will let you all know if it doesn't.

I guess I am now a person who darns socks! I never thought I would ever want to fix socks! I am the type of person who will often start a new sewing project so I don't have to use a seam ripper to pick out a small seam. Spending a few hours fixing things has never been my thing..... I guess I am getting old! What's next? Stuffing bread in my purse? I can't do that! No, seriously I can't do that.... the bread crumbs would get all over my knitting projects in my purse. I always have a pair of socks I am knitting in my purse. A roll or a bread stick would mess up my socks. I would not like to spend hours picking crumbs out of the knitting.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Kitchen towel embroidered gift set

My husband's brother lives out of state. He and his girl friend have just came in for a visit. I wanted to give her something a bit more personal than the gift card my hubby bought for her. I decided to try to make a set of embroidered kitchen towels. I didn't have time so sew or knit anything so I bought a set of towels and embroidered her name on them. I am thinking that with the name Oleksandra she probably doesn't own many things with her name printed on it. She is from the Ukraine. I used red thread. Why red you ask? I LOVE a splash of red in kitchen decorations. I keep making things with the bits of red that I want to have for my kitchen then keep giving them away. I am determined to eventually get my red in my kitchen I hope once the paint is on the cupboards and the next round of birthdays is over to sneak some free time to make myself some red stuff for my kitchen.

I didn't want her name in the middle of the cloth so I turned the dishcloth corner facing down and wrote Oleksandra's Kitchen on the corners facing outward.I wrote the same on the center bottom of the towels (but flat across the bottom). 4 dishcloths and 2 dish towels.

I had to let them sit a few minutes before wrapping (notice in pix below the one on the top left is darker it is still damp).
Travis (my 9 year old) made her a bar of lavender soap (lavender in color, scents, and seeds inside).
He wrapped it with a bit of paper and a ribbon.I then put the soap on top of the towels and tied it all up with a matching red polka dot ribbon.

I hope she likes it (fingers crossed). It is hard to make things for people you don't know much about. I know she doesn't like dishwashers and always washes all her dishes by hand. I remember her saying that and that is the reason for this gift. I hope next time I see her I can find out a bit more about the things she likes. She is a very sweet soft spoken girl.

My hubby and children are off delivering the gift now. Demi (my 3 year old) added a picture she drew to go with this gift but we rolled it and tied the bow on when she was walking out the door. It was a very cute picture but I didn't have time to grab the camera.

WOW! 3 post in one day!! Maybe I will catch up with all the pictures of my crafting. I shared all the crafting I did so far today. That is a step in the right direction.

Embroidery gifts right hot off the machine.

My pictures are not perfect. I had to snap them very quickly. I just finished this project today. My hubby and children have just drove off to deliver it.

This set was a very late Mother's Day gift for my MIL. My husband had plans to buy her something but he changed his mind (I think she didn't want or already had what he had in mind) so I made this up instead. We haven't seen her in the last couple weeks so I even though I feel bad about rushing around I guess she doesn't know that it was a very late put together gift. I started this 3 days ago but my youngest just cut a tooth and was very fussy yesterday and the day before so it took a lot longer than I had planned. I made her up a set of embroidered bath towels. 4 large bath towels, 2 hand towels, and 2 wash cloths.

I added in 2 washcloths with her name on them for face towels (I bought 2 extra wash clothes to start this project in case I made a mistake). I didn't make any big mistakes so I wrote out Emily on them and tossed them in the gift set.
My son made up a bar of lavender soap for her (he dyed it yellow and added bits of lavender to it).He wrapped it in a bit of paper and we tied a ribbon on it.

We placed the soap on top of the towels and tied it all up in a large polka dotted ribbon.

I don't know if she will like them or not but I would love to get a gift like this. My sister made me up a set of embroidered towels a few years ago and I love them. I think it is one of the best gifts I ever received.

A bit of strange needle felting

Back in April I spent a few nights doing some tiny needle felting projects.
Here is a tiny frog and heart (I was going to attach them to something but my youngest 2 children took them for little play toys.
I made some tiny hair clips.

And a monster for under the bed. This crazy guy is only 3 or 4 inches big. He hides under the beds. We now know him and are no longer afraid of monsters at night.
I know the frog, heart, and monster might look a bit strange! I had lots of fun making them. Felting is my fun time. It is a color outside the lines play however I want time. I never worry if someone else might like it. That is also the reason I don't give many felted tings away as gifts. I doubt anyone would enjoy my felted projects other than my children.

This isn't "felting" but it is felting supplies and I think adding it here is a good way to do a bit of catching up (I still have 40-50 projects to post from this year). Here is some yummy dying I did. It is very soft merino roving dyed in yellow, pink, and blue (in shades that moved me that day). I love to play with dyes. I have as much fun doing it as my children have finger painting or playing in playdough.

4 small projects shared lots more to go. I don't think I will ever catch up!