Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Is sewing the new craze?

Over on MasonDixon today, Kay talked about a fancy new sewing book that a favorite blogger of hers wrote and just had published. Yay for people getting published!

I've seen a lot of cute little books about sewing little bags and things coming out lately, and a lot of knitters picking them up and beginning to sew things from them. Cool, more people sewing, that's good. What's bugging me is that these books are picking up the "hipster crafter" vibe all over again - you know, the annoying "Not your mother's ". Well, I've been sewing a looong time, much longer than I've been knitting seriously, and you know what? It is my mother's sewing. It's my mother's knitting, too. I don't make cute little totes, either, I do complicated period costumery, and believe me, as long as I've been sewing and as experienced and skilled as I am at it, I'm very much still the apprentice at it. Well, ok, maybe more like a journeyman - but by no means am I a master, and I probably never will be, just because I have neither the resources nor the interest to pursue it that deeply. I don't need to do the primary research on my chosen areas of interest - I'm happy to reap the fruits of other people's work. I sometimes feel like I'd like to be able to do more of the heavy-duty research, but I also know that I never will.

I could make cute little totes if I wanted to. But they're boring! Here's a few things that inspire me to sewing:

The Tudor Tailor: absolutely the bee's knees on making and wearing Tudor-era garments.
The Medieval Tailor's Assistant: fantastic instruction on making high medieval garments from the skin out.
Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd: I own this. Somewhere. Primary research at its most amazing.
This lady from my costuming forum. She gets paid to *do* the primary research!

I could go on and on, but I won't. I will try to have patience with all the knitters discovering the delights of sewing, much as I have patience with all the people discovering the delights of knitting. I think it will be much harder, though, since sewing is my foundation.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Can't Sleep, Clowns will Eat Me.

Bleh. Too warm and too wired to sleep. Note to self: large mugs of even mildly caffienated tea in the evening do not sit well anymore.

Presented the Monk Socks today, to much approval by the presentee - he promptly put them on and (to my knowledge) has not yet taken them off, despite it being a warmish night. Yay, the recipe worked! He will doubtless get more along those lines in the future, as budget and knitting time permits.

Frogged the Jaywalker today as well. It was only about halfway up the foot, and I suddenly realized that I did not know if the tight gauge (the yarn seems to want larger needles, for me) and mostly stockinette would even work on his foot; when checked, it did not. So I frogged it, and I plan to restart on a size larger (2s instead of 1s), possibly with a slightly smaller stitch count to compensate, possibly not. Maybe I'll like the yarn a little better at a different gauge; I hope so, I was starting to hate it at the gauge I had been working in. I can't start these until I finish getting the baby sockies off the needles, tho, as I only have the one set of 2s; however, all I have to do on sockie #2 is graft the toe. Yes, I thought grafting would look cute and not be too much trouble, for some wierd reason. No, I don't know what I was on when I decided this. Maybe I'll do it before trying to sleep again.

The season's Knitty came out Monday if you didn't know; it took me all of 24 hours to fail to resist starting these. I had a skein of Cherry Tree Hill in a very orange (but it has purple and red and yellow and stuff too) colorway that was just begging to be used, so I spent the time while my lunch was cooking on Tuesday winding it, and had the pattern memorized by the time I hit the pool before DH was home. Just lovely, I can't wait to be finished!

Yesterday was very productive as well; I finished and felted (fulled?) the bowling bag for my swap buddy. It just needs to dry. Well, and wait for payday to get a zipper and be shipped... details! I have all the bits I'm sending her ready as well, and I know the pattern I want to point her towards; I'm just not sure how I'll do it. Maybe I'll do what my pal did and email it when I let her know it's all together/in the mail. I sure hope she likes it all... I definitely thought about things I would like to receive when I was shopping, even if I couldn't get absolutley the exact items I would have preferred. Speaking of my secret pal, she emailed me to say my package was going into the mail in a few days about 3 weeks ago, but I haven't seen any trace yet; I'm beginning to suspect she must be international! Either that or realized that she was going to make the rest of us look bad by being so on top of things. :-P Having an international pal would be exciting, though.

Must try to sleep nows. Tired and stuff.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Baby Sockies part next

The sockie I have on the needles atm is aimed to fit a ~2-3 month-old with long feet. I said 'daringly' because I usually hate #2s for socks (I think the fabric they make is too loose and rough, but it seems to be not so rough in the Lorna's, and in a baby that's not even crawling yet, the soles aren't going to see much wear)but I wanted a looser fabric for these than I get on #1s. For your (Peggy's) little guy, I would say, do the standard sock-fitting measurements and go from there. I don't know how much is left on your ball(s), but I would guess you can get socks for him. After all, your feet are almost certainly smaller than mine. ^^;

Two books I found invaluable for learning to make socks: The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook and Nancy Bush's Folk Socks. Twisted Sisters I only look at occasionally anymore, I've absorbed all the sock wisdom out of it I need at present, but Folk Socks sits easy to hand at all times, and I still refer to it frequently, for both technique and patterns, and this is 4+ years into my sock-making obsession. Nancy Bush's other socks books are, of course, also great, and I want to own those I don't already, but I think Folk Socks is best for sheer basic technique.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Update replies!

Peggy asked about my baby sockie recipe. No clue how much yarn (by weight) my baby sockies take. I usually go by numbers, and I don't have a scale that'll do yarn (but I want one!). I just take what's left when I'm done with adult socks, and cast on a bunch of stitches - 32 on my current, on standard sock needles. I'm going daringly big this time on #2s. Then I work down the ankle for as many rows as stitches I cast on, turn the heel, do the foot for the same number of rows as the leg, and then do a toe. Depending on the yarn, I can get 2 or more pair out of the end of a ball; Koigu not so much, as my socks out of Koigu take nearly the whole skein per foot. I usually can get a partial sock - each leg or so - out of what's left from even that tho! With this Lorna's Laces, I'll bet I can get a couple pair out of this skein-end. For one thing, it was socks for Josh, and his feet are shorter than mine (big surprise), and for another, skeins of Lorna's are ENORMOUS!!!

No pics of Yarn Harlot (or anything else) until I finish the roll and get it all developed... which will be the beginning of next month at the very soonest (payday, dontcha know). I know, I'm a tease.

The Great Harry Potter re-read has me up to just starting Goblet of Fire. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll end up reading them yet again in July... but hey, I've been running low on reading matter. :(

Uh.. the Oxfam sweater: being that I'm tired of knowing no one here, I decided to take a class at my LYS, to be able to meet a few people and maybe make a friend. Sadly, I'm way past the skill level of just about any of the knitting classes offered anywhere around here (that I know of). However, the free (yay free when you're on a small budget!) class to make a sweater for Oxfam sounded like a good chance. Well.. it turned out I was of course miles beyond the other students in skill, which mostly meant that the instructor had an unexpected teaching assistant. When I asked about classes in advanced techniques, she said, well, nowhere around here, really, but suggested that I practice something on the sweater, since she wants everyone to walk away from the class having learned something. Since I've been wanting to learn entrelac since forever, she suggested I try it out on the sweater, which I did. I think it looks horrible on the sweater, but what can you do, it's acrylic? But I learned entrelac. Now I have to finish the sweater in a relatively timely fashion. >.<

Monday, June 11, 2007


The Monk Socks are done. I should photograph them before they go off to their monastic home. I'm still not confident that they'll fit... but that's only because I didn't have their intended feet in front of me. If they work well, I can use the recipe again. :D I actually found (when I sat down in front of the latest disk of House to finish them the other night) that the second sock was exactly the right length, compared to the first one. So I cast off and enjoyed sarcasm and medical oddities without distraction. And ate chocolate.

I need to spend today working seriously on my Oxfam sweater. I need 9 inches of body length before class this afternoon, and I have 7 1/2, if measured generously. This is a trial because the yarn I selected feels like it was made from saran wrap - great for keeping food, crapola for knitting. But I learned entrelac! Pretty much everything else is on the back burner until my homework on this is done.

My Jaywalkers for Josh and my small-gauge Waving Lace are progressing slowly... they both got a couple inches this weekend. But they're definitely low on the priority list right now. I also started a new pair of baby sockies; my dear friends brought their 2-month old to visit from New Mexico. It was raining, and chilly, and I couldn't let them leave without trying some of the baby things I've made out of ends of sock balls over the years. The Baby Surprise Jacket (Koigu)? Perfect. The sockies (random German or Italian self-fair-isle-patterned)? Great fit, yarn was too scratchy. So, I assured them that the socks would soften with washing, grabbed the end of some Lorna's and had cast on for a new pair of sockies practically before they hit the freeway north to the next set of relatives. I may be able to get them posted before my friends head home; we'll see. First I have to stop distracting myself from the Oxfam with blogging (and laundry, and my other Monday chores...).

Friday, June 08, 2007


..it was awesome. And I got to hold the sock! And I have photographic proof!

Which y'all will have to wait to see til I finish the roll and get it developed.


We're off to see the Harlot, the wonderful Harlot of Yarn...


I'm so smart. My digicam's still dead, but I remembered that my regular camera still works just fine, and while it was a few shots from the end (kitty and knitted things took care of that!), I did in fact have an untouched roll of film in my desk drawer. So I'll be able to take pics tonight. Yay!

Entrelac is fiddly but easy... why, I wonder, did I put off learning it so long? Oh, well, the learning swatch I'm making will have a place of honor in the sock yarn afghan I'll eventually make enough squares for. Maybe I'll make more entrelac squares, this one's been a good small project.. but horrors, that would take away from sock knitting time! Maybe now I knw why I never did any before.

Weirdly, it took me 3 days to finish Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Such a short book would usually take me an afternoon or so... Maybe I was slightly bored from having read it so many times (although I did pick up a few significant lines this time that I didn't really notice before), maybe it's because I've been so tired this week I haven't really wanted to read! zomg! You know I'm really flattened when I don't want to read.

Anyway, enough blogging, back to my Oxfam sweater!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

And so begins...

...the great Harry Potter re-read of 2007, in anticipation of book 7 coming out in.. a month and a half? Should give me plenty of time to drag through Book 5 and its teenage angst.

In other news, I am finally learning entrelac.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Super Sox Contest #3

Ok, ok, I'll bite. I think my ideal summer knitting right now would be MasonDixon's After-Dark Nightie and Robe in the suggested colors of Euroflax. Every girl (I use the term advisedly) can use another pretty slip/nightie/slinky dress, right? Plus I absolutely adore working with and wearing linen! Well, I've never knit with it.. and I'm pretty sure that its inflexibility would give my incipient carpal fits (that is, make it less incipient). But for linen, I would happily endure the pain!

Too bad I just blew my yarn budget (and then some!) on my buddy. BUT she will have the honor of receiving my very first felted object! I hope she likes the colors I chose... I promise to get pics! and get them developed! and post them! (After my buddy gets it, of course.) stupid broken digicam...