Friday, October 31, 2008

"Robin's Egg Blue" hat

So mine isn't robin's egg blue, but that's the name of the pattern, and it can be found here.

Today is Halloween, and it's strangely warm out, still, so I can't wear it yet.

I wanted to use this stash yarn I had dyed myself, so I made this incredibly bright pink and orange hat. I really like the pattern, and it knitted up in a day. I would like to make one in a more neutral color next, for those days where I don't want to stand out like a beacon.

knitting projects,hat
knitting projects,hat

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Holy Chapeau!

I never wear hats. I never even think to. Recently, I've been knitting some caps for the winter. I always think I look terrible, but I hate being cold. Then I came across an etsy shop that sells hat patterns. What does this mean? Why, it means I can make one myself! A hat!

The shop is McHats, and she has gorgeous designs.

Here is the pattern I purchased. I used her picture, so I'll link it to her shop:

McHats hat

Monday, October 27, 2008

Amy Butler Weekender Bag

Remember that adorable bag I've been so excited about? Well, I finished it. It was indeed a lot of work, but not as much as I had read about on other blogs.

It's a very big, very stiff bag. It uses tons of stabilizer. When I was making bags for my business, I used Craft Fuse, but this is about 100 times stiffer than that. This makes it quite hard to work with, especially if you don't have a heavy duty machine. I used Pellon Peltex 72F, which turned out to be double-sided fusible. I didn't really know this, and she wanted sew-in, but it should have been about the same weight.

I think the reason the sew-in is best is because she recommends sewing it on the piece and then trimming the stabilizer so that it's not really in the seam allowances. As you can see on my bag, there are edges that are not very smooth. This is because that super-stiff stuff is in the seam allowances and won't lay flat, especially on the top of the bag. It also would have made sewing the bag much easier if I'd done it this way. Instead, I just fused my stabilizer on and didn't trim it out of the seam allowances.

The supplies for this bag were pretty pricey. The stabilizer is pretty expensive, and between the stabilizer, interfacing, lining and outer fabric, you need a lot of yards. Also, I found it annoying that the pattern didn't even include all the pieces. For the bottom, false bottom and straps, you are just given dimensions and have to make your own. The pattern itself costs more than most other patterns and only offers a pattern for one item, compared to three or four on many patterns. Seems like the least they could do is give you all the pieces.

All in all, I love this bag! It will be perfect as a carry-on for my next trip. It took several hours of cutting, then I worked on the piping one day before work and then a couple of days of sewing on my days off. The lining has to be hand sewn into the bag, so that took a little time, too. I would do it again, but with the suggestions above for smoother seams.

Amy Butler Weekender Bag
Amy Butler Weekender Bag
Amy Butler Weekender Bag

I also added interior pockets -- one flap pocket with velcro closure and one divided pocket for cell phone, iPod, pens, etc. The more pockets, the better, in my opinion!

Amy Butler Weekender Bag
Amy Butler Weekender Bag

I am not fond of "sopaipilla syrup."

No, I want real honey. Not something where "honey" is the third ingredient on the list.


Restaurants, quit being so cheap.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Knitting, purling, sewing

Well, there's a chill in the air, finally. Here in Albuquerque the weather has been very warm. I kept wondering where fall was. I remember that no matter how warm it is in October, even if you could sunbathe most of the month, it's always really cold at Halloween. Now, a week before Halloween, it's getting cold. I still don't have my heater turned on. I think my husband likes this because I huddle for warmth at night instead of telling him to quit squishing me and go to his own side.

I posted more pictures of my Tilted Duster two posts down, but in case you're happening on this post on its own, here's the link. The pictures I had before were on my dress form and the lighting was awful. I'm so happy with it. Please go check it out!

I also decided to make this ear warmer called Calorimetry. It appealed to me because sometimes you need something on your ears, but if your hair is up you can't wear a hat. Unfortunately, I stubbornly refused to check my guage, and my resulting headband is suitably sized for an elephant. I can work with it, though. Here, it is folded in half, width-wise.

knitting projects

I passed by Bath and Body Works at the mall and saw these incredibly plush sheep. Knitters love wool, and wool comes from sheep. Wool doesn't come from this polyester fellow, but I wanted it nonetheless.


Tomorrow, I have a date with my husband, and I can't wait. We live in the same house and watch some TV together each night, but rarely do we have time off to go do something.

I'm off now to work on my weekender bag and a bag for my stepmom.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yes, this really exists (well, not under this name). It happened to me today.

Hey fellows! Do you want to harass women, but feel too lazy to make your own drive-by cat calls? Have I got the solution for you!

Try the Whistleciser xt-300. Driving by a lady? Sexual harassment is right at your fingertips. Just push a button, and the car loudly whistles at that object of desire who is just trying to get from Point A to Point B and completely minding her own business. But you're not, and, let's face it, trying to drive and whistle at the same time is hazardous. Also, are you sure your whistle can be heard over her iPod, which she probably has turned up just so she can be blissfully unaware of assholes like you?

The Whistleciser xt-3000 is guaranteed to provide you with a 0% chance of scoring! That's right -- it's been fully tested by thousands of women, and not one single one was attracted to the guy harassing them as he drove by!

Eliminate your chance with all women; buy the Whistlciser today! But wait, there's more! Order now and you'll get these Ogle-Glasses absolutely free!
googly eyes

Call 1-800-SIT-AND-SPIN-YOU-PIG now!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tilted Duster

My Tilted Duster is finally finished, in all of its green glory. It felt like it took ages, but it was only about 5 or 6 weeks. Here are my observations, since I found those of others who made it before me to be very helpful:

1. I used the Peruvia yarn recommended. It's very nice. I like that it's subtly two-toned with mostly pea soup green and a touch of turquoise. But I agonized over which size to make because I just didn't want to buy an extra skein of yarn. After looking at other people's versions and reading a very tiny woman's concerns that the smallest size was too small for her, I decided on the size 36. It fits fine, but after purchasing the skeins required, I have a full one left over, and half of another. This annoys me to no end.

2. The fronts and back knitted up in a jiffy. Next, I did the sleeves simultaneously on circular needles. This saved me from the dreaded SSS (usually second sock syndrome; in this case, second sleeve syndrome, where you finally finish something and then have to start the second one from the beginning.)

3. Next, I sewed the fronts to the back at side and shoulders. This went quickly. I also sewed in one sleeve, which didn't go quickly. I didn't align the ribbed wrists very well and noticed after I sewed in all the ends. By the time I fixed it, I didn't feel like doing the other sleeve.

4. I picked up stitches and worked the "skirt." This part took halfway to a damn eternity. I ended up stopping about 8 rows early because, heck, I'm not exactly tall and I am short-waisted. It's a good length for me.

5. I did the three-button collar instead of the 2-button collar. I got this idea from Lynne Wiora's blog (thanks for providing instructions for the collar!). It looks better to me. I used teal ceramic buttons from JoAnn's. For the inside buttons, I just used plastic ones, because they are concealed anyway and the pretty buttons were expensive, plus they didn't have quite enough.

I am really pleased with the results. Unfortunately, it's very itchy where it touches my neck, so I had to find a mock turtleneck shirt. It has the perfect coverage without sticking out the top too much.

knitting projects, sweaterknitting projects, sweaterknitting projects, sweaterknitting projects, sweaterknitting projects, sweater

La-hoo-hoo-hoo, hoo-hoo-hoo-zzerrrrrrrrr

Yoo-hoo! T-Shirt Face! Chickebone Jones! Where you at? Mom? All the way at the bottom of my blog is a list of my blog's "followers." And there are ZERO people. ZERO.

The worst part is that when I saw that was an option to put on here, it had like 20 people listed. I thought that was my list of followers, but I guess it was just an example list. I'm going out to eat worms.

(((Update: this option is now in the right column of my blog)))

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Recipe for a good 1980s teen movie

1. Popular girl who has snotty friends but is actually a nice person, underneath it all.

2. Nerdy, artistic guy in love with popular girl with niceness potential. He is quite cute, yet everyone just thinks he's a loser.

3. New Wave best friend who is an outsider and is secretly in love with Nerdy Guy but Nerdy Guy can't see the forest for the trees. New Waver is jealous of Popular Girl. Antics ensue.

4. Super annoying sibling.

5. Angry, jealous jock who was formerly dating Popular Girl and can't believe she's giving the time of day to Nerdy Guy, though it's only to make Jealous Jock mad.

6. Popular Girl's best friend, who is rich, beautiful and oh-so-trendy. She is a raving bitch who will never, ever accept Nerdy Guy, even though Popular Girl is starting to like him.

7. Lots of cliche phrases.

8. "Teen" actors who look old enough to have teens of their own.

9. Social public humiliation, such as Nerdy Guy being invited to a party, only to be beat up on by Jealous Jock. Usually Nerdy Guy's friends eventually gang up and outsmart the popular jerks.

10. Realization on part of Nerdy Guy that he is being used by Popular Girl. He lets her have a piece of his mind, and leaves. Then she realizes what she's missing and must win him back. But will he realize that New Waver is the girl for him?

11. Sidekick (i.e. New Waver) with a ridiculous name.

12. Lots of out-of-control eyebrows. Won't even get into the hair or clothes.

13. Clueless parents

Gender is, of course, interchangeable. Plot is the same. Always.

The End

Yesterday was the last day for my business, Burst of Happiness. I sold off all but about 5 or 6 bags and aprons, so I was really happy about that. When I first decided to close, I had dozens of items I thought I'd be stuck with myself.

It was really fun designing and creating handbags, aprons and other accessories. I just decided to move on. I didn't feel as sad about it as other people around me seemed to. It kept me quite busy.

It sort of feels strange now, like I lost some sort of connection with the outside world. I keep wanting to check my shop, but it's not there. I keep checking my email to see if anything sold, because every single time something did, I was so thrilled.

I cannot express how much I appreciate all the support I got, from my family to customers and friends. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Step 1: make an agonizing choice between Amy Butler fabrics

In the post before this one, I talked about my upcoming project: The Amy Butler Weekender Bag.

Weekender bag

I also talked about a new shop in Albuquerque called Hip Stitch. I had never been there, and it's one of only two places in the city that carry Amy Butler fabrics, the other one being way far across town. I went to Hip Stitch for the first time yesterday, and though it's a small place, it was homey and cozy and welcoming. The women who ran it are just lovely. As I perused the not-so-huge, but wonderful selection of fabrics, they told me that they are holding an Amy Butler trunk sale in early November with lots more fabrics, and patterns to boot! Oh, I'll be there. But I want to get started on my Weekender bag, so I decided to pick a fabric. Suddenly, the normally very decisive Robyn couldn't make a decision.

Finally, I picked these. The polka dot one is for the lining and the piping, and the other one is for the exterior. Every fabric she has seems to make a fantastic and entirely different version of the bag..

Amy Butler Weekender Bag

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where shall I go?

Oh, you all know I like to make bags. But my creations have nothing on beautiful Amy Butler patterns.
If you sew, you know of Amy Butler. Her fabric designs are, well, fantabulous. Please, for love of all that is good, go to her Web site.

There are only two places in Albuquerque that sell Amy Butler fabric. One is a quilt store that is on the complete other side of town, and the other is this new place I can't wait to check out called Hip Stitch. Hip Stitch apparently is a place where you can rent machines and hang out and sew and stuff. I hope to go tomorrow, if they aren't closed for Columbus Day (as someone who doesn't necessarily even get Christmas off, don't get me started).

Anyway, I have fallen head over heels for Amy Butler's Weekender Bag (shown here in a photo *borrowed* from her site):

Weekender bag

Yes, yes -- those are some of her fabrics. I don't even know how I'll choose one. But, apparently, this pattern is very complex and takes people a good month and much banging of the head into a wall to finish. It will make my bags look like silly little failures. I mean, I'm going to make my own piping, for Pete's sake. Not even buy the kind that's already made!

Somebody stop me

I have made another fleece jacket, right about the time my office stopped being so darn cold. So I wore it, and then almost passed out from the warmth and had to take it off, thus ruining my outfit.

It is Simplicity 4032, in a pink-purple fleece. I needed a regular fabric for the ruffle and belt, and found this perfect one.

personal projects
personal projects

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Finished! October socks, just in time for their namesake month

I've been working on these a while, but kept setting them aside. I hand-painted the yarn myself. The pattern is Campfire Socks, and it's available free HERE.

socks, knitting projects, knitting
socks, knitting projects, knitting
socks, knitting projects, knitting

Organizing your knitting

1. Are you a woman? (if no, stop. if yes, continue to #2.)

2. Do you wear makeup? (if no, stop. if yes, continue to #3.)

3. Are you a sucker for those free gifts at the cosmetic counters? (if no, stop. if yes, continue to #4.)

4. Are you drowning in free cosmetic bags and you don't know what to do with them? (if no, stop. if yes, continue to #5.)


5. Do you knit? (if no, well, you got this far. Might as well keep reading.)

6. Here is a fine use for those bags: Use them to organize small projects like socks, a hat, gloves, etc. Keeps your needles, yarn, instructions, counter, markers handy and you can just grab and go. Fits in your regular tote, but keeps your knitting clean and keeps your yarn from getting tangled around everything else in your main bag.

Ta da!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Healthy salmon salad

I just ate something that was delicious AND healthy. That never happens to me. It's really simple, and I got the idea from Parade Magazine, but you must, must try it!

Salmon Salad

Low-fat mayo
Dijon mustard
Onion, the wee-est bit
Salad Greens

I baked the salmon, lightly seasoned, in advance and put it in the fridge. I used what would probably be two servings of salmon for me, but for many people it might be one. I didn't really weigh it. Later, when it was time to make the meal, I peeled off the skin and sort of mushed it with my fingers into a bowl -- maybe shredded is a better term.
Then I added one tablespoon each of low-fat mayo and mustard, a wee bit of diced onion and salt and pepper to taste.

Place greens in bowl and toss with one tablespoon of vinaigrette. Add some sliced avocado and place the salmon mixture on top.

For me, this made enough for two small servings.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Finally! After months of painting, our home is finished. First, the painter who flaked out repeatedly. Next, us doing it ourselves -- it was so much miserable work. And then this past three days a (dependable) painter came and finished the job in the high parts we couldn't reach. It looks wonderful, but no pictures till I get a chance to hang art and put everything back where it goes.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Genius! And cute, too.

You know how in the modern world, people use check cards more than they use checks for everyday purchases? (Except in New York City, where everywhere I went, places were horribly offended that I was trying to use plastic instead of cash, the only place I've ever been that's like that. Seriously, I thought they'd be more ahead of the times, as almost nobody I know primarily pays with cash anymore.)

Uh, I got a little sidetracked there. Anyway, I like to use my check card, which is used anywhere Visa is accepted but takes the money from my checking account. It's just easier for me then getting cash, and also helps me keep track of my spending better. But, unless you have an abundance of funds and don't worry about the balance, you have to carry around your checkbook register. And if you're gonna carry a wallet that holds a checkbook register, might as well keep the checkbook with it. Then, you might as well get a bigger purse and go lift weights so you can carry it.

Well, have I got the solution for you! I didn't invent it, I found it when I went to order new checks. It's the check card caddy, and it comes with tiny checkbook registers to keep track of your balance. I'd estimate this to be about 1/3 to half the size of my current wallet. And I can't believe it -- my purse feels like it weighs half as much! The mini-pen is a bonus.

check card caddy

No, I don't really have 6 grand in my account. As I was taking the photo, I realized my real balance was on the calculator, and it was pathetic. So I tried to make myself look wealthier, but then I felt guilty and had to admit it here.

Next to my old, mongo wallet:

check card caddy

Excuse me identity thefters, but don't bother trying to blow up the photo to read my personal info. Naturally, I blurred it with photoshop. Foiled!

So much wisdom

I came across this blog today, and I love the title of it: You're Only Bored When You're Too Stupid To Find Something To Do

Unfortunately, she moved her blog and it no longer has that excellent name. She still makes lots of stuff, though, and that reminds me of me! There are so many things to make, so much TV to watch, so many books to read, so many Web sites to visit. How can anybody be bored? Ever?!

Pink fleece jacket

You think your office is cold? Ha! Unless icicles form on parts of your body, you have nothing on my office. Fleece jackets are really nice to have because they are lightweight, soft, comfortable and so very warm. Problem is, store-bought versions are often also nerdy, with teddy bear prints and puffy fits.

I made several fleece jackets from a different pattern before, and love them (see this post and this post).
This time I used Simplicity 2762 and a hot pink fleece with pink flower buttons. After I made the jacket, I sort of wished I'd bought black buttons, but I have a painter doing my stairwell as we speak, and I couldn't get down the stairs to go to the store. Being impatient, I just put the pink buttons on, and I think it's pretty cute. I can always change the buttons easily later.

Pink fleece jacket

I did the purple jacket at the bottom.

personal projects
personal projects