Finished! Afghan #2!!

Cue the dancers! Make with the drumroll! Woo and Hoo!

The second afghan is FINISHED!

Cabled Afghan Knit Along, Creativebug, Edie Eckman, Knit Picks, Knitting, knitting afghans, Pumpkin Ale, Ysolda Teague

I’m really excited and will be even more so when the studio has been decked out for Christmas and I’m wrapping gifts— I’ll have TWO hand-knit afghans to give this year!  TWO!!!!! What have I learned? That Red Heart Soft is a very nice yarn for an afghan that will receive use and require washing by a non-knitter. I’ve always been snotty about Red Heart yarn. No, it’s not a ‘premium brand’…… but I was unnecessarily snotty for sure! That YES, even some afghans need swatching!  Let is go on record, I should have swatched this one as it would have left less vigilant blocking and yielded a slightly larger finished afghan. It’s all good, don’t get me wrong, buttttttttttt! And I’ve confirmed that this Creativebug Knit A Long was just the thing to keep me motivated and on track to finish a gift. I have no doubt that this would have been given up on much earlier in the knitting process. The instructions (and accompanying videos) from Edie Eckman & Creativebug were outstanding and this would be a very attainable project for even a cable knitting beginner!

The best part is that I am done knitting BEIGE for the foreseeable future…. and I’ve finally FINALLY cast on for a new project!  Ysolda Teague’s Pumpkin Ale sweater.

It’s also for a gift and I adore the swingy shape, the cabled back panel and the utilitarian wearability of this sweater! And, it has POCKETS. Perfect! I’m using Knit Picks Brava Sport yarn in “peacock”, I love the color, the slight sheen and the fact that it will wear well and be washed well by a non-knitter!

The week ahead will have some knitting, some hockey watching, some bike riding and of course, work in the mix. Weirdly enough I’ve started really thinking about holiday decorating and it has been a few years since I anticipated the dec of it all!

How about you? What are you working on and are you looking forward to decorating for the holidays???

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Annnnnd We Dance!

A friend called yesterday saying that her self care was lacking. That really wasn’t what she said but you get the drift. There was some gnashing of teeth and I totally get that! Not that she didn’t want to relax but as always other people came first. And aren’t we always like that? Creative people are caring people!!!!

And we care and care and care—– many times ignoring our own care!  My oldest daughter was here last weekend and I saw the same thing, others come before the caregiver!!  Oooooh look! I bring you flowers!!!

{Thanks to St. Simons Island Wedding Photographer Bobbi Brinkman for the gorgeous photo!!)

The weekend is upon us! I’ll have a weekend empty house for the first time in over a month. Don’t get me wrong, I love company and I adore family! BUT—- I’m looking forward to getting a pedi, puttering in the studio on alllllllll of those projects that have been languishing.

The border of the Cabled Afghan will be finished Saturday by my estimation and after a quick dance party (and who doesn’t love some Cristina and Mer???)

Except I don’t have a Cristina. And I’m solo. Maybe that alone calls for the dogs and I dancing extra long!

I’m dying to get back to work on my handpainted version of the Metro Hipster Bag by Betz White and I’ve just assembled the felty ingredients for installment number 2 in her darling Holiday Stitch Along Ornament– kindness would dictate no mention of not completing the FIRST one! Ahem.

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Maybe Betz and I should dance this weekend? Only if she’ll bring some wine! And some brown floss, I can’t find any brown floss in the stash of a zillion colors. Regardless there will be felty goodness, and embroidery, some sewing, casting on for a NEW KNITTING PROJECT! (I know, right???)  I’m torn between something to share and something shamefully just for me. It might not be much of an inward struggle!!

Have a great weekend! TAKE CARE OF YOU……. have fun, smile, laugh, be creative & dance a little!

 

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Wee Diversion: Knitting & Embroidery

Just a small diversion as I prepare to FINISH the cabled afghan from the Cabled Afghan Knit along!!!  That’s right, almost FINISHED!!!! I think by next week I’ll just have a few ends to weave in and will call it done! I’m not too proud to tell you that I would not have been so quick to get this one done if not for Creativebug and the gentle nudge in the way of some (self imposed) accountability!

My oldest daughter arrived with a couple grandsons last weekend and it was pretty near perfect. The weather was great and we got to the beach, walked through the Village, ate some great seafood and had plenty of time to talk over coffee with homemade pumpkin spice creamer. It’s the fave of Ms. P and I so I tried a couple different versions. I always try each year to come up with the $5 cup of joe alternative! The secondary creamer made with dairy, real pumpkin and condensed milk was the winner, the version made with almond milk sadly went down the drain!

While four rows out from casting off border 3 of 4 on the afghan I needed a little diversion so I cut out Ornament 1 from Betz White’s currently running series of her Holiday Stitch-along Ornament Club. Cute as a bug eh? I’m ready to embroider the details and looking forward to the finished ornament—- the SECOND in the series will launch tomorrow and you know how I am about those self imposed deadlines. (ahem).

Betz White, Cabled Afghan Knit Along, Edie Eckman, Embroidery, Felt Christmas Ornaments, Knitting, knitting afghans

All of the ornaments will have the same ribbon and probably a little piece of eeensy beensy holly/pic where the ribbon meets the body. I know that you can still join in with Betz (and me)!  I just noticed that my wings are backward—– I have only glue tacked them on so who knows if I’ll change them or decide that my owl looks like THIS!  :)

I have this feeling that when the afghan is finally done a whole lot of different things will start to fly out of the studio. I hope.

 

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Off The List! + Top Down Sweaters!

Nothing like a list to motivate you, right? That and the home opener of the St. Louis Blues game this Thursday night! Time to get the pj bottoms made!

I started with fabric I found at Joann online— this year I started early, last year there was slim pickins for NHL fabric once the season had begun!

St. Louis Blues NHL Black Cotton Fabric, , hi-res

Pattern wise I winged it! Mind you, I have PJ bottoms patterns, lots of them. But my FAVE pj bottoms are oldies but goodies, I call them my Christmas Tree Pants and they’re getting kinda’ sad looking! I turned them inside out with one leg inside the other, then I carefully drew a Sharpie line about an inch over this edge and cut them out. I sewed a front leg to a back leg, set one finished leg inside the other right sides together and stitched the crotch curve. Still sergerless I used my zig zag to finish the hems. A hem turned twice and a band for 1 inch elastic- Boom. For those who have a bit of fear with this patterning approach I strongly suggest you try it!  Use a cheap length of fabric and a favorite pattern– the simpler the better. And jump in! I promise you it’s easier than you think and it’s fun as well as creative!I only wished I’d traced my pattern pieces off in paper before I put them together and they fit so well! Now I’ll have to repeat the process if I make another pair. And I will!

The best part I think was walking over to the chalkboard and crossing something OFF the list!!! :)

If you’re a knitter at any stage, if you follow Wendy Bernard (Knit and Tonic) or if you’re a Creativebug fan, Wendy and Creativebug have joined to put together a 4 part class to knit a sweater (raglan and cardigan) top down with ease! Determining gauge, using any yarn, fit fit and more fit and custom sleeves, THIS class is a goodie! Hit that Creativebug button up there on the sidebar and take this (or any) class with me! Right now there are just too many to choose from!

Now….. if you think there would be a PHOTO of me in those PJ bottoms? Dearest, think again!

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Foundation Friday: Organization & Motivation

First Things First!!!! Enter to Win a copy of Betz White’s “Present Perfect”

+ 3 yards of custom printed Eco Canvas from Spoonflower!

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My Foundation on this Foundation Friday is a core essential—-

Being Organized & Motivated
& Accountability

I don’t have a ‘Tribe’ right now…. you know that wonderful assemblage of like minded creatives who keep you on track. In person anyway, by text, Facebook Group, Twitter, or Instagram I have a lot of people who will cheer me on, kick me in the pants or fill in as needed.

But I’m a visual girl, I like to SEE what I want to do and normally I like to combine that with list making. It works for me! The chalkwall in the studio gets notice at least 3x a day as I pass through to let the dogs out. More if I’m in there (as I try to be even for a short burst of time).

I took almost everything off the board and made a list of things I want to do NOW. A couple projects that had been hanging around fell off the grid and were replaced. They’ll come back around but not in the short term. The FINISH ME list is shorter than it was which makes me smile but the CREATE ME list is longer than ever.

Some things never change.

By going through projects to be and materials I was able to assemble projects in cubbies and list them (artfully!) on the chalkwall. The Blues PJ’s have been cut out and are  pinned together in a stack with coordinating thread and notions. Likewise the Metro Hipster Bags, they have everything all ready to go in a neat pile with the next few steps pinned in place and waiting. The black ponte top (can’t wait for this one) is washed and waiting with it’s pattern. It’s a Katherine Tilton design, Butterick 6101:

B6101, Misses' Tunic

I think it will be fabulous in a midweight black ponte knit. Perfect for Fall! You might also notice that I added the “Imposter Shawl” in case I need a fun bit of knitting after that afghan is finished! It’s a really cute shawl from (where else) Creativebug, thanks to the girls from Fancy Tiger!!

Fall will be arriving here this weekend by the sound of it and I’ve just turned over my closet in the nick of time! Of course that never really means putting EVERYTHING away, we wear crop pants and sandals year round if it’s somewhat mild! But knowing that Fall is almost here will give me the kick I need to make a few new garments and get Christmas finished.

Yes, the afghan is still perking along. I’m taking a breath before joining the entire afghan body (which is now strips with a border on the two short sides) and picking up to knit the two long side borders.

My Evernote also keeps me organized and motivated as I have folders for everything I find inspiring. The trick for me when it comes to Evernote is to make sure I go through it all regularly, make sure things are in the appropriate folders and ‘old’ info or things no longer pertinent are deleted.

How do YOU keep it all organized and yourself motivated???

 

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First Border Second Afghan

I am quickly reminded how much piecing is not high on my love to do list. That chore is followed in short order by adding borders to large objects. Remember my last post about this afghan?

BOTH came to pass (and are in progress) as the second afghan is completed and all the squares pieced together and I’m adding a border. I think I’ll add a larger border than called for in the pattern and will likely live to regret that!

I’m going opposite the pattern by putting the borders on the top and bottom edge first. In this way I only have to attach that border to one row of squares rather than having the entire afghan in my lap to start the border process. It’s still pretty darn warm here and less yarny lapage the better!

I do have lots of notes as to what I loved (and what I didn’t) about this project and what I’d change next time if I were to knit this again.

Thanks to Red Heart & Creativebug for the Cabled Afghan Knit a Long project. It kept me motivated and accountable (yeah, we know what a perk that is!!) and I’m thrilled to bits to have a SECOND afghan completed this year and another really great Christmas gift awaiting the season. I’m even feeling a little bit smug about it!

My handpainted Betz White Metro Hipster Bag has been ignored largely because I’ve been assigned temporary couch duty after trashing my knee. Earlier in the summer I was stuck out in low tide in a very soggy mushy sand and twisted my knee. It’s been struggling ever since and last weekend I hiked 5 miles through the woods out to the ruins of Cannons Point.

It was hotter than hades and even with an entire can of Deep Woods Off the mosquitos literally followed in a cloud, like PigPen and a cloud of dirt! I was ill prepared for 5 miles and too stubborn to quit—- the stupid shoes I had on combined with a cruddy knee led to last weeks problems.

Out walking the dogs the knee first got tired and then just flat buckled. It was an effort getting home on the useless and painful knee— I had to go through 3 empty lots as the shortest line between two points. Tick check returned no ticks after the journey! ;)  So, I’ve been elevating, icing, ibuprofening in the RICE theory. Hopefully I’ll be back up and at ‘em by the weekend when my son arrives for a visit. With luck we’ll have a nice time, some bike riding, and front porch sitting, biscuit baking and I’ll be back on the creative front next week!

 

 

 

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Checked off the List

I checked TWO off the list this week!!! First was a haircut in terms of a BIG haircut. It’s been way too long (and not since moving) that I have found anyone that cuts my hair without giving me the “She has Gray Hair SO She needs a Church Lady Bubble Head Big Hair Cut” cut. Not that there is anything wrong with church ladies or big hair but not at the same time on ME thank you very much! Met a stylist recently who’s hair led me to the knowledge that she’d be fearless and that she ‘gets’ it totally.

The photos I’d been saving were all kind of like Pink, without the pink of course—- but I didn’t want to look like Pink’s grandmother. The resulting haircut is buzzed in the back with very short sides— and a super textured top. I’m pretty crazy about it!

Second on the list was that I’ve always wanted a nose ring. Like ALWAYS. Forever and then some. But I’ve been afraid or my significant other at the time said no. What is UP with that anyway? That’s not respect, it’s control or something like it. Recently I’ve noticed how many women I respect and admire rock the nose ring and Jeanne Oliver put me over the edge when I read her recent post! Did you read it? She titled it “When Life Wakes You Up {Uncovering Spontaneity} and it made every bell ring, every hair stand on edge and was THE wake up call. I let her words percolate and the next day, knowing I’d be in Savannah for biz, made an appointment to be pierced.

I adore Savannah and am there all the time for biz and pleasure as well. Knowing that there are so many SCAD college students, the mecca for artsy types, where better to find a piercer? All inquiries led me to Mason at Planet3. I was expecting a simple process with a piercing gun and wham bam but instead found the procedure to be surgical.

It was far more interesting than painful to be pierced by a man covered by intricate tatts and a pretty radical gauge! I found Mason to be so charming and warm that I wished I had more piercings on the list. (I don’t!)

I absolutely LOVE the nose ring—- love love love, and am thrilled I did it! The stone is a small very pale pink sparkly and I’ll exchange it in 6 weeks or so for a silver hoop that just barely circles my nostril. I think.

I wrapped the day at Back in the Day Bakery—- such a great Savannah eatery! If you don’t have their first cookbook it’s a MUST!

Have a great weekend! I’ll be busy but mostly trying not to pick the giant steel booger in my nose, that’s definitely the hardest part!!!! :)  Next week I’ll have actual Knitting Content!

 

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Betz Strap Hack

I’m really excited about making Betz White’s “Metro Hipster Bag“. As I mentioned earlier it’s going to be faux leather with a fun coral and white home dec weight lining.

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But I haven’t had much time to work on it— or much, really. Sewing time has been puny. I knew that working on thread color, stitch length (and type), as well as hardware were going to play a pivotal role in the construction of this bag. After all, faux leather can go from vegan chic to a giant crap sandwich pretty quickly!!

Hardware was first. I knew that I did not want to use off the shelf silver swivel clasps or rings. I shopped and shopped and shopped. There are a lot of choices and I had quite a few recommendations. After the search I settled on Pacific Trimming in NYC and ordered from their Etsy shop. Their service was very good, the shipping lightning fast– and I love the hardware!  Note the two silver rings— they’re for a clutch pattern, not this one. Great quality and weight and they look about a zillion times better than off the shelf IF you can find them in the first place!

The finish of everything I purchased (enough for another couple bags and a few pieces to keep in stash) was Antique Brass. I love it and think it looks great with the faux leather. No sandwich here!

What a step up from my local fabric store’s shelves! Isn’t that a gorgeous swivel hook? The pricing at Pacific Trimming was outstanding as well. All told I spent only a bit over $20 for all of my hardware pieces!

Playing with stitches was next, after a couple hours messing around I have learned:

a large needle is best—- if I had a leather needle, I’d use it. Recalling college physics that needle and the thread get HOT going through the synthetic leather. What happens? The thread breaks down. The best fix then is a nice fat needle to make a nice tunnel for the needle to pass through with least resistance AND great thread.

I chose a matte black Mettler thread— it’s a great quality and it looks good.

I messed with stitches quite a bit for stitching that would SHOW, such as topstitching and on the strap.

I sew with a Bernina if the screen above doesn’t look familiar. I chose a triple stitch lengthened slightly to about a 3.1.

Again, what I learned—- the fauxness causes some kind of voodoo with the way it feeds through the machine. It doesn’t want to glide along so there is a dance with how you hold it/push it/feed it/”don’t” it!!!

Because the strap is self fabric, or the faux leather in this case, you cannot cut it double, fold to the right side and turn. No way that would happen. Basically the strap would have to have each ‘raw’ side folded to the center and stitched to secure. So I ran a line of stitches down the center front of the strap and folded each side to the center and worked through two layers, from the wrong side. Not as easy as it sounds, sort of like stitching 1000 pound jello!

The blessing of the faux is that the back of the ‘fabric’ has the woven lining. That does add some stability and frankly keeps stitches from making perforations that would tear.

The first experiment yielded a strap that had ‘galumpy’ spots. Where the strap did not feed through evenly. The galumpy-ness is what led to my final method of more finesse as the strap was fed through the machine. No, I do not have a foot especially made for leather/vinyl— it might have helped I can’t be sure. The galumpy spots are the first pass as the first ‘raw’ edge was folded to the center. The second line of stitching is far more even without hiccups.

I have a love hate relationship with those lumps. Part of me kind of likes them. The realist in me says, what are you kidding? RE SEW on the other cut strap. And I will.

I’ll leave you at the ends of my experimentation with the knowledge that all pattern pieces are cut along with the batting and interfacing. The hardware is purchased and waiting. Hopefully I’ll get back to it soon armed with my lessons! I already see a couple more small hacks that will be necessary since I’m not using fabric in anything other than the lining.

Little Girl dog loves to hang out in the studio. Today, the trash can was full of scraps and a couple of pieces hung over the sides. Silly Hana is known as The Stealer, she will snitch anything to play with and her hiding place is normally full of everything you thought was lost forever.

She was a whirling dervish! Funny dog…

 

 

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Hip & hipper- Sort of!

After the sheets have been changed and the house cleaned, a run to the grocery to replenish I find myself puttering. Deciding what new projects are calling, organizing my space, even catching up on some ironing. In the middle of the putter I pull out a length of faux leather—- not because I’m vegan but because I liked it and liked the challenge of creating a bag of faux-ness that looked great and was fun to get to that point!

Starting with a faux leather piece in a cognac like tone—- a brown not too dark and not too light, with some interesting grain texture, I assembled paints and brushes to experiment. You can see the “normal” faux leather around the edges of the paint experiment above.

I’m intrigued and fascinated by the handpainted bags from Burberry— they’re great! In need of a new bag for fall and not carrying a bag at all like I used to I can fiddle and play with something fun that meets my needs. After all, I don’t travel to an office anymore and arrive most places by bicycle. When I do venture out it’s someplace decidedly casual but I do want to exercise a little personal style!

   Whatcha Think?

I am not kidding you when I tell you that these bags range from $2.200 to over 30K. Not likely to happen in my life for any number of reasons! But I like the thought of it– a handmade bag…. handpainted, not to mention priced well. Like under $25.00.

I selected a range of paints, regular acrylics in a mustard gold, a deep eggplant, black in gloss and matte, cardinal red and a more subdued ‘barn’ red. I painted swatches, let the paint sit and rubbed it off in varying degrees. Let the paint sit and just dry.

The first photo in the post shows rubbed pieces—- this photo above are how the paints look dried. I like the rubbed with paint and wiped look, it takes away the fauxness to a degree and makes the texture pop. In the barn red wash I like the color of the faux, red but not too red, definitely seasonal. The next experiment is how they look with and without a clearcoat. The bag won’t get hard use but I don’t want the paint to rub off on clothing when worn, especially cross body!

FUN!

I’m currently deciding on bag patterns having whittled the list down to my current bag favorite shape, last made (and in use) from a teal polka dotted burlap.

And the last contender is the Metro Hipster Bag from talented Betz White:

Metro Hipster Bag

I love the shape of my traditional satchel… but the Metro Hipster Bag has a great place in that outer bellows pocket to rock some handpainting (plus it’s a GREAT bag!)

While I mull that, I’m still puttering/reading/baking/ napping. Soon it will be time to circle the wagons after a couple days ‘off’ and get back to the business of bride wrangling. Thanks again to Creativebug, I’m loving lesson 2 from Wilton and can’t wait to make those amazing cupcakes! Click the button up on the sidebar and make cake with me! I’m also enchanted this week with making my own repurposed journal from a cereal box and found paper and goodies!

Yes, I’m still knitting away on the afghan and am about halfway through on the next to last block. No knitting to speak of while my daughter was here will have me coming in late to the finish line for the last Creativebug class and joining the blocks then adding a border. It’s okay, I’ll have it done well in time to block and add to the gift bin!

The chair that needs a slip cover is still hollering at me……. and about a dozen other projects I’m anxious to take on. As always, I need more time!!! Until then I think maybe I’ll bake a Buttermilk Pie!

 

 

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Too Pooped

I’m TIRED. Loving having my youngest home for a long visit—– but dang. I’m tired. My Foundation for Friday is that I need to remember I need less miles and more naps! :)

There have been tears, and laughter….. smiles and jokes old and new. Miles (and miles) on the bike, trips to the beach and BBQ. And sunsets, after a week of sporadic rain the sunsets have been gorgeous!

 

Photo: Mother Nature offered up a fabbo pink sky tonight as a backdrop for the lighthouse!!  #goldenisles #stsimonsisland #georgiacoast #lighthouse #pinksunset Golden Isles St.Simons Island Lighthouse Love this time of year on the island!!!

Have a great weekend!

Posted in Chat