Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmastime is Here

All my Christmas gifts are wrapped and ready for next weekend.

I even went ahead and brought them over to my dad's house
so that I wouldn't have to deal with them on Christmas day.


Wanna see what's inside some of these boxes?

OK ... just a little peek.
Caution : Scottie, if you are reading this, don't read any further!


I made a red shawl for my dad's wife.
The pattern is the same as the green one I made for myself.


I had to wrap this one up quickly
so that I wouldn't be tempted to keep it!


For my brother,
I made a warm scarf and hat.
He's a hunter, so I figure that he could get a lot of use out of them.


It was a ton of fun making the hat.
I think I will try to make myself one soon ... in red, of course.


For my father (the man who has everything!)
I finished up one of my mom's quilt that we found recently in the attic.
It was a sampler quilt that I think she was using to practice
her machine quilting skills.
I just had to put a second back on it (to cover the original muslin back),
lightly quilt it to attach the new back, and bind it all together.


I finished it off with a custom label.
This is my favorite part of quilting ... 
... documenting the story of all the hard work that went into it!


And for my nieces ...
scarves.
But, not just any scarves.
Scarves with ladybugs on them.
And matching scarves for their American Girl dolls.


This is Mary Rose's scarf.
When I asked her what her favorite color was,
she ran through a long list of different colors.
She couldn't pick just one!


And here is Anneliese's pink scarf.
It was either pink or purple, 
but I couldn't resist this bubble gum pink yarn.


I also made some things for my sister in law and her mom,
but they read my blog, so I can't show you until next week.

So, you see ...
I have been very busy!
So busy that I almost don't know what to do with myself
now that these Christmas gifts are finished!



Saturday, December 18, 2010

Shop Walk

Last Friday's Shop Walk went well,

and Heather and I both agreed
that we'd like to do it again in the Spring,
hopefully with a little more notice and marketing!

I definitely learned a lot, and have some plans
for how to make it easier the next time around.

For example, I think I'll bring my rolling drawer cart for under my table
instead of putting everything in stackable rubbermaids.
And I'm already envisioning a fitted table cover in red and white.


Check out this great space!

There were about a dozen etsy sellers there,
and it was a lot of fun!



Heather and I were right up front near the door.

We both sold a number of things,
but definitely would have loved to have sold more.



This is how I displayed my coffee cozies ...
... in a fun white cupcake holder.

I like how all the colors and patterns could be seen easily.


Here we are in front of Heather's tables.
Y'all, she is the BEST merchandiser.
She brought lots of fun props,
like old dresser drawers, a ladder, and a fun blue wooden chair.
Plus, her stuff is cute enough to not need anything extra.
You should check it out here.

Overall, it was a great experience,
and I can't wait for next time!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

King Street Shop Walk Show Tomorrow Night!

I'm making my list

and checking it twice!

No, I'm not Santa!
I'm getting ready to participate in an event downtown 
in conjunction with the King Street Shop Walk.

A local real estate office is offering their space to local etsy sellers,
and my friend Heather and I are going to participate!



So I've packed up all my coffee cozies



and baby shoes
and belts


and everything else I will need (I hope!)
including this fun new cupcake holder,
which will be displaying my coffee cozies in all their colorful glory.
:o)


This is my little cart, all ready to go.
I might have also thrown in a kitchen sink.
(I'm a girl ... I do not pack light!)



Boy, am I grateful for these babies.

Tomorrow night (Friday, December 10th) from 5pm until 9 pm
214 King Street
Stop on by and see us, and have a glass of wine!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trunk Show ... Sort of




Belts and cozies, all made up and ready for a show in New Jersey last month.
I love all the colors next to each other!









Monday, December 6, 2010

Jesus is Coming




Jesus is coming, y'all.
Seriously.

 
He's in a little wooden manger.


On some hay.


Wrapped in swaddling clothes.
(Doesn't that picture just make you smile?)


 This is my 2010 Christmas Ornament!
I'm so excited about this ornament ...
... my dad helped make all the mangers. 
It was fun spending the afternoon with him and working with power tools. 

If you're on the list, you should be receiving yours soon,
(if not already!)
If you're not on the list, and feel you've been overlooked,
please contact the management.
:o)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The ABC's of Blocking










 My house has been looking like a toddler lives there recently ...

 

These are the foam flooring squares that I use to block my knitting projects when I am done with them.
(You can get non-alphabet squares, 
but these happened to be on sale when I went to Lowe's, 
and you know me and sales!)
I used to be afraid of blocking,
but I took a great class at my not-so-local knitting shop 
(45 minutes from my house!)
and now I actually enjoy this part of the process.


 The whole point of blocking a knitted project
is to gently stretch it into the shape / size you need it to be,
and then let it dry in place for at least 24 hours.
This way, it will hold its shape when you wear it!
You can also do this after you wash a knitted item to reshape it correctly.

Basically, you start by laying out your foam squares. 
I put them up on my dining room table, 
because I've found that my aging knees and back don't like kneeling on the floor.
Then, you soak your knitted item in cold water for about an hour.


Once the item is saturated, 
it is important to be very careful when handling it, 
as the fibers can be easily damaged.
You can wrap it in a towel to get the excess water out (being careful not to wring it!)
and then lay it out on the foam squares in preparation for shaping it.
Then, it's just a matter of stretching it gently into shape and pinning it to the foam squares until it is dry.


I purchased a blocking kit
which included metal rods that you can use to run through the edges of the knitted item
to ensure straight lines when it dries.
For this particular shawl, I used three rods - one for each side of the triangle.
The top was easy, because it's a straight edge.
The other edges were a little more challenging, since they are pointed.
It took a little bit of work to get them to be symmetrical on both sides.


Here is the finished product while it was drying.
See how much bigger it got from blocking?
I stretched it a good bit, being careful not to pull too hard and break the fibers.

Once it's dry, 
it is ready for the finishing touches of weaving in ends and clipping yarns.

** Disclaimer **
I'm just sharing what I learned in my class ...
by no means am I an expert.  
:o)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Top Five Reasons I Haven't Blogged in Over 2 Months




5.
I can't pull myself away from my new knitting obsession 
long enough to focus on writing a blog post. 
(More on that later)

4.
I had a big wholesale order to fill ... 
... belts and cozies coming out of my ears!  
I also had samples to make for a trunk-show-type party in October.  
I've been busy!

3.
The holidays are upon us, people! 
I have been working like mad to finish family Christmas gifts 
and get started on this year's ornament! 
I currently have three Christmas gifts left to finish, 
and hope to have them done by Thanksgiving. 

2.
I was in a car accident in September 
and have been overwhelmed with the details of getting back to normal.
(And when I say I've been overwhelmed, I'm talking about mutliple snot-faced meltdowns.  
It hasn't been pretty.)
Doctor appointments, physical therapy, dealing with insurance, and getting my car fixed ... 
... boy, does it take a lot of time!  
(Fortunately, the accident was not my fault and I wasn't seriously injured ...  
praise God!)

1.
I am lazy and have not made blogging a priority.  
(It's as simple as that, right?) 

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Birthday Bookmark

A co-worker of mine has a birthday today.

So I made her a little gift.


She loves to read
and she loves to quilt.
(She especially loves to read books about quilting
like all the books in this series, which I highly recommend ... good stuff.)


 So I decided to make her a quilted bookmark.
It's made of some natural KONA cotton
with two layers of interfacing to make it sturdy.


I appliqued a "C" to personalize it
with that cute thimble fabric I love so much.


On a separate note ... if you are looking for a good read,
check this book out.
It will rock your world.
Trust me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Membership Has Its Privileges ...

Lookie what I just got in the mail!!!



What is it, you ask?


It's my new Starbucks GOLD CARD!

To find out how to get one of these beauties for yourself,
click here.

I'm just in it for the free frappucinos.

Does it make me a freak 
if I use my Starbucks card to buy drinks
so that I can get free drinks,
and I reload it with my American Express card
so that I can get free miles while I get my free drinks,
and when I go to the Starbucks kiosk in the Piggly Wiggly,
I use my PFC card to get Greenbax
so that I can go to the FAIR for free,
all while earning free drinks and free miles?

:o)

Monday, August 9, 2010

On Pins and Needles ...


Do you remember this post from last year?
Christmas gifts for all the sewing girls in my family
and one for me, too, of course!

Did I ever tell you what they were?
I can't remember.
Well ... they were fun pincushions / sewing organizers.
I got the pattern from Sew Mama Sew, which is a great site for anyone who loves to sew!
(You can find the tutorial here if you'd like!)

Come to think of it, I promised I would post some full pictures
after the holidays,
and I might have forgotten to do that!
Oops ... sorry!
Well, if you have been waiting for the photos 
in suspense for all these months,
then today is your day!
Because I recently made another one of these jewels as a gift
for my dear friend Heather
who sews brilliantly
and has a love of all things hawaii / ocean / blue.

And this time I remembered to take pictures for you!
Aren't I thoughtful? 
:o)


When I saw this fabric, 
I knew I just had to make something for Heather with it!
The mermaids are just too darn cute for their own good.


The pincushion sits right on the edge of your sewing table
and dangles down
with spaces for scissors and other sewing tools
and a little catch basket to hold scraps and threads that need to be thrown away.

Basically, this keeps all your sewing stuff neat and tidy
which is exactly why I love it.




Isn't it a great design?
Just perfect to keep by your sewing machine
... or on the edge of your side table 
next to the big comfy chair you sit in while you sew
in between your grande coffee frappucino
and your bowl of reese's pieces.



Saturday, August 7, 2010

My New Addiction










A few weeks ago,
while out with my sister-in-law and her mom and another friend,
we stumbled across a fabulous knitting store.

I asked if we could go in briefly
because I was looking for an easy shawl pattern.
Little did I know that I would walk out with two patterns 
and a bag full of luxurious yarn!




Can you believe that I chose the green / blue colorway
for one of my shawls?
Honestly, I never would have chosen this
had they not had one already on display made of this exact yarn.
I couldn't resist!

I am happy to report that I am nearly finished with this particular shawl,
(thanks in part to the owner of the shop who spent 3 hours with me last weekend 
making sure that I understood the pattern!)
and once I learn how to block it,
I will post pictures.



I also found this yarn,
but they didn't have enough skeins
so I had to search online and order it from yarn.com
(Who knew there was a yarn.com?)


Yes ... it's half silk and half merino.
If I could afford to buy enough to make a big afghan out of this,
I would.
It is so soft and silky
and RED!!!


I still have a lot of work to do on this wrap,
but it's crochet, so it seems to go quicker than knitting.
This is a really flirty short "tea wrap"
and I seriously can't wait to wear it with a black dress
this Christmas season!!

More pictures to come when both shawls are finished!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

No Sliding Zone











So ... remember my little confessional the other day?
I might have one more confession to make.
Or two.
OK ... no more than three.

First Additional Confession :
I might be slightly addicted to knitting.
It all started with this scarf,
(which has quickly become a favorite!)
and things have gone downhill from there.
I'm having a seriously hard time putting down my current project
(a gorgeous shawl ... more on that later)
so much so that I find myself saying "just one more row"
while drifting into dreamland
in my big comfy chair
with knitting needles still in my hand!
Dangerous, I know!

Second Additional Confession :
Even before I was addicted to knitting,
I would hate to put down my project
for fear of the stitches sliding right off the end of the needle
and messing up all the hard work I had already put in.

I tried all sorts of techniques to avoid sliding stitches :

I tried pushing all my stitches to the non-pointed end of the needle,
but that only works if you have a smaller number of stitches on your needle.
Stitches can only be squished so far, you know
and there is no guarantee that they won't slide back!

I also tried poking the needle into the remaining ball of yarn
to hold the stitches in place,
but this only works with tightly-wound balls of yarn, 
and I also realized that when you pull the needle back out, 
sometimes the stitches stick to the yarn ball
and slide right off.
Ugh.

I even tried putting a rubber stopper on the end of the needle, 
but honestly ... that was ugly,
and I'm all about the cute.

So ... this brings me to my 
Third and Final Additional Confession :
(for now, at least)

I have officially made myself two
stitch keepers
I saw these online somewhere
(sorry, I don't remember where)
and I made some for myself.
Yes ... I know this is a trend ... I see something, I make it for myself.
I rarely buy.
It's a problem I have.



Anyway ... here is the one that fits my smaller needles.
It's just made out of cotton quilting fabric
that has some medium-weight interfacing in it to make it more sturdy.
I love the fun colorful thimbles ... 
I imagine my mom would have LOVED this fabric.


Now ...
when I'm ready to put my project down,
I simply insert the non-pointy end of the needle into the little pocket
on the right-hand side of the stitch keeper


and slide the rest of the needle up in between the two layers of fabric.
It has to be a snug fit!
Then I close the little pearl snap on the left
to keep the needle secure.
The snap also serves as protection
to keep the stitches from sliding off the point of the needle.


I can then put my project in a bag with the ball of yarn
and the matching needle
without worrying about losing any of my work!

Cool, huh?


I also made one out of this fabric for my longer needles,
just for fun.

It makes me smile.

Now if I could just find a good solution for my circular needles!