aswim in knits

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Dude. The Hefty Bag is here. Time to announce some contest winners!

First, though, I wonder what the UPS guys thought of Ann's packaging...

FYI, UPS did NOT want to deliver this package to me. I have spoken to no less than 7 UPS customer service representatives in the past two days. There were some strong opinions exchanged. (To cranky UPS customer service rep #5 or 6: "I'm not sure that you understand this, but I NEED to receive this package TODAY.")

So, when the box did arrive, what did I do? Dump it out all over the living room floor, of course. See that black blob on the left? That is THE Hefty Bag.

What was in the box, you might ask? Well, as Ann put it, "the good, the bad and, yes, the ugly".

Since 227 of you entered guesses in the name that item contest, I thought it would be only fair to give more than one prize.

First, what were those things? They are jar lids covered with Sculpey polymer clay. Specifically, they are lids to baby food jars. One of you (Ruth M., apparently blogless) guessed exactly right -- she knew that they were polymer clay and surmised that they were "jar lid covers for baby food jars full of beads." Well, no beads in these photos, but given my large bead supply, not a bad idea.

So, that qualifies Ruth to win a fabulous prize! Unfortunately, Ruth did not leave her email address. Ruth, if you are reading, please send me an email!!! You will get your choice of the good, the bad, the ugly ... or the purely random.


4 skeins of Rowan Cork, in a lovely deep blue shade. Also comes with a pattern for "Freda", a capelet thing-a-ma-bob

2 skeins of Regia sock yarn

A selection of alpaca yarn (maybe sportweight?) from La Droguerie in Paris. Mmm, perhaps some stranded color knitting??


5 skeins of Berroco Linet. Bad enough to warrant this note from Ann (click the pic to make bigger if you can't read it...)


5 skeins of a retina-searing collection of purely petroleum-based yarn (if you can call it that!)


Classic Elite weekend cotton -- 4 skeins burgundy and 5 coordinating variegateds

Peaches and Cream cotton -- how could the dishcloth queens not send along some of this?

After Ruth picks her goodies, I'll ship the rest of this off to six more of you. The catch is, you won't know if you are getting the good, the bad, the ugly, or the random until it arrives at your house!

The fine folks at let me know that I should send this MDK lovin' along to the following peeps:







If you are one of these 6, please send me an email with your mailing address.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more info on the jars pictured above ... and details on how one of them could come live with you!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

contest over! blankie over!

Wow! I had 227 people guessing on what my polka-dotty items might be. I won't announce any winners until I can paw through the MDK Hefty Bag. Hopefully, it will arrive soon :)

In the meantime, I can tell you which of your guesses are NOT correct. Those pink and white gizmos are not any of the following items:
  • martian whoopie pies or cake stands
  • polymer clay drop spindles (interesting idea though!)
  • world's craftiest hubcaps
  • George Michael's earrings
  • party hats for trolls
  • decorative manhole covers
  • creative hockey pucks
  • beer bottle cap cozies
  • pasties -- WTF?? (more than one of you guessed this too!)
In between reading -- and laughing at -- all of your guesses, I did get some stuff accomplished this weekend ...

First and foremost, the big orange blankie is done!

Project specs:
Pattern: Hearts and Stars blanket from Zoe Mellor's Adorable Knits for Tots
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, color Wild Orange
Needles: Size 6 Addi Turbos
Gauge: 20 sts/4 in (or 20.5, maybe)

It doesn't look so big all folded up, but I'll have to wait until I can get a photo with its recipient. Then, it will look big in comparison to him!

After the blanket, I made a few more notebook covers. The two on top are new. The stripes are from Amy Butler's Charm collection, and the colorful circley things are a Kaffe Fasset print.

Then, I used the leftover Fasset print to make a case for my new reading/knitting glasses. It's quilted and cute, but a little bit big. And, the edging is poorly sewn. So, there might be more of these in my future!

Remember when I said that "I promised myself that I would finish 5 things on my WIP list before starting anything new. These are the 5 that I decided to finish..."?

Well, here's the scoop:
  • the orange baby blanket -- DONE!
  • a poncho for grandma -- started, but I made a mistake and need to rip back (grrr...)
  • pink and green skirt -- I decided not to make this one right now, since summer is almost over
  • Hooray for Headbands -- DONE!
  • Fountain Lace cardigan -- back and sleeves done, fronts started -- I need to rip the back to the armholes, though (grrr again ...). I think it's just going to be too short. I need to add at least another inch.
Obviously, I was not faithful to the list, since I've whipped up some notebook covers and eyeglass holders too. But, this nice "list of 5" has kept me focused on the things I need to finish. I'm going to try to keep an ongoing "list of 5" so that I can pick and choose, and have some knitting and some sewing in the mix.

I'll relax the "no new projects" rule just a little bit -- if I can whip it up in a night or on a weekend, I won't count it as a WIP for the "list of 5". If it involves multiple days of crafting, it's a list-er.

So, here is the new "List of 5" for the forseeable future:
  • a poncho for grandma
  • Fountain Lace cardigan
  • Denyse Schmidt potholders (umm, did I mention that I started these???)
  • Baudelaire socks for MIL's christmas gift -- I've finished 5 lace pattern repeats on each sock -- one more and I can start the gusset
  • another sewing project -- probably a quilt with some leftover fabric from this doggie blanket -- I have a plan, but I won't tell you until I know if it will work!
Stay tuned for updates on the contest winners!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My first-ever contest!

So, for those of you who have been reading along over the past few weeks, you will know that I am doing my damnedest to finish up my WIPs and to use up what I have.

Which is just a nice way of saying "no more crap enters this house until I get rid of some of what I already have!!"

Progress was made ... I'm chugging away on the big orange baby blanket.

I sent this blanket off to Rebekah to donate to her animal shelter.
I sent this pile of baby sweaters to Circles to donate to Cradle to Crayons.

I whipped up a cute little notebook cover, using leftover fabric from my couch pillows, leftover interfacing from my two skirts, and leftover ribbon from my Sitcom Chic. (When the notebook is closed, those ribbons tie into a cute little bow...)

I started a new project using up more stuff in my crafty-bitch stash ...
(Full details, and more photos, to come when the project is finished the contest is over -- see below!)

So, feeling all high and mighty and proud of myself, I had the perfect blog post composted in my head about what a good girl I have been, and how I've been crafting from the stash and resisting the temptations to buy more.

And then, a voice from over the cubicle wall asks me "have you read Mason-Dixon today?"

Why no, I had not. Clicky-click on over ... to read this post.

Really, go click on over. Then come back. I'll wait.

So, it seems that my purging has all been in the interest of acquiring more fibery goodness.

So, I am now announcing my first ever blog contest!! (Otherwise known as "whoring for comments".)

Can you guess what my latest crafty project is, those pink and white polka-dotted things shown above?

Any guess, no matter how ludicrous, will be entered in the drawing for some fabulous prizes. How fabulous, you might ask?? Well, we'll have to wait until the Hefty bag arrives!! 'Cause, you know, the hubby is not going to be so pleased when an entire bag full of yarn show up on the doorstep. So, I'll need to let him know that some of it is already designated as yarny prize giveaways! Augmented by stuff from my own stash, too. (Any non-knitters out there, we'll find a suitable prize for you too!)

(Mafia, you are the only one who knows what those pink and white things are, so don't let the cat out of the bag!)

The contest will be open until next Tuesday at noon, east coast time. Leave a comment or send me an email (address in sidebar) with your NAME and BLOG ADDRESS or EMAIL ADDRESS. Be creative with your guesses!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

77.4% complete

... but who's keeping track, now?

Here is the current state of the big orange baby blanket ...

Doesn't look so big there, huh? Well, if I hold the working edge at my waist ...

... the blanket hangs to my feet!

I'm into the 6th of 7 pattern repeats, so the end is in sight! This is ALL I have been knitting, with the exception of a little bit of Grandma's poncho.

For those who asked, the yarn is Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece ("Wild Orange" colorway), the pattern is the creatively named "Hearts and Stars" pattern from Zoe Mellor's book, Adorable Knits for Tots.

I will attempt to spare you from any more photos of the blanket until it is finished. According to my calculations, that's another 12.5 hours of knitting time. I hope to wrap this one up by Labor Day! Hmmm, what will I post until then...?

Friday, August 18, 2006

new blogger

So, I just saw this post about the "new blogger" which includes features like "label" (i.e. categories for a post).

It's only available in beta right now, and only "by invitation" to certain blogger accounts. Dude, I wanna be part of this! Now! And I'm NOT! (Whinge, moan...)

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I have notebooks on the brain. At work, I use one notebook for most of my meeting notes, and just keep everything in running chronological order. My current notebook is almost used up. Not to mention, it's terribly boring! Time to channel the inner craftiness and make myself a more interesting notebook.

This spring, I made a couple of notebooks as gifts for two of my swimmers who are going off to college. I bought the pre-cut bookboard/book block kits from Paper Source, so this was a quickie project. (These are journal size -- maybe 10" x 7", or thereabouts.)

Then I saw a really cute fabric covered notebook over at In the Bag. So, I am completely and totally consumed with thinking about how I will make my OWN really cute fabric covered notebook :)

I think that I will need to visit some fabric stores this weekend ...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

halfway there!

I'm halfway done with the orange baby blanket! Exactly half done, not a stitch more :)

This is three and a half of the seven rows of heart and star "blocks".

I promised myself that I would finish 5 things on my WIP list before starting anything new. These are the 5 that I decided to finish...

I finished a headband, but I haven't taken a photo yet. I was sick yesterday and I stayed home sick from work again today, so I'm really not in any shape to post a photo of my face :)

Now that I am half way through the baby blanket, I'll spend some more time on the other three WIPs, since the orange is getting monotonous...

Monday, August 14, 2006


I had a lovely, lazy weekend. I met up with some friends from college. We shopped, and talked, and had dinner. We saw some of the cows on parade in Boston, including one painted in Marimekko, just like one of my favorite fabrics --

I also played about with some crafty things.

I took a lesson on how to use a serger -- one of these ones. I don't think I'll be buying one anytime soon -- too specialized.

I knit some more on the orange baby blanket. Not even halfway done yet!!

I also bought myself a new toy -- a Brother labeller.
No, I don't really *need* one, but I feel so wonderfully organized to have all my stuff properly labelled!!

I also played a bit on my sewing machine. Photos to follow tomorrow, if I remember to take photos tonight!

Friday, August 11, 2006

working through the list

This week I finished up a couple of things, including couch pillows, a skirt, a bit of baby blanket, and this doggy quilt. It is my first attempt at quilting anything on the machine (I finished it before making the pillows, and I just kind of figured out how to do the things I wanted to do, without really folowing any particular instructions.

(I've since laundered it, so the chalk lines in this photo are now gone...)

It's about 3 feet square. I'm thinking of donating it to an animal shelter. I might just stick it in a closet until some blogger puts out a call for charity stuff for the beasties.


But, I still have a LOT of things that I want to do. Every few months, I feel compelled to list them out so that I don't lose track of what I'm working on. Also, I keep hoping that if I make a list, and make it public, I will shame myself into finishing something :)

Knits to finish:

Sewing projects:
  • pink and green skirt
  • pink and green boxer shorts for the hubby, made from the extra yardage that I anticipate having left over from the skirt (hey, we can match!!)
  • Hooray for Headbands
  • Denyse Schmidt potholders, in scraps of blue
  • drink coasters to match pillows?
  • hot pads to match potholders?
All those things are just the projects that I already have materials for!! I've got lots of ideas for other projects, but I need to finish up some of thees other ones first.

My goal is to complete 5 of these things before starting anything new. Which 5? How about these ones ...
I would be a happy crafter if I finished these :)


little girl dresses

couch pillows with stripes

kneesock patterns

stuffed puppy

patchwork belts and a tutorial

a cleverly shaped cloth package

colored pencil rolls

patchwork bags and detail of quilting

lovely little girls' casual sweater

beautiful spinning space -- it's so clean and organized!

Kitty Craft pattern downloads

yet another bag tutorial

ribbed socks with just the right kind of calf increases

beautiful cookie packaging

Japanese craft books (take my credit cards away, please!)

modern quilt patterns

kitchen shadowboxes

aran braid socks

Blueprint, a new design magazine by the Martha Stewart empire

patchwork pillows -- I especially like the striped one and the sweet pastels of Mimi's pillow

patchwork bib -- great baby gift idea!

quilts on flickr

yummy Kaffe Fassett quilt and link to fabric shop

girly aprons (perhaps a gift for a niece who will turn 5 this fall?)

inspirational idea for decorating

Thursday, August 10, 2006

my flowery bum

Well, it seems that I got some people's attention when I posted a photo of my husband's butt. (Hmmm ... husbands-in-underwear have appeared elsewhere in the knitblogosphere recently.)

In the interests of satisfying the blog-reading public, I thought it was time to post a photo of my posterior.

I am wearing the skirt that I stitched up on Monday night. I bought the fabric a couple of weeks ago, and I used the same pattern as I did for the skirt I made in July. I did make a few size adjustments, and I like the fit of this one better.

Here's the front view. Sorry you can't see more of me ... I'm wearing a black shirt, in front of dark green bushes, at dusk. (Damn that job that keeps me from crafting all day long in full natural sunlight!)
There is a very similar floral print used in a skirt at Talbots Kids. Apparently I share my sense of style with well-dressed six-year olds. Hmph.

I still have the fabric for one more skirt, this time in a different pattern. I'm hoping to get a start on that one tonight...

On a related note, did everyone see the fabrics available at Ikea? That may require a road trip soon...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

why yes, I do still knit ...

Remember this blanket that I started at the end of July?

It's grown to look like this ...

I've completed 2 of the 7 rows of hearts and stars. There are 5 "blocks" in each row, and the blanket will grow to be 7 "blocks" tall. I've still got a ways to go, although I hope to finish this by the end of the summer...
It's a long, boring slog -- 43" long, probably, and I am only done with 13"! -- but I know that the recipients (Baby Jared and his parents) will like it, so it makes it worth the time :)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

world's best husband

While I was shopping for fabric for my pillows this weekend, I saw some fun cotton (on sale!) with a very cute snail pattern.

In another fabric store, I saw a box of $1.00 patterns, which I normally do NOT have the patience to search through. However, a pattern for boxer shorts, in Thom's exact size, was sitting right on top of the stack.

So, the snails became shorts....

Thom suffered through a couple of fittings, although the pattern is still not quite there yet -- it will need a few more alterations before the fit is just right for future pairs.

After I finished up this pair, Thom said "wait, don't you want to take a photo for your blog??"

Now that's love -- volunteering to have a picture of your underwear-clad butt posted on your wife's crafty blog!

(Send some good wishes his way -- he's just finishing grad school and making the transition back to full-time employment. It's a little rough going right now, but I am optimistic that all will work out soon...)

Monday, August 07, 2006

pillowy goodness

Last week, I decided that we needed new pillows for our living room. We currently have a hand-me-down couch from my grandmother. It's a sensible, sturdy piece of Ethan Allen furniture, the good Yankee that my granny is.

She even gave us the two pillows that she got with it.

Serviceable, but not really my style. And, getting kind of grungy looking. So, I decided to whip up some pillow covers, in the style of Denyse Schmidt.

I went shopping. I got some fat quarters.

And some quarter yard cuts off the bolt (quarter included for scale).

Then I shopped the stash. Not my stash, as I'm still a rookie at this sewing and quilting thing, but my mom's stash. She used to quilt a lot (circa 1987, according to the dates printed on the selvages of the fabric...)
I got to work. I made a few templates.

And thought about color layouts.

And then I cut, and sewed, and quilted, and ironed. And did all the above again for pillow #2. After all was said and done, I ended up with these cuties.

Much better!

I'm pretty proud of myself for figuring out how to do this (not that it's that hard), for NOT following a pattern, and for letting my instinct lead as to colors and placements. I think I got some pretty good results for the first time through. I could definitely get into this machine quilting thing, especially when the desired end result is a little bit random and less than typically "perfect".

The pillows are a little more "country" looking than I would like, but I wanted something to match the couch, and I didn't want to spend a lot of money.

I had some batting remnants in my own stash already, and some blue thread. I also had an old blue chambray sheet -- with some stains and holes -- that I cut up to use for the backing of the quilted part, as well as the back of the pillow.

I only spent about $12 on new fabrics, and I only used a little of each piece. So, I'm now thinking about making some of the DS quilted potholders for the kitchen, using some of the leftover blues. Hmm, where can I buy insulated batting?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

summer loving

Me and my sweetie enjoying the sun last weekend.

I need another weekend, stat! So, I'm taking a vacation day on Friday, and hope to spend much of it doing crafty things ...


log cabin pillow

Japanese craft books

craft tutorials of all stripes

pillowcase frocks, a tutorial, and a gallery

patchwork floor mat

a peek into someone else's home (love the decorating)

decorating birdhouses with books

critter cars

fabric store

the banner on this site

a tip for using dental floss to create a gathered skirt, ruffle, etc.

promenade -- a produce bag

baby names (not inspirational, just damn funny!)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

summer cleanup, summer reading

Last night, I was bitten by the clean-up bug. I spent the better part of 5 hours doing laundry and ironing, putting away yarn and fabric, hanging clothes, cleaning up after our niece's visit, making tomorrow's lunches, and generally making our apartment look somewhat more presentable.

I also did a quick clean-out of our bookshelf. My husband and I are both big readers, but we rarely buy fiction. Instead, we borrow books from friends, family, and libraries. We do have a small collection of sentimental favorites, which we keep (and move from apartment to apartment, and hopefully soon to a house of our own). We also have some books acquired as gifts or in "emergency airport purchases", but once we read them, we don't often keep them.

So, that said ... would anyone like the following books?
Interpreter of Maladies (Jhumpa Lahiri)
Prep (Curtis Sittenfeld)
Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
Family Baggage (Monica McInerney)
The Virgin Blue (Tracy Chevalier)

If you want one of these, send me an email (address in the sidebar). I'd be happy to send it off to a good home ...