Monday, April 28, 2008

Finished? maybe evolving is a better term

O.K. I should admit that I am never finished with a project.

Since the "I finished everything" post, I have painted the bench in the craft room and found a place for only about half of the stash, and made a cushion for the newly painted bench.

I also made a second curtain for our two-windowed room.

We have had one curtain for about 3 months, and it feels good to have the windows match.

I made the curtains and the bench seat cover from a twin-sized duvet cover set that I got in the as-is section at IKEA.

There is the perfect amount of fabric.

I used the duvet cover itself for the curtains, I cut off the seams, finished the edges and added a rod pocket.

Pillowcases from IKEA are one long piece of fabric folded in half and sewn up the sides, so I had plenty of fabric for the seat cover.

I even had enough to bind the edges.

I used flannel on the underside so the cushion wouldn't slip around and I am very happy with the results.

I guess I have to make a pledge now that I will stop calling any project finished.

I also should take the time to iron, forgive the wrinkles...

Have a productive Monday,


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Things I've Learned Today

I have had a productive and instructive day.

I went to the Craftstravaganza this morning.

The first thing that I learned today is that the Fine Arts Building in the State Fairgrounds has little or no heat.

On a normal visit to the Fine Arts Building that would not be an issue as it would be late August during the State Fair.

Today, however, the snow was snowing and the wind was blowing.

Our low temperature today was 30 degrees.

The vendors had on their winter coats and hats.

I was at Craftstravaganza to teach some free knitting classes.

I wore my fingerless mittens and a neck-warmer.

Despite the cold, I had a great time and I even got to teach 6 Girl Scouts who were out on a group outing to see the crafts.

Then I came home and I spent some quality time with the Hug-a-Bugs and cut out some patterns, at which time I learned my second lesson of the day.

31 is not 21.

I can't spend hours on the floor cutting out patterns to sew without really feeling it in my back.

Wow. I feel old.

The rest of the lessons of the day were much more fun.

I learned that there is enough paint in those Ralph Lauren paint swatch pouches to cover a radiator seat, with 2 coats.

I learned that my pin-cushion, which is about 50 years old, was ready for retirement.

So I pulled out my Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts book and whipped up a new one.

Here it is before I fully loaded it up with pins.

I also learned that I really missed sewing.

I have been without a sewing space during the craft room redo, and as a result I haven't done any sewing for 2 or 3 weeks.

Tonight, I made my Younger Hug-a-Bug some shorts.

I bought the fabric at Crafty Planet, which is the second best fabric store in the Twin Cities.

As you well know, nothing can replace Treadle Yard Goods in my esteem, but Crafty Planet does have a superior selection of Japanese printed fabric.

Now we just have to wait until the snow all melts and we get some sun and warm.

I am getting sleepy,

Have a good night,


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


My dear Mom just left.
We spent the last 2 hours assembling my craft space and I am so excited about it!
I made the decision to store my fabric and yarn in the closet, so organizing that is the next thing on the list.
Here is a reminder of the space as it had been.

I took out the largest piece of furniture and I also took out 4 other pieces.
The room is so light and open now.
I can not wait to start sewing again!

Here's to actually finishing something!


Tuesday, April 22, 2008


This was a good weekend for knitting.

The Sacred Voice had a mini-tour this weekend and we did a concert in Staples Minnesota.

One of our tenors is from Staples, and we sang a concert at his parents' church.

They were so welcoming, and even had us all over to dinner.

We also had a good singing night, so that was a bonus.

The trip up there is about 2 hours, so that adds up to 4 hours of knitting time, if you were keeping score.

Then on Sunday, I was able to get in a little more knitting while I taught 2 classes at the Yarn Store.

Here is the Eris as it stands now-

I am pretty excited about the next 26 rows or so, because with the exception of the facings, it is all stockinette and I can do it without thinking.

I have also finished! painting the craft space, and all that remains is for me to access my inner interior designer and figure out where to put all of my furniture.

I hope that Spring is as glorious for all of you as it is here in Saint Paul!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Distraction on a Saturday

So, for the last hour and a half or so, I have been playing on Ravelry.
I am supposed to be vacuuming the living room.

I told the Hubby if he took the kids to the gym with him I would clean the living room.

Instead, I have been taking pictures of sweaters and WIPs and looking up patterns and filling up my queue and now I am thinking about going through my stash and listing that as well.

Krista and Theresa! when B asks why the house is such a mess, I will tell him to blame you.

O.K. seriously, how much fun is Ravelry?!?!

I think I am hooked, if you'll excuse the pun.

So, in that vein, I will update on the much-neglected Jess Sweater.

The back and both fronts are finished.

I have one sleeve started, but I left the book at the Elder Hug-a-Bug's dance lesson on Monday, so I have stalled out on that for now.

I was at the Yarn Store last week and saw a note from a co-worker saying that there was yarn on the back porch for a ridiculously low price if anyone wanted it.

I know, I said that I would work through my stash, and I have all of those WIPs, but it was so! cheap.

Also, since I am painting my craft room, everything is put away right now.

So, since I couldn't work on the Jess, I started Eris on Wednesday.

It is a totally cool pattern, and probably the longest one I have ever seen.

The pattern is a downloadable pdf and it is 40 pages long.

That Girl From Auntie is a detail-oriented lady.

To be fair, there are instructions for a pull-over and a cardigan included, so I didn't need pages 3-11.

O.K, I am going to go vacuum the living room now,

Have a relaxing Saturday!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Naturalized Garden

We have two large trees and two medium trees in our backyard.

They are really very lovely in the summertime, but there is a great deal of shade back there.

I have, over the last 4 summers, tried a variety of plants in our garden plot and have had limited success.

This year I decided to order the Naturalized Shade Garden from Spring Hill Nursery.

The plants came in the mail yesterday and the Elder Hug-a-Bug and I planted the whole lot of them today.

It was so fantastic to have my hands in the dirt after a long cold winter.

There are 48 plants, including bulbs, bare roots and crowns, and small plants.

I will keep track every week or so to see if the end result is anything like this artist's rendering.

Have a great Thor's Day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

First Picnic

I love backyard picnics.
Our food tastes better if we're sitting on the ground.
We listen to and watch the birds, squirrels, and bugs.

We watch the clouds.

We look for airplanes.

We read books in the sunlight.

The clean-up is as easy as shaking our blanket and taking in the dishes.
Today I mark the First Outdoor Picnic of 2008.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

April From the Fifth Lamp

New Silly Slippers

These are the Cozy-toe Slippers from Funky Knits.

I made them before with Rowan Big Wool.
They are terrifically comfortable, but I am afraid that the fabric is soft enough that I am wearing through the soles.
My new slippers are made from Lamb's Pride Bulky in the new multi-color held double.
I just got them out of the washer, and they are really, really fuzzy.
I think they might need a haircut.

These worked up in about 2 hours for the pair, including felting.

Now I get to pick out the buttons!

Buttons will have to wait, as everything from my crafting space is still packed away in the basement waiting for the make-over to be completed.

The goal for today is to pick out a paint color and maybe get some on the walls.

Have a sunny Sunday, I think we're gonna get one!


Saturday, April 12, 2008


Another busy yarn-filled day today.

It started with the MN Knitters Guild's yearly event Yarnover.

I always make it a point to work at Yarnover.

There are stores from all over the state that come to sell their wares along with smaller farm-based spinners, basket makers, potters and other artisans.

It is a great opportunity to see what is out there that we don't sell at Yarnery and also to, dare I say it, enhance the stash.

I will say that I held firm to a point.

I bought neither basket nor yarn, though I did bring money for those things.

I did, however, buy this darling tiny bowl by Jennie the Potter.

I also got to see a lot of customers that I hadn't seen in a while.

I used to work 3-5 days a week at the Yarnery before I had the Hug-a-Bugs and now I work 1-3 days depending on the number of exciting yarn events going on.

As a result, I have missed seeing people and what they are knitting.

It is fun to check in once a year at least with the most prolific knitters.

And then, as if that wasn't enough, I sat for Franklin of The Panopticon for his 1,000 Knitters Project.

Franklin is a sweet sweet man.

I sat and knitted on the scarf of many knitters for about 3 minutes and then I went back to work.

Only after I left did I realize that my hair was a total disaster.

I hope he was taking pics of the knitting and not my head.

He said that today he got up to about 600 knitters in the project.

After I was done with my shift at Yarnover, I came home and the sun came out, I know, hard to believe, but it actually came out and the sky was bluish if not blue.

The Hug-a-Bugs and I went outside for a little frolic and the Elder Hug-a-Bug drew a hopscotch board while I took pictures of the budded out silver maple.

For those who are waiting for a Fifth Lamp Photo for April, I will have time tomorrow.

Now I've said that, I guess that I better take one...

Have a happy Saturday,


Friday, April 11, 2008

Harlot Night

Well, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee came to Saint Paul last night.
What a wit!
She was so funny!
Also very informative.
We learned all about the four states of brain activity and what to say to rude people who discount knitting as a quaint activity.
She also does a spot-on impression of an attacking deer.
What a night to leave the camera at home. grr.
The weather was horrid.
Rain, WIND, sleet, snow.
'Round here we call that "winter mix" not that the result is anywhere as cute as the name.
We were expecting about 600 people and about 470 came.
A Wonderful crowd.
I will now demand that you all go to Ms. P's and Shelly's to see what there was to see.
The knitted goods were dazzling.
There were at least two Tangled Yoke Cardigans, one in red, a fine choice.
(Someday I will share my Tangled Yoke story)
Really the list of knitting present last night is too broad and deep to mention all of it.
Just follow the links above, you'll be blown away.

The last thing here is really the first thing on the program last night.
We totally lucked out at the Yarnery in that we have some really fine musicians working there.
The aforementioned Ms. P is an hilarious lyricist.
She rewrote the lyrics to How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria, My Favorite Things, and Edelweiss and we did a little tribute to The Harlot before the show.
We also had our terrific Mens Knit-Night leaders Scott and Eric on piano and singing bass respectively.
It was a TON of fun!
I even got to pull out the guitar (after an 11 year hiatus since open mic night in junior year of college) on Stephanie (Edelweiss) and then the crowd joined in and it was an event unto itself.

Thanks to the Yarn Harlot for coming and making such a fun night for us all!
And special super duper thanks to Maura!!! and Shelly!!!! for their tireless work as the amazing planners of the event.

Have a relaxing Friday

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Just a taste of spring at our house.
I love how the tulips catch the light like little bowls of sunshine.

I have made some progress on the stockings.

They are done but for the blocking and reindeers' noses.

The funnest thing going on right now in my life, as many of you know, is this:
The Yarn Harlot is coming to Saint Paul on Thursday, courtesy of the Yarnery.
Stephanie is such a joy to see live. She is smart, witty and can that woman knit!!
We are planning some fun surprises for the show, and next week there might be more information about that (tee hee).

Have a lovely day,

Friday, April 4, 2008

How long does it take to make a Christmas Stocking?

People will often ask me that question.

I always answer, 'Gee, I don't know, I've never timed it'

Well, last week Amazon sent me the holy grail of girl porn, that's right, Colin Firth in Pride and Predjudice.

I just can't resist his curly locks and smouldering looks.

I sat down last night and watched the entire 2-disc mini-series.
As I just can't have my hands idle at any point, I was knitting the entire time.
I started this stocking last Saturday, so when I picked it up last night I was in the middle of Santa's hats.

I guess the answer to 'How long does it take to knit a Christmas Stocking?' is about 2 viewings of Pride and Prejudice.

Have a Warm and Springy Friday!

Battlestar Galactica starts today!!!!


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

new project

My latest project is rehabilitating my crafty space.

This house is our first house.

We bought it in kind of a hurry.

I was 8 30/31 months pregnant and a friend called and told us about an inexpensive house in her neighborhood.

We looked at it, decided to buy it, next morning my water broke, no labor, my friend brought over the papers, we signed and went to the hospital to greet the Elder Hug-a-Bug.

Since we have never been in this house without tiny and small children, we have been either too tired, or didn't want the mess of fixing the many things that made this house so inexpensive.

I did try to give the sewing room an overhaul last fall.
I bought a new storage buffet and cleaned up, swept under the radiator and everything.

However the gaping holes in the ceiling, and the plaster patches all over the wall detracted from the overall effect.

While I was moving everything out of the crafty area and the upstairs "attic" ie closet off my bedroom, I found a disturbing number of projects that have been in storage for 1-5 years.

I was able to gather up 5 tall garbage bags of unfinished projects, never begun projects and fabric that had come from other people decreasing their stashes, along with buttons and knitting books for baby projects that the kids are too big for now.
I donated all of that to the mission sewing/knitting group at the church where I grew up and work. I hope there is something that they can use.

This project has consumed my waking thoughts.
I have to fix the holes, pick a new color for the walls, re-organize my space.
I am thinking about splitting the space in two and having a crafty area for the kids in here too.
We shall see what happens with that...

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Buds a-poppin'!

The Culprit

The Terrible Aftermath

for Krista,

I here embark upon the afghan project.

The center square is new.

As you can see, the color isn't perfect, but it is as close as I could come.

I had Brian look at it and he couldn't see the join.

Have fun in the mud, (not, of course, with Grandma's afghan)