Thursday, July 30, 2009

say hello to my little friend

H called for me to look out the window at the beautiful light streaming through the trees the other day, and guess who I saw looking right back at me...

We have several black cats who hang out in our backyard pretending they're wild panthers.

And the panther is off - in search of a nap no doubt.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lemons into Lemonade, aka Ripped Sleaves into Puffed Sleaves

There is nothing quite so heartbreaking and downright frustrating as pulling a favorite shirt out of the wash with a big rip in it. Such was the case with my non-iron Brooks Brothers shirt. Such is likely the case when using a New York City laundromat.

As H could tell you, I am not in the habit of throwing things away. This being no exception, I hung on to it in the hopes I would be able to make it wearable again. Enter, a fantastic website full of free or nearly free patterns. I had already used the JJ Blouse pattern to refashion my khaki jacket into puff sleaves, which worked wonderfully (and I STILL haven't posted the after pictures over a year later. sad). So I figured I had enough unripped fabric left to get the same result with this shirt.

This is halfway between before and after:

And this is the wretched rip:

That non-iron shirt is looking awfully wrinkled in these pictures. Mmm.

Here is the puff sleave in progress - you can see the little bit of green bias trim I used - I got this from my windfall stash of craft supplies.

Here is the sleave all neatly finished with a pearl button. Cute huh?

It is now one of my favorite summer work shirts! Yay! Unfortunately/fortunately I have yet another Brooks Brothers non-iron shirt with a big rip in the arm - here we go again.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cord Scrunchie

This past weekend, my parents stayed with H and I for the first time ever. I absolutely LOVED it. I was a bit of a nervous wreck preparing though. H could tell I was getting obsessed with details when I announced that the black lamp cord in their guestroom was unacceptable. Well it was.

I decided the night before they came (while I still had fundamental things to scrubbing toilets) was a perfect time to sew what I call a cord scrunchie. H had never heard of or seen this before, so he thought I was dangerously off the rocker. These do exist however, but most of the commercial options are uglier than the cord. I remembered seeing adorable ones at anthropologie years ago in Atlanta. The basic idea is to sew a long tube to cover the cord and look like a soft scrunchie.

Tada! I made the tube half again longer than the cord (roughly) so it would have some nice bunching. The most annoying and time-consuming part of this very quick project was turning it inside out. I used a large wooden knitting needle to help (all the while H was pondering my sanity). Then I just tucked the raw fabric edges under at each end and wahla! Seriously one of the easiest projects ever. Done in about 20 minutes.

H was not extremely impressed, but admitted it was better than he thought it would be. I thought it made a big difference. What do you think, am I nuts or what? Well I am, but this is still a cool project.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Benjamin Bear

May I introduce Benjamin Bear, a soon-to-be baby gift, commissioned by my mom. Benjamin is a very distinguished fellow, as you can see by his proper nose and mouth, and no-nonsense eyes. He is the contemplative sort - a bit of an amateur philosopher, really.

Pattern: Knitted Toys from Last Minute Knitted Gifts

Yarn: Sublime 100% merino wool, DK weight

Needles: US5 Circulars (16" and 24" - helpful to have the two different lengths to distinguish the beginning of the round without a marker)
Modifications: I used DK weight yarn instead of sport weight, so I didn't hold the yarn double. Also, I noticed an error in the pattern when you get to the shoulder reductions - if you follow the instructions, the bear would have a shoulder sticking out the back and front. I must have read it 50 times and I declare it doesn't make sense the way it's written. I also totally winged it on the ears. The placement of the markers (and lack of extremely clear instructions for how to run the yarn inside the bear), left me eyeballing where the ears should be and how to weave the yarn so it would cinch up properly. Lastly, as you see he is wearing the kerchief rather than the recommended scarf. I simply didn't have yarn thin enough to make a nicely draping scarf. The kerchief pattern was also more exciting and fun :)

I used regular cotton thread for the eyes and nose/mouth, which I think finished him off nicely. The polyfil (fakey fake - but actually quite soft and spongey) turned out well, but does show through a bit.

I think Benjamin is excited to gaze out of new windows soon :) I sent him off with my parents yesterday after their first ever stay with H and I. We had a thrilling, sweet and wonderful weekend celebrating my dad's birthday. Great times. I want more!

Oh, and our local windowsill frog would like to say "hullo!"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sneak Peak

I'm pretty happy about this yarn. This beautiful stuff is Sublime 100% merino wool, DK weight. Supple and soft - perfect for a teddy bear baby gift!

I looked for a lighter brown, but on short notice, this dark chocolate brown is the best I could find. It might have a wonderful effect when it's all done - I can't wait to embellish the face :) I snagged a great deal on this stuff - $5 a skein at my local yarn store. The lady there is so nice - she gave me the sale price even though it wasn't on sale. She also was kind enough to give me a big bag of stuffing for free! She was using it for a small project and had a bunch left over. Perfect.

I think since this gift is for a little boy, I will knit up a little scarf using the bit of leftover yarn from my g'ma's blue hat. I've done most of the knitting on the bear's body, now I'm just trying to figure out the directions for the ears. Then I've got to get stuffing and weaving in ends.