And I Can’t Dance, Either.

One mitten down

So, in this year of non-winter in warm North Carolina, I decided to make each of my sons a pair of double / lined wool mittens. You know, for throwing snowballs. I was intrigued by this Beth Brown-Reinsel design where the lining and outer mitten are knit as one piece, so there’s no sewing-up at the end. The mitten above is the first one, all done. Here is the second.

Immediately after finishing them, I put them on in the car. It wasn’t until I was trying to pull the second one on that I realized what I’d done. Do you see it? Don’t scroll down until you’ve thought it through.











Two left thumbs... er, mittens.

Yes, I absolutely did that. Ever heard of two left feet? Well, apparently I have two left thumbs. After laughing and maybe crying a bit, I decided to lop the thumbs off of the offending mitten and use my kitchener and grafting skills to mend the hole and make an appropriate new one. This pattern doesn’t have a thumb gusset, so it would definitely work, in theory. In my head, this post morphed into “how to easily fix a mitten thumb mistake.”

Fortunately, when I looked closely at the damage, it turned out that it was only the outside of the mitten that had the thumb in the wrong place, so there was only one thumb to move. Yes, it takes talent to knit the entire thing when your mistake is staring you in the face, but I managed.

It takes talent to only turn the outside around.

Unfortunately, closing the hole with a kitchener stitch after removing the thumb looked messy, so I needed to rip the mitten back to the thumb.

Fortunately, I figured out that using the kitchener wouldn’t have worked anyway, as this version of the mitten has short rows worked across the knuckles. Moving the thumb as I needed to would have put it on the other side, making the mitten bend in an anatomically creative fashion.

Unfortunately, that meant more knitting.

Fortunately, I like to knit. And now, we have these. They are squooshy, and warm, and will fit me when my son grows out of them. Though, the fact that my husband can get his giant hands in there doesn’t bode well for J growing out of them any time soon.

J with his mittens.

I wish I had planned ahead and taken a photo when he first picked them up. His smile was amazing – it had settled a bit by the time I took this one. ;) Both of my kids have knit-gift gratitude down pat.


Started: 25 Dec 2011
Finished: 8 Feb 2012
Pattern: Yummy Mittens by Beth Brown-Reinsel. Link to pattern on Ravelry here. It was $6 US when I bought it.
Yarn: Cascade Yarns 220 Wool, color 9555 white/black for the outside, 9409 blue/black for the inside. J picked the colors himself.
Needles: US 5 / 3.75 mm for the cuff, US 6 / 4.0 mm for the liner, and US 7 / 4.5 mm for the outer shell.
Notes: J had a palm circumference of 6.625″ / 16.8 cm. Cast on 36 stitches around. 12 rows between cuff and thumb. 8 rows between thumb waste yarn and beginning of short rows across the knuckles. 6.25″ / 16 cm from cuff to decreases on palm side.

My Ravelry project page is here.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone. I thought I’d share some quick photos of what I’ve been up to.

This keeps B’s earbuds from being a tangled mess, and also keeps him from appropriating his brothers’ as his own. This is basically a 4-stitch i-cord with a bit of circular knitting at the join. The idea and recipe are from Dorian Starr and can be found here. I used US 0 / 2.0 mm needles just because that was the set closest to me when I started; I’d go up a size or two next time. The yarn is some leftover Patons Kroy sock yarn in colorway 56603. Ravelry link.

I also plied up a big, fluffy skein of 2-ply oatmeal colored BFL that will be a sweater someday. It was hard for me to spin ‘big’ enough to get a worsted weight yarn. It’s quite squishy and pretty, though, so I’m happy. I was without a lazy kate for a long time, and so it took me forever to get from the spinning to the plying stage. My wheel got dusty, I’m ashamed to admit. I’ll have to show you the pop tart box I finally mangled to make a lazy kate sometime.

So, what are you all up to in the new year? I am spinning my Christmas roving now, and working on lined gloves that are much too warm for our mild North Carolina winters. My husband thinks I’m crazy (and he’s probably right), but I’m having fun. ;)


The Clothing Post

Every once in a while, I get a hare-brained idea. Like, “Wouldn’t it be nice to sew jeans from scratch? For a growing boy? Solely on the treadle machines?! Cool! I’ll have it done by next weekend!” Yes, I thought that. I still stand by it, except for the ‘next weekend’ part. In September, as the weather was finally cooling off, I finished up B’s jeans. I started them a long time ago, but was savvy enough to put a bunch of extra length in them. This kid grows up far faster than he grows out.

Mostly, I wanted to see whether I could make “real” pants that didn’t look homemade. These pants represent my first yoke, half-elastic waistband, pockets, placket, inset zipper, belt loops, and back pockets. Whew. I’ve made pants before, but of the elastic pull-on variety with no pockets.

My favorite thing about these pants is that the front pockets are sewn down, which eliminates the annoying white bunch of lining that always seems to appear at the top of my boys’ jean pockets. Pushing down the lining when they put their pants on in the morning is not high on the boys’ priority list. B’s favorite thing about them is the gingham lining on the inside of the front pocket. It was a piece of fabric from Aunt Ellie’s stash, and he’s thrilled that it is now his. That, of course, charms me to no end.

I managed the whole shebang on my treadle machines, with the exception of the button hole. I *could* have done it on my Necchi, but I managed to mess up my timing on it, and so brought out my trusty old electric machine for the button hole just to have it all done. B was terribly patient, and claims these as his favorite pants. Consequently, I only have the photos that I snapped in a hurry when they were first complete.

The pattern is from Ottobre Design’s Autumn 2007 kids issue (#39: Boy’s slim-fit pants.) They fit B perfectly. Well, two days after I hemmed them, they were too short again, but that’s not the pattern’s fault. Luckily, I left enough fabric to let out the hem. I can be taught.

In other clothing news, I’ve been playing about with embroidery. Both of these patterns are from Urban Threads. I did them on soft plain T-shirts. I’m lucky that I have boys who want to wear the things I make. One of these days, I’ll get around embroidering something for myself. At least I won’t grow out of it!

Embroidered Kitty with Yarn


Olivers with a V

Happy Autumn! It seems I took the summer off from posting. Hey, life is like that sometimes. So, I’ll be posting now and then with projects I finished long ago, such as these socks for my husband. He was quite enthusiastic about the first Oliver socks I knit him, but I didn’t like how the ribbing buckles over the stockinette part of the front of his foot.

The idea with this pair was to continue the ribbing down the front of his foot to see if that would ease the buckling. As it turns out, it doesn’t do a thing! Now we have a different sort of ribbing, but the leg bit still bunches and buckles at the foot. Hrmmm. At least the design change lets me keep the pairs separate in the laundry, though I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. It’s probably a bad one, once he wears a hole in one of the socks.


Started: 9 Oct 2010
Finished: 2 Feb 2011
Pattern: Oliver by Marlowe Crawford. Link to pattern on Ravelry here. It was $7 US when I bought it.
Yarn: Superwash merino fingering weight yarn in ‘latte’ from the Yarn Gallery. I got a size 10.5 US men’s pair of socks from one skein with plenty left over.
Needles: US 1 / 2.25 mm
Notes: 72 sts around. These were made with 9″ cuffs, which John loves.

My Ravelry project page is here.

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Four Freedoms Quilt

Operation Quiet Comfort is an organization whose purpose is to honor and comfort US military personnel who become sick or injured while serving in harm’s way, as well as to support the folks who are caring for them. Anyone who is willing to help is invited to do so, regardless of religious, political, or ideological views.

I finally finished up this Four Freedoms Gratitude Quilt for them. I won’t be doing another one, simply because it takes me too long to finish one; I’ll leave the quilting to people who can do it faster and better than I can!

These are called Four Freedoms quilts because they’re based on President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, and each of the white blocks in the center has an accompanying quote. The hearts and stars are reverse-appliqued, and the rest of the blocks are all blocks that say “thank you” to our service members.

In other sewing news, I’m currently trying to do my first trousers with a zipper set in. I’ve decided that a zipper foot must be a lovely thing to own; it’s going on my list. For now, I’ve decided to hand-sew the second bit of the zipper in to save my failing sanity. Photos someday, when this blasted set of trousers is off of my sewing table and on my kidlet!

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Hey, everyone. I have not fallen off the surface of the earth, and I have been making things. Whenever life gets a little too crazy, I forget to do some of the things I like to do, like talking with you all. I did, however, remember to pay the bills, so I guess my priorities are in order somewhat.

So, to distract you all, here are some pretty socks!

These are Pointelle, from Cookie A’s latest book, Knit. Sock. Love. I keep on meaning to design some socks, but there are so many lovely patterns out there that I end up knitting someone else’s design instead. This pair is a birthday set for my lovely mother, who has patiently waited for some hand-knit socks for years. Now that I’ve completed this pair, I’m going to have to knit another set for myself – I love the look of this sock, and the pattern is easy once you get the hang of it. You just have to pay a bit of attention, like with many of Cookie A’s patterns.

One hint I found on Ravelry that I used for this set is Cat Bordhi’s “Hungry Stitch” method for the ssk lines. Don’t try this on the ssks in the lace section (ask me how I know), but the hungry stitch works a treat for the lines going across the sock in the plain section.

The yarn is Cascade Yarns Heritage Solids in Lilac. I purchased it mostly because it was solid, and I wanted to show off the pattern, and because it was in my mom’s signature color. The yarn was a little less springy than I’m used to working with, and I’m chalking it up to the nylon content (75% merino, 25% nylon.) Still, it was pretty yarn, and worked up well.


Started: 8 Feb 2011
Finished: 11 Mar 2011
Pattern: Pointelle by Cookie A.
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Heritage Solids, color 5614 (lilac)
Needles: Metal dpns from Knit Picks
Notes: Hungry Stitch ssk from Cat Bordhi helps the leg look great on these socks. Size is women’s US 6.


Tied Handle Tote Bag

I sewed up this quick tote for a friend’s birthday last November. It was a lovely pattern and quick to come together. It is technically reversible, but with the fabrics I’ve chosen, I think it looks better this way. I used a decorator-weight fabric for the outside just to give it a bit more body. In my case, the decorator weight fabric shrunk down to below the amount I needed for the pattern, so I shortened the handles a bit. Next time I’ll be sure to buy extra to ensure I have enough fabric.

I know there will be a next time for this bag. It’s cute, functional, and easy. What more could I want?

There are pockets on the outside and inside. This photo of the bag inside-out will give you a better idea of its construction.


Started: Nov 2010
Finished: Nov 2010
Pattern: Lickety Split Bag from Made by RAE
Fabric: Home dec and quilting cotton from JoAnn’s. I tried to find a relatively new quilting shop out in Clayton, and failed miserably. Some other day when I have more time!
Notes: Didn’t bother to topstitch around the opening and handles; just hand-sewed the turning bit closed. Came out great!

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2010 Wrap-Up

Happy New Year, everyone. It looks like the new year here will be even busier than the old one. I’m feeling a mite discombobulated, so I’m not even going to attempt to string this last set of projects into any sort of meaningful theme. Let’s just call it a brain-purge of all the 2010 projects I never got around to showing you.

blue-lizardAnother lizard shirt, this one in blue. This one is made the same way as the first one was.
rice-packetsRice packets! I put these in my sugar jars and laundry detergent to keep them from getting hard if a little moisture makes it into the jar. They make a huge difference, especially in my sugar jars. Without these little guys, we have to chip the sugar out!
2x2-meA set of 2×2 rib socks for me.

Yarn: Zen String Loopy Legends in Laurie’s Carolina Morning (100% merino wool – 3-ply light fingering weight.
Needles: US 1.5 (2.5 mm) dpns
Notes: Women’s US size 6:

2×2 Rib, Cuff down, 64 sts.

6� cuff

Heel flap worked in heel stitch over 32 sts for 32 rows.

Heel turn: 1 (RS): sl 1, k16, ssk, k1, turn. 2 (WS): sl 1, p3, p2 tog, p1, turn. Continue heel turn.

Work foot to 7 1/4�.

Work toe decrease every other round until 32 sts remain. Then, work decrease every round until 20 sts remain.


Ravelry link

There’s another bat just like Glidey around here somewhere, but he was lost almost as soon as he was completed. Someday he’ll turn up and I’ll get a picture.

Also, imagine a pile of this yarn. I finished up the fiber, but have no photos yet.

May your new year be happy and bright!


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Halloween 2010

j-halloween-2010 b-halloween-2010

I’m operating under the code of ‘better late than never.’ This was the upshot of Halloween sewing this year.

The ghost was an adult-sized costume that I pared down using J’s measurements. Considering I did it on the fly, it came out pretty well. The hood and shoulder area could have used a little more attention, but it worked for the Halloween party and trick-or-treating. It was excellent practice in working with slippery stuff, and I got to use the narrow hemmer on my serger for the first time. He’s wearing his brother’s skeleton costume from last year underneath to look as scary as possible, though the big grin on his face ruins that effect.

2010-10-29.010Next to the ghost, Mr. Wizard was dead easy (pardon the pun.) The cape went together in a day, and the robe was almost as fast. You can’t see it in this photo, but I also threw together a felt scabbard for his wand, so that he’d have his hands free to play party games and beg treats. The cape fabric did all the work for this costume; I’m glad we found it.

I was silly again this year, and made the costumes in the week before Halloween. Details below:


Started: 21 Oct 2010
Finished: 29 Oct 2010
Pattern: Simplicity 2486
Fabric: Platinum / gray organza from Jo Ann’s.
Notes: Serged the edges; the rest was sewn on my treadle sewing machine.


Started: 21 Oct 2010
Finished: 29 Oct 2010
Pattern: McCall’s 2854, size 8
Fabric: Black polyester shantung for the robe, gold mesh spiderweb for the cape. Velvet ribbon, gold rope (belt).
Notes: Sewn on the treadle, with the exception of the robe seams, which I serged.


Rosie Posie


Yes, that was a Majacraft box! I’m very excited to show you my newest treasure, which is likely the last wheel I’ll ever buy. This is Rose. We actually received our first Rose a few weeks ago, but it was in used condition though we ordered it as new. The seller happily corrected the issue with us, though, and had Majacraft ship us a Rose from their warehouse.

Rose-3The double treadle is so wonderful! I love being able to stop and start the wheel with just my feet, and I’m finding that it is much easier on my back than the treadle action of the Traditional. Keep in mind that I have a bad back – most folks probably wouldn’t notice. I’m spinning nice and slow, trying to get thick yarn, but I know that I’ll be able to spin sock yarn on this beauty with no trouble at all. The only trouble is finding time to do it.

I’ve finished plying the blue yarn I started ages ago, and can’t wait to start in on my sweater yarn. I’m having a hard time working up to a worsted weight, though. After trying for so long to spin thin, it’s interesting to try to move back towards a thicker yarn. However, my spinning needs to wait until after some other time-sensitive things are finished up. Rosie is a great motivator, though.

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