Saturday, July 31, 2010

Spiderwebs for Nichole

Nichole in the Quilter Bees group asked for spiderweb blocks this month. This was another I-always-wanted-to-make-this block for me. Honestly, I was a little intimidated by spiderwebs, but the tutorial at Quiltville was awesome, again.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thrift Store Save

{$2 from Salvation Army. It is handmade by someone else}
Inspired by Kathleen's Thrift Store Thursdays at Grosgrain, I went to the local Salvation Army store on 50% off day and scooped up three great pieces of clothing. Two are dresses I plan to alter and one brand new top that doesn't need anything but the tag removed. Grand total $6. Love it.
{The back of Granny's house dress}
The first dress I found was Granny's house dress. It is handmade by someone else. I never know why these are donated to thrift stores. It is the second handmade garment I have found while thrifting. (I just realized I never posted about the other super cute handmade dress I found at Goodwill. I will do that soon.) It had a good rough shape, but is way too big and I do like the vintagey fabric. Kind of looks like the 30's repro fabrics.
{*Gasp* I know!}
I took in the side seams about two inches on each side. I didn't have to alter the hem. I think it hits at a good spot. I tried hard to save the sleeves, even trying to add an otherwise cute elastic gathering, but it looked bad. The sleeves didn't make the cut...or maybe they did. ;]
{Bad model posing commences}
I also added a 1/4" elastic to the waist line. I zig zag stitched over the elastic and pulled it tight as I was stitching. I really like the gathering around the waist. Very comfortable and better than a tied belt, which always moves on me.
{Out of order, but marked and pinned for altering}
It would have been a much easier project with a dress form. *hint, hint, Santa* But it worked out all right after a few tries.

{Pea approves, or is just looking for some love, you be the judge}

I didn't get a good photo, but I covered the sleeve opening with binding made from the side seam castaways. My binding foot made this easy. Part of the collection I got about a year ago.

{Gratuitous dog photo}

{New back detail}

After all the alterations, the bodice still wasn't sitting right and the back had even more excess fabric than it does now. With a pie cut into the back neck line, commercial bias tape, a made-by-me fabric button and small piece of elastic, even the back got a new look.

It took *way* longer than I anticipated, but I think it was worth it. It can be worn now, as is and be worn into the fall and again in the spring with a little cardigan. Perfect to throw on for work or play when I am running late (which is most of the time). =]

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Black-Eye Pea's Polamalu Spirit Leg Warmers: FREE Knitting Pattern

{aka Pea is for Polamalu ~ Ravelry pattern link}
Pea's sister Mouse received the first pair in the series of Pittsburgh Steelers Spirit Leg Warmers. By no means could Pea be left out. No, no. Not Miss Jealousy herself.
{Checking the offensive set}
Pea's favorite football player is the Steelers Troy Polamalu. She says they have a lot in common. They are both really smart. They are both really fast. They both have to be wherever the ball is and take it away from the other person/dog. If they don't get to the ball first, that other person/dog deserves to be tackled. And if the quarterback/mama/papa throwing the ball is too slow, it can be taken away then, too.
{The blitz is on!}
This set of leg warmers was constructed a little differently. I chose to go from the bottom cuff up and use intarsia for the numbers. I suck at intarsia and it looked all warped. I frogged them and decided to just do the entire section between the cuffs in gold stockinette then use a duplicate stitch in black for each number. It went together so much faster for me that way. However, if you are better at intarsia than me, I included the charts for that.
{Prepare to be sacked!}
Again, the do-it-yourself formula for gauge, yarn and needle size can be found here with some tips within the pattern in red. My pattern for "Pea is for Polamalu" in Pea's size (medium dog) is below.

{Time out}

Steelers Striped Leg Warmers (for dogs)

Ravelry pattern link

  • Suggested Yarn: I Love This Yarn! (available at Hobby Lobby) or other aran/worested weight yarn (2 colors, Black and Yellow in this project*)
  • Yardage needed: Specifically, not much. I don't have the exact yardage calculated. Again, I am a slacker.
  • Materials: US 7 dpns (or size needed to obtain gauge), tapestry needle
  • Gauge: 5 stitches and 7 rows over 1 inch in stockinette stitch
  • Finished dimensions: 8" around top cuff tapering to 6" around bottom cuff and about 9" in length

{Pea is for Polamalu}

Abbreviations: k-knit, p-purl, M1B-make 1 back, M1F-make 1 front (See for instructions and video of the increase stitches. They explain it way better than me.)

If doing the color work in intarsia, the numbers start at row 7. The charts at the end of the pattern have all the color work directions and a different way to divide stitches per needle.

Loosely cast on 24 stitches in color A (black). Divide evenly between 3 dpns (8 sts per needle). Place marker and join in the round. P.S. Don't twist the stitches.

Rows 1-4 (Color A): *K2, P2* to end

Rows 5-35 (Color B for rows 3-45): Knit all stitches

Row 36 and all increase rounds: k1, M1B, k until 1 stitch before end of round, M1F, k1 (26 total stitches)

Rows 37-38: knit all stitches

Row 39: increase round (28 total stitches)

Rows 40-41: knit all stitches

Row 42: increase round (30 total stitches)

Rows 43-44: knit all stitches

Row 45: increase round (32 total stitches)

Row 46 (Color A): knit all stitches

Rows 47-54: *k2, p2* to end

Finishing: Loosely bind off all stitches. Use the charts and duplicate stitch (Color A) to create the numbers on each leg warmer. One number per leg warmer.

{Click each image enlarge. Charts for intarsia and duplicate stitch}

Please let me know if you make these leg warmers! (Or if you have any problem with the pattern.) Leave a comment or message me on Ravelry. I am drizzle and design as Hermione J. Schwartz.

*Colors and jersey numbers can be swapped, but let's not tell Pea. =]

Monday, July 26, 2010

SSS2 - Wonky Stars for Rebecca

I am shockingly on time with this month's SSS2 block for Rebecca. Putting together her wonky maverick stars required purchasing a new tool. Three cuts into the first block, this happened:

{Not helpful}
My bionic hand strength snapped my rotary cutter in two. I've had it for several (5?) years so I guess I got all I could from it. Armed with a 40% off coupon, I ran out to the store to get a new one.
{Very helpful}
Judging from the new handle design, I am probably not the only one to destroy her Fiskars rotary cutter. I do really like the new one. First, a new blade is always heavenly. I also like the safety lock. Press the larger button on top to engage blade. Press the little button on the side to shoosh it back up. Fancy.
{Also helpful}
With my new rotary cutter and one of my trusty sidekicks, I was ready to punch out some quilt blocks.

{Happy and summery wonky stars}

I used the tutorial from Quiltville. Three of the blocks are 10" and one (the first) got a little skimpy at 9.5" square. I am sending it anyway, just in case it can be used. Loved, loved, loved making these blocks. They have been on my "to stitch" list for ages, but I made one until today. I know there will be more of these babies in my future.

My next to-do block is a spider web from Quiltville, too. Should do those tomorrow-ish. =]

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mr. T Starter Kit

Nicknames are just a part of life in our house. Pets and people both get multiple nicknames, just to confuse everyone. For example, Dirty and his buddies call everyone Johnny. Instead of man or dude you are Johnny...or Papa...or Mama. They call me Drizzle, Driz, A-drizzle, Squaw, Pip, etc. Dirty has a friend we call Lou, Louie, Uncle Louie or Grandpa, along with occasionally calling him by his real name (which is actually his middle name, but whatever).
Clicky the Moose (he's a dog) was originally named One Time, but then got Clicky the Moose, Moose, Moosey, Moosey-Moose, Clicky the Goose, Clicky the Goat, etc. He comes to all of them but One Time.
{Jeffery T always requires a pillow}
One of Jeffery T's nicknames is Mr. T (as in the original A*Team). I decided that he needed a gold color. Dirty calls it his Mr. T starter set.
{Before--mostly for the hardware}

{Mr. T starter kit}
I had a FQ of a gold fabric with shiny gold threads weaved through it. Pretty ugly by itself, but perfect for the starter kit.
{Sporting his Mr. T starter kit and watching a bird}
I cut a strip about 1" thick, folded it like bias tape and stitched the long side closed. I looped it through the break-away clip and snapped it on T.
{I pity the fool!}
T loves it. =]

Friday, July 23, 2010

Retirement Quilt Redo

{Lady of Crafts}
My mom retired last month. For the last 15 years or so she was an Extended Day teacher. Extended Day is what our local school districts call the before and after school care held at the school. At her retirement party they gave her a satin sash with "Lady of Crafts" in glittery letters. And she is the First Lady of Crafts in my book. She has an entire room *filled* with different crafts, craft materials, craft supplies, craft books, etc., etc., etc. Tubs and tubs, shelves and shelves all meticulously organized. Need 500 safety pins? She's got them and won't even feel like they are gone. Need an I-can't-find-it-anywhere color of embroidery floss? She has 3 spools of it and you can have it. She's a crafter and a giver. They do go hand-in-hand.

As a retirement gift, her Extended Day family made her a wonderful quilt on which each of the 200 or so kids traced their hand print and wrote their name. Really a great gift. However, it was kind of a last minute idea and her friend didn't have the time (because it needed to be done in 3 days) to make it the way she would have with an appropriate amount of time. (After they gave it to my mom, her friend whispered, "See if your daughter can fix it.")
It may be hard to tell from the photos, but this quilt was about 10' by 3'. Wonderful, but not really practical. My mom and I sat on the floor and picked out the seam around the outside and split the quilt in half. I restitched it together side-by-side resulting in a usable 60" x 60" large lap/perfect picnic quilt.
The back is blue and yellow square patches. Really cute, but I didn't get a picture of that side.
I just made some simple quilted grids to keep everything in order. It was pretty fun to transform this quilt to super long and skinny to big and square. =]

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mini Quilt Wall Hangings in the Shop

{K Wall Hanging}

{A Wall Hanging}

I should have another shop update soon! =]

Schwartzy in the Shop

Schwartzy bags are now available in my Etsy shop! I found two great vintage (or vintage-y) fabrics and was able to produce two bags. Both are listed now.
I also have just the pattern for sale here.
Anne of Film and Thread won the last giveaway for the pattern. She made a super cute Schwartzy of her own--including some great alterations. See it here.


SSS ~ June for Anne

I'm still catching up on my over due bee blocks. Anne asked us to make a map block for her month in Snip.Sew.Send. and that was about it. I really enjoy the general directions as it allows every one's creativity to show through a little.

My map is a road trip route from my house to visit all the other bee members. A little more of the design and inspiration details are here.

This was the last block for the first round of SSS. The second go round has already begun and I plan to actually keep up on them now. Famous last words. =]

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mouse's Steelers Striped Leg Warmers: Knit Pattern

{Mouse's Steelers Gear}

Living in a warm weather climate, my dogs find it difficult to show their team spirit (Steelers spirit, that is) during the football season. The season starts in August (it is hot here) and continues through September (hot), October (still hot), November (warm to not that hot) and into December and January (sort of cool, except that one week that is it pretty cold). Needless to say, those cute doggie sweaters are out and a simple little collar and leash combo just doesn't cut it.

Mouse --she's a dog--requested a pair of Steelers striped leg warmers she can wear during the games and on walks when it starts to get chilly. Who am I to deny my dog Steelers gear?

{She says, what other colors are there?}

Thus the Steelers Striped Leg Warmers pattern was created. We (Mouse and I) decided on a classic black and gold stripe with 2x2 ribbing at the cuffs. Mouse says she supposes that the leg warmers could be made in other colors, but she doesn't know why you'd want to do that. ;]

{I'm ready for some football!}

The leg warmers are made from two colors of acrylic yarn for the washablity and longevity acrylic supplies. Additionally, our climate doesn't necessitate wool or wool blends for 99% of the year and I didn't want to cause overheating issues. Sweaty paws, yuck! If we lived in say...Pittsburgh...I would definitely make another pair in a superwash wool. I used size US7 dpns to get a nice fabric.

{Mesmerized by the game}

The pattern was written specifically for Mouse's legs. They measure 8" in circumference just under her elbow joint and taper down to 6" in circumference at her wrist. The total length is about 10". Mouse is what I consider to be a medium size dog bordering on largish. She's a 65 pound American Bulldog. I say medium because she isn't the largest or smallest dog we've had. The pattern (below) discusses gauge and has an equation for customizing the size to different leg circumferences.

{Steelers Striped Leg Warmer}

Steelers Striped Leg Warmers (for dogs)

Ravelry Pattern Page Link

  • Suggested Yarn: I Love This Yarn! (available at Hobby Lobby) or other aran/worested weight yarn (2 colors)
  • Yardage needed: Specifically, not much. I don't have the exact yardage calculated. I'm a slacker.
  • Materials: US 7 dpns (or size needed to obtain gauge), tapestry needle
  • Gauge: 5 stitches and 7 rows over 1 inch in stockinette stitch
  • Finished dimensions: 8" around top cuff tapering to 6" around bottom cuff and about 9" in length

The written pattern is for the measurements listed above. However, this equation should help you resize the pattern for other sized pets.

Customizable Equation

From your gauge swatch: ____ stitches per inch _____ rows per inch

From your pet: _____ circumference of leg just under the elbow joint (I'll call it upper leg)

_____ circumference of lower leg just above wrist (above the side nail thing)

_____ length of arm from elbow to wrist

Cast on amount:

___(stitches per inch) x ___(circumference of upper leg) = ____* Make the total a multiple of 4

Number of decreases needed:

___(stitches per inch) x ___(circumference of lower leg) = ____* Make the total a multiple of 4
(upper leg total) - (lower leg total) = ____ number of decrease stitches / 2 = ___ number of decrease rounds Space the decrease rounds between 2-4 rounds of stockinette depending on the length of the leg and how drastically it tapers.


Loosely cast on 32 sts in color A. Separate over 3 dpns. Needle 1 has 8 sts, needle 2 has 16 sts, needle 3 has 8 stitches. Customized sizing instructions in (red). Divide cast on stitches over 3 dpns with 1/4 of the total stitches on needle 1, 1/2 on needle 2, and 1/4 on needle 3. I decrease at the beginning and end of needle 2 thus the extra stitches on that needle.

Rows 1-6: (Color A) *k2, p2*

Rows 7, 8, 9: (Color B) Knit all stitches

Row 10: k8 (all of needle 1), ssk, k12 (to last 2 stitches on needle 2), k2tog, k8 (to end of round)

Rows 11, 12: Knit all stitches

Row 13: (Color A) Knit all stitches

Rows 14: k8 (all of needle 1), ssk, k10 (to last 2 stitches on needle 2), k2tog, k8 (to end of round)

Rows 15, 16, 17: Knit all stitches

Row 18: k8 (all of needle 1), ssk, k8 (to last 2 stitches on needle 2), k2tog, k8 (to end of round)

Rows 19, 20, 21: (Color B) Knit all stitches

Row 22: k8 (all of needle 1), ssk, k6 (to last 2 stitches on needle 2), k2tog, k8 (to end of round)

Rows 23, 24: Knit all stitches

Rows 25-30: (Color A) Knit

Rows 31-36: (Color B) Knit

Rows 37-42: (Color A) Knit

Rows 43-48: (Color B) Knit

Row 49: (Color A) Knit

Rows 50-54: *k2, p2*

Bind off loosely. Weave in ends


As expected, Clicky the Moose and Black-Eye Pea have asked for leg warmers of their own. Moose has requested leg warmers to replicate the socks from the team's throwback jerseys, while Pea wants to represent for her favorite player Troy Polamalu. The patterns to those designs will be added as they are completed. =]

Saturday, July 10, 2010

FO: Charity Cowls

{Cowl'd and Frosting Morning by Kelly Herdrich}
The Knit Black and Gold Ravelry group I belong to is centered around Steeler football and knitting (obviously). During the off season we've had monthly knit-a-longs (KAL) for different projects. Hats, socks, pet stuff, etc. June was charity knitting. One of the members is collecting cold weather wear for the homeless and suggested we make items for that. I thought cowls would work perfectly for this. So I made two. Cowls may be my new favorite thing to knit.
{I love seed stitch}
This was knit from left over Lion Brand Jiffy in Indigo. It is knit on US 13 which made it go super quick! Started and finished in the same day. This cowl looks much better on Dirty. It is a little on the big side for me. His beard really sets it off.
{The Guy Next Door by Devin Fredrickson}
Poor color accuracy, but the stitch pattern shows much better in this photo. This is leftover Caron Simply Soft in Autumn from the Lacy Hat knit as a gift for one of our nieces. See, more knitting stuff I made and happily gave to others!
{Better color accuracy here}
I had to put on an a t-shirt for the photo shoot. I tried with the tank top I was wearing but it looked ridiculous. In case you were wondering:
t-shirt + cowl = roasting
The things we do for good photos. =]

Friday, July 9, 2010

FO: Shelves Upon Shelves Socks

{Shelves Upon Shelves sock pattern by Erica Lueder aka Dreams in Fiber}
Whew! What I thought would take 2 weeks and would make a great birthday gift for my friend Susan actually took 2 months and won't be on any feet but mine. I know, I am awful. I'll make her something pretty soon!
{With Eye of Partridge heel. Love it.}
I just can't give them up. And, I think they are a little to out there for her. She is more classic and subtle. Sure, I can spin it a million ways, but I am still awful. I have made socks for other people and happily gave them away, but I didn't like them near as much as these. Just awful. Shameful!
{Side by side}
Anyway, when we were kids she pushed my down while roller skating because I wouldn't share my ice cream cone. I have a scar on my knee to prove it. Now were even. =]
{Pea agrees with me. See, she's guarding them.}

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Turtles, Gators and a Tipped Canoe

Deciding the encounter with the sting ray wasn't quite close enough to nature we went canoeing down Juniper Spring. It is part of the spring system in the national forest near us. The river has constant current, crystal clear water, lazy meandering, tight curves and wildlife abound.

{Building thunderstorm}

Rushing, the river can be run in about 3 hours. We took our time putting in about 10:30 am and finishing just in time for the final pick up at 4:30 pm, stopping now and then for photo opts, eating lunch and to ponder whether that rumbling was jets (Dirty's dad's hopeful guess) or a building thunderstorm (reality).

{Beautiful view from the canoe}

Near the origin of the spring the water is pretty shallow, maybe shin deep. The little fish dart around the canoe tempting us to race them down the river.

{Before this camera went for a swim}

Dirty and I took the lead down the river and his dad and A followed us. You can't see it yet, but trouble is around the bend. Dirty's dad didn't quite bend back in time to get under a tree. He mistakenly grabbed the trunk to push past it but turned ever so slightly. The canoe overturned sending he and A splashing into the water. They must not have believed Dirty when he said 90% of what you put in the canoe will get wet. Cell phone, camera and two tourist soaked to the bone! Thankfully the phone was off. It and the camera dried out in a few days without any glitches.
{Turtle with a nice reflection in the water under the log}

All the photos are courtesy of A. I didn't dare take a camera, but she chanced it for us. Some of the photos are from her camera, pre-soaking. The others are from Dirty's dad's camera that also got dumped in the water, but was in a resealable bag.

{Palms dancing the tango}

{Percy! What are you doing here?}

{Smallish black butterfly with yellow spots}

{This butterfly is clearly a Steelers fan, too}

Now for the scary photos. These jokers (Dirty's dad and A, that is) obviously do not appreciate or respect how quickly gators can move when they are pissed. I wanted to smooth on past the gators pretending not to notice them or disturb them in any way, but the wacky tourists needed photos. I got more and more frightened each time A said, "Get closer. No, closer. I need to get a good picture." Honey, that's what the zoom is for.

{Baby gator back in the weeds}

The first gator we saw was just a baby, maybe 3-4' long. He was chillin' back in the cut. He wasn't too impressive so we smoothed on by him.

{Thankfully this gator decided that sunning himself was better than eating us}

The second gator we saw looked familiar and I was not interested in revisiting the experience from our last trip here. What? You don't know what happened last time? Dirty and I usually take our kayaks to the springs, which is what we did last time. It was Memorial Day a couple years ago. Our friends Dave and Christy came with us and rented a canoe. It was a great trip! Not too hot, no chance of rain and the river wasn't too difficult to navigate. We saw deer, birds, butterflies, turtles, fish, snakes in trees and a couple little baby gators.

{Another big gator cooling off in the river}

Towards the end of the river we turned this big bend which opened onto a big, bright grassy clearing along the river. Dirty was in the front in his kayak. Dave and Christy were in the middle in the canoe. I was at the end in my kayak. Keep in mind it is a sit on top kayak that-at best- is about 6" out of the water.

As soon as Dave sees the clearing he says, "This looks like gator heaven!" Hearing this a GIGANTIC gator that had been pleasantly sitting on the bank sunning herself turns her head and looks at us. She is pissed that we disturbed her nap and decides to slide into the water to tell us off. With the current pushing him, Dirty was already past the gator. Dave and Christy start freaking out and can't decided if they want to go fast forward or try and back up. They chose back up and nearly hit and tip my kayak. Then they get in gear and race past the gator.
At this point the gator is swimming towards me all alone at the back of the line. Dirty yells back, "If he starts to lunge at you hit him in the head with your oar!" I am thinking, if this thing comes close enough to touch with my oar I'm going to have a heart attack.

{Keeping to herself}

The GIGANTIC gator swims past me eye-balling me the whole way. All I could do was hold my breath and ready my oar. Astonishingly the gator swam on past, apparently deciding I would be to grisly to taste any good. We figured that once in the water right next to me that I looked more threatening then I felt. My kayak is about 14' long and with me sitting on top I was much taller out of the water than the gator even though she was a good 2' longer than my kayak. Suffice it to say I have a very healthy fear and respect for gators now.

Thankfully all the gators we saw on this latest trip were too bored to pay us any mind. Oh, and the rain held off until we loaded the canoes on the trailer and were on the way back to the start. =]