Wednesday, October 28, 2009

orange cat sews

Sewing! Sewing! Sewing!

So, I know how to sew. ...sort of. My mom taught me and helped me on a lot of projects, and I've had my own sewing machine for several years, but the first time I tried to use it I was living in the dorms and had no space so I was trying to operate the machine while sitting on the floor and that...did not go so well. Also, as a knitter, sewing kind of scares me! It's so fast, comparatively, and there's cutting and the needles are tiny and sharp... and all of this adds up to the fact that I've been pretty intimidated of my sewing machine.

Now, finally, I live in a larger apartment with an actual dining room and an actual table and I really have been dying to try and pick this up again. I bought a book and a cutting mat and some thread and scissors and bobbins and fabric and last night I sewed my first solo project!

A sachet! When I called my mom and told her what I was making, she asked if that meant my closets smell bad. They don't, but now they'll smell like cedar and cloves instead of shoes and boxes. (Sidenote, if you're like me and can't think of where you'd get cedar chips for crafting...they're at the pet store. Hamster bedding.)

This is basically the Closet Case Sachet from Denyse Schmidt Quilts, except I skipped photocopying and enlarging the pattern pieces (because I forgot) and just estimated sizes and followed the general instructions. I probably did a bunch of things wrong, but that's why I chose a non-clothing project for my first sewing attempt...who cares if the seams on a sachet are weak?

The main drawback of this as a first project was that the center log-cabin square is so tiny as to be fiddly. This is a drawback for someone trying to get used to how freaking FAST her sewing machine devours fabric sews. But that's okay, because we have more closets to put sachets in and I have more fabric to make them out of!

I've always been strangely entranced by fat quarters and now I get to buy them with impunity! Yay!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

scarves, sleeves and butter

great adirondack yarn co. and classic elite lush

I just signed up for a class on the Stained Glass scarf (rav link) from Handknit Holidays at my LYS. Woohoo! I'm excited! It will knock a project off my list, I'll learn a new technique and plus, I've never taken a knitting class before. For this project, I bought one skein of alpaca/silk/merino blend from The Great Adirondack Yarn Co. (the variegated yarn) and three skeins of Classic Elite Lush (angora/wool) (black). But but mean I have the yarn right here, and the pattern, but I can't cast on yet?! Classes are weird!

In other news, I'm up to the "split for yoke" part of the body of the Hourglass sweater, and I've started the sleeves.
hourglass, arm

Sleeves with pointy things sticking out of them: a new fashion statement?

I'm really trying to stick with it on this sweater, but the stockinette is as boring as I feared! It's great for knitting while watching movies, but in order to get through the last few rows on the body the other night I had to bribe myself with these...
cupcakes, macro style

Yum, cupcakes! We used this recipe and made vanilla buttercream frosting. The sprinkles came in a package from my mom (hi, mom!) and made me very happy.

Finally, I thought I would show you one of our non-fiber projects: apple butter! One of my friends is skilled at the art of home preserving and we're trying to follow in her footsteps. So far this year we've pickled some jalapenos from the garden and made strawberry jam (with Home Preserving Pal Erin), peach butter (with HPP Erin and a second batch on our own), and apple butter.

Step 1: pick a bunch of apples! We picked a half bushel and there are still a ton in the pantry.
6 pounds of apples

Step 2: Peel, core and slice. The apple butter took 6 pounds of apples, so luckily we have a weirdly James-Bond-esque torture apple machine that does all three things at once:

apple butter start

Step 4: Forget to photograph the rest of the process!
Step 5: PROFIT!
apple butter fin

We used a recipe from the Ball company Complete Book of Home Preserving and it's delicious, very cinnamony. My goal for next year is to can some tomato products!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

orange cat knits neck accessories

I finished the broomstick lace scarf a while ago, but it's hard to to take pictures of your knitting when your photographer (i.e. boyfriend) goes out of town for a week. And takes his camera with him, which you need because you lost yours on a work trip last spring (working the owl shift for a week being non-conducive to remembering all your belongings when you pack up to leave).

I mean, hypothetically.

I totally love it, it was a fun project, great yarn, and perfect for fall. I had about two feet of yarn left after making the fringe, which ended up being a good toy for this guy:

who is currently sitting on my lap and making it difficult to do the blogging thing, so here is a picture of my Pretty Thing:

Problem: I'm using my tiny skein of Jacques Cartier Qivuik, which is awesome, which is great, except that buying that yarn was pretty much the sole reason for buying the Luxury 1-Skein Wonders book pictured here, which means I need to find a different project from that book to put on The List. Small price to pay - I was one of THOSE knitters who loved this pattern from the first time Stephanie posted it, and even though I wasn't one of the ones harassing her about it because I'm quiet like that, I probably thought about it at least once a month and wished and hoped and pined for a written pattern.

I hope it fits over my gigantic head, which I learned since starting this project is 25 inches in circumference.

P.S. Boyfriend demands that I mention the Hourglass sweater progress. It's recovered from its tragic frogging and I'm about halfway through the body increases. However, it's still to freaking boring to photograph. Go go gadget miles of stockinette!