Sunday, January 29, 2012


In the omnipresent battle with my stash and project count, I feel as though I lost this week. I finished 2 projects and I'm very pleased with myself there, but I started 2 more and bought a ton of future projects.

Let's start with the first stash additions- Wednesday's cross stitch threads. These were a gift from my boss who sometimes brings me back pretty little things from trade shows. She did very well this time...
It's a collection of cotton flosses from Weeks Dye Works. My favorite colors are "Louisiana Hot Sauce" and "Sally's Sunshine", I'm so excited to come up with a project for them!

Thursday brought more stashing with the closing of Needle Fever, one of my favorite embroidery shops. The sales were pretty awesome, so I added to my Weeks Dye Works collection, doubling up on my favorite colors and adding some new ones. I got 2 fall patterns (one Halloween and one Autumnal, non-specific. I love fall colors.) I got a baby pattern because everyone around me is trying to get pregnant and I have a feeling that it's all going to happen at once and I'm going to be prepared. Plus it's about counting sheep and we all know how I love sheep. I got a great deal on a big project's worth of aida cloth and I thought I had done pretty well. I paid, turned to leave and saw the best projects ever- the Pirate Queen and a little pineapple that says "Do Not Mistake Endurance For Hospitality". My parents live in Florida and everyone has pineapple everything down there, so I might make this for their guest room. My dad is totally obsessed with pineapple ownership but my mom is unenthused, so this could potentially be a Father's day present. And yes, I know this is a really strange Father's day gift idea, but he and my Mom are the most difficult people to shop for. Ever.
Got home from work Thursday to see that my plant globes I had ordered from etsy for my air ferns had arrived. I'm quite pleased. I got 2 because I didn't want my little cluster of ferns to be lonely or look so random, but I don't have another air plant to fill the second globe with. Yet. I believe the etsy shop was called Bluebird and Bumblebee or something like that- I highly recommend them.
Thursday night I finished knitting a little surprise for my old Babysitter, Morgane. Since she reads sometimes I won't post it here until I've heard that she's gotten it so I don't ruin the surprise.

Friday night I finished a scarf for Jaclyn. I really just had this finishing spree because I didn't want to make 2 trips to the post office, so they were finished within a day of each other, blocked and shipped yesterday morning. I'm glad to have that scarf done- it's been on the loom since June. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. I was a little sad that I had promised to give it away but that sadness quickly turned into a new warp on the loom. Funny how that happens...
Here is the new weaving project- another scarf because I'm boring. The warp is some lovely hand-dyed wool from the Bear Necessities, my favorite dyer in England. The English stash is getting low, and I have all of the yarns I got there on this pedestal which is making picking a project very difficult. I really love this color but I haven't found a suitable project for it yet. First it was socks but I thought that it was just too pretty for my feet. Then it was a shawl, but the colors were just too much with the pattern, then it was a baby cardigan, but I didn't want to give it away- how would the recipient know that it was from the dwindling England stash? Would they care? Would they think that I'm a notch crazier than they previously believed? I have been wanting to do a sock yarn scarf on the loom for a while...
The problem (or thrill?) of weaving is that it's so final. In knitting and crocheting, you have an infinite number of times to change your mind about your project, frog it, and start over. Once you cut your yarn in to your warp, there's no turning back. It's weave or bust, and you hope it turns out like it did in your head. So far it has. The weft is the infuriating not-worsted from the previous post. I really like them together. More on the scarf when there's more than 10 inches of it.
Saturday/Yesterday brought a trip to Castleton for a movie, but since I was there and happened to have 3 coupons for Joann Fabrics, I thought I'd stop in and see if anything tickled my fancy. Hey look. Another dress.
And finally, a green hat. Stay tuned, this one should be fun.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Healing Power of Paisley

Yesterday was not the best day ever. Yesterday was night number #6 in a row of not really sleeping and I'm just one of those people that needs a lot of sleep to be a functional person that doesn't snap or cry at the slightest agitation. And yesterday was agitating to say the least. Mondays at work at normally pretty quiet, a good chunk of yarn shops are closed which means I get all caught up on my filing, do things I've been putting off for a week and sometimes leave a smidge early. Yesterday there was a warehouse emergency which I won't go in to, but it was a bad, cold and very long day.

On the way home I checked my email and there was a response from Mr. Alabama. He's not interested. Naturally. Got home to find that some yarn I ordered from Etsy was all wrong and the artist is telling me that it's a heavy worsted even though it is very clearly a sport weight yarn. I like to think I know a thing or two about yarn and when someone tells me that I am WRONG WRONG WRONG and that the yarn that looks best on size 4 needles is a heavy worsted weight yarn and I spent a lot of money on this sweater's worth of it, it frustrates me.

I thought about opening a bottle of Chardonnay and watching last season of "Being Human" so I'd be caught up for last night's episode, but instead I wiped up the mascara that was running down my chin and sat down at the sewing machine to work on the sun dress. And today I'm
feeling a little better. Now if only I could get some sleep.

In pleasantly surprising news, it turns out that I am much farther along in my Knit it Forward surprise than I thought. It is the red thing if you are one of the knitters who has seen my mystery project. The pattern calls for 9 repeats of a certain (very large) chart and since I've made this pattern before and vaguely remembered the size and how long it took me to make, as I was halfway through my 5th repeat of the chart and I thought I'd double check and see if I really did the whole 9 that the pattern asked for- this thing is starting to get close to the size of the first one I made. I also seriously doubted that I had enough yarn to do the full 9 repeats plus a final chart. Nope. I did 6 repeats before moving on to the chart. Don't you love it when you're suddenly much farther along in the pattern than you think you are?

Anyhow, here's the dress in the gray light of an Indiana winter morning.
A close up of the front. Can you see the curve where the skirt meets the bust? That was supposed to be a point. My bad! I also tightened the cleavage band (probably not a technical term) to make it look more ruched. There will be a zipper and a hook and eye...when I get over my fear of installing a zipper. It still needs straps and the bottom hemmed, but so far so good (that means that it started out as a dress and hasn't turned into a tote bag yet).

Saturday, January 21, 2012


There are several things I meant to do or still need to do today. I meant to go to Zumba at 9:45 this morning, which meant that I needed to be out the door by 9:15 at the very latest, which meant that I had to be outside shoveling snow at 7 am Saturday morning. Sorry Zumba, maybe next week.

And now it's 4:30 in the afternoon and I still haven't made much progress, save for a nap, a foot or so on a scarf, a slightly cleaner kitchen, a couple hours of audiobook and a completed border. You see readers, I'm procraftinating. I've also been procraftinating with a couple projects I can't show on the blog because they are for people who may check in by the time I finish the project and get it to them. I've also been procraftinating with my cross-stitching and have finished border number 3 and realized that since there's an extra stitch length-wise and an extra stitch width-wise, my wonderful checkerboard pattern isn't going to work at all and I need to come up with something else in its place. So then I started working on a different project that I haven't touched in 6 months to avoid sitting down with graph paper and coming up with a new border. It's a vicious cycle.

So at this point you may be asking yourself what I'm avoiding.

1. Snow shoveling. It sucks, I hate doing it. But I've decided that if I listen to Shakira while I'm doing it, it counts as Zumba.
2. Mr. Alabama. I went on a date a few weeks ago (January 6th to be exact) and I thought it went really well. He seemed to think I was witty, I thought he was very nice, I didn't overdo the martinis, he likes animals and didn't seem to be overly bothered with my being a vegetarian. We emailed back and forth a lot before the date and a couple times after the date and since I thought it went well (and he told the mutual friend that set us up that it went well) and I was pretty sure he'd call me. But it's been quiet. I've stopped jumping and running to the phone every time there's a text or new e-mail, but I'm quite disappointed that nothing happened past that. Following a friend's advice (if he wants to date you, he will find a way to date you) I haven't contacted him except a quick email to say thanks for the drinks/had a great time/how was your trip to Chicago you were telling me about...and I'm just not sure what to think.

I know he's recently divorced, and I'm a runaway bride so that's not a great start. Did he think that I wasn't interested? So I've decided to call him. Or email him. Or just contact him in a non-dramatic way and say that I'd be up for another round of drinks or perhaps a sober activity if he's still interested. I think we're past the point of me sounding desperate/clingy since it's been a couple weeks. Maybe it's the Valentine's Day decorations getting to me.

But I think I'll finish a few more projects first.

No, I'm not afraid of rejection- why would ask that? :p

Here's a few pictures of my weapons of procraftination.

Border #3- done!
Scarf I haven't worked on since last June
This is one of those projects that I can't show you yet. But I get to be a Lantern Moon snob and use my Lantern Moon circs and my Lantern Moon sheepy bag all in one project!

Friday, January 20, 2012


It's been a long week. As you may know, I work for a yarn company and have been making dozens of flowers to use as part of the new trade show booth. I also made a last minute scarf, and I needed to have all of these done by Wednesday. It was a long week of burning the midnight (and 3 am oil) but I am thrilled to say that I did it and it's over....until there's a new work project. It was lovely to go to bed Wednesday night and not have to think about how many mums needed crocheted the next.

On Tuesday my mom's little cat, Lacie dissapeared. While Lacie isn't a huge fan of me, I think she's beautiful and I try to cuddle her (at the risk of my face) whenever I see her which isn't too often because she and my mom live in Sarasota for most of the year. I didn't hear about her being gone until Wednesday morning after she hadn't come home the night before, and when an animal goes missing around where my parents live, it is generally assumed they fell in to the water and are gone for good. And that was the assumption. And my mom cried, and I cried, and we drank a glass of wine over the phone. And then after I was all tired from crying and not sleeping (between those flowers, the scarf and Lacie how could I?) the little shit came home Thursday morning like nothing had happened. The assumption now is that she was stuck in someone's garage or found her way on to a work vehicle. So then happy tears, but those don't count. Seriously- why do our animals do this to us?!

Yesterday started off with a snow storm, and a nasty trip to work. On a good day it takes me around 45 minutes to get to work, yesterday was almost 2 hours, white knuckles all the way. Once I got there it was a long day in the warehouse unloading the latest shipment and packing up a huge pile of backorders. It's cold and exhausting and then I went to Zumba, where by song 3 I felt like laying down on the floor and having someone wake me up when the class was over. Luckily Kim and Jessica were there or I would have probably wimped out and gone home.

Got home, showered, decided to sneak in a few minutes of my wonderful cross stitching/
audiobook time which you guys are sick of but I'm going to show you anyway. There's 5 parts to the border, and I just started the 3rd. The 4th border is the largest by far, it is 6 rows of checkerboard in ecru and a bazillion shades of gray and black to keep it interesting/annoying. I'm also going to have to get creative with this bit of the border, because I have an extra stitch somewhere that's going to throw off my perfect pattern.
I have also abandoned the dress and started on that's a little more user-friendly. The pattern is a Laura Ashley pattern I've had for a while, the fabric is 5 yards of bright paisley that I got for $12 forever ago. I had a little bit of a rough time piecing the skirts to the bust line, and after an hour with the seam ripper and some colorful language, I modified the pattern so it's a more curved bust line and not as pointed. I will probably make this dress again, but I'll be more careful with the bust line.
I'm not making as much progress with this because if I'm tired, I don't sew. If I've been crying, I don't sew. If I've only got 10 minutes to spare, I don't sew. That being said, it's a wonder I've gotten this far.

It's bright, it's cheap fabric, and I actually kind of love it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mums the Word: Tutorial

For a big project at work, I've had to come up with a couple flower patterns, and I figured I'd share my favorite with you guys while I finish up the last 7 of them.

Here's how to make mums! It's a crochet recipe (not pattern- I'm not that meticulous) and while it required only chaining and single crochet, it's a little fiddly so I don't suggest it as a first crochet project.
You will need some yarn (I'm using Fino from Alpaca With A Twist, held doubled). You'll need an appropriately sized crochet hook as well.
1. Chain 4 or 5 stitches, join in to a loop with a slip stitch.
2. SC around the loop you just made- you should end up with around 7/8 stitches on the loop. Join in the round with a slip stitch.
3. Chain 20, SC in to next SC, repeat until end of row. This is your first round of "petals". So far so good? Now is the finicky bit.
4. See those SC's you anchored your petals down with? You're going to pull your petals forward and put 2 SC stitches in each SC stitch- you will now have twice the SC stitches from the last round and a solid SC round, forcing the petals forward. The solid SC round serves as a foundation round for your next row of petals.
5. Chain 25, SC in to the next SC, repeat until end of row. This is your second round of petals.
Repeat rows 4&5 until you have desired size of flower- I have 4 petal rows total in mine. Hint: You don't really have to do another SC row around your last petal round- it doesn't show and you don't need a set-up row if you're done with petals.

Make your new flower a few friends and have yourself a nice little bouquet!
Questions? Comments? Want to show me your finished mums? Shoot me an e-mail at

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

cough. cough.

The trouble with colds is that you never really remember how awful they can be. I'm like, hey- I might be catching a cold. How inconvenient to have sniffles for a few days.

And then you catch that cold, and you walk- scratch that- shuffle around in pink fleecy pajama pants making sounds like a pug while you consider giving up 10 years of vegetarianism for a bowl of chicken noodle soup (In case you were wondering, I did pick the chicken bits out and gave them to the cat- she was pleased. I know this is being a very BAD vegetarian, but when I'm sick I really don't care.)

Since my cold is gross, I'll talk about my crafty things.

1. I bought a new dress. There is some assembly required.
2. Yes- I'm aware that making a couple stockings last month does not make me a seamstress. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

3. I still have a buttload of flowers to make for work, all by next Wednesday. I'll get there. Here's what I have so far. I'll try to crank out a couple more today between naps while watching Jane Austen costume dramas. Lizzie Bennett makes everything better.
4. I also need to have signicantly more of this scarf done by next Wednesday. I know it's technically "ok" if I don't finish it and we can use the unfinished one as part of a display, but it will still feel like a gigantic failure to me.
5. I have this new white tea with rose petals in it that makes me feel like a princess when I drink it. I tried opening my windows and whistling in hopes that the animals from the woods would come in and help me clean my house for book club tomorrow, but that didn't happen. Perhaps I'll try a different tune.

6. I finished my super fun and super fast crochet doily and it now lives on my nightstand. As you can see, I had loads of help blocking it.
That's it for today- I'm just knitting furiously to get these flowers and the scarf done so I can get back to selfish knitting, embroidery, (and sewing- squee!). Stay tuned for a tutorial on how to crochet mums!

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Project

So the other day when I realized that I was down to 7 (omg!) projects, I finally put two and two together. The world is supposed to end in 2012, I was going to finish all my projects in 2012. So I started a new crochet project last night- you're welcome.

*I do not actually believe that the world is going to end- or at least it had better not end. I'm so close to finally growing out my pixie-cut, it would be a shame to have a proper bob just in time for the apocalypse.
** Nor do I believe that my project count is significant enough to end the world. It might stress me out a bit, but I think that's as far as it goes.

So, while we're on to the new year, I'll share my resolutions.

1. Work harder, play harder. Cut down on Saturday nights wearing fleece pj-pants digging through yarn stash.
2. Be a tidier person. Actually put up my clean clothes instead of putting them on the floor until I wear them.
3. Learn to say NO. As in, "Paige, my car is out of gas and I'm a really bad driver. Can I borrow Bumblebee?" No.
4. Stay under 10 projects. Staying around 5 projects is better.
5. Use a lot more sock yarn, not necessarily on socks.
6. Learn to quilt.
7. Get over hatred of working out. I actually joined a gym and signed up for Zumba classes last month, and I need to stick with it. Jessica- you have my permission to drag me out of my house and take me to Zumba if I miss more than 2 in a row or have a really lame excuse. I always like it once I'm there- I just come up with a thousand excuses in the process to talk myself out of it.
8. Get back in to salsa dancing.

8 projects, 8 resolutions. I think that's fair, right?

Here are a couple updates on projects, since this isn't a resolution blog.

Funky Doily. I know doilies are generally solid colors and lace, but I did just call it a "funky" doily. Yarn is Lana Grossa Cotton Maya from a Valentine's Day swap several years ago. I love the colors, but I'm really not a fan of cotton in anything but baby blankets and potholders, so I've been hoarding this yarn until the perfect pattern comes along. I'm hoping this is it- I think it will look pretty awesome on my nightstand with my lamp and Castle book on it.
Anyhoo, the pattern calls for around 330 yards of yarn and I've got closer to 450, so mine is naturally going to be a little bigger, probably with a fun shell stitch border instead of the suddenly-out-of-yarn slip stitch finishing. I'm 7 inches in now (doily in pattern is 13 inches across but I know that these things acquire 8 more stitches every single row and 7 inches does not mean at all that I'm halfway through.) I worked on it for more than 2 hours last night and it doesn't look like I made a dent on that yarn ball at all.

And then...the cross stitching. This thing is an absolute black-hole. I have been putting around an hour a day in while listening to my audiobook. It takes absolutely forever to make the tiniest difference....but then again, I don't mind. I truly enjoy working on this. I know you're tired of reading about this little project, so I'll cut back on the embroidery posting.
I will say that I f-ed up somewhere and my border isn't going to go where it should and I'm going to have to add another column of sky and leaves to compensate. Oops.