January 2010


Vivian Row 117 + 55

Moving along quite nicely.

Going to Marden’s tonight for some discount fabric shopping with my Sweater Knit-Along buddy.

Sewing the Bias Tape

One of my new year’s resolutions was to sew more and since Jan first I’ve managed to finish four – yes four! sewing projects.

For being one of the slowest sewers I know,  this is unheard of.

There are two main contributions to my productivity

  1. I bought a 6-foot folding table, which means I no longer has to do all my fabric cutting/set up on the floor. I also means I can leave my stuff out instead of having to pack it up between sewing sessions (thanks to a very gracious Mr. Cleaver, since my sewing nook is in our bedroom).
  2. I have embraced the quick & dirty sewing project.

I’ll admit that I have a strong preference for garment sewing over craft sewing, particularly if that garment comes with a large number of pintucks/pleats/darts/gathers/buttonholes or other lovely details that inevitably make the project take forever. That said, of the four projects only one was a garment (which I’ll post about in a few days – let’s just say today is my MIL’s birthday and we’re celebrating later in the week due to the crazy weather we’re having).

The other included a cheery bunting and table runner set for my pie potluck.

Triangles all made!

The bunting was roughly based on this tutorial, while the table runner was improvised to use up all (and I mean all) the scraps from the bunting project. The with the runner I threw my perfectionist tendencies to the wind and eyeballed and zig-zagged my way to a cute little decoration.

Table Runner

My quickest project was this 5-minute flower brooch I whipped up last night on a whim and that totally brightened my day today as I wore it.

Gingham Brooch

Of course all this rapid-fire sewing wasn’t without its trials: I broke my seam ripper a few weeks back, so any undoing was a challenge and there was a lot of undoing because my sewing machine seems to be firmly set against doing anything other than a straight stitch in a forward direction – any attempts to back stitch or zig-zag generally were followed with bobbin-rethreading and mild curses.

I’d take any recommendations for possible repairs, but this may be a sign that it’s time for me to upgrade from my little $78 dollar sewing machine. So I’ll also take any sewing machine recommendations. :)

According the American Pie Council, today (Jan 23) is National Pie Day . Loving all things pie the way I do, when I read about this in a magazine back in December, I knew I had to celebrate. So I invited all my knitting friends over for a Pie Day potluck!

Seven People, Nine Pies

We had a meat pie, chicken pot pie, two apple pies, a blueberry pie, a lemon meringue pie, a turtle pie cream pie, a chocolate pie/tart, and some cherry cup-pies (which I’ve wanted to make every since cup-pies were mentioned on the tv show Pushing Daisies). It was a yummy pie-extravaganza!

Cup-pies!

Eating Pie

Knitting

Knitting Time!

Vivian Row 58

I love the part of a project when it suddenly starts to look like something! Of course at this point, that something could be anything, but something it is :)

Vivian Row 24

Does anyone find that after frogging*  a section of knitting that you try to knit faster afterward to make up for “lost time”? I do it all the time and I don’t think it works.

*Frogging: to remove the needles and pull out knitted stitches.  So-called because you rip-it rip-it rip-it.

Annual Calendar Switch

Last night after work, I picked up my 2010 calendar for the home-front (think I have a thing for sheep?), along with a new comic book and sewing book. It was a good night.

Jan to Jan

So this morning I did the annual shift of birthdays, etc. to the new calendar. I always love going back over the prior year’s pages and seeing what I did – things like a Pink Martini concert, a trip to New York, and a lot of rehearsal days.  I used to just tear out my favorite pictures and recycle the rest, but now I like to hold on to the calendar as a simple momento of what happened that year.

Mountains of Purple!

In other news, I think I’ve officially shifted from a blue-green phase to a purple phase. (I’ll be casting on that dark purple Eco-Wool later today for a Vivian knit-a-long I’m doing with my friend Maggie.)  Does anyone else do this? Get obsessed with a color, then move on to another, and so on? My phases usually last for about 5-6 months, then I ban myself from buying the shade for a while and then I’ll usually come back to it again. (My last purple phase was Oct 2007-May 2008) Maybe I can talk myself into a yellow phase next.

In other other news, I got my 400th comment on my last post, from the lovely Jen at Pretty Little Pictures. I always love hearing from my readers, so thanks to you all for brightening my day 400 times!

2010 Calendar

I’m very particular about my calendars, just ask Mr. Cleaver. Every year around this time comes the search for the perfect wall calendar, which usually requires visiting a minimum of three-five places that sell calendars. I figure I have to look at it for a whole year, so it better be good. (For the record, last year’s was a Jaime Wyeth one).

This is not my home calendar, but for my wall at work, where I knew I wanted a year-at-a glance format because the majority of my work scheduling revolves around things like 2nd Thursday of every month.

Elephant Trainer

The calendar panel came from SeptemberHouse on Etsy. The inspiration image is a print by Charles Gesmar I found during a search for circus images on All Posters.

Elephant Trainer by Charles Gesmar.jpg

This was my first attempt at doing fill stitches and there were definitely times I thought the elephant was turning into a giant grey blog, but I’m really happy with the way it all turned out and now I get to enjoy it for a whole year (after which I’ll probably turn it into a pillow and enjoy it even longer!)

Dog Close-Up

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