Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gloves and Stockings

I'm yarning along with Ginny again this week.  I managed to find my camera.  In the bottom of my knitting bag- hidden under stuff.  So now you can see what I am up to :)

That blue and orange thing is my son's glove.  I started out with one pattern, which was so incredibly fiddly (I had to knit the fingers first) that I gave up.  I took the graph I needed for the back and added it to another glove pattern (with slight adjustments).
The thing with my name on is a stocking.  I am not sure if they will both be finished by Christmas- the glove set me back a bit because of the re-do.
As for my books- well there are three fun reads: a mystery (the Alys Clare book), a sci-fi (Linnea Sinclair) and a romance (Jennifer Skully) and two Advent presents from Mum and Dad on cooking English specialities :)  I was really excited to see these!  Plans for the week involve making cookies and finishing gloves- I'm hoping to finish this one in the next day.

Oh, and before I forget... many of you have been asking about colourwork in knitting.  It can be fiddly in small projects like the glove, but really easy in bigger projects like the stocking.
For more information you can follow along with Tasha's series at 'The Vintage Knitting College' where she is going through the process of knitting a fairisle sweater.  She posts as she can manage, so you should check back often, but the first couple are a good place to start :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Pattern and a Sweater

See the other yarn along participants over at Ginny's place :)

So I finished my 'Quick Knit 1940's Style Jumper'- the day after I wanted to!  I wanted to have it finished for last week's yarn along, but a couple of silly mistakes that meant I had to frog the sleeve, meant that it would have to wait a week.
So then today I wanted to show you that AND the other projects in my bag.  Such as the stocking for me and the colourwork gloves for my son- but my camera is missing!
Instead you shall just have to look at the jumper and maybe next week I can find the camera and actually have more than a tiny part of a tiny finger from the glove done :D

You can see my ravelry project page here for details.

There is only one thing wrong with it.  The wool gives me a rash on my neck!  ARGH!  I shall have to try a blend or a merino next time.  It is awfully comfortable and warm though!

 If you click on this image you can see some of my knitted ornaments hanging from my garland.  OK there is also a tatted ornament in there- but they should eventually appear on a proper garland if I ever get around to making it.

The hat I am wearing here is also a hand knit- and I almost lost it!  It is a blend of alpaca and silk I think (I forget now) and the pattern is an early 1900's one (1904), with a most fascinating stitch.    I shall have to dig it out and scan it in for you.  Anyway, I left it behind in the restaurant we ate at- we had to go back and get it the next day!  I would give you  a close-up... but as I said, my camera is MIA!
And through the instant magic of me writing ahead of time, here you go :)  Just click on the image and save it.  I would make it a pdf, but the hosting of that gets squiffy, so images it is for now.

I THINK this is the pattern.  I made it a few years back and now I can't remember- and I am not 100% sure.  All I know is that whatever I did made a most interesting looking stitch!  This particular one though, comes from a knitting pattern book dated 1904.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Stockings

No change in my reading matter since last week (well except to add a few things) since I have not had much of a chance to actually READ between homeschooling and knitting!  I did have to return Outliers to the library before I got to finish it though- hopefully I will be able to get it back again soon!  I shan't put a hold on it though until I have finished what I have in my list- starting with the James Garner biography, which I have been enjoying :)

My knitting has been doing quite well though.  I finished the second stocking (the red one) for my son.  It turned out rather larger than the first because I switched to a circular (16") to knit it- mainly because I had tension issues with the double pointed needles.  You can see the changes I made to some of my charts in action on his stocking- such as the slightly larger gap between snowmen.  You can also see that I plan to go back later to do the stripes on the candy canes- although I am not entirely sure this bought me much time (if any).  I tried out one or two new patterns there too.
Underneath you will notice my 'Quick Knit 1940's Style Sweater'- to which I have added a sleeve today.  I shall start knitting the front next, while I wait for my wool for my son's Christmas gloves.  I shall probably start my own stocking soon too!

Yarning along again with Ginny this week- take a gander at the other participants!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dickens, Garner and Mittens...

So there is really no connection between all three of these- except that they are in my photo :)
For this week's yarn along, you can see several projects going at once.
I took a short break after finishing DD's stocking, before starting her pair of 'plain mittens' that she asked for as a Christmas gift.  You can see the crocheted 'string' which will hold her mittens in place within her coat sleeves.  I have always loved these because they seem so sensible.  I saw once, either in a knitting book or on a knitting blog, where a knitter made these for herself so she could not lose her handmade mittens.  Since I don't want her to lose her mittens, and I am sure she doesn't want to lose them either!
Now they are finished, I am waiting on a yarn delivery for my son's gloves.

I could only work on these at night, when she wasn't around, so during the day I started work on DS's stocking.  This time my main colour is red :)  Same pattern as before, messing around with the motifs a little and of course changing the order so they are different.

And then, I just had to start one of Alan Dart's Dickensian Mice (or click here for a similar pattern if you cannot see Ravelry).  I managed to get hold of this pattern last year, after Christmas :/  So I REALLY wanted to make them this year.  I learned a couple of things.  1.  Sport weight is too heavy for this really- even though it says DK (it is an English pattern), sport is too thick to use easily on the small needles.  Maybe go up a size or two?  2.  The fingering weight yarn worked find- but not really in conjunction with the sport LOL

Finally the books- you'll noticed two previous (unfinished) books there, and a new one.  The new one (on top) is the James Garner memoir.  It's a very good read, even though I do not agree with him politically!  The writer has managed to write it as though Garner is talking directly to you- very well done!  It is called: The James Garner Files and is by James Garner and Jon Winokur.

Join in the fun or just visit the yarn along over at Ginny's Place: Small Things.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Two Finished Objects

Today you can see TWO finished objects!  I spent today knitting- because we're having an Indian Summer, and I have taken the opportunity to let the kids out to play rather than keep them inside- the next few months will do that enough!
First up, the Christmas Stocking:

I finished this one LAST night.  It is far from perfect- as can be seen in the photo below!  This is the back- complete with ad-libbed extra stitches which I used just to carry the extra yarn across.  I eventually fixed my graphs- but too late to do the back of this stocking (since I finished it before fixing the graphs!)

But that is OK, no-one really looks at the back anyway- here it is hanging.  You can see that the heel is maybe a little large, and perhaps the foot could be bigger.  I am still pleased with the way it came out.  I shall try my changes out on the next stocking!  Then I will upload a pattern to share.

Here are the fixed graph- arranged in number, with a couple of extra charts I made.  I also made some changes to the tree graph to make the yarn carrying a little better.  The graphs are upside down so you can knit from the cuff down.  I would highly recommend knitting the candy cane in two colours and duplicate stitch the red stripes on because they don't look as good knitted in as I did it.

And finally, my second finished object...

The three hour sweater.  Yes I adjusted the colour again- so you can see the detail.  This indoor lighting is killing my photos!  Unfortunately I only just finished this one tonight.  It probably took a total of about 8 hours or so- maybe 10.  But there were a couple there taken up with frogging and re-knitting things.  Like the sleeve I mistakenly used the wrong needle for.  Or the re-knitting of the body to lengthen it.  So certainly NOT a 3 hour sweater, but it IS a quick knit :)

And the book?  Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.  It is a fascinating story about what makes for successful people.  It uses some well known success stories as examples.  An interesting read!

I am joining in with the yarn along over at Ginny's again this week.  You can participate or see the other participants here.

ETA: I keep meaning to post the link to Tasha's Vintage Knitting College- where she is giving tips and techniques for those who are interested in doing their own colourwork.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Knit Along: Wednesday 9th November 2011

Not much in the way of reading this week.  I have spent almost all my time trying to get my kids to do their schoolwork.  Which means constant supervision- which means that although knitting might get done, no artwork and no reading (because those take WAY too much concentration!).
On my needles this week is a Christmas stocking for DD.  I was originally going to make ME one, because I dislike the store bought one I have.  The idea of a country style, folk art stocking really appealed to me.
Only once I got my yarn, DD wanted HERS first!
I started out by using some worsted weight yarn- acrylic, so I could wash the stocking.  It was HUGE.  Except to DD who told me it was not big enough -she, apparently, wants it big enough to put a folding scooter in.  At least that is today.  Yesterday it was a trumpet.  The day before it was a recorder...
I am not a huge fan of huge stockings.  My house is small and four of them would just NOT fit.
So instead, I went with my own design, using some of Knit-Picks Palette yarn.

I cast on 96 stitches, joined to knit in the round, and K2, P2 for 1 inch.  Then I knitted  2 rounds before starting the holly chart below.
I have a chart for each of the family member names too- with a slightly more fancy font than you normally find :)
I knit that chart, before knitting 2 rows, then a green diamond pattern, 2 rows, 2 rows in snowman background, then the snowman chart.  When I am finished I shall type up all my instructions for you!

2 of the charts I am using, come from the Little Cotton Rabbit's Mini Christmas Stocking charts.  I highly recommend her stockings and mini bears for Christmas decorations!  Another chart I also got online, but the bird, holly, candy cane, snowman and swirl are all my own.  Not all of them fit ideally into 96- you might have to add a couple of stitches surrounding them- or do as I did and totally forget that and just make a joining pattern on the back.  I will show you that next time- when I hopefully remember to photograph it!

My art has not totally gone.  Apart from knitting charts- I have also been working on this...

A portrait of my son :) in pastel pencils.

P.S. You can click the pictures for more detail.

P.P.S.  See the other yarn along participants over at Ginny's Place :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Yarn Along: Wednesday 2nd November

Ginny over at Small Things Says:

Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr.

Not much knitting has been going on here.  Well... SOME has.  I had to frog my 3 hour sweater yoke after I realised I had not yet made my top long enough.  Here it is in its almost completed form.  I toned down the colour in my photo so you could actually see detail and not a red blur. 
I am knitting the yoke flat so I didn't have to figure out how to knit the sleeves.
The book is an anthology of urban fantasy stories by a bevy of authors- from straight mystery authors to fantasy authors.  A lot of fun :)
I still have other books on the go, but this is my 'strictly for fun' book right now. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Yarn Along and Knit Along together

I thought I would get this yarn along post up early, because... well because it is also part of Twila Jean's knit along :)

If you want to see more in the Yarn Along series, you can go and visit Ginny's site at Small Things.  Twila Jean can of course be found at her blog, Twila Jean, and her 3 Hour Sweater Knit-Along can be found here.

So, back to my sweater for the knit along- the 3 Hour Sweater can be found here- it is a 1930's vintage pattern, which usually needs a little tweaking.
So far, my tweaks are to go down a size of needles from my last time (I did not like the gaps) and to knit in the round.  I added an extra inch to the ribbing, and I shall add another extra inch in the body- because my torso is longer than those of the 1930's- even with high waisted clothing the sweater was too short for my liking! (I prefer it to cover my belly button at least!).  I kept in the side stitches that I would have normally eliminated from knitting it in the round, because I felt like I would need the extra room ;)  I have spent about four or five hours on it so far, including one section of frogging when I realized I had mis-measured it.  I can't be certain how much time I have spent on it- because I usually watch TV or homeschool the kids while doing it.

I have such difficulty photographing red.  And the top is a really pretty colour, it lives up to it's cranberry claims :)  If you have never used Wool-Ease, it is certainly a nice, cheap option.  I would not claim it to be the best yarn out there, but it is easy to find and has lots of colours.
You'll note my reading this week.  yes, I am a huge fan of the ABC show Castle.  So I always read the books from the show.  They are not the most well written books, but the entertainment value is that you see little tributes to the show in there!  This one is better written than the previous two though!  And there is the October edition of Country Living UK beneath it- it was the LAST one in the store- Barnes and Noble never can keep it in stock for very long.  I know a lot of us Brits in the USA enjoy it for the flavour of home- but there are just as many Anglophile Americans who enjoy it too!  I would totally subscribe digitally- if it wasn't for the fact that my primary enjoyment in it is the feel of it when I read it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Circle Skirt and a Knit-Along

Some time ago I posted about Casey's circle skirt sew along.  I had long planned to participate- but I never got around to finding the fabric I really wanted, and so I resigned myself to not doing it.
Then one day, I realized I had some fabric in my stash that was more than enough to make a circle skirt.  And of course I was in desperate need of some separates.
So I cut out the skirt.  I was not finished in time for Casey's initial circle skirt party- but this time I made it :)
I never did get a petticoat made though (although I did take a good look at some 50's crinolines today for inspiration!).
 The skirt- starched, but sans petticoat.  I used the rolled hem finish, which I am quite impressed with!

And of course, the obligatory twirling picture!  It is a very comfy skirt to wear- and I daresay I was better dressed than most today ;) although my daughter said she looked fabulous in her jeans, t-shirt and brand new boots :p
The skirt is made from cotton, a floral I saw and liked because of it's retro feel.

Now the sew-along is over, I added myself to a knit-along!  (I did say I needed separates!).  This time it is for the 3 hour sweater, and is hosted over at Twila Jean's blog.  You can read about it here and here.
I have made this one before, and I think posted about it, but was not entirely happy with my yarn choice.  I liked the colour, but it ended up too floppy- so this time I chose the equally cheap, but a little sturdier Lion Brand Wool-Ease.  I was loath to make it in actual wool, because I worry I might get too hot- plus I have my Quick knit 1940's Style Sweater on the needles too. 
I am already making some modifications to the 3 hour sweater though- I am knitting it in the round (bottom up) at least to the arms.

And I am knitting it in red- a beautiful shade called cranberry.  We'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yarn Along: Wednesday 19th October

Ginny Says:
~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. ~ 

Yes,I am back for the yarn along this week.  I have been busy trying to homeschool the reluctant children- which allows knitting time because this pattern needs very little attention!  I finished the back of my Quick Knit 1940's Sweater.  It really is a very quick knit- I can't say as how I have spent lots of time of this sweater.  The stitch is a twist stitch- which you might consider a narrow cable stitch, but the authors of the pattern have told you how to do it all without a cable needle!
I am a little leery of how narrow it looks- but my gauge swatch (yes I did one for this- most unusual) knitted up the the right size with these smaller needles.  I am supposing it looks narrow and long because it stretches widthwise.  I think I shall make a sleeve next, before repeating this to make the front.
My book is one I picked up at the library because I thought it looked interesting- and might be a good geography book.  It is called Paris to the Past: Traveling through French History by Train by Ina Caro.  So far, I am enjoying the book quite a bit.

For more participating in the Yarn Along, go visit Ginny's blog- every Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Knit Along: Wednesday 12th October 2011

Ginny over at Small Things says:

~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. ~ 

On my needles is the Quick Knit 1940's Style Sweater.  It actually is a very quick to knit pattern- but read the starting instructions carefully :)  I had to frog it a couple of times!

No book this week, but rather a magazine.  I had been hoping to get hold of the latest Country Living UK, but it wasn't there.  Instead, I had English Home- the December/Christmas edition.  I could not resist the allure of traditional Christmas eats and stuff :)
I do beg pardon for the quality of lighting in the photo- but apparently night-time is not the best time to take the photos ;)  Oh well, it does at least give a great look at the twisted stitch of my top!

Underneath, is a very bad picture of the skirt I am making the top for- my circle skirt.  I was too late for the initial circle skirt sew along- but Casey says she'll be hosting another party, so I shall try and get the petticoat done so I can participate :)
The skirt is finished though!

To see more knit-along participants, hop on over to Ginny's blog!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Present

Some time ago, Ann Voskamp was posting little pictures from a book: Natural Science Through the Seasons: 100 Teaching Units.
The book is hard to get, and when you do find it, it is usually priced at over $100.  If you are lucky, you can get it at a thrift shop at a really cheap price.  But that is if you are lucky.
One enterprising blogger posted links to the calendars from every (school) month.  They are worth looking at- but they are not really in printable condition.
So I went to work.
Earlier this month, I made one for September.  On letter (A4) paper- which was not really big enough.  I drew the pictures by hand and switched it all around so the moon phases fell on OUR moon phases.  It was pretty, but not quite what I wanted.
So for October, I made a change.
I switched it up.  I made it bigger, transposed the dates, moved things around added some and deleted others.  And I put it in colour.

If you click it, you should be able to get a bigger version to print out.
This is closer to what I was looking for.  But not quite.  I ended up using my pastel pencils because I realized after I had done it, that india ink is water soluble and would ruin any colours I had :)
Feel free to print it out for you own personal use only.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yarn Along: Wednesday 14th September

On Wednesdays, Ginny over at Small things, likes to host a yarn along.  She says:
"~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~"

I finally finished my socks- which I might well get use out of soon, since a cold front is heading our way!
And my parents sent this lovely book all the way from England.  It is all about vintage themed tea parties!!
Oh- all of that is on our brand new (old) kitchen table, and sitting on the placemat I made.  It is a double sided placemat, so I can flip it over for a different look!  And the paper is a cute note I found upstairs, written by my 7 year old daughter- "He is sdoopid" (he is stupid) :)

For more yarn alongs, go see Ginny!

UPDATED to add the link to the (free) pattern for the socks:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Making Circle Skirts

So Casey over at Elegant Musings is hosting a circle skirt sew-along- which looks to be a lot of fun!
So I decided to make my own Pinterest board with some inspiration for the skirt I'd like to make and thought I would share so everyone else knows the sew-along is going on :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pieces of Art

OOh... blogger has changed on me!
Anyway, I was just stopping by to post a couple of pictures I drew this week.

First up is a place I have drawn before- Cul's Courthouse Grille in Charles City (at the Courthouse), VA.  I decided to use some pastel pencils after watching Colin Bradley's videos on You Tube again.  They are considerably faster to use than coloured pencils, which is always nice when you are short on time.

I have drawn this guy before too.  He is a heron who inhabits a local strip mall property.  Sometimes he lands on the roofs of the shops, other times on cars... but most of the time he is on the rocks around the fish-filled retention pond.  As we walked around it this last weekend, we saw him and I snapped a couple of photos- from which I painted this picture.

I am still very much investigating this medium.  Trying to get the darks as dark as I want them is a little difficult.  I may need to get hold of some of the darker shades of pastel pencil.  And I have yet to find the perfect paper.  Cul's was drawn on Strathmore Pastel Paper- which was not bad, but I did not like the shade I used.  The Heron was drawn on Canson Ingres- but it was a very thin paper and came out with vertical lines after painting.  I really dislike those!  I have another Strathmore paper to try (a darker shade this time) and a Mi-teintes to try too.  We'll see how those go.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New clothes or old?

So I have a bunch of things I have made for myself recently, and I say I will blog them, but never seem to get around to it.  So to cut a long story short... here at the things ;)

from McCall 4662 (1940's)

I made this (you have seen it before ;))

From McCall 4304 (1940s):

I made this:

Apparently I need to learn to pose better.
I made Simplicity 4738 (1943), but have yet to get a good photo of it. so We'll wait on that one.

From Simplicity 2017 (1948) I made view 1.

Kind of a fun pattern- here with a helper ;)

And from Simplicity 1538 (1947) I made view 3 with the sleeve from view 4 :)

Complete with silly look on my face :)  You can just about see the yoke at the shoulder there...
The fabric was a real pain to work with, but I love how it looks and feels.
I also have one more pair of shorts (with a blouse almost completed) that I will show some other time :)
In the meantime- enjoy and happy creating!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Win a Vintage Pattern

Debi over at My Happy Sewing Place is hosting a weekly giveaway of her vintage pattern of the week :)  You should head on over there to enter if you want a chance to win it!

I'll be back later with some new things I have sewn up :)  See ya then!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Pantry Staples

Casey over at Elegant Musings posed the question 'what do you consider “pantry staples”?'
An interesting question, I thought.  I flashed to my own extensive list before wondering how our lists differ from those in 'olden times'.

My list is not unlike Casey's at all.

  • Baking items- flour (white whole wheat, all purpose, self raising, bread, corn flour and cornmeal).  With all these I can bake other staples like bread and biscuits that are always good in a pinch.
  • leavening products- baking powder, baking soda and yeast.  Again, keeping these in my cupboard means I can always bake something ;)
  • Oil- canola, olive and coconut oils which I use primarily in baking.  Also a spray oil for spraying pans before I cook.
  • sweeteners- sugar, honey, golden syrup, maple syrup.  The family has a sweet tooth so I control our sweeteners.  But even then, homemade is better because at least it is not high fructose corn syrup.
  • Vinegars- white wine, red wine, balsamic, apple cider, white distilled, malt and a couple of flavoured ones (raspberry and tarragon).  These are useful for sauces and salad dressings.
  • Brown rice.  It makes a nice side- best cooked with broth and spices though ;)
  • Whole wheat pasta.  I keep this because the kids love mac and cheese.  I make it from scratch and the kids still love it LOL
  • Couscous.  My daughter's favourite grain side.
  • Dried beans and tinned/canned beans.  My husband and kids love beans, so I always have them on hand.  They are also useful in soups and meatless patties.
  • Herbs and spices.  I have a humongous selection of these to dress up all kinds of things!
  • Chicken, Beef and Vegetable stocks.  Sometimes these are homemade, sometimes they are cubed or even in a carton.  I always have the cubes (bouillon) around for soups and gravy though.
  • Salsa.  I love it - especially in the winter when I don't buy fresh tomatoes because they suck.  They still don't taste good yet, but roll on summer they will ;)
  • Jams and jellies (that is American style jelly as in jam without bits in it).  Jams can be used in sandwiches and in dressings and sauces.  They are good on toast and on plain scones.  I always have a good selection of jams.
  • Condiments.  Mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauce, soy sauce- I don't have a lot of condiments (I tend to make them myself more) but I try to keep these ones around.
  • Oatmeal.  It's useful and I love it :)
  • Tinned/canned tomatoes.  Again, mostly in winter.
Not precisely things in my pantry but definitely things I keep around out of what I consider necessity:
  • Frozen vegetables.  Especially during the winter, but even during the summer, I keep a freezer stocked with various frozen veggies.  They can be used in a pinch to make a quick side, or make a meal more interesting/healthy.
  • Dairy- milk, butter, eggs, cheeses (cheddar, parmesan, feta).  The flavours of course- I love to add cheese to things!
  • Potatoes, garlic, onions, carrots and celery.  With these vegetables (I always buy fresh) I can make a lot of soups and sauces, and always dress the meal up in flavour.  They are almost ALWAYS to be found in my cupboards/fridge unless I run out during the week.
  • Fruit- for snacking on.  Whatever is seasonal.
  • lettuce and salad stuff- for sandwiches and salads.
So there it is- my list of pantry (and not quite pantry) staples :)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: To go with a hat

The challenge this week over at Sew Weekly, was:
"So for the first time at The Sew Weekly, we're letting an accessory dictate our outfits and celebrating the joys of hats! Next week's challenge is all about creating a dress to go with a particularly charming hat. "
I call mine South Pacific. Or Maybe Royal Wedding. Those are what I had the telly on to watch while I cut or hemmed. I find having the telly on rather entertaining while sewing actually. And I have been known to knit and draw in front of it too ;)

The Pattern was McCalls 4662, a vintage 1940's pattern that was super easy to make, and fabulous to do. I wouldn't say the instructions were very clear, but a little fiddling around enlightened you somewhat.

I like this picture of me better than the other front picture, but I hate the background. But I wanted to be near the Jacobite Rose which was blooming :)

The fabric was a 100% cotton from Joann's, with birds and butterflies all over it. I fell in love with it, and paid $28 for 4 1/2 yards- JUST enough to make this pleated dress.

I'm smelling the Jacobite Rose here- very nice!
The hat was something I got many years ago at Colonial Williamsburg- and it was untrimmed when I bought it. I have trimmed it a couple of times before, but this time, I too some bias binding and sewed it to the brim edge of the hat. Then I took a white satin ribbon and wound it around the hat before tying it in a bow. I clipped a butterfly I picked up from Michaels for $1 to it, because I thought it made it look much more amazing. Then I turned the hat around to wear them both (the bow and butterfly) at the front, as many of the 40's hats seemed to be that way.

Back view
Not being in possession of a hat pin, I added a small amount of elastic cording to hold it onto my head- a good thing because the wind likes to blow my hats off :)

A much nicer background :)

Here's the hat...
And the I wore the hat tipped slightly to the side- flat it looks colonial, tipped it looks much more 40's :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yarn Along: 27th April 2011

Ginny over at SMALL THINGS says:
~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a single photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~

Today you can see a top I am sewing, a cardigan for a friend I just finished, the lacy top I am still knitting, a hat I just trimmed for the Sew Weekly Challenge- and a fun book my aunt sent me, from which I shall knit her dog a corgi :)

See the other Yarn Alongers at Small Things today.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yarn Along: 13th April 2011

Ginny over at Small Things says:
~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? ~

On my needles: a vintage lace cowl-neck pattern.  I love this pattern- tiny, tiny stitches though.  I hope it stretches!
And as for the books:
Alligators, Old Mink and New Money and Mourning Gloria.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Knit Along: April 6th 2011

Ahh... a chance to enter the yarn along again- you can find the other posts over at Ginny's Blog. I know somewhere in my files are pictures of completed knitting pieces from before, that I actually managed to do between the last time I posted a yarn along and now... but I forget what and where!

Here is a completed 3 hour sweater, and another elephant in the works. I am writing out the pattern for him as I go. There are of course, other things in the works, but just not here.

You can see a picture of a Gladys Taber book... I found her after Susan Branch mentioned her in a newsletter. Fabulous and enjoyable writer :) And the other is my current obsession- Vintage clothing. In this case, the 1940's. I shall have to add a Vintage section to the sidebar so you can share the wonders I have found ;) Even better are the wonderful knits the 1940s had on offer. Expect to see more from that era forthcoming!
A couple of notes on the 3 hour sweater. It takes longer than 3 hours (primarily because those huge needles like to slip). If I were to make changes, I might add a little length to the body- maybe extra ribbing too. And I'd do something else with the neckline ;) Also, I recommend when binding off at the sleeves, to use a stretchy bind off as you would for sock ribbing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Fever

It is inevitable that spring should bring with it a round of spring fever.  Most of us have had to endure a winter which seemed endless and bereft of colour- at least since Christmas left, and every year, as soon as the weather warms, I am outside in the garden.
"Spring Fever"
Watercolour Pencils
I wont say that I am an avid gardener.  I am not.  I detest weeding with all my heart, and I really don't enjoy messing about with the flower beds much.  Probably because half the time I am trying to avoid the rose thorns scratching me up.
But planting seeds- now that I like.  I love planting vegetables with the idea that one day, I might actually eat them.
I don't think that I am the only one, either.
My daughter has a distinct love of planting seeds too.  She seems awfully excited at the prospect of the spinach or chard or lettuce/carrots/radishes/peas that might grow from them too.
And then there are the caterpillars.  Those things absolutely love the plants I transplant so tenderly into my vegetable garden.
Broccoli is almost always covered with cabbage white caterpillars.  Squashes always seem to be covered in squash vine beetles of some sort.  Well not this year.  This year I am determined to beat those pesky critters!
Of course, I say that every year.
And every year, I allow some bugs to go unmolested.  Like the swallowtail caterpillars that seem to like my carrots/dill/fennel.  I love the butterflies, I can't bear to kill the caterpillars.
Or the monarch caterpillars that invariably infest my pleurisy root (a milkweed relative) although it often hosts the detestable moths that fly around my rear porch light at night instead!
The praying mantis are allowed to stay, and the ladybird beetles... and the scary garden spiders.  The latter are allowed to stay primarily because they are scary and I don't want to touch them.
As spring fever is inevitable, so is my sunburn.  Every year, I burn.  It is almost a rite of passage for the year.  One cannot be English fair (yes, I am very fair even to the English, although I have known certain English redheads who burned even faster than myself) and not burn at least once each year.  Usually at some time when you think the sun isn't strong enough, or that you wont be outside long enough, or that it isn't warm enough.  And I watch carefully to make sure I see no signs of burning, because yes, with care I can feel my skin beginning to burn.
Last Sunday marked that rite for this year- the first time I burned.  I totally forgot to be careful because, although sunny and warm, it was not particularly hot.  I watched, but not carefully enough, and ended up with a pair of nice red shoulders for my pains- with a white crescent moon shape at the top of my neck where my wide brimmed hat shaded it, and a lesser area in the middle of my back where my hair shaded it.
Apparently, that was not enough for today, a pleasant 80 something degrees, even while overcast... I caught the sun again.
Time to buy the sunscreen!

P.S.  I am feeling inspired by Gladys Taber, after being introduced to her by Susan Branch.  I recommend her writings very highly!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Little Bluebird on my Shoulder

Well- maybe just at the feeder :)

Yes, I have done bluebirds before- but this stalwart harbinger of spring is ALWAYS welcome :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Nook color: A Review

So I have had my Nook Color for a couple of weeks now, and I thought it was time to give it a review :)

First up, the Nook Color, as it comes out of the box, is a lovely, touch screen, color e-reader.  It can do very little more than that- it can browse the webs, but that it all.
You can 'root' the Nook Color relatively easily, following step-by-step instructions found online, but it will invalidate any warranty AND not all android apps (because it is an Android system it can run Android apps) will work on it.

Be that as it may, this review is specifically about the UNROOTED Nook Color, because I am waiting (impatiently) for the Nook app store to be released in March (so rumour would have it) :)

The Nook Color, is about the size of a larger paperback book.  It is lightweight, and very user friendly.  Intuitive to use, I guarantee those who have used anything like an iPod touch or smart phone, will have no problems with it.
The touch screen is fairly high res for such a small screen.  Webpages display easily, with the exception of those using Flash, which is (as yet) unsupported on the Nook Color.  Rumours claim that this too will be fixed later.
E-books in epub and pdf formats display easily on the screen.  It is backlit, which does cause issues if the sun is out (get a wide brimmed hat or a parasol) but is wonderful in the dark.  Since I read more in the dark than in direct sunlight, I think it is better this way!
Turning a page is as simple as touching the screen for an epub, or swiping for a PDF.  With books downloaded from the Barnes and Noble website, you are able to makes notes and share highlights from the book with friends online.  There is an easy one step for sharing on social networking sites as well.
Purchasing a book is as easy as browsing in the Nook store (a button on the Nook Color will do this) and clicking on the book you want.
Pre-purchased books show up as downloadable on your Nook close to Midnight on the date of release (this is a very nice feature).
The Nook colour will also show newspapers and magazines- with each new issue showing up on the date of release.
Kids books are fabulous on the Nook color, as most are easily navigated by the child AND they have a read aloud option the kid can use.  This has been something my daughter dearly loves.
It has a microSD slot, where you can place a microSD card.  This is great for extra storage.

Not everything works on the Nook Color as yet.  Pdf files which are a series of scanned images do not work on the Nook Color without printing to another pdf.  Sometimes you have to do this through two different programs.  This is a bug in the software the Nook Color uses, and not the Nook Color's engineering- they are waiting on a fix from the company who makes it.
I have already mentioned that the websites using Flash don't work, and as yet, the kindle mobi files are not readable on the Nook Color.  Unless you root it and install the kindle reading app ;).

There are a number of things I would like to see on the Nook Color to improve it.
A notepad
A calendar (with the ability to add and change info on it)
Email software and notifactions
A Blog reader
Annotation ability for pdf and doc formats
Ability to share from ALL e-books
Bookmarks for pdf files
A Calculator
Ability to play ALL music files.  I blame microsoft for this one ;)
An app that connects to Goodreads and/or BN Site to ennable reviewing a book easily.
Ability to blog from nook
Syncing with my google accounts.

I am sure I will come up with other ideas!

So- my personal view.
I love this.  I have downloaded countless free epubs for it.  Project Gutenberg is a fabulous site to get those.
One click ordering from is wonderful- I have used the pre-order with great success.  I have ordered books late at night.  I have downloaded cheap and expensive NookBooks.
I have tried PDF books, epub books.  I have pdf and word documents on there.
I have read in the dark and in the bright sun.
I carry the Nook Color in my bag (I purchases a lovely tri-fold case for it, which makes it look like a portfolio).
I use it to have school books (and schedules) on hand.
All in all it is a fantastic device, very useful in this, its most basic form... and potentially even more useful once that app store is up and running!

Do I recommend it.
Absolutely yes.  It has been a real joy to me.  However, if you find the cost a little steep, any e-reader will give you a lot of the things the Nook Color has.
I am definitely an e-book convert... hope to see you there ;)

P.S. anyone else with a Nook, LMK if you have lendable books ;)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Birds of a Feather

One of my goals the past few years has been to take some classes.  So when Strathmore Visual Journal advertised it's free online classes, I signed up for them all!
Alas, I was not able to get an actual visual journal (I'm still looking), but I did buy Strathmore watercolour paper to use instead... and this is my first week's journal page :)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Yarn Along- January 5th 2011

The first Yarn Along of the new year!
Ginny at Small Things says:
~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs. I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading? Take a single photo and share it either on your blog or on Flickr. Leave a link below to share your photo with the rest of us! ~
So this week, I have new exciting things going on :)
In the background in the December issue of Country Living (UK Edition).  I love this magazine, WAY more than the American one... apparently I am not the only one :)
Next to it is a new knitting book- fabulous charted colourwork designs for hats, mittens and gloves.  I sense some Christmas presents for next year in it ;)
The colourful yarn is a pair of socks.  I fell in love with the yarn in the post Christmas sales... and my socks keep getting holes in them.  I am hopeful a knitted pair will last better.
The white thing is a baby outfit for my neighbour's grandchild.
And I saved the best for last... the electronic thing is my new Nook Color.  E-books galore!!  I love this thing!

Check out the other projects over at Ginny's Yarn Along!