Friday, May 21, 2010

update and thanks

First, Yesterday we launched the Boat - FINALLY!! Woo hoo...

I've updated the boat blog here

While living in limbo, I've gotten some knitting done. And some little sewing.
I got pillows and bolsters and a custom fit bedspread made for the master cabin on the boat. Using my Pfaff 130 vintage machine, that we paid Big Bucks to have professionally restored.
I'm going to give the guy who did the restoration one more chance to respond to my queries before publicly reviewing how unhappy with his services I am. I chose the most prominent nationally known "expert" in Pfaff 130's to work on this machine. I'm not impressed! I've struggled to get this machine to perform as even the most basic machine should. Struggled!

On the happier side, I want to report about the most excellent customer service of a tiny little business who makes stitch markers (for knitting and crochet).
Don't hold your breath, but I will get back with their information and the story. I'm changing computers and just realized that the pics and business info is all on the other computer.
Thats it for today.

Happy and jealous of those who had such a great time at PR weekend in Philly. I had been scheduled to attend the Hands On knitting retreat in Chicago that same weekend. The retreat got cancelled on TUESDAY! before the event was scheduled to begin on Thursday. The organizers will be refunding the registration monies - but not for another 90 -120 days. It was an unhappy situation that prompted the cancellation, but the event truly was all organized and could have gone on and happened without the organizers presence. I hope that they learned something in this process. They say they'll be organizing future events. After this though, I wonder what teachers will be willing to participate and who'll be willing to shell out money to attend, Given that they didn't have any provision for what would happen in the event of a personal tragedy?

Cheers to all my stitching friends,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Na Craga


The shoulder/back/neck continue to heal, albeit more slowly than I’d like. And I’m still a bit in shock over the quickness of the move, and all that I had to pack/store/divest of.

It seems that for awhile there all I did was pack up and give away boxes and boxes of my textile treasures.

So imagine my delight when I received a package here at the lake house from a most generous Raveler last week, on Wednesday.

It contained a CD of his music, which suits my mood perfectly at the moment. And…enough yarn to knit an Alice Starmore aran sweater. The yarn is an incredible color, perfect for jeans, and perfectly dark enough to be a working sweater. I’ll post several pictures below, taken in different lights to try to capture the tones in it. It’s Jamieson’s Shetland Heather. Which is simply not available to us here in the US anymore through any distributors, although I’m under the impression that it’s still being made. It knits up into a wonderfully warm fabric – quite frankly too warm for the centrally heated homes we live in in North America (probably why it’s not sold here anymore). But it’s going to be lovely and perfect for living on a boat in northern waters.

My intention was to save it to knit next fall so that I’d have it for the Atlantic Crossing back to the US next April, and then possibly to wear while sailing up the Atlantic coast.

Intentions be damned. I couldn’t Not cast on.

So I did. ;)

And, it’s going so well that I intend to wear it in a few weeks on the boat!

I’ve wanted to make Na Craga from Starmore’s book Aran Knitting (being rereleased in Sept) since I obtained the book.

I cast on Thursday.

It’s been cold here again, the 78 degree temps disappeared. But it’s been perfectly wonderful weather to sit and knit this fabulous design with this fabulous yarn. And listen to Michael’s cognac smooth voice singing somewhat melancholy songs to beautiful accompaniment.

Thank you MJ. Thank you from the botton of my heart.

I also got on the phone and called Karabella in NYC, since I can’t find a store anywhere that carries the Aurora 8 anymore. I ordered the 3 sk I’m short to finish the nautical pullover that I was working on when we got the offer for the house. It should arrive this week before I head out again on Thursday for my next road trip. And I’ll finish that pullover and Na Craga to wear before the end of May!

One last note: I apologize for the sporadic nature of the posts here, and my absence from blogland. I should have internet connectivity again in May. Meanwhile, it’s still public library and internet cafes 20 miles away for me to have internet access.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Progress and Evaluation on the Minnow Knits dress in Luscious by Kollage

I think this is going to be relegated to the “experiment but not good enough to keep” pile.

I thought I was using the smallest plate in the knitting machine, but it turns out there is one smaller. The stockinette portion of the dress is just too loose, and consequently also terribly uneven looking. I know some of that will block out, but unless it shrinks up considerably too I’m not going to keep this for bgr (baby girl Ryan).
I love the bodice. It’s a fun little dress. And I think that what I’ll do is take out some of the Manos del Uruguay cotton stria that I have from when Chris’s when out of business in St Louis, and make another one, paying closer attention to the skirt fabric. Also, I know that the cotton stria washes well. It’s the yarn I knit Joey’s chemo blanket from several years ago, and my sister attests to the washability of the fabric.


The Spring 2010 issue of Verena is at the bookstores. I just love Verena. This issue they’ve taken a page from one of Rowans latest books, and done a whole Hollywood Retro look set of designs.
The cover sweater is a cute little number that they’ve paired with a Prada-style lace skirt. Remember last year when the big question was, what to pair with the lace skirts – this is a lovely little answer.
Mardel, do you have this issue yet? I love seeing your takes on the new designs from all the knitting publications.

Comment replies;
Jen, the Bond sweater machine I have cost less than $100 on ebay. No matter how you cut it, you can’t upgrade any kind of sewing machine for less than $100.

Stash and others, Thank you for your concern. The shoulder is healing. I have x-rays that show there is no disk involvement. It was simply a very severe muscle spasm that I ignored until it got to the point I couldn’t stand it. Ice, rest, and now heat, as well as some light stretching is allowing it to heal. Soft tissue injuries always take the longest to heal.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Back to regularly scheduled programming

Phase One of retiring to the boat is complete. We’ve successfully closed the sale of the house in St Louis and moved out.

Now I’m going to separate the blog content again, and keep this to the original intent, and that is to devote this space to Fiberarts.

All the lifestyle content will be available over at

So I may have mentioned that I injured my shoulder/back/neck while slamming in all the packing and moving. All that tension transferred down to my left arm and hand, and has seriously affected my ability to hold a needle.

What to do? Read?….yeah, well, if I were reading anything of substance that might be satisfactory. But I’ve read enough fiction in the last week that reads like Made-for-TV movies that I’m done with that for awhile. I need to create.

I may have mentioned a little over a year ago that I picked up a Bond Sweater Machine (knitting machine) on ebay. It stayed in the original packing until this week. I just never opened it.

Why? I don’t know. Anyway, I opened it several days ago and began reading the directions, and knit up a sample using the Spinnerin Wintuk acrylic yarn that came with it….gives you an idea how old this thing is!

It’s soooo easy, and honestly, it’s FUN! Unless I get into a lot of fuss and bother it only knits stockinette. That’s ok though.

Yesterday I set up the machine and knit the skirt portion of this darling little dress. Took it off the machine and transferred it to needles to hand knit the skirt border and the bodice. Set up to take off time: about 2 hours. And that’s because I had some challenges getting the first row to knit. I expect it’ll take me 6 hours or more to knit the rest of it by hand.

Pattern by Minnow Knits, Sunflower #186

Yarn – Luscious by Kollage, 63% cotton 37% nylon elastic.

Monday, March 15, 2010

former sewing room

former sewing room
Originally uploaded by mlweaving
The studio space is now back to being a basement.
In fact, at this point the table has been disassembled too.

The moving truck to take the furniture into storage will be here tomorrow at 7:00 AM.
Kinda hard to believe.

And, just so you know, this has been a lot harder, packing up, than either of us anticipated. Not the packing, although that's work, but the sorting and deciding what little we can keep. Then deciding where to put it has been the next chore.
So right now I'm a bit of an emotional wreck. I know I'll get past it.

sigh, back to sorting the contents of my closet, chest of drawers and nightstand. Dh just left to go to Goodwill with the SUV full of black plastic garbage bags containing most of our personal clothing and belongings.

Friday, February 26, 2010

There are deadlines

Verena Cable and Lace pullover #2 from the Premier Issue

There are deadlines.
And then, there are Deadlines.
deadlines - those artificial dates by which something must be completed, as the final dates for finishing a knit item for Ravelympics or finish sewing 11 garments for SWAP contest for Stitchers Guild. Those are "deadlines" that one must meet in order to win a prize or the right to display a medal ravatar next to ones name on a message board. But there are no real consequences to not meeting the deadline. And, those deadlines are purely voluntary anyway.

Then there are Deadlines. The date one must have a dress done to wear to a wedding. The date one must have everything packed up to be ready for the movers when they get here. The type of dates that have consequences if things don't get done beforehand.

Back before I knew for sure that we would have a Deadline for movers I signed on for SWAP (sewing with a Plan)- the 11 garment sewing challenge beginning Dec 26 2009 and ending April 30 2010. The truth is, I should have begun sewing that wardrobe that I'd planned and collected the fabrics for back last October. I needed those outfits for Graduation in December in Athens GA, and over the Christmas holidays, and in January and for our trip at the end of January. Waiting to begin that wardrobe to meet the dates of the contest was a poor decision on my part. As it is, I won't be finishing the blue/black 11 piece wardrobe this go-round. Because I have very little sewing energy or time, and I need to make some clothes more appropriate for warmer weather, and some bedding for the boat.
An alternative SWAP plan I created using all stash fabrics is a warmer weather one.

These are clothes I'll wear beginning as soon as it warms up a bit more - think end of March, and I'll still be wearing as we cross the Gulf Stream in November on our way to Tortola.
You'll notice I have a bunch of knit sweaters up there in the top right corner.
Which brings me to the knitting I've been engaged in since the lighting of the Olympic Torch.
The pattern is from the Burda knitting publication Verena. So I decided to join in the Ravelry knitting Olympics event and knit this sweater during the course of the Olympic games.
Again, an artificial deadline - but a fun way to intensely focus on one item and maybe get it finished.
ready to cast on Feb 12
day one progress, back started above the striped ribbing, provisional cast-on
Feb 17, back finished February 21 two sleeves at a time, Feb 25
back and sleeves finished. Front cast on

Sadly, I won't make the deadline there either. But I'm close enough that I Will make the deadline of having it finished to wear come Springtime.
Yarn: Karabella Aurora 8. I used 5 balls for the back, 3.5 balls each for each sleeve, and only have 4 balls left for the front and the striped neckband. I still haven't quite decided what I'm going to do about the hem. I just don't see 4" of horizontal striped ribbing at my hips, KWIM?
In any case, I'm going to run out of yarn before I've finished the front, so I need to get online and order another ball of red. There isn't a LYS in St Louis anymore that sells Karabella, so I need to order from NY.

All this knitting has cut into some of my packing and sorting time too.
I need to get off my tush this afternoon and get back downstairs to pack some more Stuff.
This week I'm looking at the books upstairs too.
I'll blog more about the packing and sorting process over at our sailing blog - SV FarNiente, Living the Dream

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day

I know it looks like I've dropped off the face of the earth. Not so.
Go here to see what's up.

Monday, January 18, 2010

We have Winners of stuff

Using the random number generator at - it's pretty cool if you haven't seen it -
And, sorting each entry by the time it came into my email box, by # on the item, I chose winners.

But, I gotta say, The rules were simple and the first person to get hit by the random number generator for the knit fabric got disqualified for not registering here as a follower.
So, if you want to be in on the next downsizing giveaway, go click "follow this blog" on the icon over on the left sidebar.

Without further ado:
#1 Winner of the Cookbook set is Nanci - shout out to Nanci, who is the new mother of a baby girl. Congratulations Nanci!

#2 Winner of the Welt Pocket Maker is Dana. You'll have to open that package and use it and let me know how it works. ;)

#3 Winner of the knit fabric is #10 out of 17 requests - Trena, the Slapdash Sewist. The thing I know about Trena is that fabric doesn't grow old sitting around her studio, so I'm really happy to pass this along and can't wait to see what wonderful creation Trena will come up with.

#4 Winner of the Adele Margolis book is #16 out of 23 requests - Julie of Singer and Sew. It looks like Julie has been reviewing a number of books lately, so it'll be great to see what she thinks of this OOP sewing book.

Congratulations everyone.
email me at mlweaving at yahoo dot com with your mailing address and I'll get these out tomorrow AM.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January GiveAway 1

We've discovered Craigslist. And selling stuff that, who knew?, we thought might have to go out. And some good stuff too.
And, maybe you read the classifieds at Pattern Review, maybe you don't. But I just sold almost my whole collection of BWOF. I have a few issues left from 2004 and 2005, including that famous "Twist top" issue.
Something's got to go, and I decided I'd start with the BWOF mag's.

The Giveaway
And, some of what I'm going to part with will go to you, my blog-friends.
The RULES - if you don't follow them your name won't go into the RNG (random number generator) to win one of these giveaway items.
  • Be a follower of this blog
  • leave a comment on this post
  • Include in the comment the # which you want to be in drawing for. I don't want to pick whether to send you the cookbooks or the pocket maker - you choose - but only choose one
That's it. Easy Peasy.
#1set of "The Beautiful" cookbooks.

#2Welt pocket maker. These went through a resurgence of popularity a few years back and people were paying big bucks for them on ebay. I found a few in a drawer at Eunice Farmer Fabrics, and bought this one. Obviously, I've never used it, it's still sealed in the plastic. I'm not sure why this is necessary, but, if you want it, it can be yours.

3 1/2 yds knit print from Gorgeous Fabrics

#4Adele Margolis book Fashion Sewing for Everyone
This is one of Carolyn's favorite texts. If you read Carolyn, you know that she swears by Adele Margolis. The information is good. And, it's an old book, so you get a LOT of information, and not a lot of pictures. IMO this is a good thing.

ok, comments are open. I'll close them Saturday night or Sunday morning, and do the drawing over the weekend.

Packing: Sorting and Divesting
This is so much harder than I thought it would be.
There, I've emptied out 1/2 a shelf, can I keep the others?

Sold on Craigslist - Baldwin Lamps

Drapery Workroom supplies that have been languishing in my workroom.

Going to be listed on the classifieds at Pattern Review
  • My CoverPro 1000 coverstitch machine
  • Enough yardage of the Burberry raincoating to make a trench

  • Some fabulous 2 sided faux fur and the coordinate faux suede

  • And enough of that Big eyelet and Broadcloth to go under it to make a trench or one of those full shirtdresses. The color is buttercream.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

January - Week One wrap up

if you click on it, it gets bigger

Exercise/Weight - I've lost the holiday weight so don't need to adjust my little tracker up there. Now I just need to continue to lose the rest of it. As far as exercise, unfortunately I haven't gotten my formal workouts in everyday, but I have been up and down stairs and lifted and hauled enough stuff to count for at least 2 workouts. See below.

Well, this week cleaning has taken a front seat to everything else.
Not necessarily cleaning as in scrubbing floors and toilets, although there has been that, but I've begun the process of cleaning out the sewing studio, in preparation for dismantling. I'm about half way through. All I've tackled so far is the fabric.
First pass through I've organized the fashion fabrics and picked out what I can easily (or less easily) let go of. Much of that has been boxed up to get donated. The pic up top is what I'm left with. Still way more than I can use immediately.
What I Know I won't get sewn up in the immediate future went into a trunk and a suitcase designated to go to my mom's house in South Carolina for storage that I can access.
This is what is left on the shelves. (The side unit is empty and ready to remove or accept boxes, whatever I decide to do with it in the next week.)
That big thing sticking out in front on the bottom shelf is quilt batting, also designated to get donated. All the stuff up top is home dec fabric and I have (had) high hopes of getting some Amy Butler bags made. It's all expendable in the scheme of things.

This one shelf holds all the fabric that I think I can get made up in the near future. On the right are my Blue/Black swap fabrics,
on the left are the fabrics for an alternative Swap - my 'Oh Say Can You See SWAP
Get it? All red white and blue - mostly cottons.
I even made up a plan.
OhSayCanYouSee SWAP

And lastly, this stack on the left are my "Hope to get to" fabrics. They would be great for lake wear this summer too. All I need is time.

We have two showings today on the house, so I'll not get to showing pics of sewing from this week until tomorrow, or maybe even Monday. But, I have two skirts and the white pants to show. Yippee!

Can I just make a recommendation if you're newer to sewing? Don't deliberately build a stash. Don't set out to store fabrics. A bit of a stash will grow organically just by virtue of the fact that you won't get everything done you plan to, but don't deliberately set out to build a stash. I see posts all the time on Pattern Review with people asking what to buy to build a stash. This is overwhelming to me. And, I think it's become oppressive and weight on my mind, stifling a bit of creativity. Because I have so much to get done, I choose what I can get done quickly rather than what might take a long time but be fabulous. Or I start something and when I see how it's turning out, the creative part is done and so I move on to something else, creating a prodigious amount of UFO's (which is another problem altogether).
Yet, I love some of it so much, it hurts to let it go and even in a way to store it. I've catalogued what I've put into the trunk, and next week I'll total the yardage and see what I've got, but I just know it's ridiculous.

need thumbs

P.S. I do have to go do a quick blitz through the house prior to this mornings showings, but next week look for the start of some give-aways.
As everyone else is doing, to be eligible you must be a follower and comment on the post with the giveaway. In the works are notions, books, and some fun gadgets. Oh, and probably a bit of yarn.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

January, week 1

Yesterdays project
more below
Exercise +check. Actually, I'm feeling pretty good about where I am right now. I got on the scale this AM (before going to the gym) and found that I'm only up 3 lbs from November 1st. That's not too bad considering all the holiday travel and eating out we did. And the fact that my workout program went to hell in a handbasket.

Cleaning - yeah, well. Funniest comment I got after the last post was from Rose, who asked if I plan to continue the hour a day cleaning after the house is sold. ... I wrote back Are you Kidding?

First project on my worktable this year is a pair of pants to wear with the Elizabeth I sweater that I finally finished last month. I got these pants cut out before we went north the day after Christmas, but didn't get to sewing them up.
Last year I was gifted a gorgeous piece of Georgio Armani wool twill. Don't you just love those selvages with the woven in information? Wouldn't it be nice to find a way to use it in the garment?

I'm using a pant pattern I've made up 3 times already, albeit in a smaller size (Yay!). Vogue 1059, an Alice and Olivia pant.
Yesterday I started by putting in the pockets using the Kenneth King grosgrain ribbon method. (see pic up top for the basic elements of the pocket). He demonstrated this method at the sit and sew in NYC in November, and it's also very well illustrated with step by step directions in his book Cool Couture. It was just as easy as he made it look, and they do turn out picture perfect.

notice that the pocket bag has a stay that goes all the way to the waistband. That helps a lot to keep the back pocket from drooping.

Then I opened the zipper package to put in the zipper. Notice the staple smack dab in the middle of the invisible zipper teeth? Sigh. I was without a car yesterday and didn't have means to go to a store to get a different zipper. You just know that if I use that zipper it'll fail right where the staple has been.
I expect to finish these pants this afternoon, or maybe tomorrow AM.
I know, it's not a SWAP garment. But in keeping with my finishing policy, I wanted these off the worktable and finished Before I cut out my first SWAP garment.
I said dress for this week - but you know, it's pretty darn cold out. I'm thinking I might just start with a pant. We'll see what I feel like cutting after I finish with the white.


On track there too. I cast on mitten #2 Sunday. It has a lined cuff, so the first 23 rows are just the plain white knit in stockinette. Last night I finished the cuff patterning and turned that white section down and knit it into the inside of the cuff. I'm actually 1/2 way up the first rose repeat. I might just yet get to wearing these next week.

So, this Is the first week in January. How are you doing on those resolutions you've made?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

2010, Moving Forward

2010 promises to be a year of great changes for us.
I've read bloggers who're making resolutions, and bloggers who aren't.
Because this year promises so much change, all I can do is take it month by month. For January I'm implementing my "1 hour" plan.

Every day
  • Exercise 1 hour. In 2009 I embarked on a program with a personal trainer and lost 25 lbs. Unfortunately since November I've gained back a few of those, so I'm resolved to getting back to the workout program with an hour a day. Included will be a similar weight work program to that I was following with the trainer. When I had my bone density scan last Spring I was told my bones "look like sponges". Not good. I was told that I could improve the outlook by taking calcium and doing weight work. I'm determined that my bone density scan will look better this year than it did last.
  • Spend 1 hour cleaning a day The house is on the market now. I've put in countless hours cleaning out and scrubbing, getting it ready to put on the market. Now I've got to maintain that level of clean, as well as continue to declutter and clean out. If I devote just an hour a day I ought to at least be able to maintain the clean.
  • Knit 1 hour. As noted in the last blog post, I've finished up a lot of the UFO pile. I'd like to continue finishing up what is on the needles, as I have a lot that I'd like to start. My goal here is to work it down to only 3 or 4 projects on the needles at once. I need one complex item that I can only work on when I can devote full attention to it. I need one item that is portable (mittens etc), and one item that is completely mindless that I can knit on in social situations. I'm pretty close to that right now.
  • Sew 1 hour. LOL, I can see anyone who's reading this shaking their head saying "right, just one hour to knit and/or sew!" Well, these are my goals and these are my minimums. Because I know that I can at least accomplish more than I did last year if I put in an hour every day. And this month I'm ready to start SWAP. more about that later.
  • limit computer browsing to 1 hour a day - 'nuff said. oh, and I'm deleting the solitaire games from my computer. What a useless time sink that I fell into last fall. I want to keep up with my blogging and to keep up with your blogs. But I don't need to play endless games of Spider or Freecell and I don't need to lose entire mornings on the computer.

I've cut my work schedule back, so this ought to be doable. After my requisite hours I'm allowing myself to work on whatever I want.
Already this AM I put in my hour on knitting and got the Apres Surf hoodie to the point where I bound off the hood. After giving it some thought, I'm going to set this aside again in favor of finishing up

the Rhiivilla mittens I've got on the needles, and working on

the Norwegian sweater that I cast on for Christmas eve. I want the hoodie to wear in the Spring. I want the mitten to wear next week! If I put all my 1 hour blocks into the mittens then I ought to be able to wear them next week!
Ah, the state of my sewing room is appalling. The state of my sewing projects, both in process and abandoned is appalling. I hope to devote more attention to the sewing than any other activity this month.
I've joined SWAP (Sewing With A Plan) on Stitchers Guild again. 17 weeks, 11 garments. I have more to sew than just the swap plan, but in order to keep on track, I'm going to set a goal of one SWAP Item a week.

I think I'll begin with a dress.

Friday, January 01, 2010

2009, It's a Wrap

Looking Back

The years projects in review, many of which I never blogged about.
notable are a few projects:
In January I draped a design for my friend to wear as Mother of the Bride and then made the suit from a black/silver/grey silk dupioni.

In the spring I made slipcovers for the cabin settee for the boat - 13 in all. I blogged about it here.

Over the summer I made the veil and beaded the edges for my son's bride. Beaded veil. I also did the alterations for the bridesmaids and bridal dresses. Doesn't feel like much of an accomplishment, but it needed doing.

Just last month I made the comforter and pillow shams for our master bedroom. I chose a home dec fabric, seamed it to the correct size and sent it out to a commercial quilter to outline quilt the pattern. Then I got it back and put a lip cord around the perimeter and then hemmed the spread, and made euro-shams.

I got some clothes made for my sister - I can think of 2 pair of pants, 2 skirts, and a dress. I also made a twirl top and pant set for my neice. And I made a bare minimum of clothes for myself.

I did better accomplishment-wise in the needlework dept. I finished my daughter-in-laws needlepoint stocking, needlepoint 09

and lately I've been finishing up the knitting UFO's. In December I managed to finish up 6 sweaters. I have pictures of 5 of them. I need to get pics of the black cardi.
My creation

1. St Enda complete Dec 2009 (2), 2. colchique irlandais (1), 3. 2009-12-20 17.49.03, 4. Dec 2009 092, 5. Dickinson Dec 2009, 6. Progress on Drops cardi

Coming up: Moving forward in 2010, the goals and the plans. Top of which is finishing the jacket started at the Sit and Sew in NYC in November and SWAP