Friday, August 29, 2008

Universal Wish List

Did you know that your wish list is now a universal wish list? Thats right, you can add anything you find on the web. How? Just log into your amazon account, view your wish list, and there should be a notice near the top of the screen telling you how to make the magic happen.

30 Minute Gown

Violet will be three soon, but she is already the height of the average four year old, and has the waist circumference of the average 2 year old. She is quickly out growing her clothing in length even though most of fits her just fine. The other morning, while I watched her walk around the house in too short pj's, I decided to make her a new night gown. So at 7:00 that night - 1 hour till bed time - I started making the gown that she would wear to bed that night.

Here is the finished result;
I had seen a similar gown made for adults out of vintage pillow cases; however, I had no vintage pillow cases, and while tall, Violet is much smaller than an adult. I do have a fabric stash though, which includes the cute paisley shown from Robert Kaufman's Barn Dandy's collection.

The gown was very simple in construction, basically a tube with semi-circle cut outs for the arm openings. Here is how I made it.

1) First I cut a rectangle that was about 125% of her chest circumference by her shoulder to knee length.
2) Next I used a french seam to attach the two shorter ends. This could be done using a regular seam. I used a French seam to give the garment a more finished look, without the use of a serger.
How to do a French seam:
a) Sew the seam with WRONG sides facing.
b) Trim the seam allowance.
Pre -trimPost Trim

c) Turn inside out so that the right sides are facing, and press the seam.
d) Sew the seam with the right sides facing.
This is what a finished French seam looks like.
3) Hem the bottom edge.
4)Cut the arm holes. I lay the garment out with the seam denoting the center back. I marked the garment at four inches from the top and four inches from the side on both the right and left sides of the top of the gown. Then I cut a half u shape connecting the marks through BOTH layers of fabric.
5) Finish arm hole edge by turning over twice and stitching in place like a hem.
6) Hem the unfinished top edges by turning them over a small amount, pressing, then turning them over about 1 inch and stitching them in place leaving the side edges open.7) Cut a very long length of ribbon, and run it through the open side of the top front of the garment (as seen above), then through the corresponding side of the back top. Tie the ends in a bow on one side.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Increasing Evenly Across a Row

I promised more knitting math formulas, so here goes;

Increasing Evenly Across a Row

If you have any trouble with this formula, or find a situation in which this formula does not work, please let me know so that I can improve it.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Husband Interview

I saw this little interview on Gadabout knitter's blog, and I had to interview my own husband. So here goes...

Me: What is your favorite thing about my knitting?
Him: It’s a hobby that you really enjoy that also produces really practical things.

Me: What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?
Him: Sometimes you tend to get “tunnel vision” regarding your projects.
Me: What do you mean by “tunnel vision”?
Him: A hyper focused state where every spare moment is spent seeing that to completion.

Me: What is something I have knitted that you recall as being good?
Him: All of the sweaters you have done have been beautiful. I really get a lot of use out of my socks, and I tried to eat the sushi. I coughed it back up, it was too dry.

Me: Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?
Him: Compared to cyclists, no.

Me: Do you have any hobbies?
Him: (Evil smile) Oh, yes.

Me: What are your hobbies?
Him: Cycling, rock climbing, automotive repair, civil disobedience.

Me: If we compared money spent on hobbies, who would win?
Him: Are you seriously asking me that?
Me: Yes.
Him: I think this is the first time I have won something that I had completely and totally no desire to win.

Me: Has my knitting in public ever embarrassed you?
Him: Of all the things you could do in public that is probably the least likely thing you could do to embarrass me.

Me: Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?
Him: Malabridgo. Is it?
Me: That is one of my favorites.
Him: Ah…... wait, ohh. The kind you are going to make with the bag of wool in the garage.

Me: Can you name another blog?
Him: (cracks knuckles), Gadabout Knitter, um, that chic that runs wooly bully has one, there is a thread on Ravelry about willy warmers, Debbie Stoller (hopeful look), the Australian guy that gets looked at funny on the railway (Sticks and String).

Me: Do you mind that I want to check out yarn stores everywhere we go?
Him: Nope.

Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?
Him: (thinking) I think I do; you use it to figure out if the gauge needles you use work for the yarn. Essentially you use it to size up and yarn and needles for the project.

Me: Do you read my blog?
Him: Uh huh (Nods head)

Me: Have you ever left a comment?
Him: (nose scrunch) I think I have.
Me: I don’t think you have.
Him: If I didn’t I’ve meant to.

Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn't knit?
Him: I think the house has been cleaner since you have been knitting.

Me: Is there anything you would like to add in closing?
Him: A closing statement? I think any hobby is beneficial in that it provides relief from our life’s work. The point at which a hobby becomes an obsession is when it needs reevaluation. I am qualifying obsession as something that would cause you to loose site of your responsibilities and duties.
Me: Are you trying to tell me something?
Him: You specifically, no. This is for everyone.

Decreasing Evenly Across a Row

I have created a formula to help you figure out exactly what you are supposed to knit, when a pattern asks you to decrease evenly across a row. Check it out (in PDF format to retain formula construction). I hope it helps you the next time you come across ambiguous pattern instructions.

I will likely put a few more of these up in the near future, as I realized how little mathematical knitting instruction there is out there while researching for this topic.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

NOLA Part 4: Louisiana Children's Museum

The Louisiana Children's Museum is a play to learn museum. In other words, there are none of the typical museum exhibits. Instead there are toys targeted at the elementary and under crowd. Through play the kids are introduced to scientific concepts.

Here is my Dad and Jack-Jack on a couch that is both very funny, and a lesson in perspective.
Violet plays with giant bubbles, mixing such concepts as air pressure, viscosity, and tension.
This human size bubble allowed you to see and hear the world from inside a bubble.
In short the museum was fun for children and adults.

Wrap Up:
New Orleans is a beautiful city of contradictions. I loved visiting my sister there, and want to go back again and again; however, (as cliché as it may sound) I wouldn't want to live there. I prefer the small, academic city.

This is part four of a four part series.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Knitting - Free Patterns

It has, yet again, been a while since I have posted on the knitting, but fear not! Knitting has been accomplished.

This ice cream cone was made on the trip to NOLA (no small feat since I get really bad motion sickness). It is from the scooped pattern by I like lemons.My daughter was also a big fan of the corn I made.

Ravioli - Free Pattern #1
I love this quick, little sewing pattern.
Directions: Cut off-white felt into 3"x3" squares. With two pieces of felt together, sew around three sides (leaving 1" seam allowance), stuff the square with a small amount of filling, then finish sewing the last side. Using pinking shears cut a small amount off the edges of the piece. Voila! Quick , easy, adorable.

Spicy Tuna - Free Pattern #2
This one is mixed media, but mostly knitting. Some hand sewing is involved.Using worsted weight yarn in US6 needles.
CO 10 in yellow.
Knit in StSt for two inches.
Switch to white, and knit in seed stitch until the seed stitch portion is long enough to loosely wrap around the yellow part two times - about 5 inches.
In red CO 3 sts in work in i-cord till the cord is 1 inch taller than width of previous piece. BO.
In red CO 3 sts in work in i-cord till the cord is 2 inch taller than width of previous piece. BO.
Tie in all ends.

Place red pieces on yellow part of roll. With red pieces flush with one side of the roll, and beginning with the yellow end, tightly roll the sushi until the white part has wrapped around twice (adjust rolling tension if necessary). Fasten end of roll to the rest of the roll.

Cut dark green felt the height of the roll, and long enough to wrap around the roll once. Using invisible thread, fasten the ends of the felt together.

Run a few pieces of invisible thread the entire width of the roll, being careful to catch the red middle pieces. With invisible thread fasten anywhere else that needs to be secured.

Hop you like it!

NOLA Part 3: City Park

New Orleans' City Park is a huge, fully equipped, public park in the heart of city. The park is bordered on two sides by tributaries from lake Pontchartrain, and dangerously close to what looks like a ridiculously simple earthen dam (I was told the earthen dam was actually a levee - no wonder they broke).

After Katrina, City Park and the surrounding area was under several feet of water. All considered I thought the park was in remarkable shape, although parts are still under construction. The towering live oaks were especially beautiful.

Here are a few pics of time spent on the playground. With yards small and often shared, it must be a draw for kids miles around - it was for mine. My kids were determined to play on the equipment, even though it was intolerably hot (coming from a Floridian - thats hot).

Monday, August 18, 2008

Garden Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Garden Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

I am really hoping I win this one. Violet would look adorable in it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NOLA Part 2: My Sister's New Digs

My sister just moved into an adorable little place in uptown. It is one of three apartments carved from a house originally built in the 1840's. While the original builders probably wouldn't recognize the building in its current state (with the addition of kitchens and bathrooms for instance), some of the pieces in the house look as if they could be original to the structure.

I fell so completely in love with this little place that I decided to make a pictorial tour of it (with my sister's permission of course), so that everyone else could see it too. While I did my best to capture the charm inherent in this place, the pictures still don't do it justice. I hope that some of it's polished, and rustic beauty still shines through.

The Living Room
The house opens to a cozy living room, with the first of two fireplaces in the space. Sometime during the last century the fireplace were converted to gas, but I can still picture a roaring log fire burning in it. The small room is separated from the kitchen by ancient looking pocket doors just out of the frame of this picture.
This is a close up of that beautiful fireplace grate. At first I thought that it might be an original part of the house, but on closer inspection the grate didn't appear to be metal. Based on the sound it made when tapped, I thought it might even be plastic.
On a personal note, the pillows in the chair were my creation. I was glad to see my sister using them.My favorite feature in her new house were these highly decorative ceiling lamp base. There was one in the living room, and another in the kitchen. There was no way to tell what these were made of as the ceilings were 15 feet tall, but plaster or plastic, they are gorgeous.
The Kitchen
The kitchen was larger than I expected, with room off to one side for a small table. The kitchen was certainly added long after the house was built , but still looked older, and in keeping with the rest of the house.I took a picture of the mint growing on my sister's window sill because I thought it looked both picturesque and quaint. I was also proud of my sister's ability to keep it alive, as she has a notoriously black thumb.The Office/Hallway
My sister used this large walk through space as her office. The room has access to her bedroom and bathroom, the backyard, and the enormous loft pictured.
It also contains the second fireplace.....
....And this ancient looking knob and lock combo.
The Bedroom
I skipped over the bathroom, as it is really the only unfortunate space in the house. My sister's bedroom does not have the architectural elements that the rest of the space has, but I think when she is finished with it, it will perfectly match her personality - sophisticated, yet fun and funky.Part 3: City Park

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Incredibles

The other day I realized that in three short months I will have been blogging for a full year (Well okay, it hasn’t been consistent for nearly that long, but that is when I started it). I also realized that while I have mentioned the goings on of myself and my family, I have said very little about us. I also want to give everyone in my family an official name, because I tick myself off with all of the DH, DS, and DD stuff. Soon it will make me Deranged. Ha, ha! I love bad jokes.

At first I thought about using everyone’s actual nicknames, but since my husband is known as his nick name in most settings, I thought it might not be wise. Then I realized that names relating to fictional characters would not give away any privileged information, while at the same time saying a lot about ones personality if the character was chosen correctly. So……

Meet the Incredible’s:
Mr. Incredible – My Husband
Elastigirl – Me
Violet – My Daughter
Jack Jack – My Son

The reason I chose these characters will become more clear in the next few posts.

NOLA Part 1: The City

The kids and I just got back from visiting my sister in New Orleans. Even though she moved there a year ago, it was our first time visiting her there, as well as our first visit to the city.

My impression of New Orleans was that it is a city with incredibly obvious dichotomies. The over priced and opulent sits directly next to the ramshackle and dilapidated. I was shocked at the distinct differences, made only more noticeable by their close proximity.

When we first got there and began walking around the streets, I was surprised that many of the people on the streets did not say hello as we walked by. In fact, many people didn't seem to acknowledge our existence. I thought that perhaps there was still a bit of racial animosity left over from Katrina, as most of the people we passed on the street were black, and we are white. But that wasn't the case. As I met more people, I realized that there didn't seem to be any racial animosity. I met people of all races that were incredibly pleasant , friendly, and helpful, and an equal number of people that were cold and distant. However, I met few people that were in between.

The houses were equally dichotomous. A beautifully restored 200 year old mansion stood next to boarded by houses that could barely stand under their own weight. The houseing situation was even worse in the areas hit hardest be Katrina (I did not see the 9th ward, and cannot speak to its current condition). Some of the houses that had been flooded were fully restored and occupied, but I saw a few homes that still bore Katrina body counts.

The famous magazine street was also a surprise. I was familiar with many of the high end shops that called magazine home, through online shopping. I expected the exteriors of these shops to be as opulent as the inside. Instead, I found them distinctly shabby and run down.
I don't want to give the wrong impression, however. Overall, I found the city, beautiful, friendly, and most of all comfortable. I could see how such a city could survive a disaster like Katrina, why many people were reluctant to leave before the storm, and why the cities inhabitants are so proud of it - it feels like home. I felt welcome there, and even as a tourist I didn't feel out of place.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of things around the city.

Mardi Gras beads in trees.
"Graffiti" as art. Tree size bougainvillea.
Inside a cafe on Magazine.
Beautiful home detail in uptown.
Lawn Ornament.
One of the many iron fences around yards.
Crape Myrtle.
Surprisingly tropical foliage (we also saw banana trees in fruit).
Part 2: My sister's new digs

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer Squash Pattern Errata

The summer squash pattern had a mistake (it can happen to the best of us right?).

The pattern should read;
Rows 30, 32, 34-39, 41: sl 1, k1, sl 1, then knit all sts to end of row
Rows 31, 33, 40, 42: k1, sl 1, then knit all sts to end of row

I hope this clears things up!

Nantucket Weekend GIVEAWAY!!!!

Nantucket Weekend GIVEAWAY!!!!

If you haven't checked out these adorable clothes, you really should, even if you don't have kids.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Paperdoll Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Another Giveaway from Grosgrain.

Paperdoll Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Goodbye July!

Well the July no buying challenge is over. I have to admit that I wasn't completely faithful. I bought a hand made yarn bowl for The Gadabout Knitter's Birthday, and some beautiful Handmaiden Sea Silk when a local store had a sale. Overall I feel like the month was a success for me and my family. I didn't find it especially hard to wait to wait to buy items that were not necessary. Some of the sales were a bit difficult to resist, as I like to buy things that I know I will eventually use while it is on sale. I didn't realize that July is considered the end of the summer season in most stores (we still have a few months of summer here), and lots of stores were having end of season sales. I have been most surprised that many of the things I have made a mental note to buy at the end of the month, have not been bought yet. I haven't bought much more than laundry detergent since the beginning of August. I won't say that I have been able to completely break with consumerism, but its a start.

As a last addition to our challenge, here are a few things you can stop buying;
  • Paper Towels - use cloth rags instead
  • Herbs - All you need to grow them is a sunny window
  • Cleaning Products - make your own instead, there are recipes online (my favorite all purpose cleaner is water and soap in a spray bottle)
  • Fabric Softener - Vinegar in the wash does the same job, but most fabric doesn't require softener at all
  • Plastic Sandwich Bags - reuse glass or plastic containers instead
  • Shaving Cream - out of date sunscreen does a great job

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Liquids, if left to their own devices, will flow toward the least resistance. This being the case, one might think that the moisture in the air at 90%+ humidity would flow into a person's body, leaving them perfectly hydrated. However, our bodies insist on sweating regardless of the humidity in a hopeless attempt to cool us off. This is exactly what my body was doing when these pictures were taken, about one hour before I was rushed to the doctor, hardly able to stand on my own.
(lounging in the sun)
(mama's new "tattoos")

I took my kids inside for lunch, and my heart began to pound violently. I was having trouble taking care of myself, much less my kids. I called my husband, asking him to come home as soon as work was over. Instead he came home immediately and rushed me to the doctor. My left arm started tingling and became numb on the way there. When we got there I was transfered to a wheelchair, and my husband informed the nurse that he thought I might be having a heart attack.

This was Friday, and the culmination of a week of strange and worrisome symptoms, as well as several weeks of exhaustion. What was the culprit? Water, or should I say a lack thereof (as well as a bit of anemia). I was dehydrated, very dehydrated. My Prescription? To stay inside, take it easy, and drink lots of fluids.

I am feeling much better now. I don't feel any more hydrated, but I do feel less likely to die unexpectedly. I am also much more conscious of the amount of water I am drinking, and the amount I am losing by simply sitting outside in the Florida sun.

It is amazing how our bodies seem to maintain such a delicate balance with almost no effort on our part. Rather, it is through our own effort that we seem to become unbalanced. In my case I was ignoring my body's thirst cues. A few endurance athletes have even managed to drink too much water. My kids have a video on potty training that tells them to listen to their bodies, so they know what their bodies need. I think that is advice I could learn from as well.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fields of Gold Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Blogger Grosgrain makes beautiful children's clothes, takes amazing pictures of her kids in them, and then gives them away.

Check out the latest give away.
Fields of Gold Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Since her daughter is almost the exact same size as my daughter, I will probably be linking to her often.