Sunday, January 31, 2016

Aunt Lois' socks and Post Storm

The next pair of socks went to Aunt Lois.  I have had this yarn for a very long time. Aunt Lois said she should wear pink and so I thought I should use this yarn to make some socks for her. When I talked with her she said they fit perfectly. HA! Hooray for genes! We all have the same size feet - me and my aunts. :) That sure makes things a lot easier. 

Here in Philadelphia we are still dealing with last weekend's storm. 
If you recall the world was supposed to end last Saturday. Pictures from that Sunday:

My corner of the world was covered with snow
The direction of the wind was obvious:
Again with the wind:
Then there are kitties who are used to freedom who want out!

But in the end, sleeping in a sunbeam inside, is the best: 

with one exception, sleeping in the sun, outside, with the person One owns -

well that is sheer bliss
Today the snow was remarkably less, which was nice considering it was almost 60F°. Still not warm enough to melt the remaining snow. 
Now I'm working on a pair of socks for Aunt Alice. Aunt Lois said that Aunt Alice's kitchen has a yellow theme. Well, then Aunt Alice surely needs a new pair of yellow socks.
Not sure if these are the same yellow, but in the same family surely.
I decided to try something new:
Adding the heel as an "after thought". That's what the pink/purple waste yarn is for anyway. Stay tuned to see how it goes...
In the mean time, it seems Ann is keeping me well equipped to cook anything! :)
My beautiful new Købenstyle cook pot and my even newer espresso maker - red! eeeeeee! How fun is that!? I tell ya - it is really fun when its snowing like crazy outside. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A little bit of snow

In case you didn't know, the east coast (aka - the entire world!) got a little bit of snow this weekend.

Actually here it is in the afternoon of Saturday and we've got something like 24 inches with more to come. Its funny how snow like this makes people loose their minds. I stopped at Trader Joe's on Wednesday for cheese and coffee and they had to start a line to get INTO the store. There were at least 50-75 people in line when I left. Even though you resist getting caught up in the frenzy of Snowmageddon!AaaaaaaaaHHHHHHHHH! it's hard not to. Miss Mary and I went for a walk to pick up a bottle of wine and some rice from the grocery store - which we could have survived the weekend without. There was a line at the State Store! And then we just looked in the window at the Shop 'n Bag, saw the long lines there and said - forget it! We stopped at my favorite Indian/Pakistani spice store (where there was a much better deal on rice anyway) and even though there was also a line at least it wasn't insane. We got home just in time - about an hour later it started snowing.
I gotta tell you, I ain't never seen snow like this before! Seriously - I've never seen it go sideways all the way around my house. All of the windows have snow drifts on them.  

There were some other unpleasant surprises.
That would be snow coming in the front door through the mail slot. Now I know why the former owner blocked it. Thank goodness I've been putting a towel against the back door and there wasn't any on the inside.
 Jacques insisted on going out in that.
After 10 minutes I tried calling him from the front door a few times but no response. I called for him every 20 minutes for an hour - nothing. Finally I got worried about him and found him struggling in a deep snow drift. :( Poor baby. Once he saw me coming he just gave up and stayed there until I picked him up. With a small lull in the blizzard this afternoon I went out and shoveled a little bit so that the snow didn't get totally packed down.  I asked him if he wanted to come. He didn't budge from in front of the heating vent.

In the afternoon I opened the back door to take some photos and he clearly wanted to take advantage of the open-door opportunity.

He very quickly changed his mind and came back in.

Something about a snow day makes me feel extra energetic. Go figure. Even though this storm happened on a weekend (such a waste of a perfectly good weekend if you ask me - it could have happened during the week, given me some days off and then I could have been more productive...) I spent Friday being super productive. In the morning I straightened out bills, car insurance documents and other pressing matters, then I decided I deserved to do something creative.

On Thursday a co-worker (Charissa) brought bento bags to my attention. 
Essentially, it is a piece of fabric folded and sewed (very simply) to create a bag to carry anything really - lunch for example. Great instruction video here:
I was immediately intrigued. I've been tying my lunch container into my dish towels every day - which works just fine - but these - well these are just cool.
I spent the afternoon making a few. I have plenty of fabric to play around with this and find the perfect size.

The concept is pretty simple. The measurement is 3:1 so you can make it any size you like.  

Fold the ends to triangles

 Then fold the square in the middle in half on the diagonal to achieve the above. 
Pin the edges where they meet and sew. 
I also surged the raw edges - which I don't really like. I don't have a very good relationship with my surger and so I'm not happy with the result. I need to find a better solution for this. But for now - its fine. 
Two containers fit into this bag. Plus room for tangerines.  

Hot diggity!

I was so excited I made a few more:  

When I finished the largest one - the blue one - I thought it was too big - unwieldy. Nope. It is perfect for shlepping all things I want downstairs when they are upstairs and vice versa. Can't wait to take it with me to collect my farm share on Tuesday.
I also spent some time fixing one of my most favorite tote bags I've ever made. I made this before I moved into this house, so it has to be at least 8 years old.

The bag has stood the test of time -  but the straps have not: 
Last weekend I went to our quickly dwindling Fabric Row (very sad actually) and purchased some nylon strapping.

Good as new!

Today we (me and the boys) spent the day watching the snow.

It was amazing how it drifted. In some places there was absolutely nothing and in others, 3 foot banks.
I had some business to take care of today too - letters of recommendation and such, but while those were being written I was felting my new slippers! Yippee!

A few years ago now, I knitted and felted the purple slippers (on the left).
 They were wonderfully warm. But sadly the soles wore out.

I decided to knit up the left over bit of yarn I had from the project to felt into pieces I could sew to the bottom. Fine.

However, if you are unfamiliar with felting here is a brief how-to: knit the desired project with 100% wool -  extra large. Wash it over and over in hot water until it shrinks to the desired size. It's a good thing its warm in California or this sort of project would be a very costly extravagance and these slippers would be worth their weight in gold. In Philadelphia - well - think of all the money I will save on heating because my toes will be warm (go with me on this one). But even so, felting one little swatch really was too much of a waste of resources and I decided to knit a new pair.

Yes they are horrifically ugly - but since I am on a strict yarn diet I had to use what I had and that was it. And who cares really - I will not wear these in public. These are strictly wear-in-the-studio-to-keep-feet-warm slippers.

After second washing:

After third washing - almost there:

After fifth washing: 

The Jr. Inspector has approved. Can't wait 'till they are dry and I can put them on!

The Jr. Inspector allowed me to take his portrait: 
Then he moved to the pile of coats waiting to be put away. Much cozier I suppose. 

And we are still watching the snow come down. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Happy 2016!

Good Grief! What does it take to get a blog post written around here!?

Well it does help that the holidays are done. When you make stuff that you normally blog about and it's holiday time - you can't blog about the stuff you are making! The elves in Santa's little workshop would be most upset!

I was in California for the holidays visiting my family. It was a lovely visit. Colder there than in Philadelphia though! But I got to spend time with my two favorite boys. 
Liam is on the move. He crawls but mostly he wants to pull himself up and walk along stuff. He can't do it by himself yet, well, at least he couldn't three weeks ago. He is also tasting all kinds of new foods. So far the favorite? Spinach and pears:
How do you spell adorable? L-I-A-M. 

The problem with waiting so long to blog is that there is SO much I want to post, then I start thinking of how much, and I groan, and I find go something else to do. The quick update is this one:
I made a lot of socks.

Ann's socks:
I got this fantastic book a few years ago, Around the World in Knitted Socks. Absolutely love this book and I want to make every pair. But who's got time for that? This pair was a Swedish design with Ann's name written all over them. I love knitting color work, much more than cables, so these were just so much fun to knit. 
Ann has tiny little feet and so even though I knitted the smallest size, she was still flopping around in them. Quick repair before leaving California - take off the toes, straighten the yarn (still attached to the socks) and knit less of a toe.
All fixed!

Daddy's socks:
Daddy got the "poiple" socks this year. He said he would wear them, but not in public. Fair enough. 
I had a little left over red yarn from Ann's socks so I put hearts on the bottom of the heels. And then I had even more purple yarn left so Liam got a matching pair of his own.   
We tried valiantly to take a picture of the two of them and their cute socks, but Liam was having none it. So here is the next best picture of his little socksies:

Tara's green cable knit socks:

I had a vague idea I wanted to give these away when I started them. But then they became way too much work. So I wear them now. These are also from the awesome socks book. 

 And since I decided to keep them, I suppose I could have blogged about them sooner.

I made other stuff too:
The purple sock yarn seems to be never ending (I still have some). I saw this really cute hat and wanted to knit it for Liam. It knitted very quickly - and I swatched I promise! But it turned out teeny tiny.
 He sure looked cute modeling it though - then I sent it to a friend who just had a granddaughter. Maybe she (the granddaughter) could wear it for a few minutes before she out grew it.  

For Christmas I got this gorgeous Købenstyle pot - in my favorite color!
And you can't have cruddy old pot holders that you've manage to catch on fire a few times with your new pot - so you crochet some new ones.

Think the making and the crafting stops there? Ha! Nope:
I got Ann a book for Christmas and we sat down and crafted our hearts out.

Danish traditional Christmas decorations include the woven paper heart or Julehjerter. I stumbled on this publisher, Klematis, a while back and they have some great things - including some books in English. Unfortunately not this one.  Now, it's not as weird as you'd think - ordering a book in Danish. I studied there in college and then my Dad and Ann went there for a semester as well. The book has lots of pictures too - but the fact that it is in Danish sure makes putting some of these together extra challenging. But we did it! We put quite a few of them together.    

It was very sad to leave the book with Ann. I'm actually having withdrawals from crafting these things. It's kind of a high once you get one put together. I have to say that the swirly one almost did me in. 

Then of course, there is the collecting of things to make other things: 
My dad said, "Let's look through my type and see if there is any face you want out there. But there are some faces I want to keep like Caslon." He wanted to be able to de-accession his type cabinet so that there was more room in the garage. Alas, I didn't make that big of a dent for him. But I scored big time:
Look at that beautiful face! Fat slabby serifs, and the type has to be at least 84pt. It's bigger than 72 for sure.  
So I packed up the contents of the drawer into two flat rate boxes from the USPS. Thank goodness for those - let me tell you!
 All of that lead type weighed a little over 36lbs. I asked at the post office if there was a weight limit to the flat rate boxes and she said, "yes, 70lbs." I don't know how the box could possibly HOLD 70lbs, never mind how any human could lift it. I was worried with my measly little 18lbs in two boxes! And one of them did arrive a little smashed. Nothing was damaged inside, but the outside of the box looked like someone had just tossed it off a cliff.

When it arrived I got is sorted into it's own little drawer.
I got a little bonus too - these beautiful decorative Caps. These are only 36pt. 

My new year's resolution is three weeks over due: to blog every week mostly about stuff I'm making. Why not? I'm making things all the time... food, knitting, clothing, stuff...
stay tuned...