Monthly Archives: October 2013

Halloween costumes?

Have you been going to Halloween parties over the last week? Lucas and I went to a Halloween cocktail party the weekend before last. I told L that it was costumes optional. We decided to go for it, and made up some undead 80’s Jazzercizers outfits. As a current Jazzercise instructor, we are always encouraged to keep things contemporary, but I’ve always wanted to do a classic 80’s homage. Right before we went to the party I noticed that the invitation actually said “costumes not required.” And maybe that’s totally different from optional. We were the only people dressed up! And we were both wearing tights/leggings. I think we only got one cell phone picture of our outfits.

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Tomorrow I might actually teach my class in a costume. But the only one I have that I can move in involves an opaque nude bodysuit. And I will tell you now that is one of the most unflattering things you can wear!

My birthday is a few days after Halloween so some years I have a combination Halloween/birthday party. Last year the theme was “Too Late, Too Soon.” So either costumes that are too sensitive (too soon) or something that was relevant, but no longer is (too late). Here is what I came up with:

I was JonBenet Ramsey. That one is kind of a toss-up in terms of if it is Too Late or Too Soon. The original idea was that it was Too Late, but it turns out that a murdered girl is kind of always Too Soon. The ensemble was inspired by some of her western cowgirl performance wear.

Lucas came up with his outfit in one day and didn’t tell me beforehand what he was going to be. Boy was I surprised when he showed up as Max Headroom!

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This year is a little more low-key for us. Sometimes I will be working on things for weeks and this year I’m really just throwing something together. Two years ago we were Pee-Wee Herman and Mickey the convict from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. I think these were during my blog drought years.

And no new costumes for my cats either! Here’s one of Olivia from a couple years ago:

Boy does that cat hate clothes. Any good costumes this year? How about your pets?

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FO: Lacey Leaf Satchel

Done, done, done!  Phew!  This one really started to feel like a marathon!

My Rav page here.

Pattern: Lacey Leaf Satchel by Pam Powers from Interweave Knits Summer 2010.

Yarn: Knit Picks Simply Cotton Worsted in Green Tea, a tinse more than 4 skeins.

Needles: US 6

Start Date: September 8, 2013

Finish Date: October 15, 2013

Mods:  None, but I did have to do some adjustments to make everything fit together.  The actual knitting was very straightforward.  Another Raveler combined the charts and that was very helpful until I was able to memorize them.  The front (and matching back) is knit as one big (huge!) rectangle and you sew the top leaf panels together to get the pleats.  I used mattress stitch to sew the leaf sections together, because if you whipstitch it like in the pattern it doesn’t look very good.  I did whipstitch the sides and bottom onto the front and back.  Sewing the pleats on the front down to the bottom piece was a little tricky.  I overlapped the bottom of the panels slightly to fit.  A bunch of locking stitch markers or safety pins would have really come in handy.  It was a little shaky, but afterwards you can’t really tell I had so much trouble.  My gauge on the front and back leaf sections was different from in the pattern.  I ended up having to ease it in quite a bit.  If I was doing it perfectly, I probably would have knit my seed stitch sections to match the length of the front pieces.

Here is the picture you saw before with the bag knit and the structure in progress:

I used the exact measurements in the magazine for the structure.  My Joann’s didn’t have the same size of plastic canvas, but I just made do with the smaller sheets.  For the most part it didn’t matter, but for the bottom, I had to sew in an extra panel for one of my side flaps.  One issue that I had with the frame work is that the front and back are parallelograms with angled sides.  They are wider at the bottom than at the top.  The bottom width is 17.5″.  But the tall sides need to fit over a boxed bottom that has a width of 16.5″.  These two sides don’t fit together great, because you can’t just ease plastic canvas in to fit.  Instead I centered the sides and had half an inch of a gap on each side.  I just kind of loosely whipstitched these together, but if I wanted to be picky I could have sewn in a small strip of canvas.

And again, if I had been going off my own measurements to make this structure, I would have made it taller so there wasn’t so much loose fabric on my front and back.  Okay, now the structure was done.  I wrapped the outside of the structure with fabric (from Joann’s) so that you can’t see it through the lace knitting.

I made the inside lining from the measurements in the pattern.  It ended up huge, so I made it 1″ less wide.  I also made a pocket just using a rectangle of fabric and turning down the edges and topstitching it onto the lining.  There are strips of fabric that loop through the handle slots.  (The handles I bought cheap from Quilting-Warehouse.  About $20 for two handles, bag feet and shipping).  I sewed these fabric strips onto my outside lining using my sewing machine.  I then did a running stitch through the outside lining and plastic canvas to keep the handles connected to the structure.  I whipstitched the knit exterior onto the outside lining, then whipstitched the inside lining into the bag.  This may sound like nonsense if you aren’t making this bag, but hopefully it will come in handy for someone who is making it!  I probably looked at the Ravelry notes for every project about eight times.

And then I did one more step that I think helped out a lot.  Since my front and back were larger than the sides, I had some extra fabric kind of puffing down onto the base.  It was overwhelming the bag feet a little.  I took some sewing thread and just tacked down the bottom edge of the front and back.  This way the extra fabric stayed in the pleat section and didn’t get pulled by gravity onto the base of the bag.  This was a huge improvement.

And that’s all she wrote.  A bit of an ordeal, but I love how this bag turned out!  I have almost nothing in it for the pictures, but I could fit an entire outfit in here, or at least a sweater project!  I did use quite a bit less yarn than called for in the pattern.  It called for 900 yards and I used 672 yard.  Kind of annoying to have so much left over, but I guess I can use it for washcloths!

 

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As Seen on Pinterest: T-shirt drawer

I saw this pin on Pinterest about re-organizing a T-shirt drawer:

And how did it work out for me?  Here’s the before shot of one of my drawers:

And such a beautiful photo too!  I recently switched dressers and was a little dismayed to find out that although the new one takes up more space, its drawers are much smaller.  Ugh!  Okay, but after refolding my shirts, here’s how it looked.

And the drawer closes now!  I did this with most of my drawers, including my tank top drawer and my workout clothes drawer.

Maybe that doesn’t look super organized, but before they were piles and sometimes I never even made it close to the bottom of that drawer before I did laundry.  Now I see all of my shirts at once.  And if I never get around to wearing them, hopefully their constant presence will guilt me into donating them instead of letting them take up space.

I’m not going to say life changing, but it has definitely been helpful.  If only I could get the rest of my belongings into order…

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WIP Round-up

I haven’t finished anything in weeks.  That makes me sad.  I am working on two projects at the same time, and they are just not getting done as quickly as I would like.  I have a ton of things from my queue begging to be knit but I have to finish one of these bastards first.  So here’s what I’m working on:

The Lacey Leaf Satchel by Pam Powers.  This was from Interweave Knits Summer 2010.  I liked it then, but didn’t really think about making it until I needed to make a bag for the Skein After Skein Epic KAL-CAL.  And I decided to make the most complicated bag out there…

It is really close to being done.  All of the knitting is done.  I have to finish making the bag support, then sew the lining.  I like to think it will be finished this weekend, but it will probably be weeks. 😦  It is stalled slightly because I love knitting, but sewing weird shit together isn’t really a passion.  Also, this is going to be a huge bag.  The bottom of that support is 17.5″x6″.  Full details when it is finished.

The other project I have on the needles is Lemongrass by Joji Locatelli.  I am making it in Noro Kochoran which is a bulky long color repeat yarn with a ton of angora in it.  It is a super fuzzy and busy.  And I am making a sweater in it…  I’ve had this yarn in the stash for years and I have been looking for a project for it.  I think the pattern is simple enough to not be crazy.  But, I am still not sure.  I wonder if all the people that use fancy MadTosh yarns in the Joji group are going to look down their noses at my crazy one.  Actually, everyone in that group is really nice; but I am insecure.  Not that this yarn wasn’t expensive, but I am pretty sure I got it for 50-75% off.  I think I have a couple skeins that were purchased at the Knit Cafe on Melrose if that dates this stash purchase a little better.  I am pretty sure they went out of business about five years ago.  Let’s just call it an experiment.  If it is a disaster I will rip it out and make a blanket or something.

Here’s the front.  I’ve finished the back and just have the ribbing on the bottom, the sleeves and the turtleneck to do.  I think (hope) that I have two full skeins left back at home.  I am not sure why the bottom of the sweater is so much darker.  I didn’t notice until this picture.  Hopefully I am not up against a dyelot issue.  Might be the angle.  It looks pretty consistent in the actual sweater.  I have decided not to worry about stripes matching up.  That would drive me crazy because every skein has had a knot in it so far.  You know, the kind that are just tied on anywhere, disrupting the color sequence?

This should go quickly with bulky yarn, but I have just not given it much knitting time.  Maybe this weekend.

What I really want to get started on is this!:

It is Clair de Lune by Carol Sunday.  I will be using Knit Picks Palette in Sagebrush.  The yarn is a little less minty and a bit more blue  in real life.  I will make mine a bit shorter.  I thought I would have cast on weeks ago.  If only my other projects would finish themselves!

How many things do you have “on the needles”?

 

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Tasty Tuesday: Fried Rice

I decided to start a new occasional feature.  It will be “As Seen on Pinterest”.  I’ll try to replicate something from Pinterest and share my results.  I don’t usually share my cooking pictures because my kitchen gets very little natural light.  So every shot looks pretty yellow and crummy.  But we’ll see…

Here is the pin that I followed:

Well, I first saw it as this next pin.  It really shows all the steps though it just links to a site that makes these photos, not the actual recipe:

(I followed this pin from Julie at Knitted Bliss.  She makes beautiful things, go check out her blog!)

I have tried to make fried rice in the past and failed.  What recipe did I use before?  Who knows!  I thought I could just stir fry some rice in a pan, add some shit in and voila, fried rice.  It turns out that that isn’t quite true, but it is just as easy!

Here‘s the direct link to the recipe.  I haven’t tried the sweet and sour chicken recipe yet though.

The real trick is that you need to use day old rice.  It helps if it’s been hardening in the fridge a bit.  This recipe is super simple with frozen vegetables.  I was in a pinch and I used dried onion instead and that worked perfectly.  I added some shredded chicken that I had leftover from earlier in the week.

It was nice to figure out how to add egg in as well.  The secret is that you use the same pan, but push the rice off to the side while the egg is cooking!  I used that same trick when making Pad See-Ew.  It seems so obvious now that I know.  Somehow it tastes better than cooking the eggs separately.  And easier for cleanup!

We’ll call this one a success!  And now that I’ve figured out how to embed Pins onto the blog (took me longer than I thought it would!), hopefully I will show off some more projects that I’ve gleamed from Pinterest.

I am not very active on Pinterest, but feel free to follow me if you like!  I think you can get to my account through that first pin.

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