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Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!!

Thank you for all the great comments that you all have given lately. I feel bad that I have not been able to get back to every commenter but life has gotten the best of me since Hawaii. The catching up, the work, the lack of sleep, the bridal shower prep, and now a trip to my beloved East Bay has left me without much time to send responses. I will be enjoying all my favorite foods and visiting my favorite yarn shops while I am reliving my Nor Cal lifestyle. I can’t wait!! As a special bonus, I will be eating at one of my all time favorite restaurants, Chez Panisse!!! When I was a poor college student at UC Berkeley me and a friend would skip our Political Science lecture and go to Chez Panisse for the lunch menu. This was before I knew about the crushing agony of credit card debt, but it worth it and makes for great culinary memories.

In knitting news, the swallowtail shawl left me with nothing on the needles for my upcoming trip so I casted on for the Noro Bradshaw sweater. Knitting on 10.5 needles is a trip. I have already knit 12″ of the 24.5″ of the back in two days. I can see why people love chunky yarn so much.

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One bad thing about this yarn is that knots are everywhere. I found three knots in one of the skeins. I was pretty pissed when I found out the length between two of the knots was this small 😡

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Also because I was winding so fast it managed to do this damage to my ball winder. 😦

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Oh well, what we do and accept from our knitting.

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This post will be about two finished objects – one knit object and the wedding shower it was for. Don’t know if I have mentioned it before but I will be the maid of honor at my friends wedding in less than 4 weeks, with only 2 weeks of dieting in vain before the dress fitting. That depressing thought aside, I was privilegded to be a bridesmaid with one of the most crafty people I know. She puts Martha to shame. We worked very hard to pull off one of the best wedding showers I could think of, if I do say so myself. But first for the knitting details…

Yarn: Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk
Inspiration: Swallowtail Shawl
Needles:
Size 4
Yardage: 600 yards or less
Modifications: I used almost all the modifications given at Pepperknit, you can see her post for details. (1) increased budding lace by 5 repeats (2) did mods for Lily of the Valley border, (3) used different size needles for the last few rows and for bind off
Enjoyment Factor: 7 due to the fact that I am not a lace knitter

Knit Time: 7/21 – 8/21/07

The Good:

  • Buying the yarn from Sarah’s Yarn was a blessing. They have a complimentary yarn sample program where they will send you samples of almost any yarn they carry and all you pay is the shipping charge. Since I was looking for a particular white (i.e. white white or bridal white) this was truly a wonderful discovery. Their service was wonderful and fast. This made buying the yarn online that much better.
  • The advice from Pepperknit. This write up was as indispensable as the pattern itself. I loved the detail and it just made the whole thing that much better

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  • The size worked out to about 64″ x 29″ which is not super long. It laid over my shoulders nicely but was not quite long enough to tie or anything.

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  • I loved pinning this out. Pinning out lace is soooo satisfying. I love the result and the super taunt feeling of the fibers being shaped into such a beautiful garment. I used the instruction from this Yarn Harlot post. The string idea was a life saver.

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  • The nupps were not nearly as hard as I had thought. In fact the two lace sections that included the nupps were probably the fastest of the entire garment.

The Bad:

  • I am not a lace knitter right now. I will not say that I will never be a lace knitter but the concentration needed to complete the intricate lace is pretty intense. I had to reduce all outside knitting stimuli to just listening to an audio book. One of the things I like about knitting is the ability to multitask and lace definitely hinders that.

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  • This shawl took quite a long time despite the fact that others have done this in days. I had the audacity to think that I too could finish this shawl fairly fast. Well, without the ability to bend the space time continuum this was not the case, which resulted in a complete sequestering of self to complete this in time.

The Ugly:

  • Absolutely nothing. It came out perfectly!

Now on to the shower, which went off spectacularly despite the wedding. We definitely had some wedding showers as well as wedding heat, humidity, cold, and intense wind. I think the weather ran the gamut while we were there. But ultimately it definitely worked in our favor. Here are some pictures of the wonderful decorations thought up by my crafty partner in crime and bridesmaidship, Mrs. B.

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The decorated gazebo. I just love those pink and orange pompoms ala Martha Stewart

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Future bride with the Swallowtail Shawl. Here matching dress was totally unplanned as she did not know the color. What a cowinkidink!

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Lovely Butterfly topped cupcakes

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The floral table decorations with the stamped patterning and fan party favor

 

It was quite a bit of work but well worth it for such a lovely bride. Next up…finding a chub constraint (a.k.a girdle or spanks) 😯 and some gold colored shoe boxes shoes for my boats 😦 Wish me luck!

1. I used to not like reading Memes, let alone write them. I would quickly pass by anyones blog that had one. However, this past year I began to realize that I stopped to read the memes of crafty people that I admired, wanting to get to know them better. Hence my first foray into memes. If you hate them, as I once did, you are welcome to stop reading now…

Still there? Okay…

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2. I am a big Star Trek fan. I have 7 huge plastic containers of Star Trek memorabilia. I was not the fringe geek who dressed up, but I definitely didn’t miss an episode and hate people mixing up Star Trek with Star Wars. I even have a Klingon tattoo! When Jadzia Dax married Worf, I nearly died. He was supposed to be MY klingon husband 🙂  Over time I began to really like her so I forgave their love affair.  I regard the episode Change of Heart as one of the most romantic tv episodes ever and when I watch is I my heart flutters every time.

3. I love big coffee cups. Lately Starbucks have been my dealer of choice. They have such wonderful designs on their 10oz or bigger mugs. I even went to their website to see if they sold them there, sadly they do not. My SP9 pal, Lynne, bought me a great mug that I use all the time. I love the thickness of the handle, it fits just right.

4. I have a huge fear of sharks. Yes, I know everyone fears sharks, however, my fear has rollercoastered over the years. I used to be too afraid to go into the pool because of the deep dark blue 8 foot end. I cannot watch shark week, and tend to get heart palpitations whenever someone speaks about it. The Hawaii trip was the first time I had ever been in water deeper than my thigh let along put my head under water. I can’t say I loved it but I did enjoy the view. That is when I wasn’t completely scaring myself and going in circles in the water because I thought there was something behind me. I even thought I heard screams underwater. Phobias suck!

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5. I think Tom Petty is lucky. I started getting into Tom Petty in college and listened to him for years after that. I rarely heard Petty on the radios, especially because I also rarely listen to radio. So I decided that any time there was a spontaneous occurrence of a Petty song or sighting that it would mean my day for that point on would be good. Why? I have not idea, but I believe(d) in it so much that to this day I have other people that get excited for me when I or they hear Petty. Guess that saying “You make your own luck” holds true in this case.

6. I choose my family. I think of family as a privilege not a right. Everyone expects that because you or they are family that they have certain right as blood family that does not have to be earned. I, on the other hand, pick my family. To be part of the family you have to pass the same standards that I have in place for friends. To write them out here would take all day, but at the end of the day you have to value me as a person and show me that my loyalty to you is reciprocated. I consider many of my close friends to be family, some of which are more family than the ones I inherited by blood. Don’t get me wrong, lots of my blood family are my chosen family as well, but some regrettably are not.

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7. I am a Taurus, even though my sign is Pisces. A long time ago I decided that I did not fit the parameters of my astrological sign of Pisces and decided instead that I was a Taurus. I came to this conclusion because I did not like the fickle, loosey goosey nature of the Pisces, and instead decided that I was grounded and firm like that of the Taurus. When I read horoscopes I read the Taurus section first and then reaffirm my belief by reading the Pisces section and comparing the apparent differences between me and the description. Before you ask, my rising nor my moon are in Taurus, just my imagination.

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8. I was chosen as a Rockin Girl Blogger!! Not once but twice! How cool is that! Thank you Miss T and Joanna. Thank you so much (insert Miss America wave with a slowly falling tear on cheek). Now I am not very good at these things so I will switch it up a little. Over the past few weeks I have discovered a number of new hidden treasure blogs, at least they are new to me anyhoo. So I will put them here for all readers to discover for themselves.

 

http://www.adrienneslittleworld.typepad.com

 

http://crimsonpurl.blogspot.com

 

http://octopusknitting.blogspot.com/

http://dailystitches.wordpress.com/

 

http://knittinglemonade.blogspot.com

 

http://www.windyknitty.blogspot.com

http://www.stephanielynnstudio.blogspot.com

 

http://yarnmaven.com

 

http://seedlessgrape.blogspot.com

 

http://zigzagstitch.wordpress.com

 

http://depontoemno.blogspot.com/

http://www.booglass.typepad.com

Damn!! That was harder than I thought! I worked on this post for days trying to figure out what to say. Hope you guys don’t think I am crazy and continue reading without fearing my sanity or lack there of. Mwahh, haa haa!!

Happy Friday!!

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These are two bags that I made for my trip to Hawaii. They were done pretty last minute so I had no time to blog about them before I left. The green one was given as a present to my friend for her birthday, hence the lack of pictures, and I liked it so much that I made the orange one as a last minute addition for me to use. Here they are modeled on location in the picture above.

Main Fabrics: Amy Butler Poppy Fields, Joel Dewberry Aviary
Inspiration: Amy Butler Frenchy Bags
Modifications: Only one set of pockets on one side, shrunk pocket size
Difficulty: 4
Enjoyment Factor: 9
Sewing Time:
Probably 5 hours each

The Good:

  • The design of this bag is very unique. It catches everyones attention when wore because it is so different.
  • The pattern was pretty easy and, as always, Amy does a wonderful job detailing out every step.
  • I changed the pattern bags to have just one side of pockets instead of both sides, I split the pocket into three, which would have probably been better as two, and shrunk the height of the pocket so that it was not as deep. Next time I might put pockets on both sides with the split, because they were not as intrusive as I thought when sewn to the side panels
  • I really liked the poppy fabric as that was a heavyweight fabric and didn’t need any interfacing, which made for less cutting. I also think it flows a little nicer than the fully interfaced orange one, but that is just my opinion (then again, so is this whole post 😛 )
  • LOVE those pleats. I gotta say that they really make this bag.
  • Joel Dewberry is a genius!! I love his fabric, especially the Aviary collection. I bought quite a few yards of this at the Purl Soho warehouse, which I normally do not do without a specific project in mind.
  • LOVE the wood paneling on my orange bag. I just like the idea of saying that my bag is wood paneled 🙂 . The stripes (not shown) on the green one are pretty cool too. I have to say my favorite combo is the green one, but the orange one is a very close second.

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The Bad:

  • I didn’t like how you had to top stitch the connection between the top and the bottom panels and do it again when the product was finished. I know it was probably for a good reason and I didn’t do that bad of a job, but I think it starts to make the stitching look sloppy due to the excessive passes.

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  • I am not a “hold my bag in hand” kinda girl so that green one is a little small for me. It actually proved a little small for my friend as well. I would definitely lengthen the handles next time to make it a little more practicle.

The Ugly:

  • The second pass of top stitching definitely takes attention and care so that you do not bunch up the lining fabric while trying to keep your stitch lines straight. Definitely the biggest pain of the entire project, which sours the ending a little. That is until you use the bag and magically forget about this little bit of irritation.
  • That stupid magnetic snap cost me$4.00 at Michael’s because Jo Ann’s was all out of the 3 for $1.49 pack. Did I stock up the next time I saw them, hell yeah!!

Thanks for all the well wishing with the sunburns and lost photos.  Despite all that I want to reassure you we had a wonderful time!

The question did come to mind while I was traveling, once we make our wonderful crafts and then blog about them, what happens after that? Do they go into the oblivion of our closets? Do they get pampered in relation to our store bought goods? Do they ever get washed 😯 ?

Well, I am normally one of those people that actually use what they make and since I crafted so much before my Hawaii trip I wanted to tell you how each one faired during the journey

Weekender Bag:

This bag really does hold quite a bit of stuff. I used this as my carry-on and it worked out really well as it was perfectly sized for the overhead compartment and was easily accessed during the trip. If packed with a lot of stuff it did become heavy after carrying it around the airport for a while as the straps are not super padded.

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One big thing that occurred during the trip was that the stitching that holds the strap to the side of the bag was not strong enough to support the load. It was not a lot of stuff, but if you actually fill the bag it does put quite a bit of stress on the handles. Despite following the instructions for backstitching at each end, the one line of stitching with just a few backtack stitches was just not sufficient. The bag still held up to the challenge though because of the 3 to 4 times the handles were stitched to the bottom panel of the bag.

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Advice: I would do something similar to the “x” above to reinforce the straps at both the bottom and top stitch point and backstitch across the entire top and bottom stitch line, not just a few stitches.

Layed Barcelona Skirt

My Barcelona Skirt also worked out well for the trip. I was amazed at how many times I actually wore skirts during the trip and may be inspired to wear them more often. I will have to work on fit a little more as the back was a little gappy as my badonkadonk is bigger than my waist causing some fitting issues. When I returned I machine washed the skirt and it frayed quite a bit, which was expected, and took on a wonderfully different look.

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This is after the 10 minutes it took to snip all the frayed edges resulting in a pile of this

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which came from the front AND backside of the top layer of the skirt.
Advice: Hand wash! At least in my case. I don’t know if the skirt will take too many more runs through the washing machine as the fraying on some parts was pretty deep. But I love the frayed look so like I said before, this will be cared for as delicately as I would my hand knits.

Blue Sky Sun Hat

Unfortunately I have no real update for this hat because this hat is a sun hat NOT a wind hat and it was pretty windy the entire time I was in Hawaii, especially at the beach. When the wind would blow it would flop down or back and threaten to take wing and fly away.

Advice: Make sure it is sunny not windy when wearing.

Please note: I still love all my projects and recommend them highly, but like people, they are not without their quirks 🙂 Just trying to let you all know how they faired in action. Good Luck!!

So now that I am a little more rested up. I can tell you a little more about my Hawaiian Vacation.

I had such a wonderful time that I even forgot what my room looked like. 8 days in Hawaii is a wonderful thing. I went snorkeling (which is unheard of for a water phobe like myself), went to the volcano, ate at least a months worth of food, and sweat out gallons upon gallons of water in the humidity. This trip was definitely an adventure during which I learned a lot of valuable lessons.

Lesson 1: Wear Sunscreen. Okay, this may seem basic but when you are in vacation mode this can easily be forgotten, resulting in a gnarly sunburn. Poor Jill suffered with this really bad boot shaped burn for days.

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My back was also aching and tender but it never occurred to me that I too could have a sunburn. I know I know black people can burn too, but since it has never happened to me before I had no idea what it was or what it felt like. The realization finally hit when I got home and started peeling. I have a new respect for people who have suffered the horror of a bad sunburn. People! Stay away from the sun! That is my public service announcement

Lesson 2: Wear bug repellent when in the jungle. Okay, really it was just a Hawaiian backyard but man do they breed some hungry mosquitoes. I was only out in the jungle area of a few mintues before putting on the bug spray. 26 mosquito bits later I was itching up a storm. I am very bad with anything that itches and tend to make things worse by making them into open sores. Oh well, I did get some great shots though.

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Lesson 3: Bring hard drive for picture backup. This was the hardest lesson for me to stomach because I know better. I have a very good hard drive dedicated to backing up all my picture cards while on trips. I bought it just in case my card was ever wiped or lost during a trip. I am sure you can see where I am going with this.

I was devastated to find that I had lost my 1GB card during trip with 200+ pictures on it. I still had another one, but the lost was deeply felt. I know better and had to learn this lesson the hard way. Oh well, between me and Jill we still have quite a lot of pictures to share. And we can’t forget about the memories that not even film can capture.

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Ahhh…the memories.

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….because I am back!!! What a wild and wonderful adventure it was. I was gone for 8 days but is might as well been months because I returned home and even my bedroom felt foreign. And OMG 😯 the bloglines were insane with 643 posts to catch up on.

I learned a lot of life lessons during this trip that I will share with you this weekend, but none were too bad. The picture above is one of my favorites from the trip as I took it with the end result in mind. I love the sepia and the added film grain treatment.

I also came back to the wonderful news that I won third place for my Weekender Bag on the Sew Mama Sew Bag Month Contest for the ‘Other’ Category!!! I was flabbergasted as the competition for every category was fierce. I won an Amy Butler pattern to add to the “must sew” pile. Woo Hoo!!! 😀

Anyway, more Hawaiian hijinx and an “8”Things meme to come.

Aloha!

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On the Needles


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Turtleneck Tube Vest CO: 9/30
Knitty Shimmer CO: 9/8
Cable Down Raglan CO: 10/26

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