A Pillow and a Pie

Granny squares are insanely addictive. I think I want to make a dozen more of these pillows. My wrist (ouch) might disagree, but this is seriously fun. I backed it with a leftover sheet and stuffed it with the insides of an old pillow. Is it lumpy? Yes. But is bright, colorful and flies in the face of all the snow outside? Yes, yes and yes.

I didn't make this pie. I wish I did. If I had made it the crust would be a) black and b) crumbling into disrepair. Instead I bought the pie at an indoor farmer's market last weekend. Held at a lovely warm greenhouse, this petite pastry was calling my name. At five inches wide it was almost too cute to eat. Almost.



I'm trying darn hard to stick to the "No New Projects Until the Old Ones" are completed campaign. It's easier said than done as evidenced by the pillow in the post below. But I'm getting there, bit by bit. I finished up some details on an old cardigan Monday night. My sister was getting rid of the sweater and there were holes where an applique had been removed. To cover up the holes I made yo-yo's from white lining fabric, appliqued these to the sweater and added beads to the center. I love the look of '50's style cardigans and was trying to imitate that feel. So no more holes and I snagged a sweater on the cheap.



This past weekend my mom and I headed North to see the Victorian apparel exhibit at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. The show was worth the long drive (and I loved seeing the snow covered farm fields). Luckily photos were allowed at the museum, but no flash of course. With minimal lighting I was 99.9% positive nothing would come out, but was thrilled that a few did. The blouse above was one of my favorites; that detailing is so gorgeous I'm just blown away. With everything being so "blah" lately, the show (and the mild weather that day) were a much needed pick me up.
Before leaving we stopped for coffee and sweets at the Pastry Garden on Main Street. If you're in town you really have to go there. I am still dreaming about my cappuccino brownie.



I stayed small. Well, small-ish. Here's the makings of a pillow, one huge granny square I suppose? Alternating colors mean I don't fall asleep while working on it, but an easy to memorize stitch means I can hold a conversation while working without herculean effort. I have some cotton thread that I bought for about ten cents a piece at a yard sale and I'm thrilled to be able to finally find a way to eat away at the stash.

There's seems to be something a bit off about the way I'm adding the new colors. Rats. I'm not going to look at that area; ignorance is bliss.

And speaking of bliss, it's a three day weekend. I am celebrating with a stiff drink and catching up on "Cranford" tonight on PBS.


Wishing and Hoping

While I am in the land of pink pajamas, this is what I'm really thinking about. All these vintage patterns are making me want to just throw responsibility to the wind and get stitching. I do have a vintage reproduction pattern that I worked on a bit this weekend; I started it a year and a half ago (ugh), but am just now getting around to putting in the zipper. One of my New Year's resolutions has been to weed out all the half-finished projects in my sewing basket, so this and the nightgowns are top of the list. Although that Simplicity 2498 at the front of the photo is calling my name and I'm not sure how much will-power I have left.

I totally forgot to show a photo of the second duvet cover I finished before the holidays. It's a mix of vintage sheets, as well as some Heather Bailey and Anna Maria Horner. All this grey and cold has me in a bit of a funk lately, so the bright colors give me something to smile about. Too much cabin fever I guess, which makes working from home interesting! I did go for a walk tonight and although chilly, it's amazing what some fresh air can do to re-calibrate you.


Hunkered Down

I've been wanting to knit granny squares really badly, but have been having serious trouble figuring the darn thing out. When I was at the library the other week though I spotted Maggie Righetti's "Crocheting in Plain English." I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I liked the cover so much I checked it out sight unseen. Chalk one up to being a graphic designer.

Last night I sat down (armed with a glass of wine) to try to figure out how to crochet a granny square. After a couple minutes it just clicked - something I owe to the crystal-clear descriptions in the book. Different strokes for different folks, but the whole thing finally made sense and I have been struggling for months to get this. Now I have visions of afghans and pillows dancing in my head. I probably should play it safe though and start out with a scarf or something.

And I am still working on the nieces' nightgowns. There is pink floral flannel everywhere. Two down, one to go is the status report. I was super disappointed I couldn't get them done in time for Christmas, but it actually worked out better perhaps because I got to check out how much the girls had grown since I'd seen them last and now I can adjust the hem-lengths accordingly. I'm hoping to get the nightgowns finished up before the end of the month. That's the good thing about a craft blog; the glaring reality of what projects I still have on my plate. Keeps me slightly more honest, right?
My Mom gave me a stem of tea roses from a bouquet she'd bought recently. Most of the buds shriveled up (*shakes fist at grocery store*), so I cut off a few stems before throwing the rest out. They're looking a little worn, but it's nice having something green and growing in the dead of winter.

Oh, and I just realized Spud and Chloe yarns has some free patterns on their site; super cute! I'm totally in love with the apple hat and am dying to knit one for my youngest niece.


Snow Day

I am cheap both by nature and necessity.

Take three skeins of oddball yarn, a pair of size 13 needles and an obscenely snowy weekend and you have this scarf. I cast on eleven stitches and used moss stitch to give the scarf a fabric-y texture and then zoned out with something mindless on television. It's interesting because I didn't care for any of the yarns by themselves. One is pilled leftovers from an unraveled scarf from high school. Another is chenille. And the third is really, really purple. But together, it all sort of blends.

I'm suprised this came out. My hand was jiggling because I was dying of cold. And then to add insult to injury I heard a neighbor coming down the street walking their dog. I do enough to make the neighbor's talk. I didn't need to really add "Takes photos of herself outside in the driveway" to the list. Close one.


Best Foot Forward

They're finished!

The pattern is Bettie’s Lace Stockings from the Spring 2009 Interweave Knits. I was a little nervous starting out on this, mostly because of the lace and the toe-up sock construction, but it really wasn't that bad. After a couple reps., the pattern is pretty easy to memorize and looks way more complicated than it is. I substituted the called for yarn with a few skeins of some brown no-name brand I found at Big Lots (of all places). At $2 a skein, it was definitely pocketbook friendly and is surprisingly soft for a cheap-o yarn.

The only modification I made was to do some very loose ribbing at the top instead of the picots/ribbon the pattern had. I tried the picots on the first sock and wasn't quite feeling it; this is a bit more me I think.

And I get to wear them with my favorite shoes. In the snow. Good times.


Bright Paper Packages

I'm not one to take down holiday decorations in a timely fashion. Around Valentine's Day I'll start to feel guilty (maybe). Till then, I'm going to enjoy the lights and ornaments.

The Shiny Brites are a gift from my aunt and this is the first year I've pulled them out. Usually I'm too terrified to use them, petrified they'll shatter everywhere. But what's the point of leaving them in a closet, right? I went with a Charlie Brown tree this year that I cut from the backyard. It's tiny, lopsided and bare, but with plenty of character. I like that.
The torte nearly turned into a disaster due to a seriously leaky spring form pan. Do all of these pans do this? Yikes. I ended up transferring the whole mess to a regular cake pan and it turned out fine that way. Dusted with confectioner's sugar and decorated with raspberries, it tasted delicious (despite some wonky looking sides).

Visiting Arkansas right after the 25th was terrific. There were lots of games of Pink Milk played and M&M's shared and when the nieces had settled in for the night, there were late night talk-a-thons with my sister. And Scrabble. Between sis and brother-in-law, I was totally schooled. Next time I'm bringing a dictionary.

Now I'm back home and finding it's tough coming off that holiday rose-y glow. It's storming outside and I'd really love to just flip the calendar to February and forget about this month. I'm trying to see January for what it is though; a chance to maybe pull in and take it easy, rather than a short, dark, icy 31 days. There's sewing projects to be finished and books to be read, so perhaps now is as good a time as any to dive right into all that. I'm thinking I'd really love to offer more in the way of freebies and tutorials in the upcoming year here, so snow-bound in January will give me no excuses to slack, right? I've finally finished the lacy socks (yes!), so expect some photos of those this week.

But for now it's a snowy Saturday night and knitting on the couch with some cocoa sounds perfect.