This Page

has been moved to new address

Wandering Knits

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
""> Wandering Knits: October 2009

This Page

has been moved to new address

Wandering Knits

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
/* ----------------------------------------------- Blogger Template Style Name: Minima Date: 26 Feb 2004 ----------------------------------------------- */ body { background:#fff; margin:0; padding:40px 20px; font:x-small Georgia,Serif; text-align:center; color:#333; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } a:link { color:#58a; text-decoration:none; } a:visited { color:#969; text-decoration:none; } a:hover { color:#c60; text-decoration:underline; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Header ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #header { width:660px; margin:0 auto 10px; border:1px solid #ccc; } } @media handheld { #header { width:90%; } } #blog-title { margin:5px 5px 0; padding:20px 20px .25em; border:1px solid #eee; border-width:1px 1px 0; font-size:200%; line-height:1.2em; font-weight:normal; color:#666; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; } #blog-title a { color:#666; text-decoration:none; } #blog-title a:hover { color:#c60; } #description { margin:0 5px 5px; padding:0 20px 20px; border:1px solid #eee; border-width:0 1px 1px; max-width:700px; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } /* Content ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #content { width:660px; margin:0 auto; padding:0; text-align:left; } #main { width:410px; float:left; } #sidebar { width:220px; float:right; } } @media handheld { #content { width:90%; } #main { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } /* Headings ----------------------------------------------- */ h2 { margin:1.5em 0 .75em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { .date-header { margin:1.5em 0 .5em; } .post { margin:.5em 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; padding-bottom:1.5em; } } @media handheld { .date-header { padding:0 1.5em 0 1.5em; } .post { padding:0 1.5em 0 1.5em; } } .post-title { margin:.25em 0 0; padding:0 0 4px; font-size:140%; font-weight:normal; line-height:1.4em; color:#c60; } .post-title a, .post-title a:visited, .post-title strong { display:block; text-decoration:none; color:#c60; font-weight:normal; } .post-title strong, .post-title a:hover { color:#333; } .post div { margin:0 0 .75em; line-height:1.6em; } { margin:-.25em 0 0; color:#ccc; } .post-footer em, .comment-link { font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .post-footer em { font-style:normal; color:#999; margin-right:.6em; } .comment-link { margin-left:.6em; } .post img { padding:4px; border:1px solid #ddd; } .post blockquote { margin:1em 20px; } .post blockquote p { margin:.75em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments h4 { margin:1em 0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } #comments h4 strong { font-size:130%; } #comments-block { margin:1em 0 1.5em; line-height:1.6em; } #comments-block dt { margin:.5em 0; } #comments-block dd { margin:.25em 0 0; } #comments-block dd.comment-timestamp { margin:-.25em 0 2em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } #comments-block dd p { margin:0 0 .75em; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* Sidebar Content ----------------------------------------------- */ #sidebar ul { margin:0 0 1.5em; padding:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; list-style:none; } #sidebar li { margin:0; padding:0 0 .25em 15px; text-indent:-15px; line-height:1.5em; } #sidebar p { color:#666; line-height:1.5em; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ #profile-container { margin:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; padding-bottom:1.5em; } .profile-datablock { margin:.5em 0 .5em; } .profile-img { display:inline; } .profile-img img { float:left; padding:4px; border:1px solid #ddd; margin:0 8px 3px 0; } .profile-data { margin:0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .profile-data strong { display:none; } .profile-textblock { margin:0 0 .5em; } .profile-link { margin:0; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { width:660px; clear:both; margin:0 auto; } #footer hr { display:none; } #footer p { margin:0; padding-top:15px; font:78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { }

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Knitted Leaves

Since I lost the leaf garland, I've slowly made more leaves using a Lion Brand pattern (can't find it on their website. The pattern came in their email newsletter.), the top leaf. I recently found a Mountain Laurel leaf pattern from Blue Peninsula and am adding it to the collection, the bottom leaf. I like it a lot. My thoughts are to eventually have another garland, a thicker one. I started looking for other leaf patterns and am considering this one.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Handmade Home

As I folded the laundry, I noticed that I have many handmade items in the kitchen. I've taken a period of time to reach this quantity, and spent very little money. I'll go through the laundry here with you.

My oldest daughter knitted a woolen rectangle years ago, one of her first finished objects (FO) ever. It's in the foreground. We use it under hot pans on the counter and dinner table because it's larger than all our other trivets and hotpads. It's felted a bit after multiple washings, and is a wool yarn from Lion Brand.

Another knitted FO, a dishcloth. It's a star pattern (I never really saw the star). I'm not fond of it because its holes are too big, or there are too many. I have another, hole-ier dishcloth (a pretty trellis pattern), and both of them may end up in the "car wash rag" pile because they bother me enough. But first, I'd have to knit up replacements. I have at least a week's worth of dishcloths so that I can use a new one every day. They are wonderfully thick. Dishcloths are awesome WIP's (works in progress) because they are small and finished quickly, so new patterns are fun without being cumbersome. I can also get at least three dishcloths from one skein of yarn, which rarely costs over $2 when you use Lily Sugar n Cream or Lion Brand Cotton.

Above the dishcloth, I have a few cloth napkins. The inspiration for cloth napkins came from homeschool mom Bobbi. At a program with a title like "What happens to your trash after the garbage man picks up your bin," she shared that by moving to cloth napkins, her paper towel use decreased significantly and rather painlessly. Food for thought that sat in my brain for weeks. Months, actually, because I felt pain when I saw the price tag on napkins in the stores. So my awesome sister gifted (what is now) half of my cloth napkins, eight total. I have made the rest.

The first "handmade by me" napkins are plaid. I have two of them, and my children prefer the flannel napkins. The newest additions were just made in the last couple days. I have finished three and have one more cut out. They are made with new fabric remnants, scraps from the recent star ornaments that I made, and an old bedsheet, and the inspiration for them came through Sew, Mama, Sew (I'm always finding good stuff there). Because I keep so many scraps, I could be making these ad infinitum.

The last item in the wash today was a potholder made from jeans. I have four of them and we use them all the time. (My kids have such great ideas.) I still have scraps of denim in a shoebox, so I could make these ad infinitum as well, but I have trouble getting the needle through all the thick layers. And binding was a pain.

Re-purposing fabric from jeans and sheets and saving scraps really seems like a Little House on the Prairie thing to do, and it seems very right. I have kept my hands and mind constructive and busy, spent very little money, and made useful FO's that keep the household working well.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Mmmmmmmmmmm, squash seeds

De-seed a butternut (or any winter squash). Separate seeds from strings. Use a bowl of water if you need to reduce the stickiness of it all.

Drain water. Toss seeds with oil. Any rinse water will evaporate during baking. I find that textbook methods of drying on paper towels just gives you seeds stuck on paper toweling. Spread wet seeds on a pie plate (or cookie sheet, whatever matches the amount of seeds you have).

Toast in oven until they smell nice and look tan, maybe 20 minutes. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. My youngest was extremely excited to know that I had toasted some seeds because of this lovely book:

_Pumpkin Day!_ contains recipes, including toasted (or roasted) pumpkin seeds. I have loved the illustrations (paper bag collages) and the content of this book for years. I think they are charming. My love for this book extends past ten years. I really ought to own the book by now, we've checked it out from the library so much.

Labels: ,

Friday, October 23, 2009

works in progress

The patchwork star mentioned at sew, mama, sew is extremely quick to make. I bought five yellow calico fat quarters for 79 cents each, cut through them all at once with the new replacement blade on my rotary cutter (why did I wait so long to replace it?), then Bam! Just like that, I had a small pile of puffy star ornaments for my kids. i already had yellow backing (a discounted remnant that I was holding in my stash. i'm very guilty of buying without an intended purpose.), ribbon, buttons, and polyester stuffing. I'll add a "first initial charm" to each star since my youngest pointed out that four yellow stars won't be distinguishable from one another, even though each star could have fabric sewn in different orders. as I said earlier, lina must be a genius.

Beautiful things about this pattern:
  • all the leftover fabric (it'll go into making napkins with a couple old sheets)
  • the short amount of time needed for completion
  • it's easy to make in different fabric combos, patterns, and colors

Here is my youngest's first creation, a scrappy scarf, on her own sewing machine:



Monday, October 19, 2009

The money shot

This is as close as it gets to a perfect shot with my four kiddos.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

How to make a diamond template for a five pointed star

My first attempt at 2009 Christmas ornaments, inspired by linaloo (originally found at Sew,Mama,Sew). The Patchwork Star Tutorial lacks a template. I'm a smart enough gal to figure out that a five pointed star means that each point is 360 degrees / 5 points = 72 degrees. But I can't freehand that kind of precision, even with a protractor. I tried. Not pretty. Linaloo must be a genius.

So I had to look for help. I had success finding a template after a long hunt. Sort of. I started by visiting the fabric store. All I could find were 60 degree and 45 degree diamond templates. I needed a diamond with a 72 degree corner. I tried making lines on linaloo's photos with Macromedia Fireworks and printing the resulting diamond, but got a messy, uneven shape that did not sew up well. I decided to use many different search terms with Google (doesn't Google have everything?), and finally found results for what I desired with the term "online protractor." Basically, there are no templates for 72 degree diamonds. Quilters like things nice and square (for square blocks), and 72 degrees doesn't fit the mold. I will show you how to make a template for yourself now.

If you click on the link (here if you missed it in the previous sentence), you see a chart. What now? How did diamonds come out of a protractor graph? I'll explain, because if you can figure this out, you can do many things with it. Very liberating. I tried doing this on my own with a protractor, but the chart gives precision that quilters (and the very exacting among us) need.

How to make a diamond template for a five pointed star

1) Print out the chart. Draw a line from the origin along the 0 degree line to the right or left. Not both sides of the origin, just one side. I chose right.

2) Measure 72 degrees counterclockwise. Draw a line from the origin to the 72 degrees mark around the perimeter.

3) Since 72 degrees + 72 degrees = 144 degrees, draw a line at 144 degrees.

4) For the angles below the zero degree line, take 180 degrees - 72 degrees = 108 degrees. Measure from that first line clockwise, and draw a line from the origin to the mark around the perimeter.

5) Repeat: 108 degrees - 72 degrees = 36 degrees. Move clockwise; draw your line. You should have a star with five rays leaving the origin/center point of the chart.

6) Decide how large you want your diamond by eyeing the grid in the background and along the horizontal and vertical axes.

7) Tape your chart with the five rays to a window or light table. Using a sheet of clean paper, you will now make your template.

8) Place a straight edge of your paper along the x-axis (right hand side of the origin or center, the first line you drew).

9) Trace one of the adjacent lines that you made onto the template. I choose the one below.

10) Remember how large you wanted your diamond according to the units along the axes? Mark that length with a dot on your line (I made them light blue for you) and your edge. I used 6.5 units long. This is one half of your diamond (the center point, or the outer point, depending on how you look at it).

11) Rotate the template 180 degrees. Line the dots up to the same length (mine was 6.5) along the same lines (the edge and 108 degrees). Trace those lines to complete your diamond (rhombus). My Fireworks skills end here, so no image. I don't know how to group and rotate the layers with Fireworks. But I think you get the idea.

12) Is the shape long or short enough? If needed, mark a new set of dots, then flip your paper to complete the shape.

13) Once the shape is the right size, cut it out. Label it. I laid mine on top of two layers of fabric, set my ruler on top and used my rotary cutter. (New blades rule! especially when purchased with a coupon.)

My findings: Without buying software or acrylic tools at the fabric store, I very successfully created a precision shape using my smart brain and a nifty online prism/protractor. Once I found the chart (I heart you, Laramy-K!), the template and construction of the ornament went fairly quick. If I'm more careful with my stitching next time, I'll have a gift-worthy ornament.

Here is my test ornament. It's kind of cute in camo, crookedness and all.

Labels: , , , ,


The first machine stitched project for my youngest and her new machine is a scarf made of flannel scraps. She'll be turning the work and top stitching to finish it off. She's figured out how to fill the bobbin and thread the machine on her own.

I made another scarf of flannel scraps (yes, we have a lot of different kinds of flannel prints). It's a really quick project. We didn't add the loop or button, but made them long to avoid having to add extras.

Labels: , ,

Friday, October 16, 2009


I'm currently experimenting with Christmas ornaments. I want to test some ideas to see if they work, but I'm not finding the precision pattern pieces that I desire. The Sew Mama Sew blog has been seeing me through most of my scrap pile.

My youngest got a real sewing machine for her birthday. It's got more stitches than my sewing machine. She is working on a flannel scarf. She is also hand stitching a rag doll, inspired by American Girl character Felicity. Having two machines in the house is working well.

My oldest is currently sewing a Queen of Hearts costume for a party tomorrow night. Her former angel costume is now a skirt with red trim (and scraps). Pictures when we can --

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


A yo-yo rack.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bag dispenser

My scraps, lovingly saved but forgotten (which means they weren't valued or treasured) are shown here, pieced into a nice array. The bag dispenser that my family uses came from Mr. GAIN's aunt. She used a kitchen towel and elastic; the handle was made from eyelet trimming. We use our bag dispenser ALL the time. Put the old bags in the top for storage, pull out through the bottom when you want to use a bag. It seemed like such an odd gift when we got it. It currently hangs from a cabinet handle in an out of the way, yet handy place. It could also hang from a doorknob, but that's not handy for us.

The tutorial. Very easy to follow. I changed the example in the tutorial from something rather small to something the size of a kitchen towel, roughly 14" x 20" -- the one we have is larger, maybe 15" x 25". I also used much smaller scraps, only 3" high, and I didn't use coordinating colors. You see a bag dispenser here and it

is more on the "crazy quilt" side than the "designer shabby chic" side of sewing because I didn't coordinate.

The current dispenser under the needle uses pieces that are 7" high, and they are color coordinated. The next one will also be color coordinated. This brings questions like, "Do we really need a color coordinated bag dispenser?" and "Why would anyone decorate?" But I digress.

When you use smaller scraps, you have more labor, but you have potentially more scraps to use. When you control the scrap size, you control the amount of time consumed in this project. It is very fast. You don't need to use scraps, either. You can have one solid color with contrast or matching lines for quilting/stitching, for an even faster time (if we're talking about a race or very last minute gift).

Sew, Mama, Sew!'s Scrapbuster month has brought a few ideas that I would like to use. The scrap houses are adorable. I will still have scraps once I'm done constructing the in-progress bag dispensers. Not oodles and oodles, though. I don't know that the goal of no scraps is feasible. Example: my oldest is constructing a costume from a former angel costume. She will have white fabric left. It will go in the scrap drawer. Such is my life.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

more scraps

ok, i found a box of MORE fabric scraps in the basement. oct. happens to be scrapbuster month. I found this idea, and started it today. I had been wanting make one out of a kitchen towel (we have one that Matt's aunt made) for a gift. Bag dispensers are very handy. They keep bags out of the way in a neat, well-kept manner. And I can take out one at a time for our small trash cans and other little everyday uses. Our lighting is poor right now, being dark outside and all, but I will get photos up.

I've pretty much been on a fabric spending freeze for a year, but I haven't stopped stitching. How cool, what a great accomplishment! I feel good that I have more space in my sewing desk drawers. Lots more space, hallelujah!

Side note: If you can get to the national cup fencing competition, it is pretty cool. HyVee Hall for fencing, followed by the Hall of Pride, is a pleasant use of time. Many good additions have come to the Hall of Pride. Except for the amount of tokens going from ten to three, everything about the museum is great. It's not all sports.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sewing interrupted

Here's what I've been doing. On top of the really  busy week, take this photo times two and add two sashes (now full of merit badges). I've still got G's jean quilt, which should be fast once it's pinned. I trimmed the batting already.

And that darn blog hopping that I do -- I looked at the Sew Mama Sew! blog because October is scrapbuster month. I've pretty much cleaned out my stash of scraps, but there are a few that I've kept in a box. (But not the small ones. They are gone.) Well I dumped the box out on the floor. Now I have ideas.

However, my efficiency my increase soon -- youngest dd just got a sewing machine for her birthday. It's fancier than my sewing machine. With two machines in the house and a wide open schedule due to our home schooling, my little ideas may get passed on to my dd. ;-)


Still crafting

Definitely having issues here with photos, therefore having issues posting. Older son clicked on something to crash one of our computers this morning or yesterday. Fixing in progress.