Most random ever

In an inadvertant effort to produce the most random post ever, I give you the below collage:

The upper left is one of a pair of completed Summer of Socks 2011, Medallion Lace in the Crapshoot colorway from Periwinkle Sheep.  I thought I’d use the heel flap called for in the pattern and while it’s fine, I still like my short row heel and toes better.  Live and learn.

Upper right is the line drawing of Burda Style 11-2008-116 coat that I’ve begun tracing off for use for the Raspberry Coat.  I thought I’d shorten it about 18″ for a mid thigh length.  I am currently 1/3 of the way through tracing off the pattern from the most irritating Burda pattern sheet ever.  Hey Burda, I’d pay $20/year more if you put LESS stuff on each pattern sheet.  You are a bunch of crazy bitches over there in Germany.

And the giant picture of my big toe is my totally unprofessional pedicure (self administered) using the crackle nail polish I’d been hankering after.  I used Sally Hansen Brisk Blue with Ink Splatter Crackle over top.  Love it!

Rrrrruffles have rrrrridges

My oodles of free time (though oodles may be overstating) have enabled me to finish a new top of the rrrrufffled variety.  There are scads of embellishments on tops everywhere now, but despite it’s potential of being played out, I went for it.

Enter Simplicity 2599, an easy top with ruffle variations.  I made it even easier by omitting facings and cutting the ruffles doubled instead of narrow hemming (narrow hemming should be done by prisoners as punishment).  I made it from some odd swiss-dot (but not swiss dot) poly georgette fabric from my fave Fabrix and lined it with yummy poly crepe backed satin.  This is an easy pattern and one garment I’ll actually wear.  Fabric costs were about $8 so I don’t even need to wear it that often to get my money’s worth.

More details of this project are found in my review on PatternReview, but I’d heartily recommend this pattern to any newish type sewists, nothing hard here.

Vacation detours

I am on vacation.  I will not be going anywhere.  At all.  Seriously, when you’re gone all the time, home is good.  I may even buy new sheets to celebrate.

When I got back to SFO the other day I thought I’d drive home via Berkeley and a seriously great fabric store there, Stonemountain and Daughter.  I’ve been hankering to make a coat.  I love coats and own several (more than several, but I shall have a clear out soon).  I usually just wear one or two, plus my uniform coat and those coats are all black.  I want to make a coat that’s not black, something a bit more fun.  But not too hard since I’ve never made a coat and I want to be successful.

Stonemountain has an upstairs section where all the fabrics are half price.  They usually have some fab wools and silks up there so I thought it would be worth a look.  I found several pretty coating fabrics – gray, black, brown – but knew that this raspberry Italian textured wool coating would do for my frivilous, non-black coat.  Raspberry!  AND it was $13/yard.

Now to figure out how to make a coat and find a pattern.  I’ll look in my reference books and online, but if anyone has coat making recommendations now is the time to share them.  I also need to find a pattern and that turns out to be the hardest part of all.  The big pattern companies have about 2 coat patterns each in their Fall offerings and one is so 80s it’s almost fashionable again.  Luckily I’ve got years of Burda magazines to look through.  I’m sure I’ll find a few to choose from there.

Also, now would not be the time to point out that it’ll be in the 80s all week where I live, so coat needs are not immediate.

Foodwise, I got a baking stone at Kohl’s sale the other day.  It’s a rectangular “cookie sheet” but I’d never make cookies on the thing.  Pizza and bread yes.  The first thing I made was Smitten Kitchen’s Shaved Asparagus Pizza and it was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever put in my mouth.  Seriously.  I used low fat mozzarella, a bit of cheddar leftover from Mac and Cheese and lots of red pepper to make it hot.  Yum.  I tried the pizza dough recipe from The Bread Bible and that was good and easy too.

While relaxing in my bed fighting off the jetlag, I was watching a Hercule Poirot (my fave of faves btw) and there is said HP rocking a mighty interesting shawl (he’s got a cold in this episode).  Gorgeous colorway, interesting use of feather and fan-like pattern.  Must note that for possible Raspberry coat coordination at a later date.  Also, be afraid.  I learned how to do screen grabs and it’s totally easy…

Must get back to relaxing now!

Who’s hungry?

When you travel it’s really hard to find good food – not just tasty food, food that won’t make you look like a big, fat American.  Salads in many parts of our nation mean iceberg lettuce.  I don’t think so buddy.  When I get home I like to make what I want and eat it when I want it.  No more “lunch” at 10 a.m. and dinner at 9:30pm.

My collage is of a few things I’m stuck on right now:

Top left are organic tree ripe peaches (and nectarines that I already ate) from Dry Creek Peaches and yes I go to the farm to get them.  Uh, what’s that apple doing on the pile?  That is the first of the season Gravenstein apples, a local variety.  More yum.

Top right were the result of having too many blueberries leftover to eat before I go back to work tomorrow.  I found this recipe and halved it to make nine regular sized muffins.  I’ve still got enough blueberries to snack on and now I’ve got some muffin-liciousness for the freezer to enjoy when I get home.  Please don’t point out that I could have frozen the blueberries, it’s just not the same as fresh blueberry muffins.  Note on halving the recipe:  I used two eggs and a bit less milk (lowfat) to compensate; I used one small lemon since half a lemon tends to get tossed at my house.  Super yummy and not too sweet.  I skipped muffin papers and just sprayed my tins with canola oil spray and that worked fine.  Muffins need crunchy outsides!

Lower right – fooled you with this one.  I didn’t make peach jam (and probably never will) but I made the bread.  I checked The Bread Bible out of the library on a whim as it was sitting next to the book I was looking for and promptly started making bread!  I usually make my own bread using my favorite no knead wheat bread recipe, but I thought I’d give a different bread a try.  My first bread was Tyrolean Ten-Grain Torpedo bread and that was quite good – it needed more salt but that was my fault since I didn’t put enough in – dork.  My second bread is pictured with the Dry Creek Peach Jam and is Cracked Wheat Loaf and is sooooo amazingly delicious.  That will be my new house bread.  It’s that good.  I even bought the recipe book since I don’t want to be without it when the library wants it back.

Lower left is the hummingbird feeder, though not just hummingbirds enjoy the sugar water.  It’s birdy Grand Central around these parts.  My “recipe” is 1/2 c sugar and 2 c water boiled and cooled.  That seems to last for 6 or 7 days.  You should hear the squawking when that gets emptied.  Seriously demanding bird population.

What are your food faves?

Twists and turns

September is red scarf time!

I noticed Norma had a post on the Red Scarf/Fund drive for The Orphan Foundation.  The group has recently been renamed Foster Care to Success, and they provide assistance and support to kids who’ve aged out of the foster care system at the as they continue their education. Now that’s a freaking great thing. You simply knit a red scarf for a kid as part of their Valentine’s Day surprise.   Some years I make a scarf and sometimes I don’t have time and just make a donation.  Either way, the cause is good.

You can make a red unisex scarf for submission between 1 September through 15 December and all the information is here.

My scarf above is made from some hand spun purloined from my sister’s fiber hoard the other day.  She had three skeins of this heavy aran-ish weight and she certainly won’t use it, having no knitting drive at the moment.  She has no recollection what/where/how about this fiber but it’s a soft wool and is a pretty red.

I chose the Autobahn Scarf pattern from the newest edition of Twist Collective.  Unfortunately I started and ripped this scarf about four times before I realized it’s not me, it’s you.  Yup, tiny pattern error (which is now fixed) caused me to almost give up on this pattern.  But luckily it was all figured out and things are going well.  This scarf has a cable moving back and forth across it and is totally reversible.  Love that.  I’m using a size 8 needle and 46 stitches to make a 7″ wide scarf.  It’s going quickly and I can get back to a neglected sock in my travel bag.


There is a pattern company called Onion from Denmark that I just adore.  The styles are simple yet versatile and the aesthetic is very me.  The only problem is that when you order from Europe (or Europe orders from the US), the shipping is usually more than the pattern.  That’s just whack.  But…I did give in and order the Onion 5042 tunic pattern and finally got around to making this tunic.

The pattern and instructions are in Danish, but they email you a set of English instructions  just in case your Rosetta Stone Danish hasn’t come through yet.  The pattern is printed on good sturdy paper without seam allowances.  You could just cut those patterns out and add SA, but I elected to trace mine off and add SA onto pattern paper so I still have a nice pristine pattern.  The tunic itself is just a simple kimono sleeve tunic with variations to add cuffs, collar, belt or elastic.  I added cuffs and elastic and used some cotton batiste from the stash to test this out.

Kimono sleeves are loose, but I didn’t want the top to be too loose so I used a small for the bust and graded out to a medium for the bootay.  I skipped the facings and used bias at the neck and my elastic needed to be moved down about 1″ for proper boobage placement.  I used french seams on this light fabric so it’s very pretty inside and out.

The actual sewing up was very quick since it’s a pretty simple garment.  In fact I’m thinking of making one in chambray or crinkle linen and maybe adding an empire level casing so I can add a tie closure.  Too bad my sewing plans need to wait until next week when I get home.

My review of this pattern is over on

Summer kicks

Despite having to work a few more hours because of the summer travel rush, I do still have a bit of crafting time.  In fact I finished my first pair of socks for the Summer of Socks 2011 love in.  These bright socks are knit from my favorite Vesper Sock yarn in the Sweet Water colorway.  I think these are more parrot than sweet water, but that’s perhaps because I knit on them in several tropical destinations in the Caribbean (work, not fun).

The knit pattern is a variation included in the Summer Spirals pattern.  This variation is Spiral Wave and is a bit more subtle with the waving considering the loud yarn I chose.  I wanted a small pattern that wouldn’t conflict with the bright, tropical colorway.  I think this worked out nicely and the pattern was quite easy for road knitting.

Heel and toes are my usual short row method and I must admit I’m fond of a loud pair of socks.  No, I don’t usually wear them as socks out of the house so they don’t need to knit from “normal” and “appropriate” colors.  Though come winter, these may just get a wearing under boots.

My last sewing project (Beignet skirt) turned out well, but the quick pics I took of it were bad.  Stay tuned for better piccies.