Friday, April 29, 2011

Mostly about rick-rack

There are how-to-apply-rick-rack tutorials all over the blogosphere.  I did a search when I went to make these lavender sachets.  I had the lavender, the rick rack and some charm squares and a need for sachets (read: a burgeoning fiber collection) but the thought of pinning all those rick-rack bumps in between two pieces of fabric to make the pretty rippled edging on the sachets made my head hurt.  So, through a series of tutorials, I devised a better way for myself.
I started with one charm square and some rick-rack.  Did you know that you can heat-seal the end of the rick-rack with your iron so that it doesn't fray?  I didn't.  I did that, then laid the rick-rack down on the edge of the charm square (look, Ma, no pins!) and began to sew, keeping slightly to the right of center.
As I neared each corner I stopped sewing and turned the rick-rack, then pivoted the fabric under the presser foot and moved the needle by hand several stitches until the needle was in position to sew straight forward again.  I sewed all the way around the charm square until the rick-rack overlapped itself.  After I finished sewing, I cut the thread and then cut the rick-rack carefully just beyond where the thread stopped.
I used the iron to heat-seal the cut end of the rick-rack once again.  Then I cut a six-inch length of grosgrain ribbon and folded it in half.

I centered the ribbon on the right side of a second charm square, with the cut ends of the ribbon at the top, laying the first charm square on top of them.
Then I sewed around four corners and three sides of the charm squares along the stitching line for the rick-rack.  I left the fourth side open for turning, and I trimmed the corners, being careful not to cut the rick-rack.
This one did not come out perfectly -- some of the rick-rack bumps have little holes underneath them, and the rick-rack doesn't meet exactly at the end.  I used my scissors to trim the rick-rack so that it looked a little more even, then heat-sealed it, but I am not particularly happy with that solution.  The next step, top-stitching around the edges of the charm squares to close the hole and add a decorative touch, helped to cover the holes. 
I think they're cute!

Thanks for bearing with me -- this post was mostly for my own benefit, so I can remember my own method for applying rick-rack, but I'd be glad to know if it was helpful to anyone else -- or if any readers have their own methods they'd like to share.

Monday, April 25, 2011

created -- Easter joy

focusing on the good things created during the week...

Alleluia! The Lord is risen!

K studies clues from the Easter Bunny to follow the steps to her basket of goodies!

Mugging for the camera after church.  You can't see it, but her socks match her purse match her dress!

Racing to hunt Easter eggs!
Hope your holiday was a blessed one!

Friday, April 15, 2011

In the studio -- Thrifted, etc.

Treasures from a birthday jaunt to my favorite antique and resale shops in Lancaster, PA -- a mason jar, some tapestry wool, a painted wastebasket.

From The Lancaster Yarn Shop, because I was there:  four skeins of New England Highland Wool, #67 Marigold, and one skein of Kettle Dyed Wool & Mohair Yarn, Heirloom Tomatoes colorway.  Totally irresistible.

The current state of my cream-and-gray blanket -- behold, The Princess and the Pea.  I hope to get back to this ASAP, but I am currently so engrossed in my knitting that everything else is on hold.

And there's knitting class this morning!  TGIF, and Spring Break for K as well -- the Aunties are coming to visit and she is hoping to have some Girls' Only Craft Time.  I have an idea brewing; look for it soon!

Monday, April 11, 2011

SCI Knitting News and Challenge

Thanks to those who have begun knitting for the Seamen's Church Institute.  Here is a little more information about the project:
  • The hats and scarves we are knitting will benefit specifically the Seamen's Church Institute of Philadelphia and South Jersey, which "greets merchant ship workers at ports along the Delaware River and provides services to meet mariners’ practical, spiritual, and emotional needs."
  • The mariner's scarf seafarer's scarf and watch cap patterns are available on the SCI of New York and New Jersey's website, but it should be noted that any items donated through St. Mary's Church in Burlington will go to the SCI of Philadelphia and South Jersey.
  • Scarves are the most needed items.   If you can knit the mariner's scarf seafarer's scarf pattern with the ribbing around the neck, that is wonderful, but if not, a plain garter-stitch scarf is fine.  The watch cap is the most desirable pattern if you would prefer to knit a hat.  Solid-colored items only, please!
  • Yarn should be worsted-weight machine-washable-and-dryable and of dark and/or "masculine" colors.  We gladly accept donations of yarn!  It takes about 4 oz. of yarn to make a scarf and 3.5 oz. to make a hat, so please keep that in mind if you are donating leftover balls of yarn.
For new knitters:  there are wonderful tutorials on the Knit Picks website to help you with tricky things like casting on, binding off and even that pesky ribbing on the mariner's scarf.

Now, for the challenge:

For those of you who are taking on this project with me:

Will you knit every day?

For half an hour while you watch the news, or half an inch while you watch the game, or fifteen minutes after you say your morning prayers, or however you decide you'll do it, will you make a commitment to work at this a little at a time, over a period of time, and see how much you can get done?

It's not for everybody -- and nobody will be able to do it perfectly.  I know there will be days I will miss and I can even predict some of them now -- but it's worth a try.  If you can use little bits of your time to finish one scarf to warm one neck this winter, think of that goodness.  There will be other things you will want and need to do, but see what you can do with this one, if it's right for you.

Note:  My apologies for including the wrong scarf pattern in the original post.  The link to the correct pattern, the seafarer's scarf, has been added.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

created -- shalom!

Focusing on the good things created during the week...
It's hard to take a picture of yourself wearing the sweater you made, especially when the cat wants to get in on the act!

The sleeves I added are enough to keep me toasty without roasting me in alpaca.  A shout out to Myra at Woolbearers in Mount Holly for helping me work out how to do them nicely!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Knitting for Seafarers

At a friend's request, I am organizing an effort at church to knit scarves and hats for the Seamen's Church Institute.  They will be placed in "ditty bags" to be given to the seafarers at Christmas, along with toiletries and personal items that are, naturally, hard to come by during long stretches of time at sea.

Last evening we held a "knitting workshop" that was billed as "just for fun -- no commitment required" in order to encourage new and/or "out-of-shape" knitters to consider knitting a scarf.  Although turnout was low, we had a pleasant time, limbered up our fingers and got two beginners chugging along nicely.

Making progress

A giant box of yarn donated by a young parishioner!

Some questions for you:
  • Can you knit/would you consider knitting for charity?  Do you have the time, money, willingness, the what-it-takes?  It's not for everybody.  I'm not sure that, in the long run, it's for me.  I want to explore this question more.
  • Which organization(s) would you be willing to knit for, and why?
  • Are there other crafts or services you would be willing to do/perform for charity, and why?
In my next post I will give information about how you might help out with our efforts, should you be interested in doing so.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

OFF my needles!

My Shalom Cardigan, pre-blocking.
I'm calling it a success, if not an unbridled one.  The sleeves look like something a Tyrannosaurus-Rex might sport -- but they fit over my broad shoulders and that's what matters, right?  It is warm and cozy and will keep my back toasty, but something about the placement of the underarms means that my front may stay a little chilly.  Well, we'll see what blocking can help with and I'll model it for you then.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Focusing on the good things created during the week...
This week:  loving the process of making a felted wool blanket.

Making the initial cuts.

Seaming sweater scraps together.

Wait, what? There's no room on the worktable for new pajama pants now!

Pressing the seams on my new over-the-door ironing board -- small but mighty handy!

What can K and I make with all these little bits?

Some of the finished 14" by 14" squares -- start looking for someone to snuggle with.

There's still more work to do.  File this under "Works in Progress."