Archive for May, 2010

So, I’ve been thinking

And not about how to lose weight. I’ve actually been thinking about how I want to be home more, Especially with school getting out for the summer. And I also miss doing the stuff I love to do: creating words and yarny goodness.

And so, I have been toying with the idea of staying home one more day per week, and working on writing and designing and dyeing yarn. And that’s where you guys come in. Is there room in the market for an old hand-dyer to come back, or is it saturated? Haha, punny, right? Anyway, I’m considering opening up shop again, mostly just yarns and maybe a few patterns for now, and I want to know what you think. So, tell. Please.

I should finish something

But I haven’t. I really need to seam up the BSJ and make the sleeves for my turtleneck and and and. Instead the only knitting I have been doing has been a hat while talking on the phone. The other stuff requires too much attention to do it while yapping. I guess I’ll get to it eventually, but when I am not on the phone, I am either reading or surfing the internet. Finding time to “only” sit and knit is like looking for a Texas Maritime lawyer in Siberia. Guess that means if I am going to do it, I am going to have to MAKE time, not find it, right? In the meantime, more phone projects, hahahahahaha!

You Should Come Sit with Me

Come here. Right into my room! Can you smell that? Isn’t it delicious? It’s the Febreeze flameless luminary thingy. I got one several months ago to review, and this morning, DaBaby found it and opened it. The shade I have is Green Tea Citrus and it just smells sooooooo good. And it’s pretty. The base flickers so it looks like a real candle. You pick it up and set it down to turn it on and it “burns” for about 4 hours. The shades are a little spendy to me, but….I think I will end up buying more anyway. A pack of two costs about the same as a small candle and releases scent for about the same amount of time, and if I forget to blow it out before bed, it won’t burn the house down.

Hey, Father’s Day is coming up, and while this probably won’t make the top 10 gifts for fathers day lists for most people, it ranks pretty high in my book. And since I am the mom and the dad, around here…….yeah.

Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts 1 2 3 4 5 6And finally, we get to the really massive Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts. And when I say massive, I mean 400 pages of fabric crafting goodness, not counting the flyleaves OR the included cd with templates and such. It’s big, people. And it is chock-full of techniques and tips, and yes, projects. More than 150 of them, from felted wool animals to table linens.

Now, I haven’t made a secret on this blog of the fact that I don’t watch Martha Stewart on tv. Frankly, her always perky face and yankee voice get on my very last nerve. I couldn’t look and sound like that, even pumped full of xanax and Lipovox, and so she shouldn’t either, ykwim? Seriously, the woman never has a bad day, except for the whole prison thing, and even then she taught people to do neat stuff. But read her? Oh yes, because she is just full of knowledge. I’ve reviewed every book of hers that I could get my hands on, and I have never, never been disappointed in the slightest. She cooks, she cleans, she crafts and she still smiles. If I could stand to look at and listen to her, she’d be my hero. As it is, I will just adore her in print. And only grudgingly. Because I am stubborn and willful, and I made up my mind not to like her before she started writing books.

Do you remember a few posts ago, I mentioned that Diva was half-crafty, and I thought I could nudge her into some sewing and such with a bit of effort? I don’t think it will take that much effort at all. I reckon I can just hand her this book and be done with it. Only as a loan, of course, because I will totally Indian Wrestle her on the living room floor for it if she tries to remove it from this house. Or even from the common areas of this house i.e. it is NOT disappearing into her room.

So what’s in here? The subtitle pretty much sums it up: Basic Techniques for Sewing, Applique, Embroidery, Quilting, Dyeing, and Printing, plus 150 Inspired Projects from A to Z. And get this, she even tells you how to install a flush mount bracket and rod to hold your new pinch pleated cafe curtains!

The instructions for the techniques are very detailed and she gets some amazing results. I looked pretty closely at the fabric dyeing section, and I learned quite a few things. I mention that specifically, because some of you may remember that I used to dye yarn professionally. Now, it’s a different medium, and you can do way more with fabric than you can with yarn, but still….

Another section I really liked was “how to repair a patchwork quilt”. Now I watched Grandmother quilt, and I have made a few tops myself, so I have a basic idea of the process. Some of the quilts that Grandmother made for me are put away because they need patching, and my cousin has a few from Grandma that he’s asked if I could patch, and I will be using this section as a guide for that. We will both be able to enjoy our quilts again. 😆

I could go on and on. The book is, after all, 400 pages, as I said. I’ll just sum it up by saying that if you are into fabric crafts of any kind, this book is pretty much worth it’s weight in gold. And that’s a lot of gold, ykwim? Luckily, it retails for just $35 bucks.

OhMyGosh—Thigh High Socks

Ok, so I am holding in my hands yet another book. It’s reading night here at Chez Cass Knits, mostly because I promised myself I was going to take care of this stack of backed-up books/pepers/magazines this weekend, and the weekend is winding down and I worked yesterday and tore out my room today and re-arranged it, and here we are on Sunday evening, soon to be Monday morning, and I. Must. Finish. This. Stack. of. Stuff. And, also, I hope those energy vitamins kick in soon. But don’t last too long. I still gotta get up in the morning, ykwim?

But, where was I? Oh yeah, ohmygosh, thigh high socks! This book has a pair of thigh-highs. Now, folks, I hate panty hose. Hate them, hate them, hate them. I only buy them when absolutely necessary, and I wear thigh-highs unless my skirt is absolutely too short for them (in which case I go with tights) or I am going to be dancing (because one near wardrobe malfunction at a formal event is enough for this gal). But the thought of making my own never occurred to me! And why not? I don’t kow, because really you can only find them in black or tan, and they aren’t very sturdy, and ohmygosh THIGH HIGH SOCKS!

Umm, I should probably tell you the name of the book, huh? Well, it’s Toe-Up Socks For Every Body by Wendy Johnson of Wendy Knits. In addition to the THS, there are pretty little socks for Drama, manly socks (including a pair with flames) which I may make for That One when I am tired of making hats for him and have knitted all the socks I want for myself (read that never if you like), kneesocks for Diva. I guess she really meant it when she said every body.

This book will be staying on my bookshelf, along with the other sock books I plan to work my way though. You know, after I …… I dunno. Use up all my fat yarn, maybe? Slog through the tall-as-me pile of reading material I have to read? And the equally tall pile I want to read? Cause I sure haven’t been knitting socks lately, though I really enjoy doing so. Hmmm…..can I trade myself sock knitting for reading? Of course, it hardly seems fair that I can’t knit socks and read at the same time. I can do that with fat yarn. And by fat, I mean anything above fingering weight.

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Crochet Lace Innovations by Doris Chan 1 2 3 4 5Tonight, dear readers, I had a chance to look through Crochet Lace Innovations by Doris Chan. Ooh, gals, there is some purtiful stuff up in here. There are vests and shawls and scarves and capes and shirts and the most amazing dress I have probably ever seen. It’s called the Bozena Dress and it is on page 96 of the book, and if I could figure out what in the world to wear under it, I would so be making it for myself. If you know, please tell me exactly what someone wears underneath a see through dress! Seriously. I would totally show it to you, but I can’t find a picture of it online. It’s a-may-zing!

Ok, now that I am through praising The Dress (notice the caps), let me talk about the book a bit. There are several other patterns, and while some of them would make good wedding accessories, some are also practical for every day wear. And all those techniques I didn’t quite understand are beautifully explained with nice diagrams. For instance, I now know that those huge, HUGE knitting needles I have, they aren’t knitting needles at all, but are, rather, sticks for making broomstick lace. Never mind that I used them to make a knitted laprobe for Grandmother out of really bulky yarn several years ago. Ahem. There are also tutorials for Tunisian Lace and Hairpin Lace.

This book delighted me at almost every page turn. Alas, I know I won’t make anything from it, so I am planing to pass it along to a friend of mine who is an avid crocheter. But if I can figure out what to wear under The Dress, I am totally asking to borrow it back.


Way back last summer, when life was only halfway crazy, instead of completely exploded, Brandai’s public relations agency contacted me and asked me to review a new toy called Harumika. I’ve had it now for *ahem* 9 months. Sorry, Michael.

Now, this is a very neat toy. He sent me a starter kit, which includes a little mannequin which is roughly the size of a Barbie torso and three fabric swatches, along with a tool that you use to attach the swatches to the mannequin. There’s enough in the kit to keep a 3 or 4 year old busy for about an hour. BUT, over Christmas, we stocked the expansion kits at work, and with those, there is enough to keep ME busy for several hours at a stretch. The possibilities are not endless, unless you are a knitter. I think with sock yarn, you could make swatches that are thin enough to use with the mannequin base……do you see the possibilities here? Mmmm, hmmm. I thought you might.

I think I’d actually like to get some of this for Diva. At 14, she is very fashion conscious, and half crafty now, so I think she could be turned on to sewing with just a little bit of a push. And it would make a far more interesting present than even best acne treatment, considering how clear her complexion is.

Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini

Recently I was offered the opportunity to read Sweater Quest by Adrienne Martini of martinimade. I don’t know if any of you read her blog or not, but you probably oughta, just sayin’. I enjoyed the book, but I am at a bit of a loss to explain it. For instance, if you are a process knitter, this book is for you. If you are a product knitter and want to understand how a process knitter thinks, this book is for you. If you are a knitter who is afraid of a good challenge and need a little encouragement, this book is for you. If you are a knitter who has ever knitted something just to prove you could, or just because you could, then this book is also for you. I guess if you are a knitter, or love a knitter, I can safely say this book is for you.

Sweater Quest details the year of Adrienne’s Mary Tudor. You may recognize the name as being one of Alice Starmore‘s designs. Why anyone would embark on a project of such magnitude and combine it with a book is beyond me, but she did it. And she is witty, and funny and thoughtful and original in the doing of it. It was a very enjoyable read, and easy to pick up and put down, which as you know is a very important thing in my leisure reading these days, what with work and ball and life, etc. Sometimes, I don’t have enough time to get a knitting project out, but a book I can eat five minutes at a time is a clear winner.

Speaking of knitting projects, mine are pretty much at a standstill, so I have a project of sorts for you: figure out a way for me to social security disability so I can spend a little more time reading and knitting and reading about knitting. Mmmmkay? ‘Kay!

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