Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Craft It Reciprocally 2014

Having just had to reread 3 months' worth of Facebook posts, I'm putting an update here to save me from having to check again. After I fulfilled my  Craft It Forward obligations for 2014, I decided to add in a few bonus people and do some reciprocal crafting as well.

I will be crafting for Vesper, Tracy, Joe, and Xian.  I have already delivered Jacob's.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Panniers Done

I resolved this year to sew* four items. The panniers are done.

All in all, the project was fairly simple--except for the caning, which was a royal pain in the ass. I had to enlist LB for help as it really did seem to require a spare set of hands. Even together, we really struggled.

I had hoped by next ball season to have some eighteenth-century formal wear, with the panniers as a critical foundation garment. Equally critical is a proper set of stays, however, and I'm afraid I don't see that happening anytime soon. Maybe though. Perhaps.

Instead, I've ordered the Kannik's Corner chemise pattern for Regency wear. I do have Regency stays, but lacked the other foundation garments. The gowns are too low cut for any of my earlier or later chemises, so I have had to make do with a shelf cami. They didn't much wear drawers in the time period, so I didn't have to worry about those, but I need to figure out a petticoat as well. I'm open to pattern suggestions.
*English nerd tip of the day: If you have ever had a teacher tell you that you use too many "to be" verbs or passive voice, looking in your sentence for words ending in "-ment" or "-tion." They are nearly always verbs in disguise. My first sentence initially read "My resolution was to sew."

Friday, February 21, 2014

Jane Austen Swap -- Incoming

I had said earlier that some of the Jane Austen packages were really random, so once mine went out and I began to wait for my incoming package, I started getting nervous. I knew how much trouble I'd had finding good Jane Austen stuff, and I had confessed that I didn't really like some of the more obvious Jane Austen items.  My spoiler ended up doing an awesome job though.

Tons of purple packages:

Pride and Prejudice  note cards:

Chocolate, loose citrus tea, a tea ball with a beaded fob, and recipe cards:

Exquisite scissors with a beautiful fob and mohair-blend yarn:

One of my favorite things was this shawlette, made of Jade Sapphire cashmere and silk. I've hardly taken it off since I got it, wearing it like a bandanna around my neck:

The last item, my spoiler considered a failed project. She had bought the fabric to make a reticule for me. Since she couldn't quite pull it off, she sent the uncut fabric. What she didn't know is that I had just returned from JoAnn Fabrics, where I had bought the exact same fabric for myself.  It's like she stalked me so well that she knew what I was going to want even before I knew myself.

Mind blown.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Scarf Pattern for Your Pup

For one of my craft-it-forward projects for this year, I opted to knit Sir Riley Brown here a scarf.

Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease (basically, you want something washable) (For a toy dog, you could work in fingering weight yarn, adjusting needle size as needed).
Needles: 8-10 straights and DPNs in the same size
Notions: 2 stitch holders, yarn needle
Gauge: doesn't really matter

  • Cast on 10 stitches and work in 2x2 rib for approximately 3" (you do not want the scarf too long as it could trip the dog). 
  • kf&b into each stitch. Using a stitch holder and a DPN at the same time, transfer the first stitch onto the DPN and the next onto the holder. Continue to alternate between them until you have transferred all of the stitches. When you are done, half your stitches will be on a holder, and half on a DPN. You can return to your straights at this point if you prefer.
  • Working only from the DPN, return to your 2x2 stitch pattern and work a flap approximately as long as the scarf is wide. Eventually, you will be rejoining your flaps into a tube for the scarf to fit through. You don't want it so wide that the scarf will slip out, but you don't want it so narrow that the scarf gets bunched up. You will probably knit between 8-12 rows.
  • Place the flap stitches onto stitch holder #2 and return the stitches on holder #1 onto a DPN or straight needle. Work the same number of rows as you did for your first flap.
  • Holding both flaps together, you will work your stitches back down to 10 stitches on one needle.  Put your needle into the first stitch on the front needle and straight through into the first stitch on the back needle. Knit them off of the left hand needles and 2 stitches have become 1. Repeat across the row. Don't worry about sticking to your stitch pattern in this row; just use the knit stitch.
  • Return  to your 2x2 stitch pattern  and knit the scarf long enough to go comfortably around your dog's neck.
  • Measure the length from your cast-on row to the far end of the flaps. Continue knitting that much longer, which will give you enough length to fit through the tube and allow the scarf ends to roughly match in length.
  • Cast-off in pattern.
  • Weave in the ends and add fringe.

Note: I am sure I am not the only one to come up with this pattern, but I can truthfully say that I am not yet aware of any similar patterns. I was inspired by the 2 items: a fleece scarf a friend made for her dog and the neck-warmers my great-grandmother used to wear.  If you knit this, I'd love to see a photo of your pup in your finished scarf.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jane Austen Swap -- Outgoing

I struggled with this one more than I expected. I wanted to send Jane Austen Knits, but it cost $15, half of the swap budget.  It also seemed harder to find theme items than I would have guessed. I wasn't the only one, apparently. There were some truly rando swap boxes this time.

Instead, I sent a copy of Piecework's historic knitting issue, a selection of trashy romance novels, and a JA quote book. I can always count on our art museum to have some great gifts like this little quote book.

I had my genius friend Suzanne craft some stitch markers, and also included shortbread, a JA bookmark, vintage hankies, and a miniature watercolor set.

I couldn't decide what Jane Austen yarn might be like either, so I went with a color palette that seemed appropriate. My hand-crafted item was this amigurumi doll, with whom I totally fell in love. I don't really do toys, but I could imagine her setting up residence in my craft room.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Estoy Soy

The Spanish language has several handy elements that English lacks -- Second person plural. The conditional tense. And two different forms of "to be," one indicating a temporary state (I am happy) and the other with more permanence (I am American).

With yesterday's writing prompt, I deliberately chose not to read anyone else's response before writing mine. I instinctively went with "estoy"--where am I at this moment? Others went with "soy"--what am I in essence? "Soy" probably makes for a better read, but "estoy" is often who I am, even in essence.

I am fundamentally a language nerd.

Another thing I fundamentally am is a cook. Soy una cocinera.  I am also an inveterate recipe clipper. It's taken me a long time to deal with internet recipes, but I have binders and binders of clipped recipes. (Neatly organized  and tabbed, because that's also who I am in essence).

I've come to rely more on internet recipes, however, not for cooking but for sharing. I'm able to find copies of nearly all of my clipped recipes when anyone asks. I started assuming that all of my clippings would be on the web, but it turns out not to be the case.  This one isn't ... until now.


Mother's Cottage Cheese Casserole (clipped from some magazine at some point)

1/2 to 1 lb. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 qt. cottage cheese
4 eggs, gently whipped
1/2 t seasoned salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/8 t paprika

Preheat oven to 325. Place top rack in the center of the oven. Mix anywhere from 1/2 to 1 lb. of the shredded cheese, cottage cheese, and eggs. Add seasonings to taste. Put mixture in a lightly greased casserole dish (about a 2 or 2.5 quart). Sprinkle seasoned salt and paprika over the top for both taste and color. Place the casserole in a water bath (a pan filled with warm water that will surround the casserole with gentle heat). Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until set as a custard.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Ten on Tuesday: I Am

Today's prompt--write ten sentence that begin with the same two words: I am. 

  1. I am currently in front of the fire with a dog, a down duvet, and a new knitting project on my lap. 
  2. I am very glad to have beaten the snow home from school today.
  3. I am supposed to meet up with a friend to check out a new pizza place tonight, but I suspect we'll postpone. Yet again.
  4. I am oddly reconciled to winter this year. Winters seemed endless to me in past years, but this year, I actually believe spring will come at some point. I wouldn't even say I am enduring winter. It's just that winter happens.
  5. I am also thankful that this terrible, very real cold means that we won't have so many fleas and ticks and mosquitoes this summer.
  6. I am currently wearing an angora kerchief on my head. I generally save kerchiefs for bad hair days, but something about the red color and the softness and the warmth called to me this morning, even though I'd washed my hair last night before bed. I even wore the kerchief to teach in, something I'd never done before.
  7. I am in that lovely interlude before student papers start arriving. I am all caught up.
  8. I am in a tremendously productive crafting phase at the moment. I am not sure what's up with that, but I'm okay with cranking out project after project.
  9. I am booking a ton of gigs in the last 2 weeks. Also not sure what's up with that, but they're excellent gigs, some in new arenas, and I'll take as many as come my way.
  10. I am content.