Monday, September 19, 2016

T-shirt Rug, Reunion Weekend, Black Sweater Done!

So here's the rug I crocheted from 14 or 15 T-shirts in the beach bathroom - looks right at home, and I'm so proud of it! I can throw it in the washer, unlike the rug that was in there before.

And my 5 college roommates came down for our annual reunion weekend, which we rotate around to each person's house. Next year we're all turning 50, so we're going to Chicago to celebrate. This year was low-key, especially with the monsoons that blew through every hour all weekend. We had exactly 4 hours without rain on Saturday, so we boated over to a marina for lunch (I successfully docked the boat at a public marina for the first time - yay!), then took a boat ride and watched some of the wakeboard championship that was going on nearby.

Then we came back, and 3 people jumped in a kayak, 1 person went to pick up steamed seafood for dinner (God bless people who enjoy cooking!), and 2 of us jumped in floats with margaritas. Not 30 minutes later, somebody yelled that a storm was moving in from the Gulf, so Durema and I swam madly for the ladder and had to fight to hold our floats, because it was like a tiny hurricane coming. You could see the wall of rain and hear it coming, and as soon as we stood up on the dock it hit. The other 3 were running across the yard with the kayaks, then realized they were on the porch but they're margaritas were on the dock, so of course they sprinted back to us. About 5 minutes later it was all over with - crazy!

We did get to eat most of our dinner outside that night and stayed fairly dry, although Friday night we had eaten under an umbrella at The Gulf, and 3 of us were pelted with blowing rain against our backs for 10 minutes, so we left that dinner with soaking hair and clothes. Still good times, though!

So on to the final pics of the black mesh sweater, which I started in January, 2015, I kid you not. Remember I knit one sleeve inside out and screwed them both up good by not using a chart? So Heidi at Mobile Yarn set the sleeves up in a chart on Knit Companion (go take a class from her - so worth it!), and I redid both sleeves, learning to use double-point needles in the process. Knit Companion keeps track of how long the app is open, so I know that the sleeves took just over 23 hours to knit - ridiculous! But look how cute it is! Just need to block it and stretch the sleeves out, because I want them a touch longer.

And I think I need to wear collared shirts with no sleeves underneath, since this may look too much like a bra underneath it - what do you think? It's really a tank top.

So the most exciting news is that this monkey is finally off my back, so I will be starting a new "split-neck" sweater that can be worn alone, and I'm treating myself to a private lesson at Mobile Yarn to learn how to knit 2 socks at once on a circular needle - woot woot!

So my thought for the day/week/month/year is that life is too short not to enjoy something special EVERY day, so figure out what that is, and DO IT! Shia LeBeouf really does say it best, and I get a good laugh every time I watch this. I love that boy:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Family Photos & New Fluevogs!

Here are a couple of action shots of the wood-turning jackets I made for my BIL and brother recently. Joe sports his Auburn jacket while proudly displaying one of his own creations. (What is that, Tracey, a wine stopper?)

And Scott demonstrates the superior ability of the neckband to repel pesky wood shavings.

Meanwhile, I've been attempting to train for a Spartan race, mainly by doing pushups, Russian crunches, and climbing the rope in the backyard. Drew showed me how to wrap the rope around my feet, and I finally succeeded!

And am actually progressing up the rope with each attempt!

It's a wee bit scary!

Lucas was fitted for a tux for the school chorus, and looks quite dashing.

And the proudest moment of all - my nephew snapped a pic of Aubie (Auburn University's football mascot for our foreign visitors) with the ROTC contingent in the stands, and the clean-shaven young man without glasses would be Drew. My heart swells. And all the deceased relatives' hearts would swell, as both Drew and my nephew are in the ROTC and were on the field together for the flag detail. (I'll wait while you get a tissue, Mother.)

Now on to the Fluevogs. We went to New Orleans for the Saints opening game, and I had emailed the Fluevog store there ahead of time that I was in love with the Pilgrims. Why would I email them? Because they will make sure the right sizes are there for you to try on when you come to town! The amazing customer service continues.

They fit perfectly, so I wore them as above to work today. Now when the weather gets colder, I will need to incorporate socks, and this is the best I have right now.

Yes, I know, Wicked Witch of the West. The sales associate did tell me to join the Fluevog Friday Facebook group, though, and that's where everybody shows pictures of how they wore their shoes. (And if you thought I was obsessed, you should see some of the posts!) Of course I had to try them on with everything in my closet, and they do play nicely with the Alabama Chanin garments.

But I liked this look the best - very professional.

They're so comfortable, though, that I'm entertaining the idea of wearing them to Mardi Gras....

or the Lyras....which do you think? (Remember that I wore brown ankle boots a couple of years ago - nobody looks at your shoes.)

I'll leave you with a fun little video from the Saints game - this usher danced to every little song they played. We should all love our jobs this much!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Gin Lamp & Crocheted T-shirt Rug

So we had this beautiful Tanqueray 10 gin bottle that my brother turned into a lamp - cool!

I'm just having a hard time with the shade. This is from another lamp - I was just testing the size...

And this is one on sale from Hobby Lobby, which is entirely too big. The do-it-yourself shades that you can stick your own fabric on were not the right size either. Anybody got another shade-shop you recommend?

And now, I've been thinking about crocheting a rug for the beach bathroom since I enjoyed doing Lucas's donut so much, and Drew declined an Auburn rug for HIS bathroom. I checked Ravelry for ideas, and found some made of cut-up T-shirts- how cool and green! I checked my LYS, but they didn't have any T-shirt yarn (also known as T-yarn or tarn, Google told me), and if you buy it online they don't guarantee more than 2 skeins of the same color - huh? So I went upstairs to my stash, and found a bunch of XL T-shirts I bought at an outlet to make Alabama Chanin stuff. A lot of these are also hand-me-downs or shirts nobody wears anymore.

I found a couple of tutorials online for cutting up T-shirts to make a continuous strip, and went to work last weekend.

Most importantly, don't cut all the way through the whole shirt or you'll just have individual strips that are a pain to join. You go back and cut diagonally through that uncut portion to get a continuous strip.

And a rotary cutter makes it go SO much faster than using scissors.

The cutting is tedious, and I got blisters from pulling so much cotton to make it curl, but the crocheting is fun because it goes really fast!

The strips up top are from the back of the shirts where I couldn't get continuous strips.

So I chained 50 then slip-stitched, then went back with 49 single crochets, and just repeated that over and over. I only added colors at the beginning of a row, except for one time I used a similar light blue because it was all I had left.

And ta-da! It took about 17 T-shirts to get 34", which is what I needed for the bathroom. And that very dark stripe is actually purple...

This is closer to the actual color. (I think up-close stitches are so artistic.)

I'll take a picture of it in the actual bathroom next time - that bathroom has green walls, a purple lamp, and lots of blue colors in the artwork painted on the wall, so I think it'll be cute.

Now wasn't I working on a black mesh sweater sleeve? And I'm eagerly awaiting an update and picture from Robbie, who's finishing up her Alabama Chanin tunic - no pressure, Robbie!

Friday, August 26, 2016


Ta-da! Love these things. One has been washed and blocked, the other was just finished. You can tell this is hand-dyed yarn, since the new one is brighter...I guess, since I never used hand-dyed yarn before.

And no, I didn't drink gin while I was knitting...this particular sock. But that is a smaller version of the bottle my brother used to make a lamp for me - pictures coming on that this weekend.

And this is a T-shirt my sister fused a faux pocket made of the skirt fabric to, with the skirt I made - cute!

Now to resume the previously scheduled black mesh sweater which needs a sleeve correction. And also I will be making a lampshade for the above-mentioned gin lamp, possibly with the self-adhesive lampshades I found at Hobby Lobby - you apply your own fabric and trim. Now what fabric goes with a green gin bottle...or perhaps I should crochet a lampshade? I did find one in a book! Yet another project for the weekend. What are YOU making this weekend?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Little Styling Help for New Look 6071

So I've been working on the sock every night, but last night I had the disturbing revelation that 3 of my fingers were completely numb on my left hand, and I had an ache up the inside of my left wrist - not the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome!!! I took some ibuprofen and went to bed, and this morning it was a little better, so I knitted while Dean cooked breakfast. (I've said it before - I'm a lucky woman!) Well, then I noticed that both hands had numb fingers, so I think this is more about my previous neck issue, and not carpal tunnel, but I decided to take it to the sewing room and give the wrists a break.

I had in mind to find some T-shirts for an Alabama Chanin project, but would you believe I ran across a project I cut out last year in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. I believe I got this fabric in New Orleans at Promenade, and I wanted the big drapey sleeves from Simplicity 3956 combined with a New Look dress I made before.

I can't tell you how nice it is to pick up a completely cut-out and marked project that's ready to sew - it's like a gift! Now I think the sleeves were too much with the wild print, and I'm wearing this to Dean's birthday dinner tomorrow night, so I was picturing dragging the sleeve through my plate while reaching for my wine, thus I cut the sleeve down to its original size. I think it turned out really nice - I LOVE this fabric! I need your help with jewelry and shoes. Crazy jeweled necklace from Front Door Fashion? Ivanka Trump gray heels? (I discovered a tragedy in my closet - apparently I gave all my black heels away. I had the ridiculously high peep-toes that I wore once in 4 years, so I donated those, but I'm afraid I also handed off 2 pairs of lower-heeled flats that were about 15 years old...Mad Cow moment, apparently...wait, maybe they're in the freezer!)

Now the pattern placement on the back is a little unfortunate, but at least the lighter color is closer to my waist.

And the swayback adjustment was perfect.

This is A more refined necklace with matching earrings that I think I prefer, and these are the Fluevog heels, which may be too wild on their own to coordinate with the print. Your thoughts?

So it was fabulous to be so productive as to get a full dress done in a weekend, but I also paid a visit to Mobile Yarn, to use my gift certificates, and have plans for a new 3/4-length "split-neck" sweater in a darker blue cotton yarn for the coming colder weather. And no, I haven't finished the sleeve on the black sweater, but that's up next after the sock. Back to work on that sock - numb fingers be damned! Hope your weekend and your fingers are okay.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Handmade Gifts

As promised, here's the pinkeep my sister cross-stitched for me.

And here's the silver bracelet from CaitlynMinimalist on Etsy that was made from a letter my Dad sent - how cool and unexpected is that?! (I didn't actually BURST into tears; it was more of a gradual building-up...) I'll post my brother's gin-bottle lamp next week.

And I'll end with a picture Drew sent us of him in his official ROTC T-shirt. This is the casual outfit they wear until they get the actual camouflage outfits next year. The dress blues arrive soon, so there will CERTAINLY be a picture of that! And he actually LIKED doing PT yesterday morning at 6 AM - said it was a great way to start the day. Thank you, God, for answered prayers!

Now where did I put that second sock? I WILL finish it this week!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Summer Wrap-up

This is Pasta Carbonara that Drew cooked for us, although he forgot to put the Romano cheese in the sauce (apparently takes after his mother in the kitchen), so it looks like hashbrowns instead of pasta with cheese. He's going to be in an apartment this year at college, so he wanted to try his hand at cooking his own food. Yay for self-sufficiency!

We had Lucas's birthday, and I'd say he liked his giant donut pouf!

He also loved the camera dolly system that Drew hand-made for him, complete with PVC tracks. His camera tripod fits on the board, then the camera operator can push it along for moving shots, just FYI.

And THIS was terribly interesting. My donut picture actually made it onto Community Eye Candy at Ravelry - WHAT?! I found out when I started getting all these emails with comments from Ravelers, and wondered what was going on - I feel so loved by the crochet community!

So with Lucas's birthday behind me, I had to catch up on my brother's handmade birthday present. We decided to do handmade gifts for each other, and swap them at the beach when my sister came down to move HER son into college. My brother requested a woodturner's jacket, and sent me a couple of pics of ready-made ones as a guide. The main requirements are a tight elasticized neck, zippered front, and pockets with Velcro closures to keep wood shavings out, and good luck finding a pattern for that! Apparently Butterick had one a long time ago, but it's gone now, so I tried the men's Kwik Sew fleece jacket for the zipper and neck finish, combined with Simplicity 5581 from my stash. I started off on the wrong foot by cutting the back upside down - nice work.

However, I DID do a bang-up job of hiding a pocket, and left a little opening in the Velcro for a pencil.

Yes, I'm wearing shorts under that, and I might have to make myself a shirtdress out of this pattern, which sewed up REALLY quick.

In the meantime, Lucas had drum camp and band camp...he's the front drum punk.

And finally we started our last vacation of the summer at the beach, which made Jake very happy.

He's doing his Leonardo DiCaprio impression during our boat ride with the family.

This was a cool sunrise...

and with Chrome settings like we used in Lower Antelope Canyon.

Got some kayaking done with my sister...

and swapped birthday gifts with everybody. The big problem with the jacket is that I didn't interface the zipper guard, so Scott zipped it up into the zipper so far that I had to cut the dang thing out to get him unzipped. And the neck was so large I had to put 3 darts in it to make it hug his neck - arghhh!

Now one thing I neglected to get pics of were the pin-keep my sister cross-stitched for me, and the bracelet she had made out of our Dad's signature - that deserves a post of its own, and I'll give you a link to the lady's Etsy site who does those. And Scott turned a pretty green gin bottle into a lamp for me, which will be its own post, since I need advice on choosing a lampshade. It's very cool swapping homemade gifts with nary a gift card in sight!

So my BIL is also a woodworker, and I decided to try another jacket using my own draft of a collar instead of the Kwik Sew, to see if it would fit better. This one turned out much better, but Scott claims not to want an updated version for Christmas - we'll see if that zipper rubs his chin so much that he changes his mind. And by the way, this jacket was made in a record 4 hours!

It fit Joe perfectly.

And this is one of his own pens. Now both of them promised me pics of the jackets in action in their workshops, so I may have to start an Etsy business! The ready-made jackets go for $55-60 on the internet.

Once that was done, I started making Drew some dishrags for his apartment, and decided to crochet them instead of knitting them. Apparently I'm not good at HDC, so I abandoned that for some SC and DC - pitiful! I did get 2 finished by the time we moved him in, and forgot to get pics of the other one, which looks much better (different pattern).

And with 2 days left in the week before moving up to college, I made my sister the skirt she requested last month. She wanted a longer, more gathered skirt like we used to wear in the early 90's, and she couldn't find one in stores, so I found an old Butterick pattern I had in the stash, though I didn't really want to make 8 buttonholes.

One reviewer suggested faux buttons and changing to a zipper, so that's what I did. While we were at the beach, we made a run to Pensacola Joann's for fabric, but forgot about getting the buttons - doh! Oh well, this is what I ended up with. I don't think you can see the fake button placket...

but it's helping hold down the zipper, which I free-handed in there - could've used more time to make it look a little better, I'm sure!

And the rest of the front is sewn closed except for the bottom below the last button. So she tried that on once before I put the waistband on, and I was actually sewing the waist closures on in the car headed to Auburn, so I hope it fits!

And that is why Jake is sad, because Drew went back to school, and maybe why I was so wildly productive in the sewing room all week, trying to keep away the looming depression.

But it wasn't ALL depressing - this was a proud moment when he officially joined the ROTC.

And we stayed busy assembling furniture for his apartment.

This is pre-desk...

and post-desk!

We made sure to leave him with a couple of momentoes of our summer - I'm curious to see if they're still sitting there next time we go to visit - heehee.

And so now it's back to school for Lucas, and work for us - boo. Maybe I should try finishing the second sock now....