by Kerrie James


Make It Monday: Mending

Posted on November 22, 2011 at 4:20 AM Comments comments (0)

In a full house of six, there is always something in need of mending, but this past week seemed to be the week of Mending!  In hindsight, I wish I had taken photos of all the items before repair because frankly, I am quite impressed in some of the repairs, if I do say so myself! (all finished pics on Wednesday)


For a few weeks now, I knew that our favorite knitted blanket (gifted by friends in the Monthly Adventures Group) was once again in need of repair.  The last time it was simply a matter of re-sewing blocks to blocks.  This time, however, I had to repair some of the blocks, re-knitting in some cases.  It really was quite an undertaking but by starting early in the morning and taking as many moments as I could throughout the day and into the evening, I was able to finish by bedtime.


Before heading to work the next day, my husband presented me his leather jacket.  He read my puzzled face and promptly turned the jacket inside-out, showing the satin lined sleeve completely torn, frayed and quite a mess.  In his ever constant desire to be helpful , he suggested I simply tuck the frayed parts and sew the rip closed.  I only nodded and he was on his way.  Once he left I examined the tear carefully.  I had no intention of taking his suggestion as it would only create a larger mess later down the road.  


It seemed that I had a few options: (1) tear out the sleeve and replace it, (2) patch the sleeve or (3) re-weave or darn the sleeve.  Since I did not have any satin on hand for either replacing the sleeve or patching the sleeve, I opted to re-weave the torn section of the sleeve.  It truly seemed rather hopeless at first but in the end it looked great, considering.


That very evening, I noticed that my eldest son had torn yet another pair of pants - and new pants no less!  I don't know how he does it but he manages to tear the knees of nearly every pair of pants he owns.  And so, my evening - which was to be set aside for knitting - was now to spent mending pants … again.


The next day I realized I had a project which deadline was drawing near.  My son's piano instructor and wife are expecting twins in December.  Initially I had planned to knit booties, caps and cocoons but found out that their very close friend is a knitter and realized these items may be 'covered'.  I then opted to simply create a care package of spa cloths, organic soap, lotion and Mom-stuff.  So I spent the day stash diving and made several cotton spa cloths to gift and a few to keep.


That evening I did knit a bit but learned that my favorite DPN case is no longer adequate for all my DPNs.  I sorted the DPNs, separating by size and length.  The most used DPNs (0-2.5) were stored in my case, leaving the remaining DPNs homeless.  I went to my Fat Quarter stash, turned on the sewing machine and made a quick DPN case for the longer needles.  It isn't perfect but it does the job!


Sunday night, after my daughter's all-day dress rehearsal for Drama Club, I spent the evening repairing her costume.  The borrowed costume has certainly seen better days, the chiffon sleeves had been torn from cuff to elbow.  It took a few hours but I was able to finish the repair and while not perfect, I did try to make it pretty - though no one from the audience will see it.


Which takes us to Monday, when my youngest showed me his blankie.  The store-bought cotton blanket has thinned terribly over the last few years and the thin binding had come undone.  I spent about an hour ripping the seams to remove the binding completely, and then seamed the edges of the blanket to prevent it from fraying.  I am not sure just yet as to the binding, I think I will let him choose the fabric for it.  In the meantime, I think I need to teach the older kids and the husband how to sew!



Make It Monday

Posted on September 20, 2011 at 1:40 AM Comments comments (70)

A little late on this post but still, I've made it!


First, I'd like to make an announcement.  Next week is my birthday and to celebrate, I am hosting a giveaway.  Answer the Knitter's Meme (below) in the comments below to be entered for a chance to win one of three 'surprises'.  Contest will close 00:01 CET 27 Sept 2011, at which time I will conduct a random drawing.  



Hand cream?

Round or flat?



Coffee or tea?

ML, 2 circ or DPNs?

Tight or loose?

Semi or variegated?

Top down or bottom up?  

Pick or throw?

Paper or PDF?

Sharp or blunt?  

Ball or cake?

Back to Make It Monday:

Over this past week I managed to wrap up a few loose ends.  I still have many more projects to finish of course, but I'm happy with the current accomplishments (no photos today):


- Both Abalones finished!  Some initial photos were taken but I need to get out sometime this week to get some better, more professional (ha!) shots.

- I actually finished the summer skirt, it is fully lined and looks great but ... I relied too much on my dress form and so, fit is not quite what it should be.  I will have to remove the yoke and adjust the waist just a bit by way of deeper darts along the back.

- This past week I also managed to make a few loaves of bread, both white and sourdoguh, but never thought to take photos.  I plan to do some more baking and breadmaking this week so I will try to take photos then

- If you haven't heard, The cowl pattern, Weinstock was released this past week.  My samples are worked in Malabrigo Rios but this pattern will lend itself well to any hand-dyed or variegated yarn.

- I did get out and take some photos this past week.  I wanted to get some shots of my darling daughter but I had to make it playful so as to get her cooperation.  I told her I had to shoot some knits (In fact, I did but not the knits we took along) and she went into creative director/model mode.  She is awesome and every day I am in awe of the wonderful young woman she has become.  x






Make It Monday

Posted on August 29, 2011 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (1)

Instead of WIPs and FOs of the week, this is more or less WIPs and FOs from this past summer and so, longer than future installment (you've been warned!):

Some of you may remember the quilted sewing machine cover, I could not make up my mind as to how to place the blocks.  Ultimately I decided to keep it simple:

Overall, I like the way it came out.  I used an old maternity shirt (the brown bits) as well as long, long forgotten remnants from projects past.  I decided to keep the top quilting on the front and back very simple while following the curves of the vine pattern for the side panels.  I did make this cover slightly larger than necessary as I plan to purchase a new sewing machine this year so that my daughter will have her sewing machine again!

One of my long-term goals is to create my own wardrobe or in the very least, base pieces.  There are many reasons for this goal, the first and most encouraging being that finding clothing to fit my 5'2" curvy frame is rather challenging.  Customization is a necessity and so, instead of simply altering everything, why not start from scratch?! 

I had planned to start and finish three pieces during the summer.  My children, however, had other plans, commandeering our table most days and nights with their own projects.  I was truly lucky to have only gotten this far:

I first had to draft  a new pattern block since my last block from 2003 is no longer sufficient.  I was surprised to learn just how much my body has changed in the past 7 years.  No longer thin and sporty but curvy and feminine.  This realization was cause to truly clean out my closet, getting rid of anything that did not fit.  Needless to say, my daughter and her friends had very little school shopping to do after shopping my closet.  Two years ago, this would have made me so sad and depressed but I've found closure and I have to admit, the challenge of creating a new wardrobe is not only motivating but also exciting.

Finishing or ripping UFOs is yet another goal I've created for myself.  I had a rather large Rubbermaid box full of projects long forgotten.  It was time to sit with each project and be honest as to why I started it and whether or not I would finish it.  Most projects were ripped for reasons such as 'startitis', fad, KAL/CAL, etc.  In the end, I found the projects kept (to finish) are projects I had started because it was planned or my 'type' (socks, lace, etc).  I learned that while community is important, I had often started projects I was not passionate about simply because the Jonses were doing the same project.

One UFO which had been put off simply because my youngest was far too interested in what was going on was a spinning project.  If you spin and have young children, you understand.  I had finally finished spinning the South Cross Fibers Polwarth in the Cairins colorway.  One hank is 3 ply, another is 2 ply and still, I have singles still on the bobbin which I will Andean ply. 

Now the focus (creative-wise) is to finish up the current WIPs and get some older designs written out for publishing this Fall.  I'd really like to kick up my photography, editing and graphic skills a few notches and so, am hoping to take a class or two as well.  Busy, Busy - and I wouldn't have it any other way!



WIP(s) - Work(s) In Progress
UFO(s) - Unfinished Object(s)
FO(s) - Finished Object(s)
KAL/CAL(s) - Knit/Crochet Along(s)


Posted on June 14, 2011 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Sunday I posted a 'newsletter', summing up my week, did you like this or would you rather see daily small entries?  Please leave a comment to let me know!

Monday was an early day, not that I woke any earlier than usual, but DS3 sure did.  DS2 is 'Student Star of the Week' and as such, a parent is to read the child's favorite book to the class and participate in a Q & A.  DS2 selected this book, a favorite in this household.  It seemed as though it is a favorite of the class as well!  Once we finished up there, DS3 and I had planned to do some shopping out in town but soon found out we could not!  It was a German holiday and so all businesses, save for McDonald's and gas stations, were closed for the day, bummer! 

Instead we went home and took our time in everything.  One task I had been meaning to tend was to cut a ripped pair of jeans and seam them to be worn as shorts for DS1.  I got as far as the cutting and thought, 'What am I going to do with these pants bottoms?  Immediately after I envisioned little jean catch-alls and go to work.  I knew I wanted more than denim as a design element and grabbed a remnant to add on to the cuff and bottom but something was missing.   I then recalled a wool sweater which DD has shrunk (unintentionally) and I had stored away.  I got out the seam ripper and went at it.  From a sleeve, I cut a circle to add to the bottom of the catch-all.. that was it!  I really like how it turned out and have plans to do something similar to the second leg.  If anyone is interested, I can see about getting a tutorial up.  Leave a comment and let me know!

Once finished with the catch-all, I should have finished seaming the jean shorts.  Instead, I made another pouch. (no photo just yet)

Once the kids were finished with dinner and bathed, I checked some messages and learned that a dear web-friend, Rebecca from the WIP podcast, is hosting a learn to spin session for her knitting group in France.  Rebecca had purchased a spindle kit from me when she was interested in spinning (was that last year of the year before Rebecca?) and asked if I still had them. 

It had been awhile since I maintained a store online, all my inventory has been stored away since we moved here to Germany.  I found the box of spindles and the huge Rubbermaid chest of natural and hand dyed fibers and began hand combing and blending 2 oz batches.  I thought that even if Rebecca's group didn't purchase from me, I can sell a few at the Craft Fair in July and possibly on consignment at our local craft shop.  It took 2 1/2 hours to comb and blend these two whips:

The top is an Autumnal blend of Orange, Tangerine, Earth and Natural, a 50/50 BFL/Corridale blend.  The bottom reminds me of clouds on a spring day and so Cumulus, a 80/20 blend of natural BFL and Hyacynth corriedale.  I think each night this week I will try to do two more whips, for a total of 10 spindle kits.  If you are interested in a spindle kit, message me info{at}dyodstudio.com.

Days of the Week

Posted on June 12, 2011 at 8:44 AM Comments comments (4)

Warning: A lengthy post follows. 

As I sit here looking back on this week, I feel as though several weeks were somehow lived in seven days.  Busy?  Sort of.  Crazy?  Always.

I began Monday by recuperating from Sunday's events and resisting to take the pain medication which had been prescribed.  Since my original plans of running errands was put on hold, I took advantage of the free schedule and decided to practice my sewing skills by making a few items.

Pain or no pain, Tuesday was an errand, appointment, bill paying day.  Once the kids were home, I began dinner, one of the kids' favorite meals: Chicken-Spinach Parmesan.  Once the kids went to bed, I spent the evening sewing my half-square triangle blocks together and then cutting and pressing them.  I am really enjoying this project and love that I re-purposed an old maternity shirt (the brown portions) for this project.

Wednesday was a day home, catching up on chores and always laundry.  I started the day as usual, sending the bigger ones off to school, and then walked our yard in search of any outside chores in need of attention.  Our yard isn't as large as my childhood home but is much larger than our previous home.  The owner's of this house are true Gardeners, I am not.  Still, I do appreciate the flowers, bushes, trees and especially, the fruits. 

We have a few raspberry bushes, a grape vine and a kiwi vine.  The kiwi has not produced any fruit since we have lived here, I can't say whether it had before.  The grapes were glorious to see last year but we left them on the vines too long, thinking they were not yet ripe as they were so small.  The sun, ants and birds enjoyed them instead of us.  As for the raspberries, those we did enjoy, in small quantities, every few days.  I noticed on this day that the grapes were beginning to grow and that some raspberries were ready to be picked and so were plucked ever so gently and later enjoyed with Greek yogurt.

After chores, DS3 decided to give me a small break by taking a nap.  I was so tempted to join him but the idea of uninterrupted crafting time was far more enticing.  I managed to finish an apron/art smock I had drafted and started sewing the week before.  This apron was also meant to refresh my sewing skills but also to be part of a gift for DS2's Kindergarten teacher.  I was going for a vintage feeling in this design and so, chose a small floral print from my stash.  I do like the outcome, especially the darts, and will definitely be making one for myself.  The only regret I have is that I did not add any pockets, a true must!

Thursday was a pretty big day for me.  A run to the bank, post office, signed the kids up for summer activities, a stop at the craft shop and a trip to the grocery store occupied my morning.  Once home I began to prep for dinner, Stuffed Shells and broccoli florets.  I was pretty drained at this point and made some carrot-orange juice, a favorite pick me up.  I had some time left for crafting and played catch up on my Crochet Lace Afghan CAL, making about 20 flower motifs.  Once finished with that, I started making cakes, one for my daughter's Drama Club party and one for my DS2's Kindergarten end of year ceremony. And finally, prepared and made mochi ice cream, also for DS2's Kindergarten ceremony. 

Friday morning the entire house scuttled out to school, DH, DS3 and I heading to the Kindergarten event.  If you follow me on FaceBook you already know, I cried like a baby.  The moving up ceremony (or Kindergarten graduation) was beautiful and thoughtful.  I was glad to have put effort into a special gift for the teacher, a phenomenal women with an abundance of patience.  Once home, I felt like curling up with my little ones and watching television.  Unfortunately, they simply wanted to play.  OK, I'll sew instead!

I decided to pull out the half-square triangles I had prepped for my quilted sewing machine cover.  Alhtough I had sewn and pressed these, I still had not decided exactly how I wanted the blocks to be placed.  So, I took lots of pictures:










These are not all the possibilities but the only ones I could come up with before feeling as though I had leaked some brain out of my ear.  After all this, I still don't know which way I want my blocks to go.  Any thoughts?  Really, I want your input!  Leave a comment to this post, telling me which layout you like best.  On Father's Day (19th) I will use Random.org to draw a number for a crafty-type prize.  I am not yet sure what the prize will be but most likely a book or craft supplies of some sort.

And now, Sunday again, we celebrate Father's Day a week early, as DH will be traveling for work next week.  We had a nice dinner of Prime Rib and Marinated Chicken and finished with one of our favorite cakes.  I made the cake early in the morning and had plenty of pudding and gelatin left over, so made small dessert cups as well.

DH didn't want any gifts but we managed to find something we just knew he would enjoy, a 21 year old Glenlivet Scotch.  It smells lovely and tastes even better. 

So here's to another week!  I hope to get all my flower motifs finished this week and, with your help, decide on block placement for my sewing machine cover.  I also plan to get some knitting finished and learn Sashiko from this book.

Please leave a comment and don't forget to either subscribe or follow!



Posted on June 7, 2011 at 2:29 PM Comments comments (3)

How was your weekend?  Mine?  It was quite typical right until approximately 3:30 pm Sunday afternoon.  Let's back it up a bit to Sunday morning, when I planned to take the day for prepping for a sewing project.  After doing some basic chores, my husband took the boys to the playground (literally across the street) so that I could cut fabric uninterrupted. 

I laid my materials out on our tea table and then, tea tables being low, I grabbed two floor pillows and plopped myself down to crafting happiness.  I cut nearly all the pieces required when I realized my right leg was completely asleep.  I wiggled my right leg out from under my left leg and pillow and as my leg seemed to awaken with the familiar pins and needles feeling, I realized a sharper pain coming from my toes.  I looked down and could not believe what I saw.  I then turned to my daughter and said, " ... I think I need your help, I have a crochet hook stuck in my toe."  After 15 minutes of trying to remove the 1.5mm crochet hook from my toe, I conceded - it was time to go to the hospital. 

Once at the hospital, with great help from both my husband and daughter, the doctor looked down and said, "You did this to yourself?"  I had to chuckle and say, "Well yes, but not intentionally."  A few more laughs were had and some tears before the hook was finally removed from my toe.  I was never so happy to stand in my life.

Though the hook was removed, I still had to stay at the hospital before I was released.  Forty minutes later, with nothing in my hands, I found myself quite antsy and eager to get out of the hospital.  As though on cue, my youngest son could be heard screaming in the waiting room.  I let the nurse know that the screaming child was mine and I really must get going and shortly after, we left for home.

And now, it is Tuesday morning and I have so many projects to get to, crochet being one.  This time though, I am using an 5 mm hook, so I think I'm safe ;-)

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