Sunday, August 31, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mermaid tail for dress-up

Okay, when Lazy Kid spends all morning playing with her new imaginary friend, Alice the Mermaid, you can't expect me to refrain from busting out the sequins during naptime to make a mermaid tail, can you? Didn't think so.

Not bad for freehanding the design and basing the sizing off of a pair of leggings I swiped from her room after she was asleep. The fabric choice is admirably scaly (and from my stash, so therefore both free and studio-clearing), but the edges of the sequins are scratchy and have caused Lazy Kid to collapse in hysterics at least three times (since 4pm). Of course, she collapses in hysterics at least twice a day anyway, so it's probably not so bad, but I think any future iterations of this design will be made from the softer fabric Lazy Grandma used to make the shirt.

Future versions probably won't be lined in purple silk, either, but hey - I had it in the stash, and it was exactly the right size to fit the pattern pieces, so what's not to love about that? My daughter may have the only silk-lined dress up clothes in the state (country?), but that's fine by me.

So, how much would you be willing to pay for one of these for your daughter/granddaughter/niece/friend's kid? Would $30 be too much for a reversible, shiny-on-one-side, custom-fit play skirt? Too little? What do you think?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy happy joy joy

Photos of the studio reorganization:

The valance of awesomeness, next to the mobile of zen raindroppyness:

What makes the valance so awesome? See for yourself:

The heart of the redesign, which puts my sewing machine in a place that - for once - isn't facing a blank wall. Oh, the inspiration! Oh, the run-out room for my quilts! Oh, the ugly back of the desk that I covered up by thumbtacking an antique quilt over it!

Of course, my cutting area still looks like this, so there's still a ways to go before it's perfect, but we're getting better. Oh, and I cleared room to set up my photo lighting cube semi-permanently in the basement, so it won't be such a hassle to set it up and take it down for just one or two shots. This should make it easier to get stuff listed ... if I'd ever quit organizing and start sewing, that is!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

mmmm ... hippies

I'm in the process of making another batch of SWAK blankets, this time using some rather unusual fabric I found on sale a few months ago. Unexpectedly, when I iron it it smells exactly like the hippie clothing store in Blacksburg, Virginia ... or at least, what the store used to smell like when I graduated way too long ago. Yum - patchouli-scented swaddling blankets!

I may have to post a warning for these: "Excessive exposure to this blanket may cause a lack of ambition, a tendency to wear peasant skirts with jingly bells on the hem, and a wicked case of the munchies."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Studio redesign

In my quest to turn an inadequate space into the most workable studio I can, I spent the entire morning rearranging the furniture in my office/studio. There are only two things that didn't get moved at all, and that was partly because I was too lazy to completely unload the 6-foot-tall bookcase :)

I'm most excited about the fact that I FINALLY took down the awful navy light-blocking curtains the previous owners left in the room. They've been open the whole time, but they were sucking the life out of the room, even when they were open all the way. I've got some fabric and trim set aside to make a valance for the room, which hopefully will get done this weekend, and I'm really excited about how those will turn out. I've had this fabric since about 2002, and I've never found a worthy project for it, but I think this is it.

And, I finally got the mobile hung up ... it's been hanging at a cockeyed angle off one of the curtain hooks since, um, Christmas.

I'm still trying to find homes for all of the orphan projects and in-process stuff, so I won't post a photo yet. Can't let you know what it's really like in here on a daily basis, now can I? That's the number one reason I don't do things like the "corners of my home" group on Flickr ... trust me, you don't want to see what goes on in the corners of MY home ;)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another reason I love Ravelry

New merchandise

Cute little lined cotton zip bags, with a strap suitable for use around a child's or adult's wrist. I made one for Lazy Kid, who had plenty of purses but none that actually closed, so when she took her change to the mall to ride on the little rides, she'd sling the purse around and quarters would go flying everywhere. The bag turned out so cute that I thought there might be a market for them. Find all four designs in the "bags" section of my etsy shop.

Parenthack - how to keep parents from cheating at kids' card games

Lazy Kid has reached the age of Go Fish, Crazy Eights, and various other card-based games. She understands all of the rules and loves to play, but her hands aren't quite large or nimble enough to hold all the cards, so she spreads them out on the floor in front of her. Personally, I don't mind this, because it makes it easier for me to arrange it so she wins occasionally ... but Lazy Husband was getting frustrated because he was trying not to cheat by seeing her cards.

Enter ... the Lazy Parent 6000 (aka a cardboard box with 3 flaps folded inside*):

We use it with the open side toward Lazy Kid so that she can put her cards inside it or on the flap, and the extra surface on top makes a convenient place to put the communal stack of cards so they don't get mixed in with her jumble. The box is tall enough so that Lazy Husband can't see over it, so he can't cheat. Now, if we could just get her to stop announcing the color and number of every "fish" she draws, he'd be on the straight and narrow.

*fairy costume optional

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Very excited!

I got an order today to sell some of my SWAK swaddling blankets/nursing covers in a "lactation boutique" in a hospital in Georgia. Basically, it's a shop inside the hospital that focuses on things new mothers (especially those who breastfeed) might need. What a great idea! I wish I had had access to something similar when my daughter was first born ... we had a rough go of it at first, and a little extra support would have been appreciated.

Hospitals are a retail avenue I've been hoping to break into, but most don't have such a specialized shop. I'm not sure my blankets would sell next to the standard hospital gift shop "flowers and a get well card" fare, so I haven't investigated it too much.

Now I need to get off my butt and look for similar boutiques in other hospitals. Hurray for new business opportunities!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Parenthack - how to keep the sand on the sand art

Last time I did sand art with Lazy Kid she insisted that we hang the resulting work of art up on the refrigerator ... where it then shed sand all over my hardwood floor, despite the Contact paper. Not good.

So when we made new sand art yesterday, I decided to try something different. This time I waited until it was dry, then put the art in a plastic sheet protector (like you'd use in a notebook) before we stuck it to the fridge. Now all of the sand gets caught in the sheet protector, and she can still see her work of art every day. Neato mosquito!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, this time we used watered down glue (about 2/3 glue and 1/3 water), a paintbrush, and gravity to make some cardstock sticky enough for the sand. They turned out pretty cool - this one's my favorite:

When I hit the lottery

I am going to buy one of these. Maybe two. Or six. And then have them design all of the rest of the furniture in my house. Because this?

There are no words to describe the immensity of its awesomeness.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Free pattern - Lazy Lids

A lot of my personal projects lately have come from patterns that are available free online. In the spirit of good will and paying back all the designers who have shared their work for free, I'm putting up my awesomely easy hat as a free pattern for you to try. They make great holiday gifts, and they take so little yarn and time that you won't even mind (much) when the recipient loses one.

As with all of my patterns, please contact me if you'd like to make these for sale. I can usually be convinced, but it's going to cost you ... chocolate, if nothing else.

Lazy Lids

This knitted wool hat has an easy Fair Isle band that helps keep your head extra toasty. Instructions given for newborn, toddler, and adult sizes, plus tips on how to customize the fit. Please note that I added an inch to the toddler size after taking the photo but before writing the directions, so your kid's ears won't stick out like my kid's do :)

Unstretched Sizing:

  • Newborn - 14” around
  • Toddler – 17” around
  • Adult – 20” around


  • Two partial skeins worsted weight yarn in coordinating colors. I used Wool-Ease in #104 Blush Heather and #140 Rose Heather, which is 3 oz/85 gms per 197 yards/180 meters. Any yarn of a similar weight should work, as long as you check your gauge
  • US size 6 double-pointed needles, and a 16” size 6 circular needle
  • Four stitch markers, tapestry needle, scissors, etc.
Gauge: 21 st and 24 rows = 4 inches on US 6 needles in stockinette stitch.
  1. With main color, cast on 73 (89, 105) stitches on the circular needle. If you’re making this a custom size, cast on a number of stitches that is one greater than a multiple of four (72+1, 88+1, etc.). Join, making sure not to twist the stitches. Mark the first stitch of the round with a marker or the tail of the cast-on.
  2. Work K2P2 ribbing to the last stitch before the join, then K2tog with the last stitch and the first stitch of the next round. 72 (88, 104) stitches.
  3. Continue in K2P2 ribbing for about 6 (8, 10) rounds, or until ribbing is desired height. Knit around one round, increasing one stitch somewhere in the round using any increase method. 73 (89, 105) stitches.
  4. Knit two or three rounds in the main color, then begin the Fair Isle pattern. This is just [K1(main color) K1 (accent color)] all the way around. As long as you’ve got an odd number of stitches, subsequent rows should end up with the colors forming a checkerboard (instead of alternating columns of color). Repeat this round until the Fair Isle band is 8 (10, 10) rounds high, or desired height. Cut the accent color yarn, leaving a 4-inch tail and complete the remaining steps using the main color.
  5. Knit 4 (8, 10) rounds, or until the piece is long enough to cover the person’s head from midway over their ears up to where their head starts to curve toward the top of the skull. The toddler size fits my largish 3-year-old and the adult size fits my largish adult woman’s head, so adjust the sizing accordingly if you’re knitting for someone with a huge (or tiny) noggin. Somewhere during all these rounds, do one K2tog to decrease back down to 72 (88, 104) stitches.
  6. Knit the next round, placing a stitch marker every 18 (22, 26) stitches.
  7. On the next round, knit to two stitches before the marker, then K2tog. Repeat this for each group around, and keep decreasing each group each row until you have 12 stitches between markers. Switch to working on the double-point needles instead of the circular whenever you feel it’s necessary.
  8. On the next round, knit 4 stitches then K2tog and repeat around. This will give you a decrease at the middle and end of each group of stitches.
  9. Next rounds: (K3 then K2tog) around. (K2 then K2tog) around. (K1 then K2tog) around. (K2tog) around. (K2tog) around. You should have four stitches left at the end of this last round.
  10. Cut the yarn, leaving about a 4-inch tail. Draw the yarn through the stitches remaining on the needles and fasten off, burying the tail inside the hat. If possible, try the hat on the intended wearer to make sure it’s long enough … if not, you can frog the rows with decreases and add a few extra rows of stockinette stitch before you redo the decreases. Trust me, it doesn’t take too long, and your recipient’s ears will thank you for it. When the hat is long enough, weave the ends of the yarn in on the inside of the piece, and voila! A hat!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Photo shoot with a 3-year-old

Guess this isn't the shot I'll be using to publicize the hat pattern.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


When we moved a little over a year ago, I was so excited to be back near my preferred quilt shop that I splurged and bought fabric for a bunch of different projects. Most of the projects are finished, but a couple were of the "not-such-a-great-idea" variety, and those have been sitting at the bottom of the to-do pile for months. The fabric would get used eventually, I figured, even if it wasn't in what I originally planned. But every time I looked at the fabric, I saw wasted $$. Good thing the pile kept getting deeper, so deep you could barely see the offending prints sticking out one side.

Then today I finished up a quilt top that's a prototype for a new pattern ... and also a gift for a friend who is expecting her first baby any day now. Most of my prototypes have muslin backs to save material costs, but since this is a gift, I wanted to find something a little jazzier. Most of the fabric for the front came from my stash, but I didn't think I had anything large enough left for the back ... but it was worth a try, if only to keep me from having to wake Lazy Kid to go to the fabric store before dinner.

After digging through my drawers of full-width fabric and finding nothing that wasn't too small or too ugly, I was ready to give up when I spotted one of the "not-such-a-great-idea" fabrics out of the corner of my eye. Yes, that $18 piece of red flannel was exactly the right color to coordinate with the quilt top, and it is - get this - exactly 2" larger than the top, all the way around.

For once I have exactly the right piece of fabric in my stash, exactly when I need it. Praise Jeebus and pass the ammunition, I may be able to finish this sucker after all!

Here's a sneak peek ... Kylie-Ann, don't scroll down unless you want to ruin the surprise!