Monday, June 30, 2003

I am getting ready to shape the toe for my first sock! Nannette has been walking me through the pattern or I never would have made it! Thanks Nannette!!! It is huge! I have to keep reminding myself that I am knitting for my father who has congestive heart failure and diabetes. His ankles are terribly swollen. On top of that, he wears a size 14 shoe!

I think it will be nice for him to have some socks that fit his swollen feet. My Mom says his feet get real cold in the winter so I want to get these finished as soon as I can. I spun the yarn from merino fiber in mojave from Grafton Fibers.
Of course, being unable to "leave well enough alone," I decided I had to learn to knit the Continental way and started this half way through the foot. Knitting a new way unfortunately altered my tension. You can see that the sock increases in diameter part way down the foot. I hope it will even out with washing and blocking.

Tomorrow is Gabrielle's birthday. I made her birthday cake today. Not the best job in the world, but since Gregory can have nothing containing gluten (grain protein) or casein (dairy protein), I have to do all of our baking.

At least Gabrielle is happy with it!

My D1 sewing machine is all fixed and will be coming home tomorrow! I am so excited! Now both my serger and my sewing machine are in top working order and perhaps I will be able to finish Gabrielle's gold fish hand smocked dress!

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

If today's entry had a title it would be "Conquering the Charkha!" I started learning to charkha spin cotton yesterday and actually completed my first little skein. The Charkha is a Bosworth attache case.

My first charkha spun cotton is a small, 25 yard skein. I cannot believe how fast the charkha produces cotton yarn!!!

Fortunately for the sake of my pride, skeining hides a multitude of sins!

The kids and I are still pretty sunburned from the beach Monday. Gregory won't wear a shirt because it hurts his back, so we are home for the day. While I am turning out cotton yarn on the charkha, the kids are learning to use their spindles. Gregory (age 6 1/2) is doing an amazing job!

I showed him how to twirl his homemade toy wheel spindle with his fingers. However, Gregory has been watching me and immediately used the thigh roll instead.

Since watching spinning objects tends to calm autistic children, I suspect Gregory will soon be a prolific spinner!

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Happy anniversary to me! Kurt and I have been married 8 years today. To celebrate, the family spent the day at the beach yesterday. We had so much fun that it was almost worth today's sunburns! We snorkeled, body surfed, swam, built sand castles and relaxed. I added a couple of inches to my first knitted sock while my family stalked ghost crabs. (The sand of our beautiful beach is snow white and thus, much of the sea life is white as well. Thus the name "ghost crabs".)

We found a some nice sea shells while snorkeling.

It is extremely rare to find a whole clam shell. Typically by the time they are on the beach, you can only find them in halves. However, snorkeling in the waves can produce shells in much better condition. (Of course, Gabrielle promptly broke the shell into two halves soon after we brought it home.)

I especially love the design detail on the delicate little sand dollar I found beneath the waves.

The Lord is the Ultimate Artist! He etched the most beautiful flower like design onto the surface of the sand dollar, for no other apparent reason than to create beauty. Wow!

I finally finished sewing Gabrielle's dress for her birthday. The sewing went well until the end. The seams were all done with my Serger, a HV 936. The embroidary, pin tucks, entredeaux, etc. were done on my HV Designer 1. There are 12 embroidaries around the bottom of the skirt. After stitching about 2/3's of them, my touch screen went on the blink. I finished this dress on prayer alone and will be taking the machine in for repairs at the end of the week.

Here is a close up of the bodice. Though it is difficult to see, some of the bodice embroidary and entredeaux detail is carried to the sleeves.

I marked design details with pencil. Unfortunately, after washing the dress 4 times with every stain remover I know, the pencil marks remained. I have used pencil many times and this was the first time I have had this problem. Perhaps the "Hotwheels" pencil I borrowed from Gregory is different from my normal #2 pencils.

The biggest problem was the 1/8" diameter dots I used to measure each of the 12 lace embroidary designs. Despite all of the great advice I received from my online HV 936 friends, nothing worked to remove the marks. I finally sewed gold sequins and pink pearl beads over each of the marks. If I could not eliminate the problem, then I thought I'd cover it.

Here is a close-up of the problem area. I think it turned out well and you cannot tell the bead work was not intended. At least Gabrielle will get her dress next Tuesday for her 4th birthday!

Saturday, June 14, 2003

The projects from my "Works in Progress" list (photographed in their unfinished state a few weeks ago) are FINALLY getting done! I finished up my Ships Project submission yesterday, washed it up and it is almost ready to go into the mail!!!

I only knitted one hat and one pair of slippers. Considering my very basic spinning and knitting skills, I think they turned out okay. The yarn is Wensleydale and is one of my very first spinning efforts. This is also the first time I have ever knitted a hat or slippers. I am so grateful for my Spindler friends who have encouraged me to grow and expand my knitting and spinning skills.

Monday, June 09, 2003

I finally finished sewing my first swimsuit! YAY! I learned A LOT!!!

This picture is closer to the swimsuit's true color. For detail, the next picture is much better. It is too green however.

I made this swimsuit as a result of some weight gain over the past year. This suit is a size medium and is happily a bit too big. I hope I can get back into my size small soon! I have material for another one, which I will make a bit smaller. But first, I want to sew a dress for Gabrielle for her upcoming birthday.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Today, I pulled out the pot holders weaving looms I bought for the kids and I taught them to weave with nylon loops.

Gabrielle is not quite old enough to weave on her loom so I ended up doing most of her project. Gregory, on the other hand, really took to weaving and refused to stop. He wants to weave until his pot holder is finished! I am so glad since this is a great way to work on his fine motor skills! I want to incorporate more and more fiber arts into our homeschool program. I cannot imagine a better method to work on our fine motor skill development goals!!!