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February 26, 2006

my front door

stephanie tagged me lately for a view from my front door.

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english village, birmingham, alabama (summer, 2005)

this is a view from our apartment in the city. the neighborhood is beautiful, we love it there. the apartment is built in the early 30's. it is old but we love the view of this courtyard.

it is a perfect sunday morning here in alabama, mild weather and the birds are chirping. we are currently in our house in the suburb, where we stay on weekends only. our cats live here, they love it. and they will definitely miss it when we move away in a few weeks.

my cats love the woods. this is the place where we had found them about three years ago, the woods is their real home. they chase squirrels, birds and sometimes each other. they climb trees and i know they love their lives as cats!

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from the room i called " whispering pine", i can see them playing sometimes.
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speaking of my craft room... i'm still knitting, really! i started a pair of socks for husband, and am trying hard to finish the cobalt blue cardi. which i shall tell you more later this week. life has been busy.

February 22, 2006

courage

it took me two days to work up the courage to sit down with the machine and to start my sewing adventure. it was a friday night, after my husband had subtly taunted me with "so, when are you going to start sewing the skirt you have been talking about? huh? huh?".

the singer manual was barely twenty pages long (a good sign). i followed the diagrams, the arrows and everything, with occasional interpretations from husband (he is after all with english as his native tongue). twenty minutes later, i have successfully wound the bobbin, thread the top thread, put in the bobbin and tested out the tension (ahem, my machine has this super cool auto tension thing going, so this part is.. easy). then, i sew my first stitch!

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straight lines are boring, i love these patterns!

the beauty of sewing is that once you have got it right, the stitches look so professionally done every single time. i tested out a few stitch patterns and i love them all. husband even tried some out (he is a reckless fast driver).

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look! a bag!!

i even made my first bag out of some scrap fabrics with muslin as lining and all. i drew the seam line, pinned the fabrics and even finished the seams with some overcast stitches. i know they are all warped and uneven, but it is nonetheless a functional drawstring bag. i'm going to use it as my WIP bag for socks.

now i am ready to do the real sewing. i need tools.

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these are all the tools i have that can be used for sewing thus far. not much, i know. i am missing some essential ones, too. hege, who has been a wonderful help, strongly suggested that i get some tracing paper and wheels. so i did. now i think i'm ready to cut the fabric. this weekend i'm thinking.

still no knitting, sorry ladies. tomorrow, i'll show you some beautiful knits from the japanese magazines i've been blabbering about a few months ago. you won't be disappointed.

February 17, 2006

fabric stash

well into february and i still have yet to buy any yarn. but look at my newly acquired fabric stash... so much for this self inflicted discipline.

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amy butler, amy butler and more amy butler....

they are just as beautiful as fiber. after all, they are all fiber. i just looove these colors and patterns and flowers. they may be for quilting? no? i don't care. these are 100% cotton and they feel soft and look lovely on me. i don't care if i look like i'm wearing curtains.

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easy patterns from butterick and mccalls. hopefully, they are really "easy" for a novice sewer like me!

i have selected these patterns for the sewalong. tomorrow, i'm washing the fabric. while they are drying, i will read my sewing machine's manual and do some practice run with the 10 yard muslin i had also bought. in addition to my knitting library, i received this book from amazon to get me started on sewing. so far, i'm loving how clear and comprehensive this book is. beautiful photographs along with all the instructions, i suspect this may be the only book i'll ever need in order to learn how to sew. seriously.

stay tuned for more sewing adventure. if you are here to read about my knitting, not much for today.

i do have a knitting blog to share: pine cone lodge. my good friend hege has decided to share her knitting with the world. she is originally from norway and is a fabulous knitter. she knits fair isle, aran, and is a big alice starmore fan. we have talked about starting rowan's birch together... look how far along she has knitted already!!

hege also crochets, sews and has some serious fashion sense. you will love her.

February 13, 2006

lavender baby coat

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knit project: lavender baby coat and matching bonnet by erika knight
difficulty (1-5): 1.8
size: 12 mo
yarn: rowan yarn classic's cashsoft aran in foxglove
knitting specs: US 6 & 7 (jacket), US 5 (bonnet)

this is probably the best picture i can get out of the crappy back-up camera we have. the baby set for my new niece is fortunately cute enough that we can forget about the poor imaging quality. the lady at LYS directed me to this fabulous shop for some silk ribbons. i think the whole set matches up wonderfully with the ballet princess fabric i'm using as a wrapping paper. i wanted to sew that into a diaper bag, but my machine is not here yet. so, a piece of fabric is hopefully just as good.

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speaking of sewing machine... my husband has agreed to further support an additional hobby of mine. so we bought a singer machine (as pictured) for me!! buying a sewing machine is like buying a car, so many things to consider. however, since i'm just learning to sew, anything should be good enough for me. considering the altenative would be... hand-sewn!

i can't wait. i have already picked out some patterns for my first project. more later.

February 09, 2006

learn to sew

afterall, i do not need too much convincing to take up another hobby. in a few days, i will own a sewing machine, i will start stashing fabrics of amy butler and alexander henry.

i have also decided to join the sisterhood of this going to be fabulous sewalong.

still, is sewing difficult? more difficult than knitting? i have, like, zero sewing skills. but can't be that hard, can it? i guess i will find out in a few days. hopefully, by the end of this fabulous sewalong, i will own at least one beautiful floral skirt and have skills to make many later!

February 07, 2006

a new butterfly

this morning on npr's morning edition, they were talking about the paris fashion shows. is it spring already?

i have finished the lavender baby coat. the process was a bit messy and fumed with disparity. however, the end result was sweet. i even had some yarn left for erika's lacy bonnet, which was about half way done. i found some paper thin shell buttons for the coat, and more to sew on the bonnet. my little niece will be the most adorable princess.

our friends will mail our coats and camera back to us. so i will get a chance to photograph the baby set before sending it off. i know words can be convincing, but pictures worth a thousand words.

i have been slightly influenced by the sew-along that has been going on. the site is so cute and many of my favorite bloggers are participating. and i am envious of all those talented girls who knit and sew. maybe i do need a sewing machine. it is inevitable. yes, i need one. what would you suggest for a very beginner who knows nothing about sewing?

ah, i do need a skirt. a flouncy, floral, patchwork like skirt.

spring knitting is happening here really soon, after the cobalt cardi, the overdue alpakka sweater, my mind will be focused on this lacy cami.

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it is so 2005, but it is still pretty to me

a new butterfly in smoky grey! see, i have started a little already, with beads, too! now that the stores are flooded with spring hues and apparel, i may be able to find the most appropriate cami to layer with. bliss.

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February 02, 2006

to distract you from a pictureless post

it is amazing to me how much stuff one can accumulate over time. this phenomenon is especially true when it comes to yarn. fiber enthusiast's biggest joy and deepest sin. our common lust for yarn. argh!

i thought i was being very good and self-discipline for my stash. i never really buy yarn on a whim, usually i would have a pattern in mind. or, i would search out a pattern to justify the purchase (yes, it does sound like an excuse to buy yarn!). anyway, over time, i accumulated some stash. the other day i was mentally sorting through my stash, oh my goodness, i have enough sock yarns to make myself 10 pairs of socks. wow! this does not include yarns earmarked for sweaters, accessories, etc, etc.

it is really out of control.

so my most important resolution this year: no more yarns for me. i need to knit them all up, clear out my storage bin. wear my sweaters, socks, hats and scarves to make my time and money worthwhile. yes, very purist of me. i think i am on the right track so far... it's february and have not purchased any yarns. whoo hoo!

and i don't like to sell off my yarn, if i loved them enough to buy them at one point, selling them feels like a betrayal to my own feelings. i don't need to deal with such guilt. i love my yarn, they remind me of my past and bare a hope of flourishing into a lovable product in my future.