Sunday, December 28

Laissez les Bonnes Temps...

Roulez, baby!

Dateline: New Orleans
We tore up New Iberia a couple of days ago and went hogwild in the Tabasco factory giftshop on Avery Island. Now, we're in New Orleans where Mr. Mary proposed to me at Arnaud's some 21 years ago. I've already visited The Quarter Stitch in the French Quarter and I'm hitting Garden District Needlework tomorrow. I saw a lovely Adirondack bamboo/silk in the chili pepper colorway, but it's a bit pricey for my recessionista blood. Maybe one skein... For souvenir stash. Meet us at Live Bait for lunch and I'll treat you to the 99 cent red rice and beans. Profitez en!

Wednesday, December 24

Seasoned Greetings: A Liberal Holiday Rhyme

'Tis the season to gather near
and celebrate a night so dear.
When red state and blue state, electronic vote and mail-in
welcomed Obama and said farewell to Palin

We light the candles and tend the fire,
as our economy darkens and the bills get higher.
Lion and lamb, sheep and goat,
acoustic and electric, analog and remote...
the table beckons as
we're truly grateful
for the deep discounts and sloppy seconds.
Let us grant the nattering nabobs of negativity
a place of peace in front of the Nativity.
Here's to Rachel and Keith,
Jon and Steve,
and don't forget Chris,
who helped us celebrate while Bush is in stasis.

We'll drink a toast--
better make that a double,
and thank George W. Bush for an


Happy Holidays, y'all!

Friday, December 19

Christmas Creep Scarf

Christmas Creep Scarf
Twinkle Handknits Soft Chunky, 200gms/83 yds, black

Thanks to the ever industrious elves at Ravelry, I found this pattern when I realized 2 days ago that I didn't have my traditional gift for my kid's teacher--a handknit scarf. It was important for me to knit one as this is the last year I'll do it. I have always knitted scarves for my kids' elementary school teachers, but have opted for end-of-year gift cards for the middle school bunch. So I grabbed a skein of the Soft Chunky at my LYS, came home, looked up patterns on Ravelry and, about 4 hours later, had this ready. The pattern is my old friend, the classic Turkish stitch, and it adds a nice texture to this super bulky yarn. The size 19/15mm needles are clunky, but with only 10 stitches, you can watch Law&Order, the evening news and The Daily Show and be done. 

Question: Is it rude to send your 50-year old divorced brother's girlfriend a Victoria's Secret giftcard labelled "To: Redneck's Girlfriend, Happy Holidays from Redneck's Sister" and you haven't met her yet?
All I know is that he's disappeared off the face of the earth, he's not deer hunting.... and I thought it would be pretty funny.

Thanks for the names for the sailfish. I thought Spike and William were great, but I'm going with......

Mr. Bill

Tuesday, December 16

Bookshelf Quilt and a Really Big Fish

It's done!
Bookshelf Quilt, adapted from "The Modern Quilt Workshop," by Ringle & Kerr (Quarry Press, 2005) Thanks to my goofy 12-year old for the photographic assistance.

I backed the quilt top with grey fleece and skipped the batting. This quilt is intended to cover my friend's legs in her favorite reading spot, not as a major bedspread. Quilting on fleece makes for a trapunto-like effect and I'm happy with the results.

This frees me up to finish Bandit's Keith Haring/Barking Mad sweater for Christmas and to transform my newly overdyed cashmere tunic (a super steal at an outlet shop) into a coat.

Big Fish, Big Box, Big OMG

I am one of those yee-haw! Texan females who can shoot, fish, quilt, knit and crochet. This is not as talented as one might think. I had an aunt who nailed rattlesnakes with a shotgun while wearing Ferragamos and had a regular poker game on Tuesdays at noon. Anyway, sometimes I like to get on a really noisy boat, work on a sock, and go deep sea fishing while on vacation.

I caught this sailfish off the coast of Puerto Vallarta last August. Normally, it's a catch and release deal, but this time the fish smashed the bait and swallowed the hook way deep. Uh, that means he was a goner. I've caught a lot of fish and released them, but this guy was special...I killed him. He deserved to be the first, last, and only trophy I ever plan to get.
I figured they could stuff the fish and mail it to me somewhere down the road.
So, they took pictures and measurements and made me a trophy.
It turns out that they normally don't use the actual fish as the skin will deteorate with time. They either make a plaster mold of the fish or use one similar to the dimensions of the caught fish. It's set in fiberglass and handpainted, like a custom surfboard or something.

This carton arrived yesterday. It took me longer to unpack this box than it did to catch the damn fish.

I thought I'd hang a few ornaments off of it and then knit up a 'billfish cozy.'

What should I name it?

Friday, December 12

Bouton d'Or organic wool
Bouton d'Or organic wool, organically dyed. 50gms total, aran weight

I came across this little egg carton appropriately titled "Mini MailleBox" (which loosely translates to "Mini StitchBox" in English) while cleaning up the "salon des arts decoratifs" which loosely translates to "craporama in the living room" in Texan. It comes with a pattern to make 6 little hats for soft-boiled eggs ("Les explications pour realiser 6 bonnets a coquetier").

C'est tres drole et malin, non?
(I ain't making no hats for no stinkin' eggs.)

Wednesday, December 10

Cheap & Cheerful, part 2

sewing Herbag coverLong ago and far away, I lived on the Left Bank in Paris. I was slim, chic and charming. Oh yeah, I had a husband obsessively writing a book about Hemingway, two very small boys underfoot, and a surly neighbor downstairs (aka Mr. Grognon). I learned to insult French taxi drivers(they're OCD about their Mercedes rides) and navigate the social nuances of park playgrounds. At some point in this Gallic wonderland, I celebrated my birthday with an impulse purchase of a "herbag" from Hermes. It's like their version of the Pappagallo bag in the 70s.
Herbag wood grain detailThe purse came with 2 covers, but to buy more you basically have to buy a whole new purse. And Hermes isn't exactly pushing this item. Sooooo, I saw this groovy wood grain oilcloth fabric at Craftorama and the lightbulb went off.
Herbag with wood grain oilcloth cover
Oh man, I am so going to pimp this bag.

Cheap & cheerful

I just love Ravelry. Especially when you see stuff like this. You have got to admire the brain behind that idea.

Stay tuned for "Let's Tie-Dye a Cashmere Sweater."

Friday, December 5

Quilts and Such

I have more UFOs than Whitley Strieber's imagination. There are cardigans, socks and shawls for me, a sweater for Bandit, patterns that have been matched to fabric or yarn, a future felted Christmas stocking now in it's third annual appearance, a granny square throw for me, a granny square throw for Anna, a granny square throw for the planet, and various items that I think I'll finish in time to sell at the local holiday craft festival next week.

Ah, well...I used to get stressed about this sort of thing and then I remembered that trick about imagining people naked. You know, the one where if you're nervous about speaking in public then imagine your audience naked. Well, my twist on this is to imagine all my projects as wild affairs only replaced by yarn and fabric...

You naughty mohair blend, behave! Ooooh, Herr Baumwolle, I'm all yours. Sturm und strang, eh? And as for you, you saucy little silk brocade, I'll see you later. Yep, I'm a serial crafter.
Lone Star in Provence
This is a quilt top that I finished last spring. It's a ginormous Lone Star with provencal fabrics around the points. I had even gone so far as to pin the top, batting and bottom layers together. This piece is 92 inches square. And there it sat in my living room. And sat. And sat. And then I looked in the yellow pages and found Legacy Longarm Quilters in nearby Georgetown, Tx. The quilt has now left the building.
Lone Star in Provence, detail As nature abhors a vacuum, I now have the mental chops to finish my Bookshelf quilt which I started, uh....awhile ago. This quilt was originally intended for my cream and black living room, but now it's the perfect housewarming/holiday throw for my friend, the librarian who can inspire any kid to read a book.
Bookshelf quilt
Some of these gifts will make it under the tree and some won't. I'll just cut a snip of yarn or fabric, tape it to a holiday card and give it to the future recipient.

UFOs:2009---here I come!