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[EDIT:  Some of you know my technological issues that I’ve had with my camera.  Please ignore the dates on these photos.  They’re just not right.  Some day I may figure out how to get the date-thingy to stay correct, but this is not my day!]

N’s socks are at last completed!  You may recall, I was having some trouble getting started with this pair of happy feet, but inspired by Shanda the diplady, these cute little tootsies were made.

 

N modeling her new socks

N modeling her new socks

I’d been having trouble with my Online Supersocke yarn (so I thought).  It kept splitting and just being generally naughty.  Well, Shanda was using size 1’s so I started over with size 1’s and what do you know, things started sailing along, once I got them going. 

Curious, I wanted to figure out what was wrong with the first try on size 3’s.  Lo and behold, there was a teensy tiny nick in the cord of my size 3 addi turbo lace needle.  So tiny.  I tried to take a photo to show you how tiny, but it wouldn’t turn out even on the close-up, close-up setting.  The document setting on my camera caught it though, Here’s the tiny nick, looking deceptively like a little harmless line in the cord:

 

Teensy nasty nick in the cord

Teensy nasty nick in the cord

Who knew that such a tiny nick could make such a big nasty mess.  Once I started using nick-free circulars, it was a much, much more enjoyable knitting experience, both for me and for all those around me who had been privileged to hear me muttered and grumbling with the nicky needles.

Here are a few more photos of the little masterpieces:

Getting there...

Getting there...

All done.  Happy feet!

All done. Happy feet!

Finished socks--not quite even, but pretty nonetheless!

Finished socks--not quite even, but pretty nonetheless!

Happy happy happy feet. 

Cue big, dramatic sigh from Husband, who wonders out loud when he will EVER get a hand-knit item completed for himself…

handmade-doll

(photo credit)

With the help of you and people like you, “Save Small Business from the CPSIA” was voted one of top ten ideas for change by Change.org.  As I understand it, these top ten ideas will be presented to president-elect Obama in an effort to encourage him to influence change in this over-reaching law that could effectively put an end to crafting and reselling handmade items for children. 

Some cool numbers:

  • This Cause was ranked in the top ten out of 7,847 ideas.  (Only the top ten get presented formally to the President).
  • There were 12,280 votes in the second round of voting by people out there just like you and me.  (Don’t ask me what happened in the first round, I came late to this party.  That’s a change.org question.)
  • There are currently 474 endorsements by nonprofits and bloggers, including me and many of my readers.  (Woo Hoo, Go us!)

This work is far from over.  The law is already on the books and set to go into effect on February 10th.  The key here is to mobilize to effect change from this point forward. 

Text from the change.org website informs us:

Over the next week we will be working with nonprofit sponsors for each idea, including 1Sky, Healthcare-NOW!, and The Peace Alliance, to craft national campaigns around each idea. In the meantime, we have opened discussion for how to most effectively turn each idea into a successful national campaign, and would love your suggestions.

There’s an area where you can make suggestions and give input regarding how/why handcrafted items should be an exception to the CSPIA’s prohibitively burdensome testing criteria.  If you’ve got a strong opinion about this whatsoever, I urge you to get involved, whether in this forum or another. 

We crafters and/or resellers are, in general, a pretty laid-back bunch of folks.  Usually, that kind of approach works just fine, thank you very much.  But please consider how this law would effect your ability and the ability of other crafters to make and distribute beautiful handmade items for children.  There is real (negative) impacton us with this legislation.  It’s likely that well-meaning elected officials didn’t consider how their vote for this messy law would effect people like you and me.  It’s not too late to let them know now.  Don’t wait.  Something can be done about this.

For more information on the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, also known as HR 4040, click on the following links.  And thanks!

https://shannonsays.wordpress.com/2009/01/09/sew-important-defend-your-ability-to-craft-for-kids/

http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia

Text of the actual Act: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsia.pdf

http://coolmompicks.com/savehandmade/

http://savekidsresale.squarespace.com/

A similar post tailored to resellers will be posted on one of my other blogs, What Matters Most, at http://matteringmost.wordpress.com/.

[EDIT:  Please note the first comment from Jon below, which gives GREAT information and an important link to follow regarding (different site, folks!) www.change.gov, which is another site you’ll want to explore, along with explanatory links.  Let’s stick together and get some stuff accomplished here!]

In my last post before I went AWOL, I told you about the children’s play that my youngest daughter was in.  You know, the one where I found out AFTER she was cast in the role of her dreams that the PARENTS were responsible for the costumes.

Go on, laugh, you children’s theater veterans.  Of course, the parents make the costumes.  They also make the sets, the programs, the props and basically, everything else.  But I did not know this, stage-mom-rookie that I was, so I was just a teensy bit surprised.  (For the record–no complaints here–our children’s theater group and its parent team are Incredible!)

Anyway, as I pointed out in my earlier post, my mom was called upon to save the day.  I really enjoyed watching her fly out of retirement and into action in her role of Costume Maker and Creative Genius Extraordinaire. 

Anyway, months later, but as promised, here are some photos of the (in)famous Lion Cub costume:

lion-cub-costume

Lion Cub Costume

Even the tail had a cute little hot pink bow on it! 

m-roar

M: "ROAR!"

This was certainly one of those masterpieces that you would never want to examine from the inside.  For all you costume makers, the bare materials were two gold sweaters from the Good Will and some fringe from the local fabric store.  We also took a headband with cat ears and sewed the matching fabric around the ears and band.  Hot pink accents, because, after all, she is a girl lion cub.  And a tail long enough for her to swing around and be a ham on stage (made of extra sweater fabric). 

Also, this play called for LOTS of sick monkeys.  The costumes were simple, but these little guys needed tails.  Now, I’m no expert knitter, but I did know how to make an I-cord, and in my world, a long enough I-cord was a monkey tail just waiting to be pinned on the behind of a monkey costume. 

These looked very complicated to the non-knitters, but ooh, so easy, and gave me a great reason to use some of my stash.  Here are the super-simple monkey tails:

monkey-tail1
100_1987

I-cord detail of the monkey tail

monkey-tail-model4

Our monkey tail model

Tip:  if you know of a community theater where they need costumes, but don’t have a resident knitter, a few night’s worth of effort and the added benefit of de-stashing will make you a hero as you make simple things that are really appreciated! 

One thing I’ve appreciated more and more this year is the value of being still and making things with my hands–especially with my children.  I think back to the times I sat with my grandmother while she knitted and with my mother while she made amazingly creative things for our home.  These are some of the best memories I share with these great ladies. 

grandma-hands   (photo credit)

 

It’s made me even more determined to be a memory-maker this year with my daughters. 

Last year I penned a list of observations and life lessons I learned through knitting–but they apply to sewing, crochet, and probably just about any other endeavor where you get to create something with raw supplies, some basic tools, your love, and your hands:

Sometimes more is gained from slowing down than from running harder.

Every big project starts with that first stitch.

Take time to spend with your parents and grandparents and children in a quiet, “agenda-free” setting.  Those are the times you’ll remember most when they’re not with you.

Things worth having are worth working for.

A teensy slip-up, ignored and not fixed, can turn into a great big hole and a nasty mess down the road.

It’s easier to fix a problem right away than to wait until later.

If something’s a real mess, sometimes it’s best to rip it out and start over from the beginning.

Enjoy both your results and every stitch of the journey to get there.

Finish well.

Homemade really is better.

Read the instructions.

Don’t panic when you realize you’ve messed up.  Stay calm and think it through and you’re on the way to fixing the problem.

Listen to advice from those that know more than you.

When Grandma says, “I can fix it, honey,”  chances are she really can.

When God said He knit you together in your mother’s womb, He didn’t use a knitting machine.  He did it stitch by stitch, purposefully and full of love.  And He didn’t make a single mistake.  (Here’s where He said that.)

For the original post, you can click here.

Happy 2009!

Wow!  I’ve received so much feedback from my first post back into blogland, that I am tickled pink!  N is very encouraged and, of course, I’m sure that Linda is secretly planning her autograph signing party for her new found fame! 

I have a sneaking suspicion that more than a little of today’s traffic has been from the Treadle On Angels themselves (my name for them, but I do say it sounds very cool and is quite fitting).  I wanted to make sure that everyone had a chance to know just how to reach these folks. 

Official flag of the Treadle On angels

Official flag of the Treadle On Angels!

You can hit this link to go to their organization’s homepage, which is a treasure trove of information, friendship and sewing lore.

And, just for fun:

Enjoy!

Okay, I know it’s been, well, months, since I’ve posted here, but believe me, I have some very good reasons.  Between hospitalizations, a vacation, the holiday frenzy, and lots of other assorted stuff, I’ve been well, Indisposed.  But now, we’re back and I’ll try to pick up (at least slightly) where I left off, craft-wise.  (I’d have to have gotten back to business eventually, as Kari has shamed me into writing again!)

One really big area where I was remiss in not posting was the incredible, awesome TOGA party that N and I went to back in October.  My friend Linda and her incredibly creative sister, Sharon, invited me to this gathering of sewing legends who are (seriously) experts in treadle and handcrank sewing machines.   Linda and Sharon’s sister, Frankie, was part of the party too, with her creative crocheting self.   Well, My daughter, N, and I went and we had a wonderful time! 

As you may recall, my daughter N, took a liking to sewing  and was sewing on a chainstitch TOY machine.  Enter, the Treadle-On Angels. 

We simply CANNOT have sweet little N sewing on that toy.  (Seriously, I knew no better, but N was happy, so who was I to interfere?)  Yet, these amazing men and women literally took us in, taught N to sew and (for real) gave, seriously GAVE,  N an antique hand-crank sewing machine.  (Very special thanks to Karen and her very special guest, Iz).

I cannot thank these incredible folks enough for the hospitality and generosity they showed us.  More importantly, as a mama, I can’t thank them enough for the huge round of applause they all gave N as she finished her very first real project!   WOO HOO!  Oh yes, she’s got the sewing bug now.   And even though our opportunities for any kind of new crafting have been minimal with our family’s recent illnesses, N’s still chomping at the bit to get back in there and crank that machine.

These people are the real deal.  They blessed my daughter and me more than they could possibly realize.  I am so grateful for the chance to attend their get-together.  Whether they knew it or not, it really was a life changing event for N.  Which always makes me happy.

Here are some neat pictures of the event:

 A quick PS to Karen:  if you’d like me to post the photo of Iz with the machine here, I would be happy to do so.  Just want to make sure it’s okay with you.  Also, if you would rather I’d just send the photo directly to you, just let me know.   🙂

(And I promise, more updates from other crafty-type things will follow soon!)

Well, I’m officially in Big Trouble.  My youngest daughter, M, has been witness to the excitement and enthusiasm surrounding N’s debut into the World of Sewing, and naturally, she will not be left behind.

So I dutifully drug myself to the nearest Hobby Lobby and purchased her a $15 Kids’ Singer (hot pink, of course) and some sale bin fabric.  She has announced to me her list of project goals and is more excited about learning to sew than eating or sleeping.  I’ll sneak some photos at least of the cute little machine (and my ever-expanding stack of sale fabric) tomorrow and get them online for ya.  But Big Trouble, with both girls wanting to sew now. 

Speaking of Trouble, the cute little LYS where the Yarn That Has Stolen My Heart is having a party/sale evening tomorrow and I’m being lured in that direction.  Don’t buy the yarn.  Don’t buy the yarn.  Don’t buy the yarn.  (I’ll have to let you know how this works out…)  Details about the object of my obession are here.

And then there’s Little Bit of Trouble:  M has the role of a cute little ornery lion cub in an upcoming children’s play in our area.  (Can you say typecasting?!)  And–Surprise!  Parents are responsible for the costumes.  Mom to the rescue (not ME, silly…MY MOM, the costume-maker and woman-who-can-create-anything, to the rescue!).  So the little trouble, is really trouble for which I have a partner in crime–team lion cub creators. 

I am also knitting monkey tails for the same play.  Really.  Monkey tails.  But seriously, once you learn to make an I-cord, you can’t really call making eight brown ones while destashing some of your old yarn trouble, can you?!

SO–I promise soon to post photos of:

1.  M’s new sewing machine, hopefully with her in action

2.  N’s latest sewing adventures

3.  The lion cub costume WIP

4.  The monkey tails

5.  Hopefully nothing from the yarn store–but if I break down, I’ll confess to it all here.  Seriously–I’m just going for a visit.

All it took is One Day of my Sewing Greatness, and N drug out her little old fashioned chain-stitch kids’ Singer machine.  The excitement was palpable:

“Will you teach me now, Mom?  Will you teach me now, Mom?  Will you teach me now, Mom?  How about now, Mom?” 

“N, honey, it’s bedtime.”  “It’s too early.  I haven’t even brushed my teeth.”   “I’m making dinner.”  “We’re getting ready to walk out the door.”

Undaunted and (amazingly, still) smiling, she approached The Meanest Mom in the World again today, machine in hand.  Finally, the result she was waiting for, “Sure.”

She got to know her machine by sewing stitches into rags.

N's First Sewing Lesson

N's First Sewing Lesson

And sewing, and sewing, and sewing:

A Proverbs 31 Woman in Training!

A Proverbs 31 Woman in Training

Then I cut her loose and she was on her own.  Left unchecked by my creatively-challenged self, she knew no bounds.  She made herself an emboidered vest. 

N's Vest

N's Vest

Of course she’s at her first day on the job, but really, how many of us grown-ups would have tried free-hand embroidery on our first day with a sewing machine?  You go, girl!
The B

The B

Ok, yes, this started out as a T-Shirt rag and first was envisioned as a vest for our dog, Belle.  (Which explains the bold letter “B” on the back.)  Belle was none-too-pleased with her new wardrobe, so N decided to keep her first creation for herself.  I told her the B should stand for Bold and Brave (thinking to myself that I never would have dared to create something with just a rag, some thread, a machine, and an idea). 

Her new career as a designer in full swing, N kept creating…

Behold, our cat, Cuddles, modeling her new vest (note the “C” emblazoned on the back):

Cuddles in her new vest

Cuddles in her new vest

 

Today at our house, we discovered that kids are amazingly creative and bold when adults can keep their instruction-reading, pattern-addicted, perfectionist-laden hands and minds at a safe distance. 

We also discovered that cats have more patience than dogs.

Good Kitty.

Good Kitty.

It’s definitely love.

Must Be Love

Must Be Love

 

Well, maybe not all cats. 

Pearl struggles to escape N's grip and her new outfit.

Pearl struggles to escape N's grip and her new outfit.

On that note: I hear the sewing machine running at the other end of the house.  Shhh….designer at work.  🙂

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