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Okay, so this is probably the FUNNIEST COMMERCIAL I have ever seen.  I think the one on TV actually was a little longer than this, but you’ll definitely get the idea!

If you’re a knitter, you’ll be crying with laughter in 16 seconds…

Warning:  knitters go to the potty BEFORE you click the link:

Probably the Funniest Commercial I Have Ever Seen

HA HA HA HA

Photo Credit

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While knitting N’s socks, I had a breakthrough in my continental knitting style

May Dishcloth by allie1123488.

(not my hands, photo credit here)

When I learned to knit, I learned the traditional (American) way, holding the yarn in my right hand.  Then, while taking a sock class with Kari, I met a couple really neat knitters who were SO FAST while making their socks.  Watching them closely, I saw they were holding the yarn with their left hand.  Continental knitting, one of these amazing women explained to me, as her hands handled that yarn like Dash from the Incredibles, zooming through her sock project at warp speed.

(photo credit)

So the week between classes, I determined to learn continental (translation:  speed knitting, for us Type-A knitters).  I got onto knittinghelp.com, and slowly learned this backwards-feeling method.  I would have quit for sure if it had just been a theory, because it felt so awkward, but I had seen with my own eyes the speed when it was done right.

Well, I did manage to teach myself to knit continentally, but (silly me) I did it on the second sock of that project.  As a result, I had one normal-ish sock and one very-loosey-goosey-new-methodly-knitted sock.  Normally, I am a very tight knitter.  (Result of my type-A personality, no doubt).  But this continental method was So Loose.  After that project I sized-down my needles to get the right guage.

Now, if you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you know that by this point, I’d made two pairs of socks that Just Are Not The Same Size.  The first pair was mismatched because I was getting used to those blasted giant toothpick dpn’s and it was my first lesson in Tension.  The second mismatched pair was the intro to continental knitting, which was made during my sock class with Kari, who chronicled her journey with the Stupid Sock from that class through a series of hilarious posts. 

And now there’s N’s latest pair of socks.  Mismatched Pair Number 3.

N's socks looking not quite even

N's socks looking not quite even

The photo (mercifully) doesn’t show just quite how mismatched these socks are… 

See, what happened is somewhere near the end of the first sock, I got my groove regarding continental knitting.  Seriously, it FINALLY became easy and all of a sudden, there was my guage again, just like with the American knitting method.  How refreshing to be all (up)tight again. 

The problem, of course, is that the first sock was almost finished and the second sock was made with an entirely different guage.  I toyed with the idea of ripping that first sock out and doing it over again, but even I couldn’t bring myself to do that.  N is still pretty happy, and I figure I can always semi-felt the suckers if they get pulled too far out of shape. 

But the problem with My Continental Groove does cut a little deeper.  See it affects…The Husband.  The Husband’s Sweater.  I started this sweater months ago and set it aside because frankly, it just got to be So Boring.  This was all fine, until I got my groove.  Now, I’m going to get to finish this sweater while trying to ungroove my groove.  I know I could just change needle sizes, but what fun would that be really?

I’ll either figure it out or else poor, poor Husband will get a nice big sweater with little-bitty sleeves.  Either way, I’m sure he’ll love it.  🙂

[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…

I love making socks.  But with all the hassle-bassle-rassle-snassle we’ve been going through lately, I hadn’t had a chance to start a new project. 

Well, the hassle isn’t over, but I decided to go for it and try some socks for N in the Online Supersocke yarn that she had picked out ages ago. 

Tried with size 1’s.  Didn’t look right.  Riiiippp.  Frog.  (Ribbit.)

Tried with size 3’s.  Too big.  Too weird looking.  Riiiiippp.  Frog.  (Ribbit, ribbit.)

Looked for size 2’s.  Grrrr.  Nope.  No size 2’s.  While that might at some point merit an Excuse To Go To My LYS at some point in the future, it wasn’t helping me right then. 

Then I stumbled upon dipladyknits, and it appears Shanda was not having the splitting, nasty experience with her Very Same Yarn.   She was great about responding to my comments to her post, and inspired by Shanda the diplady, I decided to go back to the size 1’s. 

After a couple more false starts (don’t you hate getting those stitches twisted or dropping stitches really early on), I finally started zipping along, and was in The Zone.

So here it is–(Take 5) the beginning of N’s sock.  On size 1 addi turbo lace 34″ cable–magic loop method. 

 ns-sock-leg-almost-done

I do love the magic loop–so easy peasy, never dropping those stinking giant toothpicks (a.k.a. double pointed needles) or knitting onto the wrong needle and having to tink (knit backwards one stitch at a time) back the mangled mess to get it back on the right needle! 

And it does fit N’s foot (well, leg), so all is well for now.

More pics later as the masterpiece progresses.

This little bear and what he stands for is VERY important to anyone who values making handmade items, or even giving or selling vintage or resale items to children:

Save Handmade Children's Items

Save Handmade Children's Items

Link to Really Important Information About the Concerns Regarding the New Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act

I first heard of this pending legislation today and, let me tell you, I’m very concerned.  Kudos to Kari for finding this button and the site that explains in layman’s terms the new Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, or HR4040, which is the cause of serious concern. 

This act, which takes effect on February 10, 2009, places tremendously prohibitive and punitive requirements on sellers and resellers of children’s goods, including, but not limited to handmade items.   In addition to toys, clothing, furniture and books may also be effected. 

In the words of the email I received today:

HR4040 is a retroactive rule mandating that all items sold for use by children under 12 must be tested by an independent party for lead and phthalates, which are chemicals used to make plastics more pliable.
 

All untested items, regardless of lead content, are to be declared “banned hazardous products.” The CPSC has already determined the law applies to every child’s item on shelves, not just to items made beginning Feb. 10.
 

The regulations could force thousands of businesses; especially smaller ones that cannot afford the cost of lead testing; to throw away tons upon tons of children’s clothing, books, toys, furniture and other children’s items and even force them to close their doors. All of these items ending up where; landfills!

The ban of these items appears to extend beyond the retailer and could be construed to include esty.com shops, ebay sales, resale shops, flea markets, garage sales, thrift stores, pregnancy assistance clinics, hospitals, and gifts. 

This is appalling on its face, of course, but as we consider the dire predictions our president-elect made about our economy today, thift store, resale and garage sale shopping, in addition to making and using or gifting children’s items, could be the only way that many “ordinary” families (like ours) are able to survive this challenging economic season for our country.

More from the same email regarding the penalty phase of this legislation:

However, the HR404 has taken measures to such extremities that its effects may be more horrendous than its “good intentions”.  Estimates testing for each clothing article can run between $300 and $1,500. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it may consider exempting clothing and toys made from natural materials such as wool or wood, but paint and dyes on the products are still required to be tested.  But seriously, what and how many kids’ articles are made of 100% wool or wood?  What kind of kid is going to wear a super-itchy 100% wool sweater?  Due to such costly testing, shops that sell used books may be forced to close their doors.  Second-hand, consignment , and thrift stores may be forced to close their doors.  Folks with home and on-line businesses that make specialty kids products may have to close down.  The act’s broad wording could extend to children’s items sold on eBay, Craig’s List, Amazon and even garage sales; also sources of income for many families.  February 10th, 2009 will be “National Bankruptcy” day.
 
 
 
 

 

This is a very, very serious situation for crafters and families of young children alike.  The folks at this link  give some GREAT action steps that you can take to make a difference.  

In addition to giving resources for contacting your representatives, they also encourage us to “vote for amending the law on Change.org, digg style:If it makes the top ten proposals, it will be presented to President Obama in January!” I urge you to click through and do you 60-second part to help ensure that this abysmal and harmful piece of legislation is NOT signed into law. 

Here is a link to the actual legislation.  It is 62-pages and I must disclose that I did not read every bit of it before passing this information along.  I will be reading it thoroughly and if after doing so, I believe that anything I’ve written here is in error, I will update with a correction immediately. 

But for now, please act quickly.  Time is of the essence if you want to maintain your rights to craft for kids, resell your rocking horse, or even donate that lightly-used coat to a needy child who would otherwise freeze after February 10th.

Note:  The majority of the content of this blog post also can be found at my blog, What Matters Most.  Normally, I do not duplicate posts between blogs, but I considered this topic so vastly important to both the distinct and different readership, that I thought it merited appearing in both places.  Thanks for your understanding.
EDIT:  The Consumer Products Safety Commission has a link on their website that gives some clarification as to the intention and enforcement of the CPSIA.  The key, I think, especially important if you make a living selling crafts or resale items, would be to look to the actual language of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.  If there was ever a question of interpretation, the Act would be looked to first.  Be informed of the whole picture–especially if this is part of the way you feed your family.
And Melissa, thanks so much for the update and the link!  🙂
And a link to an LA Times article discussing HR4040  (thanks Ann)–it seems there may be improvements for resellers, but I still can’t see how those who handcraft children’s items are protected with these revisions/clarifications.  I’m could be missing something.  Or it could just be that the resellers are screaming louder about the effects of this than the crafters.  Stay informed! 

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.

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