Archive | May, 2013

New Curtains for My Craft Room

31 May

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I finally got my curtains hung in my craft room! I’ve been asking my hubby to help me hang them because I needed to replace the rod. He kept telling me he would get to it, but never did. Finally, last Sunday, he called me while I was out running errands and told me he had hung the rod for the curtains. I was a little upset at first because I wanted them hung at a certain length so I wouldn’t have to hem the curtains. It turns out that I would have had to hem them anyways. So, I spend all day Monday (Memorial Day) hemming eight panels of curtains! Yuck! Not a very fun or relaxing way to spend a Memorial day. But the bright side of things is that my curtains are now hung. Yay! The curtains were purchased at Ikea last November. The double rob was purchased at Target. Above is the “after” picture of my room with the new curtains. The picture below is the “before” picture. The old curtains were in the room when it was once my daughter’s room, before she graduated from college and moved away from home.

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Struck it Rich… at Estate Sales

30 May

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Two weeks ago, my mother and I went to two estate sales in the Katy area. My mother and I often go to estate sales on the weekends and search for hidden treasures. Occasionally, I might find a vintage purse, a hankie or scarf, a piece of vintage Weiss costume jewelry, or perhaps a piece of American Fostoria to add to my collection. But normally we don’t find a much. EXCEPT for two weeks ago, when I hit the jack pot! I first want to apologize for not making this post sooner, but I’ve been a little busy lately with life in general. Anyways, we pulled up at the first estate sale and noticed no other cars were there. I checked my iPhone to see if perhaps I had the right address, right date, etc. I noticed then that this was the second weekend for the estate sale, which was a little strange, since most estate sales run for only a weekend. We had second thoughts, thinking there was probably nothing left, but then decided to take a look inside since we were already there. To our surprise, they seemed to have a lot of items still left in the house, so we started in the kitchen. In the kitchen, my mother found a glass bowl for my sister (who collects bowls) and I found some punch cups that match some glasses I already have at home. The name of the pattern escapes me at the moment. Everything was 50% off, so I bought the cups. Then we made our way to the living room, where I found a vintage knitting pattern book on a table. The lady working the check out table told me there was a whole bedroom filled with craft books. As I made my way to the bedroom, I was hoping that more knitting books would be found. To my surprise I ended up with 44 knitting/crochet booklets, most of which were vintage. Yay! I also found a few craft and sewing books.  I was so excited! Although I don’t crochet, I bought some crochet books anyways because I plan to teach myself someday. The picture above is just of half the books I found that day!

Next, my mother and I headed to the second estate sale, which was just about 5 minutes away. As we pulled up, we noticed a lot of cars. We walked in and saw a house filled with glasswares, collectibes, you name it, this person had it. As I walked into the kitchen/breakfast area, I saw it…. a vintage Necchi sewing machine! I’ve been searching for Necchi for a while now. My mother has one that my dad bought her when they got married, almost 50 years ago and it still runs like a dream. The model is a 525, which I’m not familiar with, but it’s definitely an older machine, made of heavy metal, and it says “made in Italy” on the front. It was marked $75, but once again, everything was 50% off! Oh my, what a steal! For $37.50 I got a Necchi machine and a cabinet! The only problem was it has no foot pedal, but I’m sure I can find one. I plan to take it in to Bob McDougal’s and have it serviced. They lady on the phone said she might have one in stock that will work with this machine. I can’t wait to get it serviced and try it out. I also found two candle holders in American Fostoria, at half price!

After our second estate sale, we had worked up an appetite, so we stopped at Los Cucos for lunch and split some chicken nachos. After lunch, we went into the tiny old part of Katy and went to an antique store. My mom found some replacement crystals for a lamp she has and I found a book called “My Valuable Yarn Book”, which I blogged about in a previous post. Valuable in deed! By brand, it list the ounces, yardage, fiber and class of each type of yarn. Since I knit a lot of vintage patterns, this book will be very valuable to me in helping me choose a current yarn brand for an old yarn brand the vintage pattern calls for.

Over all, we had an excellent day! I’m posting some pictures of all my goodies. Never before have I struck it rich with great finds, like I did on this day!

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Bryspun Plastic Needles

24 May

bryspunAbout two years ago, when we went to Auburn, AL for our daughters graduation from Auburn (War Eagle!!!), I decided to start a new knitting project. I started the Beekeeper’s Quilt because a friend of mine gifted me the pattern the morning we left town. I just couldn’t wait to get back home before starting it, so I stopped into a little yarn store in Opelika, AL called Yarnhouse Studios. While there, I purchased a skein of Berroco Sox and a set of double-pointed US4 knitting needles. The yarn store was very nice. The staff was very friendly and helpful, but the selection was much smaller than I was used to. Anyways, the needles I purchased were made by Bryspun, and at the time, I had never seen this brand before. It was the only double-pointed needles that they had in a size US4, so I thought I’d give them a try. After knitting with these needles, I will tell you that I love them. They are slightly flexible, so they are easy on the hands. They are very smooth to knit with and I love the tips. Also, my yarn slides on them well, without grabbing too much, yet they aren’t slippery. To top it all off, they are made in the USA and I love buying things made in the USA! That being said, when my mother mentioned the other day that she needed new needles and that she prefered not to use metal. I quickly suggested that she try Bryspun and that I had recently seen this brand here in Houston at a local yarn store.

My mother met me for lunch on Wednesday and we decided to stop in to the local yarn store to search for her needles. I won’t mention the yarn store we shopped at because I normally enjoy going in there, but this trip was not so enjoyable at all. As we walked in the door, a girl hopped up from the table and greeted us and asked if she could help us find something. I told her that my mother was looking for some new knitting needle and that she prefered plastic, and before I could finish asking if they still carried Bryspun, she blurted out, “Plastic??? (with a look of discuss on her face as she wrinkled her nose), Seriously??? Most knitters don’t use plastic!”. I was shocked by her attitude but I politely finished my sentence and said, “You used to carry Bryspun, do you still?” She showed us to the Bryspun needles and then left us to browse the store. I was so shocked at her rude, sarcastic attitude towards plastic needles. Two days later, and I’m still thinking about it and I can still hear her saying “Plastic??? Seriously?” and I can still see her wrinkled nose, as though she had just smelled rotten garbage. So now I ponder… are plastic needles considered inferior is some way in the knitting world? Are plastic needles the “acrylic” of yarns? Does it make me less of a knitter because I sometimes knit with plastic needles? Do my projects turn out differently because they were knit with plastic needles? I’m now so confused.

Let me just say, that I enjoy knitting with all kinds of needles. I’ve never been a fan of wooden, but I do have some and I do use them from time to time. I actually prefer the metal needles that are coated. My favorite needles are Aero-Bernat, but they are very hard to find here in the US unless you can find them in a thrift store or eBay. I did see them for sale on a website once, it was a Canadian website, but they did ship to the US. I’ve tried all brands too. I dp like my Addi Turbos, because they are nice and smooth to knit with and I love the tips, but the metal they use for their needles make my fingers stink. I know that you are thinking I’m weird, but it’s true! I can’t knit with them without having to go wash my hands right after. I also like knitting with KnitPicks needles and that’s normally what I’ve ordered lately, when I come across a needle size I don’t have.

So, I ask you, my readers…. Do you ever knit with plastic needles? Do you think plastic needles are inferior to wooden or metal needles? Have you tried the Bryspun brand and if so, how did you like them? I’d love to hear from you on the subject! Thanks in advance!

My Valuable Yarn Guide

23 May

Valuable1Last weekend was the best day for thrifting at estate sales and antique stores! More about that later in my next blog post, but I wanted to blog about my one find at an antique store, because I’m super excited about it. I found a copy of “My Valuable Yarn Guide”, ninth edition, 1988 Fall/Winter. Valuable indeed! The author is unknown and I have no idea who published this booklet. I had never seen or heard of this little booklet before, so I was curious when I saw it and picked it up. On the front cover is a conversion chart with ounces, grams, yards, and meters. Also the conversion of knitting and crochet needles and the different sizes. The inside cover lists all the different fibers that different yarns are made of, the raw state from which they come, the conductivity, strength, shrinkage of the yarn and even the flame test results of each type of yarn. The first few pages of the booklet talk about caring for your yarn and proper washing methods, etc. It also talks about how to substitute different yarns and interchange the yarns within a pattern. A glossary is also included. Then, the remaining of the book (the majority of the book) is a printed database of yarn brands, the name of each different type of yarn, its class, yardage, gauge, needle size, grams, and fibers and percentages of each yarn! This is amazing! I love to knit vintage patterns and often the vintage yarns are hard to find, so this is a wealth of information that will help me to decide what other kinds of yarns can be substituted in a pattern. For example, say a vintage knitting pattern calls for Spinnerin Yarn, Charisma. I would look under “Spinnerin”, then look for “Charisma”. I would then see that Charisma was a sport weight yarn and there was 100 yards (29 grams) per skein and that it is made of 56% acrylic and 44% nylon. How cool is that??? So out of curiosity, I did a search this morning on the internet for other copies of My Valuable Yarn Guide, and I found only two on Amazon for sell, starting at $29.99 and up. I paid $4.95 for my copy! What a bargain! I know that I will refer to this booklet time and time again and I’m so glad to have found it. It’s awesome when you find something that you didn’t even know existed and you know it will be so helpful in the future!

Vintage Baby Blanket

14 May

blanket4A friend of mine from work and his wife, were expecting their first child. When I heard the news, I knew I had to knit him/her something and it had to be from one of my vintage patterns. After all, I haven’t had the opportunity to knit for a baby in a long time. I flipped through all my vintage baby knitting booklets and found an adorable knitted blanket with a satin edging. Since they didn’t want to know the sex of the baby until it was born, I thought a knitted blanket would be a perfect gift. Plus, the baby would get to use the blanket longer, since it was something that he/she wouldn’t out grow quickly.

My friend has seen me knitting before and commented that most yarn gives him the creeps, since his fingers are always rough and dry. So while shopping for yarn, I found some super soft yarn. Surprisingly, it was made by Red Heart and it’s called “Soft Baby Steps”. I chose white, since the sex was not known, and for the fact that the white satin would match nicely to the white yarn. So I immediately casted on and went to knitting. The knitting part was finished in about two weeks, and that was with me only knitting for a few hours in the evening.

I decided to lightly block the blanket because the salvage edges were curling badly and I was having a hard time pinning the satin edging to the blanket. I soaked the blanket in cool water, patted dry with a towel and stretched, just slightly to make the blanket flat. I was careful not to stretch too much, because I wanted the satin binding to look nice once the recipient washed the blanket. After the blanket was dry, about 2 days later, I pinned the statin binding to the blanket, placing the edge of my knitting into the crease of the binding. I made sure all the corners were folded in the same directions. Then I hand stitched the binding to the blanket. I thought it would look nicer to stitch one side of the blanket, then flip it over and stitch the other edge of the binding to the blanket, instead of trying to catch both sides all at once. I’m very happy with the results! I also stitched the creases on the corner now, so little fingers and toe wouldn’t get caught. It was finished just in time, one day before little Charlie made his appearance. Charlie was born on May 1st at 8 AM and weighted 9 lbs 3 oz.. Welcome to the world little Charlie!!! I hope you will enjoy your new blanket made especially for you!

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Happy 93rd Birthday Grandma

9 May

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My grandmother turns 93 years old today!  She has crocheted for as long as I can remember, and is still crocheting today.   She crochets baby blankets and donates them to a local hospital for the new-born babies.  Last summer, I had the opportunity to sit with her for the day and we spent the whole day crafting (me knitting and her crocheting) and chatting.   She’s seen a lot in her years and has a lot stories to tell.   I hope she has a fantastic day!   She’s so cute… I love my grandma!