Project Linus – Blanket #25

Project Linus Blanket #25:

Project Linus Blanket #25 8-30-19


I can’t believe that this is the 25th blanket I’ve crocheted for Project Linus! Of course, looking at my stock of yarn it seems like I haven’t crocheted nearly enough to justify the stash! Oh well. This one I have named, “Shorted” because the poor thing was shorted all over. I don’t know if I didn’t calculate correctly or what, but I was a row and a half short of finishing the designed stripe when I ran out of the denim colored yarn. Then I ran out of the variegated yarn three rows short of finishing the end. I think that I might have even cut down the width of a stripe or two in order to stretch the yarn a little farther.

Project Linus Blanket #25 Detail

The light kind of washes the colors out, but I think you get the idea. The good thing with this blanket was that I didn’t have much to put back into my stash when I was done. I did have to dig through my yarn to find another blue skein (which I happened to have), so that was one good thing about having so much yarn. Otherwise I would have had to mix yet another blue color in it.

It is currently covered in cat hair, though. Chester has decided to claim this one as hers since I so unceremoniously got rid of the other ones she enjoyed. Life is tough.

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Woodworking: It’s Rather Pressing

Okay, the subject today is a horrible pun. Today I wanted to show off the pressing tools that Jay has made me for my sewing room. Since all of September is National Sewing Month I’m doing my best to relate all posts back to sewing in some fashion. It may get a little trickier in the next few weeks, though.

First off, we have some progress on the Airplane Lean-To.

Friday evening Jay fitted the plywood to the wall frames and I painted them.

Lean-To Painted Walls 9-14-19

I had left over porch paint, so that’s why they are gray. Also, our house is gray so I hoped it would help them to blend in.

We also fitted the floor plywood and I painted that as well.

Lean-To Painted Floor 9-14-19

Then, of course, we had a terrific thunderstorm overnight (despite the fact that none of the weather I listened to mentioned anything about it). Luckily, the walls and floor were okay. So we soldiered on.

I helped Jay stand the walls up and then I worked on other yard projects while he worked on the roof.

Lean-To Framed 9-14-19

When we were originally discussing this project I told him that it had to be below the window. It barely makes it! You look out the window and all you see is roof.

Have I told you how lucky I am that Jay loves me? I am constantly going to him and asking, “Would you be able to make me something like this?”

A Sleeve board.Padded Sleeve Ironing Board

This sleeve board can be found on Amazon for $40. It is made by Newhouse Specialty Co. I have wanted a sleeve board for a while just for the simple fact that when I’m making smaller things like purses or bags, it would be nice to have a smaller board that the purse could actually fit over for pressing. So one night I was doing some research online and came across this blog with files that you can actually download and use for templates. I quickly downloaded the file and printed it out. After showing Jay a finished picture and explaining how it was used and how I was going to use it he whipped up a sleeve board.

Sleeve Pressing Board 9-15-19

I wanted a really deep throat on it in case I have longer sleeves or a deeper bag to iron on this. I also explained that the arm has to be able to support some pressure being placed on the end of the diving board.

Sleeve Pressing Board 2 9-15-19

I am very happy with how it turned out. I will do some finishing sanding on it and then cut some cotton batting and flannel to pad the top. I like the big, flat bottom because I really only need the one smaller surface for ironing. This should work perfectly.

The next pressing tool that I wanted: Tailor’s Point Presser

Tailors Point Press Clapper

This particular one looks like it’s made of oak. It can be purchased on Amazon for $34.95. It is made by Jackson’s Woodworks, LLC. A quick glance at their site shows a lot of well-made pressing tools. Luckily, I have my own woodworker in house. I found a template for one of these on Serger Pepper‘s blog. I downloaded the pdf, printed it off and gave it to Jay. Again, I showed him a finished picture and explained why I wanted it.

Tailors Point Press Clapper 9-15-19

He used the template that I gave him and I think it looks great. He’s worried about how pointy the nose looks, but I like it. I need to do some finishing sanding so I can round it out a bit, but I wanted it a bit pointier so that when I’m turning things inside-out I can use it to better press the corners.

Tailor's Point Press Clapper Top 9-15-19

This picture makes it look a little pointier, but I’m going to sand it down a bit. Don’t worry. I won’t put my eye out with it.

Didn’t he do a great job? Considering he’d never laid eyes on these kinds of tools before I showed him the templates, he did a wonderful job. I am incredibly lucky to have such talent at my disposal. If you’re interested, I will rent him out for a small fee. 😉


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Warm Embers Cardigan – 9-13-19

It’s amazing that all of this:

IceY Batik Chunky Blk-Gry-Wht 7-16-19

Can turn into this:

WEC Two Sleeves 9-4-19

No, I haven’t finished it yet. I have a few more projects lined up so I will be happy when I CAN say that this is done. Since September is National Sewing Month, this blog post contains some sewing shots.

Please keep in mind that I’ve never crocheted a garment, let alone one that has to be sewn together. Up to this point I’ve mainly done blankets and shawls. This cardigan has been quite the learning experience for me.

In fact, I was so unsure of my abilities that it took me a while to begin to sew the pieces together. When I did, I made sure to have a reference book handy for any questions that I might have along the way. The first step was to sew the front pieces to the back.

WEC Sewn Seam 9-3-19

The pattern said to only sew 7.5″ together. I’m quite happy with my first seam.

WEC Shoulder Seams Sewn 9-3-19

The second seam worked out okay, too. I was nervous about sewing the sleeves on, though. Sleeves are a pain to sew on regular garments so I figured they would be a pain on this garment, too.

WEC Sleeve Seam 9-4-19

That is the outside of my shoulder seam. Not too shabby! My necklight is washing it out a bit, though. I had Jay take an “action” shot so that you could see the setup that I was using to sew this cardigan together.

WEC Seam Sewing 9-3-19

I call this yoga position “Downward Facing Seam Sewing.” I asked Jay if I could tell people that I had my yoga mat out twice in one day, but he says that it only counts if you’re using it to actually do yoga. Using it to cushion your butt and knees doesn’t seem to count. I had to use the floor so that I would have enough room to spread everything out and matched up nicely. You can see my necklight hanging, too. That thing is wonderful! I don’t have any overhead light in that room (Jay doesn’t like a lot of light), so the LEDs around my neck are perfect.

With the sleeves sewn on the next step is to sew up the sides and add the pockets and hood. Here’s hoping that my knees hold out!

WEC Sewn Sleeve 9-4-19

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Lean-To Progress!

Remember a long time ago when I said that we were going to finally use this space next to our house?

Beside the house 5-9-19

I said that we were going to build an airplane-storing lean-to in this spot? And remember that Jay had managed to get this far on it:

Floor Frame 5-18-19

And then this happened:

Jay's Broken Foot 5-30-19

So the lean-to never got built over the summer and the room that I want to turn into my sewing room still looks like this:

Pink Room 6-21-19

We have finally started to make some progress! This past weekend Jay found his notes on the lean-to and put together a shopping list. We came home with a bunch of OSB.

Lean-To OSB

Jay cleaned up the area beside the house and removed part of the chain link fence that runs from our house to the neighbor’s portion of fence. Then we threw down some 4×4 posts, leveled them out, and placed the floor frame on them.

Lean-To Floor Straddling 9-7-19

I think this is 65″ wide and very long. Somewhere in the 10-12′ neighborhood. I don’t keep track of the details. I’m just the muscles when needed.

Lean-To Floor 9-7-19

When we eventually move I have no idea how we’re going to get it out, but I guess that’s a worry for another time.

We placed the wall frames on it just to see what it will kind of look like…

Lean-To Framing 9-7-19

You won’t be able to stand upright in it unless you’re very short, but Jay wasn’t allowed to take the roof any higher than the bottom of the window. There’s not going to be much of a slope on the roof, but luckily we don’t get a whole lot of snow on that side of the house.

But we have some progress! It’s so exciting! I’ve got my miniature room out again and am playing with the plastic pieces to try to figure out where I’m going to want things set up. I can’t wait!

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First Attempt Sewing a T-Shirt

Since it’s National Sewing Month, and also a long weekend, I decided to try sewing a long-sleeved t-shirt. I’ve never worked with knits before so I wanted to give it a try.

I’ll give you a head’s up that it didn’t turn out perfect. In fact, far from it! But I learned a lot. Especially since I’m using an older model Singer Merritt machine that doesn’t have all of the fancy stretch stitches.

Singer Merritt 2404

I knew that my first try wouldn’t be a spectacular success and I didn’t want to waste good fabric on it, so I bought one of the new ‘5 Yards for $5’ bolts that Wal-Mart sells. This is a gray ribbed 100% polyester.

Cheap Knit Fabric 9-1-19

I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but I figured it would give me some experience trying to figure out how to sew knits on my machine. Chester decided that she needed to do some Quality Control, though, and checked out the fabric.

Chester QA 9-1-19

The Butt Quotient was good, but it’s not the most stringent QA test. She really wanted to put it through its paces, so she put it through the Napability Factor test.

Chester Sleeping 9-1-19

(Look at that sweet face!)

After it passed all quality inspections I threw it in the washer so that if there was any shrinking to be done that it would happen before cutting out my pieces.

Tip #1 – Before washing lengths of fabric in preparation for garment sewing, either serge or zigzag the cut edges of fabric that is prone to fraying. This will help prevent some big messes and make the fabric neater when you pull it out of the dryer.

Serging Cut Edge 9-1-19

(I had an unrelated cut of flannel that I wanted to wash with the gray polyester)

The pattern that I decided to use was one that came with the Sewing With Knits class that I had purchased on Craftsy a few years ago (now known as Bluprint). This is a pdf pattern that you print out on 8.5″ x 11″ paper and then tape together.

Printed Pattern 9-1-19

I had decided that I wasn’t going to cut the pattern out of these papers. Instead, I would trace it onto blank paper so that I can use this pattern again for other sizes if I wanted.

Tracing Out Pattern 9-1-19

Tip #2 – use washi tape to tape your pattern to your surface so it won’t move. Then, again, use the washi tape to tape your tracing paper on top of the pattern. The washi tape has enough adhesive to hold the paper down, but you can easily pull it off the paper without any damage at all. The other great thing is that you can peel it up and reposition your paper if needed and it will stick again when you move it into the next spot.

Look for washi tape in the clearance areas of your local craft stores, or look for really great deals on scrapbooking supplies (this is where you’ll find it). Today I found some more washi tape marked down to $1.97 at JoAnn Fabrics and Hobby Lobby also had some marked down to $1.49 (it was originally $4.99).

Washi Tape 9-2-19

The color and pattern doesn’t matter because you’re just using it to temporarily hold down some paper. I’ll keep these in my sewing supplies drawer.

Once I was finished with the pdf pattern sheets I folded them up and put them in a clasp folder. This way I have all of the pieces together when I need to retrace it or use it again.

Pattern Envelope 9-1-19

I could have made either a V-Neck or Scoop Neck t-shirt. I chose V-Neck (because why not try the hardest version on your first try??). I could also choose between short, 3/4 length or long sleeves. I chose the long option.

Before I show you the mostly finished garment, let me remind you that this is the first time I’ve ever tried to use a stretch knit fabric. It technically is the first time I’ve ever tried to make myself a blouse or shirt of any kind. I knew that it wasn’t going to be great, but I was using cheap fabric so I didn’t have high hopes.

V-Neck T-Shirt 9-2-19

As you can see, the V-Neck part of my shirt sucked. To be fair, by the time I got to this part of the pattern I knew that I was going to have a very bad neck. I tried on the shirt before putting the collar on and realized that it was WAY lower than I liked. Also, when I saw the picture of the finished shirt it was always on a very skinny model.

In order to be comfortable with this, I would want to redraft the pattern to have wider shoulders, a higher neck and slightly bigger sleeves. The sleeves felt good around the biceps, but they were form-fitting around the lower arms.

V-Neck T-Shirt 2 9-2-19

It definitely hugs the boobs and the hips, but the top is just too floppy. There’s not enough material for my tastes on the front.

V-Neck T-Shirt Back 9-2-19

Maybe it would be different if I tried the scoop neck version? But I doubt it. The puckering around the collar is due to the multi-stitch zigzag that I tried to use for top stitching. My machine is old enough that in order to try some fancy stitches I have to change out cams in the machine.

I didn’t hem the sleeves or the bottom because I didn’t think it was worth it for this top. I might wear it around the house, but I probably won’t try to fix this one. I also don’t think I’ll try this pattern again. It just isn’t meant for a chubby girl.

However, this is to show you that things don’t always work out perfectly. The good thing is that it was a great learning piece. I have a couple more t-shirt patterns that I might try to make soon. I have more of this gray fabric so I’m going to give it a try. The fabric isn’t great, but it makes for good practice material.

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Labor Day Air Show – 2019

This weekend was the annual air show that we always attend. At least, we’ve attended it together since we started dating. Before that, Jay would attend it with his dad or uncle.

Me and Jay 9-3-11

This year it was the Thunderbirds turn to be the show-closing act. I’m more of a Blue Angels fan considering I’m married to a Navy guy.

The program ran along the same lines as in previous years.

The Jet Truck was there:

Jet Truck 8-31-19

They had the A-10 Warthog Demo (my favorite jet!):

A-10 Warthog 8-31-19

A-10 Warthog Inverted 8-31-19

They had a C-130 demo:

C-130 8-31-19

C-130 Demo 8-31-19

Something new was the skytyping group of Texans:

Air Writing Planes 8-31-19

What they did was pretty neat.

Type Writing Planes 8-31-19

And then after cannibalizing Thunderbird #2’s jet and flagging down a passing ERJ-135 for a jump start, the Air Force had an FU-35 fly a demo:

FU-35 8-31-19

So, yeah… Thunderbird #2 was MIA but nobody ever said why. They had one woman pilot so perhaps #2 was also a woman and she got lost on the way to the air show. Either way, it was a bit sad to see a “Diamond” formation with only three jets. Apparently when you use common core math a triangle is the same as a diamond.

After the show was over we walked the midway to look at the ground displays.

There was a whole herd of giant Air Force planes.

AF Herd

They had a knobby-nosed C-130 with some pretty boots painted on it:

Knobby-Nosed AF Jet 8-31-19

It was neat to see invasion stripes painted on it, too.

Invasion Stripes 8-31-19

They also had a C-5M Super Galaxy, which Jay was excited to see in person.

Super Galaxy Wing 8-31-19

This plane is so big that when we walked up we could hear Jay’s cousin, Eric, but all we could see were his shoes behind the tires. He wanted to get an up-close look at the landing gear.

Eric Looking at Tires 8-31-19

You can just see his red shirt above the tire in there. Jay crawled in, too, to point out how the tires rotate and get lifted into the belly.

Super Galaxy Tail 8-31-19

It was massive. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this plane is able to get up enough speed to actually lift off of the ground. Not to mention that it does this while being chock full of various heavy cargo.

AF Super Galaxy 8-31-19

I’ve saved the best picture for last…

Jay Shoulder 8-31-19

I call this photo “Perfect Timing.”

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The Joy of Hermiting

Hermiting: verb 1. the act of being a hermit


Last Thursday I told Jay that as soon as I arrived home from work on Friday I was hermiting for the rest of the weekend. The only time I intended to leave the house was to go to Reconciliation (aka Confession) and then Sunday morning mass. Other than that I was staying home and not answering my phone or emails. I would still talk with and enjoy my time with Jay, but he was the only person who I placed on the Interaction list.

Why was I hermiting? Because I needed it. I am a homebody and an introvert. I am happiest when I am in my home doing my own thing. I don’t feel the need to constantly be “connected” or interacting with anybody. In fact, we had been invited to a pool party and Jay went by himself. “Just stop by for an hour,” I was told. Nope. In fact, a shudder of revulsion swept through me as soon as that sentence was uttered in my direction.

The truth is that I don’t care for large parties that are meant for socializing. I’m okay with lectures, classes, etc because typically I can sit on the edge and pay attention to the presenter. I am not expected to interact with everybody in that room. Unlike social gatherings where everybody wants to talk to you and you have to interact with them. An extrovert I am not! Leave me in the corner doing my own thing and I’m happy. Let me sit in a cocoon of solitude and I’ll be fine. Don’t make me interact.

Last weekend I just needed the alone time. I also needed the time to be productive and get some things done around the house. I had spent the previous weekend at my sister’s where I’d had to be social, for the most part.

Me and Droof 8-18-19

I tried to hide away in the corner, but it didn’t work.

So last weekend I hermited. And it was WONDERFUL. I really wish that I could have done it for a longer period of time. I was really productive, too.

I made a batch of zucchini relish.

Zucchini Relish 8-24-19

I washed and de-furred the pile of Project Linus blankets that I had sitting on my piano.

Chester on Blanket 7-6-19

I cut apart flannel sheets and made them into receiving blankets.

Finished Blankets 8-28-19

And I finally finished the t-shirt rug that I’ve been working on all year.

T-Shirt Rug 8-28-19

Of course, it was only after I had tied off the last stitch and laid it down that I realized I had somehow managed to drop two stitches from each row in the last third of the rug. But I don’t care. It’s either going to be used for dirty shoes or furry cats, so it’s not going to be a show piece in the house. Bob has been sitting on it and he thinks that it’s just fine.


So, not only did hermiting improve my attitude, but it also helped me finish up some projects that had been languishing. I may have to make it a policy that I will hermit one weekend every month no matter what. Just the thought of it makes me happy!

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