Friday, August 12, 2011

Come in and spend the day.

These are some ramblings about my adventures in knitting, a sweet handmade doll, and a trip to a quirky little town. Just to let you know, there will be many pictures.

I've been practicing knitting a little each day for the past couple of days. I won't show you my very first attempt. :) But I will show this, because it has me completely bewildered.

I started this last night. I started getting a little confused as to why my little square was getting wider and wider. This morning I just happened to notice that it looked like there are more stitches on my needle than I started off with. I began with about 10, I think, and now there are close to 25! Which explains why the piece is getting wider, but not how the extra stitches got there in the first place.

Can any of you awesome knitters tell me how on earth this happened?

I thought I was just doing the same thing over and over. My square-turned-trapezoid seems to be growing on its own accord.

Anyway, even though it's messy looking, I'm thrilled that I can actually see rows! :) Crooked rows, but rows nevertheless.

I hit the library for some knitting and crochet books this afternoon. I can't wait to start reading through them.

Yesterday I spent most of my day making this doll. She's the Tag-a-Long doll from the craft book Wee Wonderfuls, by Hillary Lang. She's a gift for a girl who is a little too young to play with her now, but who will hopefully love her when she's a bit older. I'm planning on making one of the other dolls in the book very soon for another little girl.

Here's the book version. I went almost exactly by the instructions except I used cotton fabric for the face and arms (the book said to use felt). I also secured the collar to her neck and to the dress itself, to make it extra child-friendly. The book only had me sewing it together at the back, but it could slide around, and the dress could slide around and show the gathering stitches. So I sewed the collar down to everything so nothing could move. :)

I'm really happy with how she turned out! Trying to knit has apparently given me some confidence and courage to try new things...At first, I was very tempted to do some of the parts that called for hand sewing on my machine, because I'm very slow at sewing by hand. But I decided to just go for it. I took my time and really did my best, and the hand sewing wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Her arms and legs are attached by hand, as well as her face and the top part of the dress/collar. With this project, I also learned that the odd stitch that I always do to close up holes, etc., is an actual stitch- the ladder stitch.

This doll is my second doll, and my third stuffed toy. This little dog was my first toy, and Audrey was my second. I know I've said this before, but making toys is so satisfying. There's something unique about sewing on a project that has a little face and almost a personality. And I love to think about the many years of love and play that the toy will provide for a child. :)

Today me and my parents took a day trip to an unusual little town- Floyd, Virginia. It's a place settled in the mountains, a mix of traditions and untraditional people. My dad likes to say that it's a place where old-fashioned farmers and hippies live as neighbors. :)

I love the mountains. We go every fall to visit our favorite spots, buy apples, and see the beautiful leaves. I love the twisted roads and how everything is green. I love the houses with thin creek ribbons across their front yards and steep mountains rising up in their backyards.

We've been through Floyd once or twice before, but this time we went there specifically. It was a lovely day- breezy and even though the sun was shining, it was always a comfortable sort of warm.

These pictures were taken through our sunroof. We got stopped about 5 miles from Floyd because there had been a tractor trailer accident on the curvy road. We turned around and went a different way. By the time we came home, everything had been cleaned up and the only evidence was a big tear in the guardrail and some orange traffic barrels.

This is Lover's Leap. Look at the mountains in the distance- that's why they are called the Blue Ridge Mountains. :)

I only took one picture of the town area of Floyd. There are all sorts of little shops. We ate lunch at the Blue Ridge Restaurant. There's a Floyd Country Store, where they carry candy, snacks, handmade items, locally made items (goats milk soap, lotion, etc.), natural products, books, a lot of CDs (bluegrass and local groups), and clothing. We stopped in the hardware store, a yarn store (where I mostly hovered at the book stand, skimming a book answering questions about knitting- I did spot some Amy Butler yarn), a book store, and the branch of Nancy's Fudge they have there.

I loved how almost every store advertised having live music at some point and/or an art gallery. Floyd is an artsy town. It also really embraces music, especially bluegrass and its heritage in this part of the state (this is where FloydFest is held every year). It seems like the sort of place where one should listen to the Avett Brothers. :)

And now for a very important part of our trip. I have to admit, this is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to go back to Floyd. We passed this store in our previous visits, but never stopped for some reason.

This is Schoolhouse Fabrics. The sign pretty much says it all.

An old school, filled with fabric. A basement, a main floor, and a second floor. Rooms and rooms of it. One entire room for novelty prints, one for other craft items (knitting, crochet, jewelry supplies), one for ribbon and notions, one for fleece, one for bridal fabrics, etc.

It's very overwhelming. And very incredible. :)

The prices are really reasonable. I spent more than I meant to, but I did come home with a few dollars still left in my wallet. :) Here's the fabric I got:

Wizard of Oz fabric! I'm in love. I couldn't resist the yellow brick road background and the ruby red slippers. My mom also got me a panel with lovely pictures from the movie (for Christmas :).

How awesome is this? There were three kinds of I Love Lucy fabric. I got a yard of this, featuring the road trip to Hollywood. I also picked out some of another Lucy print for Christmas.

And two yards of this gorgeous Beatrix Potter fabric. I've always loved her stories and illustrations. I almost overlooked this at first.

I also got a few Aunt Martha's iron-on embroidery transfers, an invisible zipper to replace in one of my dresses (our craft store doesn't have the size I needed), a set of size 10 (6 mm) bamboo knitting needles (they were less than half of what they're priced at Hobby Lobby), and yarn needles.

I was very impressed. If you're a crafter and you're ever passing through (or near) Floyd, you must stop at Schoolhouse Fabrics.

If you've reached the end of this hodgepodge of a post, give yourself a pat on the back and a double dipped chocolate pretzel. :)

Until next time,


  1. That doll is adorable! I am not a knitter, so I can't help you there. :P And the fabric is such fun! I can't wait to see what you make with it. :)

  2. Hmm.. I'm thinking that you're either increasing (by going in between stitches and making your yarn come over), or at the start, you might have been tugging a little too hard, and now you're not. That could have your tension wrong. Just make sure that you don't pull too hard, and make sure that you only insert your needle, wrap yarn around, and bring it through. Just the basic stockinette stitch. You'll get it! And if all else fails, send it to Canada and I'll fix it ;)

  3. For the knitting question... If you watch this video you are probably doing 1:49 - 2:06, but are forgetting to do 2:07-2:10?

    Also, you might be putting your needle through the loop you are supposed to push off in 2:07-2:10 and instead of pushing it off, you are pushing it onto your needle.

    Go to 4:23 and watch that part too. You may doing that.

    This whole video is helpful, so I suggest if you haven't already, watch the whole thing.

    Hope that helps. :)

  4. The first time I did knitting this happened to me too. You probably went in the stitch on the last row inseat of the sttch on the neeedle....That's what I was doing


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