31 August 2014

My First Sewing Project

OK, I'm late to the party--not the first time--the sewing revival party that is. As I mentioned, I have 2 adorable daughters. Pie is tall and very verbal so people often think she is about 5 or 6 rather than 3.5 years old. So far, clothes are not a problem but in the next year or so when she starts wearing true kids clothes (no toddler clothes), styles look decidedly older. While its not too scary and inappropriate, I don't think I want people thinking my 4 year old looks like a tween. (Seriously, she's going to be tall and she already acts older than some kids I've met who are at least 3 years older than she is.) So, I was thinking I needed to learn to sew so I can make the kinds of things that I want her to wear and not be at the mercy of whatever the current fashion is.

As part of my recent discovery of modern quilting (how much do I wish I were this talented), I also discovered Anna Maria Horner designs. First, can I just say how much I want to be her? All that color and fabric and artistic talent. I realized the other day that as much as I love color, I have a very boring palette in my home. I love that in her daughter's interview, Juliana Horner talks about growing up with so much color and creativity. Anyway, I digress. All that to say, that through the Anna Maria Horner site, I came across her Piece of Cake pattern with accompanying YouTube video. With the joys of technology, I literally watched each step and then recreated it for Bunny.

Not too shabby for a first garment:






You can't see it but I'm very enamored of the turquoise bias tape I used to finish the neckline and sleeves. I made the 9 month size but it fits my little one like a tunic top. I'm considering making the 12 month size with long sleeves to see if it will fit her now in the fall. lol

Some take-aways from this project:
Must finish seams! The inside looks all crappy.  I bought pinking shears for the next time. I'm also trying to figure out my rolled hem foot to make up for the fact that I don't have a serger. I've also recently learned how to do a French seam, so that might be an option although I'm not feeling super comfortable varying from the instructions just yet. I also learned to use my blind hem foot, yea! I didn't do a very good job and in some places the thread does more than a little peak-a-boo action but now I know.

I definitely want to do the Paper Fan Dress for Pie. However, the video is a little more sparse--more like highlights rather than a step-by-step tutorial. I still feel like I need some hand-holding as I learn to sew so that pattern will have to wait a bit. However, I definitely think I can handle a pillowcase dress (or it might be more like a shirt for Pie since she is so tall).

I'm also really excited about the advice on Coletterie for beginners. My biggest stumbling block (other than myself) is that the only "real" fabric store around here is Joann's. I have a few quilt shops but nothing that carries fashion fabrics. (FYI, I only learned what "fashion fabric" means in the last month. I'm learning slowly but surely.) I want to be able to feel the fabric so I can get a sense of what it is. I know nothing about fabric and even with the descriptions, I'm not really sure what to expect. Before I start investing in some online swatch gathering, I want to see if I can commit to sewing.

23 August 2014

Project Monogamy

After my initial post back in May, I did finish a couple of projects:

The baby blanket, Seedling, I initially made for Bunny:
and I wove in the ends of a Wool Leaves blanket I started years ago:

I got them done in fairly short order and then started casting about for what else I could finish.

Going through my stash, I found quite a few knitting UFOs and really wanted to finish my Niome shawlette but have found that it requires more attention than I can spare. I'm up to the lovely beaded lace edging and beads + toddler & small baby = no good. I need to go back to my UFO bag and see if there is something more simple that is easier to pick up and put back down. These days, I'm lucky to get a whole 30 minutes to work on any one thing--its more like 10 minutes here, another 10 minutes there.

I did find a couple of things that need finishing but nothing is really calling to me. I have a ton of random sock yarn skeins and would love to have them turn into shawlettes but after my various fiascos, I'm a little hesitant to start a new one. I may just start another baby blanket to use up a yarn pack of Rowan's All Season Cotton that is languishing in my storage bin. I enjoy blankets and I can probably pick a pattern that doesn't require uninterrupted concentration. We'll see.

09 August 2014

New Directions

Well, I'd made this great decision to start blogging again and then proceeded to fall of the blogosphere again. This time, it is due to my limited tech options. See, these days I almost exclusively surf the net on my smartphone. I read my blog feeds on my phone, take pics and even check Ravelry forums online. However, responding to a forum post is different from trying to compose a blog post. So, I'm giving this another go from my old laptop. I've got it rigged so that the power cord is held against the computer by a water bottle. Because even when the battery icon says that the computer is charged, it spontaneously dies. oy.

I originally started this blog when I was knitting rather regularly and Ravelry didn't exist yet so it was the best way to share with the crafting community and get to know others. I was never very prolific so I didn't post regularly.

Fast forward several years, I now have two very adorable daughters, 3 year old Pie and 6 month old Bunny. We moved away from family and friends almost 9 years ago and I have yet to find my place IRL. I have friends but none of them are crafty and I work with most of them so it limits some of the conversations we have because I can't be candid about work issues. (Really not interested in my bad day at the office turning into a discussion with HR.) However, the internet continues to provide the greatest source of support for me these days. I read lots of blogs but rarely comment (a major problem with using Feedly on my phone-if you know how to comment on blogs through Feedly, please enlighten me). 

Through these blogs and a good friend, Bobby, I have decided to try to get back in touch with my creative side. Bobby and I knew each other as kids and as adults our lives have intersected every so often. I really admire how he always pursued his dreams no matter how tough it was for him. Always finding a way to reach his goal no matter what the job was. (Seriously, go check out his site, so talented!) One thing he said to me the last time we saw each other in person (many years ago now), I told him that I didn't draw anymore and didn't think I had it anymore. He responded that creativity never goes away, that we just have to spend time rediscovering it. He probably never realized how those words would stay with me.

When we were kids, I dreamt of becoming an artist. In high school, I had a falling out with the head of our art program and never again took art classes. Maybe I wasn't driven enough? I know I was intimidated when I went to college and didn't think I was good enough to get into the art classes as a non-art major. Would it still have been my dream if I had tried? I don't know but I do know that I feel the need to create and I'm trying to figure out what that means to me and how I will go about it.

That brings me back to the blog. I'm hoping to share my journey with you and maybe, just maybe find that creativity that used to come so easily.

Because a post with no pictures is no fun, here's some gratuitous cuteness:

Who can resist cute baby toes?

15 June 2014

Reviving the crafty life

Well, I'm working on a modified monogamy plan with my projects to work through UFOs and unearth my yarn stash. I recently had success finishing the blanket I started for my baby. She's not quite 5 months old and can definitely still use it so I'm counting that as a win.

Additionally, I have recently been exposed to modern quilting and have unearthed my sewing machine. I know, apparently I've been living under a rock. It all started with the QuiltCon lectures on Craftsy and once I started looking up some of the fiber artists, I could not stop surfing the websites. The aesthetic really calls to me.

My plan is to finish a rag quilt I started for my nephew years ago. It's big enough that I can get away with saying that I meant for it to be a quilt for when he goes to college. Plus, it takes up a ton of room since it's made from jeans and fleece. He's planning on going to college in the northeast so it'll get use. All the pieces are cut, I just have to sew it all together and snip.

Once that it is done, I'm going to start doing some blocks. I'm considering either doing each block in Block Party: The Modern Quilting Bee to create a sampler or trying out some of the blocks in Vintage Quilt Revival.

Going through the design process and keeping myself accountable is where ye old blog comes in. Ravelry is great for my knitting and crochet projects but not for quilting. Plus, I can do more rambling here-the project pages make more sense for technical documentation.

Wish me luck on my plan to keep up with my crafting.

19 May 2012

Back for Now

Well, I decided to revive the good ol' blog here because I've been knitting again and need to share to those who will understand. I joined the 12 Shawls in 2012 group over on Ravelry. I was totally psyched to find so many beautiful shawls using just one skein of sock yarn. A few years ago, I joined the sock yarn craze but realized that I didn't really enjoy knitting socks. (Love the sock yarn and sock patterns-just not the actual knitting of the socks.)

The plan was to use stash yarn for all the shawls--2 birds and all that. I have some beautiful Neighborhood Fiber Co. sock skeins that I absolutely lurve. I got them when Karida had a yarn club a few years ago. I think the reason I have knit 3 shawl patterns that I have had to frog is that the label on the yarn says it has 435yds but the Ravelry database shows that her sock yarn has 400 yards. I've been planning and knitting based on 435yds but I think that is where I've been going wrong. My latest effort is Vlad using the Thomas Circle colorway. Love the pattern and so far its looking good.

My failed attempts (Rav links): Old Man of Storr Shawlette, Ethereal Triangular Shawl (I will have to find another yarn for this pattern), and Rough Sea Shawl. All great patterns and all just required a little more yarn than I had. I had a bee in my bonnet about finally using my Neighborhood Fiber Co. yarn so I just kept trying to find new patterns instead of changing the yarn. The yarns a pleasure to knit, and they are especially meaningful to me because I lived in DC and the color names remind me of the years I lived there. (Not to mention, the creator and owner of the company, Karida, is a wonderful person and talented artist.) I'll have to take some pics so that you can actually see what I'm working on these days.

09 December 2008

The blob

I'm on a roll. I finished the first repeat of Chart C.

Here's my current lace blob:

Spider's Web Shawl, half-hexagon version

The close-up:

Close-up of half-hex shawl

The only mod so far is that I went down one needle size so it won't be quite as airy as some of the others out there. I'm a little worried that it may not block out as big as I would like but it is lace and blocking does amazing things to a project.

At this rate, I might actually be done by Christmas. Of course, its just for me. hee hee.

07 December 2008

Finally, photos

For my Tia, who is celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary in a few weeks:

Shawl for Tia
(for reference, the shawl is blocking on a queen-sized bed)

Shawl for Tia
(sorry for the white on white, hopefully you can still make out the shawl)

Pattern: Blue Curacao by Doris Chan (Ravelry link, part of Amazing Crochet Lace)
Yarn: Lily Chin's Greenwich yarn in white, 60% nylon, 22% acrylic, 28% mohair. This was the yarn in the pattern and I happened to have some in my stash. I actually have enough for another one but I haven't decided if I should make the same pattern for my mom.
Modifications: none

I really enjoyed crocheting this project. I was done in a couple of weeks but that was mostly because I didn't have much time to work on it during the week.

For myself:

Cashmere scarf

Cashmere Scarf - kitchener stitched together

Pattern: Tiger Eyes Lace Scarf by Toni M. Maddox
Yarn: Neighborhood Fiber Co. Limited Edition: Luxury Sock Yarn (Cashmere & merino) in Raspberry Truffle. (Ravelry link since I can't find it anywhere else)
Modifications: I split the skein in two (good thing I have that scale) and then knit both ends at the same time. Originally, I used a 3-needle bindoff to join the two sides but it wasn't stretchy enough so I had to kitchener it together.

I've already worn this twice. It's only 8" wide but its ridiculously long, I think it was almost 80". It was too long to block on the queen-sized bed so I put a sheet over the carpet and pinned it using blocking wires.