Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Getting it done...or at least trying to

I am trying to work through a list of to-dos, but something seems to be conspiring against me today, grrr!  I have managed to work on tidying the sewing room while watching a Craftsy Sewing with Knits class, but I couldn't manage to get the iPad connected to the TV so I mostly just listened while cleaning.  Seems like a great class for getting me over my fear of knits.  To be honest, my fear seems well-founded.  I just put the top and bottom halves of a Lola dress together and it was awful.  The top was too big and did nothing for my already flat chest.  The bottom fits fine. I am thinking of scrapping the top, cutting the bottom off evenly and making a skirt out of the bottom half.

Now on to blogging about some recently finished knits.  Once again, this isn't coming easily.  This is the second go-around of this blog post.  Don't know what happened to the first.  One second it was there, then the next I was deleting a single picture, and voila the whole thing was gone and I was staring at the Blogger login page.  Hello??????  Where did you go????

First up, a baby hat.  Cascade cotton yarn of some kind.  It was a small lace pattern detail to it.  It's for a little girl my last year's teaching partner had.
Gus is modeling,  but his noggin seems a tad bit big around for it.
Project details:
- Cascade pima cotton
- self-designed pattern (ie. made it up as I went along)

Second, my first GAP-tastic Cowl.   Yeah for projects knit on size 13 needles that take only short parts of 3 evenings to complete.  It's a little long for me to just wrap around my neck twice, but it gets kind of bulky if I wrap 3 times.  I am pretty sure I cast on 145 stitches, so next time 131 might be a better number.  The yarn is a big, fluffy alpaca yarn.  Must go find the ball band and add the exact yarn.  Very soft and cozy.  Not sure why I haven't knit one of these before.
Huge gauge! Love quick and easy projects.

This is the closest to the actual color.  A deep, teal color.   Notice the wood to the right of the chair?  That's the beginning of my new sewing room shelves!
Project details:
Yarn: ??
Pattern:  GAP-tastic Cowl, free download on Ravelry
Needles: size 13 circulars

Third and final, this is my Qiviut cowl.  It's actually been done and worn constantly for the last month.  It is the most luscious, heavenly soft, and luxurious feeling thing I have ever worn.  It was hard to stop myself from going online and buying at least 2 more balls of yarn at $98/each.  The cowl ended up being wider than I would have liked.  I am going to, but haven't yet, solved that problem.  After deciding not to frog the whole thing and knit over (I was worried about hurting the yarn), I've decided to create a fold/pleat in the top edge and sew it together with a vintage, mother of purl button that is a beautiful, natural brownish color.  Looks like a perfect match.  Maybe the whole thing will look like I planned it that way from the beginning?  Maybe?

By the way, this was the perfect pattern for this yarn.  The stitch pattern appears to be a cable, but it's not.  A real cable pattern would have pulled the yarn much tighter making it feel stiffer and less soft.

Project details:
Yarn: 100% qiviut fiber, gifted by my dad from a trip to Greenland
Pattern: Cameron Cowl by Veronica Parsons, bought at 2013 Rhinebeck trip
Needles: size 7 circular

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sew Expo 2014

Saturday I went to Sew Expo at the Washington State Fairgrounds...I hadn't been in a few years...oh my!  Let's just say I started with a budget and ended with a free for all.

My mom asked me to go because she wanted to take a few classes and wanted company.  Our classes were later in the day, so we spent the morning wandering through 2 massive buildings of vendors.  I was on a mission to find the Bernina stall to try and sort out a problem with a foot I ordered, and as I discussed my problem I happened to spy something wonderful across the aisle.  I have been wanting, dreaming of, drooling over, envying (the list goes on and on) a dress form.  I have read countless reviews, read tutorials for making one, even bought some of the supplies to make one, but hadn't done it.  Now there is no need!  I haven't named her yet, but she is being made and will be on her way to me in about 3 weeks.  She's coming in a standard size (smaller than I am currently), but we took a class from the seller on how to fit her to our sizes exactly (my mom ordered one too).  This is the company that does all the dress forms for Project Runway and Dancing with the Stars.  They have fully collapsible shoulders and are fully pin-able.  The company we bought them from is Fashion Supplies, Inc. and they're French European Dress forms.  What really caught my eye at first was the price.  They were less than 60% of their regular online price (he said their philosophy at these shows is to sell volume, hence the really low price).  Then when I got up close the quality seemed really amazing.  I am so excited!  At first I ordered the dress form (sans legs).  Then I took the fitting class.  As I sat there I really debated spending more to get the form with legs.  After spending quite a bit of time googling and reading more reviews during my next class I caved and went back to change my order to a lady with legs.  I am *hoping* this lady will last me many years to come.

 Padding the ladies with "fluff" will get them to achieve your own shape/measurements.  Then they get covered with a new, tight-fitting spandex cover to smooth all the fluff out.

Of course I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture of the leggy lady that I ordered.  She'll be here soon and I am sure will have a fashion shoot once she arrives.

As for the rest of the Expo, sewing-related items oh-my!  No pictures of all the goodies, but rest assured that sewing-related madness was abundant, and there was even a little yarn thrown in.  In addition to my leggy lady I also bought some fabric, supplies, and 2 wool felt hand sewing kits.

Whew!  I could have used a 2nd day to look around, but then I might have blown my budget by even more.  How does one go to these things and not get out of control?  Many times I think it's just best for me NOT to go.  Apparently I lack a lot of self-control when it's knitting and sewing related!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Qiviut Saves the World!

We (both kids and I) are beginning to emerge from a nasty haze of illness and disease that has plagued us since the holidays.  With 3 out of 4 family members now on antibiotics I hope we've seen the end of this winter's worst bugs.  Oddly enough, the Seattle area has had the mildest and driest winter that I can remember, yet this is the sickest we've been in years.  Go figure.

What's new in 2014?

I've just received my copy of 110 Creations A Sewist's Notebook.  I don't seem to "do" resolutions, but if I was setting myself a goal for both my sewing and my knitting this year, it would be to keep much better track of my makes and knits.  For example, I am currently knitting with the world's most luscious fiber, a yarn that has comforted me through my nasty, ongoing sinus infection.  I give you: qiviut (btw, a great word game word because it uses a q without a u).  This yarn was gifted to me as least 2 Christmas's ago, but it took me until this fall to find a pattern that matched this gorgeous yarn, showcasing the limited yardage I had. The yarn came via my dad and his wife after a trip to Greenland (I know, popular tourist destination).  It is THE most luxurious fiber I have ever felt, and I've actually slowed down the knitting of the cowl in order to savor the experience longer.  This is an experience that I should at least minimally document (you know, in case I get another skein of qiviut to knit with someday!). I have already forgotten how many stitches I can on, and have a fuzzy memory over exactly how long I've had the yarn.  What I'd like to do is write these things down somewhere to keep track of them.  Is that too much to ask myself?

It's the same upstairs in the sewing room.  I am presently in the middle of sewing a Colette Laurel dress, and I've actually forgotten what size I cut out.  "Must write these things down!", I tell myself, but where?  That's the point of my new notebook and my goal of using it.  Let's see if I can keep track of my makes this year!

Monday, December 30, 2013


Whoops, forgot about the blog during the holiday festivities.  Not really, but boy did it get busy this month!  December started with a lot of projects going on at school and at home, then multiple family illnesses, Christmas company arriving - the works!  Not much quiet time :-(.

For what is the only post of the month, and most assuredly the last of the year, I was thinking of laying out what got done for Christmas and what didn't.

Finished List

  • 2 cowls.  The first, a cowl for my brother-in-law's girlfriend.  It's the free Birthday Cowl pattern on Ravelry.  I knit this in Manos silk blend in a turquoise-y colorway.  I knit a 2nd Birthday cowl for my teaching partner in a magenta bamboo/silk blend (she doesn't wear wool).

  • 2 Button-Tab hats, also a free Rav download.  The first one I did in a single skein of Noro Yuzen, a blue/purple/turquoise colorway, and the other hat was a mystery yarn in shades of purple.  The first hat was a stocking stuffer for my sister, and the second hat hasn't gone anywhere yet.  It's on the small side and fits me, but I'm not sure who else it might squeeze on to.  Possibly maybe likely surely it will end up being mine.


  • 21 yards of Christmas-themed pennants!  I used wide bias tape to sew the triangles into, and made 7 3-yard-long sections of pennants.  I gave the one that actually got finished before Christmas away as a stocking stuffer, then I finished the other 6 right after Christmas.  Not sure they should be counted as finished objects for this Christmas, or way early finished items for next year!
  • 3 Superhero capes!  This was my own speedily improvised pattern drawn on a sheet of the Sunday paper on the day before Christmas Eve.  I made one for each of my nephews - ages 7 and 5, and one for my own big girl who's 3.  They seemed to enjoy them even though I didn't get one single picture of either the making or wearing of these.  Doh!  I will have to at least get a picture of C's in action later on.

Unfinished List
  • Hat for my brother-in-law.  After starting the hat twice, losing a bunch of stitches the first time and realizing it was too small the 2nd time, I ended up giving him a wrapped box with several different skeins in it.  That way he got to choose the yarn himself.  I'm about 1/3 of the way through the hat now.

  • I was planning on making 2 of these wrapping paper organizers (found on Pinterest) out of a stool -  one for me, one for my sis.  I bought the stools, I bought fabric, I bought wheels for the bottoms of the stools.  In the end, I still have bags of all the parts, but no organizers.
  • Big, sad unfinished project number 1 is the advent calendar.  I cut, hand-sewed, hand-beaded, and hand-embroidered all the of advent pieces.  Where I fell down was on the background.  What can I say... I PROMISE this will get done before next Christmas!
  • And lastly, for 2 years running I have intended to get a Christmas tree-top angel sewn...and for the 2nd year in a row we have had a bare top to our tree.  It didn't happen in time for Christmas, but I am going to get it done this week before I clean up the sewing room of it's Christmas-themed explosion from the pennants.
Merry belated Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a GREAT New Year!  Love and peace to ALL!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Advent Calendar - Delayed Gratification

I am still working on this Christmas' Advent Calendar.  I've still got a few days of November left to get this done, but miles more blanket stitching to do for all of the edges.  Better get back to it.

Instant vs. Delayed Gratification, Discuss

Well the fam started out Sunday morning by jumping out of bed and heading to the Haselwood YMCA for a workout.  This place is so, so much more than a gym.  The kids get to play in the great "playplace", where they even rebraided C's hair this morning because I didn't brush it before we left home (bad mommy!)(although I did brush my own).  They've got a ton of classes, yoga, a pool with lap swimming sections as well as that whole lazy river thing and a few slides.  There are ballet, swimming, dance classes for kids too!  So worth the membership, even if I do only go once or twice a week.

Lately we've been going on a weekend morning as a family.  Today, Big G and I hit the gym.  I guess he did some running and weights.  I, however, tried something new -  a TRX class.  Holy s***.  This was my first time and I knew I was in for it within the first 3 minutes.   The class uses tension straps hanging from the ceiling to do a series of exercises.  Your own body weight becomes your resistance and how you can make it harder or easier.  For someone with a neurological disease, like I do, with really sh***y balance, I found I was able to do all the moves, but one.  It didn't feel like it was hard on my joints, but it gave me a wicked strength workout.  The leg shaking commenced before I made it two steps down the staircase at the end of the workout.  I feel like I've definitely worked out...but I'm thinking that tomorrow I might be in my own private physical hell, where even squatting down to have a pee is an extreme effort.    This I know, is all for my long-term physical health and well-being.  Can't let my muscles go because I don't have the nerve function to build them back up again - thanks CMT1a!  That's the delayed gratification part of my day.

Now for the instant gratification!!!  I decided to participate in Craftaholics Anonymous 2013 Handmade Holiday Gift Exchange (type that twice!).  I actually signed up for both the International and the U.S. only exchange.  I've been paired with two gals - one from Toledo, Ohio, and one from Lithuania.  I've been working on some crafty items as a result.  I've sewn two portable project bags (I'll have to find pics later), and just in the last half hour I started AND finished 2 super-cozy, knit Infinity scarves.  Why do I knit????  Sewing these puppies took mere minutes, plus the cost of the yardage was less than $14 and it made 2 scarves.  When I knit a scarf, even just a cowl, it takes me days/weeks and usually ends up costing me in the range of $20-40 just for the yarn (I am an admitted yarn snob and only go for the good stuff.)  So in less than a half an hour, Scarf#1 and Scarf#2 came into being.
Squishy, cozy, double-wrapped Infinity Scarves.  Aw, fall is definitely here!  Made with some kind of uber-soft, yet unknown knit fabric purchased from my local JoAnn Fabrics.  The color is a little more teal in real life.  Truly instant gratification.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Kid's Chair Reupholstered...

I've only had this chair for about 2 years...sad to say.  Happily, as of yesterday, it's done though!  I had repainted it last summer, but it was still waiting for it's foam and upholstery.  It was for Big Sis, and while she still fits in it, it's more the perfect size for Little G at this point.

 Ready for action!