Monday, June 23, 2014

A sewing delay and some polka dot shoes

So much for my grand sewing plans. I got blindsided by a stomach bug and was down for the count for a while. No eating meant no energy, so I just wanted to sleep instead of being right next to that buzzing needle. It's probably for the best, I sewed through my finger once and weak and sleep deprived would be a sure fire way to make that happen again!

I did make some progress on the April Rhodes Staple Dress that my silky sheer floral was ear marked for though. I'm tall and leggy with wide shoulders, a muslin is a must (with the exception of knits, I just throw in some length and call it good), so I yanked out some hideous thrifted sheets and butchered them right up. Alterations made I started in on the real thing.

Other than hemming (and pressing!) it is complete. That fabric is a pain in the butt to work with and I don't know how I want to hem it yet, I fooled around with a few different methods yesterday but I'm still not sold on any of them. I need to just bite the bullet and pick one. Regardless of how I proceed I'm sure there will be a few curse words! Then it's on to a slip before I can share it without also sharing parts of me better left unseen haha

I've got some new shoes at least though! These are a pretty blatant copy of the ones that Amy from The Idea Room shared over at The Polka Dot Chair.

I grabbed some navy tennies from Target, a bottle of white fabric paint, an ugly pencil and just went to town.

The Husband walked in to me bent over them at the kitchen table dipping and dotting away and said they "look neat." For a man of few words, who doesn't notice much of the things I DIY that's some high praise. I'm pretty stoked with them too! I didn't use any sort of grid or pattern like Amy did, I just free handed the little polka dots on there. I may spray them with some sort of sealer just to help them hold up for future use, but they came through the day at work unscathed without any sort of protection.

And I've got some extra motivation to burn through some of my fabric stash!
This cedar chest is full. I just donated an entire garbage bag full of fabric that I didn't see myself ever using in the next decade and I still can't close the lid. The following day I see a challenge from Sally at The Quirky Peach pop up on my blog feed....perfect timing!! Summer Stashbust 2014 here I come. I (like most of us) have a list of things I want to make, the challenge will be to do it from my current stash and stay away from spending hours gleefully wandering through JoAnns or browsing online. My wallet will also thank me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Preparing To Fire Up The Sewing Machine

I, like I assume most sewers are, am obsessed with Project Runway. More specifically, I am obsessed with Mood. If you are near one I sort of hate you a little bit. Unless you want to become friends and take me on a grand adventure to that glorious store. Then I take that back, I love you. We can also develop a plan to kidnap Swatch. That fat little dog wants to come home with me, I can tell.

I entered the only fabric store around me in search of a lovely lawn or voile for my next project, a certain dress from Pattern Parcel 3 that everyone and their mother is cranking out. Dear, dear Joann....why must you dash my dreams? I bet Mood wouldn't let me down like that. Mood would offer 40 glorious choices that meet my criteria and then make me bacon and waffles.

What I ended up with was a sheer silky floral. I didn't want sheer because I didn't want to line it. I also don't generally like florals because they mostly remind me of grandma couches. Not a good look. I saw this fabric the moment I walked into the apparel section and talked myself out of it. I had a plan and I was sticking to it! I couldn't get it out of my head and ran right back after striking out with the plan and snatched it all up.

I must say, I do love it! Hopefully it sews up nicely and will work well with the pattern.

Joann's knows how to keep me happy though. Sales! This time around it was an hour and a half of bliss flipping through the Simplicity book because all their patterns were $1.99. You better believe I was all over that. All the patterns I picked push $20 regular price so that is an amazing deal. 8 patterns for $16 instead of $160? Stoked!

Now to decide which to make when I am finished with my dress and the Moneta Sewalong.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Aran Afghan

I always struggle what to get my Mom for Christmas.  She doesn't ever need anything, she doesn't pamper herself and never seem to has much desire to. If badgered into providing a want it's intangible 'mother answers' like a clean house....that she will then never accept help with. Her simple way of living is a pain come gift giving time. I love giving gifts so I see that as a personal challenge.

Then I got the idea for an afghan. I get from her my affinity for snuggling in a blanket and a horrible ability to deal with temperatures below those of the surface of the sun. One of the few things she will do for herself is sit with a mug of tea and a crossword or sodoku book. A luxurious, cozy afghan to add to the mix seemed perfect.

With her obsessive redecorating and repainting a neutral color was a must. With a flame point siamese and a mostly white jack russel as her primary cuddle bugs the benefits of an off white to hide any shedding was apparent. How do I keep a large, unexciting colored afghan from appearing plain or boring?  Texture! And lots of it!

I stumbled upon this free pattern from JoAnn Fabrics. I loved the mix of popcorns and cables. I also tend to have numerous projects going on at once so I loved that the different panels and edgings allowed multiple points for me to tie off and end and put a project down. Of course I needed to add my own spin to it. It's quite the sickness.

The larger cable panels call for 3 cables but I went with 4. There were supposed to be 2 large panels and 3 small panels but I added an additional one of each. I knew I wanted it larger than the finished size shown. While gauge isn't important in a blanket I also crochet tightly and knew that would work against me as well.  Bumping up the width by just adding on seemed like a nice solution.

I didn't even worry about the length specified, I just kept holding it against me until I was happy with the length. And I had an idea in mind for my own top and bottom edging. While I think the fringe is pretty it didn't seem like a practical choice. Pets and fringe? Laundering and fringe? I felt that I could make it better.

What I went with was a self drafted design of mini bobbles (I have no idea if the stitch has a real name, I alternated single crochet and triple crochet stiches and liked the look) and added popcorn stitches in a diamond pattern. I think it matches the remainder of the blanket really well.

It was really well received and has lived right on the back of the living room sofa ever since, which means a lot! Any time I swing by there seems to be someone all snoodled up in it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Cut Chenille Blanket

This was a Christmas 2012 gift for my youngest sister (she was 9 at the time). It is still on her bed or dragged into the living room constantly so she can curl up on the couch with it. I count that as a win!

Let me see hands, who else decides to make something with no regard for the clock or calendar? Christmas Eve is a good time to tackle a blanket using a method you've never made before, right? Right! Technically I decided to make this on December 23rd so I swung by JoAnn's on my way home from work for flannel and home decor fabric. Pinned it all together that night and then finished up a different Christmas gift. I'm sensing a pattern....clocks cannot contain me!

Christmas Eve morning I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to start! Actually, half of that is a lie. I never wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed, I'm a total grump for at least an hour. Sorry, Henry.

I consulted the wonderful tutorial Anneliese created over at Aesthetic Nest one more time before going crazy with the sewing machine. I may need to seam rip projects from time to time, but I wasn't planning on screwing up and ripping out 3,472 lines of stitching. I don't have cable in my spare catch-all room, so I popped in a nice long movie to keep me company. Death and destruction are good sidekicks for loving gifts apparently because I decided to watch Gladiator.

My blanket was larger than the inspiration at about 45" x 60" and not a square, so I folded a corner back to get my angle of sewing since I couldn't go corner to corner.

I marked that first line and then just used my presser foot as a guide to keep things relatively straight. Even if it gets a tad wonky you won't notice in the final product. Forgiving projects always get a gold star from me!

Then I stitched....

....and stitched some more.

Ta Da!! All stitched up. It's tedious sewing, but not difficult.

I used a dinner plate to round my corners and then grabbed my scissors to cut up all that flannel. My hand was black and blue for a few days after that and I went on amazon and bought myself a rotary chenille cutter
for future projects. If you are going to use scissors don't spread yourself thin with deadlines and just do it a little at a time. Learn from my procrastinating mistakes dear readers.

I was scared at this point. Did I seriously just butcher my entire project?

On to binding! Oh yeah, I had never done binding either. I had one screwy corner that I had to go back and fix, but overall I was very happy with the slightly wavering, machine stitched, job that I did.

And now throw it in the washer and dryer...

....and behold the witchcraft that turns it into a blanket of snuggliness!

I love it. I currently have material for two more and I'll definitely be keeping at least one of them.

Who else ends up giving away everything they make?

The short plan

To get the ball rolling with some posts I thought I would share projects I've made in the not so distant past. As well as ramble a bit I'm sure. I'm a quiet person but I've always got a lot swirling around in my head, so in written form (or verbally after a couple drinks) I don't really shut up. Just roll with it and try to stay with me.

I have been taking a lot of (cellphone quality) pictures of projects so the blasts from the past should work out great! I mostly take pictures to document the construction process should I want to recreate an item in the future. I don't really follow patterns much of the time. I just have an idea, try to sketch a rough picture to determine the parts and pieces I'll need, and then I just wing it. Sometimes it comes together perfectly, and other times I adjust my vision. And then there are the wonderful dates I have with my seam ripper because I've royally messed up. It's all part of the process! Right? Yeah....let's just say it is.

I bought a sewing machine about 8 years ago when my husband and I bought our house because we needed curtains and I was am too cheap to buy them. They were some down and dirty curtains but they got the job done. One straight line so I could shove a curtain rod through, and then a second straight line for a hem if I was feeling super adventurous. Simple as they may have been I was proud that I was able to make something we needed, using prints and colors I could search for beyond what was on the shelf at Target, and that they cost less money than store bought.

I played around for a few years with some random projects. Sewing, crocheting, a failed knitting attempt because I'm extremely uncoordinated, drawing, some painting, and the list goes on. I don't know what's come over me the past couple years but I've just jumped into at all and always have multiple projects going and something in my hands. I'm loving it! It took seeing one large project through to completion for that bug to just burrow in and take over as opposed to my random crafting urge or looming project deadlines.

So stay tuned!

Here's my project sharing plan of attack, in no particular order:

  • chenille cut blanket
  • aran afghan
  • kitty stitch doll blanket
  • cascade cardigan
  • zipped messenger bag (and tutorial? Gosh, doesn't that make me feel all fancy)
  • clothespin pouch and dyed clothespins
  • shop sign
  • glass etching