Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category


What I got

January 17, 2008

The attempts to knit from stash are going very well, I think. The Hartshorn vest is trucking along at a rate I’m really happy with. It looks like I’ll have leftover, but spare DK weight yarn isn’t a bad thing. I have a bunch of hat patterns that call for it. I’ve kinda mapped out that my focus is going to be on the big deposits of sweater yarn. Once I’m done with this vest, I have the Pastaza for the Cozy V-Neck all ready to go. Sock yarn is also getting a cleanout….mostly so I can buy new sock yarn. I’m also looking in to a way I can donate a lot of my old acrylic to Project Linus. I know I’m not a fast enough crocheter to make blankets on a deadline, but I do have the yarn for it, so it can’t hurt to try and donate the raw materials.

Getting in my way of stashbusting is sewing. For some reason I really really want to sew lately. I was at JoAnns the other day just to get a new cutting grid (my old one now has holes in it from bookmaking and will be used for such from now on) and ended up walking out with knife edge shears and 5 patterns. They were all just so pretty! And they were only a dollar each! $1!! And the shears were on sale! And the thing is I’m honestly getting better with sewing. My seams are straighter, I’m not as terrified of the machine, and the little brick of tailor’s chalk I got has been the biggest help of all.  For example, no matter how use less this little varient on the box bag may look, it contains some of the straightest stiching I’ve done to date. The patterns I got are mainly for SUPER pretty day-dresses and I’d love to start working on them, but with so many other pieces of fabric already cut out and waiting for some attention, They’ll just have to stay on the back burner for now.


Craft curiousity

January 14, 2008

I’ll admit it. I get distracted easily. As happy as I am that I’m capable of doing crafty stuff other than knit, all the different little things I can do tend to cut in to eachother timewise. Case and point, last weekend I found some cute fabric at JoAnn’s. I had absolutely no idea what to do with it when I bought it, but I ended up making a little zip-pouch:


This project was good, not only because it gave me another chance to use yellow ric-rack, but also because it kinda showed me the anatomy of a piece of sewing…it also showed me that the tension on the machine was psychotically high and no wonder some of the other things I made were getting little puckers. Seriously how the hell did that happen? Did didn’t even know *how* to mess with the tension, or even what tension *was* up until that weekend. For the record, I picked up that little piece of knowledge from Sew U, which I got a while back using up some Borders coupons. It’s a great book for people who know up to “This is my sewing machine. It makes the thread go up and down and puts fabric together.” It gets in to the more technical stuff like tension, seam allowances, and all that other stuff I eat up.

While I was at that Borders, I ended up buying a copy of Craft magazine. I read the online blog all the time, but the print issue had a lot of reall cool stuff. The first thing I noticed was a pair of felted slippers that might help me once and for all destroy the Lamb’s Pride That Will Not Die (I’ve made no less than 4 projects with this stuff and I haven’t used up a single damned color). But then I found a little article on Japanese stab binding…and it stuck in my head.

As a bit of background, I have this thing  with blank books. I’m not a writer or an artist, but blank notebooks have been a staple of my life since high school…actually it was probably *middle school* now that I come to think of it. I have trouble keeping a proper day planner. Too structured. I’m best suited when I have a big empty notbook that I can write anything I need in, including important dates and assignments. It seems haphazard, but I can always seem to find what I need and I don’t forget things once they’ve been written in my little book. I got a blank book from my best friend for Christmas about a year ago, but instead of using it as one of my general purpose journals, it’s for design ideas. For the first time in ages, I’ve been without an Everything Journal.

 So I was bouncing around the idea of making a book for about a week. I thought of all the things I was doing at the time and did I really need another craft to spend time on? Then I found the newest round of Project Spectrum on Ravelry. This years theme is The Elements, starting with fire. And here’s how my brain went from there…

Fire Red Fire Culture Asia Those Big Red Shinto Gates Japan JAPANESE STAB BINDING

I had to make the book.


Here’s my new baby (more on the flickr of course). It’s not perfect: the edges are wavy, the internal paper is all different sizes and the binding is a bit loosely threaded but it’s all mine. In the day it took me to make this book I got crazy attached. Doesn’t hurt that the total cost of the project was a whopping 59 cents (without tax) for the cover paper. I already had the thread, the scissors, the awl, and the filler paper (cut out from the unused sections of old school notebooks). Plus I got to use a hammer to make the holes, which was probably a bigger selling point for the craft than it should have been. I have a feeling this hobby is going to be around to stay, so I’ve decided to let other crafts I’m curious about get their fair shot. To keep it in check, I’ll say I’m going to try one new type of craft for each cycle of Project Spectrum.

And for the record, I actually *have* gotten some knitting done, but this post is already way too long.


Full spectrum scarf

January 4, 2008

Shocking as it is, the crazy presssure of making Ryan’s sweater in four days *didn’t* kill my desire to knit ever again! On the contrary. I wanted to do nothing BUT knit. In fact, when I stopped knitting and tried to sew a Box Bag for my best friend’s Christmas present, the results were disasterous. I got better, but seriously, knitting has been the way of things ever since and the madness is only now dimming.

The thing is, I wanted to knit, but my brain was blown out on the math EZ had been throwing at me (me no math good). Screw math, I decided, I wanted to make something where the YARN would do the heavy lifting for me.


Noro Stripe Scarf: Wow-factor without any of the effort.

 I grabbed the three aimless balls of Kureyon from my stash, guessed a reasonable order for them, cast on 41 stitches ans 1×1 ribbed myself in to a beautiful, colorful coma, with the two selvage stitches on the edges for stability. It’s pretty, it was unbelievably easy and it’s recharged me for other, more dificult knitting pursuits. For example, once the Kureyon scarf was done, I cast on for the sweatervest I’ve been meaning to make for ages. I did the math myself, figuring out stitch numbers from gague and my measurements, mapped out where the design elements would go, and now I’m ready for a long trip in 2×2 rib-land for the next inch or so. I’ll be taking this pretty slow since, well, it’s kind of haphazard. And I haven’t forgotten about those socks, either! They’re nice and portable, though, so I’m reserving the vest for TV knitting.

Also, I’m getting a yarn swift and ball winder! Late Christmas present that will allow my to FINALLY wind that lace-weght and give some real lace a shot.

Lastly, now that I’ve come down off the knitting high, I’m interested in getting back to sewing. I still have patterns cut out, but after the epic fail that went down on the box bag, I’m not so sure I’m ready to try and apply bias tape or anything like that. I think I’m going to try a few smaller projects first, and get some handstitching in with the newbook I got. The Cute Book is so damned adorable I was having cuteness fits. Now I *must* obtain felt and make a bunny. No, it’s not optional and no it can’t wait.


A Change of Tactics

October 26, 2007

I can’t knit anything. I’ve been an absolute failure at everything I’ve tried over the past two days: Work, law school essay writing, sewing, EVERYTHING. I hate it when this happens. It’s not often that I catch a case of fail, but it’s often enough.

Basically since I can’t knit without messing it up. I even managed to muck up the garter stitch BSJ. Add to that an Odessa hat where I skipped a plain row and added the beads too early (which is going to look really weird on the hat), losing two of the original five needles my Monkey sock was on (it’s on new needles now), and the immense failure of a scarf I started for my cousin, I’m pretty down on my knitting at the moment.  I have no fiber to spin with, so I turned to sewing…because heaven forbid I not be making or doing something. The Rick Rack Nightmare Apron was close enough to completion on Wednesday night that I just decided to go for it.

 Heheheheheheh…..This thing is great. Don’t mind the vacant expression in the picture. I was distracted by a ladybug in my room just as the camera went off. It’s a functional apron, but also completely blinding and tacky. The pockets are basically useless, but they add to the overall “wtf” of the apron. My parents were in the kitchen when I went to go put it in the pantry for future use. My mom was amazed that it looked as good as it did (the pattern was *not* easy) and my father approved of my finally getting a new apron after nearly ten years (“Not exactly something I would have chosen, but it looks like it’ll do the job”)

But that was Wednesday. What was I going to do last night? Well sewing seems to have been going well, but I wasn’t quite ready to commit to another big project. Lucky for me, I found a two random fat quarters of fabric in one of my baskets (my mom went through my yarn and rearranged everything while I was away last weekend…the horror… the… horror…) leftover from when I needed one of them for something at school. I know that’s vague but I honestly cannot remember why I had them, exactly. But here they were and I was bored. Since I read Momma Monkey all the time, I remembered her linking to a tutorial that used just two fat quarters, some interfacing, and a zipper to make a little bag. ‘Hmmm…,’ I thought, ‘a little zip up pouch might be just what I need to keep my socks from hemoraging DPNs.’

In one night of work and a whole lot of screwing up (the first time out I put the zipper in the fabric the only way it possibly couldn’t work. I’m cool like that), I got this.


The pattern includes a handle but I forgot about it. C’est la vie. It’s a fun, noncommital little project with good results and a really high utility factor. Now my Monkey sock is safely held away from the rest of my knitting bag. I will not be held responsible for more fat quarter purchases at JoAnne’s today…no…that certainly will not be me…. 😉


So bad it’s good

October 8, 2007

Okay so designing socks is a bit harder than I thought it would be…

I tried mocking up the lace pattern I wanted to use in the round, but it wasn’t working quite right I haven’t figured it out yet. And since this is going to take more experimentation and time, I decided to cast on another prewritten pattern of socks…because heaven forbid I stop making socks right now.

I call them my Pretty Princess Socks because honetly this is the girliest colorway ever. EVER. And the super femme lace pattern leaves them looking double girly. But I like how it’s turning out. Sometimes you just need to feel Pretty. They’re the Waving Lace socks from Favorite Socks using Lorna’s Laces I’ve had sitting around for like a year, knit on size 1s (of which I have two sets). This makes me very happy because it leaves my 2s free for another pair. Frankly I need more DPNs, but I think it would be wise to hold off on that Knitpicks order until I figure out how much of last week’s paycheck is still left after paying my parking ticket and my latest Etsy purchase.

Let me just say that I tried really really hard not to buy more sock yarn. Frankly, I don’t need it. I still have two pairs’ worth of Knitpicks Essential, another pair of Lorna’s, two things of Pallette that I can use for socks, and the next sock club shipment should be coming in a week or so. I do not need, by any stretch of the imagination, more sock yarn.

So clearly I bought enough for two more pairs.

I’d been drooling over the stuff at Shelby’s Designs for awhile, but managed to restrain myself…until last night when I suddenly found my check card in my hand and a printed receipt in my printer. If I had completely lost my mind I probably would have bought like another three (these colors are seriously beautiful), but I managed to make it out of the store with a bill that was less than my parking ticket (grumblegrumble). For the rationalization portion of the post, won’t Grindylow look awesome as a pair of Pomatomus? As for the Dolores Umbridge colorway…what can I say? I really want a pair of offensively pink socks 🙂

Speaking of questionable fashion decisions (see what I did there?), I got back to sewing last night. There’s a new book out called Bend the Rules Sewing that I picked up the other day and it got me really excited about tackling the sewing machine again. It’s the kind of book that tells you “calm down, it’ll all be fine, people have been doing this for over a century, and look at all the fun things you can make!”. I needed that. So without any help at all, I put some rick rack on my skirt apron pattern that I’d cut out over a month ago.


Isn’t it beautiful? And by “beautiful” I mean “hideous.” And by “hideous” I clearly mean “awesome.” I can’t wait to wear this sucker for Thanksgiving ❤



September 24, 2007

I apparently develop super-completion-powers when I get sick.

I’ve been sick with some kind of flu/cold bug since Saturday and the fog that comes with it has made me want to sit back and finish the things that are already on my needles so I can start some fresh projects. First thing  was the last bit of sewing on my Festival Print skirt. All I had to do was finish up the hem by Saturday and I’m pretty sure I actually got the hem straight.

 This last one’s a little blurry, but it shows the length.

And if we’re talking about things that need to get finished, Trellis was it. It had to go. It’s been causing me so much worry that I needed to at least be able to say “Well that’s over.” So I sewed it up, finished the collar, then proceeded to try and block it. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Used all of my T-Pins and the tiny cardigan looked like it was auditioning for the Hellraiser remake. If anyone ever makes a “lolknitting” site I’d like to suggest a caption for this pic:

“O hai. U needz moar T-pins”

It’s just the flash on that photo that make it look like the cables aren’t even there. There’s a better photo on my flickr. But now that this isn’t using up a 7 circular, I can swatch for the Back to School U-Neck vest.

Then I wanted to start my first sock club socks, but I had to make sure those size 2 dpns were going to be free…Well to do that I clearly had to finish that second Endpaper Mitt in one night. After all, it simply wouldn’t do to start the socks only to realize I needed those smaller needles to do the ribbing for the top of the Endpapers! So the Endpaper Mitts are done. I absolutely loved this project. It’s quick, easy to follow, and has some really great new techniques to learn (the tubular cast on is my new best friend). It also gives you plenty of confidence when it comes to color-work, which I’d never done before. It was a project way out of my comfort zone and I had fun with every part of it. So if anyone out there is looking for a way to get in to stranded knitting but doesn’t know where to start, I highly recommend the Endpapers.

Lastly, I think as a reward for making something cute for a family member, Mommy took me out to the yarn store in Montclair and I got some gorgeous Rowan Felted Tweed in a super pretty red for a sweater vest that I’ll probably think up off the top of my head, and some Lorna’s Laces in a colorway that I think is called “Gold Hill.” It’s a beautiful fall color variegated that I think I have just the pattern for…but first, my super cool awesome Harry Potter colorway 🙂


The pointier needles

September 18, 2007

Sometimes you just need to know when to pack it in on one craft for a little while and work on another. And after that day of failing miserable at all of my knitting WIPs, I was lucky enough to be able to turn to sewing…which was terrifying.

Let’s be clear. I didn’t call this blog “Art Class Failure” for nothing. I’m not good at most traditional “artsy” things, but when I’m put to a craft that produces something of obvious function, I’m usually pretty good: Knitted hats – you wear them, Crocheted blankets – you sit under them, Tatted Lace – ….Okay I’m still working on that one but the point is I’ve always felt sewing was my big exception.

I can cook, I can knit, I can crochet, I can TAT, I can make friendship bracelets…but my big Home Economics final project mishap of almost 10 years ago haunts me to this day. I tried to make a dress. My mother fondly remembers making her first dress at about the same age I was…Mine was a disaster. My seams were practically zig-zag, the material was bunched up and I EVEN managed to sew one of the pattern pieces to the material. I got a B for effort on the project (most other people in class had just made another apron), but I got it in my head I’d never bother with a sewing machine again.

Fast forward to these years in academic limbo (trying to get in to law school), yet unable to stop learning new thing. I decided to give sewing another shot. After all, there was some pretty cool material out there. Why not make some skirts? And then I got on the “need new apron” train of thought and the deal was sealed.

I already blogged the cutting out process, but last night I got down to the actual sewing. I picked the easiest possible pattern to start with: A skirt that consists of two pieces of fabric sewn together with a little tube at the top for an elastic waist. After spending the whole day consulting the internet for tips (google searches for “I am terrified I’m going to break my sewing machine just by looking at it” returned nothing useful), my mom taught me how to use her old Singer. It’s a great machine. Winding the bobbin is easy and even threading the needle wasn’t so bad.

The pinning of the fabric was a little rough. I stabbed myself twice, but never drew blood (the same cannot be said about my knitting or my tatting). But I must have gotten the pins in mostly straight, because seaming wasn’t bad at all…after I got finished nearly breaking the machine, of course. I went to backstitch at the beginning of the piece and made a royal mess of the thing. Eventually got it squared away, but the act of nearly killing the old warhorse within 4 seconds of sitting down at it (not an exaggeration) made me queasy.

Still! The pieces are all seamed together and I’ll be doing the sewing on the elastic case this evening before I go out to dinner. Sewing is fun! And soon I’ll have my Yellow Rick-Rack Nightmare Apron! Mwahahaha!

Lastly, here’s a look at the pretty fabric I’m making the skirt out of:


A lot on the plate

September 5, 2007

Friday and Saturday were big days out with the mother. She wanted to go to the big Fabric Land in Plainfield so she could get apulstory fabric to re-do some chair cushions, but I was all about apron fabric. The pattern I’m looking at is one of those three-in-ones with several styles. I decided to make two different patterns: a funtional bib apron for normal cooking, and a cute little skirt one for holiday functions. I actually *use* aprons, contrary to the popular belief of my friends, so this isn’t just me being silly and wasting time and fabric.


The two purple fabrics are going in to the bib apron, but the black yellow and green will be the skirt one. Is it wrong that the thing I’m most stoked about is the bright yellow rick-rack that’ll be going around the pockets? What can I say? If I’m making a little Donna Reed skirt apron, I want it to have occularly offensive rick-rack.

I’ve also got another lovely piece of fabric from the JoAnns sale rack. $4 a yard for this lovely purple fabric! It’s so soft, too! I immediately saw it as a skirt with a white button down shirt and….a purple sweater vest! Excuse for a new Fitted Knits project! Back to School U-Neck! Woohoo! I capped off the fabric store trips with the purchase of my very own sewing basket. I have a lot of memories of going through my mother’s sewing basket looking at all the different color thread and the pins and stuff. Now I have my very own! I have my knitting supplies in there, plus the thread I’ve used in sewing so far. I don’t know why, but I really like having a basket of my own…I think mom does too because now I won’t be messing up her perfectly arranged one anymore.

In other news, I’ve picked as my new audiobook knitting the Self Designed Hoodie of Many Froggings. I’m still on the raglan-increases-of-doom, so it really doesn’t require much attention from me. It won’t be anything other than green stockinette until under the arms when I’ll add the yellow cable panel. So for now I can keep my attention on Ms. Marple…too bad I think I already know who the would-be killer is…

And I’ve finally started gift knitting. I’m knitting my cousin’s baby boy’s sweater using Daisy from knitty as a basic pattern. I think I’m gonna try to throw a cable in there somewhere, just to liven things up. I’m actually going to the yarn store today to  see about incoporating another color in to the Tomten for my other cousin’s baby girl. Then cousin Mike wants a scarf and ‘Ric wants mittens and if I make stuff for them I *have* to make *something* for Laur…

 I never should have let my family know that I can knit more than garter-stitch scarves.