March in Review

Wow, I didn’t intend to just skip from one monthly summary to the next. But this has been a month where I just didn’t finish anything large enough for individual blog posts. I have a couple of other things in progress, but they’ve been going rather slowly. (Fitting for this blog name, I guess.)

So without further ado, here’s what I did manage to get done. Mostly via instagram pics.

Le Dane HatsThis was actually a pretty good month for knitting. I finished my second hat of the year, this time for Hobbit. And this was actually me planning ahead pretty decently! The hat size for him was 9-24 months, so this will be put aside for next winter. (He just turned 9 months this month, and is currently in a stage where all hats get violently ripped off his head within seconds anyway, so there was really no point in trying to finish it for this winter.) So now he and Doug have matching hats.

The pattern is Le Dane, which is free on Ravelry. Doug picked the colors, and I knitted them out of a soft acrylic. I added extra length to the ribbing on Doug’s at his request, because he wants to make sure he can cover his ears. I knitted Hobbit’s as is, since there’s no guarantee he’ll even leave it on!

Once I finished that, my intent was to do a second gauge swatch for my cardigan. But then I got distracted by pretty variegated yarn at Joann’s, bought two skeins, and immediately started knitting! This is the Garland Cowl, also free on Ravelry, knitted from Lion Brand Landscapes in the Apple Orchard colorway. (I’ve woven in the ends since this picture, but I haven’t tried blocking it yet.) It’s acrylic, so working with it was no problem for me, and I really enjoyed watching the colors change as I worked! I’m trying to simplify my knit accessories, since several of my older scarves are starting to look ratty, and I think this will really pop against my mostly black peacoat! I have about 100 yards left, so I’m thinking I’m going to reknit my Whittier hat. The alpaca in it does make my head itch if I wear it for longer than about 30 minutes, sadly, but I did enjoy the pattern, and it took me less than 100 yards the last time.

I did start that gauge swatch. But going down one needle size wasn’t enough, because it was ending up the exact same size! So I’m trying two sizes down, and hopefully that will be enough.

Also, this happened.

In the world of sewing, I’ve been working on a (hopefully) wearable muslin of the Deer & Doe Bruyere blouse. But I was only working on it at my mom’s sewing machine while she watched Hobbit, so it was slow going. (It’s done now, but in April. More on that later.) I cut out an Appleton dress with the intent of making it for The Monthly Stitch’s “Sew Hot Now” theme, but only got as far as modifying the pattern and cutting it out. I did finish two things, though.

The first was a second pair of the Cake Espresso leggings, from a rayon knit that’s been in the stash for some time. I did lower the waistband from the last time, and it worked much better. The only problem is that it doesn’t seem to go nearly as well with my existing cold weather wardrobe as I thought it would, so I’m having trouble finding things to wear them with! Maybe if we have a cooler day in May, I’ll find an outfit to use it in for Me-Made-May. Which I haven’t pledged yet, but I think I might on a biweekly basis or something. I don’t think I have enough clothes that fit yet to do more than that. Until then, have an instagram pic that at least shows the color. (Man, I look tired.)

I had about 3/4 yard left over, so I made a basic tank top based on McCall’s 5015. The largest size was medium, and I wanted to make sure it will fit, so I did a little FBA and added about 2 inches to the hem. It seems to have worked. I also changed the neckline and armholes to a binding rather than just turn under and hem, because we all know that never, ever works on a regular sewing machine without ripples. It did still ripple, and pressing it out without the fabric going shiny has proved difficult, despite using a press cloth and low heat. But I’m sure it’s still better than the other way would have been! (I’ve pressed it since taking this bathroom selfie, and it does look a little better now. Also, for the record, the leggings picture is closer to the color.)

So that’s my month. I used 1 3/4 yards of fabric up, and bought 1 3/4 to make a gift for a cousin who is expecting a baby this summer. (I also bought 3 yards of silk organza, but it’s for interfacing instead of stash. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Hopefully April will be a little more productive. On a personal note, we finally resorted to letting Hobbit cry it out at night as of last weekend, and it’s actually working much better than every gentler sleep method I’ve tried. So now that I’m finally catching up on some sleep myself, I’m hoping that some of this evening time can start getting used for making things instead of desperately trying to catch what little sleep I can before he wakes up.

The slowest refashion I’ve ever made

I mentioned in my FESA post that I had finally finished a knitting project, and here it is!

RohelineThis is the Roheline cardigan, as modeled by the floor. I tried to get a good picture of it on me, but I was completely unable to avoid the canine photobombs today. Plus the sky is about the same color as this sweater right now, and that really doesn’t help on the lighting front! Oh well, you can see the drop stitch detail better this way anyway.

I call it the slowest refashion, because the yarn is actually recycled! Several years ago, I bought three sweaters from the thrift store, as a cheap way to experiment with how my skin would react to some different animal fibers/percentages of wool.

I ended up tossing the yarn from #2, since it unraveled into a gross tangle of cheap acrylic and just enough wool to annoy me. I still have the yarn from #3 and love the colors, but I’m leaning towards tossing that one as well, since I suspect that even a measly 8% wool is going to be too much for me. So this all came from sweater #1. It’s a mostly cotton/acrylic/viscose blend, with a little bit of rabbit hair. And I guess I’m ok with rabbit, because this one didn’t bother me to knit with at all!

Roheline sleeve issue
Making this was definitely a learning experience. I already knew how to do drop stitch, and had experimented quite unsuccessfully with short rows in a failed sweater attempt before. But I did finally learn how to do them properly on this. I had to learn Kitschener stitch for the underarms. I also taught myself how to do “magic loop” knitting so I could do both sleeves at the same time, which was mostly successful. I guess I still need to work on that, because I was unfortunately left with this obvious line down the sleeves where I was jumping between the two circulars and the stitches are a bit looser/sometimes look like I left holes. Is that normal? I did sort of try to block this when I finished, meaning I basically just dumped it in the sink, ran some water over it and squished it around, and let it dry. I know the yarns I can generally work with don’t block as nicely as wool-based ones, but I guess I should try actually washing this for real and letting it dry to see if I can smooth that out some more.

Roheline sleeveFor the most part, I knitted this straight off the pattern, since I frankly don’t really have the knowledge to add extra shaping to knitting yet. But I did add a little extra length to the sleeves, about an inch, which I think was a good move. It’s nice to have my wrists completely covered when it’s cold outside!


And here’s my attempt to get it as an outfit photo. This was seriously the best out of the multiple tries. Crosby really wanted to model today, I guess! Considering how long it took me to knit this sweater (a full 15 months!), and current events in my life, I am SO glad that I decided to do a cardigan for my second sweater, so I can actually wear it this winter!

I’m in a weird place right now, wardrobe-wise. I’m pretty firmly in the camp of having to wear maternity stuff on my legs already, since the waistbands of everything else are just getting too uncomfortably tight. But I’m still able to fit into my regular tops very well, as long as I’m ok with the “I ate one too many cookies” look. (Just minus the fun of actually getting to eat the cookies, sadly, since I’m still waiting for that nausea to go away.) So this is maternity leggings (from Old Navy) and a maternity denim skirt (from Goodwill) with my regular purple Sadie tank. I’m slowly in the process of trying to assemble a wardrobe that will be as mix-and-match as possible, but I think that will have to be a separate post for later. As of now, I have a lot of holes to fill. But since this cardigan fits very nicely with the palette that’s emerging, at least I have one layer to work with.

an American fabric-shopping in Paris!

Yeah, that happened! There’s a lot more I could say about my trip, but we all know you’re really here for the fabric chatter, right? Of course right.

Several people were kind enough to give me recommendations for places to check out, via Twitter. Specifically Sonja and Sarah–thanks, ladies! I knew I would have to limit myself on how many places I could visit, since I’d be dragging Doug with me, so I ended up picking one recommendation from each sewcialist.

Les Coupons de Saint-PierreFirst up was Les Coupons de Saint-Pierre. I’d been forewarned that this place was one you’d have to dig through piles, but I’ve been a thrift shopper since I was 13, so I have no problem with that.

To be honest, I could have spent hours in this part of town alone–there were so many tables full of fabric sitting outside multiple shops, just begging to be noticed! For a girl who only has a handful of Joann’s in her entire state to pick from, this was a dream! But for the sake of my long-suffering husband, I restrained myself. Yes, there was a lot of digging to do. All of the fabric is piled onto tables by type, in 3-meter cuts–there was a huge pile of cottons, a section for linen, a part with leather hides, a huge section on the one side of the store for “silks”, etc. (I put the silk in quotes, because upon closer examination, I deduced that the sign probably meant silky and the biggest pile was actually polyester. All of the labels were in French, of course, but I made sure to look up the words for the different fiber types before I left!) So I bought 3 pieces of fabric here. When we were walking to the metro, I spotted a fourth “coupon” on an outside table that I couldn’t pass up, so we quickly bought that as well and kept moving. I forget the name of that shop, but it also had “Coupons” in the name, and looked to be pretty similar.

French fabric!Here’s what I ended up with, from left to right:

1. A fine-wale corduroy, covered in embroidery and sequins. This was on the 5 Euro table outside the store. My first instinct says jacket, but since I already have a brown corduroy jacket, I’m pondering a fall skirt. A Beignet, maybe? French named-pattern for a French fabric!

2. The piece on the side of the road I couldn’t leave! It’s a thin jersey, and I do so love brown and teal together. I think this could be very nice as the lately-released Muse Jenna cardi, though I don’t have that pattern yet. 4,75 Euros.

3. A denim with a slight amount of stretch. I liked the cross-hatching in the weave. These will eventually become jeans, of course. I’ll have to decide whether to make them skinny, since that’s pretty much the only pants I saw anywhere in Paris, or give myself another pair of bootcuts.

4. An ITY floral jersey. This color scheme is odd for me, and almost completely outside of my palette, but something about it called to me. I don’t know what this one will be yet, but it’s not like I have a shortage of jersey patterns. I’m open to suggestions, though!

All together, the cost of these fabrics was just under 30 Euros. Which made the whole shopping trip cheaper than almost every single meal we ate. Those cafes are expensive when you’re buying for 2! Even for just sandwiches!

la drougerieThe second store I visited later in the week was La Drougerie. I didn’t end up buying any fabric here, because there was only a small selection and it looked like mostly quilt-type cottons. It was also sold by the meter instead of the 3-meter cuts, so it looked like that would add up quickly. It looked like the big draw here was the yarn–it’s the first thing you see when you walk into the door, and dominates the whole first half of the store. There’s also a room to the side where you can browse beads and buttons and trims, and again, I could have spent a lot more time here.

I decided to limit myself to just a small yarn purchase here, since the yarn is sold by weight. It’s a good thing I came armed with fiber translations, because as usual, there’s wool in almost everything! But I did find this super-soft linen/bamboo blend. It’s called Kaleido, Ravelry has it categorized as fingering weight, and I ended up with about 330 yards. So probably enough for a hat or a lacy scarf or something along that line.

Unleaving, in progress
Finally, I did do some crafting while I was gone! This was mostly done during times like airport layovers and sitting in the hotel room at night– I was originally thinking to knit on the plane some, too, but for both of the long flights, I ended up in the middle seat with not a ton of elbow room. This is the Unleaving Shawl from Knitty, which really looks a lot more like a scarf than a shawl and highly increases the chance of this actually getting worn. And it’s a really simple pattern, unless I’m so tired from flying for 8 hours straight that I screw up the pattern and can’t figure out how to backtrack and fix it. (Yeah, that happened once. Hopefully it’s not too terribly obvious. I really should not knit anything other than straight stockinette when I’m super-tired.)

One other fun sewing-related story from the trip: Doug and I had just gotten on the metro later in the day after dropping off my fabric at the hotel, to head to Notre Dame. There were two older ladies in the seats near the rail we were holding onto, and one was telling her friend (in English) about something having to do with a silk-cotton blend and the pattern she was working with. So when there was a pause in the conversation, I asked them if they sewed, they answered in the affirmative, and the three of us got to chatting about sewing clothes! I didn’t have time before our stop to ask their names or where exactly they were from, though I’m guessing America based on the accents (or lack thereof, to my ears). But they did like my Cooper bag that I was carrying, and had heard of Colette when I replied to their question of what pattern I’d used. It’s amazing that I could instantly find someone to talk to in a random subway on the other side of the world because of sewing!

If you do want to see travel photos, I have a small selection up on my Instagram. I still need to sort through the photos on my SLR, and when I uploaded those and the ones on my phone this morning, I have over 700 photos from the week! But I’m also going to make a Flickr album of my favorites, mostly to make it easier to upload and print. After all, this is exactly the sort of trip that makes me want to dig into my scrapbook paper and play!

So who wants to swap some stuff?

Andrea, Gail, and Morgan— the masterminds behind the Stash Diet– have come up with another fun stashbusting idea. In the interest of decluttering, they’re hosting a Spring Cleaning Swap Meet! I’m also in a mood to spring clean and declutter some. My husband and I spent several hours last night cleaning about half of our house–ok, he cleaned about half the house, all I did was the kitchen and the living room windows. That kitchen took forever! Though in my defense, it was a really deep clean. And we still have more cleaning to do today.  Anyway. So I dug through my stash and found a whole stack of patterns that I’m ok with parting with. Honestly, these are just the never-been-used ones, so I’m going to have to go through again and figure out which patterns I’ve tried that just aren’t for me.

I’ll ship these pretty much anywhere, though if it’s outside of North America, I wouldn’t mind if you’re willing to chip in on shipping costs. I’m also going to keep it simple this time and say first come, first served. So here’s what’s up for grabs. (The two with the glasses are pictures that I didn’t realize duplicated in the collage until after it was already on Flickr, and I’m too lazy to redo it.) And since I probably won’t be able to get these out right away, let’s say I’ll leave this open till April 1.

swap patterns

  1. Simplicity #2700, sizes 14-22. They’re pretty similar to the Thurlows, and I know that one works for me.
  2. J. Stern Designs #37 Women’s Jeans, sizes 12W-24W. Generously given to me by the designer when I took her class on Pattern Review twice, because I was having so much trouble with fitting, along with the Misses size. I’m keeping that one for myself, but would love to see this one go to someone who can use it.   TAKEN by Linda.
  3. Vogue #8781, sizes 8-16. Just too corporate for my lifestyle.
  4. New Look #6977, sizes 6-16. For knits. I kind of feel like I’m too old for this one for some reason. TAKEN by Paskiaq.
  5. Simplicity #4220, sizes 8-16. I bought this mainly for the top, but I have other similar things. TAKEN by Dottie.
  6. Simplicity #2369, sizes 8-16. For knits. Also bought for the top, which I’m no longer feeling.
  7. Simplicity #2344, sizes 10-18. I liked the jacket, but I have tons of jacket patterns that interest me more for now. The top is a knit, the rest are woven.
  8. McCall’s #5105, sizes X-Small-Medium. I have TNT top patterns that pretty much cover these silhouettes.
  9. Simplicity #1915, sizes 6-14. I thought the waist casing would be enough fitting for my taste, but the Wardrobe Architect project has changed my mind.
  10. Simplicity #1910, sizes 6-14. Bought as a possibility for the skirt of my wedding dress, but I didn’t use it.
  11. Butterick #5212, sizes 8-14. A bit more low-cut than I’m comfortable with.
  12. Simplicity #3559, sizes 6-14. So cute, and totally wrong for me. I’ve learned the hard way that sheath dresses don’t work on me at all.  TAKEN via Flickr by Frau Sma.
  13. Simplicity #7090, sizes 12-18. Not feeling it anymore, but a teenager learning to sew might love it. TAKEN by Becky
  14. Vogue #8099, one size. I don’t even know how I got this pattern–probably something my mom was destashing herself.
  15. Simplicity #4543, sizes 8-14. I’ve also learned the hard way that skirts with wide yokes don’t work on me at all, either. TAKEN by Becky
  16. Simplicity #2416, sizes 10-18. I was looking for a good maxi-skirt pattern, I still think the seaming is interesting, but I’m highly unlikely to make it now that I have the Gabriola skirt.

I have one other thing I can offer up, too, though due to bulk, I’ll have to limit this one to the US.

Some time ago, when I first started knitting, I snagged a couple of sweaters at the thrift store and unraveled them as part of an experiment to see how much, if any, wool I can handle. You can see the original sweaters here. The offwhite one got trashed, the grey is currently being knit into my Roheline cardigan, and this is the greenish one. I was going to attempt to do something with it, but it seems that even tiny percentages of wool and myself don’t get along, because my hands were still feeling prickly from handling this long enough to take a photo for Twitter, about an hour later. So here’s the details:

  • Yes, I washed this sweater before I frogged it.
  • If I estimated right, based on the measurements on my swift and wpi, there’s approximately 1475 yards in a sport-weight. Though the plys seem to want to loosen up quite a bit, so it might be better off doubled for actually knitting. 
  • Divided into 12 skeins of various sizes, based on how the sweater was unraveling.
  • Original sweater gauge is 4×4” square = 20 stitches, 28 rows in stockinette. 
  • Fiber content is 74% polyester, 11% mohair, 7% acrylic and 8% wool.

It’s a pretty color scheme of olive, pale yellow, blue and a darker green and brown all twisted together, and I really wish that my skin could handle it. If no one wants it, I’ll just toss it or donate it back to the thrift store– no harm done, since I only paid $3.50 for all of this yarn.

More thoughts on stashbusting

I just found out that the Stashbusting Sewalong that Cation Designs and EmSewCrazy hosted last year is still going on! Which is exciting, since I’m doing the Stash Diet anyway. So I’m definitely jumping in on this one, too, in hopes that I can actually participate in more of the challenges this time around.

This year, they’ve also added in a “Curating Challenge”, so here’s my answers for January’s questions.

Why do you sew?

I sew because making things is what keeps me sane. No, really. You don’t want to be around me when I haven’t had time to do any crafty stuff in awhile. I also like having clothes that fit me better/are different than what you find in stores–even when I was a kid, I liked wearing the clothes that my mom, and later me, made, because no one else in my school had the same stuff.

What’s on your list?

This will probably get altered depending on how many Saturdays get stolen from me I have to work in the spring/what sewcial challenges come up, but my current mental list for this year, in no particular order, is the following:

  • 4 more Thurlows (first one is in progress currently)
  • A Robson coat (hopefully before spring, I’m thinking for #bluefebruary)
  •  The new winter coat (I’d like to finish this one before October, since that’s when I may start needing it. I do need underlining and lining for this.)
  • A Project Runway pattern that I’ve had bagged with pattern/fabric/notions for about 2 years now that I haven’t gotten to yet
  • The Reglisse and Darling Ranges dresses that I didn’t get to last summer
  • A black knit maxi-dress
  • Espresso leggings. Especially since I figured out that the brown knit I’ve had for years that I was planning on testing this pattern out with will work for the costume I have in mind for Shieldmaiden March! 
  • Also, Shieldmaiden March. More on my costume choice and research to come. Hint: it’s not a traditional Viking. But you probably figured that out from the leggings (or if you follow me on Twitter).
  • A couple more (less involved) costumes, which need to get done before Labor Day weekend, since there’s plans in the works for a girls’ weekend at DragonCon! (This will probably involve tweaking things from the thrift store for the most part, and shouldn’t be too terribly hard to put together–for instance, one of my must-haves is an Amy Pond costume (from Doctor Who, for the uninitiated) and her clothes are pretty everyday wearable. I just need to decide which episode I’m coordinating with, since I have one friend who already has a particular River Song dress and another friend who wants to do Clara as “Souffle Girl”.)
  • A Cooper bag, which I should also try to get done before Labor Day, because I want to use it as a carry-on/day trip bag.
  • I do need to make 1 set of curtains for the kitchen at some point this year, particularly so I can shuffle things around to look better if we do put our townhouse on the market.
  • Other things bouncing around my head: I’d also like to make at least one more pair of jeans, a “real” Cambie dress, an Archer blouse, some pajamas (which I do legitimately need some warm-weather ones), and a Red Velvet dress.

Did I mention I have a problem with the ambition vs. time ratio?

Why are you stash busting?

Because my stash, as previously mentioned, is at ridiculous proportions. I want to downsize to a manageable level, so I can put more thought into my fabric purchases, create more cohesion in my wardrobe, and not feel guilty about buying fabric because I already have so much. I also want to make it easier to pack and move to a new space, since even if we don’t manage to move this year, moving a little closer to our families and to a larger space is something that we would prefer to do before any kids come into the picture. (And if we do that, I very well might have to work with a smaller craft space, since bedrooms would be a higher priority.)

This month’s theme for the Stashbusting Sewalong is “Itty Bits”. The good news is, I already did this without realizing it, thanks to my Kindle case! I can probably also count the pockets for my pants, or is that pushing it?

Stash Diet 2014

Happy New Year, sewcialists! If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve been spending a lot of time in my sewing/craft room lately, going through things and just trying to get it neat so I can start 2014 off with a cleaner slate. There’s a lot of stuff that never really got put away after the move, so I’m trying to do it right this time! Though, as of last night (and with a little help from my husband), I have it at “good enough” for now, so now I can start making things again. Woohoo!

I’ve also been doing a lot of tracking of what I have, and have discovered that I have an embarrassing amount of stuff. I’d mentioned in my Hits & Misses post that I didn’t feel like I did such a great job of buying vs. using my stuff. But it’s all useful stuff, and the cheap frugal part of me doesn’t like to get rid of things that are useful. Especially when I still like the fabrics, you know? But hubby and I are also talking about potentially putting our house on the market this year and moving back up north. (Which, in this state, means 20 minutes away from where I am now, and above the canal so we don’t have to keep paying that stupid toll any time either of us go to work.) And that means the more I use, the less I have to pack, right? We’re also going to be attempting to crack down on our budget this year, so me using what I have instead of buying new craft supplies will be a huge help!

Stash Diet Badge

Andrea and Gwen have started a Stash Diet initiative for 2014, and I think it’s just what I need. I’m going to be doing mine for yarn, too, since I also have a lot of that. But I also need some ground rules, so here goes:

The basic rules:

  1. I will allow myself one new piece of fabric for every 4 from the stash that I use up. I will include lining fabrics into “things used up”, since I already added those into my yardage totals, but will not include scraps or muslin. Giving away fabric will also count, since that means it’s out of the stash.

    Side note–since I do have several curtain-type things on hand, I will count home dec fabrics towards the yardage totals, but not for new fabric purchases.

  2. I will allow myself one new yarn purchase for every 3 that I use up, proportional to the size of the project. For instance, I can’t buy enough yarn for a sweater if I only use enough for a hat. (Note to self: need ideas for yarn leftovers, since I frequently end up with about half a ball after knitting something.)
  3. I will allow myself one new pattern purchase for every 4 that I use. For the purposes of this project, reusing the same pattern multiple times in a row will only count as 1, like the Thurlows that I plan to make all at once. Using a previously used pattern for a different view or after a passage of time, like if I make another Tiramisu dress, will still count. (This way, I can still buy the hot new indie patterns that strike my fancy!)


  1. Fabric or yarn that I need to complete a project. For instance, I already know that I’ll need to purchase both Thinsulate and lining for the winter coat I recently purchased fabric for, because the lining that I did order fell through, and I don’t have enough yardage of anything on hand for that.
  2. Same goes for notions–I’ll use what I can where I can, but sometimes you just don’t have the right color zipper or enough buttons.
  3. Materials for gifts, if I don’t have anything I can use. I know of at least one friend who will be having a baby shower this upcoming year, and though I don’t know what I’m making for her yet, I don’t really have much in the way of baby-appropriate options on hand!
  4. Travel exception: If we can swing the vacation we’re hoping for, or if something magical happens and there’s a blogger meetup I can actually attend, I will allow myself up to 3 pieces of fabric/skeins of yarn.
  5. If unforeseen life circumstances happen, I will make an exception as needed. I say this because the last time I tried to do a major stashbusting effort, I ended up needing to buy over 20 yards of fabric for ny wedding dress! So, given my stage in life, although we are not currently trying, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that I could unexpectedly get pregnant. It’s also not completely out of the realm of possibility that we might decide to start that process sometime over the course of the year. If that happens, I’m sure I would need to buy some fabrics and patterns, because I definitely don’t have enough knits or stretchy fabrics to make a cohesive maternity wardrobe! (But I would try to use what I had as much as possible.)

Stash shelves, end of 2013Here’s where I’m starting at:
Fabric currently in: Approximately 333.5 yards, not counting scraps or muslin
(Edit: Make that about 339.5. I forgot to factor in a Gorgeous Fabrics order that I’d already made before seeing this post. Though, since one is to make a garment out of an otherwise too-small stash piece, one of those pieces does fit my parameters!)

Yarn currently in, according to my Ravelry stash: Approximately  19,928 yards. (Though this isn’t entirely accurate, due to in-progress projects and some secret knitting.)

And this is how the shelves currently look. The 3 blue bins hold yarn, but I still had to leave a few projects’ worth in a separate bag, not counting the bag of knitting projects I’m actually working on at the moment. The rest of it is all of the fabric, minus what’s sitting in the basket in front–those are all of my Thurlow fabrics that I’m hoping to use soon. And there’s also at least 5 pieces of fabric that are bagged in the closet with their corresponding patterns. And everything I’ve bought recently for coats and whatnot, which still hasn’t made it in here from the laundry room. And anything for muslins, and scraps, and the several decent-sized pieces of fabric that had to get left in the scrap bins. Obviously, I need help!

What about you? Are you planning on doing any major stashbusting this year?

    Crafty Christmas goodies

    Hello, and happy New Year’s Eve! I figured I’d end the year with updating this with the newest toys I’ve gotten recently.

    One thing I posted on Instagram, but not here, was that back around Thanksgiving, my Grandma (on my dad’s side) was in the process of cleaning some things out of her house. She decided that she wasn’t going to do any more yarncrafting. So she let my sis-in-law and I take her entire stash of knitting and crochet needles. Since sis crochets and they were mostly knitting needles, I did get the bulk of it, but she did get a couple of things, too! Grandma also let me look through her old craft books, and I did take a few booklets of some cute 60s-ish vintage knitting patterns. Thanks, Grandma! So I should be good for awhile on double-pointed needles and circular needles….but I might need to sew new cases for them, because mine are stuffed!

    As usual, my mom gave me some fabric for Christmas! In particular, she gave me about 4 yards of a funky knit print, 3 yards of this oh-so-cool Japanese teacup fabric, and a couple of yards of a lightweight denim. I don’t have quite 4 yards of the knit anymore, since it shrank a bit in the wash, but that’s why we pre-wash, right?  I’m thinking a Tiramisu maxi-dress (a la Cation Designs) for the knit, a “real” Cambie for the teacup print, and maybe some wider-legged jeans with the denim–since it’s thinner and non-stretch, I think that would put less strain on the fabric. Plus a looser leg would be more comfortable for warmer weather here.

    But what? you say. There’s four fabrics in this picture! Well, Doug completely spoiled me this year. Not only did he get me a new computer– and a Kindle Fire, which I’m still completely in shock over since I already knew about the computer–he also bought me fabric! With TARDISes on it! He got it off of Spoonflower, with the disclaimer that since there were a ton of TARDIS fabrics on there, he basically got the one he liked best. Love that guy. It’s a quilter-weight cotton, so I’m thinking this would make an excellent lining for the Colette Cooper bag, which I recently acquired the pattern for. The best part is that, although I’d have to buy contrast, I do have a blue canvas-type fabric in the stash already that should work quite nicely for part of the bag!

    photo 1Mom made a couple of things for my sis-in-law and I, too. She made each of us a new beach bag with some meshy fabric (hers was in a different color scheme, but same idea). And she also made each of us a TARDIS wristlet–so cool! (And this would be perfect to throw into that Cooper bag that already exists in my head!)

    photo 2The best part, other than the fact that it’s a TARDIS, is that she lined it with Van Gogh fabric. If you watch Doctor Who, you understand why this is great. My mom rocks. 

    IMG_0962My mom also put a few fun new sewing toys in my stocking. I now have a buttonhole gauge, a Chaco pen, and a double-wheel tracing…thingy. She also got me this amazing wooden pressing tool, which I saw on A Fashionable Stitch and promptly put on my wish list. This will be so handy when I make that new winter coat!


    I even got something for the scrapbook–my mother-in-law spotted a Project Life kit on my Amazon wishlist and got that for me. I think this one will be fun, because it’s so colorful! I love those constellation cards in particular.

    So that’s a wrap on 2013, and I need to get back to trying to figure out the 3-D puzzle that is currently trying to get my craft room optimized to actually use this stuff!

    Of winter wardrobe planning and wool allergies (and a giveaway winner!)

    Now that it’s getting to the end of the year, my mind is already turning towards my goals for next year’s sewing. I usually do a post about this closer to the end of December, and I’m sure I still will, but one thing I’ve already realized/decided is that I really need to focus on beefing up my cold-weather wardrobe. This isn’t to say that I won’t sew anything for the summer months, particularly since I have quite a bit in my stash that’s better for that and I still want to stashbust. But I had the very sobering realization recently that I’m already bored with my clothing options for the colder weather. And it’s only November. I may have to do some thrift shopping soon to give myself a few new things to mix in, but of course I want to make some new things too! Though much of this may have to be for next winter. Look at me, planning ahead.
    The other complication to my plans, which you know if you’ve been reading this for awhile, is that I get cold ridiculously easily. And I also can’t wear wool. Honestly, I can hardly even touch the stuff, because my fingers start prickling and itching almost instantly when I do. (Ironically, there’s now “wool” in my new last name. Go figure.) So my constant challenge is to try to put together outfits that keep me warm, are still at least somewhat stylish, and won’t make me break out in hives if I leave it on too long.

    My big challenge for next year is that my peacoat that I made back in the early days of this blog is getting rather worn out. I can make it through this winter, but I’ll have to make a new one before the next cold season. (Still, 7 years, not bad for my first me-made coat!) To get that coat warm enough, I had to basically make a quilt for the lining with a double layer of batting, under polyester suedecloth. It’s warm, but it’s also very bulky and started off so stiff that it could literally stand on its own. It’s softened since, but I don’t really want to do that again. So I need to figure out a good option for the outer layer especially, and then any underlinings that I choose to do. I actually am seriously considering sucking it up and underlining my outer fabric with wool, in hopes that I might not feel it once it’s completely enclosed by other fabrics. It would be awful to sew, though. My hands are itching just thinking about it. I suppose fleece could be an underlining option too, but wind just cuts right through fleece for me when I’m wearing that as an outer layer.

    I’ll probably just go with the same pattern again (view A, in lavender here), since I’ve already gone through making and fitting it once, and it’s a classic style. I’m probably also going to stick with mostly black, since that means I can mix and match colorful knitted scarves on a whim. I think Mood Fabrics is out for me this time, since I haven’t found a coating on their website yet that isn’t at least blended with wool. I have found a few options elsewhere:

    Polyester/Acrylic boucle coating from I like the texture, though it would be quite prone to raveling and would certainly have to be underlined for warmth.

    Black Heavyweight Rainwear from Denver Fabrics. On the plus side, it would keep me dry. Though I already have a cold-weather raincoat.

    “Poodle Fur” Knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. Though, honestly, I’m not really seeing this as an option. The thought of a fur-looking winter coat just isn’t working for me.

    So, yeah, I guess that boucle is the best option so far. Any thoughts about other fabric options/what I should underline and/or line with? I will gladly take any and all help I can get, because my only other somewhat fashionable option is something like this.

    And the last thing I want to look like in the winter is this.

    On a cheerier note, I did find a solution to another planned wardrobe addition recently. I’ve been thinking that once I finish the cardigan I’m currently working on, I’d like to make a mustardy yellow one next. It would go with this, the two fabrics I bought for Darling Ranges and Reglisse dresses, and my totally wear-again bridesmaid dress from the most recent wedding. (Mine is a charcoal grey.) I’m pretty proud of myself, because even though it took quite a bit of scouring through a closeout section, I found a fully cotton yarn in just the right color, and for half price! I got the “Impala” color. The plan is to make this cardigan, from my Coastal Knits book. I know I won’t have it for this year, but hopefully I can manage to knock this out before next fall, because a cheery yellow cardigan sounds just perfect for combating the winter blahs.

    Edit: I ended up having to switch yarns, due to the supplier not having enough. I guess someone else ordered some around the same time I did. So now I’ll be using this, in yellow. The person from Webs who helped me out was great, though–she even offered wool-free alternative suggestions to me! Thanks, Jackie!

    Speaking of knitting, I do need to draw a name for that KnitScene giveaway!  I’m a couple of days late. My excuse is that my grandfather passed away on Monday, so it’s been a bit of a rough week so far. Since I’m home alone right now, and dogs aren’t the most helpful name drawers, I’m resorting to the random number generator as usual.

    That makes the winner Laura, who said she liked the Rosemary cardigan best. (I don’t blame you. That was a very strong contender for that yellow cardigan! I just loved the Rocky Coast one first. It’ll get made eventually.) So congratulations, and I’ll be in touch with you soon.

    A Stash Confessional, part 1

    You know, all things considered, I think I’ve been doing a fairly decent job with the stashbusting this year. I mean, sure, I’ve only sewn about 7-8 things this entire year. And I did have to buy fabric for the recent wedding gifts. And that dress. But aside from those two things, pretty much everything I’ve sewed this year was from things that I’d already had in the stash for awhile. I even managed to basically use up some yarn.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean I haven’t bought anything recently. But I am trying to be more mindful of my purchases, and really think about how things will fit into my wardrobe. Either that, or they’re for specific non-clothes purposes. I do need to go through sometime and figure out what my more recent totals are, since I’ve used up parts of yardage and acquired more, and I’ll probably do that before the end of the year. But in the meantime, here’s the more recent additions to my stashes, mostly as told through Twitter posts.

    // bought some yarn back in August. There’s this cute little yarn store down at the beach, and I went there with my cousins again this year. The orange yarn was bought specifically to make a scarf for this Craftsy class that I’m verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry slooooooooooooooooowly working my way through. (And turns out to be a different color of the same yarn that I bought last year and haven’t knitted yet, so I hope I like it!) I have ideas for the other two, but no specific patterns yet–I’m thinking the green could make a nice little triangular wrap/scarf thingy, preferably with a leaf-like pattern. And the blue-purple one….I just thought it was cool and unique. Ideally, I’d like to make a cowl with some kind of drop-stitch pattern so I can play with the dual texture of it (it can be used as a bulky or a ruffle yarn), but I haven’t had any luck yet with finding one on Ravelry. I’m a little afraid that I might have to try to come up with a pattern myself, which is more than a bit intimidating when I’m also taking a beginner knit Craftsy class to make sure I taught myself right!

    // also got this over the summer–I’d gone to Joann’s to acquire some supplies for my friend’s bridal shower, and this came home with me. In my defense, it was a lovely-feeling cotton. And 70% off. And it was screaming at me that it wants to be a Pavlova skirt. Which will hopefully happen sometime before the end of next spring.

    // from Joann’s, and surprisingly soft and snuggly. Hopefully it won’t lose that too quickly in washing. And I’m not saying exactly what I bought this for yet, but if you know the show, you can probably guess.

    //’s right, 3 more pieces of pants-like fabric. When I stopped by my parents’ to drop off my flute before the retail job–I’m kinder to my instrument than myself when it comes to dealing with the temperatures there at my outside register–my mom told me that one of her quilter friends that she’d seen yesterday wanted to pass those along to me. She’d bought them for pants that she apparently decided she’d never get to. So this means if I totally screw up my hopefully wearable muslin of the Thurlows, I have another opportunity to make brown pants. And then figure out what to do with the other two pieces.

    Aside from those, I’ve bought several pieces of quilting cotton. Aside from the shower gift pieces, which I do have small yardages left of, I got some to make Christmas stockings for us and one gift. But I don’t have any pictures of those, particularly since I only bought the gift ones today and they haven’t come in the mail yet. (And I may have purchased a sweater knit, too. But I needed one more piece to get free shipping from And it was on sale for less than $10 total,  and the truth is that I’d rather pay for fabric than shipping. Especially when it means I might be able to inject some much-needed color into my winter wardrobe!)

    Stay tuned for part 2, in which I try to figure out various possibilities for things that have been sitting in my stash for awhile. Which will probably wait until after Pantsapalooza, but since I have nothing to show for that yet…note to self, next time you host a sew-along, you might want to pick a time when you don’t have multiple weekends solidly booked in a row, k?

    a crafty Christmas haul

    Like I said in yesterday’s post, I was totally spoiled this year. So here’s the latest additions to my various supplies and stashes! Besides, this is just a thinly-veiled excuse to play with the new camera.

    Knitting goodies

    I got some knithing things– two skeins of recycled denim yarn, these two books (one from my mom and one from my fiance), and two bamboo circular knitting needles that I found in my stocking.

    Fabric goodiesI got some fabric, of course– though mostly not for clothes this time. The fat quarters are the exception, since those are for things like waistband facings and pockets for all of those pants and jeans  that I need to make. The big mostly-blue and green floral print on the right is for curtains in my future sewing room, the sunflowery thing is one of those panel apron kits, the cheery print on the left is so I can make myself a tailor’s ham/sleeve roll/ironing mat cover/other pressing aids.
    Ironing goodiesWhich, of course, brings me to more pressing aids! My mom said she specifically wanted to find some things to stock my future craft room that other people might not think to get for me. So she got me this ironing mat for when I don’t want to haul out an entire ironing board, this lovely-smelling starch alternative spray, and the iron off of my registry. She got this one awhile back and it works very nicely–and I’m glad that she went ahead and got it, because she’s one of the only people I know who would understand that me asking for a pricier iron is because I actually do need one that will hold up while getting more-than-average household use!

    Sewing goodies

    Other sewing goodies: A long clear quilter’s ruler and brand-new scissors, both of which I’ve already opened to use in cutting out The One Dress, a tube turner set similar to one that I’ve been constantly borrowing from her since I was a teenager, a buttonhole cutter, sewing machine needles (one pack of which is the extra-sharp fine needles and so I will most certainly be using those soon), and a little frame/bag thing to sit around a serger and catch the messy stringy bits. And Gertie’s book!
    Other crafty stuffAnd finally, my very own glue gun, and another book from my Amazon wishlist. You know, just in case I do ever decide to try the Etsy thing or anything like that ever again. If nothing else, it looks like it has some good information on photos and blogging. They’re not pictured here, but I also got some glue sticks for that gun, and a Joann’s gift card from my future in-laws, which I’ll probably just hang onto for awhile until I have a better idea of things I might need for my craft room, or home dec-type stuff.

    What about you? Anything fun and crafty under your tree this year?