2015’s final projects

I have a few last-minute additions to this year’s collection of makery.

IMG_3269The first two are both Christmas projects! I only made two things this year, and they were all for Hobbit. The first was this sock monkey ornament. I did it to continue a tradition that my mom started when I was growing up–she would make an ornament each for my brother and I every year, so that we would have a collection to decorate our trees with when we were out on our own. My brother’s got lost somehow, along with a box of ornaments I made myself at one point, and even them moving never turned it up, sadly. But aside from one or two that broke, many of the ornaments on our tree come from that collection. So it’s one I’d like to continue with Hobbit, and any other children that we might have. This year, I kept it simple with a kit, and all I had to do was stuff and stitch. My mom has one too, and I’ll eventually get to making the third and final for our collection. (My mom has taken to calling him Monkey, so we thought it appropriate.) Isaac's ark


The second is this toy ark, which ended up being a family affair. The pattern came from one of my grandmothers, who was getting rid of old craft books last Christmas and asked my cousins and I to see if there was anything we wanted to take. Most of the fabrics came from my mom’s stash of quilt cotton, and she helped me a great deal with both sewing the animals and holding Hobbit so I could work on it myself. Doug helped by cutting some thin wood into the shapes for the boat, after I couldn’t find large enough pieces of the  illustration board that it called for at the local arts and crafts stores. And I ended up using my dad’s duct tape to seal the board edges to prevent splinters from working through, so that counts. Right? Aside from the duct tape, the boards are covered in quilt batting and fabric, and I had to hand stitch and hot glue the covered pieces together. Awkward, but it worked. I think it turned out pretty cute, and the adults in the family were impressed. Hobbit’s take on it so far is that the animals are fun to stick in his mouth, just like everything else in life right now. But he did seem somewhat interested when I was showing him how to drop the animals inside, so hopefully he’ll like it when he’s a bit older.

Exhibit B: knitting. As I mentioned in my goals post, it’s been a slooooooow year on the yarn front. But here’s the two things that I did finish.

rock and tideThis cowl. Which I actually posted in January, but it took me this long to weave in the ends and block it. I still wish the drop stitch was working the way I wanted it to and showing the meshier aspect of the yarn, but hey, I made up my own knitting pattern. That’s new. Sebastian's

This scarf. The pattern is called Sebastian’s Scarf. It’s one of the projects in the Improve Your Knitting class on Craftsy, which my mom and I were going through together. I was a little disappointed that the class basically just covered different styles of knitting, and not much else. They do have a class now that’s just on continental style, and I think that would be more helpful, since I’ve been told multiple times that it would be better for my carpal tunnel than the English style. Continental purling is extremely awkward for me so far, though. Especially when switching between knit and purl in the same row. And forget yarnovers! Anyway, they don’t really go over the specific projects in the class at all. I have yarn for the other two– another scarf and an all rib-knit sweater that will no longer be anything resembling flattering with my remaining post-baby squishiness. So I may just see if I can find alternate uses for those yarns. Particularly the sweater– some of my older knitted scarves are starting to get a bit ratty, so it might be time to start replacing them.

To finish off, here’s the nerdy numbers bit!

Projects completed this year: 41. Not too shabby, all things considered.
The breakdown:
Dresses: 4. All from scratch.
Skirts: 6. 4 from scratch, one of which used otherwise difficult scraps, and 2 refashions.
Tops (for me): 4, all from scratch. I’m counting the waterfall cardigan as a top here.
Pants: 2 pairs, both leggings.
Costumes: 2. One to help my bestie, one for Hobbit. Actually, I could probably say 3. I just remembered the Saturday that I spent helping my sis in law to make a Jedi robe.
Accessories for me: 3, all knitted neckwear.
Baby clothes: 8. 2 refashioned onesies, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of pants, a romper and a t-shirt.
Toys/ toy storage: 6. 2 epic quiet books, the play gym, the ark, and then storage bags/hammock for blocks, puzzles and stuffed animals.
Functional baby gear: 4. An entire stash of cloth diapers, a diaper bag, a nursing cover, and a changing mat.
Holiday: 1, the monkey ornament. I also have a Christmas stocking cut out for Hobbit, but cutting it out was as far as I’ve gotten with it.

I’ll have to do the stashbusting review later, since my focus this week has been mostly on washing and nicely folding all of the more recent additions to the collection, and I’m still tallying the yardage. Let’s just say that I epically failed on my one challenge goal this year (to end with less than I started with), and save the gory details for next year, shall we?

Hope you all have a happy new year!

it’s that time of year again!

Woohoo! I just wanted to take a few minutes and talk about my FESA plans for this year. Due to my current time constraints, I’m keeping it simple this year, and only committing to a handful of projects– after all, I also have a little Halloween costume that I’ve been mentally planning since, oh, last Christmas. So here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish…

Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather 
IMG_2813//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsI have fabric that I think will work to finally try out the Cake Espresso leggings in two different colors, though after the disaster that was my last attempt at sewing leggings, I’m definitely double checking the stretch first this time! Assuming all is well, I plan to sew the black pair, because that will go with nearly all of the skirts I own that currently fit.  I’m most likely to wear them as tights with boots. (Honestly, based on my initial fiddling to check the stretch, I think this fabric will be too see-through to use them as anything else!)

Fabulous Frocks
IMG_2811//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsFor the third year in a row, I am putting the Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges dress, in this very fall-appropriate rayon challis print, on my list. And I am determined that this is the year I’ll actually make it, dangit!!! After all, it looks like the perfect style for postpartum and nursing. I have managed to get the pattern traced, the fabric cut out, and the darts sewn so far. So third time is the charm, right?

Baby It’s Cold Outside
IMG_2812//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsThis may be cheating, since I’ve been working on this particular project for over a month already. But I’ve been knitting a cowl (the Wine Country Cowl) out of some bulky yarn that I originally bought as the top part of a sweater that I’ve since abandoned the plan to knit. I could not figure out the very first steps of the pattern at all, and decided I didn’t like how the two yarns coordinated after all. “I can’t wear wool” substitution problems strike again. Anyway, I’m over halfway done this cowl, I think–it’s been one of my methods for coping with Hobbit’s penchant for napping best when on my lap and leaving me chair-bound for long stretches of time. Sadly, I think that my plan to use up the entire stash of this yarn isn’t going to work out, given its current length. Any suggestions for what else I can do with one or two balls of this stuff?

The nice thing is that if I finish all three of these projects, I’ll have one complete outfit! If I can get those and the costume done and still have time left, I have a fairly substantial mental list of additional projects that I could add in. But since I am unsure at this point what the greatest needs in my wardrobe will be, or what I’ll be most motivated to work on (SO important right now), I’ll just see how this goes first.

The Wardrobe Architect Project, Week 12: Accessories!

First of all, thank you all for the kind comments on my tea dress! I’m a little overwhelmed, in a good way, at how much love it got. This seriously might be one of my most-commented-on projects ever. Including the wedding dress.

Normally, I’d do a monthly roundup here, but to be honest, my crafting has been very slow this month, and the tea dress is my only finished project. I do have two other sewing projects in the works, and am hoping to have a little more to show for them soon. Knitting has ground to a complete halt for now, particularly since I had a whopping 5 rehearsals in the span of a week last week, plus my retail job that is very office work-heavy (read: computer-intensive) for me this time of year, and consciously taking some time off of that was the best thing I could do for my hands. It worked–my carpal tunnel has been surprisingly well-behaved! Though I do hope to get back to that soon as well. In the meantime, since my MMM pledge is built to include handmade accessories, I figured it was high time I dealt with that particular Wardrobe Architect assignment.

Sarai divides them into functional vs. decorative accessories, so I’ll do the same.
Functional Accessories:
Shoes: I have to admit, I’m not much of a shoe girl. Mostly by necessity. I’ve lamented about how hard it is to find shoes in my extra-wide size many times on here before, thanks to a bony protrusion below my big toes that I’ve had my whole life. And when you’re looking at easily spending at least $80-120 a pop just to find functional shoes that fit, it definitely curbs your enthusiasm for buying them! (I get really excited on the rare occasions that I find shoes I like at the thrift store that fit!)

In fact, I can quite easily fit my entire shoe collection into one picture. And that’s including my slippers and my wedding/reception shoes!

I tend to gravitate mostly towards sandals in the summer, except for the garden center job (closed-toe shoes are required, so I just wear my sneakers). During the cold weather, I mostly wear either my boots, or if it’s not too cold and/or wet, a couple pairs of basic flat casual shoes. As you can see, the majority of my shoes are either black or brown, so they can go with as many things as possible. I also have a tendency to wear them to death. Those brown boots are the newest addition, and that was because the brown boots I’ve had since partway through college were finally starting to kick the bucket–we’re talking multiple tears in the shaft lining and an actual hole through the soles on top of the heel. (It was sobering to realize that the boots were over a decade old, but at least I got my money’s worth out of them! Hopefully the new ones will last just as long.)

So in short, my general requirements are neutral, well-made, fairly reasonably priced, and comfortable. (Did I mention my feet are also ridiculously blister-prone?) You have no idea how many times I’ve been tempted to look into shoe-making as a hobby. At least then I could have some shoes in fun colors.

Bags: I tend to just carry one purse around, usually ones that my mom has made from fun print fabrics. I usually switch it up every 6 months or so, and do brighter colors in the spring/summer and more neutral/earthtone in the fall/winter. She’s perfected one particular pattern for me that fits all three of my requirements: cross-body strap, plenty of pockets, and big enough to carry a book or my Kindle. For the retail job, I’ll just stuff the entire purse into a tote bag to keep it from getting dirty/give me extra space for my lunch and drinks. My flute bag is also frequently a factor, though it’s a backpack style one. (Which is why I like the cross-body straps, because then I don’t have to worry about balancing them.) Sometimes I’ll downsize to a smaller purse for day trips to reduce the weight, though I still like them to be large enough for my SLR camera.

Hats: I mostly wear these in the winter to keep my head warm, and my only requirement is not wool, due to the allergy issues. I probably should wear hats more in the summer to keep the sun from burning my face, but I honestly think they make me look pretty dorky.

Gloves/handwarmers: Again, mostly a cold-weather thing, and I’m sure I will continue to knit lots of these, since my hands are generally the first thing to get cold.

Scarves: I rarely leave the house without the functional knitted ones when it’s cold.

Belts: When I wear them for functional reasons, it’s generally to keep my jeans in place.

Sunglasses: I have one pair, which I keep in my purse and mostly use for driving or walking around outside on a sunny summer day.

Decorative Accessories: 
Jewelry: Love me some jewelry. Aside from clothes, this is what I’ve been DIYing the longest. I’ve got 4 jewelry displays in this picture, and that’s not even all of it! I have another full rack on the other side of the mirror, as well as a box for bracelets and such.

I mostly like chunky or beaded necklaces, dangly earrings, Celtic knot designs, stuff like that. Most of my chain-type necklaces are silver, though I do have a few things in a more matte/antique gold or copper. I also almost always wear simple silver studs in my second ear piercing. I used to wear a lot of rings, like almost every finger, but have slowly gotten away from that in the years since college and now just wear my wedding/engagement rings. I’m also getting more into bracelets, though I’ll only wear them on my left arm because I’m right-handed and they’re less in the way there.

Even though I obviously have a lot of jewelry, I’m kind of missing making it now. I really should bust into the bead stash and make some new earrings or something. I might need something to help me get through my pledge this month!

Belts: I have a few that I wear more for waist-cinching looser tops, like those wide elastic-type ones. I’d like to get a few more decorative belts in different widths and colors.

Scarves: It’s really only been in the last year or so that I’ve started playing around with the more fashionable ones. My go-to was always necklaces, and I was worried about them getting caught on my flute. Which they sometimes do, tbh. But I’m also starting to like the extra warmth on my neck, and I’ve learned a way or two to tie them that makes them shorter and less prone to snagging on my instrument. Plus I’m kind of loving that infinity scarf I made from the Plantain leftovers.

Honestly, I’d like to try out some of those little knitted shawl/scarf things, too. The small ones that don’t look granny. But I need to finish a few knitting projects first.

So I guess that pretty much sums things up for now! As far as things to add go, I know I could use a few more pairs of earrings in my palette colors–black and the warmer tones in particular–and a few more scarves and decorative belts. I’d also like to dye my wedding shoes, since it’s my one shot to have a fun color! Though I wonder if the crystal embellishment bit makes them too fancy regardless…

a post of small things, part 1

None of these are really the sort of thing that warrant an entire post by itself, so this is going to be more of a round-up. Which I’m actually going to do in 2 parts, because otherwise it’s going to be super-long. So I’m going to start with what I’ve actually been working on or finishing up lately, and then move to the things I have to think through a little more tomorrow.

1. First off, my most recent completed sewing project. I’ve used this bib pattern before, though I think this may unintentionally be the last time– I left it on the kitchen table and now it’s not there, so I’m thinking that the dogs ate it. (Our dogs are the type who would have legitimately eaten my homework when I was a kid. They recently ate our checkbook, as evidenced by the fact that we recently found a quarter of one check with a chewed-up edge on the floor….and we haven’t found any other remnants of it!) I hope I can find it or something similar again. It was an online freebie, though I can’t remember from where since I downloaded it years ago. I like that it’s a larger size to keep clothes cleaner, and this has become my go-to for the homemade portion of any baby shower gifts. And I have another friend who recently found out she’s pregnant, so I know I’m going to need it again in the next few months!

I made this set for one of my oldest friends, who is expecting a baby girl in May. It’s kind of neat when you unintentionally choose perfect fabric–I needed a little more on a recent order to get free shipping when I picked up something for my Tauriel costume, and knew this was coming up, so I ordered half a yard each of this owl fabric and some coordinating flannel to back it with. The owls were cute and on sale, and I figured the colors were neutral enough that she could continue to use them if she has a boy somewhere down the road. Then I found out that she’s decorating the nursery in an owl theme! So there was a lot of owl-themed stuff at her shower. (And a lot of pink. So yellow is probably a nice change!)

2. My mom and I are working through a Craftsy knitting class together. We agreed that it’s probably a little too easy for us, though I have still learned some useful things. This was the main scarf from the class, which I finally finished a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out since I used a more textured yarn and the ends were lacy, but I kind of like the funky look of it. Also, I managed to knit the entire thing continental-style, and I’m pretty proud of that since continental purling is the weirdest hand motion. I still don’t really feel like I have the hang of it, but the ability to switch back and forth from my usual English-style might be useful with my carpal tunnel issues.

The yarn is Chacabuco from Araucania, which Ravelry says is now discontinued. I found it mostly ok to work with, though pulling the puffier bits through the loops was sometimes difficult, particularly when binding off. I’ll have to keep that in mind when choosing a future project, because I do still have one skein of this in a different colorway. I actually got to this particular skein pretty quickly as far as stashing goes, since I bought it back in August specifically for this class, and I mostly used it up. (There’s about 20 yards left. What do you do with 20 yards of bulky yarn? Seriously. There really weren’t that many options on Ravelry.)

3. My costume for the Shieldmaiden Sewalong continues to go slowly, but I did get a little further, at least.

I have two more pieces to cut out, plus any other little decorative overlay bits I may want to do. It’s a good thing I’m making this out of bedsheets, because it’s a bit of a fabric hog!

February Stash Diet update

Here’s my totals for the month!

For sewing, I finished a whopping 6 projects! Three pairs of Thurlows, a Plantain tee, plus an infinity scarf and a tablet case. I love the months off from my retail job. I only used up two pieces of fabric completely, though I made nice dents in the fabrics I used for the pants. I did also buy several pieces of fabric this month–there was my travel exception that I made for Mood, plus I used my regular allowance to buy a piece of faux leather for my March of the Shieldmaidens project. I also bought two half yards of fabric to make a baby gift for a friend, since I needed a little more to get free shipping anyway and I really don’t have baby-friendly stuff on hand.

Total fabric out: 7 1/2 yards
Total fabric in: 10 yards
Difference: + 2.5 yards
Total stash left: approximately 327 1/4 yards
Pieces of fabric completely used up: 2 (the cherry print cotton for the charcoal Thurlow pockets, and the paisley knit for the Plantain/scarf)
Patterns used: 2. I believe I have one more to go for my pattern buying allowance.

For knitting, I finally managed to start the sleeves on my cardigan! I also finished up a scarf for the Craftsy class that my mom and I have been working through together, aside from sewing the two halves together and weaving in the ends.. I am so, so close to finishing up that skein of yarn– if the method for figuring out yardage from weight that I found is correct, I only have about 20 yards of this particular yarn left. Seriously, what do you do with 20 yards of yarn?

I didn’t do so well on the yarn in vs out this time. Since I was sharing my beginner knitting Craftsy class with my mom, she decided to buy another one for us to work through together–the “Improve Your Knitting” one, which is probably what I would have gone for in the first case if it had been available at the time. I did check my stash, but unfortunately didn’t have anything on hand in the right weights and amounts for the three projects that we’ll be making for this class. So I ended up buying another 8 skeins of yarn! Hopefully these will get entirely used up during the course of this class, but I will not be counting these towards my yarn purchase allowance when I do use them up.

On the plus side, aside from my cardigan, I can make my totals a little more accurate now. I was finally able to give one secret project to its recipient–I made these dishcloths for my bestie, who recently bought her first place! So this was part of her housewarming gift, which had a geeky-but-practical theme going. So these have the Earth symbol from Stargate, a TARDIS, the Golden Snitch from Harry Potter, and the Starfleet Academy symbol from Star Trek. (I also bought her this apron–it references both Lord of the Rings and the Big Bang Theory, and is a favorite quote to throw at each other on a regular basis–a cookbook, and a cast-iron skillet–also known as Samwise Gamgee’s/Rapunzel’s security system!) I basically used up both skeins of yarn on these dishcloths.

I didn’t quite finish my Robson coat in time for the end of #bluefebruary, so I’m going to count that yardage total towards March. I also did some dyeing to prepare for my costume yesterday–I’m trying to do my costume on a pretty tight budget, so I dyed some bedsheets that my parents were getting rid of. They did get darker, though not quite dark enough for my intended costume. So I think I might sew the main part of the costume up anyway, and then try the one dye I know works for polyester. (You have to boil it on a stovetop, so I need a smaller quantity than queen-sized bedsheets!)

Everybody else was doing it…

In typical fashion, I’m one of the last ones on the bandwagon. Usually it’s either that, or I miss it altogether. But, since I’d already mentioned that I needed a mental break from pants, I made a Deer & Doe Plantain tee!

Plantain FrontThis was super-quick to make up, even with me modifying the pattern. I used Heather’s tutorial for making a contrast yoke, because the busyness of the print made me think that it could use some more solid to tie in the neck binding and elbow patches better. I’d already printed out and taped the PDF together, but I like re-tracing PDF patterns onto thinner paper to make laying out and cutting easier. I was able to get this traced, cut out, and sewn together in the span of one afternoon! It definitely helped that I did the bulk of the construction on my serger, so I didn’t have to worry about seam finishes. But it was still nice to knock a project out so quickly.

I’m pleasantly surprised by this pattern, to be honest. The website describes the fit as “loose but elegant”, and I don’t usually care for a looser fit in my tops. But I figured I’d give it a shot, because the pattern was free, and I figured that as a worst-case scenario, I could just wear this as a bum around the house shirt. But this doesn’t hang off me like a sack, like I half-expected it to–it’s actually a lot more flattering than I thought it would be. If the knit wasn’t as drapey as it is, I don’t think it would have worked as well, so I’ll have to keep that in mind for any future versions.
Plantain BackA shot of the back, modeled with the charcoal version of the latest Thurlows. It makes me look really curvy!

Aside from the modifications to make the yoke, including a little extra topstitching to make the pieces lie flatter, I made this a straight-up size 40. The only other sizing modification that I made was to add an inch to the sleeves, in what I call my “monkey arm adjustment”. It worked perfectly, and I was able to go ahead and use the 3/4″ hem allowance that the pattern called for and still cover my wrists in their entirety. I was also surprised that the elbow patches ended up actually hitting at my elbows without any adjustments.

Plantain closeup

One more shot on Donna, for a closeup of the fabrics!  I love this stylized floral knit–it feels somewhat Asian to me. I’ve been hoarding both of these for awhile, and had been thinking for a long time about using them together, since the teals are so close in color. My long-term thought had been to make some kind of knit dress out of it, but I’ve been putting it off for a long time because the print is on the thinner side, and I figured I’d have to try and line it somehow to keep my underwear from showing through. While working through all of the Wardrobe Architect stuff so far, though, I realized that I’d probably get a lot more use out of this as a top. I’m pretty good on summery dresses (even though I do have definite plans to make more), and this fabric is too thin to make a good colder-weather dress. So I guess this process is helping me make smart sewing decisions!

Infinity scarfI still have enough of the solid teal left to make a short-sleeved or sleeveless top, since I really only used a tiny segment to cut all three pieces. As for the print, I had less than 3/4 yard left of the full width. So I basically cut the ragged ends off, sewed it into a tube, sewed the ends together–instant infinity scarf! Which will be great for adding interest to more solid outfits, and nice to wear. This knit is super-soft. And since all I have left is scraps that are maybe just large enough to make undies out of (I really need to learn to do that), I shall consider this piece of stash officially busted.

Pattern: Deer & Doe Plantain tee – third pattern used this year.

Amount of time it took to make: A couple of hours from start to finish, plus about 30 minutes for the scarf

Fabric used: Two pieces of rayon knit (one used up, for a total of 5 pieces so far this year.)

Amount of fabric used: 2.25 yards of the print, plus a tiny bit more of the solid

Stashed since: Print was from Christmas 2010, not entirely sure about the solid except that it’s been there longer than that.

Current stash total: Approx. 333.25 yards.

Knitting away

Since I’m extending my stashbusting pledge to my yarn, I thought I’d give an update on what’s going on there!

Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to use anything up. But I did finish a couple of projects.

Irish cables hatFirst up: The Chunky Irish Hiking Hat. I used the same yarn that I used for those handwarmers back in the fall, and still didn’t use the stuff up! I’m honestly a little less-than-thrilled with this one. For one thing, the top cable got crossed the wrong way, though I was too lazy to rip back since I was knitting this at my mom’s house and using a pencil as a cable needle. For another thing, it’s too small and/or too short for my head. I wore this for the first time on Friday night, and it barely skims the tops of my ears, which makes it virtually useless for keeping one’s head warm while sitting in a college ice rink to watch a hockey game! (I went with several of my cousins, because the colleges we went to were playing each other. Doug was more than happy to play interpreter.) It also kept riding up to stick up funny, so I had to keep pulling it down. I’m not entirely sure whether I should just rip the whole thing out and make something else with it, or send it to the thrift store and cut my knitting time losses.

Whittier hatI was much happier with the Whittier hat. It’s surprisingly warm for a mesh hat, and once you get past the edge, the mesh pattern is pretty easy. The most challenging part of this one was the cast-on. I’d never done a tubular cast-on before, and was pleasantly surprised when I took the waste yarn away and the whole thing didn’t fall apart! The yarn is Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends. I’m still surprised I can use this stuff, since I can’t even touch wool without reacting. And though it worked fine for my Cadence sweater, I wasn’t sure how it would be wearing it on my head. It gets a little itchy on occasion, but if I shift the position on my forehead every so often, I’m fine. So, at least to 30%, alpaca is a go! The buttons were already in my stash, from a thrifted jacket that I replaced the buttons on, and I think they look much better here than on the jacket!

I still have quite a bit of this left (I had two skeins and didn’t even use half of one), so I think my yarn usage total for January, not counting in-progress things, was about 101 yards. According to my initial estimate, that leaves me with 19,827 yards…but hey, it’s still progress!

While I’m at it, here’s my fabric totals for January:
Yards in: 2 (from Stash Diet Swap)
Yards given away: 1 (gave a piece to my mom, since they didn’t send enough for my project and I had no use for it otherwise)
Yards sewed up: 4.25. Though I actually used significantly more than that, since I cut up several more yards for more Thurlow pants. But I’ll get to those later–I’m quite close to finishing 2 of the 3 pairs.
Net total loss for January: 3.25 yards/3 pieces, plus some scraps for Itty Bits projects. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

(Of course, I’m going to NYC this weekend, so it’s a good thing I gave myself that travel allowance! Mood, here I come!)

I do have a few more knitting projects in progress. One will not be pictured here, since it’s a gift and also a project I’ve been keeping at my parents’, but here’s the others:

Roheline 2I made visible progress on the Roheline cardigan! I finally reached the point where I can divide for the sleeves. I just haven’t gotten any further than that, because I need to actually sit down and watch a few videos–ideally, I’d like to do both of these sleeves at once, and I found instructions for how to do that with two circular needles. Way better than wrangling double-points.

Lacy Keyhole scarf- Craftsy

I’ve also started a very basic project–awhile ago, I bought the Knit Lab class from Craftsy, thinking it would be good to help me make sure I’ve mastered the basics. Of course, since then, they added another class that would probably have been more along the lines of what I wanted. But my mom had mentioned that she was thinking about doing this same class, so rather than both of us buy it, I’ve been going over there a little early on days I teach at her house and we’ve been watching through it together. So this is the start of the Lacy Keyhole Scarf project from this class. I like the texture of this yarn! It makes it look way more interesting than just basic garter stitch. I’m also taking this opportunity to try to get the hang of continental-style knitting, since that’s what she demonstrates in the video, to see if it really is better for my wrists. We shall see. I haven’t had any luck ever with purling continental, so that may be a big determining factor.

First finished project of 2013! Finally!

Obviously, it’s not the dress. Given the status of the last update, the only way that would have happened is if I had some talking mice and some friendly birds come in and finish it for me while I was stuck doing chores. But I’m not Cinderella (my feet are way too big, for one), so that didn’t happen.


What I did finish was a knitting project. Nothing too exciting, just a striped scarf made from leftovers of the hat I made last winter, at my rather patient fiance’s request. This has been one of my main go-to projects for tv hangout time with him over the last several months, as he knew I was making it and I didn’t have to hide it. Unlike a certain sewing project.
As far as technique goes, I did learn a couple of things from this scarf:
1. I really don’t understand how to join short pieces of yarn. I guess I could have just started knitting it, but I was afraid of unraveling, so I ended up knotting everything together. Which I’m almost certain is “wrong”, but at least it’s more likely to hold together should he decide to throw it in the wash.
2. My ends-weaving skills need work. I was left with lots of little frayed bits, which I wove in as best as I could and then trimmed off. Again, I’m not sure if this is “right” or not. (But I’m pretty sure it’s not.)
IMG_0510It was a fairly decent stashbuster– I basically knitted it until I was close enough to the end of the green yarn that I wasn’t entirely certain I’d have enough for another round. I have just enough left to use as a small amount of stuffing for something. (Can you use yarn as stuffing? I do want to make some pillows for the house…) I do still have a decent amount of both the black and tan left, so I’ll just need to figure out what to do with it. 

Surprise– I’m still knitting!

It’s not a really focused thing right now, obviously. But this has become the answer to the conundrum I posted about awhile ago for what I can do in situations where I want to craft but can’t work on the dress. Namely those where I’m just chilling at my or Doug’s house, watching tv with him and wanting to keep my hands busy.

So I have two in-progress projects to share with you today.

IMG_0285I started this one first, though it’s hibernating for the moment. These are the “Branching Out Mitts” from Coastal Knits, which I received for Christmas last year. Over this past year, my best friend and I have become fascinated with the “bucket list” idea, though several years late for the movie, and have been working on creating ours. I’ve ended up with several craft-related ones on mine so far (yes, including “sew my own wedding dress,” though that would have been on there anyway even if I wasn’t currently planning my wedding!), and one of the things I’ve decided I’d like to do is to knit at least one project from every knitting book or magazine that I own. I liked several of the projects from this book so I’m sure I’ll be revisiting it, provided I can find good wool-free yarn options for some of those sweaters. The yarn is some that I purchased near the end of the summer, and it’s been very nice to work with so far. The biggest challenge has been trying to teach myself to knit with a second color within a pattern, and I’m hoping that I’m allowing enough slack for those little runner strings, or whatever they’re called, on the backside, since I do tend to knit rather tightly.

IMG_0284I set it aside for a super-simple scarf for Doug, to go with the hat that I made him for his birthday.  Now that it’s getting colder again, he requested one, and I have to take advantage of such rare opportunities. He’s flat-out admitted that I probably won’t ever be able to make clothes for him! He’s super-picky about comfort, and once he’s out of work, pretty much all he’ll wear are oversized t-shirts and black athletic pants. I’ve never seen him even wear jeans! (On the plus side, I won’t have to feel guilty that I’m sewing all clothes for myself and not for him, right?) Anyway, this is pretty much the perfect brainless tv knitting project, because it’s just knit 3 purl 3 rib. The hardest thing has been keeping track of the number of rows before I need to switch colors. And, well, the switching colors. Since that hat is pretty much the only striped thing I’d knit ever, and that was in the round, I’m honestly not sure if I’m doing this right. I’ve been tying the ends of the yarn together for now just to hold it together, and I have started knitting the tail of the new color into the scarf so that I have one less end to weave in later. But weaving in ends is something that doesn’t seem to work too well for me so far, and on the couple that I did do, I have little puffy yarn ends sticking out. I guess I’ll just trim those out with scissors, but I’m not sure how this is going to hold up in the long-term…any suggestions from you veterans?

I’ve been doing the alternating stripe widths on the black and the tan on purpose, so I can use up more of the other. My plan is basically to knit until one of the yarns, probably the green, runs out. Hurrah for stashbusting! (Hopefully it won’t be the black that runs out first, since I used the most of that in the hat.) And although he knows he’s getting this, since I’ve been knitting it right in front of him, I am still hopeful that I might finish this around Christmas so that he has it for the coldest part of the winter.

Not that I’ll be working on them today, because I have another day not scheduled at the shop. (Even though this time I have to work Saturday instead….boo. Oh well.) So today, other than my teaching, is all about muslin deconstruction!

pictureless progress

It’s been fun to see all of the costumey goodness around the blogosphere over the last few days! Nothing Halloweenish for me this year, alas. I had no parties to go to, and I wouldn’t have had time to make a costume anyway. I did go back to my retail job yesterday, which is unfortunately still an outdoor register thing, And Sandy apparently decided to bring winter with her, because it was in the 40s pretty much the whole time I was out. So the closest I got to dressing up for Halloween was as an Eskimo while I was at work, as I was wearing FIVE layers up top, the last one being a winter coat! (Though I’d taken the fleecy liner out, thinking that the thermal top/long-sleeved shirt/required work t-shirt/hoodie sweatshirt would be sufficient. That was obviously a mistake.) Plus a scarf, hat, handwarmers, and gloves. And I was still cold. It’s ridiculous. I don’t know how you people that live anywhere further north of here do it!

I did go to the mall later on Halloween with my fiance, and I wore my Cadence sweater because it was orange. And I was still cold, despite having been indoors for hours and having hot tea. Blah. Anyway.

So I’m doing what is now my 4th bodice front, as well as an entirely new back. I want to make sure the princess seams are going to work, as well as test the pattern change I’ve had planned for the back. And I also want to make sure the lace idea is going to work, period. I haven’t had a chance to work on it since Tuesday, so I haven’t taken pictures yet–between a dj meeting, a weekend of rehearsals for this evening’s flute choir concert that I’m playing in, and the usual work stuff, I just haven’t had time to sew.

I did also go to a craft afternoon yesterday hosted by a casual friend, and started knitting a scarf to go along with the hat I made for my fiance back around his birthday. He’s been asking for one now that it’s starting to get cold again, and I need to use up the yarn anyway. So I figured that this can be something I work on while hanging out with him and watching tv for awhile, at least until I get to a point where there might be wedding-related crafts that aren’t my dress.It’s a simple enough pattern, just a striped ribbed scarf, and so far I’ve managed to get about 6″ done, I think. No pics of that yet either.

We’ll see if I get more work done on that bodice this week (I haven’t even finished cutting out the new pieces yet). It’s a bit iffy, since this week also marks round 2 of the dental surgery, and I know that sewing that day is off the table based on how I felt the last time. (That, and having to work one-handed while holding an ice pack to your face just doesn’t work. I tried.)

So hopefully I’ll have something to show soon. On an unrelated note, I have been reading the reports of how different bloggers fared in the storm, particularly in the New York area, and I’m glad to hear that you’re all safe!