Thursday, December 6, 2012

A tatted bookmark

One craft that I would like to do more of is tatting.  My great-grandmother on my mother's side was a tatter, and my Farmor tatted also (both of them did many, many kinds of handwork).  Several years ago, my mom decided she wanted to learn, and she printed out some directions online.  I picked it up some, too.  It's a great project to have in a small bag to take with you, since it doesn't take up much space and doesn't unravel when you put it down. 

A few years ago, I brought some tatting with me to Denmark, and my Farmor told me about how she and her mother used to tat.  It was so wonderful to hear her talk about it.  My cousin saw my mom and I tatting, and she picked it up, too!  She's much better at it than I am - the last time I saw her, she was working on a tatted hat!

My skills are not so great - I pretty much only know the double stitch, picots, chains, and rings - no fancy split rings or anything like that.  But I have made a few bookmarks, and when I decided to make this bookmark last weekend, it seemed pretty fast and easy. 

I used this pattern.  My only complaint is that it wasn't always clear when to reverse work and when not to - but I imagine it would be obvious to a more experienced tatter. 

This bookmark is headed for a Christmas stocking belonging to someone who I am 99.5% certain does not read this blog.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Jelly Roll Race!

My mom and I had a long-distance quilting date last night to start our jelly roll race quilts (but we're not racing).  We watched a youtube tutorial that claimed the top can be pieced in 45 minutes, but I took about two hours to sew the strips together, trim the bias seams, and press them.  I was a lot more meticulous than the woman in the tutorial, though: I pinned and marked all of my slanty seams, which I'm pretty sure she didn't do, but I didn't trust myself to eyeball them.  I'm pretty sure the tutorial didn't press any of the seams, either, and I just can't see how that wouldn't cause puckers all over the quilt top.  I'm extra glad I pressed, because I caught a mistake - I had accidentally sewed one of my seams "wrong side to right side," and if I hadn't been pressing I probably wouldn't have caught it until I sew the long seam, and by then it would be too late to fix!

I'm so excited for our next quilting date.  It's so much fun to do projects together, and this is a fun and easy one!

CMS knitting

We had no colloquium on Thursday, which worked out well for me since I had exactly one hour's worth of yarn left in the skein I was working from, and I hadn't brought my knitting tools to join the next skein.  It's coming along!

This was the last week of classes for the semester, so there will be no more CMS/colloquium until January.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Grey sweater finished!

I finished my grey sweater with lace edgings this weekend!  I'm quite happy with it.  I started this sweater as a reward for myself after I passed my advanced exam in June, using a pattern from a little booklet my aunt in Denmark gave me.  The pattern basically used the construction method that Elizabeth Zimmerman gives in Knitting Without Tears, so I referred to that as I was knitting and made a few modifications to the pattern based on her recommendations as I was going along.

I was a bit worried about fit, since the yarn specified in the pattern wasn't available in the States, and I chose a yarn that I ended up not being able to get gauge with.  But the sizes given in the pattern seemed unreasonably large to me, so I chose a larger size than I would normally use and knitted it with a tighter gauge than specified, and hoped that it would work out - and it did!

The yarn has a bit of sheen, and it didn't photograph that well - it's actually a solid color (and doesn't look shiny in person).  If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can get a better view of the lace edging.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A productive day - and a Christmas tree!

After a lovely Thanksgiving on Thursday, yesterday I spent the day relaxing and working on some projects that I've been meaning to finish for a while now.  First I mended two sweaters that have been sitting in my drawer with holes since last winter, including this one that had a hole in the right elbow.  It's a delightfully warm and lightweight cashmere hoodie, so to fix the hole I needle felted a little heart over it.  Robert says he's never going to stop teasing me about "wearing my heart on my sleeve."
 I also finished the second of these two project bags.  They have a large buttoned pocket for yarn and a small sleeve for a pencil sewn into the lining.  I think they're the perfect size for sock projects.  One of them is headed for New York, where a new friend my mom and I met at yarn school last month lives.  She gave me some really lovely sock yarn, and I wanted to make her something to say thank you.  I hope she likes it!
Then this morning, Robert and I went out and bought a Christmas tree.  Then we went and got a simple felt tree skirt, six strings of white lights, a bunch of little red ball ornaments, and a lit-up star tree topper.  We also put on several gold and silver Rosendahl "Karen Blixen's Jul" ornaments that I already had.  Robert carved a little wooden tree ornament, and has plans to carve some more!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

CMS/Colloquium - a mini sock!

This project was an impulse buy from my most recent Webs order.  It's a miniature sock blocker keychain, and it came with a pattern for a sock to fit it. 

I knitted the sock using some leftover yarn from a full-sized pair of socks that I knitted for my mom a few years ago.  It only took about an hour, and it's super cute!  Next time, I'll make the leg a bit longer.  I'm going to make a bunch of mini socks for it, so it can wear different socks on different days!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Shawl finished!

The summer after I graduated from college, my mom borrowed a large floor loom from her local fiber arts guild or adult education service, I'm not quite sure.  It sat in her living room, and my godmother, who is a wonderful weaver, helped us warp it and design woven shawls to make.  We were motivated to finish the weaving, since we had to give the loom back, but after they were finished and off the loom, they sat in my mom's house for over two years, waiting for us to finish the fringes. 

When my mom came to visit a few weeks ago, she brought the shawls (and a fringe-twisting tool she borrowed from my godmother), and I finished mine!  It's pretty large, and very soft and warm.  If I remember right, the yarn is some sort of tencel blend, so it has a lovely shiny sheen.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Last Week's CMS/Colloquium knitting

Last Thursday morning, this was 21.5" long, and at the end of colloquium it was 28"!  Another two inches (which I'm going to try to do before this Thursday, so I don't have to measure in the middle of a seminar) and the first 30" strip will be done!  I think there's one more to go after this - I need to check with my mom.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Houston Quilt Festival

My mom and I went to the Houston Quilt Festival yesterday.  We had so much fun!  There were so many wonderful, beautiful, inspiring quilts.  This one was my favorite.  It won a blue ribbon.  You can't really see in this picture, but not only are the animals beautifully detailed, the thing each animal says in the song "Old McDonald Had a Farm" are quilted into each animal's background square.  The quilt is called "Ms. McDonald had a farm."
This was another really beautiful quilt - one I can actually see myself being able to make at some point.  The pattern is called Tennessee Waltz.  It's made with snowball blocks alternating with Fifty-Four Forty or Fight blocks.  All of the seams are curved, but the way the blocks combine, they look curved!  I especially love the color scheme on this quilt.  I've looked up other Tennessee Waltz quilts online, and a lot of people use a different arrangement of the background that I don't think looks as nice.  I like how the yellow pops against the black and white prints (and the yellow center squares are each a fussy-cut sunflower with a lady bug sitting on it).

Monday, October 29, 2012

FNSI Results

I finished the arrow quilt (well, I still need to sew on the label, but it's bound and washed!) and the mittens. 
Here's the back of the quilt.  This is the first time I've done a patchwork back, and I really like it!

I'm happy with the way the quilt turned out, but I found the tutorial at Moda Bake Shop that I used to be incredibly frustrating - and sometimes just plain wrong.  I usually don't follow quilt patterns - I usually draft the blocks out myself from pictures and do my own quilty math.  But in this case, I decided to be lazy and just follow the pattern.  This was a mistake.  When I follow a pattern, I expect the math to be done right and the instructions to work out.  This was just a tutorial, but since it was on the website of such a reputable quilt fabric manufacturer, I trusted it.  The tutorial calls for, among other things, a half yard of the border fabric and a half yard of the binding, and these two fabrics also make up the stripe in the pieced back (the backing fabric alone is not enough to make the entire back). 

I bought the fabric in the amounts called for, and started cutting according to the instructions.  When I got to be border and binding, I realized that the tutorial calls for cutting 18.5 linear inches from the binding fabric! Out of a half yard!  Also, it says to cut four 3" by WOF strips for the borders.  The quilt is supposed to be 47" by 47", so you clearly need five strips!  Add this to the 6" strip for the back, and you need to cut 21 linear inches out of a half yard of fabric!

I had already cut the 6" strip of the border fabric for the back, and I needed it, so I ended up cutting five 2.5" strips for the borders, skipping the binding fabric that was supposed to be in the back, and piecing the back out of scraps of the arrow fabrics.

Another, less crucial quibble I had with the tutorial was the construction method for the arrows.  The tutorial uses two half-square triangles for the points of the arrows.  I'm sure this is designed to save fabric, but I think it would have looked better to use a single flying goose instead.  Several of my arrow fabrics have stripes, and they ended up meeting at right angles - you can see it in the top photo.

Other than that, I'm thrilled with how it came out!  I was going to free-motion quilt it, but I chickened out and did diagonal straight lines with my walking foot instead.  The only hiccup was that the yellow chalk I used to mark the two major diagonals didn't quite wash out ... but I don't think it's very noticeable, and I hope they'll continue to fade.

And here are the little mittens all done!  I decided not to do a string.  My cousin can add it if her daughter needs it.  I'm happy with how they turned out, and I hope they will keep my cousin's daughters hands all toasty warm this winter!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Night Sew-In tonight!

I'm excited for Friday Night Sew-In tonight!.  My goal is to finish the mittens from the last post, finish sewing the binding on the arrow baby quilt, and maybe make a sock-knitting bag for a new friend from Yarn School!

FNSI is hosted by Heidi at

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Colloquium knitting

I'm almost done with the mittens!  I was the CMS speaker today, but the second mitten seems to be going faster than the first one did - in colloquium I got all the way from the thumb gore to the very tip of the mitten.  Now all I need to do is tie off the top, knit the thumb, and weave in the ends. 

I'm trying to decide whether to make a string for the mittens.  I don't know how long it should be, or whether I should attach it to both mittens or let the parents do that. 

I'm almost done with the baby quilt, too--I should be ready to mail these gifts this weekend!

Monday, October 22, 2012

CMS and Colloquium and more CMS

We've had some strange Seminar schedules lately.  First there was CMS on a Tuesday, and then I went to Yarn School, and then there was Colloquium on a Monday, and then there was a normal Thursday CMS but no Colloquium ...

The top picture was taken in the airport on my way to Yarn School (which was TOTALLY AWESOME).  It represents progress as of the Tuesday CMS, which was about two weeks ago now?  It's hard to remember.  I got some work done on it at Yarn School, but now it's on hold while I work on this:
This picture was taken after the Monday colloquium.  The first mitten is now finished.  These are a "congratulations on becoming a big sister" present for my cousin's two-year-old.  Now I just need to knit the second one and finish the binding on her baby brother's quilt!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

CMS/Colloquium times 2!

 I was apparently too lazy to post last week, but here's where it was after the Thursday seminars last week.  It's finally the right width! Yay!!
And here it is right now.  It's coming along!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

FNSI results

Friday was a Friday Night Sew-In  over at Handmade by Heidi.  I brought my machine over to my friend Taylor's place and worked on my Arrow baby boy quilt.  I got the little arrows sewn together and the big arrows halfway sewn together.  I'm going to try to finish the piecing this week and quilt it next weekend - we'll see if that's too ambitious!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

CMS/Colloquium knitting

Here's a photo of my progress in Thursday afternoon's seminars.  The picture doesn't show how long it is, but it's about 12".  The only problem is that even with the smaller needles, the think is still a half inch too wide.  I might have to start over again ...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Grey Sweater progress

I've been steadily knitting away on my grey sweater.  This week I joined the sleeves and body together.  I can't wait until it gets far enough to try it on!  I'm mildly worried about the size - I played pretty fast and loose with the gauge - my reasoning at the time was that the listed sizes for the sweater seemed kind of large, so it would be okay if my gauge was a little small. 

I just went and measured my gauge and did a back-of-the-envelope estimation (thank you Frontiers of Science) and my gauge is 24 sts/10cm.  The recommended gauge is 22 sts/10 cm, so with 230 stitches around the middle, my sweater's circumference should be right at about 96cm, a.k.a. 37.75 in, so it should fit perfectly!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

CMS/Colloquium knitting

I re-started the strip for the big kid afghan on smaller needles.  It's going pretty fast - I've got about 6 inches done  of the first 30 inch strip.  It's actually still a bit more than 6" wide, but my mom said the strips she's making for this are about 6 and a quarter inches wide and she decided that's ok.  Yay!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

CMS/Colloquium knitting - a false start

This is what I worked on in CMS and Colloquium last Thursday.  It's an afghan for my cousin's son.  He's getting a new sibling in a few months, and my mom and I are making blankets for him and for the baby-to-be based on the same pattern (Vexillo by Berroco).  The blankets are constructed by sewing together a series of 6"-wide garter stitch strips.  I wanted to make sure my work turned out the correct width, but I didn't have my measuring tape with me, so I used my pro geometry skills to create a 6" square of printer paper to check.  Unfortunately, as you can see in the photo, the strip is about an inch too wide.  My gauge is way off, so I'm going to start over again with smaller needles.  Luckily, it goes fast!  What you see in the picture is less than an hour and a half of work - it took me half an hour and about two inches of knitting before I figured out how to slip the edge stitches the right way to get a nice selvedge edge for seaming.

Monday, September 3, 2012

CMS/Colloquium knitting

 I made pretty good progress on my second embossed leaf sock in CMS and colloquium this week. 

Robert harvested the last of the basil on Saturday.  Here's what the plants looked like - they were getting pretty sad-looking, but Robert picked every single last leaf and we had enough green leaves to make a good-sized batch of pesto, and then we tossed the purple leaves whole into our pesto and homemade pasta.  Delicious!
Robert planted new plants from seed, so in a couple of weeks we should be eating lots of basil again!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Last week's colloquium knitting

Last week was the first week of school, and so last Thursday afternoon was the first colloquium of the semester.  I started the second of my embossed leaf socks.  I didn't get very far because I had to start over after I'd done a few rounds.  I forgot that the instructions for the cast-on and the first few rows don't work out quite right.  Basically, you have to do a "purl 1 knit 1" cable cast on instead of "knit 1 purl 1," which is the standard way of doing it.  It was pretty frustrating - and the fact that I didn't write it down when I did the first sock makes me worry that I'll forget some of the other modifications I made on the first sock to normalize this strangely written pattern.

In other news, I've let my living room be taken over by a new quilt - there are a few babies due to arrive in my extended family in the next several months, and I'm making this very adorable baby boy quilt for one of them.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fabric prep for the Little Swoon

 Inspired by my success on Friday night, I spent a good chunk of Saturday afternoon pre-washing fabric for my Little Swoon quilt.  Here's my Good Fortune fat eighth bundle as it started.  The bamboo fabric will be the backing, and the blue wave print is for binding. 

I threw it all in the wash (along with the backing fabric for my fickle nickel quilt), and when it was done this is what came out:
 It took me at least an hour to cut all of the little fat eighths apart.  Here's the humongous pile of little threads I cut off:
I decided to starch the fabric in the hopes that it will make precision piecing easier.  My next step is to choose the 32 (of 36 fabrics in the bundle) prints to use in the quilt top and pair them up.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

FNSI Results - a little swoon

It seems like every quilter on the internet has made a Swoon quilt, and I wanted one, too.  Never mind that I've never done piecing this complicated, that I struggle to match seams on even the simplest patchwork, and that the fabric I'm planning to do it in is a fat eighth bundle (Kate Spain Good Fortune) so I drafted the pattern for a 12-inch finished block instead of 24 inches.  It sounded like a recipe for disaster, so for Friday Night Sew-in last night, I decided to do a test block with some leftover fabric from other projects. 

It actually turned out really well!  My flying geese and half-square triangles were pretty close to perfect (close enough that I decided to be lazy and not square up the HSTs), and although not all of the seams and points are matched perfectly, they're pretty good - certainly better than I expected, and better than I usually manage.  I actually think it's easier to match seams on a small scale than with larger pieces, although if I pinned at least every inch on larger-scale patchwork, I probably wouldn't have as much of a problem.  The points aren't perfect, but almost all of them are floating rather than cut off, which in my subjective opinion (I have no idea what the quilt-world consensus is on this issue) is the better option.  The block unfinished block measures 12 5/8 to 12 3/4" square, and I think if I had bothered to square up the HSTs it would have been right on! 

My confidence is bolstered!  I realized, though, that when I start it with the intended fabric, this quilt is probably going to take me a year to piece.  I don't think I'll even be able to do a block a week.  By the end of this block, I was pretty tired of focusing on it.  Probably it is a better idea to cut out all the  pieces and make the flying geese and HSTs, then finish squaring them up and sewing the block together another (maybe two other) day (s).

I'm linking up for Friday Night Sew-In at Crafty Vegas Mom.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A serger, a vacation, and a new skirt!

 Robert and I got back on Sunday from three weeks of vacation - a week with his grandparents and two weeks with my family in Denmark.  We had a lovely time, including a little backpacking trip with one of my cousins that was just lovely.  Before we left, I needed a bag to carry my sweater project in, and it was the perfect opportunity to use my new serger for the first time!  I'd had these two fat quarters of 30's-type fabric sitting around for quite a while, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to use them:
 I especially love the little dogs on the green background.  I used the serger for everything except sewing the casing down for the ribbon drawstring.  I'm happy with the result, but I couldn't quite figure out how to get the raw edges at the drawstring to be finished.  Next time, I'll use this tutorial, which I found yesterday.  I think it looks really clever, and not too much extra work.

Sometime my senior year of high school, my mom bought me this skirt.  It was my favorite skirt all through college, until my first year of grad school, when I decided it was just too worn out to be worn anymore.  There were some holes in the outer skirt near the zipper, and all the years of washing and wearing had stretched the yoke out a bit, so that when I lost the weight I had gained in college the summer after graduation, I started having to use a safety pin to hold it up.  So when I saw some similar fabric at JoAnn about a year ago, I snatched up way too much of it, with the intention of making a replica.
 This being my favorite skirt, I was pretty nervous about messing up the replica, so I let it sit around for months and months, until this summer when I decided that what I really needed to do was sew myself some new clothes, and this was next in line.  So I cut out all the pieces and took it with me on vacation, and convinced Robert's Grandma (who is a sewing EXPERT) to help me with it.  It was so much fun to get to sew on her super-fancy Pfaff sewing machine, see how an expert uses the serger to make things more professional, and pick up some little tips and tricks.  The skirt turned out WONDERFULLY!  In one afternoon, we got everything finished except tacking the inner skirt down at the zipper and hemming the inner and outer skirts. 

Yesterday I sat down and finished it.  I just did a rolled hem for the outer skirt, and then I cut off the ruffle from the lining of the old skirt, trimmed the inner skirt to the right length, serged the inner skirt, and attached the ruffle.  Here's the new skirt.  It's very close to how the old skirt was, with the improvement of pockets!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Grey sweater progress

My mom brought me the circular needle that I couldn't find locally, so after I finished the second sleeve, I could start on the body!  I know it's going to go a lot slower now that I've got such a larger circumference to go around.  The sleeves just zipped by! 

Now I'm thinking I might try to whip up a drawstring carrying bag for this project.  The tin bucket I'm storing it in now is cute, but it doesn't hold the skeins of yarn I haven't gotten to yet, and it's not good for taking it out of the house.  I've got two really cute 30's style fat quarters that I think would work really well ...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Embossed Leaf Socks

According to my UFO list, I started these socks in April, but I don't think I've blogged about them yet.  The pattern is from Interweave's Favorite Socks book, but so far I've made a few modifications.  The pattern says to break the yarn at the end of the heel turn, but that didn't seem very sensible to me, so I just continued in the normal sock-knitting way.  Also, the toe pattern is pretty strange.  I think it's a round toe, but it's got some purl stitches in it, which is very non-standard.  So far I'm going with what it says, but I'm a little apprehensive that I won't like it and I'll have to pick it all out and do a more normal toe. 

This is just the first sock, and right now it's taking a back seat to the many other projects I've got going on right now, but I think I'm going to make some progress on it this week.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Nøstepind - a Robert project

 While my mom and I were working on our quilt tops last weekend, Robert was inspired to work on a project, too.  He had almost finished my nøstepind a few weeks ago, and just needed to buy sandpaper to give it the finishing touches.  So he went and bought the sandpaper, and smoothed and polished the wood.  The handle was still a little bit too long, so he whittled the end off, and left a sweet signature on the bottom:
Then he gave it two coats of oil, and it was done!  I think it's quite wonderful, and I've already used it to wind yarn for my sweater.  Also, I gave back my mom's little Danish nøstepind that she had loaned us as a model.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fickle Nickels!

My mom visited this past weekend, and we did So Many Things!  We each finished a lap-sized quilt top!  At the Quilt festival last year, we each bought a "Fickle Nickel" bundle and pattern.  The bundles consisted of 5 different one-yard cuts of fabric, and the patterns use them to make the top and binding of a lap quilt.  Here's mine:

The quilts were pretty easy, and definitely beginner-friendly, since there aren't very many corners to match.  I appreciated that, since I'm not very good at that.  When I was in middle and high school and we were part of a mother-daughter quilting group, my mom pinned all my seams for me, so I never really learned how to match corners.  I was glad to be able to pick my mom's brain about how to match them for a quilt where it didn't really matter (all of my matched corners were four of the same fabric, so it's very difficult to see that they are in many cases pretty far off.)

The only problem was that the pattern really requires 44-45" of usable fabric width, and it just so happened that the fabric I chose for the binding only had 40" of usable width.  I had no idea this was going to be a problem until after I had cut all of the fabric strips (including the binding), sewn the strip sets, and was cross-cutting them into smaller units.  I just didn't have enough of that one particular fabric.  After I had used just about every square inch of the tiny green check,  I was still short.  I ended up having to piece the ends of some of the strip sets together and put a bunch of selvedges in seam allowances, and I was still short.  This is why there is one little square of the outer border in the middle of the quilt, and why the inner border has corner squares.  I had to adapt the pattern.  My mom also had this issue, although not as badly as I did.  She got away with just having one or two pieced squares of the same fabric.

All in all, though, I'm happy with how it turned out, and it was great as a piecing skills refresher.  I'm eager to trade quilt patterns with mom and make another, although next time I will almost certainly plan a scrappy binding (there were enough leftovers to cut at least one width of fabric binding strip from each of the other fabrics) to avoid fabric shortage issues.

Also, I LOVE my 1/4 inch piecing foot!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Starting a new skirt

This past weekend I started a new skirt.  I have an old damask-print skirt that I got my senior year of high school, and it was my very favorite skirt all through college.  Needless to say, by the time I got to grad school it was pretty much worn out.  So I was overjoyed when I was browsing at JoAnn one day many months ago, and I saw a damask print that pretty well approximates the print on my old skirt, and I decided to try to recreate it. 

I'm using another variation of the pattern I used for my first brown skirt, McCall's 5591, but I had to adapt it to make the skirt less full, since the original pattern pieces are too wide to fit across grain, but this print is definitely directional, so that won't work.  Also, my old skirt has a ruffle at the bottom of the lining which I'm planning to re-use, so I want the new skirt to be about the same fullness as the old one so the proportions work out. 

So far, I've cut out the outer skirt pieces, the pockets, and the yoke pieces.  I've Ironed the white fabric for the lining, but I need to adjust the skirt pattern pieces for that and cut them out.  I stopped at JoAnn on my way home today and bought the zipper, but I forgot to get embellishing braid for the seam between the yoke and the skirt.  I still need to cut out the interfacing for the yoke, and, of course, sew it all together!

Monday, June 25, 2012

A new project

I rewarded myself for passing my advanced exam by ordering new yarn for a sweater.  I've been wanting to knit a sweater for several weeks now, but I didn't want to start anything while I needed to devote all of my attention to studying.  I feel like summer is a bit of a strange time to start a big knitting project like a sweater, but it's been a long time since I knit anything bigger than a sock (my cowl doesn't count), and when I was in Denmark in April I found myself slightly envious of my mom's large, simple baby blanket project.  Anyway, we have air conditioning, and I'm not planning to work on this outside, so I don't see why the summer prohibition on large knitting projects should apply.

This sweater is in the Elizabeth Zimmerman style, knitted in the round from the bottom up, with the sleeves joined to the body at underarm level and a yoke (an unpatterned yoke, in this case).  The pattern is in a booklet my Aunt Inge gave me the last time I was in Denmark.  This little booklet has several gorgeous patterns I can picture myself knitting and wearing.  I chose this one because it looks simple (honestly, a bit mindless) but still has something interesting - a deep lace edging on the body and sleeves.  It also has some ruffles on one shoulder, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to leave those off.  I'm reading the pattern side-by-side with EZ's generic sweater pattern in Knitting Without Tears, and making a few modifications along the way.  The first one is to knit the sleeves in the round instead of back and forth.  This also means the sleeves have one less stitch than the pattern calls for, since I won't need the selvedge for seaming. 

I love knitting in the round.  I don't understand why you would knit the sleeves flat when the body is knit in the round.  In my view, it defeats the whole purpose of one-piece construction.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

June FNSI Results

My shorts were successful!  This was my third muslin for the "Giraffe love" pajama shorts I'm planning to make myself.  The first muslin was my March FNSI project.  I never got around to posting the second muslin because I was discouraged that it didn't come out quite right.  This time, I re-drafted the pattern from scratch, with a deeper "J" on the front pattern piece.  I also made the back waist a little higher than the front, and I tried out little side vents at the outside leg hems (not visible in the photo).  It worked!  I think they fit pretty well: they are comfortable standing and sitting, aren't to tight across the rear, and the waistband is at an appropriate height all the way around!

Now I just need to wash the giraffe and polka-dot lining fabric, and I can make the real ones!

Head on over to Handmade by Heidi to see what other people accomplished last night.

A UFO crossed off the list!

This week has been pretty relaxed, and on Thursday morning I got out my sewing machine and hemmed this tablecloth that's been on my UFO list for several months.  Robert's Grandma gave me the fabric when we visited last summer, and a few moths ago I got as far as cutting the large piece down to size, but I gave up on hemming it because the linen (?) didn't seem to want to crease for the hem in a nice way, and I was afraid of ruining it with a sloppy hem.  And I hate pinning.  But on Thursday, I got down to business, turned my iron to its maximum heat and maximum steam settings, and started pinning away.  My fears were totally overblown.  I did pin about every two inches, but that was probably overkill.  I was interested to notice that the grain played a huge role in how easily the fabric took the crease.  The long edges creased very easily, but the short edges were more reluctant.  This is why I thought it would be so hard - last time I had been trying to start on a short edge.  Luckily this time I happened to start on a long edge.  My machine was so happy to be sewing on "normal" fabric and thread again.  I was remembering my denim skirt (which the machine really didn't like at all) and my workout t-shirts (which stressed me out because they're knits).  This sewed up like a dream, on all my normal stitch and tension settings!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tablecloth progress, plus FNSI this week

I've been slowly working my way across my Aunt Inge's tablecloth.  I can get three little squares done in a 45-minute episode of the West Wing.  If you look carefully at the right side of the photo, you can see the center crease, so it looks like I'm almost halfway done.  I counted the squares, though, and I've done 57 and have 95 to go.  So not quite half way. 

I'm looking forward to the Friday Night Sew-In this week, hosted over at Handmade by Heidi.  I think I'm going to do the next pattern iteration of my giraffe shorts.  The fabric I've got for this version is lavender with little white polka dots, and I think it's really cute so I'm hoping they turn out well enough to actually use them (and of course I can't wait to get to do the real giraffe version!)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cowl finished

I finished my cowl week before last, but between going to a wedding last weekend and studying like crazy for my oral exam  (I passed today! yay!) last week, I've pretty much been taking a break from my life.  Blogging, housekeeping, crafting, even exercising ... everything took a back seat.  But now I'm done with that, and I have BIG plans:
  • rearrange some furniture in the living room
  • do laundry
  • start a sweater (which means I get to choose a pattern and buy yarn!)
  • sew my shorts (I think I'm going to start over with the pattern, so I can fully use the knowledge I've gained from the first two muslins)
  • sew my damask skirt
  • hem the tablecloth that's been sitting in my half-done project pile for months
  • sew a muslin for a sundress (I've already got the fabric for the real version - it's beautiful)
  • work towards finishing my embroidered tablecloth
  • start a quilt (I've got fabric and I drafted a 12" mini-Swoon block)
About the cowl:  I like it.  I enjoyed working with the beads, even though they were kind of fiddly.  I'm not wild about the yarn (Kidsilk Haze).  I think it's good for a small-ish winter accessory like this, but I wouldn't want to use it for something large.  I think the only time I'll get to wear it in the foreseeable future is during orchestra rehearsals, because they air condition the rehearsal hall like nobody's business.  I don't think I'm going to block it.  I probably should, but I'm really just too lazy, and I feel like once I've worn it a couple of times, the blocking will have "worn out" and I'll just be back to how it is now anyways.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May FNSI Results

 Last night I sat down and altered 8 of my old workout T-shirts!  All of these were originally size medium, and some of them were pretty stretched out, too.  These days I'm wearing size small - with my iPod nano clipped on to the hem when I'm working out, it really bothers me if there's enough room for the shirt to flap around. 
Here's one of the shirts before I did anything to it.  I turned it inside out and smoothed it out completely flat, and used a size small t-shirt that I like as a template.  I turned the small shirt inside out and smoothed it out, too, and then used my chalk marker to trace where the new side seams should be, up to where they meet the armhole seams.  Then I turned the line 90 degrees and went out to the sleeve hem.  I pinned along the line, sewed along it with a somewhat narrow zig-zag (using a "stretch" needle in my machine), and cut off the excess fabric with pinking shears.

Here's the result.  A much better fit!  After I knew that the first one worked, I did the others assembly-line style.
Now I have a bunch of refreshed work-out shirts!

The Friday Night Sew-In is hosted by Crafty Vegas Mom this month.