Thursday, July 19, 2012

Something Wonderful

I've finished something astonishingly wonderful. The pride I feel in this sweater is akin, though less than, admittedly, to writing a book, or raising a child! It's a fair isle vest, knit in the round on size 3 needles in fingering weight yarn. It is gorgeous, no... absolutely breathtaking.

The hardest part was the waist shaping combined with the fair isle color work. A straight sided men's vest would have been much less difficult to execute. I DO have one of those in my queue, too. I also have another stranded vest on the needles, but it's a two color damask pattern and much more tedious to knit than this was.  As I said, I knit it in the round, using steeks to dilineate the decreases, and then I cut them with some scissors, picked up the neck and button bands, and knit 10 rows in two by two ribbing to finish it off... I just washed and blocked it yesterday and it's gonna sit on my model for quite a while, I think, till I NEED her for marking a hem or fall comes and I'm wearing it, whichever comes first.

Pattern: Corrie Fair Isle Vest, from Knit Picks

Cost: I can't exactly remember, because I bought this kit years ago, but I think it was in the $30 range... Palette yarn is only about $3.50 per ball, SUPER reasonable.

Time: Hours and hours of time, probably into the mid 40's for hours... but really it was a joy, every row was slightly different and the color changes were fascinating, the patterns wasn't nearly as difficult as it looks.

Note to self: Fair isle is fun, not hard, so do it more often!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Watermelon Blouse

I love watermelon. I love the whole bright, sweet, juicy, messy lot... Here is a blouse, made in lovely watermelon chiffon. It's a simple blouse that I made as a practice garment for chiffon, before I started the pindot blouse, with sweet little aqua buttons on the placket.

And here is is styled with my White Market skirt and a pretty pale aqua Land's End cardigan.

 I'm wearing it tomorrow night to dinner with my sister and her NEW fiancee!!

Pattern: Simplicity 2211
Cost: $6
Time: 6 hours
Note to Self: You need to make more CASUAL clothes, that's what you usually wear!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Black Pindot Chiffon Blouse Day 1

So... four words: What Was I Thinking????

This chiffon is fiddly, hard to cut out, difficult to sew, and the pindots make it kind of op art ish... it's hard to focus my eyes when looking at it! Here are the two front pieces, and a difficult curved seam to fit over the ladies... this pattern is a difficult one, as well, I should have chosen a loose, flowy top to use with this fabric. BUT, I love the idea of this blouse in the chiffon with my plaid jumper, or my white market skirt, or my bright teal coco chanel inspired skirt, or my black and cream lace skirt, or my burnt orange skirt, or even a pair of jeans!! 

Here it is with all but the hardest part pinned. How do I pin these two pieces together? Well... it's mostly just matching edges and tons of pins along the seam line. Then I baste the seam before I sew, just in case I have trouble with the curve.

Here is the result, the seam is a bit puckered, even after pressing, not sure what to do about that... I think it happened when I was zigzagging the seam to finish the edge.

 I've already clocked 3 hours on this blouse and I've only got the two fronts sewn!

However, there is a bonus to this difficult fabric, I can only work on it in daylight, which means lots of picture opportunities... so get ready for a play by play on the pindot blouse!!

Experiment Dress

A cheetah print, teal and grey and cream, satin mumu? A slinky cocktail dress? It's for a vacation with my man in September, and I hope it looks good on me with heels!

It can also be worn up on the hips, maybe belted, as a mini dress... which is kinda risque, which means, only on Hub's arm, yes?

Pattern: Burda Style magazine June 2012, pattern
Cost: $6, this fabric was $3 a yard and I've got over half a yard left... what to do with it?
Time: 6 hours, 2 of which were patternmaking
Note to Self: Bargain fabric is fun to make unusual styles in, such a small outlay of money to experiment! I may never wear this dress, but it was fun to make!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Black Ribbon Necklace

The necklace was not expensive, perhaps $10, but it was difficult to string the beads onto the ribbon. I copied a necklace I saw Zooey Deschanel wear in a Cotton ad recently that I really liked. Then, the next day, I dropped into my local Wally World and found similar necklace/earring set for $8. Well, I bought them, too so I'd have matching earrings and another layer of black faceted beads in case I felt MORE IS BETTER!

Project: Black Ribbon Necklace
Cost: $10
Project Time: 2 hours
Note to Self: Next time check Walmart first?? Nah!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sound of Music Dress

The Sound of Music dress... Why? Like our lovely Maria, I used old curtains to make a play dress! These used to be my living room curtains and since we moved, I've been using them to line my cutting board for slippery fabrics, for muslins, and just to look at on my shelf! The dress is constructed from the muslins for my Coral Silk Cocktail Dress which makes it NEARLY free. All I had to buy was a zipper. And since I'd already cut the pieces in the construction of my silk dress, I only had to cut the lining from the fabric leftover from the shirt dress I made for my daughter for Easter. So, on both the moolah and time fronts, this dress is super economical.

Also, very cute, I think... it has a rather 1960's feel and is in a cool cotton for summer, with a shell print or anemones or just... what are they??? Whatever they are, they will be perfect for our trip to the beach this summer! It's styled with a thrifted white woven belt and a necklace I made of ribbon and black faceted beads.

Project: Sound of Music Dress
Pattern: M5972
Project Time: 4.5 hours
Cost: $3
Note to Self: Wear with black flats or brown sandal wedges and rock it, Girl!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Making in Blue

I've been working from a palette for a bit now... blues, greys, mushroom, salmon, and coral pink. This is an aqua heathered baby alpaca yarn, a whole skein, it's soft and warm and beautifully dyed...

I have a whole skein left after making this, and Japanese Butterflies Neckwarmer:

I made it in honor of the cherry blossom festival in DC, this year, celebrating the anniversary of Japan's gift of cherry trees to the US. See the butterfly motif?

Oh, and here it is on me, as well as a little preview of a project not yet blogged but finished today!

A baby gift from organic cotton, another blue project I'm working on:

Cost: Cascade Pure Alpaca, less than one skein, $16

Time: 10 hours

Note to Self: If only you looked good in cowls... this is a great color on you.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Coral Silk Cocktail Dress

I wore this dress the day I finished it... which was New Year's Eve 2011, styled like this.

It's a delicious red 4 ply silk, drapey and brilliantly dyed, in a gorgeous coral red.  I've worn it to the theater with my husband (there was a handmade trunk show... all the makers were able to spot a kindred spirit in me), to Smoke in NYC, and to the wedding... and each time I got tons of compliments, which is really super fun for ME!!  I think the collar has a sort of 1960 feel to it, which I love.

My first silk dress has been a success, and given me confidence to try more "difficult to work" with fabrics.

Pattern: M5972

Fabric: 4 Ply coral colored silk, tangerine rayon for lining

Cost: $65

Time: 18 hours, including cutting, which was challenging

Note to Self: Make sure to interface the collar next time you make this dress

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I have a new model... She's a trooper, I tell ya! Just stands there, modelling my clothes quietly, and she's just my size! Here she is in my new top and skirt... 

And here in my new top and an old skirt that I made two years ago.

These are both Lisette patterns, which aren't difficult to sew at all... the top was actually cut out on Tuesday morning and worn to quiz night at a local pub Tuesday night... of course, someone said it looked like blood spots were on it (sob). It's actually made from Japanese double gauze by Naomi Ito, and a dream to work with... presses beautifully, and has just a tiny bit of bite, I hardly had to pin the straight seams at all! It's thin but not see through, cool, and the prints have that lovely Japanese minimalist aesthetic and refined feel. I bought some that's a wee bit thicker for a summer dress that's coming up soon in the queue. The color of natural muslin, that thick cream color is good for my coloring.

The skirt is a nice cream corduroy... Good for spring or fall, though it's a wee bit short for my taste... perhaps I'll have to fit the next one more carefully at the waist and lengthen a smidge. For there WILL be a next one, the pattern is simple and clean and not difficult to sew. 

I think the buttons are sweet, but I've already replaced the ones I used for a St. Patrick's Day dance.

Patterns:  Both Simplicity, Skirt: 2211, Top: 2245

Cost: Skirt: $20, Top: $26

Time: Skirt: 8 leisurely hours, Top: 6 hours

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Springtime in NY Socks

J'adore these socks, oh so much!!!! This is my souvenir yarn from my NYC trip in March... this is the color everyone was wearing... a toned down version of tangerine, perhaps? The color of the year is one that most people would rather die than appear in, though I look darn good in it. These socks were begun in the hotel in Manhattan and finished two days ago. What took me so long? I didn't bother to read the pattern thoroughly before beginning and got confused. Silly me.

Soooo, I actually knit four socks total.... two false starts, pulled out and re knit.... then a complete sock, but wrong, then a correct sock, then pulling out and re-knitting the first sock. It's good I don't have SSS (Second Sock Syndrome, the waning of love for a sock pattern upon completion of one sock, resulting in single socks with matching balls of yarn sitting in your knitting basket) or TSS (Third) or FSS (Fourth), though those last two aren't real things at all... Okay, so maybe SSS isn't a real psychiatric diagnosis, either... Although, I maintain that knitters are different from ordinary humans, better in many ways.... ha!

Mmmmm, I think they're gorgeous... Hello, Springtime in New York.

Pattern: Cadence Socks

Time: Endless hours of knitting the same yarn over and over

Cost: 2 skeins of KPM for $26 purchased at Purl Soho (notice I said AT, not from... I loved the shop in Soho!!)

Note to Self: Read the entire pattern before beginning and save yourself some time, Lady!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gingko Leaves Shawl

Here is a knitting project I've had done for a while, but it was a birthday surprise for my model, so I couldn't really take pics till her birthday! She, like most adolescents had an ambivalent attitude to the gift, so I think from now on I'll just let her pick her knitted and sewn things herself... blah!!! I am, however, proud of the finished object, the yarn is a graduated hand dyed yarn called Galadriel's Crown. 

Project Cost: $36

Yarn: The Unique Sheep Verve

Pattern: Ginkgo Shoulderette Shawl

Time: 12 hours, I think

Note to self: Ask Prairie Princess for gift guidance next time... but forbid puppies.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fitting a Grey Dress

A couple of pics of a dress I'm working on... And a shot of my iron and nails... Someone's favorite color just never gets old!!!

Making Small Bouquets

My Austen rose, Carding Mill, is blooming again, and my mint is taking over the space beneath some bushes in front of my house... So I thought I'd make a little fresh smelling bouquet to grace my sewing table.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pink Beauties

Well, I used to NOT be a fan of pink... but I'm starting to appreciate it thoroughly. I got this yarn in a sock club by Yarn Love... I've always adored their yarn colorways, but just couldn't choose. I was frozen by indecision and just bought NONE. In the club you only get two choices a month (I can do THAT)and then get 100 grams of whatever you choose... this is a DK weight in the Colorway Cosmopolitan... you can see why it's named that...

I still have like 50grams left... I want to find something WONDERFUL to do with it, but what???

Here's what I did with the first 50 grams! This pattern is inspired by some fingerless gloves worn by a character in one of my favorite shows... and even though I'm afraid you'll all judge me for it... Oh, I'll just tell you... it's Dr Who!!! But holy moley, I love these mitts! Four to six year old girls all over the world agree with me, and you can't go wrong with that! Look how the yarn makes the cables and texture pop, I love it!

Pattern: Rose's wrist Warmers
Yarn: Yarn Love Amy March in Cosmopolitan (all their yarn names are literary figures or characters, I heart them so much!)
Time: 1 week
Cost: $12
Note to Self: Never pass up an opportunity to buy Yarn Love yarn! And make a pink paperbag skirt to wear with them!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Finished Gift Skirt

Well, the skirt for my sister really wasn't all that difficult to make, but when she came to visit at Christmas, she changed her mind about the design!!! I followed this tutorial to make her a skirt with a more paper bag shape in the hips... and here it is! Modeled by my daughter... who is less than enthused, and also too small for the skirt...

She, like most 12 year old girls has a model's proportions... isn't it odd that in our culture we seek to emulate the proportions of a gangly preteen? Aaaaaanyway, the skirt tapers at the hem to produce a full hip which is good for the apple shape, like mine, and like my sister's! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Blue Lace

Hello, lovelies! Here is something that was years in the making... and I'm SO proud of it... Ok, two things, as my daughter is modeling and she's been in progress for about 12 years now! This is a knitted lace wrap! It looks soooo complicated, but really it's not, it just takes FOREVER!!! The hardest part, honestly, was picking up the stitches for the edging, which would have been easier if I'd read other's notes on Ravelry, as several did the math and made it much easier for others. I LOVE Ravelry!!!

Pattern: Print o' the Wave Stole by Eunny Jang
Yarn: 3 skeins Knit Picks Shadow in Pacific and Blue Yonder
Cost: $15
Note to Self: YOU GO GIRL!!! Also... wear this as much as possible and show it OFF!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cloister Wrap

I'm still making stuff like crazy!! For example: I overdyed some orange laceweight with pink and got this marvelous soft coral red, and then, to exhaust the dyepot, I threw in a failed attempt at vegetable dying... And I have bubblegum pink fingering weight yarn! This red yarn is for a travel project... I'm going to NYC, and of course, seeing the Cloisters! I found a lace shawl pattern with a cloisters lace pattern... Should be pretty in coral...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Warm Head, Warm Heart

Look, I look a wee bit like Rosie the Riveter!!

I'm remiss, I know... I lost my camera battery charger! So I took some pics with my computer which are... sub par. However, I did make something!! I've been happier lately, probably because of the Spring making itself felt... though the winds of February may just blow my house down. I was still coooooollllllddddddddd... so I made a head warmer to warm my head... and consequently the rest of me. 

It's warm and squishy and stylish, I think... let me know if you all think I'm deluding myself about that... I CAN refrain from wearing it in public!!

Look at these cutie orange buttons! I think it looks so good with my highlights... Speaking of highlights!! I found a stylist that will GIVE me highlights even though I henna... and guess what?!? NO SCARY side effects!!! 

Project Cost: $10

Project Time: Two days... So easy to knit

Pattern: Calorimetry

Yarn: Fibra Natura COBBLESTONE and Socks that Rock Lightweight, held double... the STR colorway is Crabby Mc HappyPants, my favorite colors EVER... stood in line at the Maryland Fiber Festival and met lots of fun yarnies!! I have to go again this year!!

Note to Self: Great for bad hair days and also keeping warm without dressing like an Eskimo... Use second skein of Cobblestone for fingerless gloves??

Friday, February 10, 2012

Painting in Color

Painting my dining room counts, I think! Painting the ceiling wasn't THAT hard, but it was a challenge. I think it was worth it!

Project Cost: Martha Stewart Paint Colors: Mushroom 1 gallon Satin, Powder Puff 1 gallon Flat. $28

Time: FOREVER I didn't bother to tape the trim, and it was a LOT of trim

Notes to Self: Find those pretty apricot Lusterwear tea things and get them displayed! Find a new china pattern to collect.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Some Sweet Nothings

I have been buying blouse patterns... And I splurged and bought some black pindot satin at JoAnne's the other day, but then realized that I don't want a shiny black blouse with pindots... and so, I decided to make a camisole and tap pants, which I've been wearing a lot lately. I used some old cream lace that I had in my stash, and it looks sweet on the satin...

The set looks so sweet and feminine... and is just as pretty inside as out... French seams and cream lace... mmmmmmmmmm.

 I'm sure most of you know what French seams are but, if not... I'll make a sort of tutorial about them, and how to press seams, too. Yay! So, without further ado... the Sweet Nothings... I have plans and materials to make two more sets, it was so easy and fun!

Project Cost: $8

Project Time: 5 hours

Pattern: One of Meemaw's she gave me long ago!!

Note to Self: I do not love the camisole, it is wearable, but not perfectly so... I think I'll try to draft a new one... or get a new cami pattern?