Monday, March 10, 2014

UFO finally finished: New Look 6227/0913 Cape

Dear readers,

Sorry for the delayed postings I've been traveling for work.  And, some news to report.  About three weeks ago I finished a cape I delayed on.  I didn't like it at the finish -- but as we draw closer to St. Patrick's Day I am finding myself liking it much more!
I really thought I didn't like this cape at first.  I had so many problems in the execution.  I made the underlining too thick, and the cape felt very tight.  There are bumps on my shoulders that no amount of ironing (with appropriate tools/hams, etc) could eliminate.  I ended up making the inserts the correct length.  I tried following the pattern review tips to shorten but I felt they were too limiting.
 I do think the back length is good.  I had a limited amount of fabric -- so I could either make a cape or a skirt.  I'm regretting not making the skirt however.
 Why, oh dear god why, did. I. pick. red. lining?  Ok, now I remember it was just before Christmas -- that was very very ill timed. I would recommend something a bit less festive.
Here is the picture on my PGM form with the hand-sewn frog closures.   Would I make this again -- probably not.  The Sewing Lawyer's Fabulous Cape- -that is what I should have executed.  I sometimes just want something to hide in comfortable.  On the other hand, J. loves it -- very vintage feel.  But, I think it will get limited wear, unfortunately.

How am I coming on the Funky Grandpa -- well, dear readers I am scheduled to finish this by the end of March (blocked and all).  I am loving it so far but it is ALOT of knitting.
Great sweater -- I thought I would immediately make two or three -- but I can see taking a small knitting break (to sew).
Finally, I'm working on a vest for J. for stage -- New Look 6166, Style C out of Tan Tweed (upper right corner photo in brown or on male model).
P.S.  I made a fabulous trip to Mood, I'll have to tell you all about it!  Here is a sneak peak below:

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A new sweater, and discussion about trends

Dear readers,

I've been busy knitting away. . . I'm in the middle of the Funky Grandpa Sweater -- and it's very very exciting -- my first sweater:

All my projects can be found on my Ravelry page, linked HERE.  I'm busy customizing the fit as I sew.   

I've also finished my first stranding project that needs to be blocked - -the Wave-O-Saurus hat:
I'll post more pictures as soon as the blocking is finished - it needs a bit of shaping. 

And, I had some more yoga socks (that I gave to my Pilates instructor -- I think she was bit aghast:)). Knitting projects as gifts can be iffy!

As far as sewing, I am finishing up the lined green wool cape, I cut out a tweed vest for J. when he plays with his band (I'm stuck and need more bemberg from Mood) and finally, I do need to make some repairs. 

I've learned a little bit about a new trend in denim and jeans -- the selvedge pair.  Which is to say for jeans -- they are made out of selvedge or "japanese denim" and the wearer wears them for months without washing.  Then finally washes the jeans for a "custom" wear pattern in the denim.  I'm planning a future post with more information.

Finally, I read Madalynne's post about best sewing blogs, PART 1; PART II, then planned to post - but Carolyn came up with an excellent post Here, with her list of top sewing blogs (advanced).  I think it's worth reading and I learned about quite a few new blogs that I didn't know about.

Have a good long weekend everyone!  XOXO, P.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Takeout for Two - Legwarmers -- Finished!

Dear readers,

My takeout for two leg warmers almost became an UFO (unfinished object).  Fun and easy -- but knitting very long tubes on very small DPNs (double pointed needles) has ruined me.  I'm glad they are finished.  Now, I am merely finishing some yoga socks (more). . and I'm ready for my big sweater project, Funky Grandpa Sweater.
The original picture from the knitting book, Joy of Socks, below:
These were fairly cost efficient as I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light wool to knit.  Unfortunately, we are in the middle of a heat wave, with an accompanying drought, and random fires, so it may be awhile for me to finally wear them.  
I chose this pattern for my pilates and barre warmups.  And, these leg warmers are indeed WARM!  My link to the project page in Ravelry is HERE - TAKEOUT FOR TWO PROJECT.
The model had very very long legs apparently -- I'm not that short either (especially my legs - a 31" inseam and I'm 5'6.5").   I could have made them longer, but I might have lost my mind.  I'm just lucky to finish them.  I suffered extreme knitting fatigue during this marathon.

Dear readers, I hope your weather is a bit better than we are having here -- we have no winter so far this year!



P.S.  I have some jury duty coming up in two weeks, I hope to get some quality knitting in during that time.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Arrow Sewing and Serging Cabinet 401 Initial Setup (the "Betty")

Dear readers,

This summer I picked up a rather inexpensive (200.00) Arrow Sewing Cabinet off Craigslist, called the Betty # 401 in white.   It was a particle board table -- I had never used one and doubted its utility.  In the picture below you will see the final table setup:
Yes, of course it came with a flaw. . . which the seller did not disclose (I'm unsure if she knew) -- but the stand supported by a hydraulic/pulley type of lift would not adjust flush with the sewing machine.  The fixtures that adjust the hinge were stripped.  I called Arrow and they were fantastic.  I received the new one in days for less that $5.   I also ordered a custom insert with my machine (the table came with some universal inserts).  

But, it took me three months to actually get around to installing the new attachment.  (I had to take the hydraulic lift off the table, ugg.).  I finally did it in less than a half hour on Saturday night.  It does make sewing a bit more intuitive.  And, I can now see the value of purchasing a nicer one once I have the space.   I will do a more intensive review once I've had a chance to use it set up like it's supposed to be (I've had my machine sitting on top for awhile).  

Also, below -- J. gave me the ceramic bowl (red and white with polka dots) on the right for Christmas (among other knitterly things) from our LYS.  I love it.  I also received the holder/spinner for yarn on the left (an ETSY purchase).  I finally got a yarn winder as well (not shown). 
Any recommendations for sewing tables out there?  I'd love to hear about what you use.  I've investigated sewing rooms on pinterest and on various blogs.

Update 1/26/14 -- I may have to make an adjustment -- I just realized that my sewing table doesn't accommodate the knee lift lever on my Bernina!  The Horror!  Where's my saw?



Friday, January 3, 2014

New Sweater, New Knitting Skills: Funky Grandpa

Dear readers,

One of the lucky things I got into was a very highly valued sweater class at Anacapa Fine Yarns.  I signed up early (without remembering the project) -- it's a new sweater pattern picked out by Anacapa's popular instructor, Anne (whose blog is Moonlight Stitches).   Luckily, Anne has excellent taste -- and picked out this sweater - Funky Grandpa.  This fits my style perfectly!  I wear cashmere grandpa sweaters almost everyday at work (goes with my lawyer-geek style).
The pattern is available on Ravelry, just search for "Funky Grandpa."  Rililie is the designer and her blog is Lamaisonrililie.  I love her designs and have downloaded her fingerless mitts and cap patterns as well.

Now the fun is to pick out the yarn -- I'm leaning toward Madeline Tosh Merino Light -- either dark grey for the main bodice color and black for the arms.  Or, a dark denim blue for the bodice and darker arms.  The denim blue would be great with jeans and movie dates with J.  The black/dark grey would be more appropriate for work.  I haven't decided on the self-striping yarn color yet for the stripes.  The pattern calls for sock weight yarn and the Merino Light has been made by other Ravelers and is fingering weight and, I think, compatible.  

Here are two other of Rililie's projects I love:
 The "green hat."
And, long striped fingerless mitts (free on Ravelry).

I also really want to make this vintage sweater pattern the Cutaway Neckline Sweater (free)  -- but it will have to wait, now. 
In other news, I am still procrastinating on my UFOs -- I haven't finished my cape yet -- I hope to this weekend.  And, I'm still working on yoga socks (3 months and counting), long leg warmers (2 months and counting) and a Dr. Who Scarf (months and months to go).  I haven't fully converted to continental yet but am committed to knitting the Dr. Who scarf with continental.  I've been you-tubing for tips.  

BTW, Kristen, K-line blogger, has some great posts Here  (great comments too) and Here on continental versus eastern european style in contrast to "real" British/English style knitting if you get a chance to browse them.  She focuses on tension, and the most efficient way to assure correct tension for a project.   The posts have some great discussion.

Anyone have some good new years knitting projects they are working on?



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Top Five Goals for 2014, Broadly Stated.

Dear readers,

Happy New Year!

Time to establish another 5 goals for 2014.  I've decided at a Top 5 goals post.  I did it last year and I felt it was doable.  In previous years, I've committed to too many goals and I felt the pressure didn't allow me enough flexibility for creativity (at least in my sewing goals).    I left these goals somewhat broad so I could have some creative space to pick my projects.

1.  Stash Busting.  yep.  more stash busting.  I've got some fabulous fabrics -- I merely need to sew/knit them.  I have some sewing projects begging for my needle with their stash materials already!
2.  Sew at least one or more Wearing History pattern.   I love these patterns and have two in the queue to make!  If you haven't check out her page Wearing History Blog or her pattern page Wearing History Patterns -- they are fantastic!

3.  Expand my knitting skills.   Knitting is so satisfying.  I love I can take it with me on travel.  I want to keep expanding my skills.   But, sweaters (jumpers) and socks still elude me.
4.  Expand my technical tailoring skills.   In my work life, I definitely wear a lot of tailored clothing, so I would love to wear some of my own truly well-tailored bespoke wear.

5.  DIY/Home Dec projects.  I can't believe I'm posting this because as all my readers know -- I dislike and procrastinate any home dec project.  But, with my skills and machines, I really do need to get on it -- for a variety of reasons: to save money, make exactly what is desired, and to enhance our living space.   (Added 1/2/2013 -- I also want to work on bag-making and cycling accessories).

6.  Bonus Goal:  At least four posts a month on this blog (at least one a week).  Sometimes my work takes over my life -- especially with the traveling I do, not to mention balancing the travel with our home life.  So, I am going to work on the quantity and quality of blog posts.   I blog merely as a way to document my interests in the fabric arts, plus I love to write.  So, I think this goal is doable!  

What are your top five goals?


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Goals 2013 Recap -- How did I do?

Dear Readers,

Sorry for the absence, I still have not finished my remaining knitting projects and have not (yet) finished my cape -- waiting only on an hour or two's worth of sewing.  Last weekend, we had our house tented for termites (it's a California thing) and I've been busily cleaning like crazy before and ever since.  I don't believe that all those chemicals exposed in your house (even in gas form) are not harmful.    So, I didn't sew as much as I wanted to this year -- and quite frankly I'm glad 2013 is over and we're on to 2014.   

How'd I do?  

1.  Expand my knitting skills.  (Update: Completed -- I learned Continental -- made fingerless gloves, and learned to make many hats!

I have not finished the Craftsy class below -- because I signed up for a in person sweater class this winter -- I'm just to lazy to finish the video (and buy the gad zillion skeins of yarn). 
2.  Perfect a button down dress shirt.  Completed -- Pam's Craftsy class "Class Tailored Shirt" was wonderful.
3.  Make a tailored jacket - Not completed -- I didn't purchase enough material and I couldn't decide on new fabric. 
4.  Sew at least one Wearing History/Decades of Style/Hotpatterns' garment.  Completed and I absolutely love it!
5.  Stash and Pattern Busting.  Successful, mostly.  I've bought plenty of books and patterns,  but have held back with major fabric purchases with the exception of some Pendleton sale fabric from Portland and an occasional drive by at Mood.  However, I did splurge on yarn this year (and books:)).  

I made three Jalie shirts (my new favorite pattern) -- all from my stash:

6.  Expansion:  Learn to hand embroider.  Not completed.  At all.  Not even close.  

7.  Expansion:  Learn to play the ukulele - In progress -- I've learned the major chords and can play many songs (although not perfectly).  So, this is a work in progress.  Learning ukulele is like learning sewing -- it is a lifetime goal.  That said, I'm excited to see Jake Shimbukuro play right down the street from us at the Ventura Theatre in February. 

So, I didn't do too bad -- mostly because I only set five goals that were fairly easy to achieve, and even with that I felt that I was an underachiever in the sewing world this year!  I will say the projects I made -- I mostly loved and wear all the time!  I hardly have been buying any off the rack clothing (with the exception of workout gear (lululemon), which is nice change for 2013.  

How did you do?  Time for new goals!