Monday, December 31, 2012

Top Five Favorite Creations

Dear Readers,

I am following K-line's Top Five Series (based on Gillian's Top 5 of 2012 Series).  So, I did not have a productive year so far in 2012  -  I was definitely overloaded at work!  But, I did make a few items I particularly like very much:

The Top 5 of 2012 series is (thanks again K-Line and Gillian):

  • Top 5 Favourite Creations (most worn, or most loved) - I can do this one
  • Top 5 Sewing Fails (UFOs, worn once, or complete disasters)  - I only have two -three fails I can think of
  • Top 5 Lessons Learned (either practical tricks and techniques, or life lessons) Ok, I may only have three
  • Top 5 Blogs and Bloggers that Inspire - Easy!  So many bloggers
  • Top 5 Goals for the New Year - Five seems like a manageable goal

So, with little fanfare - here is my top five favorite creations:

1.  Modern Beach Quilt - I can't believe I actually made this - and am abundantly proud - and use it almost every evening.
2.  Simplicity 1806 in Japanese Linen Fabric - I've already worn this at least two dozen times during this year - simple - hides extra pounds (I've since lost these added pounds) - Nothing not to like:
3.  Red Jstern Jeans- Super comfy - probably a little big because of the stretch fabric.  I wore a hole in the seam (back center seam) - and didn't wear for a few months - but now they are back in regular rotation.
4. Gertie's Portrait Blouse - I tried it in a woven and it didn't work.  This was my first pattern out of Gertie's book - but once I tried the knit fabric - success - I made two - have worn them both a dozen times since October and have plans for more!
5.  Tie:  Easy Cowl in Any Gauge and Cable Scarves. I learned to knit - and it's been so much fun and very portable for the trips I take!  I like both these garments equally.  I've made five cable scarves as gifts and really like this Easy Cowl in Any Gauge.   So much fun and more to come!

If you haven't posted what are your five favorites?  Join me, Gillian and K-Line in this series, if you wish.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

McCalls Patterns (with Bikes!)

Dear readers,

I don't know if you have seen the (new?) McCall's patterns at their website - but something strange is going on.  More than half of their recent patterns are posed with bikes.  Hey, I love bikes and sewing!  My favorite bike/sewing blog is Bicitoro's blog.  I too wish to do more posing with bikes in my posts.  I guess I need to step it up myself.

Here's a sampling of their recent pattern poses:

McCalls 6694:  What in the world is this model doing?  She has five inch pointy heels on and is carrying a track bike around on her shoulder?  Or is the bike mounted to the wall?  I'm not sure.  Trendy (throw the bikes in!) but distracting pose.

McCalls 6709: I actually like this jacket very much - I can see it tailored for bike commuters (add secret pockets?) and high-vis tape at the seams?  This pose isn't bad  - but I would vote for a more sensible heel.  But, hey, who am I to judge  - if one wishes to wear high heels with their bikes - I support your talents!
McCalls 6712:  Again, I do like the top below - I'm not sure about the pose?  "I think I'll fix my bike with white pants on and five inch heels."
McCalls 6710:  Finally, these pictures are just a sampling of all the bikes and patterns on the McCalls new patterns page - and the pattern below is the only "bike" type of clothing featured (I advocate riding in non-roadie gear if that suits you though - why restrict yourself?).

My only objection to the pose below is the male model's haircut.
 What do you think?

I say we need more bike-sportswear related patterns - so maybe this is a step in the right direction - step it up McCalls!

BTW, McCalls is promoting an online sale this week 2.99 for all patterns.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!

Dear readers,

I am completely enjoying the posts everyone is making about holiday gifts and garments!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 24, 2012

The day before Christmas - Cowls! Cowls! Cowls!

Dear readers,

I'm busily finishing up some more knitted goods before Christmas.  Two Cowls.

The first is a class I took called an Easy Cowl in Any Gauge from Instructor Teri at my favorite yarn store - Anacapa Fine Yarns.
 Both pictures are with the project unblocked - I believe blocking is recommended - as this project tends to roll and stretch the yarn - that's why I made it a bit thicker than normal.  My favorite cowl so far!
This cowl features Malabrigo Worsted Merino Wool that I purchased in New Orleans at the cutest store right on the corner of Jackson Square in the French Quarter, The Quarter Stitch.  I actually bought the yarn after feeling a little guilty since they "repaired" skipped stitches in my first knitted project that I was working on at the time.  But, the yarn is brilliant.  The colors are good with the stitch pattern the cowl calls for.
The pattern is not published electronically but from a designer named Ann Norling, it's Pattern No. 71, Easy Cowl in Any Gauge - the pattern photo is below:
The second cowl is the same pattern I received from Close Knits - made in Malabrigo Yarn in Guesa, Amber Gold.  It's very chunky and not chunky at the same time.  This yarn was bought at the Black Sheep in Encinitas during a drive to San Diego (I always stop and dine in Encinitas).
I made the top from Vogue 8634 -  two years ago - and blogged about it here from a knit fabric found in Mood in LA - Knitted Top Post (before I acquired my vintage serger in 2010).  Has this fabric shrunk?  Or was I thinner?  J. offers he thinks it really has shrunk - and that the result is not good in comparison to the prior result.  It's possible I was thinner - I had just completed day 120 of P90X back in August 2010.

On the plus side, my yarn stash (remaining) has visibly diminished!
Still busily knitting and doing some last minute preparations for Christmas.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Two Days before Christmas - look what I found in the ornaments?

Dear readers!

Finally - I found my wonderful gortex bag I made for my swimming goggles (with all my swimming goggles and caps) - I replaced them during the year but didn't give up looking them.  Somehow it was placed in the Christmas Ornaments - I spent all year looking for this bag - it was going to be a tutorial.
 So, now I can show you it and it would make a great last minute gift idea. . . It's simple a lined square with a little drawstring.  Super easy and oh so functional!
I bought this high quality water repellant fabric from Seattle Fabrics in 2011 and am using it sparingly  -  it was quite expensive.

I still haven't finished my black pants (and now I've lost 15 pounds -  I may have to adjust - but I'll happily do so!) - and am working on two cowls, but no rush - all my gifts are out so they are for me.

I love when I find "lost" items.  I found a hat at the same time!

Happy Holidays!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Three Days Until Christmas

Dear readers,

Finally, a cowl.  I was dying to make this and saw the pattern at a wonderful knitting store called Close Knit in Evanston.  The shirt is one I made and blogged about HERE in Betsey Johnson Knit - Gertie's Portrait Blouse.

The pattern, in the round, calls for K3 P3 K3 P3 finish the row in the round, then P3, K3, P3, K3 finish in the round until about 8 - 10 inches.  Originally the pattern called for 42 cast on stitches - but I wanted a bit longer for the super bulky thread so I cast on 60 stitches (cast ons must be in multiples of 6) - and I used a size 19 circular needle.  And, it has stretched a bit.  But, I still love it.  It matches the yarn I made for J's scarf.
The yarn is Malabrigo Rasta in Soriano.
 Super easy pattern.  I love it!

How are your Holiday preparations proceeding?


Friday, December 21, 2012

Four Days until Christmas - More Cable Scarves

Dear readers,

Another post for us on almost the fourth day before Christmas.  My scarfaganza continued - I've made two more scarves (one is a present!).
This is from my instructor's Anne's (from my favorite knitting shop - Anacapa Fine Yarns) pattern for a cable scarf - amazingly simple; here is the link from Ravelry Reversible Cable Scarf Pattern.- it's not free  - it's 5.00 dollars US but totally worth it.
This time - another Misti Alpaca scarf (wrapped up) in Oscar Night Red and a simple blue scarf for me.
I love this pattern  -  it's my favorite so far.
Misti Alpaca (2 skeins) is recommended for this pattern and I concur with that assessment!  It's a wonderful bulky yarn to work on.
Next winter (not this winter) - I want to make up this pattern, Aran inspired "Fireside Sweater" by Amber Allison. (Sorry for the small size - but if you link - it will be much bigger!).
I'm planning a visit to Ireland (I hope) this summer to inspire me!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Five Days before Christmas - Washcloths!

Dear readers,

It's just a bit more than five days before Christmas and I'm busy knitting away!
Last night I was up until midnight putting together some Christmas washcloths in the pattern requested by my mother to send in a package I was mailing east.
It only took a day each for these washcloths and they are my favorites - my mother requested the navy and natural colors for her kitchen.

I've been dying to make the pattern from Homespun Living's Waffle Knit Dishcloth pattern.  It is a wonderful and easy pattern to sew up!  Of course, stingy -  late due to procrastination me only made two - but we'll see if my mother actually uses them!  She's from the sponge era.

What projects are you all making up as gifts?  Do Tell!

P.S.  I'm committed to one posting a day until the end of the year - I have three or four projects I need to post - sorry for the sewers out there - most the projects are knitting:)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sewing inspiration: Brooks Brothers is bringing it in its Black Fleece Line.

Dear readers,

Sorry again for not posting recently.  I have made three more scarves since I posted last, a cowl and I've taken a class for a second cowl.  I'm almost done with my black pants.   So, lots of posting to do.
But I've left my camera in the car (I am that lazy!).   In order to prime my writing pump, I want to share some items I've had saved as sewing inspiration.
Have you seen Brooks new site - here's a link to their Black Fleece Label.  Their buyers/designers are doing interesting things.  I went through a period in middle school that I detested BB when my mother made me wear their clothing instead of corduroy Levi's and earth shoes I coveted.  So, it's ironic that I love their line now.

Below, is what I am dying to wear at work  -  so  I am going to try to reproduce these samples:
 The skirt is easy; the jacket - much more difficult.
I love this jacket - the back has a little tab to hang it.   Super cute.  But, outside of my price range.

Any thoughts or good links to share??


P.S.  I am not sponsored by Brooks Brothers.