Many other bloggers have been talking about their past year and looking forward to the next. Well last year I didn't make any specific goals to look back on now. I will just give you my thoughts on the last year which are a few.
3. My family is healthy and doing well. God has blessed us tremendously and provided for us in so many ways. I am so thankful for His care and concern for us over the past year.
2. I didn't sew a whole lot of garments but I learned a lot by what I did make. I am pleased with this years progress.
3. I finished 3 sweaters. I began 2 of them this year and finished up one started a couple of years ago. This was awesome progress for me. Yeah!!
Now, as for looking forward. I am not into New Years Resolutions. I never keep them. I think I have a commitment phobia. As soon as I think I have to do something I don't want to do it no matter how much I like the activity. I am such a rebel! So instead of resolutions I will nail down a few things I would like to accomplish. But remember there is no pressure here. Since I like to keep this blog mostly crafting I will restrict myself to crafty accomplishments. If I went through the things I would like to work on in my personal life the list would go on, and on, and on.
1. I want to purchase better quality fabric. I have a tendency to gravitate toward good deals. I need to put more quality stuff into my stash that I would actually want to wear. I also want to concentrate on coordinating fabrics and not just purchase things singly that I later have to find something else to match.
2. I want to spend more time crafting and not just vegging out. My main time for crafting is the evening and I am often pooped. I don't want to do anything but when I don't do anything I feel like I wasted a bunch of time. I will still veg out I would just like to do it a bit less.
3. I want to finish sweaters (and sewing projects for that matter) within a reasonable amount of time (not two years). I have been getting better at this and want to continue this success.
4. I want to sew more for myself which would then include increasing my fitting skills.
5. I want to make a chart to keep track of my projects. I really like the chart Karen made and want to borrow the idea. This will really help me see my accomplishments and be a motivator. Then at the end of next year it will be easier to count up my projects and yardage. I would really like to know exactly what I made and how much fabric I used. Oh, and I would like to fill the chart by the end of the year.
6. Lastly, I would like to figure out my camera and learn how to take better pictures. My pictures don't have to be museum quality just better than they are now. I really want to get some good pictures of my kids.
I am sure I could think of more but I will just stop here.
Back in 2006 14 different quilt stores across Alaska joined together to create blocks for an Alaskan quilt. I spent the summer of 2006 on a quest for all the blocks. I thought I had them all but it turns out I only have 11. Oh well back to my story. I obtained these block kits through different means and it was a lot of fun. Of coursed I planned to make up this quilt right away. That didn't happen and now almost 2 years later I think I should finally get to it. Wow! I can't believe that I am going to make a commitment to do this. I really want to finish this project and this is the only way I would do it. At first I was going to commit to one a week but I think that might be a bit much. If I do one a week great! But as I am writing this that seems like a huge accomplishment. No! I WILL commit to one a week and I will post my finished block here so you can see my progress. There! I'm going to do it! Now all I have to do is find out where I can get the Thangles that the pattern calls for. This might take me a couple of months. :)
I will leave you with this picture of my kids playing in the trees. They had such a ball.
Here is my last Christmas gift for my nieces. This was quite an easy project. I copied an apron that my children had. I used some Daisy Kingdom fabric that I got a few years ago at JoAnn's. I love the contrast binding. This is a close up of the embroidery and the binding.
Oh, my children would like to wish you a belated Merry Christmas and Happy new Year. ( I was attempting to get them to take a nice picture in their Christmas outfits. Not today!)
I decided to make matching dresses for my nieces for their birthdays and my daughter. I was inspired by a dress a Gymboree earlier this fall. The Gymboree dress was a simple peter pan collared dress with a belt in a polka dot fabric. I loved the simplicity of the design and that it really showed off the fabric. I thought of making the three matching dress in September but it actually took me until late October to make the committment. Only after finding the fabric did I decide to make the dresses.
For my 2 year old niece I used New Look 6842. I was immediately drawn to the plaid dress. This pattern had the cute peter pan collared dress I was looking for. This was actually difficult to find in this size. The complete review is here. If I copied the whole thing here this post would be way too long. A close up of the bodice. This dress has banded sleeves. For my 5 year old niece and daughter I used New Look 6309. Essentially it is the same dress except the the shape of the collar in the back and the ruffled sleeve. The review for this pattern is here. This is my daughter and my 2 year old niece in their dresses.` My other niece doesn't live near us. In my reviews I tell how I added the belt. I will put this explanation in my next post.
Time for another completely unsewing related post.
I like to take pictures but I am not that good at it. I tried taking pictures of my kids on Sunday but it didn't work out at all and I was definitely rethinking why I try. Today I decided to take some pictures while my kids were playing outside since that is where the best light is.
Lately, I have been looking around and noticing how black and white the world is especially when we have a lot of snow. Here are some pictures I took (that I actually like) that display my world. Just so you know the pictures are actually in color. I didn't post process them to black and white.
I don't think I will quit taking pictures quite yet.
Oh, here are my kids. They had a ton of fun playing. Then to make the perfect end to a fun time as were were leaving I somehow dropped the key to my car. We walked to find a phone (mine was in the car of course) to have my husband come pick us up. We ended up getting the car towed to the dealership where it is sitting waiting to be opened and a new fancy key made (we only have one key because they are so expensive) sometime tomorrow. What a day! Although it could have been worse the details worked out fairly smoothly.
I thought that I would start some reveiws for Pattern Review so that I could enter some items into the Holiday Sewing contest. Of course I have done a few reviews before (although I am not so great at it) but was slightly confused with the picture thing among other things.
I noticed today on my review page the little part that has a number and a C by it. As I read the page I realized that that meant the number of comments on my review. I was so astounded and excited that people actually read my reviews and found them helpful. Now some of those reviews were written in April so as you can see I am really taking a long time to understand all the ins and outs of Pattern Review. Quite a few of the reviews said that my pictures would not come up any bigger than thumnail. I would absolutely hate to come across a review, be very interested to see the garment review and then not be able to see anything other than a small thumbnail. If any of you have read my reviews and this has happened to you I am soooooo sorry. I guess I need a bit of help. What is the best way to put pictures on my reviews? Do I need to use another site? Should I just link to my blog? I know that many of you are loyal PR's and throughly understand how to do this so I would really appreciate your help.
I went to a baby shower the other day and I actually made the gift. I made simple burp cloths out of cloth diapers and some leftover Amy Butler Fabric. I made two plain ones and one that was personalized that turned out quite cute. These are pretty easy. here I how I made it.
First I cut out the correct size for my fabric strip. For me it was 5"x18".
Next you should interface the fabric at least where the name would go. I didn't do this but I sure wish I did.
Then print out the name large and bold in whatever font you would like. I picked something pretty blocky because I thought it would be easier to satin stitch.
Center the paper template on the fabric. You can either pin or use weights to keep the template from slipping.
Cut out the letters very carefully. I used a very small rotary cutter to do this. I am not sure scissors would work as well as the scissors would lift the fabric.
Now place on the diaper and stitch around the edges. Lastly, satin stitch around all the edges of the name.
Then make another one by satin stitching on the letters directly onto the diaper.
Okay, now to show you my adorable niece Aleya and the ones I made for her.
It has been a few weeks since my last post but I have been very busy. I have quite a few things to post about but haven't had the time to do the actual posting.
I finished this project for my hubby little bit ago. He has actually worn it a couple of times already AND liked it. The pattern had sleeves but as you may remember (from a post quite a while ago) that I ran out of yarn and couldn't finish the sleeves. I had the entire sweater finished-shoulders seamed neck edge completed--when I tried it on my hubby. It was awful! The dropped shoulders just would not work to finish for a vest. So, I had to unseam (Is that a word?) the shoulders and then rip the whole thing out to the armholes. Then, I proceeded to bind off 20 stitches for each armhole and reknit the front and back following the pattern. To Finish I just did garter stitch edge for the neck and armholes.
I just cannot settle on a blog style that I like. I would love to have something custom made but that is fairly expensive. Oh well! I guess that I will just change it every so often. Maybe by chance I will come across something that I like one day.
Well, I finished and I think that it looks great. I am very pleased with how this turned out. It actually fits. This pattern comes from Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel. This was a fun project. It was very easy except for figuring out the basket weave pattern. The pattern is easy up to the armhole split. After the split and some shaping you lose stitches and I had a hard time figuring which to pearl and knit to make the weave. There was a lot of ripping out while trying to get the hang of it. The nice thing is that you really can't see the mistakes so I didn't feel that I had to go back and correct EVERYTHING.
Yarn: Lana D'Oro Paints by Cascade Yarns
Color: Blue/Green/Purple--I was hesitant about using a variegated yarn at first because I usually do not like them. I was assured that this variegated yarn was very subtle. I LOVE it. The color variation is beautiful.
Fiber content: 50% alpaca 50% wool
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch on size 7 needles
This picture of the back shows a bit of the rib and basket weave texture.
My first attempt at an Ottobre pattern was this tunic. It is from the Fall 2008 issue (4/2008). Tracing out the pattern was not as crazy as I thought it would be. The lines were fairly easy to follow. The instructions were good too. I picked this because I thought it would be fairly simple to put together and didn't have too many pieces. Remembering to add seam allowance was a little challenging and I had to catch myself a couple of times. But all in all it was a great project and I am excited to try another pattern. I have so many planned.
Pattern Description: Long sleeve cross front tunic for girls with contrast neckline binding, waistband and cuffs.
Pattern Sizing: 116cm-152cm: My daughter is tall and thin so her measurements were not even close to fitting into one size. I made the size 122 width with size 134 body length and size 140 sleeve length. The finished garment fit her perfectly. Their pattern sizing seems to be very accurate.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? yes Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. I picked this to be my 1st ottobre pattern because I thought it would be fairly straightforward. The directions were clear and easy to follow. I liked the detailed directions when to use a sewing machine straight stitch and when to use the surger. I might not have done it their way originally but I am glad that I followed their directions because I liked the finished product.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the clear instructions and the method of gathering with the elastic at the edges of the bodice.
Fabric Used: A very slippery knit that I purchased in a remnant box so I do not know the fiber content. The black binding was a cotton poly blend from Joanns that did not have as much stretch as the main fabric. Due to the different stretch fabrics I had some challenges.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: None yet. I think that I will stitch the front piece to the back piece of the bodice from where they cross to the side seam. This seems to sag a bit on my daughter. Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Definitely. My daughter loves the shirt even though is is a bit wonky.
Conclusion: Next time I make this I will make sure that I have two fabrics that have similar amount of stretch or if not I will add length to the neckline binding, and waistline. On this shirt the contrast had to be stretched to fit too much. This caused a bit of puckering. It works but not as nicely as it could it the fabrics were more similar.
Oh yes, a picture. My daughter is being a goof and so the shirt does not look its best but oh well, you get the idea. I love this fabric. It is so fun but it was a huge challenge for me to work with. I have never sewn with something so slippery. My surger had quite a time keeping it under the presser foot. I used my coverstitch machine for the hem and boy did I have trouble keeping it straight. In fact, the hem is quite hilarious. You can't really tell because it is such a drapey fabric.
I bought this in LA from Michael Levine's remnant store across the street from the regular store. Shopping there was quite an experience. I only had a few fabric shopping hours in the LA garment district so I want to make sure that I spent time in good ones (Christina blogged about the fabric stores they went to after the LA PR weekend which gave me good direction). My mouth dropped as I walked in the door to the upstairs store. It was a large room and the floor was covered with large boxes FILLED with fabric remnants. The was barely room to walk between the rows of boxes. I was like a kid in a candy store. It was all $2/lb. It took me a bit to get over my shock of all that fabric. After about a half hour of casual digging I really got into it. I found quite a few fabrics (some great knits which was what I really wanted to find) and only paid $25. I wanted to go back so bad later in the trip but unfortunately I ran out of time. I will be back though. I don't know when but I WILL BE BACK!!!
Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great day!!
I finally attempted a cable swatch. It was a lot of fun. My goal is to make a Dickinson Pullover that was featured in Interweave Knits Fall 2007.
I would like to make it with Cascade 220. I was unsure of the gauge and didn't want to make a big purchase with out knowing if it would work. The gauge in the pattern is give in the cable pattern. At my LYS it was suggested to me to try this yarn out if I already had some. Well, lucky me I do have some at home. My husbands sweater is out of Cascade 220. So I sat down one evening and tried my hand at cables. It was tons of fun. Following the chart was easier than I thought it would be. I am very encouraged. I think that I will be able to make this once I can afford the yarn. :)
Here is a picture of my cable swatch.
I am thinking of making this sweater in a soft lavender.
Well, we are back from our trip to California. I made a few things before we left and have been crafting since we came back. I thought that I would show you some of the things I have made in the last few months over the next few posts. Some are simple, some are not but I have fun making all of them.
The first garment I will share is certainly not one of the most complicated but it has a long history. I bought some frog cotton fabric at Joann's years ago. My youngest son has been begging me to make him something with this fabric (has been stashed since before he was born) for quite some time. I kept telling him I would. It was going to be a cute Ottobre shirt but a shirt this fabric did not turn out to be. One day before our trip I spotted a really cute frog shirt that I knew was perfect for the frog fabric. My son was very excited about his new frog shirt and soon to be made frog shorts.
Fast forward: We are on our trip and he will not wear the shorts he has been begging for. According to him, they are too long. I am not happy. Finally on my birthday I made him wear the shorts. Here is a picture of him in them while we spent a few hours climbing around Joshua Tree National Park.
I am finally getting to some projects that I would like to have finished before we leave on Wednesday for California. I have hardly any clothing that is appropriate for 90+ degree Palm Springs weather so I am quickly making a tank. So far it is going very well. Here it is in progress. I have the front pinned to the form. I wanted to see how the ribbon would look. I think that I like the effect.
I had to change from the directions a little because I used a ribbon instead of a fabric tie. I will have to see if it works.
I will post a picture of it on me when I finish. Hopefully this evening.
The 1st Woman Governor from ALASKA could be the 1st Woman Vice President!
Wow! What a day for Alaska (and women too)!
Our Governor Sarah Palin was announced today as the candidate for vice president running with John McCain. This is huge for us and has been on every talk radio show today.
What ever you think of her politics she is quite a woman. Go to the State of Alaska website and read her biography. It is interesting.
What I think is so amazing is that she really is just a regular person from a regular family in Alaska. My dad works with her husband. She truly shows that you can do whatever you want to do in life if you put your mind to it. She is an American success story.
I have been trying to go on a vacation with my husband for the past year or so . The last time we went on a trip together was in '98. Our last overnight together was more than 5 years ago. I thought it was about time to get away together. I have tried time and time again to make this happen with absolutely no luck. I have been pretty discouraged about this because I really need to get out of Alaska for a bit (I need sun and warmth before the snow sets in). I love this place dearly but I NEED to get out at least once a year (usually more).
Finally, out of desperation I decided to try a trip for five instead of just two. This turned out smashingly! Our vacation just fell together. I am so excited to head to California in 3 weeks. Yes, only 3 weeks away and my daughter does not have any shorts and neither do I (we are so going to need them in the HOT, HOT weather of Palm Springs).
We are staying in LA for a couple of days and I am so excited to take in a bit of the garment district. I the last time I was in LA (8 years ago) I attempted a trip to a fabric store but when I got there I was too leary to get out of the car. It was just me and a 9 month old baby and the surroundings looked a bit scarry. This time my husband will be with me (probably waiting in the car) and I am definitely going to do some shopping.
I have so many ideas for things that I could make for me and my daughter that I put off because we didn't have any warm weather. Now it is time to get sewing. Maybe I will have something to show in the near future.
Well, it has been a few months since my last post. Lots of things have happened this past summer. It was not the best of summers by any means. We had terrible weather (hardly any sunshine) and that seemed to make the time fly by. We kept waiting and waiting for summer to start and it never did and now it is pretty much over. Sorry to be such a downer. Can you tell I am in mourning? So what am I going to do to get some much needed sunshine and warmth? Plan a vacation!!! Sometime in September I think we are going somewhere.
You would think with all that bad weather I would have crafted like crazy. Unfortunately, no. I am working on finishing up a few things--two sweaters, a knit dress for me, and a smocked dress for my daughter. I will post when I have some pictures.
Oh, one big thing we did this summer was to get a dog. Lizzy is a cute little black lab. The picture is when we first got her 5 weeks ago. She has taken over my life for a bit and haven't had much time for other things. Anyway, hopefully I will get back to regular posting since we are back to a schedule again and life will be relatively normal.
The last two weeks have gone by so quickly! I am not sure what happened to them. They haven't been very productive weeks creatively. I have been keeping up with my favorite blogs (just barely) but I have not really had anything to say. Ever had weeks like that? So much going on but not really anything to talk about. My boys did celebrate their birthdays. My middle child turned 6 and my youngest, 4. I cannot believe how old they are getting. I already have my daughter (she's only 7) off to college. It goes so fast! Well, enough depressing stuff. I don't want to bore you with all our uneventful happenings so I will leave you now. Hopefully I will get creative soon and have something to show. I will leave you with birthday pictures in lieu of real creativity.
I finished this "muslin" of New Look 6407. This fabric was a bear to sew. I had great difficulty with so many parts. The collar went together pretty easy. I liked their directions but actually putting it on gave me some trouble. I am not sure what was making it so difficult. I thought the directions were a little spotty but I could have just been tired.
I had trouble putting the sleeves in also. I do not like to do basting rows to ease because inevitibly I get a gathered look. I prefer to sew in the sleeve flat or pin together having the longer piece go over my finger to ease the extra fabric. One of these methods usually works really well for me. Not this time. I am not sure if it was because of the fabric or because of the pattern having a lot of extra ease. I eventually made it work and got them in nicely but they sure gave me fits.
I ended up having to take the pleats out of the sleeve (at the hem) because it was too tight. I used the same sleeve band so I ended up having little left over. I can tie a knot and have just little tails. I like how this ended up. I think the ties are cute.
I cut out a size 14 in the front and I like the fit although I still have a little fine tuning to do. I discussed some of my fit adjustments for the front in this post. I cut the back a 16. It is a little roomy but if the fabric didn't give a bit I do not think it would be very comfortable. In my next shirt I am going to take in the darts just a bit more at the top and I am going to get rid of some of the extra fabric above the waist. I already adjusted my pattern for the back. I took out more fabric just above the waist and added it back in below the waist for the length. After wearing this a bit I think that I might adjust the armholes a bit. They seem a bit low.
All in all, I am happy with this pattern. I think I will really like it in the other fabrics I have. This actual shirt I am leery of because I am afraid once it is washed it will shrink up into a wrinkled mess. If not, by some miracle, it will be a nice summer shirt.
I picked up the Spring Sew Stylish up today and I LOVE it. There are so many great articles. There is a ton about draping which was fun to read. I love the short article they have about making your own croquis. Paula of Sew Confused has a post with her croquis trying different skirts. This was so interesting to me and I was wondering exactly how to go about making one. This Sew Stylish gives me the answer. It is really easy to do. Burda Style also has some info about using these.
Anyway, this is a great issue and I am am sure that I will use quite a bit of the information inside.
On a side note: Here is my dress form all dressed up (courtesy of my darling daughter) and ready to go!
Darts can be difficult little things to sew. I usually do not have too much trouble with the simple triangles but my New Look shirt has some more complicated waist darts. My usual method for transferring dart markings to the wrong side of my fabric is by using tracing paper and a wheel. This proved to be not the most effective method this time.
This time I knew that matching up the lines could be difficult since it was in the middle of the shirt. I (thought I) got smart and decided to put the markings on both sides. This sounds great but it wasn't. Of course with all the moving of the fabric while placing the tracing paper it didn't get put back exactly in the same place and the lines didn't exactly line up. I also couldn't see where to stitch. What to do? What to do? Here was my down and dirty solution. This is by no means the best way to mark darts but it worked for me. I should have thread traced the outline of the dart but for this muslin I did not want to take the time. I will thread trace on the shirts with the nice fabric.
First I basted the traced dart on my sewing machine. I still had my traced lines to follow. I only basted one side of the dart because the (cheap) fabric was puckering. Then I matched the basted side of the dart with the traced side and pinned. Last, I stitched the dart. Since it was thread basted I could clearly see the stitching line and could easily stitch the dart. Voila! A nice dart. Not the best method but the outcome worked for me. Thanks so much for stopping by and seeing how I make darts in a pinch. Have a great day!
I have another foot that is for embellishment and whatever else you can think of. The foot for this week, the Open Toe Foot, has so many possibilities. As you can see this foot is totally open so you can see exactly what you are sewing. None of the stitches are hidden. This is especially nice for decorative stitches, appliqu������ satin stitches, or zig zag type stitches. The red dot helps you guide so that your stitches are straight. Since the foot is open it is important to have your fabric wide enough so is is under both side feet. If you have fabric under only one side you may lose it in the feed dogs or wavy stitching lines. This is a great additional foot to have. It is not necessary but does bring a bit of ease to certain types of stitches. If you have a use for this foot that you love please let me know. I love to have new ways to use all these feet I have.
Now, before you think I have gone off the deep end, please, hear me out.
I have live in Alaska my whole life. Life is different up here including the weather. There are some constancies I have come to count on. It used to be that during the summer we would always have at least one 1-2 (some years three) week period where we would have gorgeous weather. We never wanted to leave in the summer for fear that we would miss that short period (and still don't). This has changed only slightly over the years. In the early 90's we had full summers of great weather but now we seem to be reverting back to the single block of good weather. The other constant is during winter. Almost every year that I can remember we get a Spring is Coming tease around February. Then in March or April we get a dump of snow. This is something that I count on. This year is thankfully not an exception. The snow was completely melted from my front yard. Everything was gross and looking like spring. Everyone else was getting their hopes up that winter was over. Not me. I was counting on that one last snow. It came!
Now, don't get me wrong. I love Spring and Summer. I love not having to put on a coat and boots to go outside. I love not shivering going to my car. My thankfullness for this snow has nothing to do with the actual coming of Spring. It has to do with restoring my faith in the world so to speak. This is especially important to me since last year we did not get a Spring snow. If it had happened again I think that my world would have been slightly shaken. So many things are changing all around me. Things are so different than in my childhood. This is like the last area of constancy. One of the last threads that is again unbroken that gives balance to my life. So I am glad for this snow once again. This reminder that all is well with the world once again.
Now the snow can melt. I am ready for Spring!
Thanks for stopping by for a bit of pondering. Have a great day!
Making a fitted shirt is quite nerve wracking for me. There are so many things that could not fit right. I must just dive right in. Luckily I could care less about the fabric I am starting with. If it fits right it might make a cute summer shirt. If not, oh well. As a reminder, I am making this pattern.
In this "muslin" fabric that I have had in my stash for quite a while. I am not sure if it came from JoAnn's clearance or Wal-mart. That should give you a good idea of the quality of the cotton. Now for the alterations so far. In this first picture you can see that I shortened the front above the waist but below the dart. You can also see where I then lengthened it again below the waist. I am short waisted but need the length below my waist so the shirt is not too short so I have to take some pattern out and add it back in. Kind of a hassle.
This next pictures shows what I did to fix the dart placement. I have marked my bust point with the x. The original dart pointed too much below the bust point so I had to move it. Since I also needed to take out some more length above the waist I just took some out above the bust dart. Now the dart points directly at my bust point. I will find out if this worked when I put it together. Unfortunately, I forgot to move the waist dart over a little. It points into the circle I drew around my bust point but not directly at the point. I am not going to worry about this for the muslin but I will probably move it over for the nice fabric.
For this "muslin" shirt I am doing view d (the short sleeve one with ties). I am a little nervous since Becky said she had a bit of trouble with the ties. I am going to attempt this because I think this fabric is better suited for summer and short sleeves. The other shirts I make will be with the longer sleeves.
Now I am off to finish cutting it out.
Thanks for stopping by again. Have a terrific day!
I am a stay-at-home mom of 3 wonderful kids and the wife of a great guy. I am continuously striving to bring glory to God and raise my children to do so also. I love to sew and knit in my "spare" time.