Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I got the third Bundle Monster stamping plate set the other day, and I decided to do my first stamping from it with Niecey-poo's favorite image from this set!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Who:What:Wear 3

This was the first time I wore the turquoise Clover pants all day long.  I was honestly afraid I might bust a seam, because they really are just a muslin and I had used a longer stitch than I normally would.  But I made it through the day.  This photo was snapped at the end of the day, and if you compare it with the picture in the original post, you can see that this fabric did stretch out quite a bit after hours of wearing.

I wore them with a "hodge podge" top I bought from Boden several years ago.  The fabric at the top has turquoise dots that are the same color as the pants.

I will say that the pants were a lot more comfortable for all-day wear than I'd expected them to be, so that encourages me to make this pattern again.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Layla Holographic nail polish in Retro Pink:

I don't have a water-based base coat, and when I tried one of these polishes without base coat, it stained my nails.  So this time I started with one coat of Gelous, followed by one coat of Color Club Fashion Addict - a lavender polish that is supposed to be holographic, but really isn't.  It has kind of a chalky finish, so I thought it might be good under this polish.  I was able to get away with 2 coats of this polish, but there are some mild patchy areas on my right hand.  I topped the whole thing off with a coat of Seche Vite

When I used one of these Layla holographics without base coat, the polish chipped on the first day - no surprise there.  I did this manicure yesterday morning, and it's still pretty intact this afternoon - just a tiny bit of tip wear.  I'm thinking I may stamp it later, because my mail lady brought me the new set of Bundle Monster stamps yesterday - yay!

Who:What:Wear 2: Special Appearance

Last Saturday we took Niecey-poo mini-golfing.  It's one of her favorite things to do.  When he got dressed, Hubby (unbidden by me) chose his newest guitar shirt:

He's such a great guy.  He loves the things I make for him <3

Friday, July 27, 2012

Who:What:Wear 1

I've had it in my mind for a while to start posting pix of the times I actually wear the things I've made.  The problem is not in the wearing - that happens quite a bit!  The problem is in the snapping!  I decided to give it a try with some good old-fashioned mirror shots, as being the easiest way to go, and thus maybe the most successful.  We shall see . . .

So here's what I wore the other day:  my pink coral Ginger skirt along with a cotton gauze blouse I bought at Anthropologie maybe ten years ago.  After I finished the skirt back in April, I tried it on with several of my blouses, and this is the combination Hubby liked best.  My favorite combo involved a long-sleeved blouse in a heavier weight fabric, so it's going to be a while before that one gets worn!

BTW - these black Birkenstocks are my "indoor shoes" so although you'll probably see them a lot, they never make it out of the house!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Back online!

Whew!  What a relief!

I know I said I was taking a week off, but I missed blogging!  And I've got something pretty cute to show you, I think.

Niecey-poo came here with two items in mind she wanted to buy for herself with her spending money:  a new backpack for school and a set of headphones.  On Monday we went out and got her the headphones she wanted.  Tuesday was a stormy day, so I suggested we use some of my old fabric scraps to make a bag for her to carry them in.  We spent some time looking through the pile to find a good combination, and settled on the green, blue and orange knit fabrics.

I cut the pieces and sewed them up on my serger, then cut out letters to spell her name.  I "basted" them onto the bag with glue stick and then helped her hand stitch them on with a running stitch.

Sorry it's fuzzy - I had to be quick and sneaky to get this picture!

In general, she's not much interested in crafts, but she was really excited about this project and couldn't wait to show it to her mom and dad via Skype after we finished.  I also found her later in the day modeling it in front of my full-length mirror!  And I saw her give it a kiss right before she went to bed.  Too cute!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

One more maxi, then a blog break.

The title says it all.  Between my computer dying on me, coming down with the flu this week, and having my niece here, I think I need a little down time.  But before I check out for a week or so, I wanted to show you the fifth (and probably final, but who knows?) maxi I made.

This one is made from a nice, soft faux ikat cotton jersey I ordered from Girl Charlee pretty much immediately after telling myself I wouldn't be making any more maxis.  This one is my favorite of the bunch, even though that brown circle ended up right over my solar plexus.  I did twin needle stitching in hot pink around all the bindings.  Of course, I didn't take a picture of that.  These pix were snapped as I was getting ready to leave for the airport to go pick up Hubby and Niecey-poo.  It was super hot that day, but I knew I'd need the shrug inside the airport.

I have one more maxi you haven't seen yet, and my co-blog project with Alicia to show you when I get back.  There's even some new knitting!  I'm hoping that in a week or so, my nose won't be so red!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Meandering Vines

After not working on it for quite a while, a couple weeks ago I got out my Meandering Vines stole out again.  I'm not always in the mood to work on it because it does take a certain amount of concentration as well as good lighting.  But this is another item I'm hoping to finish up so that I can wear it this fall.

It's about 40" long now.  I'm planning on just knitting until I run out of yarn.  Of course, I've been steaming the lace open as I go:

Such a lovely motif.  It's pretty easy to memorize, but I do have to pay attention, and because the yarn is SO fine and so medium-colored, I really have to watch each stitch.  If I drop one, it's a bear to pick it back up!

This yarn is so lovely - 2-ply lace weight 100% lambswool.  It's very springy, which makes it a joy to knit with.

Sorry about the kooky spacing of the pictures on this post.  Sometimes Firefox and Blogger don't play well together, and since I'm still not on my own computer, I don't feel like fiddling around enough to fix it!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Spinny spin spin

I've also been doing a little spinning over the last couple weeks.  Remember that Del Mar fiber I started?  I had intended to make a fingering weight 3-ply, but discovered that the lovely color variations got lost when spun that fine.  So I decided to try for a 2-ply heavy DK instead, and now the colors are showing  up nicely.  Here's the first bobbin full:

Instead of trying to keep my singles consistent, I'm letting it be a little thick-and-thin.  I'm not separating the clumps of silk, so I'm getting some nice nubs:

I'm hoping to get enough yardage at the end for a hat.  I started with 3 ounces, so I should be able to do it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Allegheny Progress

I've also been working a little on my Allegheny Dress - honestly, not that much, but it goes so quickly that it looks like I've been working on it a lot!  Here's how it looked as of Sunday morning:

I just love that cable pattern.  Sleeve stitches have been removed, and it's at the point of starting the waist ribbing.  This is a great almost-mindless knitting project, but being 100% wool, it does get a little hot working on it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Miranda July Prize

Remember when I said I was going to be making the July prize for Evelyn's Miranda Hat Charity KAL?  Well, it's one of the things I made in my busy week of sewing last week.  And I must say, I think it's the best one I've ever made.  I'm really in love with this bag!

The exterior is turquoise twill, enhanced by a red zipper and a tab that matches the ditsy floral lining. 

If you'd like a chance to win this bag, all you have to do is join the Project Stash group on Ravelry and knit one Miranda Hat and post it to the "July FOs" discussion thread by July 31.  Evelyn will be selecting one winner at random, and then I'll ship off the bag!

There will be prize drawings in August and September as well, and a grand prize in October for the knitter who contributes the most hats.  So keep your eyes open for those!

The response to the group has been really fantastic - there were 132 members as of this writing!  Many of my friends from this blog have joined along - I thank you for that!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ham, in situ

I finished my tailor's ham on Saturday night!  Here it is nestled among some of my sewing things, from the cotton side:

And from the wool side:

Right next to my lovely pincushion from Pincushion Treats!

I'm so happy I finally have this pressing tool, and even more happy I was able to make it from scraps that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.  As I was doing all my sewing last week, I took all my serger cuttings and stuffed them into the ham as the little catcher box filled up.  I ended up using yet another toilet paper roll to make a little funnel for sliding the bits in easily.

And on the subject of toilet paper rolls, here's my stash of rolled up patterns I told you about last week.  This is one of the bedside tables in my guest room.  That room is slowly being taken over by sewing!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


You might think that I've been doing nothing but sewing lately, but you would be wrong.

I've finally finished the first pattern repeat of my Queen Anne's Lace, so the flower and diamond pattern is apparent now.  I love this sweater!  I'm so glad Linda convinced me to pick it up.

I have to do one more repeat of this motif and then another six rows before starting the armhole steeks - that makes a total of 50 rows.  I'm hoping to get to that point by the beginning of September.   I'd really like to be wearing this sweater this fall.

My "knitting station" - a.k.a. the couch

The piece measures about 10" at this point.  It's becoming kind of hot to work on it!  But I'm persevering.

I gave it a good steaming this morning so I could see the fabric as it will be when the sweater is finished.  That's one of the things I love about steam blocking!

"Artsy shot"

In less happy news, I think my computer may have died.  I'm going to set up some posts for the next few days, but that combined with Niecey-poo coming tomorrow may make posting sporadic for a while.

Ready for the next repeat!

Friday, July 13, 2012

One for the boy.

Yesterday I made my honey his "summer guitar shirt."

Not much to say about this one really, since it's the same as the one I made him in January, only with short sleeves.  Hubby picked out both these fabrics back in December.  It had been so long since I ordered them, I kind of forgot how bright this one is!

I had a little trouble cutting this out, because after washing, some holes developed about 3" in from one edge.  I was trying to keep the rows of guitars on the same plane across the front of the shirt, but because I had to shift my pieces around to avoid the holes, I ended up not having enough fabric left for a pocket that would match, and I also wasn't able to make the button bands line up with the print.  I've had this problem with holes developing more than once, and they're always a few inches from the edge.  Does anyone else have this problem?  Am I doing something wrong when I'm washing and drying my fabric, or are there inherent weaknesses in the fabric?  And if so, why are they always near the edge?

One thing I am happy with is that I think I'm getting better and better at sewing curves.  On this shirt, I managed to get both sleeves attached without catching in any of the body fabric or making any little "pleats" in the seam.  I've learned that I need to go very slowly, stopping often to readjust my fabric and constantly feeling with my fingertips to make sure there isn't any extra fabric underneath the seam line.  It does take time, but I don't think it takes any more time than unpicking a seam once or twice to redo it, as I used to do on every single sleeve!

I'm hoping to squeeze in one more sewing project before niecy-poo comes!  I also have a couple unphotographed FOs - you know how that goes!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tarnished Gold

I know crackle polishes are kind of yesterday's news, but I still really like them.  Especially the China Glaze Crackle Metals.  I had a little tip wear on my mani, and wanted to extend it for another day or two, so I topped it with Tarnished Gold:

Mmmmmm.  I love it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Big Reveal

Remember the Miette Knit Along I hosted with my friend Jo?  Well, we're both done with our sweaters now and we finally got some pictures of them!  I got Alicia to take my pictures when I was over at her house on Sunday, so one of my photos includes her adorable cat, Pluto.

Check it out!  How cute is Jo?  And can you believe that this is the first sweater she's ever knit?!  Here the zoom out:

Jo is going to be posting some pictures on her blog today as well - although I'm not exactly sure when "today" is in New Zealand!  I have a hard time wrapping my head around that International Date Line.

I know a few of you KALers are still working on your sweaters, but if you joined us and finished, and you'd like to have me add your picture to this page as well, just drop me a line with your photo and I'll add it in!

EDIT  7.12.12:  Linda L. sent me a picture of her finished Miette this morning - love those red buttons against the celadon sweater!  And she's got a brand new blog to go along with her new sweater!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Birds

When I posted my first Renfrew top last month, Lisa very kindly made a comment introducing me to Girl Charlee online fabric shop.  Of course, I took a gander straight away, and immediately fell in love with this bird-print fabric:

This is another cotton/rayon blend jersey, very soft and slinky.  You may have noticed that all of my recent sewing projects except for the turquoise Clovers have been knits, and I'm finding it very interesting that each fiber blend behaves a little differently.  This one has a lot of drape, and therefore feels like it's a little bigger than the more stable orange fabric I showed yesterday.  However, I've been using the same size 6 pattern tracing throughout!

On yesterday's top and on this one, I did finally include some stay tape at the shoulders.  I'm still not convinced it's necessary, but it will be interesting to see if these two tops hold up better than the first two I made.

I was really hoping this top would be a good match for this skirt I bought at Anthropologie a couple years ago.  But it's not quite white enough.  I should probably try it out with my Madeleine skirt though!

And since I haven't done a silly shot for a while, here's me, pretending to fly away:

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Contentious Color

Orange.  It's one of those colors that people either seem to love or hate.  I happen to love it.  It reminds me of bright, sunshiny summer days.

On Saturday I spent the entire day sewing, and made two Renfrew tops and a Mission Maxi.  I told you I was trying to get a lot done before my niece comes!  Here is the first of the two Renfrews:

This one is in an organic cotton jersey from Fabric.com.  I think it looks great with this Marimekko for Anthropologie skirt I've had for years.

This cotton is slightly heavier than the knits I've used for my two previous Renfrews, making it a tiny bit more challenging for me to sew.  I had really wanted to use my new twin needle to topstitch the bindings, but the closest orange thread I found just wasn't close enough, so once again, they're plain.

Here's a little something I wanted to show you.  I trace all my patterns onto a pattern-making material that is a lot like non-woven interfacing.  I like it because it's sturdy, cuts easily without ripping and has a slight texture that makes it stick to the fabric so I can be more accurate in my cutting without doing a whole lot of pinning.  But it's fairly thick, so I don't like to fold it up and put it back into the pattern envelope.  Instead, I roll it and put it in an old toilet paper tube, and mark the pattern name and the size I made on the outside.

I've got all my patterns arranged on a bookshelf, and when I want to reuse one, I just have to unroll it and I'm ready to go!

Sunday, July 8, 2012


A few months ago I bought a one-year subscription to Burda sewing magazine.  Back in my earlier sewing frenzy of the late '90s, I subscribed for a couple years, and a lot of the things I made came from those magazines.  When we moved, I thought I probably wouldn't take up sewing again, so I got rid of all those magazines and the patterns I'd made from them.  Doh!  Lesson learned!

So one of my goals this year was to make something from one of the magazines.  I'll admit that it's a little hard to get myself to remove the pattern sheets, iron them, find the correct pattern pieces, trace them and then add the seam allowances, so I've been procrastinating about doing it.  But I had one yard of that medallion-print jersey left, and I really wanted to make a little top out of it.  So I chose this one, model 110B from the May 2012 issue:

Only mine doesn't look that good.

One of the things I really like about Burda magazine is the little line  drawings that accompany each pattern.  I find these are pretty accurate in describing the shape and details of the pattern.

See how boxy it is?  I totally got suckered by the styling on the model.  I'm pretty sure they pinned it closer to her body in the back.

I made a size 36 (European), which is the size that corresponds with my measurements.  For this draped-neck top in jersey, the instructions say to cut the pieces on the bias, but I didn't have enough fabric to do that, and my fabric had a lot of drape anyway, so it wasn't necessary.  After I finished it, I found it was very low-cut - much lower than I'm comfortable with.  So I re-seamed the shoulders at 5/8", thus taking 1.25 inches off in total.

I'm still debating whether I should take in the sides too.  I had a hard time getting what I consider to be a good picture of this.  I think when I'm wearing it, it drapes around my body in a nice way and doesn't look quite so boxy as it does when I stand still and pose for a picture.  And in my real life, I'm not often standing still!  I think I need to take some of the length off too.

Another thing I like about Burda magazine patterns is that there are often a couple variations which use the same pattern pieces.  This pattern was also shown in a woven fabric with the drape folded and tacked at the neckline.  Unfortunately the model wearing it is standing sideways, so you really can't see it!  But there's another, completely different variation which uses the exact same (two) pattern pieces:

Here's the little drawing for that one:

I think that's pretty cute!  You can see the pattern more closely, and even download it as a PDF if you like, right here.

Looking through the Burda magazines helps me understand garment construction and how different looks can be achieved using the same pieces.  So even if I don't make many projects from them, I think it's still money well-spent.

Do any of you sew from Burda magazines?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I can't believe I did that!

I've been trying to arrange and organize my sewing things, because I keep them all in my guest room and my niece will be coming to stay in just a week and a half, followed by her parents and sister a month later.  Yesterday I neatly folded and stacked my fabric stash, and put away patterns I had taken out of my pattern box.

In order to do that, I had to shift - yet again - the Clover muslin that's been sitting on top of the box since March, just waiting for me to cut a new waist band and finish them.  That thing has been taunting me, so I decided to just get to it.  And here they are:

With my vintage Shirt of Awesomeness!

I like them so much more than I was expecting to.  I'm not a huge fan of this cropped length (which I accidentally cut when making the muslin - I thought I was making the longer ones), but the fit is really great.  And I'm proud to report that things went much better this time, zipper-wise.   I did a few things differently from how I normally do, and the result was just perfect.  And I do mean perfect:  this is my best invisible zipper insertion ever.

No gaping, no waving, no hole at the bottom!  Mostly to remind myself later, but also for those who might be interested, here's what I did:

1.  I cut a strip of lightweight fusible knit interfacing about a 1/2" wide and fused it along the sewing line for the zipper.  This fabric has a lot of stretch, but doing that took care of my waviness issues!  Thanks to all those who suggested that in the comments after I finished my red ones!

2.  Instead of trying to make the top end crimp of the zipper line up with the 5/8 waist band seam line line I usually do, I pinned the end of the tape level with the top of the fabric.  That means that the crimp is now buried inside the seam, and I think it's much neater that way.  It was also easier for me to line up the second side to get a perfect match side to side.

3.  When sewing in the zipper, instead of trying to go beyond the pull with my zipper foot, I stopped sewing just before my foot reached the pull.  That made it a lot easier when I came back later to finish the seam, and took care of the gaping I usually get toward the bottom of the zipper.

4.  I was also able to get a much better press of the curved zipper by using my new ham - even though it's only half full so far!  I really can't wait til it's finished!

Now that these are finished and looking so great, I'm wishing I'd done a better job from the get-go.  I'm not really in love with this color, and because it was only meant to be a muslin, I didn't finish any of the seams - and I used red thread because I was trying to finish up a spool!  Despite all that, I think they're wearable.

I've been trying to get a lot of sewing done because I probably won't be able to sew at all once my niece gets here.  Besides these pants, I took pictures of three new finished tops today, so those will be coming up over the next few days!