Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sadie's Winter Coat

Just because my dog is a mutt (beagle/rat terrier mix, adopted from a local shelter), doesn't mean that she isn't a diva. She is, and with short hair, she gets cold in the winter months. Unfortunately, at 20 lbs., her size often prevents her from being able to fit into many of the cutest RTW doggie clothes. This year, instead of being frustrated at the selection of coats available in XS and S, I decided she should have her very own custom creation.

The pattern is Simplicity 2695, which I did with very little deviation from the design instructions. The body of the coat is a single-sided pre-quilted nylon fabric; the contrast is ivory/pink leopard print minky. My only complaint about the pattern is the exposed edges. The instructions had the contrast binding simply folded in half and sewn on with topstitching, which would leave a raw edge all the way around. The minky doesn't really ravel, but it still seemed unfinished to me, so I did my own thing. I pinned the binding to the coat with right sides together and sewed the strip on, then folded over (leaving the unfinished edge on the inside), and topstitched down. MUCH better! I also added sparkly pink buttons to each side of the tab closure.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Not thrilled

I finished B5497 today, but I'm not terribly excited about it. The color is good. The fabric... not so much. This is the same type of fabric that I used for the purple top I made recently and there is something about the drape that I just don't love. It's a shame, because it comes in really great colors.

I was in doubt over this pattern before I even cut it out. I think the sleeveless version might be okay, but it's November and that just wasn't an option. I was a bit concerned about the cut-in sleeves. Sometimes they work on me, but not always. My plan was to cut them off if they were a complete disaster. (Oh, how I wish that was my only issue with this top. LOL)

First things first. The good... the pattern was very well-drafted and went together perfectly. The elastic insertion at the bodice seam was a little weird, though. It works, but I would do it differently if I ever tried it again. (Don't hold your breath!)

Some of the issues in this photo are due to Wilma's poor modeling techniques. The shirring on the top of the sleeves is completely lost in the gap, and the draping is a little off because of the way the fabric sticks to the dress form. Those things aside, there are actually several things I would change if I was going to do this top again. First, I *hate* the way the neckline is finished. It's done with a narrow hem, something I never like on a round neck. I thought about doing a bound neckline, but followed the pattern instead. I really wish I had gone with my instinct-- it would have been so much better.
I also don't really like the way the sleeves hang. Because they are cut-in rather than set, there is a seam that runs from the shoulder all the way down the sleeve and there is elastic at the shoulder to create shirring at the top of the sleeve. Sounds good in theory, but it shortens the sleeve on the top side, making the hem look odd.
At the moment, I doubt I'll ever wear this for anything other than yard work. My plan is to let it sit for a little while and see if I feel any differently about it later. If my feelings about it change, I plan to fix the neckline (I screwed it up a bit when I was doing the narrow hem). And I might chop off the sleeves and have this as a summer top instead.
On a brighter note, the pajama bottoms have been keeping me warm and comfy. :) There will definitely be more of those in my future, though I will make a couple of changes. For starters, they need pockets. And after looking at the photo, I realized that they aren't nearly as pink as they look here. The photo makes it look like they glow in the dark... they're not quite that bright. LOL
Oh... and Julie... the top for the pajama bottoms were these tiny little spaghetti-strap things. Definitely NOT suitable for cold weather. Anyway, I usually wear t-shirts with my flannel bottoms. (Probably more than you wanted to know. LOL)

Friday, November 05, 2010


I'm not generally a fan of pink. Fuschia is okay, but not little-girl pink. But when I decided that I needed some girly pajama bottoms, I went straight for the bolt of oh-so-girly, complete with butterflies, pink flannel. I'm glad I did-- they're too cute! :)

The pattern is McCall's 5248. Not much to tell, really. Pajama bottoms are unbelievably easy to put together... just four pieces and a tie. Not much fitting required other than getting the hem right. Speaking of the hem-- these ran LONG. I made the medium and shortened a little when I cut the pattern, but still ended up taking off another 1".

I'll probably make more of these to replace the ugly men's flannel that I normally wear around the house. This will certainly be more cheerful during the dreary winter months.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


I seem to be on a purple kick lately. Or, I was. This is the third purple garment in a row that I've made. Yes, that last top was purple, even though it appeared blue in the pictures. (I really must remember to change the filters on my camera.) At any rate, the latest in my "purpler series" is this skirt.

I was having a bad hair day, so you're getting this one on the hanger. LOL

This pattern has lots of positive reviews on Pattern Review, and with good reason. It is well-drafted and goes together very easily. Lots of fun to make! My only complaint is the fabric I used. I absolutely love the color, especially for fall/winter, but my adoration of this fabric ends there. It wasn't bad to work with, but it seems to look rumpled pretty easily. It also attracts pet hair. BADLY. This is not a good thing in my household. :( Aside from that, there is also a nasty crease down the front of the skirt from where the fabric was folded on the bolt. I haven't washed it yet (yeah, I know... I should have done that before cutting & sewing), so I'm hoping it will come out eventually. Meanwhile, I've tried just about everything else.

It's a rainy day here, which gives me a good excuse to stay at home and sew. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to make. I have two tops cut out already, and some pretty pink flannel that is going to be a pair of pajama pants. I also picked up a piece of "maybe" fabric recently. You know... the kind that *might* work for something... or *maybe* it will be a disaster. It really could go either way. But it was inexpensive enough that I just had to take a chance on it.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloween Treats

A big, big THANK YOU to Angela, who sent me a wonderful Halloween exchange package last week. (Well, she sent it way before then, but the mail was unusually slow.) She has been a dear friend over the years, so it was a special treat to receive something sent by her. She was also kind enough to let me "borrow" her photos of the exchange-- hers were much better than anything I came up with.

I really wish you could see these in person. They're all stitched over one and are just exquisite. The finishing on the tin is truly lovely. I had to confess to Angela that I always wanted one of these, but had never made one for myself because i've always been a little intimidated by the finishing. Now that I have such a nice example of one in my own two hands, I'm going to try to put one together.

The exchange I sent hasn't arrived at its destination, so no pictures of it yet.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


This is my 2nd completed project for the Pattern Stash Contest. I'm not nearly as prolific as some of the other sewists, but at least this is getting me to use some of the patterns that have been languishing in the pile. And really, isn't that the point? Well, it is for me, anyway. ;) I love the idea of using some of the patterns that have just been sitting around. After all, I wouldn't have purchased them if I didn't like them in the first place. I just tend to get distracted by the latest thing I've hauled home.

My pattern stash isn't very large and most of it hasn't been around long enough to qualify for the contest anyway. So, my goals are modest. I'm hoping to complete 5 items from "old" patterns.

I got a little lazy with this one and didn't do an FBA. I (stupidly) thought that the gathered neckline and knit fabric would provide enough extra room for my "extra" curves. Ummmm... not really. It looks better than the photograph shows, and I'm sure it will be just fine another -5 lbs. from now. There is something funny about the way this top shows in pictures. I'll need to remember *not* to wear it anywhere that a camera might be pointed in my direction.

I was surprised that I had to add 3" to the length of this top. I'm an average height and rarely need to alter the length, but this was drafted quite short. The sleeve length was fine, though, so I think this was just a "design feature"... just not one I liked. And of course, I had to remove some of the ease from the sleeve cap, about 3/8".

At any rate, I'm extrememly happy with this top and will probably make it again someday. There are two other neckline variations for this pattern-- a v-neck cross-over style, and a twist front. I will probably try each of them as well.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I am not a model!

I really hate being in photos... and it shows. The bad hair day doesn't help, either. LOL Oh well. My latest sewing projects just didn't look that great on Wilma, so I had to step in.

First up is New Look 6375, a six-gored knit skirt. Since I stopped working, I don't have the occassion to wear many skirts. They always make me feel a bit overdressed, partly because we live in an area where most people dress casually and choose comfort over style. I hate feeling frumpy, so I've decided that a few skirts are in order.

I chose this pattern for a couple of reasons. First, I've entered the stash contest at Pattern Review. The challenge is to sew patterns that have been in the stash pile for 6 months or more. This pattern definitely meets that criteria. I've had it for at least 2 or 3 years. The other deciding factor is that I've been on a diet (WW online, if anyone cares), and I am still shrinking. Six gores and an elastic waist make this a VERY easy skirt to take in later. ;)

I wasn't sold on this skirt before I sewed it, mostly because it called for knit... and I haven't had great luck with knit skirts in the past. Then I fell in love with this poly-lycra knit at Joann's, and it was positively BEGGING to be made into this skirt. The fabric wasn't the greatest to work with-- it wanted to roll and made the casing and hem a real pain in the rear-- but the feel and drape of this stuff made it well worth the trouble.Now that it's finished, I absolutely love it. This will probably be a "go to" pattern in the future.

My other recent finish is Butterick 5185. This top is assymetrical with a knotted front. It's a little tough to see these details in the picture, though. Because of the print, they just sort of blend in. It doesn't do this so much in real life, but I was too lazy to take better photos. Sorry about that!

Anyway, the fabric is one that I ordered from Fabric Mart especially for this top. I loved the print and weight of the fabric, but wasn't crazy about the way it feels. Can't have it all, I guess. It feels okay on, so that's good... and it's such a distinctive top that I probably won't be able to wear it too often for fear of becoming "the woman who seems to have just that one top". LOL

The only real trouble I had with the construction of this top was the sleeves. The pattern as drafted had WAY too much ease, which resulted in a puffy gathered mess around the shoulder... not really what I want in a knit top. The detailed review is here:

Monday, September 27, 2010


Last month, I was at Joann's during a Butterick sale and purchased only one pattern. I left feeling not-so-great about Butterick. Well, I might be having a change of heart. I was at Joann's again last week, during another Butterick sale, and decided to try again. This pattern and fabric were among my finds...

The pattern envelope said "Fast & Easy", no naturally something had to go wrong. In this case, the side front extended about 1 1/2" beyond the center front.

Normally, I would wonder if I accidentally cut two different sizes, but I was using the smallest one. I ended up laying the back onto the front and cutting off the excess. There was enough ease in the front to allow it to fit even after I removed the excess, but I'd still like to know what went wrong.

I love the top... except for the sleeves. They're kimono style, rather than set-in. It's not bad, but that style of sleeve is not my favorite. If I make this again, I'll make the sleeveless version and draft a sleeve to go onto it. At any rate, this is what I'll be wearing for lunch with the girls tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


My mojo is still missing, but I decided to do some sewing anyway. I needed a "short attention span" type of project and decided on New Look 6807. It was just four pattern pieces, with raglan sleeves... basically, a no-brainer.

The fabric was an embroidered poly-lycra blend from It's one of those that really wants to curl along the edges, which made for a lot of fabric-fiddling, especially when it came to the neck band. Cutting it out wasn't a lot of fun, either. Come to think of it, I probably spent more time fiddling with the fabric than sewing. I do like the way it looks, though.

The complete pattern review is here...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Has anyone seen my mojo??

My sewing/stitching/crafting mojo seems to have gone missing. I'm afraid it has been killed in a consipiracy between my floor and a sewing WIP.

The floor in question is in my den. A few weeks ago, I got the bright idea to rip out the carpet, which I have always disliked, and install tile. Naturally, I did every bit of the work myself... and just finished yesterday. I didn't do any sewing or stitching while I was working on this project. I was just too tired and sore to think about it.

Meanwhile, I also started this...

It was going well until I got to the stupid yoke. It isn't particularly difficult, but for whatever reason, just doesn't want to attach properly. I really think it's because I've been tired and/or in the wrong frame of mind every time I've tried to work on it. At any rate, it has brought my sewing progress to a screeching halt. I'll probably put this top away for a while and work on something else. I'm not sure what that will be, though.

Monday, August 16, 2010

M5586 Revisited

Yes, yes... I just completed View A of this top last week. But as I mentioned in the previous post, my original attempt at sewing this pattern was View B. Thanks to my handy-dandy new ruffler, I was finally able to finish this thing. Excuse the very poor photo-- I was (once again) too lazy to do it properly. I really do need to work on getting some better pictures, but I am too busy sewing/knitting/stitching/weaving baskets/etc., so this will have to do for now.

This fabric wasn't really suitable for the v-neck version. It just didn't want to gather properly in the front. Using the ruffler fixed that, but if I had done it by basting and gathering, it would never have been finished. I'm amazed that I didn't simply throw it out, but I'm SO glad I let it hang around.

As always, it looks much better on me than on the hanger.

I've also completed S2369... details on that later. Oh, and I started knitting a new pair of socks, just for fun.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I visited Joann's yesterday. Again. Since getting back into sewing with a vengeance, I seem to be there a lot. Whenever I'm in the neighborhood (not often, since it's 35 miles away), I try to pick up a few patterns from whatever is on sale. This week, it was Butterick, and... well... I was unimpressed. There were a few possibilities, but in almost every case, I could think of another company's version that I liked much better. It was rather disappointing, but good for the pocketbook. I did manage to find one pattern-- 5185. My plan is to do the long-sleeve version, but I'll need to find a printed knit that I like first.

I've done a little bit of stitching lately, but not much. The summer heat seems to chase all of my stitching mojo away. I have a couple of exchanges that I need to work on, but for now, Garden Verses is still getting what little bit of attention I have. Excuse the poor photo... I took it with my new phone, which I have yet to completely figure out. It will never come close to my DSLR, but it's a lot more convenient since I can upload directly to Photobucket from my phone.

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Saga of M5586

I don't know what it is about "easy" patterns, but I seem to run into some kind of problem every time I attempt to sew one of them. Give me something with lots of seams & pieces, maybe a nice set-in collar or cuffs, and I'm just fine. But just tell me that it's "easy", then sit back and watch how quickly I can complicate it.

This brings me to McCall's 5586, a very loose-fitting, sleeveless top. It has a simple faced yoke, a front, and a back. That's all. Nothing to it, right? Well, maybe.

I originally attempted this top in the v-neck version (View B) using a Mystery Fabric from my stash. All was going well, until I gathered the front and tried to sew it to the yoke. It was all downhill from there. No matter what I did, I simply couldn't get the thing to hang right. I decided that the fabric was a touch too heavy to gather and drape correctly around the v-neck, and promptly moved on. I wasn’t doing much sewing in the interim.

A year or two later, I decided to attempt this top again, in View A, with a different fabric. The construction was mostly uneventful, until the end when I had to finish the yoke. Something wasn’t quite right, so I took the whole thing apart, cut another one and tried again. The second time must be the charm, because this is what I ended up with...

The thing that really saved the day on this project was a ruffler foot. I hate doing gathers! They’re so simple, and yet I never seem to get them right. I think it’s because I fiddle with them too much, and the more I tinker, the worse they look. I never can seem to get them even, so I ordered a ruffler before completing this top. The gathers are a bit fuller than the pattern is designed for, even on the lowest setting, but it makes the job so much easier that I’m happy to adjust for that.

The ruffler is also going to salvage my original attempt at the v-neck version of this pattern. I gathered it this morning, and it looks great. :) All I need to do now is the hand-finishing (not really leaping forward to do that at the moment), and hem.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Simplicity 2416, continued...

It's finished, but I'm not thrilled with it. I had such high hopes for this fabric & pattern combo. Unfortunately it was better in my head than it was in reality. Sorry for the bad photo-- I don't actually have a top to go with this yet, and I am having a bad hair day. And well, I'm lazy about fiddling with the tripod and remote for my camera. So, Wilma will have to do as a model for now. ;)

The complete review is below. One thing I didn't mention in the review is the way this thing hangs toward the bottom. It hangs much better on me than it does on Wilma, but it does dip inward between my ankles, which really bugs me. The fabric is also just thin enough that I would need a slip, or you'd be able to see straight through it. This sort of defeats the purpose of a lightweight summer skirt in my book.

As you can see, Oliver is trying to play with the skirt. He has been infatuated with this piece of fabric since I first laid it out for cutting.

Pattern Description: Misses' flounced skirt

Pattern Sizing:10-18

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes... mostly.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Despite having quite a few pieces for a skirt pattern, the instructions were very easy to follow. It's a straightforward construction with an elastic waist.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Unless you are more than 6 feet tall, this skirt will be way too long. I'm 5' 6" and would have been tripping over this if I had done it to the length as designed. The instructions say to determine finished length before sewing, but never give any direction on how to shorten it.

You can't really shorten this skirt from the bottom, due to the circular "swirling" tiers. Shortening from the top changes the line & fit of the garment. The very best way to get rid of some of the length is to increase the seam allowance of each layer. Not a difficult fix, but it is a modification that may not occur to a beginning sewist.

Fabric Used: crinkle cotton, which didn't really work out very well for View A. In the shorter view, it may have been okay. In the longer version that I made, the semi-circular tiers are cut in such a way that makes the grain not line up from one tier to the next. It works perfectly in the first 3 or 4 sections, but as I got toward the bottom, it got sort of wonky. (You can see this in the photo if you look closely.) This could have been corrected before cutting, but it didn't occur to me until it was too late. >:(

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I shortened the length and straightened the hemline. The bottom two tiers of View A go together in a way that makes the skirt somewhat lop-sided. I guess this is supposed to add to the "twirl", but it wasn't a look I liked, so I did mine straight across... or as straight as I could, anyway. *groan*

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I probably won't sew this again. I like the style, but would rather find another pattern that doesn't have the hemline issues.

I wouldn't recommend sewing View A. The shorter version looks like a nice pattern, though.

I really wanted to love this skirt. The basic design idea is a good one, but the hemline issues really ruined it for me. The finished skirt is certainly wearable, but I think there must be a better version of this same idea out there somewhere.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Simplicity 2416

For a couple of years, I've had a piece of turquoise blue crinkle cotton sitting in my fabric stash. I never quite knew what to do with it. It was purchased because I liked the color and it was on sale... an irresistible combination. I kept an eye out for a suitable pattern, but never found the right thing. Until a couple of weeks ago, when I found this...

I don’t generally wear this style of skirt, and I’ve certainly never made one, but it suited the fabric so perfectly that I decided to try it out. I’m used to straighter styles, so I was a little surprised when I saw that it called for five(!!!) yards of fabric. I wasn’t sure I had that much, but my "helper" assisted in determining that there was, indeed, enough for the skirt.

On to the cutting & assembly...

Not a difficult thing to put together, but certainly a lot more pieces than I normally use for a skirt. It is also taking a lot more thread (stay stitching, plus double-stitched seams, plus edge finishing). I ran out last night, about halfway into the project. Oops.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Almost finished... NL 6815

I've nearly finished NL 6815. It just needs buttons and a hem. I probably have suitable buttons in my stash, but I'd like to find something new. So, it won't be totally finished until I can get to a fabric store, probably sometime next week. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this top has turned out. If I ever do it again, there will no doubt be a few tweaks here & there, starting with the interfacing that I used. It was just a hair too stiff for the fabric and made attaching the collar and facing a real pain in the butt. The pattern calls for pockets, which I have cut out but have not attached. I'm not sure I want to use them. I really liked the lines of the top when I tried it on, and am not sure that I want to break it up with pockets. I'm also not sure that I need the extra bulk that the pockets would add to the bust. We'll see how it looks once it's hemmed & buttoned.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What next?

The painting and sewing madness continues. At 7 a.m. (really early for me), I rolled out of bed and finished the last of the painting. Now all I have to do is change the rest of the light switches and sockets, and put the two big light fixtures back on the wall. That's where it becomes a little more complicated, requiring another trip to Lowe's to fix a small wiring boo-boo.

The current sewing project is NL 6815. I'm working on the view D top. I'm not sure that it's going to be a particularly flattering style on me, so I'm using some very inexpensive fabric that I picked up at Wal-Mart a couple of years ago. So far, I'm surprised at how much I like the fabric for this top. The only problem is that it ravels quite a bit, so I'm topstitching most of the seams and edge-finishing everything else. I didn't bother to do an FBA on this one, though I'm wondering if I will regret that choice later.

Here's the WIP on Wilma. I need to "fix" her so that the bust is more accurate. Dress forms don't really account for things like cup size, so while it is possible to get the correct measurements, it's not quite the same. It's much better if Wilma has a bra with plenty of extra padding. Otherwise, everything looks like this... boxy, floppy, and generally shapeless. ;)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Too many projects...

I'm beginning to think that I've started a few too many projects, and it is starting to show. Badly.

My master bathroom looks like a disaster area, thanks to a painting project. I can't just put paint on the walls like a normal person. Oh no... I have to paint all of the trim on the windows, doors and baseboards. Then I have to become dissatisfied with the beige switchplates. You can't have white switchplates with beige outlets & switches, so this leads to me getting sidetracked with an electrical project. And don't get me started on the light fixtures... too ornate to paint around easily, so I have to take all of them down (more fun with electricity!).

My dining room has been converted into Sewing Central. At the moment, it looks like a fabric store exploded in there. I finished the New Look top in time to immediately cut out another, and there are a few more waiting to be cut & sewed.

Since we aren't using the dining room for actual dining, we've been eating in the breakfast nook. But my sewing machine has been living there, since that is where I like to do my sewing. The house is big enough that I could have a dedicated sewing/craft room, but my favorite spots for doing this sort of work are still the dining room & kitchen. Go figure. And of course, the kitchen has been used for soapmaking. Batch after batch after batch of the stuff.

You might not believe it, but I really do cook. A lot. So when it is time to eat, my current sewing project and soapmaking needs to be relocated to the laundry room & sunroom.

Somebody stop me...

Saturday, July 10, 2010


I think most of us have a collection of FUFOs-- projects where the stitching is completed, but for one reason or another, aren't truly finished and ready for display. I also think that my FUFO pile is bigger than most. A lot of projects are there because they need to be framed. I have a real backlog of those kinds of items. But I also have lots of smalls awaiting assembly. I'm on very good terms with my sewing machine, so why can't I seem to finish any of my FUFOs?

Having no good excuse for continuing to ignore a growing FUFO pile, I decided that rather than starting yet another small, I would finally put together some of the ones I've already stitched. I now have a few new Christmas ornaments and some LHN designs finished into small pillows (and now I need to make a basket to display them LOL). The pillows were inspired by some finishes that BeckySC posted on her blog.

All of these projects were completed with fabric that I already had in my stash. So really, there was no excuse for waiting so long to assemble them. I still have lots more to do, but at least the collection has been reduced by six. :)

Of course, I can't post without an update of Garden Verses.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another update

Garden Verses got quite a bit of attention on Monday, but not so much yesterday. I'm really enjoying working on this one. I'm going to do some more on it today, of course, but after that, I think I might just have to start something new. I have a lot of smalls that are calling my name. ;)

I also got some good mail this week-- the jewel for Malachite Maze arrived! :) I'll be taking this one to the framer soon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year...

That's right... WIMBLEDON!!! I watch plenty (okay, probably too much) of tennis, but this is the big one. The bonus is that I'll probably get lots of stitching done. I'll need something to do if I'm going to spend that many hours in front of the television. ;)

I've gotten back to work on Garden Verses, so that project will probably get some attention over the next two weeks. Actually, I've been working on it quite a bit today while watching a rebroadcast of the 2008 men's final. I even took a couple of recent update photos.

This is from Wednesday, June 16:

And here it is today:

I also started a new project this week, Secret Pumpkin Patch by the Trilogy. I would probably have finished this one already, if my cats hadn't absconded with some of the floss. I wish I knew where they buried it.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Counted Canvas

While on vacation in April, I checked out a wonderful shop (Weaver's Webb, in New Bern, NC). I went in intending to purchase some new sock yarn, but instead got distracted by their wonderful collection of counted canvas patterns and supplies. I could have gone absolutely wild in that shop, but managed to show some restraint, just in case I wasn't wild about stitching on canvas. I chose a few patterns, mostly by Laura Perin, and had one of them kitted up.

The pattern I decided to kit-up and stitch first was Malachite Maze. I couldn't wait to get started, and I rapidly became obsessed with stitching it. This was a nice change from my usual stitching, and the fibers were absolutely yummy. I finished it on Monday, except for one tiny jewel that I need to replace. The photo is a bit lop-sided (photographer error) and it really doesn't do the piece justice.

Since I've had a few finishes recently, I decided to treat myself to a new start... The Decorator by Full Circle designs, from the 2007 JCS ornaments issue. The fabric in the background is what I plan to use for finishing. All I need to do is drag out the sewing machine. I wonder how long that will take? LOL

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A couple of finishes

Wow... it really has been a long time since my last post. I finished a couple of things in the meantime. Both of them were UFOs that had frustrated me YEARS ago, so I'm quite happy about having them out of the way.

The first finish was a Dimensions Daydreams kit. I'm not fond of working on Aida and had the extra problem of having miscounted one of the squares. Of course, I didn't know this until I had stitched most of it, so major frogging was necessary. At the time when it happened, I simply couldn't stand the thought of it and put the project aside. At any rate, it is finished now. :)

The next finish was much more challenging. This came as a kit-- one of three that I've purchased from this designer. I've had nothing but trouble with every one of them, but this was by far the worst of the bunch. The design was apparently done for the 1998 CATS festival, as it has this charted on the design, although it is not shown on the kit photo. The kit photo shows a blank space where the "CATS 1998" would be. Since the top & bottom three bands are identical, it looks like they simply left something off. Try to imagine a blank space between my bottom two rows, and you'll get the idea.

Kits from this designer are widely known for their shortages. I was aware of this when I started, thanks to first-hand experience with the two previous kits. Even so, I wasn't quite smart enough to check thoroughly before starting it. Silly me! I found out, too late, that the fabric was too short. Not just a little too short, but WAY too short.

Disgusted, I put the thing down. Fast forward about 10 years, and I pulled it back out again. I decided to start over. But, as I had already stitched about 1/3 of the design, there wasn't enough overdyed silk to start again. (There was barely enough in the kit to do the entire design once, much less make any mistake along the way.) This necessitated a color change. I decided to use Waterlilies "Harvest" floss on Apricot linen. Unfortunately, the colors didn't show well in my photo... poor lighting, and perhaps the wrong lens filter, I think.

Starting over wasn't so bad. The new colors suited me a bit better. But of course, there were more kit problems. First, there wasn't nearly enough #8 perle cotton. I had plenty in my stash, but that doesn't change the fact that this was a kit and should have had the correct supplies. To make up for the shortage of #8, there was WAY too much #12 perle. The instructions also had various flaws, mostly instructions that didn't match up to what was on the pattern. Easy stuff to figure out as long as you're paying attention, but just one more thing that shows poor quality control.

Aside from the kit issues, I also had several stitcher-created problems along the way. I took this project on a vacation in April and did a lot of the work on it then. Not being very bright, I decided that it would be a good idea to work on the Hardanger edging in the evening... in poor light... while I was tired from a day of sight-seeing. BAD idea! I ended up cutting the wrong threads (of course) and got to do some really fun (NOT!) Hardanger repair.

In case you haven't guessed, I am really, really glad this is done! LOL

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just a quick post...

I have lots of updates to share, but no time to post all of them. The short version...

Wee Spring is finished, or the stitching is, anyway. I still need to figure out how to FINISH it.

I haven't done much lately on Garden Verses, but LindaK requested a pic, so here 'tis. Hmmm... looking at it now, I realize that it has grown quite a bit since the last time I took a photo of it. I really need to be more regular with progress pictures.

And, a picture of my TUSAL, taken on March 19... a few days late, and even later with posting it.

There's more, of course, but it will have to wait until later.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thinking Spring

Our crocus are blooming! That always puts me in the mood for spring. The only drawback is that my fondness for flowers translates into a LOT of work. Lately, I've spent more time on my hands and knees in the flower beds than I have stitching. By the time I sit down to stitch, I'm too sore & tired to hold a needle.

With the improved weather, I thought some spring-themed stitching was in order. So, I started Wee Spring, by Heart in Hand. The photo isn't very good-- poor lighting. The fabric is really a much prettier shade of yellow than shown here. I'm not 100% happy with the way the white is (or isn't) showing up against the fabric. Perhaps a bit of backstitching will be in order.

I also took a photo of the needleroll that I stitched last month. The stitching is complete, but it still needs charms. I didn't have anything suitable on-hand, so the actual "finish" will have to wait a bit longer.

Friday, March 12, 2010

February Review

Wow... where did February go? Or March, for that matter?

First things first-- my TUSAL progress. This was supposed to be posted on February 15. I took the photo on time, but never managed to get it online. I still haven't figured out how to get a decent picture of a brandy snifter.

My TUSAL container is a bit fuller now, but not by much. I haven't done a whole lot of stitching so far this month. For whatever reason, I just haven't been very motivated lately.

As for my February goals... they didn't go so well. Here's the review-- with accompanying notes/excuses.

1. Finish Lacy Ribs socks - not finished. I have about 1 1/2 socks so far. I planned to do these in boot length, but after completing sock #1, I realized that I really didn't like the length, so I had to UN-KNIT (ugh!!!!!) half of the sock. After that tedious bit of work, I lost most of my motivation to work on these socks. I'm pretty close though, and should have them finished this month.

2. Spend at least 10 hours on PIG - DONE!!! It doesn't look like much progress to me, but it was a good 10 hours or more.

3. Work on Adia at least once (this is a real challenge, as I have sort of hit the wall with this one) - Okay, I'll be honest... I never even took it out of the drawer.

4. Continue working on Garden Verses - At last, a goal I can actually meet! This was one of the few things I actually worked on in February. It's coming along quite nicely. Updated photo soon.

5. Assemble one FUFO - I really had to force myself, but I did assemble a FUFO. I chose Sekas' Valentine Heart, a project that has been completed for years but never assembled. I'm not altogether thrilled with the way it turned out. I used a pillow form, but think it would have been better just to use fiberfill.

6. Start & finish a needleroll (assembly included!) - Close, but not quite. I stitched a cute little snowman piece during the February blizzard. The stitching is completed, and the ends are finished. I need to find two charms for it, though. Other than that, it just needs to be sewn & stuffed.

All in all, I'm less than thrilled with my February progress. For March, I think I'll just try to finish the uncompleted February items.

Monday, February 01, 2010

January Review & February Goals

I'm not sure how I feel about my January goals. It isn't a bad start, I guess.

1. Start a new project - started two: Mirabilia's Garden Verses and ST's Snowflakes in the Pines
2. Finish Prairie Garden - NOT done, due to missing floss issue. The floss still has not turned up, btw.
3. Finish Boo Jack - completed January 15
4. Work on PIG at least once - done, but only by a technicality. I didn't work on this until January 31, but I did work on it.

I also completed Snowflakes in the Pines, just so that I would have something finished besides Boo Jack for the month of January.

Garden Verses is still quite blob-like, but I'm making progress.

For February, I'd like to be a bit more ambitious:

1. Finish Lacy Ribs socks
2. Spend at least 10 hours on PIG
3. Work on Adia at least once (this is a real challenge, as I have sort of hit the wall with this one)
4. Continue working on Garden Verses
5. Assemble one FUFO
6. Start & finish a needleroll (assembly included!)

The Lacy Ribs socks that I'm currently working on are from the book Socks from the Toe Up. This is the first time I've tried knitting socks this way, and I'm not sure I like it. I'm also not sure how I feel about knitting socks on circulars. I guess I'm a bit old-fashioned in my fondness for DPNs and Kitchener stitch. LOL However, I do like that I can try the socks on easily as I go. That has been especially important for this pair, as I have decided to do them boot length.

If anyone knows a good way of photographing socks-in-progress, please tell me about it! I'm never happy with the way these photos turn out, and short of taking the picture with the sock ON my foot, I'm not sure how to improve it.