Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Toile"ing Along

I made a toile! And it helped!

Pattern: McCall's 6027
Cut Size 12; probably needed to cut a 14, but I foolishly only bought up to size 12
Seamed everything width-wise with a 1/2" seam instead of a 5/8" seam
Made the shoulders 1 1/4" seams instead of 5/8" seam.

To do fixes for final product:
-lower the armhole by about 5/8" due to the additional shorting of the straps.
-possibly cut an armhole that comes in more narrowly than it currently does. The straps are falling off my shoulder because they are too far apart.

I think I'm going to make this dress in a stripe-y cotton broadcloth from JoAnn's, first. As long as the stripes are vertical at my waist, I think I'll be okay. It'll need some major styling, though, to look cute. The boy wants me to make it in a wool/acrylic-blend plaid that I bought. That may be more practical for the winter. Here's to hoping I'll have a M6027 FO to show soon!

P.S. Again, this picture was taking during finals! Hence the random notes, books, and messy bedsheets strewn around. I like to think I'm not this messy all the time.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Quilting Update

Exams are OVER!!! I was so excited because I did well in some classes that I was hoping would be the case. Since exams, I have been mostly bumming around and staring at the mess in my apartment. I am unmotivated to do anything (even sew/knit---gasp!) Last night, I went to a friend's apartment for a few minutes just to hang out, and she was picking up knitting again. It was so great seeing her excited about her project. I love that some people in my medical school class are picking up their craftiness again, after my friend Tamara and I beg everyone to craft.

I also gave Tamara and Madhavi their Christmas gifts, so I have pictures to show off of those at some point soon. Everything blocked out well, so I was pleased.

As for the main topic of this post... I've been quilting! I turned a stack of these:

into these:

and started on the back:

Please excuse the messy bed and notes. The boy and I would take turns napping and studying--one of us had to stay awake to be accountable for the other to wake up while studying. Studying in shifts, we called it. This was a quick picture I took before my napping shift.

Right after our first neurology exam was over, though, I had to take a few hour break and make something. Guess what I did with 2 JoAnn's charm packs and 2 hours?

Yea, that's a baby quilt in progress. I have some Kona Ash in my stash, so that will be the sashing and the backing. I'm not sure what I'll do for the border quite yet, but boy, that was fun and FAST. I wasn't getting all of the points to match, but for some reason I didn't care too much. I think I'll machine quilt this bad boy. Oooh. :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

FO: Camilla Babe

I'm in the midst of exams, so I'm a little stressed, but...

More cutie-patootie FO's to show (off)! Ever since I've seen the Camilla pullover, I've loved it. I didn't think it really showed off a woman's figure in a flattering way, though. Most adult FO's seemed to be very loose and baggy, and that wasn't quite the look I wanted if I were to make this sweater for myself.

Then, I saw the camilla babe pattern, and I immediately queued it. I had originally intended to make the Castle Pullover with this yarn (that's why I bought it), but however much I tried, I could not get gauge. I was either way too small & dense or way too baggy and loose. The yarn was destined to become something else.

When I was looking for a quick baby knit in my queue during exam times, I cam across the camilla babe once again, and thought that the Lark that I owned was perfect. The pink was perfect for a baby, and I definitely had enough yarn to make one, if not 2.

I love the pattern that comes down the middle. It's a little lumpy-bumpy, but it's so simple and chic (especially for baby clothes!)

I hope I am able to find the perfect baby to give it to. It's girly without being too precious, and it's for those 12 month old terrible one/two-year olds who wear pretty bows in their hair and dump all the spaghetti with marinara sauce on the floor. Absolutely perfect, don't you think?

For a quick update on my life:
1. Exams! Two down, two to go.
2. Going home for the holidays! We're going to drive down, and we'll try doing it in 1 day. That shall be interesting. My sewing machine is coming with me, though!
3. Friday is going to fun! Exams will be over, and I have lunch with the girls, a surprise birthday party for the boy (he doesn't read, no worries), and going out at night to celebrate the end of finals! I'd love to wear my completed Sorbette for the 1st two events.
4. Speaking of which, too many sewing projects on the needle? I have the Pendrell blouse top that I need to finish fitting, a Sorbette top that needs the finished bindings, a jersey top that needs to be finished, and a dress that I made the muslin for and did all the fitting for, but I just now need to make. Oh, and add the twin-sized quilt, baby quilt, and cloth napkins for the Christmas dinner settings--I've got plenty on my plate. ;o)

Anyway, here are the stats of camilla babe.

Pattern: camilla babe by Carrie Bostick Hoge (Ravelled here.)
Yarn: Quince and Co. Lark in Dogwood, 3 skeins. 
Made for: ??? No idea.
Size: 12 months.
Needle: US 7 (4.5 mm)
Mods: None.
Dates: 11.09.11-11.12.11
Cost: $16.50 USD
Notes: Cute cute cute.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Farmer's Wife Beginnings

I'm a farmer's wife! I figured this will be a good exercise in understanding all of the basics of quilting: cutting, piecing, choosing a color scheme, quilting the finished product, etc. These are embarassing, but I wanted instant gratification, baby! Farmer's wife blocks definitely fit the bill. Except for the fact that I'm just tracing the templates out of the attached CD--that puts a small damper in learning how to measure pieces out perfectly. It does teach me how to trace well, though! One step at a time, one step at a time.

I've been working on this only when I'm bored of all of the knitting (and sewing!) WIP's I have. It's fun to see my progress, though. For my first project, I didn't really have any scraps, so I cut into new fabric (!) to make the block. And it was wayy too ambitious (which I quickly realized.) I don't care. I want this to be a scrappy, happy, mess. I'm sure (hopefully?) I'll love it anyway. Here are the first 3 blocks:

#25: Cups & Saucers
Calico Fabric-Silhouette Large & Small Dots Black, purchased from Joann'sCrafty Cuts in Bronze Gold, purchased from JoAnn's.

#21: Contrary Wife (Photographed sideways)
Michael Miller, Damask in Saffron;
Joel Dewberry Aviary 2, Sparrows in Aqua;
and Joel Dewberry Aviary 2, Woodgrain in Bark, purchased from 
Fabric Shoppe

#16: Calico Puzzle
Kona Cotton in Snow, purchased from fabricworm
Crafty Cuts in Dark Turquoise, purchased from JoAnn's;
Some orange cotton broadcloth purchased from Winmill Fabrics.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Virtual Window Shopping (in between Studying)

Of course!

It's funny how price of fabric can be so variable.

Harts Fabric has this cute rayon challis fabric on retail for $11.99/yard. I saw it and immediately thought of a print I had seen recently.

Ah yes, this chiffon polyester from looked very similar. However, it is currently on sale for $3.99/yard (normally $9.99/yard).

I know the fabric qualilty must be very different. I wonder if the finished products would look/feel different enough to justify the $8/yard price difference...

And to remind myself that it is still Finals week, and I should be studying: apparently having chicken pox at a young age increases the risk of diabetes? I don't know if I really believe that... (Being American  probably increases the risk of diabetes more than having chicken pox.)

FO: Baby Sophisticate

Another baby sweater to showoff. Once again, this is in the premature-microscopic baby-size department, but I am okay with that. I had this coveted Debby Bliss Pure Cashmere in my stash purchased from ebay back when I first started hoarding yarn and didn't know where to buy it from. I remember thinking the price was a ridiculously good deal for pure cashmere (it was), and I couldn't figure out why. After joining Ravelry, I realized it was because the yarn was discontinued and someone wanted to get it off their shoulders. Still, the yarn is perfectly good.

The problem with Pure Cashmere, however, (and something I didn't quite realize at the time of the purchase) is that the yarn comes in 25 g skeins. It's an aran weight yarn, so that means each skein has 49 yards in it. It's hard to do much with such little amounts. It also makes the yarn seem affordable, when in reality--it's not all that cheap.

Anyway, I had 5 skeins of this yarn in grey (originally thinking I could make myself a sweater out of 5 skeins of aran yarn--ha!) I always wanted to use the yarn, but I never found the right project for it. When Alana from Never Not Knitting made a Baby Sophisticate for her little one, I thought this was the perfect project for my Pure Cashmere. It looked simple enough to knit while studying.  That was definitely the case!

I ended up finishing the project in a few days of knitting, and the yarn was a delight to work with. I ended up having only a few yards left, which is perfect to give the mama of this baby sweater to patch up any repairs that may ever be needed.

That elephant always makes pictures look more awkward. I try to place him in some pictures for additional visual interest, but most of the time he hogs up the focal points. I guess I need to work on my photography skills, too. Oh, I still have 15 skeins of this yarn in a bright green that I need to figure out something to do with.

Pattern: Baby Sophisticate by Linden Down (free Ravelry download); project here.
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere in Gray (Color 24003, Lot 0506)--4.8 skeins = 235.2 yards. 
Made for: ??? No idea.
Size: Tiny
Needle: US 9 (5.5 mm)
Mods: None.
Dates: 11.14.11-11.16.11
Notes: None, really.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

FOs: Gathered Clutches

More FO's in Joyatee's land to show! I talked about how I was making Noodlehead's Gathered Clutches. Well, here they are!

Please don't mind all of the little imperfections that are everywhere. I definitely see them, but I chose to ignore them because the finished project is so cute! I loved making little tags (with permanent fabric markers) to go inside that say "w/ <3 by joyatee". I want to eventually figure out a way to make the tags look more professional, but these suffice for now!

For the first (red-orange) clutch, I attempted to fussy cut and place the bird a little off center, but on the gathers. I think I was pretty successful, except for the top-stitching that slices through the top of the bird's head. Ah well.

It was hard to make all of the top-stitching even. My seams are getting much more straight, and I'm getting much better at keeping consistent seam widths. However, the top-stitching often has several layers around it. That makes it much more difficult for me to properly sew a straight line. The gathers get in the way, and I can't follow my machine's guidelines as well. Practice can only help, though, right?

For the second clutch, I went with a purple and gold scheme (Go LSU!), and remembered to actually machine stitch the tag onto the lining before completing the lining.

These little imperfect but perfect bags will go to my friends along with the Endpaper Mitts to my girlfriends here as Christmas presents. We've been through a lot this past year and a half. Medical school is a whole different ballgame. I just want to finish up my axon socks, knitting-wise, and then finish my own Endpaper Mitts before I gift everything. That way we can take dorky matchy matchy pictures together. Can't wait!

I'll leave you with the stats of my clutches.

Red Clutch: Michael Miller, Damask in Saffron, about 1/8 of a yard and a tiny amount of Joel Dewberry Aviary 2, Sparrows in Aqua, purchased from Fabric Shoppe; left over lining from some old old old project, about 1/8 of a yard purchased from Winmill Fabrics, if I'm not mistaken
Black Clutch: Calico Fabric-Silhouette Large & Small Dots Black, about 1/8 of a yard purchased from Joann'sCrafty Cuts in Bronze Gold, about1/8 of a yard purchased from JoAnn's Fabrics as the lining.
Notions: 9 inch zippers
Year: 2010
Time to complete: 4 hours for the 1st clutch on 11.18.11; < 2 hours for the 2nd clutch on 11.21.11
Made for: Tamara and Madhavi
Size: 8 inch widths pre-seaming for the red clutch; followed the pattern for the 2nd clutch
Mods: Other than sizing, none.
Notes: The boy thinks the gathers should go all the way around or be omitted completely. I may try that at some point. Piping may also be fun, but I may leave that to the next few baby clothes I'm bound to make.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

FO: Itty Bitty Baby Dress & Rambling about JoAnn's

Let's revert back to some sewing. I desperately wanted to make some garments. I figured that baby clothes are a fast way to get a handle on baby clothes. I bought some fantastic Amy Butler fabric from Fancy Pants Fabric. I was toying around with the idea of making a baby dress, and when I was at JoAnn's on Black Friday (oh, that's a story for some time--maybe later this post), I found some pink piping and double folded bias tape. Why the heck not?

Here's the finished product.

Again, no baby in mind. I'm just tickled "pink" with how adorable it turned out. I kept sending pictures of it to my mom and friends from my phone. After Thanksgiving break, I was taking out my phone at the drop of a hat to show off my clever skills. I just love how the piping turned out. I want to try this on some more children's clothing. It adds the perfect touch.


For the lining, I just used some fabric that semi-matched from my stash. In one of my undeserved JoAnn's shopping sprees, I decided to buy some Craft Cuts fabrics. That was a mistake. The fabric isn't high quality at all. On, designer fabrics can be at the same price if it's on sale. I know have yards of this light cotton material in various colors. I guess it will make perfect little linings for cotton broadcloth clothing.

Speaking of JoAnn's, I'll divulge some of the craziness that occurred on Black Friday. I guess that shouldn't be surprising at all because it was Black Friday, after all. I saw that the flannel was on sale for $1.49/yard. I wanted to buy some for a possible design wall when I move to my next apartment. (Yes, I haven't even completed a whole quilt yet, and I'm already planning for a design wall.) There was an additional 25% off your entire purchase, including sale items, for purchases before noon. I figured I'd be getting this flannel for a couple of bucks if I went early, so I might as well if I was going to eventually buy flannel. I also figured that most people would want to go to Best Buy, Target, the mall--some place where many of the deals are saving hundreds and hundreds of dollars, making it a cost effective trip. Yes, JoAnn's had their Ott Lights on sale and some sewing machines on sale, but I couldn't imagine many people wanting to really trek over to JoAnn's early in the morning.

That was where my thinking was flawed. Of course JoAnn's has a specific demographic. JoAnn's demographic practically caters to people who could care less about Best Buy, Target, etc. and would stand in line to save $5/yard on fabric. I set my alarm for 7:30am to make it to JoAnn's by about 8:30am. That gave me plenty of time to do what I needed to do, I thought. That was funny, too. JoAnn's demographics would also think that 8am was not early in the morning at all! I actually woke up before my alarm despite going to bed late because I kept on thinking of my flannel and my design wall. I ended up getting to JoAnn's around 9am, though.

There was a line that wrapped around the entire fabric section of JoAnn's (Fabrics). It was only the line to get fabric cut.

Most of the women looked a bit peeved for standing in line for so long. I quickly located the flannel--there was only a few bolts in the designated flannel area--because most of the bolts were in shopping carts. Luckily, there was a big bolt of stark white flannel just for me. I snatched it up and stood in line. And then I was amazed. The women (there wasn't a man in sight) had 1 or 2 shopping carts filled with flannel and fleeces. Everyone had the same idea as me--cheap fabric. Women brought along their daughters (not a son in sight) to push the additional carts or to stand in line while they scavenged the bolts of fabric that were being restocked from the fabric cutting tables. Everyone was making pajamas for Christmas, apparently. Some women say they stock up on their flannel and fleece at the Black Friday sale every year. I also felt a bit awkward because the demographic was so specific-- 40-60 year old women with dirty blonde/light brunette hair (not dark brown, not black, not bleach blonde, not red) in a Farah Fawcett blowout, mom jeans or loose fitting pajama-type pants, and a shopping cart filled with pastel colored fleece. I'm female, and I was crazy enough to buy fabric from JoAnn's on Black Friday, but that's about where the similarities ended. I saw one black lady, and aside from her race, everything else about her fit the demographic previously described.

I really missed the diversity in Boston. And that line was 45 minutes long.

Anyway, here are some FO stats:

Fabric: Amy Butler Midwest Modern II, Garden Maze in Sky, about 3/8 of a yard purchased from Fancy Pants Fabric; Crafty Cuts in Dark Turquoise, only a tiny amount (1/8 of a yard?) purchased from JoAnn's Fabrics as the lining.
Notions: A couple of feet of pink piping and 1/4" double-folded bias tape from JoAnn's Fabrics.
Year: 2008
Time to complete: 4 hours, 11.25.11
Made for: ???
Size: Tiny
Mods: Finished off the seams, to the best of my abilities.
Notes: Using the piping really made the dress blossom. I'll definitely put that touch in again.

This project made me so excited about baby clothes, I had to try my hand at another one... (FO post on THAT later).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

FO: Puerperium Cardigan

Since this started off as mostly a knitting blog, and most people read this from ravelry, I will start off my FO roll with some knitting. I have been on a baby kick. I knit (and sew) everything baby. I think it's my hormones secretly telling me something. I am not pregnant, and I don't really have any new babies waiting to be knit for. I guess I'm just stockpiling for when all my friends will start popping. For their sakes, I hope that's not too soon.

First up, I made the Puerperium Cardigan. This thing is just so darned cute! It was a pretty fast knit. I wanted to use up (completely) the two skeins of navy Grace Silk & Wool I had remaining in my stash. I then scavenged my button stash for suitable buttons. I love the mis-matchiness of the buttons keeps the sweater from being too precious. It adds the perfect amount of whimsy along the side of an otherwise boring sweater. I can't wait to see a real, live baby modeling this thing.

And I will leave you with the stats and more pictures of the cuteness that is baby clothing!

Pattern: Puerperium Cardigan by Kelly Brooker (free Ravelry download)
Yarn: Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool in navy (Color 17, Lot 18). I used 2 skeins minus a few yards, so approximately 220 yards. 
Made for: ??? No idea.
Size: Tiny
Needle: US 6 (4 mm)
Mods: Made a total of 8 buttonholes. This made the sweater a bit longer than called for--and the sleeves were a bit shorter. It's okay, a very stylish baby will just be wearing a 3/4-sleeved cardigan.
Dates: 11.13.11-11.14.11
Notes: I LOVE the mismatched buttons! The sweater isn't all that practical with the bajillion buttons, and tiny size (the baby will probably quickly grow out of it), and hand-wash only instructions. I don't care. It was too darned cute, and I wanted a fast baby sweatah!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sewing Up a Storm

I have been sewing up a storm! This Thanksgiving break, I think I socialized with people twice (I needed to get out a little bit, though one of the times was Thanksgiving dinner), and sewed the rest of the time! Here's my little sewing nook:

I don't really have a dining table anymore, but that's ok. My study table is plenty big as a dining table, and until the boy starting coming over regularly for dinner, the dining table was never really used. Please excuse the laundry. I made sure all of the unmentionables were at least out of the way for the picture. Oh yes--that power strip is a disaster waiting to happen. I am tiptoeing all the time around there, and hoping no children start showing up in my apartment.

I will be having several FO posts coming up shortly, as promised over Thanksgiving. At the time, I was too absorbed with my sewing to ever make blog posts this break. With finals coming up, however, it's a great time to write little blog posts as distractions.

I'm working on my Pinwheel Quilt, using the tutorial from Fabricworm. I decided to make my quilt 5 blocks x 7 blocks (vs. the 7 x 8 blocks shown in the tutorial). I think a twin-sized quilt is a little more appropriate for this than a full-sized one. I'll probably appreciate it when it comes to the handquilting, too. The picture on the right shows the excess number of half-square triangles I made for the quilt. I may be able to make two pillowcases to go with the quilt. That will look dandy. What do you think? I already have my next two quilts (probably baby-sized) planned.

Finally, I've really become intrigued by garment sewing, too. I've basically completed the Sewaholic's Pendrell Blouse, but I have many fit issues (and I need to hem.) Since I'm new to sewing, I haven't really learned how to fit properly. This is definitely an exercise in that. After I take in a bit in the bust, let's see if it can be a wearable toile. I'll try a different Pendrell in let's say... Joel Dewberry's Heirloom collection's Opal Jade? I'll do view B's sleeves this time.

Do any of you read One Twenty Five's blog? She is really entertaining, and I love her candidness. She's in Indonesia right now. (I started following when she was planning the whole world-travelling tour thing. It's great to see her carry out her dreams.) One of her friends is wearing this great orange dress (top picture, middle). It reminded me of the Vogue 1224 Tracy Reese Dress. It looks simple enough to make, don't you think? It seems to have great reviews on Pattern Review. One item at a time, Joyatee, one item at a time.