Monday, October 31, 2011

Just One of Those Days

First off, what happened to fall?  Where did it go and why are we jumping right into winter.  Philly had its first snow fall on Saturday.  It was a miserable day perfect for baking bread and making apple sauce, and sitting on the couch under a blanket with the hubs. 

But today looks like it is going to be one of those days, you know where nothing goes wrong, but nothing goes right.  Kind of a non-day.  Here is a list of things that are making today feel less productive.

*I ran out of Navy thread so I can't sew my jacket until after work today once I get more.
*My Camera is sad and not turning on even after changing the batteries, so no photos for me.
*It is cold, which tends to zap all of my ambition.
*I ordering yarn, so I'm waiting on that to turn up.

But on the other hand I was super productive in other areas this weekend like:

*Cleaning out the bathroom cupboard (I do not need any more lotion for a very long time).
*Sewing most of my jacket together.  I just need to sew up the left front pieces and the sleeves then on to the yoke.
*I made yummy whole wheat bread.
*Apples are 50 cents a pound in the market, so I made apple sauce which came out amazing.
*I started a new sweater project, I found some old wool that i had made a sweater out off, and the frogged because it came out so horrible and now I'm using it to mak A Very Plucky Cardigan by Kate Hiester. 

My plan on beating the non-day today is as follows:

*Get my winter clothes out of storage and put the summer clothes in storage.
*Go to the market and buy more apples, I want to make more sauce and try my hand at apple butter.
*Make said apple sauce ( 4 pounds of apples, peeled and cored in the slow cooker on medium heat for 7 hours.)
*Look up how to attach a lining to a jacket.
*Buy thread and buttons before work.

Friday, October 28, 2011

In A Funk

It's not a sewing funk or even a knitting funk it's just a funk.  Yesterday I could blame the weather, but today it's sunny, cold, but sunny out and I can not justify sitting around and watching Netflix till it's time to go to work.  Our apartment looks like a bomb went off there is just stuff everywhere and I think this is what I am going to attack today till work.
Operation: Clean out all the crap we accumulated that we don't need (or at least get started and make a dent).
I am going to need a lot of coffee for this one.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sewing Update

I decided to just get over it and sew the back of the jacket together.  The image is a bit blurry, but you can see the seams pretty well.  I love the princess seams on this jacket, and although they are a bit of a pain to pin and sew I think I like them more than darts.  This reminds me I need to purchase or make a tailors ham. 

I found this awesome tutorial for an easy draped cape today on Oh So Lovely.  It's a guest post by Alli from one of my all time favorite blogs One Pearl Button.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sewing the Steffi Jacket: Fear Based Procrastination

That's right I'm procrastinating, and it's because I'm scared, or at least nervous.  Sewing the muslin was easy, if I screwed it up it was no big deal the fabric only cost me $4, but if I screw up on the "real" jacket I'm out ten times that.  I guess it's this worry that is causing me to doubt my skills and my confidence.  I mean I made the Muslin with few difficulties and it came out pretty good.  I know this is all in my head so I took one step toward sewing this amazing garment.

I cut it out of the wool. 
 You have to start somewhere and If I am going to sew this jacket then I have to have the pieces to sew.  I was super mindful when I was cutting out this fabric too.  Making sure my grain lines were all lines up and parallel to salvage.  I even made sure I gave the right seam allowance to the back neck yoke piece. 

Taking my time and not hastily cutting out the pattern pieces really helped me feel better about starting this project.  I'm hoping to start sewing some of it today.  I know this fear is all in my head and once I start sewing I will get more confident with each seam.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sneak Peak: Wintertide

These are the newest fingerless gloves samples for my newest pattern.  I love how fast this pattern knits up.  The yarn is Mirasol's Sulka, a bulk wool and silk blend, it's so warm and fluffy like a cloud.  These are great gifts because the yarn is so yummy and they knit up super fast.  As much as I would like to keep these guys I have plans of brightening someone's day by sending them a warm knit gift.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Easy Peasy Beanie Pattern

120 yard of a worsted weight yarn
16" US 8 circular needles
Stitch Marker
Tapestry needle

Double Pointed needles
Circular needles
2x2 rib

About 10 sts x 13 rows = 2" x 2"

One size, buy you can alter the size of the hat with the wight of the yarn and the size of the needle you use.  This basic hats fits both me and my Husband.  

Cast on 80 Stitch
place marker and being careful not to twist the cast on edge join.
Work in 2x2 rib for about 1 1/2 to 2 inches. 
Swtich to stockinette stitch and knit untill the hat mearures about 6 to 6 1/2 inches. 
Now it is time to close up the hat's top.

Crown Decreases
R1: K8, K2tog, repeat this to marker
R2: Knit all Stitches
R3: K7, K2tog, repeat this to marker
R4: Knit all Stitches
R5: K6, K2tog, repeat this to marker
R6: Knit all Stitches
R7: K5, K2tog, repeat this to marker
R8: Knit all stitches (switch to DPNS, Equally distribute the stitches on to three needles)
R9: K4, K2tog, repeat this to marker
R10: K3, K2tog, repeat this to marker
R11: K2, K2tog, repeat this to marker
R12: K1, K2tog, repeat this to marker
R13: k2tog, repeat this to marker (5 stitches remaining)

Break the yarn and with a tapestry needle pull the yarn through the remaining 5 stitch and pull closed
Weave in the ends and voila! A warm winter hat.

Friday, October 21, 2011

October Link Love

Why don't we start out the love with a little fall inspiration over at Delightfully Tacky, Fall Inspiration: Pumpkins.

Next how about one of my favorite things combined with learning a new skill, Wild Olive has Coffee Embroidery Patterns

Over on the Etsy blog they had a fun project and how to on Building a Bat House, a great twist on the old bird house project.

Offbeat Home had two great DIYs, the first one was a recipe and a how to on Making State Fair Style Corn Dogs (one of my favorite fried things on a stick), and the second was two different how tos on making a Hanging Garden.

While we're exploring home tips and decorating options I love Upcountry Vintage's Ultra Affordable Bathroom Art Solution.

This last link has saved my butt a few times and I am now in love with Bias Binding.  Over on Coletterie there is a great tutorial on Bias binding as a Facing or Detail.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy 27th Birthday

Today is my 27th Birthday.  I am now in my late 20's and I am glad to be in my late 20's they are so much better than my early 20's.  With that said I am going to go eat pancakes that the hubs is making, drink coffee, and have a day where I do what I love best.  Which means I'll probably end up knitting a bit and sewing, and maybe watch Pride and Prejudice.
(BTW Interweave Knits is coming out with Jane Austin inspired knits.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sewing the Steffi Jacket: Finishing the Muslin

I am finished with the Muslin for the Steffi and will soon embark on cutting out the lining and well the rest of the jacket.  It went together pretty easily and I was surprised at how well the muslin came out.  I only ran in to two small problems, but I'll get to those in a minuet.  Here is a photo log of my progress. 

I sewed a lot of the pieces together the sleeves for example were two pieces so I sewed them first and set them aside for when I would need them.  I then sewed all the front and back sections to their partners. and then connected them at the shoulder.

It was weird to not sew the side seams up first, but it was clear that if i decided to do that the yoke wouldn't fit in right and I would be kicking myself later.  This is a bout the time I realized that something wasn't right about my color pieces.

Problem number one and two happened one right after another and while they were easily fixed they did throw a wrench in the works and once they were sorted I called it a day.  What happenend was first I didn't cut my collor pieces on the fold, easy enough to fix I had enough extra muslin fabric to remedy that problem.  The second problem came when I went to sew the yoke together and realized I was missing a pattern piece.  I though search under the bed were my pattern storage is did not turn up the missing piece.  It was a smallish piece and i was able to print it out on one sheet of paper and had just enough fabric to cut it out.  The only problem is that out of all the other pieces of the pattern this tine little crescent of fabric is the only pattern piece that does not have the seam allowance incorporated in.  Weird but not the end of the world.

On my second day of sewing I put together the yoke, sewed in the collar and the yoke in one piece and set in the sleeves which was a bit scary.  One came out better than the other and I am going to go back and take a look at the better one so I can replicate it.  But here is my finished muslin.

I love the back of this jacket I find something very pleasing about the seam lines. 

A little rumpled, but pretty snazzy for a test and some cheap fabric. 

It fits! I don't need to make any adjustments to the pattern. 

Next week I plan on having my silk lining cut out and sewn along with some practice button holes and maybe even the wool cut. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Technique Tuesday: Tips for Knitting in the Round

I love knitting things in the round.  Mostly because this mean no seaming which is a great reason to knit in the round.  Although I didn't always start out loving circular knitting.  This was because I am a self taught knitter I had no wise experienced knitter who could let me in on tricks and helpful hints.  Here are some of my tips for knitting in the round.

1. Always make sure your circular needle/dpns are the right circumference for what you plan on knitting.  I thought that a 24" circular was the perfect needle size for my first hat in the round so I filled it with as many stitches as it would hold, needles to say my hat came out huge, which was more of a gauge problem.  So I then cast on the appropriate amount of stitches and there were too few to make it around the needle and I was pulling and stretching my stitches which made it hard to knit anything.

For a hat a 16" circular with do you good for baby hats all the way up to large adult size hat.  With item that are smaller than 16" in circumference think about useing DPNS, magic loop, or two circular needles.  Items such as sweaters you want to think about the smallest part of the sweater, I like to start on a 16" and then move up to a 24" or 26" when I need too.  Depending on th esize of the sweater you may want to use a 36" circular. 

2. Always use a stitch marker to mark the beginning and end of a round.  This way you are never confused as to were you are to start and end which comes in handy if you are using a stitch pattern or are increasing or decreasing in a pattern.

2.2.  Never stop at the end/beginning of a round.  Your stitch marker will fall off your needle.  Always try to stop with one stitch after or before your stitch marker.

3.  Be careful not to twist your stitches.  I read this all the time in patterns.  Before you join your work take the time to make sure your cast on edge isn't twisted around your needle.  An appropriate length needle is helpful, but you just have to suck it up and make sure that the cast on is oriented the same way before you place your maker and join your work.

4. Use a Long tail cast on.  I know it's a pain when you miss judge the amount of yarn you need in your dead end, but this cast on tends to be more elastic and creates less of a jog where you join. 

5. To help with the jog situation where you join your work cross your last and first stitch over and place your maker between them.  This way your first stitch is now your last stitch and your last stitch is now your first stitch.  This makes a tighter neater join.

These are all of my tips are there any more that others use?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lebowitz Cactus

When my friends moved into their new house we hatched a plan on what they would put in the giant picture window in the living room.  The plan involved me knitting a cactus, not just a knit version of a smallish house cactus, this cactus needed to be well interesting, weird, I mean it was going to sit in the picture window facing the street, it had to be a bold statement piece.

After about 6 months of trying to figure out the best way to accomplish this, along with a few failed attemps on the way I give you the not quite finished Lebowitz Cactus.

I apologize for the poor quality of the photo, but this lovely pile of color will soon be a stuffed and potted cactus.  My friend Mike who described the cactus to me only really said a few things.  It should be knit, it should be "patchy" and that it shouldn't look like a cactus except in shape.  So here we have it the outer shell of what I think is a pretty good interpretation of what he was asking for, and a good use of multi-colored eyelash yarn on my part.

All I need to do know is sew up the strips, stuff it, knit the base, stuff that and then gently hot glue it into its pot.

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Knitting Pattern: Harvest Mitts

I just released my newest pattern in my Esty shop.  The Harvest Mitts are a simple pattern with an fun twist on 2x2 ribbing.  I really enjoyed designing and knitting these. I love the simplicity of this design I might have to knit a pair in blue, or maybe purple.  I like the length of the mitt and think it would look great with a 3/4 length sleeve jacket.

Mirasol's Tupa is one of my all time favorite yarns.  The colors it comes in are beautiful and the hand is soft and luxurious both of these qualities I attribute to the blend of 50/50 merino wool and silk.  The harvest mitts only require one hank of Tupa which makes this a great gift project or a great and inexpensive way to enjoy a wonderful yarn. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stitch Guide: Moss Stitch

I like moss stitch, it's a great textured stitch that is easy to remember and reversible.  This stitch has a similar look to seed stitch, but the purls and knits line up in a slightly different way.  Another thing that is a plus about moss stitch is that it lays flat, coupled with it haveing no "wrong" side it is a great stitch for scarves. 

Moss Stitch (flat)
Multiple of 2 plus 1
R1: *k1, p1* k1 Repeat *to* to the last stitch
R2: *k1, p1* k1
R3: *p1, k1* p1
R4: *p1, k1* p1

Moss Stitch (in the round)
Multiple of 2
R1: *k1, p1* repeat to stitch marker or end of round
R2: *k1, p1*
R3: *p1, k1* p1
R4: *p1, k1* p1

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sewing the Steffi Jacket: Muslin and fabric Choices

Burda Style
I am in love with this jacket and have been for about a year.  I even bought the pattern and the fabric to make the muslin, but after Simon and I got married I was sewn out after making three dresses two ties and a bunch of other crafty bits the idea of sewing a tailored jacket with buttons and a lining seemed a bit daunting.  But with the weather cooling down and my desire to make clothes instead of buying them I pulled the pattern out of storage and the muslin fabric and I am going to do it I am going to sew this jacket. 

Here it goes, the pattern all laid out ready to cut the fabric for the muslin.  I am a bit of a fearless sewer (and Knitter) and I usually jump in with both feet, but I want to make sure I know how this pattern is sewn and how it fits before I cut the wool and silk for the real one.  I have expensive tastes and I don't want to f-up really good fabric.  It's not like yarn where I can frog it if I don't like it or if it doesn't fit. 

All the muslin pieces waiting to be sewn my poor little tomato is empty of all its pins. This will be today's project, start sewing the muslin together.

Before work I went to the fabric store yesterday, I had some Brithday money from my mom and decided that it was going toward my fabric. 

My original thought was to make it out of navy wool, but after seeing this forest green I hemmed and hawed about it for a few minuets. 

I finally decided to go with my original plan and make it in navy.  There was even this great lavender gray silk on sale that I got for the lining.  I do really love the green and if this goes well maybe I'll make a second in green. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sneak Peek: Harvest Mitts

Here's a quick look at my newest pattern the Harvest Mitts.  What I loved about designing them was the stitch pattern it's simple, has elasticity, and looks interesting.  This pattern will be out in my Etsy shop and on Ravelry on Friday October 14th.

(I've been in a yellow mood lately.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Busy Weekend

Shot of Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen.
Home Sweet Home, or more like home town.  This weekend Simon and I were in the Finger Lakes.  Well we drove there spent the night and then on Friday drove up to Rochester for my best friends wedding and then we spent Saturday with my grandparents for mine and my grandfather's Birthdays. 

The wedding was fun we drank, eat and danced the night away.  I also got to wear my newest dress, the fatina shift dress.

I'm short and the mantel was tall.
I finished hemming it Wednesday night.  This dress made me realize how short I am.  I had to hem about five inches off the dress for it to hit just above my knees.  It I hadn't cut off all the excess fabric and had hammed it where it asked to be hemmed I would have a dress that would hit me mid calf.  Which I find and unflattering hemline on such a fitted skirt.

I got to hand out with my family and see my two besties from back in my high school days.

We clean up really well.

We left on Sunday and no trip to the Finger Lakes would be complete with out a stop at my favorite yarn store! 
Finger Lakes Fibers, Watkins Glen NY
It was a great trip, but I think we are more exhusted after the trip than we were before.  We came home, unpacked, picked up some groceries, and the promptly ordered Mexican.  Then we slept.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Off to Upstate NY

Photo by Jim Hickcox
Simon and I are off to my home town for the weekend.  My best friend Beaner (his real name is Andrew) is getting married.  I love the Finger Lakes this time of year.  The trees will be changing, there will be a nip in the air, it will be apple season and the cider doughnuts will be freshly baked.

Photo by Jim Hickcox
Simon hasn't really been up to my family's place this time of year, other than our wedding which was still a bit early in the fall season.  He's excited about the trees changing and being able to wear his nice leather jacket.  Me, I'm just excited for the cider doughnuts, oh and a wedding....and my family, but damn those cider doughnuts are good.  

When you read this we will already be about half way there!

Photo by Jim Hickcox

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dress Making: Completing the Fatina

Ugh, the finishing on this dress makes me want to wear a potato sack to this wedding...ok I wouldn't actually, but I was about two stitches short of just wearing my LBD.  Here's the break down of what happened.  If you read Monday's post I was finishing up the neckline which when I was finished sewing it looked like I had sewn it with out my contacts in.  So my one day of finishing turned into two days of hand sewing. 

On Monday I finished the arm holes and the neck line.  At first I had resigned myself to hand sewing these, but then I thought the actual pattern calls for it to be machine sewed it will be faster and look just fine.  I was incorrect in this thinking.
Here's the "wrong side of the neckline"

A shot of the right side of the dress
On Tuesday I finished the Obi belt and am extremly happy with how this came out.  I think this part of the project has inspired a tutorial for latter either this month or the next.  The duponi silk was a dream to sew!
This belt is super long.  It measures about 134 inches
And now with one day left I am on to my second round of hand knitting the hem. I am so close to being done I can taste it.  The dress is about 50% hand sewn.  I don;t see that as a bad thing as all of the hand sewing was for the finishing. 
 Here's my hem line all pinned and ready for hand sewing.

But after that I will be finished.  No more alterations, no more seam ripping and resewing.  I tried the dress on with out the belt yesterday, to get the right hem line and I am in love with this dress.  I am going to make a second in a wool for the winter, and maybe even one in a cotton for the spring!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Look & October Giveaway!

I am trying out Bloggers new templet designer.  I'm still up in the air about it, the real reason I switched is because I wanted to change up my layout, but Blogger wouldn't let me do that with my old design so I had to "upgrade".  Expect a few tweeks here and there till I figure out what looks the best.

In other news I'm an October sponsor for One Pearl Button who also recently got a new look.  Also I'm planing some great patterns to be released this month and I'm starting to knit for November too. I love October, the leaves are changing, it's a great time for apple cider, I can wear my wooly sweaters, I start knitting more sweaters, and it's my birthday month.  In celebration of the month of October I am giving away a copy of the Saucy Librarian Sweater Knitting Pattern.  Leave me a comment about why you love October and I will pick a winner at random.  The winner will be announced on October 14th.  Good Luck!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

Ok, it's not that bad, but I just spent 30min pinning and sewing the bias tape into the neckline of my dress and for some reason it looks like I did it with my eyes closed.  I guess my original plan of hand sewing it in was a better idea.

The weather has cooled of quite a bit and it's wonderful to be wearing a warm cozy sweater, and drinking a nice cup of hot coffee.  I best get my seam ripper and get cracking on this dress I thought I was going to finish it today, bu it looks like I got two days worth of hand sewing to do.  Looks like a day of coffee, sewing, and Pride & Prejudice.