Monday, April 30, 2012

The Eve of Me Made May '12

Here is my closet for Me Made May '12.  Everything you see excluding the hubs suit and the bottom shelf (which is workout cloths and pj's) is all hand made.  I put all of my ready made clothing away in my suitcase in the closet.  This way I had lots of room to really lay out my hand made wardrobe and see what I have to wear.

As I was packing up my ready made cloths and reorganizing my hand made items I realized I have a lot of options when it comes to Me Made May.  I am super excited and can't wait till tomorrow to start putting different outfits together.

Wish me luck!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fiber Friday: Stormy Day

It's been rainy lately.  Your typical April weather with a bit of a cold snap.  Good weather for staying inside and knitting.  I like a good rainy day once in awhile an d I love a good hank of yarn any day of the week.  Using the weather as my inspiration I have found some amazing yarn on Etsy.

Cloud 9 by SheepingBeauty

Cloud Blue by 

Titan's Curse by DyeForYarn

Iridescent Clouds by hoggwildfibers

Clouds and Sunshine  By bluecocoonyarn

Thursday, April 26, 2012

30 before 30 April '12 Update

At the beginning of the month I shared a list of 30 goals for myself to accomplish before I turn 30.  I have started on some of those goals, some are in progress, some have succeed, and I've even failed at one attempt.

In progress.

#18. Simon and I have planted seeds and bought a tomato plant (who is taking over the window) to grow some of our own produce this summer.  We know that if nothing else we will have a butt load of Swiss Chard as it has sprouted and is about 4-5 inches tall already.  You can also see that my giant tomato plant has flowered, but he is none too happy with the chilly weather we've been having.  We also planted cucumbers, green beans and sweet peppers.

# 12. I have also started dyeing again.  This is super exciting for me and I can't wait to really dive in and get Alchemy Hour truly set up.

# 27. Another accomplishment is that I might have a summer wardrobe full of hand made and altered items.  I'm going to be participlating in Me Made May '12 and put this to the test and see if I have a complete enough wardrobe to only wear garments I've made or altered for the month of May


#17. I have sewn a pair of jeans.  Trouser jeans, but hey they are jeans!

Anita by Burda Style
I was so tickled with the out come of sewing my trouser jeans that I have purchased the Anita pattern from Burda Style and found some great denim with just a touch of crosswise stretch to sew another pair of jeans.  This time skinny jeans.

#13. Ok I tried my hand at cooking tofu this month and while I am good at cooking lots of other things I will admit to not having any clue as to how to prepare tofu.  I thought I had figured it out.  I drained and pressed a lot of the liquid out, I used extra firm, and I even seasoned it and seared it in my cast iron pan so it was crispy on the edges.  None of this helped with the weird tofu taste or the spongy center.  I even put it in curry so it would have a fragrant and heavily spiced sauce, but this did nothing for the tofu.  So far the only way I like tofu is deep fried from the Chinese take out place.

For the month of May I am only really planing one thing.  Eve 6 is coming to town and I am going to go see them by hook or by crook.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sewing My Me Made Wardrobe: Week 4

Remember this boring too big sweater? 

Now it's not boring or too big!  

I must confess that out of all of my MMM '12 sewing projects this was the biggest pain in the rear to sew.  All I had to do was turn the damn thing into a 3/4 length sleeved, v-neck cardi.  That can't be hard right? Well, I was wrong.  

It wasn't so much hard as infuriating.  First off some of this is on me (probably all of it).   The biggest thing being the fact that this sweater is striped and I insisted that the stripes match up at the button band and that when I shorten the sleeves everything lined up.  Lesson learned; knitting stripes is relative easy, sewing things with stripes is not. 

My second gripe was the button holes.  Again this is my own damn fault.  Lets use the smallest shank buttons ever and place one every inch.  While we're at it lets do this all on a knit that gets caught in the feed dogs of your machine.  Lesson learned; when sewing button holes in a knit that is fuzzy, face the back of the button band in something smooth that won't catch.  

Finally, damn was this sweater stretchy!  I figured it would be, you know being knit from wool and all.  But this sweater was stretched out to begin with and then add the pull of the machine and well it resulted in a lot of seam ripping.  This was especially true when it came to taking in the sleeves.  Lesson learned; zig zag is a life saver. 

All in all I am pleased  with how the sweater came out in the end, but you won't see me altering many more sweaters.  I'll stick to knitting them.  

Once that project was done I had one more thing on my sewing list, a dress sewn with some lovely batik fabric that I found at a hidden away fabric store in center city.  Here's the fabric:

And here's a close up of one of the motifs:

Teal and brown are one of my favorite color combinations.  I originally was going to make another Anda, but after spending time with this fabric I realized that it wanted to be made into a dress that had more structure.  Instead of the Anda I made this:
It was so much fun to play with the pattern placement on the print to come up with an interesting use of the motifs.  The dress is a simple gathered skirt attached to the bodice of the Danielle from Burda Style.  The Danielle has a great neckline that shows of your collar bones and a little bit of the girls with out being over the top.  I think I want to make 6 more versions of this dress so I have one for every day of the week.  

And with this I have completed my sewing for Me Made May '12.  Wow, I'm finished and still have a few days left.  Maybe I could squeeze in one more project.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What Came Out of the Dye Pot

I've been having so much fun with my new dyes that I felt that I should share my newest experiments in color and yarn.

I tried out my reds this weekend and came up with this summery color.  It reminds me of those cheer, orange, and grape Popsicles.  The ones that turn your whole mouth purple or red from all the food coloring.

Then there's this guy.  I am loving pretty much every color I mix using yellow.  How awesome is this neon green.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to achieve such an eye popping color, so I was pleasantly pleased when this came out of the dye bath.

When am I going to list these yummy hanks of lace weight in my Etsy shop?  Soon, very soon.  My big plan is to dye and then dye some more though May and have a huge shop update in June.  I'll keep teasing everyone by periodically posting what has just come out of the dye pot.

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Pattern: Tide Waters Tank

I have just released my newest knitting design, Tide Waters.  It's a knitters take on the corset, and because it's knit, it hugs your curves with out all the pinching.  Other than the shaping my other two favorite design element of this pattern are the lace panel and the I-cord edging at the neckline.

I started this design back in January.  The thought came to me one day at work, what would it look like to knit a corset.  Not a cinching corset, but a top that was comfortable that skimmed your curves and had the look of a corset with out all the boning and laces.

When I set out to design this pattern I looked at a lot of different types of corsets and how the were constructed.  Where was the boning placed and how much?  How drastic was the waist line decrease?  I even made a pintrest board of all my favorite corsets and designs.  This design process was new to me, and I soon realized that it helped me realize a few things about what I was going to design.

The design took a new direction than I thought it would.  I figured out that the construction of this top was going to be bottom up, with lots of waist and bust shaping and involve a bit of grafting.  This is so different from any of my previous designs and this type of construction, while not new to me, was different than I had originally intended.

The idea for the lace panel came toward the end of the sketching and swatching.  I thought the design needed a little umph.  A little lace in the front would do the trick, and it would be reminiscent of the decorative stomachers of the 1600-1700.  A happy accident followed and as I knit the sample the lace design shaped the fabric of the garment in such a way that it created a point at the hips and a subtle sweetheart neckline.

You can check out this pattern in my Etsy Shop under Tide Waters, or check it out on just search Tide Waters in the pattern search.

P.S. The shorts in the photos are those purple shorts I sewed a few weeks ago.

Friday, April 20, 2012

April Link Love

Here are some great tutorials found around the blog-sphere this month.

One Sheepish Girl
I love Kitchen accessories and the tea towel is no exception.  Spice up a boring tea towel by adding a crocheted edging with this tutorial from One Sheepish Girl.

Wild Olive
I have a total blog crush on Wild Olive, and I love these easy no sew felt pendents!  Mollie also has a pretty sweet travel tic tac toe tutorial too. (I love alliteration.)

Park & Cube via A Pair and a Pare
One of my new favorites is a Pair and a Spare, and recently she posted some great tips on dip dying.  I really want to try dip dying with bleach.

Offbeat Home
With the weather being so wonderfully warm I've been craving one of my warm weather faves, iced tea.  Offbeat home has a great recipe for Mint Orange Sweet Tea.  Yum!

Finally with all the sewing and refashioning I've been doing this tutorial is going to come in handy.  DixieDIY gives step by step directions on how to add a v-neck to a tee.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Stitch Guide: Left Leaning Mesh

Left leaning mesh is right leaning mesh's sibling.  This mesh has all the same characteristics of its sibling it just leans to the left instead of the right.

Left Leaning Mesh (Worked Flat)
Multi of 2 +1
R1: *SSK, YO* K1
R2: Purl all Sts

Left Leaning Mesh (Worked in the Round)
Multi of 2
R1: *SSK, YO*
R2: Knit all Sts

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sewing My Me Made Wardrobe: Week 3

I have been super productive finishing off some projects and getting ready to finish up my sewing.  I completed all of my sewing goals this week and am ready for my next set projects.

I made my first Sorbetto and this may be one of my newest favorites.  It's quick and easy and there are tons of ways to change this pattern up.  It took about a yard of fabric and I can't wait to wear it.  I see a lot more Sorbettos in my future.  Maybe one with sleeves?

I found this tee at Old Navy for $5 and I know I am trying to not buy any new or ready made clothes, but I couldn't help myself.  I have actually been to Palm Beach in NSW, and surfed there so I felt that it was destiny.  I bought a large and took it in and gave it cute flutter sleeves.  It just makes me itch to get out to the shore and start the summer surf season.

This was one of the shirts I got in the dollar room at the thrift store.  It was a large to I cut the sleeves off took it in about 8 inches and made some cute cuffs from the scraps for the sleeves.  I also took about 4 inches off the length so now it is just a cute basic white crew neck tee.

Now this top was fun to sew.  This is actually the view from the back.  The fabric shop I frequent was having a sale on their old stock of lace applique and other lacy and beaded bits so I rummaged through the sale bin and found a few I liked.  This one was perfect for this project and added a little spice to an otherwise basic tee.  The front is similar to the neckline on the red surf top above and the sleeves are exactly the same, just a bit smaller.

Whats up next for the sewing machine:
-Stripped sweater alter, I'm thinking 3/4 sleeved cardi.
-Batik anda sundress
-If I'm feeling ambitious, the Anita straight leg jeans.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Dye Pot

I got my new dyes and my base yarn and I got down to work dying some fab yarn.  Here are three of my latest lovelies.

Here is one of my first hanks of yarn.  I still had a couple hanks of sock yarn to dye and this is one of them.  This hank has browns and pinks in it and it reminds me of the cherry trees on our block.

Right now I'm just experimenting and getting my bearings with the new dyes.  I purchased a kit that came with yellow, black, a warm blue, and a cool blue, a warm red and a cool red.  Then I purchased two extra dye colors, purple and brown.  I've heard stories of blue and red separating and not creating an even purple so I thought why take the chance and I don't want to be bothered to mix brown especially if the dye company has already done it for me.

This hank is the lace weight yarn that I purchased and wow, this color was amazing to dye.  This was the first hank I dyed with my new dyes and wow, I can't even begin to describe how excited I was when I saw this come out of the dye pot.  It was also the first time I used black and I may have fallen in love.  This was a combination of the cool blue, the purple and of course the black.

Now this hank of yarn is for me.  I purchased some Ahimsa silk from my LYS it was the natural color so I thought why not dye it and see what these dyes could do.  Ta Da!  I wanted a cool watery blue that reminded me of the water in Forster in NSW Australia and I am pleased with how it came out.  I think I want to dye more of this base for Alchemy Hour so I will be looking into finding more.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pattern Sneak Peek: A Comfortable Corset

Here is a quick peek at my newest knitting pattern.  I designed it in a Pima cotton and acrylic blend yarn for the warmer weather.  The shaping and ribbing used in this top give the look of a corset with out the cinching, while the lace panel adds interest and shape to the waist line and neck line.  The pattern will be available Monday April 23rd in my Etsy shop and on  I will also be posting more pictures on my Facebook Page as we get closer to the release date.

Friday, April 13, 2012

For the Love of Philly: Reading Terminal Market

The Reading Terminal Market is a must when you are in center city.  It is one of my favorite places in center city and even if you don't need any produce, bread, fish, cheese, cupcakes or anything to eat it is a great place to go and experience the atmosphere.

My first stop at the market is always Old City Coffee.  I need my caffeine fix for the morning or afternoon, or really any time of the day.

My next favorite place in Metropolitan Bakery.  Their bread is so yummy, but what I really love is their chocolate croissants.  Every few weeks I meet up with my friend Nicole and we purchase large cups of coffee and wonderful starchy bread and eat, chat and knit.  It involves three of my favorite things and one of my favorite people.   

The terminal is always teaming with activity and there is so much to see and do and eat.  There are countless stalls and all selling a variety of things.

  You can find locally grown and organic goods at the market.

Any kind of cheese you can imagine.

Yummy cupcakes from Flying Monkey

Watch pretzels being made by hand. 

Get a sandwich as big as your face.

Buy freshly baked breads.

Brows a variety of honeys.

Did I mention the pretzels.  If you find yourself in the terminal you at least need to have a hand made pretzel. The terminal is a great piece of Philly I love it for the vibe and the food.  It's a great place to visit just to see what's there and happening. 

12th and Arch St
Philadelphia Pa


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oh No!

I have not planed well for today to happen.  My commitments are all over the board and I have to go to Jersey in about an hour to do some consulting.  Ha, I  love that I am called in to consult it makes me feel like a real live  professional or something.  So today I will leave this little gem on the blog.  Don't get me wrong I love the Hunger Games, but this cracked me up.

Hope everyone has a great Thursday.  I'll be back tomorrow with a brand new For the Love of Philly.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sewing My Me Made Wardrobe: Week 2

I did it I finished my shorts and my trouser jeans.  It was much easier this time around and I learned a few new tricks.  These garments fit me even better than the first pair of pants I made.  I did go down two sizes and it made a huge different in the fit.  The Janina pattern is not true to size, or maybe I'm not true to size.  Either way both of my new skills and fitting the pattern better has resulted in me loving this patter and the garments that I have made from it.

I love these pants.  They sit high on my hips and fit great.  I will have more pics of me wearing these very soon.

The tricks I learned for these two projects were single welt pockets and how to sew a zipper fly flat.  First off the pockets.

The Janina has fuax pocket flaps.   I was not impressed with how they looked on my first pair of Janina Trousers and they didn't lay right.  (After this project I will be taking a seam ripper to those first trousers and resewing them.)  It was time to learn a new and functional skill, single welt pockets.  I found a pretty good tutorial on Burda Style with step by step instructions and photos on how to sew a single welt pocket.  They little buggers are pretty easy to accomplish.

My next gripe about sewing pants was the fly front.  The instructions in the pattern made no sense.  Except maybe if you had sewn a fly front before.  My knitting comrade Claire suggested sewing in the fly flat.  She swore that it was easier and looked better.  I searched for a tutorial and I found a great one on Threads website.  It was a video tutorial on sewing an easy flat fly-front zipper.  The steps were laid out well and demonstrated for you.  It made so much more sense.  From here on out I will always be sewing my fly front zippers flat.

I also made my third dolman sleeve top.  I can't wait to wear it with my new purple shorts.  

For next week I plan to sew my Sorbetto top as well as alter the tees I got at the thrift store.  I am making great progress.  Maybe I can squeeze in altering those old jeans into shorts this week too. After the tops are completed I will be sewing one more sundress and altering that stripped sweater I found at the thrift store.  So far so good.  I'm thinking my last week of sewing will be something more complicated or maybe just more involved.