Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Queen Victoria in Nine Years

Nine years! Almost to the day, is how long I worked on this cross stitch. I started it December 2005, when we were living in the trailers in Blacker Hovse in Pasadena, and finished just after Christmas 2014, in Seattle. It wasn't constant work. I would get sick of it sometimes and put it away. Football season seems to be the best time for handwork...sitting on the couch "watching" the game with John. It's not entirely inattention, I have learned a (very) few things about the game over the years.

It looks so impressive all professionally framed and hung on the wall. It's hard to believe that I did that. It's just the same stitch over and over again using different colors.

This photo is of it finished while drying. It is important to wash handwork like this in soapy water (Dawn is best), rinse it well and dry it flat. The oils on skin can damage the fabric over time and degrade the colors.

I don't remember where I found the pattern, except that I found it online as a PDF, not a kit. I'm sure a person could google it.

I've been pondering entering it in the fair. I've never done that before, it seems to require a belief in one's own awesomeness.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Quilt Fit for a Boat

For Christmas 2013, we gave John's Mom and Dad the concept of a quilt for their boat. This was something we had been contemplating for a while but never quite had a great idea for it. After much discussion and tossing around ideas, we came up with the idea of small blocks with different scenes from their travels in Alaska. John designed the individual scenes and I turned them into appliqu├ęd blocks. After adding the sashing and borders, I quilted it on my machine: waves on the sashing pieces, ropes on the borders with anchors in the corners.

The quilt was finally finished in time to be their gift for Christmas 2014.

They have decided that it is better suited to hang on the wall in the guest bedroom so that it will not be ruined. I think that is a great idea and now everyone who comes to stay with them can enjoy it.

(I keep forgetting to take pictures of my finished projects. If I get a chance to take some up close, I will post them.)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What should I become?

This fabric is calling to me, but I can't decide what it should be. It's a cotton, heavier than quilting weight, and I have just under two yards. I think a top might be too much. Maybe a dress?? Something simple to show off the print. Or maybe a skirt?? A circle skirt or one with buttons down the front and a straight waist.

Or am I totally crazy and should never make this into clothing?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hat and Mittens for Baby

We had a cold spell in February and I realized that Baby didn't have a hat or mittens because I sent them with Cameron. Oops! I needed a quick knit so I looked through the free patterns on Ravelry and dove into my stash.

Link for hat.
Link for mittens.

I decided it would be easier to not deal with thumbs for such a small boy and would keep his hands warmer. It is nice to throw them on and not worry about which hand and getting them on straight. Both the mittens and the hat are bigger than I expected but that could just be because Baby is on the very low end of the percentages for his age. 

I ran out of the green yarn when I was almost finished with the second mitten. I'm not good yet at estimating how far yarn will go, I suppose that comes with practice. This is not my best work, but it is fine for what we needed. Baby keeps them on most of the time and that is the most important thing.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Valentine Wreath

My first finished project of 2014!

I started it January 1 and finished it the next day. Ravelry project page is here. I used Lion Brand red wool and then cut the hearts freehand from felt. I used stick-on velcro to attach them but I probably should have used hot glue. Crocheting around a styrofoam form is a bit tricky but once you get the hang of it it goes quickly.

This is more "crafty" than my projects usually are since I felt the need for something mindless on New Year's Day. Also, my lack of a Valentine Wreath has bothered me for years. I know, I'm weird... So, here it is and it makes me happy when I come home.

I have many ideas for more of these, probably more than I can hang on my door. So watch out! You might get one for Christmas!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Feeling Springy

First of all, I apologize for the cheesy bathroom self-shots! This was a last minute idea and then I couldn't remember if I'd ever blogged this top, so I figured I had better take some photos.

So, this is Butterick B5562, a nicely fitting knit top, unfortunately out of print. I'm not usually a fan of the Big 4 pattern companies, but I think that has been my own fault. As I learn more about fit and my own figure, my angst is declining. Many people seem to be afraid of sewing with knits. I really don't understand this as I find knits to be very forgiving and hide a lot of mistakes that woven fabrics do not. Plus, you don't need to do anything to the seams, allowing for lazy sewing... if you're into that.

This top is fun for a few reasons. This fabric is another I inherited from my Mother's stash. (Double stash busting! Yay!) She had to have bought this for me anyway since it is exactly the kind of print I always reach for. If you are ever in need of a gift for me, fabric with roses is always appreciated! 

I didn't make any adjustments to the pattern because I wanted to see how the fit is. The cut is nice for me and I love the sleeves. I'm starting to get a little self-conscious of my arms, like I'm turning into my grandmother, and these cute sleeves hide them well. I had never made gathers with elastic before, it isn't as scary as it seems.

I was feeling tired of the grey weather today, so I decided to wear this even though it's way too early to wear springy things. Oh well, one of the benefits of staying at home with a baby boy - he could care less what I wear!

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Good Excuse to Make a Dress

Our friends, Jessica and Johnny, were married May 11. I met both of them through church choir but was friends with Jessica first. When they finally started dating we had them over for dinner and games and got to know Johnny better. We are so happy for them, they are a great couple. The wedding was full of love and excitement, everyone was glad to see them married. There were a few very touching moments: when the parents of the couple came forward at the beginning of the ceremony to pray over them and the best man's speech just blew me away. They have wonderful friends and family who will support them in their marriage, it is so wonderful to see that. It seems much rarer these days.

For such a special wedding, I had to make a new dress. I made one in plenty of time and actually had it completely done a few weeks early, but it was too small. I wasn't sure if it would fit, but I went by the measurements on the pattern (ignoring the size number) with my fingers crossed. I can't even zip the thing up. I'm really not surprised and I wouldn't be so disappointed if I hadn't cared so much about the fabric. I bought it in Hawai'i when I was there the last time with my grandparents.

So, I threw in the towel on the Big 4 pattern companies and went back to my tried and true Colette. I had purchased their sewing book in the fall but not got around to making any of the patterns. Babies getting in the way of sewing seems to be quite common, I hear. Anyway, I decided on the Licorice dress pattern and found the fabric at Fabric.com.


This is a satin/rayon blend lined with a light polyester. It's hard to see the pink roses in this light over the cream background.

I ordered the fabric in plenty of time but it didn't arrive until Wednesday afternoon. The wedding was on Saturday...

I was miffed about having to hurry through the process. This dress is lined for Heaven's sake! I prepped the pattern pieces ahead of time since I had been tracking the package and knew that the timing was going to be close. I made a size 10 on the top and a 12 on the bottom. I've started tracing my patterns to preserve them better. This also allows me to lose (or gain) weight and still be able to make the pattern without having to buy it all over again. This is fine for the Big 4 companies whose patterns go on sale for 99 cents, but I'm not OK with it when I've spent $16 or, as in this case, it comes in a book.

So, yeah, I went to bed at 1:45 am on Friday night/Saturday morning. I kept telling myself it wasn't my fault, I didn't procrastinate after all. I forced myself to go slowly on this dress because I didn't have time to mess up. The fabric was very difficult to cut out as it is very slippery. I'm amazed the pieces came together so well considering how wonky they were. I think I'll try the tissue paper thing next time I decide to use a slippery fabric. Anyway, I felt like my mother on Easter morning. We had to be at the church at noon because I sang with the choir. It was a great thing that J&J wanted us to sing. They met in choir and wanted to include us all in the ceremony. The groom's mother is the choir director and managed to not cry until the last verse of the song. Most of us started tearing up then and barely made it to the end.

I should have had John take pictures before the wedding and the wrinkles set in. I realized as I was getting dressed that these colors are exactly my Grandmother Eunice's colors and I can imagine her wearing a dress like this in her younger days. I must be getting older because that doesn't bother me as much as it used to. It feels more like a tribute.

We took the photos at Green Lake while waiting for the reception to start. John made me take off the sunglasses, he said they ruin the look.