Saturday, August 1, 2015

Just Under The Wire

So obviously the shirt wasn't done in time for Andy's birthday, but it was at least finished before July ended:
except that I managed to miscount buttonholes and needed NINE instead of eight.  I'm running to the fabric store in a few minutes to get the extra button.  I just bought them a few weeks ago, so I'm sure they'll still be in stock.  Or pretty sure.  Or hopeful.  Maybe praying, really.

Aside from minus one button, I am SO pleased with how this shirt turned out.  Besides how great the fabric looks and that the shirt looks nice on Andy, I am positively thrilled to have used up some of my oldest fabric.  I was so excited that I dug out more old fabric to make another jacket, but decided a break from collars might be in order,
so this morning I am cutting out placemats for my mother-in-law for Christmas.  When we were down there, she said she would love oval placemats, because she has this lovely old table and a large group of friends, and square placemats don't work very well.  I found this fabric when we got back and checked to make sure she liked it while they were here visiting, and I'm really excited about these.  I'm going to do a quilting pattern with a little leaf motif and large swirls--maybe in different colors.  I'm keeping the scraps to test some ideas.  I'm thinking a set of 10-12, so I got 5 yards of fabric.  I maybe should have gotten more and made matching napkins, but that particular shopping trip might have involved a few other fabrics (none of which have been used yet), so I was trying to show a bit of restraint.....Or what qualifies for it in MY life, at any rate.........

Friday, July 31, 2015

I Have Come To A Realization

If we lived in an era when everything had to be hand-sewn, we would be naked.  

 This is not an exaggeration.  On Andy's shirt, the facing for the cuffs and the collar had to be slip-stitched down by hand, and even with a thimble and the good thread, I managed to stab myself repeatedly AND break the thread twice.  Thank heavens I top-stitched over them, as I wouldn't trust my seams through even one laundry cycle.

However,

 the shirt progresses and this morning got the first sleeve.  I pinned it in last night, but I wasn't too sure of my placement, so I thought it might be wise to revisit it again with coffee.  The sleeve had plenty of markings, but they didn't actually have the same corresponding markings on the shirt, so I was just sort of hoping that the square was meant to line up with one seam and the circle another, because in order to simplify the sleeve placket, the pattern moved the sleeve seam to match up with the BACK yoke seam. 
It works like a charm, but is REALLY confusing to pin.  When possible, I do try to buy patterns that have a designer attached to them--this happens to be a Palmer/Plesch pattern.  The instructions are better and the fitting instructions are good.  I think having one less seam in the underarm will be a huge bonus, so now that I've got it figured out, I think it will be my standard long-sleeve shirt for Andy. 

I ended up spending the evening with the scarf instead,
which is now just over halfway done.  It's going faster now that I can see the pattern and can check my work easily.  I've dropped stitches twice, but both times have been able to recover them without ripping back TOO much--those are very, very, VERY long rows.

Now, I'm having my second cup of coffee and am ready for that second sleeve!!!!!!!!!! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Reason # 374 To Use Up The Stash

* Having a cat who brings in live vermin which can run INTO the sewing room......

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Having Recovered From the Trauma.......

Sunday I laid the fabric out flat on the floor
(probably among the top 10 things I'm not really supposed to do because of my back), and found that if I changed the orientation of the collar pieces, I could get the shirt cut out.  It's not something I'd do with cheap fabric, but this one is pretty straight grain-wise, so I remarked the grainline on the collar pieces, and ACTUALLY remembering to make sure one front and one sleeve were cut with the pattern right-side-up and one of each WRONG side up, I got all the pieces cut out and
have even made some progress!  The shirt pattern I'm using is one I've made fairly frequently, and one of the features I like on it is the button band, which on solid prints one can roll to the outside to create the look of an added band.  I did think about trying it with this shirt, but the back
is enough of a darker shade that I thought it would look strange, and I thought one error per shirt is really enough for any project--which is a brave thing to say considering I still have long sleeves WITH CUFFS and the two-part collar still to go. 

When I finally get this finished, I will have used over 40 yards of fabric for the year.  Not as much as I had intended, but I am thrilled to be using up one of the oldest fabrics in my stash.  The blue moleskin was even older, though I'm a bit less thrilled about that as the shirt is an unwearable disaster.  STILL, a stash is much less frightening if one is actually using it up (albeit slowly).  Really, REALLY slowly............

 Speaking of slow, I wasn't feeling very good yesterday, so the new scarf and I spent the day together,
and I have finished the second of 7 pattern repeats.  It's going much faster now that I can see the pattern developing and know what I'm doing. The yarn I'm using is actually a light-fingering/heavy lace, so slightly lighter than the pattern called for, so it will have a lovely drape to it.  I'm really pleased with how it is turning out--which is good because as soon as I get this one done, I have to cast on a second.  And I'm very close to using up my first ball of yarn, which will put me 330 yards toward my new staying-on-the-sheep incentive planI packed up almost all the new yarn I bought and have NOT logged it on Ravelry.  For every 5,000 yards of yarn I knit from stash, I can get one package out of the box.  I'm guessing I will have LONG forgotten what I bought by the time I get there, so it will be a surprise AND new yarn, and 5,000 yards is quite a bit of knitting--two or three sweaters--so I could keep this up for several years (I hope).  I think my STASH could last for 10 years of knitting, but I'm aiming for 3 at this point....maybe 5 if this works, because I can always add non-yarn "prizes" if I run low.  :)

Maybe maturity ISN'T getting control over one's inner child--it's learning how best to bribe her............:)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

New Lesson Learned

Never talk about a shipwreck while crafting.

 Ahem............

There isn't a birthday shirt yet.  In fact, the birthday shirt has hit a big, big BIG snag.  I had 2.75 yards of flannel.  I SWEAR I did read the back of the envelope before starting,
and I am making shirt D.  With 44-inch-wide fabric.  Which is not what the shirt calls for.  Because I am an idiot. 

It isn't a total loss yet.  I'm going to see if I can lay it out differently and make it work.  If that fails, it can be a short-sleeved shirt, though short-sleeved flannel is a bit weird.  Having 2.75 yard is pretty exact, so I'm guessing that might have been accurate for a DIFFERENT shirt pattern, but while I found the first long-sleeved shirt that I made for Andy, I can't find the pattern.  And since I bought this fabric back in 2006 when I was young and trusting of the people who both cut fabric and the demented madmen who are employed to write patterns, I probably bought just exactly what I needed without any wiggle room.  And there isn't a chance of finding more fabric.  It's a really nice, heavy flannel--the sort of quality fabric that was surprising to find at Joann Fabrics 9 years ago, much less today.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Down to the Wire

Today is Andy's birthday and
at least the shirt is in progress.  The pattern does say it's a 3 hour shirt, but the cruise of S.S. Minnow was a 3-hour-cruise (a three hour cruise....), and look how THAT turned out.  Still, we are having friends over tonight and I have sworn to stay away from the garden so I'll be mobile tonight, so spending the day working on the shirt could keep me out of trouble........

Speaking of trouble, I have rounded up the items on my list (plus one impulse buy:
which isn't quite as insane as it looks because the shawls in Victorian Lace Today are notorious for using more yarn than stated, so this way I'm ready for her).  I obviously don't need it NOW, but now that I have tracked down this
for the colorwork ornaments, and this
because my royal blue yarn is running low, it's just me and the stash for the next few years.  I did pick up some yarn for men's scarves because gifts are always the weak point, and I thought this
would be a nice option for Christmas ornaments, so I am set and ready to go for the three-year badge!  :)  It probably slightly defeats the purpose if one buys yarn before Cold Sheeping, but I was pretty pleased with myself.  I've been working on a list for the last 6 months, and did pretty well sticking to it.  The idea of buying yarn when it's really hot helped a lot.  Of course, it's only Day 2, so my optimism runneth over..........as do my yarn bins.  :)

New yarn coming into the house has been highly motivating, so there is now a finished sock,
and I am making progress on the first of the wedding scarves:
The scarf is knit sideways, so those are VERY long rows.  I have a full appreciation of this as I started out with metal-tipped needles which the silk-blend yarn slipped right off of, so this is the SECOND attempt AND I still had to work back almost an entire row to pick up a dropped stitch even on this one.  I either don't have bamboo needles in size 3 or they are busy on something else, but I do have this odd plastic needle that I've had forever and is actually one of my favorites.  It isn't quite as sticky as wood, but it's sticky enough to hold the stitches.  Two of these by the end of October???????



Friday, July 10, 2015

Catching Up

Whew!  Just a crazy, crazy, crazy few weeks.  Aside from getting ready for the trip to Colorado, Andy's parents were stopping by here on their way home from Colorado, so there was some pretty massive cleaning.  And with temperatures well over 100, there was a lot of mulching and watering and weeding to keep the garden alive.  It turns out there had been a mix-up with dates, so they arrived a day earlier than we expected.  It worked out fine, but instead of having everything all ready, my mother-in-law pitched in and swept the floor for me while Andy put the sheets on the guest bed.  On her first visit, Theo put a dead mouse in her shoe, so we're just going to be the weird house.  :)  Luckily, everyone is pretty relaxed so it turned out fine.  And no mice were involved in this visit in any way, so that's probably a step up. 

I had planned to spend this week sewing as I'm going to make a shirt for Andy for his birthday this year and it's in 6 days.  Unfortunately, my hip had gotten a bit twisted again and that's a pretty painful process to go through.  So, when I have been able to be up and around,
I have been finishing up the felt gift bags which are currently occupying the space on the crafting table,
and with the last 2 will have finished 12 bags and cleared up possibly enough space to start cutting out fabric today.  A shirt in 6 days--easy, right?

Sometime during the last few weeks the website that was hosting my cute little Cold Sheep ticker went kaput, so I think I reached 6 months back on the sheep on July 6.  YAY!  And that night I heard from two of my closest friends that they are getting married in October, and could we come to the wedding.  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!  I've known them forever, and they were so great during our wedding that I want to do something REALLY special for them, and none of the table runners would quite go with their house as it's one like you would see in an architectural magazine.  They're both men and quite the snappy dressers, so I decided to make them really nice dress scarves for their wedding.  Which meant stepping OFF my sheep to get some new yarn.  I swear it wasn't just a good excuse--they've been friends of mine for so long that I've already made them personalized Christmas stockings, a chalkboard runner, and they've received several wooden pens.  It was scarves or a quilt, and I just didn't think I could pull off a quilt in time.  So,
I GOT NEW YARN TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Funnily enough, the idea of new yarn coming into the house spurred a mad dash to finish
the lace scarf I'd started for airplane knitting, and which has been "Ow, my hip hurts so I need to lay down" knitting this week.  I cast off this morning and will probably steam-block this one
as soon as I get my ironing board back.  Normally in the summer Theo is mostly out in the backyard, but with the traveling, company, and the obligatory several days of neighbors shooting off illegal fireworks, it's been a tough few weeks for the kitties.  I even had a sidekick most of yesterday,
though he seems unimpressed by the speed-knitting going on. 

An interesting thing about ordering yarn in July:  it's hard for even the biggest addict to get TOO excited about ordering wool when it's 100 degrees outside.  Really,
I was pretty restrained.  The yarn for the scarves is a luscious wool/silk/viscose blend in a fingering weight, and the pattern uses size 2 and 3 needles, so I'll be casting on the first scarf later today.  The other yarn is to make the Lacy Bowknot scarf.  I get so many compliments on mine that I wanted one in turquoise and a couple for gifts.  Had I been able to FEEL the silk blend, things might have been a bit different, of course, because it is LOVELY, but this is the magic of mail-order. 

When I step back onto the sheep, I want to go for the three-year badge, so I'll be rounding up a few things this month then, with any luck, will start Cold Sheeping again August 1.  I'm thinking it will be a bit easier to hit my anniversary dates when my desire for wool is at it's very lowest.  January is rough--I'm in the mood to make Christmas gifts for the following year, it's cold, I'm wiped out from all the parties, and it gets dark at 5:00 PM or earlier.  This is the new plan.  ALSO, I'm thinking of getting a bit of sock yarn and NOT listing it on Ravelry, so when my willpower gets low, I'll have new yarn that I won't probably remember, and can pull out a brand new ball of yarn without stepping off my sheep.  I think this could work.  Of course, I also think I can make 2 scarves on size 2 needles in about 3 months.  And have I mentioned the quilt tops recently.....?