Friday, February 5, 2016

Cupcake Hell - The Souvenirs..........

Well, they're done.  Mostly.  The "directions" said to topstitch 1/8-inch from the edge to close the gap,
 which is REALLY fun when it involves FOUR layers of batting, and was even MORE fun to rip out.  None of the images I could find on the internet included the second row of stitching, so I don't think anyone else could make it work, either.  When the trauma has lessened, I will be slip-stitching the opening closed like I should have done in the first place.  ANYWAY, they are done, I have used my kit, and I have even packed away the pattern including my notes for how I think a sane person might have approached this little endeavor:
I am very proud that there is no profanity involved.  There are no small victories with bad projects.  As nothing puts a bad project in perspective like an even worse project, I added two more wonky lines of top stitching to the corduroy jacket, did the hand stitching, then
plopped it on Milo to get the facing pinned correctly.  Normally, this is my least-favorite and most-challenging part of this pattern, but this jacket passed that threshold SO long ago that I'm not even worried.  The top stitching looks really wonky in places because of the wales, something is wrong with the sleeve cuffs.....but it ISN'T a cupcake!!!!!!!  After three days in Cupcake Hell, even this is looking pretty good.

Such a bad day needs some knitting, so last night I was able to finish up the back,
and start the first sleeve:
There's a lot to be said for size 7 needles.  I'm in an impromptu WIP-down challenge on Ravelry to finish a really old WIP by the end of February, which would be kind of exciting.  Okay, REALLY exciting.  Heck, anything besides cupcakes is exciting right now. 

Even after the little cupcake-kit-fiasco, Nancy is not giving up without a fight.  Today this arrived in the mail,
 complete with full-color pictures of each of the fabrics:
 I am beginning to think I might have been given my own line in their 2016 sales projections, and she is not giving up without a fight.  41 days and counting!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

40 Days And 40 Nights

It has now been 40 days since I last bought fabric, and I think my life just got a bit easier.  I am perhaps a bit of a Nancy's Notions junkie, and when their bi-weekly catalog arrived this week,
I noticed their free-shipping-with-special-code promotion had been replaced by:
which is a seemingly small thing, but huge for me.  It's so easy to say, "Oh, it's free shipping, so I'll just order this....and maybe that......."  I flipped through the catalog briefly for ideas, but popped it into the recycle bin within 10 minutes of its arrival.  One less temptation to deal with!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank heavens, because this week I dug out one of the kits (notice I said "one of") I ordered from Nancy's Notions, and I'm thinking I might now know why the kit was on clearance in the first place. 
For two lousy oven mitts, I've spent a lot of time with this project.  First, you transfer the pattern to plastic template:
which was a lot easier after I first transferred the silly thing to tracing paper, so there was that entire process before even GETTING to the fun that was the sewing.  I don't know about you, but in my world, if one is going to leave a hole in one of the seams for turning, I like to do it on a spot where the seams are straight, if at all possible--just to make it easier to hide where the gap was.  I also like to make the hole large enough so that whatever I'm turning right-side-out might fit through the opening in less than 45 minutes.  Call me crazy......Two days, much swearing, and lots of begging later--they're still not done, which means that 2 lousy potholders has taken longer than two fleece pullovers and 5 yards of fleece.  What's not to love??????????

This, of course, leaves me with a strong case of Starteritis, and in spite of my resolution to use large amounts of fabric, I found myself eyeing my Christmas music stash:
 then this lovely crossword puzzle fabric,
which I was only able to tear myself away from by reminding myself of the greater bulk of the stash:
 (and that I'm not quite sure how I want the future crossword quilt to look), which lead to a reminder that this:
 is seriously close to being finished and could qualify as one of my 20 new "Me Made Monday" items if I finished it and got it off my door, and which is now looking FAR less frustrating after the little foray into Cupcake Hell, so it could see some action today.  Reaching 8.5 yards for January is super-motivating, because if I could maintain that as an average, I could use up 100 yards of fabric this year.  I know--I've only managed such a thing in years when I haven't actually been trying, but almost all the fabric stash dates from when we moved into this house or later, and on July 1 we'll have owned this house for 10 years.  There's not a lot of hope for the yarn, but I could reduce the amount of fabric that I'll be celebrating a milestone anniversary with.  That would be nice.  And I don't want my fabric to fade before I get to use it, so there's that as well.  Must sew faster.  And stay away from cupcakes......

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hitting A Few Snags.........

I ended up resting yesterday--including taking some afternoon Nyquil so I could nap--but there was some knitting.  While I'm very proud of myself for working on an older WIP, mohair and Nyquil don't really mix, so it was perhaps a mixed blessing that when I reached the end of the first ball of yarn, I had to stop because the rest of the yarn was in the lace bin, which is UNDER two others.  So not a lot of progress yesterday, but I feel a lot better today.  So much so that first thing I went looking for these
 which, when all used up, will still leave my lace bin looking like this:
At least the lid closes easily.  AND it is one of the smaller Rubbermaid bins--not the large ones that house my fabric.  Did I mention the weakness for lace yarns?

I'd like to say that the sewing room looks much roomier without the fleece, but I still have a long way to go.  Part of me is wondering if using up 100 yards this year would make a visible dent even, but I try not to listen to THAT voice.  I am pretty much shooting for 100 yards this year, and the rest of me is pretending it will make a huge, huge, HUGE difference.  HUGE.

I have been moving this little pile of strips around for about a month.  I sorted them out to make more table runners,
but the strip sets would each make 2 strata, or enough for one table runner IF I remembered to cut them out correctly.  Which is why there were two of these,
because I didn't.  I didn't have enough strips already cut to make 4 strip sets of each set, so I decided to put them back into the box until I was ready to cut more strips.  Sure, I think that I know how to get it right, but with my history, it's hard to be optimistic.  Besides--Valentine's Day is coming.

In general, I think Valentine's Day is ridiculous.  If you aren't in a relationship, or if the relationship is going badly, it's a pretty rotten day.  And if you ARE in a relationship that is going well, isn't it nicer to do things for each other because one WANTS to, rather than just because there's a sickly-sweet holiday driven by advertising that says one should?  Instead, we take it as an opportunity to make each other gifts--Christmas being too stressful and busy for such a thing.  Andy loves the shirt I made him last year,
so I was really excited when I ran across this print during my "last hurrah" online shopping:
Fun, right?  I've washed and ironed the fabric, and was just making a mental note to make sure I get the people all going the same way when I noticed that they'll all be sideways if I cut the pattern out normally.  

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

While I do wear a summer dress on which the palm trees are right-side-up on the back and upside-down on the front, that is because I didn't notice I'd messed up until it was done.  I can NOT cut out a shirt with sideways people.  So, I get to try laying out a pattern cross-grain, praying that the extra half-yard makes it work.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Luckily for my sanity (what is left of it, at any rate), these arrived yesterday from some friends living in Germany for the year:
CHRISTMAS FABRIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Two cottons with metallic accents, and a lovely tapestry panel that will make a lovely pillow.  I got new fabric without having to break my no-purchasing rule!!!!!!!  And they're Christmas fabrics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If I survive this shirt fiasco, I get to play with them.  That seems fair.........

Hm, this is making knitting with mohair look pretty good right now..............

Monday, February 1, 2016

Just Under The Wire

Our plans to go cross country skiing over the weekend got pushed back a week, so that left us without plans for the weekend.  I took the opportunity to go on a mad sewing frenzy, and last night put the final touches on
TWO fleece pullovers!!!  As one is actually a gift for a February birthday, you can understand my relief.  They're the same fabric and same size, so I cut them both out and sewed them at the same time, which turned out better than I expected.  AND, I have a new best friend:
I bought this little guy with some of the money I received for Christmas.  I'd read that rotary cutters made it easier to cut out challenging fabrics, but being ME, I expected to cut myself instead.  And I would have with my normal cutter, but the small blade is much easier to control.  Fleece is just so thick that the pattern puckers with traditional pinning,
 so I improvised some weights (really, there are SO many things available in the sewing room to use for pattern weights, I can't imagine buying the things), and used some minimal pinning and it worked like a charm!  And the 5-yard mountain of fleece that I've been moving around my sewing room for the last couple months has been used!  And, since the second pullover is a Christmas gift, I'm REALLY ahead for Christmas!  YAY!!!!!!!!!!!

That means my year is off to a really good start with:

8.625 yards of fabric used
1086 yards of yarn used
5 balls of yarn used
8 projects finished

The one thing fleece has over everything else, I can seriously see a visible dent in the stash, though as I bought the fabric in November, it wasn't really stash but new fabric (and not in the 18-yard end-of-the-year-binge, either), but it was taking up space.  And now it isn't!!!!!!!!!!!

And today is Me Made Monday, and my cold is a bit worse today, so I'm waiting to see if the drugs keep it at bay, or if today might need to be a pajama day--homemade pajamas, of course.  In fact,

 
these pajamas from 2014. I'm hoping for something else today, but they are rather fun pajamas. And very, very, VERY comfortable...

Friday, January 29, 2016

Well-Aged

A friend and I were joking around this week, and I mentioned that some of my yarn and I have been together almost 10 years now, as 2006-2007 are when my stash REALLY exploded.  She commented that I've been with my yarn longer than a lot of marriages last.....  THAT'S a sobering thought....

So, channeling my Finishitis, I dug out this:
which I started back in 2010 with yarn I bought in 2007.  It got set aside for no real reason--I think I probably just drifted on to something else, but I've already completed 2 pattern repeats and am close to the decreases for the arms.  That makes me feel a bit better.  Having a lot of yarn is a bit less overwhelming when one still likes the oldest yarns and one uses them. When one has a stash this large, one can find LOTS of ways to try to feel better about it.................


Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Wee Flutter of Finishitis

I have finished Sitcom Chic!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Sorry for the poor photo--I think it's the shock of having a finished sweater around here.  I haven't finished a sweater for me since July of 2013.  Granted, that has a lot to do with the back issues and getting depressed because I couldn't wear normal clothes for several years (still can't),  a great deal to do with being on pain meds, and a general tendency to be a bit of a flake when it comes to the fussy bits of knitting.  I am so excited that I got very excited about finishing a second sweater, so I dug out
which is probably where one sends Finishitis to die.  I have split for the arms and am one 32-row repeat left until the neck decreases, but it's STILL on size 2 needles.  It happened to be the easiest project to grab, but I think I'm going to dig out a different one.  I'd like to get at least one more sweater finished before the excitement fades, and this one still has at least a year to go.  Did I mention that I have yarn in stash for two more Alice Starmore sweaters in fingering yarn? 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

That Didn't Help

Last night I made the first bowl,
and in spite of the fact that I am actually revolted on my alma mater's SERIOUS over-emphasis on football, I love how the bowl turned out and it has not diminished my lust after additional fabric.  The saving grace is that I would never in a million years put this anywhere in my house, so I have promised myself to be cautious about which people I make this sort of gift for.  And I am saved from going on a wild bowl-making frenzy by not having very much of the stiff stabilizer in my stash, and knowing I can't be trusted anywhere NEAR a fabric store right now.  So, I am setting this aside and will find something ELSE to work on.  Hopefully something using a bit more yardage.