Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hallelujah! At Least, Sort Of.........

The good news:  The grey scarf is done.
The bad news:  it rolls BADLY.  I altered the pattern to include 2 rows of seed stitch on the sides and to eliminate the dreaded tubular cast-on, so for a while I was kicking myself that my version had somehow caused the rolling, but I started doing Elizabeth Zimmermann's sewn bind-off on the maroon one, and it is rolling as well, so it's just the pattern.  I'll block them severely, but blocking never stops rolling due to how a pattern is done. But it's too late to do anything about it, so I'll just hope they like tubular scarves.  I bought the yarn because it was a silk blend with lovely drape, but I might add a scrap from my washaway stabilizer (which is starch) to minimize the rolling a bit. 

In other project-going-badly news,
the top-stitching is looking pretty messy when it crosses over the wales of the corduroy.  I think a second row of top-stitching will even it out, but reinforced stitching would also make the pockets (you know, the ones that will be right over my breasts) a bit of a focal point.  Maybe I should finish the rest of the jacket and see if it still bothers me?  I'll admit, if it's something that doesn't show, I can accept "close enough," but I do hate seeing errors.

At least there has been one VERY big (and surprising) crafting victory:
 Instead of using fusible webbing and the iron, I used my glue gun on Sunday to make 8 more kimono ornaments,
and ended up with no major burns!  Usually the only time I can manage such a feat with the glue gun is when it isn't plugged in.  Frankly, I like the finished items better when done with webbing rather than glue, but this was certainly faster.  And it got me two quick finished projects to count, and considering I still need 34 finished projects before the end of the year, this is my favorite part.....

I wonder how close I have to get to missing my 115-projects goal before I'll willingly dive into the WIPs bins--which is sort of the point of such a goal in the first place............?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Not Going To Panic Just Yet

Yes, the wedding for which the scarf is intended is indeed this month, but I'm trying not to stress today.  Tuesday I went to the gym, THEN made and canned 20 pints of chicken soup--plus freezing some--so yesterday I really needed to rest, which involved a mind-numbing amount of knitting.  Or maybe that was the pain medication.  At any rate, I'm almost done with the 4th 24-row pattern repeat (out of 5).  Of course, I still need to fix the first scarf as well, but I am trying to talk myself down from the ceiling here.  After all, one has a year AFTER the wedding to still get a wedding gift to someone without being a complete twit.  Emily Post said so, though maybe not the "twit" part.

So this morning,
Theo and I are having coffee in the sewing room while I finish the first batch of top-stitching on the new jacket. 
This isn't a very accurate picture of the color, so let me just say that I'm really pleased how the pink thread is looking against the purple.

I was hoping to finish another project or two before September ended, because I am now officially 8 projects behind, but it didn't happen.  With any luck, the garden--and all associated bugs and vermin--is about to die or hibernate, and we can ignore each other's existence for a few lovely months.  I don't know which I mind more--that I am completely blood-thirsty when it comes to those nasty little voles and the big brown slugs, or that I am totally and utterly losing the battle with them. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Apparently Anything

When faced with project monotony monogamy, I can apparently be persuaded to do ANYTHING.  While resting my back yesterday, I sorted through my existing sewing patterns, added them to a Pinterest page, and even located a vest pattern I was looking for.  Then, when more mobile, I worked on this:
which does indeed look mostly like a wrinkled purple blob, but which is actually another very deep stash fabric.  4.5 yards of a 60-inch wide cotton fine-wale corduroy, probably from 2007?  Definitely something I bought on clearance, because I bought what was left on the bolt.  I'm sure I thought it would make a great shirt for Andy because I've already made him a purple corduroy shirt.  Or maybe this was going to be a skirt and shirt for me?  Of course, it's always possible that I just bought it because I liked it--which isn't a bad reason, probably, considering it's a useful fabric in a useful amount.  I'm still aiming to do Me Made Mondays in 2016, so the 4.5 yards are becoming YET ANOTHER jean jacket
this time maybe with colored top stitching?  I'm torn between a warm tan thread and this pink, which matches a bit better.  Black was another possibility, but it doesn't show up as well.  The rest of the fabric is becoming a long-sleeved shirt for me, 
and the newly-located vest.  If I were a more organized person, the jacket, vest, and shirt would be some sort of interchangeable ensemble that would match everything in my wardrobe.  As it is, they'll match a few things.  For me, that they will match ANYTHING is a bit of an achievement.

I'm getting pretty good at this jacket pattern by now, and I'm using the same pattern (smaller size) that I used for Andy's flannel shirt, so two out of three should be relatively quick projects, but for 115 finished projects for the year, I should be at 86 or 87 by the end of September.  And I'm at 78 right now.  It's great to be updating my wardrobe a bit, but I think I might need a few simple projects soon.  Like making more of these:
I've been digging through the sewing room, and found one leftover doily from when I made them (which will make 2 more placemats), then I found a doily that doesn't exactly match but could be close enough in a pinch (if I have this much fabric still stashed away).  And if I add backs to the 4 embroidered table runners, that could give me a few more finished projects AND some extra Christmas gifts if I need them.  AND--see, I really HAVE been desperate to do something besides knit scarves--I have found the extra microsuede fabric to replace the botched shirt body
 so once I figure out where I stashed the sleeves, the "blue microsuede ensemble" could be a finished project finally!  I could still do this........

.....says the woman who thought table runners for everyone was a brilliant idea.............

Friday, September 25, 2015

Nope, Not Tedious At All

Two identical scarves in light fingering yarn and size 2 & 3 needles with a fairly short deadline to a person with issues with project monogamy.  What could possibly go wrong with this?

In spite of a serious case of new project lust,
I have finally completed the first ball of yarn, and after a mishap involving splicing to the tail of my cast on, I am now knitting with the second ball of itty-bitty yarn and am ALMOST one long row into the second half of the scarf.  Almost...

Tonight I shall dream of chunky yarn and big, big needles..............

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

9 Years!

Today is our 9-year wedding anniversary.  Hard to believe it's been 9 years already, but that's a good sign.  

We always exchange perfume and cologne for our anniversaries, though rarely actually on the day.  We've been very, very late a few times, so this year we picked them out early for a change.  In February when we were down visiting Andy's parents, Andy and I went to a mall, and since I actually heartily dislike malls in general and try for once-a-year visits at most, we decided to pick out scents while we were there.  So, the nine-year fragrances ("artistically" arranged with a dusty engagement photo and some birthday flowers):
For Andy, L'Homme by Yves Saint Laurent
For me, Acqua di Gioia by Giorgio Armani
For the credit card, life support, as fragrances have just about doubled since we got married.

These are actually our 10th fragrances, as we exchanged them as our wedding gifts to each other, and it has been a really fun idea.  I can't remember where I got the idea, but it's really nice to have "themes" for gift-giving.  We do birthday, anniversary, Valentine's and Christmas, and I think finding new ideas 4 times a year might be getting a bit difficult by now, but with scents for anniversaries and home-made gifts for Valentine's day and themes (usually "hobbies") for Christmas, it's stayed fairly easy to come up with gifts--though as I still haven't finished the summer clothes for Andy's birthday last year and there's a Valentine gift for me that might never make it OUT of Andy's "project time-out bin," there are snags in the system once in a while.  But boy, do we smell good!  :)


Monday, September 21, 2015

Crafting Vacation!

Andy took a 4-day weekend to go camping, so I used the time to take a little mini-vacation of my own. First up,
the fleece pullover!  Finished and washed Thursday, delivered to our friend on Saturday.  Then things sort of stumbled a bit.

My fabric stash is not all accounted for, but I really am trying to stay focused on Me Made Mondays for next year as well as the idea that I need to use my fabrics before it fades in the sunlight or a vole gets loose in the sewing room and CAN'T be found.  This
 is 4 1/2 yards of microsuede.  It's early stash, so rather than one of my nice little index cards, it just had a torn paper saying it was 4 1/2 yards and no suggestion as to what it might have been FOR.  Of course, there probably wasn't a purpose as much of the early stash was bought on clearance when the 2 small Joanns stores here were getting ready to combine into the terrible "Super" store, which has never had a great selection of apparel fabrics.  I washed it and hung it over the upstairs railing to dry, and it will become a shirt for each of us--probably Andy's Valentine gift for 2016, as I did already have a project picked out to work on for the weekend.
For those of you who don't sew, pattern yardage requirements and layouts are based on two fabric widths:  45-inch and 60-inch.  FABRIC, however, comes in far more widths.  This particular gem was probably more along the lines of 56-inches wide, because even with trimming seam allowances, changing collar options, I still had this
which wasn't going to fit.  Because it was Friday, I made a mad dash to Joanns to see if I could find another half yard because Joanns on a Saturday is NO ONE'S idea of a vacation.  Luckily, they had it, I have everything cut out--we're just not on speaking terms yet.  So while it languished in the Project Protection Bin, I worked on the two Christmas table runners.  And here's a little tip:  if you are annoyed with another project, this is not the time to attempt free-motion quilting.  Unless, of course, you're after a more jagged all-over pattern--then it probably helps a great deal. 

They aren't pretty, but even I don't really care once a runner is finished and on the table.

The weather was beautiful most of the time, so I did a 4-, 3-, and a 6-mile walk during my vacation, which is my best walking since our trip to Colorado.  I haven't been able to do 6 miles in a long time, so that was exciting. Tiring, but exciting.  And I can't free-motion quilt for long periods of time, so it was an on/off thing for two days.  I did get them finished,

 and they're okay.  Not bad, just not my favorites.  I'll be finding something else to do with the remaining strips, but I think I'm ready for Christmas!

Saturday this arrived!
 One of my closest friends won a Fulbright scholarship to study math in Germany for a year, so for my birthday she sent me a German plaque for the kitchen and yarn!!!!!!!  YAY!!!!!!!

Speaking of yarn,
there wasn't much knitting.  I need this to be done by mid October, so of course, I want to cast on everything new.  I even caught myself sorting clothes in my closet, which might be a new personal low for a vacation activity.  I think I redeemed myself, however, by finishing this:
I have no idea how long it will last because the fabric just isn't right for this, but doesn't it look great?  I added edge-stitching all the way around the edge (including where the collar joins the body) to stabilize it because it really wasn't going to lay well without it and the fabric might stretch or sag, but I still love this jacket.  It isn't warm at all, one might see a dark shirt through it, but I'll love it while it lasts.  :)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Milking It

So today is my birthday, and it's only a true amateur who celebrates for a DAY.  Last night we met my parents for dinner in the town halfway between us, today we went to Art in the Park and out to lunch to celebrate, and two weeks ago our New Recipe Dinner Club had Italian Movie Night
(Yay!  An excuse for costumes!)  to celebrate the 3 out of 6 of us who have birthdays in September (which says a lot about January in Idaho, I guess).  Oh yeah--two weeks of birthday....now two months at the gym and everything should be back to normal. :)

Andy and I might have taken a slight detour to hit the fabric store before dinner last night.  You know, my stash does fairly well in the Witness Protection Program.  I want to make a silky print long-sleeved shirt for fall, so I bought this last night
and a fabric glue stick and nothing else.  In a fabric store!!!!!  Labor Day weekend I was a bit sore so I had Andy drive me to one of the local ones to get fabric for a fleece pullover for a friend who is about to undergo surgery.  Our friend borrowed the one I had made Andy years ago, and just raved about how much he loved it, so we thought it would be the perfect gift.  That time I bought the fabric, had Andy pick out two sets of buttons that he liked since he was with me, and nothing else.  Our new system is boring the socks off of Andy, but it's saving me a LOT of money.

I think it was a couple years ago in one of the challenges I hosted on Ravelry that I had members box up some of their yarn to set aside for their birthday the following year.  It's a stashdown group, and the whole purpose is to use the yarn one HAS instead of buying new yarn, but the problem with new yarn is it's WAY more exciting than existing yarn.  So the idea of the boxes was to make a project exciting again.  So this morning after breakfast, I dug down my box
to find:
lace yarn for a shawl, 2 felt ornaments to make, a yard of a chiffon-like fabric, a book, a pair of stamped cross stitch pillowcases AND a beaded ornament kit.  I'm guessing there might have been a bit of caffeine involved when I put this together, don't you?  Maybe I thought it was projects to tide me over until my NEXT birthday.  To be fair, all of this existed in my stash already, but I'm thinking that's a good 4 months of project time right there in that harmless looking little box.  And you guys are my witness to see if ANY of these are finished by NEXT year's birthday.

I had been going to start a new project this evening, but I think I am giving you an accurate picture of my sewing room to say that it was easier to work on the fleece pullover than to find a place to put it in order to start something else.  AND, the Sewing Gods obviously recognize birthdays because I got the collar right in the very first try!!!
 It looks a bit wonky here , but that square edge where the collar joins the body is really tricky.  I had such a hard time with the first one I made that I had to invent swear words because my own vocabulary just wasn't cutting it.  FIRST TRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm going to see how much I can get done tonight on the pullover, because after THAT, it is entirely possible that the pullover will simply self-destruct tomorrow..........

And I have to show you what Andy made me for my birthday:
He finished it almost a month EARLY, so you can only imagine how much of a shock that sort of behavior was around here.  We've been pretty pleased to be less than a month LATE, and there's a Valentine gift for me and a birthday gift for Andy both past the 1-year-late mark.  If that's the new standard around here, maybe I should start his 2016 birthday gift tomorrow...........