Sunday, February 28, 2016

Not Much

So while I did manage to finally get a picture of the finished tunic,
and discovered that the neck opening is slightly crooked, there are no other finished projects yet.  My hip was finally feeling really good yesterday, so I cleaned the laundry room and we ran some errands.  I also took some time to regain more of my sewing table:
There's still a small pile of stuff to deal with at the very end, but I have a LOT more working room than I did, and tools are back where they belong.  Then, while it was cleaned off and kitty-free, I cut the fat quarters
 
into strips before I could change my mind and decide they weren't exactly what I wanted.  Do you ever do that?  I bought these for no purpose, I want to try bargello quilting, but I was in serious danger of putting them away and not using them because they might not be quite right.  I find myself doing that a lot.  The black and white dress I recently finished fell victim to that as well.  I bought that fabric several years ago SPECIFICALLY to make that pattern, and yet it took me years to cut it out because I kept thinking "maybe I should do something different with this..."  I really can analyze projects to death, which is why trying for 200 yards is really helping me.  It's just that little push I need to make the need to use the fabric strong enough to overcome the "analysis to paralysis" I can find myself in.  So,
with Theo's "help," I cut all the fat quarters into 2.5-inch strips, tried a few layouts, then started sewing before I could try any MORE layouts.
The space I'm trying to fill is 65-inches long, so I tend to make runners 60-inches long to fill it, which might use actually use up all the strips.  I'm at 45 inches so far.  Then I'll sew the top and bottom strips together to create a tube, and slice the tube into strips.

I also sorted through another shelf of fabric, finding 3 one-yard cuts that I'm assuming I meant for scarves:
 because as a knitter I of COURSE don't have an entire bin full of scarves.  I found an online tutorial for a kimono jacket made with one yard of silky fabric, so I'm thinking at least one of these needs to be made into a kimono.  After, of course, they're stiffened with the new magic liquid that got me through the dragon print.  After, of course, I finish up the other fabrics I've already stiffened.  At least I'm not going to have to worry about finding new projects for a while, right?  Although,
Nancy is still trying to lure me away into new projects and fabrics, but as long as she doesn't bring back free shipping, I'm safe.  I wish I could say that sorting through all my fabric was what was strengthening my willpower, but I think we all know that wouldn't really even slow me down on a weak day.  How else could I have accumulated THIS much fabric?

There has been some knitting,
and reknitting and knitting and reknitting.....  First, I dropped a stitch and had to tink back two rows to fix it.  THEN I noticed that I had made a mistake a bit further back, so I started tinking back even further.  THEN somehow I managed to get the end of needle caught on something and dropped 10 MORE stitches, which required even MORE tinking to fix.  So, an hour of knitting time, and I am almost back where I started.  I think the theory of "relaxing hobbies" is just a myth created to lure us in to the little black hole of what they REALLY turn out to be, don't you?

Friday, February 26, 2016

They're Done!!!!!

I have finished Andy's Valentine shirt before the end of February!
 The might-be-lions buttons look nice, and it's washed and in Andy's closet!  I finished the tunic for me earlier in the afternoon, and seem to have forgotten a picture of it.  Oops.  But between them, another 3.625 yards are out of the stash!

The fabric stiffener worked well and washed out perfectly, but it does seem to wear off with handling.  I managed to put a hole in the shirt with my point turner, and there's a part of the tunic where the fabric just separated when I was trying to smooth out a pucker in my serging.  This was pretty old fabric with no information in my notes, so I'm guessing it was pretty inexpensive and might be the fabric equivalent of Fun Fur.  I didn't put a pocket in Andy's shirt.  He does tend to use them, and the first time he put his phone in a pocket on this stuff would probably destroy the shirt.  But it's DONE, looks fun, and it was finished sort of close to Valentine's Day..  28 and a half yards so far.

While I'm trying to let my hip heal from our snowshoeing adventure two weeks ago, I've obviously gotten a LOT of sewing time in.  When it's a bit less grouchy, I'll have other stuff to do, but while I can, I should take advantage of the time, right? 

This
is pressed and ready for some understitching today.  There really isn't much left to do on this dress, except, of course, the zipper.  Normally, I whine a bit about zippers, but after the dragon print fabric, even a zipper on decent fabric seems like an improvement.

I also have these
ironed and ready to cut.  It's a fat quarter set I bought on clearance (sucker!), and the first set I've ever encountered that wasn't completely wonky.  I think it was called summer something, but I think it looks more like spring, and I think I'm going to try my hand at bargello with this for a runner for our stairway shelf.  I change the decorations for every season (usually)
 
 and it looks less sterile when I have a runner for the shelf.  I made this one for winter, and have one done for fall, and a small one that doesn't quite work for Christmas, but spring and summer could use some color.  When we bought this house, it was all off-white everywhere, and while some people like it for it's "clean" look, I find it mind-numbingly boring.  Much of the house has crown molding, but it wasn't that noticeable because it was the same color as the walls.  We've repainted most everything else, but the entryway is huge and will involve scaffolding, so we haven't gotten to that.  Instead, I add color wherever I can.  I think the pink floral prints will look good here--or at least better than white-on-white-on-white.  AND it would use up fabric bought as an impulse buy that will otherwise just languish in the stash.  Plus, I can't decide which clothing project to start next.  SO. MANY. CHOICES......

Thursday, February 25, 2016

I Did It!

Yesterday was my 60th day without buying fabric, so I felt strong enough to stop by Hancock Fabric after my dentist appointment.  If you can believe it, I wanted some buttons. Since Andy's Valentine shirt has dragons on it, I wanted to see if I could find some unusual buttons for it--though ones that can be washed, because let's not be stupid.  I admire a lot of the hand-crafted buttons I find, but for clothing, they just aren't practical.

I was a bit worried, and there was some really great gauze fabric for spring/summer that did catch my attention, but I still have at least THREE colors of gauze fabric in my stash from the last time that happened, and I still haven't quite worked out how to sew with gauze.  I've made 2 projects from it--one successful, one not--and no one I've talked to seems to have any idea how to handle the crinkled/wrinkly texture.  I always prewash fabric, but if one irons gauze, it stretches flat--which means you're cutting everything too small.  Remembering THAT, I made it past the display.

Buttons were 50% off, so it was a good day to visit.  I found some gold buttons with what might be lion heads on them:
 and bought enough for 2 projects.  (This is how the button stash got started).  I also found a back up
 just in case.  Then these,
jumped right in my cart.  I've used these before and love how they look, and they were on clearance, making them 50 cents for each card.  This is also one of the reasons for the button stash.

Since I was there, I decided I would pick up some interfacing for more bowls.  This
is a stiff interfacing which is fusible on both sides, and I have to say that it had better be much easier to work with when sewing that it is when carrying it around, or trying to store it, or I will be forever devoted to nonfusible.  I got a yard and a half, which should allow me to play with 3 or 4 bowls.

I also picked up two shorter zipppers.
I have a pattern for little zipped pouches in a free-motion quilting book that I want to try, and most of my zippers were much too long or too short.  I've cut zippers before, but prefer not to whenever possible.

I've been looking for some help with marking, as all of my rulers are for cutting rather than marking, and with the thick plastic, it can be hard to get really accurate marks.  All notions were 50% off, so I found this
which I think will solve a few of my problems.  I love sewing gadgets, but the ones I love best are the ones that have more than one use.

I did let myself browse patterns as McCall had them for $1.49 each, and I came home with 4:
I've been very pleased with the Palmer/Pletsch series, so I think these will be pretty useful.  And then I left!!!!!!!!!  More than I went in for, but I still feel pretty good about things.  50% off notions could have turned out VERY badly for me.  Heck, being ME, just being IN a fabric store could have turned out very, VERY badly...

I did a little sewing yesterday, but nothing that is easy to show.  Both shirts are moving along,
or were until Theo decided to help:
and apparently Andy's shirt makes a nice spot for a bath:
Andy is, of course, thrilled.  Of course, this pretty much put an end to progress until I lured Theo to the sewing table
by telling him that what would REALLY hold up my sewing is if someone chose to nap on a piece of spare fleece.  It works every time.....

The stiffener is helping a lot, but the more I handle the fabric, the more it wears off and the true, hideous nature of the fabric comes out:
like maniacal raveling.  All the pieces of the tunic are attached and I have just the hems left on it.  Andy's shirt is more complicated, and as the fabric doesn't do "crisp" edges when ironed, I've been edge-stitching everywhere.  I even did the buttonholes today, as I thought I'd better strike before the stiffener wore out any more. Thank heavens I'm not foolish enough to try a zipper.  I am hoping to finish them both by the end of the month, and the tunic is really close.  Maybe if I bribe myself with a nice, normal cotton project as soon as I finish both of these....?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Almost 25

With the finished table runner,
I have now used up almost 25 yards of fabric from the stash so far this year.  Yay!  And,
I have started Andy's Valentine shirt finally!  Actually, because the fabric turned out to be 60-inches wide rather than 45, I cut out a tunic for me as well and still have just over a yard left.
I wish there were a Ravelry for sewing, but so far all the websites I've seen are clunky or not that great, so to try to control my fabric stash, I have a spreadsheet and have slowly been adding everything to index cards.  The cards are nice because I can pin them to the fabric (and glue a scrap of the fabric to the back), but the spreadsheet is much faster to search.  Since I started the spreadsheet before Ravelry, my early yarn stash is on there as well, and so it's not set up to get an accurate tally of how much fabric I have, but maybe that's just as well.  It might frighten me too much.

However,  I think sorting through the fabric stash a little bit at a time is probably good for me.  I find things like this,
which I like but didn't remember buying.  Doesn't it look like a fun spring fabric?

It was underneath 6 yards of pink and black suiting, which I do actually remember, and which has been in danger of fading in the sunlight.
In the same shelf, I found 4 yards of some sort of blend,
 almost 6 yards of a wonderful hunter green twill suiting,
 3.5 yards of a border print,
6 yards of a plush/fine-wale corduroy,
which is REALLY fabulous and which I can't believe I forgot.  Since I might not get to any of them by the end of the year,
I put them in plastic bags to protect them from dust and light, and returned them to the shelf.  The good news is, that shelf contains 30.5 yards of fabric--so I will have almost emptied out one shelf of fabric so far this year.  At this rate, I could empty 5 or 6 shelves this year (you know, if all the fabric were actually in shelves, of course).  THAT would be a very, VERY visible dent.  My sewing room might not even frighten my friends by the end of the year!!!!!!!!  Or at least not if I give them a glass of wine first.......

In other exciting sewing news, I found the sleeves:
of a microsuede shirt I started and destroyed using decorative stitching.  I found the extra fabric and have enough of it to make a new front and back, but without the sleeves, I haven't bothered yet.  HOWEVER, this is part of a full pant set, so there could be some very fast and easy yardage in finishing this.  And another outfit ready for Me Made Mondays!

Hey--thinking REALY optimistically--maybe if I get 100-200 yards of fabric used up this year, I would quit LOSING things  in the sewing room!!  One can always dream...............

Monday, February 22, 2016

Me Made Monday

Sometimes the most hateful projects to make turn out to be wonderful.  Today I wore the corduroy shirt,
and I adore it.  I have not yet gotten over the emotional scarring enough to wish I had more corduroy in the stash, but I could actually have more of it the stash somewhere, and I don't know if I'm still smart enough to hope I don't..........................

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Not Quite

I was having such fun there with a new finished project every day, and I did really make an effort yesterday, getting all the wedges cut
and sewn together,
but my hip was really bothering me by that point, so it didn't happen.  Maybe today, though.

As INSANE as 200 yards a year sounds, even what I've done so far has made a big difference in my mental stash.  I think I've mentioned before that I started keeping a journal
 with all the projects that I have the materials for, and without including most of my yarn and knitting queue,
I've filled almost 21 pages since I started it.  Now the FUN part is that there is now at least one finished project on every page. Obviously, since I'm finding fabrics I don't even remember, it isn't a complete list by any stretch of the imagination, but I love seeing the progress.  I check off things as I finish them and add the date.  I'm thinking there will be an extra-large chocolate martini when the first entire page is checked off.  :)

Speaking of finishing projects, this
is a sweater I started for Andy in 2011.  It was meant to be a surprise, and I took it to physical therapy with me to work on it in secret.  In the interests of it EVER getting done, I finally started working on it in front of Andy.  The surprise of a half-finished sweater might not be as great as that of a finished sweater, but it's light-years better than never getting the surprise at all, right?  It's an Elizabeth Zimmerman January Aran, and if I wrote down notes on what I was doing, I have lost them long ago.  I'm doing the pullover with mock turtleneck, and I'm guessing I might want to do the sleeves and steeks for the sleeves before doing the shoulder seams or finishing the neck, so I'm ready to cast on for sleeves.  Maybe this will be his birthday gift for this year?  I'm using Lion Brand's Wool-Ease, which is not the most durable yarn, but it's soft and not TOO warm, so I think Andy will find it easy to wear, and the yarn has both been in the stash a long time, and takes up quite a bit of space, so finishing this will clear up some space in the sewing room closet--though maybe not very noticeable  space:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Whew!

That's a LOT of sewing.  I'm not sure I'll make it to 200 yards for the year, but it is REALLY nice to get some projects finally done.

Last night I wanted to unwind with some simple knitting, and my current knitting projects are in trickier spots, so I dug out one of my "surprise" projects:

In July of last year, before climbing back on the sheep, I ordered several yarns for projects, bagged them up with the details, and put them away as future "surprises" for myself when I was feeling the need for new yarns.  This
is the first one, and sure enough, I had forgotten all about this yarn so it was a surprise.  Could we have guessed it would be lace yarn?  It's another Begonia Swirl shawl, and I have already cast on.  I love it already!

Friday, February 19, 2016

We've Been Busy

With the table runner done,
 and a little time on our hands last night,  Calisto and I
decided to cut out a quick summer dress
with FOUR pattern pieces.  FOUR!!!!!!!  Did I mention the corduroy jacket had 25?  And with only 4 little pieces,
I have another finished project today!  And another 3.375 yards of fabric is gone from the stash.  Not to be left out,
Theo helped me stitch the strips together for the next table runner:
though we both sort of lost interest after all the strata were ironed.  Instead,
I ironed the fabric for the summer clothes for Andy's 2014 birthday.  If one is more than one year late, one can at least try to be less than TWO years late, right? 

So, I'm at 22.4 yards of yarn so far this year.  At this rate, I am on track to use up about 135-150 yards for the year.  I need more yardage, and it felt so good to get Andy's shirt done,
which has been on the to-do list for several years, I decided it was time to explore the deep stash.  There isn't a great deal of fabric that moved into this house with us, but this
has probably been around for a while.  4 yards of 60-inch wide poly blend of some sort--I like it, but don't have any ideas just yet.  Dress?   This
is a rather interesting silky print--again some sort of poly blend.  EIGHT yards of a 45-inch wide fabric.  Some sort of loose jacket with a dress?  Skirt?  And what the heck was I planning to do with 8 yards of this stuff?  Besides the obvious, of course:
This
I adore and will be using for a shirt, and thanks to another sewing friend who recommended PerfectSew, which can be used to temporarily stiffen silky fabrics so they can be cut out and sewn without drugs or nervous breakdowns, it's been soaked in stiffener and ready to go.  And while one is prepping one troublesome fabric,
why not prep several?  The coral is 7 yards of a really light poly blend, and is probably the only one that dates from my old house, and will be used to make a gored skirt that, conveniently, needs 6 yards of a really lightweight fabric.  I have no idea what I originally intended to do with it, but I think it will make a lovely skirt.  And I'm thinking the dragon print would make a nice Valentine's shirt for Andy this year, which will let me delay figuring out how to make the other fabric work. 

I should work on the Valentine shirt next..........but a project that uses up 6 yards is SO tempting........Or, if one is trying to reach 200 yards, it should be BOTH, right???????????