Thursday, August 27, 2015

I Have Finished Something!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And it WASN'T a bottle of wine!  Which, frankly, seemed the logical contender after wrestling with the tubular bind off again.  But it was an honest-to-goodness normal knitting project:
A finished project!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Now on to the next 10,000........

Speaking of which,
I have no excuses.  My resolve to not buy any new fabric doesn't even slow me down when faced with the right thing.  Tuesday I'd been to the gym and was meeting a friend for lunch, but popped into Craft Warehouse to see if I could find a small doily to use on some extra placemats for us, and was gobsmacked by some great fat quarter bundles with EIGHT fabrics in them--and they were on sale!!!!  Know how many fabrics I need for a Spicy Spiral table runner?  Eight!  Why can't I use fabrics I already have........?  Well, if I had that kind of self-control, I wouldn't be Cold Sheeping or making up mad challenges for myself.  Anyway, the one that's unrolled will be a Christmas gift for two of our dearest friends.  Then clockwise, some lovely neutral batiks to make one for my in-law's 60th wedding anniversary next year, the wine one will be for us, and the silver and red one was just so stunning that I couldn't pass it up.  (I have no willpower, but at least I'm honest)  There was a blue/green batik set that I almost grabbed as well, but I couldn't think of a single place to use it.  Andy and I both love blues and greens, but I decorated the house in warmer colors, and I couldn't think of a way to fit it into my seasonal decorations.  (Not that I'm not still thinking, of course...) 

To make up for such a lapse, I have ironed and straightened 5 Christmas fabrics from stash for my next batch of table runners.  I saw an idea on Pinterest that I'm going to try, but I have pinned hundreds of projects and yet I didn't pin THAT one, so there will be some guesswork involved.  Then I think I'm going to go hide my credit card..........

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lots of "Almost"

For almost an entire week now, I've kept thinking, "Oh, I'll just finish this before posting...." and I am really, really, REALLY close on several things, but nothing is quite done.  Especially not this:
Friday night our New Recipe Dinner Club is having an 1950s Hollywood night (complete with costumes) and I thought it would be fun to have a fake-fur stole.  Because it's only 95 degrees still, so, you know, chilly..... Which required a trip to the fabric store, as not even I have fake fur just waiting around in my stash.  I'll admit, I was sort of disappointed in the choice.  I ended up with a black fake rabbit fur because all the others that looked sort of real also sort of looked like roadkill.  I guess maybe there are a lot more costumes involving bad dog fur than faux mink, but I had actually wanted something with longer fur/hair/whatever.  Oh well........ 

Following the directions I found on Pinterest, I dug out some black crepe-backed satin to use as the lining.  The people at Hancock Fabrics never cut fabric particularly straight, so I used the fur piece as a template rather than just cutting by measurements, diligently pinning the fur everywhere I could.  One of the reasons I use crepe-backed satin is because there is one side that is not slick and sliding all over the place.  This, of course, only works if the non-slippery side happens to be the one coming in to contact with something.  The satin side, especially when coming into contact with something furry, can slide all over the darn place.  First I tried the regular sewing machine, then when that failed, I tried the serger--which is wonderful for a lot of things, but the edges of the fur roll, and on a serger one can't pin all the way to the edge, so that was a fiasco.  I thought I had it finally using a walking foot, but it turns out the fur has a bit of a stretch to it--or the walking foot decided to gather the satin--either way, they were 3 inches apart at the end.  Tonight I reread the directions, and they just sound so darn simple!  I swear this should work, though at this point I'm left with only hand-sewing, and I don't have enough time between now and Friday for that, so I think just the piece of fabric will work well enough for the 15 minutes I might actually be wearing it.  So, no finished project there. 

The jacket is assembled and hanging on Milo
(as in Venus de), which is what I now call the dressmaker's dummy, to sort of settle before I pin the facing in place and slipstitch the collar. I found this really cuts down on the swearing--mine, not Milo's.  While that hangs almost done,
did I mention the clearance fabric that followed me home?  Andy is loving his Valentine shirt
 so much that I wanted to make him another, and $8.64 is a pretty good deal.  Luckily,
the shirt is already in progress and at least half-done, so I didn't really add anything to stash.  Not really.  And I did send Andy a picture of the print while I was still in the store to make sure He would wear it this time, so we've had a "learning opportunity" with shirts this summer.....

Because I still have some reluctance to commit fabric to project, I'm trying to keep myself with the next project ready and possibly in the cutting stage so if I can stand but not sit, I can prep.  One more round of table runners of some sort SHOULD see us through Christmas, so I've been sorting and thinking:
and making a complete mess.  Who ARE those people who have clean sewing rooms?  And where is their fabric????????

Not to be left out,

the first scarf on the tiny needles is ready for the tubular cast-off..........and I am struggling with the directions.  There's no errata, so I think it's me and not the directions.  I found an online tutorial I'm going to try, then maybe YouTube.  It's SO CLOSE!!!!!  If I had used the 35 minutes I spent UNDOING my attempt at the cast-off ACTUALLY casting off...okay, it takes a long time, so it wouldn't really be finished, but at least it wouldn't be in exactly the same state as it was yesterday.   All this crafting and NOTHING actually finished!!!!!!!!!!!  And there are only 9 more days in August!  In crafting terms, that means Christmas is coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

One Down!

One of my goals this year was to make 3 colorwork ornaments, and the third one is finally done:
so I have now completed another goal!!!!!!!!!!!  Which brings me up to TWO.  Out of eightAhem......

The big one, of course, is the 115 projects, and I'm falling behind a bit.  The fall jacket is getting close to being done,
in spite of my assistant:

with the sleeves ready for top-stitching and buttonholes before being attached:
I love how this fabric looks, but in all honesty the fabric is a little thinner than it should be for this jacket.  It didn't feel like it when I bought it, or even when I cut it out, but I've had to be very, very careful to not stretch the fabric while sewing it together.  Like so much women's clothing, it will be completely useless for anything practical, like staying warm, but I still love it.  This is my fourth jacket from this pattern (5th if you count the one I lost and had to replace), and aside from having to sew each seam three times, it is now one of my favorites.  Which is good, as I still have a yellow floral print to make into a jacket as well.  And possibly this:
Theo and I have been sorting fabrics, and the note on this said it was intended for a long-sleeved shirt for Andy.  It's a fine-wale corduroy, which would indeed have made a nice shirt for Andy had I bought enough fabric.  It's 45-inches wide and there's just over 2 yards of it.  I'll double-check my patterns just to be sure, but I had a hard enough time getting the turquoise flannel shirt made, and that was with almost 3/4 of a yard more fabric.  Unless I own a men's shirt pattern that has 2 piece sleeves, this isn't going to make it.  What it COULD make is another jacket for me.  And it's a nice, neutral color.  Good thing it's a useful jacket!  This has probably been in my stash for 8-9 years, so it's hard to say if I had a pattern in mind or if I found it on clearance and grabbed it without really knowing how much fabric things needed.  I suspect the latter.  I have to admit, though, I'm enjoying working through the Deep Stash of the fabric--besides making me feel good about the stash, it's fun to explore and I don't remember all of it.  I am hoping, however, that I started to understand yardage requirements fairly early, as it will take a long time to make THAT many jackets............

Monday, August 10, 2015

Why I Set Absurd Goals

If I wasn't trying to reach 115 finished projects by the end of the year, this
 would not exist.  I simply do not know enough foul language to describe what it was like to work with this fabric.  It's a very good thing that Andy didn't like this fabric after all--there's no WAY a collared shirt would EVER have been made from this stuff, and I don't think I would have been a better person for the experience.

Still, it's finished and eventually I will even wear it.  I have probably forgiven worse projects.  In the meantime,
I'm working on the jacket.  It's home decorating fabric, but it is a little on the light side for this perhaps.  I think it will be fine, and the fabric is a dream to work with after the purple mess.  It will definitely be a completing-the-outfit sort of jacket rather than a keeping-me-warm one.  As it's back to scary-hot here right now, it's difficult to even remember the "needing warmth" thing. 

I am really trying to push myself to commit fabric to project, so I'm already scanning the stacks (and stacks...and stacks...) for the next project.  If I can find where I stashed the fabric, a strong possibility would be the summer clothes that were going to be for Andy's birthday LAST year.  Ahem..... Or, while I'm at it, that damn pajama top from 7 years ago.......

Speaking of gifts, the scarf is ready for the last few rows
as soon as I find where I put my #2 circular needle.  I assume somewhere in the sewing room is a big black hole filled with knitting needles, fabric, odd balls of yarn, measuring tapes, and everything else I can no longer find.  Maybe I should count cleaning as a finished project....?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


One problem I've never had: too many matching placemats.  When I first took up sewing again (after loathing it in 4-H), I made the same placemat pattern over and over--both because I liked it and because it was a good way to learn.  However, because my dining table sat 6 and I had 6 chairs, I never made more than 6 placemats and 6 matching napkins.  Which was fine at my old house, but now that we've been here 9 years and things have had a chance to end up behind the washing machine or in back of the cabinet, it's a real challenge to find 6 matching placemats when we have company.  So, I have 12 placemats made:
which almost used up all 5 yards.  And THINKING AHEAD, I have actually written this information on the pattern I drafted for future reference.  I am not even sure how to wrap my mind around this new level of organization.

The batting I used for them is a poly/cotton blend that says it should be quilted every 4 inches.  I don't know how that works for placemats, so I did toy with the idea of doing an outline embroidery smack in the middle of each one,
but I thought that might be a bit busy and it would be covered up by a plate anyway.  I tried edge-stitching all of them, but even with the walking foot, it made the edges all wavy.  So,
I picked out a subtle little decorative stitch that will hold the batting in place but will blend into the print.  I had a different one in mind at first, but it was too noticeable.  So, the placemats progress.  2 have all the "ties" in place, and I still need to slipstitch some edges together.  When I thought I was going to be edgestitching, I used fusible webbing to close the gaps up, but a few didn't get close enough to the edge, so I'll go back over those.  Still, almost a finished project and 5 yards of the stash almost used up.

I had to stop sewing when I hit my limit for sitting, so instead:
I cut out a blouse from the purple blocks fabric originally intended for Andy.  I had been leaning toward a jacket of some sort, but I don't have that much purple for it to go with, and it was in danger of becoming one of those fabrics that lingers in the stash because I can't commit to a pattern, so I grabbed one of my favorite blouse patterns with simple lines and laid it all out and cut the pieces out before I could second-guess myself.  Ha!

I'd also dug out this home decorating fabric which I bought in November of 2013 to make a fall jacket. That's WHY I bought it, but it must have been a clearance fabric, because I have more of it than I need for the jacket, so even though I'd bought it specifically to make a jacket, I had started debating about whether or not I should use it for something else. 
Now, is this just crazy?  I find myself doing this all the time.  I have TONS of fabric, but I'm having a hard time committing to a project with it.  So,
while I am feeling resolved and wanting some free space in the sewing room, I am laying out the pattern for the jacket.  Ta-da!!!!!!  Honestly, I can understand waffling a bit with really nice fabric, but I'm doing it with ALL of them.  How weird is that??????? 

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.........