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 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...........

Friday, September 11, 2015

"Nothing Really Finished" Friday

So aside from incurring the world's silliest injury (and being so pale as to resemble a plucked chicken), there has been some crafting this week. While we're still on the subject of painful things, I was zipping along on the second wedding scarf (due in late October) when I thought it might be a good idea to double-check the pattern directions which said that with the tubular cast-on, I could remove the provisional yarn without the scarf unraveling.  So I did:
The good news is, it does work.  The bad news is, I sort of hate how it looks.  I didn't get a very good picture of it, but it just looks loopy and weird.  And remember, this
is the SECOND scarf.  One scarf is done and waiting for me to master the cast-off that is supposed to "match" the cast-on that I don't like.  LOVELY. 

There are just times to cut one's losses, no matter how painful.  I will find a way to fix the first scarf, but I ripped out all of that work to start over with a regular cast on and make a scarf I can stand.  To make matters even more fun, the yarn ball barfed up its center after creating some lovely knots, so there is a fair amount of ill-will with this yarn currently, making ALL OTHER PROJECTS look fun by comparison.  Which is good, as there's a lot of them.

I finally dragged this table runner back out and embroidered ornaments on the remaining two squares. 
I had to wait until enough time had elapsed for me to forget how awful it is to work with metallic thread.  And now we've relearned that lesson.....

 used non-metallic gold thread.  Nothing spectacular, but nice enough.  I'm embroidering one in blues today:

which would probably have been more "winter" themed without Christmas ornaments on it.  Oh well.

I also dug out a piece of fabric I'd cut (ok, torn) when I made the original ribbon runner, 
and while I was attaching fusible fleece to everything else, got this one ready to go and have already started adding ribbons.  

My IDEA for the last batch of table runners morphed into this:
which I'm not sure I really like--which is why there are only two of them.  They're all ready for free motion quilting, then I think I'll bind them with the multi-colored print,
and hope that I like them a bit better.  I still have a lot more strips cut out, but I can try something else with them later.  If I get all of these finished, I might be set for Christmas/birthdays for a while.  Unless I have miscounted or make a whole bunch of new friends suddenly.....

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Ms. Sutton, in the Sewing Room, with the acrylic ruler.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

And I'm Behind

I have finished Andy's shirt,
and it is washed and ready to be worn!  We're having friends over on Saturday, so that was what I was aiming for.  Isn't it nice when people appreciate the things you make?  Andy adores the blue shirt, and he's been very excited about this one and will wear it a lot, I'm sure.  Aside from the shirt, though, no craft item has been finished lately.  However, yesterday:
(including a double batch of tarragon mustard to be frozen), and the day before:
a double-batch of roasted poblano salsa made and canned AND a double batch of basil-walnut pesto made and frozen.  One of us might be getting just a wee bit sick of the garden by now.....

Today I am taking it easier, so I am going to start the next batch of table runners.  I was going to make this lovely runner, but while I do love her project and will make one in the future, I'm sort of thinking I should do something a bit more likely to be FAST.  In general world terms, Christmas is quite a long way off, but in CRAFTING LAND, it's right around the corner.  So, these are the fabrics I picked out,
together with a cream fabric with gold glitter, seen here:
 I'm thinking either the above layout for a striped runner, or maybe this:
 for a chance to play with my new 60-degree triangular ruler.  I like the look of this, which is done with a border print but which could be done with fabric stripes.  Of course, the sensible thing might be to do the striped runners with this and cut out MORE fabric to play with once I have all the Christmas presents are done.....which makes it fairly unlikely it would be MY choice.  Still........

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Doin' Physical Therapy

Theo decided to "help" with my ball exercises. ...