Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Upcoming book release

Kathleen over at grosgrain just announced that she's writing a book based on her "Frock by Friday" series!

That is so exciting!

I've never actually participated in this sew-a-long series, but I read the instructions every single day and I love it when Kathleen posts pics of her favorite frocks sewn by people following long. (She calls this feature "Flikr Favs.")

Kathleen is very talented and creative. I love seeing what she comes up with. Her How-To videos are also very informative for people of all skill levels.

Oh, and her "Thrift Store Thursday" posts! I love those too. She takes finds from local thrift stores and alters them to fit or uses them to create something new.

Readers, stop what you're doing and go visit grosgrain and check out all those wonderful frocks!

Congrats, Kathleen! Can't wait to see your book on store shelves!

Friday, September 24, 2010

More Christmas projects

More Christmas projects are underway! I'm very proud how I'm already tackling things and finishing them so early!

This will leave more time for other Christmas ideas, baking and shopping as the season draws near.

Here's the latest projects — knitted dish clothes. The pattern is here.

I bought the yarn at A Yarn Among Friends in Moundsville, W.VA. Chris and I were in the area last week visiting a friend and vacationing. You can read about that trip in various posts on Small Travels and Musings.

This pair of dish clothes are a set and I'll make another set just like it.

I bought this yarn to make a pair of socks.

I'll use "I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Socks," by Cindy Guggemos. I've used this book to make three pair of the Eyelet Chevron Socks. This time I'm thinking of Crest O' the Wave Socks or maybe Little Arrowhead Lace Socks.

I haven't decided if I'll make a pair for me or make them for a gift.

Also, Nannie told me this week that she bought me a book. She has picked out a sweater in it she wants me to make for her. I'm so honored and excited to do this for her!

Nannie fell and broke her hip last week and will be at a nursing home for up to 3 weeks for rehab. (Prayers would be appreciated.) So I'm not sure when I'll get the book from her. She wanted to finish looking at the book before she gave it to me. She also said she'd buy the yarn, but I'd rather pick it out with her and pay for it myself.

Hopefully someone will take the book to her and a baby quilt she's been working on to the nursing home. That way she'll have some things to keep her busy while she's there. She's not dealing with being away from home too well right now.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

2nd scarf completed

Hallelujah! The 2nd Christmas scarf is complete!

Here are the two scarves together.

Onward to new Christmas projects. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shirt ideas

As I said in this post, I'm planning to tackle some easier projects for awhile. I'm burned out from jackets, pants and other detailed projects. I need some quick satisfaction!

Here's what I'm thinking of tackling. I may not get to them all, though I would like to, especially as Christmas gifts.

These are all from BurdaStyle and the images below belong to them:

Madison -- I want a sweater dress to wear this fall and winter and thought I could make this in wool or thick cotton. Any other suggestions? I also wonder how hard it will be to add sleeves. I would want short or cap sleeves or 3/4 length sleeves.

J.J. Blouse -- This will be cute with pencil skirts and slacks for the fall. BurdaStyle also has it styled with a long sleeved shirt underneath and that might work to carry it into the winter. I think, maybe, a jacket will work too. (Yes, I know. This looks detailed. I told you I love detailed stuff. It's hard for me to get away from them!)

Sadie -- I would make the tank top, either cowl neck or the plain. I could see this in a fancier knit so that it could be used under jackets and cardigans. I probably would not make the dress. I had one of Chris' cast-a-side polo shirts, but now I can't find it. It's green and soft. It would work perfectly for this.

Natalie -- I was thinking of making this as a gift. I really like the seams in the front and the collar. This is one of BurdaStyle's plus-sized patterns and can be easily adjusted for different sizes. I would love to hear your color combinations for the collar and body of this shirt. BurdaStyle made the collar red on a black shirt.

Ellinor -- Another potential Christmas gift. I would even make this for me. It's nice and simple. Any suggestions? I was thinking a sheer fabric with a colorful ribbon would look nice over tanks and other shirts.

Lydia -- This would probably be a Christmas gift. I usually don't wear long-sleeved T-shirts, unless they have a V-neck collar and maybe a 3/4 length sleeve. I don't know how to alter the neckline for a V-neck, so this will probably be a gift, if I make it. If anyone knows how to alter the neckline, please let me know.

I'm hoping these will be quick and will be relaxing and enjoyable! Picking out the fabric and notions should be wonderful. If y'all got any fabric and color suggestions, please share!

After I've finished off a few, relaxing pieces, I've got denim I bought last year and I plan to make jeans. Hopefully I'll be recharged and ready to tackle them before the end of the year!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shorts are finished!

I'm in need of quick sewing projects. I'm drawn to projects that are detailed and, therefore, take a long time for me to make. Which is usually fine, because I love the projects once I'm finished. Usually. These shorts, however, have not been fun. So, it's time for a break.

I was happy to learn how to do back pockets and underlaps, but it just took a long time to figure out what needed to be done. And I'm not sure I did them completely right.

In the end, I'm sort of proud how they came out, especially the back pockets.

I wished BurdaStyle had larger, more detailed pics on the page. I found it hard to figure out what I was supposed to do and that may have helped. (I do like the idea of printing at home though.)

If you've never sewn a stitch before, I wouldn't recommend any detailed projects from BurdaStyle quite yet. (Sorry, guys!)

I know they say to start out simple and work your way up, but I believe that if there's something you want to make, start with that. You'll enjoy it more than if you sewed something you won't use.

I haven't had any trouble using McCall's or Simplicity patterns, no matter if it was for jeans or jackets, but they tend to use a lot of pics . . . like a pic for every, single step. And that works better for me. The pattern instructions with pictures show me visually what to do. Sometimes I need that as well as words.

So, BurdaStyle patterns may just take me longer to figure them out. (Though if I went with simpler patterns I probably won't have as much trouble and should be able to whiz through them.)

Besides trying to figure out instructions for new techniques, I hit quite a few snags on techniques I've done before and, usually, feel quite confident about.

For instance, the hem. Oh, Lord, why can I not hem? If anyone can tell by the pics below what I'm doing wrong, please help!

I do sew an angle at the bottom the hem, which is supposed to take up the extra material and prevent puckering, but for the life of me, I couldn't get it to work with this project. I don't know if it's the material, but I suspect it's operator error and I need help learning a new way to keep hems from puckering.

I also had trouble with the belt loops. I couldn't get the fabric to turn inside out. I think it was because the material is so stiff. So the loops show serger thread and look pretty tacky. But, hopefully, Chris' shirt will cover those and it'll be all right.

I also did pretty awful with the zipper. I've never sewn a zipper with an underlap and I don't think it is supposed to make that much of a difference, but it did. I usually can't keep the stitching straight and that was to be expected here, but all these stray stitches look pretty bad.

Instead of looking for a nice contrasting thread, from now on I'm going to use thread that'll blend in. Yeah, I like contrasting, top stitching, but jeez, I do not sew well enough to want to show the stitching off!

Anyway, I hope the hubby will like these shorts. I think they turned out okay, though they're far from perfect or even okay. At least he's got something to cover his bum. :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Photos of scarf, sweater and tomato update

One down, one to go
I finished the first of two scarves last night:

This alpaca yarn feels so good and it's so pretty. It's going to be hard to turn this loose for Christmas.

Chris said I should buy some more alpaca yarn and make one for myself.

The pattern uses a traditional ripple pattern that is commonly found in afghans. I think it translates beautifully into scarves.

I can't wait to see how the other scarf turns out. It's colors are just as pretty.

Photo update
Here's the sweater all washed and blocked. It's no where near as stretched out and frumpy as it was last weekend when I completed it.

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Green is definitely my color.

I'm also glad I didn't sew the collar shut. I think I like it open. Do you?

Tomatoes galore!
I canned six more quarts of tomatoes this morning! I can't believe how many tomatoes we've gotten this year.

We didn't tie the plants up, so many have been lost to rot because they sat on the ground too long or we overlooked them as they hid underneath leaves and stems.

We also had a lot of ants, roly polys (pill bugs) and slugs we had to fight tomatoes for.

I've canned 2 quarts of tomatoes with chilies, 17 quarts of diced tomatoes, 1 pint of diced tomatoes and 3 pints of salsa. That is a blessing!

That doesn't include the quart of basil-garlic tomato sauce we made earlier in the summer to can with the peach chutney disaster (had to throw out all 7 pints because it burned and tasted awful; apple cider vinegar does not substitute for white wine vinegar!) and canned peaches (1 quart).