Sunday, December 12, 2010

Two more for the family

I've been going purse-making crazy and designed two new purses that are in the shop. The first is the Gypsy's Rucksack, more of a carry-all bag than a purse:

The second is a half-circle bag with enough of a flat bottom to sit nicely on a table:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A new addition...

This one's up in the shop. It's a simpler style than the other, with a main compartment and a side zippered pocket rather than the divider in the center.

And it's got fun colors on the inside :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

So how bad is it really, you ask?

Do they have Bags Anonymous?

The only green zipper I had on hand is intended for my mom's spring purse (which I'll make after she lets me know if the dimensions on her fall/winter one are okay) and I just had to make this right now so black zipper it was. There is black in the pattern at closer review, and this purse is for me, so no harm done.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

More sewing

My machine has been seriously paying its rent these past few days.

First up is a Christmas table runner my mother requested. She's going to attach tassles to the ends. On the flip side of this is just a plain tan/peach that will match the dining room the rest of the year.

Then I made a valance for our living room's sliding doors, but a picture for that will have to wait until I can get the damn things to hang straight. I'm working out the kinks that happen when you attempt to ghetto-rig things instead of properly buying a curtain rod that will fit the 6 1/2' door.

And finally, a bath mat I threw together with some of the snuggle fleece I bought on Black Friday. I sewed wrong sides to wrong sides and then cut the seams into little chunks so its kind of rag-looking. It's cute to fill such a big bathroom floor, adds some color, is nice and warm on the feet, and absorbent for stepping out of the bathtub. As it gets used more, it'll look more worn and the cut ends will look better.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Making my way toward being a bag lady...

The sunflower purse I made for my mother was a big too big for her, she tried to use it and couldn't find things. So I took that one back (hurrah! perfect size for my notebooks for school) and she bought fabric for two more purses.

This is the first, for fall/winter. It's 9" wide, about 8" tall. Same construction as the other one, except the magnetic snap is on the inside this time.

Two small pockets and a zippered middle compartment on the inside, two pockets -- one skinny for pens and such, one bigger for keys -- on the outside.

Started this yesterday after work and finished about 20 minutes ago. I'm ever so slightly addicted to the construction methods of purses.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Crafters take their Black Fridays very seriously...

This is the first time that I've actually ventured out early in the morning on Black Friday. In the past, my mother and I might go out in the afternoons once the crazy dies down... but today JoAnn's had some good deals going on from 6 am - noon so I decided to venture out.

It wasn't too bad. There were racks of snuggle fleece usually $5.99 a yard that were $1.29. Several women filled two shopping carts full of them, got a yard cut of each, and had stacks a few feet high at the cutting counter. Ridiculous, but hey... if you quilt, you quilt.

I got three different prints of the fleece, a cute bird one I intend to make a throw pillow cover out of, a giraffe spot one, and a palm frond one. Alex and I's guest bathroom is a bunch of giraffe stuff (I collected giraffes as a kid and some of them made their way into my new home) so I'll figure out what to make with a combo of the giraffe and palm frond fabrics.

My mother picked out some fabric for me to make her a Christmas tablerunner with, and then we picked up some odds and ends. I didn't go fabric crazy like most, and I didn't buy any yarn because overall I'm unimpressed with most of JoAnn's yarn. Some of it is good staple stuff to turn to for scarves and projects for friends, but I wouldn't make a sweater out of most of their yarn.

And Hiroki is enjoying his stay at Grandma's, hurdling up and down the stairs every five minutes.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Yes, I'm a part of the true Harry Potter generation...

The Harry Potter books came out when I was in 3rd grade, so I was one of the original kids waiting for my owl to come with my Hogwarts letter. Such disappointment.

Tonight I'm seeing the seventh movie at 12:20 a.m., and my friend requested a scarf. Unfortunately I only had two days to work on this, and while I knitted and knitted and knitted... it was driving me crazy and it's nowhere near as long as a proper scarf should be. But this is Florida and we don't take our scarves too seriously, so a 52" scarf is perfectly acceptable.

I prefer Ravenclaw... but Slytherin is definitely better than high school when a Hufflepuff scarf was requested and I walked around crocheting a scarf everyone presumed to be for a bumblebee. Of course... now those are pretty much my school colors (ahem... gold, not yellow).

And this is the progress I've made on my Tappan Zee Cardigan:

I'm on row 7 of the first diamond pattern. Now a whole lot to show, but I've had two presentations for school, the above scarf, and lots of reading for the last few pop quizzes of the semester to undergo this week.

About a week ago I got an e-mail from the Criminal Justice department at my school talking about a study abroad opportunity to Russia this coming summer. And I think I might pursue it. It's two weeks, a few days in Moscow and most of the time in Volgograd/Stalingrad. Unfortunately it carries a $3500 price tag. I'm advertising to my friends and others around me that I'll make scarves, beanies, and sewn purses in an attempt to make money for this trip.

Realistically I'm not sure if I can make that on the side, considering most of my money right now is going straight to rent and utilities. My father has offered to help, but that kind of offer has come in the past and usually ends up pretty fruitless so I can't rely on that. The first payment is due the end of January, so I don't have much time to make up my mind so I can save up.

Kind of unsure whether I want to go or not. I want to go, but I've never traveled anywhere without someone I know with me (this trip is about 20 students and some faculty, no one I have met yet). I'm not sure how hectic it would be.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My dog is fashionable and my homework is... well, not so done

Finished Hiroki's sweater in time for his Friday dog park date. Now he can be nice and toasty after his bath.

He's such a funny model. Like a deer in headlights. He is often mistaken for a deer, though.

Same pattern I used for his first coat, with a different decorative stitch going down the back this time. I used some wool that I recycled from an ugly gray sweater from the thrift store and dyed with Kool-Aid.

I've gotten back on the dyeing and recycling yarn train this past week. The above wool I already had measured and skeined out, but I've been wanting new yarn lately to make something nice and found a misshapen and sad cardigan at the thrift store that desperately wanted loving. It was a really thin yarn after being unwound, but there's enough of it to double up and make a Tappan Zee Cardigan by Amy King.

It was a strange mustard baby poop yellow, I wasn't sure it would dye because it was 70% acrylic, 30% wool. But it did work well with the Kool Aid, so now it's a more orange and orangey-red color and drying on my porch. I'm very tempted to start knitting with it damp, I'm so excited because I think I'll actually be able to wear this creation. But alas... I have homework that needs desperate attention after being ignored these past two weeks for work and crafty things.

And then...

This has been my on-going project for the past three or four weeks. For my Cultural Approaches to Tourist Arts final, we had to do a project -- anything we wanted to do -- that related to the course objectives. We talked a lot about authenticity and how cultures change their cultural items to be more tourist-friendly, so I made a pseudo-Amish quilt and am going to present on what makes an Amish quilt Amish.

It's not a full size quilt, it's only 3'x3'. But my first proper quilt where I did the three layers, hand-quilted the layers, and bound it. Yes, I hand-quilted those. First time I've done that, and I think I really like it. I did not so much enjoy the hand-binding. In fact, this would have been done over a week ago if it wasn't for procrastinating on the binding. I'm presenting it in class this Tuesday.

And since Sakura has been missing from the blog lately... here's a really early picture I found of her on my camera. Probably taken in the first two months after we brought her home.

Stay tuned for some sewing things... a friend and I have recently made Tuesday nights our sewing night and JoAnn's had Simplicity patterns 5 for $5 last week.

Monday, November 8, 2010

chilly weather... in Florida?

The past few days it has been chilly here. Lows in the high 40s, highs in the mid 60s. Which is kind of ridiculous for Florida in November. But very welcome.

I had to bring out Hiroki's sweater I made him last spring so he wouldn't get cold after his bath at the dog park. I made it out of acrylic because I was thinking of washability and practicality... but unfortunately he had to sleep in it several nights when we went camping and it is terribly stretched out. Still useable, but not quite as adorable as it once was.

So I'm in the process of making him a new one out of wool so it holds its shape better. I'm trying not to spend money lately, and I remembered I had a whole bin of yarn I recycled and dyed a few months ago.

This is the collar, I made it long this time to go around his ears. A greyhound turtleneck. And I'm doing a leaf lace pattern down the back of it so the rounded part that sticks out past the cast on edge will sit jauntily on his head. He's going to be the most stylish dog on the block. I'm really liking how the colors work up, a combination of reds, purples, browns, and a few spots where the natural grey the yarn originally was comes through.

And since I was winding yarn in little cakes, I pulled out my favorite color I dyed called Sea Glass and started making a beanie for myself.

I don't wear hats often, but they're so satisfying to make. And now that I'm working outsider, I'm going to need hats this winter. Mostly stockinette stitch, but every 8 rows I'm doing a purl row to mix things up a bit so there's ridges throughout.

In other news... I managed to find away to fit crafting into my Humanities seminar. For our final project we can do just about anything, and one of the ideas we talked about a lot this semester was authenticity and how cultural items change when they are mass-marketed to tourists. So I'm making a mini-quilt in a mix of Amish and modern ways. I'm using traditional Amish colors, but with soft patterns to make it a bit modern. I used electricity, of course, to piece the top... and then for the first time in my life ventured into hand-quilting the layers.

Sneak peak (full post to come later):

It's mostly done, I just have to finish hand-sewing the binding to the back of the quilt in time for my presentation on November 16. And I made two side panels that mimic the design so I can hang it on the long wall behind our long boring beige couch when the class is over. Those will have to wait to be quilted and bound probably until finals are over. I'm definitely feeling the stress of school and work combined this semester.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Now it's time to get political...

I'm so disappointed in Florida right now. If I didn't have free school, I'd get the hell out of here in a heart beat.

Monday, October 18, 2010

FO Parade

I haven't posted in three weeks, but I do have something to show for it. Three somethings, actually.

A tablerunner from a pattern I picked up at Lolly's Fabric in Shipshewana, IN, made with three quilter's sticks of oriental inspired fabric from there as well. My first properly batted and finished quilted piece.

A knitted cropped vest/cardigan thing.

Pattern: Vine Lace Vest by Cecily Glowik
Yarn: Wool that I recycled and dyed from a thrift store sweater. Probably about 600 yards.
Modifications: I made this shorter, like a cropped cardigan rather than a full length vest. And I tried to work the recommended finish off for the sleeves but liked the no-finish look better.

And a purse for my mother. She requested this awhile ago and we bought fabric for it in Yoder's Department Store (also in Shipshewana, IN... Amish country is fabric haven). I just haven't gotten around to it but today while I was sitting in class I felt like sewing so I started sketching out the design for it. This is totally my own work.

This bag differs from my first one in a few ways.

First, it's larger measuring 14" wide and 11" tall. It has two straps, and there is batting in-between the lining and outer layer to give it a more plush feel.

There are two big compartments inside separated by a zipped compartment. There are three small pockets on the inside my mother requested for things like cell phone, etc. On the front there's a small pocket for my mom's work keys.

This purse also has a magnetic closure.

This turned out a little bigger than what my mother traditionally carries. I really really like this bag. I half hope my mom thinks it's a tad too tall for an everyday purse. One, so I can keep this bag (it will fit notebooks for school plus purse things) and two so I can make another bag for her.

I like making bags. This could mean I have a future in being a bag lady.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A bit of our new place...

Still working on some of the decor, but here's the basics...

The dining room and kitchen:

The patio:

The living room (as you can see Sakura has already claimed "her" section of the couch):

Next up: pictures of the office/craft room.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Moving Day!

As soon as I can wrangle Alex out of bed... moving day will commence with the aid of three good friends.

Photos of the new place to come...

Monday, September 6, 2010

acquiring antiques...

My birthday was last Wednesday, and since my mother works and we live 2 1/2 hours away from each other, she came down today for the holiday and for my birthday.

She brought me my trunk:

And as you can see, I'm already filling it with light things that need a home for the move. Light light things. Because even though it's not a particularly heavy trunk, it is still 3 1/2 feet long and not the easiest of things to maneuver.

For my birthday, my mom and her boyfriend found this antique wooden sewing case for me:

The top opens up for small trinkets:

And the whole thing folds out for different levels:

Good thing, too, because my big plastic make up case I use as a sewing box is getting kind of crowded. This will be a nice flat place to store patterns and doo-dads.

And lastly... Hiroki being cute:

We have a week left until we move, so this weekend when I start packing up boxes Hiroki is going to go bonkers. Whenever we used to pack some things up (even an overnight bag) he seemed to think we were leaving him. And then he got used to going with me to my mother's house for the occasional weekend, so now packing means he's going to see grandma and he bounces around excitedly.

Monday, August 30, 2010

shawl down, vest to go

Finished the Shipwreck Shawl in 10 days. Not so sure about the outcome, but it was pleasant to make.

Pattern: Shipwreck Shawl by Knitting Harpy
Yarn: Premiere Yarns Festival Mix Fiber (also known as... whatever the hell the factory had left) 3 skeins of what I suspect was some kind of wool fingering weight yarn with 359 yards per skein
Modifications: Knitted the entire center section with US#3s instead of US#4s, then as the outside grew I used US#6, US#8, US#10.5, and US#13. For the last section of the outside I only did about 5 rows instead of 14 before binding off.

The inside circle pattern doesn't pop out as much as everyone else's does. At first I thought it was because I used variegated yarn, but I've seen a lot of variegated yarn examples on Ravelry that still show up. Maybe once I get it framed against a white wall in the new apartment (I intend to use this as an art piece, now a shawl) it'll look fancier.

I've had a thing for lace shawls lately, but since I never wear them, I'm taking a break to knit up a Four Seasons Vine Lace Vest, a free pattern from a Classic Elite Yarns Webletter. Using an angora/lambswool mix I recycled from a thrift store sweater and dyed over with Kool-Aid.

I like it, so far, and might even get to wear it since winters here only call for so many days of full-on sweaters. A wool vest is the perfect warmth and easy to take off when I get inside for class.

Speaking of life outside knitting... we move in two weeks! My mother and I managed to fit my grandmother's cedar chest she got for her married life into the car on the way home from Michigan this summer, and when we move I'm sticking it in the craft room to store my fabric and such.

My 20th birthday is this Wednesday, and my mom hinted that she and her boyfriend found something special for my craft room when they went antiquing. So that something will also be there once we move in.

And since I have a day and a half left of being a teenager... I guess I need to think of something stereotypically angsty to do tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

traveling stash enhancement

A few new yarn shop adventures. Two summers ago we visited Yarn Company, which I liked, and Uptown Fibers. Because of construction, Yarn Company is only open Thurs - Saturday, so we didn't get there.

We visited Uptown Fibers and my mother found a yarn she liked for a shawl.

I'm going to make the Malagash Square Shawl with it. This yarn is kind of hard to photograph because of the shine. It's a variegated blue/green plied with a steel silver/grey. There's some fluffier less spun pieces in there that make this a very interesting texture knitted up.

Then we were at Craft 2000 and all their yarn was on closeout. I found this random yarn called Festival Mix Fiber and got it. Apparently this name is applied to any random discontinued yarn manufacturers have on their shelves, because I have found a million different examples of this label and none of them are anything close to what I have.

It's a fingering or maybe even a lace weight yarn in variegated deep pinks. I can't find yardage amounts for it, so I'll probably measure it out on my skein winder when I get home and figure out how much is there. I'm thinking of making a Shipwreck Shawl out of it to hang on the wall for art.

Monday, August 9, 2010

traveling through

Friday my mother and I started our annual roadtrip to Michigan. This year we went through Memphis first and then Michigan. Which means of course we visited Graceland and between Memphis and Michigan was a lot of Amish country.

Stopped in Shipshewanna today, where they have an AMAZING fabric store called Lolly's Fabric. We probably spent an hour just walking around. Seriously, they had more fabric than I have ever seen before tucked into every crook and cranny and shelf. And everything was $5.95 a yard. They also had some beautiful fat quarter combinations and kits. I kind of wanted to just roll around in all the fabric, it was just overwhelmingly amazing. I got my first quilted pattern (for a table runner that I'm going to use as a wall hanging in our new place for color) and a few fabric sticks to accent what I've got at home.

There was also a really nice yarn store with a side bead shop and garden/herb shop called D'Vine Gallery.

In all our antique shopping, I've seen 3 vintage spinning wheels, all Saxony style. The first was in good shape for $125 that I should have bought. The second was absolutely beautiful with a distaff and obscenely gorgeous finish, but it was $325 and a little more than I should spend on a first wheel... seeing as I can't yet spin. The third was in kind of crappy condition for $115.

Unfortunately I have passed on all of them thus far... but there's still the trip from Michigan to Florida and lots of antiques in between.

I also found several vintage yarn winders that were beautiful, but for now my little home made rough one is fine. If I win the lottery, it will definitely be on my list of things to acquire.

And while in the car I started and finished an improvised design for a shawl for my mother's neighbor. She's a sweet elderly lady who has always gone out of her way to send me cards and such for birthdays, graduation, etc.

Kind of hard to get a good picture in a hotel room, but here it is:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

FO: Vernal Equinox Shawl

I started this June 30. And continuously worked on it until earlier today. This thing took over a month of TV knitting. But it was kind of fun, even though in the end it took about an hour to get through 2 or 3 rows of the charts. It's HUGE. I even left out a clue and it's width is bigger than the length of a full size mattress.

Yeah, that's right... I used my mattress to block this thing because I didn't have a big enough space anywhere else.

By the time it dried there wasn't a whole lot of sunlight left for outside photos (and Alex wasn't home to take modeled pictures, as I wasn't about to do a self-timer rushed photoshoot for the neighbors to watch).

And though I have usually avoided knitting shawls because I don't wear them... I think I'm going to have to start wearing them. I like knitting them, I love knitting lace.

The original plan was to knit up some lace shawls to use as artwork to hang on the walls in our new place. This one, however, might just be worn.

Pattern: Vernal Equinox Shawl by
Yarn: 2 different colorways I dyed from yarn I recycled. It's 100% wool (though it's really light and the shawl isn't really warm to wear). Probably around 800 yards?
Modifications: I didn't do clue 5, I wasn't sure I would have enough of the red to finish it. Regardless... it's still huge.

And some cuteness for the road. Sakura frequently sleeps like this, the little hussy.

Friday, July 30, 2010

five days in which I make two dresses

Monday I got overly excited at Walmart and bought a pattern and some fabric. Which turned into this:

What a hot fricken mess. Like the awkward girl who made her prom dress the night before even though she'd never touched a sewing machine in her life. The fit is pretty terrible, perhaps because those damn lanky models on the pattern have no hips and I have enough hips to choke a horse.

So I gave it another go yesterday and ended up with this:

Better. I took the waist up and decided short cutesy sleeves are never going to be a good idea for me.

That is 200 inches of unhemmed skirt right there. Waiting to get back to JoAnn's to pick up bias tape to match the neck and arm openings. So much easier than what the pattern called for -- lining the bodice and flipping it inside to finish the neckline/arms. Which is fine and dandy and nifty... except it made the bodice of the red dress lumpy and horrible.

And this bodice is not so lumpy. And I just happen to have a decorative stitch on my machine that matches the vines on the fabric. Which means of course I had to use it.

I did line this second one, but in my own little way. As in... I lined it for modesty but attached the pieces as I did the seams. So it's not perfectly clean on the inside of the bodice, but it's so much better fitting this way.

Pattern: McCalls 6027, the red dress is view B, the blue dress is view A

Fabric: red dress is basic cotton from Walmart $2 a yard, blue dress is calico print from JoAnn's on sale for $2.79 a yard

Modifications: Red dress I did what the pattern said. Blue dress... I ignored the pattern completely other than cutting out the pieces. I constructed it differently for the skirt and the bodice lining and did my own thing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You have no idea how surprised I am at myself...

Yesterday evening I looked at my poor lonely sewing machine and realized I haven't even uncovered it in more than a month. I have a few skirts that I want to make... but not enough room right now to cut them out without causing stress and chaos for everyone. So I'm putting those off until we move and I have room, glorious room!

But small things I can do. And so I set about making a purse. A patchwork purse. Awhile back I bought two batches of those "100 squares of random fabric!" off of ebay. And got some pretty cute stuff. Among those 200 squares were about 50 that kind of matched -- they were the same pattern in different colors.

So that's the beginning of the plan and the mess involved.

And the finished purse, outside. It's a bit floppy because I like squishy bags, so pardon the microwave holding it up.

Here's the lined inside, complete with zippered pocket that is as big as one side of the purse for hiding girly things, plus two little pockets with the same patchwork material.

Little blue pocket for... cell phone maybe? Dunno, I wanted it.

Little purple pocket perfect for pens and such.

Pattern: None. Just kind of whipped it together. It's not a perfect cube, as the smaller sides are two squares wide at the bottom of the purse and decrease down to one square so the mouth of the purse is narrower than the bottom.

Fabric: The outside are squares I bought on ebay, no idea what they are. But it's one of those shops that has a million packs of 100 4"x4" squares on sale, so easy to find if you're interested.
The lining is some fabric I bought off WalMarts $1/yd sale rack when I first got my machine and wanted something to play with.

Time: Started it yesterday at probably 7 p.m. and finished today at 9 p.m. Probably worked maybe 6 hours on it, most of that sewing the patches together and picking out seams when hindsight led me to a more clever construction.

Overall I'm pleased. I was originally going to put a zipper on the top and I even put it mostly in... but took it out because the only other zipper I had that isn't destined for something else is only 7" and would greatly reduce the bulk of things I could fit into the mouth of the purse. Too lazy to go out and buy a longer zipper, this was a spur of the moment project that would have had its momentum broken by going out to buy supplies.



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