Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My Head is Spinning

There has been a lot going on here in my "studio"- so much, in fact, that I have not blogged because it was overwhelming to know where to start.  I decided that I would start with a summary post, and then expand on the different topics with individual posts with details and photos.

Wild Ginger Software
For my birthday last month I got software from Wild Ginger called Patternmaster Boutique.  It is software for drafting custom patterns.  I am hoping this will help me avoid the massive amounts of alterations involved when I make a standard pattern.  There is a learning curve involved, and I need to make at least 2 fitting garments to work out what measurements I need to enter to get patterns that fit.

SWAP Sewing Progress
I have made fairly good progress on my SWAP sewing.  I have finished two of the three required bottoms, two of the 5 required tops, and two of the wild cards, including a reversible Pearl vest, so the special garment is done.  I can include one previously sewn item and one ready to wear item, so I might be able to finish in the two weeks I have left.  I haven't blogged any of these completed garments, because I don't have photos.  The photos are always my big stumbling block.

Road Trip with a Fabric Theme
On the Thursday before Easter I happened to see the website for the PA Fabric Outlet, and noticed that they were having a going out of business 70% off sale.  I sent a link to my husband, mostly in a "hey this place is closing and we never got to go there" kind of way.  He responded "Let's go.  I'll take tomorrow off." Yes, he is a keeper!  Anyway, despite the fact that I had recently cataloged all of my fabrics and declared that I do not need any more, we hit Pennsylvania hard and bought a ton of stuff.  We shopped two branches of the PA Fabric Outlet.  An employee at our first PA Fabric Outlet stop suggested we also check out the Goodville Fabric outlet (their sale room is pictured below).  We also stopped at the brick and mortar for Fabric Mart.

There was also a stop for lunch and pie at Park Place Diner.  Hey my husband might be a saint but he is also human!

 New Sewing Machine
This week I got a new sewing machine.  I got a Brother LB6800PRW Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine.  I've only sewn on it for about a day, but I love it so far!

So I will work on collecting my thoughts and some photos for some more detailed posts about some of these topics in the near future.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One Ugly Sock

Many moons ago, I bought the book Op Art Socks, by Stephanie van der Linden.  It is an awesome book with some really unique patterns.  I joined a group that was formed to have knitalongs and knit through the whole book- I fell out rather early on because I could not finish the sock of that month on time.  Recently I decided to jump back in, because they were knitting some socks that interested me.  The main one, was Yaacov, which is the beautiful sock on the cover of the book.

Yaacov calls for using two skeins of the same striping yarn, and starting them at different points in the color progression.  I ordered a couple of skeins for that purpose, but when I cast on using those, it turned out the stripes in that yarn were too short for the pattern.  So I decided to try using two different skeins of striping yarn I had together.

Here is the cast on photo:

When I posted this photo before, I said it was a lot like clown barf, but I was ok with that.  I think at the time I was thinking it was cute in an "it's so ugly it's cute" kind of way.  But the more I knit, the more I started to think it was just ugly.  I did finish the first sock, and that made it clear this pair of socks was doomed- too tight!  I want to be clear, that I think the pattern is beautiful, and my problems were all operator errors!

I decided there was no way I was finishing these socks.  My lonely orphan sock sat in my knitting bag making me feel very bad, and I also occasionally thought about knitting the second sock.  Then this morning I got the idea- I would make the sock into a monster.

I cut the sock and sewed next to the cut to keep the sock from unraveling.

I made the toe and most of the foot into the main monster body/head.  I made the leg of the sock into the monster's legs.  For his arms I used the heel of the sock.  I think it turned out really cute!

Linking up to Patchwork Times for on the needles Friday!

Friday, March 20, 2015

On the Needles Friday March 20 2015

This year I decided to knit along with the folks making Year of the Afghan:Nature's Scenery, a design by Maggie Fangmann.  I don't usually start knitting something when I can't see the completed project, but I loved the first block so much I decided to go for it.  I am knitting it for my husband who is always cold while the rest of us are in tshirts and shorts.  I am using Lion Brand woolease in the Fisherman colorway.

A new block pattern comes out every month.  I have finished the January and February blocks.



I am enjoying this project.  It's nice when a large project like a blanket is broken up into smaller managable pieces.  Since the blocks come out monthly it sets a nice pace.  My only concern is the border around the whole thing, I am not sure how to even come up with enough/long enough needles to accomplish that!

Also, I recently finished this shawl!  It is Desert Peach by Romi Hill, in Knitpicks Gloss Lace yarn. 

I am planning to wear this on Easter with a dress I will make from a lovely blue floral print rayon challis I bought from Voguefabrics.

Linking up with Patchwork Times for on the Needles Friday!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Taming the Fabric Heap

I have mentioned before that my sewing "studio" is actually a corner of our bedroom.  You can imagine how much of a disruption my return to apparel sewing with gusto has been on our space.  I recently answered the siren song of a huge sale at Fashion Fabrics Club by purchasing a huge box of fabrics- I got fabric for 3 pairs of pants, a dress, 2 tops, a dress, a raincoat and at least 4 little dresses for Little Dresses for Africa.  I spent under a hundred bucks, but with that box arrived some guilt about the state of our bedroom.  So I decided a little organization was in order.

I ordered a pack of Ziplock Space Bags from Amazon.  I have my quilting fabrics in bankers boxes, but that system is not working so great for me, plus I periodically find my sewing room help sleeping in the fabrics!

(This photo is of the girls helping with pattern assembly but you get my drift!)

I numbered my bags and took photos of the fabrics as they went in.  I made albums on my flickr account for each bag.

I was amazed by how much those bags flattened when I sucked the air out!  It was also nice to see the fabrics I have on hand and now I can dream up what to so with them instead of shopping for more!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Knitting Galore

I had a bad cold last week, so was not up to much sewing, but I did get some knitting in.

I finished both my Ludwig socks and my Deflect socks:

Deflect by Hunter Hammersen

Ludwig by Stephanie van der Linden

Last night I started my next socks from Op Art Socks, Yaacov.  These are the socks from the cover on the book.  The sample in the book was knit using two skeins of a long self striping yarn.  I bought some, but they were not working out.  So I started last night with 2 different striping yarns.  I will cut yarn out of one of the skeins if the pink overlap.

These are slightly reminiscent of clown barf, but I am oddly ok with that.

Before I got sick I made a few project bags for prizes in some Ravelry group I am in:

This one was chosen by the prize winner and is winding its way to her now!

Linking up with Patchwork Times for On the Needles Friday!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Progress in the Studio

Ok, I have to take a second and laugh at my title, because my "studio" is an easy chair in the living room for knitting and my bedroom for sewing!  Anyway, I tried to keep busy this week and make progress on multiple projects.

I turned the heel and finished the gusset decreases on Deflect.

I noticed that I did not ever blog about my feather and fan scarf.  I bought this skein of laceweight in various shades of blue, green and grey on a sheep farm in southern New Jersey on a road trip with a friend. I have lost the label, and have no earthly idea what this yarn is!   I started the scarf in late November with the intention of knitting on the train on our trip to Florida.  I wanted a small project that would be fairly mindless and not too huge to carry.  This fit the bill.  But progress is slow on a laceweight scarf.  I plan to knit until I run out of yarn, and I think I am about halfway done.

 On the sewing front, I started on my sweatshirt fleece version of the Pearl Jacket by The Sewing Workshop.  And then this happened:

Yes, that is indeed a large number painted onto the back of my jacket.  I have prewashed this fabric and then when I took it out of the dryer I folded it inside out in case I wanted to do any marking.  As a result, I did not see this large mess until I had sewn the shoulder seam and flipped it to press.  I have only tiny scraps left.  The plan at the moment is to draft a yoke for the back and flip that piece so the numbers are on the inside.  Then I will also hem my sleeves to the outside so a little cuff of the inside shows there too.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times for on the needles!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Sock Mania

I really love knitting socks. I've knit many pairs, yet I am still always thrilled when I turn the heel, like it is magic or something! I seem to knit in phases, like at some times I am all about sweaters, other times all I want to knit are socks. First, I finished my Bridget socks!

I am thrilled with them!

I was about to show you all of the socks I have on the needles, but when I went and looked that was 7 pairs (!!) so I will just talk about my 2 most recents starts.  First, I cast on Deflect by Hunter Hammersen.  This was for part of a knitalong where the guidelines were to knit something by Hunter.  I am knitting it in Gourmet Stash Stout Sock.

Yesterday I started the next sock in the Op Art Sock knitalong, Ludwig. I am knitting it with some Lion Brand LB1878 I dyed myself with Koolaid and some pink self striping Kertzer On Your Toes.

Also on the sock front, I darned my first sock!  My Mona socks had gotten a hole in on heel, and I was on the brink of tossing them.  Instead I tried darning.  Here is the after photo:

I'll see how these wear.  I had tried the method before that involved knitting patches, but those socks were too far gone before I started I think.

Linking up with Patchwork Times for On the Needles Friday!