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Monday, December 22, 2008

Still trudging along

Well, I'm still not sewing.  I've been knitting a bit - a Victoria Yoke Pullover for me from the latest Interweave Knits and trying to finish up a sweater vest for my hubby for Christmas.  I'm having a little pregnancy complication to means lots of yucky medicine for a few weeks that is making me all kinds of sick.  Oh, and I think I now have the flu - I have a fever with no other new symptoms.  

This will be a Christmas to remember.....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wow, it's been a while

Sewing mojo:  been GONE for months
Knitting mojo:  been GONE for months

The reason might have something to do with the little person growing inside of me and making me sick.  Just a thought.  

Yep, I'm pregnant and almost done with the first trimester, so I'm hoping all the mojo will soon return, along with my stomach's fortitude and all of my energy.

So, yeah, that list of big plans in my previous post - didn't finish one of them... and curiously, I'm not feeling at all guilty!  Yay for me!

Oh, and lest this post suggest otherwise, I'm ecstatic about the baby on the way!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pics to go with my last post!

First off, here is my new tee shirt.  I used Butterick 3344, which is now OOP.  I had it in my pattern stash, and this is my first time making it.

Pattern Description: Close-fitting knit top has neckline and sleeve variations and stitched hems.
Pattern Sizing: 6-8-10
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except for my design changes.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they were, although I ended up using a different hemming method.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really like the fit. I think it is flattering. I dislike the length. I will lengthen the body by four or more inches next time. Maybe the shorter tops were the dominant style when this pattern was released (it is now OOP).
Fabric Used: Striped cotton blend knit from Gorgeous Fabrics
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: No fitting alterations. I made a straight size 10. I made my own sleeve cut-off to make them 3/4 length. I also modified the neckline to make it more boatneck, and I ended up adding a band of fabric to the bottom to make it a bit longer. I also finished all the hems by hand because I wasn't happy with how straight machine stitches looked.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will definitely sew this again and would recommend it to anyone out there. It is a flattering top that is drafted well. 
Conclusion: I'm very happy with this top. Just wish I had a coverstitch machine to get a professional-looking hem!

Here's the fabric I'm using to make some jammies for a gift.  The floral is cotton flannel, and the solid blue is some kind of poly satin.
Grrrr!  This is my little man's "Kitty" costume fabric.  We'll see how much of a challenge the faux fur is.  I also go lining material - just boring brown.
Here's the corduroy for the skirt I have planned.  The brown is for some accent - I'm thinking flat piping.
And here is my purty herringbone... sigh... I love you so much.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Big plans

Oh my goodness, this post is way overdue.  First, I have a top that's been finished for over a week.  I've already worn it twice.  And of course, now I'm having Blogger or network issues and can't upload the pics here.  You can check out the Pattern Review.  I'll try again tomorrow.

I also have a finished skirt that I need to take pictures of.  

And finally, I organized my sewing thoughts for the month of October, and I think I have a plan I can accomplish.

1.  Finish gift jammies that I just started this week.  They're going to be super cute!
2.  Halloween costume for my little man.  He's going to be a "kitty" - his favorite word.  There is faux fur involved, so I'm not sure how easy this will be.  It's little, though, right, so how painful can it be?? (famous last words).
3.  I have a corduroy skirt idea that I want to make for the cotton pattern review contest.  I keep thinking I'll enter these and never finish in time.  Well, this is the month!  Of course, this is third on the list, so it may get bumped!  :-)
4.  I want to finish an 80% complete jacket to actually wear this fall.  It just needs the sleeves finished and the lining put in (the lining's already sewn together).
5.  I have a beautiful brown/orange-y herringbone I want to make something from sooooo badly but haven't found the perfect pattern yet.  (ok, I think we're past October sewing now.  I'm really not a quick sewer).
6.  Then there's still that coat sew-along coat!  I need to figure out what I'm doing about the shoulder pads.  The ones I put in just look too big.  Then, I just need to finish the sleeve hems and buttonholes and put in the lining and hem!

I think that's it.  It feels good to just get it all written down so I have a plan!

Pictures to come tomorrow!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What I'm knitting

This is what I'm working on.
This is a baby sweater for a gift, and I've already finished the back.  If you're really curious how it looks, you can check it out on Ravelry (I'm a new member! - JennyAnne) - that is, if I figure out how to post photos there.

The other baby sweater I mentioned a few posts ago is all sewn up with a collar, but I've misplaced the separating zipper I bought for it, so I can't show a picture yet.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New top!

Well, here is my new top!  I made this pretty much during the weekend.  I wore it yesterday (Monday).  I think I cut it out on Thursday or Friday.  The pattern is a mish-mash of a few patterns in my stash.  I won't call it my own, but it was my vision.  I really like the crossed front style.  I think it's really flattering, that is if the bottom section is form-fitting and not maternity-style.
Here's a close-up of the front bands.  I machine-sewed them to the front, and then hand finished the reverse side.  I put some light weight interfacing in the curved band on the top to stabilize it.  I didn't interface the middle band since I didn't have any knit interfacing on hand.  
Here you can see the bottom edge on the body and sleeves isn't sewn on.  It's just the border of the fabric.
I got this beautiful knit from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I think this knit is sold out, but they have so many other great ones!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Gotta knit this!

Have you seen the new Knitty?  I MUST knit this hat!  Unfortunately, I've promised myself I won't start any new projects until I finish some that are laying around... that goes for both knitting and sewing.  

In the knitting arena, I pulled out an old 90% finished baby sweater and sewed all the finished pieces together today.  Just have to knit on the collar and sew on a zipper.  That will hopefully be complete tomorrow.  I think it'll be too small for my little man this winter, so this will be a gift for some little boy in my life.  

On the sewing front, I have that knit top almost finished, and I am soooo happy with it.  I see much more knit-sewing in my future.  It would be finished already if I didn't have to sew and rip out a very long zig-zag seam twice before getting it right.  That, and I'm doing a lot of the finishing by hand.  It's the only way I'm really happy with the edges.  That's my life with no overcast machine.  Just have to finish off the bottom and sleeve hems tomorrow, and I'll have pictures to post.  I feel so productive!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Coat Progress

Here's my progress on the coat.  The shell is moving along quite nicely.  I still have to do the bound buttonholes on the sleeves.  I waited to do that until after I set the sleeves to make sure the length is good.  I'll have to put in the shoulder pads, too, before I finish the sleeves.  I also have to finish the front facing behind the bound buttonholes on the front, so that you can actually button through them!  The first picture of me modeling the coat is pretty washed out, unfortunately, but you get an idea of the look.  The collar needs a bit more TLC, also.  It's pretty unruly at the moment.  I want it to lay more symmetrically without having to constantly adjust.Here's a better picture showing some top stitching and the front buttonholes.  I'm really happy with this so far.  I also think the sleeves went in nicely.
Ok, here's my big problem.  I seem to have scorched my fabric.  Where, you ask?  Why, center front of course!  It's looking a bit yellow-ish right under the buttonhole below.  I think it's pretty noticeable.  Is there anything I can do about this, or is there no fixing it now?  

To end on a good note, here's a picture of my lining (not yet pressed - I'm scared of the iron now).  I guess some of the fun butterfly print is lost since there's so many pieces, but oh well, I like it anyway.  I put most of the lining together while I procrastinate dealing with the collar.
I also started (and almost finished) a cute knit top.  That should be done this weekend.  I needed a quick fix.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Progress on my Coat

So I decided to just go for it and started constructing my coat shell last weekend, before the instructions on the coat sew-along blog were posted.  Here it is so far.  It looks a lot like my muslin since it's a creamy white color wool flannel.  You may notice it's a bit shorter than my muslin was.  This is totally a result of material constraints.  I bought the fabric before I had a pattern in mind, and it's a miracle I got all the pieces cut out.  I should have bought more fabric.  Anyway, I think I'll be just as happy with a shorter length coat (as opposed to knee length).  It means less white wool to get dirty.

After I took the above picture,  I made my bound button holes.  This is only the second garment where I have used this button hole technique, so I'm pretty happy with the results.  In the picture, the lengths look a bit uneven.  I'll have to check that out tomorrow.  I'm spent for this evening.

Next, I think I'll put on the facings for the front, and then the collar (connects to the funny curved shoulder piece, not the fronts), and finally the sleeves.  I'm still a bit undecided about the horizontal pockets and flaps.  I left space for the inseam pockets, but I accidentally (wasn't thinking) sewed the horizontal pockets closed.  I'll have to check those out and decide if I should just take out that stitching or do some kind of welt.  I'm not sure, and of course, being a Marfy pattern, there are no instructions.  I must admit, I'm finding that pretty liberating.  I just do what I think should be done next.  So far, it seems to be working out ok...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Major crisis narrowly averted

I sat down at my sewing machine this morning to finally use it for the first time since I moved.  Almost all boxes are now unpacked.  I quickly discovered a problem:  no pedal.  Couldn't find it.  Not in the sewing machine case where I should have put it away before the movers came.  Not in the boxes yet to be unpacked around the sewing area.  I dug through every box in the house before finding the pedal amongst some of my husband's books.  Um, ok.  Anyway, all is well now, and as soon as it is naptime for a certain little boy, look out!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I am now a Mac user.  I just got my first MacBook.  I don't know much about Mac users other than they have some type of strange hippie/nonconformist stereotype.  My hubby thought this would be a great laptop for me.  I said "Sure, whatever."  It's very flashy and white...  So far, we seem to be getting along just fine.  I just use it for emailing and Internet browsing really.  It does have some differences from what I'm used to (my Gateway laptop is just getting on in years), and I think it will take a week or two to make a real determination on whether I like this better.  Like it or not, though, it's here to stay.

I think I'll be able to cut out my Market Bag Cover tomorrow.  I have the plan all mapped out in my head.  Now, I just have to actually sit down and do it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I just cast on a few days ago for Elizabeth Zimmerman's Hybrid Sweater from Knitting Without Tears. I was inspired to make it for my hubby after seeing Brooklyn Tweed's version quite a while ago. He knit it two years ago now. I'm hoping (crossed fingers) that I'll finish it for Christmas. I don't have a ball band around to tell you the yarn I'm using, but it's some type of merino, I remember, a nice, casual khaki color.
Here's mine so far. I'm quite proud of the hemmed edge - my first one.
Here you can see the wrong wide of the hemmed edge, where I did that row of knit 2 togethers. It wasn't especially fun, but I do like the result.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Domestic Diva

So I went into blogger to change my profile profession from "Military" to "Domestic Diva", "Domestic Engineer", or something similar. Heck even HausFrau would have been acceptable. Nothing of the sort in the list, though. I'll just have to keep people guessing with a "Not Specified" industry. I suppose I could just type it in the Occupation block, but where's the fun there?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yippee, I'm back!!

Anybody miss me...anyone?? Helloooooooo??
Anyway, I'm back in Germany, and in a new town, Nussloch. I'm loving our new place and my new job as a stay-at-home mom. I'm not bored yet! I do find I'm twice as tired in the evening as I was when I worked... sitting at a desk all day. Now, I'm running around all day. Did I mention I love it, though? I'm feeling so blessed to be able to do this.

So, I still have tons of stuff in boxes all over the place (notice the procrastination as I sit here during the little man's naptime instead of unpacking), and I have some boxes on the way from the States where I just spent 6 weeks, so I have nothing new to show knitting or sewing-wise, exactly. I do have a new idea, though...

I just picked up one of these puppies today, a Reisenthel "Carrybag." Now that I'm out and about more, walking to the store and such, I've seen a few German ladies "in the know" carrying these (I assume they're "in the know" - I think the bag looks handy). I think all the prints are really cute, but I chose this one:

Do they have these in the States now?

Now my mind is ablaze wondering if I could make a cover for it to change up the mood. I have this Amy Butler fabric.

I bought one yard of this as a sort of swatch to see if I wanted the fabric to make a new bedcover for our bedroom. Unfortunately, it's not the colors I hoped, but it is beautiful none the less. I made a dress a while back out of Amy Butler fabric, but I don't know how well this particular print would translate into, say, a skirt. I think it would make an uber-cute basket cover, though. ...and I think I have just enough fabric. Now all I have to do is find my sewing machine in this mess of boxes!

Oh, and check out what is right next to my house. Cable cars of sorts, transporting some sort of cement materials. All I know is they belong to a cement company. They look like they'd be a pain to live by, but I think it's kind of fun and unique, and they're very quiet and stop at night.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My coat muslin is finished!

Yay! I finished my coat muslin and am about to rip it all apart to use as a pattern for my coat. I'm very happy with the final fit, and I only had to make a few alterations.

Again, the pattern I'm using is Marfy 1414.

The pattern was cut perfectly for me except for the sleeves, which I will explain below.

Here are my first pictures, before sleeves, collar, and details. I tried it on over a heavy sweater, the heaviest I would wear with this coat. The only thing I want to change is to close the slits in back to the bottom of my derriere. I think they look a bit high as is. I was happy with the overall fit, so I finished the muslin.

I like the collar and pocket placement. The collar will have more body and stand up in the coating fabric with interfacing. I already added three inches onto the sleeve pattern for my freakishly long arms, but I will add another for the final pattern to be safe. The back belt looks a bit high for me. I will put it an inch or two lower on the final garment.

Finally, the sleeves... I put in my right sleeve first and it was so tight I couldn't get my arm through with the sweater on. I also did a crummy job of setting in the sleeve cap. I put too much ease too far down. For the left sleeve, I left the sleeve cap seam allowance out another inch and put the ease in the top of the shoulder. I also left out the two long sleeve seams to 5/8 inch instead of the original 1 inch. This made the sleeve fit me and the coat much better. What do you think? My left sleeve is the fixed version and the right sleeve is the poorly-fitting one.

Finally, I didn't hem the coat or the sleeves on the muslin.

As you can probably tell, I'm very happy with my coat muslin. If you see glaring problems, though, please let me know. This is my first muslin and my first coat, and I am open to constructive critiques. Thank you!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Glorious Vacation!

I have been enjoying my vacation soooooo much! No photos to show because I'm lazy, and since I'm on vacation, that's allowed.

My coat muslin is about halfway sewn together, and I have quite a bit of knitting to show and tell in August. Until then, I doubt I'll be doing much blogging. Just having way too much fun being lazy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A very sad day

No, one of my cats didn't die.

I am packing up my sewing machine for the move. I'm only moving about a half hour down the road, but I do still have to pack. I kept my vintage (my mom's old) machine up as long as possible, but I haven't done much sewing in the past week what with all the cleaning and packing.

Fear not. I'm about to go on a 6-week vacation to the States and will be working on my coat for the Great Coat Sew Along at my parents' house. That means I get to play with my mom's fancy machine and serger! I also have several knitting projects on the to-pack pile.

All is not lost.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Notes on the Purl Stitch

I actually LIKE the purl stitch! I prefer purling over knitting. It is much smoother, easier, and faster than knitting. Today, thanks to Elizabeth Zimmerman (who hated the purl stitch), I figured out why.

I've been knitting for almost seven year now. I taught myself how my sophomore year in college (not counting my nana's lessons when I was about 10). Yesterday, I started reading my first Elizabeth Zimmerman book, Knitting Without Tears. You can see in a post below that I bought this book to knit my husband a sweater for Christmas. Anyway, I've read MANY knitting instruction and pattern books, and somehow, this is the first time I made a very interesting realization:

I've been purling incorrectly for seven years!!

I don't wrap the yarn the correct way around the needle. I go the easy way (no wonder I think purling is easier), which makes the knitting side a bit more awkward from my vantage point. It all comes out the same in the end, but that accounts for why I prefer purling over knitting, unlike any other knitter I know. It should be interested when I start some circular kitting I have planned, to see how knitting is easier when I don't have my funky purl stitches on the previous row.

I tried a few rows the "correct" way today, and decided that since it's all the same in the end, I'll keep doing it my way. Now I have my own knitting idiosyncrasy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pretty White Box

I received a pretty, white box yesterday from elann. It amazes me how quickly they get my orders here. I'm in Germany, and I received this box less than a week after I ordered it. I really recommend them if you knit or crochet.

I ordered this gorgeousness to make my dad a vest for Christmas a la Brooklyn Tweed's. Instead of the hand-dyed, though, I'm just making two-color gray stripes. Hope he likes it!
And the below splendiferousness is for a vest for my hubby for our anniversary. I am sooooo late on this. I promised him a vest about three years ago. (I did make him a sweater in college, which he still wears - we didn't break up as the legend foretells!) He's hoping to actually get it for Chrismas, I think, so I'm aiming to surprise him for our anniversary in August. Wish me luck! I'm leaving for a six-week va-cay in the States in a few weeks, so I should have lots of knitting time away from him. The vest is going to be gray with a ribbed cable pattern and little touches of navy on the plain ribbed borders. This is a design we collaborated on several years ago but never knitted to the end.

Finally, I ordered this Elizabeth Zimmerman classic (I'm embarrassed to admit this is my first EZ book). I want to make my hubby a simple stockinette saddle shoulder sweater, again like a Brookly Tweed creation. At the top, I want to do a short placket with buttons, so the top will look more like this cardi. I already have the yarn, a khacki wool/alpaca blend of some sort.
I'm hoping aran weights and easy stitch patterns will help these bad boys fly off the needles in time!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Well, I have nothing exciting and finished to show you (although I do have a dress that's been sitting around just waiting for a hem since March). Instead, here's some updates on two knits I'm working on.

First is a big lace scarf/shawl thing. It's my own lace "pattern." I don't think I can really claim a pattern that's such a simple eyelet repeat, but I think it's beautiful. It really allows the subtly-varigated yarn to shine.
Of course, Cleopatra had to see what was so gosh-darn interesting.

Next, a sleeve for the little shrug I posted about maybe two weeks ago. I have one more sleeve to go before I can sew it up. I'm getting a bit worried I'll run out of yarn. This will require a lot of seaming. :-(
And here's a little swatch I made from my buttery blue linen-cotton.

I did cut this out into a collar-less jacket. Here's what I envision. 3/4 sleeves and hook and eye closure.
I'm going to sew self-trim all around the edges, but I can't decide whether to use the gathered stuff or the plain stuff and add some beading. Any thoughts?

Here are closeups of each side. First, the plain version

...and here's the gathered/ruched version.

I also got some knitting goodies in the mail today, but I'll post on that tomorrow.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Fabric like buttah

I have a yard and a half of light blue linen/cotton fabric. It's like buttah. I don't really know what that means except it's a good thing, and this fabric is definitely a good thing. It's heavy for linen, and very crisp. The perfect color, too. I've had it for over a year (not long in stash terms, I know), but it keeps begging me to be sewn into something beautiful. I've simply got to get it started this weekend or it'll drive my crazy. I don't know what my fear is, but I know this could be something so fabulous but I can't envision what. I don't want to muck it up!

Today, I'm thinking a light jacket. But it needs something special. A big collar? Maybe. Or maybe no collar, Chanel-style. But with gathered, ruched trim? I think that would be good. Or maybe I could do some kind of beading or embroidery around the edge? I just can't decide!! It's rediculous. It's just linen... not like it was super expensive or difficult to find. It's just so perfect...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Great Coat Sew-Along

I joined my first sew-along to make a coat this summer. I know, I know... a coat in summer?? Well, it actually won't be complete until the fall, but the idea is to get started early so it's actually done in time to wear it. Isn't that a novel concept? This may be just the kick in the pants I need to get me going. The bog organizer, Marji, is going to close the blog just to participants in a little bit, but I'll keep copying my posts here. Here's my first post there:

I'm very excited to join my first sew along! I've been wanting to make a coat for a while now, and this will hopefully give me the jumpstart and timetable I need to get it done by fall. I already have a plan... I'm going to use this wool flannel coating fabric that I recently purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics. It doesn't feel very flannel-y to me. It has more of a little pile, and I love it!

...and I plan to use this Marfy pattern.
I love the slightly different collar, and that neckline is just begging me for a fabulous knit scarf or three. My biggest concern is the prospect of possibly having to alter the shoulders, since the shoulders and collar all look to be one piece. I usually don't have to do much altering, but I've never made a Marfy before.

This will be my first Marfy attempt as well as my first coat, so it should be interesting. If you're not familiar with Marfy patterns, they come with the pieces already cut out, but there are minimal markings on the pieces, there are no seam allowances, and no directions. I will definitely have to make my first muslin with this project.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sunny day at the zoo!

Here is a pic of my new dress in action at the Frankfurt zoo this past Saturday. We were planning to go to the Netherlands this weekend to see all the tulips, but the main flower place is closed already, so we decided we'd give it another go next year. Yeah, about that next year... my inter-continental move is off. I'll be here in Germany at least another year.
Here are some slightly better pics of the dress:

I am really happy with how this turned out. It was really simple to make, and I think it turned out cute. I did a pattern review here. The fabric is by Amy Butler, bought at Trendy Fabrics for less than I've seen it other places. Now I want to re-decorate my bedroom with Amy Butler fabric! I bought the white shirt at the mall here in Germany and put a new turquoise button on it to match the dress. I think it's cute!

One thing about the pattern. Although I really like the style, and it went together easily, it was difficult to determine what size to cut. By measurements on the envelope, I am a 14. Based on finished garment measurements, I cut a 10, and it is a bit roomier than I'd hoped. I could have fixed this as I went along by better tailoring the side seams, but I was on auto pilot! :-) It's ok a little big since I wanted a casual sundress, and it makes it nice and cool. I think next time, I will cut an 8. Can you believe that? Who needs 4 inches of ease at the bust of a fitted dress??? It would have fallen off of me! It's craziness!