Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rediscovering Knitting

First of all, thank you for the encouraging comments! You guys are the best :)

There are a couple of posts around here about things that I knit. Such as this Honey Cowl, this scarf and this sweater (which I actually finished... even though it's a pretty sad/weird sweater). But then I kind of stopped knitting for a while. And crocheting. I was a one trick pony for a period and that trick was sewing.

susie rogers reading mitts knitting in progress


But now I've picked it up again and I have to wonder.. Why did I ever stop? I have been enjoying it immensely and have been finding myself trying to sneak time in here and there just for one more row or a few more stitches. The result? Well. I finished the ugly sweater mentioned previously. It's ugly mostly because I didn't follow a pattern, had no idea what I was doing, and picked it up after setting it down for months and I couldn't remember anything about it. So, it was a little wonky. The arms are too long and the ribbing on the cuffs and bottom don't really match in tension (I think I must have used different sized needles or something). But it was DONE and I was SO HAPPY.

susie rogers reading mitts knitting

susie rogers reading mitts knitting palm view

So then I decided to re-knit some reading mitts. I made one once, not sure if I ever posted about it. But I made the wrong size and had to frog the whole thing. I was so sad! After that, I just shoved the whole thing in a bin in my sewing room and forgot about them. That may have been the moment I gave up on knitting for a while. All that hard work! And for what?? (Never mind that this was all my fault and the heartache could have been avoided had I just measured my hands).

susie rogers reading mitts knitting side view

susie rogers reading mitts knitting top view

But I decided to give them another shot, this time with the benefit of actually knowing how big my hands are so I could choose the right size (I know, seems like such an obvious thing, right?). And well, now they're done! Both of them! And they fit! And I LOVE THEM SO MUCH OMG. Seriously, guys. The other day while I was sitting in the car with Mario waiting to meet a guy from the internets about trading cars (yes, that's pretty much my life), I was wearing my pretty new mitts (even though it's May in Tucson and woolen mitts are really not necessary) and reading a book about dyeing yarn. I was the picture of yarny contentment.

I haven't really put down the yarn since then. Right now I'm working on a sweater for Mario and am eyeballing shawl patterns. I'm thinking something easy and free for my first every shawl. Like maybe Zilver? I'll keep you posted!


Monday, May 18, 2015

The Dress and Starting Again

Here I am, over 6 weeks later making good on my promise to talk about the dress. I've spent the last weeks thinking about a lot of things craft related and who I am as a blogger, as a maker, as a person. I didn't intend to take time away from the blog, but I think it was good for me because it gave me a bit of perspective. I started this blog as a Quilter. I wanted to make quilts and read about quilts and quilting and fabric all the time. But more and more I found myself straying into other crafts. I love yarn, for example. I've been crocheting longer than quilting and now I've taken to knitting as well to the point that I think about yarn more than I think about quilting. I've also been experimenting with sewing clothes more and looking at other things I want to make or do as well. I'd love to figure out how to keep plants alive in a real garden, for instance. Or to dye yarn. The more I started learning new things, the less I felt like I could share them here. I felt like anything that was not to do with quilting had no place here. Sure, I mentioned my other projects once in a while, but quilting was supposed to be the Main Event. When that stopped being the case, the blogging dropped off.

But lately I've been thinking about how silly that is. I started this blog because I wanted to reach out and find other crazy people like me who think that spending 5, 10, 40 or even more hours on making something we could easily go buy in a store is worthwhile and even fun. Most of us crafty people don't just stick to one craft, after all. So why shouldn't my blog be about whatever I'm pursuing at the moment? So now I feel ready to return with less expectations and pressure on myself, with more of an attitude toward exploration and sharing those explorations with you.

So, in the spirit of all that, I'm going to talk about making my own wedding dress.

This is my family. In case you're wondering, the older gentleman is not my grandfather, he is my father.

First, a note about wedding dresses. I don't understand wanting to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a dress you're only going to wear once. I also don't understand the appeal of white dresses (so hard to keep clean!) and dislike the symbolism that has come to be associated with them, so I pretty much rejected the traditional expensive white wedding dress from the beginning. From the start I knew it would be hard to find a purple wedding dress. They just aren't a thing. So I figured I would have to make it myself if I didn't want to pay a huge amount of money for someone else to make me a custom dress or if I didn't want to choose from the cocktail dresses and prom dresses available in department stores. And that was totally fine with me- it would be cheaper this way, anyway and allow me total control of the dress.

In the spirit of that, my dress cost less than $100 to make. Really, including the price of the pattern, the thread that I didn't have on hand, and the sparkly belt I bought on Etsy, it was about $70.

And Mario's family.
The pattern is the Flora Dress. I only made a couple of alterations to it. I had to do a small bust adjustment, which went just fine, though I probably could have taken out another quarter inch or so. And I had to take a wedge out of the back on either side of the zipper so the straps wouldn't slide down my shoulders. Other than that, the pattern sewed up easily and more quickly than I expected. The dress was one of the first things I crossed off my list!

The fabric is a polyester satin with a crochet lace overlay. I picked both up at a local fabric shop for around $3/yard. They aren't super luxurious, but I love the way they look and I love the way the dress turned out. It has a great weight and swish to it that I really loved.


Originally I had this notion that I would construct this elaborate dress with layers and layers of chiffon cascading all around me (likely this came from too many hours browsing Pinterest for the perfect dress- it's dangerous!). But then I thought about what a headache that would be and how terrified I would be all night about getting it dirty or catching the floaty chiffon on a cactus or something and I threw that idea right out the window. This was a much more sensible dress and really, it's much more my style.

So, there you have it. A simple, homemade wedding dress for a simple, homemade wedding. I'm really excited to share all the other things I've been up to these past two months! It feels good to get back in this space.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Wedding

Guys! It's over! It's finally over!

I know that may not sound like the nicest reaction to having gotten married, but that's how I feel! Don't get me wrong, the wedding was lovely and fun and everything I wanted it to be. But I am so happy to be back to my regular life that does not involve guests lists, catering appointments, or agonizing over whether or not we bought enough booze to keep my thirsty friends and family happy (we did).

So how about some pictures?? These were all taken by my lovely mother. We haven't gotten the photos back from the photographer yet.

wedding ceremony

This was the ceremony. In my backyard. Most of the decorations are homemade. Remember I showed you a picture of all those paper flowers I made? Here they are, hanging in all their glory! It was a lovely, short ceremony. Maybe 5 minutes total. That was exactly what we wanted. Short and sweet and to the point :)

Yes, my dress is purple and yes I made it. I'll do a whole post about the dress later, I promise!


afterglow

Just after the ceremony picture :) We smiled a lot that day!

brides and bridesmaids

My lovely bridesmaids/sisters. On the left is my sister and on the right is Mario's. Love them!

Parents of the groom

Here we are with Mario's parents :)


bridal party

And the whole wedding party. Yes, I am short. 


wedding handmade flower crown

 See that crown of flowers on my head? Mario's youngest sister (not pictures) made it for me. Those flower are made of clay and attached to a bark covered wire crown. Isn't it lovely? She's so talented!

wedding smooches

I'll leave you with this one, which pretty much sums up the day. In spite of all the stress, everything went perfectly and everyone had a great time. I'm so happy I've found such a wonderful partner and have such wonderful friends and family. I feel so lucky :)


Friday, February 13, 2015

Lately...

OMG WHERE HAVE I BEEN??

Guys. Planning a wedding takes so much more time than I thought it would. Naive on my part? Yes, probably. But seriously, between appointments with caterers, making endless phone calls, meetings with parents and siblings and bridesmaids and decoration making... I have had almost no time for anything else. Including sewing, knitting, embroidery, etc... :(

But I did throw a fun party where we made a ton of paper flowers! There was cheese and wine and shenanigans. And look at all the fun puff balls we made!

paper puff balls for wedding

What else has been going on? Well, I finally got on Goodreads (come find me!) and set myself a challenge to read a book a week this year. I thought it was a stretch, but I figured I could catch up after the wedding. But you know what? I've already read 11 (ELEVEN) books this year. That's INSANE. But you know what else? It doesn't feel that fast to me. I've always been an avid reader, I just never tracked anything before. And my pace also ebbs and flows throughout the year. Maybe one week I'll read 4 or 5 books by the same author because I'm obsessed, but then I won't read anything for the next two weeks. It's kind of nice to see how much and how quickly I read stuff, though. I don't know why I never joined before!

I think really I've been reading more than anything else lately because I can fit it in in small chunks between doing other things. Waiting 15 minutes for Mario to pick me up for a wedding related appointment? Read. Waiting for a meeting to start at work? Read. Waiting on hold? Read. Also my sewing room is a DISASTER right now and I can't motivate myself to sew when everything is in such a state. This weekend I'm going to get it fit for human habitation again.

Speaking of sewing... I did do a little bit! I participated in the #bitchesgetstitchesswap on Instagram. And, in typical ME fashion, I took no pictures of what I sent... UGH. But I did get this amazing package from my swap partner!

bitchesgetstitches loot profanity party

Isn't it fantastic?? I love it so much! I haven't hung anything up yet because... well.. sewing room, disaster, etc. But I can't WAIT to!! Here is my partner's IG post of what I sent her:

instagram bitchesgetstitchesswap swap

This was such a fun swap :) There are so many great ones on IG that I want to join! But I was really good and didn't join any that would have me sewing right before the wedding. I didn't want to stress myself out too bad... But it was hard. There was a Studio Ghibli swap! And a Gilmore Girls swap!! There will be more. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

And last but not least... I've decided to start running. Specifically, training to run a race with my friend in May O.O I've never run a race before, but I've always wanted to give it a shot. So, HERE WE GO. I have the option of a half marathon or a 10k. My friend is opting for the half marathon, but I'm reserving judgment for a few weeks at least. I know I could do the 10k without too much trouble, but the half marathon kind of scares me. But isn't that a good reason to give it a shot? I don't know yet. Right now I'm training as if I am planning to run the half marathon, so I guess we'll see how it goes!

So, as you can see.. I've been super busy. I miss my blog, though. Even if it isn't always sewing stuff, I aim to keep you all up to date on stuff. And hopefully as soon as the wedding is over life will go back to normal enough that I can spend a lot more time behind my sewing machine!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Welcome to 2015

Hey there, long time no seeeeee. I know, but December is always a crazy month, isn't it?

First: some good news. After 2 surgeries, Charlie the white husky's lab results came back CLEAN and we will not have to look at other possible treatment options. My poor little Charles. He is really pathetic after surgery. See below for doped up post-surgery Charlie face:

doped up dog

There were illnesses and awfulness in December, but I still somehow managed to make a lot of Christmas presents, some of which I didn't actually photograph before gifting. Please forgive me. Some of them were still in progress on Christmas Eve! It was totally down to the wire...

embroidered felt heart ornament

I made two of these sweet little felt hearts, stuffed them, and added a hanging ribbon to make them ornaments.

embroidered t-rex ornament

This is probably my favorite ornament. I made it for my sister, who love T-Rex in all his awkward glory.


screen printed boston terrier

Mario got me a screen printing kit as a Christmas present, which I opened early and used to make more Christmas presents! This is the first one we made. Mario has a vinyl cutter, so we cut out stencils on that and then printed this on felt. It was so fun! We printed all sorts of things for Christmas. If I can find pictures of the other little things, I'll post them later. I'm missing pictures of 3 really cute ornaments! Tragedy :( This one was for my aunt, a boston terrier lover.

screen printed boston terrier

This is what the screen looked like after printing. Note the super high-tech newspaper we used to block out the back!

screen printed hipster sheep

This silly sheep design is one I plan on printing on some totes and drawstring knitting bags for my shop. I'll post a picture of the finished product soon!

screen printed t-shirt set phasers to dance star trek

This is a t-shirt we made for a Star Trek loving friend. I love how this one turned out!

screen printed t-shirt snake plissken

And for a Metal Gear Solid fan :)

All in all, 2014 was a pretty damn good year. I made a lot of stuff, opened an Etsy store (that has been sadly neglected these past couple of months), bought a house, got engaged, got a promotion, and somehow still managed to read some books! 

My goals for 2015 include:

  1. Get married. Which includes surviving the wedding planning phase of things. UGH.
  2. Spend more time on my Etsy shop
  3. Screen print ALL THE THINGS.
  4. Finish all my sad, neglected unfinished quilt tops
  5. Make more of my own clothes
  6. Blog at least once a week!
Sounds doable, right? RIGHT? I am looking forward to this year. I think it's going to be fantastic. And I will be making an active effort to spend more time in this space, interacting with the rest of you lovelies out in blog land. 

What are your goals for the year?? I will leave you with this wonderful picture of it SNOWING in TUCSON, ARIZONA just before midnight on New Year's Eve. Pictured is my friend Kate, who is from Phoenix and had never before stood in falling snow. Magical, right?