Thursday, May 30, 2013

The One with All the Sickness

I have been sick since Saturday. What was supposed to be a fun weekend for Mario's birthday turned into The Weekend of Sickness, culminating in Mario getting food poisoning on his actual birthday (Memorial Day) and being absolutely miserable for a day and a half. Sometimes things don't go as planned... I am not feeling any better so today I decided that rather than struggling through another day at work and subjecting my coworkers to my drippy nose and frequent sneezing fits, I'd just stay home and sleep the day away. That is my plan. I just had to get up and feed the dogs so I thought I'd pop in here to let you know what's been going on.

Then guess what happened? My SD card reader decided to stop working. I haven't been able to find my transfer cable for the fancy camera, so today you'll have to settle for crappy cell phone pictures of things I've been working on.

My biggest news? I FINISHED A SOCK.

basic knit sock finished

Not a super fancy sock, but it is functional and it fits and it has PURPLE on it :D I used these videos from Knitpicks to help me figure it out. Super clear step by step instructions to make a basic sock. Now I understand what things like "gusset" and "heel turn" mean and they aren't nearly as scary as they sound! I think now I might be ready to tackle something slightly more complicated from my Sock Knitting Master Class book. Maybe.

basic knit sock on foot
Seriously terrible picture, I know. But I wanted to prove it fits!
I have started work on the second of the pair... but I don't know if I'll have enough yarn to finish. Because this happened.

tangled yarn mess

My little demon puppy got a hold of the other ball and now it is hopelessly tangled... Probably my fault, really, as I left it on the couch. What else is a puppy to do with an unattended ball of yarn? It would be nice if she had picked it up and knitted the other sock of me... but I guess that's a little too much to ask. I have less than half of the first ball left and I was able to get some yarn from this tangled mess, so I might pull it off. I got the yarn on clearance at Joann, though, and I can't find this color anywhere. Not that I even know what it's called because she ate the label, too... But I know it is no longer available at Joann either locally or online. So I'll see what I can do with what I have. If worse comes to worst, I will just pick up some gray or purple yarn and finish the toe with that. It's my first pair, so I'm not stressing over it too much.

Other than that I have just been steadily increasing my pile of pinwheels. Oh, and I started a new project with stitch and flip triangles...

quilting modern stitch and flip triangles

That is one dark picture. But you get the idea! I'm going to make them into butterflies, I think... Or something. I'll probably make a whole bunch of blocks and decide on a layout later. I was looking through Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pederson (you can see it at the top of the picture) and I just loved all the quilts with stitch and flip triangles. I would one day love to make a Supernova quilt from that book, but  I would definitely need to buy a lot of fabric for that. So right now I am happy using scraps and some Kona Ash :)

Okay. I've rambled enough. I need to go take some cough syrup and lay down for a while... Hopefully I will have some decent pictures next week.

Oh yeah. There's still a day or so to vote for your favorites in each category in the Blogger's Quilt Festival! You should totally go do that! There are soooo many pretty entries!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2

For my second entry, I am putting forward my Hounds Tooth quilt. I wanted to make a hounds tooth quilt for my bed even before I finished my first quilt. It's just a pattern that I love and I thought it would make a really cool quilt. I was not wrong.

hounds tooth quilt
Bit wrinkly- but it gets used a lot so you'll have to give me a break ;)
This was only my 3rd every quilt. The previous two were pretty small- not larger than 5ft square. So what is the logical next step? A queen sized BEHEMOTH. Naturally. It wasn't quick, but I absolutely love it. This is what lives on my bed now and I couldn't be happier with it. The above picture was taken today. When I originally finished it, I wasn't able to get any decent pictures and was too eager to get it on my bed to wait for better conditions :P

hounds tooth back and quilting detail
Before the first washing
I learned a lot from making this quilt. I learned about the importance of precise piecing. I learned about randomly shrinking fabrics (ugh). And I learned most importantly that big projects like this are totally doable at home with the limited space and tools I have now if I am willing to be patient.

hounds tooth quilt close up
Closer up. Yay wrinkles!
Basic info:
Pattern: mostly V & Co.'s hounds tooth pattern, but I had no special ruler so I improvised on that part. But I followed all of the cutting and piecing instructions other than that.
Size: about 95"x89'. I left off one row of half blocks because of my little shrinking problem ;)
Fabrics: Moda Bella Solids Aubergine and Moda Bella Solids Natural. The binding is something stripey I can't remember and the backing is a Henry Glass extra wide- Baroque Purple Ivy Swirls
I quilted straight(ish) lines the width of my walking foot on either side of each seam. I wanted it to be soft and simple, which I accomplished. I used Gutermann variegated cotton purple thread for the quilting. In hindsight, I might have liked a straight light purple instead, but oh well. I still love it!

I am entering this bad boy into the Two Color category. Go check out all the pretty entries!!

Blogger's Quilt Festival 1

*First, a note. I have an explanation for my absence: my monitor died. Right in the middle of an awesome sewing frenzy. I have now "borrowed" my boyfriend's monitor because his desktop doesn't see much use these days. But it is not a permanent fix... Blah. Need a new monitor!*

I love Blogger's Quilt Festival. Seriously. It is so much fun getting to look at so many beautiful quilts from so many interesting bloggers. My favorite part is seeing all the new bloggers like me putting in entries. I have already seen one person entering their 5th ever quilt! Because that's the kind of wonderful, supportive community the quilt blogging world has created: even noobs like me feel comfortable entering their quilts! So that is the spirit in which I am entering. Yes, I am still a beginner. No, I don't expect to win anything. But just to participate in this great event is going to be awesome.

Scrappy trip in poetry center tucson

For my first entry, I chose my Scrappy Trip quilt. Mostly just because I love the way it turned out and it was so much fun to make. I use it all the time, even though it is disgustingly hot outside already. It just makes me happy seeing all those little bits of fabric playing so nicely together.

scrappy trip garden poetry center

I took my photos at the Poetry Center. More on that in my original post about this quilt, if you're interested.

scrappy trip back

scrappy trip back close up

another view of scrappy trip

folded up

Here is some basic info:
Scrappy Trip Around the World
Size: 72"x72"
Quilted at home using a light blue Gutermann cotton thread- spool is gone so those are the only details I have left. The binding is Kona Ash.

I am entering mine in the Scrap Quilt category. I hope you'll go look at all the entries! You don't have to vote for mine. Just drool over all the pretty-ness and enjoy! :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Wallet!

Probably not what you were expecting, but I made a wallet for Mario.

finished wallet with robots

Robots! I bought this fabric (Robotex for Northcott Fabrics) as soon as it came out. Because ROBOTS. Mario loves robots! Usually the robots on fabric are way too cute-sy and silly for him to like them much. But I loved these ones. Especially because of the excellent smaller scale prints in the collection...

robot wallet inside
Oops! Didn't realize his license number was showing :P
Like these little gears! I love them so much! I just want to buy yards and yards of it and use it in everything I make for Mario EVER. But he'd probably get sick of them.

robot wallet inside

And nuts and bolts! These fabrics were made for him. It was fate.

Why a wallet? Our puppy ate his... Again. You really can't leave little things like that out at night. Especially when she's having trouble adjusting to my new schedule. So I made him a new one both to cheer him up and to have an excuse to finally use my perfect Mario fabrics.

I used this tutorial found on Pinterest, minus the tab. Mario didn't like the tab. So I left it off. It was a very simple tutorial with nice pictures to guide you through the process. My top stitching really leaves something to be desired- I was too lazy to get out my mechanical machine. My main machine, as you may recall, really has trouble with layers. My only real problem, though, is that the card slots are a little too roomy. I think this has something to do with my seam allowances being a little too small and (again) not very good or consistent top stitching. I will do better next time! I'm thinking I should maybe make some extras to have around just in case the puppy monster gets hungry again...

I *did* finish the shirt. It's not great. Knits are a pain. So is cutting things slightly wrong and discovering you don't have enough fabric to cut another piece -.- But a full post on that later when I can get some pictures of me wearing it, in all of its flawed glory.

Most of my time was spent this weekend trying to learn to knit socks. Yeah. Trying. And failing. I don't have anything to show for it because I kept having to undo my progress. Frustration. Anyone have a good resource/some tips/advice for someone new to sock making? Preferably cheap since I am still catching up financially from not having a job for 5 months? I have been drooling over pictures of knit socks for the past week and have a kind of obsession going... But translating it to my yarn is proving to be more difficult that I'd hoped. Help would be greatly appreciated!

I am linking up today with Let's Get Acquainted hosted today at Blossom Heart Quilts! I spent some time poking around there today. Lovely blog :) Go check it out!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Yarn and Things

You might think from the title of this post that I haven't gotten any sewing done so I am showing you what I've been doing with yarn. And you'd be mostly right. Technically, I haven't sewed a stitch. But! I have downloaded a pattern, cut it out, taped it together, and cut out my fabric for a shirt!

skirt as top scoop top pattern

I am making myself a Scoop Top, a free pattern from Skirt as Top.I am using some blue knit fabric that I bought on clearance at Joann... and that is all I can tell you about it. It is soft and light and probably a little see-through, which will require me to wear an undershirt. But I don't care! I just want to be able to say I made a shirt!

skirt as top scoop top fabric

Here's a close-ish shot of the fabric. Not the most exciting, maybe, but I wanted to use my least favorite fabric first in case everything went horrible wrong :)

I have also been yarning. And by that I mean both knitting and crocheting. In knitting, I finished my (poorly executed) Honey Cowl!

finished honey cowl

I sort of messed up the honeycomb pattern for a few rows in the middle there... But oh well. I wasn't going to go back and fix it. It is my first knitting project, after all, and I am okay with imperfection. It keeps my neck warm, so that's all that matters, right?

wearing honey cowl

This is my "I just took my morning shower and haven't finished my coffee..." face. I am le tired.

honey cowl mess up

And in the interest of keeping things real, I will show you how I really messed up. I could have sworn I didn't twist the yarn when I joined the first row together. Really. I remember being very proud of myself for keeping everything straight. It wasn't until half way through that I realized my mistake and by then... I just pressed on. So what if it's twisted? I just put the twist in the back under my hair and I'm good to go! Next time I'll be more careful, though.

In crocheting, I started yet another blanket. Because working on three simultaneously is a good idea. Obviously.

crochet ripple blanket in rainbow yarn

I am a big fan of this one, though. I'm using the ripple pattern from Attic24 and some Bernat Mosaic yarn. I don't remember what the yarn color is called. I call it rainbow. Because it is. But I think it has some silly name like Calypso or something. I love it so far! I love the pattern and the yarn and the bright happy colors. I was getting a little annoyed at one point where all the yellow/orange are bunched up on one side.. but then I started a new ball of yarn and that went away. Yay! I think it will be a fun little blanket when it's all done. I just ordered enough yarn to finish it while it was on sale- score! I had been buying it one ball at a time, but now I have paychecks again. YAY.

My hands have not been idle, don't worry. Not that you were worrying. Ahem. It's still early. I am hoping to get my shirt all done tonight. We'll see how that goes. If I am successful, maybe I'll have a finish to share with you tomorrow! Fingers crossed!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Skirt Success and Skirt Fail


It's been a week. I'm terrible. But to be fair, I really haven't got a lot of sewing done this week. I don't know why, really. I just didn't feel much like sewing. I am going to blame the Events of Last Weekend. That sounds ominous, but really it was just some sewing mishaps...

First, the happy bit! I made another skirt :) AND actually used a Pinterest pin! What! Here is the result:

gathered high waisted skirt with zipper- success

It is a gathered high-waisted skirt. It poofs rather nicely. I am a little sad that I didn't read the directions carefully enough to realize the zipper would end up on the side instead of the back, but really, I should have known that. I made this in a couple of hours Saturday morning and it was GREAT.

So then later, possibly still riding that "I made a skirt and it's awesome" high, I decided to make another. I bought this brown argyle fabric online, not realizing it would be so sheer in person. My plan was to make a super awesome pencil skirt for work. But a sheer pencil skirt? No way that would work. So I revised my plan to be a high-low hem skirt. The sheer, flowy fabric would be the pretty outside and I would use some plain beige fabric for a lining. Simple, right?

I got the idea from Pinterest, but I couldn't find the pin again (I know... that's what Pinterest is for). So I decided I remembered enough about it that I could wing it. I knew it was high-waisted and that it used elastic. After the successes of the morning, I figured I was a pro (that may have been the wine talking). So! I set to work!

After several hours and numerous oversights and screw ups, this is where my skirt was:

high low hem skirt- fail, rage quit

Thrown unceremoniously on my cutting table after picking out a lot of stitches...

The first thing that went horribly wrong (and probably when I should have realized my brain wasn't in a math or logic kind of place and maaaaybe should have called it a night) was that I cut the lining as a tube... a tube the size of my waist. Now, I don't know about you, but my hips and butt are way bigger than my waist. SO. That turned to scrap.

Next, I cut the lining so it would fit over my butt and thought, "SUCCESS! Now the rest of the skirt will come together with ease!" But, alas, it was not to be. The next stupid thing I did was sew the outside to the lining without leaving any space for a casing for the elastic...
high low hem skirt- fail

See? Doesn't look so bad, but where will the elastic go?! AHHH! So then, even more stupidly, I tried to just fold over the top a couple of times to make the casing. MISTAKE. It not only looked horrible, but... the skirt wouldn't come on over my butt! AHHH! Again with the maths and the logics! Of course cutting the top of the skirt to fit my waist and then adding elastic wouldn't work unless maybe the fabric was super stretchy (which it isn't at all). 

I see all the stupid things I did wrong and have a pretty good idea how to avoid doing it again... But man, what a frustration. So, I threw it down on the table and rage quit my sewing room. I have been playing with yarn ever since. But I think I may be ready to give it another shot with two important modifications. 1. A different fabric for the lining. The one I chose is stiff and heavy and if I really was the waist to be elastic, that's going to have to go. And 2. I don't remember what this was going to be. Really. I just wrote that sentence about a minute ago and I already forgot what the second modification was going to be. See why I have trouble??

I am dedicating this post to Audrey of Hot Pink Quilts because she said I make skirt-making look easy ;) It isn't always easy. I just don't always tell you when I insert the elastic waistband and it ends up super twisted or when my skirt ends up so short it barely covers my butt or when I sew a zipper on backwards (true story...). Not to discourage anyone from making a skirt! As clothing goes, skirts aren't too bad to make, really. I just advise you to start with a PLAN. Have all your measurements written out or have a pattern ready to go... at the very least, don't make a tube the diameter of your waist and expect it to go over your butt ;)

Anyway. This is my one and only finish for the week  so I'll be linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts. Hopefully next week will be more successfull and sewing-full. If not, there will be lots of pictures of yarn :D