Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Finished Quilt!

Yes, you read that right! I finished a quilt!

I made this on commission for a customer through my Etsy store. I don't really sell quilts there anymore- I'd like to focus on knitting/crochet accessories- but this customer bought a quilt from me last year and asked if I would be willing to make another. So of course I said yes!

Rainbow star quilt front

I really love how this quilt turned out. I drew up the pattern myself, but it's fairly simple. I star in the center with flying geese radiating out from it on a background of low volume squares. It measures about 60" x 60" and I quilted it with an all over meander (for speed, mostly, but I just love the way this quilting pattern crinkles after it's washed!). I love it so much I'm just a little sad it's already sold. Maybe I'll have to make one for myself?

Rainbow star quilt back

As much as I love this quilt and as much fun that I had making it, I am glad that it's done! I have a couple of plans for more bags and maybe even a needle case and hook case for the shop that I want to get working on. Now I can start focusing on those :)

Hope you're all having a wonderful week!

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.