Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stocking: Complete

When my first nephew on Kevin's side was born I was informed of a family tradition: an aunt makes a Christmas stocking for the new baby. Apparently, I'm the only crafty aunt, so fulfilling this tradition falls to me. As much as I love the kiddos, I am not a stocking making fan- it's too much pressure!

After putting it off for a good amount of time, I made Rylee's stocking this weekend. The outside is a gingerbread flannel fabric from Joann's and it's lined with a cotton in a printed mitten pattern.

To make it, I traced an existing stocking and cut out the gingerbread fabric and the mitten fabric. Then we decided it would be too thin, so I basted another flannel fabric scrap to the back of the gingerbread fabric. Then, I lined the stocking and sewed it together, outlined some of the gingerbread men and added glitter, just to make it more exciting.

What I should have done is waited until I had fleece to do the white band before turning the lining to the inside, but I'm impatient and didn't do it the right way.

So once I got the fleece I added a rick rack lining to bring out the red behind the gingerbread men, and attached the fleece to the top of the stocking (it's just sewn on the top, not turned neatly), wrote the name in glitter (well actually black glitter glue, but then I dropped it in a pile of glitter- thankfully it didn't smudge! so I just glittered the next) and then I added a hanging loop- another thing I should have done before turning the lining.

It's not the best stocking ever, but I think it's pretty cute and I hope Rylee likes it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A crafty round up! (oops, it's a novel)

I finished another "pair" of socks- well, sort of.
The blueish socks I finished awhile ago, and I actually only started them because the stripey looking socks I had taken to work and needed something to work at while I was at home.

Well the blueish socks are "Pointelle" from Knit. Sock. Love and they practically knit themselves. Plus, they have a diagonal pattern across the foot, and I am just a sucker for that.

The stripey socks are "Wedge" also from Knit. Sock. Love. They are a really clever design- a regular variagated yarn is turned into an interesting patterning yarn by using short rows to create garter stitch wedges that cause the pooling/striping pattern of the yarn to break up into a new pattern. Look closely (or enlarge the picture, if you can) and you should be able to see garter stitch bands and stockinette bands. This also marks my first short row toe. I don't love it, but it is really neat how it makes a little pocket for your toes.

So what else crafty happened? I made a stocking for my niece (picture soon- the name on it is drying, then I'll spend a week trying to get glitter out of the fleece top.)

I also made a quilt top for my friend Andi, who is having a baby in January. I need to figure out if my friend Sarah also wants one. I didn't make one for Shanna (and wish I had)- but bought her a registry gift, it's possible Sarah would rather have a "thing", I don't know. (Andi has always been more quirky, so I figured she'd rather have a homemade gift...)

I also went to Joann's- twice. I did the black friday thing, and on after thought probably didn't have to. I didn't do the super cheap flannel, so everything I wanted was still there the next day. Still, the knits I got weren't back on the shelf- so is that because I bought them and they weren't restocked, or because someone else did? And one of the butterick patterns I wanted wasn't available- so maybe if I had waited, I wouldn't have found even more.

I also met a group of ladies who do sewing and knitting for "The Premie Project"- they make blankets, kicking bags, and sadly bereavement gowns for all the premies at UIHC. Their website says they make 900 blankets a year- and based on the probably $2,000 of flannel they bought, I believe it. (They had 3 baskets stacked 6 feet tall with bolts of fabric, and bought the entire bolt of each one!) I filled out a form to volunteer by sewing for them. Totally worth the 6:00 a.m. trip.

So what did I get a Joann's?
10 Butterick patterns (2 are the same- in two different sizes. OF COURSE, I fall between the size range)
Red rick-rack for Rylee's stocking
A fabric yo-yo maker (stupid, but I've always wanted one and it was half off)
2 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver to knit more monsters (Luke green and Brody blue!)
2 yds Black cotton fabric for the back of the quilt for Andi
2 yds Denim to make skirt
2 yds each of 2 different Jersey fabrics- a dark flora and a bright green geometric print
1 yd Daisy patterned fleece
2 yds Sports ball patterned fleece
1.5 yd White fleece (annoying! It was "anti-pill" not "blizzard" so not on sale! But I needed a teeny bit for the stocking)
1.5 yd Baseball print fleece
1.5 yd of home decor fabric for a purse.

So what am I going to do with all the fleece? Well, I don't know yet, but I tried to get mostly boy prints in case a nephew project comes up (the Daisy was with Rylee in mind), and it was really cheap (2.99 a yard!) Fleece is what I use for purse linings, so it will get used eventually.

All this stuff, I "saved" $270.85. Sure I did- that's counting patterns at full price, and no one buys them at full price. But even still, I saved a ton. The who purchase was only $71 with tax.

And then I went again today- to pick up a rotary cutter refill. Well, a few other things fell into my basket...but everything was half off. Plus, like yesterday I had a 20% off everything coupon)
Rainbow Batiks fat quarter bundle (I love batiks)
The rotary blade I went for (those suckers are expensive... thank goodness it was on sale)
A diamond grid quilting template (for falling block quilts!! fancy!)
A square grid quilting template (Linda used one at my house and it seemed so neat- I need to figure out how to use the angle guides in the middle...)
2 spools of thread
Yellow top quilting pins (so weird- they have the exact same pins with a different label on the notions wall, those weren't on sale- just the "quilting" ones.)

Today, I only saved $35.58 (those patterns REALLY add up)... and spent $26.

So $100 isn't too bad for black friday weekend shopping.

What I haven't done yet: personal statement for my grad school application. MUST DO for tomorrow

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Simplicity 8331

I love toile. Kevin isn't really a fan, so I don't get to use it for home decor.
After drooling over it everytime I go to Joanns, I finally bought some, and decided to make myself a nice tote bag. Nice thing about sewing, is unlike knitting, the projects go fast- I cut the pattern, the fabric, and did all the sewing this weekend. It would have been a half-day project if my sewing machine didn't keep hiccuping. (Huge thanks to Kevin for his incredible mechanical skills to always figure out the problem.)

Pattern Review from Pattern

Pattern Description:
Miscellaneous tote bags in different sizes and a few shape variations.
I made view C.

Pattern Sizing:
My final bag is approximately 16" x 10" x 3".

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Kind of. The bags on the patterns are all very structured- I feel like my bag looks floppy, not structured. It makes sense that it would be floppy- since it's fleece lined cotton, and it's large size means the fleece won't support weight too well. BUT- it does stand on it's own, if you get lucky in placement, so I suppose there is some structure.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Kinda... there were lots of points that were very difficult to figure out. I don't think I did the base corners correctly- they kind of look a little funky, and I really wasn't sure what the pattern was trying to tell me to do.

I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the pattern was trying to have me do about the prep for the pocket- the folding then seaming- I ended up undoing what I thought it had me do, and changed it to another way.

But for the most part, if you've made a bag before- it makes sense. It might be tough for someone who hasn't made a bag. I drew a lot upon what I learned making Simplicity 3822

Fabric Used:
I used a home decor toile from Joanns, and for the lining a black cotton fabric with metallic foil design. I think it's just a quilting cotton.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The biggest change was probably the handles. I didn't have any belting so I made the handles the same way as the bag I previously referenced.
The method I used was: baste felt onto the straps, and then cut the fleece off the outside of the seams. Then, fold over the sides of strap fabric and sew down onto the fleece on both sides. Then, fold the entire strap in half, and seam the end closed. (The reason I folded it instead of just seaming and turning is I found out last time that turning was nearly impossible with this length/ thickness) Then "quilt" down the middle, and to make the sides match, sew a line down the end of the folded, closed side.

Some minor alterations:
I didn't do Step 17- which is to form a pleat. My seams were so thick, I was worried running them over, folded, would cause my machine to break. But I'm actually not even clear if I was supposed to go over the seam or around the seam. This was a step I didn't really understand anyway. (I'm also not sure, based on the illustrations in the pattern, if the pleat goes all the way to the bottom- or is just at the top.)

I also didn't add the needlepoint canvas. I tried, but had a lot of difficulty cutting it to the right size, since the bottom is just formed by folds. Since tacking it down seemed really difficult anyway, I just decided against it. (I put a 2-liter of coke into the bag, and it doesn't sag too much, so I think that's a good enough test.)

Other issues?
I think my lining is too big. It's not tacked to the bottom in anyway, and it seems bunchy. It is the same size as the regular bag, and I think it should actually be just a bit shorter. It lined up perfectly when sewing, so it was cut correctly.

I'm nervous about the interior pocket strength- it is just sewn to the lining. I think it would be better to have it to the interfacing (fleece) too, for more strength.

Additionally- I would prefer the flap to attach to the outside of the bag, rather than the inside.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I probably wouldn't sew this view again. I may do another view, but there are just so many bag patterns out there to try...

I like the finished product pretty well, so I wouldn't NOT recommend it. But it's not my first choice.

It's not my dream bag, but I like it.

Get the to etsy?

Do you remember the stitch markers I talked about? Well, I still haven't taken pictures of the first set (penguin, 2 whales, and a polar bear).

But I won a contest and got a second set. These I had Kevin take pictures of (the others are in action and one is at work.)

Aren't they amazing? And they are teeny tiny- they'd all fit on a dime. (Which is good, you don't want stitch markers to be too big.

This is the etsy store:

In other news, I've decided I'm reinterested in sewing. I ordered a Jalie pattern and some stretch fabric, so hopefully over thanksgiving break I can make some tops (AFTER writing an admissions essay...)

This weekend I'm sewing a toile tote bag. I'm actually kind of disappointed in it- it's too floppy. But I love toile! (If you don't know what that is -google- or wait a few days for me to post pictures of the finished bag!)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I still exist...

... I'm just a bad blogger.

See, nothing interesting happens in my life. But I'm posting to share with you a pair of socks I made today. These are "In and Out" from Cookie A's new book "Knit. Sock. Love."- Cookie A is definetly my favorite sock designer. This book was a bit expensive, $26.95 (plus $5.95 for the pdf- which helps since I always copy the designs to work from them- so this way I don't have to break the binding trying to get the book into the copier) but it's totally worth it. First off, retail price of her patterns is $5-$8, and I'll knit most of these designs, but it also is appearing to be error free. Her Interweave Knits book "Sock Innovation" was riddled with errors- and testers said they weren't there early in the process, so they were publisher errors, not author errors. Error free is a really nice bonus. The book is very arty- with lovely photos of the sock, but really, the patterns are what I'm most impressed with.

I also got Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders in the mail this weekend. It's mostly non-sock patterns using fingering weight yarn- tons of them (101 I think). I marked ones I want to knit, and it is definetly enough to make the purchase worth it- $2.82 on barnes and noble, plus $4 shipping- a $7 book is a great deal. (Shipping is free with a $25 purchase- but every book I wanted was way cheaper on amazon, where we already get free shipping with prime.)

The other thing I just got- my wee ones stitch marker (seriously, look her up on etsy.) I'm hoping Kevin will photograph them- I got an orca, a penguin, a beluga, and a polar bear. I used the orca and the penguin to mark the sides of this pair of socks- everytime I knit to it, I just smiled!

Now I'm off to JC Penny's hoping to find something nice on sale. My coworkers have told me my wardrobe needs updating (we did a lunchtime shopping trip on Friday and I got a cute jacket- my facebook photo right now- that will hopefully replace my ever present red fleece, it is so cold at work)

And now you all see why I don't blog- I have nothing to say! (Especially now that I'm not skating or dancing, stupid knee)

Everyone don't forget to watch Skate America on NBC today (man I wish I had universal sports)