Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wardrobe Considerations....Results of First Attempt

I stopped posting about the wardrobe.  Really, it was a good lesson in putting a wearable wardrobe together.  I did purchase a couple more tops/sweaters.  They were in the black/grey family.  Nothing exciting.  I did learn that I do not particular like the knit wrap top that I purchased early on.  Of all the items that I purchased, it has been worn the least.  It could be an issue of the fabric type or a combination of fit plus fabric. The colors are perfect.  Everything else has been wonderful and worn consistently with my existing wardrobe.

I have to admit that I found the wardrobe exercise a little difficult.  I suppose that it felt limiting because of the colors I choose.  I did pick colors that I prefer to wear most of the year.  The only one of those colors I would wear in warm weather is the pink/rose.  The teal would become lighter shade.  The grays and the blacks, I'm not sure I would wear in the spring and summer.  Maybe a very softer shade of gray would work.  We'll see how I move into warm weather next year.  For now, I'm set.

Even though the doctor wants me to lose the weight, it hasn't been happening very fast.  I now have a dietitian helping me.  With the exception of losing the morning snack and adding more calories/protein at breakfast, there hasn't been a lot of diet changes.  I think it is the little changes first routine.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Easy Sewing...

I've done all the hemming that I want to do for a while.  Sewing hems by machine is easy but all the pressing for the hems isn't much fun.  Here are the hemming projects:

The tablecloths were actually finished a couple of weeks ago and they turned out well and help the dining be a little more festive.  It's a shame you can't see the border on the plaid table cloth.  It is very pretty.

A couple of batik scarfs.  Very easy except for all the pressing of the hems.  I'm pleased with the scarfs.

For all the hemming, I used the walking foot on my machine.  This keeps the really long seams and hems from shifting.

Hopefully, I will get to move on to a little more interesting sewing this weekend.  My order from finally arrived some two weeks after it was ordered.  I think that is the slowest delivery I have ever gotten from them.  The sweater knits are a bit thin but the black ribbed one is really nice and I wish I had gotten more of it.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Quickie Costume.....

....or maybe it wasn't so quick.  My son came home from school and announced that he needed a costume for his Spanish class.  My first thought is that should be simple.  That is until he told me who he was suppose to be and that he had to be dressed in character.  Oh, yeah, he is suppose to be dressed like the baseball player Alex Rodriguez.  Well, I knew I wasn't going to shell out for baseball gear.  Here's my take on the required costume:

The hat isn't quite finished yet.  I need to tack down the felt applique.  The white is some white fabric that I found at Michael's.  I was looking for white felt but couldn't locate it.  

The white t-shirt is from Michael's.  I used a navy felt that I had in the stash.  The name and numbers I used my embroidery software for the design.  Additional items for costume which aren't shown is a black long-sleeved t-shirt, a baseball mitt, and a baseball. Although a bat would complete the costume, I don't think the school would appreciate it.

I did use a new product with this project.  It was Fabric Fuse from Therm-O-Web.  It worked really well.  The label states that it is washable, permanent bond that dries clear and is flexible.  I guess we'll find out when the costume is worn how well it works.  I will say that if you get it on you, don't let it dry.

I thought the costume turned out fairly well for a not so quick project.  I think I spent between $10-$15 on it.  Obviously, that doesn't include my time.  I hope the kid gets 100% on his presentation/costume.

Happy Creating!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Knitting Project....

I have two knitting projects going.  The first one is an at-home only project and the second is suppose to be a traveling project.  Today, I'm going to share my traveling project.  Here's a picture:

I enjoy doing cabling but this has a "new-to-me" stitch called the bricoche stitch.  I looked at the instructions and thought this was going to be super simple.  Let's just say that it is much harder than it looks and that I haven't progressed much farther than about row 5. This isn't a pattern that if you make a mistake you can just pull out to the mistake.  Although the scarf is beautiful and reversible, I think this is going to take a little while to complete.  If you're interested in the pattern, it can be found at Ravelry and it is called Janus Scarf (this is a link to the page).  This project may only travel to the monthly knitting club. I don't see being able to handle this pattern while sitting in a car.

I may look for another traveling project that is much easier to do.  I think that I have some balls of cotton yarn and those always work up nice into dish clothes.  Who couldn't use more dish clothes?

Happy Stitching!

Friday, December 12, 2014

New McCalls Patterns for Spring....

I love seeing the new patterns.  I like it even better when I get an email telling that a new collection is available.  The new spring collection is very feminine with many dresses/skirts being very full.  I guess it has a little bit of a 50s vibe.  Although a full skirt is very feminine, I still prefer a slimmer skirt.  Here are my picks:

This is McCall's 7081.  Cute little side-zip dress.  Doesn't it have a lovely full skirt?  I like that is has a sleeveless option and two sleeves to choose from.  In looking at the fabric suggestions, you don't want to use a light weight fabric in this.  I think this would look nice in a solid chambray.

The shirt-dress is still going strong with this fun version M7084.  The stripes really show off the cut of the fabric.  Although the full skirt shown is wonderful, I prefer the slightly straighter skirt.  Specifically, the collar on version A with the sleeves on version B.  Isn't this why we sew?  So, we can change it up to better suit our own style.

I love this top.  It is M7093.  This looks very wearable to me.  View B as shown in the picture is fantastic.  I also think that this style could easily be lengthened into a dress using the View D.  It calls for light to medium weight fabrics.  Oh, I think this one definitely coming home with me at some point.

What are your favorites from the new McCalls patterns?

Happy Sewing!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping.....

I really should stay away from but I go look and sometimes I buy.  Today, was a buy day and I purchased sweater knits.  I hope I like them when they show up.  Here's the fabrics that I indulged in:

Yep, my usual black and gray with a little bit of pink thrown in.  I don't usually purchase stripes but I wanted to make a top with with stripes on the front/back and sleeves with solid black on the sides.  So, we'll see if it turns out.

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Cleaning or Sewing...

That is the question.  I knew that attempting to clean and organize the sewing area during the holidays might be a disaster and it has been.  My sewing has come to a complete stop unless I’m at someone else’s house.  My mantel cover hasn’t been finished yet.  In fact, I’m still piecing the ornaments.  I had really wanted it to be finished by the first of December.  Maybe I will find time this week.  This isn’t a project to work on when you’re tired. 

I do have other projects that I wanted to complete for the holidays except they are easy projects.  I have the materials to make three new table clothes.  All they need are hems.  I know the pressing of the hems will take some time but the sewing should be quick and easy.  Surely, I can press hems even if I’m tired in the evenings.  The question that remains is whether is use a walking or a hemming foot.  The seams are very long which tell me that the walking foot might be a better choice but the means the hems need to be completely pressed in rather than just the first turn.  Do you have a preferred method of hemming?  Here are pictures of the fabric I will use to make the table clothes:

I will try to remember to take finished project pictures.

I have been knitting up a storm.  Not really completing anything just knitting and practicing techniques.  Well, I guess I shouldn't say I have been knitting anything because I did start the sweater that I purchased all the materials for.  It was a little difficult picking out the size and I did second guess myself on the size that I choose and almost pulled out all the work I have completed but didn't. The sweater has a lot of new techniques and I’m a bit terrified that I will not be able to accomplish it.  I spent a lot of money on the materials for this so I’m hoping that I’m able to finish the project. 

Happy Stitching!

Friday, November 21, 2014

New Butterick patterns....

I do like seeing the new patterns when they come out.  I'm not sure when the winter Butterick's came out but I finally noticed them.  Here are my picks:

This is B6127.  I find this dress very interesting in that with the right fabrics it can look like a dress and jacket.  I have a wedding come up soon and this would have been perfect.  There isn't time to consider it now but it I had seen it a month ago, I would have given it a try.

This is B6128.  I like the high wrap on this dress.  I like that there are options.  What do you think of the long, straight wrap dress?  Would this be a wearable option?  I don't really need another wrap dress pattern but I do like this one.

This is B6132. I really like the look of this top in the picture which is View A.  It just has a casual feel about it.  View B looks like it could be fun with combining fabrics.

What do you think of the newly noticed Butterick winter collection?

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Boot Cuffs Finished...

I needed a quick and easy project for the monthly knitting group that I attend and had picked boot cuffs.  To me, they sound like a very wearable item.  When I showed up at the knitting group, none of the ladies had hear of boot cuffs.  They were very interested in the what I was making.

About the pattern, I picked a freebie pattern from the internet that had a interesting looking cable with ribbing.  I didn't follow the instructions for the ribbing as I decided that I wanted a simple k2 p2 ribbing but I did follow the instructions for the cable.  Here's the finished project:

I'm happy with the ending result and know that they will be used during the cold winter.  I may make another pair with a different type of cabling and in black instead of the charcoal grey.

I do need more practice with binding off.  I only know one type of a bind off and in the pictures above, it looks like there is too loose.  Hopefully, it will tighten up after being washed/dried.

Now, I need to decide on another project for the monthly club.   Little projects are best so that you can talk with other people in the group and not worry too much about mistakes.

Happy Stitching (Sewing)!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My How Time Flies....

Where has the last two weeks gone?  I have kept myself busy with exercise, a bit of sewing, and cleaning the sewing room with lots of other cleaning going on also.

Why does the sewing area get so messy?  My sewing area is shared with the home office and my son's study area.  I know some of the messiness is caused from these other two areas.  It makes it very hard to work in there.  I may do some swapping around in the near future.  I know that will create a lot of joy.   Well, at least, for me.  Maybe not so much for others who will be helping.

When I initially arranged the sewing area, I put in 3 large cabinets for storing fabric and notions, 1 Ikea cabinet for patterns, and then had my sewing tables.  I had visions of this being the perfect solution for containing my messiness.  It hasn't happened.  I don't know what the real solution is but I'm thinking maybe it has something to do with not having so much stuff.  I'm working on actually reducing the amount of items being stored but it takes a long time to do.

What solutions have you found for containing the messiness of sewing?  I would love to hear.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Do you look at online shops for inspiration?  Today, I was looking at dresses at Anthropology and I found this:

This is the Stripeknit Swing Dress.  Cute, don't you think?  There are a few things that I don't like about the dress and it is the back but I don't have re-create the look of the back just the front.  Since cold weather is coming very soon, other changes would be the length of the sleeves and the length of the hem.  I think I have the perfect pattern to recreate the look but it is a top pattern.  Here it is:

This is one of the new fall Silhouette Patterns called Abbey's Knit Top.  I think this pattern can be used to create a look similar to the Anthropology dress.  

Do you think this pattern is a good one to re-create the Anthropology dress?  Do you know a better pattern pattern to use?  I should probably see if I can get this pattern to fit before attempting a dress.

I need to see if there is any fabric in my stash that might be big enough for a dress.  I don't usually have knits stashed that would be in the correct size for a dress but you never know what is hiding in the stash.

I hope I get something made.

Happy Stitching!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Last Garden Update For The Year....

Wow!  It's the end of October and I never expected to still be posting about the garden.  However, the weather is changing and snow is predicted for the weekend.  So, it's time to clean-up.  I came home yesterday to my husband doing just that and he had found all kinds of goodies.  Here's the list:

1.  tomatillos - 7+ lbs
2.  tomatoes - 4 lbs
3   peppers, mixed hot varieties - just under a pound
4.  beets - didn't weigh but there was a bucket full
5.  beet greens
6.  squash - 2 varieties, didn't weigh
7.  green beans - about 1 1/2 lbs
8.  spinach - 2 or 3 lbs
9.  romaine - about 1 lb
10.  broccoli - 2 or 3 lbs

What a list!  That isn't all that is still out there either.  The broccoli was left to see what would happen with the coming weather because it might still be productive and the chard was left.  I will some chard this afternoon just to make sure I have some for the coming week.

So, the garden is mostly cleaned up now.  The spinach bed was picked and then covered for spring spinach.  The garlic is growing.  It is always sad to say good bye to the garden.  However, it does mean that there will be more time for sewing and I do have lots of sewing plans.

Happy Gardening (or is that sewing)!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Fun Little Weekend....

This past weekend we had a little fun here:

We were in the Santa Fe area and it was beautiful.  The weather was cool in the mornings and perfect during the day.  I'm not sure that better weather is possible at this time of year.  We were there for 3 wonderful days.   There was one place that I would have loved to have gone to daily but I did manage to get there twice:

The Kakawa Chocolate House...oh, yes, if you're visiting Santa Fe and you're a chocolate lover this s the place to go.  I tried several items and they were all good.  We tried several versions of the hot chocolate (elixirs), the brownies (awesome), the macaroons, and the truffles.  How could I not bring a couple of the elixir mixes home?  I hope they are as good at home.

There were these beautiful yellow trees sprinkled around the landscape.  I think these are Aspens but I'm not sure.  Notice how beautiful the sky is.

This is the Rio Grande. I wasn't expecting the big deep valley.

This is a view at Bandelier National Monument.  This little valley was so peaceful and beautiful.  We spent 3 to 4 hours hiking and looking at the sights.

Of course, we also took the time to try some of the New Mexico cuisine.  My son wouldn't try any of it.   I ate a lot of chiles over three days.   I wish that I could have gotten into more of the local food.  I guess I can do some research and see if I can find some of the local recipes.

This is a place that I really would like to visit again.  I hope that it happens.

Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gardening...Fall Update

I really meant to have a September gardening update but I misplaced my little notebook where I was writing everything down.  September was a good gardening month with lots of tomatillos, tomatoes, peppers, various types of greens (lettuce, spinach, chard), and broccoli.

October has been a good month also.  The garden is slowly getting cleaned up but we're still getting tomatillos, tomatoes, various types of greens, yellow squash, broccoli, butternut squash, and green beans.  It's all been good.   I am very thankful that my garden is so productive.  I know I haven't talked much about the herbs but they are still going strong too. The herb garden consists of Greek oregano, chives, thyme, rosemary (which has been re-potted and brought inside), cilantro, and sage.  The basil has been removed and is hanging to dry.

I love experimenting with the garden.  We did replant spinach this fall for spring.  This was an excellent experiment from last year which was a pleasant surprise last March to find the spinach growing like crazy.  

I suppose the first weekend in November we should hop to it and really get the garden cleaned up.  I will be sad to see my greens gone.  I really haven't taken advantage of the chard this year.  I need more recipes.  If you have some good ones, I would love to hear about it.

How does your garden?

Happy Stitching! (or gardening)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Impromptu Project....

You know how sometimes you want to work on an instant gratification project, something that you know will be fairly quick.  Well, I found the perfect project at Simplicity and it was a freebie! The project was Easy PJ Pants (this is a link).  The hardest part of this pattern was printing it out and taping it together.  Here's the finished product:

Yeah, not sure a good picture but it's really hard to a picture of pants laying on the floor.  You can see the cute penguins though.  My son is such a good sport for agreeing to this stash find.  I'm sure that he picked out this fabric when he was much younger.

Back to the pattern.  Overall, I would say this is a great pattern. There is two pattern pieces after you tape together the 25 sheets of paper - the pant and the drawstring.

1.  I changed the 1/2" elastic to 1" elastic.  Again, using elastic from the stash and I didn't want to cut it in half.

Yep, that was the only thing I changed.  My son is 6'3" and these were perfect for him.  So be sure to adjust the length if you're a lot shorter.  He wears a 36 inseam in jeans.

Yes, I will make another pair or two.  There is a change I will make on the next pair.  The buttonholes for the drawstring will be vertical instead of horizontal if I decide to do the drawstring.  I will add a little piece of fabric on the back to stabilize it.  Really, the pant has elastic and the drawstring isn't really necessary.

The best part about this project as I was able to remove about 3 yards of stashed fabric with this one project.  There are some big enough pieces left that I can make some little items and I may but that will be another day.

Ok, back to the mantel scarf.  It must be done soon.

Happy Stitching!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

New Patterns for the Stash....

Oh, yeah, I did purchased additional patterns for the stash.  I really had no intentions of purchasing these patterns but decided to at the last moment I should.  Here's the patterns that have been added:

I love this top.  This is one that I will add to the sewing list and hope that I have time to make it up.

This pant pattern is what changed my mind about doing the ordering the pre-sale of the Fall patterns.  It's not the actually picture that did if for me but the description that Peggy gave of the pattern.  She described it as the woven version of the yoga pant. So, now I must give it a try.

This top has interesting lines and I might make it if I'm looking for something different to make up.

This jacket might get made sometime in the future.  It isn't high on the list not because it isn't a nice looking jacket but because I rarely make jackets.  Maybe that is something I need to correct in the future.  Jackets can be a big bang for your buck.

Why did I purchase all 4 patterns?  Well, the pre-sale special is generally less expensive that purchasing two patterns.  Hopefully, I will make at least the first two.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Holiday Vogue Collection...

is here.  I love looking at the new patterns when they come out.  I don't always plan on buying anything but sometimes they end up on my pattern stash anyway.  Here are the patterns I found interesting:

I really like the bodice on this Belleville Sassoon pattern.  It is V1423.

I think the shoulders on this dress are wonderfully.  This is almost a dress I would wear.  It is a little on the short side for me.  I know that it is easy enough to add length.  It is V1424 by Rebecca Taylor.

This lined dress has very interesting seaming with an exposed zipper.  Love it but it is a little on the short side for me. This is V1421 by DKNY.

Another dress with interesting seaming.  This lined dress is V1420 by Anne Klein.

Cute top pattern with 3 variations.  It could be my lux sweatshirt.  This one could end up in my pattern stash.  It is V9055.

I like that the interesting seaming is continuing in the patterns.  I know that it makes them a little harder to fit/make.

What are you favorites in the new Vogues?

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A little advancement....

I finally got a little bit of a system going with the paper piecing and the second set didn't take as long to do as the first set:

The second color for the ornaments is black with gold metallic.  I ran out of papers or I would have completed another set.  I don't own a light box so I was unable to trace anymore of the papers to make the pieced block. I will trace the remaining pieces tomorrow.  I need 15 but will most likely do 18 so that I have a couple extra for mistakes.

Since I finished the above blocks early in the evening and still wanted to work on sewing items, I decided to start tracing this jacket:

I'm working on View 1.  Here's the fabric that I want to make this up in:

I plan on using a satin for the lining.  I looked high and low for a flannel backed satin but couldn't find it.  I really wanted a little bit warmer coat but it should be ok til really cold weather hits.  This will be my first coat.  I may change the way it is put together and have a real lining instead of the underlining the instructions have you do.  Usually, I like to follow the directions the first time I make something and then make changes, it I make it again. If I can figure out how to handle the facing, I may do the lining.

Now, I  have three active projects going in the sewing room. That doesn't include the knitting projects.  So much to do, so little time.  Do you ever feel that way?

Happy Sewing!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Christmas Mantel Scarf is Started...

Oh, I think I should have started this much earlier.  Hopefully, I will be able to get in sewing time daily.  Here's a picture of the mantel scarf pattern from Martindale:

Super cute, don't you think?  See the piecing in the ornament?  Well, that is paper piecing and this is the first time I have attempted paper piecing.  I kinda followed the information in this paper piecing video from Kimberbell.  I thought it was much more difficult than I was expecting.  Here are the results of about 2 hours of work:

Oh yeah, 3 wee little pieced blocks which is enough for 1 ornament.  I put the bobbin in there so you get the idea of the size.  Now, I will say that there was plenty of interruptions mostly involving lighting.  We accidentally bumped the chandelier and blew the circuit.  When I turned the circuit back on, we decided that there was an issue with the chandelier.  Unfortunately, that was the only light in the room.  So, I was running around looking for lighting and ended up with two lamps that we could live.  When DH returned home he brought in additional lighting.  After the sewing session and further examination of the chandelier (a couple of scary light shows), it was determined that one of the candles had almost melted and we were lucky a fire hadn't started.  Fortunately, I find a new chandelier for replacement.

Here are the fabrics for the mantel scarf:

 The red flannel came from my store and the metallics and batiks came from ChristmasJul on Etsy.  Beautiful fabric and excellent service.  Be sure to check out this store if you're looking for Christmas fabrics.

Hope to get the piecing done this week.  Wish me luck.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, October 3, 2014

My First Machine Quilted Quilt.....

Yes, the quilt is finally finished.  I'm happy with the way it turned out.  I hope the recipient likes it.  Here's the finished product:

Yep, that's me holding it up and gives you an idea of the size.  Here's another pic laid out on the floor:

The backing is the same as the green blocks.

This was the first chevron block I have ever done.  I liked the size of the block.  The pattern was an extra leaflet with a quilt magazine I purchased last summer.  It pattern didn't provide a lot of information so I have to assume it wasn't meant for a beginner quilter.   As for the quilting, I used the walking foot on my machine to follow the chevrons.  In the quilt blocks, I outlined the block.  Nothing fancy on the first try. However, my machine is capable of doing much more.  I just need to experiment.

I kinda like having an empty living room.  Generally, the floor in this room is covered with a rug which makes you forget how pretty they are.  Otherwise, I would not have been able to lay out the quilt like I did. New furniture will be arriving later this week.  I hope I like the new rug but I have reservations.  I'm not sure that the designer I worked with had enough experience in designing.  I tossed the first design because she did not use the colors I gave her to work with along with the fact that the first design had all the furniture on one wall.

On to the next sewing project.   Saturday will be first monthly sewing date with my friend since April. We will be working on Christmas mantel covers.  Here's a pic of the one I will be attempting:

This is an epattern from Martingale.  My mantel is just a little bit larger than the pattern so I am having to modify it slightly.  This will include a new technique for me - paper piecing.  Wish me luck!

Do you ever feel like you have so many sewing ideas and not enough time to do them all?   I have so many items that I want to make but I'm already running out of time for Christmas items.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New McCall's & Kwik Sew Patterns....

I just noticed that McCall's and Kwik Sew have some new patterns up.  They may have been up for a while. I have been too busy to notice this past month.  This McCall's pattern caught my attention:

This is M7020 - Misses Tops and Tunics.  It is described as being over sized which I would take as meaning huge but I like the look of the belted tunic.  There are a couple of variations.  Here's the line drawings:

There were a few other things with interesting seaming but not anything I'm interested in.  The next item is from Kwik Sew:

This is a great pattern for the men in your life.  Here's the line drawing:

This would be a great pattern for my guys.  I promised the skinny, tall teen that I would make him some new sleep pants.  This would be a perfect pattern for that.  I just need to make sure that there isn't something already in the pattern collection that will work.  How is the fit of the Kwik Sew patterns since McCall's took over?  I would love to hear.

Happy Stitching!