Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Keeping My Nose to the Grindstone, er Needles

I've been hard at work trying to finish up all the UFO's in the sewing studio. I reviewed my list again and realized that it is actually about 50/50 clothes & craft projects. Over the last couple of evenings I completed these cute Halloween witches. And, I weaved in the ends on 2 pairs of socks I knitted in the last couple of months. Next up is re-making a pair of brown pants for DGD2. They match an outfit I made for her for Christmas. Unfortunately, the bleach fairy visited them. I have them cut out and ready to stitch up. Also, I'm continuing to practise the machine hem stitching for DD1's table cover.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Weekends Were Made For…

Yard Work—I've been making an concerted effort to work in my yard for several hours every weekend this summer. I'm not a real gardener kind of gal. Don't get me wrong, I want the yard to look really nice, but gardening and yard work is not on my Top 10 Things I Love To Do list. However, this spring I looked around and decided the yard really needed some TLC. So now I listen to podcasts on my iPod and spend time on Saturday morning or Sunday working around the yard. I've transplanted some plants to better locations. I reworked some edging around one bed. And I pull all the little weeds before they get big. All in all, I think the time spent is paying off. The yard is looking a little more loved.

Sewing—I find late July and early August to be sewing black holes—too late for summer clothes, a bit too early for fall & winter items. So I decided it would be a good time to work on UFO's. I went on a scavenger hunt around the studio and identified 18 UFO's. Only a couple are actually clothing items, thank goodness. Most are crafty things where the item is 90% complete and I just need to finish it up. For instance, I have some cute Halloween stuffed goblins about 50% complete. I just need to spend an hour or 2 and assemble them.

So in that vein, I completed 2 items that I actually will use in the sewing studio. One is a cover for my sewing machine. It matches the cover I made for my serger. The other item is a hanging fabric wall organizer. Right now I have these little metal basket things hanging on the back of the door to hold stuff. The problem is the baskets are just a bit too wide for that space so the door is only open part way or the baskets bang into the wall. This hanging wall organizer will be flatter so I can put an end to the little dents in the wall (which will have to be spackled next time I paint).

Knitting—On the knitted sock front--woo-hoo! I am working the ribbing at the top of the sock. Only 1" to go and I will be finished. I am so close that I took the plunge and began swatching for my next project. Details later.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Needles and Needles

I am working on a couple of projects, one knitting and one sewing, one almost completed and one just getting started.

On my knitting needles I am about to finish my first pair of toe-up socks. First let me say I am not a "Knitter". Only in the past 3 or 4 years have I started knitting again and I knit my first pair of socks about 2 years ago. I just walked into my LYS and said to Hannah, "I want to knit socks. Fix me up." Wisely, she handed me Sensational Knitted Socks and sat me down to read. I walked out with the book, dpns, and yarn. I had little trouble, except they were way too big when I finished. So recently, I undid them, washed the yarn and picked a different pattern from the same book, a smaller size and started over.

Since I didn't want to run out of yarn I thought I should do them toe-up. I hadn't done toe-up socks even though I hear them talked about on a lot of podcasts and had seen them in all the sock books I have purchased. I ended up using a toe-up sock pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks book. I had a terrible time with the cast-on and Tweeted about my problems. Heather Ordover from Craftlit came to my rescue with the Magic Cast On from I've been happily knitting since and am about finished. Yeah!

On the sewing side of the needle issue I am starting a table scarf for DD1. It is made from green duppoini silk. I had in my head I would do a decorative hemstitch. I bought the wing needle and sat down to work last night. Boy, did I find out there is a whole lot more to a decorative hemstitch. Right now I am doing my homework. Luckily I have the book, Fine Machine Sewing by Carol Laflin Ahles. She does a great job of explaining how to do hemstitching. I will be practicing a lot before tackling the actual table scarf. But I'm looking forward to learning this new skill.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mending and Meandering

I get a real sense of satisfaction when I look at a pile of completed mending. I don't like mending: sewing on missing buttons, repairing buttonholes, resewing seams, fixing a hole in a pair of slacks. These tasks just don't fill me with excitement. Is there anyone who really likes to mend?

However, there is one aspect of mending that I guess I actually do like. It's the ability to let my mind wander and think about all the fabric, patterns, and projects around me in my sewing studio. I can look at inspiration pictures I have cut out of magazines and plan a project. Or I can look at fabric scraps and think about a garment I already made. I can look at the patterns laying around and think about how cute DGD2 will look wearing garments made from those patterns. Mending time is an opportunity to just let my thoughts meander from one aspect of sewing to another, a time to dream and be inspired.

So while I didn't actually work on a garment project this weekend, I did spend a fair amount of time in the sewing studio. And as the weekend draws to a close, I feel "darn" good about what I accomplished.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just Resting Between Sets

A local gym is running some clever commercials right now. The set up is a question-and-answer period. In one of the commercials the "customer" asks, "I've not been working out for a while. How do I get started again?" The announcer replies, in this deep, booming voice, "Don't say you haven't been working out, say 'I'm just resting between sets.'" I love that line! It is so appropriate for many areas of my life right now.

I have done some sewing over the last few months. Here is DGD2's dress for her baptism and birthday celebration. It is a Bonnie Blue pattern. I added lace inserts in the skirt and to the angel flutter sleeves. It is made from white handkerchief linen and her initials are embroidered on the yoke. She was, of course, beautiful in her dress, white sandals, gold cross necklace and pearl bracelet. I painted her toenails hot pink to match her older sister. After the ceremony a good time was had by all at her princess birthday celebration.

DH & I met our DD1 and her family in the Smokey Mountains for vacation in late June. We all shared an awesome cabin on top of a mountain for 7 days. I made a couple of pair of shorts from KwikSew 3614. I made View A for both pairs of shorts. I really liked the way they turned out. One pair of was navy blue from some stash cotton. The other pair was a black/white cotton twill with just a touch of Lycra. The shorts went together easily and this pattern has the best fly instructions I've found. Very clear and concise.

I'm starting to think about fall. I need slacks mostly. So I'm checking both the pattern & fabric stash to come up with a plan.