Monday, June 23, 2008

Off to Italy folks...

I'm off to Italia today... see you on the flip side* of the trip.

* When I get back on the 4th of July, I can't wait to be all patriotic and wear this little number that I finished yesterday. (Please note, I haven't done my hair or makeup in that photo - YIKES!) It's out of that fabric I bought during the JoAnn's sale and in the same pattern as the polka dot dress. I just must remember, for the future, that the bodice is just.too.big!! I had to take that in a little. Otherwise, it came out pretty darn good.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Picture Perfect

I'm working on adjusting my body clock so this morning I got up and moving at 6 AM. Yep, early for me - especially on a Saturday. The perk is plenty of time to work on projects! I have been quite productive over the last couple of hours. The Minimalist is finished as of about 30 minutes ago - blocked, seamed and lovely. I had to fiddle with the shoulders a little to have them lay a little flatter after I seamed them on. But, overall wonderful!

I finished the purse I was working on last night. It came out quite cute. If I were doing it again, I'd definitely make some tweaks to the pattern. It was my own design so there's no surprise that it isn't quite perfect. ;-) There are a few things the perfectionist in me thinks could be better. I would definitely cut the fabric a little larger and seam the top better. But, I'm pretty happy and ready for it to make its little journey out into the world. I'm thinking the red seersucker would love the bullseye of Target....

Lastly, as promised a small picture of the wristlet I made with scrap quilted fabric. This little sucker is making the trip across the pond as I think she will be quite helpful if we are just running out for dinner or something. It will fit my camera, chapstick and a couple of other little things. The top isn't completely even, something I'd fix if I was to make this again. But, again, this was my own little design so of course the first one isn't going to be perfect.

My afternoon is going to be spent cutting out that red, white and blue fabric. I'm looking forward to getting started on the dress. And, I'm going to be a good dog mom and take Rosy for a long walk. (Goodness, I'm going to miss that little doggie when I'm in Italy! Last night she slept up on the bed with me and couldn't seem to get close enough.... such a sweetheart.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ring Around the Rosy and a Pocket Full of Sewing

A friend and I went to the men's gymnastic Olympic Trials last night. It was loads of fun - we had great seats and I enjoyed watching the event operations just as much as the gymnastics. The talent in that auditorium is just amazing - it's going to be a good year folks. We got home kind of late however.

I had started on the lining of the purse the day before and added the inside pocket yesterday before we left for the Wachovia Center. At 10:30 PM, I decided it was a wise decision to sit down at the machine again and do more sewing. Where is the wisdom in this decision, I'm not quite sure. I pieced together the outsides and started contemplating attaching the bamboo handles. The only thing that stopped me from completing this task was the thread jamming. While trying to clear the machine, I came to the realization it was after midnight. And my alarm was going to go off at 6:30. And that perhaps I should seek out some sleep before that happened. So, the lovely little bag is sitting on the kitchen table, waiting for me to finish her up and take her on a little outing. Tonight, my friend, you will be complete.

Pictures of her loveliness (seersucker - yay!) and my little wristlet will be forthcoming....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The First Cut is the Deepest

I am still trying to figure out what dress to make with the fabric I bought over the weekend. Here's a better picture of the fabric than what I posted before. I was contemplating making the same New Look dress. The pattern comes with a few different "looks." I'm torn between the large picture dress and the smaller one on the right bottom (exact same as the brown polka dot I made this past weekend). I kind of think the sundress is more suitable for the fabric pattern. It's a ongoing debate until I decide to finally cut the fabric. Any thoughts?

In knitting news, the Minimalist Cardigan is coming along nicely. I'm only one sleeve short of a sweater (no comments from the peanut gallery on how I've always been one sleeve short....). I cast on the second sleeve last night. I should definitely have it completely knitted and seamed before I leave for vacation. Woohoo for that!! I love the color and hope to wear this while trying to sleep on the red eye. I absolutely love this sweater. I have a tons of summer outfits to wear with it and think, thus far, everything has come out fantastic.

And I'm already seeing my next sweater on the needles.

52 Projects (or something like that)

Ummmm.... so I have been thinking A LOT about what knitting project to take to Italy with me. I want something kind of easy for the bus rides. I want a bit of a challenge though. I don't want to buy new yarn for it (well, of course I want to buy new yarn but after that new catalytic converter my car demanded, yarn will have to wait). So, I've thought and thought about it. I've dug out stash, thinking I had the right thing. I worried about something falling off DPNs when I have to shove it away suddenly. And, finally this morning in the shower I had an epiphany (what is it about the shower really? I have the most amazing moments of clarity there!). I should make that top down raglan cardigan I have queued on Ravelry. I have a bunch of pink yarn left in my stash that I think (fingers crossed here people) will work. So, hopefully the mystery of the Italian project has been solved.

Of course all of that thinking (let me tell you, I'm tired) led me to think of additional projects I can do. Right now my list is:
- top down raglan cardigan (duh)
- Otto (coincidentally, my grandfather's name - and Toot inside out) for my friend's baby girl
- My fall/winter sweater with lovely yarn purchased at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival (pattern TBD)
- dress with the red, white and blue fabric bought this weekend (laundered and ironed last night!)
- bamboo handled purse
- this little cardigan (Rav link)
- a tea cozy for my mom for Christmas

Okay, so that isn't quite 52 projects. But, I found this great book on Amazon that I simply must read. It's titled 52 Projects: Random Acts of Everyday Creativity and I'm afraid it might inspire me to expand my list considerably. It is already in my shopping cart, waiting for my next Amazon binge. I love books that push me to think more creatively and use skills I don't consider my strengths. I see additional projects getting in line already....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Siren Song of a Sale

Oy! The siren song from JoAnn's was too much for me to resist! Right now, it is the Firefly Frenzy Sale. I decided to check it out today. Now, I'm typically not overly impressed with their inventory of fabrics for clothes. But, 60% off is enticing. So, I wandered around for a while and ended up with this lovely red, white and blue fabric with flowers and anchors on. (Umm, the first thing I looked at....don't you love when you keep going back to the same fabric? It's like you found the perfect thing right away but still thought you might find something better. But, I digress...) The saleswoman said it would make a wonderful 4th of July dress. I agree - except I'll be on a plane that day and also don't think I'll be cranking out a dress before I head to Italy. But, then stranger things have happened, right? I think it will absolutely lovely with my red espadrilles. Woohoo!! Here's my bounty....

You'll see I also got some gorgeous green, maroon and purple upholstery fabric to make a purse out of. (It really is totally divine and I can't wait to make that purse!) I was looking for something a bit sturdier and think this fabric will be perfect. Of course, these lovely fabrics are waiting to be laundered so no cutting in my immediate future. I got some other things to replenish the stash - buttons, zippers, a quarter square, sewing machine needles, etc. Wonderful trip!

I also stopped at Bumble Beads to pick up some beads to match the necklace I made my friend for her birthday. I wanted to make some earrings as well. Of course, I also found this great leaf bead that I knew would be a lovely necklace for me. So, this afternoon I whipped this up.

LOVE!!!! I also made the earrings for the friend so the gift is all done and ready to be gifted.

I also think we might need to stage a little intervention for me. I am obsessed with making little zippy pouches. They are so darn fast to whip up and so perfect for carrying all of my little things. I made two yesterday - one for me and one for my friend. The striped pink, yellow and green fabric in the picture goes perfectly with my new knitting bag that I got for my birthday! If I make more, seek professional help please....after all, a girl can only use so many of those cute little suckers.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Polka Dots

Life is good! Today was one of those relaxing days where you marvel at how you got so lucky.

I woke up this morning and went right to work on the sundress I was making. I worked from probably about 8 to 10 AM on the dress. It's finished!! Last night my kitchen table looked like this:

Now, I know that it not horribly messy - it's definitely been worse. My ironing board is in the bedroom, which requires walking back and forth (and back and forth) but keeps the kitchen less cluttered. Now, my table is pretty much cleared off, except for the sewing machine. (See the sad little dog... I think she'd rather I play with her!) I don't think there are any more sewing projects in the works before I head to Italy.

The dress came out great! I love the polka dots and variety of colors I can match to it. The final look, minus accessories, is this:

The dress is New Look 6457 in style A. I thought the directions they include were just so so but it's pretty easy to piece together what you should do without following them. Anywho, I can't wait to wear it on Monday!

After finishing that project, I headed out to WWKIP day at the The Knitting Store to work on another project and do my small part for knitting awareness. I was able to cast on a sleeve of the Minimalist Cardigan, since I cast off the left front late last night. (Woohoo!) I kept stumbling through the cast on because I got distracted. One of the things that holds me back from being overly social when I knit it public: I haven't quite mastered the art of knitting and talking. I guess that is something to aspire to.

From there, I met a friend for a late lunch. She was late, equaling more knitting in public. A stop at the grocery store for some lovely snow peas and now I'm home again. What a totally wonderful and productive day! I feel so lucky to have the freedom and life to be able to have just this type of day.....

Friday, June 13, 2008

Why is getting dressed so difficult?

I often feel self conscious wearing items I have made. I think it is just the fledging sewer in me.... is this good enough mumbo jumbo. Today, I got dressed and changed about three times. I wanted casual and comfortable without being too underdressed... it wasn't easy to put together today. Anywho, I finally settled on the first dress I've made since I took up sewing again. This is the overall look....

It is Very Easy Vogue V8442 with a number of alterations, including belt loops, belt and one panel front. I like to make my desired alterations when sewing than to be married to the pattern, since there is always something I'm not totally keen on. This is definitely a pattern I'd keep altering if I make it again as I think the top part could be a little smaller and the sleeves are just a bit too wide.

But, I'm dressed now and ready to take on the day! Happy Friday the 13th!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Doggie Love

I should have included this earlier but I just have to say how much I love my little dog. This is a recent photo of her.

She just has such a look of love in her little eyes. She is the sweetest little thing and really such a good dog. I got darn lucky with her!

The Frog and the Toad

Remember that children's book, The Frog and the Toad? Frog and Toad are good friends to each other, walking down the path to visit each other at their homes. They appreciate each other's differences. They are truly great stories for kids, modeling true friendship.

When you say "frog" to a knitter, however, rarely would she think toad. She'd think ripping out work, starting slightly anew on an object. She'd think frustration perhaps. On my very first sweater, I definitely discovered frogging. The knit was too loose. The stitches were not an even gauge. I tend to be a little bit of a perfectionist and I knew I needed to start fresh. And, thus commenced the frogging. The second version of the sweater came out better. My stitches were more even. I went down a needle size. It was definitely better. However, it is still not quite ideal. The sweater is too big for me. The collar doesn't lay quite right. Overall, it is a bit of a toad.

I wore it once, with my bright pink scarf covering the not so perfect collar. I got a compliment on it. Quite honestly, I really love the pattern. It's the Somewhat Cowl by Wendy Bernard. I will probably make it again. And, as I keep reminding myself, it is my first sweater. My skills continue to sharpen. I kind of love my little toad, even with it's warts, because it is my first sweater. And, I will appreciate the difference in my knitting as it improves.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The 26 Point Word

Lately, I have been playing a lot of Scrabble on Facebook. I have, time and again, learned the value of the word qi. It can earn you anywhere from 11 to 50 some points. It means circulating life energy. It fits in small spaces and gives big rewards.

Now, you are probably wondering what this has to do with my various crafts. Yep, no crafts in Scrabble (although I would argue it can be an art form but then, that is a whole other post). Well, I think of knitting as akin to Scrabble. My knitting offers me small rewards throughout the creation of the garment. I get to revel in the look of the stitches on top of each other, the feeling you get when finishing one part of the object and marveling at the way the back of the sweater will look when attached to the front. I get energy from my knitting, seeing my success as I improve my skill. I get more imaginative, thinking about the possibilities. I move beyond my knitting comfort zone.

Qi is not a word I was familiar with before playing a lot of Scrabble games. Yes, I'd heard of chi but never the qi spelling. And, just like the word was new to me so are various knitting skills. I've only been knitting since October 2007. And, as I expand my vocabulary, so do I expand my knitting skill set. I decrease, increase, frog and SSK like a pro (ish). I learn the value of gauge swatches. I seek out opportunities to try new projects. I increase my knitting qi over time. And, I guess this blog is an opportunity to examine just that....