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Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category

What Next?

While I was working on the yarn bombing of Front Street I realized that I really really really don’t like working on just one thing. It makes me antsy! I kept dreaming of what I’d be able to work on when the yarn bombing was over. And that list of future projects kept growing. The day after the yarn bombing felt like Christmas! What did I want to start first?

New design

The first thing I started working on was a new design! (Whaaa?!?) I know, right! It’s about time! I’m still swatching things. (Recognize that yarn? It’s what I had left over from my Flower Market Shawl! So one design lends a hand in the creation of another.) I’m excited about this one! More details will come!

My next two projects have not been started yet and both are sort of new-to-me crafts. The first being hand embroidery. I’ve done a teensy bit of embroidery but never anything huge or difficult. There are so many beautiful hand embroidered masterpieces out there and I’m ready to try and create one myself with the Daisychain ABCs Crewelwork Sampler from Alicia Paulson, the creative mind behind one of my favorite blogs, Posie Gets Cozy.

Daisychain ABCs Crewelwork Sampler by Alicia Paulson

You can buy everything – the pattern, crewel wool and pre-printed fabric – in her shop Posie: Rosy Little Things. And there’s a flickr group, too! (Where I’ve been drooling over everyone’s samplers before getting the courage to start my own!) The pattern includes a template if you want to use your own fabric and she also gives similar DMC thread colors if you’d like to do it with embroidery floss instead. And each letter has full instructions on stitch-type and color (and included are instructions on how to do each type of stitch!). I’m excited (and still a little nervous) to start this!

Now there’s one more thing I’m itching to try. Sewing clothes! My mom always made clothes for us growing up. She made our prom dresses and her mother-of-the-bride dresses. And each one was impeccable! She tried to teach me when I was younger but I guess I wasn’t ready. Well, I’m ready now! And it seems like the universe is in full support. Have you noticed the increased interest in sewing these days? Did you watch The Great British Sewing Bee? If not, go now! It’s a competition show to find the best home sewer in England. I won’t spoil it for you. The entire first season is only 4 episodes long and they are all here on YouTube! You could watch it all in one day! I loved it so much! ♥♥♥

Since my mom is 600 miles away, I turned to Craftsy to teach me the ins and outs of apparel sewing. I signed up for Sewing Studio (a great class for beginners that teaches you how to make a pillow and a pencil skirt) and the Sassy Librarian Blouse Class because that blouse is SO CUTE! ♥ I’ve watched both classes from beginning to end and it finally makes sense to me! Christine Haynes (instructor for the Sassy Librarian Blouse) completely demystified button bands, collars, pintucks and set-in sleeves. I’m not afraid of them anymore! This whole thing is definitely doable.

I’m also excited to make the super cute (and super popular) Staple Dress by April Rhodes.

STAPLEphotomashup

My only problem is picking out which fabric to use! I’m sure I’ll end up doing what I’ve seen others do and make several of these in different prints! So many options! And it’s such a great wear-anywhere dress (and good for beginners, I hear). I’m excited about giving it a try!

Boy, I think all of that should keep me busy for a while. And I’m sure I’ll sneak in some small projects here and there (as I get distracted by other shiny objects – did you see that Heather Bailey is launching a line of embroidery patterns?! Squeeee!). Whatever happens, I can rest assured knowing that I’ll be having a very crafty summer. ✂

What are your craft plans for the summer? Will you be learning something new?

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So I guess the title of this post could have two meanings. The first being Yay! Spring is here! The birds are back! The flowers are blooming! The second being the *chirp-chirp* of crickets as this blog has been very very quiet lately! Well, as for the latter, the past few months have been filled with ups! And downs. One big “up” (and my main timesuck the past couple of months) has been the planning and implementation of a yarn bombing in downtown Hattiesburg that we successfully pulled off this past weekend for the Spring Art Walk. The yarn bombing deserves its own blog post so stay tuned for that! It ate up a lot of yarn and I drank up a lot of coffee!

A big “down” happened in February as an F-4 tornado came through Hattiesburg and destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings (on my 36th birthday, no less!). Thankfully, no one was killed.

Taken Feb. 12, 2013 – two days after the tornado hit. This is at our local Red Cross (just 1/3 of a mile from our house). It was completely destroyed.

These were taken April 11, 2013 – two months after the tornado hit. Still a lot of clean-up and rebuilding left to do.

I think I went into a bit of a funk after the tornado. I didn’t really want to do anything! I didn’t knit. I didn’t crochet. I had gone out the morning of for a”birthday run” but didn’t lace up my shoes again until more than a week later. I wanted to limit my exposure to all of the devastation. It had wiped out most of the old beautiful trees in front of the university. It changed our city. But, life is really starting to move forward here in Hattiesburg. We are busying ourselves with outdoor concerts, art walks, festivals. Yarn bombings! Spring is definitely bringing new life to our city!

And of course, once I started running regularly again, my mood started to lift! Go figure! That, coupled with the warmer temps, made me long for my knitting needles and crochet hooks. It even made me crave a bit of sewing!

So I decided to embrace this newly awakened sewing urge and finish some quilt blocks I had been slacking on for a quilting bee (before really buckling down for all of my yarn bombing projects).

Spring also gifted me with a nice surprise this week! I received Patternfish’s April newsletter and was shocked to see that my Flower Market Shawl pattern made the Prime Minister’s list of favorite patterns for 2012! She narrowed her original three page list down to only 18 patterns! Her kind words about my pattern were the icing on the cake (and a bit of a “pinch me” moment)! It was definitely a great start to my week!

I hope that Spring has brought you a few lovelies as well! And maybe inspired you to pull out your sewing machine, knitting needles, crochet hooks, or that project that’s been languishing. It is definitely my most favorite season of the year. I just wish it lasted longer down here! It’s starting to feel like summer already!

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Summer Hiatus

Well, I seem to have taken a bit of a summer vacation from this here blog, eh? It wasn’t intentional. And to be honest, it hasn’t been a vacation either. I have not been kicking my feet up, lounging by a pool, drinking mojitos. None of it. I wish I was!! And to be honest, I haven’t been doing much crafting either. Booooooooooo!

Well, let’s see… I did make this potholder from Amy Butler’s book. I gave it to my mom. Apologies for the poor photo quality.
Potholder Amy Butler Potholder

I also made some machine appliqued t-shirts for my nephew’s first birthday.
appliqued tshirts appliqued tshirt

And I crocheted myself a dishrag (no picture of that – it’s a green single-crocheted square – nothing glamorous). Add a touch of knitting here and there and that’s about it! Not much to show for almost three full months! Why? Two words. Home Improvement. We got our house re-sided, had our hot water heater bust, had a pipe under the house bust and on and on. We are currently renovating our bathroom and have been for weeks now. (Our ONLY bathroom by the way. While we re-tiled the tub and shower we were having to shower at a friend’s house or the gym. That’s a real kick in the pants.)

I’m also still working on getting my studio finished. That sorta came to a halt when we started the bathroom because everything that needed to come out of the bathroom was put in the studio. And we painted our bedroom at the same time so lots of stuff from there was put in the studio, too! It’s almost cleaned out again with the exception of the new bathroom vanity waiting to be installed.

So I’ve been kinda bummed because I haven’t been able to do much crafty stuff and when I have had time to sit and chill for a bit I sometimes just want to veg out in front of the TV or computer (so many blogs to catch up with!). But I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve picked out a wall color for the studio finally. It always takes me SO long to pick out paint colors. Is anyone else like that? I feel like it’s a big commitment and I need to find the perfect color. It’s like I have the color I want in my mind but when you stick me in front of the paint chips at the store I freeze up and get so confused!

Anyway, I do have something exciting to share that has happened since we last spoke. I got a new car! I’ve wanted one of these cars for years and years and years.
Subaru Outback

It’s the ’08 Subaru Outback. A car from the future! We’re still in 2007! Anyway, we’ve barely had it a month and we’ve already used it to carry a new hot water heater, a complete patio dining set, a bathroom vanity and, believe it or not, a love seat and ottoman. It has definitely earned its keep! I am amazed at how much room it has inside (which may come in handy if the house implodes and we are forced to live in it).

So anyway, apologies for the lack of activity here lately. I just feel like I don’t have anything to blog about if I’m not knitting or crafting something!

So I may not pop in here very much for the rest of the summer. Geoff and I are putting our nose to the grindstone to finish a list of home improvement projects so that we can relax during the fall. So you may not hear from me until September. Hopefully I’ll pop in before then, even if just for a brief “hiya!” I do miss my virtual friends.

Until then, please kick your feet up, lounge by a pool somewhere and have a mojito for me. Someone has to!

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I’m sneaking this post in on the last day of April just to say that I *did* post twice in one month! Sad, really.

I hope everyone had a wonderful April. Ours has been hectic (as usual) but we’ve been accomplishing a ton around the house.

I’ve been playing with my new sewing machine and I love it! I’ve played with most of the decorative stitches and am amazed at what it can do. I have big plans for it!

Many of you expressed an interest in hearing my thoughts about the machine (a Kenmore 19606) so here is what I think so far:

First of all, I do not consider myself to be a proficient “sewer” (that being “one who sews” and not “a conduit for carrying off sewage”). My mother can turn any fabric into a gorgeous gown or perfect skirt. She tried teaching me a few times but it just never took. But recently my interest in it has been re-kindled and I am realizing that sewing doesn’t always have to be about clothing and complicated patterns! I also place some of my past distaste for sewing on my actual sewing machine. I think I spent about $150 on it about 6 years ago and always seemed to have trouble with it from the beginning (I could never remember how to load that damn bobbin!) so it became more of a heavy dust-collector than anything else.

So when the sewing bug bit me in the last several months, I started looking for a sewing machine that I could grow with (and the fact that it does a lot of the hard stuff for me is a bonus, too).

I knew I wanted a machine that included a ton of neat decorative stitches to use in crafty ways. But the price of those machines was way out of my price range! That’s when I happened upon reviews of the Kenmore 19606. Every review I read was a positive one and I found out that it is actually made by Janome so it’s a really well-made machine.

So the first (and obvious) great thing about it is the amount of decorative stitches. There are definitely some I will use more than others (when will I need to stitch an alligator or penguin? who knows – but they will be there when I do). And you can create your own stitch patterns and store up to 5 in the machine’s memory. And I love the fact that it has a stitch locking button. The stitch locking button is great because if I press it while doing a straight stitch it will end the stitch immediately and do a few locking stitches so that the stitches are secured. And if I press it while stitching decorative stitches it will finish the stitch pattern/motif it is working on and then lock the stitches in place at the end which really gives it a professional look.

This leads me to my next favorite thing about it, the start/stop button. This sewing machine gives you the option of using the foot pedal or the start/stop button to do your sewing. I think I’ve used the foot pedal maybe once. The start/stop button is just awesome. I thought I would feel like I wasn’t in control if I used the start/stop button instead of the foot pedal but I haven’t found that to be the case. I actually feel like I have MORE control (especially with the speed). I should also mention that if you have the foot pedal plugged in, the start/stop button will not work. It’s one or the other.

Buttonholes! There are seven fully automatic buttonholes for me to choose from! And when I say automatic, I mean it! It does it all! You place the button that you will be using in the button hole foot and it will make a button hole to fit that particular button! Magic! I have found though that if I want the buttonholes to look professional, I need to go over them twice and the instructions actually encourage you to do that. So when it has finished the buttonhole all I have to do is press the start/stop button again and it will know that I want it to go over that buttonhole again. It’s a very smart little machine.

Drop in Bobbin! Love love love this. I could never seem to get the bobbin right in my old machine and it was just so cumbersome to put it in and get it out. This drop-in bobbin system is SO EASY (even a caveman could do it). Idiot-proof. And I need that!

It comes with nine presser feet, some of which I have no clue about. The great thing is that I don’t really have to know what they do. The machine tells me which foot to use according to the stitch I’ve selected. Although I do wish it had a button foot (for putting on buttons themselves and not for making buttonholes). I’ve sewed a couple of buttons onto some pants and it wasn’t a huge problem but the presser foot they have you use makes it difficult to see the holes in the button to line them up correctly. And I see that Kenmore makes a button foot for “vertical” sewing machines but mine is a “horizontal” one. Could it work on my machine? I don’t really understand the difference between feet for “vertical” or “horizontal” machines. Still learning!

Yikes, this is getting long! I guess I love my new sewing machine, eh?

All of the things that I had problems with in my old machine (figuring out tension, loading bobbins, etc) are all pretty much idiot-proof on this one. So if you’re new to sewing and are able to spend a little more for your first machine, I recommend one like this that does a lot of the “thinking” for you. Of course, I want to eventually understand everything about what it does and why, but for now I am content to let it tell ME what to do.

I have lots of projects planned for my new machine (many coming from some new books I have that I’ll share with you in my next post). Unfortunately, I don’t know when I’ll be able to actually start any of those projects because all of our house projects have sucked up any disposable income lately and fabric, like yarn, costs money (why is that?!).

And on the knitting front, not to worry! I am not giving up my knitting! In fact, I’ll be teaching the Entrelac class at my LYS next week using my scarf pattern found in the side bar. Maybe THAT money can go towards some fun things like fabric and yarn and not boring things like new toilet seats and mulch.

Have a wonderful May Day, everyone!

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Has anyone seen my March?

I seem to have misplaced the entire month of March. If you find it please return it to me!

Gosh time is flying by so fast. A day turns into a week turns into a month! All in the blink of an eye!

I hope that everyone is enjoying the start of spring! I’m loving the temperatures. I definitely have spring fever.

This is, by far, my favorite time of the year. I feel so energized as things start to bloom and the temperatures rise. And I was a happy happy girl when daylight savings time started three weeks early.

So what has happened in the last month? Unfortunately not much crafty stuff. I’m still purging the junk in my life (don’t worry, Geoff is still here… for now…) and organizing what’s staying. Then I had about a week where pretty much nothing got done because I was having major stomach pain. Two doctor visits and an upper GI series later and… my esophagus likes to spasm. That’s the diagnosis. The doc says I need to be careful when eating raw veggies and meat and to make sure to chew it up good or else I could piss off my esophagus and it will punish me with spasms and lots of pain. Nice. Except she only said the word “esophagus” like once. She kept referring to it as my “food tube.” Um, thanks. I’m a medical librarian. Don’t insult my intelligence. Anyway, that magic purple pill Nexium is making it all better.

Enough about my “food tube.” I need some help with my organizational skills (or lack thereof). You see, I subscribe to a lot of magazines (maybe I’ll go into which ones in a future post). I’m addicted to magazines! Of course, with all of those magazines comes a lot of torn out recipes and cool ideas/projects. My question is what to do with all of those? Do you know of a great way to organize magazine clippings? Especially recipes… oh, the recipes. I mean, they are useless to me in a pile somewhere because I don’t know what I have! What works best? File folders? Binders? Scanning them into the computer? HELP!

Anyway, on to more exciting things… I bought some yarn that had been calling out to me every time I stepped into my new LYS. It was cheap so I said “why not?” Of course, now I don’t know what to make with it! I have two skeins (656 yards) of this:

It’s Ironstone Warehouse’s Flake Cotton and I can’t find very much about it online. Has anyone used it before? Any suggestions on what I should make with it?

OK!

I’ve saved the best for last!

Are you ready for it?

Meet my new best friend…

It’s a Kenmore 19606 sewing machine. This baby has 765 stitch functions! Wahoo! It also has a start/stop button so you don’t need to use the foot pedal. It’ll even thread the eye of the needle for me! I looked online reading review after review and people seemed really happy with this machine and it seemed to give more bang for the buck. Then I started stalking Sears and asking sales associates about upcoming sales. They had a big one this past weekend and I pounced. I’ve only had it a couple of days so I haven’t had a chance to put it through the paces but hopefully I’ll get to play very soon.

An aside: I wish you could smell my house right now. I had some bananas that were going bad so I made some of my favorite banana-nut bread and the yummy smell is filling up my house! It’s so hard to wait for it to cool!

Ok, that’s all for now. I don’t want to turn this into a “super-sized” post (although it may be too late). So I’ll leave you with the promise that you will hear from me again soon! I promise to not let April get misplaced like March did. I’m keeping an good eye on it…

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