Happy hat day

It’s a bit darker than my camera would lead you to believe.

One of my friends has a 23 December birthday.  That must kind of suck because of course that’s Christmas and people tend to lump the two occasions together.  When my group of friends celebrate Thanksgiving we celebrate his birthday early since we’re all together.  Usually I just get him a super bottle of wine since he’s a chef and really appreciates yummy things.  This year they’re flying up and wine is out.  So I decided to knit him a hat since he’s probably not got one because he lives in Los Angeles and doesn’t need one.  Need has nothing to do with it, he’s getting a hat.  I justify that he may need one in San Francisco during his visit, or it may one day be “hat cold” in LA.  Hah!  Luckily he has impeccable manners and would never let me know if he’s less than thrilled with a hat.

Nonetheless, here is a lovely blue tweed version of Graham with just a bit of hipster droop.  I quite like this hat and hope he finds some use for it.  It was made with love, so that must count for something.

Pattern is Graham; yarn is Berroco Blackstone Tweed in the Naragansett colorway and used about 1.25 skeins.

Mushrooms and Monsters

Week 1 mushroom identity parade.

I’m not a gardening person and am rather disinterested in my tiny yard.  I keep it within HOA guidelines, hire someone to do the bulk of the upkeep and call it done.  So the other day I noticed a mushroom growing the backyard.  Odd.  We’re having a three year drought and I’ve got shrooms?  We have had a bit of rain and these poor spores were so desperate the must have said “now or never”.  So here are the week 1 and 2 splits of my very own three mushroom crop.  Isn’t that third one odd looking?  And it’s big!  Boy they grow quickly.  Anyone know anything about mushrooms?  Don’t worry, I’m not going to eat them.

Week 2 after several days of rain. Super shrooms!

Other than watching mushrooms grow, I’m on vacation (!) for the rest of the month so I hope to get some crafting done, despite scheduling multiple tasks every darn day like an idiot.  First up is a shopping bag I made in under an hour for a little gift.  The pattern is  Michelle Pattern’s Grocery Bag (it’s on sale and super easy).  I live in a county with a recent plastic bag ban so bringing your own sacks to the shops is a must.  And why can’t those bags be cute?  This monster bag is destined for a pal with two little boys and we all know little kids like monsters of the cute variety.  Perhaps I’ll make more and give them for Christmas?  They sure are easy and useful, so stay tuned for more versions.  Maybe I’ll find some mushroom fabric ;-)

Monsters and gingham shopping bag.

Striped Hemlock

This little striped fabric looks crazy distorted on my monitor, it’s just playing with us.

Because I lead such a glamorous life, I made another tee shirt.

I know!  I do wish I could show you all the swanky things I make and wear to cotillions and soirees, but alas, my days aren’t like that.  Nor are my nights.  Perhaps in the next life.

What I made here is the Grainline Studio Hemlock Tee pattern.  It’s actually a free pattern that has been quite well represented on the blogs.  It’s a simple project, which is all I was up for when deciding what to make.  I sewed most of this on the overlocker so it’s also quick in addition to being easy.

This top should be good for knocking around the house, or “lounge wear” if we’re being fancy with the words.  I’ll “pair” it with “lounge pants” (that’s sweat pants to you and me).  It’s a good basic that won’t embarrass me if the neighbors see me taking the trash.  It will be much worn and used a stashed bit of fabric.  That’s a win!

Can you smell it?

I could say this is in here to show detail, but this made me think of Joey from Friends explaining “smell the fart” acting. Seriously funny.

I’ve been spoiled for choice about what to make for my next sewing project as I’ve got lots of new and stashed fabrics available to me.  What have I done, not much.  There has been much weirdness in my world of late, but I hope I’ve shaken it off and returned to the land of tranquility and harmony.  To that end I decided to finish a dress I’d already finished during the World Series.

I know, the World Series ended 29 October with our local SF Giants winning.  Yay them!  While watching some of the games (I’m not the hugest of baseball fans but the WS is fun) I cut out and made Vogue 1351.  This is a simple DKNY pattern for a bias cut lined dress with a cowl neck.  I’d seen it on the blogs and it’s really a “good” dress, if that makes sense?

Fits much better now!

I had some black and white ponte knit in the stash that I couldn’t really find a use for and thought it would be fine for this dress since the pattern wouldn’t look cattywompus on the diagonal.  The lining I’d just dig out of the stash and it’s insta-dress.

And really, this was insta-dress since there’s only 5 pattern pieces and that includes the lining.  I even omitted the side zipper since I used a knit, and that worked out perfectly in case you’re thinking of doing the same.

My problem came when I tried the dress on.  It was just too loose through the waist.  Perhaps if I’d used a fluid woven, rather than a stable knit I’d have got more drape.  Or much more likely, I cut the size too big.  Either way, I had to take it in after seeing the pictures I’d taken to blog.  I like loose and and even I thought it was too much.

So it sat.  The Giants had their victory parade.  I flew back and forth across the country a dozen times.  And still it sat.  One day I’d had enough of looking at the forlorn bundle and took it in using my machine basting stitch.  Well that was ugly.  Turns out that making curves on the bias makes big old wobbly bumps.  Not so pretty.  Ripped that out and tried a much more gradual straigh-tish line in to the waist and back down the skirt.  That worked.  Much smoother.  Note to self:  cutting a size down would be the way to go if I made this again with knits.

Why did I buy that crazy abstract ITY? What was in my head? No freaking idea.

So here is the much delayed and altered World Series dress.  I even lined the dress with some orange ITY from the stash to reflect the Giants’ colors (that was luck since I wanted to use this fabric up which I’d purchased in a fit of crazy).  It’s still warm enough to wear around here for a little while longer, but it would look good under a cardie with tights and boots.  Or even tucked up to the Thanksgiving table, where I’ll probably be sad I didn’t leave the extra fabric in.

There’s a draft in my skirt

It looks like a fan cookie they used to put in ice cream sundaes.

I thought I’d have a finished quick knit dress to share, but when I looked at the photos I took of me wearing the thing I realized that not only did it feel loose it was a bit more sack-like than it should be.  Side seams need taking in a bit so today you’ve got this.

What is it?  It’s a draft of a 3/8 circle skirt.  Huh?

Well it started by me reading on a sewing blog that she was going to have a step by step draft of a vintage skirt pattern style she’d come across.  I thought it would be fun to do, and truth be told, pattern drafting was my best skill at design school.  Plus it would be easier to do an along than figure out all the math in my limited off time.

So what you see above is the draft of the simple 3/8 skirt.  Next installment will add the cross over pleats and then perhaps it’s muslin time.  If you want to read more about this (or join in) the link is here to Frabjous Couture.  If you hesitate because you don’t have special tools please know I tape together my 18″ pattern paper and use a push pin and my tape measure as a compass (like we learned at school).  There is a bit of math but it’s super easy and I used the calculator on my iPhone.

So tonight I work a red eye and perhaps pleats will happen early next week!  Happy Sunday.

Happy Halloween

It's like a Davis Sedaris essay where a bunny and a lollipop go out for a walk...

It’s like a Davis Sedaris essay where a bunny and a lollipop go out for a walk…

I couldn’t resist one more nostalgic photo and since its Halloween, that’s the theme. Don’t you just love Claudia in that bunny outfit?! I adore this picture and I’d guess I was in kindergarten and the bunny was in second grade. Could be a year earlier though. No matter, much cuteness was sewn up but our momma. Happy Halloween friends!

Zoo girls

Sisters at the San Francisco Zoo circa 1967 sporting matching hand knits, of course.

Since the present is being rather difficult, I’ll embrace the past this #tbt and post this pic of Claudia and me at the SF Zoo circa 1967.  Please notice the matching hand knit WOOL skirt/jacket combos knit by our mom.  Seriously, two children under 3 and knitting matching wool outfits.  Of note, I do have a picture of Claudia on her first day of kindergarten wearing a jacket very similar to the one here.  Clearing ripping out sweaters and reknitting them runs in our genes.

P.S.  I’m the one on the left looking dopey.  Can you see the little Claudia’s inquiring mind here already?

Easy button

I’m trying out a super hero pose here.

Well it’s not Rhinebeck, but it’s something.

The upside of not going to New York Sheep and Wool is that I’ve got some time on my hands.  I took advantage of that by finishing Staple dress.

The material is from a layover in Los Angeles that had me trekking over to the fabric district and picking up a few things, this included.  The material is a rayon/poly fluid print that presses well.  I thought it would be a good match for Staple dress’ elastic waist.  The material’s drape should be nice and fluid and make for soft folds in the finished dress.

Well the finished dress is fine, I just don’t know how much I’ll like wearing that elastic waist.  It was annoying me just taking pictures, but I suspect the elastic will relax a bit with wear (plus that fact that I yank on it while taking it one and off).  I even tried to wear a belt when taking pictures and you know I hate belts, which is probably why it’s kind of wonky.

I made the dress as instructed, but it’s a pretty easy dress so variations are limited.  The dress has pockets and a shirred elastic waist.  It’s pretty basic.  The neck and armholes are finished with bias, the waist is shirred with elastic thread and I added bra strap holders at the shoulders so that wide neck would stay on.  I didn’t add any length and hemmed with a baby hem, so if you want a longer dress or are tall you may want to add a bit to the length.

All that said, I’m still on the fence as to whether this will be useful.  The blouson effect of the bodice isn’t the most flattering on me.  I think I prefer a more fitted look on top for me, but it is fairly comfortable and easy to slip on under a cardigan, so maybe.  I’ll keep it for a few months and see if it gets worn.

I think I’ll try to make another blouse next from my latest fabric from New York, which I cleverly left out waiting for inspiration (and time off).

Dress with cardigan, it’s most likely wear. Can’t wear it long today since it’s still pretty dang hot out.



Does that look like $1K worth of damage? Can’t I just pad out that dent with some leftover sock yarn? Apparently the yarn thing is NOT an approved fix…

Why am I not going to Rhinebeck this year?

Is it because I don’t have the time off work.  No, I do.

Is it because you can’t fly across the country to get to NYS&W?  No, indeed I can.  I fly for free because I work for an airline.

Then why?  Because I backed the car into another in my driveway and have used my Rhinebeck yarn slush fund to pay for a new bumper!  Seriously.  Why do we even have bumpers if you can’t bump into anything?  Why can’t I use my excess yarn as bumper filler to make the fixing cost under $1K?

That is my sad tale, sorry to vent.  My sister tried to make me feel better by saying we should plan a trip to Maryland Sheep and Wool instead?  We’ve not been to Maryland in ages and barring any more demolition derby stunts on my end we’re in.  Anyone else planning on Maryland?

Yards and yards of love

A first taste of purchases – these are the two that I think I’ll use first.

I was forced to buy fabric.  Really.  It was probably the last, best thing I’ve done.  Since then my week has been absolute shit.  I’m now intimately familiar with the deductible on my car insurance.  My other car’s smog check is now turning into a multi-day slog and the upcoming lunar eclipse can only spell disaster for me.

So let’s focus on the fabric.  I’ll just start by showing the first two pieces I think I’m going to use.  It’s a bit dull to see a big old pile of fabric in posts so I’ll bore you little by little.  The other day I got sent to New York and actually had a layover in Manhattan.  It’s not too often I get a long layover, mostly I stay by the airport.  It was a beautiful day so I thought I’d spend a bit of time down in the fabric district picking up some yardage.  I didn’t spend much money and I only had about two hours but I made the most of it.  I went to my favorite haunts from FIT days and they’d all moved around (except Mood) but Steinlauf and Stoller had the EXACT same dusty window display from my time there in the mid 1990s.  Love that, and love them since they have everything you’ll ever need notion wise.

So the fabrics, above is a sweater knit merino/cotton Italian fabric from Mood for a luxurious slouchy top.  Bottom fabric is cotton from B&J Fabrics that is much lighter than quilting cotton but a bit heavier than voile.  Perfect for a tailored blouse.  I’d not been to B&J since they moved to 7th Avenue (@38th St. 2nd floor – you’re welcome).  Their fabrics are on headers on racks so you can easily see prints and feel the hand.  Nice!  Plus it’s quicker, time is money people.

So those are my plans but my crap luck may alter those plans somewhat.  Plus I’m going to have to go back to work soon and they’ll be some long trips.  Sigh.  I’ll get over my bad self, don’t worry.  Hope you’re all well!