Hi Peeps!

Progress, just not too exciting.

Not too much crafting going on around here.  I’ve got plans, sure.  Just nothing happens beyond the planning.

I have finished the back of my Poodle Sweater and it seems like it should be good.  A-line comfy pullover with slightly dropped sleeves.  Heavenly comfortable is my goal.

The thing laying on the sweater back is one finished knee sock.  Just one, and without the tails woven in I might add.  I have two balls of sock yarn and wanted to try knee socks.  Since the two balls are already conveniently split in half it seemed a good opportunity for the knee sock experiment.  So this is a toe up sock with short row heel and toe, shaping at the ankle and calf (because I’m lucky and don’t have cankles) and a super stretchy bind off.  I used all but a few feet of the first ball of yarn so my “I think I can do one more round” style of yarn maximization worked pretty well.  Sadly the first and second ball aren’t alike in their stripe sequence so the socks will be fraternal.

On the sewing front I want to make a pair of bright blue stretch cotton twill pants for spring/summer fun wear.  The pattern I have is a Simplicity “Amazing Fit” pattern.  Well that sounds good I thought.  Certainly worth the $2 I spent on it.  Well I looked it over and it has 3-4″ of ease at the hip?!  At most you’d need 1″, especially with a stretch woven fabric.  I may just scrap this pattern and find a Burda one with a normal amount of ease.

But, because it’s a holiday I have to work.  Yes, I am heartily sick of working every holiday but what can you do.  No, there is no holiday pay.  I think I’m in Charlotte on Easter which I know from past experience will be locked up tighter than {insert witty similie here}.  Bible belt and religious holiday mean even the Chinese food restaurants are closed and don’t deliver.  But I’m bring a cooler and my knitting so I shall survive.

Post pants era

They look like sweats don’t they?

So yup, I made pants. They look like sweats. Enough said?

I took the Pants Fitting Techniques class from Craftsy because pants are such a bugger to fit I usually avoid making them.  If I shop enough I can find pants that fit just fine without crazy making sewing.  Well that’s kind of like saying I’m afraid of pants (and any Brits know I mean trousers I hope) and that’s just dumb.

So I signed up for Sandra Betzina’s Craftsy class when it was on sale and it’s a fine class despite my big pants result.  She walks you through various pant alterations for different fitting issues and then you sew up a muslin with the changes you’ve made to your pattern.  This particular pattern is Sandra’s Today’s Fit pattern from Vogue (2948) which has princess seams down the leg to facilitate fit. :-0

My pants are too big, not through any fault of the class, but rather the fabric I used to make up the pants.  It’s a very drapey gabardene and it’s a rayon or rayon/poly blend.  It’s old and I’ve no actual idea where it came from or what’s in it, but I had enough to eke out these trousers to check my pattern.  Unfortunately my muslin was a nice tightly woven cotton sheet and that fit just great – mistake identified.  When I cut out the pattern in the fashion fabric, clearly there was a bit of spread.  I must say though this isn’t a knit and it doesn’t actually stretch, but spread it did apparently so that was a surprise.  Muslins lie and swatches lie.  Now I know.

Lots of cookie eating room there – not a good look though.

Instead of test fitting as I sewed, I just sewed these up to get them done because honestly they’re not my style and I knew I wasn’t going to ever wear them.  Well now I’m really not going to wear them because they look like sweats, only they have a back zipper.  The back of the pant needs loads taken in the leg area.  I did get a good butt fit which is rather ironic and that’s what I spent my time on altering in the class. I was all over that back crotch curve.  The back view shows how hammer pant they are below the badonkadonk though.  I know my pics aren’t great but black pants are hard to capture.  Look for the big arrow if you’re lost.  I could take them apart and take them in, but I just don’t like them enough to do that so they’re going in the donate pile.  That pile is getting big.

What did work today was chocolate chip cookies.  I made the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever made and if you know me you’ll know that’s a big statement.  I used Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies and perhaps I should keep these pants because I’ve eaten so many cookies I’ll fit into them soon.

Kidding, they’re in the donate pile.

I like it anyway

Can’t you just imagine that poofing out from the boobs in an unflattering way?

Rather than making things that I think will suit me, I keep being drawn to garments that just don’t flatter me.  Sure, some garments I make are accidentally not flattering since I did think they would be ok.  But right now I’m making a pair of pants that aren’t my style.  To be fair they’re not my choice, they’re for a Craftsy class I signed up for.  The class was great and now I’m making a pair of these kind of mom pants just to see if I’ve “got” the class concepts.  I’m using stashed fabric and it’s really just my time that’s being used.  I’ll post them when they aren’t just heaps of black fabric on my ironing board.

Cute, no?

But luckily my love of not so flattering on me garments continued yesterday when I got my April 2013 Burda Style.  There is a BALLOON blouse in there that I adore to an unreasonable degree.  Jinks, it’s even named BALLOON so you know this is not going to be flattering for those of us with boobs and curves.  Still, love.  It’s simple, sleeveless has an interesting twist feature and is super easy.  You know I’m making this when I get a second and some appropriate fabric (maybe today!).  Why?  Don’t know.  Because I can.  Look how cute it looks with a skirt.  See how that balloon part is super cute at the waist (not so much)…stay tuned for the trainwreck.

Qiana by any other name

You do know 80s are “vintage” now. Sigh.

My pictures of this dress are so poor that I had to add a photo of the pattern envelope just so you can see detail!  Oh how lazy am I?

What you see is my latest attempt at a knit dress.  You know I’m fond of knit dresses as they are super comfortable, pack well and allow for lots of eatin’ room.  I am on also on a mission to use up stash fabric, loosely based on a stash-busting-along I signed up for in January/February that I won’t be too strict about.

Anywho, this was another thrift store pattern (Simplicity 9829 circa 1980) that I spent 25 cents on and thought immediately of a claret colored piece of slinky poly knit in the stash garage.  I unearthed the poly (which reminded me of the Qiana of my youth) and was able to eke out the dress.  I changed the sleeves to 3/4 length not because of fabric constraints but because I prefer that length.  I measured wrong and ended up having to add cuffs (a la Renfrew) to make them long enough.  Easy enough fix.

The other problem I encountered was due to fabric choice.  This knit is super stretchy and as you can see the pleats didn’t stay pleated because the weight of the skirt is pulling them down.  Then the band covering the center waistband gathers just looks dumb and pulls funny.  Also the fit was off because of the stretch and I had to take 2″ out at the waist and down into the skirt.  There was much ripping out of seams and you know I hate that!

The good bits – well I knew a zipper in this stretch fabric was totally unnecessary so I left that off successfully.  I added a bit of clear elastic to the front cross neckline and it snugs the boobs nicely with no gapping.  I finished the neck edges with a self band of cross cut fabric at the back and just turned twice and twin needled the front.  The pattern had you use facing pieces with interfacing like it was a woven.  That would have been a hot mess.

I shortened the pattern 3″ before cutting out and probably cut off another 3″ before I hemmed the skirt.  This was one long dress, but that may be due in part to my super stretch fabric.

All in all I’m just lukewarm on this dress.  I’ll keep it around and see if it gets worn in the next few weeks/months, otherwise it’s going on the donation pile with the Christmas tree stand and a clock radio from circa 1980 (which is the year of this pattern coincidentally).

Older not wiser.

Tulips, knitting and cake. Good times.

Thanks for all the birthday love on Facebook and Twitter!  Yes indeed, I had a birthday yesterday and there were presents, cake, artisan cocktails, fun – and the yummiest steak frites ever! A great day.

I like to bake little birthday cakes for my peeps (including moi), just enough to celebrate but not enough to have masses of cake leftover.  I know that cake looks massive but it’s really only 6″ across.  It’s chocoloate cake, filled with raspberry/kirsch and iced with chocolate ganache.  All chocolate is Green and Black bittersweet organic so this cake is not too sweet yet super yum!  And yes, it will be my breakfast today since I’m working out with my trainer later.

The Tulip Watch 2013 continues with the three Claudias you see in the bottom picture.  One is a bit past it today but the other two are looking good.  The front tulips are doing F-all flowerwise at present so we won’t mention them.

Craftwise I’m more than halfway done with the back of my self styled alpaca boucle Poodle Sweater.  It’s easy to knit this up when watching movies so I hope to make a bit of progress every day.  The only downside I can see is that an alpaca sweater with the current temperatures will cause me to spontaneously combust.  Still, we’ll probably get a cooling trend sometime.

I also finished sewing up a knit dress that I should love but don’t.  I’ll force myself to take pics and share, just not today.  It’s too annoying really.  I’m just going to have to ignore it for a bit.

Thanks again for the lovely wishes! xoxo

Tulip Watch 2013 v.2

Are you impressed yet?

My first tulip of 2012!

I came from from work last night and this morning I saw this! My first tulip of this 2013 “crop”.  I had a few bulbs I couldn’t shove into the concrete adobe of the front yard and shoved them into an empty bit in the backyard.  Of course these have been the first to show signs of tuliphood.  This little tulip is called a “Claudia” which is my sister’s name and I had to buy.  Unlike my sister, this tulip is a bit spindly and misshapen, not really looking like the super succulent photo on the bulb bags.  I’m sure it has to do with planting these poor bulbs in adobe with no thoughts of fertilizer or even adequate watering, so it’s my bad.  There appear to be two other tulips coming up out back and since this week will be one of low 70s, they should bloom soon.  Luckily I’m on vacation for almost two weeks starting NOW(!) so I can witness further tulip miracles.

I must say it’s not very cost effective for me to grow tulips.  I may get (dare I tempt fate) 8 actual tulips from the 30+ bulbs I planted.  I spent about $40 on bulbs.  Those will be $5 tulips.  I buy tulips at Trader Joe’s every week and they are $5/bunch.  I’m not Alan Greenspan, but I think that may be best buy, don’t you think?

Also because I’m on vacation and will not get out of bed or change out of pajamas today (vacation kick off partay!) I thought I’d change my ringtone to The Gogos “Vacation”.  It took almost an hour and some googling to figure out, but it has been accomplished.  I can now convert mp3s to ringtones in itunes in a minute – and considering my massive music library I may need the next 2 weeks off to do that.  So hopefully crafting content will emerge this week – just like my spindly, misshapen tulips are emerging from their adobe homes.

Trader Joe’s tulips are $5/bunch and are pretty freaking nice.

Tulip Watch 2013

Lots of leaves, not much in the way of flowers.

Tulip Watch 2013 continues.  What am I yammering about you ask?  I planted tulip bulbs in the garden in December thinking by spring (which is now in this part of the world) I’d have masses of gorgeous tulips.  What I’ve got is about 40% of the bulbs I planted sprouting leaves.  Lots of leaves.  There are a few tulips flowers trying to come out, but not really enough to satisfy me.  I guess the other 60% of the bulbs I planted are “resting” until some other spring.

What you don’t know is that I hate gardening.  Hate, hate, hate!  I do like flowers so I made the effort this year to buy bulbs, refrigerate them for 2 months (to simulate the winter we don’t get) and plant them in the adobe soil (think concrete).  So I’m hoping they’ll bloom but I still buy a bunch of tulips every week to satisfy my tulip craving – just in case.