Panty raid

I know you’re all thinking “WTF?”

Picture the scene, election night results coming fast and furious.  Me, trying to ignore the whole thing.  I’ve got jetlag and a cold as souvenirs of my trip.  I’m looking at the tee I bought as a fundraiser for breast cancer at work.  I buy one every year and we get to wear them in October.  It is very exciting to be able to wear something different when you wear a uniform all the damn time.  But now it’s November and the shirt has done it’s job.  Next year there will be a shiny new shirt to buy and this one is really not one I’d wear in real life.  What to do with it?  In previous years I just moved the shirt around my bedroom until it went to Goodwill after a few months.  But this year I thought I’d use the 98% cotton/2% spandex fabric to make undies.  Of course…

I’ve got a pattern for undies made from a pair I retired and cut up.  If you want to see this process there is a nice blog post on it here.  I used this pattern once before, again using a tee that was a bit stained but otherwise fine.  I get elastic at the fabric store in chinatown where it’s 25 cents a yard (I must remember to stock up next go round).  Making these pants I realized I much prefer sewing lacy elastic to fold over elastic.  It’s so much easier and prettier.  The bottom pair were a FOE experiment and are rather unattractive but surprisingly comfy.  Those will be “home” pants.

The top pair that’s light pink feathers is a free pdf pattern from Cloth Habit called Rosy Ladyshorts.  This is a good, easy pattern and a nice place to start making undies.  I used some stretchy jersey that I had sitting around and trimmed them with the chinatown elastic.  You don’t need a serger to make undies, just zigzag stitch and it’s a great way to use up small pieces of jersey or tees that have a bit more life in them.

So three pairs of pants whipped up in no time is a nifty bit of upcycling.  Feeling pretty pleased all the way down to my pants with my achievements and the election being over.  That was hard…

Scrappy tote

Yesterday I thought I’d get the lead out and make up another Renfrew Top that I’d already cut out last week.  I just needed to change the thread on the serger and try out my plan of serging the Renfrew Top rather than sewing it up with the regular machine.  It’s really not hard to change the threads on my serger, just a little bit fiddly so I’ve been putting it off.

So why am I showing a tote bag instead of a Renfrew Top?  While all these ideas were marinating in my brain, I came upon the lovely Jorth’s post about making a shopping tote bag.  I somehow thought I should change the serger threads and test the machine tension out on this tote bag.  So I grabbed some cotton fabric scraps and serged this tote up in no time at all.  I only needed the regular machine for topstitching and attaching straps.  Easy.  Make some of these up for your shopping trips if you’ve got scraps aplenty like me.  I immediately tested mine out with a quick run to buy wine.  Success!


Ok, I tried to eat the oatmeal every day but I balked on day 4.  No way was that oatmeal gonna go in my mouth.  Wheat toast to the rescue.  Though if you’ve seen any of the new Ab Fab episodes, Patsy’s “French” breakfast is caffeine and nicotine.  Even that sounds better than oatmeal today.

That wheat toast energized me to make two pairs of pj bottoms, sweatshop style.  It really is much faster making them simultaneously and not one by one.  I’ve got scads of new flannel since Joann was practically giving it away before xmas.  Each piece cost me about 5 bucks for 2.5 yards.  I know!  How could I not buy way too much?

The pj pattern was taken off a pair of perfect pj bottoms that bit the dust years ago.  I’ve knocked these off for years now.  I love them and you really need to wear pjs in hotels in case of midnight fire alarms (more common than you think) or lax cleaners.  Shexy they’re not, but whatev.

Knitting-wise I started a cowl because last week I went to St. Louis where it was 17 degrees.  I was cold and apologize to any passengers who may have been offended by me calling their charming hometown a “frozen hellscape” (even though it is).  I had no idea it was this cold already since California has been blissfully warm and nurturing a drought.  A cowl should take up less valuable space in my bag and it’s red to sneak it by my work dress code nazis.  I’ve calculated 38″ should go around my neck twice AND go over my head with no remainder.  Ravelry had no acceptable cowls to make so I just made one up.  I added the moss stitch snowflake motif to break up the monotony.  Plus I’ll know to wear it if I see said snowflakes “live” as it were.

This week I shall button the lining into my coat and bring a hat and gloves.  Thanks for the heads up St. Louis.

Most random ever

In an inadvertant effort to produce the most random post ever, I give you the below collage:

The upper left is one of a pair of completed Summer of Socks 2011, Medallion Lace in the Crapshoot colorway from Periwinkle Sheep.  I thought I’d use the heel flap called for in the pattern and while it’s fine, I still like my short row heel and toes better.  Live and learn.

Upper right is the line drawing of Burda Style 11-2008-116 coat that I’ve begun tracing off for use for the Raspberry Coat.  I thought I’d shorten it about 18″ for a mid thigh length.  I am currently 1/3 of the way through tracing off the pattern from the most irritating Burda pattern sheet ever.  Hey Burda, I’d pay $20/year more if you put LESS stuff on each pattern sheet.  You are a bunch of crazy bitches over there in Germany.

And the giant picture of my big toe is my totally unprofessional pedicure (self administered) using the crackle nail polish I’d been hankering after.  I used Sally Hansen Brisk Blue with Ink Splatter Crackle over top.  Love it!

Coasters with a twist

Tropical is the theme of the blog lately.  Perhaps it was that hour (yes you read that right) I spent in Providenciales the other day.  Lovely tropical breezes and that really bright Caribbean sunshine got me in the summer mood.  When I came across this coaster project on Purl Bee the other day I knew it would be a good little hostess gift.

I used felt from Michael’s rather than nice felt, but it worked just fine.  I bought one square of each of the colors and two squares of the white.  I found you could actually make three coasters from the colored felt, but I couldn’t face any more fiddly sewing of wedges to pith.  Eight coasters are plenty.

I followed the directions on the Purl Bee site except I didn’t hand sew (horrors!).  I scrounged through the thread vault and found colors that matched well enough for coasters and machine sewed the things together.  I also had an overwhelming urge to pink the edges, so I did.  My coasters a bit wonky, but they’ll do the trick under those beer bottles.

Now for some reason, I’m thinking I’d really like some lemon meringue pie…

Yes I can

I mean the “yes,I can” as an answer to a question, rather than as an empowering call to action.

What, indeed, can I do?  Well it’s make a pair of undies.  I wondered if I could and yes I can.  I’ve seen lots of people do it on the blogs and have even come across some ladies making lovely bras.  I’ve no interest in bra making since I’ve got a super common boobage size and get them on sale.  Panties are the cheap thrills of the lingerie game, so I thought I’d start there.

Now you can buy a panty pattern but I just cut apart a pair that I liked but were ready for the trash.  I made my pattern from the cut up pair and made a “muslin” from a tshirt pulled from the Goodwill bag.  My first sample came out perfectly wearable.  I now have a use for the small scraps of knit fabric from sewing projects or a use for tshirts I don’t want to wear.

The panty construction process also had me review all the stretch stitches on my Bernina that I just wasn’t using.  They’re awesome and I used the stretch overlock for the straight seams and plain zigzag to attach the fold over elastic.  I found fold over elastic for 50 cents a yard at my fave Fabrix so I stocked up for future projects.  As you can tell, I’m pretty pleased with myself for finding a way to wear a tshirt on my ass.

I also made another recipe from my new favorite book Super Natural Every Day.  I’ve made several dishes that were all good and today’s soup was no exception.  It’s the Green Lentil Soup and I made the version with green split peas because I like them better.  Yummy!  It’s a bit spicy with a hint of coconut milk and curry.  Yay for leftovers!

Skirt on my back


When I came across this skirt at a thrift store I thought back to some pretty totes I’d seen beautifully made by the talented blogger Saidos da Concha.  I scooped up the floor length pleated kilt-type skirt (it’s a tiny lady’s skirt) and set it aside for a bit.

I picked the skirt up after a month and thought I’d have a stab at ripping it apart to give me some useable material for crafting.  I ripped and ripped, pulled threads and on and on it went.  I was going nuts with it all.  It ended up taking about half a day to rip this skirt apart, but there was a lot of material on that skirt!  Since I was well over the skirt by then I thought I’d throw the repurposed material in the washer to get the thrift store funk off of it.  Mind now, this material is 100% wool and I was a bit reckless because  I was kind of sick of looking at the darn stuff.  If it went wrong, oh well.  Turns out that skirt washed up just fine.  I even threw it in the dryer for about 5 minutes.  I know!  But wet wool smell is not pretty and I’m a gambler.  So now what to do with this clean wool plaid?  Tote, clutch, pouches?

I came across this Leisl backpack tote pattern and thought I’d give it a try.  I used some stash remnants for the lining and only had to buy the hardware and interfacing.  Not a bad use for the repurposed skirt, no?

The sewing of the bag isn’t hard, it’s just fiddly.  I don’t like fiddly sewing.  This is all about the fiddly.  But I persevered and put my newly tuned up Bernina to the test sewing through about nine layers of fabric.  No worries, my Bernina is a star.

So now I’ve got a “tote that converts to a backpack” or “how to wear a skirt on your back without getting stared at in public”.  Good times.

Suggestions welcome


Apparently I’m very suggestible.  When looking over my recent crafty endeavors I see that the most were projects I’d seen on blogs that provoked me to say “me too”. 

So what have we got here:

Upper left is Baked Oatmeal.  Seriously.  I hate oatmeal and love this baked version found here.  In fact I loved this so much I just ordered the cookbook whence it came.  If they’re all like this it’s got to be a winner.

Upper right is a Tiny Pocket Tank first spied on this site.  This is one easy tank and it’s even been worn out of the house, so that’s a success.

Lower left is the beginnings of Liesl + Co.’s  Day in the Park Backpack Tote.  It’s a tote bag that converts to a backpack.  Cute!  I first saw it here and immediately ordered the pattern.  I don’t even particularly like making bags, too fiddly!  I’m making this one though and have pawed through my fabric stash already looking for useable materials.

The lower right is my idea in that no one inspired me to make my usual socks.  They are short row heel/toe socks to my recipe and this yarn is exactly the color of a Diet Mountain Dew bottle.  No, I would never drink such a thing but the woman next to me was and hence I made my discovery.

My sewing machine will be sprung from the awesome sewing shop tomorrow (just a minor repair) so crafting will begin in earnest.  Must do something useful on my days off…

Fails, snails and automobiles

I’d hoped to show you finished pix of a cute skirt I’d made, but it was such a horror show that I’m super glad it’s trash night tomorrow.  No joke.  At least the fabric wasn’t expensive.  Lesson learned.

Instead I’ll share the excitement of sleeve number 1 from my grey Nordic yoke sweater.  Elizabeth Zimmermann is so right when she says in Knitting Without Tears that the body will take some time, so start a sleeve.  Too true, that body better fit ok or I may go nuts if I have to rip and reknit.  Again.

The more delicious part of my above photo mashup is the Pumpkin Cranberry Bread I made the other day.  It’s so easy and so yummy, I’d suggest you bookmark this recipe.  Just saying, and it gets better every day (what’s this unheard of cake ageing thing?).  And it’s not too sweet, which is so perfect with coffee.

My next sewing project is a simple sheath dress which hopefully won’t end up in the trash bin.  The muslin has been cut, so tomorrow we shall see if I can fit that mofo into something resembling a flattering garment.  If not, at least it’s trash day.

If babies are small….

…then why do baby blankets take such an age to make?

There is a baby boom in my circle at present, so my mind has turned to appropriate baby gift thingies. I have never been one to see a baby as an occasion to make things.  To my mind, babies are messy (not their fault I know) and fine hand knits are just wasted on them.  They need sturdy, washable items from TJ Maxx, which is usually what I give to harried new parents.

I also explicitly give my friends instructions to have female children since girl clothes are really much cuter.  Absolutely no one listens to me on this score, so the humans arriving early next year are all boys.  Argh!

I began this baby blanket the other day after seeing some cute versions on Rav of the Moderne Baby Blanket pattern.  I also saw some hideous versions of the pattern, but we will not be discussing those.  The versions I liked best were symmetrical and graphic, rather than a hodgepodge.  I decided to try a color progression version and see how I liked it.  So far I’m “meh” on it (needs some pink), but I’ll stick it out until I run out of yarn and see what we’ve got.

That brings me to another question:  how big is a baby blanket traditionally supposed to be?  I see patterns for little ones and some others would be suitable to swaddle a baby elephant.  What’s up with that?  I suspect my version will be on the small side since I’ve not got a huge amount of interest in swaddling an elephant.