Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Fun: Postcard

I wish I could drop this photo in the postal mail to all of you since our summer has been going so swimmingly (pun intended).

I'm here quilting away and enjoying feeling warm finally.

This is my son, skipping rocks out across the Pacific Ocean.  What a lovely sight.

Happy summer.  Let me know if you have some major projects that are moving ahead.  I feel like I'm making progress!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Just Ducky

Anzula is a yarn company that makes perhaps THE softest sock yarn I have ever felt. 

The base is called Anzula Squishy and the colorway I picked up is called Ducky.

At $34/ball, it isn't for every pair of socks you want to knit, of course.  On the rare occasion you want to make something really REALLY special, I think this is a good contender.

My final vote for/against the sock yarn doesn't happen until I have knit up a pair of socks with it and worn them for a while to see how they hold up.  Stay tuned for that.  I'm toying with the idea of knitting up the Waffle Cream socks by Anne Hanson of Knit Spot.

Monday, June 24, 2013

What I did on my summer vacation: a visit Purl Soho's warehouse AKA Liberty of London Central

Purl Soho, the beautiful store, is a treat that only those on the island of Manhattan are privileged enough to enjoy.

Clever Californians know the secret of their warehouse located in Tustin.

I stop in there when I can, but the hours are pretty limited (M-F) and they close quite early.

This summer, our vacation was in So Cal with our family, swimming, eating my DH's famous BBQ, and collecting sea glass on the beach.

We had a run over to the Purl Soho warehouse and of course I found a few things.  3 small pieces of Liberty of London fabric found their way home with me, and also some Nani Iro fabrics, just for fun.  Hard to resist them.

Of course the highlight of the vacation was time spent with family, but I will confess that going to Purl was my second favorite thing we did.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Handmade Garment Label

Putting ink on fabric is something that I have a little hankering for at times. 

After my made my Alabama Chanin t-shirt corset, I couldn't help by try to put a custom handmade label on it.

The garments she does have labels that include some hand writing on them for that personal one of a kind touch.

I wanted mine to look similar.  A quick search for washing icons gave me some ideas for adding some cute laundry care pictures.  The little "Q" "O" (Quilt Otaku) logo could use some more playing around with, but for my first try, I'm happy with it. 

Red button craft thread was used to attach it, used 2 threads at once.  I left the knots showing on the outside back of the garment.

Friday, June 14, 2013

My first garment: Alabama Chanin Corset

I am admittedly a person who really likes to use hand sewing techniques to make quilts.

By veering of that path into making a garment I felt more that a little bit out of my element.

Quilting weight cotton has certain properties of staying in one place and generally not acting like jello when you work with it, as long as you keep away from the bias.

Cotton jersey fabric is of course the opposite, acting like jello at best.

Pins are your friends when working with jersey, I discovered.  Reading all the directions (which I did) helped a lot too.

Natalie Chanin's book called Alabama Stitch Book has a couple of really interesting garment patterns in it.  There is a skirt called the Reverse-Applique Swing Skirt that I have not made yet, but my hope is to try my hand at that very soon.

The project I made above is called the printed T-shirt corset

The origin of the fabric I used was 2 T-shirts that I got from my favorite TexMex eatery in Austin called Chuy's.  If you're from Austin, you know what I mean about this place.  Yum.  Unfortunately, they don't sell shirts online.  Boo.

I may have been close to being able to use 1 shirt to make this corset, but I wanted to arrange the design carefully and also get a small bit of the logo on the back too, so having 2 shirts to start with was a good idea.

Cutting them out was pretty easy, I followed the instructions in the book.  Sewing them up was also not hard, but I did use a lot of pins like a smart little quilter.

I didn't want to make a judgement call on if I really like the shirt until I wore it and washed it to see if it fell apart in the laundry machine. 

So far, so good.  First wearing included a super tight/thin tank under it because I found it a little low cut for my personal taste.  I'm thinking of adding some binding around the neck and arm holes to give them a bit more heft so they will hold up better over time.

It came out of the laundry looking great, in one piece.  I did hang dry it though, as I normally do to some of the clothes that I like too much to subject to the torture of the dryer.

The real reason I made this shirt was as a test run.  My next one will include some applique that will be a time investment.  This one is a great test of sizing & fit without much handwork devoted to decorating the fabric before garment assembly.  I love the black on black corset version she has on her site, but I may end up making a brown version.

Maybe I can wear it again tomorrow.  Think anybody will notice?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hand Knit Socks: Getting to know Cookie A (again)

The last time I knit a pair of socks by Cookie A it was her most famous pattern called Monkey.  Almost 17,000 pairs of them have been logged in on Ravelry.  Not bad for a little sock pattern. 

I decided to branch out and try  her pattern called Wanida, a significantly less popular pattern with only around 1,000 projects noted on Ravelry. 

Not sure why one pattern becomes more popular than the next.  Maybe it's the photos.  Maybe it's just viral.  Either way, I am enjoying knitting
Wanida and hope to cast on the 2nd sock soon.

"Second Sock Syndrome," AKA "SSS" or basically a lack of interest in knitting the 2nd sock (no more mystery, once the first sock is complete) is my current state of being. 

What does one do when overcome by this disorder? 

My "helpful" DH has recommended one could have one's second foot surgically removed.  An interesting (sick?) notion.  I was sure I could come up with a better alternative to that.  How about....

Sewing instead!!

I may have a photo for you of my newest hand sewn creation soon.  Stay tuned.  So far, I'm navigating uncharted waters and having a serious blast.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

School's out, time for some summer fun!

Even my pin cushion has taken to a lighter theme for the summer.

I wonder if the Lex Luthor minifig is uncomfortable with the orientation of that clover pin I used to prop him up.

Kids have sore fingers from squirting water guns at each other, and frankly, their parents.

Parents are starting to feel a bit more rested after a couple days of school being out.

Lots on the menu for me this summer in terms of projects. 

I finished 1 sock so off to cast on the 2nd one tomorrow.

I'm also playing around with making my first Alabama Chanin garment.  Will keep you posted on that one.  When quilters try to make garments....that could be quite an entertaining endeavor.

Also, still hand quilting away on a project that will show itself here in probably another month or so. 

Meanwhile, decorate your pin cushion with something fun.  Send me a link to it if you do!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Heavenly View

This image from my window seat recently got me to thinking how beautiful the view is up above the clouds.

I took a small knitting project on this trip with me, just a sock pattern.  When you create a new project in Ravelry, they let you name it something cute.  I called these my Red Sox Socks, after the Boston baseball team.  The pattern is not super complex, but is by Cookie A and is called Wanida from a book called Sock Innovation.  Photos coming soon.

When I read posts by other bloggers about loss in their family life, I never have anything terribly comforting to say to them since these events of course very sad.  It does make me feel less alone in this process and more like we are all just part of a greater plan.

My loss is of a person who has known me since I came into the world.  A person who did not have the easiest life but who always saw his glass as half full.  He loved to read the paper, have a morning cup of coffee, cheer for the Red Sox, and go on a drive in the car to nowhere in particular.

He taught me to count my blessings, even the small ones.  At times I don't take the time to recognize simple blessings in my daily life, but the real truth is that we are all quite blessed.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Hand Spinning on a Golding Drop Spindle

Making your own yarn is an endeavor not to be taken lightly.

It allows a knitter to get to know a lot more about the fiber and where it comes from as well as how it will behave as a garment.

I enjoy making my own yarn and even though I have a spinning wheel, I still love to play with a drop spindle.

This spindle is by the Golding company and is what they call a 'ring spindle' because of the metal ring that weights the outside of the whorl and helps it to spin longer.

There was a sample of this totally crazy looking fiber that came with the spindle.  I didn't note the name of it because it was all sorts of different colors and even had sparkles (SPARKLES!!) in it.  I thought wow, this fiber is SO not my taste.

After spinning the sample up just for fun to see if I love the spindle (and I do)....I ended up liking this funky yarn too.  Sparkles and all.

Yes, I've said it in front of God and everybody now.  I plan to knit something with sparkle yarn.  

Feel free to put the back of your hand of my forehead now.