Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Girding my loins

I am about to embark on a quest fraught with peril. One that may take all of my strength and endurance. One that may push me to the brink of hard-won emotional stability. One that will potentially reduce me to tears.

I am going to The Mall.

I am going for Shirts. This is usually easier than the Quest for Pants which, like the quest for the Grail, usually ends in failure and makes good fodder for a Monty Python movie. The Quest for Shirts often goes well because I chicken out and buy knits. Today, however, I am looking for that mythical creature, the Button-Down Shirt that Fits My Waist But Still Buttons Over My Bust.

Evidently, in the fashion world, tops are designed for B cup breasts. My breasts are most decidedly not B cups. I'm not sure they were ever B cups. In my memory, I went directly from having no breasts at all to having C cup breasts. I am now a D cup. I was in denial of this fact for a long time, continuing to buy C cup bras. I have now accepted the truth and embraced my D cupness even though it makes it a little more difficult to buy bras.

My difficulty in finding off-the-rack shirts that fit me properly is one reason why I would like to be able to sew my own clothes. However, I am confounded by the fact that the sewing pattern industry takes its cues from the fashion industry and only offers patterns in B cup size. I have heard of this magical procedure known as The Full Bust Adjustment one can make to patterns but I am unschooled in this knowledge and online tutorials have not helped (I think they assume too much knowledge in how to construct garments).

So, off I go to find my Button-Down Shirt that Fits My Waist But Still Buttons Over My Bust. Have no fear, if I find myself in a precarious state, I will seek Sanctuary in The Land of Sweet Comfort.*

*Better known as the Godiva Chocolates store.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Quick Sewing Project

The other day at knitting, I reached into my knitting bag to pull out the second bootie to knit and instead pulled out a tangled mess of yarn and needles. I was able to get the bootie free and worked on it, but I knew I had to do something about the yarn monster in my bag when I got home.

After reading Jodi's post, I was inspired to make some drawstring project bags. I made four bags, one for each project that I've been carrying around in my knitting bag. I followed this tutorial at Skip to My Lou pretty faithfully except in terms of the size. I made several different sizes for differently sized projects. The sewing isn't perfect in some places, but overall, I think they turned out quite well and they suit my purpose.

Some thoughts:
  • I used random bits of fabric from my rather small fabric stash, some leftover from other projects and some from projects that never got off of the ground. One thing I noticed is that the fabric I purchased from quilting shops (either online or locally) was sturdier and easier to sew with in places than fabric purchased from a big box store. I have yet to become a fabric snob, but I can see the advantages to purchasing higher quality fabric.
  • If I was making these as gifts (and I might because I know a lot of knitters!), I would line them and maybe use decorator-weight fabric or interfacing to make them sturdier. My metal size 1 and 2 needles will be poking through the fabric for sure. I'm not too fussed about that for myself because the biggest reason to make them was to keep the yarn separate. Also, I usually use circulars instead of dpns so it's more difficult for the needles to completely escape after poking their way out of the project bag.
  • I bought a pinking wheel for my rotary cutter for another project and I am looooving it! So much easier than pinking the seam allowances later after sewing the seams.

Friday, February 04, 2011

A little more realistic in February

I think I was a little too ambitious in January. You know how it is, the start of the new year, the urge to get things in order, set goals, stop procrastinating and find some way to make Christmas not be crazymaking this next year. What I always forget is that I have seasonal affective disorder and Jan. and Feb. are the hardest months of the year for me. While the days are getting longer, there are generally more clouds and precipitation than in other months. So, I need to decide what's most important to me and schedule a limited number of things to do. So, I'm re-evaluating what I want to do on a monthly basis.

Let's start with the Embroidery Sew-Along. I loved my project last month. I had forgotten how satisfying I found stitching. The project for this month is pillowcases. There are two types of pillowcase designs in the book; I'm going to do the satin-stitch initials. I'm going to make one pillowcase for me and one for J. My dilemma is figuring out what pillowcases to do them on. I want to get new pillowcases, but should I get ones that match my current bedding (which I'm not crazy about) so I can enjoy them now or should I buy ones that would go with my dream bedding, realizing that 1) my dream bedding may take a long time to materialize (since I want to make a queen sized quilt) and 2) I might change my mind about what my dream bedding will be before I ever get to use the pillowcases. I'm leaning toward the dream bedding and making that one step toward having a bedroom I really love.

Year of Stash Socks. I started this knit-along not because I have a large stash but because I wanted to have interesting sock patterns picked out for me. However, I'm not really sure I have the time for this knit-along right now. I didn't even finish last month's socks and this month we are doing mittens which I'm not so into making right now given I live in CA. Maybe I'll just put this on hold and see how I feel about it in March. I still would like to finish the Jan. socks, though.

Christmas. I still think it's a good idea to work on Christmas gifts throughout the year instead of cramming it all into Nov. and Dec. Especially since my family usually celebrates Christmas early and I often have to ship gifts, requiring me to be done by the beginning of Dec. But, I think I'm going to put it on hold for the next couple of months until I get more energy.

Stitch by Stitch. I still want to work my way through this book. But, again, I might put this off for another month or so. I do have material for the napkins which are one of the first few projects, though.

The thing is, while it's great to have a plan for what to make, I need to feel like I have enough flexibility to do whatever project I feel inspired to do. And then, there's non-Christmas gift-knitting. It seems like everyone is having babies. I'm really enjoying the baby booties I'm knitting, maybe I should knit a few pairs of those until they become boring and then I'll have a stash of baby gifts.

So, that's what the plan is for this month: embroider pillowcases, finish Jan. socks, knit baby booties, sew napkins.

January Round-up

I had a large number of goals for this month in terms of crafting. Here's what I actually got accomplished.


  • The Year of Stash Socks knit-along on Ravelry--St. Brigid's Canomoyle Socks (Rav. link).

  • One half of one sock in Cascade 220

    I'm about ready to start the heel. It's not that I don't like the sock or the pattern, I just get distracted by new, shiny things!

  • Embroidery Companion Sew Along--Days of the Week teatowels.
  • Saturday and Sunday pictured on my oven handle

    These were pretty fun. The pattern wanted you to enlarge the template 161%, but I didn't want images that big. For the towels, I got plain white toweling from Moda, hemmed them, then sewed strips of gingham fabric to each one to make the checked stripe. I used two strands of DMC cotton embroidery floss (note to self: color #322). I only did Sat. and Sun. but I have enough toweling to do all of the days of the week if I get ambitious. I really like how these turned out, so I might do it. Very satisfying for my first embroidery project!

    Then I made a few things that were not part of my goals for Jan. Last weekend I hosted a baby shower and made the decorations:

    The honoree, E, is having twins (!) a boy and a girl, so I went with a gender neutral color scheme: orange, green, and yellow (hey, I just noticed most of the food fit into that scheme, totally not planned). I made the banner, little cupcake picks that said twins, some tissue paper flowers and some yarn pom-poms. E is in my knitting group and the party was for knitters, so for a shower activity, we made these:

    I've got one done and the other just needs a cuff. Then I need to make the i-cord ties. I just used leftover sock yarn. They take a little over 20g of yarn.

    I have very little handmade dishcloths. I've decided I need to fix that.

    Finally, I made these wool soakers (pictured below on top of the afghan my mother made for my wedding gift) for another person in my knitting group who had her baby a couple of weeks ago and is using cloth diapers. It's the Curly Purly pattern. They knit up pretty quick in this beautiful yarn, Shepherd's Wool which is soft and dreamy. I knit the small size for both, one with butt shaping and one without. Hopefully she gets some good use out of them!