Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A year in review

After reading all the posts on this topic I was curious as to how much I actually produced this year. Because I also knit and crochet I included also those items.
I counted 12 garments and one Halloween outfit that included a top, vest, pants and hood. I knitted 8 items and crocheted three.

My biggest accomplishment was making my SIL wedding dress, this required a number of muslins before the final dress was made. I learned how to make a FBA (full bust adjustment)and how to fit someone else, I have sewn for my boys and husband but I had never fitted another female body.

I am proud of my crocheted skirt, it is my only crocheted garment so far.

The Tilted Duster I loved from the moment I first saw it and I'm thrilled that I finished it.

I also just finished (in between my son's pneumonia and mine) a quilt top. This is a gift for my brother and SIL, and my goal was to have at least the quilt top done so that they could see it at Christmas. I plan to finish it soon and then I will post a picture.

I loved making two party dresses for myself this year. A vintage Butterick for my brother's wedding and the Burda WOF Duchess dress for a friend's wedding.

My list is modest but I have enjoyed every single item. I am not a fast sewer and I still do a lot of reading when starting most projects. I try to incorporate a new technique in most everything I make. I can say the same for knitting and crocheting. Anyways don't they say that the more you know the more you realize how little you know?

Friday, December 12, 2008

A number of things...

First, today my son saw the doctor and his lungs sound great so he is ready to go to school on Monday. Now he has to play catch up, thankfully some of his teachers have posted the assignments and he will do as much as he can before he goes back.

Yesterday I made a quick trip to one of my favorite LYS The Celtic Knot Yarn Shop. They are having a big sale because if they can't find a buyer soon they are closing their doors, another sign of the times. Anyways here is what I got:

The pattern is from Wendy Bernard's book Custom Knits. She writes a wonderfully witty blog Knit and Tonic and I love her designs. This book concentrates on top-down designs (minimal seaming) and how to modify the patterns to fit your body. The yarn might be too stiff I don't know yet, but I loved the color and I wanted a yarn that would allow the funnel neck to stand.

This hat from the Vogue Knitting holiday 2008 issue caught my eye right away. The yarn is a soft merino wool.

These I got to make a toddler hat for a gift. The yarn is very practical, acrylic, soft and washable which is what you want. The pattern I'll use is from a class I took many years ago where I got to learn I cord and color work. It knits up fast and keeps you entertained with the different techniques used.

The sewing project I'm working on will remain a secret for a while, it is a Christmas gift. The Simplicity jacket is complete except for the hand work and has been put aside until more pressing sewing is done.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Why don't I listen?

By the time one of your children is a teenager you figure that you have experienced most variation of illnesses out there. Well I guess I was missing really high fever (105) and this past week my time was up. My oldest started with a cough and then bam! 105 fever. You know one more degree and seizures are very likely. I was also dealing with vomiting and therefore how to get in him the Motrin and make it stay. I thought sponge baths were old wives tales but they do work. Today the fever without medication was about 100, great improvement. I hope it stays that way I have a deadline tonight to call the doctor if the fever doesn't let up.

And the title? Well in my sleepless nights induced fog I have tried to sew and everything I have done has come undone. When they suggest not to sew when you are tired take the suggestion, I can vouch that it will be wasted effort and on top you'll be more tired and frustrated to boot.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Progress on the jacket

I have made progress on the Simplicity 4500 jacket. As you can see it is missing the lining and the buttons/buttonholes. For easing the sleeves I used the method described by Ann in the Be Sew Stylish blog. I love the results! Not a pucker anywhere and on the first try. Check it out you'll love it.

Buttonholes markings

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Day After

We had a nice and quiet Thanksgiving. My mom shared the meal with us and brought her famous sweet potato and marshmallow casserole (we still haven't found anybody that doesn't like it). I tried a new recipe for the turkey this year, the biggest change was that I used convection baking. Instead of basting with my standard butter/wine mixture I used a Cuban-style recipe and basted with butter,olive oil and spices; I also used a rub the day before to marinate. This is the best turkey I have ever made!It was so juicy and flavorful that I will repeat the recipe/cooking technique next year.

I was tempted to go out and do some shopping but it was so crazy the day before Thanksgiving that I didn't want to be in the middle of it again. Maybe tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Colonial Day

Today was Colonial Day at fifth grade. I made the outfits, mine and my son's four years ago when my oldest was in fifth grade. After what I thought it was going to be a long time I got to wear my outfit again...I can't believe it has been four years. Of course I did wear the same dress a couple of Halloween ago when I went as Marie Antoinette.

Marie Antoinette has a date with Doc Oc

I wrote a review of Butterick 3071 in PR. The links for the pictures don't work anymore so I'm posting new pictures.

The kids have a great time they get to play games of the period, make candles, practice cross stitch and make toys. My son was the only American Indian representative; my oldest had not wanted to dress up as a colonist ("those clothes are ridiculous I want to be Native American!")and my youngest agreed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Burda WOF 8/2008 118 Tunic

Well, here is my long sleeved version of this popular pattern. I finished it a while ago just as the temperatures rose so it sat waiting to be worn. The fabric is a very stretchy knit from my stash, I have no idea what the fabric content is, but it does wrinkle really easily. I extended the sleeves because I'm always cold although I really like the short sleeves. This was a very easy top to make. I probably won't make it again but if I do it will be the short sleeve version.


I have been working on the jacket from Simplicity 4500. I had made a muslin a long time ago, corrected the pattern and then put it away because the weather turned warm. I now finished interfacing all the pieces and wanted to keep a record of how I did it so that in case I wanted to change the techniques used in my next jacket. I followed Paco's great tutorial (here it is in English translated by Tany). I have also been reading Tailoring Ladies' Jackets by Mary Ellen Flury and I followed her suggestions for the kind of interfacing to use in the armhole: on the curve I used a fusible straight tape and the upper section towards the shoulder a fusible bias tape.
I highly recommend this book if you are interested in tailoring techniques, the book has excellent, clear illustrations and just as clear explanations of all techniques.

The interfacing in all pieces except the sleeves is fusible tricot, I used up all that I had in black and white.

I now need to find the time to cut out the lining and then I can start on the fun part: sewing!! This jacket is to go with the skirt from the same pattern that I already made

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pictures from the Appalachian Trail

Two weekends ago we went out to Western Maryland to pick up a trail that connected to the Appalachian Trail. The trail sort of ended at Annapolis Rocks where a great view awaited us from an altitude of 1500 feet. The walk was about 2 miles and it took us about 2 1/2 hours. I found out I need better hiking shoes that my Nike sneakers, believe me my knees and ankles were asking me to please stop. We got some unexpected rain at the end but all in all it was a great walk. I wish I were a better photographer, my pictures cannot capture the beauty of this trail.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


The 44th President of the United States and his family.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Did you vote?

I had to stand in line to get my free Starbucks, but it took me all of 10 minutes to walk in and cast my vote. The waiting is killing me...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween and our family addition

I was able to finish my oldest costume, cape with hood and mask (he was a World of Warcraft Rogue)by staying up late Thursday night.

The cape is from Simplicity 5512 view A. I have used this pattern many times now. It is a nice cape with shaped shoulders and the hood drapes nicely on the head. I had to lengthen the cape (my pattern goes up to child size 8) and widen the shoulders, all easy alterations.

The youngest costume was a blending of patterns. The pants were pj pants from a McCalls pattern that I removed a lot of ease from to make them straight pants with an elastic waist (my son who doesn't like home made clothes told me he can wear these all the time!). The top, from the Simplicity pattern, I shortened and added the hood from Simplicity 5512. The vest I lengthened it from the original.

My husband carves our pumpkins following the design we each pick. Don't they look good?


Look who joined our family!!

These cuties come from Small Angels Rescue, a non-profit organization that rescues little critters, fosters them and then finds permanent homes for them. We drove out to Frederick to pick them up this morning. So say hello to George, Jink and Houdini.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Costumes and BWOF top

So I finished one costume and then my oldest decides he wants a cape with hood instead of a cloak...So yesterday I took an emergency trip to Joann's and found black Halloween fabric (on sale). Today I will cut it up and hopefully get it sewn. I had a date for breakfast with my mom and then some shopping but weather is miserable today so we have postponed.

Yesterday I finished Burda WOF 8/2008 tunic 118. I made it with long sleeves since I'm always cold and I wanted to be able to wear it this winter. This style really needs a belt and I think it will look great with tights and boots as a dress.

Monday, October 20, 2008

They built a ballpark

Last week I was a chaperone for my son's 5th grade class trip to Camden Yards. I love Camden Yards so I was pretty excited when he told me I had been picked (there are so many parents that volunteer to chaperone that they pull names out of a hat).

The kids got a tour that it was fun and very informative; you get to hear neat stories about Baltimore and how the park got built. It turns out it was a woman who came up with the (brilliant) idea to build a ball park not a stadium and who was responsible for the decor. One of the things she insisted on was to have the seats all the same color (Camdem green).

The view from one of the private rooms

These days the Orioles are not doing so well and the price of tickets borders on the ridiculous, so I truly enjoyed visiting the park for the mere price of the tour, and I got a cool button to boot.


In the sewing front I'm almost done with the costume

In the knitting front I finished the back for Michael Kors cardigan from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2007. I have visions of wearing it with a belt as a vest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

That wonderful time of the year

So Halloween is coming and although I've had the fabrics for my youngest costume for weeks no sewing has been accomplished. Yesterday I took the pattern out which I graded down from adult to what a tall 8 year old could wear. This was 2 years ago so he's done some growing since then.

Here is the pattern:

And a picture of my son when I first made it:

I used the version in the center and added a hood, he was a character from a favorite game. Now he wants to be a different character from the game, but I will still be able to use the basic design, instead of a robe it will be a shirt and pants and the armor will reach his waist; he also wants some kind of hood, but I still don't have a clear version of how he wants it to look like, I'm sure we'll find something from one of our other Halloween patterns.The new version will be all black in different designs and textures (he went to the store with me to pick out the fabrics). Yesterday I got his new measurements and had a little bit of time to work on the pattern. I hope to get it cut today.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A couple of small FOs

I posted these in Ravelry but I know many of you don't have access, so here they are, they gave me a sense of accomplishment ;-)

The socks are for my DH who was always borrowing my wool socks. The pattern Basic Ribbed Socks is free at Ravelry.

The crocheted scarf is the One Skein Scarf from Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker. I used leftover worsted weight yarn from Berroco (discontinued Sensu Wool) that was used to make my first sweater many years ago. This is the only crochet book I own and I really like it. The instruction part is very clear and it has a lot of nice projects.

Happy Tuesday everyone!!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Nui and Metru

Nui and Metru were our gerbils, brothers that we got from a very generous young girl who found out her gerbils were not both boys when she got a litter of pups. They were named by my boys after the city of Metru Nui a fictional city in the world of Bionicles, a branch of Legos. Nui and Metru lived beyond the expected age of gerbils (2 - 3 years) to the ripe old age of 4. Metru we lost a few months ago and Nui joined his brother in gerbil heaven yesterday. They were the hit of the Science Fair at school when my youngest with help from his dad built a maze to test how fast the gerbils would navigate the maze and if a treat at the end made a difference in their speed. Nui was by far the most social of the two, he loved to come out of his home and play and loved to sit on my oldest shoulder and tickle his face. Metru loved his food and preferred to stay in and always close to his brother. I was reluctant at first to get them, my husband convinced me and once I saw them I had no regrets. If they are hand raised by a reputable breeder they are social and well tempered, they don't smell and they required minimum care.

We'll miss them and with such a good experience my family is ready for the next pair!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Forgive the pyracantha

Pyracantha is one of the nastiest shrubs available for landscaping in my area. Not only does it have thorns that can get as big as 1 inch but if you get prick by them they give you a big red welt that not only itches but burns, therefore the common name "fire bush". To add to its attributes, mine which is probably around 50 years old (it came with the house) has grown so big that it only produces fruit if I let it go wild, which means no trimming. Since my shrub is planted next to the driveway along with two quinces, another shrub with very nasty thorns ( I don't know what the previous owners were thinking), I need to keep up my trimming if I don't want people and cars to get scratched. But I forgive the pyracantha, why? because this fall I will have a beautiful mantelpiece full of gorgeous berries, and so will my neighbor since I have plenty to share.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Burda's Duchess dress and the coat sew-along

Here I am with my new dress and my gorgeous SIL

I wore my Burda WOF dress (3/2008 116)this past weekend to a wedding we went to in New Jersey. I was lucky that it was a warm weekend if rainy. I love my dress, it feels very girly and I love the way the skirt flares out.

My brother and his bride

My family goofing off at the reception


So I cleaned up the sewing/guest room on Monday and started thinking about the coat for the sew-along. I'm making the pattern for the lining while I wait for the coat fabric to come back from being steamed at the cleaners. Burda WOF tells you to place the back piece on the fold and to add 1 inch for the pleat but says nothing about how to deal with the vent ?? So I'm pulling out Easy Guide to Sewing Linings which always answers my questions. As soon as I get the fabric back I'll test a couple of fusible interfacings. I'm still terrified of the welt pockets this pattern has since I have never made them before, but I keep telling myself one step at a time, one step at a time.

Here is a reminder of what the coat looks like