Monday, October 29, 2007

Working Weekend

This weekend I deep cleaned my bedroom. There was a lot of construction dust in there from this summer's bathroom remodel. Every time I took down a book from the shelf I got a face full of dust.

I moved all the sewing books and magazines into the sewing room.

Here's my *To Read* shelf. There are even a few empty shelves, although I don't think they'll stay that way for long.

I took my duvet cover and pillow shams off the bed to go to the cleaners. I made this set, so I'm always nervous to have someone else handling them (thereby seeing the shortcuts and shoddy construction). There are some places where the trim is pulling out of the seams on the pillowcases, etc. I'm curious if anyone's dry cleaners have commented on garments or things that you have sewn yourself.

I didn't get much crafty stuff done this weekend. Saturday was all day at the math tutor's and a football game. This Saturday is the last game, hooray! Just in time for basketball to start next week, ahem. . .

In November, I'm doing this:

It's Knit a Sweater in November, paralleling the thing for writers, write a novel in November.

So, I'll be crocheting (not knitting) this:

It's really screwed up, so I'll be ripping it. I'm still working on the gauge, so I figure it doesn't count that I've spent two weeks of October on gauge issues. I probably won't get to the real work until later this week anyway.

Here's a scarf I started in the car and at the game for something mindless to work on. The yarn is Moda Dea Beadnik I got at JoAnn's. It has some tiny beads prestrung on it, plus a metallic thread. I'm having a lot of fun with it.

That's really I'll I've got for this week. I have to come up with some appetizers for our neighborhood Halloween party on Wednesday. Off to google recipes.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Harry Potter Costume

So I made Simplicity 3597 today.

I'm not doing an official pattern review, but as I was sewing it, I had quite a few thoughts. It's been a couple of years since I used a Simplicity pattern, but they have a lot of costume designs and since JoAnn's doesn't carry Kwik Sew, I decided to use this one.

Things that bugged me:

1. Lack of marked seam lines. It's so hard to adjust a pattern when you can't see the seam line.

2. 5/8" seam allowance. Just doesn't make sense. 1/2 or 1/4" are the only ones that work. I hate having to trim off all that extra fabric on my serger. If the seam lines were marked, I could easily cut off the extra on the pattern (see 1. above).

3. This pattern was very long. I had to remove 6" of length from the body and he's only 2" shorter than the size I used. I shortened the sleeves by 1.5". I have to say the fit through the chest is actually quite good -- I did a tissue fitting and was pleasantly surprised.

4. Pattern did not go together well at the hood. It just plain old didn't match up with the neckline, by about an inch and a half. It could have been me, I guess. . .

5. It has a facing around the front edge and back neck. WTF? I omitted it.

6. Sleeve facing. Actually it had you cut out a complete lining for the sleeve. I don't know who can ease a doubled sleeve into a tiny little hole like that, but she would be a wonder sewer and I would love to meet her. . .

Unfortunately, all these things add up to a bad experience if you are a beginner or just an occasional sewer who wants to do costumes and things. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but it makes you wonder if the people at these pattern companies don't have the internet (we've all ranted at the patternreview boards about these things) or just don't care about it.

Despite all that, the finished product is pretty nice. I used a poly crepe (no problemo), and some crushed panne (miserable hell of a fabric). He likes it, but we need to add a wand pocket.

Here it is with the Gryffindor scarf I made from Charmed Knits. I love the finished item, but making a whole large scarf of 1X1 rib made me insane. Let us never speak of it again. . . And after all that, I don't think he can wear it with the costume -- his shoulders are so narrow and the robe so slippery, he'll lose it.

Batty says *need some help setting in that sleeve?*


Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I know it's not very exciting, and I wasn't very excited about making them, but I'm so glad they're done. This is the double set over the bathtub.

One single curtain in the little toilet room, plus another (I won't bore you with a photo) in my closet. Unbelievably, I had about one inch of fabric left, basically the trimmings from leveling out the grain lines. It was amazing -- I feel like I got by by the skin of my teeth.

I used some wide grosgrain ribbon for the tabs. I was feeling like I just couldn't fiddle with making fabric ones, I had to find something already made up for tabs. They look fine. I still need to do a visibility test at night and get the kids to stand in the bathtub under the lights so I can see if the fabric's too sheer. I tried to get the least sheer fabric that still let some daylight pass through.

I'm running over to JoAnn's today for fabric. I thought I had some usable fabric for ds's Halloween costume, but don't have enough yardage in anything. I want to get it made before the weekend so he can play in it some.

Okay, I am feeling like the world's biggest fool here. I'm trying to make a sweater from Interweave Crochet and I can't figure out how to make a gauge swatch. This happened to me when making a sweater from Interweave Knits too. The problem is that you have to do a bunch of special setups to get to the point where you can actually crochet the pattern to test it out. I wish they would publish some simplified easy gauge swatch instructions, so you don't have to actually begin the freakin' garment in order to figure it out. Or maybe I am just so thickheaded, and no one else has this problem. I went ahead and cast on for the sweater and I can't get the neckline over my head, so that's a good guess that I need to go up a needle size. . . (Oh, and you can see why I'm sewing right now -- totally stumped by this crochet project and need to escape it.)


Monday, October 22, 2007


Back in the spring, I wanted to learn to crochet so I could make some cute amigurumi. It's taken six months and I finally tried a few.

The white one was the first and my gauge was too loose, you can see how much bigger he is than the other two. He's still cute, but the gaps between the stitches are wide and the stuffing pokes out quite a bit.

The pattern is *The Cutest Little Owl* from Crochet Today magazine, Sept. Oct. 2007. I intended the white owl to be Hedwig (Harry Potter's owl), the gray one is Errol (the Weasley's decrepit owl), and the black one is Pig (Ron Weasley's new little spazzy owl). The kids are fighting over them, hope they settle it soon, I'm not making any more!

I tried weighting them with various things, so they would stand up, but nothing I had on hand worked very well (cat litter, rocks). Next time I'll buy some of the pellets I guess. Also, I should have used some black pantyhose inside of the black one so the white stuffing isn't so obvious.


The animals in my backyard need water! I have a birdbath with a bit of fresh water in it (which is illegal under out current watering ban) -- right now there are 3 tadpoles left in it. They are growing their little frog legs, so they'll all be gone soon. I wish the squirrels and chipmunks would use the birdbath, not the pool. We got to this little guy just in time.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Molly Weasley Ready

The original. . .

How does it look?

I even added a wand pocket (note to self, need to get a real wand instead of a dowel). I used the wrap dress pattern from Ottobre. I made it two sizes too big to accommodate the sweater, and the bodice is way too long for my short waisted self. However, I put some velcro on the inside waist and it has a tie on the outside, so it's very adjustable. I added a regular pocket for keys too.

I used a bias binder to attach the trim and it worked fabulously, you just have to take your time a little bit.

It'll be fun to have a new costume this year -- I've been wearing the same old witch outfit for a long time.

And, in other sewing (or mending) news:

I had to sew some channels into the waistbands of all the pants. No biggie, but I'm proud of myself for salvaging some hideous RTW (and saving some wasted $$ in the process).


Monday, October 15, 2007

Time for Long Pants

Had a nice weekend in Tennessee. The weather was beautiful - I took the kids out to the park by the creek. The trees aren't turning much yet, but it was clear and cool, warm in the afternoons. Whew, nobody fell in the creek, either.

I picked up some goodies from my mom, which I'll post tomorrow.

Here's today's project. Putting bungee elastic into 8 pairs of pants. I bought these pants because I thought they HAD elastic, but it turns out they are just little short 2" lengths attached to LOOK like they have elastic. UGH. Lucky me, I have a stash of bungee elastic, so I'm putting it in. It's a little fiddly, but goes pretty quickly. Most of the pants are a size too big, but I know that if I don't do it all now, it won't get done when we need them.

Dh brought these to me from Brugge (Belgium), which is a lace-making town. Not that I'm going to be learning to make bobbin lace any time soon, but the little bobbins are so cute.

Hope to get into the sewing room this week. I'll be working on Halloween costumes and some curtains.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Y'all know I love making wash/dishcloths. I made these back in the spring sometime, but thought I would post them now in case anyone wanted to make some. All the patterns are free ones that I found online. Wouldn't it be great if someone (hey Leisure Arts!) put together a book of these? It would be wonderful to have them all in one place. With that in mind, I'll try to link all the patterns.

I got the pattern here but it looks like she may have taken it down, sorry. I had a hard time getting a good photo of the black yarn, but maybe you can see it well enough.

Pumpkin Washcloth. This one came out a bit smaller than the others, but it's from a different source.

The Batty Dishcloth came from the same site as the black cat, the ghost and the skull.

Skully dishcloth.

Again, the pattern came from here but I can't find it now.

Candy Corn Illusion. My kids really love this one, they've been playing with it, trying to see the illusion.

Hope you have as much fun with these as I did. Sorry I couldn't find two of the patterns, but I bet with a little googling you can find something similar, there are tons of great free patterns out there.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Molly Weasley Sweater Finished

I buckled down and finished it yesterday. It's big and the weight of the sleeves is really too much. I recommend using wool or a wool blend (something light) because I used Tahki Cotton Classic doubled and an I hook and the sleeves pull the sweater down off your shoulders. I washed it in a pillowcase on the delicate cycle of my frontloader. Then I put it in the dryer to try to shrink it, also I find cotton needs to be machine dried in order to return to shape. I got it mostly dry and then laid it out to block.

Choosing buttons. I like the blue one.

I hope it shrank a little. I made it an inch longer in the body than I wanted because cotton typically shrinks vertically.

Of course none of it matters too much because I'll be wearing the housecoat over it. Here's the fabric and seam binding. The colors and the scale of the print are close to the original.

I think I'll use this pattern, minus the sleeves. Pretty simple to make. I'll post some pics of all of it on after the sweater dries and I make up the housecoat. I think I'll put a wand pocket on the housecoat. Where does a witch keep her wand?

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Some Progress

I'm making some progress on the body of the Molly Weasley sweater. I put vents where the sideseams would be, but I decided to knit it all in one piece on circulars rather than doing them separately. I'm going to have to work out the armhole shaping on my own since I'm not following a pattern but I think I can do it. I'm trying to decide how to shape the front neck (v neck or round), but I've got some time to figure it out.

I freeze-framed the movie to see the sweater a little better and it looks like there is a button loop across the front and that maybe the sweater is too small on the actress, which would be why she wears the housecoat over it. . .

I'm thinking I might have a real vegetable garden next year. I ordered some strawberry plants and daffodils which should be here soon. I want to go to the garden center and get some compost and start working a couple of beds, but maybe I should wait for dh - he has a tiller attachment on his string trimmer - it would save my back, because I'll use a fork, but I hate motorized things.

He is nagging me to get some knobs or handles for the bathroom drawers and cabinets, so I might go do that today, but I really don't want to. I hate to shop for stuff like that and we need a ton of them, so it's gonna be pricey. I also need to get some curtains made for the bathroom before the leaves fall off the trees and we are really exposed. Maybe I'll work on that later this week or next.

I've been trying to upload a few projects at Ravelry every day -- I wish there was a sewing Ravelry too. Patternreview is close but the book/yarn/needles cataloguing features, plus the friends and groups would be great.

Have a great week!


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