Monday, January 31, 2011

so many projects!

It's official! I've become someone who has anywhere between 5 and 10 projects going on at one time!! I'm not even sure how it happened! I was working on a Hat/Glove/Scarf Combo one minute and last night I found myself needing to get individual bags for the other 3 projects I had going on! This also explains my lack of posting or pictures. Apparently I've been starting things instead of finishing things! {tisk tisk}But last night was the last straw. I started a cross stitch for my mom, that I'm pretty excited about because I decided to change every thread color in the pattern. So last night I put my mental foot down! I will not start another project until I finish 1...or even 2 at this point! Luckily I'm pretty close to being finished with 1 project so I'm not totally bogged down.
On a more organized note, I had to do some major tidying last night. With all the knitting/crocheting supplies that I inherited came a huge mess. All the needles were in baggies and scattered here and there. Anything small was just floating around and I had a basket of old, rough yarn that filled my closet. Now, my house is currently on the market so keeping it clean is imperative in case someone wants to see it. With half of my knitting supplies buried in this basket in my closet and the other half in a box in our spare bedroom, finding anything I needed was quite the pain! Something had to be done. I bought some stack-able plastic containers went to work. At the end of the evening I had a large bag full of yarn to donate and all of my knitting supplies organized and in one place. Boy does it feel good. The basket went back into my closet but since I was able to make room for the stuff that used to be on top of it, I can actually get to it now. Even this morning when I woke up and glanced in my closet I immediately felt good about seeing just the basket in there. It's amazing what a little organization can do for your soul! It's as though I can breathe easier.
So, that's all I have to report for now. As soon as I get something finished I'll be sure to post about it! :) I'm excited to get back into cross-stitching too. It's been a while and I had forgotten how much I enjoy it.

Have a Happy Monday!!! :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

seam allowance

One of the first things you learn about sewing with a machine are seam allowances. For those that don't know, a seam allowance is amount of space from the edge of your fabric to your stitching.
As a young sewer, for some reason, I never really payed attention to seam allowances and it usually got me into A LOT of trouble. I was a speed sewer and didn't have time to pay attention to such things. This made for lots of seam ripping and back-tracking and groaning.
I college I HAD to be better about paying attention to seam allowances. I was either being graded on the things I made or they had to go on stage for a show. It was a good thing because I finally started to slow down and take my time. My work became better and better.
------> Fast forward to the present time!<-------
I've been working on a new quilt lately with a pattern called a disappearing 4 patch. With all the other things I've been working on I only sew a block now and then just for fun. Well, this bit me in the butt the other night. I had made two blocks before Christmas and they came out beautifully. This past week I had a little time on my hands and decided to make another block. I cut out the fabric(four 6" squares) and sewed them, cut them, and sewed them again. For some reason things weren't lining up like they were supposed to tho. I looked at the finished product and it clearly wasn't as nice as the other two. I compared them and this new one was VERY much smaller than the others. The edges were uneven and it was much smaller. It was all very puzzling. Until it hit me. MY SEAM ALLOWANCES!!!! I forgot that the first blocks had smaller seam allowances. Luckily I had enough fabric to cut new squares so, today, that's what I did. The difference was astounding.
Granted the edges on the new one are still a little wonky, but that can be fixed. The important part is the difference in size. Clearly the smaller block will not fit in the quilt with the others.
The moral of the story: watch your seam allowances!!!!! They are not to be under-estimated. At all. Ever. Really.I'm serious.  :)
Hopefully the rest of my blocks won't give me as much trouble as this one did! If this is the worst then I think it will be a wonderful quilt.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I finally made it back into my sewing room and boy did it feel good! Monday I only worked half a day (a much loved treat) so I was able to commit myself to getting behind my machine. First thing on the To Finish list, the Christmas pants. At this point they might as well be called 2011 pants! Since there wasn't a lot to do on each of them I was able to finish Roy's and Cassie's before heading to the gym. That night I finished my own pants and immediately put them on! They are a little long in the crotch(a minor detail) but beyond that they are perfect! Roy's fit  him wonderfully and I'm so glad to have finished them. Note to self(AGAIN): start next years pants BEFORE November!
Tuesday night I get out of work a little early and I was entirely unmotivated to go out in the tundra to the gym, so to the sewing cave I went. My next project that needed to get done was another Christmas gift. I know, I know, clearly being on time during the Holiday's isn't my strong suit. This gift needed to be mailed anyway so I didn't feel TOO bad. I guess at this point I can reveal what the mystery gift is. I made purses for my girlfriends. I had been wanting to make a boho-esque sack purse for a while and searched high and low for a pattern, to no avail. Eventually I decided that I would have to take matters into my own hands. With craft paper and pencil in hand I drew up a pattern and hoped for the best. This is the first purse I made.(big thanks go my sister for modeling!)
  When I was finished I had a reversible cross-body sack purse! I couldn't have been more thrilled with the end result.  The front pocket was a little too small so on the rest I adjusted that. Also, I decided to put a pocket on both sides so no matter what, there was on inside and outside of the purse.
  I can't believe that it turned out as well as it did. And as an added touch I put a super cute decorative stitch along the top 

This purse has become my knitting project bag at the moment. I like the fabrics but I found others that I like much more so I plan to make that soon haha. I picked out specific fabrics for each of the girls and went to sewing. For some strange reason, I only took pictures of 2 of them (something the girls can remedy for me hopefully).

I hope the ladies that received them enjoy them. Each was a token of my true gratitude for their friendship and love. I love each of you dearly.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A much deserved Thank You

During the holidays I couldn't help but reflect on the people I was grateful for who have influenced my life in small and large ways. In the crafty part of my life, two people, other than my grandma of course, kept popping into my head. I would like to take some time to thank these two people in today's blog post.
First, I need to thank my college professor Jessica (Greene) Thonen. When I switched majors in college, I quickly signed up for a costume construction class. Jessica was my professor. The class started off as a refresher for me. I hadn't sewn in a while so the first couple weeks were a great warm up for what was to come. I had almost forgotten that I was pretty good at this sewing thing. As the class went on I found myself being challenged more and more and Jessica was there to assist me along the way. The next year was my senior year and between my work study job in the costume shop and my classes, I lived at the theatre. I was sewing things that I had never sewn before, making my own patterns for clothes, and experimenting with fabrics. At this point, Jessica was not only my professor, she was my boss. She gave me free reign to try and either fail or succeed. She challenged me to try things when I wasn't so confident in my abilities. She believed in me when I didn't. I couldn't have asked for a better mentor. I had been given a place to go out on a limb and try things. Did I mess up? Of course. Did I learn from my mistakes? You bet! But I was fortunate enough to have an environment where I could try. Jessica provided that for me. I can honestly say that I wouldn't be where I am today, in life and in crafts, if it hadn't been for her. So, to Jessica (Greene) Thonen, I thank you from the depths of my heart! You picked up where my grandmother left off and helped me become the confident artist I am today. I am eternally grateful for you!
Second, I have to thank a long time friend, Holly Jones. Holly and I have known each other for probably 6-7 years now, but it wasn't until last year that I knew she was an accomplished crafter. I began reading her blog and seeing all the wonderful things she was making. At the time I was living in Florida, doing my internship, and had not re-discovered my crafting potential yet. Fast forward to this past summer. I began knitting and sewing more often and had been keeping up with Holly's blog. Suddenly, I became inspired. Up to that point I had been keeping the things I made, to myself; not showing anyone, except my family, or really telling people about it. I didn't think it was anything people would really care about. Reading Holly's blog gave me the confidence to create my own and feel ok with showing off my hits(and misses) in crafting. So, to Holly Jones, I thank you so much for being my craftiness inspiration! You're one of the genuinely sweetest people I know and you deserve every happiness in the world. I look forward to seeing all the great things you make in 2011!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back to the grind

Let's just all take a deep breathe...and exhale. Don't you feel better??
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday filled with love and joy! Mine was certainly eventful, as always. With all the holiday insanity I hate to report that I was unable to finish the Christmas pants for my family in time. Christmas Eve morning I was rushing to get the finishing touches done on them but it just wasn't going to happen. I admitted defeat and after our present opening with my uncle was finished I couldn't help but reveal what the big secret was. My family was thrilled. I was able to finish my Mothers pants so I made her wear them. She loves them and I love seeing her wear them. My aunt and uncle have decided that they would like some for next year too. So if there is one lesson to be learned here it is, START MAKING THE PANTS BEFORE DECEMBER! :) Lesson learned.
After that day, all sewing/knitting ceased. I barely worked for 2 weeks but I still felt it necessary to take a breather from all the frantic crafting I had been squeezing in. That and the fact that my sewing room has had an occupant all this time (It's the spare bedroom). It was nice to take a break tho. Leading up to Christmas, I started to get stressed out every time I was working on something. This only affected my work in a negative way and I started making mistakes here and there. Not good. The day after Christmas, it was like a weight had been taken off my shoulders. I could breathe again.
This past weekend, it was time. Time to pick the needles back up and get back to crafting. And craft I did. 2 hats and a fingerless glove later I couldn't believe what I had accomplished! I never felt rushed or pressed for time. I knitted when I wanted to and it felt great.
My first project was a slouchy hat that I had only made the rib on. I had seen the recipient of this hat a few times over the holidays and every time his first words were "so when do I get my hat". This made it project numero uno on my list. He never told me what colors he wanted for his hat so I was excited to have a little artistic freedom. I had been eying some yarn and joanns and decided this would be the perfect time to use it! It was manly but not boring. In less than a day I had a hat, in a pattern that I had never done before too! I couldn't help but feel proud. 
It's hard to really see the idea and it's still a little stiff, but with some wear it'll be quite the slouchy hat. I really like how the variegated black-to-gray yarn came out. I had never used that kind of yarn before so I wasn't sure to to expect at first. Can we say "pleasant surprise"?!
I've shown the pictures to the soon-to-be owner of this hat and he's just as excited as I am. I couldn't be happier with how it came out. 

The next project I was determined to finish was a pair of fingerless gloves I had started for myself back in November. I'm currently obsessed with purple and my winter coat is gray so I bought the yarn to make striped gloves. I was able to finish one but then the holiday hectic-ness arose and my lonely glove didn't have a friend in sight. This needed to be remedied immediately. I finished the glove in a little over an hour. Easy peasy. Next I wanted to make a matching hat. I flipped through my book of hat patterns to find the one I have been using. As I flipped I noticed another hat, one with ear flaps and tassels. My creative juices were flowing from the joy of the slouchy hat so I looked over the requirements and steps to make this new hat. There were terms I didn't know and needles I had never used before. Any other day I would have been intimidated and ran! This day though, I knew it was time challenge myself and try something new! Plus, I wouldn't feel so bad if I totally messed up  it up, since it would be on my head.

I dug through my knitting treasure chest, found the utensils I needed, took a deep breathe, and began to knit. Anything I didn't know, I looked up online (a HUGE help), and while at work the next day, I had finished it! I couldn't believe the LACK of mistakes! It certainly wasn't perfect but it was a far cry from the first scarf I tried to make. It fit my head, looked cute, and didn't have any holes! I couldn't wait to show it off to you all! I've already had people ask me for matching sets and I look forward to having them get better and modify them to really make them my own.
I can't think of a better way to start off the new year! Here's to new projects and having the confidence to conquer them! Who knows, maybe I'll make a whole sweater this year!!!