Sunday, December 29, 2013

undies and the dreaded eyelash yarn

I just finished a scarf using the most obnoxious yarn I've ever worked with, and I'm so happy it's over, hahaha.

 The pattern wasn't even challenging or interesting to knit, but after a little while I was ok with that, because it was so hard to make sure not to drop stitches or pick up extra ones. 

I was gifted the yarn by someone who decided not to learn how to knit after all, and I would never have picked the colour or the yarn on my own, but I think another friend of mine will quite like it, so it's being gifted again. And just in time for not exactly Christmas! She wears almost nothing but neutral and natural colours, and she's always cold, so this is perfect for her :). (also she's one of the sweetest people I know, and it gives me the warm fuzzies to know that I'll be able to help keep her warm and fuzzy too!)

So anyway, the bag of yarn I was given had two hanks of this stuff in brown, so basically I just wound it all into one big ball and knit until it was all used up. The pattern was the one from the ball wrapper, a row of perl with 3 knit stitches on both ends, a row of knit, repeat. 

 Also, undies! It's funny, these are basically the story of how one justifies letting anxiety run a little rampant. I used to buy my boring practical undies at Zellers, which closed and got replaced by a Target. And then I needed new undies, but I haven't been in the new place, and I'm feeling unreasonably uncomfortable at the thought of going into a store I know nothing about. So instead of forcing myself to do it and get over the newness of place so that I can function in it in the future, I told myself I'm a seamstress and should be making these things anyway, bought two meters of cotton jersey on ebay, and whipped these babies up!

Semi poor reasoning aside, I can't say I'm sorry, because these fit much, much better than any rtw underwear I've ever had. Just like with the tank tops, I used So Zo's free pattern. And fold over elastic, I love fold over elastic. These aren't actually all of them, I made three other pairs first, gave them a few weeks of test driving, and then used the rest of the fabric for these five, but with an added 2cm of hight at the top to go over my delightfully gigantic bottom ;).

Anyway, enough of posting pictures of my underthings on the internet, got to get back to staying up to late, hahaha. See you guys in the new year!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

tops and knitting

...namely, not a lot, actually, but I've gotten a few things made, and a couple of those even photographed.

Light blue wrist warmers for a friend, with a ruffly arm cuff. I'm actually pretty pleased with the ruffle, I sort of franken-patterned it onto the original wrist warmer pattern, and altered it to be garter in between the lacey parts instead of the original rib.

And the same pattern, minus the added on ruffle, for a different friend. She gifted me a bag of yarn when she decided not to learn how to knit after all, and I was never going to use camo yarn for myself, so I made these for her, and the rest is being made into a little matching hat for her soon to be baby :).

And then I used Zoe's free camisole pattern to make a bunch of tank tops out of my boyfriend's old t-shirts that didn't fit him any more. Except for the top one, which he bought for me at a thrift shop because he knew I was having fun making nerdy shirts into Sarah tops (how cute is that!).

Right now I'm super interested by lolita style, so look forward to lots of ruffles and silliness in the future :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

seasonably inappropriate knitting

The nice thing about learning to knit in the spring is that I have lots of time to get decently good at it in time for christmas presents. The silly thing about it is that I now have a matching neck warming collar thing and fingerless gloves, just in time for summer...

it pulls over the head and snugs up like a squishy neck corset. my guy says it looks like a neck brace, hahaha, but I think it's cute.
Out of the eight knitting projects I have either completed or am currently working on, only one besides this set is actually for me. Which is weird, because with sewing I am totally a selfish seamstress. It might have something to do with my current skill level not matching up yet with most of the things I want for myself though, so we'll see if I'm still this generous once I get good, hahaha.

isn't the lace edge pretty?! not supper lacy compared to, you know, actual lace work, but enough to make me feel fancy about wearing (and having made) it.

 The blue bit at the top of the last picture was my rather confused attempt at a provisional crochetted cast on, which didn't end up working quite right, but got the job done. Somehow I got confused while starting to knit out again from that point to finish the second lace end, and ended up offsetting the pattern by one stitch. With the confusion of the lace and the way the top flops down a little when wearing it though, I don't think anybody is really going to notice.

standing up like this, it kind of reminds me of illustrations of how wormholes (probably) work... and now I want to learn some recreational physics.

I had two balls of this yarn, and the collar took slightly less than one, so I needed some other smallish project to go with it. Seeing as my hand are always cold, some mitts sounded like a good idea, and since I'm always wasting time on the computer, fingerless ones fit the bill nicely; you can't skill mash wearing mittens :P.

I made the finger end ribbing longer than instructed for extra warmth.
I like the way they turned out, although they are slightly too large around the wrist. Which is, I'm sure, not generally a problem with this patter, as I usually wear children's store-bought gloves and really should have made the child's size of this as well. Really, it's a little freaky how small my hands are compared to the rest of my, or a normal person. One of my friends can fold his first two knuckles over my fingers if our hands are palm to palm; granted, he's a foot taller than me, but still!

during the day, the only place in my apartment that gets enough light for decent pictures is the floor by our patio door.
I got to learn increases for these guys, and stockinette stitch; neither of which are difficult, I just hadn't run into them before. I've finally learned enough that each new knitting pattern I look at is only 75% gibberish, hahaha. Anyway, once I had my very own coordinated mitts finished, I decided to give away my first mitt attempt, because one only needs so many of these things.

this picture demonstrates the oddly small difference in size between my wrist and hand, and why bracelets often fall right off.
I made these chunky blue fellows mostly to use up the leftover yarn from this cowl, and so when they became obsolete to me, I gave them to the friend the cowl went to. Now she has a matched set too! I feel very lucky that my co-workers don't knit, because they get really excited and amazed by the things I give them and will never notice any iffy bits :P. And it makes me happy seeing them enjoy things I made for them, like a big vicious circle of love.

Now I've ended up with three knitting projects on the go, although only one is particularly urgent. A friend is going through a rough patch right now, and with nothing helpful to do besides supplying hugs and moral support, I thought pretty new gloves made just for her might at least provide a little cheering. So now I'm trying to knit some up as quickly as I can without making loads of mistakes; the pattern I'm using is so cute I might just have to make it again for myself once I've learned enough to add actual fingers.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


So, this month I have:

- ufo-busted a two year old half finished (cow print) skirt. And then upon washing it discovered that the shell and underlining don't play nicely together, and that the whole thing will have to be recut and done again from scratch. At least now I have an extra two years of construction expertise?

- busted up both my arm and my back, on individual occasions, and for seemingly no particular reason. I just go to sleep perfectly fine, and wake up the next morning with some part that hurts when I use it or move in any way for the next week or two. Both are pretty much ok again now, but if I get up tomorrow with a bum leg, I'll be mighty pissed...

- and busted out my geekiness!
    I've started a biweekly gaming night with friends (the perfect way to pretend I'm sociable without really leaving my comfort zone. And by comfort zone, I mean house).
    Having already watched at least parts of most other extensive sci-fi franchise, I'm starting in on Stargate SG-1, and so far it's pretty awesome. Next in cue after that: Transformers, 80's style.
    And instigated by a Forgotten Realms trilogy that I snagged from booksale at work, I remembered my great love of classic style fantasy novels. I burned through that series in very short order, finally started in on reading Anne McCaffrey's Harper Hall trilogy for the first time since my Dad read them to me as a kid, and just started this book (I think after seeing it on Megan's totally awesome blog, but now I can't find where she mentioned it), which I thought was going to be a trilogy, but turns out to be a six part series, half of which I have to interlibrary loan in because my library is weeding everything good *sigh grumble sigh mutter bitterness contempt* and only have 2/3 of any given series I want to read now.... Anyway, books rock, especially if they have dragons and magic and lots of characters with incomprehensible names :).

I did not, however, do much in the way of sewing, and therefore almost missed out on this month's stashbusting challenge! But then last night, fuelled by a desire for craftiness (and, lets face it, a disinclination to be left out of the shiny row of clickable boxes over at Cindy's place), I dug out my scraps box and got to work.

Apparently all of my stash fabric is blue. Which I don't understand, as most of my clothing = not blue.

Dice bags! Lots of little divided pouch dice bags! I used the same pattern that I made for my own set, only this time around I lined everything so I didn't have to futz around with seam binding. And that way I used twice as much stash! The lighter blue spotty one even has a big sister.

This one is made from my other self drafted dice bag pattern, which has a flat bottom so it will stand up on it's own, and is big enough to hold pencils and stuff. I made myself one of these to match the little spider-man/batman one (hence why I just called it a "set" even though the link only shows one, haha), but haven't gotten pictures yet. It turned out to also be just the right size to hold my tiny little knitting project for carrying to work :).

Pretty coloured linings! The little blue spots has purple lining like it's mate, and the green spots has a white lining. It also doesn't have ties yet, until I order some more colours of ribbon.
Except for the the green one, all of these where made with little leftover bits of fabric from past projects, so not only where they free to make, but actually served a very noble purpose of cutting down my terrifying collection of scraps. The green spotty fabric is actually something I was recently gifted (does it count as stashbusting if it was in someone else's stash?), but there wasn't enough of it to make any sort of garment, so it got relegated to bag duty. I already have the pieces for a large bag cut out of it, so that one will be a cute little matched set as well.

And they are all going up in my etsy shop as soon as I have the energy to write up decent descriptions and do all that drop menu stuff. Will anyone besides me like the whole divided bag idea? I guess we'll find out!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

dice bag, and new crafty hobbies abounding

A few months ago, my guy and his friends realized that they have all been wanting to try Dungeons & Dragons, but all thought they didn't have anyone to play with. With this realization, they started a weekly (and sometimes thrice weekly!) game, and I was left at home alone, jealous of their nerding it up. So I started a board game night with my co-worker friends, and went on a tax-return funded game buying spree (support your local comic and gaming shop!). One of the games I couldn't resist was a D&D board game called Wrath of Ashardalon, which gets extra awesomeness points in my books for being single player friendly, for when I can't find anybody to play with but just can't resist some dungeon crawling. Anyway, I had so much fun with it that now I'm starting to be intrigued by the idea of proper D&D, and in a fit of "must be prepared in case I get invited one day", I ebayed a couple of dice sets (failing miserably at supporting my local comic and game shop, but sometimes you just need instant gratification shopping). And of course, then I needed something to put them in:

You knew there had to be a crafting-related point to that ramble :)
And being a seamstress (sewasaurus!), I couldn't just buy a dice bag. I had to make one, better, faster, with nicer seam finishing than it had before!

Is it weird to use super-hero fabrics for dungeon crawling paraphernalia? Crossing the fandom steams, oh no!
I knew I wanted to keep my two dice sets separate, so if I only need one there won't be a lot of sorting involved. It needed a drawstring for ease of access, and a rounded bottom for that fun gold-purse feeling. So during a marathon Marvel movie catch-up session (well, part of one), I sketched up a pattern, and hoped like hell that in 3D it would actually hold enough volume to work.

Pretty, girly dice!
And it did! Unlike most dice bags I've seen, this one doesn't have a lot of extra space in it, it will literally just hold two sets of standard size dice and that's it, which I personally like. Of course, I haven't actually gotten to play anything yet to use my dice, so I might yet discover that there is a purpose for that slack after all. Only time will tell, and in the meantime, I love how compact (and cute) this little bag is.

Two pieces of leftover dress sheets = totally a stashbusting success!

Because of how loosely woven and threadbare the batman fabric was, I ended up underlining the whole thing. If (when) I make more in a more stable fabric, I will probably sew the lining separately and change the construction to be a little more sleek. And seam finishing is so ingrained by now that all of the interior edges are edged with seam binding. FYI, seam binding all around the piece pre construction also served to hold the fashion fabric and underlining together.

Pretty! (and yes, that is cat hair *sigh*).
Now I'm even more excited to try out this D&D thing, just to show off my awesome bag, hahaha.

In other crafty news, I've been taking a pottery class with one of my co-worker/friends, and might be hooked! First class I made a completely pointless but utterly stinking cute Capybara paperweight-thing.

I forgot to put something in the picture for scale, but he's about 2.5" tall.
The glazing job is a little strange, but for a first try (with a substitute instructor's less than helpful guidance), I think it's just fine. Look at me not being a perfectionist!

Omg, the little ears just slay me!
It was rather funny having to explain to the entire class what a capybara was, and how the church declared it a fish so people in South America had something to eat during lent, and that actually they're pretty cute considering we're talking dog sized rodents.

I've been calling him Mr. Snuffles since before I was even finished shaping him, haha.
The other two things I've made so far are also rather science-nerd-ish, but they're still waiting to be fired. Next week!

Oh, and in even more crafty news, I took a class with my mom last weekend on making yarn using a drop spindle (mostly prompted by reading this book), and had so much fun I bought my own spindle and a bunch of extra not-yet-yarn to practice on. Since then I've been on a reading and gaming kick that has taken up all my free time, so I haven't actually got anything to show off yet, but the thought of knitting something using my own hand spun wool is so cool (also a little Amish) that practise must happen soon!

Do any of you get caught up in a whirlwind of new skill learning, only to discover that the number of hobbies you have is getting quite out of hand? Because seriously, I'm starting to feel like a one-woman medieval peasant village.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Knitting: blue cowl

I just finished my second knitting project, a wool cowl/scarf thing for a friend of mine.

I used circular needles for the first time, and quite like them. Funny story: I accidentally picked it up flipped around about half way through, and worked an entire row in the wrong direction. If I had more patience, I should have probably figured out how to unravel that part and done it again, but I don't. Instead, I just flipped it back the right way when I hit the beginning marker, and there is a  two row tall hole where the rows don't join up that nobody will ever notice. You can tell in the pictures above that the pattern isn't quite right just less than half way up because of it, but I'm working really hard lately on not stressing about making things be perfect, so we're going to say it's still pretty good for my second ever project. And now I will never ever forget that the yarn hangs off of the RIGHT side, hahaha. Oh learning the hard way...

The beginning band of ribbing.
Anyway, now for lots of in progress pictures! (I'm trying to remember to take those with both knitting and sewing, with varying degrees of success.)

A wobbly weird picture of the first quarter or so of body. I got to try out stitch markers and needle point cover things (do these have a name) for the first time.
Oh right, I used the cocoon pattern, and 2.5 skeins of bulky weight Wool of the Andes yarn from knitpicks. Ravelry notes here! I will probably make some wrist warmers from the left over yarn (weather they'll go to the friend as a matched set, or I'll steal them myself is yet to be decided :P), but right now I feel like working on something in a brighter colour. Do you ever pick project order based on the colour of the materials? I find it's much more fun to work with fabric or yarn that is a happy colour, and I usually work more quickly on bright things because I just want an excuse to look at them!

A few lumpy bits, but at least I seem to have naturally decent tension.
Next on the knitting front: learning yarn overs and knit 2 together so I can start on this hat for my sister-in-law.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Chocolate Bunny Day!

Man I love long weekends! I'm just lazing around today, knitting and watching gory crime shows, haha. Looked out the window to check on my rabbit, and noticed he was doing his Easter bunny impression :).

 Hope everyone had a great weekend! And here's a sneak peak at what's on my sewing (well, dinning room) table:


Sunday, March 24, 2013


As a dedicated DC girl, I couldn't let Spider-man have ALL the fun...

All of today's pictures make me look stumpy, because I got my man to take them, and he's taller than my tripod, haha.
... so I made a Superman dress! It's the same bodice as the spider-dress, but with the original halter straps, and a super (hahaha) full dirndl skirt. This time instead of just zigzagging 1/4" elastic to the back skirt/bodice seam to tighten it up (which didn't work all that well), I stitched the seam allowance to the bodice back to create a casing, and threaded the elastic through it. Great improvement!

Yes, I glow a little in sunlight. One might say that I avoid tanning like it where a communicable disease. SPF 110 for the win!
I did add a few inches to the strap length, and stitched a smaller SA than drafted in, because I like a lot of strap. Even so, I can't tie a decent looking bow out of this length. The bow would likely stick out the sides of my neck and look funny anyway though, and just encourage people to untie it, so it's ok in a big knot.

Apparently boyfriend photographer = boob shots
I like how this print is both more subtle and even more outrageous than my other superhero dresses. On the one hand, it isn't covered in characters. On the other, it has a big super symbol on the chest. As Superman and Supergirl use the same symbol, it could almost count as a super-heroine dress, if not for the white stripes of "superman". So close!

I love how awkward I look in this picture!
So yeah, another dress made from a sheet and lined with broadcloth. I hope people don't get too bored of these, because I'm having so much fun making them that I don't think the trend is anywhere near over :).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Dress

pretty sweetheart neckline!

I'm so happy with this dress! Work has been super stressful the last few weeks, so last Wednesday I played hookey (shhhhhh!) and had a happy crafty day at home. I would have had the dress finished that night, but after attaching the skirt I decided it needed significantly more poof, and had to unpick the waist to add another skirt panel.

good spidey on the left side...
As you may have already guessed, the fabric was originally a bed-sheet, just like my batman dress (and it's been in my fabric closet for at least six months, which surely make it Stashbusting!). However, while the batman sheet was starting to get rather worn, this one was in perfect condition, so I'm not so worried about this dress ripping unexpectedly. (while I love my batman dress, it has been relegated to special occasions so I don't totally destroy it.) I've ordered some more sheets, and this time made sure to get the flat sheets instead of the fitted ones, on the theory that if it isn't being lain on, it won't wear out as much.

and evil spidey on the right!
Now for the nitty gritty! The bodice is from this pattern on burdastyle, with 2" length added above the waist, and 1" added to the neckline edge. I also added 1" to the center front, 1" on each side panel, and didn't bother stitching the darts.  Instead of the elastic-threaded-through-channels that the pattern called for, I used elastic thread and the instructions for shirring from Gertie's book. The bodice front and side pieces are lined in white broadcloth, and the bodice back and the skirt are left unlined because I'm lazy to cut down on bulk. I'm pretty sure halter straps aren't allowed at work, so I used the straps from the parfait dress. I love the shoulder seam on this strap, it forms to the shoulder and keeps the damn things from sliding off all the time.

The original skirt was a full circle, and I just couldn't wiggle it out of my one twin sheet. Instead, I used one quarter circle for a smooth line in the centre front, and a simple gathered rectangle for the sides and back. I would like to make another version with the proper circle skirt, and also one with a completely dirndl skirt. This pattern is great, because now that the bodice fits, I can change up the straps and the skirt styles and have a bunch of comfortable, easy to make dresses that don't look like I just have a closet of the same dress.

squinty spring sun-in-my-eyes face

Now if only they made sheets with female superheroes on them...

Sunday, March 17, 2013


And here comes more "etc": I'm teaching myself to knit! I have tried to do this once before, but after one scratchy garter stitch scarf, and realizing I didn't wear the sorts of things that one knits, I gave up. 7 years later, I'm not overheated all the time any more from stress induced high blood-pressure (thanks to my terrific guy, a friendlier workplace, and just plain growing up), and suddenly I can think of all sorts of things I would wear if I could make them! Also, I realized that one can knit things besides scarves and sweaters, hahaha. My main goal is socks, but I have a selection of not-so-terrifying projects lined up first to learn the basics. And as most of these are things that I personally don't need, I get to be generous and make stuff for the people that make my life great (also get a head start on christmas gifts. If it's handmade, they have to love it :P).

in progress, and already covered in cat hair
Almost a month ago, I walked into the local yarn shop, said "I don't know anything about knitting, but I want to learn!", and walked out with two balls of fluorescent red acrylic yarn and some straight needles to make a scarf. I'll be damned if I was going to make another bloody garter stitch one though (so boring!), so I made myself a ravelry account and found an interesting but dead easy looking pattern. Then I found a website with lots of instructional videos, and got cracking! Most of a month later, I finished my very first scarf (that used more than one stitch) just in time to give it to a work friend for her birthday.

There was a pretty hilarious moment binding off, when I got to the very last stitch and realized I had no idea what to do with it. More instructional videos to the rescue!

After 95 inches of a 4 stitch repeating pattern, I needed something a little more challenging for project number two. But not too challenging, because half the reason I decided to start knitting was to bust out of a "I can't do anything right and I may as well just not bother" funk, which was brought on by several failed crafty endeavours in a row. I'm fucking delicate, ok?! Anyway, my plan is to learn one or two new techniques per project, so there is lots of time to get the hang of it and let the process become body memory.

So for project number two, I'm making a cowl thing for (another) work friend, in a pretty navy wool. It's just knit and purl stitches, but I get to learn circular needles and reading a pattern chart, and probably blocking. I can't wait to see the pattern start to emerge!

my yarn bowl is a casserole dish. I have to keep the whole thing in my desk drawer when I'm not working on it so the cat doesn't eat it.

On the advise of a (different again) co-worker, I placed a yarn order* (and corresponding needles from ebay, cause it's cheaper), and now have my next five projects lined up. In an effort to not end up with a yarn stash as well as a fabric stash, I'm attempting to only buy yarn if I have a project in mind, and then use it before buying any more. For the sake of having something always ready to be started, and in the name of making shipping worthwhile, I'm ok with doing this in batches. It's all so pretty though, this valliant effort might not last long ;).

*Remember that local yarn shop I went to way back at the beginning of this post? They where super rude and disinterested. Any other craft store I've ever been in, the staff are excited about whatever you're making (or at least do a good job of faking it), but I could barely get the yarn lady to give me the time of day. After talking with a bunch of other people, it seems that the staff at this place are like that with just about everyone, and if you aren't going to spend hundreds of dollars, you aren't worth their time. Which is a pretty lousy business model, because encouraging beginners is giving yourself a new market. So I'm taking my business elsewhere. Take that, short-sighted yarn jerks!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

new skirt!

So here's the thing: I have oodles of hand made skirts, yet I wear the same store bought one at least three days a week. It's knee length and black and fluttery, and it has an elastic waist so it doesn't matter if I've gained or lost weight. Basically, perfect. And I finally started to feel weird about wearing the same damn skirt all the time, so I needed to make a new one!

new skirts make me pose like a superhero, haha

The main thing I wanted to replicate was the fluttery uneven hem, so the original got laid out flat and stared at until it all came clear. It was two squares with a circular hole in the centre, and a slit through one side, and then sewn together along the cut edges to make an eight pointed hem. Clever! So I drafted a quick four panel skirt as a base, did some fast and dirty math the the square flounce thing, and voila, new pattern. I did the patterning and cutting last night, and the sewing this morning, and now I have a new skirt!

It's made from the same stretch material as my Zo pattern lace tank and my red lined lace shirt, and I still have a bunch left! The top portion is lined with black tricot from my stash for decency, and the flounce is left unlined (and un-hemmed). The origianal is made of mesh stuff, and lies a little more flat and drape-ily, but this stuff will do. The waistband could have turned out better, but I have an idea for version number two, so we'll call this one a trial run :).

I stitched wide elastic to the right edge of the waistline, turned it to the inside, and then turned it again so the elastic was completely encased, and stitched again near the lower edge of the elastic (I meant to get more in progress shots, but then it went together so quickly it completely slipped my mind). I have another store bought skirt that uses this method, but my fabric was a bit more... springy? squishy? thick? so the finished product wasn't as nice as it could have been. But I'm not much for midriff baring shirts, so it won't be noticeable.

did you notice my awesome boots? I wear them every day, hahaha. A 4" platform does wonders for reaching the top shelf.

Maybe not the go-to everyday skirt I meant it to be, but still quite serviceable I think. Time will tell how much wear it gets. And made entirely from my stash!