My first knitting project!

Posted by Kristin on Wednesday, September 25, 2013.
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I love to wear cardigans.  I'd wear them to bed if I could.  I have long sleeved ones, short sleeved ones, basic ones, and bright ones.  They cover my wobbly bits...and I feel like I am wearing a security blanket all day.  But I've become tired of the cardigans I find in stores.  I want snazzy ones!  Which is what pushed me into knitting.  I want sweaters.  Lots and lots of sweaters.  I entered the time suck known as Ravelry and quickly filled my favorites with sweaters, scarves and skirts!  Did you know you can knit skirts?  And not look like a toddler?  Yes!  I will NOT be knitting yarn bikinis.  Nobody wants to see that...

My first foray into knitting was several years ago when those fuzzy yarn scarves were all the rage.  But mine always looked like lopsided triangles because I kept adding stitches somehow.  I didn't know what I was doing so I quit and shoved everything under my bed.  I've moved since then and continued to shove it under the bed in new houses.  I have since discovered Craftsy and signed up for a beginning knit class.

And here is my first presentable knit project! (Disclaimer:  my picture taking skills are still not very presentable)

I used a black and metallic green yarn by Lurex.  Our local yarn shop had it on sale.  It was not that easy to work with because each time I screwed up and had to pull it out (is that frogging? why?) my fibers would unravel.  By the time I started it the fourth time, I really couldn't see one fuzzy strand from the next.

Amazingly, I still managed to create a scarf.  With a keyhole.  And with lace!  Bailey was at the vet all day and was little upset so I thought wearing a sparkly scarf would cheer her up.  It didn't.

I tried it on for the first time so everyone could see how it looks on.  I just want to say that I couldn't find my black t-shirt today so I am wearing a black pajama top.  I was also too lazy to change my shirt for hula class tonight so I wore my pajama top to the gym.  I wore my pjs out in public and to work today.  I have no shame.

Phoebe noticed that I was doing something that didn't involve her so she joined in the fun.

She also kinda matches the rug too.  Just noticed that.  Huh.

Since I knit at the same speed at which I sew (Grass grows faster.  Paint dries faster.  Sloths move faster.) I might get a nice fall cardigan done by next July....

Spooktacular Inspiration

Posted by Kristin on Sunday, September 15, 2013.
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I know, I is only September...and here I am writing a post about Halloween decor.  But in all fairness, I was picking among the last of the Halloween stuff in the store today because the Christmas stuff was coming out.  So it was either do this now, or wait until it is October and all that would be out would be Valentine's hearts...

I love Halloween.  Not scary or gory Halloween, but cute and shimmery Halloween.  I love costumes, decorating, and seeing all of the tiny tots dressed up for Trick-or-Treating.  I found a wreath that I absolutely fell in love with at Grandin Road. 

Cast a Spell Wreath
Isn't it fun?!  And it could be mine (or yours) for the low, low price of $349.  Um, no.  I'm not spending half my mortgage on a Halloween wreath. 

But I still wanted it.  So off I went to Michael's to try to make my own.  I came home with all my loot and got to work.

So $35 and a few hot glue sticks later I had this...

I added a flower and a big purple spider 'cause I wanted to...

Mine isn't quite a full as the inspiration wreath, and it is a bit more glittery...

I painted a few of my plastic gourds just like the way expensive wreath...

I'm quite happy with my copy cat wreath.  And for 10 times less than the original!!!

It's already hanging up in my kitchen.  Knowing me, it will probably stay there until mid-November.  Now I just have to make my zombie costume for the Zombie 5K in early October.  Only I don't like scary or gory.  I'm going to be the prettiest and least bloody zombie out there!  I might even add some glitter....

Super Online Sewing Community Entry

Posted by Kristin on Monday, September 9, 2013.

Have you ever been to a buffet and piled up your plate with a mountain of food that you will never eat?  You know, the "eyes bigger than your stomach" phenomenon.  This skirt was my Chinese buffet.  I put way too many egg rolls on my plate....

Sew Mama Sew hosted the Super Online Sewing Match (which is in no way similar to the Great British Sewing don't even go there).  Talented sewists were selected to participate in each challenge and the pool was whittled down until one winner was left.  If you would like to read about the entire match from beginning to end, click here.  I waited eagerly for each challenge and loved reading through each talented entry.

There is also a Super Online Sewing Community Match which anyone was welcome to join.  All you had to do was select one (or all ) of the challenges to complete and upload a couple of pics to the Flickr pool.  The very first challenge was to design and sew your own a-line skirt from Deborah Moebes' Craftsy class...which I had already taken and completed two skirts.

I immediately started looking for fabric and ran across a beautiful (but blindingly bright) yellow tweed wool.  It was on sale (not a surprise) and I scooped up two yards for around $4.00.  My fuchsia lining was about $6.00, so I spent $10.00 for my materials.

The deadline is (or was, depending on when you are reading this) September 10th.  And of course I didn't get started until a couple of weeks before the deadline.  But I had done this before, it would be a breeze!

My breeze quickly escalated to hurricane force winds.

My tweed was woven extremely loose so I opted to underline instead of lining it.  I left the bottom part free when stitching my underlining and tweed together.  It went together so easily!  I even managed to match my plaid!  I've steered clear of plaids or stripes because I am beyond anal about everything matching up and I feared I couldn't do it...but I did!

I mean, it's still not perfect, but I think it is pretty well done for my first try.

Since I was entering this into a competition, I knew my inside needed to be as finished as the outside.  I created a facing out of my tweed and finished it with bias tape.  I also used the bias strips to finish my seams.  I was so proud!

My plaid even match up here as well.  There was no way I wouldn't win something!

Then came the hem.  And my inexperience working with thick fabrics that fray faster than you can say "shreds" came through.

I first tried bias tape around the hem.  It turned out...well...hideously.  My lining was somehow shorter than my outer fabric.  I let my skirt hang for a day or two and then evened everything up.  It still didn't match up.

It hung so straight!  Not really.  Bailey wanted in on the picture taking action also...

Here it is from the side.  I felt a little like a wilted upside down tulip.  Phoebe was helping by chasing the threads hanging off of it.

I tried turning the hem up with the intention of stitching  the bias covered edge to the underlining.  That was just as disastrous because I couldn't ease the hem in at all.  I cut the entire hem off and headed out in search of hem tape or lace.  That was today.  The deadline is tomorrow.

I found hem lace in another totally different shade of pink (this skirt is beginning to look like a circus).  I got it stitched on and then hand stitched my hem up.  I had never used hem lace or tape, so there was some winging it involved (too lazy to look it up...I figured I couldn't hurt the skirt at this point!).

It worked!  My hand stitching isn't perfect (and I normally pride myself on my hand stitching skills...not this time).  But it is now hemmed.  And I'm not redoing it.

The skirt is heavy enough to wear in the Siberian winter.  I won't be wearing it anytime soon since we are still hanging out in the 80's.  I would go back and get some better pictures since it is a competition, but the skirt is hot.  My house is hot.  I'd swelter running back and forth between the camera and the living room.  And that would definitely not make a pretty shot.

Now let's talk shoes!!!  I bought these from J. Crew about three years ago.  They are my favorite shoe.  Suede?  Wedge heel?  Orange?  Pink?  What is there not to love???  Except with my arthritisy feet I can't wear them longer than about 3 minutes.  I just collect pretty shoes to look at and clomp around in Danskos the rest of the time.

Ok, I'm off to try more pictures.  I just looked at the other fabulous entries.  One washed out picture of me standing in my unvacuumed hallway won't win much.  At least I moved my dead and misshapen duct tape dress form dressed in a purple sweater and Halloween skirt out of the way...

If you would like to see the other entries, visit the Flickr pool here.  See why I need better pictures? 

Why I am totally selfish (and ok with it)

Posted by Kristin on Wednesday, September 4, 2013.
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"Can you make me ____________?"

"Can you fix/alter/redo this?"

"I would love to have that.  Can you make me one?"

Yes, yes I can (maybe).  But will I?  No.

And here's why.....

I love sewing.  I really do.  There are some days when I'll be sitting in my sewing room furious because I can't figure something out, but I love the entire process.  There is no pressure on me when I create things because I know it is for me and if I screw it up, no one knows.

I teach special education for my real job.  And although I love it, it is a job.  It has all of the stress and pressure that jobs usually have.  I don't want to bring that pressure into the craft that I love.  And I would.  I would be pressured to finish something by a certain time.  I would stress if every single seam wasn't perfect or if the fit was off.  I don't want that to happen because I would begin to dread my dates with my sewing machine.

People are also under the assumption that sewing is cheaper than buying clothes at the mall.  I quickly realized that wasn't true.  By the time I buy all of my fabric, thread, notions, it quickly adds up!  And I don't charge myself an hourly rate.  If I were to charge someone else for my time, say $20 an hour, the cost would be over a hundred, possibly two hundred (I'm slow.....really slow....).  Some people may be willing to pay upwards of $200 for a handmade garment.  Most aren't.  I'm not running a sweatshop where I work for $0.20 an hour!

And my most selfish reason???  It would take time away from my own projects!  I may not be married or have kids, but I am still quite busy.  I barely have time to squeeze a half hour of sewing or knitting into my days.  I'm not giving that up so that I can make something for someone who is underpaying me for my time. 

What will I do?  I will happily teach anyone to sew.  I'd love to help someone create their own wonderful pillow, garment, curtain, etc. 

So instead of asking me to make you something from scratch, ask me to teach you how to do it.  Trust me, it will be all the more special for you!  And I get more enjoyment from inspiring others to create than doing it for them.

Oh, I do make occasional exceptions for my immediate family or close friends.  But I still make them buy the one gets everything for free!

From the hilarious Selfish Seamstress