I Could Use Another Bag, Maybe Two

I Could Use Another Bag, Maybe Two

I’m not much of a fancy, shmancy purse kind of girl. Usually when I carry a  bag it’s on one of two occasions. For everyday, I wear a small pouch on a long cord, just large enough to carry  my cell phone, keys, and cards. When I am traveling whether for a long walk or on my bike I use a drawstring backpack  for anything I bring along. This summer I realized mines were looking tired. This was the perfect excuse to get crafty.

Back in my college days I attempted to learn embroidery. What I actually learned was that I am not guru material. I haphazardly use a running and chain stitches in order to add doodles of color. It works for me.

For both the pouch and drawstring backpack I used this technique with 3 strands of cotton floss to embellish some denim scraps I had. The cord for the pouch  is cotton knitted eye-cord I made.20161127_112019

Things took an unexpected turn when I was deciding on straps for the backpack. Long ago, like literally 12 years ago, I became obsessed with learning to weave as a college student majoring in Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising. At school we were learning to weave on a big, elaborately engineered dobby loom. In a search at the local library I stumbled across weaving that was a little more my speed. Apparently I could weave with just cardboard cards, tablets. The cards would act as harnesses to raise the threads for weaving. I was able to weave narrow strips, the first using 10 cards with 40 threads. I never did anything with that sample (or any of the other narrow bands I wove). All these years later it would be the perfect addition to my bag project.

Great! Well sort of great. I only had enough for one strap. I needed to make another narrow band to match my original. This proved trickier than I thought. I remembered the pattern was from the book Creating With Card Weaving by Sally Specht. I found the draft and threaded up my cards with the same #10 crochet cotton used in the first weaving.

In the end I realized that somehow I had managed to mix up the color sequence (not even realizing it). The two straps are different plus my old sample is more irregular with obvious mistakes. Oh well, I still think the bag turned out nice.

As a bonus, I am obsessed with weaving again. Time to dig out my old weaving hoard.

Sew Almost Victorian

gatzpI went to another murder mystery dinner a few weeks ago. As with the first one , I saw it as another excuse to sew.Fumbling through my first year of teaching has got me pretty strapped for playtime these days but I was determined to make my outfit. The theme this year was Victorian. I knew I wouldn’t worry myself with making something absolutely historically correct. I figured a lot of people would go with the steampunk style that is so popular right now so I aimed for something in between.

The Vogue 1132 vest I made a few years ago with the ruffle in the back immediately came to mind. It sort of reminds me of a bustle. The plan was to add a long skirt and badabing! I’d be victorianesk.

Peplum vest back

Vogue 1132 Peplum vest back

 

 

 

I found some shimmery, embossed velvety, polyester fabric from JoAnne fabrics for $3 and decided to make the Vogue vest with the flounced skirt from McCall’s 6770.Mccalls steampunk

Embossed polyester fabric. Not bad for $3 per yard.  My sister had these victorianesk shoes in her closet for some reason.

Embossed polyester fabric. Not bad for $3 per yard.
My sister had these victorianesk shoes in her closet for some reason.

I cutout both vest and skirt but ran out of steam after sewing the skirt. It went together nicely, but took me a while.

The skirt was easy to sew with only 3 pattern pieces. Hemming the flounce took forever.

The skirt was easy to sew with only 3 pattern pieces. Hemming the flounce took forever.

The lazy bones in me just thought well I don’t have to have the matching skirt and vest do I? I tried the skirt on with the houndstooth vest I made a couple years ago (it needed alterations on the side seams because whatdoya know, I lost weight!) and thought hey, this looks almost Victorian.20160312_185117

For accessories I pulled out a little ascot I knitted from a yarn of  blended angora and ramboullet fiber I handspun. The pattern is from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007.

handspun ramboullet /angora blend ascot from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts

handspun ramboullet /angora blend ascot from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007

It is still cold here in Indiana (like seriously today it snowed) so I decided to wear my favorite shawl. It is the most complicated and time consuming one I have made to date. I finished it back in 2008-2009. The yarn is a commercial millspun tencel that has a really nice, silky drape to it. The pattern is Pretty As a Peacock by Some Knitting Required.

Showing off my Pretty as A Peacock shawl made from Some Knitting Required pattern

Showing off my Pretty as A Peacock shawl made from the Some Knitting Required pattern

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Until next time..Cherrio!

I Just Kept On..another DragonFly shawl

The crochet enthusiasm hasn’t worn off just yet. I finished my second (first dragonfly) dragonfly shawl about 2 weeks ago. I thought I would actually follow directions and make the pretty border according to the pattern but found that I did not have enough yarn.

Loving this yarn. With only 4 oz I had to improvise for the border

Loving this yarn. With only 4 oz I had to improvise for the border

I improvised with double crochet clusters for the edging on this version.

double crochet chain border used for the dragonfly shawl

Double crochet chain border used for the dragonfly shawl

The handspun soysilk that was used drapes nicely and has a luxurious sheen. I spun the yarn from a 4 oz. roving and even without the border the shawl is a fairly large.

the shawl is pretty large. The color patterns is a surprise when using hand painted rovings

The shawl is pretty large. The color patterns are the surprise you get when using hand painted rovings

Enough dragonflies for now.

Wrapped up in the dragonfly shawl

Wrapped up in the dragonfly shawl

Getting My crochet On

I had an itch to get some crocheting done. It began this summer and I ended up making some hats from one of my favorite books Get Your Crochet on by Afya Ibomu.get your crochet book They work up really quickly and the design possibilities are endless. My hats are a variation of her pattern since I decided to be cheap and substitute elastic for a drawstring.

My fuchsia Kinky Reggae hat with bib variation from the book Get Your Crochet On! The shawl is self-knit from too long ago to remember what the pattern was. I made 2. This version is knit from Noro yarn.

My fuchsia Kinky Reggae hat with bib variation from the book Get Your Crochet On!
The shawl is self-knit from too long ago to remember what the pattern was. I made 2. This version is knit from Noro yarn.

My fuchsia Kinky Reggae hat with bib variation from the book Get Your Crochet On! Holds back the hair lika Pro!

My fuchsia Kinky Reggae hat with bib variation from the book Get Your Crochet On! Holds back the hair lika Pro!

My version of the hat called MC from the Book Get your Crochet On! with drawstring in the back.

My version of the hat called MC from the Book Get your Crochet On! with drawstring in the back.

turqu hat 1

My crochet hat collection

My crochet hat collection

A Gift: Putting My Handspun Cotton to Use

It has been a long time, like 5 years since I’ve done more time consuming needlework such as shawls. Once upon a season I was a knitting fiend and I knit about 30 shawls and scarves over the course of a 2 year span. Many of them were done with yarn I spun myself.

My crochet itch came back this winter and I found myself pouring over my crochet magazines looking for a shawl to crochet. It just dawned on me that I had never actually crocheted a shawl before this latest project. The majority of my projects were afghans and purses during my high school years. 13 years ago!

The material used for this project is extra special. I was on the SpinOff Magazine website about 4 years ago and found myself chatting with a cotton farmer from Texas. He emailed me last summer and offered to send me cotton and seeds from his farm. What a gift!!! I was so excited when 10 pounds of some of the best quality cotton I have ever worked with arrived at my home. Thanks Jack!! You’re my hero!

Gift from an awesome cotton farmer from Texas. 10lbs of premium cotton

Gift from an awesome cotton farmer from Texas. 10lbs of premium cotton

I immediately got to carding it up and spinning. I just spun a little here and there, only finishing a 2-ply lace weight skein this past  December.

Carding the Texas cotton

Carding the Texas cotton

Nice and fluffy, reading to spin after a little carding

Nice and fluffy, ready to spin after a little carding

Finished skein ready to wind into a ball

Finished skein ready to wind into a ball

winding the cotton yarn into a ball

winding the cotton yarn into a ball

I decided to crochet my first shawl, the Dragonfly by Lisa Naskrent. My version has a HDC border instead of the lace border that comes with the pattern. I didn’t have enough yarn for it and I did not want to halt my project while I spun more. Keep going while you have the steam! I like how it turned out. I think I will dye it eventually.

Dragonfly shawl variation of Lis Naskrent pattern (not blocked) natural cotton color

Dragonfly shawl variation of Lis Naskrent pattern (not blocked) natural cotton color

wearing the hand-spun cotton Dragonfly shawl..with pajamas;-)

wearing the hand-spun cotton Dragonfly shawl..with pajamas;-)

I enjoyed working this simple pattern so much that I started in on another one using a hand-dyed seasilk skein I spun years ago.

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My 2nd Dragonfly shawl in progress using a hand-dyed, hands-spun soysilk lace weight.

Sewing Some More: Simplicity 2246 and Sew Chic View A modified

It’s a new new year and I’ve been really itching to make something fancy. My life however, demands something a bit more practical. I have recently begun working in a 2nd grade classroom as part of my transition to teaching so I decided to make something to wear for school.

Simplicity 2246 has nice, fuss free shirt dresses that work well for the classroom.

simplicity2246 2246line

I sewed View A which has convenient pockets. The little patch pockets over the bust area are a cute detail although they are totally pointless unless you plan to keep a small stash of raisins or something in them. The pattern would have been a little nicer with a back yoke, and a separate collar stand. Either way I will be making it again because it’s so fast and easy to sew.

The fabric is a printed flannel. which makes for a super cozy dress. I used red buttons on it because I needed 9 of them and found a pack of red ones for $.99. I like them, kinda especially since the black buttons were like $3.99 per 5 pack at Joann’s 😦

Simplicity 2246 made with flannel fabric

Simplicity 2246 made with flannel fabric

Ready for school

Simplicity 2246 View A ready for school

In addition to the shirt dress I whipped up another one of my Yoshiko Tsukiori staples. The first one I made See Here has gotten a lot of wear. This one is a modified version of Sew Chic Dress A. with long sleeves, side ties, and patch pockets. The fabric is a novelty quilting fabric picked up a view months ago. Comfy. I have been wearing it like a tunic with pants. The cool thing about the ties is that you can either tie them in the front for an A-line look or tie them in the back for a slimmer look.

I did a little running stitch, doodling on the the pockets and ties with embroidery thread for fun

I did a little running-stitch doodling on the pockets and ties with embroidery thread for fun

Tied in the front for a full A-line look: Sew Chic Dress A with long sleeves, ties, and pockets added

Tied in the front for a full A-line look: Sew Chic Dress A with long sleeves, ties, and pockets added

Tied in the back for a slim look: Sew Chic Dress A with long sleeves, ties, and pockets added

Tied in the back for a slim look: Sew Chic Dress A with long sleeves, ties, and pockets added

Sewing for Everyday: More Yoshiko Tsukiori + A Knit Dress

Here I go again. I am  still sewing from Yoshiko Tsukiori’s Japanese sewing books. There are so many patterns! This is my go-to source for simple everyday clothes.

I made another Jersey Bolero from Sew Chic.

Simple instructions with diagrams. Jacket has only 3 patterns pieces

Simple instructions with diagrams. Jacket has only 3 patterns pieces

Simplcity 1630 dress with Sew Chic Jersey Style Bolero

Simplicity 1630 dress with Sew Chic Jersey Style Bolero

This time I used denim with white top stitching and added a lining. I need to make a pencil skirt for this. Loving the silhouette.

Sew Chic: N Bolero-style Jacket in  Denim

Sew Chic: N Bolero-style Jacket in Denim

Sew Chic: N Bolero-style Jacket in  Denim

Sew Chic: N Bolero-style Jacket in Denim

Sew Chic Jean Bolero inside

Inside of Sew Chic: “N” Jersey Bolero Style Jacket in Denim.

The next garment is from Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom. Tunic Q.

Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom Q Tunic

Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom Q Tunic

Stylishdressbook WWFQ (3)Instead of knit jersey I used a linen/rayon blend. The tuck detail at the neckline tames the fullness at top which I like.

The Q tunic has tucks and a square neckline

The Q tunic has tucks and a square neckline

Stylishdressbook WWFQ (2)

Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom Q Tunic

Aside from neckline, it is super roomy and comfortable to wear. The perfect Thanksgiving top. I bet I could stuff two turkeys in this blouse.Stylishdressbook WWFQ (5)

Finally, I decided to conquer my fear of sewing knits on my sewing machine. After several false starts, I did a Google search and found that I needed to use a “walking foot” and ball point needle on my machine. That did the trick. I sewed McCalls 6612.

McCalls 6612

McCalls 6612

Love this pattern, the cowl neckline is my favorite. My only issue is that I tend not to wear straight cut, form fitting clothing because I am pear shaped. I am an A-line kind of girl. I have gotten all kinds of advice on how to make this style work on me. Get some Spanx, wear a belt and jacket, add ruching at the waist, drink tea, sigh. I think I will add more ease to the side seams to make more of an A-line dress. Either way, I will be using this pattern again. It has lots of versatility.

McCall's 6612

McCall’s 6612

2014 Cotton Finale

It’s been a long growing season (February to November). My 2014 northern Indiana cotton crop is finally in.  This year I tried a few different things in hopes of increasing my yield, like well, planting twice as many plants and fertilizing. It didn’t work. I did not get as much as last year . This probably should not be called a crop (false advertisement right?). The huge yield I had last year amounted to less than 4 ounces 🙂 All the same I enjoyed watching it grow. However small the amount it is still useful. Next year I will most likely need to replace the soil on the side of the house where I grow it and plant less. I think poor spacing and depleted soil caused me to get less yield.

I ended up picking the cotton at the end of October, earlier than usual (mid November) because it kept raining and I didn’t want the cotton to rot. I already had a few casualties at this point.

Too much rain. This cotton boll rotted

Too much rain. This cotton boll rotted

The cool thing is even if you pick the bolls early while they’re still green, they still open up just fine on their own as they dry. It takes about two weeks but they will open. It’s actually kind of cool to watch.

I like the cool, finger-like leaves that cover the bolls

I like the cool, finger-like leaves that cover the bolls

My little nephew Waymel was glad to help.

My little nephew Waymel was glad to help  with the bucket

 

Cotton Bolls picked early

Cotton Bolls picked early

This boll is starting to split

This boll is starting to split

 

I potted two plants and brought them inside. I'm curious to see what they look like next year. Cotton tree maybe?

I potted two plants and brought them inside curious to see what they will look like next year. Cotton tree maybe?

This is it. I haven’t seeded the cotton yet. Right now I’m enjoying the fluffy, cuteness in a bowl on my mantel.

My tiny little cotton crop

My tiny little 2014 cotton crop