I have a problem. I have sewn for years and years and YEARS and years... but I very rarely finish anything, especially for myself. It takes me forever and a day to start anything, because I can never decide if *this* is the *perfect ultimate pattern* or if maybe I should save the fabric for something else... and then it takes me another small eternity to actually sew things up because I am insanely picky about things like seam finishing and making all my topstitching absolutely perfect.
I really don't use the term OCD lightly. I do have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, plus ADHD (there's probably 90% of my problem right there; I've been doing much better in terms of project completion and frustration tolerance since starting treatment!) and although I don't suffer the compulsions and obsessions of true OCD, I feel comfortable using it as a description for the intensity of the distress and frustration I often feel with sewing.
But sometimes I think the patterns are unrealistic in their descriptions, and boy is that ever not helpful!!
Case in point: I am making the kimono-esque hoody jacket* from "The Feisty Stitcher." It's a very simple pattern based on a traditional haori jacket, and I really like it... but in the book she says it takes about 1.5 hours for even the more complex hooded version with faced cuffs. Um, no. I'm into hour 6 here. Part of that is that I messed up (would have helped if the directions/pictures were clearer and I hadn't put the hood on the wrong way), but I really think the only way to complete this pattern in that time frame would be to sew at top speed, without pinning, without pressing your seams, and with no finishing. And I just can't DO that! It makes me all twitchy just to think about it!
Please tell me I am not alone...
*Because I know some people like to know details - I am using some heavy cotton fabric I bought at IKEA for the jacket. It's absolutely perfect and a joy to sew with. Highly recommended for any jackets, tote bags, even tailored skirts you may be thinking about; I'd call it an equivalent to a suit-weight linen or light denim. And it was $6 a meter for 150cm wide! There you go, another excuse to go fabric shopping... and it can be a stealth mission because nobody would expect you to go to a furniture store for more fabric!
(Lots of shops here are phasing out plastic bags, so fabric tote bags are *even more* useful than ever!)
I used a red denim, a blue polished cotton, and a fun printed fabric from my stash. (I seem to recall the printed fabric being from a horrendously expensive quilt shop... which is why I only had half a metre!)
The "main" side, with pockets made of the print fabric and lined with blue:
The other side:
I decided to vary things a bit, so the pockets on this side are a bit quieter, with the wild print on the inside. The ribbon is from Italy - I bought 3 metres of it in a little haberdashery shop in Lake Como, years ago. It was time for it to see the light of day :
I had a heck of a time lining up my topstitching - my two fabrics weren't matched closely enough in weight, and the denim has a bit of lycra in it!! So I stitched and ripped and stitched and swore and ripped, and then I went "screw it" and did zigzags where the straps joined:
I am actually quite pleased with how that turned out, so I'm going to claim it was intentional
I think I'll make some more of these, with a few variations. I am going to try adding a top closure (big button, most likely), and I may fiddle with the proportions to make the bag a little taller and less wide. I may also make the pockets taller since they seem to get wrapped around the bottom of the bag a bit.
Oh yeah - one "Shop the Stash" gift down, 4 to go! (I only finished finals yesterday...)
I just learned how to make beaded beads using "zipped" peyote stitch, tubular peyote stitch, and circular peyote stitch. This opens up all sorts of possibilities for my Bead Bugs!
First, a Queen Bee:
And a Butterfly (peyote stitch mandalas in 2 sizes make the wings):
And of course butterflies all start out as Caterpillars:
Close up of Caterpillar showing his feet (caterpillars have six true legs and as many as ten little grippy bits that are not technically legs - your trivia for the day!)
I had a teacher fall in love with the caterpillar and buy him right away. I gave him a split ring loop so he could be a pendant. The other two have brooch findings sewn to the back. (The caterpillar really didn't work as a brooch; he fell over a lot).
This is my take on the "tree of life" concept... it's related to the baby blanket I knit this spring, I think. The pendant is quite large, so I made the chain on the short side so that the tree would sit just below the collarbone. I'm really pleased with it, especially how the floral/leaf chain elements turned out
I would like to make a sweater for The Boy. The pattern calls for Caron Simply Soft Shadows (acrylic 4 ply worsted), but he has requested that I try to find something in cotton instead. I think it will need to be something either tightly spun, or blended with another fiber, so that it does not just stretch out and hang like a dishcloth. (I made a summer top for myself out of Bernat Handicrafter Cotton and the results were not that great )
It needs to be something relatively inexpensive, too, as The Boy is not a small Boy and the pattern calls for 15 skeins of the Caron (2295 yards total).... I would need to stay under $5/3oz, tops.
I am currently looking at Bernat Denim Style, which is an acrylic/cotton blend, or Brown Sheep Serendipity (60% cotton, 40% wool). Does anyone have any other suggestions?
I'm interested in hearning about bamboo yarns or blends, too, as I have seen a few on eBay that look reasonably priced. I have felt ready-made bamboo fiber socks and they are quite lovely; however, I don't know anyone who has knit with bamboo.
This is from a Family Circle Easy Crochet magazine from last Feb. or so. (I forgot to write down the date and I am too lazy to go upstairs and check ) I have not done a lot of crochet, but the magazine had several fun patterns in it that got me into it pretty painlessly. I learned how to do edges at last!!!
Anyway, fishies! Here is the picture in the magazine:
The magazine cover, blurry, sorry:
My version (what can I say, I like bright colours...). I thought the fishies should be swimming together, it was friendlier that way. Also, I turned their "top fins" from the pattern into side fin, and eliminated the bottom fins:
In its new home, cheering up the smallest room in the house:
Finished size is about 24x30". Yarn was Bernat Handicrafter Cotton, doubled for the mat itself and the chain loop edging, single for the fish and "bubbles." The pattern is a bit weird in that the mat is made in six pieces that then get seamed together. The little round "bubbles" are actually handy for covering up the really uneven stripe joins! I think if I do something like this again, I will make the mat all in one piece because that was unnecessarily fussy, I thought. I really liked the way the fish worked though - they are made as separate shapes, then applique'd on, and they lay nice and flat.
I now have ideas for all sorts of fun little mats with flowers or other shapes added. They are totally washable so I am thinking a few of them would be fun to have around in the bathrooms and kitchen.
This is actually my first baby blanket. I've been knitting for ages - mainly socks and other small portable projects - but never had enough lead time for a blankie However, our neighbors kindly let us know several months ago that they were expecting, and yesterday their beautiful baby girl was born.
They have just redone their house in a very classic Mission style, with lots of natural wood and such. I really couldn't see them going for the standard pink-for-girls, blue-for-boys schtick, so I went with an Aran style.
I used Sirdar Denim Chunky and kind of made the pattern up as I went. Freeform cables are fun, although I do think one side of the tree is a bit bushier than the other! The leaves are knitted separately and sewn on. Finished size is about 30x36".
I think if I do anything like this again I will use something other than moss stitch for the border, as it got a bit wavy, but overall I am really happy with it. Hope the neighborinos like it too!
(Posting spreeeeee!!! Sorry, I just don't get around to sorting out all my pictures very often... this is several weeks' worth!)
I have been having fun making rings out of 14-16 gauge wire. I don't have a mandrel but the handle of my hammer works surprisingly well! Mostly I keep the rings open so they can be sized (this is handy both for giving/selling them to other people, and also because my own fingers change a lot. I can go up or down almost a full ring size depending on temperature!).
I hammer the wire to harden it up and texture the top parts. The rings are surprisingly sturdy and I like wearing them because they do not feel heavy on my fingers.
I am trying to get my jewellery into some local boutiques rather than spending every weekend at the farmers market. I made these little portfolios to bring to each shop; I include 4-6 photo postcards of my work in the portfolio, tailored to each shop's tone and clientele.
I made the folders out of fancy cardstock from a scrapbooking store. My artist's bio and other information are on different fancy papers, and I included a sheet with pricing information.
I liked the way the designer used the donut element, and I gave it a try:
The donut is rose quartz; I also used amethyst nuggets, tourmaline and moonstone chips, and seed beads. I am usually a very symmetrical person so this was actually quite hard for me to do! It does open up lots of new possibilities though.