Tuesday, September 27, 2016

More Yarn!

My niece asked for a mermaid blanket for Christmas.  Now, she's not some little 3 year old.  She's 18.  And not little. In our family, we pretty much stop giving gifts when kids turn 18. But I've slacked off on gifts the last couple years because we haven't really been doing a big family Christmas anyway, so I thought, fine.  Also, I never made her sunhat that I promised her.

I needed some yarn for a Christmas stocking so I took a look at mermaid blanket yarns. She wants thick and cozy.

And red and purple.

What?! Red and purple do not place nice together.  I just can't do stripes. I did find a yarn with a mix of red and purple with some pink to soften it, as well as  a mainly purple mix in the same yarn line. But does she mean solid red body and purple tail?!  Better find out.  And I better find out what her younger sister wants.

So, I got five balls of Loops & Threads "Country Loom", $6.99/ball but the cashier said she had a 30% off coupon I could use, even though I was also using a 50% off one item coupon! I also got one ball of white Impeccable (127.5gr.  Really.  We're now using half gram weights for yarn?!).

I'm heading out this afternoon to pick up more yarn!  This time some wool from another crafty mom who is clearing out some of her stash. It'll be great for the mitts for the kindie kids.  Need to get started on that--the Farmer's Almanac says it's going to be a cold winter!

Yarn In: 897gr + 2478gr = 3375gr
Yarn Out:  4914gr
Balance:  1539gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $30.28 + $105.45= $135.73/271 days = $0.50/day

Thursday, September 22, 2016

In the Buff!

We were planning an epic camping road trip this summer and between that and our new boat, we did a lot of shopping at a large chain outdoors store.  Near the cash, there was a display of "Buffs". I thought it was a clever use of a bit of fabric.  But the price?! $25Cdn, aprox. Sure, it's a "high tech fabric" and seamless, but really...I could probably make one, right?  Especially since I have a serger!  I've been using wide headbands (almost like a bandana shape but the back is elastic, not a big knot) to protect my head from the sun (and cover up on bad hair days LOL). But a multi-purpose item would be even better!

Pinterest to the rescue to find the sizes, and see if others have actually done this.  Sure they have!! This was my starting point.
I dug through my knit fabric stash and found some I bought for a shirt but then found some holes in it.  It wasn't a big piece to start with so I wasn't sure I'd be able to cut a shirt around those holes.  But I didn't care if the holes ended up in the buff, so I went ahead. Cut, cut, serge. I didn't finish the ends.

 Here it is as a hat.  This was very useful at night, for sleeping, when it got a bit chilly. I also found that if I left it just folded in half, it made a good sleep mask AND helped hold my earplugs/earphones in!
 It was quite windy on the whale watching boat, so I wore it as a balaclava for a few minutes, but my kids hate that look, LOL.  Here I am channeling my inner-Ukranian.
 Inside the whale watching boat it filled the gap at my neck.
This one was made from a men's athletic shirt.  I made it a bit shorter as I didn't think I'd need it as a balaclava or hat since it's more of a hot weather thing.  Here, I wore it for inner tubing down a river in Quebec.  Fast drying!
Here's another one from a men's athletic shirt.  This is the balaclava look. My glasses do get a little steamed up, but they are large glasses, so maybe with my older ones it'd be fine. I might make one a bit longer and see if I can fold it around my forehead like you do for around the nose/mouth.  Around my neck is a triangle shaped headband I made, but I never finished off the threads so it didn't get worn. I also made a couple wide headbands from bathing suit material for at the water park and white water rafting. It was awkward with the thick floaty strap I have for my glasses.  And I find if I make the headband tight enough to really feel secure, I end up with a headache very quickly--even with the stretchy elastic.

I made one from the left over fabric from a dress for Lucy.  I wear this one a lot too.  I really like them when I'm driving. I can wear it as a wide headband, but then if I have to open the windows (I have no AC), I can stretch it out so it really contains my hair and stops it from blowing in my face. Also, at work (supervising kindergarten kids outside at lunch--I get to do the whole hour outside now!), it works so much better than a hat!! Although I loved sewing the hats (well...more on that later), these just seem so much more practical for my lifestyle!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Hello There!

I had hoped to write a post before I went away, to schedule to post while I was away.  And I thought I might be able to find some downtime to write a post and then publish when we got to wifi.  Well, it wasn't that kind of vacation! We were either driving, doing an activity, or doing the things that make camping...camping (set up, cooking, organizing, etc).

Before I left I bought yarn for another Christmas stocking order.  I've started the fourth and last stocking, and I WAY over bought.  Good news is, I have another order that I can use it for, though I'll still have lots left probably.  I needed red and white.  The original stocking is not white-white though, more of a soft cream.  I found a comparable yarn but as I was checking out, I thought "I wonder if she did want it white-white though?".  When I got home I emailed her and sure enough, "white-white" was her preferred choice.  So back to the store! I ended up with 7 balls of "Impeccable".

I noticed yesterday that the yarn label doesn't have a suggest gauge!  It just says "Medium 4" and the free project needs 6mm needles.  This is a real disservice to knitters. There is too much variability with the "Medium" classification. And if you're trying to substitute for a yarn that you do know the gauge of, you can't just rely on the label! I know rarely do we knit to the suggested gauge, but it's a starting point to find out how the yarn wants to be worked for best results.

Anyway. Onwards, especially since I have to go buy more yarn.

Yarn In: 1586gr + 892gr =2478gr
Yarn Out:  4914gr
Balance:  2436gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $30.58 + $74.87= $105.45/258 days = $0.41/day

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


I love learning new things, though sometimes I wonder about my ability to do so.  Sometimes I get tripped up by what seems to be a simple thing. Like a certain detail in this project.

I saw this project on Pinterest and mentally filed it under "Some Day That Would be Nice to Sew".  We're getting ready for an epic two week camping road trip, and my husband and I got camp cots.  We've just had too many bad experiences with air mattresses--even more expensive, brand name ones. I realized that this little ditty bag (she calls it a "diddy" bag, I think.  I'm not sure which is right!) would be perfect to hang off the cot for our glasses, flashlight, ear plugs, cell phone, etc. I'd just need to use a snap instead of sewing the loop handle!

Can you see the adorable frog snap?

I got digging in the fabrics and thought this wildlife print would be appropriate!
I also had some brown cord and some brown twill, but not enough to do two in either. 

One bag was supposed to be in one, and one in the other, but I goofed when cutting the curved pieces.  I was also getting overwhelmed because I was using a different fabric for the inside (MUST have light coloured insides of bags!), and I wasn't doing the hidden zipper. Towards the final assembly, I just set one group of fabric aside and worked on one bag until nearly done.

I used this foil backed foam I had laying around. It came as a big sheet, like a windshield sun protector, but I think it was advertised as "material" for home sewing of insulated items (bought it from Jysk and they often have strange things you wouldn't expect).  It was very noisy when working with it, and perhaps not as flexible as just fusible foam interfacing.  It also melts when touches the over-wattage light bulb in the sewing machine. Just so you know :)

I was confused about sewing the front to the back.  Well, first I was confused about cutting the front curved pieces.  I didn't see in the picture how she did step 2 in the Preparation--cut into the fold for an inch.  Wouldn't that mean the bottom of the curve is a 2" straight section? When you sew it together, the back is straight across, and the curve is starting IN the seam allowance, so I didn't know how to go from the straight part, to the curve which was less than the 3/8" seam allowance away from the straight part.  So I started sewing the curve in the straight part, when I got to where the edge of the curve would be 3/8" seam allowance.  It seems in the pictures that was the right thing to do, but I thought at first the curve was supposed to be only the front piece.

And then the boxed corners.

I've never boxed corners before! I hadn't been too careful when cutting that 1" box out. So sewing it wasn't precise. Then I went back to the instructions and couldn't figure out how to pinch it and whatever. I googled for a bit and found these instructions that clearly show you DON'T sew around the box!!! Of course, I had also forgotten to leave an opening in the liner/inside bag LOL.

From there, it went much better and I was AMAZED at my boxed corners!!  Like, I went around showing everyone in my family how awesome it was.  They didn't care! 

I'm pretty happy with the finished bags. I think/hope they will be really useful in the tent.  I'm testing one in my truck, LOL.  I might just need to make another one!

While we're away, my parents are going to look after our dog (they have his brother and live on 80 acres with a pond for them!).  As a thank you, I decided to sew one for them.  I had cleaned their truck last time I was up and figured this had to  be an improvement over a Subway bag around the shifter for garbage! Knowing they would still want a garbage bag, I wanted to laminate the inside fabric.
 I had bought what I thought was iron on clear laminate.  Well.  Turns out it was fusible webbing with a clear plastic oversheet so you could be precise with your appliques.  Or something.  I thought "What if I fuse it to my fabric, but leave the plastic on?  Well, it's very crinkly noisy.  Then I thought, what if I iron it to my fabric, peel the plastic off, and place some clear adhesive plastic on? I had a roll of what I thought was plastic with adhesive, you know--peel and stick laminating with no heat machine needed. There was no adhesive on the plastic and seemed to be two layers that were starting to come unlaminated in places.   I tried ironing it to the exposed fusible glue, but it didn't take evenly and wasn't all that nice looking. Then I thought, what if I could fuse the PUL film I have to the fabric. I couldn't find the PUL film. So, at the end of my rope, I just left the other inside piece with the glue webbing exposed.  After having tried ironing the different plastics to it, the glue webbing had sort of melted and hardened.  It's not "laminate" fabric, and it will probably chip off, especially if this needs to go in the washing machine, but at least it's a bit of protection.

The boxed corners went much quicker this time.  I was also not using the foam interfacing, but just heavy iron on interfacing. I worried it wouldn't be stiff enough, but since it's laying against the transmission hump, it's not a problem.  I topstitched a pen slot in the outer pocket but sadly, I measured from the basting line, instead of the final seam line, so it's a bit tighter than it should be.

I was really pleased that the stripes on the strap fabric lined up when I went to sew it together. Totally unplanned!!

I hope they like it and it's actually useful, not just something you think is going to be useful, but ends up just a bit small, or a bit awkward, etc.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Slip Up

In nice weather, I hang my clothes outside to dry.  My husband refuses to put up a clothes line or "umbrella" so I use a curtain rod he put up when he redid the deck and we thought a curtain would keep the sun out of the covered portion.  I have noticed while my dresses were drying in the sun, that they're a little ....see through.  Not really transparent, but just allowing a little more to be seen than probably should. No thongs for me, but still.

I've wanted to make a slip for awhile.  My old white one is bleh.  Dingy, dead elastic, and from about 25lb ago.  Cheap nylon.  I was sure I could do better.  I went searching and found some fabrics to choose from.  I did some burn tests, and while my white fabrics did appear to be cotton (the new polyester dresses I've made are horrible for static so I wanted a natural fiber slip), I went with this gold fabric that appeared to be a silk taffeta.  It was in a big bag of fabrics from my brother in law, off cuts and remnants from his work in movie and TV props/set design.

Burn test for silk--smells like burning feathers.

How am I supposed to know what that smells like?!

At first, I was going to not have the elastic waist, and do something that closed with a snap.  Because I have snap pliers and am not afraid to use them. I did go with the elastic because had it, and thought that for my first attempt I should stick with the pattern and it would give me a good practice run for lingerie elastic if I ever get around to making some underwear or bras.  Which I can't now because I have no lingerie elastic.

I was going to sew in a power mesh panel across the front.  But a) I couldn't find the power mesh until after I finished and b) I sort of didn't read the directions and had only one side seam.

 I read to have 3" of ease over your hip measurement. This created quite a bit of gathering in this slightly stiff silk.  I pulled the elastic so it felt snug around my waist, but when sewing it on, I just couldn't stretch it enough to reach my first quarter mark.  So I unpicked it and added another length to the elastic.  It is rather pouffy around the waist, too much for my slimmer dresses, but okay for the new polyester dresses.

For the bottom I just decided to go with what the fabric was telling me. I had no lace, I thought a hem would be boring, so I just went with the fringed selvege edge.  Why not?  I zig zagged across it and trimmed anything loose.

If I wanted to, I could actually wear this as a skirt.  I'm not a skirt person though.  And then I'd need a slip under it LOL.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

One Step Forward...

I'm having a second week of "one step forward, two steps back" sewing.  Everything easy is suddenly hard, seams need to be ripped out frequently, and I have pretty much used up all my odd coloured bobbins while basting.  Hopefully the end results are worth it!!

Friday, August 05, 2016

It's Still Hot Here

At the start of the summer, I need a mindless project, something for car rides and concerts in the park. I usually have a pair of socks on the go, but wanted something more. I found this yarn in my stash and knew it was time.  It's listed just as "Grand River Yarns" 100% Rayon.  GRY is an interesting yarn business.  Check out her website! I'm a bit worried though.  The last time I used a 100% rayon yarn from GRY, it lost all the dye when I washed it!  However, the rayon I worked with before, and rayon fabric, have all been very drapey and slippery.  This yarn had a "dry" feel, and more body.  It felt almost like a silk.  And it has a nice sheen.

I started early June, not sure when except that I was working on the yoke, past the increases, on Father's Day weekend when I was at a party.  I finished it two Thursdays ago, at a "Brass on the Grass" concert, but after trying it on at home, I ripped back the sleeves to loosen them.

 As usual, when I went to put it on last night, I found a yarn end that hadn't been woven in!  I had promised the other ladies at the |"Brass On the Grass Concert" two weeks ago that I would wear it next time (which was last night).

I made this sweater once before.  Back then, I wasn't really happy with the way the front top opening rolled and how it was pouffy around the top.  I thought it was just my poor crocheting skills.  This time, I tried super hard to follow the pattern, and it still happened.  When it came time to separate it, I worked the numbers a bit differently so the back would be a bit smaller than the front.  It actually feels a smidge snug across the back when I lift my arms.  And small around the waist.  I did a few rows of crochet around the opening to give a bit more width, but I guess it could have used more.  I also had an issue when I went back to do the sleeves.  The first sleeve, the pattern worked out perfectly. The second sleeve, somehow it didn't work out and I was half a repeat off.  Much fudging happened on that sleeve!
I love the colour.  Everyone that sees it loves the colour.  It's a bit more turquoise than is showing on my screen.  Very deep, like Caribbean beaches past the shallow area.  Sigh.  I miss those beaches.  I have a skein and a half or so left (150gr). 

Yarn In: 1586gr
Yarn Out:  315gr + 4599gr= 4914gr
Balance:  3328gr more USED than bought
Costs:   $74.87/218 days = $0.34/day