Friday, December 27, 2013

Knitting Change of Plans

Vacation time means knitting time.  I had started the Bubble Cable Dolman sweater, only to realize I wasn't going to have enough yarn.  But that was the only yarn I brought with me to Alsace and I certainly wasn't going to waste my knitting time, so I took a page from Birgitte at Indigo Orchid and decided to knit a February Pullover

Of course, I don't quite have the appropriate needles, so I'm starting with the sleeves.  That may not be the smartest decision ever, but I'm working with what I have!  Anyhow, I hope it works out because I've been rather productive these last few days.  Here's what I've managed to do so far, working both sleeves at the same time on circular needles:

I'm using the leftover Cheval Blanc yarn that I used on my Renaissance Basket Stitch Cardigan.  This will be a pullover and not a cardigan, and in a pretty different stitch configuration, so I figure no one will notice it's the same yarn. :)

Hoping everyone is enjoying the holidays - I'll see you in 2014!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

In Progress...

For a sew-and-show blog, there has been very little showing!  And I suppose, very little sewing!  I've been (slowly) working on some stuff though.

Here's a pic of my cross-stitch:

And one of my pyjamas.  The pocket is absolutely terrible but I need the pyjamas rather urgently so I'm just trying to get them done...well, in a completely lazy way because I only work on them during sewing class.  It's strange, but I don't like to mix projects.  Sewing class projects are ONLY sewing class projects and vice versa.

And here's a photo of a knitting project.  This will eventually be the tweed skirt as pictured here.

Okay, I'm getting in trouble now 'cuz it's time to eat lunch.  So have a good weekend everybody!!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Finished Dress: Simplicity 1796

A new dress, from Simplicity 1796: just in time for spring, ha!  The Slapdash Sewist just posted a review of this in Pattern Review, if you're interested.  Actually, I think I can use this through fall if I combine it with tights and a cardigan.  Especially if fall weather continues to be like this weekend - I didn't even need a sweater!

I used some of the woven cotton I bought at the Amana colonies this summer.  The cotton isn't too stiff, so I think it works for this pattern, even though I originally had planned to make it in a jersey.  I flat-lined the skirt portion with some leftover cream-colored polyester, planning on wearing it in fall (and chilly springs). 

I need to buy a black belt to wear with it, but I was working with what I have.  I was a little disappointed initially, but looking at these photos I think it's not half-bad.  However, I should've done something more to modify the front.  It gapes when I move because my bust just doesn't fill it out.  I'm definitely going to have to wear a camisole underneath it.  I'll spare you the photographic evidence though. ;)

Otherwise I think it's the correct size.  I cut a straight ten.  It fits well in the shoulders.  I measured my waist and tested the elastic insert at the waist before I sewed the ends together, as indicated in the directions.  Ever since I bought my little elastic-inserting tool, I no longer dread this kind of waistline.  Especially since I would wear this type of dress with a belt in any case, to give me the illusion of waist definition! 

I didn't fold the fabric as indicated for the button-tab though, because the backside of this fabric looks terrible.  So I just kinda folded it under.  We'll see how that works out in the long term.  I put on an orange button to match the fabric.  'Cuz hey, when else am I going to need an orange button?!

Speaking of orange, it's not normally a color I wear, but I think the color combination here lets me get away with it.  The greys and black help tone down the brightness of the orange and yellow.

I think I did okay with pattern placement too.  No giant flower boobs.  I did do a machine-hem though.  I'm lazy like that.  

I'm feeling pretty positive about this.  It even has pockets!  But I haven't worn it for real yet, so let's wait for the work-test.  But I might revisit the pattern in a knit, as originally planned.  It's so fun using new patterns though!  

Anyhow, I'm glad I just finally got something done!  Have a great Sunday to everybody who's just starting their Sunday and sleep tight to those of you on your way into Monday!! :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Eclectic Reader Challenge Continues

Hi everybody!  I haven't been very productive on the crafting front.  Well, let's say that I haven't finished anything.  I have way too many projects in progress though.

I'm definitely not going to reach my Goodreads goal this year in terms of the number of books read, but I just might finish the Eclectic Reader Challenge.  I only have four categories left, with two months left on the calendar.

So far I've read:
  1. Translated fiction : Operation Napoleon
  2. Historical mystery
  3. Romantic suspense : Blameless
  4. Made into a movie
  5. New Adult : The summer without men
  6. Urban Fantasy : Pale Demon
  7. Dystopian : Watchmen
  8. Memoir
  9. LGBT : Love in a Dark Time
  10. Action Adventure : Kitty Norville #1
  11. Humour : A hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy
  12. Published in 2013 

    I can probably read something from 2013 easily, since it's now the end of the year. I don't really have any ideas for Memoir though, except really long books. If I read something else under Humour, I can always move A hitchhiker's guide to Made into a movie.  Ladykatza recommends Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, so maybe I'll do that one for Humour.  So I should probably concentrate on Humour and Memoir first.  But knowing me I'll just read whatever I feel like; I'm very undisciplined!

    The purpose of this challenge is to move me out of my comfort zone, but I don't think it's accomplished that.  Because I think all of those categories are well within my comfort zone.  Oh well.

    So, I most recently finished Love in a Dark Time:and other explorations of gay lives and literature (Amazon link here) by Colm Tóibín.  I gave it a 3 out of 5 stars; interesting, but in an anecdotal sort of way.  I'm not quite sure what he was getting at.  I felt more like it was a conversation with himself; not uninteresting, but lacking a theoretical paradigm.  Perhaps that's just my schoolgirl self wanting some theory to bolster everything when I suppose it's not really necessary.

    And then I read Watchmen by Alan Moore (Amazon here).  Oddly enough, I read it in French.  I borrowed a copy from a French friend, so there you go.  I had already read half of it (in English) 15 years ago probably, so I was familiar with the story.  Plus of course a movie adaptation came out a few years ago and we own a copy.  But I was a little disappointed with the book.  It was good but not as good as I'd hoped.  Which is probably why I never finished it all those years ago.  As far as Alan Moore goes, I prefer The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Amazon link).  Maybe I'm just a sucker for that time period.  Dunno.

    In other news, I just started The Name of the Wind (Amazon link) by Patrick Rothfuss, also recommended to me by Ladykatza.  And so far I'm loving it, so thanks for the heads up there!!  Unfortunately I don't think it falls into any of the remaining challenge categories, but who cares, right?!

    And just for fun, and to show what I have been doing lately, I wanted to show some videos of our swing workshop teachers who came last weekend.  Here they are performing inside our mall (classy, I know):

    For some reason in this next video, the cameraperson turns sideways at a certain point and never corrects the problem.  Too bad!

    I don't dance like this, but I do try to dance this style of dance. :P

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Simplicity 2339 Shirt: Version Two

This is the second time I've made this Amazing Fit shirt pattern and apparently I started this project last November.  I didn't realize it had been so long!  I used the leftover fabric from T's long-sleeve Negroni.

I was quite sick of the project at the end and just wanted to end.  I think that translated into somewhat sloppy work.  I really messed up the hem so I won't be showing you a photo of the insides!  And I couldn't face the extra steps of doing a full collar, so I just put on the collar stand and called it a mandarin collar.  But the inside of the collar is a vrai massacre also!

I think I did a pretty good job with the check-matching, but I only did one patch pocket and luckily I did that early on, before I had run out of steam.  And I cut the back yoke on the bias so that eliminated the need to pattern match.

However, the sleeve insertion is fairly awful.  You can see a bit of the ripples in the above photo.  I did it several times and this is the best I could do!  

You can also see that I have fabric pooling at the back but I'm okay with it.  

Frankly I'm not sure about the overall look of this shirt.  I think the mix of styles is a bit odd.  But I like it more today than I did yesterday.  I'm not quite sure how to wear it though.  I wore it with work trousers and it looked super frumpy.  I think it looks okay with jeans, but I can't wear jeans to work and this was supposed to be a work shirt!  Maybe with a skirt?  But I'm not sure I have an appropriate one...

Oh well, I guess I'll figure it out!  In the meantime, I've started another project and so far it's going better than this shirt :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Monument Valley Cross Stitch

I finally completed this cross-stitch project, after goodness-knows-how-long!  It's destined to be a present for my mom.

And I promptly started another project, also to be a gift when it's finished.  Here's what it is supposed to be when it's finished, and what I've done so far.  I will be making some changes to it though, to make it better adapted to the recipient.

I also completed another project this weekend; hopefully I'll get photos soon!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Finished Knitting: Girl Friday Cardigan

I finished this cardigan about a week ago and I think I'll be less bummed by the weather turning cool now.

I used Rowan RYC Extra Fine Merino DK for the yarn and the pattern is free (yay!) by

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Electic Reading Challenge Update: Slowly (but Surely??)

You may remember that I decided to participate in this reading challenge.  I posted an update several months back; at that point I had finished books in two categories.  I've finished some more books, but honestly I haven't made much of an effort to try to check off the other categories.  However, I think I can say that two more are officially covered: Humor and New Adult.  Granted, I'm not entirely sure I understand what "New Adult" signifies, but I'm just deciding that it counts as New Adult.

So, for Humor, I read A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  I think that classic is undeniably humor.  Although, it just occurs to me, it also fits in the "Made into a Movie" category.  Well, if I get hard up (which is a distinct possibility), I can count it for both.  Needless to say, I loved it.

And for "New Adult" I just finished The Summer without Men by Siri Hustvedt: here's an Amazon link.  I loved this novel.  I read it in just a few hours.  Devoured is perhaps a better word.  Her language is beautiful and the characters are very distinctly drawn and they draw you in.  I have another novel by her, The Sorrows of an American, but I'm afraid I won't like it as much.  I definitely recommend The Summer without Men though.

So, I still have 8 categories I need to try to read.  Hmm, I might not do this by the end of the year.

To avoid having an all-text blog post, here's a photo I took from a narrow-gauge train in Boulder Durango, Colorado during my most recent trip to America:

Have a good weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Back from Vacation: Goodies Post

Whew, finally back!  I'm a little overwhelmed about where to start, so I'm starting the easy way by showing off the lovely yarn and fabric I got while in the States. ;)

We visited the Amana Colonies in Iowa and I got this pin-stripe Pendleton wool for $7 a yard.  Seriously!  Massive sale!  I should've bought more.  Anyhow, I'll be hoarding this until I feel more comfortable making pants.

And, also in the Amana Colonies (at the quilting supply shop) I got these cotton prints, which probably are destined to be shirts and dresses:

Also on sale - yippee! 
Still in the Amana Colonies, they were having a special craft fair and I got this gorgeous hand-dyed, hand spun yarn:

It's from Oldhaus Fibers and it's a mix of angora, mohair and wool.  They had the angora bunnies with them at the fair and were spinning with the hair.  I believe the company is run by a couple and I talked to the guy for quite a bit (while he was spinning) and he was explaining how they collect the flowers, etc. to dye the yarns and how often they have to cut the bunnies hair.  (About every three months!)  They trade with local people for other fibers, like wool and alpaca.  But they also have angora goats and that's where the mohair comes from.  Anyhow, the yarn is expensive, but not really when you factor in all the work that goes into it!!  And it's gorgeous. 

And finally, NOT from the Amanas, but from the Navajo sheep again via the Cameron Trading Post, I got some more wool.  This time I went for color.  It's brighter than in the picture, but you'll just have to believe me.  The seafoam color is for me (I got 3 skeins and would love to eek a vest out of it) and the amethyst is for a knitterly friend.

 After all this I really need to stick to a 'one-in-one-out' policy because my stash space is overflowing!  

I did finish one project while on vacation, but you'll have to wait a bit for me to photograph it.  And I don't want to jinx myself, but I'm almost done knitting a sweater.  Hopefully it'll turn out okay, my luck has been a bit rocky with that lately!

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Plaid Top (Just in Time for Summer)

Apologies in advance as some of these photos are not quite in focus.  I forgot to tell T. that I had turned on manual focus!

I finally made another sleeveless version of Simplicity 2501, using the madras that my sewing friend brought back from her trip:

I'm pretty proud of the stripe-matching!  Here's a close-up on the buttons.  I choose some crazy green glass ones:

I am super happy with this top!  I made it over the weekend and wore it to work on Monday, just in time for the heatwave. :)  I really like the fit and I like that there are lots of possible variations with the pattern and that it sews up quickly!  Plus it's modest enough to wear to work but still pretty sassy.

My Sarah Bernhardt pose:

And here's a parting shot, so to speak:

I'm leaving on vacation at the end of the week and will probably have a fairly low profile in blogland (and sewland!) until the end of August.  But I'll be gathering inspiration! ;)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Une Partie de Pétanque

This is not a crafting post -you have been warned!!

The afternoon's leisurely activity:

Have a good weekend everybody!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Wool Skirt in Summer

And I finished my wool skirt just in time for summer!!  Actually I still have to create the buttonhole and sew on the button on the back tab, but I'm thinking I might just go with a pressure button as I don't think my machine will like the thick wool.

There was a scooter parked in front of the building, so I took advantage.  But I don't know who it belongs to, so I didn't actually *touch* it. :)

The weather has finally become seasonably appropriate so even the five minutes I was wearing this was too much!  But I think I'll get a lot of use out of it next fall and winter :)

Here's a back view:

And a close-up on the lapped zipper:

For the last version of this skirt (drafted to my measurements), I used an invisible zipper, which broke after very little use.  So this time I went with a lapped zipper treatment and I think I prefer this style.  

And here are some views of the inside lining.  There's some bunching at the bottom of the zipper, but I can live with it :)

This is really easy to put together but for the next one I need to incorporate pockets, so I think that'll make it a bit trickier!

Am I the only one who does off-season sewing??

Sunday, June 30, 2013

An Assembly of Objects

It seems like a long time since I've done a proper Finished Object post!  And this isn't going to be one, not really.  I've had much craft time lately but I have been working a bit on various projects. 

Here's some in-progress shots of some knitting and a skirt:

I'm working on a Rowan design (my first ever) Trillium by Erika Knight. It's made with cotton yarn and I'm sure it won't be ready to wear this summer, but the design seems pretty timeless, so next summer is okay by me. :)

And here is a terrible in-progress shot of another version of my self-drafted pencil skirt, this time using the wool remnants from my almost-finished-but-will-never-fit-me Burda jacket:

All that remains to do is: a) the back slit; b) hem it; and c) create buttonhole/sew on button.  So this should be finished by the end of my sewing class on Thursday night.  Next time I use this pattern I really need to add some pockets!!

I do have one finished object to show you.  However, it's not terribly exciting.  As a favor to a friend I made a couch cushion cover out of some curtains that she bought.  

You can see how big the cushion is; it's the bottom seat cushion.  I had to get major help from my sewing teacher 'cuz I wasn't sure how to go about doing it.  And I don't even want to calculate the miles (or rather, kilometers, since this is France) that this cushion racked up before the project was finished.  It was originally in Biarritz, then Paris (via the Alps), then Orleans, then it's going back to Biarritz tomorrow.

That's T. being funny.
Anyhow, we basically made a fitted sheet for it.  The fabric is fake-suede.  There's a picture of the bottom side with the elastic gathering.

And here's a close-up on a pretty nicely-done corner, thanks to my teacher's expert guidance:

This was actually pretty straightforward to do but if I tried to figure it out on my own the result would've looked a lot less made-to-measure and a lot more home-made.  It doesn't look like it, but the cushion isn't really rectangular.  It has a weird lip on the front and along the sides.  

Another element was that we had to make holes for the buckles.  So, buttonholer here we come!

And that's T. pretending to hide.

My friend wanted me to add some velcro on the bottom to help prevent it from sliding, but I ran out of time!  I guess she can do that herself, right??!!??

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dancing, or What I've Been Up to Lately

Swing dancing in public on a sunny day:

I need to stop holding my hand like that, egads!

We were right by the two tram line intersections, so everybody could see us, the idea being to promote the association ;)

Have a great weekend everybody!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Last Week of Me-Made-May 2013

This is just a short post to finish off the challenge!!  Here are the last of my outfits for the month:

Saturday, May 25th, worn to the dance party after the Swing and  Balboa (it's a YouTube link) workshops, New Look 6587, plus my new waterfall cardigan made with McCall's 6084:

Sunday, May 26th, again with the Thermal sweater plus my now-too-baggy pants from Simplicity 2656:

Monday, May 27th, photo-bombed by the cats.  I'm wearing all RTW except the white top, which is from New Look 6104.

Tuesday, May 28th, is all RTW except the red linen skirt which is Simplicity 2367:

On Wednesday, May 29th, I wore another version of the New Look 6104 top.   I finish work earlier on Wednesdays so I was actually able to take a photo outside in the sunlight!

Thursday, May 30th is the day I officially ran out of steam on this challenge.  I wore all RTW except a handknit scarf.  Major cheater day!!  This is my new People Tree dress that I was talking about. ;)

And finally, on May 31st, surprise, surprise, I'm wearing a sweater (the Zara pattern by Mission Falls)!  That pretty much sums up the month of May around these parts!  But this week the weather has been beautiful and warm.

Interestingly, on the 28th I had a conversation with one of my students about our "signature colors" because she wears orange a lot as an accent color and I wear red/maroon.  And then we talked about the public styles of various female French politicians/female companions of French politicians, such as Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Valerie Trierweiler.  We both agreed that Carla Bruni, especially for an ex-model, cultivated an image that was a little too goody-goody for us.  And without commenting on either's personality/politics, we both prefer Trierweiler's sartorial style.  Having that though, style of dress can convey philosophical values...

Here are some examples I found on Google:

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy:

To be fair to Carla Bruni, she does wear pants too.  But she was often seen in outfits as above and they are simply too schoolgirlish for my taste.  Please don't tell me that I dress like her.  If so, I am in denial.
Valérie Trierweiler:

Is it very silly to be discussing these female public figures chiefly because of their clothes????

Have a great week-end everybody!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Me-Made-May...a Continuation

I'm beginning to run out of steam, so this week might have been the last hurrah.  But I will continue to try to be innovative for the upcoming week pour finir en beauté.  At the very least, the Me-Made Challenges always force me to try new combinations - just to finish out the month!

Monday was a holiday so no work clothes and I don't remember what I wore!  It must have been something fairly blah because I didn't take a photo.  So I'm picking back up the challenge on Tuesday the 24th.

The cold spell continues and I wanted to document one of my jackets (an important part of one's outfit!), so here it is:


This is a vintage jacket passed down to me and I've been enjoying it, despite the fact that it's filthy and needs a good dry cleaning.   The me-made parts are the Diagonal Lace Scarf and the shirt is Simplicity 3842 .

On Wednesday I wore my Renfrew top again, and a cat:

On Thursday, a new cardigan I made using McCall's 6084.  I'm not overly thrilled with this creation, unfortunately.  Most of the combinations I came up with make me look like an American football player.  This one isn't too bad.  When I wear a dark color on the bottom it is horrible though!

This is described as a One-Hour Cardigan.  That was definitely not the case for me - more like a One-Day cardigan!  By the end I just wanted to finish it, so my sleeve cuffs are sloppy and I didn't hem the sides or the interior.  The fabric was kind of a bitch to work with, super thin!  Perhaps I'll take more photos to show it off or perhaps not, depending on the love I feel for it...

And then yesterday I again wore my Renaissance Basket Cardigan, this time with my New Look 6870 top.  I'm pretty sick of this cardigan by now plus it has tons of cat hair on it!

Today we're spending the afternoon going to a Balboa workshop and a fast Lindy workshop, so I'll be dressed in something comfortable and pretty sloppy, but I'll endeavor to take a picture nonetheless! ;)