I finished the impulse buy

I saw some wool about a month ago that called to me.  It was variegated in colors I associate with old Hudson’s Bay blankets.  It kept calling to me but I steadfastly ignored it and followed my “no new wool till I finish what is in my stash” rule. (Following this rule got easier after going through a funk because no one wanted what I was making.)

But the wool called to me for a few weeks and I decided I could make something that I want with it.  I decided to make a throw for my living room.  The dog uses the one currently there as an extra bed on the couch.  Talk about Princess.  Needless to say, I’m not inclined to offer it to guests who may wish a cozy cover while watching TV.

For the most part I am pleased with it.  The wool is chunky so it made up fast and I used a single crochet stitch for the whole thing so it was a no brain power require project.  It needs to be blocked and it probably could have used a chain stitch or two in the corners to make it lay flatter but I didn’t want holes.

img_20170312_223344206.jpg

My Princess on her bed.

The colors and boxes match my carpet perfectly.

img_20170312_223234735.jpg

You can really see the need for blocking in this photo!  It is just so big and heavy as it is that I’m not excited about trying to deal with blocking…

These are the colors that drew me to it.

img_20170312_223637312.jpg

Now I should get to work on historical projects…which is what this blog is supposed to be about!

HSF 2017: challenge 1 First and Last

Well, this is a tad late!  Three and a half weeks late!  But as you know, December and January was totally messed up for me with stress at work, two car accidents (neither my fault), dealing with the devil (ie insurance company) and car shopping. My project for this month is a total cheat so, baring any disasters, should be done on time.
The Challenge: First and Last. This is a Victorian Chemise and this would be the first thing someone would put on.

img_20170220_220546110.jpg

Material: cotton (possibly a blend…it has been in my stash for ages, I don’t remember its content.)

Pattern: Laughing Moons Victorian undies.

img_20170220_162458341.jpg

Year: The package is listed as Victorian so I will go with 1836-1901.

Notions: lace (my stash only had poly stuff and this is a stash busting year) 2 buttons.

How historically accurate is it? So-so. The definite and possible synthetic fibers are bad. The pattern is okay I believe. I machine sewed which would be bad if the goal was for the earlier end of the Victorian era. As far as the persona I costume for (upper middle class older lady who is a bit on the conservative side) the style and amount of trim would be appropriate. So I give it a grade of 60%

Hours to complete: 10 which is more than it should. I just couldn’t do the mental aerobics required to attach the yoke so that the hand stitching that covers the seam was on the inside. I had to do it 3 times! I’ve made this pattern before! So annoyed with myself!

First worn: not yet

Total cost: Nothing. I used a pattern I had used before and I used material left over from a petticoat that I way over estimated the fabric needs. The lace and buttons were also stash, either given to me or salvaged from other sources.

More modern sewing: repairs addition

This past long weekend has been a productive one.  I did quite a bit of crocheting (nothing finished yet) and sewing. I completed (finally) HSF’s January challenge and some modern sewing/repairs.

I have a shirt I really like except that it is too low cut and my bra is fully visible to the world.  This means I’ve had to wear a camisole under it.  This is fine except I work in a nursing home where the heat is set a tad high for the comfort of the seniors and I have my own personal midlife internal tropical heat waves happening.  An extra layer of clothing is not desirable!  (I stopped wearing my corset daily because of the combined reasons of the start of hot flashes and the cessation of chronic back pain.)  This weekend, I fixed the problem by sewing in a chunk of lace into the neckline of the shirt.  Easy fix.

I also have a pair of pants that I LOVE except the zipper wouldn’t stay up.  I tried to fix it by using pliers to squeeze the slide tighter but ended up breaking it right off.  This meant I had to either pitch the pants or fix the zipper.  Zippers are the devil but I am pleased to say I successfully replaced it!

Finally, I have three sarongs that I wear on the beach.  I can wrap them around my chest or waist and tie them off like a bath towel but I’d like to do the style where you wrap it around yourself and tie it behind your neck.  But my sarongs don’t have enough material.img_20170220_113324807_hdr.jpg

I’m short by at least half a meter.img_20170220_113330863.jpg

When I last went fabric shopping, I was hoping to find a fabric that would suit for a sarong.  No luck.  So how to make the ones I have work?  Add ribbon along one edge.img_20170220_132104805.jpg

With this added ribbon, I can still wear the sarong in the styles I was able to before, just with an added bow decoration.img_20170220_120357463.jpg

And I discovered another way I could wear it with the added ribbon.img_20170220_130446505.jpg

All in all, a productive weekend.  I wish I had 3 day weekends every week!

Next post will be about my completed HSF January project.

Marshall’s modern shirt

I finished my modern shirt today and I will wear it to work.  It is pretty comfy! I made a pattern from a stretchy shirt that I like the fit in the body…a bit snug but better than the boxy tent most t-shirts my size.  The alterations I made were, scoop neck not turtle, 3/4 length sleeve not full length and very long with slits on the side (like tops I’ve seen from India).  I went for the long option because I hate yanking down shirts that wont cover my tummy and I wanted one that covered my butt so that my stretchy pants would be slightly more suitable outside the gym (because I never go to the gym).

sam_3892

Please excuse the weird white spot my camera put on my face.  I have no idea what that is!

The shirt is called the Marshall’s shirt because that is where I bought the fabric last Saturday.

The photo on the right is a more true reflection of the color.

I probably could wear some sort of tummy control with this shirt but other than that, I am pretty pleased with it.  I would do this again.  I have enough fabric left over for a tank top I think.  May be even a sleeveless mini dress.  So bang for the buck: I spent less on making this top and a future tank top than I would buying new ones. (Almost 3/4’s of the money spent was on the trim but DANG it is pretty…so worth it.)  And unlike store bought shirts it is totally to my specifications. Most store bought shirts I own have some thing I wish was different. It would still be cheaper to buy used but thrift shopping can be hit and miss.

Crochet hook holder

A few posts back, I was whining about no one wanting my knitted or crochet projects. One of my solutions was to simply make stuff for myself.  And the things I can use a lot of is bags/containers/holders to keep my crap organized.

Up until now, I have been using a plastic case to hold my crochet hooks.  img_20170121_185119092.jpg

But it was originally a kit and I have more hooks than were originally intended for the case.  This means the case wont stay closed and then the hooks fall out.img_20170121_185109251.jpg

A real pain in the rump roast.

I had seen “housewives” that were popular in the Victorian era (and I believe earlier).  They were cases, usually made from scrap bits of fabric, that were designed to hold random tools and items needed for sewing.  So I thought,  “they used left over fabric for a house wife for sewing- I will use left over wool to crochet a housewife for crochet hooks.” Ta da!img_20170121_185138874.jpg

As you can see…nice and tidy!  They are spaced quite far apart but in reality, I can get quite a few more in there…once I find them in all their hiding places.  It rolls up nicely and all the hooks stay put. img_20170121_185229072.jpg

I did two rows black, one row grey (left overs from my sons neck warmers).  I used double crochet for every row but I altered every second row of grey.  In the altered row, I crocheted into the row below the normal spot every second stitch.  This created the little points on the out side.img_20170121_185241160.jpg

On the inside, it created larger loops that I can slide the hooks into.

The plan is to use knitting needles and a knit stitch to make a new knitting needle case and I will use circular needles to make a case for my circular needles.  AND THEN I will sew a housewife for my sewing things.  I am inordinately pleased with myself!

 

Completed project and how to knit stuff people want

My son asked me to make him a neck warmer for Christmas. He wanted black or grey. This makes me think of the time a couple of months ago, when I despaired that no one wanted my knitting (nothing sold at a craft sale table I shared with a friend). I went to my computer and typed in the google line “No one wants my knitting.” It lead me to a blog which had some advice, which I will pass on to you*.

First: knitters like wild colors because they are fun to work with (guilty), but in reality, no one wants these items. They are, at best, outside peoples comfort zone for actual use and at worse, just plain tacky. And when I look at my décor in my house there are lots of neutrals with tiny splashes of color.  In my wardrobe, I have color because I like it, but they are either solids or subtle patterns.  No wild stripes or blotches of rainbow colors.

So back to the neck warmer: boring black or grey it is.

I bought real wool, because we all know real wool is warmer (and more expensive) than the synthetic stuff.  Which leads to more advice from the blog I read: buy the expensive stuff  because the cheap stuff looks cheap and no one really wants that. People may or may not factor the amount of work you put into the item.  If they don’t factor in the work, they just see cheap wool that looks and feels like crap.  If they do, they feel guilty because they are not going to use all your hard work-because it looks and feels like crap.

Okay-neck warmer: I used circular knitting needles and “guesstimated” the number of stitches needed.  I used my own massive melon for fitting so the thing ended up way too big for the boy.  We tried shrinking it and that helped, but it also made it too short.  So back to the drawing board.  I knit another, much smaller one.  img_20170108_102333797.jpg

The top one is the first one I made.  My boy will use that one on super cold days when he needs his face covered as well, but the second one will be the one he wears most of the time.  I made it in two layers (extra warm) and I made it reversible so he can have it be black or grey.

The boy actually does use these things.  And this leads to the third piece of advice from the blog: if the receiver of the gift has a say in what they want they are more likely to use and value the item.  My boy said “I want a black or grey neck warmer”.  I gave him a black or grey neck warmer and he likes it.  For bigger ticket items like a blanket or sweater or for more finicky people, it is better to take the person shopping for wool so they can see the colors and feel the wool.

So what is a knitter to do with this advice when she knows her wool stash is full of wild colors and cheaper value wool?  When I think of my stash, I could despair.  I could just give the balls away to a thrift store…something I may actually do to some of it. But now I am thinking, there are some things I would use that are wilder.  I don’t care what my housecoats and slippers look like.  I could make all kinds of housecoats and slippers in all kinds of wild crazy colors and patterns and I will love them.  There is no law that says I only need two or three of these things.  I bought the wool, I will do the work, I will want and appreciate what I made.

I could make project bags for all of my UFO’s and I could line them with left over fabric (kill two stashes with one stone.) I could make small items to give to others that they might use no matter what it is made of (coin purses or pouches to use in purses).  Kids toys can be wild.  I don’t have any kids to give them too (yet) but that is an option.

Finally, a commenter on that blog I read said she knits all kinds of things and puts them in a bag, then at family gatherings she opens the bag up and allows people to pick something out of the bag that they want.  Sure, people may pick SOMETHING to avoid offending her but at least there is a chance they will pick something they might actually use.  I could do that with the more subtle colors and nicer feeling wools I have in my stash.

So new year with new goals for my knitting.

*Sorry, I did not save the link to the blog I am referencing.  If I find it again, I will rectify that faux pas.

Another year bites the dust.

If I don’t look globally and only focus on my own front door, 2016 has been pretty good.  DECEMBER 2016 can bite me, but 2016 as a whole has been fine for me and mine. I hope 2017 is a good one as well.  And to my 4 readers, you know I wish you well too.

Blogger traditions says I must do a completed projects run down.

First on the list is that dumb cloak that never did hang right and I never had occasion to wear (thank God).IMG_20160110_183519126

Then there was several knitting projects, most have not yet been used.  I just don’t costume in the winter much.  Going outside sucks.

Then came all the parts for the Spanish Senora dress-blouse, skirt, jacket, belt and hat.5c

The lace cap is the part of the Spanish dress I am most pleased with.IMG_20160625_123514487

More knitting…a tulma that I did actually wear.img_20161022_130710981_hdr.jpg

And more modern knitting.

Then I fixed my garage sale find loom…still haven’t used it.img_20160611_162710381.jpg

I made some steam punk earrings.  Which were worn once for the steam punk tea at Coco and never again.  img_20160619_163512.jpg

And I made some wings for the Coco gala.172

I made the Ugly Bag of Tea Gown less hideous…again for Coco.187

Atessa was the dress I was most pleased with this year.img_20161031_205643558.jpg

My first attempt at leather gloves.img_20161010_204650046

My second attempt was meant to be completed on time for the final HSF challenge of the year and as my final completed project of the year…but as I said earlier, December 2016 can bite me.  I’m too grumpy to be bothered and we all know what happens when we push through when the mood is off.

There was some more knitting.  Not shown is neck warmer for my son…turns out I made it too big and I’m now making a smaller one.img_20161113_173000892.jpg

And finally a pretty nice bag.img_20161127_213658667.jpg

Knitting was a real theme this year.  I should probably reduce that for next year or actually get out of the house in costume during the winter.  Or stick to modern stuff…but how much does one actually need…even in winter.