Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rain, rain, rain with a sprinkle of thunder and lightning

It's June and it still feels a bit like February or March outside. I guess we've had more rain in the last week for June this year than we had in all of June last year! Wow! I guess it's nice because we won't have to turn the sprinklers on for quite a while in our yard, saving on the water bill at least. The funny thing with rain is... I kinda LIKE it. I guess that makes me a bona fide Oregonian/Washingtonian. There's just something about watching a really good downpour that is as satisfying as riding with the windows down on a sunny day. There's also the other aspect about the rain that I love; it gives you the perfect excuse to hunker down and get cozy. Whether that means cooking something tasty in the kitchen, sitting on the couch reading a good book or crafting away while watching the water drench everything in sight... it just feels right. Maybe it's because you can't feel guilty for sitting inside on such a bleary day, whereas if the sun was shining, you would be obligated to get out of the house and enjoy it.
Don't tell anybody else I said this, but the rain (with a few sunny days mixed in for good measure) can keep coming... I've got a mountain of projects building up! I just ordered and received 2 new books that I can't wait to create some fun projects out of. The first book is brand new, hot off the press from Anna Maria Horner, sewing queen extraordinaire. There are lots of projects I am digging in this book, from super cute slippers for Mom to the cute booties featured on the front page (gorgeous fabrics shown too, so that always helps). I figure I have so many friends who are varying stages of babyhood (and someday I would like to be too!) that this book will come in handy.
Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little OnesI also picked up a copy of Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones, which is by another 'ruler' of the sewing world. I first discovered how amazingly simple Amy Butler's instructions were when creating handbags for my bridesmaids for the wedding and have been interested in trying out some other patterns of hers ever since. Again, so many cute projects created in stunning fabric that I am excited just looking at the pictures!
Last night I also re-taught myself knitting... which I honestly can say now that I didn't ever really forget in the first place. I was a little confused on what hand held what needle and yarn since I re-taught myself recently to do right-handed continental knitting. But once I got the hand placement right, the movement came right back to me and I can easily do it with my eyes shut (well almost, I'm not that good!) So I started a fun project that has me finally using my Cascade 220 stash. It's funny because I'll buy a random assortment of skeins/hanks only to later discover I need more or less of each color selection... this fact paralyzes me to not ever use it, so I've decided to break all my weird little rules and just start knitting. Nevermind the fact that I am using a brown yarn I intended for fitted vest for me, or that the aqua blue I'm going to use to stripe the cardi is taking away from my aqua sweater for myself I'll probably never make. haha.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hiatus... over!

Hiatus... dry spell... boy it's been a long time since I've done anything in the direction of 'crafty'! But this last week I've felt a surge of motivation to get off the couch (new Dish Network service was not helping) and start creating again. My original hiatus from crafting began when reading overtook all my time... but I'm trying to balance out my two desires so that I have a little bit of time to create fun things too! I started to actually miss crafting, so here I am, ready to go again. Unfortunately, taking a several month hiatus from something such as knitting has caused me to forget HOW to actually knit... I thought something like that was akin to riding a bike? You never really forget, right!? Well I forgot. And now I've got my Vogue Knitting Book (great book by the way, all the basics in one spot is much easier than google searching for hours)cracked open to the basics page, ugh! Well, it probably didn't help matters that I had recently re-learned how to knit using the continental method (previously was doing some backwater version due to my left-handedness). I have so much yarn in such fun colors that's screaming (yes yarn screams if it hasn't been fondled in 2 months) to be made into something cute cute cute. Okay yarn, you win...

I'm also whole-heartedly back into sewing too and just completed a handful of my backburner projects that were taking up valuable real estate on my sewing table. YES I actually FINISHED projects! Sometimes I amaze myself! Finishing a project I've had half done really did have this euphoric sensation of getting something accomplished. I think it really helps that these two projects in particular turned out fantastic and are very usable items... can't say the same about other craft projects I've created (don't ask about the custom-sized shorts I made... 1/2" inseams do not make for comfortable sleeping conditions!). Based on the condition of my latest FO's, I either think I'm becoming a better seamstress or just becoming more accepting of the inevitable flaws I make. :)

First up was my nightie (was supposed to go with the oh-so-uncomfortable boxer shorts I mentioned above)... I still love the fabric and was excited to figure out how to use biased tape to create a nice and clean edge to my project (and the straps!). My machine cooperated to do a zig zag stitch to secure the tape, and that makes me happy! I made this out of the One-Yard Wonders Book I bought awhile ago... there's so many great projects in that book. I've worn this to bed the last few nights and it's great! I'm {happily} surprised that the coverage in the front stays in place when I sleep (no awkward shifting to wake up and find out you have no top on, haha). and it's comfy with the a-line design. I think my sizing was a little off as I shaved 2 inches off either side of the skirt portion to make it fit. I plan to make a few more of these for summertime!

The next project of excitement is my MONKEY PAJAMA BOTTOMS! I don't know why... can't explain it... but I really adore those dumb sock monkeys. There, I said it. I love the fabric lines that feature their dorky little faces, and that's why I had to have a pair of PJ's with monkeys all over them. Yep, monkeys on pogo sticks; you can't beat that for goodnight happiness. They are also flannel, which I love. They are also capris, which I love. Mix all 3 of these factors together and wow, I'm pretty much speechless. The pattern was from Taylor Made Designs Patterns Sew Easy Pajama Pants which is a small booklet with variations on these bottoms. The instructions confused me a bit as I never did figure out where it wanted me to actually sew the hem on the bottom of each leg, so I just made the decision to sew them before sewing the final seam of the inner legs. That was a good idea... I sewed each hem of the leg flat and that made life easier. I also decided a random length to cut off the bottom of these pants since I knew they would be too long... so I decided 5" and trimmed them up (what a waste of 10" of good fabric, tear!) Another good decision and guess, if I can say so myself. They are perfect! And I've been wearing these for the last few nights too, although not in coordination with my top because who wants to go to bed with a mismatched outfit on?!