Monday, June 23, 2008


It's finally summer! We had a beautiful warm weekend, I finally got around to getting some outdoor plants, I cleaned out my car...

To that end, I decided I needed a better trash bag for my car. I've seen several sewn bags around the interwebs and came up with my own

car trash bag
Fabrics from stash: a heavy cotton canvas for the main bag and some scraps of quilt cotton for binding and pockets. I figure it's a lot better than grocery bags hung over the gear shift.

To celebrate summer, I used my ice cream maker to make frozen coffee
mmmm frozen coffee
I used this recipe from YumSugar for "Vietnamese style" coffee. It tastes so good... mmm...

And, I made a skirt (gasp)
I used some fabric from my stash that I wasn't too emotionally attached to and used the directions for a 6 gore skirt from Patterns That Fit You.
I'm not completely happy with the hem, I took the lazy way out and just sewed a straight machine hem around. If/when I make another I'll hem it properly.

I installed a zipper using this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew. It made it SO much easier to sew in the zipper, since it uses glue to tack down the zipper, rather than pins.

I'm quite happy with the skirt, now I just need to actually begin wearing skirts...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer knit FO! Aleita Shell

I have actually finished a summer knit top before we get into the heat of summer! I'm astounded, myself, as I usually end up starting way too many summer tops and not finishing them before the end of summer (if at all). And I'm happy with it! Equally astounding!

Aleita Shell
Pattern: Aleita Shell by Bonne Marie Burns in Interweave Knits Spring 2008
Yarn: recycled from a thrift store sweater. I have long since lost the tags, but I remember linen and cotton in the fiber makeup.
Mods: I made the body longer before the split but other than that I followed the pattern (I think). Now that I've worn it, I think I should have knit another 1" - 1 1/2" on the ribbed top portion before splitting for front and back, but it's not something that will keep me from wearing the top.

It was a fairly quick knit but the yarn was getting on my nerves so I ended up setting it aside for a couple of weeks. The yarn is a flat tape type (not sure if that makes sense) yarn and is very inelastic, and I found that I was getting frustrated with how tired it was making my hands.

All in all, I love it. In fact, I think I need another one. In navy. or green. or maybe more than one.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Woven Handspun Alpaca Scarf

woven scarf

I started on this scarf to work on my weaving tension, edges, consistency, well, to work on my weaving. I used alpaca that I spun last winter (from alpacas raised by a former coworker). I had dyed one batch a dark green before spinning and left one the natural brown. I used handspun for both warp & weft.

I'm really pleased with how it came out. The edges are the most even that I've been able to achieve yet.

woven scarf

I showed The Boy and his response was 1) "You made a scarf? Just in time for Summer!" and 2) "This is for me, right?" (my responses: 1) "Yeah, I know, but it was practice" and 2) "Yes. But I have to take pictures of it first." which made him laugh.)

I think I need to work on smaller projects like this for a while to get more consistent overall. It's been so SO long since I was a new knitter, so I kind of forget that I started out small with knitting. And sewing. And... spinning ... and so on.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New potential obsession... Block Printing

As I mentioned yesterday, I was inspired by Jesse to try my hand at block printing. If I end up spending all my money on blank cloth and block carving equipment, I point my finger in her direction... :D

vine print cloth
My first attempt. I mixed acrylic paint with a fabric medium specifically for use with acrylics.

vine print block
I used one of the wood blocks that I bought in Pakistan:

pakistani wood blocks

I bought these at Lok Versa, an artisan/craft fair in Islamabad, when I lived in Pakistan. I had watched people printing fabric for shalwar kameez's often while living in Pakistan, so I was excited to find some to purchase. I've tried using them to print on paper but was never happy with the results. I must say, I am so happy with the results on fabric. I don't know why I waited 6 years to try it!

paisley print cloth
Another attempt with the wood blocks. I'm not as happy with this one. The block with the squares that form a slight cross shape is not completely symmetrical so it was a bit difficult to get it straight. I think I needed to fill up more of the space altogether.

My favorite, which should come as shock to exactly no one, is this one:
leaf print cloth 1
Surprised by the color scheme? Yeah, me neither.

I used a potato to carve a leaf to print.
leaf print block
I didn't realize I had that little nick in the one side until I started printing with it, but after I finished, I actually liked the imperfection.

I need more fabric. And potatoes.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Sewing Day

(a week after the fact but...)

Last Saturday was rainy (as were most of the days in the last 2 weeks). A perfect day to do some sewing. Well, a lot of sewing actually.

1. A new tote bag for my sister-in-law.
new bag

I just kind of winged it, using a linen panel I got on sale at Ikea last year. It's just a simple bag, lined with a canvas fabric also from Ikea (I forgot to get a picture of the inside).

2. A coffee sleeve for a friend from work. She's been going way way way out of her way to help us get through a really insane work load and I wanted to say thanks.
coffee sleeve 1

I used a cardboard coffee sleeve as a template. It has a velcro closure, is lined with a double layer of cotton flannel and quilted.
coffee sleeve 1 in use
(I attached a tag from a set that my friend made me for Christmas)

I need to make more of these. In fact, when another co-worker saw it at work, she asked me to make her one. Then two. So, of course I did ...
coffee sleeve 2 in use
(made on Monday)

3. I made myself a sandwich wrap, using a post from The Small Object as a guide.
sandwich wrap
I found this vinyl coated cotton at Michaels. It had originally been priced at $13 for a half yard! It was on sale for $1.50 so I splurged (haha). The print is so cool, I think my mom had tea towels in a similar print when I was growing up.

sandwich wrap lunch
(yes, i took a picture of my lunch. what? too much?)

sandwich wrap closed
I think I might need to make another one a little bit bigger. Or two or more...

4 & 5 I made this wallet to carry cards.
Card case
It is great for carrying just a few cards but I quickly realized that if I wanted to carry all of the items I need I would need something a little roomier

new wallet
So I made another one with a bit more room in the card compartments.

new wallet standing
Both of these are made with linen from panels I got on sale from Ikea last year.

(Looking at these pictures taken on my ironing board I realize how icky my ironing board cover is! hmm... new project...)

I spent the morning today experimenting with printing on fabric. I was inspired by Jesse, a talented artist, knitter, print maker whose blog I read. She posted a few days ago looking for people to swap printed fabric. This was a good catalyst for me to try this craft. I need to get some more plain fabric to print on, but I had a number of successful first attempts. I'll take some pictures tomorrow to show off. Thanks for the inspiration Jesse! And, if I end up being obsessed with printing, well, you know it's your fault... haha