Story Time Sampler – Little House Chart!

The last time I shared this project was waaaaaaay back in March of 2015. I love cross stitch. It is the craft I’ve done the longest, but it is slow. Slower than knitting. I have this problem with buying kits and then losing steam. The Story Time Classics stitch-a-long from The Frosted Pumpkin was a project that started off great. I completed the first 3 clues right on time, but then it got put aside for over a year.

Looking back at Instagram I now see I started working in the sampler again in July of 2016. Cross stitch is a good summer time project. The light is better and holding linen on your lap is much more comfortable than wool. I finished Story Time back in September 2016 and it has been patiently waiting to be framed ever since.

Sorry sampler, your wait just got a lot longer. In December The Frosted Pumpkin announced a 3rd sampler in their book series AND I got the kit for the 1st sampler as a Christmas gift so at this point I think I’ll wait and frame all 3 at one time.

I’m a pretty big fan of The Frosted Pumpkin style. It is cute and their taste in books really connected with me. So many of the stories were loved by my childhood self. I mean they even put my besties Anne and Jo right next to each other!

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However I’m not the biggest fan of their original pick for August (Phantom of the Opera). So I swapped in another one of my favorite characters, Laura Ingalls. I’m a huge fan of pioneer fiction and it didn’t seem right to leave Laura out of the party. I took to excel and managed to work out my own pattern for August. Picking a part of the story that would fit in the frame was tough, but I settled on Laura and Jack following the wagon train as a recognizable scene.

If you’d like to swap Laura into your own Story Time Sampler just follow this link. The lovely ladies at The Frosted Pumpkin said it was okay as long as I only posted the part I designed. One tab with has a design with Jack and one without.

 

Rayon Appleton

Whew! Time is flying by. The first draft of the post was written when I was feeling worn down by the news, but a great weekend has boosted my spirits!  Today I’m here to share a dress I finished back in January. A beautiful reminder of our fantastic family vacation to San Jose for Thanksgiving.

At this point my winter wardrobe is in pretty good shape. I have several skater style dresses, some more casual knit dresses, a couple of skirts/sweater sets, and a couple of wrap dresses. That’s enough to see me through our short and mild cold season. But I couldn’t help squeaking in one more Appleton Dress before spring arrives.

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I love this dress so very much. After trying 4 different fabrics with the Appleton pattern rayon is hands down my favorite. It just has such great fluidity and drape. It is so smoooooooooth. I also love the way it feels against my skin.

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That said I was picky about the rayon I choose. I made sure it was a decent weight so it wouldn’t be too sheer. Also went with a dark color. Rayon will show every wrinkle and seam in your undergarments. The deep plum color helps mask those issues.

This version also has a lot of vertical stretch so everything falls a little longer than my other versions. I don’t mind, but it did put the hip shaping lower than I anticipated. Oh well, it is very minor and doesn’t detract from the overall look.

I purchased this fabric at Britex in San Francisco while my husband and I were on a rare childless outing. Here it is modeled with my new spectator pumps. Such a fun outfit to wear to work and shake away those winter doldrums.

And now back to the work week, but lots of fun stuff coming up in the next few weeks!

Why I Marched

Considered this part craft post and part political. You’ve been warned!

Yesterday my mom and I joined roughly 750,000 of our friends and neighbors in a march/rally in Los Angeles. I have never seen so many people in one place before. It was inspiring, and yes, I made Pussy Hats.

The first one turned out a little on the small side, so it was instantly claimed by my pink obsessed 4 year old. She thinks pussy only applies to a cat and I aim to keep it that way for now. She was just excited to have a cozy hat and it came in really handy when I took her ice skating on MLK Day.

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The other 2 hats were worn by my mom and I to the Women’s March LA. I mostly followed the idea of the pattern, but worked it in the round and used a 3 needle bind off for the top. Part of what I loved about the pussy hat project was that there were many ways to make one with the same general result. Not as many people in hats in LA as other cities, but it was also a really bright and sunny day. Wasn’t hard to feel a tad on the warm side between the sun and the crowd.

I used Astralbath Yarn in Spectra held doubt. I know Ridgely would be happy to have her yarn used for a political purpose. She’s awesome. It had been gifted to me by another knitting friend Mary and it was just the perfect amount for our 3 hats. I wish I’d had the time to make and mail one to my sister too, but I didn’t quite make it in time. Sorry sister!

In case you can’t tell my main sign said “healthy families = a healthy America”. I saw a ton of signs yesterday and they covered a huge range of issues, healthcare, education, marriage equality, immigration, and yes…abortion. I’ve been sad to scan through my Facebook feed and see that my more conservative friends and family seem to have put their blinders on to only focus on the abortion issue.

So I encourage people on both sides of the aisle to look at the bigger picture. There are lots and lots of ways that we could lower the need for abortions. Here are just a few ideas

  • Better sex education
  • Make higher education more affordable
  • Make birth control easily accessible
  • Lower the cost of healthcare
  • Paid maternity leave
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Affordable child care
  • Teaching girls to be more confident
  • Teaching all children “No means no”

If the United States improved in these areas we would lessen the need for any woman to face the often difficult decision of whether to have an abortion. So instead of focusing on a single issue I am choosing to focus on the many ways we can make women’s lives better.

After attending marches yesterday I know many people are left asking what next? The organizers of the march have put out the first step in a 10 step plan. It starts with reaching out to your representatives, and whether you marched or not I encourage everyone to take part. The only way to make our message clear is to SAY SOMETHING. So go out and do it. Start being the change you want to see in our nation and our communities.

 

 

Christmas 2016 – Part 2

And now part 2! Things I made for adults in my life.

So 2016 was the year I learned to knit socks. It’s silly. I don’t wear socks during the day. However I do enjoy wearing the hand knit socks I’ve received as gifts! So I started off knitting a couple pairs for myself and realized if I was going to feed my sock knitting obsession I needed to branch out to gift knitting.

It started with this pair I made for my mom. I didn’t quite have the right colors for her so I wandered down to my local yarn shop and picked up a skein of Malabrigo Sock in Anniversario. It is quite lovely with reds and purples all intermixed. It looks a little nutty in the photos, but in person the colors blend nicely. We have fairly similar feet so they it was easy to gauge the size and I hear she enjoys wearing them.

 

Next up are socks for my sister. My mom and sister are pretty forgiving gift receivers should things turn wonky. Thankfully this pair also turned out just beautifully. This time I used Dark Harbour Yarns in Bluebottle, but the color really reminded me of Elsa from Frozen and the color is a gradual fade from white with speckles to a dark blue-green. Totally stunning. Nikki creates gorgeous colors!

And then there is the cross stitching! I bought the kit from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. It was a mystery stitch along and their patterns are so darling. Not sure what I’m going to do with the long narrow piece, but the bonus ornament pattern was super adorable! So I made two, one for our tree and one for their cousins’ tree!

Then there were was cooking, baking ,and tea towel calendar hemming and all those little projects that fly under the radar! A busy season to be sure, but it was fun to dive into my stash of supplies and come up with some fun customized gifts for some of my family this year.

And now back to my ever growing queue of projects! On top of sewing my usual favorites we have two weddings to attend this spring and of course Easter dresses to plan. I so looking forward to making some fun things!

Christmas 2016 – Part 1

Before moving on to new projects in 2017, I thought I’d take a moment to post the things I made for the Christmas holiday this year. In order to keep our holiday spending in check, I turned to my stash to find some fun materials for gifts.

First up is the adorable Little Red Riding Hood doll set.

I bought the panel at our (now closed) local quilt shop. In fact I bought the very last one in stock. They sold out super quickly and I can see why. Isn’t it sweet? I ended up making a few alterations to the panel directions. 1) I bound the quilt with some fabric from my stash  and 2) I made the doll’s skirt completely reversible with the left over binding fabric and an elastic waist.

Of course our 2 year old spend much of Christmas day sitting in the doll bed instead of her dolly, but that’s toddlers! And the Lil’ Red set has been dragged all over our house and the clothing tried on many different babies.

Next up was a sweater, also for the toddler. I’d purchased the yarn at Vogue Knitting Live here in town last spring. I’ve heard great things about Sincere Sheep, but I’ve come to realize it is best to buy new-to-me yarns in small quantities to test before diving in for enough to make myself a sweater. I quick peek at my phone showed I needed only 2 skeins to make Ysolda Teague’s Wee Envelope pattern in a size 2, so I snatch up Equity Sport in Aegean.

I think you’ll agree the color look just gorgeous on Charlie and kept her nice and toasty on our trip to the beach. The yarn was also a joy to knit! So bouncy, just the way I like it. Ysolda’s pattern was fabulous as always. I’ve knit 3 patterns from her Wee Ones collection and all have turned out wonderfully.

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And lastly here is a snapshot of the girls on Christmas morning. It is hard to tell because Lu immediately donned her Doc McStuffins costume (gift from Santa), but the girls also got matching pajamas on Christmas Eve. I just love this particular tradition. Usually I buy their jammies, but this year I quickly made up a matching set.

It was a bit of a happy accident. The first shipment of fabric got lost in the mail and Sahara Fabrics nicely sent me a replacement. Both shipments ended up arriving leaving me with 3 whole yards of the space print. In the end I was able to get 2 long sleeved long night gowns and two sets of leggings from the yardage. Hooray! I still haven’t quite gotten the hang of using fold over elastic, so don’t look too closely at the neck line. I need a bit more practice.

And so this is part one of the gift sewing! It is really fun to have kids who appreciate hand made items and I plan to keep on indulging them as long as they let me!

Goodbye 2016!

2016 has come and gone. Last night we had storms passing through, but today has arrived cool, clear, and with a beautiful bright blue sky. Like many others 2016 was not my favorite year. Beyond the political landscape, it was just an okay year for our little family. We got by fine, the kids grew and thrived, but it wasn’t an easy year. By the end of it I felt quite worn down by the routine but also by the instability.

There was a lot of good stuff coming out of our house as well. I spent a lot of time on my sewing skills. I now have a much loved skater-style dress I make and wear frequently. I also discovered I do better when I work off the Gertie block then the Cashmerette block (for wovens). I’m sure in the coming year I will buy more patterns, but I also hope to make my own block again. I have a lot of ideas of dresses I’d like to make, but I think making my own block would really help me spend less time fitting and more time designing.

I made some misses too. A few poor fabric choices and a few patterns that just didn’t work for my shape. And sometimes things turn out okay, but they fail to make it to the regular rotation. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a sewer who doesn’t have a few flops every year.

And then there are my sweet girls! Not as much sewing for them as with previous years. Mostly because Charlie can wear so many things I made for her sister and she’s stayed quite tiny. Partly because Lu finally grew enough that she can wear commercially produced school uniforms! I ordered a select number of skirts and dresses in August and Lu’s been set for school since. I am incredibly proud of their swimsuits and plan to make them new suits for next summer. So much fun and really simple.

What’s next? I still have some quilts to finish. One for my bed and the girls matching quilts for their room. We moved all the baby stuff out over the winter break and we’re contemplating bunk beds this summer, so I’d like to get those quilts done. Otherwise I’ll just keep looking for new inspiration. I organized my fabric stash a bit this week and remembered I have fabric to make the Sewaholic Pacific Leggings, my SIL bought me the Decades of Style Lara Dress pattern, and I have more wool jersey to make a skater style dress. Maybe I’ll get to those things, but if I don’t it is okay. I can’t wait to see where 2017 takes me!

Happy Birthday to Me!

I squeaked out one more dress for 2016! I really didn’t think I had the time, but the fabric was washed, the pattern was something I’d made before, and I had a couple free evenings! Plus my birthday was falling in a pocket of cooler than typical weather.

This is Cashermette’s Appleton pattern in some gorgeous green merino wool jersey from The Fabric Store. I’d purchased the yardage last December on my first visit to the Los Angeles location, but then I started to doubt my ability to sew with it!

I’m glad I waited. This past year I have learned a lot about sewing knits on my Janome. It doesn’t have the lightening bolt stitch so I’ve had to repair many of my dresses as the various test stitches have popped with wear. This jersey is so fragile that I don’t think the seams would hold up to the wrong stitch. As I’ve mentioned before I now use something like baseball stitch and it work really really well. Then I use a faux coverstitch for the hems. I own a serger, but I enjoy sewing on my regular machine. I also don’t have a dedicated sewing space, so it is frankly easier to have one machine out all the time than swap them out with every project.

The finished dress is a breeze to wear. Since my birthday is so close to Christmas this dress will do double duty for both events and keeps me nice and warm as well. The only negative thing about it is the fabric is sheer in photos taken with flash. So I’ll be sure to wear some good undergarments!