Sunday, May 18, 2014

What I've Been Up To

So this space has been quiet - very little blogging, and certainly no 'regular' blogging for awhile.

I'd say "I've been busy," but most of it has been day to day work, which is NOT worth blogging about (also, disliking day to day work, ALSO not worth blogging about!); not much crafting as 'life' has taken over and I've enjoyed some leisurely s-l-o-w crafting projects. I've also had some time constraints with project deadlines (Mom's bag for one, and EJ's birthday gift which will show up later on) that has pushed any other sewing to the side for awhile. And I don't really feel like updating with "I vacuumed the apartment again," or "Realized I haven't dusted in awhile."

So a brief rundown of sorts of what we've been up to since February:

Made the annual trip to San Miguel, no pics but we bought fabric (of course). All this is slated for projects, none are in the works (yet) and none of that was stash-building. We also volunteered at The Creation Station for an event - that was a lot of fun, and I learned EJ had never really spent much time with Dawn & Patrick, so we had extra-bonding time with them.

Made an unplanned trip up north/middle of nowhere (between Bakersfield and Fresno) for family related things, everyone is OK now.

Made an unplanned trip and two-night stay to the vet hospital, Roshi had a UTI 'of unknown origin'. We are now feeding the boys special medical food to hopefully prevent a recurrence. Once we got him home ALL Roshi wanted to do was sit on me; this was how I spent that first weekend - him on my lap, me on the computer for 6-8  hours at a time. He's doing fine now.

Didn't Yarn Crawl this year, but I did make a point to get to the Yarnover Truck when it was in Long Beach (Saturday of the crawl) to pick up yarn for a project (which is currently on the needles).

Dogsat for a weekend.

Got in some random crafting time and had a GREAT vegan brunch with Nik.

Had major, major issues just about every day at work for 2 1/2 weeks beginning March 2. It all finally smoothed itself over, but it was very difficult going for awhile.

I mentioned it, but the Sacramento trip with my youth group was both 1) awesome and 2) exhausting. One adult and six 17-20 year olds. It was almost too much, and I ended up sick the week afterward (just like last year - I'm totally thinking it was the plane ride).

And during all that time, I did not finish one craft, knitting, or sewing project. I did work on several; I have done a major cleaning of our apartment, including taking 7-10 bags of donations to Goodwill; cooked at home almost exclusively; gone on (and off) a healthy plan/diet, with no working out at all; been a Faire widow yet again.

That pretty much sums up the past couple months. I have made headway recently though and will be posting more finishes soon!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Amy Butler Weekender: Mods

This weekend (Mother's Day weekend) MIL/"Mom" and I are usually in Buellton for the annual Mother's Day quilting retreat with The Creation Station. I had planned to give Mom two gifts (traditional handmade brooch, and then a bag), but she's in England for the month visiting my SIL and her family.

So I had to step up my gift-making game, since she flew out last week and I 'lost' a week of crafting (as I was planning to give it to her this weekend). Oh, and she got NO brooch this year; quilt retreat = brooch, no retreat = no brooch LOL

This is the second Weekender Bag I've made (first was back in January) and you would think it would have been easier the second time around - but this bag has huge issues. None that make it non-functional, and nothing that you can notice outright (other than the horridly crooked pocket inside, still not sure how I pulled that one off!) and Mom texted me 3x the day I gave it, then two more times when she was traveling to tell me she'd received several compliments on it.

I promised a review of the pattern/modifications I made on my last bag - they're basically the same for this one, but I did add an extra pocket based on Mom's feedback when she saw my bag:
I added a small self-fabric pocket between the two handles on one side. Its just the green fabric folded on itself, bottom is unfinished (since it was sewn into the body of the bag), sides are stitched down along with the straps (which generally aren't sewn down the length of the side).

So, my thoughts on the pattern:
* Easy to cut out, I stretch it across a couple sessions and cut all lining, then all interfacing, then all stiff interfacing, then all fashion fabric.

* I made separate pattern pieces for the stiff interfacing, because I am ultimately too cheap to cut it then trim 1/2" off each side.

* I group all my pre-assembly parts to sew as well; getting everything prepped in steps (not necessarily following the order given) makes it that much easier for me to assemble the final bag.

* I over-bought the fabric interfacing to avoid the problem I had with my first bag - I had to piece the top pieces. Even with 3/4 yard extra I STILL had to piece, so I guess that's just how you're supposed to do it. Didn't see any feedback from any other users about this, so maybe its just me.

* Made the straps 4 inches x WOF, interfaced my bag but didn't interface Mom's. Makes it long enough to fit over the shoulder, and slightly wider means the straps distribute weight a little more evenly.

* Added feet, and two zipper pockets from a tutorial found on Pinterest (used 9" and 12" this time; my bag had 9" and 14" and the longer pocket was almost too long).

* Messed up the lining by sewing with one inch seam allowances - its not super droopy like my bag, but still hangs funny.

My biggest help:
* When I basted the body pieces and the piping, I used a contrasting thread (i.e., red on my bag, dark green on Mom's) which made it SO MUCH EASIER when I went to final assembly.

Second biggest help:
* When I assembled the bag at the penultimate steps (front and back to the gusset) I first sewed all four straight sides, then went back and sewed each curved corner. It took a little bit longer, but my accuracy was greatly improved.

I'm glad Mom likes her bag, and I'm planning to make at least two more (for two other people).

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Right Now

Right now, I am:

Realizing: I should probably check in, since April passed pretty quietly around here!

Listening: to Law & Order: Criminal Intent marathon on ION

Doing: knitting a sock, surfing Pinterest and Ravelry

Eating/Drinking: water, lots of water

Wearing: new haircut, tank top, shorts (little as possible - heat wave!)

Feeling: Tired but relaxed

Weather:its been heat-waving all week. 84* according to iPhone but "feels like 82*" (not believing it)

Wanting: to turn on the A/C

Needing: to keep the A/C off and windows open LOL

Thinking: about sewing plans and cleaning the house (ugh)

Enjoying: my Saturday, and a library book (No Sheep For You, soon-to-start cardigan project)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Checking In


Still around, being a bit productive.

Friday, February 21, 2014

February In the 'Bag'

The month is almost over - its been a busy one. Well, a hectic one. I've got busy busy plans for the last 7 days until we hit March, so I figure I'll post a bit about the past three weeks now.

Two weekends ago I accompanied my youth group on our annual trip to Sacramento. I'll pull pics off my phone and do a stand-alone post later, but for now I can at least document the handmade I gave the 6 young adults to battle the cold of Sacto.

Fleece and Wool cowl

Wool and fleece cowls (wool suiting from stash, fleece is a two tone brown houndstooth from JoAnns)

After that weekend, I promptly came down with a vicious cold that kept me in bed for 4 days. Luckily, most of those days I wasn't supposed to work. I *was* supposed to be in Laguna, but EJ covered that while I slept 18+ hours a day and drank juice and meds.

I have one more FO - my Amy Butler Weekender Bag.

Cat for Scale

Supplies have been in my stash for about 2 years, and I was given the pattern as a gift about 2 1/2 years ago. I spent most of January working on it, taking my time. It's truly  not a difficult pattern, but getting the actual bag shell assembled took me about 4 hours, all told. I'll do a stand alone post for this one as well at some point.

Finally, I've been frantically knitting when I 1) have been at home, and 2) when I haven't been sick (LOL).

 Ravellenics Project 2014

This is a re-start of a vest pattern/kit from 2010 - it was my Ravellenics Winter Olympics project back then, too. I will seriously NOT get it finished in time for the closing ceremonies, but figure it will be 'ready to go' by mid-March. Not that the weather out here is amenable to woolen knits this winter!

OK, more later :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Last Weekend of the Month

There has been a LOT of sewing this weekend (like, a lot a lot) BUT I don't have any finishes to show for it. Progress, definitely; but most of my progress pics are shapeless lumps :)

Weekender Bag IP

Weekender Bag. Lots and lots of steps, I started cutting it out on Thursday (I was daunted but told myself, "Just 20 minutes," and broke the cutting into small bites); lots of ironing (homemade piping is not fun when made of upholstery weight fabric); extra cutting (I can't count or follow simple directions at times); Sunday I made the 'hidden' interior pockets (not part of the pattern); and today I got the top and bottom made and joined, and put the outside pockets together. There are multiple parts left before the bag is assembled (and then more before it is "finished"), but I feel good about my progress and confident I will have it done next weekend!

Baby sweater IP

Pink blob that is becoming a baby sweater for a coworker-I-didn't-know-was-pregnant-but-like-well-enough-to-knit-a-surprise-sweater-for. It should be done sometime this week.

Stacks of Strips

Finally fit in some "fun and easy" sewing - got some strip sets sewn for my low volume quilt :)

Purfect Caturday Curl
Lots of these cute&furry lumps laying around the house, can't do much about them :) I also got my sorbetto (v.2) all but hemmed...and found out its another wadder :( So its now hanging in my  hallway along with v.1 (wadder) and I made some notes on what to change for version 3. Maaybe I can salvage the second one, not sure.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Monthly Projects Update

Due to unforseen events, and an illness, I've been able to make scattered progress on my projects so far.

I had planned to spend this long weekend (4 days for me, off on Tuesday due to the holiday) cutting, piecing, and assembling a quilt top. I managed to iron the fabric on Saturday night (in two bursts, then had to rest for 2 hours in between), then slowly slowly cut all the fabric Sunday - Tuesday. I actually thought I made great headway on Sunday (with 59 cuts of fabric to sort), but it must have been fever-induced because I started Monday with 49 pieces of fabric remaining :( But everything is cut now.
Low Volume Quilt FabricLow Volume Strips
Friday night....                                                  Tuesday night

My Great Granny is patiently waiting in a box, as all those strips got cut before I fell sick, and I'm hoping to use one of my JoAnn's coupons to purchase the solid for the top (again, dependent on getting my low volume top done).
Great Granny IP

I spent a lot of frustrating time knitting on Monday night (when I was lucid enough to work on something, but too easily tired to stand up and cut fabric). I've knit and re-knit these mitts a total of 6 times, FINALLY got them done (one is slightly larger still but has the right stitch count - at this point I DON'T CARE THEY FIT. And, they're for me). Still need to get the floss to embroider them (again, JoAnn's trip I'm not able to make yet).
Knucks IP

I also pounded through 2/5 of my knitted hexi blanket this month - then got stuck on this one pattern (I'm drafting them all myself) and have knit and frogged one square about 5 times now. I think I now have a winner - just need to finish this one, knit 3 more of the same, and its smooth sailing through the last 2/5ths of this project! (no pic, too tired to fiddle with one)

Also spent some time (in my car, while waiting for someone) sewing up the arms of my fair isle sweater; now I need to graft the armpits (no needles with me) and sew in the zipper - and maybe stabilize the neckline somehow. I also pulled out my stashed fabrics et al for my Weekender Bag (v.1 - the sedate version).