Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vogue Knitting Off the Shoulder Tank

I've been afraid to post an entry about this sweater, because it seems that as of late any knitting projects I post as I'm doing them don't get finished. I really want to finish this sweater. As skimpy as it is, it might already be too hot in Austin to wear it. We've already had 100 degree days this week. Anyway - the pattern is from the spring/summer edition of Vogue Knitting. I started about a month ago, but my gauge was way off, so I had to restart. It's moving along pretty fast. It would probably faster if I could figure out how to switch back and forth from knit to purl in continental with slowing down exponentially. I am using Ella Rae Silkience yarn in "silver", which is actually a light lavender. I love this yarn! It's a great combination of affordable, soft, and easy to work with. It's a combination of cotton, nylon, silk and rayon. I bought it at Yarn for $5.85 a skein. I'm over half done with it and haven't yet finished with the second skein. The pattern calls for for a yarn size that is almost the same size, and size 7 needles. I'm using size 5 needles. I think my gauge works up smaller, which is fine. As you can see to the right it fits my dressform pretty prefectly. I did make the length shorter, since I have such a short waist.
I just can't wait until I finish this! I'm hoping maybe another week or two at most. I've been taking it everywhere with me, and probably driving my hubby crazy.

Monday, May 19, 2008

tunic style dress - Butterick 4920

I started preparing the pattern on Friday night, and here it is Monday and I'm still sewing. On a "very easy" pattern. Ce la vie. I'm going to mark it up to a learning experience. I am sewing a combination of A and B views, as I am doing a dress length, but sleeveless.

According to the packet I am a size 10 in bust and hips, and a size 6 in waist. So I made all kinds of nice connecty lines to change the sizing for the pattern and cut it. When I pinned it to my dressform it seemed big, but being inexperienced I thought that the seam allowances would take care of it. No such luck. After trying on the bodice I tried it on and it was big, so I took in the the side seams by about an inch and a half. When I finished the skirt, I had to take in the side seams even further. I'm sure part of this is because the pattern is probably supposed to be worn loose, and I'm planning on it being fairly body conforming.

Then, when I sewed the bodice and skirt, I sewed it on backwards, not once, but thrice. Yep. Partly it was late and tired, and partly I got more and more frustrated and kept doing it wrong. Here is the picture from last night before I fixed it:

So now it's all together, minus hemming. I don't like the fit at all so rather than doing what I usually do and wearing it when its not perfect, I will take it apart and make it fit. The part that is really bothering me is the cowl. It hangs down almost to my crotch, which causes a rather unflattering fit. It's hard to see from the front, but it's really obvious from the side, as if I were some celeb trying to hide the baby bump that everyone knows is there. I think part of this is because I used a heavier and stretchier fabric than is called for, and it causes the cowl to sag.
So long story short, its back to the drawing, err, cutting board. More pictures of the finished garment to come.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New fabric, and a creased diploma

I have had the sewing bug for quite a while now, being as that I'm 4'6" and pretty curvy. Kids clothes don't work for me because of the curves, and buying women's clothing has turned into a nightmare. I used to be able to buy juniors clothing, or shop at most major chain retailers with somewhat of a correct size.

However, over the last few years more and more stores are phasing out their smallest sizes. At the places where size zero's and double or single xs still exists, it's just not the same size it was 5 to 7 years ago. This means a lot of ill fitting clothes for me, or shopping at much more expensive stores. Sometimes both. And I have a really, really hard time paying $100 for an article of clothing, and then having to have it tailored. I know that I need to just get over it. But, still. So long story winding down, I really want to learn to make my own clothing. I've made a couple of small things, but while I was going to school, I never got around to the more complicated (read, anything above very easy) patterns.

Now I have more time on my hands, and I'm planning on sewing. I bought a whole bunch of patterns on sale for $0.99, and now I just need to make them. I bought some fabric, too. The fabric on the left is a (rayon-poly, I think) knit that I bought on sale that I want to use for a dress; the fabric on the right will eventually be a circle skirt. I have a pattern for the skirt, but I have absolutely no clue what kind of pattern to use for the dress. I also don't have a serger, so I'm hoping I will be able to sew it on my regular machine. I have heard good things about Sew U Home Stretch even though its a basic book. Maybe it will help me in my conundrum.

In other news, my diploma from the Art Institue of Pittsburgh, Online Division, finally showed up. And apparently, "DO NOT BEND" means absolutely nothing to the fine people that delivered it. See that big bend in the bottom left corner? Yeah, that matches the beautiful crease in my fine new diploma. It goes right across the seal. I could iron the rest of the diploma flat, but I'm assuming that if I run an iron across the seal, the embossing will dissappear. Does that mean I'd no longer have a valid diploma? God that would be a fitting end to the travails I've experienced with this college. Just for proof, here's a pic of the $60,000 piece of glossy paper:
Yay me! I might be able to regain somewhat of a social life again!

Monday, May 12, 2008

New camera and old pictures

Brian got a new camera for his birthday that has the best white levels I've ever had on a camera. I took some pictures of jewelry I made a while back and had yet to photograph. Despite having the best white levels I've worked with, I still have some work to do to get better pictures. Here's what I came up with so far though:

The earrings are made of 20g copper wrapped on a jig with bronze colored hobby wire wrapped around lime green pearls.

The necklace is 26g copper wire crocheted with amethyst stones. The clasp is handmade with 20g copper wire.

I am in the middle of making a new pair of wire wrapped earrings based on a pattern from Step by Step Wire Jewelry Magazine. I only hope mine look as cool as theirs do! They are about halfway down the page, listed as "intricate woven earrings".

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Chocolate-Pineapple Mini Cupcakes

My hubby and I made the most wonderful dessert today, and I ate so much of it while I was cooking that now I'm about to burst. Discomfort aside, this dessert rocks! I found a link to make these through, which pointed me over to Bakerella at for a recipe for cupcake bites. Now mine look nowhere as nice as hers do - she used a hard candy coating with sprinkles for the top, and mine just has frosting - but they taste wonderful none the less. We followed Bakerella's instructions but came up with our own delightful combination of flavors.

I bought a couple of candy molds at Michaels. We weren't sure what size to buy, so we got one set that are really small and look kinda like Riece's Peanut Butter cups, and another one that is bigger and meant to be for filling with fruit or custards or something. It turned out that the smaller ones are definitely the way to go. The larger ones ended up being a lot more than bite size. So, first you make a cake of your choice and bake it, let it cool, then crumble it up and mix it with frosting to make a mooshy mixture. (My own professional cooking terms.) We chose pineapple cake and cream cheese frosting.You ball it up so that it will fit nicely in your candy molds, and stick the balls in the freezer to firm them up for a few minutes.

You then melt your chocolate in a double boiler (we used dark chocolate) and pour some into your molds. Before the chocolate can harden, you stick your cake balls into the mold so it sticks out the top. Then you stick the molds in the freezer again for the whole thing to harden up again. Then you pop them out and decorate them! Bakerella dipped the top of hers into melted candy. I'd love to try this but hubby wasn't up for it this time. Maybe next time. :) Instead, he decorated them with a frosting tip and what was left of the cream cheese frosting.

Let me only say again that these are heavenly! They are really easy to make too, although a little time intensive.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Interweave capelet finished

I finally finished the Interweave Grand Plan Capelet after about two months of knitting in endless circles. And I hate it. Ok, hate is maybe too strong a word, but it's definitely a dislike situation. I don't know if it's the pattern or me, because I'm a new knitter. The neck fits wrong, and the bottom is too tight. It's a shame after putting so much work into it, but so be it. I'll chalk it up as a learning experience. I'm just happy I used cheap clearance yarn. :)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

everyone and their dog

It seems that the whole country is moving to Austin. Every day on my way to and from work I was noticing tons of out of state plates, so a little over a month ago I started keeping track of the plates I see. Of course I don't write them down until I get home, so I've forgotten a few. Here is a list of the ones I've seen so far:
New Mexico
North Dakota
New Jersey
North Carolina
South Carolina
New Hampshire
New York
and of course, a slew of California plates

I'd like to say I'm really irritated with Yahoo for posting our county as the top county in the country to move to - but that would be hypocritcal of me since I moved here from California myself 7 years ago. ;)