Wednesday, March 15, 2017


One of my new year's resolutions is to sew more - at least an hour every week. Three months into this resolution, I think it's going really well as projects are getting done at a nice pace (a couple of which are gifts and can't be shown here quite yet).

This particular project has been done for about a month and has been waiting for good pictures in order to be shared - something that is surprisingly difficult when baby gets up before sunrise and goes to bed after dark.

The obvious solution is to get the baby (and the dog) in the photo! Daylight saving time is also helping.

This skirt is perhaps one of the most satisfying things I have ever sewn. I think it was the combination of a quick-to-assemble pattern (Mabel from Colette Patterns) and an easy-to-work-with fabric (ponte knit). Seriously, this thing came together with just about an hour of sewing and was one of the smoothest knitted fabric projects I've done yet. I even got my twin-needle hem to come out perfectly! Count me in as a ponte convert.

I think this is going to be a go-to wardrobe essential this summer!

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Convenient Mistake

It’s amazing to make a bad sewing mistake and then have it turn out to be exactly the modification you needed to do anyway. In this case, I’m sewing my second Scout Tee (first blogged here) and made a mistake in cutting - I cut the back piece with the fold at the side seam instead of in the middle. *headdesk*

Honestly, the problem started because I was short on yardage - the pattern calls for 1 2/3 yds and I had a 1 1/6 yd remnant. The only way I could have made all the pattern pieces fit on the fabric was by doing exactly what I did. I just did it all by accident.

The question then became how to fix things. The most obvious answer was to cut the back piece in two and make an extra seam up the middle back (and boy was I thankful I made this mistake on the back and not the front!). After that, I took 1/8” out of the side seams to make up for the extra back seam. The back looks a little odd with the big print, but the shirt still fits and is totally wearable.

After making two Scout Tees now, I'm still super happy with this pattern. There is a high probability that Scout will become my go-to shirt pattern. It's just so easy to put together and fits well. Plus, it looks great - particularly in this awesome Hawaii fabric!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in Review

2016 has been a sparse year for crafting but, looking back, I'm surprised by how much I've been able to get done. The biggest reason, of course, for the lack of craft time is this little monster (who is getting less little every day):

My favorite 2016 baby picture, from September

No surprise that kidlet was on the receiving end of a number of handmade items, including a blanket, booties, and some awesome leiderhosen.

I also did a little sewing for myself, in the form of a shirt and pants.

I even fit in a little spinning this year (which  might have been related to my stumble in the Fiber Optic booth at WI Sheep & Wool).

Finally, the thing I'm most glad to have finished in 2016 is a pair of placemats. I still have to complete the set but at least I have something finished after 3 years of this project hanging around.

I have big plans for 2017 that include more crafting. In fact, one of my New Year's resolutions to carve out at least one hour per week to craft. So hopefully I'll have lots of awesome handmade items to show off at this time next year!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Ready for Christmas

It's inevitable that, being a crafter, one will have multi-year projects hanging around the house. Those that start and stop in cycles until many years after one starts the project, it is finally finished. This is the story of one such project, though I'm still working on finishing it.

This project started in 2013, when my mother-in-law bought me a "Table Settings with Charm" pattern at Village Creek in Lodi, WI while on a quilt shop hop. I bought the fabric, 25th and Pine Charm, in 2014. By 2015, I finished the tops for the 4 placemats and 1 table runner.

This year, I vowed to have at least 2 of the placemats done in time to use for Christmas - enough for me and the husband to use. I thankfully made that deadline just in time. It's not my best quilting job (I'm not 100% happy with how I quilted the center) but we will have placemats.

Now I just have to find time to quilt the other 2 placemats and table runner and finish everything. Maybe in time for Christmas 2018?

Monday, October 17, 2016

WI Sheep and Wool

I made it to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool last month, this time accompanied by this little guy. He was such a trooper while Mom shopped, caught up with knitting friends, and watched sheepdog trials. The sheepdog trials were particularly great as we watched in the afternoon instead of our usual morning viewing and got to see the more experienced dogs. Nothing is better than watching dogs herd.

I vowed to be good this year and told myself I did not need any more yarn or fiber. That resolution lasted until I hit the Fiber Optic booth. I'm so addicted that I immediately spotted the new gradients Kimber had available this year. I could not resist picking up a new Wild Thyme fiber pack (mine is more muted in color than the photo) and this Damson-to-Gold gradient made of merino-tencel. I just love the look of the tencel in the braid and couldn't resist it.

I've actually already spun up the Wild Thyme gradient. I pulled out my Louet S10 wheel and made approximately DK weight singles. It was very pleasant to spend a couple evenings with my wheel, especially as I've been mostly spinning on a spindle in the last year.

Overall it was a nice day trip and I'm really glad baby was laid back about everything. WI Sheep and Wool is one of my favorite fall traditions.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016


Wow does having a baby decimate craft time. It's not that I haven't been crafting, it's that I'm making less with even less time to blog about it. However, as I just returned from vacation, I've got plenty of new photos and a few worth are sharing here.

Since we were in Hawaii, this trip was the last chance to wear light clothing before returning to Wisconsin's crisp fall weather. In particular, I broke out this lovely shirt which I've been meaning to blog about:

This is a Scout Tee in a cotton voile, which is a pretty heavenly combo. It's light weight, easy to wear, and was easy to sew. I love this tee so much that I really want to make another (the highest praise you can give a pattern). Here I am wearing this shirt with my handsewn super wide-legged pants:

Happily, I have some new fabric that will probably fit the bill! I picked up all of this fabric at the local swap meet. I was incredibly excited to find a booth that sold fabric and did my best to limit myself to 10 yards (3 yards of the right three prints and 1 yard of the leftmost).

I'm thinking that the leftmost pattern would make another lovely Scout, especially given its small yardage, and the other three may become dresses. All of this is pending actual craft time, of course. In the meantime, I have lovely fabric to admire.

Friday, July 08, 2016

The Mechanical

Did I ever tell you how much I cried when my old Singer sewing machine died? (The answer is a lot.) It was a mechanical machine bought new by my mom in the 1970's. The thing was practically a tank though it couldn't stand up to the jostling of a cross-town house move. I still miss that old mechanical machine even though my new machine, a Janome DC2013, is light years more advanced.

I'm reminiscing on the old machine today because a new mechanical Singer has come into my life - a 1909 Singer 27.* Its arrival into my house was total serendipity; I was talking about old sewing machines with coworker A when coworker M mentioned she had been looking for a good home for her Mom's old Singer for a good while and would I be interested in it? Yes. Yes, I would.

The machine itself is lovely and comes with a sewing cabinet. The cabinet houses the treddle mechanism, has drawers for storage, and protects the machine when not in use (configuration shown below).

I also really love the Sphinx decals! You can see the bobbin winder in this photo, as well.

The machine is in pretty good shape, though it could not actually drive the needle when I first got it. After a good oiling and adjusting the drive band, things are running much more smoothly. (I will note that having done maintenance on my 1970's Singer made it a breeze to oil this one; it's easy to "read" where mechanical machines need oil once you're used to them.)

I still have some fiddling to do on the machine. The thread tension needs adjusting and it needs new screws for the needle arm faceplate (this parts search is looking to be a bit of a rabbit hole).

Otherwise, I'm really excited to get treddling and enjoy this beauty!

* I've been amazed at how much information there is out there about old Singers. They don't come with model numbers on them, but that's not a problem because someone made a database of model type by serial number. Need a manual? Here's one! Now if only I could find those screws...