Tuesday, December 01, 2015


It's been a little quiet on the blog in the last few months. There are two reasons for this. First, I over-committed myself this autumn and haven't had a lot of crafting time until recently. Second, I just haven't had that much energy to craft. The reason why brings me directly to my latest sewing project:

I've had my eye on making a cape for a while now. In fact, I bought McCall's M6446 a couple years ago and have been hoping to get around to actually making it. That point finally came this autumn now that I'm actually in need of some looser-fitting winterwear.

Being due in early March in Wisconsin means finding new warm clothes that are hopefully also stylish. This had me pulling out my M6446 pattern, buying some absolutely lovely wool fabric, and starting to plan. And then Seamwork magazine (whose patterns I subscribe to) threw a wrench into the whole works by releasing the Camden cape pattern. All of a sudden, I was faced with the dilemma of which beautiful cape to make (I had enough wool for either).

I ultimately decided to go with Camden because I liked the clean look, the high neckline, and the fact that the cape was lined (meaning I wouldn't have to professionally finish the inside seams). The one detail I did borrow (loosely) from M6446 was the pockets. If you ever decide to make the Camden pattern, it's definitely worth taking the time to add some pockets; not only do they hold things for you but they provide a natural place for your hands to go in compensation for the unnatural armhole placement.

The pockets themselves are welt pockets, which I've never done before. Thankfully, the November issue of Seamwork also had an article on how to install pockets of this type, with several variations. Installing the pockets added several hours of researching, calculating, and sewing to the project but it was totally worth it and made me feel like a sewing genius for pulling off.

Overall, this was a lovely pattern and fairly straightforward to sew (with the exception of the pocket additions which I highly recommend). I especially loved the opportunity to add a pop of color to the project in the form of the red rayon lining. That said, it took me a good amount of time to pull this together - 3 evenings and 2 days, pacing myself manageably - which was well over the stated 3 hour sewing time listed on the pattern. Still, if you are looking for a stylish pattern for spring/autumn outwear pattern (pregnant or not), Camden is a pretty good option.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Steampunk Crochet

Every once in a while, I like to participate in a good craft swap. Sometimes there's a theme, sometimes it's a random match-up, but it's always fun! My most recent swap was a random match-up, but awesome because I was paired with someone who likes steampunk. Inspired by this theme, I made an epic collar:

I picked a crochet pattern, Hardware Heaven, which always a challenge for me and doubly so because I'm not great at reading written crochet patterns (I'm better with charts). Still, between the awesome design and my skills with wire wrapping, beads, and chains, I could not pass it up. I think it turned out pretty well and my swapee seemed to like it!

It took me a very long time to finish this collar, so I'm really glad to be getting back to knitting again. As fun as this project was, knitting is so much easier for me. So look for more knitting projects on the blog going forward!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


We're in that part of summer that's making me long for autumn. Mostly this entails me asking "why is it still so hot?"  While I can't wait for sweater weather, something needs to be done to keep cool in the meantime. This means a little more summer sewing until I can break the knitting back out.

I saw this pattern, Mojave, in the most recent Seamwork sewing magazine and immediately knew I wanted to make it. It's a kaftan pattern, ideally a swimsuit cover up, but loose and breezy enough to be perfect for hot summer days. Coupled with some Anna Maria Horner rayon challis that I've been hording, I knew this would be the ideal August dress.

The dress came together in about 2 hours of sewing (yay!). My favorite thing about the final dress is definitely the fabric; I love both the print and how comfortable and breathable the rayon challis is. My least favorite thing is the size. The dress came out a little too big, meaning it slips off of my shoulders occasionally. Still, this is the perfect dress for lounging around while still looking chic.

I'm very glad to have finally found a use for this awesome fabric. I now understand why I've heard such good things about rayon challis and I definitely plan on using this fabric again in the future! In the meantime, I'll be here trying to keep cool.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I'm a serial re-reader of books. If it's a favorite of mine, you can bet I've read it at least three times. While I'm not as bad in the crafting realm, there are definitely patterns that are so wonderful that they can't be made only once. On the knitting side, it's a bunch of Ysolda patterns - Ishbel (x3), Veyla (x2), Damson (x2), Garter Stitch Mitts (x2), and Gretel (x2)- while on the sewing front the patterns come from Colette - particularly Peony (x2) and Moneta (now x3).

This is my third Moneta and definitely my best one yet. This has all to do with the fabric; the first version was too drapey, the fabric for number two had minimal stretch, but the blue dotted cotton here is just right. It's actually taught me a lot about matching knitted fabric to a pattern by experimenting with such a wide range for one design.

I'm kicking myself for not finishing this project sooner, as it's perfect for the summertime. Instead, it's been sitting in my craft room for months waiting to be hemmed. I'm really glad I finally got around to it because this dress has become an immediate wardrobe staple. You just can't argue with a comfortable handsewn dress in a cute print!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Just For Fun

It's a truth universally acknowledged that sometimes crafters lose their mojo. Many years this happens to me in the spring, but this year it seemed to be a summer problem. Thankfully, I'm starting to feel the desire to craft again after a 2-month hiatus. I've got several projects in the works at the moment, but want to show off the first thing I finished after getting my mojo back:

This is a tiny sushi from the Mochimochi Land sushi bar set. Mochimochi Land has the most adorable tiny patterns and kits and, after knitting my first one, I can definitely see the appeal of tiny knitting. It was a nice quick reentry into knitting life and good springboard for several other projects which I can wait to show off on the blog!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Women in Science Dress

It's no secret that I'm a crafty nerd. If you've been following this blog for a while, you've seen me make a bad passwords dress and a number of Harry Potter items, among other geeky stuff. I'm very happy to increase my crafty nerd cred with my latest creation, the Women in Science dress.

There's a long story behind how this dress came about, and it starts with #shirtgate. Someone had the brilliant idea to counter that unfortunate and sexist shirt with a positive women in science shirt. This idea soon became a Kickstarter project, which resulted in not only shirts (I'm very excited to be getting mine soon) but also the release of the fabric design on Spoonflower. The latter is how I got my hands on this awesome fabric.

I'm still can't recognize all of the women on this dress, but there are definitely some great highlights: Ada Lovelace, Lise Meitner, Marie Curie, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Hedy Lamarr (yes, that Hedy Lamarr), Mae Jemison, Grace Hopper, and even more. I need to find and carry around the key so I can point out the awesome lady scientists that I'm wearing.

For those of you interested in the crafty details, the pattern is Colette Moneta and the fabric is Spoonflower's performance pique. I really like how substantial this fabric is and how it isn't too drapey (a problem I'm having with the fabric in my other Moneta). That said, it was kind of a pain to sew with as my machine kept skipping stitches. The other downside is that there isn't a lot of vertical stretch to this fabric, meaning the final dress is rather short-waisted. Chalk this up to a learning experience. Also, thank goodness for wide belts.

Overall, I love this dress. I not only expect to get lots of wear out of it but also enlighten people on all of these amazing women scientists!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Now that I have free time again, I've been doing some improvements around the house. For example, last week I hung curtains in the front room and fixed the couch covers. The curtains are a nice addition, but it's the couch covers that I'm particularly proud of. This is because they previously looked like this or worse on a regular basis:

And now they look like this on a regular basis:

The difference is yard-long stripes of elastic that run behind the cushions, anchoring the cover in place. I sewed the elastic at the top of the cover, in the middle, and again at the bottom so it keeps a good hold on each cushion. So now when I get on and off the couch, the cover stays in place.

Using my crafting skills to fix a failing in a commercial object always makes me feel like a crafting genius. Add this to the fact that the couch covers might now actually protect our sofas from puppy abuse, means that I'm feeling pretty brilliant right now. Sewing skills for the win!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015


It's been quiet on this blog for the last couple months as I've been working to finish up a giant project: a book! It has absolutely nothing to do with knitting, sewing, or crafting except that it has taken up a lot of crafting time in the last 18 months. Hopefully now that the proofs are in, I'll have a bit more time for fun.

That's not to say I haven't been crafting recently (more that I've been too busy to write about it). In the past few months, I've finished a few awesome projects. At the top of the awesome list is my Emily Capelet made from MadTosh.

Continuing in the theme of Ysolda patterns, I finished a Wee Envelope in Briar Rose yarn.

And then there was the adorable Poklon, who would be more adorable if I hadn't run out of yarn right at the end.

So this is a quick check-in to say that I'm here, I've been doing some knitting, and I'm looking forward to being back here more now that my giant book project is done!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I'm just going to put this right out here: I'm getting pretty good at sewing with knit fabrics. Actually, the sewing part of this particular project, the Coco pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, was perfectly fine. It was the non-sewing part that ended up getting me in trouble.

The problem was that I'm between two sizes for the pattern. I therefore made my normal assumption to make the larger size, forgetting that there are different rules for knits and wovens (you can round down for knits as they stretch). Needless to say, the top came out a bit on the large side.

The good news is that I learned how to take in seams (sides and shoulders, plus the bottom hem) as well as to round a size down for patterns using knits. So while this top isn't exactly perfect in its final fit, it fits well enough for the top's awesome style to be the most notable thing. And in the end, that's what really matters.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Lakeside Pajamas

It's always interesting to sew clothing for someone else. Doubly so when that someone lives halfway around the world, has no chance to try the clothes on mid-making, and you're only partially sure of what dress size she is to begin with. Therefore, I was terribly relieved when my sister told me her birthday present actually fit!

The present in question is a set of Lakeside Pajamas made from a Grainline Studios pattern. This pattern is pretty adorable and I can't decide what I like more: the back of the top or the gym-short look of the shorts. Either way, comfortable and adorable is a winning combination.

I actually made these out of an old sheet and thought the floral would be perfect for my sister who lives in Hawaii. The next time I make this pattern (and I definitely will because I want a set), I'd be okay with using sheets again but I'll likely go for something less flowery. Flowery prints don't quite work the same when you live in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I want to introduce you to my new favorite sewing pattern ever: Colette Moneta. I'm a big fan of Colette Patterns (having already sewn two Peonies, a Sorbetto, a Sencha, and a Laurel) and am excited that her foray into patterns using knits roughly coincides with my own skill building in this area.

I love Moneta for several reasons. First, it was so easy and quick to sew; with the exception of hemming (more on that in a bit), I put the whole dress together in the course of an afternoon. The second reason I love this pattern is that the final dress is incredibly flattering and comfortable. I knew that this dress is going to get a lot of wear from the first moment I tried it on.

Lest you think I'm perfect at sewing knits, I will admit that hemming with a twin needle did give me some problems. I'm not sure if it was how light this fabric is but my tension was off and my hems pucker a bit. Hopefully, this type of hemming will get easier with practice.

And this is the point where I confess to already having fabric for two more Monetas. While this Moneta is made from a plum-colored modal fabric, my next will be a blue cotton polka dot and then a blue bamboo knit with white stripes (both fabrics shown in this post). I am definitely hooked on sewing with knits!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Is it weird to sew your own swimsuit? Part of me thinks it’s awesome but another part of me wonders if it’s up there with spinning your dog’s hair into yarn – the kind of thing that other crafters are okay with but nets you weird looks from the muggles. Either way, I am now the proud owner of a really rockin’ swimsuit.

This is the Bombshell swimsuit from Closet Case patterns, view A. The goal of sewing this was to get more comfortable with sewing stretchy/knit fabrics and I think I’m off to a good start. The sewing itself went very well except for the fact that I had to rip out the elastic at the neckline about 5 times (grumble, grumble).

Now that I’ve got a sense of what it’s like to sew with knits, expect to see more of them on my blog as I work to improve my skill. Next up, I think, will be Colette Moneta.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Looking Ahead to 2015

Since I did a redux of 2014, I think it's only fitting to tell you about some of the plans I have for 2015! I have a ton of projects lined up and can't wait to start them. Hopefully, there will be lots of knitting and sewing this year.

On the knitting front, expect a relapse of Ysolda Fever. I already have Emily, Wee Envelope, and Poklon on deck and I wouldn't be surprised if a few other Ysolda projects make their way onto my needles. I'm particularly excited to make the Emily capelet; I've been saving 2 skeins of MadTosh Merino Light in Tart for a special project and what could be better than a pattern I've been ogling for years?

The other goal for 2015 it to do more sewing, especially with knit fabric. I'm getting comfortable with wovens so it's time to branch out. Fabric has already been purchased for three different patterns (a dress, a top, and a swimsuit). I'll keep you posted on how things are progressing once I start sewing!

Even writing this out makes me want to make All The Things. I hope 2015 will be a great one!