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...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Roll Out The Barrel

If you've ever been to Milwaukee, you'll know that beer is a thing here. As the founding home of Pabst, Miller, Schlitz, and Blatz we have quite the German beer heritage. While 3 of those 4 are no longer headquartered and brewed in the city, something equally awesome has popped up in their place: biergartens.

With spring officially in our midst in Wisconsin, the local biregartens (and travelling biregartens!) are opening for the year. And this being Wisconsin, we have of course taken kidlet to a few of them with us.

Don't worry, he's now appropriately dressed for such outings with some baby leiderhosen:

This one's beer hall, of which Milwaukee also has a couple

I drafted this pattern for kiddo and then had to rework it because giant diaper butt is a real thing. The new version is made out of knit fabric and I'm hoping it will still fit him in the autumn for Oktoberfest. The waist elastic can be replaced and the straps are adjustable, so there is definitely some room for growth here.

My favorite part is the front piece on the straps where I got to play with some fun stitches on my sewing machine. Now all he needs is a little German-style hat and he'll be a true child of Wisconsin!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Crazy Pants

One of the "fun" parts about being pregnant is how much your body changes. And then how long it takes for your body to get back to normal. In the meantime, it's a challenge to dress nicely. Thank goodness that I know how to sew!

Pants are particularly challenging at the moment, due to size changes in my waist and hips. This is doubly difficult because I need something nice to wear now that I'm back to work. Enter in the vintage pattern stash I recently received from my Grandmother and this stunning pattern from 1969, Simplicity 8550 [1]. I have loved palazzo pants since I first watched Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and thought they would be a good choice for my transitioning frame.

The fun part about this project was that the pattern was a size 12 (too small), was missing directions, and required reworking the waistband design to accommodate my current size issues (yay elastic!). Needless to say, I made a mock up. Thankfully, the pattern only involved 4 pieces and I have several nice reference sewing books to reference when issues popped up [2].

Now I am the proud owner of a pair of cotton-linen palazzo pants with an elastic waistband. I think they look crazy awesome and should fit me until I can get back into my normal pants (and even after). In the meantime, it's been an interesting foray into sewing pants - in that the pattern was simple but also required adjustments - but will give me confidence for the next time I sew pants.

[1]: Also cool is the fact that these pants were originally made, not by my grandmother, by my mother for herself.
[2]: My vintage Vogue sewing book had particularly helpful notes on fitting pants and how to sew a crotch seam.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Baby Steps Toward a Finished Object

I've got some time off work to stay home with the little one and, as awesome as that is, I've needed to find something to keep my brain occupied during the quieter moments. Enter in the sweater that's been hibernating for over 3 years...

This is a Knitpicks Telemark ski sweater (both the pattern and yarn are no longer available). When last I knitted on it, I had worked the body to the neck steek division. Now I've finished the body and have started the first sleeve. Here's to hoping that I can get the whole thing finished before I go back to work in just over a month.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Handspun Kerchief

I realize I forgot to show off a finish object from January, an Age of Brass and Steam kerchief!

I started this way back in the springtime of last year and thought I should finish it before baby arrived. I love the pattern for its simplicity and how it sets off the handspun, which is '24 karat' from Hobbledehoy Fibers.

It's a bit artsy for everyday wear but it's still a lovely finished handknit.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Quilt Take 2

I've previously mentioned on this blog that I'm a serial repeater. If I like a pattern a lot, there's a good chance I'm going to make it more than once. My most recent repeat will look extremely familiar, as it's a twin of the project I just finished in January.

I've said before that I'm not a quilter but I admit that there is something addictive about quilting precuts. The one I used here is the Farm Girl jelly roll from Riley Blake. I took out the actual farm girl prints and just love the rest (particularly the canning jars I used on the quilt back).

Repeating the Jelly Roll Jam pattern allowed me to fix my mistakes from the first quilt, namely using a less lofty batting and doing a different quilting pattern. The result is that I like this one better than the first even though it may be a little too girly for the new little boy in my life.

I'm honestly lucky I finished this quilt at all with a newborn. It helps that everything but the binding was done before LittleH arrived and I've had lots of grandparents around to hold the baby while I got other things done. I'm going to have to scale my projects down a bit once the grandparents leave.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Hello World

You'll pardon me if I don't have a lot of crafting to show off in the near future as I've just completed a pretty large work in progress:

Little H is adorable, wonderful, and is taking up most of my time. On the plus side, we're having fun cuddling and using the new quilt for tummy time!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

An Actual Quilt

I have a mixed relationship with quilting. For all that I'm getting comfortable with making quilt tops (one blogged here, the other set needs blogging), I've never actually finished a proper quilt. I've always gotten stumped at what to do once the top is finished. But I'm happy to report that I've finally finished a whole entire quilt:

The quilt in question is a Jelly Roll Jam quilt using this adorable Moda "Into the Woods" fabric. I really got into using quilting precuts in 2014, particularly mini-charm packs, and recently thought I would try my hand at different kind of precut pack - a jelly roll. It didn't hurt that the Fat Quarter Shop came out with a pattern (with video!) for making a simple and cute jelly roll quilt.

For all I like how things turned out, being new to a craft always means a few things to do better for next time. In this case, that means making my backing a little bigger, using a less lofty batting, and trying a more complex quilting pattern (I would rather my quilt didn't look like a row of mounds in a plowed field). Otherwise, I think my bumbling attempts (with help from this book) to actually quilt something turned out well and I'll be much more comfortable with the process for my next quilted project.

Overall, I'm happy with the final quilt, especially that I was able to use the second half of the jelly roll pack for a striped backing. I think the final quilt is adorable and I'm feeling much less anxiety about this whole quilting thing. This is good, as I have a couple quilt tops on hand to finish and my eye on the Fat Quarter Shop's second pattern in this series, Jelly Roll Jam II. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Baby Bits and Bobs

We're continuing the theme of baby knitting here at casa BrineyDeep. This time by revisiting a pattern I've knit a couple times before: Magic Slippers.

These booties are seamless and straightforward to construct, which makes them fun to knit. Plus, I learned that I can knock a pair out in the time it takes to watch a football game, which is perfect for getting me through all of the post-season NFL games that are on right now.

And of course, you can't have a pair of baby booties without matching mittens. These are the Teensie Weensie Mittens (Ravelry link). Not only are tiny mittens adorable, but I love that they don't have a thumb.

I'm hoping that these will both fit baby at the same time and that baby will be able to get some wear out of them before it gets warm again. Then again, I do live in Wisconsin, so baby might just be wearing these from the time zie's born in March until May or June when the snow finally melts! All the more reason to stock up on knitwear.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Prep Work

As we get close to baby's due date, the good knitter in me is feeling the need to get some baby knitting done. It's been hard enough to knit while pregnant that I can only imagine it will be impossible once the baby arrives. So if I want to stock up on baby knitwear, I'd better do it now.

The first item I finished was a Norwegian Sweet Baby CapI've knit this pattern before and loved the results so I was very happy to have one I could keep for "myself".

The second item off of the needles was an EZ Surplice Baby Jacket (Ravelry link). This one is really adorable and kind of ingenious as it adjusts fit with a growing baby. A row of yarn overs along the hem allows you to button the jacket up as tight or loose as necessary. My only complaint is that the pattern was written in a very Elizabeth Zimmerman style, meaning instructions were not laid out in an orderly fashion and there were lots of sidebars for variations. Still, it's quite a cute sweater!

I have a few more knitting plans for baby (and a few items I've already put away), so we'll see how much I can get done before March!