Saturday, January 28, 2012

2012 = the year of the stripe

2012 is looking like it's starting out as the year of the stripe for me!  Not that that's a bad thing - I love stripes.  First, I've been working on my striped Noro scarf and making some real progress - mostly because I can't wait to see what colors come next!  I may have cast on a few more stitches than I really needed to - I just picked up a 12" circ and cast on until I could work in the round - turned out to be 99 stitches (I finally counted a round!)  It's pretty big, but that's cool.  I love the way it's coming out.  I just grabbed 2 balls of kureyon sock that looked like pretty different colors, but I've been amazed at how many times I've hit patches of green and purple at the same darn time in both skeins!  they're still slightly different enough that they show up as stripes.  

Then Billy asked if I could make a striped scarf for him like the Robitussin orangatan.  I imagine I can.  I actually found some blog posts from people who claim to have made some of the sample scarves - apparently it's a 1x1 rib, which sounds like it's a good plan, whether it's right or not.  I think this looks like lime green and dark green - but he says it's black and green, and again, whether it's right or wrong, it's what he wants.  I imagine it'll also need to be about a mile long ("now that you've taught me how to wrap a scarf" he says!"

Then today I decided to buy myself a Kieran Foley pattern because I've been wowed by his stuff for years.  There are some free Knitty patterns, but I've really been wanting to do Merlin.  So that's what I got.  It's stripey!  I ripped out my Citron this morning because I really love the yarn, but just wasn't crazy about the half circle shape of citron.  I also have a skein of laceweight cashmere in pale blue and I'm thinking it might be a cool color combination.  Some people on Ravelry have done some really subtly colored stripes - almost to the point you can't see them, but I want some nice defined stripes!  go big or go home.  i've never used that line before.  

CS 05

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Finish up Friday

I started the weekend by leaving work early on Friday because i was feeling like poo, but had some errands I needed to run - i just wanted to get it done and be home to relax and not move anymore.  I stopped at Joann's to get another skein of yarn to finish my Vera - i think the fact that I wasn't feeling well kept me from shopping and getting more than that, so I suppose it worked in my favor, in a way.  

This morning, still feeling like poo, I slept way in - like until 10:30!  I assumed my body needed it, but it hasn't made me feel much better.  Even so, I decided to hang out in my sewing room (which is also ridiculous because it's the coldest room in the house - but i just layered on a sweatshirt over my cardigan!)  I added borders to my embroidered pieces that I did last weekend - they're going to be a set of pot holders!  I love 'em.  This was another bunch of embroidery designs that I bought from Urban Threads!

Then I also did another dishtowel for the kitchen - peanut butter and jelly love!  so cute!  i forgot to use silver thread instead of white, like I did on the french toast,  and now the little speech bubbles don't show up very well.  shoot.

Here's my finish up Friday project though - my Vera hooded scarf!  I really love this thing.  I used to hate the idea of hooded scarves, but I'm a convert.  The way the hood is formed on this one is very cool  - sort of like the heel on a sock, and it really cups my head.  It sort or reminds me of an old timey swim cap, but warm!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jeeves loves Alice

I bought some machine embroidery patterns from Urban Threads, which is an amazing source for really fantastic patterns at amazing prices.  I looked at iBroidrery, which is Brother's pattern site, and the designs were just not cool, and also more expensive.  nuts to that.

This old sewing machine schematic sort of design seemed perfect for a dust cover for Alice, my old machine.  I just let Jeeves stitch the design then I pieced the rest around it.  i think it's sweet that Jeeves helped make something for her.  I was going to sew the sides to make it more of a slipcover, but that black and white fabric is some vintage stuff I found and it's much drapey-er than quilting cotton, so it seemed to work nicely to just lay it over the machine.  and easier.  and lazier.

I picked up some inexpensive dish towels at Target last time I was there, because I wanted to make some custom kitchen towels with food designs.  I ran to JoAnn's today and spent a stupid amount of money on thread (it wasn't on sale and I forgot my only coupon (which would have only saved me $5)) because I just had to make a towel NOW!  So I did this guy - he's french toast!  you can obviously tell he's french because of the beret and the fact that he's saying "allo"

Sunday, January 1, 2012

newer ain't necessarily better

For Christmas, my uncle gave me a plastic bag of some old sewing stuff - a few spools of thread, a half used pack of machine needles, and a box with a bunch of Greist sewing machine attachments.  Whenever I see those old attachments for machines, i think to myself "like hell I'm going to make a button hole with that contraption - my new machine will do it with one push of a button".  I read the little booklet that came with it though - because I get a huge kick out of vintage manuals (and cookbooks, which seem to have the same breezy style of writing.)  They aren't technical manuals - they explain it as if they're talking to you, and contain lines like "of course you'll take care of your attachments by keeping them clean and oiled" then they have a little picture of a girl with a giant oil can oiling the spots they've pointed out in the picture.  Frankly, there were some amazing attachments there - two hemmers (very narrow and 1/4") with this unbelievable metal snail shell coil that just wraps the fabric around into a tiny perfect hem. I think there are about 10 different pieces there - and amazingly all the pieces are still in the box.

This attachment though, was clearly the queen of the collection.  The Ruffler.  I don't even think you can get the full impact from these pictures of just how amazingly complex it is.  This is one side - the clear knob there is how you adjust how much fabric you want put into each ruffle or tuck - there's a gauge on the other side with marks from 1 to 8 and you slide it to adjust.  The manual talked though each part and what it did.  unbelievable.  

On this side you can see that little gauge.  On the top of the gauge, there's a bit where you decide how often you want the gather to happen - every stitch, every 6 stitches, or every 12.  there are two little rows of teeth that the fabric feeds though on the bottom, then as you're stitching there's a toothy bar that come out every 1,6, or 12 stitches and tucks in the correct amount of fabric.  I can't explain how cool this is.  Let me just say I nearly started crying.

This is an example of gathering every stitch, with a fairly large amount of fabric in each tuck.

Then this is a pleat every 6 stitches.  See how tight that is?  it comes out almost like it's been pressed - it was the same way with the narrow hem.  Perfect.

This is a smaller pleat every 12 stitches.

Obviously the look can be changed dramatically with your stitch length and the combination of tuck frequency and tuck amount.  I think what amazed me the most was that it was just so mechanical and precise and you could see exactly what it was doing.  it's so different from the electronics that we're used to now - you don't really know how things are working because you can't see the things that are happening - it's on a nano scale.  This isn't.  I LOVE my new machine for everything it does, but nothing compares to this.

One of my favorite shows on TV (and I'll admit this sounds stupid and nerdy) is How It's Made - it's Canadian and they show how, well, various things are made.  My least favorite segments are about big things like RVs and hockey sticks (they do a lot of hockey related segments, as you might imagine).  The ones I like most are factories that make things like erasers and chains links - small things with complex equipment that they slow down to show the precise action.  It amazes me that the equipment to make that thing was designed to do just that motion perfectly.  That's how I feel about this ruffler attachment.