Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Vote for me, please!

So, things have been a bit quiet around here.  I've been crafting like crazy, but it's all for surprise gifts so I can't post my progress.  I do have one thing to share and will do so as soon as I get around to taking photos - maybe that will happen tomorrow...

For now, please go vote for my pillows in the Fall for Solids contest on Threadbias hosted by Pink Castle Fabrics. (If you don't have a Threadbias account, you'll have to join in order to vote - it's free.)

Aren't they pretty!  You can read more about them here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Taking Inventory

As the end of the year draws closer, a lot of people have been posting lists of WIPs and must-finish projects.  These got me thinking about my WIPs and want-to-makes, so I decided to take my own inventory.

1) Boyfriend Sweater - just started on the sleeves.  Might actually be able to finish before the one year mark in January.
2) Spectrum Socks - legs complete; need to start turning the heels. Set these aside to focus on the sweater.
3) Sweater for Mr. T - bought that pattern and yarn when my LYS was having a sale at the beginning of the year.  Been in the closet since.
4) Tie for Mr. T - supposed to be a Hanukkah gift; maybe next year... He braved the store to help me pick out yarn, so I definitely have to get this done at some point
5) Herringbone cowl - Started this one at jury duty in October, but the needles were too small, so I took it all out.  And now Purl has posted two new scarf patterns that I love, so I'm not sure which I want to use anymore.
6) Assorted gifts for a newbie due in January
7) Undetermined project with the fancy yarn Mom bought me in February
8) New hat for Mr. T - he lost the one I made him last year, though it was made with cheapish yarn so I was going to have to make him another one anyway; need yarn

1) Gift for newbie due in January (same as above) - plan made; top about 1/3 complete
2) Pseudo commission for Sab - plan made; now need to pluck up the nerve (and find the time) to start cutting
3) Bag for me - need something casual yet durable to carry stuff (i.e. shoes, water bottle, lunch bag) to work
4) Pajama pants for me - have pattern and fabric; just need to do it
5) Schoolhouse tunic for me - this one is in limbo until I go visit Mom in December; I need in-person help
6) Elephant quilt for Tits - I've been stocking up on elephant fabric, but I still don't have a clear idea what I want to do for this one.

Plus at least 5 other items that I can't mention here because they're surprises.

Whoa, this is a lot longer than I thought it was going to be.  I definitely need to take Mr. T's advice and stop buying yarn and fabric until I use what I have and complete these!

And because no post should be pictureless, enjoy this adorable one of my kitties helping me quilt!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Free fabric!

I think I enter an average of 10 contests/giveaways each week.  Every time I do it, I tell myself I will never win, but it only takes a few minutes to make a comment, so I do it anyway.  Well, a few weeks ago my luck turned and I actually won!!!  I entered a contest for some Art Gallery fat quarters on Rachel Griffith's blog  ps i quilt.

Now, the week that Rachel announced the winner, I happened to be out of town for a conference and did not have regular internet access and thus was not reading my daily blogs as usual.  One evening I was just perusing on my phone when I came across the announcement post.  I was completely caught off guard and did two things:  1) I checked the "jess" hyperlink about 4 times before I was convinced that it was actually linking to my blog and 2) I came across this post about 5 days after is was published, so I immediately started freaking out that I had taken too long to respond and they had picked a new winner.  I sent Rachel a rather frantic and overly excited email right away, as I sat fist pumping and jumping up and down on my hotel bed.  I really had to restrain myself from calling Mom and Mr. T - I was on the west coast at the time and, as much as they support my crafting, I figured they wouldn't share in my excitement to the level I deemed appropriate if I woke them up at 2am just because I won some fabric.

My cat, Cashmere, was very intrigued by this photo shoot!
The package came over the weekend, but I wasn't able to get it until yesteday morning when my apartment building office opened.  I ran down first thing in the morning to get it.  Isn't it pretty!?  Also, based on the original post, I was only expected to get 8 FQs, but I actually got 10!  AGF included the three solids, and left out the gray flowery one.  Thanks, Pat and Rachel!

This isn't a very good fabric photo, but Cash looked so cute I had to include it.  There can never be too many cat photos online!  She absolutely loves napping on fabric, which I think is a characteristic of most cats.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Schoolhouse Tunic - HELP!

As I mentioned a few months ago, I participated the Sew Liberated Schoolhouse Tunic Sew-Along that Rebecca from Sew Festive Handmade was hosting.  I kept on track with the cutting, but with work and business trips, I got a little behind. Rebecca's tunic was complete - tailored and all - and I hadn't yet sewn a stitch.  So I buckled down last weekend and constructed the entire thing - AND IT'S AWFUL!

Now, the instructions were great - I had a little trouble in some places, but mostly because I wasn't reading the directions carefully and/or because I'm new to garment sewing.  Also, I decided to be fancy and use french seams throughout (I'm actually really pleased with this part).  So I think overall that it is well-constructed, and for the most part I had a good time making this (though I did have to break out my seam ripper more than I liked). The main problem with the garment is just that it's HUGE in the waist.  I can't believe I'm actually about to post the following pictures online, but I feel like I have no choice.  I'd really like to be able to wear this dress (oh yeah, I extended it into a dress), but I absolutely cannot do that in it's current state.

A disclaimer before we begin - I have not yet tailored the garment.  I feel like I need to get the fit correct before I'll be confident enough to go hacking a bunch of fabric off the sleeves and skirt.

Okay - deep breath - here we go:

As you can see, it doesn't look all that bad from the front. It's definitely a bit reminiscent of my grandmother's housecoat, but I feel like removing some fabric from the sleeves and skirt will help with that. Also, I've only finished the left sleeve (more on that below).  It's definitely a bit roomy in the top, but I don't entirely mind that.  I'm not really a tight-clothes kind of girl.

Here is where the problems start coming in.  From the back, I look like Miss Trunchbull from Matilda. If I gather the fabric in the back, there's about 6 inches too much.  But I can't really take the waist in any more because - as is with no elastic or closures of any sort - it just squeezes over my shoulders, which are quite broad.

And more heinousness.  The left-hand photo shows the side-view as is.  There is just way too much fabric.  I have enough volume in the hips - I do not need my clothing to add more.  The photo on the right is what it looks like if I gather the fabric in the back.  So much better.  And definitely less frumpy and nightgownish.

So, those are the problems.  As I've said, I have zero garment-making experience, so I really have no idea how to fix this.  Just from reading through blogs and wearing clothing on a daily basis, I have come up with a few possible remedies, but again, I have no idea if any of these are even feasible, let alone how to execute them.

1)  Remove the pleats in the skirt - okay, this one I do know how to do and will be doing.  The pleats just add too much volume for my body.  I need a straight skirt.

2) Add shirring or elastic to the back.  Would probably have to remove some fabric as well.  I'm not 100% sure what shirring is, but I think it has to do with elastic thread.  No idea how to do it. As for the elastic, maybe I could somehow make a little casing in the back because I don't think I'd want it around the entire waist, but not really sure how to do it in a way that wouldn't be completely obvious.

3) Add a zipper.  At first I was thinking a side zipper, though I'm pretty sure that would involve taking most of the garment apart, and then I'd still have the problem of too much fabric and figuring out how to get rid of that in the proper proportions.  Then this morning I had the bright idea of adding the zipper to the back rather than the side seam.  Still would need to remove fabric, but hopefully not deconstruct the entire garment...  Also, I'm great with zippers in pillows and bags - not sure about clothes...

Okay, so I guess I really just have two ideas - elastic and zippers.  Any other suggestions?  Or tips/tutorials on how to actually add elastic/zippers?

As for the finishing.  I originally cut the sleeves to be long, but after trying it on it was just too much fabric.  You think it looks like a nightgown now, imagine long sleeves!  The sleeves (well, the left sleeve) is currently hemmed to just past the elbow:

But I'm not sure I like that.  It either needs to be a bit longer (it's a pretty deep hem so I can let it out another inch at least, maybe even more) or shorter:

I think the idea of short sleeves, but I'm I'm not convinced that they'll look right.  I rolled this one up a bit, but I think even shorter would be better, no?

And I'm definitely going to take the skirt up quite a bit.  It's much better shorter.  I think I really just need to get the waistline/fit issues sorted out to better judge the rest of the dress.

So, can you help me?  Any suggestions would be amazing.  Links to tutorials would be even better.

Also, to end on a less complainy, woe-is-me tone, check out these amazing (and delicious) pretzel rolls Mr. T made.  The recipe is here.  I found it on In Color Order - Jeni has some great tips and tricks for getting the bread to turn out well.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


If you've been checking back, you've probably noticed that I shifted the end date around a bit. I was originally going to give until the end of the day today, but I haven't had any entries in the last 36ish hours, and I had some free time, so I decided to go ahead and just pick now.  I figure it's my blog, I can do what I want!


"I love the colors you used to make the blocks! I'd make more blocks and make a lap sized quilt. And it would be neat to have some reverse blocks made into pillows to go with it. I'd love to try this quilt! Thanks for a chance to win! :)"

Congratulations Carla! I've given the email address in your profile to Kristy and she will be sending you your INDEX pattern.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

INDEX Blog Hop and Giveaway

Today I come to you with my first ever giveaway! 

A few months ago, I volunteered to be a pattern tester for Kristy Daum from St. Louis Folk Victorian. I had only been quilting for 3 months at the time, so I sent her this long (and probably unnecessary) email offering my services and explaining the values of having a new quilter as a pattern tester.  I practically jumped up and down when Kristy wrote back and said she'd be happy to have me participate.  I waited in anticipation for her email with the pattern, refreshing my inbox every 5 seconds (well, maybe not quite that often) on the expected day of delivery.

And boy was I pleased when INDEX showed up.

INDEX, a new quilt pattern from Kristy Daum, available at her Etsy shop in both PDF and paper versions.
INDEX is a great pattern.  Kristy wrote it specifically for use with jelly rolls, which I think is wonderful because I always have trouble deciding what to do with jelly rolls.  

Though you can certainly use any cut of fabric (except charm squares), so the possibilities are endless.  

The pattern is so clear and easy to follow. It includes:
  • Materials Needed
  • Cutting Instructions
  • Detailed Step-by-step instructions along with helpful diagrams
  • Information (Material/Cutting) for 3 quilt sizes including Lap, Twin and Queen.

And, my favorite part, INDEX comes together very quickly.  I made the six blocks below using a variety of Kona yardage in no time, including the cutting.  The pattern lends itself perfectly to chain piecing, so you'll have a finished quilt top faster than you can even say "INDEX."  (Well, almost).

{Giveaway closed}
Now, for the giveaway!  Kristy has generously offered a free INDEX pattern (PDF version only) for one lucky reader.  To enter, just leave a comment.  Any comments are welcome, though I would appreciate suggestions as to how I should finish my test blocks.  They're still just 6 lonely, separate blocks waiting to be pieced together, but I'm having trouble deciding how to combine them (i.e. If I do a mini quilt, what shape should I do? Should I make more blocks and go for a lap size? Or maybe pillows for holiday gifts?  I've also toyed with the idea of making these same blocks but reversing the colors, so the coal would be the I shape and the colors would be the background.  But that still brings me back to how to complete the overall product.  You see my dilemma?).  The giveaway will be open until midnight (EST) Monday, November 5.  I'll try to remember to announce the winner on Tuesday, but please be patient with me if I forget.

And remember to check out the other blog hop participants for more chances to win:

Sunday 10/28 – Kristy Daum
Monday 10/29  – Annie at A Little Vinaigrette and Andi at Our Epoch
Tuesday 10/30 – Shelly at Prairie Moon Quilts and Nancy at Blogging, Near Philadelphia
Wednesday 10/31 – Halloween (no giveaway today - go get some candy!)
Thursday 11/1 – Beth at Plum and June and Jess at The Crafty Roach (you're already here!)
Friday 11/2 – Sara at Army Quilting and Jacey at Jaceycraft

And, as always, if you don't win INDEX during the blog hop, you can purchase a copy from Krisy's Etsy shop, KristyDaum.  The pattern is available in both PDF and paper versions.