Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weekend Update, instagram edition

As usual, this weekend was too short. I did manage to get a few things accomplished, but not enough.

I finished a couple quilt blocks for my guild members. These will be turned into charity quilts for 100 Quilts for Kids at our meeting next week.

I also finished a few other random blocks. I've been wanting to make flying geese for awhile and am glad I finally got the chance. I definitely want to make a flying geese quilt some day.

I really wanted to at least attempt to cut the fabric for Mom's chuppah, but all I did was take it out of the closet and send her a photo for her florist. I think I'm hesitant to work on this for three reasons:

1) I'm not overly happy with the blue. Probably should have gotten this one instead, which actually was my original intention. I think the one I bought works, but it's not the shade I really wanted, so I'm kind of kicking myself. But I can't reorder, so that's what I'm using.
2) For my design I have to work with 4 inch by 4 yard strips - I'm really nervous that I'm going to mess up while cutting the strips. DCMQG members - I know next weekend is charity sewing day, but I might bring this fabric to get some advice/help on cutting if you don't mind. 
3) It's for my mother's wedding, so it has to be perfect.

The wedding is at the end of October, so I actually really need to get working. I think it should come together relatively quickly. Just need to make the first cut!

Art Gallery Fresh Water, Mystic Grey, and Appletini

My iPod broke and Apple won't replace it even though it was a known manufacturing problem (poor customer service, Apple!), so Mr. T tried unsuccessfully to fix it. The parts are just too small! But now I have my eye on this one (despite the fact that I'm mad at them, there's just no suitable replacement). And this once we change phone providers next month!

- I went on a few good runs in preparation for this race in November.
- On one of them, I got to run with this adorable guy. I really want to bring him home, but we can't have a dog in our apartment :(
- Mr. T and I went to see this dance show. We got free tickets through a Hindi class I'm taking. Thank goodness they were free, because the show was pretty boring. Not the upbeat, colorful, fast paced Indian dance shows I'm used to seeing.
- I did a little bit of work on my Slade sweater for Mr. T, but not as much as I wanted. I'm on the sleeves now. Then just blocking, seaming, collar and button band, buttons, and probably blocking again. Hopefully he'll be able to wear it this winter.
- I tried to buy this yarn in Moondance, but it was sold out in less than 2 minutes. As soon as I put it in my cart, it was gone!

And I got to play and cuddle with these crazy creatures!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Staple Dress!

This is my favorite dress ever! Made using April Rhodes' exceedingly popular pattern. I previewed it in my US Open post, but I'm back today to provide more details.

Initially I debated between this pattern and the Washi dress, but I'm glad I went with this one. I'm sure I'll make a Washi at some point, but this one definitely fits my relaxed style a bit more. Also, based on photos I thought the Staple Dress would be more flattering on my figure.

Even though people told me that this dress was really easy and a muslin wasn't necessary, I went ahead and made one. I'm glad I did! After my previous dress debacle, I didn't want to risk making an ill-fitting garment again.

Based on my measurements, I originally cut a medium, but it was definitely too big. So I brought the muslin in to a small, which felt okay but I thought might become too tight once the finishing was complete (which I did not do on the muslin). In the end, I cut somewhere between a small and a medium. The fit in the hips turned out well, but I think the bodice is still too big. It's just a bit too baggy and the neck kept falling off my shoulder a bit so my bra strap showed. Next time, I think I'll cut a small bodice and grade it out slightly for the hips.

In an attempt to bring it in, I added six lines of shirring. I really only wanted one or two, but I'll probably end up wearing a belt 99% of the time, so it doesn't matter anyway. Speaking of shirring, so easy! I was nervous because I'd read that brother sewing machines can sometimes be finicky, but I had zero issues! Didn't have to change my tension or anything. Just hand-wound the bobbin and it was good to go! I've read several tutorials of the past year, but I found this one and this one the most helpful when it actually came down to it.


Even though this was my first time making the dress, I decided to be super fancy. I used french seams throughout (even though I added pockets and the pattern suggests using regular seams with the pocket option). I don't have a serger, but I pinked and zig zag stiched over the raw edges of the pockets to keep them from fraying. And - I'm most proud of this part - I USED A BLIND HEM TO FINISH THE BOTTOM!!! I followed this tutorial and used this free Craftsy class, and it worked out really well! The folding was a bit confusing, but the tutorial explained it perfectly.

I went back and forth on fabric, but eventually decided on this herringbone Chambray Union by Robert Kaufman. It's perfect! It's very light and airy and oh so comfortable. Plus, herringbone is my favorite. I made this dress specifically to wear to the US Open, and it didn't disappoint. I finished it two days before we left, picked up the belt the day before, and ended up wearing it three times over the next four days because I love it so much (don't worry...I took it off long enough to wash it in between). And I got endless compliments. I even wore it to work one day and several people commented on it - without soliciting! I only told them I had made it after they'd already complimented it.

Central Park photo shoot! [What is that stance? I need some modeling tips...]
Needless to say, this dress will be getting a lot of wear. I think it cinches at just the right place for a very flattering silhouette. I haven't tried yet, but I'm hoping it will work with tights and boots, too, so I can wear it all winter long. Plus the pattern was very easy to follow and the dress came together in only one day, so I'll definitely be making more of these!

Counted towards FAL 2013 Q3

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ribbon Blanket

Mr. T's sister and brother-in-law are having a baby! They're due in November and I for one am quite excited. I'm actually not much of a baby person (gasp!), but I do think it's fun when people I know have babies. It's more random kids of whom I'm not a big fan... [My friend and I always joke because she coos at any baby or small child she sees while I do the same for dogs!]

Anyway, yesterday she had a baby shower. They live in California, so I didn't go, but Mr. T did. We'd been talking about what to get her, and asking our friends with young children what one thing they couldn't have lived without, but we still couldn't decide on anything. To prevent him from showing up empty handed, I took matters into my own hands and made this ribbon blanket.


I'd first seen them at a craft fair and didn't really get the point until I saw a baby in a store having a grand old time tugging at one. A friend with a 6 month old son suggested using ribbons of different textures for an added level of interest, so I spent 30 minutes feeling every green, yellow, and white ribbon in JoAnn before settling on five.

The crocheted ribbon is my favorite. Even I liked the feel of it, so I bet the baby is going to love it!
They've decided to not learn the sex of the baby, so everything is gender neutral. Not sure why I always picture yellow, green, and gray/white as the only possible gender neutral colors. It's so not true. Though I do really like how they look together, so oh well.

I even remembered to add a label!
At first I was going to get this really thick minky type fabric, but then I found this perfect gray chevron flannel. With CA weather, there's no need for such a thick blanket. Plus this was much easier to sew! Though I did have a major "oops" moment when I attached the ribbons the wrong way. I went to turn the blanket right-side out and all the ribbons were trapped on the inside!

It was so windy it almost flew off the roof. Thankfully, I have the reflexes of a cat!
I had the blanket on my desk at work because I was going to take photos out by the lake behind my office (no go since my camera was dead), and the VP of my department walked by and saw it and told me she wanted one! In all honesty, it's so soft I kind of wanted to keep it to...  Oh well, hopefully Mr. T's new niece or nephew loves it!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Drawstring Pouch Swap

Natalie of the NOVA MQG had the fantastic idea to organize a swap between five guilds in the DC, Baltimore, Virginia region. We used Jeni Baker's free drawstring pouch tutorial and filled it with $10ish of goodies to send to our secret partner based on a flickr mosaic they created. I picked up a collection of new items, plus a few from my stash to give to my partner.

To the above, I also added some magnetic snaps, a fat quarter, and some crushed walnut shells for stuffing pincushions. My drawstring pouch almost didn't close...

Based on my partner's mosaic, I picked pinks, oranges, and browns from my stash for the pouch. I would have liked to use some nautical print (she had a lot of mermaids), but I don't have anything like that in my stash, so no go. Sorry, partner.

In exchange, I received this awesome pouch from Kristin. As an added bonus, my birthday was earlier this week, so the timing was perfect.

My mosaic was pretty unfocused, so Kristin did a great job filtering and making something that's totally me.

And she filled it with some great goodies.

That Robert Kaufman fabric on top is my favorite. I remember oogling at it when it came out. I've been dying to make a frame purse, so that's perfect. And I need a pincushion but have been too lazy to make one, so this one is great. Plus she included a few of those long, skinny pins I've been wanting to try!  I'm really impressed with how well Kristin nailed it. Thank you!

Monday, September 9, 2013

US Open

After several years of missing out on tickets, Mr. T and I finally made it to the US Open last week! IT WAS AWESOME!

I spammed instragram (I'm @thecraftyroach) with nearly identical looking photos of tennis courts, but if you look closely you can differentiate. I'll only post a couple here.

Rafa demolishing Robredo. If only it had been Rafa vs. Roger as anticipated. It would have been a much better match!
We went to the evening session Wednesday and all day Thursday, so we saw a lot of matches, including:

Azarenka def. Hantuchova
Nadal def. Robredo
Paes and Stepanek def. Bryan brothers
Williams sisters def. Errani and Vinci
Wawrinka def. Murray
Djokovic def. Youzhny

Watching Wawrinka destroy Murray.
We also saw Li Na and Richard Gasquet on the practices courts. We had to fight the crowds to crouch and peer through a fence, but it was worth it!
Serena and Venus. This match was in one of the smaller stadiums, so we were only three rows back!
And there were two exhibition matches, so we got to see a minute of the McEnroe brothers as well as Chris Evret and Monica Seles vs. Jason Biggs and Rainn Wilson. The latter was much more entertaining that I thought it would be.

I'm sunburned and exhausted and my hair is crazy, but I got a photo with Novak! (See him down there in the corner giving an interview...)
We're already planning our trip next year! Hopefully we'll see some slightly more exciting matches because, even though it was awesome to be there, most of the ones were saw were pretty one-sided, finishing in straight sets. 

Also, later this week we'll return to crafting-related posts when I share details of the Staple dress I'm wearing in these photos.