Alabama Chanin inspired stitching

So that singer zigzag attachment I was so excited about? Yeah. Not so much. See all those holes in that hem? Not so pretty. And don’t you just love how even the seams are? I don’t. Ug. I was feeling bad about my real messy hem, so like the genius I am, I decided to hand stitch over it. Should have done that in the first place. Its based of the Alabama Chanin rosebud chain stitch. Its pretty much my favorite hand-stitch edging. It takes up a fair amount of thread, and doesn’t really work as well with this thin kind. (Alabama Chanin uses heavy “craft” thread, which holds the rosebud pattern much better.)

I wasn’t really planning on doing the whole waistband tonight, but forgot about the laundry- waiting for the buzz of the dryer before I can go to sleep, so stitching away it is… at least I’m being sleepily productive.

I’ve gotten some good work done on Alexis’s sweater, too… I’m a bit nervous about the bottom of it, doesn’t seem to have as much stretch as it should. (The pattern works the edging, binds off, then picks up stitches along the bound edge.) So the main body is finished, and I’ve started on the sleeves. Two at a time! Yay! No good photos though…. just a big blue mess. Trying to finish it by the end of the month, but without my daily train ride, work is much slower going.

Ah, there’s the buzz of the dryer… off to fold laundry and fall asleep. :-)


Cherry Trees in Fairmont Park

It’s finally spring! The weather on Saturday was beautiful. I had the windows wide open all day. The beautiful day made me anxious to get working on my garden. I still don’t have a plan for the back garden… I know peppers, but not sure about what else. I tried sprouting my own seeds last year, but I don’t really have a good spot for it. The kitchen gets sun, but only in the beginning of the morning, it moves around too quickly to get the seeds enough light. So I guess I’m going to buy pre-grown ones this year.. which means I need to be patient enough for them to be out at the stores. Gives me some time to plan, I suppose. Anyway, since I couldn’t work on the back garden, I took a stroll over to Urban Jungle, the local garden store, to pick up some flowers for the front pot.  Yay for plants!

This weekend was the Cherry Blossom Festival, in Fairmont Park. Always a little better in theory than in actuality, but still enjoyable. It gets super crowded, but the performances are worth it. The drummers are fantastic. They look like they’re having so much fun when they perform! I love seeing them every year.


finished skirt with shorts

Ah, but the weekend isn’t done yet! Inspired by this skirt, I fudged my way through my own version. I made it with a pillowcase! I bought a king-sized set of jersey sheets, with the intent to make this Alabama Chanin dress. I’ve been drooling over it for ages, and when I saw the sheets at target, I knew they’d be the perfect fabric. Turns out the pillowcase was perfect for this skirt, too. I wish the zig-zag on my machine was a little easier to use, the waistband is a bit dodgy, with some bad hand sewing fixing some gaps… but it’ll be a great summer skirt. Hope it holds up to all the wear I intend to give it!


I’ve been pretty busy since I posted last… mostly holding off on the posts because I’ve been pretty bad about bringing my camera around. Labor day weekend was great- I went to Terrain with my mom for my birthday, and wandered around for a while. We had a great lunch, and mom picked up a few books- neither of us bought any plants this time though. I’ve run out of room on my kitchen sill, so I think I’m done with plants till next growing season.

Dawn Patrol Journal

I went on another Dawn Patrol motorcycle ride with my dad on Sunday- what amazing weather! I really wish I had thought to make a neck strap for my camera so I could have had it out during the ride. There were some great skies and fantastic landscapes. We ended up riding with a huge group of people- it was pretty cool to see all the motorcycles ahead of us when riding down into a valley. But they rode really slow, and stopped at EVERY turn- lucky for us half the group missed one of the turns, and then a few turns later we passed the rest of them. (The rides are “Lyme dot” rides- one dot means to keep going straight, two means a left, three means a right. You also get  a list with all the directions.) I like the rides better when its just me and my dad, maybe a few other bikes. As cool as the snaking line of motorcycles is, its way more relaxing not being part of a horde. The rides are really fun because they meander all through the area I grew up, but take interesting back roads and routes I don’t usually take. You get confused and lost, then cross an intersection and suddenly know exactly where you are. It ends at the Dawn Patrol club house, down the street from where the ride starts, with a huge BBQ party.

finished top

Also- four finished projects in the last few days! I finally got through the green/lace top, bound off and blocked a hat (the one previously posted)  and a cowl warmer, and finished a present that will head off in the mail sometime next week. Also, I’m making some good progress on the baby sweater I’ve been working on… ok, so the baby was born a few months ago, but I’m making it larger than the largest size on the pattern (more a mistake than a plan, but I think it will work out) so it should fit him anyway. Thinking of embroidering a “Q” on it, too… but we’ll see if that happens when I finish it.

I’m pretty pleased with the top. Once I finished the braided neckline, the whole thing hung a lot better. Definitely felt less tent-like. That green fabric is super super stretchy, and was not cooperating at all as a waistband. It just kept ending up making the whole thing even more balloony. Not a fan. So instead I just took out the basting and ended up using the fabric I cut for the waist as a tied belt. The braided neckline means that this is a strapless bra shirt for sure, and the only one I have is black- I’m hoping it was shadow and not bra I could see in some of the other photos, otherwise I’ll have to put off wearing this till I go shopping :-(

The cowl was a pretty fun fast knit, too. I bought the yarn on a whim when stopping by Rosie’s for some needles. Chris got me a gift certificate a while ago, in an attempt to get me to branch out and visit different stores- but I think I still like Nangellini the best, so I’ll stick with them. Anyway, I bought two balls of this, and thought that would be enough. Right after I cast on I took a look at the yardage, and was about 75 yards short of the required amount. I made a few alterations to the pattern- made the neck part a section narrower, cut the collar down in length and width. I cast off with about a centimeter left. Phewww! I think this will look pretty good with a coat, its perfect for late fall.

finished collared cowl

So thats the craftiness- the other business—–this weekend was the final performance of Scorch, the great fire group I’ve been dancing with since the summer. Rehearsal on Thursday, performances on Friday and Saturday. I think it went really well, we got a great turn-out. It was free, but donations were collected to pay for the space and the fuel/safety equipment. I’m not sure of the final numbers, but I think we at least broke even, which is great, since the venue cost was a lot higher than the girls thought it was going to be. I got Chris to record our dance with his phone, and I’m sure there are a ton of photos floating around. A guy from cities2night was there, and those photos are here.

And here’s the video:

Here are a few shots of the aforementioned top.

Yeah, I know. Odd.

Ok, so the color combo is a little strange. This is a pretty accurate representation. Holy Kelly Green, batman. The fabric is pretty thin, so not very useful on its own, and would probably cling if layered twice. I bought it online somewhere, which is why I call it a mis-buy. I’ve used it to wrap up presents, but thats about it. It does have a nice amount of stretch, though. Of course, the lace over it barely has any, so I managed to cancel that out. Brilliant.

braided tank top, minus the braid

So this is the front part, pinned onto Crystabel. Note the lack of, um, shape. A wide band on the bottom that ties may fix that, and would remain adjustable in case you feel like wearing an unflattering sack. (ugg…) But I have to figure out the best way to do it. Have I mentioned that my machine is really old, and only has a manually-move-the-fabric zigzag? Good for some seams, but not for anything too exact, thin, or close to the edge. So I think that takes this one out of the zigzag running. I have no problem hand finishing the bottom part for some stretch, but I want to make sure its exactly the way I want it before I start down that path. Anyway, looks like I have a fair amount of work ahead of me this weekend.

Ok, so I’ve noticed that most of my posts lately have been sort of inane babble about life- a serious lack of crafty entries! There are a few reasons for this, all which head back to the miserable weather. Heat makes me lethargic. Heat makes everything sticky. Knitting is no fun when you can barely stand the touch of wool. And lastly, its hot down in my sewing area, and hanging out in a muggy basement isn’t fun for anyone.

But excuses aside- here’s whats coming up. This past weekend, I started to make the  braided-neck tank top from Burdastyle. Of course, I’m still on my quest to use up as much of my stash as I can, so I used some pretty odd fabric for it. A thin green stretch fabric under a beige (non stretchy) lace (green left over from a mis-buy for my lizard costume, lace left over from the PEXfest costume). I even printed and followed the pattern this time, more or less. But my printed ‘test square’ was a little off, so I added about a quarter inch to the whole thing… but I think that just failed miserably. The back fits fine, but the front is baggy and weird and not at all flattering. I cut a big green strip with intent to make it a waist (as well as helping me deal with not having a way to finish the edge nicely), tacked it on, tried on the top, and slumped down miserably. Total fail. I’ve yet to do the braid part, maybe that will help it out… but I have to figure out what to do about the waist/bottom… the problem is that the fabric slips around horribly, the bottom edges don’t match up, the lace needs to be edged or it will unravel, and the whole thing is such an odd combination of colors, I’m not sure I’d really end up wearing it anyway. But anyway, my goal is to get it to some state of finished this weekend, and if I don’t wear it, just give it away.

Also- I’ve been wanting to make some more hair flower/feather clips- anyone want one? I have too many already to really justify the big mess I make, but if I’ve got folks in queue who want to get a present in the mail…. reason for messiness! So let me know if there’s interest, and I’ll break out the epoxy. (Maybe even photograph the process for a tutorial, who knows!) Leave a comment or message me with your address…

cowl seams and hair-cut

alabama-chanin inspired seams

New haircut (bangs! I’ve never had bangs!) and a new shirt… yay! I made a cowl shirt based off the one on burdastyle, but I didn’t really print the pattern… just traced a shirt I had and followed the guideline for the neckline. This one has the hem of the ‘cowl’ in the shoulder seam. I think I like my previous experiment better, with the seam of the “cowl” flipped wrong-side and used for the front arm seam… but the experimental  version is a bit small for me (seam allowance, bah = bit too small) so will be heading Alexis’s way once I get my act together for a care package. I had completely forgotten about the fabric I ended up using for the second version- its blue and rather stretchy, perfect for this kind of pattern. I think I bought it for Tom’s glasses case, but ended up using a fuse-able felt liner instead. Unfortunately, the edges of the shirt looked rather raw, so I used the alabama-chanin style stitching to seam it. The rose stitch for the back, and the x-cross stitch for the arm-holes. Its amazing what a good finished hem will do for a project- really takes away that “I see you’ve been sewing again” feel. I still need to finish the bottom edge, but I think I’ll wear it out anyway… If I can manage to get a good photo, I will, but its been rainy and gross out lately, so not so many good photo ops.

FishFish, originally uploaded by ducksRfriends.

Tricky fish (tank). It looks so nice and tropical, but really: painted blue background on a tank in a room made for presentations. I wonder if the fish can tell the difference.

I’m in need of a beach visit. Its been too long since I’ve curled my toes in the sand. It doesn’t even need to be warm out- I just want the sound of waves and the smell of the sea. Rainy days in the city are stifling and I’m feeling restless.

(PS- finished the blue dress this weekend. New straps and a pocket. I’ll post a photo when its sunny outside and I can set one up. Next up: figure out how on earth to manage the Alabama Chanin shirt stenciling without going batty.)