Maybe the wrong athletic championship

I told my friend Bridgette how the Royals post season games had helped me get through the last bit of the Colorado Quilt.  Bridgette asked if I had any other outstanding projects for the World Series (which the Royals are in and I am routing for).  I told her no in the hanging around for a while way.

But I do believe this will be an outstanding project.  I am working on a Dale of Norway Olympic Sweater.  To be specific the one honoring the 1988 Calgary games.  So that’s what I meant about the wrong athletic competition, but I will be knitting this during the World Series.  For one thing, I am being a one knitting project girl.  And I need to finish this to move on to my next project.

So for now bird tracks.


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Finally done.

IMG_0718Well I finally did it, I finished the Colorado quilt.  As mentioned before, the quilt and I did spend some time apart.  There was the period where is continued to be in my parents’ house in PA and I was down in the DC metro area.  Also there was the 27 months I spent in Peace Corps, plus a month traveling South America.  Oh my gosh, was South America a good trip.  Sorry about the digression.

IMG_0709So I asked Matt and LB when their wedding was coming up, if they would like the quilt as their wedding gift.  They understood they were not getting the quilt immediately.  An interesting thing is in the time in between the wedding and now, they have moved to Colorado.  So perfect that they are getting a quilt made out of Colorado Beauty Quilt Blocks.

Once I got to the outer group of blocks, I felt the end was in sight.  I tell my friend Matt I only had 35 out of 121 left to do.  Which Matt pointed out was more than a quarter.  I would like to point out for the outer group I did not need to frame the quilt at this point, which makes finishing a block easier.  And yesterday I wokeIMG_0711up with only one block to go.

Once I finished the quilting, I need to whip up some binding, enough to go around a king size quilt.  So I went about it including cutting some cardboard guides to make the ironing portion of creating double fold binding easier.  I made around 12 and a half yards and then bound the quilt by machine.  This morning I took out the basting threads and looked it over to to fix any small mistakes.  And then I was done. My nephew may have added 7 years to his life, and I may have started it before he was born, but now I am DONE!


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It’s not pink

DSCN0001 DSCN0002 DSCN0003So my friend Sarah found out she was having a girl and regretted sharing this as it led to many pink items.  I knew I was going to make something for her baby, but I hadn’t gotten around to deciding what.

Then a moment of brilliance came to me.  It would be related to Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones to people who focus on the TV series).  So asked her, who her and James’s favorite characters were.  For Sarah it was Tyrion, Brienne, and Hodar!  and for James Sandor Clegane and Ned Stark.  When I shared mine (Tyrion, Arya, and Bran), she said Arya and Bran were up there for her as well.  So I knew I could go with my idea of a baby direwolf, as there was a clear liking of the House of Stark.  I came up with this great idea, but felt it would be best to ask for assistance in the actual drawing of the direwolf.  So I called Anna up and she said so something along the lines of muppet babies?  Yes I said, so the next day I just had to look up the theme song and later that day when mentioning it to my friend Van, he could even sing part of the song from memory, which was enjoyable.

So Anna sent me an couple options, but she really nailed it with the one I went with.  It was too cute.

I then printed it out over several pages and taped it together.  I cut the wolf out of fur like DSCN0006gray fabric and placed it on the sewn together green and cream to mimic the Stark flag.  I added the eyes and nose, then I quilted it all together.   Sadly I didn’t think hard enough about the binding the first time and in this case, ended up with
 too thin binding, about a 1/4 inch.  So I went and got more.

I was so excited when I finished I had to 250px-House-Stark-heraldryshare Wolfie on facebook.  I knew Sarah might see, but felt she wouldn’t know for sure.  So I finally sent the quilt and when she got it she said that when she saw it on facebook she thought “if that is for me I will die of baby gift happiness”.  Which was the perfect thing to hear, to ensure a baby gift is well liked.


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Polka-dotted Joy

Well there have been several projects that I have not written about.  By this I mean projects I do want to share.  I will start first with the one I am wearing today.  I have fears of this dress not lasting.  This is because when I was correcting my error of sewing the fabric so closely to the teeth of the zipper that the zipper did not unzip I figured with the cotton I could seam rip by pulling the pieces apart and simply running the seam ripper along, I found the fabric would tear easily.

photo 4I don’t remember exactly which pattern option I liked when I picked up Simplicity Pattern 1418.  I don’t believe it was option A.  I like the project runway series of patterns as they are up to date concerning styles.  It’s also interesting how the pattern is laid out to interchange the options.  However, an effect of the separate parts is adding up all the amounts of fabric you have to buy.  When I purchased the pattern and the fabric, I failed to do that and so ended up without fabric for a skirt.  I also failed to see the binding note for bodice A.

I was able to get more fabric when allowing myself to invest in more seam rippers as I could not find the two I owned.  Of course the first time I go to sew after buying 3 more seam rippers (enough to misplace and find again before not have my hands on any), I move the sewing machine and find one.  I find sometimes items seem to be like magnets, you need to lay your hands on another and it will attract the first.

So I cut out the skirt and then follow the directions of the pattern.  I see that I am supposed to add binding and I easily find some 7/8ths binding and I apply it in the manner directed.  As I finish the parts of the top I can do before its attached to the skirt, I take a look at it.  It seems to be a bit much, a bit costume-y.  But I soldier on, up to putting in the zipper wrong the first time.  When I am ripping the zipper out, I’m not doing it in the most delicate manner.  I am making the thread taunt and gliding the seam ripper down.  Then it makes a rip in the fabric.  So I put the project aside.

photo 2After convincing myself it was a strange blind obedience to directions, I decided I might as well see how it fits.  So I place the zipper in and try it on,  and it fits so well.   So I took a poll of some trusted people to see if I was right about how it looked like a costume.  My sister suggested I try it with thinner binding.  Funnily enough that was the width of binding that the pattern suggested.  I hadn’t bothered to look at that exact detail before.  So I made that change, and thought it worked much better.

When I wore it to work, I got many compliments, so I’m glad I didn’t just put it aside.  Also, last night I went to see West Side Story, I just knew that would be my outfit.  Cause I feel the Puerto rican girls get the better outfits for the dance routines.  Its more fun to twirl with a full skirt.

photo 1

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The predicted snow next week is not my fault

So I had my sister mail me two groups of yarn when I was in the Dominican Republic.  One was used to make my blue dress.  The other set was to make Mitts with Pints by SpillyJane.  I was being so proactive, and going to have mittens before I got to the United States.

photo 2-1The one knit was just a bit snug, so I undid it and knit a larger one (I believe I both added stitches and went up a knitting needle size).  After I finished them I had quite a bit of yarn left and no desire to pack it to bring along on the South American trip.  So then I asked my friend Robin who was going to be heading back to Boston how big her hands were, since it looked like I could make another pair.  Since she had tiny hands, I was able to get another pair out of the yarn, with only a different color thumb to make it work.  Here is picture to show the difference in the size mittens I and Robin need.

photo 1-1

So I came back to the States and found that while the mittens made me happy, they were drafty if it was windy.  I hadn’t thought about having to knit them tight enough to provide a barrier.  This might be why when I lost one at a bar, I only did a half hearted search for it.

So I had to order more yarn.  And I misremembered the exact blue I had used.  That turned out to be a happy accident.  The lighter blue makes a crisper contrast.  Also by the time I got the yarn I also had received conductive thread to my my mittens iPhone friendly.  So I plugged away and started another pair, with a lot less enthusiasm when I realized to get the density I wanted in the fabric being created I would have to knit with size 1 needles.

photo 1

As I got the first one near done I willy nilly sew the thread in the top and do get it to work.  Then my friend Kate makes fun of the bird nest appearance and shares that as she understood it from what she has read, most people just knit it along with the yarn.  Well since I had come up with the idea from hearing about the tech gloves sold and my friend a non-knitter suggested there should be conductive thread, I hadn’t thought beyond the initial combining phase.  I had not yet gotten to the refining of the idea.  Well I took her advice and ripped back on did it by knitting it with the yarn.

After I finished that glove, I felt I was fine.  I would eventually make the other mitten, but for now I had two.  Sure they were slightly different hues of blue, but they functioned (albeit one below par).

So I went back to the more tempting projects.  After a while with the harshness of winter lingering (inter-spiced with weekends of 50 and 60 degree weather), I began to think it might be the fault of me not finishing the second mitten (or 6th).  However, I felt as soon as I finished, the mitten would be superfluous, and the weather would became what we expected for March in DC.   Eventually I gave in and once I finished my sweater (to be shared soon), I started the second mitten.  I did my best but couldn’t get it done before the end of St. Patty’s Day (after another snow storm).  But It was finished, so any cold day or snow coming next week cannot be blamed on me.

By the way the pattern calls for four different colors of pints, but since I wanted the pints to be ones I would drink, I limited to the colors I would drink.


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Engineering a bathing suit

This is how I came to have a new bathing suit shown through a timeline.

August 3rd – Gave in to desire and bought material at Encajes La Rosario.

August 14th – Made all the measurements directed by the information I had saved from a website that I cannot go to because it appears to be gone ( Used black knit to try a “muslin” of the pattern.  Sewing machine will not work on the knit, switch to hand basting.

9:45 pm: Put the bottoms on and realize the instructions did not work.  The bottoms are too large. Decided there was no hope of a top and bottom in one night at this point and did want to read, so I did that instead.

August 18th – Wake up quite refreshed, back from a trip that included many hours of travel, and think about a day without anyone in the house. decide it may be a no pants day.  Decided I like how my underwear fit and really wanted that cut for the bathing suit bottom.  Also that the current pair was at the end of its life.  Tried on 2nd muslin without underwear and took timed photos including one bending over to ensure nothing was going to be shared accidentally. 

4:02pm: Decided to cut off the seam allowance and recut back piece to see if the leg cut could be lower, everything done from that moment to 9:20pm was a step backward

Found the other black knit fabric and began another muslin altering seam placement.

Aug 19th –  Looked at photos and decided to try another muslin with orginal seams, regretted the desecration of the 2nd muslin.  Cut again as the the underwear was seaming pieces of fabric to make the bathing suit pieces.  Tried on the muslin and took photos, was also wearing black underwear.  Changed to underwear that would stand out and retook pictures and fiddled with fit.  Searched through room for more black knit to try on and find fabric used to make this dress (the one with a pattern).  Tweak with that ruining the fit and go hunting fabric again.  Find the other black knit and cut out the final muslin for the bottoms.

Move onto trying to cut out the pattern for a triangle string bikini top.

Then abandon suit effort for some days.

Aug 26th – Cut top triangles in the width of my black bikini top.  Then cut out all the pieces from the fushia spandex (double for the top) including a long rectangle to make a fabric tube.

Wait for electricity.  When it returns have some success with sewing machine (luckily the tube) and spandex (going over the seam a second time to make up for where the thread did not catch).  Switch to fushia thread to sew the seams that would show such as hems and mess up the balance of the tension in the machine so that I will be fixing that before using it.  Switch to hand sewing.

Aug 27th – 30th – Work on bathing suit among charlas, travel, and medical appointments.  When get to Robin’s house, tried on suit and made alterations.

On the 31st – Wore the bathing suit with the top in the criss cross style shown here.

Bathing Suit

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Bermuda Shorts (for use in the Dominican Republic)

So I was traveling through the capital and making my transfer at Parque Enriquillo, therefore I felt I had to stop at Encajes La Rosario.  I did in fact need a zipper if I was ever going to use fabric I bought ages ago.  My first fabric purchase in the country.  My time in the Dominican Republic is winding down and therefore I need to use what I have.  Although I did not need to, I did allow myself to look through the fabric department.  I saw this green plaid behind the counter and was quite drawn to it (as I am to any plaid that uses colors I like).  I began thinking of tackling a blouse.   Of course when I finally was waited on (there was quite a crowd and no deli numbers like JoAnn’s) I found out the fabric was heavier than I expected.

I still wanted it.  So then I thought shorts.  So I bought a yard of 60″ fabric.However, I did not want short shorts.  I did not want capris.  With some consultation, it was decided they would be a bit above the knee.  They would be Bermuda shorts.

I did not have a pattern with me at the time or the exact length decided, so the yard was pure hope.  I took Simplicity Amazing Fit 2700 Women and Petite Pants and cut them shorter than pant length after holding the pant piece up to my leg.  After a waist, hip, and crotch length measurement, I cut a size 14 curvy.  Apparent previous I had gone for a size 10 average, although I don’t see that being correct.  I also previously failed to replace the fly and one front band piece, but I made do fine.

DSC_0008Given the limited fabric, I had to refold the fabric and didn’t realize on one side of the front leg that it was not quite enough.  I fixed that later on with a patch, painstakingly matching the plaid so it would not be obvious.  And the first patch I cut as you see was not long enough, but for some unknown reason I sewed it on.  So I got a chance to do it again and improve my skill.

FlyThe shorts were failing to lay flat in the front and I went search and came up this handy table I made a small waist adjustment the best that I could, considering I was not working with a muslin and had no ability to cut any more large pieces.   So what I did in reality was bring the sides of the front piece up.  I was happy with how the pants lay in teh front and did all hemming and zigzaging to prevent fraying.  I hand sewed the button holes and the buttons.

DSC_0011-003I put them on to take the pictures and share my joy and then saw the back legs.  I really could have used a sewing partner for the next part.  I went back to the info I found on the Clover Sewalong Cheatsheet and thought the wrinkles must be a result of the crotch.  I had already trimmed seams and so tacked on some scraps to see about increasing the crotch area.  The wrinkles stayed.  I then went looking for more pants sewing resources and the book that helped the most was The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting.  Cause there are wrinkle from tightness and wrinkles from looseness, I couldn’t figure out what mine were.  In the end I think the torso part was too long, I shortened the back section from the waist band.  I made many adjustments and basted seams and for each I would have to try on the pants and take a picture to see how they hung in the back, this is why a partner would be helpful.  By many I mean I have over 50 pictures from that part of the process.

They aren’t perfect.  But changing one thing, affected the fit of another part.  I think I may make another pair and start with a muslin, that I don’t worry about to get a perfect fit.    And the next may be just below the need.  But these are currently (Tuesday the 13th of August) being worn because I like them so much I wanted to wear them immediately.

Bermuda Shorts

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The battle of the zipper


So one of the projects the organization I work with has done involved sewing machines.  They were not currently being used so I asked if I could borrow one.  Borrow is not a word that exists exactly in spanish.  What you can do is ask for a loan, which I did.  I used it for a brief part of time before encountering problems.  The speed control bar broke off.  So DSC_0068decided to try to fix it.  I had never taken apart a sewing machine before and in doing so unscrewed more screws than I should have to figure out how to get off the shell.  I failed to note which screw went where or take photos.  Therefore having taken apart the tension mechanism it was many months (around 9) before I could use the machine again (I did I would like to mention fix the speed control quite easily with some cooqui (superglue) and part of an Emory board).  I did take some long break of frustrations (months again) but I finally got it working again, though it is not exactly perfect since the tension has to be so tight you cannot easily slide it between the discs.  But it does sew a good seam again.

However, I only told you about the trail of the sewing machine, because with it fixed I fixed a dress I had sewn in the early part of the year.  A dress that luckily waited until I was in a hotel room to split a seam in the front adding a “keyhole”.  I brought the pattern and a couple others back from the my trip in November to the United States and the fabric I picked up at Encajes La Rosario near Avenida  Duarte in Santo Domingo.

DSC_0110This wasn’t the first time I made Simplicity 2404 a dress from the Amazing Fit Collection.  I had previously made it with a blue fabric that made me think of upholstery fabric for the way the pattern looked.  This DSC_0109time around I apparently went for a tighter fit. I also may be a bit different shaped.  I do know I started making version B of the fushia dress and then realized that is what I had in the blue so changed it to version C. I know the picture on the right is blurry, but it does still show the room there is in the blue version.

Blue Dress

DSC_0056At first all I thought I would have to do with the fushia dress was go over the seams and add some space to the side waist seams.  However I now had a tool that made sewing much quicker and thought since there was no rush to wear the dress, I should get it to look as good as I could.  So one thing I did was to try on the dress inside out and rework where the front top and back top connected for a seam.  Let me tell you it is hard enough to zip up a back zipper on a fitted dress, add to that the issue of the fact that the zipper pull lies on the inside makes it a a frustrating feat.

DSC_0059The zipper managed to add even more joy to my life.  It was clearly visible in the back.  I was working with a white invisible zipper so the color difference is quite stark.  I first tried the handpicked method very close to the fold.  But although I did it over and over again, it did not manage to stay covering when the dress was on my body.  I loosed seams and still it was not hidden.  Finally I went to the sewing machine and worked and ripped out until it was invisible.  The process was as follows: I would tear it out, repin, sew it again, zip the zipper up and down, put on the dress and contort myself to get it all zipped, position my camera and the self time, wait for the picture to take, look at the picture and see that it was still visible, work contortions of my body to unzip the dress and attempt again.  It was because of this dress I decided a side zipper for my birthday dress.  When I finally didn’t see it in the photo I went to the front of the house and in Spanish asked my dona if she could see it and then explained how happy that made me because I had done and undone it so many times.  However then I reworked the seams, so now it is not quite perfect, but it passes my muster as there is not a thing more I can do.  And so I finished another dress.  

Fushia Dress






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A 2 hour dress

So I actually made on of these with a machine and the other by hand.  One in the United States and the other in the Dominican Republic.  One fabric was bought in Paris, France and one Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  And neither is the 1st attempt at the idea, but someone did not prefer the style and therefore I will not share those pictures.

As happens, sometimes I find the need to stop making myself clothing, but that does not end my desire to make something.  So I told a friend to pick a fabric and she picked a green knit with thin white stripes.  I thought on it and decided a snug dress above the knees with a cowl neckline would be nice.  I found a great tutorial with instructions on how to change a basic neckline into a cowl here.

So originally I planned to wear my bohus sweater for thanksgiving with my Dad’s side of the family.  But it was not done, and I was in touch with reality and did not attempt to finish it the night before Thanksgiving.  Instead I decided to make a dress the night before.  And it was a good idea because although it was late November, inside the house at Thanksgiving with all the gathered people is rarely a temperature that is sweater worthy.  I did bring along the wrap I received for LB’s wedding and that helped with the outdoor pictures.

DSCN0527So at my parents house I had to cut a new pattern and was helped by the wrapping paper with a one inch grid pattern on the back.  That with my the experience of my previous attempt and a sewing machine had me a new dress in a total time of 2 hours (that included the figuring out the pattern part.

Then I paired it with my awesome boots (how I miss them leaving in the DR) and a pair of tights to make a very good outfit in my opinion.  Anna when seeing the pictures said how east coast about the tights and when there was a small poll done (small because it was at 1 year IST and the group was a total of 5) it was decided Anna just didn’t get cold weather dressing, there was nothing east coast about tights.

Here is a lovely shot of of me and my cousins. It goes Me, Alicia, Courtney, Alexis, Katie, and Ben draped across our laps.


DSCN0677So then I come back to the DR, and I want to make another.  It is a wonderful pattern.  This time I found a more active patterned knit fabric (and it is ribbed textured).  By now I was old hat and whipped another one up to wear to Art’s Christmas Party.  That is the party hosted by the Country Director in mid December.  After the party we went out dancing and since this was a great shot of the back of the dress, and I imagine Tristan will not read this, I included this shot.

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Belated Birthday Dress

FabricBack at the end of February, I thought about my birthday dress.  Now I don’t have a G Street and JoAnns to choose from, but there are fabric stores I know of in the capital on Duarte (a place of wonderful shopping opportunities).  And found this fabric.  Not having an actual plan of a dress beyond maybe a big skirt, let alone a pattern, I bought 2 yards.

So then I went on a search of ideas, just thinking about what kind of dress the fabric pattern suggested to me and also what kind of dress I would like.  Looking around ModCloth, I started to congeal on an idea.

I loved the top half of the red dress, the whole dress b, but I still clung to the idea of a flowy skirt.  So I looked around and then I asked Hannah her opinion.  She said big flowy skirt a la I Love Lucy. So I put two pictures together to get a visual (the first two photos should take you to the product page for each if you like the dress)
Lady Love Song DressLove You Ivory Day DressDress idea

Now in the States, I would go looking for a pattern that fit the idea.  However down in the Dominican Republic I am more limited, all I have found is the burda sewing magazine.  I little more limited in variety than 4 major pattern companies.  So I have increased my skill set.  Using the pattern blocks from How to Use, Adapt, and Design Your Own Patterns I made a sloper.  More on my first foray into pattern creation in the next post.  So I took the muslin I had and working off what I wanted and my pattern sloper I made the idea of pieces.  I then basted them together and altered to make it work in reality.  I did not cut into the dress fabric until I was satisfied the dress would work.

From there I cut the fabric and lining up and started sewing it together.  I only ended up lining under the upper bodice just because that seemed to work best.  I was on schedule for it to be ready for my birthday.  However then I spent some time horribly ill with dengue and just felt with only a week to go I wasn’t going to get it done. So it became less urgent, I finished sewing it together, but didn’t feel like the effort of the zipper.  Although really the zipper was easier after I involved fusible interfacing and an iron.  I choose to do I side zipper because I feel it works well as there is already a seam there.  Following instructions I found, I faced the side seam where the zipper would be placed so that it would be stable as I hand picked the invisible zipper.  The fabric I have is porous, so the stitches are mostly unseen.

DSC_0036I got distracted by other projects (like the blue knitted dress) partly because the dress no longer seemed pressing.  However with being put on standfast (that is when Peace Corps DR tells us we cannot leave our communities) for the threat of tropical storm Chantal, I decided the time had come to finish.  So I finished fixing the final edges and put it on.  I found for some reason (perhaps my crookedness) the back was uneven.   So I evened that out the best I could, tightened up the lay of bodice and finally the dress was done.  Now the skirt is not as full as my imaginings because I only bought 2 yards of fabric, but it still has a nice flow.

DSC_0045    DSC_0043-001    DSC_0044-001

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