Thursday, July 28, 2016

Murder Mystery Quilt Along: Block 7

I suppose a good way to track the passage of time is to have some sort of a visual countdown that serves as a periodic reminder of just how quickly it moves along. This mystery quilt along is serving that purpose nicely. It's hard to believe that about six months ago I had one block and thought "Oooo, I can't WAIT to see this come together!" And now I have seven (and I'm still having the same thought).

After a very trying day of sewing on Saturday that had me this close to cursing and yelling at no one and everyone out of sheer frustration, I figured I'd at least sew up my quilt block as I should be able to manage that. So here is block seven. Already.

At least this month I have an idea of what this is supposed to be. I'm fairly pleased with my applique stitching, too--

And here are all seven blocks together:

It's too cumbersome to crawl around on the floor and rearrange blocks, so I'm thinking of cutting the template pictures out of paper and messing around with them that way. Because otherwise I have no clue.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Vintage Market Shirt

A few months ago I felt an urge to make a bunch of tops. So, as I am wont to do when such an urge strikes, I bought several patterns and yards of different knit fabrics. I made this top first, and had it out of my system, so the others felt a little more like work. However, I have (almost) five new shirts to share with you. So here's the first.

Disclaimer: some people can manage to take great photos of themselves; I am not one of those people. I hover between looking maniacal and looking exhausted. You have been warned.

I used Jalie's Gathered Scoopneck Top pattern for this. There were two options (I've made both) but this one has a gathered neckline (they call it ruched). The fabric is Riley Blake's Vintage Market in navy. Navy is one of those colors I find difficult to photograph, just like certain shades of red and pink, so you'll just have to trust me that it is indeed navy.

I had a stinker of a time getting that neckline right. Gathers are rarely my friend, and this time was no different. I also would have preferred the neckband to be just a little bit thicker as this feels like it wants to flip itself inside-out, but hasn't done so yet, so it's just a mental issue and not a real issue. And while I do love this fabric print down to my toes, I don't love the fabric as much. It seems to fade and pill more than what I paid for it should allow, and you can see the whiteness of the wrong side of the fabric showing through the stretch of the neckband. But that print! I love sweet little vintage prints like this, so no regrets.

The sleeves are tulip sleeves. I've never made this style before and they are super fun. They have this nifty overlapping thing you do to sew them into the seam. I'm used to making knit shirts where you sew the side seam and the underarm seam all in one shot. I thought I'd have to set this one in with gathers and so on (something I am NOT good at), but this matched the points perfectly and went in nice and smooth.

I don't know how well you can see it in the photo, but the hem is a banded hem. I like that kind of hem best, as I like that snugness around my hips and bum.

While the pattern is pretty much perfect, I wish the scoop of the neckline was a little less deep, as I have to be a bit more mindful of certain things when I bend over (which I realized at work today, but when no one else was around, thank heavens). Otherwise, the fit is good (I made a medium) and it's pretty comfy (even across the shoulders, where I sometimes experience some pulling).

This was my first Jalie pattern I've ever made, and I really like it. I've got another version of this shirt to share, as well as another Jalie pattern that might be my favorite from my recent dive into shirt-making.

So, what about you? Have you made anything new for the warmer weather? Or the colder weather, for our friends down under?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


I haven't got a picture to share with you--does this ever bother anyone else? I feel like I should have a photo, but there are blogs that never post a photo throughout the course of their existence, so I'm not sure why I feel it's mandatory. I've been quite lazy lately with blogging. I've been doing a lot of knitting, which results in a lot more time creating, and a lot less time to say ta-dah!! I've got some garments I made, but the weather has been so hot that the idea of casting garments on and off and trying to take good photos when I'm already wanting it to be fall does not sound appealing.

However, I had a moment with the wee nephew the other night that I just had to share because of its extreme cuteness. It was Sunday night, and one of those nights where the half moon is bright in the sky, and you can actually see some stars, even with the ambient light of the city. Everyone else was on the porch, but we took two chairs to the back yard, and sat and talked about volcanoes, planets, what stars are made of, and the man in the moon. We counted airplanes and fireflies, and tried to determine if that one bird we saw in the dark was a bat or just an ordinary bird enjoying the summer night.

A: Aunt Bee, let's move closer to the moon.
Me: {Wonders, as adults do, just what he thinks we're going to climb on top of to get closer. Decides to go with "Okaaay" and follow his lead. A-train proceeds to move our chairs about four feet forward "towards" the moon}.
A: This is better, this is a good view.
Me: Oh, yes, this is much better. Good idea.
A: {Holds out his little hand, palm up} Would you like to hold hands?
End scene.

I need a version of him that is my own age that I'm not related to so I can date him.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Murder Mystery Quilt Along: Block 6

I almost forgot to post June's block in the murder mystery quilt along. Not that I have any more of a clue as to where this is headed. I don't think I've even figured out yet what this month's block represented in the story, but I might just need to reread the chapter. Even though we have an entire month (pretty much) to sew up each block I am very much appreciating the simplicity of the summer months' designs.

Again a lot of polka dots, but I'm trying not to buy anything new. Each month I am reminded of how paltry my stash has become--mostly basics and a few pretties I'm hoarding for something, I know now what.

We've now got half of the blocks finished (which amazes me we're on the flip side of 2016 already), and here's how they all look together, in order:

I think I need to just move these around like some weird puzzle and see if they line up in a way that makes sense. I'm not bad at solving TV mysteries, but this one...

Are any of you taking part in this? Are you clueless too, or are you feeling hunches and stuff?

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Plan B, C, and D Bag

I've been wanting to make myself a new bag, and a few weeks ago the vision popped into my head while I was proof-reading something fairly technical at work. I wanted it to be a ticking stripe, in a faded denim and white pattern, with brown leather handles. Simple enough. Except that I had zero luck finding the fabric. Everything was too blue or too gray or too bright or too dark and just simply too not right. BUT. I did see something in a similar color combination that I liked even more (Plan B). I ordered up some leather handles (I actually found them on Amazon of all places I'd never think to look but for some reason did, so I guess I did think to look) and waited until I was finished hemming five rooms worth of curtains (sewing job for a friend) to buckle down. 

I've made this bag several times before, and I love it. It's roomy but not heavy and fits just right under my arm without being bulky and heavy. It's quite a comfy bag.

The pattern is the 'For Pleats Sake' bag by u-handbag. I had the bag together by Saturday afternoon. It would normally have gone quicker, but it's been so long since I made a proper handbag (not a wee clutch or crossbody) that I had to actually think about what I was doing (I literally talked myself through the steps of inserting the inside zipper pocket). 

I should have thought instead of talked. I placed the zipper a bit too high because I forgot to check the handle tab length, so some creative stitchery had to happen to keep the zipper functional and the straps secure (Plan C). My stitching wasn't marvelous and the thread contrasted dreadfully, so I used some lining scraps to make some little tabs to cover up the stitching (Plan D). It blends in enough that they're not obvious, and I like not having  the dark thread showing with the stitches exposed for wear and tear.

I used jeans top-stitching thread for this, doubled-up. My fingertips are still numb, but those suckers are on there good. I hope. It feels like they are.

There's a zipper pocket and a slip pocket, that I don't love. I underestimated the real estate my cell phone takes up, so I didn't make it as tall as I'd have liked. As I was taking the photos it hit me that I could have tried a welt pocket in the lining that wouldn't pull so much but would be accessible. Maybe next time. 

I'm overly in love with those v-seams. I always stitch that seam in one swoop, all the way around. This time I did it in two parts, and ended up with a bulk-less seam that didn't need trimming and coaxing. I announced this to my brother-in-law Matt and A-train, and they stopped what they were doing to give me a standing ovation in the dining room. True story.

I sprayed this with Scotchgard to hopefully keep it from getting too dingy looking. I guess it's not a terrible thing when Plan A doesn't pan out. What have you been making lately?

Monday, June 20, 2016

'Round Here

If not for some family intervention, it appears that I would have neglected my wee blog for the entire month of June. But! I have an excuse note. I've got some sort of bronchial thing happening for the past few weeks, bad enough that I missed a few days of work, and several other days sitting on the couch feeling quite poorly. I think I'm finally at the end of it, thankfully. A friend of mine moved house, and the windows are all non-standard sized, so she bought curtains and asked me to alter them, which I've been doing since last weekend. I've been knitting a sweater, which I think I'm going to love so much I might marry, and binge-watching 'Peaky Blinders' on Netflix. So unless you wanted to see a pile of tissues, a pile of curtains, or a very unfinished sweater, you can see why I spared you the details.

However--we've had a few little things going on.

This is Warren Gomez. My dad insisted he was in the window well under the living room window, but when I went to explore he was gone, and my dad was absolutely flummoxed. About a week later I overheard him tell my mother he was going to get the turtle (or is this a tortoise because he's on land?) out of the window well, and I went running for my camera, completely forgetting how annoyed I was with him that he was back and he didn't tell me. No idea how he got in and out, though. He was unceremoniously placed on a dirt pile way out back, and would not move while we were standing there staring at him. So we left him alone, and he skedaddled. I put this video on Instagram of him escaping under the fence. Don't ask about the name, because I don't know--these things just pop into my head.

There is this big fat robin hanging out in the backyard. He/she must be aware of what a camera looks like because every time I try to take his picture he flies away. I finally got so fed up trying to take its photo near this little yellow flower patch that I used this substitute bird instead.

I'm not sure what these are, but they are the most delightful shade of pink. I have them on my list of things I want to try to recreate in watercolor. There are a lot of things on that list because the list consists of one item: "Things that look like actual things." Gotta have goals.

The weather has been blissful, but today on this summer solstice it finally got hot. We've had a chilly, wet spring, so I can't complain too much. I love sunshine sparkling through leaves.

And while I've got one nephew graduating middle school on Wednesday (which means high school next year, something this auntie just canNOT deal with right now), the other one turned four. That's not much easier to deal with... I've been working on improving my hand-lettering, and was using some practice sheets, when he asked if he could help me. This video ensued (his little voice slays me, though I hate how my voice sounds in video, haha).

So all that not-much gets us up to date. I've got eleven months until season 4 of 'Peaky Blinders' is released. My hypothetical soulmate Tom Hiddleston is rumored to be with some singer girl person that I hope is really some type of media stunt. I did make a few shirts, so if I remember to I'll take some pictures. Aaaannnddd.....I guess that's it for now.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Murder Mystery Quilt Along: Block 5

Guys. It is the last day of May (it might be almost the second day of June depending on where you live, or when Blogger decides to feed this into your dashboard/reader). I can't deal with it. It's not even super hot yet. Anyway--I've got my next block for you in the murder mystery quilt along. This chapter was called 'Welcome to the Hike Inn.' I'd like to believe this month's block is a representation of the inn based on the description in the story, but at this point I have no idea.

The blocks for the summer months are going to be super simple, which is fine by me. Not that I'm not up for a challenge, but as this quilt is a total mystery it's nice that I'm not slaving over complicated blocks or fabric choices. My curiosity is killing me, though.

Good thing I love polka dots, eh? I think it took me longer to cut everything out than it did to sew it together. Since there's not too much else I can say, here's a picture of what I've got so far in the order I made them:

No clue. Absolutely no clue. While the blocks themselves aren't complicated, I do applaud the work that went into this (not even halfway through!). To come up with a story and quilt blocks to go with it sounds hard enough, but to make everything part of the mystery and the clues and the quote teenagers everywhere "I can't even."

I even went all super-nerd. I reread all of the chapters and clues, and made notes, and circled things, and highlighted, and even all-capped things like "RED SHOELACES!" I don't even know if it's relevant; I just feel like I should be doing things like that. If anyone knows a real-live detective can you ask them if 'red shoelaces' is something they'd write in their little notebooks, just so I know if I'm on the right track?


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