Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Knitting: Legend of Zelda Mittens

This past Christmas, I made a pair of cosy mittens for my sister. As we spent many hours playing Legend of Zelda on N64 together while growing up, I thought that I would personalize the mittens using the triforce logo. They turned out so nice, that I want to make a pair of my own.

My notes after the jump...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sewing: Book Recommendation

A nice book for beginners in sewing is "Sewing Machine Basics: A Step-by-Step Course for First-Time Stitchers" by Jane Bolsover. I took it out of my local library and I am pretty happy with it.

The book has great illustrations and comes with patterns to pratice (starting with a simple pillow and working your way up to a blouse). It was a great refresher for me. I have forgotten how to do some hem types. Also, something I was never good at, it shows when and where it is good to baste your sewing. I usually just sew and then have to undo a lot of it... :(

Friday, January 25, 2013

Knitting: Socks with a Lesson in Joglessness Part 2

The first socks I've ever knitted were also a test of my multiple colour knitting skills. They were a pair of 'Skull Isle Socks' done in the round using the Fair Isle or stranded technique.

They turned out pretty good, but I made a few mistakes when I did the first sock. As you can see below, some of my skulls and other details did not match up at the beginning of the round.

It wasn't exactly my fault, as the pattern does not say that this will happen or how to fix it. Also, the pattern pictures of the completed sock don't show the problem either.

Details on how I fixed it after the jump...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Craft: Tardis Centrepieces

This past summer, I made tardis centrepieces for my Dr. Who obsessed friend and her husband to be. They had a Dr. Who themed wedding and a little tardis somewhere is a must.

I made about 20 centrepieces to be put throughout the reception hall. One one side they say "Police Public Call Box" and the other has the couple's names.

The tardises (tardi?) go well with the Dalek cake toppers. Don't you think?

More info on how I made them after the jump...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blog: A Fashionable Stitch

I stumbled on another great blog: A Fashionable Stitch. This blog has a great page called 'The Everyday Wardrobe'.

It explains how to approach your closet full of clothing. Instead of going out to buy new clothes, you have to review those pieces you never wear. And, it also explains how to mix into your wardrobe all the stuff you are sewing. You don't want to spend hours making something that you are just not going to wear.

Perfect! It's just what I plan on doing and it has great tips.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Knitting: Socks with a Lesson in Joglessness

My most recent knitting project was a pair of sock for my brother-in-law. I used the 'Simple Skyp Sock' pattern by Adrienne Ku. The pattern is really easy and looks great. I also added some extra interest by adding a different colour for the heel and toe.

To make it even more interesting, the lead up to the toe was done in the Fibonacci sequence. This is where you add the last 2 numbers for the next number (i.e. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, ...).

Of course, this also meant I had to learn to do jogless stripes. Why is that, you ask? When you are knitting in the round (rather than back and forth), you are actually making a spiral of stitches. This means when you get back to where you started the round, you will be one stitch higher and your stripes won't match up.

A lesson on how to make your stripes jogless is after the jump...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Knitting: Book Recommendation

If you are just getting into knitting, I highly recommend "Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook" by Debbie Stoller.

It explains the basics in an easy to understand and entertaining way. There are also great patterns for newbies to try out. This book helped me get back into knitting after not knitting for about 20 years.

And of course, once you master the basics, her next book "Stitch 'n Bitch Superstar Knitting" is awesome, too. It explains how to do lace, fair isle, and intarsia, while avoiding common mistakes. Better looking end products and less headaches along the way - as Martha would say "It's a good thing!".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blog: Coletterie

Another day and another great blog. I've just found Coletterie - a sewing blog by a pattern designer.

There was a great discussion on consumerism. Mainly, how we can be distracted by all of the pretty things we see. We buy when we have no need for new clothes (we often already have too many). And we buy without thinking about how ethically the clothing was produced.

I recommend reading the comments. Someone even quotes William Morris:

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
Again, it's so awesome to see that there are so many like minded people out there.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sewing: Tool Recommendation

One tool for sewing that I couldn't live without is the Pro Seam-Ripper Kit. As I mentioned in my last post, I do make mistakes from time to time and I need to be able to fix them.

I got my set from Lee Valley Tools. Although, I have seen them at Fabricland, too. There is a picker and a ripper with sharp blades. Without too much force, you can open up the seams. That means there is little to no chance of ripping, pulling, and poking the fabric (which is what used to happen with my old ripper).

Just a Little Bit More...

Do you ever do this? You're working along and making great progress. You realize you are getting tired and maybe hungry, but you tell yourself something like, "I'll just sew one more seam", or "I'll just knit one more row", or "I'll just put in one more nail with this hammer, while I'm balancing on the top of this rickety ladder"? And sure enough, you mess up somehow. You end up having to rip open a seam, pick up a ton of dropped stitches, or, worse, nurse your finger that you just hit with your hammer.

I've done all of these things and more. So, I'm making a resolution to take more breaks. Even though I might be in the middle of something fun and not want to stop, making sure I take a rest means I save myself from a lot of future headaches (and maybe finger ache).

Friday, January 11, 2013

Knitting: My First Human Sweater

This is the sweater I made my husband for Christmas. I have to qualify it as my first human sweater, since I've made a couple dog sweaters before working my way up to human.

My notes after the jump...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blog: Sewaholic

Today, I stumbled on a really great sewing blog called Sewaholic. It has great patterns and sometimes interesting discussions. Like this post on the book "Overdressed" by Elizabeth Cline. I'm definitely going to check this book out.

The discussion on the post is great. It makes me so happy to see that there are so many other people out there that are interested in the larger societal effects that the way we buy clothing can have.

One comment also reminded me that of a discussion I had with my husband the other day:
"... One thing I have learned is to never try and change my shape to fit into rtw clothes. If I exercise it is because I want to. I don’t diet.
Since I started sewing more and buying less I have become more comfortable with my measurement, less aware of my rtw size but I have also gotten bigger. I am not saying that sewing makes you fat I am just pointing out that my growing size no longer depresses me they way it used to because I know that I can still dress myself no matter what. That is not a feeling I get when I shop." - Kate
It's pretty sad that we live in a world where we have to change ourselves to fit into the clothing we wear. We have to work out, diet, lose weight, etc., not for good health, but to fit in the clothes we buy (and often at the expense of good health). I get depressed about my body shape whenever I try on most clothes. We should be working on the clothes to make the clothes fit us and not the other way around. I think I'll be much happier if I do that instead.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sewing: My Purse from an Old Jacket

One of my recent projects was creating a new purse. I wanted crossbody purse that was not too big and not too small; big enough to hold my phone and wallet.

Instead of going out and buying a new purse, I made one out of an old jacket I had. It was a pleather motorcycle jacket that I wore too death.

Details on how I made it (and the pattern) after the jump...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Arts and Crafts

Just so you know that I know (whew!), I know I'm not doing anything new. There are tons of interesting blogs out there by awesome people doing and making amazing things. If I get an idea from them, I will link when appropriate.

Also, the idea of people turning against mass production is as old as mass production itself. The Arts and Crafts movement is one of the best examples of that. The Arts and Crafts movement was spearheaded by William Morris, whose patterns I love, in the 1800s.  I try to find some inspiration from their principles:

"Arts and Crafts objects were simple in form, without superfluous or excessive decoration, and how they were constructed was often still visible. They tended to emphasize the qualities of the materials used ("truth to material")." (Wikipedia)
The idea of letting the material tell you what it wants to be works well for knitting, sewing, woodworking, etc. Instead of going out and buying more fabric and skeins, it is a good idea to see what you already have and what would be the perfect thing to make out of it. This is especially a good idea for any sewers and knittings with a bit of a hoarding problem (*sheepishly looks at closet filled with my stash...*).

Craft: My Cake Toppers

I personalized my wedding cake by making my own cake toppers. They are replicas of my husband's and my motorcycles. They were constructed with Fimo and some details were painted on at the end. If you lack the skills yourself, I highly recommend seeing if any of your friends will do it for you.

Having personalized cake toppers lets you get away with a simipler (and probably cheaper) cake, which usually taste better than the fondant monstrosities out there (sorry, I'm a bit of a food snob). 

More pictures and details on how I made them after the jump...

Welcome to my New Blog!

I finally started blogging after telling myself to do it for so long! I plan on sharing my sewing and knitting projects and any other new things I learn along the way. I love science, sociology, and history, so don't be surprised if some of that is mixed in here as well.

Lately, I have become really sick of mass produced stuff that breaks, tears, and doesn't work after the first time you use it. I decided to stop relying on mass produced crap to satify my needs. I'm going to do my best to make my own clothing and other items. I will buy only raw materials, supplies, and used clothing and items to make into things. Or I will buy things made locally by other crafters/artists. I will only buy mass produced goods when there is no choice.