December 17, 2012

A Green Washi, again

Finally! After months of never being able to photograph this dress, there was just enough light in our bedroom a couple of weekends ago to capture it.

This is the Washi Dress that I made in September, to replace the Washi Dress that I made in August, which was subsequently turned into a Washi Tunic.

I made the original dress on my birthday in August because I had been waiting all summer for the Washi pattern to be released and I really, really wanted a green dress. As you may recall my fabric choice for that dress was horrible and I was just one wrinkly mess. For my birthday I got a serger and a book on sewing with knits, so I decided to try Washi Round 2 with some deep mint green knit from the Mill End store ($4 a yard). I figured the fabric price was right, the color was right, and it would be an excellent test case for learning to sew with knits. And amazingly, it worked out!

I omitted the U-shape in the neckline because I wasn't sure how it was going to work with this fabric. I really like that design element though, but I need to adjust the fit so that it's not quite so low on me. I followed the pattern for the elastic back, but I changed up the hem a little. I thought the dress was a little short, so I added a band on the bottom with the fabric running the other direction. As a result it has a different sheen to it that I quite like.

Elastic Back

Hem Band

 I added a few lines of topstitching to the hem, waist, sleeves and neckline for a subtle added interest. After a few washings, however, some of those lines have snapped, so I need to come up with a fix. Luckily I have until next summer before I can wear this again...



December 12, 2012

Wiksten Tova: Flannel Dots

Another sewing project from October - version 4 of the Wiksten Tova.

This one is nearly identical in construction to the Plaid Tova, except that I made it a bit longer and shortened the sleeves. When I wore the Plaid Tova I caught myself constantly pushing the sleeves up above my elbows; this time I just started there and I'm pretty happy with their length.

I spent a lot of time searching online for a dark gray flannel with small white dots - no luck. I found gray flannel with dots, but the dots were too large, and I found the perfect size dots but not combined with gray flannel. I finally settled on the latter and bought this "stone" flannel with white dots from

I admit that I like the low contrast between the dots and the background, and the flannel is quite cozy, but I didn't count on the color washing out my skin tone. It would be a fine color for summer when I have more of a tan, but I'm not in the habit of wearing flannel in the summer. Unless I find a scarf to wear with this, I may just end up dyeing it a charcoal gray. And while it is cozy, I can't help but feel that I'm wearing my pajamas out in public...

December 9, 2012

Flutter Sweater for Freya

I can't believe it, but my niece Freya is 1 already. Where did the last year go?

To mark the occasion I crocheted her a little sweater tunic in my favorite color (I'm attempting to make it Freya's too). The pattern was published in Bev's Country Cottage but I found it here on Ravelry. It uses the shell stitch and it's meant to be worn over a shirt or onesie.

Mine has a few variations, most noticeably is that I didn't use buttons on the front, but rather a tie on the back. It could also be the front is one if so inclined. I thought the tie would allow for it to be worn longer, while the buttons would constrict it more.
Also, since Freya is 12 months old, I used a thicker gauge yarn and larger hook to make the sweater fit. It turns out I went a little too large...

The girl still looks super adorable! 

December 3, 2012

Scout Tee: Blue Plaid

Thanks to the rain that has finally arrived in Oregon I haven’t been able to photograph my projects for the last couple of months. Last weekend I dragged my sewing projects over to a lit corner of my bedroom (thank goodness for skylights) and did a marathon photo session.

In October I posed about my Gray Floral Scout Tee - this was actually my second attempt at this pattern. Before that was this Blue Plaid Scout Tee from September.

What blue plaid scout tee? The one buried under the cardigan and scarf?

That's the one. I'm showing it this way because this is the way I wear it - as a layering piece.
Because it's pretty darn boring on it's own.

It's also too short and too wide.

I didn’t deviate from the pattern here except with the slight gather along the neckline. Since this was my first attempt at the pattern I didn’t yet know that the shoulders were too wide for me so this was my attempt to fix it. I actually ended up liking the fix so I used it purposefully on my second go-round on the Gray Floral. On the floral version I remembered to add another two inches to the length as well.

I chose this plaid fabric from the remnant bin at Bolt last Spring (?) maybe. I was drawn to the color, and it was before I discovered what a pain matching plaid can be. Luckily matching with this pattern wasn't much of a concern since there was only one front piece, and I didn't even try to match the plaid on the bias tape because there was no possibility of that happening.

I think this pattern has promise, but I needed to change it up a lot to work with my body type and personal style. I think my second version was much better than this one, so at least I'm learning from my experience!

November 30, 2012

Thankful for it all

I love this time of year - the food, family and festivities make the freezing rain seem bearable.

Mike and I spent the thanksgiving holiday at Papa's house - 4 lovely days of food, sitting by the fire, antiquing, watching football and working on projects. Between us all we had a myriad of projects going on:

Papa, Mike and Aidan brewed a batch of IPA (some details on the process here)

Papa and I made cinnamon rolls from the Grand Central Baking Book
(thanks Remi & Andrew!).
They were delicious, and time consuming.

Pa and Sharon have been hard at work on getting a railing up around their loft area. With a little help from Mike and Aidan they managed to get the vertical support beam in place...

... and several of the horizontal rails bolted in place. You can see the ladder that Pa recently made to the loft at the right of the photo. Aidan and I spent some time reading his new book up there. It's nice and cozy.

Papa, Susanna & I also bottled and corked 184 bottles of red wine!

In addition:
  • We stained some kitchen stools, decided they were ugly, and sanded the stain off.
  • Worked on a sewing project (to be revealed after it's gifted).
  • Crocheted a baby sweater.
  • And made a ton of Thanksgiving food! 
As you may have noticed from all the above involvement of my father, my need to have lots of projects going on at one time is genetic. In the Fall issue of West Sound Home & Garden magazine, Pa and Sharon's house & a sampling of all their projects were the focus of an article, complete with a ton of photos. For any interested family and friends who haven't seen it, below are images of the magazine pages. Click on each one and it will enlarge for reading.

November 27, 2012

Fluffy Bunny Mobile

My cousin Brendan and his wife Katrina just welcomed a baby girl into the world; Riley joins her big brother Coen (and Captain Cat)!

When Coen was born I welcomed him with a needle-felted Fish Mobile, so for Riley I decided to make a similar size mobile of the same material (can't play favorites) but to move away from the sea and into the garden.

Three little frolicking bunnies...

One is lolling on it's back staring longingly at those carrots.

Another is rubbing his paws together scheming on how to get those carrots into his belly.

 And the third is going for a run, completely oblivious to the carrots above.

 For a little extra interest I added hearts to the back, bum and soles of the rabbits. 
Lots of love to you, Riley!

November 21, 2012

Captain Cat, the Canadian Caped Crusader

Captain Cat casually awaits the call.

The call has come in! 
Captain Cat flies into action.

Successful Delivery!
 Congratulations Coen, you're a big brother!

Amineko Cat has found a new home in Canada, with my first-cousin-once-removed, who has recently turned 2 and become a big brother! I hope the two of them have some fun adventures together.

November 18, 2012

Yippee-Ki-Yo, Austin!

Shortly after returning from Ohio, as in three days after, I took off to Austin, TX for a work conference. I arrived in Austin to 80 degree weather, sun and blue skies. After dumping my stuff at a dump of a hotel, I headed out for a five-mile walk around town.

The best part of the photo above is the guy on the stand-up paddle board. He was just casually paddling along in the sun. The river was calm and quiet and there was no boat traffic. I was oh so jealous.

I took a break along the walk to grab dinner at the Easy Tiger, a suggestion of my friend Jessica, who has recently relocated to Austin. It was perfect. After walking past countless big, dark bars on 6th street, entering the Easy Tiger was like being back in Portland.

I highly enjoyed my beer and pretzel on the patio,
and I recommend the addition of the cheese.

Back across the river on South Congress there was no shortage of art, shops, food & drink. My favorite parts were the signs and murals.

For anybody heading to Austin...
I caught dinner one night at the Enoteca Vespaio (excellent Nicoise Salad) and breakfast at Magnolia Cafe (crazy busy on a Friday morning but decent food). At the conference I was also able to sample Hey Cupcake! (red velvet) and an IPA from Independence Brewing. Just before I headed back to the airport I stopped in at Stitch, a fabric store on South First Street. I had read about it on Dana's blog and it was only a few blocks from my hotel. It's a cute shop, but definitely geared to the crafter-sewist. They offer a lot of pre-cut fabric swatches for bags and such, but they don't carry much in the way of apparel fabric. They had a great selection of felt though, and their class list looks fun. Lastly, I was able to take the Airport Express bus from the airport to my hotel/downtown, and back again, and it only cost a $1 each way! Forget the rental car if you're sticking close to downtown.


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