Friday, April 13, 2007

Happy discovery, and breaking a vow

Last night I was going through all of my fabric to see what I can actually match up with some patterns and what I really want to make sooner rather than later. I have one basket full of fabric in the corner by the sewing machine, and two large plastic bins on top of the big bookshelf. Which by the way is an extremely un-earthquake-safe placement for them. I need to quake proof the house sometime. But not yet. Too much sewing to do.

So anyway at the very bottom of one of the un-earthquake-safe plastic bins I found a knitted purse project I had been working on a couple months back and hadn't seen since then! I'd looked, I thought, everywhere, with no luck and even started a new version of it, grumbling all the while because this one was about half done, but I didn't think to look under fabric because I keep yarn and fabric basically separate. Usually.

I remembered how it got there. I used to keep a few small knitting projects, each in its own freezer bag, under the couch for easy access until the day we left Sparky out in the house on his own with Scout to see how he would behave. He behaved by dragging out all of those knitting projects and chomping away. fortunately he didn't destroy anything I really cared about but the freezer bag for the purse project was all tattered and the yarn was all tangled and I was too annoyed to deal with any of it so I threw all the gnawed on knitting stuff into this bin, and proceeded to pile fabric on top to put all my misbehaving dog troubles out of sight and out of mind.

Anyhow here are some pics of the purse in progress. And my foot. And a doggy toy. Those components were unintentional.
I'm using some yarn I got on eBay, very cheap, and now I know why because it is super-old and kind of brittle so I have to use two strands together and break off at weak spots in the yarn and start again, hence all the ends hanging out all over the pictured finished piece.

It is just a plain basketweave sort of stitch, 8 knits, 8 purls, repeated with a single knit stitch on every row at beginning and end for selvedge. You can see the unblocked finished piece as well as the other piece in progress. I'll next knit or crochet a strip about 2 inches wide or so to single crochet both pieces to as the sides and bottom. I'm undecided about the strap. I don't want too long a handle or strap, just big enough to go snugly over my shoulder and under my arm when I'm wearing a jacket. I made some I cord to test for this, but now I'm leaning toward using some large rectangular plastic handles that I will cover with the same yarn in a sort of single crochet to make them match.

I will definitely do a lining out of whatever decent matching fabric I have on hand, and put in a magnetic snap for the closure. Hopefully I can finish it very soon to take to NYC, but I'm not sure because I have lots of sewing to do for the trip also.

I basically decided to break my vow not to buy more fabric and to go get some black denim or suiting to make a jacket out of to take on the trip, because I don't have any decent black blazers or cardigans right now. I will probably also look at some other patterns for tops, and if I see some red/black/white plaid cheap I'm getting it to make a simple little button down shirt from. Because yes, I plan to learn buttonholes tonight or tomorrow. Seriously! And, if I find suitable red and/or black cottony fabric I will make the duro dress to take also because I'm tired of waiting till it's close enough to October to use the Dia De Los Muertos fabric for it instead. I can have more than one duro dress, can't I?

As you can probably tell I'm using red black and white as a theme so that everything I make and pack will match and so that I can wear red lipstick all weekend because I want to and that's all there is to it. Does anyone else in the world plan to sew a whole wardrobe simply to match a lipstick shade? I doubt it but I don't care, I'm doing it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Getting down to the wire

As per usual, I have been procrastinating. On lots of things, but this blog concerns sewing and knitting and such so that's what I mean here. I still want to make a lot of the stuff I'm going to wear in NYC, but we leave in a week so I better get crackin'.

Again as usual I've started to doubt myself as it gets closer to time to do something. I'm no longer sure about the items I posted earlier being the ones I definitely want or need for the trip. Now I'm leaning toward some other stuff, but I think posting it all would jinx it and just make me change my mind again so I won't go into detail until I'm actually packing--or totally back from the trip--and therefore must commit.

I do still plan to take the grey jersey dress, because it's long-sleeved and I think it may be chilly in NY next week. So that's what I'm going to make tonight. Or at least get started on. It's cut and ready to go so I don't think it will take terribly long.

As for the tunic top, I tried it on on Easter and don't like it after all. It fits weird, and I don't think I can fix it. So that's out. I don't want to make another one at least yet for fear of facing the same problems. So I need to decide what to make and take instead.

The shirt dress is also cut and ready, but I don't have all the buttons I need and I think I'm putting it off simply out of my buttonhole phobia. I need to just get over it already. There are at least 4 other things I want to sew but can't until I learn buttonholes. So I guess it's time, but I can't seem to sit down and MAKE myself do it.

I know, I'm being super-obsessive about all this. It's just my nature.

This morning I went through the enormous pile of laundry N. promised to do tomorrow, and used it as an opportunity to kind of check on my wardrobe, see if there are some things I should get rid of, and some holes I need to fill. Naturally there are lots of both. I'm having trouble letting go of things that I've been keeping with the intention of altering to fit. Maybe tonight instead of making the grey jersey, or at least over the weekend, I need to spend some quality time with my box labeled "alter these" and decide what I'm just not ever going to get to, and get to the ones that I AM going to alter right away. I should just have a big alter fest, and whatever doesn't get altered over the weekend I'll get rid of.

But altering's much less fun than making! We'll see how far these good intentions get me over the next few days.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter dress

Easter dress
Originally uploaded by fishbellywhite.

Twirl, lady, twirl!

N. took this picture of me on the balcony of our friends' North Beach apartment on Easter. It's the first thing I've made that I wore out to a real event, and I got lots of compliments on it. I did a lot of twirling; I'm not used to circle skirts but it was super fun.

Sorry for the crappy picture quality. I'm still getting used to this whole camera phone thing.

this is that Butterick retro wraparound dress pattern by the way. 4970 or 4920 or something like that.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Stitching and pitching

I thought I wasn't going to post today because instead of sewing last night like I thought I was going to, I went to the baseball game. The Giants played the Padres in our second game of the season, and my friend Michele (that's her at right, telling me Happy Birthday at the game) called me right before the game to see if I wanted to go. It was her birthday gift to me! Today is my actual birthday, but we have to sing for Holy Thursday tonight so she decided to help me celebrate yesterday instead.

Anyhow the Giants lost, so that kind of sucked, but whatever, it was fun anyhow and I got garlic fries. Plus it's only the second freakin' game of the season, so geez all you so-called fans calling sports radio, enough with the whining already about how bad we are this season! I like to maintain some optimism about my teams for as long as I can, even despite evidence to the contrary. Let me live in my fluffy pink cloud world for a while, the world where the Giants win the pennant and all my knitting turns out perfect even without swatches, ok?

But the reason I'm posting anyway is because I came across this: Stitch and Pitch. It's the perfect marriage of two of my favorite things, baseball and knitting! The designated SF Stitch n' Pitch game is July 24th which is way too far ahead for me to plan for now, but I signed up for the email list so when it gets closer to time I'll probably make a point of going that night. I don't know if I'll actually enter the baseball themed needlecraft contest, because I'm usually too lazy for contests of any kind, but who knows, I may get inspired.

I knit at baseball games, either actually at the game or while watching on TV, all the time anyhow. When the Giants were in the World Series, I knitted an orange scarf while watching the games at the Hotel Utah. Unfortunately they lost, and then the next season, it seemed like they always lost when I wore the scarf so I decided in my superstitious baseball fan way that I had knitted FAILURE into the scarf and couldn't wear it to games anymore. I only wear it on the off-season now.

I started knitting a scarf last season in red for my other favorite team, the Red Sox, but I put restrictions on myself to avoid more knitting of failure. I only knitted it either while I wasn't watching a game but they were up in the rankings, or while I was watching a game and they weren't losing. Anytime I was knitting while watching a game and the other team pulled ahead I'd put the knitting down.

Unfortunately this meant I didn't ever finish that scarf. I need to start over this year. Maybe I'll do a new orange scarf for the Giants also. Last night I just worked on my current easy project which will either be a shrug if I don't run out of yarn or a short wide scarf if I do. That's a picture of it (above) I just took, on my desk. Note the dog hairs conveniently knitted straight into the design. Courtesy of Sparky. He's lucky he's this cute, otherwise I would've had to cook him for dinner after he chewed up some of my favorite knitting needles last week.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Playing catch-up

I haven't posted in several days, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, N. had surgery. Nothing really major, but he was out of commission for several days and I ended up with a lot more on my plate than usual what with running errands for food and drugs, walking the dogs, and doing various chores that he would normally have done. So I hadn't been sewing or knitting or crocheting as much as usual.

Also because it's Holy Week, and I sing in the choir at church, and this is like the busiest week all year. I had rehearsal last night, I have rehearsal and Holy Thursday mass tomorrow night, a noon service on Friday and then Good Friday mass later in the evening, a rehearsal Saturday afternoon, Easter vigil mass Saturday night, and then of course Easter mass on Sunday morning.

I plan to follow it all up by drinking margaritas and beer all day on Sunday. That's playing catch up in a way also, since I gave up drinking for Lent and plan to seriously start making up for it on Sunday. Hey, maybe I'll do some drunken sewing and take pictures of disastrous results to post here! Um, or maybe not. We'll see. And then we're going out for a nice dinner to celebrate my birthday which is actually tomorrow and which I have no time to celebrate on the actual day because of all the singing and religious stuff I have to do instead.

Fortunately a lot of the stuff we're singing is my favorite kind of music, really overwrought crunchy sorrowful dramatic Lenten stuff, like Gesualdo (who by the way is also famous for being a murderer, see the links for the juicy details), and Sanders' "Reproaches" (also notorious for being interpreted by some as anti-semitic... I see their point but disagree, or at least I don't find it any more anti-semitic than the gospels are inherently which is a whole other topic better suited to a post on a religious blog which who knows maybe I'll start someday, plus I just find the piece beautiful-sounding and great fun to sing) and Allegri's Miserere.

The third reason I haven't posted is that I'm starting to feel guilty that I never have any interesting photos of either finished projects or projects in progress. I've been procrastinating posing for pics of finished stuff because by the time I get around to it in the evening my hair looks crappy, my makeup has all come off, and I've put on my pajamas to chill out in front of the tv and don't want to change. And I am vain so I want to be in my pictures, and I want to look good!

So anyhow. I have very little to share, except that I've come up with a plan for the stuff I want to make and wear in NYC when I go.

I want to make my grey jersey dress from a Vogue pattern I ordered but haven't yet received (I will probably leave off the ribbon wrap thing on this version, but I'm not sure yet), and I'll wear that with purple tights and my black kitten heels if it is chilly out, or barelegged with my chartreuse and red slingbacks if it's warm. I don't have anything else to match those slingbacks so I'm looking forward to having a nice simple plain grey dress that I think they'll look good with.

I have my purple tunic top that is finished already, which I will wear with dark wash jeans and black kitten heels.

I want to make the black Burda shirt dress with white line drawings of flowers, and wear that with the black heels and footless black tights and white shrug that I am nearing completion on, or possibly red ballet flats and red cardigan from Thrift Town.

If it's warm I'll also take the black eyelet which is finished except for an alteration to make the waist slightly bigger, and wear that with footless tights and red ballet flats and cardigan. Oh, and I need to find a slip to go with it first, and I can't find any slips anywhere... what's up with that, doesn't anyone wear a slip anymore?

And I want to make a twist top out of some nice stretchy fabric in green and black print that I just bought, to wear with jeans and heels or with a denim pencil skirt I'd like to also make if there's time and room in the suitcase. Probably with footless tights also, we'll see. I may also take the awesome tunic shirtdress/blouse I scored at Goodwill the other day to wear either over jeans or with tights also. Have I mentioned that I love tights?

The gals at Go Fug Yourself seem to hate the footless tights look, (and granted those links go to some pretty bad examples) but for some reason I really love it at least when it's done right, which it usually isn't. For me though ot makes things slightly edgier looking or more casual looking I think. I'm sure it will soon go out of style but I think I'm going to wear the hell out of them till then. They're surprisingly practical for this in-between San Francisco weather too, they make my legs a little warmer but not too warm since they leave the ankles bare.

As I lamented earlier I have no interesting project pics ready for this post, but a post without pics of some sort seems naked, so here is an image of another vintage pattern I ordered but haven't decided what to do with yet. I kind of like how that view on the right looks like it's a sort of leopard print, so maybe I'll make something like that out of it. ooh, or zebra print, I've been coveting some zebra print lately, I thought maybe in a coat, but maybe I could carry it off in a dress if the design is simple like this one. I'll have to ponder, and see what fabric I can find on sale.

I have several more vintage patterns on the way to me from Ebay so I'm putting a moratorium on further vintage pattern purchases. Also on fabric purchases till I sew up at least the list of things I just mentioned for the NY trip.

Tonight hopefully I'll have time to finish the denim cheongsam-like dress I started on Sunday, and maybe cut out the twist top. I want to experiment with cutting more than one fabric at a time, since I have some of the purple fabric leftover from the tunic top and think that would make a nice twist top also.