Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday

I keep thinking that I'm going to start blogging on a more regular basis, but then I get caught up in the transient pleasures of having clean dishes or clean laundry or a balanced checkbook or all the math homework graded.  Silly me.

Most of my free time -- also known as "time I'm sitting around waiting for someone who is currently in a class to which I drove them" has been spent crocheting:

Yes, the world competition of Irish Dance is in Boston this year, and our former school would like to send lots of teams, which means they're making new ceili team dresses, which means they need 16 new collars.  They're using the same pattern as they used for the choreography team a couple of years ago.

I've posted the pattern online on Ravelry for all the world to see and use, but they called me to make them.  We didn't discuss price beyond "we'll pay you for this."  Last time I donated my time and materials; I'm not planning to do so this time, but I'm pondering what to set as a fair price.

I've also been amassing fabric.  Annabeth is playing the Cat in Seussical later this spring, and we thought it would be fun to make a skirt from this fabric.  The blue will be the main fabric, and the white-on-red will be insets.  We found it at had a big sale at the time, and I bought some other stuff to make tshirts and tops.  I also threw out an equivalent amount of fabric odds and ends from the closet where I store all of this stuff -- I took the box and filled it to overflowing with scraps, then pitched it all in the trash.  Yay me for not accumulating more than I'm using up, right?

Except JoAnn had a sale on character cottons, flannels, and fleece, PLUS had an extra 25% off if you showed your educator discount card.  Well, who could resist this stuff:

I would've bought more of that stuff on top, but someone else beat me to it.  I have no clue what I'm going to do with any of this except the red, which is flannel -- that is going to be jammy pants for Thalia.  Assuming I ever get around to sewing anything, that is, given that I' spending even less time sewing than I am blogging.  We'll see.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday

I've been sewing the Linda pant from StyleArc patterns.  I've made 3 pairs since Christmas, and am ready to start prepping fabric on pair number 4.

I'd made this pattern a couple of times last spring in some stretch bengaline from JoAnn Fabric -- stretch bengaline is the specific fabric called for on the pattern.  But, alas, the JoAnn version of that fabric ... has issues.  Specifically, the black dye rubs off on anything cotton I wear (yes, even months later and after being washed so many times), plus it feels prickly against my skin (probably a reaction to the dye).  

Then I'd made 3 cropped/capri versions over the summer in various lightweight stretch wovens.

On Christmas Day I started browsing my stash of bottomweights for anything appropriate for the pattern.  I found some black lightweight something-or-other from somewhere-or-other, then I stopped by Hancock's a few days later and found some grey stretch poly-rayon suiting on sale for about $9 total cost (I'm pretty sure that's what's in the photo), then stopped by JoAnn to discover a heavier mauve poly-rayon twill that I could use a 50%-off coupon to purchase (about $13 total cost for fabric), and then JoAnn put ALL of the suiting on sale this week, so I bought more.

I know the StyleArc pattern is pricey -- you have to pay shipping from Australia, plus they're more expensive than the 99 cent pattern sales at the stores.  But I'm able to make pants quickly for about $10-$15 per pair worth of fabric and notions.  I've made 8 pairs of pants off of this pattern so far, and have plans for at least 2 more., so cost of pattern per pair is looking better and better.

Also, I began the New Year using my new camera (a Christmas present) to photograph some of the yarn stash I'd totally forgotten about owning.  After I got the piles sorted, I browsed Ravelry for patterns that would match up with the piles.  Then I started swatching. 

That project got set aside, though, when a friend on an online forum had a crisis.  Several people decided to band together to make a quilt for her.  I said I'd make a square.

Unperturbed that I have no clue what I'm doing, I decided I wanted to embroider a labyrinth, since it might be meditative/interesting/fun/soothing to trace the path with a finger while wrapped in the quilt.  I chose multi-color floss in the appropriate colors. I found an image of a labyrinth online, and played around with re-sizing it until it looked right for going onto a 9 inch (finished size) quilt square.

I traced the pattern onto Sulky tear-away, sewed the stabilizer to some white muslin, and started back stitching the pattern by hand.

I originally started at the outside, and then realized that it made more sense to start in the middle and work my way out.  I confined all my stitching to the actual pattern lines -- that is, I didn't cross over the gaps on the backside.

Then I tore the Sulky away using tweezers to pick it all out (I think there are still shreds in this photo).

Then I picked out some fabric for a backing.  I thought I might have different ideas about appropriate color and pattern after the embroidery was done.

I turned under the edges and sewed the labyrinth onto the 9.5 inch square as a applique.  I also sewed some more lines of white stitching following some of the rings and cross bars -- I'm hoping these help stabilize it.

And just now I've folded it up, put it in an envelope, and am mailing it to someone who volunteered to put all of the squares together.

Things I probably could improve on:  I traced the pattern in plain ol' pencil, I didn't back the embroidery with any sort of stabilizer before sewing it on to the backing cloth, I could've done something slicker for the final step of getting-rid-of-raw-edges-and-affixing-to-backing. Also, I considered putting something in the center -- a heart or a word or something -- but decided that might be twee.

In the meantime, lots of school stuff has started back up, and various other lessons and theater productions are going on.  More on that later.