Post Category: Knitting


More Socks!

Somehow I got it into my brain that I wanted to knit all the sock patterns in Sock Innovation by Cookie A, in order. Since Christmas 2010, I’ve been making steady progress. Here’s an image dump of the first four completed pairs.

Knitted in Mountain Colors Crazyfoot (Sagebrush colorway)

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One of those things happened where I ended up with a million different things to write about and a million different pictures to process and post, and I got so overwhelmed I ended up working on nothing at all. That’s my excuse for taking so long between posts. What I’m doing now is working up a backlog of posts, so I can parcel them out as needed and not have to worry about typing up ten major posts in a row. We’ll see how this goes.

So the first topic in my massive list is…knitting socks! I’m a crocheter at heart, but I thought it would be a good idea to expand my horizons and learn knitting. As of the end of January, I had exactly two knitting projects completed. One, my Rikku scarf (which still isn’t completed by the way…*sigh*), I did circa 2005. The other, the garter stitch scarf, I did in January after completely relearning how to knit. Both of them involved doing the knit stitch over and over and over, except one was on circular needles and one was on straight needles. Neither of them was the most complicated knitting project in the universe. In fact, I’m not sure it would have been possible to knit a simpler project, except maybe one with no color changes whatsoever.

Then, around March or so, I was given a couple of knitting pattern books, including the aptly-named “I Can’t Believe I’m Knitting Socks” by Cindy Guggemos. Not only does this book include several sock patterns, but it gives very detailed instructions on the sock knitting process. There’s even a section on using circular needles, a section on alternate heels, and so on. The basic pattern uses fairly large yarn (DK weight) and needles (Size 4) for socks — none of the fingering weight yarn on tiny needles. So I picked up some cheap acrylic yarn and some bamboo double-pointed needles. It’s tough to find DK/sport weight acrylic except in the baby section, but amidst all the pastels, I found an interesting striping yarn I liked.

Going from garter stitch rectangles to double-pointed needles, K1P1 ribbing, increases/decreases, short rows, and picking up stitches was a big jump, but less than three weeks after I started, I had my first pair of socks! There are two visible mistakes on them — one of them is a big loop of yarn on the inside that I never quite figured out. I will count these mistakes under “things only Jeanne would notice.”

Here are some photos:

And a link to the Ravelry project page.

After that, I was ready to move on to the next project. I picked up some nicer yarn (Berroco Comfort Sox Metallics) and used one of the more complicated patterns in the book. The cuff had a chevron pattern that involved all sorts of increases, decreases, yarnovers, slipping stitches, and passing stitches over. I finished these socks with no visible mistakes (note that there were still mistakes…just not noticeable ones) and gave them to my mom for Mother’s Day.


Ravelry link.

Since then, I’ve spent way too much money on sock yarn. Yes, I can admit that I’m a sock knitting addict. My most recent project, one that’s taken me much longer than the other two because I haven’t been putting the time in, is the Spring Forward pattern from Knitty magazine. I have one sock complete and the other in progress. Here are the photos so far:

Ravelry link.

I haven’t worked on these in a few months, because I felt guilty about all my neglected crochet projects, so I’ve been concentrating more on crochet again lately. I’m feeling good about getting some of my backlogged projects finished, so I’m sure I’ll pick up the socks again soon.

I really want to buy the Sock Innovations book by Cookie A., but I seem to always spend my monthly budget on other stuff like, say, yarn. In the meantime, there are enough free sock patterns online to keep me busy.


About the New Layout (plus some crochet)

Okay! I’m finally sitting down to write an update post. I’ve been holding off on posting here until I was done with the new layout. I’m going to have to break this into several posts so I don’t go crazy. First, here’s the story behind the new blog look.

I’m redoing my portfolio, and one of the items on my to-do list is creating custom layouts for my blogs under my new name: Lopapalooza Studios. For my sewing and crafting blog, I am now using the name Lopapalooza Creative Fingers. The old name, “Diary of a Sewing Novice,” doesn’t really apply anymore. Not only am I no longer a novice (hooray!), but I’m focusing on more than just sewing.

For the layout, I wanted something that incorporates both sewing and crafts with muted colors and a bit of classic charm. And of course, I couldn’t resist including my lop logo! The site should be viewable on most browsers and versions, although it will look best on newer browsers. The text is also resizable.

I used brushes and patterns from Obsidian Dawn.

I am still very much into crochet, with the occasional bit of practice knitting. Crochet has become a major focus for me, and the best place to follow my recent progress is my Ravelry page. I encourage anyone who is interested in knitting and/or crochet, even if you don’t feel like you’re very good yet and even if you don’t have any completed projects, to sign up. The number of resources on there are just amazing, including the pattern search and all the groups. At the time of this writing, you need to sign up for an invitation, and it’ll take a few days to get it, but it’s worth it.

For those who aren’t on Ravelry, here are links to my latest completed projects. I’ll go more in-depth on these in following posts:

More to come soon!


Rikku costume update!

I realize I haven’t written in here for a while, but it’s not for lack of progress. I’ve just been working on so much sewing stuff, I got overwhelmed. I’m still working on the Rikku costume, of course, and to add extra stress and fun to my holiday season, I’m making several presents for people this year. One of which is another dog bed, this one for my parents’ pug, Ginny. It’s almost finished, and I should have pictures very soon.

As for the Rikku costume, I have several progress pictures to share. As you might remember, here is the original costume drawing. And in one of my last entries, I talked about working on the top. Well, the top is finished except for the black strap and the front cord. I have supplies for these, but haven’t crafted them yet.

BUT! I do have pictures of me wearing the top with some stand-in straps and front cord. They’re blurry and quite silly, but they give a good idea of what the top will look like. I debated posting these pictures publicly, but then I realized that I’m going to be wearing this in public anyway. And if I can’t feel comfortable posting blurry pictures of me wearing a skimpy bikini top and “Toadily Cool” frog shorts, well, then what kind of cosplayer am I?

So here you go. These pictures contain BOOBS, such as they are. Fear my A-cups!

Jeanne poses goofily in the mirror. Sexy!
Maybe they’ll look bigger if I post a close-up shot…

As for detailed shots of the costume thus far sans my chest, here they are:
The main part of the scarf is complete!
Bikini front detail
Bikini back detail

Now, anyone can throw some trim on a yellow underwire bra and call it a Rikku top, but as you can see, my goal is to create something that looks — and holds together — like the actual top. I made some mistakes here and there, and had to make some necessary changes because of the way I constructed it (such as the location of the eyelets), but I think it’s overall successful. If I made another one, I know what I would do differently, and that’s the important part of the learning process, right?

Another thing that is important to me as I work on getting out of this pesky novice category is to make the wrong side of the costume pieces look as good as the right side. It would have been a million times easier to construct that top without making the binding look good on both sides, or by leaving the buckle strap unfinished, but I wanted it to look like…well, if the straight males in the audience will excuse me, I wanted it to look like it would if Rikku took off her top. Meaning, of course, that it is an actual finished garment. I’m sure this at least doubled the time it took me to make that particular piece.

I still have a long way to go on the costume and my sewing/costuming skills in general, but I’m feeling pretty good about this one so far.


Hi there! I’m still alive and still sewing. I’ve been so busy with my regular website and school in the last year, but now that I’m unemployed, I have time to sew. It’s actually a blessing.

Right now, I’m working on finishing up the projects I either started or for which I bought supplies. First on the list was the bunny bib mentioned in the last entry. I finished it up today. Here are some pictures:

Bunny bib front
Bunny bib back
Bunny bib front bias tape detail
Bunny bib back bias tape detail

I could only get so close with the dinky camera. :) Here are some notes from the project:

The Good
*This time around I had no trouble with the applique feed. I used 0.3 for the stitch width and didn’t experience any of the issues I discussed before.

*Thanks to a little bit of coaching in a presser foot class (that I took sometime within the last year or so), I was able to go around curves more successfully with the applique. Also, my start and end points matched up better than before.

*The bias tape was a LOT, LOT better this time around. While I haven’t been sewing, I’ve been doing more reading, and I decided to try some of what I read for the bias tape application. I took a lot more time with shaping the curves with the iron, and I hand-stitched the back after machine sewing the front. It’s not perfect, but it’s such an improvement over the last attempt. And the hand-stitching may be more time consuming but a) I don’t have a bias tape application foot, and b) it gave me a lot more control than trying to catch both sides with the machine at once.

The Bad
*I appliqued the center piece first, and quickly learned that it’s best to do the outside pieces first. No biggie, but just a thought for next time.

*I haven’t yet mastered appliqueing corners — I have some excess stitching in the yellow. I’ll have to figure that one out.

*One of the alignment marks is slightly visible through the bunny. Note to self: material isn’t 100% opaque.

*I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but the instructions call for sewing the rick-rack on with invisible nylon thread. For the life of me, I could not get this to work last time — I tried different types of thread in the bobbin, even. So like last time, I just used a regular kind-of-matching thread to sew it on. Plus, even if I wanted to try the nylon again, the top broke off the thread spool. Odd, that.

In all, I would consider this one a success!

I’ve been working on my scarf as well, and I’m just over six inches to completion. I’ll post pictures when it’s finished.


Why do I always wait so long between posts? I guess because I hadn’t been doing too much sewing stuff, instead focusing on VGR and some video games.

On Saturday, I went to “Sewing Adventures 2004″ put on by Husqvarna-Viking. I ended up learning a lot and spending an assload of money on new sewing machine feet and other accessories. I bought the heirloom kit despite not having a sewing machine that can do heirloom type stitches. I will someday, though.

Last night, I went to a sewing machine foot class and ended up buying an open toe foot for my machine. I went home and practiced satin stitch applique. For some reason the fabric doesn’t like to feed through my machine when I do 0.2 length stitches, and is a little iffy in certain spots on the 0.3 length stitches. I don’t know if the presser foot is slipping on the stabilizer or what.

I’ve also been working a lot on my scarf:

The thing is, the actual scarf I’m basing it on has a color change gradient rather than bands. But I didn’t want to knit a 9 foot single-colored scarf (my first scarf, by the way) and then potentially screw it up in the dye process. So yeah, it won’t look exactly like Rikku’s scarf, so hopefully other cosplayers won’t scoff at it. :P

The other night, when I tried satin stitch applique for the first time, I was a total klutz. I managed to try satin stitching with the wrong stitch (the buttonhole stitch), I ironed the wrong side of the fusible stabilizer, and when I examined the resulting cruddiness on the iron, I managed to spill water everywhere. I don’t think I’m cut out for this!