Post Tag: books

10.29.2009

Socks!

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.

Photos:

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.

12.11.2008

Yet another big update post

Wow, has it been over six months since I posted? I really have to get better about this. It’s not that I haven’t been working on sewing and other crafts — I totally have. At least I have that to say for myself.

Anyway, I recently upgraded my Flickr account to pro, so I’m going to try something new: storing my project images on Flickr and linking to them there. Obviously I won’t be storing all of my images on Flickr — just the main project ones. Hopefully I won’t have too many technical difficulties.

So what have I done since the last time I posted?

Well, I finished my bunny shirt — the shorter version of the dress (Simplicity 3867) from my last post.

Bunny shirt front
Bunny shirt side

The chest looks kind of collapsed on the dress form, but that’s because I didn’t provide the form with the proper…support before I put the dress on it. It looks better on the real thing (me).

Then in September, I was crazy enough to sew up a Renfest costume in one week. I used Simplicity 9966 and sewed just the shirt and the over- and underskirts. I’m glad I was smart enough to use a bodice I already owned — I just barely finished the three pieces on time.

Full costume (sort of)
Skirts
Neckline detail
Sleeve cuff detail
Skirt trim detail
Skirt clasp detail
Skirt serging/hem detail
Shirt seam detail

I’m proud of how it turned out, especially since the blouse was made out of such challenging material. I used voile, which was so wispy I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to sew it. Also, I had to adapt the sleeve pattern since the fabric wasn’t wide enough to accommodate it — the fabric was 36″ wide instead of the 45″ the pattern required. Since the fabric was so sheer, I used French seams throughout. I also finished the inside of both the skirts, just for that professional touch. I probably would have been finished in half the time if I hadn’t put so much effort into serging and whatnot. My only issue with the final costume was the skirt waist — I didn’t make the elastic tight enough. I guess that’s the problem with having a dress form with a bigger waist than my own.

At the end of July/beginning of August, I went to a 3-day fashion design course, which was awesome! I learned a lot about the design process, and I have some ideas for a future custom wardrobe.

Then there’s my new hobby — crochet. I posted some pictures of my beginning amigurumi. Since then, I’ve made quite a few projects. If you’re a member of Ravelry, you can see my project page here. Otherwise, here are some pictures of my most recent projects:

Amigurumi cornucopia
Short ‘n’ Sweet bolero
Camouflage wristwarmers
One-skein scarf

There are a few more projects I haven’t yet photographed. I’m really getting into this whole crochet thing. I added a bunch of crochet books to my Amazon wishlist. Knitting books, too! That’s just what I need — a new hobby.

I also crocheted up a couple of cactus amigurumi for John, but of course I forgot to take pictures of them before I sent them to work with John. Whoops!

I’m currently working on a complete site overhaul, including a redesign of this blog. This may take me some time, but stay tuned!

1.25.2004

I know I haven’t posted in a while. I just had surgery, so I’ve been recovering and all that fun stuff. But I started reading my Readers Digest sewing book again. I’m halfway through!

I picked up a couple of other books at the half price bookstore. One is on fitting, and the other one is about fixing sewing screwups.

Oh, and I’ve been doing a lot of research on the hobbit costumes. Frame-by-frame DVD screenshots. Fun! I know there’s a lot of stuff on alleycatscratch.com, but I like doing my own research, too. I don’t just want to copy work that other people did!

1.07.2004

Long post!

I’m currently reading this book, which I bought ages ago and never read all the way through. Holy crap, it answers a lot of the questions I had regarding the basics of sewing. The thing is, I didn’t really understand a lot of it before I a) did a little bit of sewing, and b) took all those classes at the Sewing Expo in November. So I guess I needed a little more background.

I’m currently studying pattern alterations. Some of it, like adding more fabric for the bust, confuses me. Luckily for me, I have a tiny bust, so I will not have to deal with this any time soon. Joy!

I’ve also seen good reviews of this book on patternreview.com and on Amazon. So maybe next time I go to the bookstore I’ll have to pick it up. I have $60 in B&N gift certificates, which I will use on a pattern-making book I want.

I have a Joann’s credit card, from which I’ve already received $40 in gift cards. I have more on the way, which is good because I already spent the others (plus some) at Joann’s last week. I got a whole bunch of stuff, including (but not limited to) a style ruler, some more pressing equipment, eyelet pliers, sewing machine needles, and some new presser feet (from Viking, in the Joann’s store).

My current project before working on any of my character costumes is a dress pattern (Simplicity 9891). I’m doing the one with the collar. I picked out some light green stretch velvet with some off-white patterned satin for the collar.

I also bought some tracing paper last night for making my own alterable copies of the pattern. I took some of my measurements, and to no one’s surprise, I’m much, much smaller on the top half than on the bottom. I also have long legs, a very short back waist length, and a longer waist-to-hip length. :P

Oh, and the sewing room is finally clean!