Monday, April 30, 2012

Me-Made May '12: It's Happening

Me-Made May starts tomorrow! Here's my pledge:
I, Alicia of Iron-On Maiden, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavour to wear a handmade dress or blouse/skirt each day for the duration of May 2012.
Basically, me-made items have to be what keep me from getting busted for public nudity this month. At least, that's how I'm thinking of it.

Like I mentioned earlier, my wardrobe's been a bit of a challenge of late, what with the changing seasons and my changing size. Also, I burned two weeks knitting instead of stitching. Oops.

But I've got a plan! A plan to quickly round out my available clothing. And here it is:

Monday: Finish the Glass Tiles Violet blouse.
I started this over the weekend, and it just needs hemming and buttonholes. Here's a sneak peek:

Tuesday: Alter the "Long Live the Queens" skirt.
This is a dirndl that needs to be sized down 5-6". Of course, all that means is gathering the waist tighter and reapplying the waistband! I unpicked the waistband yesterday so this should go quickly. (BTW, this got its name because only gay men have ever complimented it--but in really unexpected stop-me-on-the-street ways. Bless them.)

Wednesday: Finish the stripy seersucker blouse.
Last year, I spent an entire weekend matching stripes and painstakingly cutting out pattern pieces. And then I just left it on a hanger to languish--tsk, tsk. It just needs some self-drafted cuffs, one buttonhole fixed, and the buttons themselves.

Thursday: Fix and finish the Cordy Ginger skirt.
I need to do Sunni's magical zipper insertion to make this skirt work. But I've mucked with the zip enough already that the entire back seam needs redone. This will be a biggish job, I think.

Friday: Finish the English Garden dirndl.
Yet another half-finished project from last year, when my sewing confidence was much lower. Should be pretty straightforward, though.

So, if all goes according to plan, my closet will be five garments richer by the end of the work week! With all these bold patterns, mixing and matching outfits might still be a challenge. But I'll worry about that later.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

WIP: The Creamy, Fruity Miette

I recently finished the body of my first-ever cardigan: Miette by Andi Satterlund, worked in Cascade Luna Paints cotton yarn.

This is only my second knitting project ever, so it's involved lots of firsts! First time doing raglan sleeves, lacework, ktbl, ptbl, m1, and adding stitches in the middle of the work. And that was just for the body.

Now it's time to start the sleeves, which will be my first time knitting in the round. I'll also need to "pick up and knit" to add the button bands and neckband. I hope it goes as well as the body did.

Gotta say, this is a great pattern for a beginner (or at least an ambitious beginner). The lacework only happens at the edges, so there's a lot of mindless stockinette. And you can't beat a top-down, raglan-sleeve sweater for simplicity.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Darmok & Jalad at Tanagra

Today was my last lesson with my much-beloved piano teacher, who is moving to Houston. We had only worked together for 8 months, but it was a great relationship and I would have liked to work with him for years and years. Sigh. And yes, I did spend the afternoon face down in cupcakes and pita chips to console myself. Thanks for asking.

I found out just last week that he and I are both fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation. That made it easy to decide on a going-away present. Remember this episode?

We eventually find out that "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" means working together to meet a common goal. Teamwork, essentially. So I turned it into this:

What better way to show my appreciation for a fantastic teacher?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ikea for Sewing

Finally, all my sewing tools are up and out of my way! But still within easy reach.

Behold, 2 Grundtal magnetic knife racks, a Grundtal towel rail with 10 S-hooks, and a Grundtal cutlery caddy. Eventually I might also get some Grundtal containers to go on the magnetic racks, but they weren't in stock this trip.

Of course, all that is hanging above my fantastic Varde cabinet. WORTH. EVERY. PENNY. The shelves are roomy enough to fit a big-ass stash, and all my notions and craft junk fit into the drawers.

I was thrilled to find that just about all of my sewing tools will hang on the magnetic racks--even my little felt needle book.

Here's a closer look:

My go-to tools: scissors, Olfa rotary cutter, measuring tape, needle book, seam ripper, and tracing wheel

The caddy holds marking tools. The Fiskars rotary cutter isn't magnetic for some reason.

Bias-tape makers, pins, and rotary blades
Now that my tools are organized again, I've got lots of sewing to catch up on!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Angst of Successful Weight Loss

I've lost about 25 pounds since Halloween. I feel great and look a lot better, and am now about a third of the way to my goal weight. I also have almost nothing to wear.

From what I can tell, I've gone down two sizes. And for whatever reason, it's really important to me to not buy any more RTW clothing. (Not sure why, but I'm mulishly refusing to do so.) So I'm pretty much down to the few sewing projects I've finished this year and the RTW clothes that used to be too small to wear.

To help me keep track of what needs to be replaced, I took pics of each main piece of clothing (not workout pants, t-shirts, pajamas, that kind of thing). Here they are:

The post-its say whether they fit well, are baggy, need to be finished, or need to go away. Looks like a nice lot of skirts, right? Wrong. Two are too big and four (FOUR!) need work before they can be worn. The three reliable ones are two Gingers and a circle skirt. One of the blouses is also a WIP. (I'm not so good at finishing my projects.)

What's the point of all this? Well, today I decided to get rid of all my baggy clothes. That'd be all my pajama pants, two of the five finished skirts shown above (if you're curious, they're the second and third from the right in the middle row), my only tank top, the last pair of RTW trousers from my closet, and some underpants. My only pair of RTW jeans went away last week, too.

I'm hoping a few good things will come out of doing this:

  1. I'll be more comfortable and feel less frumpy. I've lost a lot of weight, after all, and I should feel good!
  2. I'll be more motivated to keep losing--and keep looking forward instead of feeling stuck in the past.
  3. It'll be easier to plan what to sew next, because I won't be hanging on to a bunch of stuff that only half works.
  4. I'll be extremely motivated to sew, so that I can have something to wear.
Wish me luck! Me-Made May is gonna be ... interesting.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Miette Has Begun

Yesterday I cast on my second-ever knitting project: the Miette cardigan, by Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots. Since my first project was the Anthro-Inspired Scarflet, this is my first piece of clothing. So ... trepidation.

I'm using the only yarn I had on hand:

It's Luna Paints, which is 100% cotton, which I don't really like. There's not much give (which I guess is how cotton rolls), and it just doesn't feel as nice to knit with as a wool blend. But the colors are pretty, and I paid a lot of money for it, so it seems best to use it up. (Right? Or should I just get something else and save this for some crappy project?)

Anyway, here's my Miette progress so far:

It definitely requires more focus than the scarflet did, but it's still easier than I expected. I did have to restart once after I had knitted the first two rows, because (duh) I didn't know that yarn-over isn't actually a stitch, it's just a maneuver you do between stitches. (Yeah, I'm that much of a beginner!)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

OWOP Roundup!

I don't think of the Renfrew and Ginger as proper painting clothes--do you? I didn't think so. Well, I've spent the last three days renovating and painting my office/sewing room! So I hope you'll understand when I say that my OWOP week didn't end as spectacularly as it began.

Day 1

I loved all the neutrals in this outfit. The necklace provided the only pops of color.

Day 2
Though you might not be able to tell in this pic, the shoes are a lovely indigo that really goes well with the autumn colors in the Renfrew and Ginger. My fave outfit of the week! And I got to wear it to knitting class, another LYS, and piano lesson, so it was well and properly shown off.

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5
Super comfy!

Day 6
Here's where things get hinky. This is the outfit I was planning to wear. What I actually wore? Black t-shirt, black increasingly-paint-spattered yoga pants, and Tevas. Ah, well.

Day 7
Aaaaand OWOP complete! Seven unique combinations, all me-made. Speaking of, this has been great practice for the upcoming Me-Made May. I've never participated before, but I'm up for it this time! I've gotten faster and more confident, and I think I'll have a small spring wardrobe pulled together by then.

So, shall we take a quick peek and the project that got in OWOP's way?


Bright light instead of dark paneling? Yes, please! And now, I'm off to buy more paint.

Thanks to Tilly for creating OWOP! It's been super fun.