Sunday, October 28, 2007


Finally finished up one of my summer projects - just in time for the first freeze predicted for tonight! Oh well, it will be nice for next summer.

Pattern: Berrocco LaToya
Yarn: CottonEase, pineapple, 2 skeins (approximately 400 yards total)
Size: extra small
Needles: size 5 & 7

It was a pretty easy and quick pattern. I knit 75% of it while on vacation in July and then put it aside for 3 months. I think there were some errors in the pattern. The pattern calls for you to knit the back as if the side panels are knit side out whereas the front is knit as if the side panels are purl side out. I opted for purl side out. There was another error but I can't remember what it was. I shortened the straps by about an inch and kitchenered them together rather than bind off and knit together.

I started another project over the weekend while visiting my friend in Orlando. We visited a yarn shop in Tampa that I HIGHLY recommend. It is called Knit 'n Knibble and they had a very nice, very organized selection of yarns and patterns. There were many shop samples and the sales person, Dale, was very helpful! Although I certainly don't need any more yarn, I did pick up supplies for another little project that I'll post about later this week.

Lots of airplane time lately so I'm getting some knitting projects taken care of but all this time on the road is cramping my sewing progress. By Wednesday, I will have visited six Florida cities in 8 days.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My new toy!

I recently purchased an embroidery machine. Very basic as far as embroidery machines go. It's the Brother HE-120. I bought mine on ebay but I think HSN was the original retailer for them. Wal-Mart sells the similar Disney version, SE-270D.

I hate figuring out how things work so the machine sat in the box for a few weeks while I willed the knowledge to come to me. I finally accepted that I would actually have to read the manual so I took advantage of some free time that popped up last night after a canceled appointment and sat down with my new machine and the manual. I tried to watch Dancing with the Stars (Holy Toledo, Marie!!) at the same time so I wasn't terribly efficient but I did get my first sample design - my initials - embroidered! I need to make 12 monogrammed fleece blankets before the end of November.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Penny Power

Remember this?

Since end of March, it's been the receptacle for loose change from my car and wallet and off the kids' bedroom floors (hey, if it's not important enough to keep it off the floor, it's mine!) Well, the container was about 3/4 full and getting kind of heavy so I took it to my local grocery store where they have a Coinstar machine. Turns out there was $80.57 in it. Not bad for money I never would have missed. If you cash out, the surcharge is almost 9% but if you take a gift certificate from selected vendors, you get the full amount. So I took an Amazon certificate for $80.57 and ended up getting a bonus $10 gift certificate. Cool Beans!

New Look 6723 - Just in time!

All I had left was the hem and zipper so now my dress is complete, just in time for the dinner this Thursday. I will wear it with the patent leather strappy shoes, the patent leather purse and hopefully, rhinestone dangly earrings (gave my shopping-loving daughter the assignment today - "find me some inexpensive rhinestone dangly earrings before Thursday morning.")

The details:
New Look 6723, view B
Fabric - dull satin from Hancock's
Notions - invisible zipper, rhinestone belt buckle, hook & eye

Easy enough dress to construct. True to size and nothing tricky found in the pattern. I was going for the Audrey Hepburn look. Not happy with the crease line in the hem - happens all the time when I use the blind hem on my sewing maching. Can anyone tell me how to avoid that? I will press it out but it's annoying.

Ignore the hair - it's my lazy Sunday look!

Party Saturday

I gave the cable purse to my friend at the football tailgate party last night (BEAUTIFUL night for a tailgate and football game!) but forgot to take her picture with the purse. Unfortunately, I promised to make similar bags for two other friends. Photo of all cheer moms below. Yes, I am the only one with a drink in my hand.... do you have a point?

Photo at right shows Lucy apron being modeled at the Texas Hold 'Em party. My friend Lynne was a big winner so I think everyone should wear a vintage style apron to play cards!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ethel Apron

Dontcha think Lucy and Ethel would have loved matching aprons?! Although I should be doing about ten other things, I woke up and kept thinking about the other view that I had cut out so I headed to the sewing room and made view E of McCalls 3979. It will also be a friend gift. This one was a little easier to put together than the last one but I'm not sure if it is because there are less curved edges on this design or because I am now in a groove with applying bias tape. Either way, this is an adorable style. I recently found Heather Bailey's Freshcut line of fabric at a local store and you can bet I'll be creating this apron in her fabric.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lucy Apron

Why do I call it that? Because I can just picture Lucy Ricardo wearing it, although in more sedate fabrics). I made this apron for another friend who also has an October birthday. She loves to cook so I'll package it with these adorable notecards:

The pattern is McCalls 3979 - vintage aprons (View D).

The fabric is some quilter's cotton from JoAnn's. This is not a pattern for beginners. All that seam binding was a pain in the patootey to apply! But I do like how it turned out and I have View E cut out in the same fabric for yet another friend's birthday gift!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cable Knit Purse - Take 3

I made the Knitpicks Cable purse* for myself last winter and received lots of compliments on it. Then my daughter wanted one so I made one for her, too. One of my friends really wanted one so I told her I'd make her one, too. She makes jewelry and offered to make me a bracelet. Yeah, you guessed it... she gave me the bracelet ages ago and NADA in return for her.

Her birthday is tomorrow so I decided I would finally bite the bullet. She wanted a black one. I forgot that cables look better in lighter yarn or else I would have talked her out of it. I just used some Wool-Ease I had in my stash. Oh well, I hope she likes it. I am giving it with the red ribbon on it but in case she thinks it's too gaudy that way, I'm also including the white ribbon for a more neutral look.

I forgot how fast this is to knit. Probably took 3 hours (and I am a SLOW knitter!). For this one, I started with the bottom panel, picked up stitches around the bottom and then knit the whole thing in the round.

* It was a free pattern but it's gone from their site. I have the pattern in pdf form so if you want a copy, email me and I'll send it to you.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Muslin Tulip Skirt - yay or nay?

10/16/07 - Thanks for all your comments! Between the comments here on my blog and at Pattern Review, it looks like this skirt is a go although I will heed the advice to make it a bit fitter at the sides and definitely, will wear a fitted, streamlined top. I'm thinking turtleneck - just like in the pattern picture!

I love the look of the tulip skirt in McCalls 5473 but have heard a lot of people say, "Oh, I could never wear that style." But I'm not sure why people who don't like it, don't like it. I decided to make a muslin to see if I can, "wear that style."

I think it turned out kinda cute but maybe I'm missing something. I made View C some scrap thin twill that had not been pre-washed so I think it's a little stiffer than the skirt should be. If I end up making this for real, I'll be sure to pick a drapier fabric.

So I ask... "Can I (should I) wear this style?" My feelings won't be hurt if the answer is no. But if you say yes and I find out later I look silly, I'll have to hunt you down! LOL!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Finally - She cooks!

I have to admit that although I love to cook, dinners at my house have been .... well.... a bit sporadic lately. Could it be because I'm spending too much time in my sewing room? [No comment, my M&M loving friend!]

I realized today that I perhaps need to spend a little more time in the kitchen when one of the kids called and rather than asking me, "What's for dinner?" asked, "Will there be dinner?" LOL. Now, in my own defense.... these are able bodied people that could very easily whip up dinner from the abundance of groceries that are always in the freezer/fridge/pantry while I'm working but that's not exactly the game plan I've laid out over the years. So, on this first cool day of the season (LOVE IT!), I whipped up an old family favorite - pure comfort food. Added bonus is that it's quick and easy if you use some head-starts from the grocery store.

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

  • 2 cups cooked chicken (I buy a rotisserie chicken almost every week at the grocery store; so many things you can do with it)
  • 1 10 oz box frozen chopped broccoli, cooked in microwave for 4-5 minutes. (I subbed a box of broccoli with cheese sauce that I found in the freezer)
  • 1 small can chopped mushrooms, drained
  • 1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheese (I used some low fat velveeta that I cut in small cubes)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (use the low fat/low sodium one)
  • 1/2 soup can milk
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • black pepper and garlic powder to taste

Mix together all ingredients in large bowl and pour into greased casserole pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Vogue 2980 revisited

I made another version of Vogue 2980; this time a long sleeve version. The fabric is a very stretchy, slippery, embossed knit from my stash, purchased a couple years ago from JoAnn's.

Every time I see this top reviewed on PR I LOVE it. It really is a fun style. I added a bit to the seam allowance as the first one came out very snug and I'm still a little nervous that this one is too tight for a gal of my age! I think I'm going to buy this pattern again and make the next one in the next larger size or maybe even two sizes up.

I think this could make a very sexy LBD (if lengthened, of course!) but only for a young, very fit body. I'm about 3 kids too late for that look. LOL!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

NL 6429

After spending so long on the coat, I wanted a quicky project. Voila! A knit dress that I'll wear on a business trip this week. I cut it out last night and finished it up this morning. This is the second time I've made this pattern and I really love the style. I'm not sure that I love the sleeve length on this version, however. It hits about 2" above the wrist. Next time, I will shorten or lengthen so it's either full length or 3/4 length. But not changing this one.

The particulars:

NL6429, View B
Fabric: Floral Medallion poly knit in black/white from Gorgeous Fabrics. I don't think it's available any longer.


I feel like I've been talking about this coat forever but I'm finally done. As I've mentioned before, this is a "muslin" for a knee-length version I'm going to do in pink wool.

The "dummy" buttons look crooked in the picture but they didn't in the mirror. I'm going to have to check on that. I didn't notice the color was sticking up either but my photographer was not very cooperative so I'm stuck with this photo.

The particulars:

V8346, View A
Fabric: loose woven acrylic from JoAnn ($4 / yard); underlined with flannel to make it warmer; lined with a poly blend in black.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

New Look 6723 in process

I have a business dinner coming up at the end of the month that requires a dressy dress. I remember seeing someone's version of NL 6723 a few months ago (I can't remember who) and thinking it looked very classy and elegant and I think it's a perfect style for this awards dinner.

I couldn't decide on which neckline so I did a muslin of both and worked on the fitting issues at the same time. I think I like the high neckline (fuschia version on right) best for this one.

My dress will be made from the red fabric (dull satin from Hancock's) and I selected a contrast belt in black from the same fabric. The buckle provides a little bling and I'm picturing dangly sparkly rhinestoney earrings and black strappy shoes to accessorize. I considered rhinestone strappy shoes but 1) I don't have any and don't really want to buy any and 2) might be too much bling for my business associates to handle. Ha ha.

(I just previewed this post and the sample above looks like a Santa suit! Hopefully, the finished product won't have people saying Ho, Ho, Ho to me!)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Need Sewing Advice - Buttons on Double Breasted Coat

My "muslin" coat is finished except for the buttons. As shown in the short tweedy view, the coat is a double breasted with four buttons. The pattern calls for four snaps as fasteners with non-functional, i.e. purely decorative buttons. I don't want snaps to close the coat; I want "real" buttons, but I'm not sure how many buttonholes to make.

Assume you are facing the coat, which has the right side lapped over the left. It would look sort of like this with the numbers representing the buttons and the lines indicating the top and side opening (try not to be too impressed by my graphic abilities!):



1 2 |


3 4 |


i.e. 2 & 4 are closest to the opening.

I think I should make buttonholes on the right side (i.e. outer layer) for # 1, 2, 4. Those would be functioning buttonholes, whereas #3 button would be decorative with no buttonhole. But should I make a functioning buttonhole for #3 on the (left side) bottom layer, too? i.e. so that the left side of the coat has one buttonhole with just a plain button that buttons to the the inside.

Now that my muslin is no longer a muslin, I don't want to screw it up! Help me, Please!