December 26, 2017

Fall Back

The Halloween shirt (seen on Instagram) was the first of the 10 bowling style shirts that I made JB.  Since I haven't been sewing a bunch for myself lately - I cannot promise you that I won't drag all 10 shirts out into posts of their own.  

Along the lines of  "If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It" I'm still using McCalls 4399 - it is long since out of print, but M6972 would work or M7206 if you wanted to do some print mixing - in fact, I might need to add this pattern to my stash during the next sale.  

We had friends vising from Seattle and I asked them to take his shirt photos.  There were 2 reasons behind this - 1.  JB thinks one photo from each angle is enough - figure out how to make it work and 2 - he always changes into his outside working clothes while I'm still working.  

Back view - you can see there is plenty of room here to go around his slim hips.  I feel like the sleeves are a wee bit too long - but he says their fine.  I might put a deeper hem in the next batch I sew up.  

Apparently - Anna was making him laugh.  While JB's first comment when he saw this shirt was - it's bright, it's got quite a bit of kitchen time this Fall.  Guests always comment on how seasonally appropriate his shirt is and then there's Snoopy.  I mean, who doesn't love Snoopy?  

Just look at that pattern matching - across the pocket and the button placket - WIN!!

December 19, 2017

Ursula - the First

I am a knitter as well as a person who sews her own clothes.  In this grand cross country, life changing move, I am very blessed to have found an incredible LYS.  The Lancaster Yarn Shop is everything I could want in a shop - the owner is knowledgeable, friendly, and incredibly helpful - not only in the realm of knitting.  She often tells JB & I about things to do, places that have to be seen along with sharing great produce stands and restaurants.  

In January of this year, I signed up for her 4 week class to knit Ursula by Kate Davies.  This had several items on my knitting bucket list that I wanted to try - stranded colorwork and steeking.  Steeking is scary stuff, my friends, scary stuff!  I bought all the yarn to make a darker colored version of this sweater and then I fell in love with a stranded colorwork hat in the shop and had to have a sweater in those colors.  If you look closely you'll see my hair matches the colors in the sweater.  

I learned a lot of things making this sweater.  First - swatch, swatch, swatch and then try on.  Multiple times.  Because even though you've got gauge with your swatch, you might relax as you carry on.  

While I like this sweater a lot, I'm not sure I love it.  On me, to me - it feels a bit frumpy.  I know it doesnt look that way to others (or else the knit night ladies are all just being kind). It could also be how I styled it.  We had been at an industry conference and I was over it by the time I wore this outfit.  We had also spent 2 hours in the car coming home. 

It looks good from the back.  

In the future, I would add the ribbon to the button bands, but I would not actually add buttons.  I would use snaps - possibly magnetic ones.  This sweater will get worn - just not as much as I had hoped after all the work that went into it.  

I have enough yarn left over to make Eleanor a similar, but different sweater.  AND I still have enough yarn to make another version of this sweater.  

December 14, 2017

Holiday Tree Napkins

Over at my other blog (Carriage Corner) - I posted all about my holiday table settings this week.  Several years ago, I stumbled across a blog that showed step-by-step instructions for making these tree napkins.  I can no longer find that link.  At that time, I made several sets of napkins and gave all of them away!  I guess in actual fact - I've given this set away as well, hmmm. . .

Anyway - there's still time before Christmas to make a set or 6 of these trees and give them away to everyone you know.  They'll love them until they have to fold them.  ;o)

To start, you need 2 coordinating fabrics - these can be holiday themed or not.  I like to press my fabrics right sides together and then fold them in half, so you have 4 layers, both right sides together. 

Next - using the string, a pin and pencil - draw the largest circle that will fit on your fabric that is folded in half.  Make sure not to go into the selvedge.  I like to draw my circle on paper, but you can go straight to your fabric if you are a rebel.  The reason I do it on paper (no photos) is so I have a pattern AND to be able to fold my circle in half evenly.  Because these trees are made from a half circle of fabric. 

Lay your pattern on your fabric and cut out as many half  circles that you need.  At the very least you'll need about 2/3 a yard of 2 fabric to make 4 napkins.  I made 12 for the B&B.  I bought at least 2 yards of fabric to get my 12 napkins.  I honestly cannot remember if there are 'scraps' of these fabrics shoved into holes in the fabric shelves. 

Once the fabric is cut - it gets really easy from here.  Your fabrics are already right sides together and ready to sew.  Sew them up with a 1/4" seam allowance - or bigger if you're more comfortable with 3/8" or 1/2".  Just remember to be consistent and leave an opening for turning right sides out. 

I like to baste across the opening.  I find it helps me to get an even edge if I press the opening back using the basting as a guide.  

Once you've sewn all the napkins, trim the seam allowances.  I like to use my pinking shears for this part.  I find if I use the pinking shears the curve clipping is done for me.  Plus, I like the way the pile of pinked edges looks.  

Next, I sample thread colors and decorative stitches.  This time I just went for the triple zig-zag.  It was easier to maneuver around the corners and it looks like garland when the napkins are folded.  

Once you've done all the stitching - the magic happens with the folding.  I find the easiest way to fold these is to fold them in half, then grab the flat edge of the napkin about an inch from the center fold.  Using that mark, re-fold them in an off centered-half, then fold the corner back to meet that fold. 

Here are the napkins on this year's holiday table.  This 5-layered fold takes a bit more trial and error.  Honestly, I have to just keep folding and rearranging them until it's right.  Just keep in mind that the fold at the straight edge will be more angular and less straight like in the 4-fold version.  Feel free to pop over to the Carriage Corner Blog and read about my holiday table settings.  
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