Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

fo: A Bit of Baby's Breath - or uh Vest

Baby Vest in Pink
There's a group of crafters who get together every Thursday night here in Whitehorse, at our yarn shop.  It has many goals, as a group - fostering new and growing skills, a support network, a great place to sit and knit.  But they also try to Do Good for the community.

One of those ways is by either fundraising for individuals who need help, or donating crafted goods to the local women's shelter or the homeless shelters in town.  I'm actually about 1/3 of the way through a pair of thick wool men's over-socks that will get to the men's shelter before our often-brutal winter starts.  But those are hard to work on when it's warm and sunny, so they're tucked away for now.

Baby Vest in Pink
Despite this, I've been wanting to make up something for our group, and itching to do a simple and quick project.  So last week at knit night, I raided the group's donated yarn bin and immediately cast on.  A solid day of knitting and I finished binding off this adorable little baby vest.  (Here's my Ravelry project page for this cutie.)

Baby Vest in Pink
I added some embroidery because it was looking way too boring without a little bit of character.  I think a more interesting wool would probably add some extra character - a tweedy yarn maybe?

Baby Vest in Pink
It took me a few more days to find the right buttons - luckily our local fabric store supplied these sturdy little suckers - at 10 for $2 yet!  They aren't what I originally pictured, but when you live in a small town with limited supplies, sometimes you need to toss those pictures out the window and open up your brain a bit.  And sometimes you wind up with something even better - I certainly like these buttons better than my original plan!

Baby Vest in Pink
This photo is the closest to the actual colours.
Pattern: Pebble by Nikol Lohr
Yarn: about 50 grams of Patons Classic Wool Merino, worsted weight.
Needles: 4 mm
Mods: None, other than adding a bit of embroidery.

I have to say, I really enjoyed the construction of this thing.  It's knit bottom up, and the only time that you hold stitches off of the needles is on the one seamed shoulder.  The rest of it stays on your circulars (and I imagine straights - but it was really easy on the circs), and you just ignore the back as you work back and forth on the front.  Very clever!  I definitely want to make more of these.

In fact, this may become my go-to knitted baby gift in the future!  Got that idea from Kat over at the Wayward Knitter - who always knits the same type of project for wedding gifts, but customizes them for each couple.  Cute idea, and one I think I'm going to steal!

Baby Vest in Pink
And here's a shot of the baby's breath growing in the little garden next to the step where I was taking photos.  I thought it was pretty appropriate!  Isn't the colour lovely?  It was a surprise to me, since the label claimed they were white - sort of messed up my garden "plan", but I can't bring myself to care because they're just so dainty and adorable.  Each of those flowers are about 1/4" wide!

Do you do any sort of community crafting?  No judgement here if you don't - this is new to me!  If you do though, please share below.  I'd love to hear what other individuals/groups do for their communities.  

Mostly so I can steal ideas and sound really clever at our next meeting.  :)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Oh My Gosh, I Made (and Wore!) a Bikini

Aw, what a sweetie
Why yes, his beard IS french braided!
Mexico was awesome!  We were a little restricted in activities because of Darryl's foot injury.  The brat hurt it a week before we left when he got into an argument with his dirtbike - guess who won.  While there's a lot you can still do on crutches, his stamina on them wasn't that great so no exploring or walking tours.

 Luckily we were on a resort and that our villa was pretty close to everything.  Everyone was fantastic too, helping us out where ever we went and getting us through the short lines when possible.  Every single Mexican we met were warm and friendly, and I'd love to go back again!  Especially with a whole and hale partner so we can explore and do more fun excursions!

We did get out on one, but I'll share that later when I get the photos developed.

Anyways, you might have caught on that I was sewing myself a bathingsuit (especially after this rant).  I'd hoped to sew a couple suits actually, but it just didn't happen.  A bikini set did though!

Striped Bikini
Add caption
Here's the top part, and I made it out of a favourite bra whose strap tore not long after I got it.  An easy fix, but wasn't that comfortable for daily wear afterward.  It was perfect for a bathingsuit conversion though!  I used this tutorial here, and it was...alright.  It's pretty haphazard and leaves everything unfinished inside.  But it worked out alright for one vacation, and I doubt there's a more supportive bikini out there (or at least, out here in the Yukon)! 

Striped Bikini
I really liked the way the cups and all of the straps turned out.  So glad I crossed over the arm straps, as you'll see below.

Striped Bikini
I ordered these little G-hooks from Bra-Makers Supply, and those suckers didn't hold up at all.  The second time I wore it the damn thing snapped.  I probably had the strap a little too tight for the plastic, but I'll definitely try to find metal ones next time.  Nothing against the supplier!  Just the wrong tool for the job of holding up my mamas.  I wound up just sewing the ends of the straps together and slipping it over my head (with a lot of struggling).  Amazingly, this method was a lot easier to get in and out of...

Striped Bikini
And this is the only photo you're getting of these, besides the next.  I was EXTREMELY last minute on these, so picture taking got kiboshed pretty quick.
For the bottoms, I modified my me-made pantie pattern at the last minute (erm, the night before and the morning that we left) and they turned out..okay.  With the lining, they were a little too tight, and I really need to work on attaching elastic to stretchy fabric.  But oh well, they served as well as my bikini top, and I had a back up RTW black pair that matched the top to trade off.

Striped Bikini
I loved the back of this bikini!  The front is very...supported, let's just say.  I will definitely play with using a real bra in bathingsuits in the future.
And here is your one modeled shot.  I had wanted to get a picture in Mexico, but my camera battery was dead for the first few days and by the time I got it charged, it had started to rain.  And kept raining - harder than I've ever seen - for the last 3 days we were there.  :(

That didn't keep us out of the pool (nor out of the tropical drinks) at all!

Dyeing attempt: Lacy bathingsuit cover
Sorry, only a back-yard picture.  I didn't get ANY photos of me-made things in Mexico.  :(
Oh hey, here's another project I took on for Mexico.  The day before we left.  I bought a white lacy cover-up dress at Superstore and dyed the thing this lovely purple while my Mom laughed and gave me advice over the phone.  (On a side note - I think I have to admit that this is my current favourite colour.  Hell, even my luggage is this colour.  That snuck up on me big time).  No, I didn't sew the dress but now I want to dye all the things.  You can sort of see my bikini top under it, along with a truly unflattering pair of shorts holy crap.  Anywho, the dress worked really well over my bikini for the walk to and from the pool on the days that I was brave enough to wear my me-made bikini.

Which, after the first day, was every single day afterward.  I'm proud of myself, that took a lot more confidence than I thought I had.  Plus it was too damn hot for my RTW bathing suit.  :)


Ack, this post sort of sucks.  Sorry for the rambling and crummy photos.  I've been dragging my heels writing this, and I just want to get it out of the way so I can get onto better and less revealing topics!   Better posts to come!

Saturday, June 06, 2015

fo: Foxy Beach Bag

Foxy beach bag
There's a purple fox in the garden!
I tried to find a new beach bag lately, and basically they can all be summed up as:
  • ugly
  • no efficient closure (I'm sorry, a magnet snap across a 2 foot opening doesn't cut it)
  • striped
  • made of woven paper/straw
So whatever, I made one myself.

Foxy beach bag
I used the hobo bag pattern from Sew Everything Workshop out of canvas and some floral cotton I've had in the stash for ages.  I made a couple of changes, including making the bag 1 inch deeper and replacing the lining fabric with canvas on the inside of the handle.

Foxy beach bag
I was going to leave it plain, but then I clued in on adding some embroidery.  Because why not turn a 1 hour project into a 4 hour one!  So out came my copy of Stitch Zakka and on went this cute little purple fox.  (Same book that I got this pattern.)  Actually, it didn't take too long, I just dragged it along to knit night and got it finished by the time they kicked us out of the coffee shop.

Foxy beach bag
Guys, I'm pretty proud of my zipper here.  I think it's the most perfect zipper I've ever installed!

Foxy beach bag
And look at that zipper end!  I love it.  The only thing wrong with this bag is that I put the embroidery on the wrong size.  I prefer to have the zipper opening part in front when I'm carrying it, but it's in the back instead.  Oh well, because otherwise this bag is perfect!

Old hobo bag

Old hobo bag
I made another version of this bag years ago and absolutely adored it!  Even when a bunny ate the zipper I didn't stop carrying the damn thing.  I still use it from time to time!  Looking at it now, it's...not very well sewn.  The zipper is crap (but that doesn't matter after a ton of bunny bites), and it's pretty messily sewn.  But whatever, I think I sewed this long before I started garment sewing.

Foxy beach bag
I have more beachy projects to share with you, including a me-made bikini!  But that'll have to wait until I get back, because I'm flying off for a holiday in Mexico tomorrow, and there's not much internet time there (and who wants it anyways)!

Saskatoon berries
Tiny green saskatoon berries in my back yard, already growing in early June!
See ya on the burnt and crispy side, folks!  (Well, hopefully on the still-pasty-but-way-more-freckled side, but we'll see.)

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Whose Crotch is 5 Inches Wide?!

Okay, so that was probably a little abrupt, but seriously.  I just cut out the front piece of the bikini bottom to McCall's 6569, and the crotch measures nearly 6 inches wide.  Take away seam allowances, and that's still 5 inches!  Granted, I'm trying to sew size 20, but who the hell is this bottom designed for?!  Rhinos???

Actually, I think even they have a narrower crotch.  And yes, this picture is especially for all of the creeps who flocked here because of the 'crotch' buzzword.  RHINO BUTT FOR YOU.  (Although lets be honest, rhino butts are cute.)

For context, here's piece overlaid by both the McCall's pattern piece and the pattern I traced off for me-made undies. You can see how the smallest size in this pattern is much closer (and probably about the same once you remove seam allowances) to the crotch width I use in my pantie pattern, and that the largest size is more than an inch wider.  I don't know about other people, but I'm pretty sure that part of my body stayed pretty close to the same when I gained weight.

Herein lies my issue with a lot of pattern companies in general, and the Big 5 in particular: it's like they have no idea how a body changes with weight!  My shoulders didn't get wider in proportion to my waist, so why does the pattern have linebacker shoulders?  The bones in my arms didn't get longer when my arms got wider, so why am I having to sometimes hack 6 inches off the sleeves?

And my crotch certainly didn't get fat when my tights did, so wtf McCall's?!

With this lovely revelation, I think I'll refrain from attempting the one piece bathing suit.  I just don't have time to deal with stupid sizing issues.