My First Renaissance Festival!

I have wanted to go to a Renaissance festival since I first heard about them as a teenager. Alas, growing up in Arizona I didn’t come across many. However, now that I’ve moved to the SouthEast, I have more options (also being an adult with a car and spending money helps). A few weeks ago my Sister-in-Law invited me to go to the Renaissance Festival with her. I had already been playing with the idea of making a Medieval dress for Halloween, so a few days after we finalized our plans I finally caved in and bought fabric.

The fabric I used was a deep red Polyester knit velvet – not what they used in the time, but comfortable and it looked good. I used the Alabama Chanin Long-sleeved T-shirt as a base pattern for the bodice and angled my skirt pieces out to the edge of my fabric. I used the remaining triangular pieces as gores to widen my skirt. Pinning took ages, and then I used a simple running stitch to sew all my seams. In a perfect world I would have also felled the seams, but I was sewing the dress completely by hand and running out of time. Miraculously I found a perfectly matching trim for the neck and sleeves. Even though the trim is woven and the dress is knit, the edges lay pretty well. The hem took me ages. I folded it under about 4 inches and just basted it down to the inside. Maybe someday I’ll go back and finish the hem properly, but the important thing is that the dress was done on time and I wasn’t tripping over it all day (although I did end up ticking the train into my belt so other people wouldn’t be tripping on me all day). The final piece was braiding a wire circlet and borrowing a leather belt to complete the look. My SiL and I had a fabulous time and I felt so pretty (and comfortable!) in my costume!

 

Finished Object: Squircle Socks

Hello, there, lovelies! I have been a busy bee and finished some socks! I started the Squircle Socks on Thanksgiving Day last year as my husband drove us 2 hours to his grandparents house. The project stayed in my bag as a “just in case” project for a long time, and I’m not a very prolific sock knitter anyway (I once knit a pair of man-sized socks in 2 weeks and hurt my wrists so bad I couldn’t knit for almost a month afterward. Not doing that again). The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in Mint Chip, which is sadly no longer available. This was my first time using self-striping sock yarn. I can’t believe I hadn’t tried this before! It was so ridiculously fun! The pattern is a little involved and asks you to do a little math, but it was a really fun and interesting knit.

If you want to explore different sock styles and like a bit of a challenge, I would highly recommend the Squircle Socks.

Kumi-what-oh?

I somehow managed not to tell you about my exploration into Kumihimo braiding! In February I decided to try something new, and that something was Kumihimo. I looked it up and watched some videos and then I bought some beads and a Kumihimo disc and tried it out.

I wanted to start with black beads, fade into peach, and then fade back into black, so I did some math and wrote down the order I needed to string my beads on. The round Kumihimo I was making had 8 strands, so lines 5-8 were a copy of lines 1-4. In order to keep the very long strings under control you wind each strand around a bobbin. I didn’t want to make a huge investment in this craft since I didn’t even know if I would like it, so I cut out a few pieces of cardboard and used them as bobbins. They tangled a little, but worked very well for the most part.

In the end I had a very lovely necklace. I had bought some clasps, but didn’t want to bother gluing them on, so I tied the ends into a square knot and wrapped the knot with wire. Easy and effective.

20180225_1114101

I would definitely recommend trying Kumihimo braiding. It takes a good bit of time to make something like this necklace, but it’s easy to learn, the materials can be as costly as you want them to be, and the finished products are striking!

Well That Took Long Enough: Finished Project

Early this year I made a goal to finish my small mountain of WIPs. I then promptly cast on a new project because Ooh Shiny! I’ve thought about this subject a lot over the last few months: my desire for a new exciting project every so often contrasted by my desire for finished things and the resulting space in my stash. I haven’t come to a conclusion or made any world-changing discoveries, but in between all the castings-on I have finished a few things.

I must have started my black wool vest in November. I originally bought a few yards of black wool crepe to a make a Henrietta Maria top, but when I got this vest pattern (Very Easy Vogue, V8926) it seemed like a better option for the thicker fabric.

v8926

I wanted a hybrid of options A and C – sleeveless, but tunic length and with bias-bound edges instead of a collar facing. I cut out my fabric and pretty quickly finished the basic construction. Progress ground to a halt when I realized I needed to finish all my edges. I started whip-stitching, and quickly felt like the vest was sucking the life force out of me, so I put it in a shoe box, put the box into a cupboard, and started something new.

A few weeks ago I traveled to Arizona to see my family and be in my best friend’s wedding. My mom has a sewing machine and a serger, so I packed the never-ending vest in hopes of finishing it before it finished me. I am happy to report that I emerged the victor (this time). I serged the remaining unfinished edges and used the sewing machine to stitch on the binding and do some other finishing work. I do wish I had been more careful top-stitching the bias binding down, but at that point I was so ready to be done with the project that I didn’t care much. I just keep reminding myself that sometimes done is better than perfect (and I can always go back and do it again if it bothers me that much). At some point I may add a pocket since I have some extra fabric left over.

The vest is an odd mixture of hand- and machine-stitching, but it’s done and it fits and I love it. And can we just take a moment to admire the new yellow pants I’m rocking in this picture?

How to Crochet a Broomstick Lace Bracelet in 9 Easy Steps!

My husband’s grandma is a crocheter. When we visited them recently I showed her a picture I found on Instagram of a bracelet made of broomstick lace. We realized that we could totally make that, and before I knew it we were in her yarn closet (She has a yarn closet! I knew I married into the right family!!) picking yarn and finding a dowel to make broomstick lace with. She rooted out her crochet notebook from when she taught Home Ec. in the 80s and found the directions for Broomstick Lace:

broomstick lace

She guided me as I awkwardly made a chain and single crocheted a few rows before starting.

broomstick

The bracelet was a rousing success! So fast! So easy! The hardest thing was picking out buttons. I decided to go with blue, since my wardrobe has been skewing toward blue recently.

crochet lace bracelet

It would be super easy to make up a whole set of bracelets in different colours – something for every occasion!

If you want to make a bracelet just like mine, here is what I did:

Materials: 

  • Yarn: 10 yds fingering weight yarn
  • Hook: 3mm
  • 4 buttons, sized 1/2″-3/4″
  • Dowel: 1″ wide and at least 6″ long – it helps to have a very smooth dowel with a rounded end, so take the time to sand your dowel down if it’s not already smooth

Method:

  1. Ch 21, turn work
  2. Skip 1 ch, sc 19, turn work
  3. Ch 1, sc 19, turn work
  4. Ch 1, sc 19, do not turn work
  5. With crochet hook pull up last loop and place on dowel held in left hand. Insert crochet hook in each st of ch, pull yarn through and place on dowel (20 sts).
  6. Insert hook in center of first 5 loops, holding these loops together as one, yarn over and pull off needle, ch 1, and work 5 sc in first set of loops. Work 5 sc in each set of 5 loops until no sts remain.
  7. Repeat rows 4 and 5 six more times, or until the bracelet is just long enough to go around your wrist. Cut yarn and hide the end.
  8. Sew 4 buttons to the foundation rows.
  9. Wear your new bracelet with pride!

Have you ever crocheted Broomstick Lace? What do you think of it?

Happy hooking!

Adventures in Dyeing

Earlier this year I made a long sleeve t-shirt.

shirt

There were some things I liked about the shirt (the construction and finishing details) and some things I didn’t (the colour and fit, since I didn’t measure before choosing a pattern size). Since then either the fit has relaxed or I have lost weight (or both) and I’m much happier with the look. Still, I’m not a huge fan of navy blue. I blame it on the uniforms I had to wear in high school. So I went to the store, bought black dye, and dyed my shirt.

So the lesson is: if you don’t like the colour of your clothes, dye them. Dyes these days are easy to find and easy to use, practically foolproof (as long as you get the right kind of dye for the fiber content of your fabric). You will be so much happier with the clothes you have and more likely to wear them.

I Made a Bra!

bra and bikini

About 2 months ago I bought the Watson Bra and Undies pattern. I made up a shopping list, cut out my fabric, and sewed the undies pretty quickly (more about that here). And then I stopped. I was terrified of making the bra. What if I didn’t cut it just right? What if after hours and hours of sewing it just fell apart? What if it didn’t fit?

The only way to know what would happen was to actually make the bra. So I did it. It fits! It didn’t fall apart. And now I have a matching set.

bra frontbra back

My main fabric is a cotton/polyester blend, and I fully lined it with nude power mesh. I really like the fit of this bra. It gives me good coverage without squishing me or making me a shape I’m not. The instructions are pretty easy to follow as well. In the future I think I would go down a band size, but on the whole I have no complaints.

detail

So there you have it. I made a bra by hand, there are no machine stitches on it. So if you are holding back from something like this because you’re scared, just do it. You might surprise yourself. And if it fails somehow or doesn’t fit? It’s just fabric. There is always more.