Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Mother Lode!

What a day, what a day, what a day!

Our tiny Jo-Ann store is moving from its current location, to the store space literally right next to it.  Like, one door down in the shopping center.  But the square footage is more than doubling.  Yay!  But THAT's not what made my day...

Instead of moving all the inventory next door, they're just treating it as if the store is completely closing.  That means LIQUIDATION!  I wandered in there today expecting to get a yard or two of whatever was on sale; I walked out with both arms full!  Ev-er-y-thing in the store was 75% off - that means even clearance items were 75% off on top of the clearance price.

Check out this reciept:

 Woot!  I like to show my husband the "total savings" part.  I think that softens the blow.  He may disagree...

That's about 18 yards of fabric!
 That big roll is auto headliner fabric.  2.5 yards (that's all they had left) for $3.45/yard.  Hello!
All the cotton prints there ranged from $1.50-$2.50/yard.  Amazing!  And I got 5 yards of something akin to Heat & Bond, for like .60/yd.  ALSO, those colorful 3 bolts are knits.  I'm going to give it a go.  Wish me luck...

Now my stash is refreshed (I was getting pretty tired of the same old stuff, trying to use it up!), I've got stabilizer & interfacing coming out of my ears, and I'm a happy lady!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Weekend Project: Fingerless Mitts

Or should I say, fingerless MITT.  Singular.  One mitt.

Going through my sewing room and knitting stuff this week, I was shocked and appalled at how many projects I have lying around, unfinished. 

I even started a project as a part of a KNITALONG, going with the idea that it would be finished ALONG with everyone else!  Novel.  Problem is, it was a Downton Abbey knitalong, and I would get so sucked into the show, that I couldn't knit and watch at the same time.  So I fell behind.  (I really need to learn how to do two at a time, like the way people do socks two at a time....  Well, anyway.)

This weekend's project for me will be to finish the first mitten I started, and to get at least 3/4 through the second one.

Here is the first:

How cute is that???  The yarn I'm using is Knitpicks Felici, which I think is a blend of merino wool and nylon...don't quote me on that...but it's really soft, the stitches are well defined, and I love the colors.

HERE is what I need to do to finish this first one: weave in the ends (duh!) and figure out a better bindoff for the bottom, where it's ribbed.  It's supposed to be stretchy, but it's not!  I bound off "in pattern," thinking that would do it, but there must be something I'm missing.  Look at the next picture:

See how it's cutting off circulation to the rest of my arm???  I don't like that.  ;)

So me out do I do this? 

So there's that to do, and then start the other one.  That is what I will be doing every time I get a moment this weekend.  I want to actually be able to wear these before summer gets here!

What about YOU?  Fess up, I know you've got UFO's of your own....  Wanna do a weekend project with me?  Tell me what you'll be working on this weekend!  :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sewing Habits: Good & Bad

Today's topic at Mommy's Naptime is:

***Bad sewing habits. Do you have them? Share with us, what are your worst habits when it comes to sewing?***

Hmm.  I think I've improved a lot in this area, but there are still some things I do that I shouldn't.

1. When I'm changing thread, I leave it attached to the spool and pull it out from the top.  Did you know that you're not supposed to do this???? I didn't!  Until a month or two ago, when I got my machine serviced.  The guy told me that you're supposed to cut the thread and pull it through the bottom.  Continually pulling thread out through the top messes up the tension & timing.  Who knew?   I did it the right way for about a week, then slid back into my old ways.  

2. I also tend to disregard instructions when it comes to...well, everything.  Heh heh.  I can't tell you how many times I had to rip seams out or do something completely over when I was making my Petrillo Bag simply because I didn't fully read the instructions.  I even got the wrong kind of snaps.   ArghMy disdain for reading instructions has also been the cause of iron-on transfers permanently on my ironing board to this day.  Also, once I purchased some no-sew Heat & Bond, and didn't believe that I shouldn't sew through it.  I believe now!  

3. I definitely don't change my needle as often as I should.  That's my frugality coming through.  It seems a waste to go through so many needles when I could make them last a little longer.  But using a fresh, sharp needle really does make a difference.  

4. Even though I made myself a cute machine cover, I hardly ever cover my machine.  Apparently that extra 4 seconds it takes is too much of a hassle for me.

But I do have some good habits, too!  Really!

1. I oil & clean my machine about every other time I sit down to sew - which is like, every day.  Gold star for me!  I entertain myself while doing it by saying "oil can" out of the corner of my mouth. 

2. I don't sew over pins (anymore).  I got tired of breaking all those needles.  See Bad Habit #3.  

3. I do keep spare rotary blades around so that I can replace them as soon as they get dull.  I also have forbidden my family to use my fabric scissors for anything but fabric, and never do it myself.      

4. I have finally learned to take the time to pre-wash & dry fabric that I'm using for garments.  Finally.   

What about you?  What are your bad sewing habits?  And do you get any gold stars for doing things right?     

Monday, March 11, 2013

Petrillo Bag

Holy Cow.  Has it really been a MONTH since I've been here last?  What happened to my new year's resolution?  Oh well.  :)

Well, over at Sew Sweetness today, Sara has released yet another awesome bag pattern.  And I got to be one of her testers!  Hop over there and check out all the bags - this is a really good pattern.  Very detailed.  If you take your time and go step by step, it will turn out the way it's supposed to!

I didn't take too many (any?) pics of the process, but here are a few shots of my finished product.

Here's the bottom - I kinda love it. :)

There are two pockets on the inside - one basic zip pocket, and one padded pocket for a tablet or e-reader - which would be so perfect IF I HAD ONE!  Alas.  I've been using it to tote my knitting and a book or two.  I can stuff a lot into it and it maintains its shape really nicely.

Two new products I was introduced to while making this bag:

1. Auto Headliner fabric - It's basically 1/8" foam with fabric on one side.  It helps the bag stand up nice and tall, and keeps it from being saggy and sad.  I used it as a substitute for a much more expensive fabric stabilizer.  With a coupon, I got a yard (54" wide, mind you) for about $10.  Sweeeeeeeet.  Thanks to Cindy of Raspberry Sunshine for that amazing bit of genius!

2. Pellon SF-101 Shape Flex interfacing - How is it possible that I've never used this before?  I love it.  It shall henceforth be my go-to interfacing.  SO nice to work with, and it didn't melt under my iron. 

So...whaddya think?  :) 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Busy Weekend...TGIM!

Things got done this weekend!

* Finished the blocks (20) & laid out my scrappy trips quilt...I have the strips sewn together and only need to sew those together, and then my top will be done.

* Finished DD's crocheted fingerless mitts.  Happy!

I thought, "I totally want a pair for myself."  Then I realized that I am already making a pair for myself, a WIP I've put on the back burner.  Oops!

* Finished the "curtain playclothes" costumes for the Sound of Music.
They wanted me to adapt an apron pattern to make them into dresses.  I told them several times that it wasn't going to fit well or look good, but finally I just gave up trying to convince them & decided to deal with it. They look cute laid out on my floor, but I have my doubts about how they'll fit.  Oh well, I tried!

I'm happier with these "real" jumpers for the younger 3 girls. 
* Made progress on my afghan:

I got a lot done at DD's gymnastics meet on Saturday.  It seemed eternal.  Mainly because this was my view the whole time:

A vent, if you will:  (New here? My rants are entertaining, I've been told...)

#1.  I resent getting up at 5 am and dragging our family out to a town an hour away, having to pay to get in, only to see the backs of people's heads the whole time.  RESENT IT!  This gym was laid out so poorly.  I'm no engineer, but even I could figure out within about 30 seconds of getting there, how they could have done it infinitely better.  This was beyond frustrating.  We had to scurry around the crammed-full gym to get glimpses of Abby doing her routines.  I was in a pretty bad mood by the time this thing was over.  But it wasn't over yet...

#2.  The Awards.  *or* "What is Wrong With America," as I like to call it.  There were 17 girls in Abby's age group.  I kid you not, they gave out MEDALS for 17th place on up.  Every single girl got a medal for every single event, whether she came in first, or dead last.  Had I myself gone out there and did the best handstand I could, followed by a really awesome cartwheel, and jumped on a springboard a few times, I literally would have gotten a medal for it. 

Number ONE: This is not real life.  By giving out medals for every participant, it reinforces the (false) idea that life is going to reward you just for showing up.  It doesn't.  And IMO, it fosters that whole dreadful "entitlement" attitude that seems to be everywhere.  And just to clarify, my daughter would not have gotten any medals if they did it the way I think they should have done it - up to 5th place.  Just my opinion.  She came in 7th in all but one event.  I am more than OK with that.  I am extremely proud of her, and from what I could see, she really did great out there.  I'm concerned that SHE is not going to learn how to "lose" gracefully, because of the extreme coddling that goes on in this sport.  I'm concerned that she is not going to be motivated to push herself to do better.  Why work harder when you're going to get a medal (and trophy) no matter what?  I'm told that after this level she's in (3), it gets tougher, and they don't hand out awards like candy...but I don't see what the point of all this nonsense is in the first place. 

Number TWO: I am not at all convinced that giving out medals to everyone, did ANYTHING for these girls' self-esteem.  I actually felt really bad for those poor girls in last place, who had to be called up first every time and stand there like, "yep. I'm in last."  They did not look happy or proud to be standing up there.  It's like getting the medals only called attention to the fact that they were in last place.  Not cool.  Why can the people in charge not see this? 

Rant over.  But now I'm all riled up! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

My yearly "Good Mommy" award

The question of the week over at Mommy's Naptime is, "What is the most meaningful thing you have ever made?" 

...And all of the sudden I feel like the most shallow person on the face of the earth!!!

I've sewn some nice things for people as gifts and everything, but I just couldn't think of any one thing that had a lot of extra special meaning behind it.

When I think about it, the most rewarding part of being able to sew is when I can sew things for my kids.  I'll make things for them here and there throughout the year, but the one thing I always sew for them, every year, is their Halloween costumes.  It's just something I love doing, for a million reasons.  For one thing, most other kids do NOT get homemade costumes and this is something I can do for them...until it's not cool anymore!  (But by the time it's uncool, they'd better not be still trying to run around and get candy anyway!)  For now, they love it.  Also, we're not limited by what's in the stores, as to what they can dress up as. (Did that make sense?)  For instance, this year they both wanted to be characters from Mario world.  Try to find that at Walmart!  Their costumes are something we can plan and work on together, and they're always so excited to see how it's going to turn out. 

I don't have fresh baked cookies waiting for them after school very often, and they don't sit and let me read the Little House books to them at night, we have never taken them to Disney World, and that's just scratching the SURFACE of all the "good mom" things I always thought I'd do but never have.  But darn it, I make their costumes for them, every year! 

2009...Kindergarten and Preschool
2010...1st Grade and Preschool.  Nolan is a bat, can you see the wings?

2011...2nd Grade and Kindergarten.  Same dress, different apron!  I was short on time last year...

2012...3rd Grade and 1st Grade.  Toad & Toadette, their favorite characters to be in Mario Karts.  They got a lot of comments while out trick or treating! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

WIP Wednesday: Crochet-a-Palooza

Is it Wednesday ALREADY?  Yesterday I went through the whole day thinking it was Monday.  That was really fun.

So, I debated calling this post "I AM CRAZY."  Because I'm pretty sure I am.  I got the itch to make a nice cozy (yarn) blanket.  Probably because temperatures have been in the single digits!  So I started to join all those crocheted African Flowers together that I have been working on for an eternity.  I joined about 6 of them.  It took me the entire length of a movie.  I then realized that I cannot stand joining African flowers together.  I have never been so disheartened!  6 down, 114 to go?  The agony!!!  I'm debating what to do with them all, now.  I have no idea.

Meanwhile, I started an easier one - I don't know why, when I have such a mile-long queue of WIP's already.  I just got the itch!  I'm doing the Granny Stripes Blanket, by Lucy of Attic 24.  Her blog is such eye candy, I love it.  It always makes me want to go crochet something.  This one goes really fast, and it involves virtually no counting or concentration, which is awesome.  I'm using Caron Simply Soft that I've had in my stash forever; it feels good to use it up.  Aren't these colors great?

So my 9yo DD got inspired, and asked me to teach her to knit again.  I tried to teach her about a year or two ago, but I think she may have been a little young.  She has a knitting loom, which is fun, but she wanted to learn "the real way."  I suggested that she try crocheting instead, because it goes faster and might be a little easier.  She has totally blown me away!  Look what she has done so far!  It's going to be a blanket for her 18" dolls:

She's 9 years old.  Are you amazed???  I am!
And then in the MIDST of all this blanket-making, she asked me if I'd whip her up a pair of fingerless mitts.  I had to laugh because she thinks more highly of my "just whip something up" skills than she probably should.  But how could I say no?  Here's one out of two so far:

That is my hand.  But it fits her too!  Just a wee bit loose...
This pattern looked really easy, but it was a gigantic pain the butt! It called for some kind of "post stitch" something or other, and I was pulling my hair out trying to do it.  So I modified it to be easy and THUS, not as cute as it probably could be.  But I'm not torturing myself over it, either, which is always a welcome relief.   And I think it's plenty cute - just in time for Valentines Day, too!  Again, just using acrylic from my stash.  Gotta remember to do the other one now.  :)

Still working on the Scrappy Tripalong Quilt; I finished the last block, last night.  Yay!  Now to lay it out and complete the top.  Not sure when/how I'll quilt it, but I feel no rush to get to that part right now.

It's been a lot of "use what you have" around here lately.  DH has been off work for months, on short term disability (which seems to be turning into "medium term"?) no fun fabric shopping trips for me just now.  Too bad, too, because I just found out about a second quilt shop in our town that I haven't been to yet!  Soon...I hope!