drat

Oh sure, I planned out all my spring and summer (and probably fall and winter, if I’m honest) knitting, and Quince and Co releases a collection of patterns for their linen yarn. I love linen. I especially like the little apron-like top. It’s fun and different, and I have a thing for linen and aprons.

apron

In fact,  I have a pinafore from Rough Linen and I love it so much. I wear it all weekend no matter what I’m doing-yard work, cooking, cleaning. It’s the best thing ever. I have the natural linen color, but I think I might save up for a black one too. And then I’ll wear it everywhere, and pretend it’s a tunic top and not an apron at all.

pinafore

I also love this linen dress (found via Miss Moss). I might need to make myself something similar. I could wear a dress like that every day and be happy about it.

jane-sew-006

Next time I’ll have a post about something I actually made, instead of talking about things I want to make.

a project

I’ve been doing so many things, so I’m going to have to do a whole bunch of catching up. I thought I’d start small, with one of my favorite things that I’ve made lately, although I didn’t actually make it by myself.

Years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a stack of quilt tops that had been handed down to her. She didn’t know exactly who in her family made them, but they came from Arkansas and West Virginia and were made in the 30’s and 40’s. I don’t know if they were made by the same person, or several different people. The fabrics are pretty amazing, but the workmanship is not the best.

quilt2

I started on this particular quilt top ages ago. I started to hand quilt it, but it wasn’t anything close to being flat, so I gave up on that idea, and it has just been languishing. I pulled it out again and decided to just tie it, and not worry about all the puckering and bunching.

quilt1

I kind of tied the crap out of it, but I absolutely love it. The fabrics are so fun to look at, and there are lots that I wish I had larger pieces of for my stash. I backed it with a 30’s inspired rose print and bound it with another stripe-y 30’s-like print, and I think they are just perfect with the colorful top.

quilt5

The maker of the quilt top may not have been the most skilled seamstress, but the whole thing is hand stitched, and I think she had a great eye for color. I hope she would be happy with what I did, and be pleased that it is being used and loved.

quilt4

There’s a certain melancholy to an unfinished project, isn’t there? I think about all my half-finished things laying around, and wonder if years from now someone will find something I’ve started and value it enough to finish. Or maybe I should just get it together and finish what I start.

quilt7

quilt6

new year

Happy New Year! 2013 is starting much like 2012 did, and I find myself once again job hunting. I am beginning to feel like this life is a bit too much like Groundhog Day, so I hope I get it right this time, and don’t have to keep repeating everything.

I don’t have any grand resolutions to reveal, just a few areas I want to focus on this year. Besides finding the perfect job, I mean.

Books on the Nightstand usually has a yearly reading challenge, and this year Ann has initiated Project Short Story. I don’t think I’ve read many short stories since high school, with the exception of maybe O. Henry and some of the shorter Sherlock Holmes stories, so I love this idea. I am going to try and read a few short stories each week (as well as participating in the monthly reads they’ll be discussing), and I’ll note them here, just to keep track for myself. There are lots of online resources, so I’ll add links whenever possible. I don’t have any plans for specific genres or an exact number goal, but I do hope that it will help me read more this year than I did in 2012.

Today I think I’ll pick a story from this book, which I found years ago in a used book shop:

Winter's Tales

I love the bookplate and the note about “conserving essential materials” during the war. I also love this photo of Karen Blixen:

karen blixen

I think I need a pet owl and a head scarf, it’s a very elegant look, don’t you think?

Now that I once again have some free time, I’ve also decided to focus on one big project each week. I have so many things I want to do, that I often find myself paralyzed with indecision and end up getting nothing done. This week’s project is a slipcover for the wing chair in my living room. Giving myself the week means that I can break it down into manageable chunks each day, and will still have time for other things too, like reading short stories, knitting, and cooking and cleaning and errands, and job hunting too, of course.

My other area of focus is going to be training little Pixel to be a good dog. He’s getting better at walking on a leash, and can sit and shake when there are snacks involved. He is very enthusiastic about giving high-fives, and will kind of, sort of stay for brief moments, but he doesn’t come when called when he’s outside, and I want to change that quickly. He’s slipped out our gate a couple times, and has a grand time running away, while giving me a heart attack. Our street is sometimes busy and the speed limit is 45mph, so it’s not a safe place for a little dog to be. I’ve since made it as secure as possible with a little chicken wire and zip ties. I still get nervous when he’s out there, though, so some obedience training will be a priority starting this week. Also, he is just so super cute:

pixel

What about you? Do you make grand resolutions or goals? Or maybe a list of things you want to accomplish? Have you ever made a resolution and really stuck with it for a whole year?

Short stories for this week:

Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta by Kate Braverman

tiny and cute

I have important things to do, but I took a little time here and there over the past few days to make a tiny pink bunny. Because sometimes you just need to do something pointless like that. 

image from www.flickr.com

I can't take much credit for the cuteness, I used a pattern and kit from The Old Pincushion, purchased over a year ago. She has lots of very cute patterns (and the supplies) for various little creatures, I can wholeheartedly recommend her shop.

And now I'm patting myself on the back for actually finishing a project, even though it is quite tiny. 

image from www.flickr.com

Most of the sewing was done by hand. I am not particularly talented with this, or with making small things. It's not something I will probably do very often, but the challenge of it is fun once in a while. 

image from www.flickr.com

I'm quite tempted by the tiny elephant pattern. Perhaps I should order it now, so I can make it next year.

image from www.flickr.com

Do you like hand sewing and making tiny things? 

failure

Sometimes things just don't work out how I imagine them in my head. Flush from the success of my window patchwork and my corner office, I thought I'd teach myself how to do paper piecing. It was all going pretty well, and then I got to the second-to-last piece.

Paper piecing

Back to the drawing board. It seems that each piece can only have one seam, and I tried to do two. If any paper piecing experts are reading this, is that the case? I'm off to do a little more research. I just thought it would be good to share the failures along with the successes to keep me honest. 

inefficiency

Another window has been dressed, and I really love it. I'm in a sewing mood lately, it seems. This long skinny window is next to the door in my little house studio, so I thought it would be fun to do something colorful and bright in this light, white space. I started out by pulling out some scraps from my scrap basket, and piecing them together. Since I didn't have much of a plan to start with, I just did a row of patches at a time. It was probably not the most efficient way to go about it, and probably took longer than it should have, but it was a pleasant sort of quiet busy-ness.

image from www.flickr.com

I just lined it with a bit of lightweight white cotton and hung it with tension rods at the top and bottom. I love how it looks a little bit like stained glass with the light shining through. The colors are so cheery, they make me happy to look at them.

image from www.flickr.com

As I sew, I always hear the voice of my college clothing construction teacher. She was a brilliant seamstress, and I learned so much from her classes. I was thinking it would be fun to have a little online blog sewing class. I'll pick out a pattern-probably a skirt to start, then maybe a blouse-and anyone who wants to join in, can! Is anyone interested? We'll cover everything from choosing sewing supplies and equipment to adjusting a pattern to fit.

 image from www.flickr.com

I'll work out the details this week and start up the week after. 

shade

I'm ready to start tackling some slightly bigger projects around the house now that I have the time, hopefully one or two every week!

When we moved in many, many years ago, almost every window had mini-blinds. The depth of my mini-blind loathing cannot be adequately expressed in polite language. I managed to remove the worst offenders in years past, but there have been a few hangers-on, taunting me with their dusty, broken slats. So I hereby declare February the month in which I will eliminate the last mini-blinds from my home, if it kills me.

First up, are the doors, front and back. Well, actually, I removed the blinds from the front door, painted it, and started on a simple linen shade, but Mr. HeyLucy had strong feelings about the way it was looking. Since he doesn't usually have much of an opinion regarding my home decor projects, I decided to appease him and go another direction for the front door, and use the shade in my little house studio instead, which desperately needs some window treatments all around. 

image from www.flickr.com

When I was in high school, I worked in a drapery workroom. It was the 80s and we made lots of Roman shades and balloon shades. I like this updated take, it's simple and soft. I am considering adding a border or embroidery to the bottom, but I've got to take care of some other windows first. 

image from www.flickr.com

It's just unlined, washed linen, and it used a minimal amount of fabric, which happened to be a curtain panel from our old house. Since my professional drapery sewing days were a few years ago, I referred to Simple Soft Furnishings for specific directions. I can't recommend that book highly enough. The projects are all very straight-forward, and easily adaptable for any style of decor. Next up, I think I will do a colorful patchwork kind of thing for that long window next to the door.

image from www.flickr.com

It feels good to have that done!

pincushions for sale and a pattern for free

I did it, I wrote up a knitting pattern and made it all pretty, and you can download it here, or on Ravelry, and there will also be a link in the side bar. I called them Bridge the Gap arm warmers for obvious reasons, not to mention, they will keep that gap between elbow and wrist cozy too. 

 

image from www.flickr.com

 

Please do let me know if you happen to knit yourself a pair and if you find any errors or anything unclear in the instruction. I am studying up on pattern writing, which is like learning a new language. I can read it, obviously, but it's a little different to write it. I'm nervous and excited, and ready to move on to the next design, which I hope will be even better. 

Meanwhile, other sorts of making is also happening as I tidy up my little house studio. This is kind of fun, cleaning up all my stuff and making things with what I have. I finished up a bunch of pincushions and a few needle books and listed them on Etsy.  

All pincushions

 These were made with some vintage copper candy molds I found at an antique mall. I really like them, and I might have to keep the pink one for myself if it doesn't sell. The others, sold in sets with matching needle books, are tiny tart tins. I do love a good needle book. 

All sets 2

I sorted through all my vintage buttons to find just the right ones. I've done these before and they sold out pretty quick. I'm working on a new, bigger pincushion. I'll try and get some of those listed next week. 

pincushions

image from www.flickr.comComing soon to an etsy shop near you. Pincushions! With ribbons! There will be some needle books too, I think.

image from www.flickr.comI'll post again, when they are in the shop. 

fashionable

I've got fashion on my mind this week, what with Project Runway, New York Fashion Week, and my recent viewing of The September Issue (Grace Coddington is a genius! The spreads she styles are beautiful.) all happening recently. As I slowly become less blobby and more nicely shaped, I also find that I want to wear pretty things again. Couture is never going to fit into my lifestyle, but I am starting to sew for myself a little bit here and there after a long absence from my sewing machine. I've also been saving images to a fashion inspiration board on my Pinterest. I thought I'd do a post now and then where I imagine how I could take these images and let them inspire me to make them a reality. I may or may not follow through on these, but just searching out fabrics and patterns and imagining how I could wear something is fueling my creative fire. 

Here's what I love this week:

Kimono2
If there was enough of this fabric available, I could make it using this pattern, with minor modifications. 

Patternfabric

I am definitely going to keep my eyes open for vintage kimono fabrics. I love how pretty and fresh and a little dramatic this is!