WIPs

Holy cow.  We’re 23 days into the new year, and I have yet to complete a single project.  Yikes.  This is partly due to the fact that I’ve had a million family things to do lately, and also partly due to the fact that in the little sewing time I’ve had lately, I’ve been exclusively focused on one project – jeans!

Here’s a glimpse of the crazy jeans I’ve got in the works (which I hope to finish tonight!):

jeansI’m using the Style Arc Sandra Narrow Leg Jeans.  So far so good!  Just have to do the button/buttonhole, tack down the belt loops and hem the legs!  Looking forward to having my first pair of jeans completed.

On a side note, taking a photo of jeans without anyone wearing them made me think of the Dr. Seuss story, “The Pale Green Pants.”  Is that weird?  Yeah… maybe I’ve spent too much time around kids…

My other current WIP is the Miette Cardigan by Andi Satterlund.  I’m using Cascade 220 Heathers in Mallard.

miettewipIt’s going to go well with my crazy-colored jeans!

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I could probably survive a zombie apocalypse

Last week, I started reminiscing about living in France and I realized that the thing I miss the most was the availability of freshly baked bread and organic meats and vegetables.  I loved going to the farmer’s market every Sunday to purchase fruit, veggies, eggs, bread and a roasted chicken. all organic and all locally produced.  Those days were the very best.  While reminiscing, I realized that I may no longer be in France, but there is no reason that I can’t have the same delicious foods.  I decided I should get back to baking and focus on making and eating more organic foods with less preservatives.

So, first up – bread!  I found this very simple recipe for no-knead artisan bread on Simply So Good and decided to give it a try.  I whipped up the dough on Friday evening around 6:30pm, and let it rise until Saturday around 5pm before popping it in the oven.  It was so easy and turned out so well!

bread(That loaf lasted until yesterday evening, and I actually baked another loaf this morning before work!)

I didn’t want to eat the same old processed butter on such a delicious loaf of bread, so I whipped up some homemade cultured butter to accompany it.  I used this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.  It required a little time (set up the cream and yogurt on Friday evening and actually turned it into butter on Monday morning) and a fair amount of effort (mixing the cream into butter/buttermilk mixture, squeezing out the buttermilk in cheesecloth and then washing the butter six times to get the rest of the buttermilk out before rolling it into a log), but it turned out so well!  I’m not sure that the cost and effort is really worth it to consume only homemade butter, but it’s definitely doable for a special treat.

butterAlso, the act of making butter made me really study the butters on the shelves at the nearby grocery stores, and I’ll probably be a lot more picky about which butters I buy in the future.

I also purchased a wonderful new cookbook, The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila (available from Amazon here), which has recipes for tons of basics, like granola, nut butters, ricotta, mozzarella, pop tarts, etc.  I can’t wait to give some of those recipes a try.  I think I’ll start with the granola first.  Guys, I’m on a roll with the healthy eating/organic cooking thing!

Mixed in with all the cooking (I also made a huge batch of red beans and rice yesterday!), we also took Gordy on his first foray into the ocean yesterday!  He’s still not entirely sure about water, but he loved the barnacles.

photo Between this weather and the Seahawks making it to the Super Bowl, this was a fantastic weekend in the Emerald City!

Socks, socks and more socks

While I haven’t been sewing much, I have been doing a lot of knitting.  Sock knitting, specifically.  Turns out, socks are the perfect portable project.  I’ve been spending a fair amount of time hanging out in hospitals lately (my 93-year old grandma has been very sick), which means lots of time to work on socks!

In the last three weeks, I’ve made three pairs of sock and I’m working on my fourth.  First, I made a pair of socks for my best friend, because she kept mentioning that her life-long goals was to have a pair of hand-knit socks.

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She described them as a “hug on [her] feet,” which I take to mean she likes them!

Next, I decided that, if I’m going to make socks, I should have a pair for myself!  So, I made these for me:

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I love the self-striping yarn, though I failed and trying to match the stripes.  Whoops.  Oh well, they are for me, so I guess it’s okay.  It’s amazing how perfectly socks fit when they are made to your own measurements!

Finally, I decided my grandma needed a healing and love-filled pair of socks while she recovers.  So, I made these:

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In her favorite color, of course.  I don’t have a photo of the finished socks because I gave them to her just as soon as they were done so she would have something nice to wear while she was at the rehab center after her most recent hospital visit.  But, they turned out well, they fit her perfectly, and she loved them.  So, success!  Now I’m working on a similar pair in grey for myself, because these were the most comfortable socks I’ve ever tried on!

After I finish the grey pair, I’m planning on starting on the Cropped Sweater for Winter.  I think I’ll make it out of the same yarn I used for my grandma’s socks – I just love the color and the feel of it.  It’s Cascade Superwash in Rainier Heather.

Seeking sewing mojo

Aside

Alright, let’s pretend that it hasn’t been over a year since my last post…

Since August of 2012, I’ve gotten married, gotten a puppy, completed my first jury trial, worked a lot, sewed a lot, traveled a lot, knitted a fair amount, and had lots of game/trivia nights with friends.

Anyway, the real reason I’ve decided to start blogging again is because I’ve recently lost my sewing mojo!  It’s tragic, really.  Over the last month or so, I’ve barely spent any time sewing.  I typically spend at least a couple of nights per week working on garment sewing, but, lately, I haven’t even touched my sewing machine!  😦  In fact, the only sewing I’ve done in the last month is to make two pot holders for Christmas gifts.  That’s pretty sad.  While there have been a lot of family and personal things weighing on me, which partially explains the lack of sewing mojo, I’m determined to get my mojo back!  So, I’m re-starting this blog in the hopes that I’ll feel motivated to start sewing more often if I have a place where I can show off my finished objects.

To further motivate myself, I’m establishing the following goals for 2014.  They aren’t resolutions (because I hate the idea of making New Year’s resolutions – why not make a “resolution” any time you find the need to make a change and go for that?  Seems like you don’t have to wait until January 1 to start a new goal!  But I digress…), but they are something I hope will motivate me in the next few months.

So here we go!

New garments I’d like to create:
1. Finish my first pair of jeans (currently in progress – style arc narrow leg sandra jeans);
2. Try out the jalie jeans pattern;
3. Make a blazer;
4. Make a fitted coat;
5. Make a pencil skirt; and
6. Button-up shirt (Archer?).

Sewing skills I’d like to learn:
1. Professional looking button holes!!
2. Improve lining skills on skirts;
3. Pants fitting techniques (and establish TNT pants pattern which can be adapted to different styles); and
4. Improve muslin-fitting skills.

And, of course, I have a few knitting goals, too:

1. Knit a sweater I actually want to wear! (Maybe this one?);
2. Practice stranded colorwork knitting (Starting with this pattern);
3. Knit these socks (for myself);
4. Improve blocking!
5. Actually do gauge swatches before beginning projects…; and
6. Work on sewing up seams in knitted works!

So, lots of goals and a whole year in which to try to accomplish them.  I’m already more excited, having just laid the goals out there.  🙂