Has my craft blog turned into a sewing blog? Seriously! After seeing some great looking tops on blogs, I picked up the Sewaholic Renfrew top pattern at Josephine’s Dry Goods a few weeks ago. It’s kinda pricey at $17 for a top but it seems pretty versatile.
I have some gorgeous Italian striped jersey knit fabric I’d like to use for this top, but I wanted to try it out first to see if I really needed to do that full bust adjustment. I was hoping the knit fabric would have enough give to let me skip it (spoiler alert: nope!).
Anyway I’ve have a bunch of this cute apple print knit that I picked up super cheap in some forgotten location. I probably used about half for this top. I skipped the sewing machine and used my serger for sewing everything except basting the cowl, cuffs and waistband together. Once I got in the groove of serging, this top practically made itself!
I had actually planned to make it with 3/4 sleeves, but I didn’t pay attention when I was tracing the pattern pieces. So what about the fit? Turns out I probably do need a full bust adjustment on this top. I can wear it but it’s definitely straining those apples! So this is going to my mom and I will give it another try for myself this time with a FBA.
I really needed coasters for my new place, but the only store I’ve seen them in recently was Jonathan Adler. Do you want to know how much 4 ceramic coasters were on sale? $60! So if I decided to make my own. I wanted a more modern look so I searched on Ravelry until I came across the Citrus Coasters.
I went to Knit Purl, which happens to be about 6 blocks from me, and picked up a couple of balls of Rowan Cotton Glace. I ended up only using the teal colored yarn and an F hook to get 5 nice sized coasters. Love em!
Here is the ravelink to my coasters - http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/citrus-coaster
Since I moved into my apartment in Portland I’ve done a fair bit of home decor sewing. Once of the great things about Ikea furniture is that most of it is slipcovered, so when you want to make a new cover you just need to take apart the old one to use as a pattern.
This chair had previously been covered in a nubby orange woven fabric that my cat had scratched up. A couple of yards of Premier Prints Zazzle and a couple of days of sewing and I had this!
It was a bit of a challenge to sew as the front part of the top had to be stretched onto the zipper, but I am very happy with how it turned out. I paid very close attention to trying to match the pattern up.
My other small project was sewing some throw pillows for my couch. I searched Fabric Depot for an hour to find the perfect fabrics and I am very happy with how these turned out.
My next project is going to be making new slipcovers for that orange print chaise lounge you can see in the background of the last photo.
Since I’ve moved to Portland I’ve been doing a fair bit of sewing. I was looking for a place to buy Swedish Tracing Paper when I came across the Washi Dress. Damn that’s cute! So I ordered the dress pattern and the Swedish Tracing paper from Drygoods Design Online. I bought my fabric from Fabric Depot during a 30% off sale.
It’s nice to have a paper pattern. Print at home patterns are convenient when you are impatient to get started, but all that cutting and taping gets annoying after awhile. I traced the pattern using the Swedish tracing paper and sewed the bodice together. Yup, you can sew Swedish tracing paper! No more muslins.
That’s when I realized that even though the back is 2 pieces it’s meant to be cut as a single piece. Whew! Glad I noticed that before I cut the fabric. I ended up doing a full bust adjustment, but left everything else the same.
I really liked making this dress. It’s a relatively simple pattern but it’s got a few things like the neckline and the shirring to keep your interest while sewing.
On a side note, I did a terrible job at pattern placement! If that red flower in the center front had just matched up it would have been perfect but alas it just looks bad.
I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve posted! ALMOST A FREAKING YEAR!! I have been baking and crafting but just not posting and I’m hoping to end that.
Last January I moved to the crafters mecca…Portland, Oregon. I have a whole room in my apartment just for my craft stuff..and sometimes guests. Portland is a wonderful crafty place and I’ve been glad to take advantage of some of the great shops here. Probably the best find so far is Fabric Depot. Its gigantic! There’s still a lot I want to get to like Scrap and the Pendelton Mill Outlet.
In the meantime I started up my own Meetup group – PDX Crafternoons. We’ ve had many people join the group and had our first crafternoon that was a rousing success in February. This week we are going to be featured in an article in the Oregonian about Portland craft groups!
It’s been great to meet so many craft people so far! And with all this inspiration I promise to update Craftcake a lot more!
One of my best friends and former college roommate is expecting her first child in June. When I heard the news I knew I was going to make a baby blanket. and when I searched ravelry for patterns I just couldn’t find anything I loved. I started thinking about Christina and what she likes and I came up with a book theme, but I couldn’t figure a good way to knit or crochet books. Then it hit me…quilting! I thought a book quilt would be perfect. There was just one problem…the last quilt I made was in 2nd grade with girl scouts.
I drew up a rough sketch and asked my mom, who does have quilting experience, if I was nuts to attempt this. She said no, so I ordered The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker by Elizabeth Hartman on Amazon. She suggests making baby blankets 32″ – 44″ on each side. Using that as a guide I worked up a better sketch of what I wanted to make.
I ordered most of my fabric on Etsy after a disappointing trip to a local quilting shop. For the books I ordered a fat quarter bundle featuring the fabric Bermuda Owls by Ann Kelle from Sisters and Quilters. I loved the owls and the gender neutral palette. I also wanted a wood grain fabric for the shelves and after a fair bit of searching I found Joel Dewberry’s Aviary Woodgrain. I ordered that in Light Yellow from FabSewFab. I also purchased white quilters cotton and a 6″ x 24″ ruler from Joann’s.
I put a lot of thought into the most efficient way to sew the books. The method I used was to sew a 6″ wide piece of white fabric onto an 8″ piece of the “book” fabric. Before this I had also figured out that in my original design the books would be too big, so I reworked it with 4 shelves instead of 3. I took each book block and sliced it into 1.5″ to 3″ books.
The most challenging part of piecing was making this tilted book, which I think gives the quilt a little more visual interest than having all perfectly standing books.
Next I trimmed each shelf to be 8.5″ tall (8″ + 1/2″ seam allowance) and 28.5″ wide.
From there it was a matter of adding 2″ wood grain shelves between each book set and a 3″ bookcase border. I wanted to make the blanket really special and personal, so I asked Christina’s mother and sister if they could remember some of her favorite childhood books. I took their list and threw in a couple of my favorites to make 8 book labels. I printed the labels on opaque inkjet transfer, so it was just one step to iron them on!
At this point, the quilt was coming together exactly as I had envisioned. But the next part made me a bit nervous. I was trying to conserve the wood grain fabric to use for the binding, so I cut the backing to be the exact size of the front. When I read the chapter on making the quilt sandwich in Practical Guide to Patchwork, I realized that was wrong but my mom and I agreed if we were careful with our basting it would be ok.
The part that really scared me was the free motion quilting. I had done a lot of practicing, but I tended to get a lot of “eyelashes” on my curves. If the quilting came out bad then I worried the whole quilt would look awful. After more practicing I had gotten my eyelashes minimized, but what really did it was different thread. My mom picked up some 100% cotton machine quilting thread for me. It made a huge difference! Then the only issue became breaking my machine needles, but I had bought a lot of extras so it wasn’t as much of a worry. I was also using a darning/hopping foot which worked much better than just the open toed free motion foot I started with.
My kitten Magi assisted with the quilting. On a side note, I found Leah Day’s youtube videos on free motion quilting to be really helpful.
It took me a couple of hours to do the quilting. I did have slight messups here and there but I’m probably the only one who will see them. Overall I was extremely happy (and relieved!) with how the quilting turned out. I managed to work my initials (LV) somewhere into the quilt, and I’ve challenged Christina to find them. We’ll see how long it takes.
Now all that was left was to trim the batting and do the binding. I wasn’t totally sure if I had enough fabric to cut the binding, but I managed to eek out the 2.5″ wide strips I needed for the binding with a very small piece of fabric left to spare! From there I machine sewed the binding to the front of the quilt. Then we flipped it to the back and used hair clips to hold it in place as we hand stitched it to the back. My mom and I did the hand sewing together so it went twice as fast. I put the final stitches in around 11pm on Friday night.
The shower was Saturday afternoon…nothing like finishing a project at the last minute, right? Christina loved the quilt, and many of the other guests complimented my work as well. I am really pleased and proud with how my first quilt came out, and I hope the new baby will enjoy it as well.
There are lots more photos of the quilt and quiltmaking process in my flickr album – http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaiamrge/sets/72157629873968241/.
A big thanks to my mom for her help and guidance in making the quilt. I don’t think it would have come out nearly a good with out her assistance and mentoring.
I made some cakepops for Easter based on this post by Bakerella. Her cakepops are always amazing, but she uses a lot of supplies that are difficult for me to get on short notice. So I had to get a little creative.
I used the Wilton White Candy Melts to dip the cakepops. This isn’t a pure white but it was good enough for me. I was able to track down the big daisy sprinkles used for the bow tie at Michaels; they are Wilton product. I also found Wilton candy eyes at Michaels. I ended up piping all the cheeks on a sheet and then smoothing the tops out using the heat of my finger. This worked well since that made the cheeks the same color as the head.
The hardest thing to find was the nose. Bakerella used chocolate covered sesame seeds, but I couldn’t find any locally. While I was at Michaels my mom spotted Wilton Rainbow Chip Crunch sprinkles. I picked out the pink ones and they worked great!
To package these I put a tiny bit of Easter grass on the bottom of a treat bag and then closed it with the bunny ear pipecleaners (lovingly shaped by my Mom). They were a big hit at our family Easter dinner.
My sister Natalie got married last fall and my other sister, Vanessa, and I threw her a bridal shower. I always try to plan a bridal shower theme around something the bride likes and for Natalie that’s bikes and robots. She was already using a tandem bike theme for the wedding, so the shower had to be robots!
So the question was how do I do a feminine fun ROBOT shower?
I really love that little robot! And this is how they were sent out. I’m a big fan of the fancy mailing label.
The pink and green robot theme was used for the whole shower, which we decided to do as a tea. We used two tables and each was covered with a white table cloth and a green runner. The placemats were pieces of pink or green 12″ x 12″ scrapbook paper. I picked up 3 sets of those great tea cups and saucers from Ikea. They have a modern look that work great with our robot theme.
We started off with scones and tea sandwiches along with champagne and tea.
I made everyone a personalized tea bag skewer and we used Finium tea bags so people could select their own teas from our “tea bar.”
All of the teas are from my favorite tea company, Rishi Tea. I put the tea name, type, and description on cards for each tea.
This is my tea. I made the sticks using 2 gauges of craft wire.
The bride-to-be’s place was marked with a special ribbon badge.
After the first course we sat down to open gifts. My mom wrapped her gift to look like…what else… a robot!
After gifts we had dessert. This was the first event that I had a chance to do a dessert table. That was a fun challenge. I bought most of the candy from nuts.com. We purchased truffles from danschocolates.com. I baked the ruffled layer cake, pistachio butter cookies, and meringue cookies.
We printed out copies of some childhood photos of Natalie for table decor. I just happened to have these awesome frames in pink and green!
The showstopper from dessert was this amazing 3 tier ruffled cake inspired by Sweetapolita. It was a vanilla bean cake with raspberry swiss meringue butter cream and it’s massively tall. I couldn’t fit it in my cake carrier so I had to do the ruffles at Vanessa’s house.
This cake was so tall we cut each slice about 1/2″ thick.
For games, we did Bridal Bingo and trivia. I’m rather proud of “How Well Do You Know Natalie…and Robots?”
We managed to surprise Natalie and make sure everyone had a good time. I don’t have a photo of the favors but they were small tins of tea and chocolate truffles in a green or hot pink favor box that I cut on my silhouette.
I’m one of those odd people who buys an accessory and builds an outfit around it rather than starting off with a dress. Last month I picked up this amazing necklace from J.Crew. It sold out the day after I ordered it so I’m glad I got it!
I’m planning to wear it with either black or grey dress and green shoes..but what I really needed was a killer shawl. I browsed through a lot of shawl patterns on Ravelry before settling on Summer Flies. I like that it’s a half circle and that its FREE! Yay! Now I just needed to get yarn. I really loved working with Madelinetosh Pashmina when I was making Natalie’s wedding shawl, so I wanted to use it again. On their website I saw that the Colorway Creme de Menthe comes in Pashmina, but I wasn’t able to find anyone selling it online. Additionally I was looking at photos on Ravelry and I’m not quite sure if the color was exactly what I wanted.
So I headed to Down Cellar to see what they had in stock since they also carry Madelinetosh. One of the owners spent a good 20 minutes with me pulling out yarns…but nothing was exactly what I wanted. I was about to give up when I spotted a single skein tucked away…I found it! A skein of Jojoland 2 ply Cashmere yarn. It was a lovely seafoam green and at 400yards it was more than I needed. I snatched it up for $27 and got knitting.
The pattern actually calls for a light worsted yarn, but I wanted something a bit more ethereal so I was happy to use lighter yarn. The one thing I definitely should have done is use size 7 needles, but despite having 2 sets of interchangeable needles I couldn’t find 7s anywhere. So I used my 8s.
This shawl knit up incredibly quickly. I was done in less than 2 weeks! I did make a few modifications since I was using a light yarn and didn’t want to block heavily. First, I added 2 extra repeats of the lovely open knotwork section. After the knotwork I added a section of ridged eyelet. Finally, for the ruffle section I did *k1, k1f&b* instead of k1f&b in every stitch.
After a bath in some SOAK wash, I got to blocking with my new Inspinknity blocking wires (a post on that coming soon!). The next morning it was dry and I am in love! I can also wear this as a neckerchief and the cashmere is so soft!
A few notes on things I read from other people…
I saw a lot of people complain about the Jojoland Cashmere breaking or being splitty. I had no such issues. I did have my yarn break once but that was my own fault.
There were many complaints about how long the picot bind off took, but I thought it was pretty quick work. Of course I had 25% less stitches than called for.
Around Christmas, my aunt asked me to knit her a snood. A snood? Really? So I asked her to send me a picture of what she wanted and she sent me a link to a Juicy Couture “Snood” on Zappos. I would call this a convertible cowl. But I was able to use the dimensions on the juicy snood to make hers.
Her request that was that it wasn’t wool and it wasn’t bulky. So I told her what weight yarn to get and she picked up 2 skeins of Bernat Satin.
This is probably one of the more tedious projects I’ve done. Essentially I knit a 20″ x 22″ block of k1p1 ribbing. If I owned a knitting machine I totally would have used it and just seamed it instead of knitting in the round. I find doing lots of k1p1 just makes my hands hurt after 15-20 minutes of knitting, so it did take me a couple of months to finish it.
I gave my aunt her cowl today and she was very happy. I told her now that she has it, it’s going to start snowing.
Aunt Peggy’s Snood
Yarn: 2 skeins of Bernat Satin
Needles: 16″ Size 8 circulars