Category Archives: Accessories

Sneak Peek: Super secret project

I know, I know.  I’m being very mean to keep teasing you, but I just can’t help myself!  ;) 

Here’s a sneak peek at my latest project.  I received my fabric last night from Fabric.com and it was just perfect.  Super soft and cozy.  I pre-treated the fabric and started the production line, my own personal sweat shop, last night. 

I am pretty excited!!!!  More details soon, I promise.

Wish me luck!

How to raid a friend’s stash

Happy Monday everyone!  Before you ask how my fall coat is coming along, let me inform you that absolutely no sewing occurred at Chez Elizabeth this past weekend.  Why you ask?  Well, my mom is visiting and actually sleeping in my sewing studio (aka, the living rm/dining rm), so it would be quite rude of me to sew late at night, now wouldn’t it? 

So while I pine away, I have been planning my totebag extravaganza.  I bought some canvas from Premier Prints recently with this project in mind, but I needed some medium weight cotton in coordinating prints to line the totebags.  Enter: my friend Tanya’s stash.  I happen to know that she has an entire cabinet filled to the brim with medium weight gorgeous cotton prints.  I casually proposed a stash swap.  Some of her fabric for some of my fabric.  Tanya readily agreed.  Mwah hahahaha….

This weekend I walked over to her apt and the stash raiding ensued.  I feel slightly guilty, because I hadn’t properly prepared Tanya for how large my needs were (I am making 6 totebags).  She did blanch a bit upon seeing how many canvas fabrics I had, but I just pretended not to notice.  ;)   Of course, I will gladly share with her anything she wants from my stash (I hope she doesn’t mind that I am heavy on garment fabrics as opposed to med weight cottons). 

Tanya has a very substantial collection of cotton prints, including some Liberty prints.  I didn’t steal any of her Liberty, although they were much pawed over admired.  I did find some great coordinating fabrics for my totebag linings and am excited to share with you the pairings.  (All canvas fabrics are at the top of the photos and lining fabrics at the bottom.)

The last photo shows canvas from Tanya’s collection as well as her print (apologies for the blurriness).  One of the canvases which I had chosen (a Pucci-esque print) just did not say totebag to me upon receipt, so I stole swapped one of Tanya’s canvas fabrics.  Isn’t it pretty?

I am also planning to make a duplicate of the bag I made myself recently, so that brings my total up to 6 bag combos: two for Jack’s pre-school teachers and four for my co-workers.

And in other sewing/knitting news: Tanya invited me to participate in a holiday bazaar, so I will let you know what I make for that too.  We are thinking of some quickie projects.  Maybe I will make more ruffled scarves (maybe making them a little less finished so that they are fast to make)?

I hope at least some of you are sewing out there on my behalf since I can’t!

Whirlwind knitting

I finished Jack’s hat last night.  While I love the spiral rib, the top of the hat is a little less than graceful.  Part of the lack of grace is due to shortening the height of the hat by 2-3 inches to make it a child size (upon recommendation of the Purl Bee).  But I also think the decrease rows look like a sudden change.  Not sure how I would rectify that situation though if I were to make it again.  Suggestions from any of the knitters out there (I’m looking at you Robin!)?  ;)  

Here’s a close up of the hat.

And here’s the hat with the scarf… 

I don’t know if you can tell from these pictures, but the yarn is a truly remarkable color IRL.  It’s mostly teal blue with speckles of sea green.  This color just glistens with life.  I used Cascade Superwash 128 chunky yarn and really liked knitting with it.  I love the warm spongy fabric it creates.  The yarn calls for sz 10 needles with a 3.5 st/in gauge.  For the hat I used sz 9 needles to get a tighter weave, but for the scarf I used 10′s. 

I guess now I have to make him matching mittens, but I just don’t feel like it right now.  I am itching to get back to my fall coat.  But alas, I have a date tonight, so the coat will have to wait until Friday night.

Happy sewing and knitting everyone. 

P.S.  I promise pictures of Jack in his new accessories soon, but I want to finish his mittens first!

Sewing interruptus

It dawned on me this week that I am a month behind getting Jack’s knitting done for the year.  Every September, I knit his scarf, hat and annual sweater.  Well, it’s October my friends and the cold weather is nigh.  So I put aside my fall coat in deference to Jack’s needs.  I already knew what scarf pattern I wanted to use; I’ve used it twice before.  Liesl from Disdressed and of Oliver and S fame wrote this pattern a couple of years ago and I thought it was sheer genius.  I changed it up a little this year to look a little more boyish, although I still adore her pattern as is.  It doesn’t take that long to knit at all, maybe just 2-3 hours, so it’s perfect for my busy schedule and perfect for Jack’s little neck!

Liesl’s pattern has you cast on just 2 stitches to start and then you M2 stitches every other row which gradually forms a leaf shape to either end.  That’s just one part of the genius of this scarf.  The “tips” of the leaves are how you pull the scarf end through the slit (the other genius part) you create in the scarf by splitting the stitches onto two double point needles.  I wrote about this scarf last year. 

Anyhoo, this time I knew I wanted it to look more boyish, so I cast on the same amount of stitches as the width of the scarf for a more square look.  I also made the middle part shorter as last year’s scarf was a little too loose.   While the square ends are not as easy to get through the slit as the leaf ends of the original pattern, they are still quite workable.

I tested the guesstimate sizing on Jack this morning and it was perfect!  No picture of him wearing it yet though.

I already cast on for the hat last night.  I trawled Ravelry yesterday looking for inspiration.  I wanted a hat that would be simple to knit and quick, but it also needed some design feature to give it a little more interest than just stockinette stitch.  The perfect pattern was the His & Her Knit Hats from the Purl Bee.  Jack’s head circumference is about 20 inches, so I am making the women’s size hat for him.

His & Her Knit Hats (image from Purl Bee)

So that’s what I have been up to the last couple of nights.  As for Jack’s annual sweater, I’m not sure I am going to keep that tradition going.  Last year’s sweater was great.  Until I washed it.  Remember that disaster?  I don’t think I’ve recovered yet. 

I hope to get back to my coat this weekend.  Happy knitting and sewing everyone!

Housekeeping

 Hoo boy!  Lots to talk about today.  I hope you don’t mind, but I might have to do a pseudo power point prez here because to write all that prose is overwhelming me and I will end up just not writing anything.

  • Thank you to Robin and Karen who nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger award!  I will address this award and it’s attendant responsibilities in a later post.  But for now, a heartfelt thank you to both for their compliments and for the award.
  • I’ve been playing with my “new” Singer Featherweight 221 and it’s been fun and frustrating at the same time.  I love how fast it sews, how evenly the feed dogs feed (compared to my Emerald 183), and how good the stitches are (when the tension’s right), BUT, I am having serious problems with the bobbin and needle thread tensions.  I have to fiddle with it for about an hour each time I use it.    My current theory is that I need a new bobbin case because the one that came with the machine might not have the ability to maintain tension.  Anyone with some ideas, please give me a shout in the comments.  Here are some pretty pictures of what I’ve been doing with my FW:

Testing thread tension settings

Playing with the binding foot

I made a new tote bag!!!

close up of fabric and topstitching

My lining fabric -- recognize it?

 

  • I wanted to do a simple project on my FW to test run it.  I needed a new tote bag, so that’s what I made last night.  It’s a really simple bag, based on the one I made from the PURL class I took a lifetime ago.  The most complicated thing about it is that it’s lined.  No fancy interior pockets or nuthin’!  But it really fits the bill and I love it so.  :)  
  • I think I am going to use the FW to make my fall coat.  How exciting is that?!?!
  • Confession: In order to actually sew the bag last night, I had to clean off my dining room table, I mean my sewing table.  Folks, it was do or die.  You couldn’t see the table.  It was piled at least 1 foot high with sewing detritus, months of mail, and random stuff.  I was ruthless with throwing out UFO’s (pregnant clown shirt muslin anyone?).  I put all of my patterns away, cleaned up all my notions, etc.  It took me 4 hours, but I can see my table again and I know where everything is.  Phew!!!  I wish I had taken some before pictures, but trust me when I say it was not pretty.  Here’s how it looks now…

  • Now, isn’t that sewing nirvana?  Hey, I could actually eat there too now.  ;)   Oh and did you notice anything?  Do you see my Emerald 183 on the table at all?  No?  Well that’s because my Singer FW is taking precedence right now.  I put the Viking under the table.  We’ll see what happens to it after I play with my FW for a while longer.  If I get the tension issues worked out, I might have to “make arrangements.”
  • Oh, and I can’t forget to tell you of an impromptu coffee I had with Marji this morning before work.  Her boat is docked across the river which she posted on FB last night.  I told her I was a ferry ride away and we made plans to have coffee.  I have to say it was minor miracle that I got out of the house before 8:30am much less arrive at a destination by 8:10am WITH TODDLER IN TOW, I might add.  I am impressed with myself.  We talked for what seemed like 5 minutes, but 40 minutes later, I had to go to work sadly.  I could have talked with Marji for hours!  I hope we meet again.

Marjorie and me!

  • I hope to start my coat muslin tonight.  I bought heavy muslin so I would have a more accurate idea re: fitting issues.  Wish me luck!

Happy sewing everyone!

“Quick” gift for Nanny

So my son’s nanny’s birthday was this weekend.  Stupid Yahoo calendar did not remind me in time and I had to think of a quick gift for her.  She is the most amazing nanny.  She is loving to my son and my son just adores her.  I get stopped on the street by complete strangers all the time who have seen her with my son during the week and who tell me how awesome she is.  Really!

Last year, I made her this scarf. 

Anne's Scarf

 

Scarf, end detail

This year I wanted to do something a little different and this silk charmeuse remnant from Kashi remnant bin at Metro Textile was just the thing.   This remnant was just a little over 1 yd at about 45 inches wide, a perfect scarf size, and it feels so luxurious.

The only problem was…  I do not own a rolled hem foot.  How to do a rolled hem without a rolled hem foot?  Hmmm…   Well, that’s where Pattern Review comes in.  I posted a question on the message board at 4:30pm today and received answers right away.  Both respondents told me to stay stitch 1/2 inch in from the edge of the scarf, press a crease at the stitching line on the inner side, cut close to the stitching line and roll the hem in.  Then stitch the hem closed, rolling as you go. 

So I was all set tonight to work on the scarf after Jack went to bed.

The only other problem was…  I did not have any scraps on which to practice this new to me technique.  What to do?  Thankfully, my remnant had a rather wide selvedge, so I practiced a couple of times on the selvedge and thought to myself, “no time like the present.”  And I just started my rolled hem.

I changed only one thing to the method described above: I pressed the rolled hem so that it would be easier to sew.  I pressed one side at a time and then sewed that side.  I used silk thread and can I just take a moment to say that working with silk thread was just divine?  My sewing machine loved it.  She just purred along the entire time.  Lovely!

So here are some pictures…  Nothing too exciting, but I am quite pleased with an evening’s research and work.  Now I just need to get her a pin to go with it!

finished scarf for the nanny

rolled hem detail

 

Happy sewing!

Two more commissions (!)

After posting about my first knitting commission, I have received two more requests for matching hat/mittens sets.  One from my sister-in-law for my beautiful niece Haley and the other from my friend Jennifer of Jennifer Weisbord Photography.  Remember when I mentioned that I had Jack’s picture taken professionally recently?  Well, we worked out a deal where I will make her daughter Hannah one of the hat/mittens sets in exchange for use of the digital photo files of a few of the pictures she took of Jack.  I want to order Xmas cards using those images and I wanted to use one image for the blog to show you the sweater I made on Jack. 

Jennifer takes the most beautiful pictures.  I love how the colors just pop and how she expertly frames each picture so that the subject is so wonderfully shown.  My neighborhood has some beautiful parks right next to the Hudson River and our photo shoot used this built in background to great advantage.  Jack loved running around the park and playing on the jungle gym.  Jennifer’s shots were candid and so effortlessly caught Jack’s personality and joy.  I have been such a failure at catching his smiles myself, but she seems to just draw it out him.  :)  Have a look and see!

Jack running 110109

Image from Jennifer Weisbord Photography

Doesn’t Jack’s sweater look so cute on???  *pats self on back*

If you live in the NY Metro area, I highly recommend Jennifer.  She’s great with kids and takes the most beautiful photography.

Did I mention that Jack already lost his hat that I made recently???  Yes, and it’s not even winter yet.  So I had to make him a new one.  Since the old one (hard to use the word old on something not even two months old!) was slightly too large, I went down a needle size and now the hat fits just right.  Now it’s just so right that one might even say it’s almost overfitted.  But I am done with this one and if it’s a mite tight, oh well.  Here’s a pic of the latest hat.  I’m not going to say it’s the final hat, because I have a sneaking suspicion that he might lose this one before the bitter end as well. 

Jack 2nd Hat 2009

Should I make a tassel or a pompom for the hat?  I am leaning towards pompom, but wasn’t sure if that was gender appropriate.  What do you think?  And then I have to make the mittens too.  And next I want to make myself this scarf in the same color family.

I know I never got around to posting about the trench coat, but I promise that by this time tomorrow, I will have posted it on the Trench Sew Along.  I promise.  Really.  No, really!  I mean it.  Seriously.

Happy knitting and sewing everyone!

Back from the dead

and with the living now.  Apologies for the long absence.  I came out of my malaise a week ago, but have been extremely busy.  I have a few finished projects to show you…

I was able to complete Jack’s sweater in time for his Christmas card picture photo shoot.  And he looked super duper cute with the biggest smiles I have ever seen.  Unfortunately these photos aren’t available for me to post on the blog as they were taken by a professional photographer and I don’t have digital files of them.  But to satisfy (albeit somewhat unsatisfactorily) your curiosity, here’s the sweater without a little 2 yr old in it.

Jack's 2009 Xmas Sweater

And I completed the commission.  I made my first successful pompom for the cute little hat and knitted a pair of mittens as well.  The mittens need some practice.  I loved the gusset for the thumb, but the actual thumb part itself, I found a little lacking in finesse.  Maybe it’s the scale for small child, I’m not sure.  Maybe it would be better for an adult.  Without further ado, the commission.  Both hat and mittens patterns are from Ann Budd’s book, “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns.”

mittens and hat commission

I have worked on the trench coat, but will post the progress on the trench sew along later today.  Check back after 5pm to see my progress.  I think I need about two more evenings of intensive work on it before it will be finished.  I never said I was fast.  ;)

Also, in somewhat sewing related news, I did a major overhaul of my apt/sewing studio.  Story and pictures tomorrow…  I know, I’m such a tease. 

I’m happy to be back and have missed being connected to you all.  I just have been overwhelmed with projects and too little time to blog and comment on other people’s blogs.  But hopefully my time commitments will ease up. 

Ha, right!  *mired in delusions*

Happy sewing!

Hiding out

My apologies for being absent the last week.  I have been under the weather morale-wise.  Although my ennui has nothing to do with sewing, I haven’t sewn a thing since my last lesson with Thea where we figured out what was wrong with the raglan sleeves on my trench (more on that later). 

I have been knitting though.  I started the commission and my son’s yearly sweater.  I find knitting, especially patterns I’ve done before, very therapeutic.  It builds my confidence while keeping the feelings of accomplishment going. 

Hopefully I will snap out of this mental malaise soon. 

Happy knitting and sewing to you all.

My first commission

A co-worker saw the hat and scarf  I knitted for Jack recently and requested a hat for her niece.  She bought the same yarn, Koigu merino wool, but in another colorway.  Isn’t this pretty?

Koigu pinks purples

Instead of payment we are bartering talents.  She’s a fantastic Italian cook and Jack’s favorite dish is pasta fagiole.  So she’s going to make him a big pot of it in exchange for the hat.  Perfect!

Happy knitting and sewing!