Saturday, December 18, 2010

New blog for a new year

It has become evident that I've transitioned away from knitting over the past year or so. Although I learned to knit when I was fairly young, I think knitting became a big part of my life when I was in law school. Portability was a definite plus, but knitting was also a good stress reliever that helped me through some difficult times. Non-knitters might never know how absorbing knitting can be, as (for me anyway) it took quite a bit of concentration. It was/is a good stress reliever.

Don't get me wrong, I still love yarn and the process of knitting, but I don't feel compelled to knit as I once did. Part of it, too, is that I'm finally feeling like I no longer have all the time in the world to get to that next project, or finish the half-dozen that are already on the needles. And, I've gone back to sewing, which is actually where it all started for me.

With that, I'm leaving this blog for a new one that more aptly fits the content of what I've been writing about and doing. The new blog will have all the old content, but you just need to visit a different site. So, here it is:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Curvy wristlet clutch and more wallets

I guess I should issue a spoiler alerts. These purses are all intended to be Christmas presents, but I know that if I don't blog about them as I go along, I'll miss my opportunity. Also, it's unlikely the intended recipients will actually read this blog.

Anyhoo, this is the curvy clutch. The pattern is, as with the previous Keyka Lou patterns, very well drafted and easy to construct. I should note that I have been using a walking foot and a 100/18 needle, which probably makes sewing through the several layers of fabric that accumulate much easier to do.

This wristlet is about the same size as the fold-over clutch, measuring approximately 11 inches at its widest point, five inches tall, and 2.5 inches deep. It features a very secure wrist strap.

Fussy cut motif on both the front and back:

The fabric is from Amy Butler's Lotus line.

The matching wallet:

Again, I fussy cut the fabric to center and include as much of the repeating motif as possible:

The only difference between this wallet and the one I made to match the previous fold-over clutch is that I interfaced the front pocket instead of using a batting in order to eliminate some of the bulk. I think the double interfacing provided enough structure, so I will continue doing this in the future.

Here they are side by side:

Last but not least, the basic wallet for the hubby's i-phone. It might be hard to tell from the picture, but I used this absolutely lovely, crisp brown linen that I had bought a while back for a summer jacket. I figured I could spare the fat eighth it took to make this wallet. (The quality of these last two pictures is a little bit off -- I think my camera was metering the darkness of the brown linen, and I didn't know how to fix the automatic setting.)

The lining is a gingham by Michael Miller:

As a final thought (and in case anyone is interested), the background fabric I have been using for these pictures is from Summer Soiree collection by Paula Prass for Michael Miller.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fold-over clutch

The design for the fold-over clutch is just so clever. This might be my favorite project to date:

The clutch measures about 11 inches wide at its widest point. Closed, as above, it is about six inches tall. Opened, as below, it is 11 inches tall (including the tab).

The fabric is Amy Butler's daisy chain, left over from a previous project. I reversed the outer and lining fabrics in comparison to the matching wallet that I blogged about yesterday.

I might attach a button here, just for a decorative element. But, I think it looks good just as is, too. Next time, I would also put the batting on the underside of tab to provide extra support for the magnetic clasp. The pattern had called for fusible interfacing on the lining side, and batting on top side.

Once again, I quilted the lining fabric with a low-loft cotton batting using a box diamond pattern. It's not completely necessary, but I wanted to add some stability and didn't want to take the chance that the batting would eventually migrate. The pattern recommends not using fusible interfacing, but I did use a woven interfacing on the main fabric. I'm thinking that I could have probably used a fusible batting too. Maybe next time.

The pocket is on the front side of the clutch, not the back as standard. The patternmaker, Keyka Lou, wrote that the pocket tended to gape when it was on the back side.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Basic wallet

This wallet was also a lot of fun to make. Once again, it is a Keyka Lou pattern. I used Amy Butler's daisy chain fabric, left over from a previous project. The wallet is approximately 5.5 inches wide by 4 inches tall and is actually much roomier than I thought it would be.

As you can see, there is a little card pocket in the front:

I centered the motif in the back and front panel. I love how it turned out.

The velcro closure is actually quite sturdy and secure...

and my i-phone fits in the interior pocket perfectly. It doesn't even fall out when I turn the wallet upside down and shake it.

The interior and my label:

Stay tuned tomorrow for my post regarding a matching clutch that turned out even cuter than the wallet!

Friday, November 26, 2010

How cute is this?!

I love it! It's called the Camera Case Wristlet, pattern by Keyka Lou. The pattern is available for purchase and immediate download here:

It took me a few hours from start to finish, but some of that time was spent studying the instructions and following them exactly (which is somewhat unusual for me). The pattern itself is very well drafted and instructions well-written. The bag measures 4.75 inches wide, by 4 inches tall and 1/5 inches deep. My favorite part is the very clever wristlet string.

The only modification for me was that I quilted the lining fabric in a diamond grid; I thought it would provide a little more support, but I'm thinking it was entirely unnecessary. However, it does add some interest to the lining, which I like very much. The best part is that the pattern calls for 1/4 yard (9 inches) of fabric each for the main fabric and lining, but can get away with a piece of scrap fabric measuring at minimum 12 inches wide by 8 inches tall. Of course, if you want to fussy cut any of the pieces, you will need more than the 12x8 piece.

The fabric is some left over scraps, which I used to make an apron way back when. The outer fabric is Anna Griffin for Windham fabrics called Maime. I tried to fussy cut the fabric so the motif was centered -- I think I mostly succeeded. You might not be able to tell from the picture, but there is a little pocket in the back, which is a neat little detail.

The brown polka dot lining is a Japanese fabric called Sevenberries. The lining fabric is especially scrumptious. It's smoother and lighter than the average quilting fabric. You can't see from the picture, but the polka dots are so rich in hue that they bleed completely through the back.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dear Jane mug rug

Many months back, this was my first attempt at a Dear Jane block. At the time, I hadn't set an accurate 1/4-inch seam yet, so the block turned out much smaller than called for. You can see with 29 pieces in this block alone, even 1/16th of an inch inaccuracy makes a big difference.

This weekend, I turned it into a little coaster, just for fun, and because the block itself is so cute.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Winter hats

I haven't been doing too much knitting lately. I seemingly lost my zest for knitting last spring and summer. I don't know if it was the change to warmer weather, but I still haven't regained the enthusiasm I once had for knitting. I once jokingly commented to my husband that I had more yarn than I could knit in a lifetime, and I think that it hit me this past year: yes, I do have more yarn than I will ever knit up, at least in MY lifetime. Sort of a bittersweet acknowledgment of mortality, I guess.

Even so, I am not one who can sit with my hands idle, so I did manage to complete two hats. The one below is from the latest (Fall 2010, Issue 33) and is called "Brambles." It was super easy and quick -- took me a few evenings of knitting. I used a worsted weight alpaca/wool blend yarn by Berrocco.

This next one took a bit longer. I actually started it last spring in an attempt to motivate myself but it just never happened. Anyhow, this fall I forced myself to complete it. The pattern itself was easy -- from Vogue Knitting Magazine (Fall 2009) but because the pattern called for fingering weight yarn, it took much longer to complete. The yarn is Colinette's jitterbug.

Both hats are destined to be gifts, most likely. I always plan on knitting one for myself, but the reality is that I'm not a hat person. Plus, for some reason, my almost-4-year-old always demands I remove hats and scarves when I put them on. Funny.