Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Fibers

This was the week of shopping and birthday things. Not bad in and of itself, but I didn't get quite as much as I would have liked to done in terms of writing and crafting.

That said, I did finish that skirt, which I'll probably post about on Monday, and a bit more knitting done.

Still isn't the same size as the other piece. I should be done with it sometime this weekend.

I like how this turned out. Now, I just need to figure out what I want to do with the top.
Would anyone like to share what they've been working on?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday - Shopping Day

Today, I've been shopping for specific birthday and wedding gifts that I couldn't make myself. Amazingly, I've found most of what I wanted to get, plus something I always have a hard time finding (on clearance, even!)

Comfortable and decent looking sandals! Sure, summer's almost over, but I still have time to rock these babies this year.

I feel like I should paint my toenails to celebrate or something.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Joining Yarn or Changing Colors - Crochet Basics

As you continue on with your crochet journey, you will come across the need to add yarn to your project. You may just need to move on to the next ball of yarn when the first one runs out, or add colors.

It's actually pretty simple to do, and if you can follow this technique, you won't need to weave ends in when you're finished.

Step One
Leave a tail of a few inches long of your old yarn. If you're moving to another ball of yarn the same color, work until there are only a few inches of yarn left. Otherwise, snip the yarn.

I'm using that dress from the last entry as an example.
Step Two
Insert the crochet hook into the stitch after the one you left off on, and loop the new yarn over the hook. Make sure to leave a tail about an inch or two long of the new yarn not leading to the ball.

Step Three
Draw the loop through, as if you're just creating another stitch. As you do so, keep the tails draped along the edge of the project, so they remain between the yarn coming out of the back, and the hook in front.

Step Four
Insert hook into the next stitch, yarn over and pull that loop through.

Step Five
Still keeping the tails draped along the edge of your project, complete the first stitch as you normally would.

There's your first stitch! Continue crocheting as usual, but keep the yarn tails draped along the edge of your project as you go. You'll be securing them in place, while hiding them from view when you crochet around them like this.

If you'd like, you can snip them after about five stitches, but I usually choose to continue the project until they're completely hidden.

Frayed ends might show up between stitches, but if you just stretch the fabric, they should vanish for you.

The new color has been added.
Although I just used a single stitch for this example, you can use this technique on any kind of stitch.

As always, if you follow a different technique, feel free to let me know! I'm always willing to try new ways of doing things.

For more Crochet Basics, click here!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Works In Progress

Ah, yes. Crochet, knitting and a bit of cooking. Of course, the cooking part isn't that big of a deal, considering everything I've made is very simple.

Anyway, I've made progress on the purse -

Once I get the other side knitted, I'll be putting it together with some cotton batting and fabric to line the interior. Of course, there will be a zipper involved, as well as the strap.

I've also started the crochet on that dress -

Not too bad for no pattern. I'll have to switch colors at some point, since I don't have enough of that color to get it as long as I'd like it to be. Since this yarn is so old, and may be from Germany, I don't think trying to match it is worth the effort.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

DIY Clothing Alterations - Dress, Part One

If you're a human and you've ever bought clothing off the rack, odds are you've dealt with ill fitting garments. Unless you fall into that magical body size and proportional range clothing companies use to manufacture their products, it can be hard finding things that fit correctly.

My, and many other peoples, biggest problem garments are jeans and dresses. I usually end up wearing a belt, since waistlines are always too big when hips/thighs/length work. With dresses, I face the same problem in the bust line.

I'm a pretty small person. I'm usually only about 5'2" or 5'3" when I get regular adjustments for my back, and weigh just over 100 pounds. While that means I face the exact opposite problem most people face, I still have issues with finding comfortable clothing that looks halfway decent on me. My scoliosis can also complicate things, especially when it comes to some shirt and dress styles.

Needless to say, I've gotten very good at hemming skirts or pants, and taking in many dress bodices. In fact, when I shop for casual dresses, I usually look at how they're constructed before trying them on. If I can't figure out how to fix it in the store, I don't buy it, regardless of how much I might like it.

When I DO find a dress I like, and that fits, like the one I'll be altering for this entry, I wear it until it's beyond repair. I've had this particular dress for a number of years, now, and it's my go-to summer dress for when I don't feel like wearing shorts.

(I apparently have no idea of how to take a decent picture of myself.)

The straps have gotten to the point of either needing to be glued together, or replaced. Although the skirt is pretty, I have a hard time walking in it, because it restricts my stride. In fact, there are some tears in the side seams from being stretched a little too much. So, I will be shortening the skirt, and then crocheting some of the length back into a slightly fuller skirt. I'll be following this idea.

Since this is going to be something of a lengthy project to write about, I guess I'll turn it into a series.

While I'm figuring out what to do with the straps, I'll address shortening the skirt.

This is a little tricky when you do it yourself, without a model off of which to work. What I did was relatively simple. While I was wearing the dress, I pinched a bit of the fabric right about where I want the hem to end, and stuck a pin in it.

I then unfolded it, while keeping the pin in place, before measuring the distance between the little marker and the hem. In this case, I rounded the measurement to 16 inches.

In order to make sure the hem is even, I placed a pin 16 inches above the existing hem all around the dress. You can use chalk or a tailor's pencil to make the marks, but I didn't feel like turning the dress inside out or dealing with chalk.

Once everything was marked, I cut just under the line of pins. (It's always better to have a little more fabric to work with than cut too much.)

I guess this would be called "fun and flirty"? Let's hear it for more fabric, too!
If I wasn't going to add a crochet lining, I would fold the raw edge over twice and sew it in place. Since I will be doing the crochet thing, I won't be sewing it, but I will fold it over once.

To make sure the hem stays even, I used my tailor's tape to keep around a quarter of inch folded over all the way around. As I went, I put pins in to hold it in place.

Again, if you're just shortening the skirt, I'd make that first fold a tiny bit smaller, then fold it over again. Before sewing, it helps to press the edge flat with an iron.

Next comes the crochet, but that will happen during an entry next week.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Cleaning Day Today

Trying to straighten up my office/craft room today. Here are a couple of details in this room.

Wondering what the glass thing is? It's called a hand boiler, and here's what it does -


You can find one of your own online, but this one actually comes from either my great- or great-great grandmother.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Are Your Ears Part of Your Creative Process?

Quite a while ago, I wrote about the impact music has on learning over on Alternative Wiring. And by "a while ago", apparently I mean "over a year ago".


Anyway, I listen to a fair amount of music while writing, crafting or cleaning. My taste is pretty eclectic, ranging from heavier stuff to classical music to peppy dance tunes to epic sound tracks. I'll listen to almost anything, as long as the lyrics are tolerable, it has a great beat and the instrumentals work together. I guess it depends on my mood and what I'm doing.

When crafting, I'll sometimes listen to audio books or have some sort of movie or TV show running in the background. I've found that while silence can be wonderful at times, sometimes I need the rhythm melody and harmony only music can offer to trigger the creativity I know is lurking deep within my brain.

This is what I'm listening to right now:

Very cool. Very epic. Think I'll actually add this to my writing play list, especially for fight scenes.

What do you like to listen to when pursuing your creative pursuits?