19 January 2014

The Week In Review: A Pyramid Book Holder, A Wee Purse and Some Felted Booties

I have long considered buying one of these handy dandy triangular book /Ipad/Kindle holders. I thought that they would be especially good when I read in bed. I tend to lie on my side and getting a book to be at a good angle for reading is sometimes a struggle.  I've seen similar items for sale on Levenger, but they cost between $39.-$43. and I was just not enthused at the construction or the fabric choices. Once I began looking I found other brands, but with only slightly more inspiring fabrics. Not that the fabric really matters all that much I suppose, you might prefer a more neutral fabric rather than an overbright one, plus the fabric is generally hidden by your book or device anyway, but if I can make one that I love why not try?!

I absolutely fell in love with this fabric that was a part of our  'awefull raffle' at a "Sewcial" last weekend.  I was thrilled to win it - along some other fabric pieces that are equally special, but these sheep just tugged at my heart. What would I use it for?
I used parts of a pyramid book holder pattern that I found , but thesimple instructions seemed very very vague. I made some changes to the pattern, and I am planning to write a new pattern of my own with some design changes. I felt that a pocket was needed (which was not mentioned) for a  pencil, a cleaning cloth for your device, tissues, or whatever. I could not plan on having enough fabric to make a pocket because I had less that the required amount of fabric to begin with. I had to piece in a few places as it was in order to have enough fabric to make the large triangles. I added the pocket by hand at the very end and was left with a precious bit of  leftover fabric that measures about 3 inches! Phew! Skin of my teeth!

This book holder works just as I had hoped it would, and I love everything about it.  It makes reading in bed so much easier and using it on my lap holds the book/device at a comfortable  reading angle! It holds an Ipad (classic size) or Kindle (HD Fire) easily (the photo above) or am extra large hard cover book just as easily (photo below).

Here is that little pocket that I added. I'm so glad that I was able to add at least one!
Since I was short on fabric I used a double layer of my favorite black fabric (Michael Miller's black) for the bottom. The holder is filled with some luscious wool. Not the most cost effective stuffing perhaps, but it was what I had one hand. I have added a bag of poly fill to my "mainland" shopping list for when I make another book pyramid. Actually I think wool may be the better choice really because it may become less compacted over time than poly fill would/will - so maybe it was good that I went with what I had - especially since I won't give up this one with my favorite fabric!

Another project from this week:

.....a little bag ( I have to feed my purse-a-mania somehow!). This is made from a pattern by the Stitchin Post. I have some pattern changes planned for this too, but it's a really cute little bag, and I loved using snaps. This was some Jane Sassaman fabric that I had been hanging on to for a long-g-g-g time! You can carry your cell phone in the large rear area that has it's own snap closure there are two other pockets of varying sizes. A simple braided ,over the shoulder length strap,  finished the job. I cannot wait to get going on  with "my" version of this. It will take more time, but will end up being a bit more substantial I think. 

The final of the week's projects was this pair of felted booties from one of my favorite patterns from Cat Bordhi that I call the 'Cure For Cold Feet', but she simple calls 'Felted Booties'.It's in her book Socks that Soar

I used some Knit Picks City Tweed Heavy Weight that I held double stranded (since the pattern calls for bulky).  I love the yarn, it's soft and would have made my feet very happy as well as warm. Once again I used what I had on hand. The yarn was 55% merino wool, 42% alpaca and 3% donegal tweed bits (give or take a percent one way or the other). There was no mention on the label that it was a super wash wool and yet, despite getting a small swatch to felt, I could not get these booties to felt enough no matter what I tried. 

I washed them on a hot cycle and dried them in the dryer twice. Then I took a drastic measure and boiled them on the stove for quite some time, and then they were put them through another washer and dryer cycle. They did felt more with this method, but not enough for me to use them (even with another pair of thinner trouser socks underneath).  The bulky yarns that I have used for this pattern in the past have all worked out and felted beautifully. These will fit DH perfectly if he will really use them that is. So - I need to go and find some more bulky non super wash wool. I need a new pair of "the cure for cold feet" booties - and soon as I have patched and repatched the soles of mine so often that there is soon going to be no 'patchability'!
That was my week. I had a good week ! How about you? 
What did you do this week that made you smile?

14 January 2014

The Lucky Winner Is ....


Thanks to the randomizing wizardry of Random.org you are the winner of some wonderful new pearlescent paints!

I will be forwarding your address information to "the powers that be". You should be hearing from Elaine from Niji / Yasutomo very soon telling you when your new paints will be shipping !

12 January 2014

First Frost Shawl

This is my latest knit shawl. The pattern is called the Xenia Shawl by Vanessa Smith. Available through the wonders of Ravelry! As I worked on it I was not sure that I was going to like it, but now that it is done it has quickly become a favorite!

I had originally tried to get it made by December 25th. It was a KAL through the SunShine Yarnies group on Ravelry. Alas, I did not get it blocked and ready to wear until December 29th! It uses two SunShine yarns, and it is a crescent shaped shawl - one of my favorites if I had to choose a favorite other than the Faroese shape that is!
The pattern utilized a couple of things that were new me, and that's great because I love learning something new!
This way of adding a stripe was different, but I love it. It looks as nice on the front (the photo above)as it does on the back (see the photo below)
I love the little bit of additional texture that this method provides as well (photo below). Subtle but nice!
Now - on the next shawl. I am almost finished with a pair of "the-cure-for-cold-feet booties - and then next shawl will begin. A new friend and I are doing a mini KAL together knitting a scarf that will be made with Sport or DK weight yarn. I will begin making a second scarf using fingering weight (my favorite) at the same time, so I will have two fun projects going at once...not to mention the two large quilts that I happily working away on at the moment. 

I love choosing patterns and yarns to go with! I have several new skeins of glorious Madeline Tosh Merino Light on hold Island Wools, and I'm anxious to get them on the needles !

It feels really good when a project that you weren't sure you would like turns out to be one of your newest favorites!

06 January 2014

Give-a-Way Special ! Yasutomo Pearlescent Paint Set

These are two, among many, things that I love.
I love these yummy sets of Yasutomo Pearlescent watercolors 
and I love a good give-a-way!
I really enjoy using these luscious paints! The colors are rich and saturated, plus they are 'buildable'; you can create layers of pearlescent colors to make your look as pale or as saturated as you like.

 The best part is that YOU can win one of these sets!

In order to so so there TWO simple things to do:

1.     Leave a comment on this post.
2.     Like the Yasutomo FaceBook page 
(mention that you came from my blog!)

How simple is that?!

I will announce 
the winner 
here on 
 Monday, January 13th, 2014 
as well as on the 
Yasutomo FaceBook page.

Good Luck!

03 January 2014

Birds of A Feather Fabrics, Duo Fuse Fleece and Camel Back Carryall

I can't quite explain the pleasure that I have been experiencing at my full circle return to all things sewing, but it feels really good! As some of you may remember, I did a huge fabric purge this past summer to the tune of thirteen large white plastic bags filled to the brim. Other folks were happy to have all of it and I'm giddy because I feel like I can now buy just a bit of fabric that really calls to me without the fear that it will all be buried under yardage that I long ago lost interest in. 

This new line ( I actually discovered that it came out in November, but it is new to me), 'Birds Of A Feather' by Mark Hordyszynski for Michael Miller fabrics, is one of my favorites. I found it in irresistible fat quarter packets from The Stitchin' Post, and of course, since I have an addiction for feathers, I had to buy additional yardage of several of the designs! I have to comment on the Stitchin Post's customer service too. In a note that I added to my order I inquired if they had the green fabric (photo below second from top) in any other color ways. Not only did Annette (shipping department) send swatches in my order she also sent me a photograph of a stack of bolts of the other colors and patterns in the line! Kudos to Stitchin'Post and Annette!
My initial order was for two fat quarter packets and an extra yard of the blackish feather fabric, so I needed to consider what to make to try out a couple of the fat quarters. I had a pattern that I had been meaning to make for years. It was time to use it! It's called the 'Camel Back Carryall' from Janine Babich Designs. This pattern is really fun, and it is very useful too!  I changed the details just a wee bit.
The next question was what batting or fleece to use. I knew precisely what I wanted to use. Some time age the wonderfully kind folks from Innovative Craft Products sent me a treasure trove of things to try out. Of course, in the interim, I left my job of 17 years, and spent several months sifting, sorting and divesting myself of unused and no-longer-wanted-or needed 'treasures', clothing and fabrics. 

My experiments with these "Innovatice" products have, therefore, been pitifully delayed, but I really did want to take my time and enjoy the process of playing with the products.

I used "Duo Fuse" double sided fusible fleece for this little project. Duo Fuse is a very different fusible. I am thrilled with this product - truly I am. It has a very soft, silky hand. When you sew through it you have absolutely no hint that you are sewing through a fusible product. Your needle just glides. That's all well and good, but it is the end result that matters right? Well, I am so very pleased to say that end result is perfect. The fabric does not look at all as though it had anything fusible in it. The softness and definition (of the quilting) remains lofty and soft. This is one product that I will be using a lot more of. It's a dream fusible that I am so happy to have discovered! I now cannot wait to do some more experimenting with their truly innovative products (good choice of a company name huh?!).

I was very cautious about using a fusible on this little bag, even though it is what the pattern called for. I find that some fusibles really look a bit odd in the finished product. Sometimes the results look rather taut and pulled. Fusible qualities, especially in batting or fleece, can also cause a loss of 'fluffiness' that I really don't fancy too well. I like fluffy! Innovative Craft Products is in the process of redesigning their website, but you can go to the product page that I linked to, and you can also find them on Face Book. 
silky, smooth and soft!

So here is the little Camel Back Carryall made up in "Birds Of A Feather" and Duo Fuse.

You can see how the quilting is still fluffy looking and well defined. 
No "too sticky" tautness with this product!

I added a small interior pocket to the pattern.