Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bet You Thought Sewing Was All I Did.....

Not really.  I just don't often have time to do my other crafts.  There are some projects I haven't gotten to in years, some that I started but couldn't finish, some that just need a bit more work, and some that I just can't seem to get to no matter what.

And then, there are the if-I-don't-do-something-creative-today-my-head-is-going-to-explode kind of projects.

Have always wanted to try this "yarn" - and I use that term loosely, as it seems more like an amalgam of ribbon & mesh:

My mother was the one that turned me onto this particular yarn (Sashay, by Red Heart).  She worked with it when it first came out, and has made somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 or so scarves for friends and family members.  I happened to run across it at Joann's Fabrics one day, and thought - hey! - I have a 40% off coupon, and it would only take a couple of dollars to see if I could work with this stuff.  Mom had a lot of difficulty with it in the beginning, but since I'd never seen it, I had no solutions to give her over the phone because I couldn't even picture it in my head from her description.

After I bought it, I looked at the instructions printed on the inside of the wrapper - and thought "no WONDER she was having so much trouble figuring this out!"  Talk about confusing!!!!

So I Googled it, and ended up watching videos on YouTube that show exactly how you are supposed to work with it.  Just search for Knitting with Sashay yarn or Crocheting with Sashay yarn, and select the ones that are from the Red Heart company.  They make it much clearer.

My son came through the room while I was knitting, asked what it was that I was working on, and said his girlfriend would love to have a scarf made of that.  I told him about all the color combos that it came in, and he said she'd either like a blue combo or a green combo.  The one I bought was more aqua/blue.  They have another combo that is more indigo/denim blue, so I figured once I was done with this one for myself, I'd go back and get the indigo combo for her.

Best laid plans, and all that.

While visiting the other day, she took one look at the scarf at about the halfway point, squealed, and said she would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have that when I was done with it.  So I guess the next coupon I have will be for the indigo/denim combo for myself, LOL.

The finished scarf

It's more a showpiece than a keep-you-warm-in-the-winter kind of scarf, but in Southern California, that's about all you need anyway.  And it looks pretty amazing with the teal and deep royal blue colors she has in her hair, too.  

Hmmm.  Maybe I should go with a purple combo, then.

A good friend of mine just had a birthday and we all got together at a mutual friend's house.  I didn't have any idea what to get for her (gifts weren't required, but it's always nice to bring something.....besides the typical bottle of wine, anyway).  I hit Michael's during a sale, and picked up these beads:

Oh, dear.  I'm beginning to see a color pattern, here....

I also picked up some of their nicer sterling silver findings, and since my friend really rocks these color combinations (along with the longer style of earrings), I came up with these:

Stars not included.    :^)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Gift That Keeps on Giving

Have a little time on my hands this week between client orders, so I thought I'd put it to good use.

You may have seen this post, which had partly to do with one of our Marching Band friends (Color Guard, to be exact) earning her Gold Award for the Girl Scouts.  She recently left the country to live in the Czech Republic for a year in an educational exchange program.  Before she left, she donated several large sacks full of leftover fleece she had acquired while making her hats for the Children's Hospital (and also fabric she had used to make her own stylish hats that she wore during night rehearsals on the field).

I have a flyer that I had picked up at our local Summerfest, during the Dog Show that was a main event one day that weekend.  This is from Operation Blankets of Love (, which collects blankets for homeless animals in shelters, rescue groups, wildlife & farm sanctuaries in the Southern California area.

Light bulb moment.

Starting with 4" square cuts

Overseeing the action

Pieces cut for backing medium (pieced) blankets, and smaller pads for carriers

4" cuts, ready to be pieced into colorful blankets

I'm overwhelmed with choices - this is going to be such a cheerful project!

More color!

The Sewing Assistant, giving approval to the largest blankets, ready  to go!

Alexis, this one's for you.  When I get the blankets started, I'll post more photos - if I can get Neko out of the pile of fabric long enough.  The blanket organization will be back at Mile Square Park for the Howling Halloween event on October 21st, and will be collecting blankets from the local community.  I'll make sure they know the back story & I'll post the final donation so you can see how many homeless animals you've helped to comfort and warm - your gift that keeps on giving!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sticking With It


Thought I'd give you a brief wave from my workroom and reassure all of you that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.....not yet, anyway!


I took a bunch of photos to show you all the projects/jobs that have sort of taken over my life lately - not that that's a bad thing, it just means I haven't had time to write much - but then realized that maybe posting all of it wouldn't do more than just make me feel overwhelmed all over again, LOL!  So, I thought I'd just throw a few of them up here for your consideration (and as an opportunity to see how busy a work-from-home seamstress can actually get....):

Custom digitized applique for a client for Halloween

Patterns I bought at the most recent Vogue/McCall's pattern sale at Joanns,
with an eye for refashioning garments 
Some of said garments, languishing in the Refashioning Pile
(Disclaimer:  this is a very, VERY small random sampling of said Pile -
if I showed you the entire stack, you'd want to commit me.)

Dress slacks that needed to be relined, for a client who had a small
tear that turned into a much larger headache when she accidentally
stepped through the tear into the Space Between.
  I carefully cut out the lining, took the seam ripper to the
seams, smoothed it out, and used it as a pattern to cut out a new lining.
Client was exceptionally happy.  :)

Another one of my Made in China alterations - I simply cannot stand that
they sew on rhinestones/beads with what looks like kite string.  And that
they use stitching to hold pleats upward on one side of the bust, only to have the other
side pleat the opposite way because the cheap tacking was done with one tiny
length of thread, so when one pleat went, they ALL went.  The wrong way.

Same bridesmaid dress, which needs about 2 inches lopped off in the hem.  Sounds easy,
until you realize that they bagged the lining in the dress hem, as if it were
the bottom of a tailored jacket.  Which means I have to take the lower part
of the dress completely apart in order to stitch these two (of three) layers back
together at the proper length.  I also need to take the upper bodice apart just to
shorten the shoulder straps.
I know ordering a special occasion dress online may SEEM like it's going to
save you tons of money & time, but usually these dresses need a ton of alterations and
I can tell you that is going to end up costing you even more in the long run.
The wedding dress this client ordered from the same online company fit her so terribly
I had no choice but to tell her she had to go buy another one.  There was no way to make
it fit her properly.

Pads and pad covers for the cat rescue my son and I volunteer for -
brought these home for sizing, so I could knock some out
(in all my spare time).  

A purse and a dress/jacket set that another client would like for me
to draft patterns from in order to make new outfits with the same fit & comfort,
and to replicate the purse completely (as well as possibly make a few more
purses using this same pattern/style).  

What will eventually be about 24 embroidered purificators for the church.

This will be a custom made dress for a renewal of vows (for a 25th Wedding Anniversary).
That won't be until next March.
I like this client.

More onesies for The Sweet Tart Lab.

And MORE onesies for The Sweet Tart Lab.
Between these two boutique orders, some custom orders, and
some orders from her web site, I'll be cranking out almost
200 items for her this month.  I love working on things for
this client, because they are so cute & cheerful!

A work jacket that needs tailoring, on hold until this client
gets another one from the same company that will need identical tailoring.
Why they think that medical personnel need to wear shapeless,
oversized, boxy garments to look "professional," I have no idea.
We decided to (gently) buck the system.  The tailoring isn't going
to be terribly obvious, but it's going to make a whole lot of difference
to my client in terms of how she looks during the day.  That
translates into how confident (and NOT self-conscious) she will feel,
which is pretty important when you work in the public sector.   

And just in case you didn't think that was enough, here is a partial list of
what I need to tackle in the next week or two.  With client names
blobbed out to protect the innocent.  There was more added to this after
I took the photo, but it's an ever-evolving list.

So there you have it.  Back to work, now!  All except for the Sewing Assistant, who was fired again after dumping what was left in my glass of Dr. Pepper all over about a half dozen of the onesies.  You know, the white ones.