Cutie Cute Baby Jacket

  I orginally wrote and published this post a few weeks ago but then I was worried that some little birdy might see it and spoil the surprise of the gift so I took it down. Now I am finally getting around to re-posting!
A few weeks ago Liam and I went to visit one of my dearest friends and her family in Grand Cayman. They were renting a house for a month and we had a great time visiting, swimming, and sunning. She has a 9 month old baby, the cutie cute guy you see above. I got it in my head that I wanted to sew him a little wool peacoat for when they get back from vacation. 
  The pattern is from Owly Baby and it was a downloadable pattern. Everything to make it was from my fabric stash. The outer fabric is some scraps of a really nice navy blue wool that I have been holding on to for years. The lining is polka dot quilting cotton. I decided to make too teeny tiny bound buttonholes and then the outer two buttons are non functional.  
The bound buttonholes came out awesome, way better and easier than on my Anise jacket. 
I was worried it might be too small, I made the 12 month size and it was pretty much a perfect fit. I should probably get started on making an 18 month size because I suspect it will be too small before too long.

I spent probably 4 hours on it all together, a quick and easy gift.

The pattern is really simple and I actually didn't follow the instructions at all when putting it together and put everything together as it made sense to me.


Wiksten Tova

I finally broke down and bought the Wiksten Tova pattern. I have been wanting it for a while, and I love the Wiksten Tank pattern so much I figured it would be similarly lovely. Tova did not disappoint, like the other  pattern it is really well drafted, and simple simple to sew. I cut out the fabric and sewed everything up over the course of a day.
I made it with some light blue and white slubby woven cotton or maybe it is linen? I got it second hand so I have no idea.  Its very stiff. I am hoping it is linen and that it softens up after a few washes.

I cut out the pattern in a size medium but suspected based on the pattern measurements I would need some extra room in the hips so I slashed the skirt of the pattern to add an extra inch, basically a big booty adjustment. Despite this I ended up needing to adjust the seam allowance to give a bit more ease in the hips foiling my grand plans to do flat felled seams throughout. Next time.

The pattern has sleeves but I decided to do a sleeveless version bound with bias tape.
The only thing I don't like about the pattern is that it doesn't have pockets, As I am wearing it I keep reaching my hands towards pockets that aren't there. I am tempted to rip out the side seams and add some in.

When googling tricks to determine fiber content in fabrics I found this very handy link:
I am off to test some scraps!

Tutorial: Circle Scarf from a Thrifted Regular Scarf

I am really enjoying the current popularity of infinity or circle scarfs.  While I like regular scarfs I always get them caught in my other clothes or on furniture and they get all wonky or fall off completely. Circle scarfs and cowls are so cozy and low maintenance. It is super chilly in my office so I wear one pretty much everyday. Today I am sharing how I made a light weight one using a regular cotton scarf that I got at the thrift store. It was super easy, only took me about 10 minutes, and cost $3. This project will work best with a scarf made from lightweight material because the enclosed seam might be too bulky if the fabric is too thick. You also want to use a pretty long scarf since you will want it to loop around your neck at least twice.
Start off with a light weight  rectangular scarf or shawl
Cut off any fringe from the ends using a rotary cutter and straight-edge or carefully with  shears

Line up raw edges carefully with right side together  and pin
Sew a straight seam with a 3/8" seam allowance

Carefully trim seam allowance to 1/8"
Press seam  down to one side, then fold over at seam with raw edge on the inside and press flat.
Sew a straight seam with a 3/8" allowance along the folded edge. Now you have a French seam

Press seam down to one side and edge stitch the un-sewn side of french seam down onto fabric.
Now you have a flat seam with no raw edges which looks the same on both sides and a totally reversible circle scarf!


Crazy for Needle Felting

I have been wanting to try needle felting for probably about 10 years, ever since I saw this awesome segment on The Martha Stewart show right around the time I first started knitting. The segment was about an artist who made knit hats by using a knitting machine and then a combination of wet felting and needle felting to assemble the hats and add embellishments.  After watching it I experimented a bunch with wet felting knitted items but honestly I find that whole process extremely tedious and too unpredictable. I never got around to getting needle felting supplies mostly because I always was more focused on some other type of craft to justify diversifying even further, until now.

A few weeks before Christmas I decided I wanted to get a Crèche set for our house, I was thinking a Waldorf inspired one made out of wood or wool would be nice. After checking some out on Etsy I realized an entire Nativity set would probably run about $200 so I decided to spring for the needle felting supplies and make my own.

At first I looked for a kit online but I couldn't really find anything that met my needs so I just bought the supplies individually  I started out by getting a clover needle felting tool and a package of multicolored clover roving at Fabric Depot. First I made Mary, Joesph and a little Jesus in a manger. They came out pretty well and the felting process was easier than I thought it would be. After breaking quite a few needles in the clover tool I realized I really like using just one needle individually because as the name of this blog suggests, I like to work small and detailed and one needle gives you way more control.
There is a fibercrafts store in my neighborhood which sells wool roving so I have picked up a few more colors there.  Pretty soon my nativity set soon grew to include shepherds, wise men, an angel, sheep, llamas, pretty much the whole expected gang plus one little Zapatista.

The Christmas scene at our house.
 Once my creche was completed I wanted to keep felting! Its pretty much the perfect thing for me to work on while watching a movie or television and it is a really nice break from knitting which I have to do in moderation because it makes my arm really sore.
I gave this Dala horse to my parents as a Christmas present

Love Bird

Inspired by my wool roving necklace I made a few years ago I made a series of fiber necklaces for an art sale at the community house that Liam is involved with.

Right now I am working on making another series of necklaces and then some more small birds. In the next couple weeks I am planning to reopen and update my Etsy shop with some felt critters and jewelry.


A Few of My Favorites

My mom  was always put in charge of bringing the salad to family holiday dinners at my Grandma's house. She makes really great salads with packed with lots of different ingredients and usually around the holidays she would make a salad with bitter greens like endive and radicchio and some kind of sweet winter citrus fruit.  With that sweet/bitter combination in mind I put this salad together for the first time on Thanksgiving.  It is just so good, its my new favorite thing and I have made it at least 6 times since then.  It spotlights my new favorite fruit, the persimmon, combined with my new favorite cheese, french feta.
For the duration of my life this far I was under the impression that I did not like persimmons, I didn't realize that there were different types. The only ones I had come in contact with were the astringent prior to ripened, super sweet and soft textured hayicha. I had no idea that some types of persimmons aresome  astringent. Fuyu persimmons are firm when ripe and kind of have a grainy texture similar to melon, but more firm. They are good.
The french feta is something I have had before but in combination with the persimmons it is really out of control. I wouldn't substitute regular feta, its too salty and briney tasting and I think will overpower everything else. A better sustitute would be Chevre. mesclun mix

1 head belgian endive, sliced
2 fuyu persimmons
1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 cup pomegranite seeds
crumbled french style sheep milk feta

toss salad with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and champagne vinegar.


I have a few goals in mind for this year, not necessary resolutions but I guess they are kind of the same thing.
1.  I want to compile all my favorite recipes, recruit some volunteers to test the ones that I came up with myself and photograph them nicely then put together a book to give for Christmas presents next year. To help me do this I have started writing down what I make for dinner each night in a dinner diary
2. I want to go to more shows. I mostly have mostly music and dance in mind. Last year Liam was out of town for a few weeks and I went to see Pilobolus downtown, it was so good and reminded me that I really like dance.
3. I still want to make a pair of selvedge jeans, one of my unfulfilled goals for 2012.
4. In February 2012 I started going to Bikram yoga again after a few years of very spotty yoga practice. It has been so great! I have maintained a pretty consistent schedule of at least 4 classes a week and theoretically I would love to have a goal to go even more this year but realistically I think I just want to sustain the schedule I have going.


Paisley Birthday Peony

I have been trying to post some pictures of this dress for over a week! Blogger has been giving me a hard time uploading any photos and it took me this long to actually sit down a figure out how to get around it. Anyway...tadah! Here it is!
This year for my birthday I made my third version of the Colette Peony dress.

This time I decided to make it shortsleeved after seeing a particularly darling short sleeved version on display at the Colette Fall Pattern Release Party. I found this lightweight paisley fabric this summer at the Fabric Depo outdoor sale. I love the colors and anyone who has ever visited my apartment can attest to Liam and my affinity for paisleys. 
At the same sale I got some eggplant purple fabric for the lining, both fabrics were $3 a yard.
The main fabric was very difficult to cut evenly so it got sprayed down with some stabilizer. That stuff is a life saver, I would never be able to sew sheer or slippery fabrics without it

I love my plaid peony that I made last winter but the fit is a little off. This time around I made quite a few adjustments: I lowered the neckline and also shortened it as the boat neck is super wide. I shortened the bodice by 2 centimeters and removed 4 centimeters from the back . I cut a size 8 for the bodice but made an adjustment to widen the hips so its closer to a 10 in the skirt. The dress is fully lined and a did a tiny machine rolled hem which is one of my new favorite techniques. There is a small issue with the fabric pulling a bit  right in the center which has to do with the way the lining is attached to the bodice, its annoying but not so terrible.

On the night of my birthday we went out to our favorite restaurant in Portland Toro Bravo and I even busted out my Swedish Hasbeens for the occasion. A quick side note: I found these Hasbeens at Goodwill and they were unworn! They are a tiny bit small so they have been sitting in a box in my closet while I was considering selling them but I decided to keep them, it seems like after just one night out the leather stretched. 
I love the way the dress came out, its super flattering colors and the small fit adjustments to Peony made me love the pattern even more.  


Coveting for Winter

Circus Arm Warmers, Donna Wilson

Cobalt Serving Set, via Leif Shop

No.67 Necklace, via Leif Shop

Night Rug, via Alder&Co

Yakima Blanket, Pentleton Woolen Mills

Speckled Boulder Mug, Leif Shop



Bleh. Yesterday morning I cut my thumb while I was cleaning some hummus out of my food processor. My fingertips are also covered with really sore slivers from chestnut burrs I got during an intense chestnut foraging expedition. Despite my multiple wounds I decided to skip yoga class yesterday to finally dive in and do the bound buttonholes on my Anise jacket and try to catch up with the sew along. I was quite surprised and also frustrated to find the extreme loss of dexterity in my cut fingers! I made a royal mess of the buttonholes and finally called it quits for now. I will definitely have to recut the front piece of the jacket, luckily I have plenty of leftover fabric. I learned a valuable less: no sewing with cut fingers.  So much for catching up with the sew-along, Anise is going to have to be a late fall jacket.


Wiksten Tank Dress

 This my third time around using the Wiksten Tank Dress/Top pattern. I love it! It is so simple and quick to sew but has such a flattering cut. I have made two tops with it, one in jersey I posted about here, and another I never got around to posting which is a nice light cotton shirting. This summer I also sewed up a quick dress version with some rayon, its very lightweight and makes a good bathing suit cover-up. For the Fall I decided it would be nice to make one fully lined, warmer and more substantial.

I have been working on the Anise jacket and wasn't planning on making this dress but when I found this fabric at Goodwill, 3 yards for $4 I thought it would be perfect. I think its polyester, or some kind of mystery blend.  Its lined with some black poly lining that I got tons of last year at Jo Ann's.
Shown lining side out, I made seam tape from the shell fabric and used that to face the neckline.
I used french seams throughout so I guess technically the dress could be worn inside out.
The right side of the main fabric was pretty bright, the wrong side was more muted which I liked better so I faced the muted side out.

I finally figured out the best method for me to do a machine rolled hem and it does not involve my horrible rolled hem foot. Forget that thing, I used this method to sew a rolled hem on both the lining and main fabric. So nice and tidy!

I wanted to post some other pictures of the construction process but unfortunately our computer is on the fritz and I uploaded them onto it just before its meltdown so they are gone for now.