Lucky 13: Baby shower extravaganza

I figure yesterday’s post was pretty dry for much of my readership (well, at least my friends-and-family readers). So not to disappoint those who don’t care about my crafting plans but like it when I make cute things, here is a quick bonus post of the gifts I made for my friend Diana’s baby shower last weekend. I was going to include it on the end of last night’s post, but things just got way too long! Sorry for the photo quality (and quantity); I was working on these up until the last minute (really beyond the last minute, and I even enlisted my mother in the button sewing effort), so I just snapped a photo each before they went into the gift bag:

babyshowergifts

This baby is due next month, so I figured I’d give something wintry for now and something summery for later. I tried to channel a little bit of a 30s/40s flavor with the prints, and I like the classic feeling the gifts evoked. Can’t wait to see them modeled by baby! My thoughts by project:

The bonnet is the Winter Baby Bonnet from Purl Soho, which is a free pattern on their blog. I got two of the kits, which now seem to be sold out, but you could definitely find the needed materials from other sources. It was a great pattern and I got to break out my walking foot for the first time. The stitch length was a little very short, but otherwise using it went without incident. Well done me! This was also my first time sewing with Liberty Tana lawn, and I loved it!

The booties are Saartje’s Booties, a pattern that has been in my queue on Ravelry for years. Weaving in all the ends was a little fiddly and I didn’t have a crochet hook available to make the button loops (I ended up braiding them), but I absolutely love them in the end! I used some Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply from my aforementioned stash and resisted going out and buying more yarn to have a contrast color (pats self on back). I love the simplicity of the garter stitch and black buttons, and the finished booties are so squooshy and delicious, perfect for little feet.

Finally, the dress. This is another Seashore Sundress from Oliver + S (see my last one here) in the 6-12 month size, and I don’t have much new to say about it, though construction was even smoother the second time around. The fabric for the dress and bloomers are from one of the Denyse Schmidt DS Quilts lines at Joann’s. The picture isn’t so great above, but the dress is in this great little flower print, and I have enough left over to make another baby dress. As you can see, I made no effort to match the plaid on the coordinating bloomers (which is printed on the bias but asymmetrical, argh!) because I thought it would be really hard, and it shows; oh well. As my Grandma Mary Jane said about sewing errors, you no one would notice from a galloping horse.

And there you have it. Knitting and sewing in one post! Next up, something for me!

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A week late, 7 dollars short? Crafting goals for 2014

Never one to be early (or even on time) to the party, I’ve been working on  a new year post for the past week or so, revolving around five crafting goals for 2014. Then today on Coletterie, Sarai proposed an amazing project for the year, which I think fits in really nicely with almost all of my goals. And she explained point three (see below) so much more eloquently than I did. Plus there’s a graphic, which this post was sorely needing! So without further ado, I’ve decided to take part in…

The Wardrobe Architect

Seriously, a project that helps me sew (and knit) more clothes I’ll actually wear, put all my thinking about sewing into action, AND make me a more social sewist? I’m jumping in with both feet! Plus, I have a suspicion it will also tie in to one of my non-crafting goals, cleaning out my closet. A win-win, really.

If you want the long version, here’s the complete list of my goals for the year, for accountability’s sake.

1) Sew at least one piece of clothing for myself a month. This goal is inline with what I’ve done over my first few months of sewing, so I think it’s attainable, and leaves ongoing “crafting space,” as it were, for gifts and knitting. (And weaving. Did I mention I got this awesome loom for Christmas?) I’m not shooting for an RTW fast or all me-made wardrobe, here, but I’d like to keep making pieces I can wear proudly at more than a snail’s pace, and have at least some fodder for the blog. And I think this level of productivity would also give me the time to learn more about fitting as I go. (Blergh, just remembered my promised Anna FBA post. Working on it!)

2) Work through my knitting UFOs/stash. Guys. I have a confession to make.  I have a LOT of yarn. And a lot of projects I’ve started and not finished, to varying stages of doneness. I need to finish some of these projects, and I need to knit (or weave!) some of this yarn. This goal actually has a corollary, which is to in part achieve this by sewing myself a sweater. I’ve never completed an adult garment (well, I made a shrug once, but it was all lacy and fast), but I have the yarn and the skills; this is my year to finally find the patience to do it!

3) Focus on sewing/knitting for my personal style. I think that all of the garments I’ve made so far meet this goal, but some of the patterns and fabric I’ve been hoarding buying (see number 5 on this list) definitely don’t. Going forward, I am going to focus on looking for inspiration from current fashions I might actually want to buy, working with patterns I already have (because I have a lot) to make my own versions, and filling holes in my wardrobe. My Sewing Ideas pinboard on Pinterest gives you a flavor of what I’m thinking, and that flavor is Anthropologie. (If you’ve met me this is no shock.) Take a look!

4) Become a more social sewist. I follow a lot of sewing and knitting blogs, Pinterest pages, and Twitter/Instagram feeds, but I’m only just starting to use social media sites for my own projects and (believe it or not) actually get kind of shy about commenting on the blogs of others. I’ve even been nervous about joining sew-alongs, which is admittedly crazy. I think it’s just that I’ve never really met people online before, so it’s a new thing for me, but I really do want to be part of the online sewing community and build my blog readership. Gotta get over my cold feet! I’d also like to grow my offline crafting community. I have an erstwhile crafting circle drawn from my girlfriends, which I’d like to continue and maybe even shore up a little (you read it here first, ladies). Plus now that I’ve “gone public” with this blog at work, crafty ladies are coming out of the woodwork, and I think it would be great to tap into that, so plans are afoot. Also, are there ever sewing meet-ups in the Baltimore-DC area? I’m going to have to do some research on this one!

5) Less thinking/reading/buying, more doing. I don’t know about you, but I spend a LOT of time thinking about things to make, reading blogs, and (gulp) buying fabric, patterns, and other supplies. I’ve learned a ton and have come up with some great ideas (not that I’ve executed them yet), but it’s a LOT more time than I actually spend sewing or knitting. It’s also taking away from me maintaining this blog. I’m not crazy about this trend–crafting has taken over my life with little to show for it. (Except these awesome socks. If I hadn’t gone to Joann’s to waste more time yesterday, some one else would have these Be Mine Porcupine Valentine’s Day socks, and I’d be SOL.) If I want to meet any other goals for 2014, I need to get better with my crafty time management!

How about you? Are you thinking of joining in with Wardrobe Architect? Or, for the uncrafty among you, any recent awesome sock acquisitions?