Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Make your own easy zippered pouch

I make these all of the time. It is super easy- a  pleasantly gratifying project. The pouches are fully lined; it can be a little tricky to figure out on your own, hence the tutorial.

First choose coordinating fabric that you like. You will also need a zipper. I chose this super cute Cath Kidston floral canvas and Free Spirit lining. Both are available on Etsy.

I like to use the zipper as a guide for cutting out the pouch, Make the lining about one inch longer than the main fabric. The pouch can be any size that you like as long as it is a rectangle.

Iron the top of the lining fabric over about 3/4 of an inch. This will make it much easier to atatch it to the pouch- do not skip this step!

Sew the top of the main fabric to the zipper, then iron the wrong side up.

Now you will be glad that you ironed! Place the lining fabric over the zipper and sew along both sides. If it is a little uneven at the sides, don't worry- you can fix it in the next step.

Now, turn it inside out and sew around the perimeter, leaving the bottom of the lining open. Leave the zipper partially open so that you can turn it right side out again. It is also a lot easier if you start each seam at the zipper- that keeps it from shifting and... inevitable seam ripping.

Now turn it the right side out. Fold the lining in and sew it closed. I don't mind the seam being visible because it is in the inside of the pouch.

Tada! Wow! It changed colors. That is because the picture I took came out very badly and I didn't realize it until after sundown.

I use these pouches all the the time. My kids even use them to store crayons (for car rides) and little toys.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

EveryBaby Sweaters

Christmas is coming! I don't think my sister-in-law follows my blog, but if you are reading this, Michelle, don't look! 

Any who, I used the EveryBaby Cardigan pattern by Melissa Labarre. It knits up so quickly! I made the first in a little over a week (with many days of no knitting) and the second in about three days. It goes quickly because it is made with worsted weight yarn. 

This is 0-6 months, made with Madeline Tosh's colorway Fragrant. The yarn was initially meant for my other niece, who is a teenager, but when I ordered it, I thought it would be less pink.  Oops! A happy mistake, indeed.

The second is much more difficult to photograph. The yarn is in it's natural color. It is hand-spun. I did make some shortcuts to the pattern by reducing the amount of moss stitch. It has a natural shell button.

I am working on a new project (cables, this time), but am not a fan of how the yarn is looking. I am thinking about frogging it back and starting over with better yarn. I have to make up my mind quickly, because it is a Christmas present!

I visited Holy Myrrh Bearers Monastery today and they gave me two skeins of Icelandic hand-spun (!!!) and large samples of several different fleeces to spin. The nun who gave them to me is so sweet- and so in-tune with her flock! She has those sheep so well trained. The bags of roving came with little notes of what sheep each came from- so sweet. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Persephone Scarf

I just finished my first lace project: the Persephone scarf. I bought the yarn from Eat Sleep Knit at the All American Council (for OCA Orthodox churches) in Atlanta, Georgia. The yarn is a dreamy blend of wool and silk bManos del Uruguay Fino. The only modifications I made from the pattern (except a few annoying mistakes) was that I made it a little longer (5 repeats instead of 4) and I sewed the edges together to create an infinity scarf. It took several weeks, but would have been much shorter if we didn't buy a house and move while making it. 

I  love how it matched my knitting notion's bag.

It was so exciting to see the lace grow.  Unfortunately, I had to frog so much of it back that it felt like I knitted the first repeat twice.

As a side note, if you are using a chart, marking it wish washi tape is the way to go! It is easily removable and doesn't loose it's stickiness.

My friend and I were unofficially racing to finish first. She was stalled with running out of yarn and needing to make an order, while I was stalled by moving. It was fun that our colors looked so good together.

Ten points for Gryffindor if you can find the mistake. 

I decided to connect the edges and turn it into an infinity scarf. I wear my scarves like that 100% of the time anyway, so it works out a lot better for me. There was a time when I swore off infinity scarves because they were so popular. I also did the same thing with ballet flats and pumpkin spice. Now they are all some of my favorite things. Ha. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Epistrophy Cardigan

I started this cardigan in the spring. I had high plans of finishing it within two months, ha! It took about eight. It certainly could have been less, but I got bored and set it aside for quite a few weeks in the summer.

I posted this on my Instagram a few days ago, so if you follow me there, this is old news.

The pattern is Epistrophy, by Kate Davies. I love her designs. All of the decreases are hidden in the diamonds. It is knit from the bottom up, with a yoke. It features a beaded rib. The whole thing is knitted in the round, with a steek, then (horrifically) cut.

The yarn is the Wool from the Andes Worsted Merlot Heather and the contrast is a heathered black. I bought it last year at their annual yarn sale, so the cost was about $30 to make, I think. The yarn IS scratchy. I am not in love with the yarn. I might try soaking it in conditioner, but I am too impatient to let it dry because I want to wear it everyday.

And now for a cellphone photo history of its making. I usually avoid posting cellphone pictures on the blog, but I so rarely have my big camera out to take daily progress pictures, I decided to post them:

Knitting the button bands
It was scary to cut open! I first had to sew several reinforcing seams down the from with a sewing machine. 
I loved the colorwork; it  was my favorite part.

I should have spent more time knitting in the hammock.

Kate and I knitted at the All American Council in Atlanta. I got a lot of the sweater done that week.

The sleeves felt somewhat evil.

The cuff of the sleeve.

Working the body.

Ha, this was probably from March.

The beaded rib of the bottom band. I think this was my third try because I kept messing it up.

Friday, September 11, 2015

A very pink princess dress

Katherine, like most little girls, likes princess dresses. I recently re-acquired a pattern (Simplicity 8953) that I had saved since I was about 16. I decided to use stash fabric and make up a princess dress for Katherine.

The bodice looks rather large. It is. Katherine often wears her play dresses over her normal clothes. Also, I figured that she could have an extra year or two out of it, if it were a size or two larger. 

I modified the bodice to give it a faux-eighteenth century look. The pink ribbon was also from my ancient stash- from when I was a teenager. 

I made her a felt crown with a sewn-in-place veil. It secures under the chin with an elastic strap. She was deep in a Maid Marion (from the 1939 Robin Hood!) stage, at the time, so it pleased her greatly. 

Daniel requested to have a dance with her. I like how silly they look together- what a clash of outfits!

I lament to inform you that she does not care about her princess dress. She loved it dearly for about 2.5 days, then stopped wearing it. Alas! At least it is big enough to fit her for another two years. Maybe she will like it again. 

P.S. These photos where taken at the start of summer. Daniel had a hair cut and looks two years older since then. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

What I have been up to

I sometimes wish that I was more personal on this blog. You know, share more family happenings and such. It has become a rather utilitarian sewing blog. Hm.

Well, at any rate, I have been sewing lots of pouches.

These geek pouches are my favorite. I could not believe that I could find Star Trek Next Generation fabric.

...And here is something completely different.

I am obsessed with this gorgeous Cath Kidston fabric. I can add her to the top of my fabric designer addiction list: Liberty of London, Nani Iro, Heather Ross and now Cath Kidston.

I think they make great project bags.

They are also delightful for storing notions. I use one of these in my knitting bag.

All of these (or ones like them) can be found in my shop.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cheese Pascha

For those of us celebrating Pascha (Easter) this weekend, here is my  favorite cheese Pascha recipe.

A.K.A. coronary bypass in a spread.

Cheese Pascha
2 lbs of farmers cheese
1 lb of unsalted butter
12 hard boiled egg yolks
2 packages of cream cheese (8 oz each)
1 lb of powdered sugar

*You can add vanilla or other flavorings at this point. 

Bring all of these ingredients to room temperature, then blend together. For years, I used a hand strainer. It was probably more authentic, but last year I started using my electric blender, and, you know what? It came out just fine.

The cheese is traditionally put in a Pascha mold, lined with cheesecloth so that it can drain for a couple of days. I didn't always have Pascha molds, so I wrapped it in cheese cloth, like balls of mozzarella, and let them hang. It should be refrigerated, of course. 

I usually mess up the mold somehow, so I re-construct the cross markings with chocolate chips, or something similar. You can also garnish with fresh strawberries.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

In which I took a too-big, stained and ripped 100% cashmere sweater and made it a cardigan

I went to the thrift store yesterday on 50% of day. Heart attack. I did not know if was 50% day when I went, so I was quite pleased. I found a beautiful blue 100% cashmere sweater, by L.L. Bean, for $3. Be still my heart.

It was ripped.

It was stained.

It was three or four sizes too big.

Ah well. I decided that for $3 I could try to refashion it, or at least re-claim the yarn. I decided to share the process here, in case it gives you an idea of refashioning something in the future.

I did plan on cropping that. :)

It doesn't show up in the picture, but there is a small hole and stain in the center of the front. I was able to mend the other holes, but that one, right next to a dark stain, was too obvious to wear without chopping up the sweater. 

First off, before cutting anything, I sewed a seam to re-enforce the knit so that it would not unravel. After that, I chopped off the cowl, pinned the raw edge under and hand sewed the neckline. 

After carefully determining the exact middle, I, again, sewed reinforcing seams before cutting. In this case, the yarn felted together enough so that unraveling was not a big deal, but if you are doing this with another sort of yarn, it could be devastating without a re-enforcing seam. In the end, I cut an additional 1.5 inches from either side of the front cut.

I folded the edges over and finished the raw edges with some scrumptious raw silk bias tape.

Hooray! Now I have a super awesome cashmere cardigan.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


This is my latest completed sewing project. It has taken up so much of my time. Matt is happy about it though and has been talking about all of the vestments he wants me to make him now. This set is for a customer.

I can't take credit for any of the designs as it was a custom order.

The embroidery came from Russia, I think.

I am so happy to have finished it. My health problems caused a huge delay.

That phelonian made me want to rip out my hair, haha.

I wish I could say that I have lots of fun projects in store, but my next order is for seat cushions, ha. I desperately want to make some re-enactment clothing- that would be so much fun. 
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