Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pretty Pretty Apron (w/link to Pattern)

This apron nearly killed me. Not because it was difficult to make (though I hate hate hate my grandmothers sewing machine with a passion now) but because my mother kept giving me helpful hints that would just confuse me and have me sitting on the floor looking at all the pieces for hours having no idea what she was talking about. Finally when i decided to ignore her, it started coming together quite nicely. I used this Craftster tutorial, though I tried to make it even cooler by adding a top... then that didn't quite come out so I left just the skirt.

I am fully aware this is not a really flattering photo and that my breasts look about the size of my head but I wanted to show where it fit on the body. I have no idea why my mother isn't capable of taking a photograph without: A) me looking terrible, B) making some wildly amusing joke concerning my breasts or C) forgetting where the Zoom and/or Shutter Button is. Anyways I actually found a bunch of awesome Apron patterns online that I am going to try out, I think these are pretty good projects for beginners. I made this one for my roommate Allie for Christmas, I think the colors will really suit her.

My Tea Wallet!

I was brainstorming things I could make for my roommate Irene for Christmas, since we're exchanging gifts when we get back to school, when I saw this post on Craftster which then lead me to THIS tutorial. Small hint btw, you have to scroll down some. Well I know Irene likes tea, she is super busy and this didn't seem too complicated to make for a beginner sewer so VIOLA! A Tea Wallet was born. I followed the directions some, but also winged it a lot but I think it didn't come out half bad. I used the same pink fabric as from my crochet hook case, but I actually bought a different hounds tooth fabric since I ran out of the other one. I didn't choose the same combo because I'm cheap, I just really think she'd like the color combination. I'm pretty proud of how it turned out.

It needs a button, I am aware. But I didn't (and still don't) have one. Also the button is going to have to be on the wrong side since I messed up a bit and attached the loop on the wrong side. I know this may sound stupid but the whole " stitching the right sides together and then turning them inside out" thing baffles me. Well not when its simple like that, but when I also want to add a loop, or ruffles... I get stuck. When I first tried to attach the loop, I attached it in such a way that when I turned the wallet right side out, the loop was no where to be seen. I am so talented. I didn't mind redoing it though because I was using my best friend Tia's super tricked out sewing machine and it was SO much fun.

My sewing machine almost literally bites. The foot pedal is super super sensitive and if I want it to go slowly I have to touch it with just my pinky. Anymore pressure and it starts going to fast that by the time I get my foot off its sewed a really wavy line across my project and some of my sleeve. Terrifying. That's why the seams on the apron I made later (on my own machine) are so crooked. I tried people! I tried SO HARD. But I'm saving up money for a sewing machine of my own so that I don't have to use my grandmothers anymore. I found a few reasonably priced sewing machines with the functions I want. Basically I just wanted a machine that has a button that you can press to sew. Like Tia's machine did. I still lust after that function. Also a speed control is very needed. We'll see, we'll see.

Little Brothers Slippers

My little bro got jealous of my super awesome thick slipper socks so I made him some. They match his pjs and sort of look like smurf shoes. Thus, they are awesome. They also make his feet look a whole lot bigger then they actually are but I think its the camera angle. The only problem is, is they are sort of slippery on our hardwood floor. Well its only a problem for my mother and I, as George thinks this is great. He actually managed to get enough speed to slide across our living room, crash into a chair and break off one of its legs. Since he was unhurt he thought this was super cool. My mother did not. So maybe I'll find something at the craft store later this week to attach to the bottoms of the slippers to stop him from sliding so much.

Currently I am crocheting him a dragon. So I can't wait till that's done to post it up. Other then that I've been having a pretty mellow vacation. I've gotten into sewing though I'm not that great at it yet. I made and apron and a tea bag holder, which you can check out on my craft page. Also I have devoured all the Harry Potters, and a ton of other books from the library which I think are now all overdo and for which I believe my mother is going to kill me for when she finds out (I used her card).

I hope everyone has been having as nice of a vacation as I have (or just a nice January). I am going to Mexico on a family vacation on the 20th, but I'll try to post as many things as I can up. I apologize for the blurriness of the photos, I didn't realize they all came out like that. Damn my camera for being bought about 8 years ago.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Ned the Naughty Narwhal

When I first started crocheting my guy friend D asked me to crochet him a bag for his bong. Since that was not what I wanted to be crocheting, I wanted to be crocheting beautiful wraps and scarves and blankets, not a bag that would probably take a while to make and then get lost in someones house. That also couldn't be whipped out to show off, like a scarf could be. "Here mom, look at this great bag Masha made for my bong!" was not a cry I think I would hear. Ever. So basically I never did it, but this vacation I hung out with him again and was telling him about all my crafty activities when he brought up that bag. Oh the guilt. I had been telling him about how I made a hat for my boyfriends sister, and meanwhile I had neglected to make anything for D, and I had known him for about 5 years! That was basically the guilt trip he used on me. Or something like that.

Instead of asking for a bag for his bong, instead he requested one for a newly acquired bowl of his. He even sent me the measurements and everything, and asked to make it super padded because his stuff goes through a lot. I had been surfing Craftster and was specifically looking at a shirt embroidered with Narwhals when his data came through. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. AHA! I would crochet him a hollow Narwhal I could put a bag in. Discreet, fun AND handy! Thus Ned the Naughty Narwhal was born. He only took about a day to whip up, and actually making the bag to put inside him was much harder. I sewed two tubes with an open and closed end on each, and basically put one inside the other. Then I stuffed scraps of fleece in between them to make the bag super padded. After that I sewed an elastic onto the open end.

Let me tell you about sewing the elastic. First of all, it didn't really work out since I totally didn't think about how the fleece would be way too thick to fold too much, so as of now the elastic is stuck in this half way expanded position. Second of all, to sew the elastic in, I fitted the fleece tube over a water bottle, then fitted the elastic over the open end, then folded the fleece over on top of it and sewed it shut. Let me tell you, hand sewing through four layers of fleece is very very hard. Especially on your hands. I have actual calluses! I look like a lady pirate. Well my hands look like the hands of a lady pirate. Especially since I painted those dragons wings and the red watercolor paint is still sort of all over my hands. Red like blood! Arrghhh Matey! Ok back to the point. It took an ass long time to sew the elastic band in, to no real satisfaction since it didn't end up working really at all. Then I sewed on the eyes and mouth, and it was done! I also made the bag removable so that he could just through it in the washing machine when it gets too smelly. Genius huh.

Except for the super rad photo session with my little brother. Like my waves? He did the sun. I'm very sorry if I offended anyone with all my references to drug paraphernalia. I hope you like Ned though, no matter what your stance on certain issues is. I also hope you will all agree that my little brother is perhaps the most adorable kid in the whole wide world.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Crochet Hook Case

I made one. It is far from perfect. I wrote more about it on my craft blog since technically it isn't crochet. :) Be nice. Sewing Machines are scary.

Crochet Hook Case

The Finished Product:
The havoc of creating the finished product:

So I decided to sew myself a crochet hook case as a starter project on the sewing machine. I figured it would be easy, and was not even dismayed when I realized that I did not have a ruler and would have to measure and cut everything evenly by laying down a piece of white paper on top of the fabric. Then I realized that threading a sewing machine is really really difficult when you have no idea what you are doing. So is threading the bobbin because first you have to be aware of the existence of a bobbin before you can actually realize to thread it. I'm not even sure its called threading it, I think it might be winding. Knowing what a bobbin is and what it does helps as well, as you are far less likely to think "oh I don't think I REALLY need that". How foolish, how very very foolish.

(I sort of conquered the sewing machine in terms of the hook pockets, but thats mainly because they had lines I could try to stick to)

After I had the sewing machine ready and waiting I was optimistic again. Sure that took around three hours and a few bitter tears, but its going to be so much fun now, I thought. I was already imagining the pretty dress I would sew out of some scraps of fleece and a napkin, for OF COURSE I was going to master the sewing machine in like three seconds. HA. HA HA HA. Right. OK. First of all the pedal is possessed by the devil. I gently, every so cautiously put my foot down on it and the needle nearly eats my hand. Good god. How ever do you control the edges, so that the machine sews in a straight line? Never mind that, but how the h
ell are you supposed to back stitch over that same line, except now with only one hand holding the fabric and the other pressing in a button on the machine. Jesus. So basically it was really hard. Thus my Crochet Hook is not as pretty as I would have wished for it to be. Not at all.

In fact this might be the messiest and imperfect project of mine that I have ever posted. Please don't be too harsh.

I mean its pretty easy to see where I messed up. I didn't have enough of the checkered fabric left to finish the front of the needle book cover, the seams are all messed up because previously there were two layers of flannel in between the pink but that made it WAY too thick.

There are no hooks in it because I forgot them all at my bfs house in "twohoursawayfrommenowheretownMA" with my awesome scissors so I have been using my moms manicure scissor and now have the threat of death hanging over my head. Also I planned on it closing with a snap of some sort but then in a fit of rage (over yet another necessary ripping out of stitches) I ripped some of the pink material and had to just wing it. Ugh. God. Now that its done with I'm pretty proud though. I used a couple of links but since I don't really know any sewing lingo and cannot visualize half the things they were talking about in some of the crochet hook tutorials I basically winged it A LOT. Which clearly was not the best idea. Oh well. What do you think?

These are the links I used:

This is where I got the original idea to make a crochet case from!

This is what made me think it was going to be easy

This is the super complicated/detailed tutorial that made me despair

This is the blog that helped me understand how to stitch the hook pocket without the stitches showing through on the other side. A simple idea I could not understand.

And last but not least. This is the blog that helped me figure out how to make the needlebook

Maybe once I regain some of my confidence, I will try the satan machine again, and will make myself ANOTHER crochet hook case :)

Pattern for my Slipper Socks

I have just taken off my Slipper Socks for the first time to examine/count the stitches to give you the pattern. I HIGHLY recommend using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick yarn as it is the perfect thickness for warm slippers, comes in great colors and since it is so bulky it takes only a few hours to whip these up. I used a K hook and basically only sc stitches.

(This pattern is worked in continuous rounds)

The Pattern:

Chain 3 and join together to form a ring by working a slip stitch into the first chain made

1. Chain 1, work 6 sc into ring [6 sc]

2. Work 2 sc in each of the next 6 sc [12 sc]

(An example of continuous rounds. Instead of slip stitching into the first sc, and then chaining one, I just sc'd into the first sc and continued single crocheting around and around. Does that make sense?)

3. Work 1 sc into next sc and then 2 sc into the sc after that and repeat into next 12 sc [16]

4. Work 1 sc into next two sc, and then 2 sc into the sc after those and repeat

5. Continue to increase stitches until you can put your toes into the circle and fold it and everything fits comfortably.

(Ahhh roomy but not too wide... a perfect fit)

6. Once you reach that point sc in each sc around and around till your sock reaches where the gray is on my sock (where your ankle starts).

( Check out where I am pointing! Thats where you should stop crocheting around. At the end of the gray yarn and coincidentally where my finger is pointing!)

7. Then sc in half of the next sc's. So lets say you have a tube of 20 sc's (the size of my slippers), sc in next 10 - 12 sc's. Then STOP. Do not continue stitching around and around, you are now making the bottom of the slipper and are working back and forth in rows.

8. Turn, Ch 1 skip first sc and sc in every sc

9. Turn, Ch1 skip first sc and sc in every sc

( Rows 7 through 9 are demonstrated by the dark orange yarn. The light orange is a good demonstration of Row 10. Especially at the end)

10. As you get closer to the end of the heel. Ch 1, 1 sc in first sc, 1 sc in each of remaining sc, 2 sc in the Ch-1 at edge

11. Repeat row 10.

12. When your bottom goes past your heel, fold the heel end of the slipper in half, with the wrong sides together and join the back heel seam. I just sc'd through the two sides and fastened off.

13. You should have something that resembles a Turkish slipper.

14. Join the yarn to the top of slipper and continue to sc in every sc round and round till you reach the desired height of the slipper.

I hope this pattern was everything you hoped for and more. Comment if you don't understand anything, or if you need more directions, I know I'm not the best at writing out patterns.

I hope your feet will be as toasty and happy as mine are! :)