Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good Finds!

Ok, so my friend C and I went to a JoAnn's today to find some fabric for her yukata, which sadly she did not. The JoAnn's we decided to go to was closing, so their fabric selection was very slim. (Don't worry, it's not closing closing, they are moving this location to another location that is bigger and also gets more traffic.) But good for me, this means they had a close out on their patterns! So I was able to get the Simplicity 2224 patterned I mentioned last time as well as 3 costume patterns. I consulted my friends and the official Renaissance Dress I will be making is...Butterick 4827! The original dress I was planning on making. C used to be part of a group called SCA that did a lot of reenactments and whatnot and has worn many a renaissance dress. She told me that drop sleeves are notorious for getting in the way of everything, so it might be best to not have those. And then we agreed that the "Maid Marian" type style dress would be better since not as many people would be wearing that dress. (Which is true, most wear the peasant style dress, with the corset and skirt, and the rest wear very Elizabethan dresses, which are beyond me at this point.) I was also able to pick up two more patterns:

Butterick 4571


Simplicity 4940

The Butterick is for when I do decide I want the bell sleeves and the Simplicity is for a LotR/elf costume if I ever decide to make one. Both patterns were about $1 (hooray clearance!) and why not? I know my friends are planning on having a Song of Ice and Fire themed dinner and we'd mentioned dressing up for it. (Have I mentioned we're nerds?) If you've never read those books, it's ok, this will just give me an excuse to go to a themed dinner and figure out how to make mulled wine and honey cakes.

Ok, I'll spare you more nerdiness. Some other good news about today was that I got some free fabric today from my mentor teacher! One piece in particular could make a CRAZY, but awesome, top or skirt. Whatever I make with it, it's going to scream, "ART TEACHER," which is not a bad thing! I'm excited. After I wash the dust out of the fabric, I'll post pictures!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

To do list...part 2

Ok, now to post a few of the things I want to sew for my teacher wardrobe. A lot of these seem to be more summery patterns, but I am a big fan of layering and if I use mid weight fabrics in non-summery colors, I think I will be ok.

First up, because it's free and so many projects have looked so great, the Sorbetto top. I've seen several of these with sleeves, which look really nice, but sleeveless would also be good for wearing under jackets and cardigans. It also looks like it's very easy to customize along the pleat. Buttons, lace, etc. give it a little something extra and I could easily figure that out.

Simplicity 2226 is a very beginner pattern and since I am a very beginner, I think this would be something good to learn with. The reviews I've read make the instructions sound like they are very easy to follow, which is great, and people have had good luck with the pattern. Also it has pockets. I LOVE skirts with pockets. (I am one of those people who feel a little lost when I don't have pockets.) Actually, I think all the skirts on this list have pockets. Which is probably why I want to make them!

Simplicity 2224 is another easy to sew pattern that I think would be good to start out with. Again there are pockets and knee length is the length I go for in all of the skirts I wear. This pattern also has pants and shorts, though, which could be something good for me to use in the future. (I'd probably just make pajama pants or something, though. I am extremely picky about how pants fit me and don't want to mess around with trying to make professional pants yet.)

Ginger does not have pockets, BUT it's a very cute A line skirt and I love the two waistband options. A lot of bloggers have been using Colette patterns and I've loved everything that has been done with them, so I think it'd be a good choice. It's also one of their beginner level patterns, which is good for me.

Another beginner Colette pattern, Crepe is possibly one of the cutest dresses I've ever seen. I love wrap styles that wrap in the back and the polkadot version on the site is adorable. I don't know if this would necessarily be for my teacher wardrobe, I just want one in general. I need more dresses and this one looks like it'd be easy to make for both casual and dressy wear.

Sencha and Beignet are two patterns (again from Colette) that I would like to try in the future when my sewing skills are a little better. Sencha has three versions that all look great that could again be paired with cardigans and Beignet is yet another skirt with pockets that looks flattering on just about everyone who has made it in sewist blogspace.

I hope to accomplish all of these patterns at some point, but other than possibly some of the first few patterns, I am not going to give myself a deadline on these. I would like to at least have one or more Sorbetto tops and at least one skirt by January, but the others can wait. I know the fall is going to be crazy for me and unlike knitting projects, sewing projects are not portable. I'll have to fit them in as I can, but that doesn't mean I can't hope! And they will be good additions to my teacher wardrobe after I'm done with school, too.

Friday, August 26, 2011

To do list...

Since I haven't been around in a bit, I'm going to share some projects that I would like to complete before January. I need to add some things to my teacher wardrobe, so why not make a few of them myself? Currently this is just a few knitted patterns, but I think I'll add some sewing patterns later. (All the patterns are linked to their Ravelry page, which is also where I'm borrowing the photos from.)

First, obviously, is the Cadence sweater for the KAL. I have some Patons Classic Wool in Jade Heather waiting to be cast on. (I'm so excited for this.)

Owls are my favorite birds and this sweater is something I've wanted to do for ages, but just haven't had the courage to try. But I think it will definitely be my next project after Cadence is done. I think I'm going to try the Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky, probably in Porcini, Wallaby, or Silver. Something owl colored for it.

The Coffee Tunic would be nice to wear as well. Tunics are some of my favorite things, especially since I have a long torso and don't want to worry about there not being enough coverage when I sit down, and would look nice with both skirts and pants. Also I can layer it with long sleeved tees in the winter for extra warmth. I think it'd be nice in a chocolate brown or cream. Now that I think about it, it might make a good dress if I lengthen it a bit. Hmm. Something to think about...

I really want a sweater vest, so Hilja it is. It seems simple and I could wear it both with button up shirts and long sleeved tees. I'd probably use the Knit Picks yarn I talked about in my last post, Wool of the Andes Worsted, in the Claret Heather or Winter Night.

So that's what I've got planned! Hopefully I'll get at least Cadence and one other done before January.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Yarn Options

I am working in an extremely sparsely populated computer lab right now (as in the only people who are in here are employees), so I'm going to talk about yarn! I love yarn! Hopefully you do too!

Ok, so KristenMakes has a really useful post up about choosing yarns for the Cadence knitalong. I've been browsing different yarns in my free time the past week and I've decided to use wool/wool blend so I can wear it in cooler weather. While it would be really nice to use the yarn listed on the pattern, Elsebeth Lavold Silky Flamme (which sounds like it'd feel amazing), it is way out of my budget. According to the pattern, I'd need 820 yds of whatever I'm using (IF the yarn I use is the same gauge, which it might not be) and I can't do the $100+ thing right now. But I have narrowed it down to four different possible yarns that ARE in my budget range:

Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool

Fisherman's Wool is 100% wool. I have used many different yarns that Lion Brand offers and I really like their products. The yarn only comes in a limited natural range of colors, though. However, that's not necessarily a bad thing! I like wearing neutrals and earth tones because they go with almost everything. And since I would want to add this sweater to my professional wardrobe, being able to go with just about everything else I wear is definitely a plus. For colors, right now I'm leaning towards Oatmeal, Brown Heather, Oak Tweed, and Birch Tweed. Most of those I'd be able to wear with black or brown.

Bamboo Ewe

Bamboo Ewe is a bamboo/wool blend. If you've never touched bamboo yarn before, you are missing out. It feels very soft and silky and tends to give a bit of a nice sheen to the yarns. I am not sure how warm this would be in the winter, but I think I would have less of a problem with itch, though. I am a little wary about wearing 100% wool sometimes, because of dry skin, but that's something I could take care of when making the sweater so that there's enough ease in it to wear something under it. When it comes to colors, it still only has a limited range of colors, but instead of just being neutrals it's mostly brights. I like bright colors, but I don't wear them a whole lot. The only one I'm really a fan of is Eucalyptus, but Mercury looks like a nice silver grey.

Patons Classic Wool

I have used Patons Classic Wool for other projects (a scarf and felted purse) and am pretty happy with it. It's got a nice feel to it and knits easily. Unlike the other two yarns, Paton's Classic Wool comes in a large variety of colors, both brights and neutrals. It also has a few multi-color options as well. Looking at the projects others have posted on Ravelry, there are a few people who used multi-colored yarns that look really nice. The more subtle the variation the better, I think. As for colors, the only multi-color I'm leaning towards is Bonsai (love blues, greens, and browns together), but Eucalyptus, Natural Marl, Peacock, Moss Heather, and Jade Heather are definite contenders.

Knit Picks Wool of the Andes

I have only heard good things about Knit Picks from my knitter friends, so this is the main online only option for me. (The other three I can buy from shops around town.) The site says that the wool is, "a cross between Corriedale (for the sturdiness) and Merino (for the softness), producing a strong fiber with an excellent softness quotient for a wide variety of uses," which sounds really nice. Strong and soft is good. I love soft sweaters. I'm all about soft, snuggly sweaters, especially in winter. (Winter is that time where all I want to do is live in pajamas, fuzzy slippers, and snuggly blankets and drink lots of cocoa and tea. Fires are also nice. But when I have to go outside, it's nice to take the snuggly with me!) And like the Patons, there is a really nice color palette to chose from. I think my two favorites are Forest Heather and Claret Heather, but Tidepool Heather, Winter Night, Saphire Heather, Bittersweet Heather, Amethyst Heather, and Lullaby are very nice, too. (Can you tell I like heathers?) Lots to think about.

But as I said in my last post, I have a trip to JoAnn's planned for today for other supplies, so if I find one of the first three yarns in a color I absolutely love, I'll go ahead and get them. Otherwise I've got an order from Knit Picks to make soon! September can't get here soon enough. Sitting on this yarn is going to make me anxious to start.

Edit: JoAnn's had all of the first three yarns. The fisherman's wool, while I think would be great for felting, was WAY to itchy for a sweater like this. Just touching the ball was irritating my skin. The Bamboo Ewe felt as lovely as I thought it would, but they didn't have enough in stock for the whole sweater and I am one of those people who hates buying yarn in multiple batches. (Unless it's a synthetic, since those dyes don't seem to change often at all. And I don't want to buy any more synthetics if it's something that's for me.) The Patons had plenty in stock, though, and I actually do like the feel of the Classic Wool, so I went ahead and bought 5 balls of the Jade Heather, which is a little more than I need in case I want to elongate parts. I'm definitely going to buy the Knit Picks for my next project, though. I already know what I want to make with it.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Possible Costumes

Ok. So I've found a few dresses that I'm a fan of. This was the original one I was thinking of:

Here are two more medieval style dresses that I also like that I found on Etsy, mostly because of there being more options (especially in the sleeves):

And a more renaissance ensamble that I'm currently leaning towards:

I have to go to JoAnn's this weekend anyways to find stuff for my mocassin project, so I think I might look at fabric and look at their patterns, too. Their website only shows Simplicity patterns, which is not all that they have. Just some things I've been thinking about!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


It's been a week, but I have not forgotten about you, blog. I know you're here. Don't worry.

Ok, I'll stop talking to a webpage now. I just started my student teaching observations this week, so I've been kind of busy. (Also tired. Getting up at 5:30am to be at the high school by 7:00 is hard. Very, very hard.) It's only been 3 days, but I absolutely love the high school I'm at. It's amazing. It is a high school I wish I could have gone to. The kids are fantastic and are pretty easy to work with. The staff is very nice and helpful (at least the ones I've met are). This has been an all around good experience and I can't wait to come back in the winter to teach. In another week I'll be at the elementary school I'm also student teaching at and it's also another one of those fantastic schools. I lucked out. I can only hope that I can get a job at a school as great as the ones I'm student teaching at.

Yesterday before I left, the head of the art department came into my mentor teacher's classroom and right away gave me a task. She handed me a 36"x36" inch square of brown felt and asked me to come up with something to make for the fiber art class. (I lucked out that I get to teach a class about sewing! Luckily it's all by hand and I know how to do that pretty well.) She said all she could come up with was teddy bears and really, what high school student really wants to make a felt teddy bear? Especially the boys. (Yes, there are boys in the fiber art class. Most did not know that it was about sewing. They're doing fine, though.) So the three of us brainstormed and came up with making a lesson on moccasins! They'll be felt slipper moccasins, but still. So I messed around with the felt and came up with a sorry excuse for a slipper, but I'm getting somewhere. Hopefully soon I'll have something to show that doesn't look too bad to photograph and post. I already started the research and I can tell I'll have fun with this.

Also the knitalong is coming up! I'm going to have to start shopping around for yarn soon, in case I need to order it online. I also am seriously thinking about making a dress for the renaissance festival, so I'm looking at patterns online. I am finding enough to make me think about doing something other than the one I posted, we shall see!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


A knitalong from Rhinestones and Telephones? Yes please! I've knitted dozens of hats and scarves and a few pairs of socks and other small projects, but have yet to attempt a sweater. I think doing this with the online community would be a great help and would also be good motivation for me, too. It's so much better to knit with others, don't you think?

The project is the Cadence Pullover, which is a free pattern found on Knitty. I love Knitty. The sweater is adorable and looks like it'd be great for the fall. Coincidentally, I had this pattern bookmarked as well! Obviously this knitalong and I were meant to be. It's geared towards beginners, but that's ok. I'm more of an intermediate knitter, but it doesn't hurt to refresh skills and I may learn something new anyways since this will be my first sweater.

Yay projects!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Renaissance Festival Dress

For the past few years, I've been looking for a dress to wear to the Ohio Renaissance Festival. I've looked at the festival and online, but either am not impressed by the design of the dresses or the ones I want are too expensive. Also I tend to favor dresses that look a bit more medieval instead of Elizabethan (which is the time period for the ORF). I was looking at costume patterns and I think I found one that I like: Butterick B4827.

I really like the simple elegance of it and from what I've seen on forums and blogs, it's not a bad pattern to start out with. Yes, it would be totally awesome to go to the festival completely decked out in an Elizabethan dress, but my skills are nowhere near what they'd have to be for that. (Maybe one day.) I think pairing this dress and finding a simple pattern for a head cover (I have a short angled bob - not exactly period) would make a good costume. Also since it's been pretty hot the past few times I've gone, I think I would probably make one in cotton. It'd be easier to wear in the heat and also easier for me to work with, since I've never even hand sewn silk, etc. And I did find an interesting version of the dress here that I really like. I could find a pattern for a chemise that could fit under the dress or just make one dress with sleeves and one without. Something to think about. I doubt I'd be able to get one done in time, but it's definitely on my list of things to do in the future.

Monday, August 8, 2011


So C and I didn't go to the fabric store. We went swimming and the sun wore us out. Oh the troubles of summer! We'll go eventually, though, because I have awesome coupons burning holes in my pocket.

I did, however, start building an Etsy shop. I haven't listed anything yet, but I hope to have some things set up within a week. I've got some ceramics and prints that I've been meaning to put up for ages and what better time to do it?

Starting next week, I'll be observing the classrooms I'll be teaching in this winter. I'm sad my summer is coming to an end, especially since I haven't accomplished half of what I've wanted to do this summer, but I am excited too! Both of the schools I'll be at have fabulous reputations and I'm ready for more action.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Where did the time go?

So I'm kind of blown away by the fact it's already August. Especially since most of my plans for the summer (finishing my quilt) haven't happened yet. And the sad thing is, I don't really know why. I feel like I should have accomplished a lot more than I have this summer, but oh well, stuff happens.

But! Hopefully I'll have something interesting to post soon. Tomorrow I am shopping with ny friend C for her fabric for her Sailor Senshi yukata. She's going to be Sailor Saturn, so we're going to be hunting for a nice dark purple calico tomorrow. Depending on what she gets, her accent color for her obi and lining with either be chocolate brown (the actual accent color) or lavender. Our goto Sailor Moon guru suggested lavender, so I guess that is an ok option. Depends on the calico we find and whether or not they have any nice browns. Hopefully I'll have more news on that tomorrow!

Sailor Saturn is also one of the few characters that has a large prop - a scythe. C and I both went to art school and have good sculptural skills, but neither of us has made a cosplay prop before. We were originally thinking about carving a block of foam to make a cap for a pole C had used when she was in color guard, but after seeing the tutorials on Kamui Cosplay's blog, her method of dowel rods, cardboard, and spray foam seem like a great idea. (If you are interested in game based cosplay, especially of WoW and Diablo, her blog is really worth checking out. Her costumes are amazing.) It'd be lighter at least. That's something to think about later, but since C can't sew and I'm still a newbie to it, it's probably going to be one of the first things we make. We'll see what happens at our next Yukata Sewing Party next month.

So not much of an update, but hopefully I'll have progress on something worth updating soon. I'm not giving up!