Tuesday, September 30, 2014

9 months and some change

In the time it takes most people to make a baby, I finished a sweater!

The pattern is the infamous Aidez by Cirilia Rose. It's not for the faint of heart, especially when you choose it as your first sweater pattern, but I have to say that it was a pretty fun make, and I'm fairly pleased with the results.

I knit the size M and didn't make any pattern adjustments (mostly because I don't know how, oops). I tried to block it out so that you could get more of the detail on the front sides, but the yarn is synthetic and has already made up its mind about how to behave.

I decided on the medium because I was going through a fitted sweater phase, but now that it's done, I think I'd like it a teeny bit more if it were a teeny bit bigger. The next sweater's already on the needles, though, this time in a size L. I'm using some more synthetic yarn, but this one is much softer (and maybe a little too fuzzy? We'll see, I hardly paid anything for the yarn - beggars can't be choosers). 

I wore it during our recent cold snap, and it is WARM, let me tell you. If we do end up having the polar vortex they're forecasting, I think I'll be all set in this sweater.

I'm also considering this a stash-busting win! Even though my blog title has changed, that will always be a bit of a goal in the back of my mind. I used about 2 skeins of the yarn I swapped with Emma Jayne for this make. Now to figure out what to do with the other 3 skeins!

Have you got any winter knitting queued? I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Well this is embarrassing

I finished this months ago (probably at least 4 or 5), but was seriously struggling to figure out how to display it. Embroidery hoop? Nope, didn't give myself enough extra room. Square frame? Same problem. Finally I just took the dang thing with me to JoAnn and realized that it would fit perfectly into a standard 8x10 frame.

Duh. Cross stitch 1, Alicia 0. 

This is based on Satsuma Street's Pretty Little Disney pattern, with color changes based on what I had on hand. When I started it, we were preparing for a trip to Disney and I was feeling simultaneously nostalgic and excited. However, once I finished it, I realized I would probably never hang it.

Luckily, once I finally showed my mom (who had better not be reading!) the finished (un-framed) project, she said that she'd like to have it. Woohoo, that makes for 2 Christmas presents down in one week! 

I'll admit that I got really tired of working on this about halfway through, but I powered through it so I could justify moving on to something else. I haven't ruled out cross stitch, but it might need to be a once-a-year type of thing...

...although I just realized that Satsuma Street has a new Barcelona pattern! (I spent 5 months there when I was 19, which sparked my wanderlust and will always hold a special place in my heart.) That might have to go on the queue ASAP. Now, if we could just get her to make a Chicago one...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rainbow stash-busting

Well, after almost 9 months, it's finally done!

As usual, it's far from perfect, but I don't care, I love it!

I've talked about this a couple of times in the past, but it was inspired by this beauty:Love the back of this quilt.

For once, almost all of the fabrics I used were from the stash, woohoo! I only bought 1/4 yard for this project specifically. All of the colored fabric was stuff that's been sitting around for quite a while, and the white on the front and the blue binding were recent stash acquisitions as part of a HUGE quilter's auction. 

I think Will (my new kitten, yay!) approves, don't you? 

This was definitely a labor of love, and impatience. While I certainly see a lot of flaws with this quilt, no one else seems to, and I did learn quite a bit. I'm already eagerly looking forward to making another...my Pinterest board is overflowing with ideas. I just can't decide where to start. What do you think?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Little Prince

I'm know I'm not the only one who shares a fondness for this beloved children's book, right? I wasn't introduced to it until high school, when we read it for my second-year French class. It was a difficult read at first, but once I understood what was going on, I fell in love, just like everyone else. 

I'm a big book lover (still waiting for my in-home library to happen!), and when I started traveling abroad, I decided that I wanted to get a book in the language(s) of every country I visited. One of my first stops was the Basque province in Spain, where I couldn't figure out just what to get, so I picked up a Roald Dahl book (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, maybe?) on a whim. But the more I traveled, the more I realized that I wouldn't always be able to spend countless hours searching for the *perfect* book in whatever bookstore we happened to cross. I'm not sure what made me think of it, but eventually I decided that collecting the same book in a variety of languages might be a good way to go. Given The Little Prince's popularity (making it easier to find), along with my love for the story, it was settled. 

 [Copies in French, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Czech, and German. It was really really hard to find a copy in Arabic, unfortunately, and there are a few others I'm still missing.]

Fast-forward almost ten years, to a point where I felt that, amongst all of the other hobbies that I can perform at a level somewhere between mediocre and decent, I needed to throw embroidery into the mix. I'm going to blame this pin for the idea: 


Do you guys have any idea how badly I want one (or all) of these? Charlotte's Web never held any particular appeal for me, but The Little Prince? Now that's a different story. (I think I'd really like a Harry Potter one, too, and...others that are TBD at the moment.)

However, I thought it would be a good idea to get just a *little* bit of embroidery practice before launching into something like this, right? I set off to Google images and found a couple of designs I liked (with the title in French, naturally), and got to work. 

All in all, this really didn't take too long, and I'm pretty pleased with the results.

I got to practice quite a few techniques, including a satin stitch (which I then outlined in a back stitch, because it was really quite messy)...

...French knots and Lazy Daisys...

...and some proper back-stitching.

I still need to clean it up a bit, a.k.a. trim the edges, find the right hoop (this one's my favorite to work with and cannot be relegated to a wall), and back it in something so it's suitable for hanging.

Does anyone else have any embroidery experience? I've already got about a million more projects lined up, I figure it'll be a good way to while away the cold winter hours that will be here before I know it.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fourth-quarter resolution checkup

I thought it might be interesting to look in and see how far I have (or haven't) come with my resolutions...I originally started writing this post somewhere around June, but it's taken me this long to get around to publishing it...which probably doesn't bode well for my resolutions, does it? This means I consider it accomplished, and this means I don't

  • Get pictures printed! This is step #1 in completing all of those pages I need to finish, obviously. 
  • Get to work for the first time in years! Once I'm in the zone, I can usually crank out quite a few pages a night, but it's hard to get started without a dedicated table/place where I can leave my mess out, so my goal is to keep my coffee table clear of everything but scrapbooking stuff and allow myself to live with the mess when I'm in the middle of pages. I have made quite a few pages so far, although, since the move, it's all been packed back up again.
  • Most of my supplies are organized by theme, but not quite everything. I need to finish this task, so I can grab the theme I want when I'm ready to work on that page. [This might have to wait a while longer, actually.]
  • I'm not allowed to buy anything new, unless it's something absolutely necessary to finishing a page (which, let's be honest, shouldn't ever really happen with paper and stickers and accessories). I think I'll only be allowing myself to buy adhesives and solid-colored cardstock. Done and done! I've been very faithfully putting back things that I've picked up at JoAnn, returned one Disney-themed paper pack my mom bought, and have only filled a couple of solid-colored cardstock holes.
(Garment) Sewing:
  • Again, I can't buy anything unless it is absolutely necessary to finishing a project. I know that great linings, the right zipper, perfect buttons, etc. can really finish up the look, but let's be honest - I am a complete novice at sewing and it's unlikely that replacing stash pieces with store-bought perfection would actually perfect my garments. For now I just need to sew, and learn as I go and refine skills, and then I can worry about perfection once I feel more comfortable. [Realllly failed on this one. My stash has grown significantly, but that's mostly because I can't resist a good garage sale or estate sale. Or the clearance racks. Oops. However, in my defense, I've been using some of the fabrics up very quickly, and have sewn more this year than all previous years combined.]

    [I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that this is only a small portion of what I've bought this year, sewing-wise.]
  • Just start cutting. Again, if I'm being honest with myself, none of my fabrics are pieces that I should be afraid to cut into, as they're not vintage beauties, and they hardly cost me anything. I've got nothing to lose and everything to gain by cutting up so-so fabrics as muslins and practice pieces. Best-case scenario: I have a wearable muslin! Worst-case: I learned better for the next time. The four pairs of shorts I ruined should attest to that. Pair #5 might be make-it-or-break it (it also helps if I use the right size pattern when cutting out my pieces - that was my mistake with #4!). I do have some great success stories, though!

  • Use the patterns I have (and make a list so I stop buying copies of the same patterns!). Most of them only cost me $1 each - if I screw them up that badly, I can buy them again, but they really just need to be used! This was maybe half-accomplished. I did finally cut into three commercial patterns, but I have realized I have a few gaps in my collection (meaning, my collection is almost entirely made up of dresses and nothing else. Oops).
  • Refashion the things I've been meaning to refashion, and if they're not done by the end of the year, give them away! I did a decent closet purge a few months ago and took things to the resale shops, but as my items were out-of-season, the stores had no space for them. They suggested bringing them back in the spring, and since half of these items have never been worn, I'm reluctant to just give them away. So I'll make one more trip in early March, and whatever isn't bought is going straight to the Goodwill! Well, the year's not over, but I have managed to refashion 4 things so far, and I gave away the stuff I couldn't sell. There are still several more things sitting around to be refashioned, but I have faith.

  • Whoa, what? I do not need to start another hobby, but I feel like this might be easier for me to accomplish than fiddling with hems and darts and fit and such. I recently came across this beauty and I know I have a million things in my stash that I could use to get a similar look.  The quilt I linked to is now DONE! It's so far from perfect that it's laughable, but I still like it. I'll be showing that off in an upcoming post, don't you worry. 
  • Make my friend's T-shirt quilt. I probably won't see her again for ages, but I have to stop letting that be an excuse to keep her t-shirts hanging around and haunting me. I've made one of these before, and it's pretty simple, if a bit time-consuming, so it might be just the kick-start I need. Plus, I can always mail it to her when I'm done.  Done and done! It's not perfect, but she loves it, and I got some practice binding, so this is definitely a win. 

  • I actually don't have much of a yarn stash anymore, and it needs to stay that way. I want to try to use up most of the rest of what I have by year's-end.
  • Make a case for my knitting needles, and maybe do some kind of swap to get rid of duplicates and fill in the sizes I'm missing. [This has been placed on the back-burner for now...]
  • Start taking projects to my boyfriend's place. That way I can feel like I've accomplished something while he's playing video games. Although he's no longer in the picture, my finished cowl can attest to my success with this one! My sweater has been lingering, but I've only got about a sleeve and a half left to go on that one. Maybe I'll actually be able to wear it by the time the winter gets here!
  • Figure out how to finish the project I started using leftover yarn from my granny square quilt. I...have no idea at this point. It's not long enough to be a scarf, and not quite halfway to being a decent sized blanket, so we'll see.
  • Finally knit an infinity cowl. I wanted one last year, but never got around to it. I still want one, and may just have enough matching yarn to make one this year. If I keep it simple (no fancy patterns), it should come together pretty quickly.  
Well, there you have it, folks. Not a total win yet, but I've still got a few more months, right? How are you coming with your resolutions?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

New title and URL, same old me

Hi all! If you're wondering if there's been a mix-up, well, wonder no more...

I started Project Stash Bust with the goal of...stash busting, obviously. Doing what I could to add as little to the stash as possible, and eventually ending up with a negative input. Well, my efforts toward that goal were lackluster at the best of times, honestly, so it felt a little disingenuous to keep blogging there, under that name.

When deciding what to name my new blog, I kept going back to the one phrase I find myself repeating over and over in my crafting: "Good enough (for who it's for)." My grandpa coined this phrase 20+ years ago, and it's become a family motto of sorts. No, my sewing/knitting/embroidery/what-have-you projects are not perfect, but I'm okay with that. I get so many compliments on them already, and no one ever notices my mistakes as badly as I do. With every project, I hone a skill and get ever closer to being able to call something "great," but nine times out of ten, I'll settle for "Good enough (for who its for (a.k.a. me!))." 

So, welcome, and please stick around to see what I've got up next - I'm trying really hard to start posting more often! Some of my favorite bloggers are really putting me to shame...

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