First finish of 2019

Welcome 2019!  Asking, nay pleading – please don’t have all the crazy of 2018.  We need some calm and sanity to even it out.

My Dress no. 2 obsession (compulsion?) continues into the new year as I finished two more flannel tunics, bringing the number of work wear tunics to ten.

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These are both from Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannel, the same fabric as my gold and gray check.  I loved that first one because it is thick and warm, important in the winter in my library as all the heat goes up to the open second story, leaving none for the people far below.

This one got back ties.

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All the plaid may be a bit lumberjack, but I will be warm and comfortable, and the red and black are my school’s colors so I’m set for spirit days.  And hey, I live in the Pacific Northwest.  We live for plaid flannel. It goes with our Birkenstocks-and-socks.

I screwed up a bit on the blue and gray version.  I was so eager to cut into the fabric that I forgot all about matching the lines on the side seams.  I realized it as soon as I finished cutting out the body pieces, sadly too late to do anything about it.  I was more careful cutting the red and black.

My plan is to pause on these now that I have two weeks of work days worth now, but who knows when the need for just one more will strike?

I had long strips of left over fabric so I ran a narrow hem up each edge and made two long scarves.  I can spend some TV time pulling strings from the end to fringe them.

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Wishing you all a warm, healthy, happy new year.

 

Flannel pants and rug progress

I’m trying hard to complete long languishing projects to clear out some space in my craft storage.

I had two lengths of flannel, bought on sale for something minimal like $2 a yard, that I prewashed and folded away and forgot about.  Time for lounging pants!

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These are about the world’s simplest sewing project.  I spread out  a pair of knit pants I wear to the gym and cut around one leg, adding in a half inch seam allowance and a little extra fabric because the flannel doesn’t have the stretch of the knit pants.  I cut the front down a little lower as fronts don’t need as much fabric as backsides.

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Then it is just a matter of sewing up the legs, attaching them to each other, and adding an elastic waist band.

I do my waist elastic a little differently than most patterns would call for.  It drives me crazy when elastic twists or rolls or folds, and it always seems to.  So I sew the elastic band together in my waist size, stretch it out and pin it around the flannel waist and sew the elastic down in a rollercoaster of curves to keep it in place.  Then I fold under the raw edge at the top of the pants a quarter inch and fold the whole thing over and top stitch the edge down.  The extra elastic stitching is hidden inside the pants – it is a little messy but hey, these are $5 homemade pants to sit on the couch in.  No one is going to be judging my inside waist band.  And the elastic doesn’t roll!

I’m not going to hem them until they’ve been washed a couple times, in case they shrink a bit more.  If my new gym membership pays off, I may add a drawstring later as well.  All in all, each pair took about 20 minutes to sew, and the fabric is gone from the stash, so I’m pleased.  Plus they are comfy!

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My rug knitting project is also progressing rapidly.  Ten big skeins almost gone from the stash!  I have about ten inches to go, which won’t take long on these size 15 needles.  The steek where the tube will be cut open is really obvious now.  And the true joy of steeks is that the color changes happen there, so no ends have to be sewn in.

I’m wondering now why I didn’t put a checkerboard on the ends as well.  Though I suppose most of it will be cut away anyway.

It really is using up this yarn.  Here’s all that was left of one color at the end of the last color change.52A12280-F921-4995-B7F8-8DE74C08F8EA

 

Saga of the Christmas wedding blanket

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The centerpiece of our recently completed finishing weekend was Seattle Leslie’s blanket.

Or rather, her sister-in-law’s partial blanket.  Intended as a wedding present for a son, it was handed to Leslie as a pile of red, green and cream rectangles after Leslie made the strategic error of saying she’d finish it up when her sister-in-law hit a time crunch.

So Seattle Leslie’s big goal for the weekend was to get all those squares sewn together.  And hey, Portland Leslie and Paige like (don’t hate) seaming.  So while I spun and embroidered, the three of them sewed many rectangles together.  Some of those rectangles were rather rough, and the sizes were more “identical” than identical, but they plowed through, and the blanket grew.

So did the doubts about the back and edges.  They just did not look good, and no one was happy about it as an intended-to-be-cherished wedding gift.

Which is when we came up with the idea to add a fabric backing, to treat it as a quilt and hide all those uneven edges and knots and yarn ends in the middle of a yarn and flannel sandwich.

Leslie and I hit the nearest fabric store Saturday evening, where I promptly freaked out at the thought of paying $15 a yard for flannel – it isn’t woven with real gold thread! it’s freaking flannel! – and dragged her to JoAnn’s where the magic of sales and phone coupons turned the $75 price for backing at the first store into $18.

And it was a lovely soft and cuddly flannel after its trip through the washer and dryer for pre-shrinking.

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We seamed to get a wide enough piece, then spread it out on the floor for pinning and folding.  We cut it about two inches wider all around, then folded in the fabric edge and folded that over the blanket edge.

I zig-zag stitched all around to anchor the binding, and we all took turns knotting yarn through the intersections of knit rectangles to finish it off.

Leslie was so happy to have it done and without having to crochet edges or worry about the back.  We were all pretty happy with the finished blanket, and I am pretty sure I’m going to make one of my own someday.