Friday, January 30, 2015

Sparkle Sweater Knit Cowl

Another month, another cowl! For my grandma’s birthday, I whipped up a quick cowl out of the fabric leftover from my Sparkle Sweater Knit Julia Cardigan. I used the dimensions for the single fabric cowl from the Scarves and Cowls pattern by Make It Perfect. The directions for the single fabric version were easier to understand than the ones for the two fabric version, for some reason. Interestingly enough, this fabric grew considerably while I was working with it, so that the end result was a cowl that was long enough to wrap around one’s neck three times. Now to dive back into my scrap bin to see if I can come up with any more cowls before the weather warms up.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Royal Oslo Cardigan

Boy, was I eager to check out the first issue of Seamwork Magazine. Yes, the articles are informative, but what I was really looking forward to were the patterns. Quick, cute patterns delivered via PDF every month? Sign me up! The first issue did not disappoint. I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to sew up the Oslo Cardigan. (I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but cardigans of kind of my thing.)

Assembling PDF patterns isn’t my favorite thing in the whole world, but with Oslo I applied a couple tricks to make it more manageable. First, I used a large paper trimmer that I had received for Christmas, which sped things up and increased my trimming accuracy. Second, I paid close attention to what I was putting together, and thus was able to assemble each pattern piece separately instead of making one giant pattern sheet. I was between sizes, so I chose the larger size. Something tells me I should have chosen the smaller one.

Perhaps Oslo is intended to be an oversized cardigan, but I’m just swimming in mine. It’s super cozy, but doesn’t look as fashionable as the model versions. I think maybe part of it is the fabric choice. I used Robert Kaufman Laguna Cotton Jersey Knit in Royal, and I think Oslo would look better in a sweater knit. I may be a bit prejudiced against this fabric though, because I think it’s a little too teal to be considered “royal.” I ordered it online and was a little bit disappointed with the color. Still, I found something else in my stash that coordinates, so I kept it. It works well enough for my first run through of this pattern.

I like the way the cuffs are attached to the sleeves. I chose option one, which leaves the seam on the outside of the sleeve. When you fold the cuff up, the seam is hidden. However, the cuff is really big and it’s a bit too bulky for my taste.

Overall, I like Oslo. When I make it again, I think I’ll sew a size smaller and try a different type of knit. I can’t wait to see what patterns show up in next month’s Seamwork!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Polka Dot Coco Top

The Coco pattern by Tilly and the Buttons is amazing. This is my first time sewing it and I can already tell that I will be making lots of these. Coco is so easy to make and comfy to wear!

The fabric for this version is more Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey Knit, this time in Dots. I bought it from and found a small blemish on the wrong side of the fabric. Since it doesn’t show in the finished product, it’s not a big deal, but it does make me wonder exactly why the fabric at is so cheap. Other than that, I enjoyed working with the fabric even though it was a little lighter weight than what is recommended for this pattern.

I have been a long-time reader of Tilly and the Buttons. I love her aesthetic and her dedication to demystifying garment sewing for the beginner. Now that I’ve made one of her patterns, I also love the easy to use pattern pieces, the clear and detailed instructions, and the sizing. She uses her own unique numbering for sizes, so you don’t feel bad about your measurements not matching up with a standard size (or matching up with the "wrong" standard size). I was between sizes, so I sewed the larger size and graded out one size bigger in the hips. Next time, I’ll go down a size, since this shirt is plenty big and I think I can get away with it since it’s made with a knit fabric.

Even though I love this shirt, it is not my best work. The neckline in particular is a mess. When I started to sew the neckline, I was paying too much attention to the TV show I was watching and not enough attention to the directions, and neglected to use Wonder Tape. The end result was quite wavy, so I folded it over and tried again. I didn’t really like the zigzag topstitching that the directions called for, so I used my double needle. (With plenty of Wonder Tape this time, of course.) Halfway through, I realized I was sewing on the incorrect side, so the double line of stitches was on the wrong side of the fabric instead of the right. I left it that way because the black thread blends in so well that you can’t tell unless you look really, really hard at it. However, the fold-it-over-and-sew-it-again technique made the neckline so wide that it’s almost unwearable. I’m going to have to wear a scarf or cardigan over it all the time, but since I intended it to be a layering shirt to begin with, I’m okay with that.

Another problem area is the sleeves. Initially, they were way too long, so I trimmed off three inches. That was too much. When my hands are at my sides, the sleeves look fine, but I would have preferred them longer so that when I use my hands my wrists would be covered and warm. Next time, I won’t trim the sleeves so drastically, although I may narrow them a bit.

So if the neckline is awful and the sleeves need work, why do I like this shirt so much? Two reasons: the length and the shape. The last knit shirt I made was so short that I try not to lift my hands over my head in public, lest I expose my stomach. Coco is so long that my dignity is safely intact. The exaggerated A-line shape flatters my body type, which I love.

While this shirt isn’t 100% perfect, it’s sure to get a lot of wear. I’ve already ordered fabric to try the funnel neck version. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Aerial Grove Table Runner

Some projects I ruminate about and work on for a long time and others come together very quickly. In between Christmas and my vacation, I felt the need to start a new hand sewing project to take with me. Luckily, I had received a couple Christmas presents that worked well together: Carolyn Friedlander’s book Savor Each Stitch and a mini charm pack of Horizon by Kate Spain. Inspired by the Aerial Grove pattern, I grabbed some linen and machine basted the round shapes before I had to board the plane.

During the week we were gone, I enjoyed being able to sew away from home. After the speed sewing that proceeded Christmas, it was especially satisfying to slow down and really appreciate how much I relish the act of sewing.

Once we returned home, I unearthed an old Kate Spain Central Park print in my stash, as well as some coordinating solid blue for the binding. I decided to omit the borders as I liked the dimensions as they were. The straight line quilting went quickly and before I knew it, I had a birthday present ready for my grandma.

One of these days, when I’m in need of some slow sewing, I’ll pull out this pattern again. After spending time with this book, I’m really looking forward to taking a class from the author next month at QuiltCon.

Linking up to Sew the Library, a new link-up hosted this month by Fabric Mutt.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Work in Progress Round-Up and 2015 Goals

Welcome to the second annual Snippets of Sweetness Work in Progress Round-Up and New Year Goals post! At the start of each year, I like to reflect on my current pile of WIPs, as well as my goals for the coming year. This time last year, I had five WIPs. This year, I have seven. Here they are, for your reading and viewing pleasure:

Low Volume Hexagons

This is my oldest WIP by far, as I started it in October 2012. I only work on it when I am away from my sewing machine for a while, which isn’t often. I now have nine flowers finished and am halfway through the tenth one. It would be nice to at least have a plan for these by the end of the year.

Cuzco Days Quilt (formally known as Cuzco Improv Quilt)

This next WIP, I do have a solid plan for. I ditched the improv idea that I was using in 2013, and in 2014 switched to using the Sunny Days pattern from Creative Quilting magazine instead. I also removed the warm colored fabrics, as I prefer a more limited, cool palette. So far, I have about a quarter of the blocks completed. This quilt is low priority and I only work on it between projects when I’m waiting for inspiration or materials, so I don’t expect to finish it soon.

Christmas Scrap Quilt (formally known as Christmas Improv Quilt)

My Christmas scrap quilt is the WIP that I want to work on the most. Last year, I made three rows and then ran out of long enough strips to continue. All year long, I’ve been throwing red and green scraps in this WIP’s box, hoping that by the end of the year, I would have enough to continue with it. Now that Christmas is over, I just might.

Sashiko Waves

In January 2009, I bought a Sashiko kit in Hawaii, but I didn’t start working on it until 2014. I actually forgot about this one until my husband recently found it tucked under the passenger seat in his car and reminded me of it. Once the embroidery is done, I’m thinking of surrounding it with improv borders to make a quilt top.

2015 Christmas Gift Bags

I still have some yardage, scraps and jelly rolls strips left over from my previous Christmas bags. I’d like to use up what I have to make way for new yardage. I’d also like to have all my Christmas gift bags done earlier this year. (I say that every year.) We’ll see how it goes. I currently have one in progress.

Geese Above Field

This mini quilt touches on several of my goals for 2014 and 2015. It’s small, uses up scraps and stash, and I intend to submit it to a show. When I made my Swoon Baby Quilt the First, I trimmed off triangles that I promptly sewed together into half square triangle blocks. Like my Scrap Migration quilt, I turned those blocks into flying geese and set them against a background of other scraps from the same quilt. I’m in the process of quilting this one.

Aerial Grove Table Runner

This WIP was born when I realized that I wanted something new to hand sew on vacation. Since I had received Carolyn Friedlander’s Savor Each Stitch book and a mini charm pack of Kate Spain’s Horizon fabric for Christmas, I grabbed some linen from my stash and quickly machine basted the tree shapes so that I wouldn’t have to travel with a bunch of pins. I enjoyed working on it while on vacation. Actually, I’ve already completed it, but I’m including it in this list because it was a WIP as of January 1. I’ll post about it soon.

2015 Goals

My 2014 goals have served me well, so I’m going to roll them over into 2015. In addition to Use My Stash, Use My Scraps, and Keep It Small, Silly, my 2015 goals are:

Declutter My Sewing Nook: I am grateful that I have a dedicated sewing space, but it’s a bit of a mess right now. Since my sewing nook is part of our upstairs hallway, this is getting to be a problem. In 2015, my goal is to go through all of my boxes and bags, and donate what I’m never going to use, so that I have sufficient space for what I will actually use.

Submit a Quilt to a Non-Guild Show: As a member of the Seattle Modern Quilt Guild, I have the good fortune to be able to share my work in the exhibitions that the guild puts on periodically. In fact, my Scrap Migration quilt is in the My Modern show going on now at Island Quilter. In 2015, I’d like to submit a quilt to a show outside of the safety of my local guild.

Participate in the Wardrobe Architect 2015 Challenge: The more that I sew my own clothes, the less I like wearing ready-to-wear. Last year, I only bought clothing a handful of times, usually when I realized that I didn’t have what I needed to face the current weather. In 2015, my goal is to use the Wardrobe Architect Challenge to guide my garment sewing so that I have a “me made” wardrobe that meets my needs each season.

What are your goals for 2015?
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, January 12, 2015

2014 in Review

I have to say, overall I am pleased with the projects I finished in 2014. In spite of health set-backs and day job challenges, I managed to finish seven quilts, seventeen garments, four small projects and thirty-five gift bags.


Of all the quilts I made in 2014, my favorite is the Bubblegum Glam Clam quilt that I made for my daughter. It was the most challenging, and it warms my heart to see my daughter use it every day. Looking back at my quilts, I find it interesting that of the seven I finished in 2014, five were square (January Jewels, Giant Snowburst, Vintage Modern Marmalade, Swoon Baby Quilt the First and Scrappy Migration), and four featured a large amount of white (Giant Snowburst, Patriotic X and Plus Quilt, Swoon Baby Quilt the First and Scrappy Migration). White is not very practical, but I do like how it looks. 


When I totaled up the garments I sewed in 2014, I was surprised when the count hit seventeen! I made five Belcarra Blouses, three Julia Cardigans, two Myrtle Dresses, one Crepe Dress, one Wiksten tank, one Staple Tunic, one pair of City Gym Shorts, one Plantain Tee, one Bess Top and one Greenpoint Cardigan. It’s hard to choose, but my favorite garment of 2014 is my Dotted Boulevard Myrtle Dress, because it was my first knit project, my first successfully finished Colette pattern, and I feel good wearing it. 

Small Projects

What with all the quilts and garments I made, I only finished four small projects last year. Of those, my favorite is the Cotton + Steel Quilted Placemats. 

Gift Bags

If you’d like to see the thirty-five gift bags I finished in 2014, check out the Gift Bags tag. That’s too many to turn into a collage! 

2014 Goal Progress

Back in January, I set a few goals for myself for 2014. Here’s how I did:

Use my stash: While I did buy a good amount of new fabric last year, I also dipped into my stash quite a bit. Six of my seven quilts used at least one fabric from my stash, and a couple of my garments were made from stash fabric. The biggest stashbuster were the gift bags, the vast majority of which were made last-minute from fabric I already had on hand. Still, my stash could stand to be reduced further, so I’ll continue with this goal into 2015. Now that I’ve acquired a small stash of apparel fabrics, this goal applies to garment sewing, too.

Use my scraps: Last year, I definitely made more scraps than I used. Only one quilt top and one garment were made entirely from scraps last year. This goal will also be on my list for 2015, since it still needs a lot of work.

Keep It Small, Silly: In 2014, I made a goal to sew smaller quilts, since previously I was wont to bite off more than I could chew and make bigger quilts than I needed to. I consider this goal achieved, since most of the quilts I completed were baby sized or smaller. Finishing smaller quilts more often was so satisfying, that I think I’ll try it again in 2015.

Here’s to continued productivity and creativity in 2015!