Unfinished Updates

After an unintentional two month absence from my blog, I honestly do not have tons of crafting to show for it. Since I last posted, I have completed a couple of projects but overall have really been neglecting my crafting. Some of my projects have included birthday pajamas for my best friend, cross stitching, and knitting! The first two are completely normal things for me but my craft nag and sister has finally gotten me to start knitting again. I’m pretty sure she’s more excited for me than I am, and I’m pretty sure she was jumping for joy after I agreed to it.

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Birthday pajamas

She conned me into it with the lure of the Outfit-A-Long, where each June and July participants knit and sew an outfit, at least one complete piece per craft. It didn’t take quite so much convincing once I thought about all of the clothes that I could one day knit for myself (and others, I suppose). 

For the Outfit-A-Long, I will knit the Kit Camisole (found on Ravelry) and sew Tilly’s Delphine skirt. So far, I have cut the pretty green fabric that I will use for the skirt and have just received the beautiful mustard yellow yarn for the cami. I’m a little concerned about finishing the knit camisole in time but if I don’t meet the deadline I will survive and still have a new outfit!

In cross stitch news, I am still obsessed with everything from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, which just celebrated 7 years of business! However, I already have three of their projects started and many more that I want. While I don’t usually have specific deadlines in mind for my cross stitching (unless its for a specific holiday), I decided to stitch a Christmas stocking for my little brother.

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The gold is lovely to look at but a pain to stitch

Except I “started” it a year ago. So now I am going to finally finish A Very Merry Christmas Town (also from the FPS) before devoting most of my crafting time to the stocking.

I’ve also had some baking adventures, including some French crullers and a two-tiered cake for my brother’s birthday (more to come in the next post though). While I know that crafting and baking are good for my mental health, I have been neglecting my projects and myself. Here’s to crafting more and worrying less!

Finally Finished

The last sixteen months seem to have been some of the most stressful (and most incredible) of my life. Last Spring, I finished my last semester of undergrad (which, by my amazing procrastination skills, required classes taught at the same time). Needless to say, I did not plan my classes terribly well. But I graduated, time turner in hand. I immediately packed my bags for my summer sailing adventure in the Great Lakes and was sailing a tall ship less than a week after I graduated. Another month and a half later, after quickly moving, my family welcomed my baby brother into the world! Two months later, I had to leave again for graduate school. And then came the first year of my PhD. 

My family has been my first and foremost support, even from a day’s car ride away. For them I am the most thankful every single day. But my sister is my primary craft motivator (or “craft nag” as she puts it) because, despite knowing how calming cross stitching is, I simply don’t. The relaxingly intricate stitching should be a daily ritual to unwind by, but I’ve been neglecting myself and my projects. I currently have four more projects started, each in various phases. So finishing this tea-inspired design felt like a significant accomplishment. 

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A Skype and stitch date with my sister!

I started this Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery design two Christmases ago- the kit was a gift from my dad. I immediately started stitching, and was so excited for the beautiful pattern to take shape. The first night I finished the main tea cup and estimated that I would finish the entire thing within a matter of weeks. 

By February of 2016 I had the center image stitched. All that was left to stitch were the delicious looking pastries that bordered it. Somehow, though, it took me more than a year to accomplish.

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The main image, completed after a month

I soon got swept up in the trials of graduate school and forgot about my project. I had full time lab work, a “fun” part time job, and classes. Sleep was my only extracurricular activity. At home, my sister had started learning to sew her own clothes, in addition to her prolific knitting. She has always enjoyed creating things (as have I) and continually tried to share those activities with me. I wasn’t necessarily opposed, and I did like the idea of crafting more, but I continued to put her off. She kept reminding me, however, of my stitching. We decided on weekly Skype dates to share our stitching over tea (she never finishes cross stitch projects either).

Finally, I remembered how much I love to stitch and how calming it is for me. Once I began again, I quickly worked my way through the outer images and this past week I finally finished a project! I was so proud of myself and immediately went to show it off to the rest of my family. 

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The finished cross stitch!

 

Once finished showing it off (for then, anyways), my sister and I ran out to Joann’s and Michael’s. While I had no intention of buying anything but a frame for my newly completed project, I ended up with everything I need for a new skirt and blouse. We moved on to Michael’s to price custom framing and learned that it is incredibly expensive! My finished piece is only about 5″x7″ but the “sale” price of a custom frame for it was around $100. Even if I had more money, I don’t think I could justify that price for a frame. Now I’m considering framing it normally or in a hoop. But soon it will be completely finished! Until then, I still have two Christmas patterns, a stocking, and a science themed pattern to stitch. Here I go! 

Pajama Project

After what seemed like an immeasurable amount of nagging from my sister to start sewing (which I’m actually thankful for now), I stitched my very own pajama pants! They’re super comfortable, fit me perfectly, and are just what I wanted. They are truly custom pajamas, which I only have because I made them myself. And since flannel was on sale, I paid less than $7 for the fabric! What is not to love?

However, making clothes is a process. As my sister warned me, I wanted to get straight to stitching rather than spending time tracing and cutting patterns. And repeating. I already had my cute hot air balloon flannel and could easily imagine wearing it as capri-length pjs, so the in between steps seemed like a major stitch in my side. But just as preparing a ship for the sea is a necessary part of sailing, preparing your patterns and fabric for cutting and stitching is a necessary part of sewing. If you’re wondering, I am learning how to make clothes from Tilly Walnes’ Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking. This book has step by step instructions and all of the patterns you’ll need. Prior to these pants, I had basically no sewing knowledge apart from how to stitch by hand or how to make my grandmother’s sewing machine start. Love_At_First_Stitch_cover_1024x1024

When I finally had everything I needed to sew pajamas (including an iron and its board, Love at First Stitch, and three pairs of scissors/snips), I finally motivated myself enough to trace the Margot pajama pattern. And by “motivated myself” I really mean that I was lazily sitting on the couch watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch when I suddenly wanted to feel productive- anything but homework, anyways (just kidding, Dad!). Once my patterns were traced onto my fabric, I became nervous. What if I messed up the fabric by cutting wrong? What if my pattern wasn’t actually correct? When I finally cut into the nicely pressed fabric, I was mostly excited that soon I would have made something myself. (Sewing the first stitches was scary too, but seams can be ripped).

Once I started sewing, I couldn’t stop. To be fair, listening to scores from Errol Flynn movies on my Victrola was probably another motivational force. I finished the pants that same day and was sad to take them off the next morning as I got ready for work. They’re far from a picture of perfect sewing, but they’re just right for me. Now I just need a pajama party to wear them to! I have lots and lots to learn, and I can’t wait for my next project! Overall, I’m a little sad that I didn’t start sewing sooner in life, but I’m excited for all of the things I get to make!

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The finished product! I never want to take them off!