Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Geektastic Knitting

Friends, as the warm weather disappears and we settle into Autumn, I've started focusing on my knitting plans for the colder months.  I thought it was only proper to make something for my handsome fellow/roommate/Man Candy, Josh.

Of course, it had to be a Tardis Beanie.

It's a rather appropriate cap, considering we met at a Doctor Who event May 4th  and drew a Tardis picture together (oh yeah, I totally blogged about it at the time)

Josh said the hat filled his two hearts with joy (#adorkable).  He's even slept in it (which is a sign of success, right?)

I used Spud and Chloe sweater yarn, which worked out well and has enough stretch to to be comfortable for Josh.  The colorwork also makes it incredibly warm around his ears - perfect for cycling in the Chicago wind.

I knit it while on the bus and train, so as to surprise him once it was done. It was a rather easy pattern, aside from anchoring the working yarn and making sure there was enough stretch for the blue and grey between colorwork sections.  I find that since starting on the Catherine jacket, I am really enjoying colorwork and I see myself rocking some Fair Isle in a few years.

In the meantime, though, I'll be content to work on geektastic gifts.  After all, there is a Dalek hat pattern out there... :)

Have a marvelous evening, all!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sewing for My Sister, Kitty Grand

Friends, I present to you my sister, Kitty Grand.

Kitty can be seen here modeling the Mission Maxi pattern by Jamie Christina, created in the Heather Emerald Cotton Jersey via Girl Charlee.

I made View C because I LOVE the godet in the back.  Love it.  Kitty is tall, and tends to wear fabulous wedges, so I wanted her dress to have a little bit of drama.  She picked the fabric out, and calls this dress "Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds."

I only had one issue with this fabric, and that appeared after making an error in attaching the godet.  The fabric tore way too easily for my liking, so I did some hand-stitching to pull together the edges of the tiny hole.  It's bothersome to me, but I'm a perfectionist, and you have to be pretty close to see the error.

This pattern was so incredibly easy to put together that I immediately made one for myself.  I don't have any good pictures yet, but I've been wearing it constantly.  This pattern is a favorite, and I'll definitely be rocking more versions when summer rolls around again.

Kitty's second dress is Vintage Vogue 2961, made in a navy blue cotton with white polka dots.  This dress was her original request (a navy sundress), and we added the maxi dress on later.  (I didn't mind adding on the maxi dress because I'd been eyeing the pattern FOREVER.)

We made some adjustments to the Vogue pattern to make it something she would wear more often.  We eliminated the boning, and though we had some fitting issues in making the bodice tight enough so it would stay up, the dress does not have to be dry cleaned now.  Wearability wins the day!

We found the belt in Mom's closet two minutes before these photos.  Mom liked the look so much that she said Kitty could keep it. 

Bound buttonholes.  They look terrible, but they are there and I did them so I'm calling this a victory.

We shortened the dress by five inches, which allows it to have both modern and vintage elements and gives Kitty everything that she wanted in the dress.

Her major request was detachable straps.  The pattern calls for straps that are permanently attached, but we took two strips of fabric, made buttonholes in the end, put buttons above the side darts, and now she can tie them into a halter if she feels like it.

Yeah, this dress took at least 15 hours, but it's adorable as hell so I would say that it was worth it.  Kitty's boyfriend has also promised me that he would take her out and show her off in it.  I am pleased with this idea because it's nice to have your creations shown off, especially if you are proud of the end results (and I totally am).

I think it is an inevitable part of being a sewist or knitter that you will receive requests to make things for other people.  It is a rare thing (in my experience, at least) that the requesters will actually pay you for what your time is worth, if they think to pay you at all.  I find that I am 100% more likely to agree to making something for someone if I am being paid fairly (family does get a discount of sorts) OR if goods and services are being traded.  For instance, in exchange for listening to me gripe at work and always having Ibuprofen on hand, my coworker is getting his curtains made by me.  My friend, Mina, who took the amazing pictures from Promaballoona, gets a dress of her choosing made for her.  For C2E2 next year, Stephy is handling the latex, I am handling the costumes.  For these dresses, my sister paid me.  

I've come to realize that my time is precious, and my sewing time even more so.  When inspiration hits (especially after a dry spell), I want to run singing through my fabric closet and make something pretty.  In order to do that, I am learning to say No.  In situations where I felt pressured to say Yes at that moment, I am now going back and saying No.  I've already noticed my attitude improving, because there is nothing I resent more than feeling pressured to do something I don't want to do.  This is my hobby.  I cultivate my skill for me, because it's something I love to do.  If I offer to make something for someone, without being prompted, it is out of love and every stitch is made with love.  If I feel cornered into using my skill, well ... we'll just say that I turn into a child who is on the verge of throwing a tantrum behind closed doors.

So I am learning to say No, upfront and without guilt or anxiety. 

Friends, let me know your thoughts on completing sewing requests.  How do you handle saying No?

XOXO and much love to you all,