Tag Archives: Christmas

Knitted: Spidey’s Spiral Cowl in Yates Farm Yarn

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Knitted:  Spidey’s Spiral Cowl in Yates Farm Yarn

Today’s project is the second and final installation in my short bout of knitting.  This is Spidey’s Spiral Cowl by Abi Gregorio of SpiderWomanKnits.

Spidey's Spiral Cowl

I discovered this pattern after seeing the amazing sample my coworker Jenny made for the shop.  She’s a really accomplished knitter and her sample was beautiful.  I was completely enamored with it and bought the pattern.  It didn’t hurt that I still have a huge stash of yarn from Yates Farm in Windsor, Vermont from over a decade ago when I first fell in love with knitting.  I culled a lot of things from my yarn stash recently, but all the Yates Farm yarn survived the purge.  And luckily, I had some of my favorite chunky yarn in a beautiful cream color.

Spidey's Spiral Cowl

It took me a little while to get the pattern down, and I contemplated my preferred working method of ignoring my mistakes, but this knits up so quickly that I decided to rip out my mistakes a few times until I really got it down.  Because this was so fast to knit, it was a very pleasant experience.

Spidey's Spiral Cowl

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Spidey's Spiral Cowl

And the final product?  Good.  Not the most awesome thing ever, but good and warm.  I think this, like the hat I wrote about a little while ago is good, but just a bit off.  This yarn is so thick that the cowl could probably stand up on its own, which means it takes a little bit of finagling to get it just right.  I’ve worn it several times and it’s really warm and cozy, which is a necessity in New England in the winter, but it does take a little work to get it looking right.  I definitely recommend the pattern, however.  It’s quick, fun, and not too hard, but is challenging enough to keep your interest.

Spidey's Spiral Cowl

And now?  Back to sewing!

Recommendations

  • Christmas!  Merry Christmas, everyone!  I’m thankful that God cared about us enough to be born as a baby so we could have a relationship with Him.  Sounds crazy, but what miracle doesn’t?
  • Filson.  A friend told me about this site.  Now, I don’t have the budget to actually shop here, but shopping for inspiration is free, and this is a really inspiring site if you like to sew menswear or if you favor a rugged style in womenswear.  There are a lot of interesting details and materials that go into these garments.
  • Zipper Ease.  This was one of my recent buys from Wawak Sewing and it saved a beloved jacket of my husband’s whose heavy-duty zipper had stopped zipping smoothly.
  • Hand and Foot.  I think this is my all-time favorite card game, and probably the only one that I can remember the rules to!  You play with four people (two sets of partners) and four standard decks of cards through four different rounds to see which team can get the most points.  I looked for a good link to the rules, but they were all different from the rules I learned, so I guess you have to account for regional differences and house rules.

 

 

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A Vest from a Men’s Shirt, Secret Christmas Pillowcases Revealed, and Sewing Ideas for 2016!

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Nothing like a long title, right?  😉  There are plenty of projects and ideas for projects floating around my head these days, so I think it’s time to power-share!  (There’s another word for the dictionary.  Makin’ up new words all the time over here!)

When I think about new projects to share, I keep forgetting to post this vest that I made.

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

My original plan for it was to be an additional entry in the Refashioners Contest last year, just to pad out my entry, but I’m glad now that I took it off my list.  It wasn’t too hard to make, but it isn’t anywhere near the quality of the jacket I made as my one and only entry.

When the cooler weather sets in, I start thinking of polar fleece and really anything warm, so when I found this oversized men’s fleece-lined flannel shirt at the thrift store, originally by L.L. Bean, I knew I wanted to use it (similar shirt here).  I found this pattern:

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

After reading the reviews on Patternreview, I convinced myself that I could create a J.Crew-esque style vest.  Well, that didn’t exactly happen, but it’s cozy!

The good and bad part of getting better at sewing, is that now I am less satisfied when my own sewing is of a lower quality.  What a problem to have, right?  I know I am “supposed” to match up plaids and make things look pretty inside, etc., etc., maybe make sure my pockets are on the same level, but you can’t have it all.  I made this out of a shirt.  That’s cool!  I’ll learn to match plaids another day.

As far as any other details the sewing people among you might be interested in…I made View A, minus the quilting.  I cut a size 16 and graded out to an 18 in the waist and hips.  This may not have been necessary.  It’s fairly boxy and loose, but I wanted to be able to wear it over sweaters.  Instead of putting in the zipper, I left the buttons from the original shirt.  I also took off the original chest pockets.  In the process, I may have made a few holes, but that was an opportunity to return to my old standby of running over any sewing problems with my machine, and I just sewed over them until they blended in.  Problem solved!

The other problem I ran into was that I ended up with “wings” at the front of the armholes.

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

I did actually go back and take off the bias binding and try to take the princess seams in a little bit.  It worked better on one side than another, and I’m a lot happier having tried.  It definitely fits better now.

Learning to do a sway-back adjustment is on my mental list of things to learn, but I’m trying not to tackle too many new techniques at once, so that one is for the future.  Dealing with the armholes was my fitting experiment for this pattern.

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

Simplicity 1499 (vest)

Overall, I think the pattern is good.  This isn’t my favorite thing that I have ever made, but I like it and I’ve worn it and will wear it again.  I don’t know that I will keep it in my closet for the ages and pass it down to my children, but I guess you never know.  More fleece is always better than less fleece in the winter, so it may survive longer than I think.  I would try the pattern again if I decide I want another vest.

On another topic, I wanted to give you a quick look at a few pillowcases I made as Christmas presents.  I used a tutorial on the Sew Mama Sew blog that is actually an excerpt from a book by Shea Henderson called School of Sewing.

Pillowcases

Pillowcases

I bought the border print for the first pillowcase as well as the panda seersucker in Michigan over the summer at The Material Girls in Dearborn, MI.  The coordinating fabric on each pillowcase is from Joann’s.  These really were easy to sew and I’m sure I could use the tutorial to make fancier ones in the future as well.  I keep telling myself that if I would just make a billion pillowcases and cloth napkins, I could use up my stash and replace my worn pillowcases and napkins, but so far clothes are too much fun.  Except for these two pillowcases, clothes have won out every time.

Lastly, do you have sewing plans for 2016?  I have ideas.  I’m not calling them plans because my ideas of what I want to make often change throughout the year, but here is what I have so far.  I saw the #2016makenine challenge on Instagram, and decided to jump in…except I ended up with ten.  This makes me sound like a total overachiever but, like I said, these plans will flex and change throughout the year, and I doubt everything will get made.

#2016makenine

Top row, left to right:  Butterick 5526, Megan Nielsen Briar Sweater and Tee, Simplicity 1538

Middle row, left to right:  Jalie 3134, Megan Nielsen’s Mini Briar, Jalie 3023

Bottom row, left to right:  Strathcona Henley by Thread Theory, Coco by Tilly and the Buttons, Jutland Pants by Thread Theory

(most links to these patterns are below)

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#2016makenine

Ginger Skinny Jeans Pattern by Closet Case Patterns

 I’ve already cut out some Jutland Pants by Thread Theory for my husband (I’m actually doing a muslin/test garment for this one), and I’ve traced out the Strathcona Henley for him, too.  Lest you start to think I’m abandoning my really good streak of selfish sewing, you should probably know that I LOVE henleys, so once I make him one, I plan to adapt the pattern into one for me as well.  (And how about a girl version of some fleece-lined Jutlands?  Sounds like wintry heaven to me!  I’m saving that idea for the future!)

In the top row are some shirts I’ve tried before, and I still have fabric from the summer to do additional renditions of those.  My first version of the princess seam button down on the top left (Butterick 5526) should make an appearance on the blog soon since I made it to wear to a wedding.  I already whipped up a quick Briar fleece shirt (still to be blogged) to wear for travelling to the wedding, and I need to make a broad back adjustment to the pattern for the button-down on the right (Simplicity 1538) before remaking that one.

You can see I still have bathing suits on my list, maybe some kids’ Briars, and a shirt version of the Coco pattern by Tilly and the Buttons.

AND…JEANS!  I think it’s time to start learning to sew more fitted bottoms, so jeans are on the list.  I’ll keep you posted on that!

Do you have any sewing or other project ideas for this year?  I’d love to hear about them!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Pattern and Branch

Needlework by Tine Spires

 

This is to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  I’m going to take a vacation from blog writing until the new year (unless I think of something I just have to share with you).

I hope you all have a truly peaceful and hope-filled holiday, not a fleeting peace and hope that comes only imperfectly for a few days or weeks, but the kind that came with the first Christmas.  Now that is a very strange story, but sometimes…well…sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.  Here’s to the hope of a lasting peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

One Way to Make a Wreath

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One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

There are about a billion ways to make a wreath.  It’s just a circle, after all, so it really depends on your own imagination.  A few years ago, a lady at my church showed us a method for wreath-making that I’d like to share with you today.

Here are the supplies you will want to have:

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

  •  A metal hanger
  • Newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Pruning shears or tough scissors (for cutting the branches)
  • Pliers
  • Floral wire

Also, you should have some branches that you’ve cut.  If you can’t work on the wreath the day you cut the branches, keep them outside (or in a cool place) in a bucket of water.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

Here’s what you do:

1.  Stretch out your hanger by pulling the bottom down.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

2.  Use your pliers to straighten out the bends and keep pulling and pushing on the wire until you have it more or less circular.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

3.  Tear your newspaper until the double pages are single (leave the single ones as they are) and fold them lengthwise two times to make long strips.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

4.  Wrap the folded strips of newspaper around the hanger, starting at the top and going around.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

5.  Use masking tape to secure the newspaper to the top of the hanger.  It’s hard to see, but I was originally using off-white masking tape.  I used that to secure the newspaper to the top of the hanger.  I had to switch to blue because the off-white wasn’t peeling off the roll easily.  It seems like a happy accident since the blue is so much easier to see.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

6. Keep wrapping until you’ve gone all the way around.  End by taping the last of the newspaper to the top of the circle.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

7.  Take a bunch of short branches and wrap floral wire around them to secure them.  If your branches are too long, use your pruning shears or some tough scissors to trim them to the size you want.  You don’t need to knot the wire in any way, just wrap right over the end.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

8.  Without cutting the wire, lay your group of branches on part of the wreath form you’ve made and continue to wrap the wire around the form and the branches a few times.  I brought the wire from the inside of the wreath out, but however you find it most comfortable is what you should do.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

9.  Continue to make small bundles of branches and lay each new bunch over the ends of the last bunch.  Hold the new bunch in place and wrap wire around it and the form.  (You won’t be wrapping wire around each bunch before putting it on the form at this point–that was only for the first bunch.)  Make sure not to cut the wire, just lay each new little bundle down and wrap.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

10.  Keep going until you are nearly back to your starting point.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

11.  Carefully cover up the place where you started.  This takes a little bit of trial and error.  I laid a bunch of branches over my starting point, but had to lift some of the pine needles up and wrap the wire under them so it would remain hidden.  You can also wrap wire around and, as long as it’s not too tight, you can pull pine needles out of the wrapping to cover your wire.  Cut the wire, leaving a little bit extra (maybe an inch or two).  When I had finished, I tucked the extra wire under some other wire and twisted it around until it seemed secure.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

12.  Now you have a basic wreath.  Time to add a little bit of interest.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

13.  Take a few berries or some pinecones or whatever you like the look of.  Make a little bunch, wire them together like you did in Step 7 and, without cutting the wire, wrap it around the wreath while holding the bunch in place.  Try placing it slightly under some of the pine needles so the wire doesn’t show.  Secure the wire by wrapping it around itself like you did when you finished the wreath (just make it up until it feels secure).  Use the hook from your hanger to hang it up.

One Way to Make a Wreath (Pattern and Branch)

Good job!  You did it!

If you hang this wreath outside in the cold, it should stay nice and green for a long time.  If it’s dry in your area, mist your wreath with water every day or two.

Field Trip: The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee (Part 2)

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Yesterday I took you on a tour of my trip to The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee.  Here is Part 2 of that post, with more makers and vintage sellers to help you with your own Christmas shopping.  Let’s get right to it!

When I was in high school, I came across a set of encyclopedias that were being thrown away and took one to make a hollow book.  Working long and hard with my X-acto knife, I finally finished my project, but it was nowhere near as awesome as the books at Book End Designs. BookEndDesigns.etsy.com

Book End Designs at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Book End Designs at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

 

Maybe vintage linens are your thing?  You may like The Linens Lady www.facebook.com/TheLinensLady  She had handkerchiefs, tea towels, table cloths, and aprons, all in wonderful condition.

The Linens Lady at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Mill 77 www.mill77.com is a multi-dealer antiques and consignment space in Amesbury, MA.  I loved looking at this booth with its array of interesting vintage items.  I think I need to visit the store!

Mill 77 at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee IMG_8282 IMG_8284

Across from Mill 77, I met Antoinette Indge of Cinderloop. www.cinderloop.com  As a sewer, I was really impressed with her clothing.  I’m pretty sure the pictures won’t do this one justice, either (If anyone has tips for shooting pictures indoors without natural light, I’d love to hear them.).  Her work was really creative.  Most of the clothing was shaped through artful gathers and beautiful stitches in just the right places.  I’ve never seen clothing quite like it.

Cinderloop at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Cinderloop at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

One of my favorite things about art is how it can be used to make us look at materials and other things in new ways.  When I saw these clutches made from the same materials used for lobster bait bags, I thought they were so creative.  They’re also easy to wash in your washing machine.  You can’t beat that!

Alaina Marie at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

These bags are made from the same material as lobster bait bags!

One of my favorite booths belonged to Katie Marie, artist, bookmaker, and owner of Lives and Letters.  www.etsy.com/shop/livesandletters  She is a lovely person and we had a nice, long chat about making things and, specifically, her own books.  She upcycles old books and binds them into old/new journals.  They come in various sizes and papers.  She told me that if I was looking for something specific, say a journal with half graph paper and half blank paper, she can accommodate that.  She chooses really interesting books as her covers and gives them new life.

Lives and Letters (Katie Marie) at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Bazaar

Right next door to Katie was Jessica Kealty. www.kealthydesign.com  She is an interior designer, but also sells goods from her travels.  At this event, she was selling, among other things, Turkish towels.  I’ve seen these in magazines, but never had the chance to feel them myself.  They were lovely.  The lady that I spoke with was telling me that people use them not only as towels, but also as shawls, scarves, and baby blankets.

Kealty Designs at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

All of these shops were located in the large, main tent at the Bazaar.  There were also several greenhouses and a smaller tent with more vendors as well as a shop in a cute truck.

I found my friend Elizabeth Berthoud of sacAmain www.sacamain-shop.com in one of the greenhouses.  (She was the one who generously donated the leather that I used to make the clutches for my friends.)  I’m always impressed with the quality of her handbags and all the special touches she puts into them.

sacAmain at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Look at this cool purse made from upholstery fabric with a belt for the handle!

 

sacAmain at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Last, but not least, I visited Laurel of Retromat Vintage.  www.etsy.com/shop/RetromatVintage and www.RetromatVintage.com  She was just as friendly and knowledgeable in person as I thought she would be.  She had a really great array of vintage goods and clothing.  In case you are wondering, I did try on the fur dress, and it fit…but it was a bit snug in the shoulder area, so I decided not to bring it home with me.  😦

Retromat Vintage at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Retromat Vintage at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Retromat Vintage at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Between this event and the September one, I think I liked September’s better.  There were more vendors since it could be held outdoors, and the entrance price was lower, but this was fun nevertheless.  I found it very inspiring and I came away with new ideas…oh! and even a few Christmas gifts.  🙂

Field Trip: The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee (Part 1)

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Last weekend, as I had hoped, I attended the Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee.  I’m happy to report that I got pictures and some contact information for you!  Now you can come along via the internet and do a little Christmas shopping of your own (or at least file away some great ideas for later).

It was really fun to be a reporter for my own blog.  I met a lot of great makers.  In fact, I was doing such a good job of remembering to take pictures of  my favorite booths, that I forgot to Christmas shop, and I had to do a second round after my “blog round”.  While this bazaar was not as large as the September event, there were still many more vendors than those I photographed.  I actually got to a point where I was tired of taking pictures and there were a few booths that I really should have captured but, as you’ll see, this post will have plenty of new finds for you even without the ones I missed (I actually broke it into two parts because it got lonngggg!).  Let’s dive in!

First up, we start with the amazing Jess Wrobel www.jwrobel.com and www.broodbaby.com

Jwrobel at the Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Check out these sachets made from recycled sweaters. They smelled great and were so soft!

Jwrobel at the Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Some luscious yarn to knit up Jess’ patterns with

Jess’ shop was filled with yarn, patterns, and the most wonderful tactile things.  My knitting buddy and I always like to see the Jwrobel shop at craft shows.  Her work is very high quality and has a distinctive beauty to it that makes it stand out.  Plus, she’s nice.  You can’t beat that.

Next up, Luksin. luksindesigns.com  Sadly, my picture won’t do this shop justice, so you should check out her site if you are interested.  The clothing at this booth has a great visual unity, and it’s super cool, and it’s soft.  I’ve been looking online for fabric like her maxi skirt ever since the bazaar.

Luksin at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

The sweatshirt material on that skirt! So squishy, so soft. I guess I could say “lofty” and “silky”, but I love squishing that stuff, so “squishy” it is!

 

I also visited Selina Vaughan Studios.  www.selinavaughan.etsy.com  This is one of my favorite booths at Brimfield as well.  This shop stocks very well-made bags created from vintage seed sacks as well as really eclectic jewelry.

Selina Vaughan Studios at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

A selection of handbags at Selina Vaughan Studios

After that, I visited Forestbound.  www.forestbound.com  Have you ever had a bunch of cool fabric scraps that you wanted to use, but didn’t know how?  Well, Alice Saunders has the answer.  Every bag was interesting and high-quality.  I’m not a bag maker, but I found her booth inspirational.

Forestbound at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Forestbound at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Forestbound at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday JubileeA lot like Luksin, Forestbound had a great, unified look to it.  It sort of gives you a vision of a cool, woodsy life-style.  🙂

Did you every have a spoon ring?  Not So Flatware by Cassandra Mae takes that concept and expands it.  www.NotSoFlatware.Etsy.com  Each piece is unique.  Cassie creates beautiful rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces.  She had a great set-up.  Look at some of these displays.  I kind of want the one below as my normal jewelry storage!

Not So Flatware at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Love the mermaid tails!

Not So Flatware at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

You know I love vintage, and there were plenty of 20th century antiques at this show.  Scrapped and Found (find them on Facebook) had both antiques and fun things they had upcycled.

Scrapped and Found at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Cool paper flowers at Scrapped and Found

Scrapped and Found at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Scrapped and Found at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Need some jewelry for a friend or family member?  Check out the cool offerings from Erin Nelson.  www.freebird-designs.com

Freebird Designs at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Freebird Designs at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Freebird Designs at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Upcycled Wool Mittens was a lovely booth to visit.  Jean Roaf (jeanroaf@gmail.com) makes all her mittens out of recycled sweaters and lines them with fleece.  She also sews the cuffs on by hand to make them more comfortable and give them a flatter seam.  These must be some of the warmest mittens I’ve ever tried on.

Upcycled Wool Mittens at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Upcycled Wool Mittens at The Vintage Bazaar Holiday Jubilee

Tomorrow I’ll show you the rest of the booths that I photographed.  Have a great weekend!