A little sewing, a little knitting, a little whatsit

I was inspired for this week’s postaweek project to combine knitting with sewing after I was notified that I won this Burda FiberPlay contest . I have already gotten the Laura Zukaite knitting books in the mail, and they are thrilling! I can’t wait to read them more thoroughly and choose a design to work on. The instructions look to be logical, and thank goodness they are all rated as to level of difficulty.  Zukaite explores and explains the process of designing and experimenting with fibers. Excellent food for thought, and more depth than the average knitting book, more focus on high  fashion rather than DIYing. I love all the background info, history, and thought processes of people who feel compelled to work with threads.

This week’s project idea is not new, it’s similar to what I did with the Go Gators! felted wool purse. It is also a purse, but I knitted the purse and strap my very own self!
I started with a couple of skeins of Sensations Angel Hair 22% wool, 50% acrylic, 28% nylon yarn that I got on sale; I wanted to just knit something without a pattern and see where it led me. I tried doing about 5 rows of stockinette and then a row of purl. Somewhere the pattern got boogered up so technically it needed to be shipped to the Island of Misfit Toys, but I persisted.
I found a remnant for the lining, a white-silver lamee piece dated 2005.

Silver lamee remnant

And, never doubting, I found a zipper in my extensive stash that was a good fit, and with plastic teeth.

9" sturdy zipper

I sewed the zipper onto the lining, then seamed the edges, and sewed lining to knit at the edges of the zipper tapes. I had to finish the ends of the zipper with hand-quilting thread, as the machine balked at the angle of the plastic zipper teeth.

Sewing lining with attached zipper to purse opening

Did I mention that the cats love this purse? They can’t get enough of it. Normally I try to keep them out of the sewing room, but they seek out the woolly bully–usually whatever I’m knitting–and ecstatically try to knead it and sniff into digestion its animal essence.

Paulie, wanting a rendezvous with the woolly bully

I had another remnant, a scarf which is the first thing I made when I started knitting again a few months ago. Since it is rather short for a scarf, and not pretty, I did not hesitate to felt it for use as an embellishment.

Heather green wool scarf, before felting

It was felted in the washing machine and dryer once, and then cut and sewn onto the purse.

Knit purse with felted wool decorations

I learned how to make the felted roses from Felt It, Stitch It, Fabulous, an amazingly inspiring book of projects by Kathryn Tidwell Bieber. This red rose was once part of an old wool sweater that I bought at a yard sale. The strap is knitted in seed stitch. The zipper pull fob is a rhinestone ball button from my bead and button collection, applied with thin plastic-coated wire (if you click on the pic you can barely see it sparkling in the upper left of the same-color purse body). You can also see this project at My Studio on the Burdastyle site.

By the way, I finished the top that goes with the remnant Goth skirt from last week. That wonderful Nancy Zieman pattern McCall’s M6247 includes the skirt, this top, a sleeveless shell, pants, and a jacket with a sash. Which belt do you like best?

D-ring self-fabric belt

Bullet belt

Brass brad studded black waist cincher

Remnant Goth-a-rama

It’s that time of year when the birds are singing and flowers bursting into delicate bloom, and lots of women are thinking of new clothes in pastels and the soft colors of spring. Some of them, however, are liking their old favorite color since they were in the alter-culture of  high school: black.
I’ve been watching so many NCIS reruns lately, I cannot help but wonder what Abby, the Goth-clothed researcher, is going to wear next. And I heard recently my favorite sewing guinea pig say that she loves Goth. How can I accommodate?  Theoretically, black, red, skulls, sharp metal pointed things and other hardware–have I listed the fundamentals–can be part of this look.
I bought this poly/rayon knit on sale from fabric.com, so it’s technically not a remnant, but I noticed it had a hole:

paint mark, with hole

I ended up with a length that possibly was not all usable to make a dress. So I made a quick skirt using McCall’s M6247, a Nancy Zieman pattern. Oh, how I do love Ms. Zieman and her short-cuts and tips. This skirt required only 3/4 yard of knit fabric–HOW INCREDIBLE is that? You can make a skirt out of less than a yard of material (for up to size 12 RTW sizes, size 16 in US patterns), and in only a few minutes as well. Yes, I made the skirt in probably 30 minutes, start to finish. And I used less than a yard of 1″ wide elastic for the waistband, which I had on hand. I’ve got plenty of RTW elastic-waist skirts in the closet that I paid $$ for at the clothing stores; I am all ok with them.

Skirt, with lace shawl

The shawl is a remnant of black metallic lace with double border scalloped edges so you don’t have to do anything to finish them. I can see how this skirt and shawl can fit into a Goth girl’s wardrobe. I had some other ideas that didn’t really pan out, such as applique-ing a skull from the plaid fabric onto a black shirt, or maybe onto the shawl. What if I let my creative ideas about Goth fashion flow; what would become of them?

I got an email saying that “WE” –the bloggers of WordPress who committed to postaday2011 or postaweek2011–have completed 25% of the challenge they gave us at the beginning of the year. And they’d like to know what our challenges have been (see link below: I couldn’t insert it here without the whole rest of the text being linked to the link; that is, I cannot “turn off” the link).

I answered the poll: keeping from getting distracted as my big challenge, but the real challenge has been staying true to my chosen niche. Before, I was blabbing about whatever I felt like, typical housewife fodder that pinpointed my identity as a stay-at-homer. Now I’m trying to stick with my original idea, sewing with remnants and keeping the costs of creativity down. Although it’s been hard to keep it narrow, I feel like I have much more focus and I’ve discovered treasure troves of fun and fabulous blogs through the Tag Surfer, found fascinating subjects and ideas that are dear to my heart. Originally begun as a journal for me, my blog has helped me develop a voice for writing, and has become my pseudo-job. I’ve met some wonderful personalities, people with great stories to tell, gifted people who want to help others with their creative development, and brash new ideas whose formulas have yet to be tweaked! So for the 25% I have so far completed, it’s been very positive! And WordPress is a great platform.

Now 25% Complete!

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