February 20, 2015


As you can hopefully guess from the title, this is not really sewing related, except to give me hope that sometime soon I will have enough time to sew!

I've been offered and accepted a job in Pittsburgh that I will start upon completion of my Ph.D.  I've given them a start date of October with my boss's blessing, but there's so much to finish to make that date.  Almost as soon as the excitement wore off about the offer, something akin to blind terror set in about whether I will be able to finish by then.  That's starting to wear off a little, but I still need to push as hard as I can now in order to be in the best possible position to graduate.  Once I've gotten the actual science done I'll be in a much better place, as writing has never been much of a problem for me.

No matter what hours I'll need to pull to finish up, I am immensely thankful for this opportunity.  Many chemists in my field have to go for a postdoc (ANOTHER couple years of school at a different university) before they can get an industrial job, and I was not sure if I could handle that.  I cannot wait to actually help make products that end up on shelves and start using my training to solve real problems.

The sewing content here will completely depend on how my research goes in the final stretch.  If my last experiments all work well on the first try and I get a quick turnaround on my final project, I could theoretically even graduate early and have a month or so of free time before starting my job.  On the other hand, if I am running up to the literal wire with results, you many not see any more sewing until the end of 2015.  No matter what happens, one way or another I will be done with grad school in 2015. This has been such a long journey that I can't believe it will be coming to an end.  Off to make it happen!

February 4, 2015

In which I blatantly make things up as I go along....

So, this sweatshirt.  Ummmm... it got cut out sometime in October.  Then it sat on my sewing table while I went through insane periods of lab work, got laid on by the cats for a good long while, watched and waited while I started knitting instead of sewing, and was the absolute perfect project to come back to.  It's Vogue 8790, a pattern I've made before and loved, in a fabric that I've used before and liked even though the first attempt didn't really work out.
Giant hood says hello....
Having worked with this fabric once already, I really should have known the amount of stretch that's in it (a.k.a. much less for what this pattern calls for).  Luckily it's just big enough to work out okay for the body  of the garment, but definitely was not enough stretch for the neck binding.  After several different attempts....
So much gaping...

...I ended up doing a bias binding and liked that okay.  The longer I sew, the more I realize certain truths about what I will and will not wear.  Necklines that are high and tight are just a dealbreaker, even if I love the rest of the shirt, so it was worth my time to find a finish that both looked acceptable and that I would actually wear. It is not the most professional thing I've ever done by a long shot, but it'll do.
Yes, I pressed out that center fold line as soon as I saw this.  I swear you don't see it IRL.
 I have also recently realized that I hate sleeves that don't fit snugly on my wrists (seriously, why would it take me 25 years to figure this stuff out?) so I knew I wanted to do some ribbing cuffs but didn't worry about it until I actually got to the point of doing them.  Now I know for a fact that somewhere in my stash lives a half yard of black knit ribbing.  Could I find that ribbing? Of course not.  So what do I do?  Use the next closest thing-a piece of ribbed sweater knit that I have like eighty billion yards of. This made the cuffs still stretchy but sooooo soft.  I do fear that it will stretch out quicker than regular ribbing would have, but you know what?  I still won't have used that whole piece of sweater knit by then, so I'll just make new ones.  For now, I fully plan to enjoy my comfy cozy sweatshirt with no regrets. (I'm wearing it at work today, so we'll see if it passes the wear test)

What's next?  I have a Plantain cut out for another quick sew (like I do anything else these days). Also, as much as I maligned the Lady Skater pattern, I wear that thing all the freaking time.  So I want to try another equally hyped knit dress pattern, the Tiramisu.  This addresses the two main concerns I had with the Lady Skater: the waistband on the Tiramisu actually looks like it should be there and the pattern has pockets.  I never remember how much I need pockets until I don't have them.  I think I've talked about this before, but at a minimum I need to be able to carry my keys with me to get into instrumentation rooms around the chemistry building and ideally I'd also be able to carry my iPod with me as well. I hate pattern drafting so if the pattern doesn't include pockets to begin with,chances are they aren't getting included. So hopefully those will be completed soon! (If only we would get a snow day...)

February 1, 2015

Oh Hey....

So...been a while, done some stuff, you're all here for sewing, right?  Onward!

What have I been doing with myself?

Making a Ruby Slip: (All my pictures thus far have turned out terribly, so none for now)

Biggest issue is containing the chest region in this one.  I ended up moving the crossover MUCH higher than indicated on the pattern, otherwise there would be some wardrobe malfunctions, if you know what I mean.  I know this is only an around the house thing, but I still don't want to be completely falling out of my top every time I lean over to pet the cat.  #bigboobproblems.  Otherwise it's nice, it was something different for me, and gave me a chance to burn through some of the ridiculous amounts of lace I own for no apparent reason.

Helping with Halloween:

I'm going to say it was about a week before Halloween that the BF decides he wants to be Green Lantern for Halloween.  Not just a generic Green Lantern, mind you, but specifically Guy Gardner. BEHOLD THE 80's IN ALL THEIR GLORY!
source: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/green_lantern/news/?a=34850

During this time, I was working ~15-16 hour days in lab doing revisions for a journal publication, so I was essentially available only to consult on how to put it together and not for actual sewing.  That boy freaking drafted his own pattern by looking at someone's vague tutorials on the internet, made two muslins, and finished the dang thing.  My biggest contributions were explaining general pattern concepts (like that if you need to sew two pieces together, they should probably be the same length) and finishing the armholes and the hem the morning of.

It's ugly on the inside, just like my first real sewing project (also a costume for him; sensing a theme here?) but I was pretty impressed for sure.  The giant upside of this is that now I can tell him he can sew his own costumes!  I just don't get motivated by costume sewing, to be honest.  They look great and are really fun when they're done, but it's so much work for something you're going to wear a few times.   Meh.

Learning knitting:

I blame this on the stress.  As I said, there was a period of really intense work (with one really frustrating coworker) and my two go-to crafts when I'm really stressed are knitting and latch hooking.  Easy, repetitive movements that still get you a result at the end.  Except I've gotten to the point with knitting where a random garter stitch scarf wasn't going to cut it.  Craftsy to the rescue!  We're not going to talk about how much money I've spent on that website; we just aren't.  But it's the best thing ever for yarny crafts. Certain things I can learn from books, but yarn crafts I need someone to show me.  So I've gone quickly past the just knit/purl patterns and am onto lace, increases and decreases, and soon, colorwork.  It's really hitting the spot for now, and I may end up digging into my fabric stash for scraps to make some project bags.  So still inspiring some sewing in a roundabout way.  At this point, I figure any creating that keeps me sane is a good thing.  Maybe one day this blog will be "Knitting for Real Life."  But for now, it's still boring scarves and hats mostly. (Finished 3 or 4, but they've all been given away) Working up to the sweaters.  Slowly but surely.

Anyhoo, that's how things have been going up in here.  My ironing board has decided it wants to bend at the point where the two legs are connected, so I really need to get a new one before I can do much more sewing.  Anybody have recommendations for a brand that can take a beating?  The cats love jumping up there and I'm generally pretty hard on things as well.  Stay warm out there!