Monday, May 19, 2014

hemming and hawing

I've had two pairs of pants that have had fallen hems for quite a while, one for an embarrassingly long time that I tried and failed to fix with hem tape. Turns out hem tape doesn't work great on slightly stretchy trousers.

One of the things keeping me from fixing the pants, aside from sheer laziness about it, was that I've never used a blind hem stitch before. Turns out it's awfully simple, but I was thrown for a loop by comparing every set of instructions I could find to what I saw on the intact hem of my pants. The stitches didn't seem to look quite the same, so I was pretty sure I just wasn't understanding something. Rather than jump in and ruin perfectly good pants, I stalled and they languished.

Last week one night after work I decided I should be more useful than watching Mr. Selfridge on Netflix for hours (ahem) and got out my sewing machine and iron. I sat and stared at the hem of my pants for a while comparing the stitching I could see to the internet all the while feeling perplexed until I found this post informing me there WAS indeed another type of blind hem stitch - the industrial blind hem stitch. This stitch is performed on a fundamentally different sewing machine than a home machine, so there was no way I was going to be able to replicate it. The light bulb moment! I still can't wrap my head around how that machine creates the stitch I was seeing, but what mattered was that life could move on to the conventional blind hem stitch.

Confusion out of the way, I felt ok jumping right in and winging it on my more casual gray pants. The first pass I didn't quite catch the hem all the way around so I went a little less conservative the second go-round. As a result, the stitches aren't quite as 'blind' as I would like, but I figure the slight differences in the two hems probably don't matter as much to someone who isn't nose-to-hem with it on the ironing board. If anyone is staring at my ankles that closely, we have a problem.

The hem on the second pair went quite smoothly and after a few touches up with the iron to put the creases back, it's like I've got two new pairs of pants! And I can even wear flats with one of them. A productive hour spent. Now I don't have to feel guilty about my TV binging….

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sapphire Diamonds, finished

Finally! It's taken me some time to finish this up, and it turned out looking so nice. In looking for some missing paper pieces in Palo Alto last weekend (which, coincidentally I found tonight tucked away in the Sac studio…) I serendipitously found the zipper I had bought to finish this off.

Armed with my finishing notion, I tried out a zipper installation along the bottom seam of this pillow. This is a new skill to add to the technique I used to finish my last pillow, setting it in the middle of the back. I'm still not great with zipper installs -- somehow I never can maneuver around the head all that well, but practice makes perfect. I fudged one section at the end by hand stitching and it turned out looking just fine.

It got stuffed, zipped, and fluffed and I'm quite pleased! I recycled an old outdoor throw pillow from Restoration Hardware that is probably a little bit smaller than the cover. I usually like really tight fits for pillows in my covers, but I have to admit the little bit of slouch I ended up with is just right.

The studio is filling up with lovely handmades!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

at the end of my rope

I mean that in the literal sense, not the figurative one. Though, ask me in a couple weeks and I might have a different opinion! What I refer to in this case is the fact that I'm mid-sweater, mid-stripe even, and have run out of navy yarn. Oh no! I'm not sure at this point if I have more in my stash at home that I wasn't carrying around with me or if I have to go out and get another skein. The irony of a knitter trying to 'use up leftovers' is that likely more than half the time it leads to the purchase of more yarn. Sigh. At least I don't think I'll have issues with dye lot since these are just Caron acrylics. (hope?)

I don't normally take that many pictures of myself to post here, but I wanted to catalog for myself how long the piece is so far and to do a reality check from neck to arm and from arm to waist. I note that the sweater is just about at my waist --- I'm all leg --- so I only have a few more stripes left. Yay! I just did the first waist increase in the last coral section and it calls for 3 more, one in each of the next stripes, so I may just do those and leave it at that. I think that should bring the length down to around my hips. 

I want the trim to be predominantly navy, so I certainly can't get away with just a little bit of yarn but I'm sure a whole new skein will be far more than enough. Grumble.