Online Yard Sale for new listings. There are a few Folkwear patterns (more to come when I find them), a load of uncut Jalie patterns, and about a dozen new books, including this Chanel fashion porn.
Come on, you know you didn't get all the books you asked for this holiday season . . .
Friday, December 27, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
Friday, December 20, 2013
This one is special - though aren't they all? Jackson is still a baby (thus the felt eyes instead of buttons), and his mom sent me a box of clothes to make the bear. The contents of the box included an oatmeal-colored cotton sweater, a pale blue infant onesie, a plaid romper and a green and black striped maternity top.
Jackson's mom and dad were high school sweethearts and she said she never knew why she held onto her husband's sweater for all these years until now. With a little interfacing on the back to stabilize the weave, it makes a fabulous, soft body for the bear.
To make the felt eyes stand out a little more on the neutral ground, I cut slightly larger circles of the blue onesie fabric and fused them all together.
The ears and foot pads are made from the romper, the embroidered bib is made from the onesie, and for extra style, the striped bow tie is from mom's maternity top.
I always enjoy making the custom bears - the challenge of working with someone else's choice of materials is fun for me. This one was particularly gratifying, and I love that the bear is made from a little of every member of the family.
Posted by Karen at 9:20 AM No comments:
Monday, December 16, 2013
A very purple bear
There was also supposed to be a necktie to use for ears, foot pads and bow tie, but the customer's kids got sick and she lost track of time, so I volunteered to find something to coordinate. I think this pinwale corduroy works nicely - any man who would wear such a glorious purple sweater isn't likely to object to a little paisley.
The downside is cashmere doesn't felt like wool, so even after two trips through a hot dryer, it stubbornly stayed fluffy and cashmere-feeling. I ended up using a light interfacing to stabilize the fabric so that the bear kept its shape. It's still softer and a little less "shapely" than my usual bear, but it feels amazing.
This little guy got sent off today -- for some reason, two day priority mail with USPS is guaranteed to get there within four days. I'm assuming if I asked for four day delivery, it would take a week. Happy holidays.
Posted by Karen at 5:42 PM No comments:
Cat Tales: All in the Family
|Vladimir Putintat - King of the Cats|
In my neighborhood, you can often identify cats by family - there are some tabbies with circular marking on their sides, very distinctive; a long-haired gray who was very popular before his people finally got him neutered, and then there was Vlad.
Vlad wasn't our cat, though he seemed to think he was. He was an outdoor cat who adopted me shortly after I moved into the neighborhood in 2000, and according to neighbors from the next block, he'd been an indoor/outdoor cat until his people moved away and left him. Then he became, quite firmly, an outdoor cat.
He had a lot of indoor cat qualities, though - he was still very friendly (when it suited him), he liked to sit on laps and have his chin scratched, and when he finally came indoors, 9 years later, he proved to be litterbox trained.
|Bear - female, but more feral than her dad|
One thing he was not was neutered. For a long time, we couldn't catch him. Sure, he'd show up for lunch, hang out on the back step for hours, but the moment you approached with intent, he'd be gone. We tried to bring him in a few times, and he left once through my housemate and the second time through a screen. Both times he showed up later that day in the back yard, mooching lunch. What a charmer!
He liked the ladies, and they apparently liked him back. He had kittens. Many kittens. And I found homes for many, many kittens. Having a Vlad kitten became something of a badge of honor. I should know; I kept 4 myself.
|Ozzie - scared of his own shadow|
|Nicky - had the "look" even as a kitten|
Ozzie was the first kitten in - he was born in the house, and he's scared of everything. Vlad would be ashamed of that, but not of his bulk, his big head or his big appetite.
Next were Nicky and Harriet. Nicky's another Vlad knock-off. Even as a kitten, he had the challenging stare, and as he's aged his body structure has gotten more like his father's. He's our big panther, flopped across the back of the couch every night. He doesn't like his head touched or his nails cut, but otherwise he's not as skittish as Ozzie. Of all the cats, he got his father's lungs - when Nicky meows, you can hear it all over the house.
When Vlad meowed, you could hear it all over the neighborhood. A conversational "hello" meow still sounded like midnight tomcat love.
And then there's Bear. She's as feral as her father should have been. Because she's female, her body is a little smaller, but she's actually built a lot like Vlad anyway. And I'd put that challenging stare up against his any day of the week.
|Mace - belongs to a friend, but a Vlad kitten|
Mace isn't my cat - I brought him in from the back yard and gave him to a friend, but he's another obvious member of the Putintat family. Big, loud, assertive . . . yep, Vlad would be proud.
Junius, who was re-named Seamus when he found his new home, was another kitten that I took in. I really wanted to keep him, but we were at capacity already and the other cats just didn't take to him. He found a home with a friend of Mace's dad, and grew into another big, loud, attitudinal boy.
|Junius / Seamus|
Harriet, who I mentioned earlier, is an odd combination. She's an exact replica of her mother, Alice - except that she's black and white instead of tabby and white. Her markings are identical to her mom's, but dad managed to at least get the hair color in there. And the glare. She's very sweet, but when she's had enough, there's a flash of daddy and she disappears.
Vlad's been gone now for a few years, and I still miss him. Some animals have bigger personalities than people, and he was definitely one of those.
|Harriet and Bear|
Posted by Karen at 1:56 PM 4 comments:
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Ups and Downs
|Custom stockings - a grumpy sheep,|
a "Chopin Liszt" for a musician, and Sandy
Claws for the beach-lover.
The mittens were flying, as usual, and for some reason, I had a run of third-graders buying my knit critters. I said to one of them that they were usually intended for younger kids (not even really attempting to get him to fall for a bear instead), and he said, "No, these are cool, they're retro. They're almost ironic."
Okay, then. Should I add "cool retro ironic" to their tags on Etsy?
Today, on the other hand, took much of the glory out of yesterday. I originally didn't have anything scheduled, but I was sulking a bit because there was a fairly major show in my neighborhood that I didn't get into, so I signed up for another edition of Traveling Wares so I'd be occupied and not muttering in my workroom, doing myself no good whatsoever.
But no good deed (or good intention) goes unpunished. Last week's Traveling Wares was busy in a semi-blizzard; this one, on a cold but clear day, totaled 3 customers in the 4 hours I was there. I caught a ride home an hour early with another vendor so I could work on a custom bear headed out tomorrow.
My friend Elaine stopped by the show, however, to pick up a set of custom stockings made for her kids, so that was a highlight.
One more show next Saturday, and one more week of the neighborhood Arts League show, which is finally beginning to pick up steam as the neighbors realize that it's winter, and winter is cold, and snow sometimes happens, and the holidays are coming whether they're ready or not, so they'd better get out and shop.
Better days tomorrow.
Posted by Karen at 8:55 PM No comments:
Labels: craft shows, whining
Thursday, December 12, 2013
The gray/white at top left are a wool/alpaca blend. The cocoa brown (top center) and bubblegum pink (middle left) are cashmere blends. The tan (bottom center) are wool, with extra long ribbed cuffs to cut the draft.
All mittens can be found here.
Posted by Karen at 9:46 PM No comments:
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
My New Pincushion
She's filled with emery sand, so she's the equivalent of the little strawberry that accompanied the big tomato pincushion.
Valerie Velvet, one of the organizers of a recent craft event, Sunday's Traveling Wares, makes these. If you want to find a gift for a crafty friend who has everything, I highly recommend these poppets. You can buy them here.
Posted by Karen at 12:17 PM No comments:
Monday, December 9, 2013
Cat Tales: Nicky
He and Harriet came in when they were about 3 months old; their mom, Alice, took a good while longer. When she came in, I'm not sure they recognized her anymore. They still don't hang out together much.
Nicky's kind of a lone panther. He bonds to one cat (or person) at a time. He loved my cat Isabel, and when she died, he mourned and stress-licked all the fur off both his legs. It took a year before he had hair again. He still licks when he gets upset, but not to that extent.
Now that Max is gone, Nicky has bonded with Mario. He even sleeps the way Max did, butt on the living room radiator, head and paws on the arm of the couch and belly slung out over space. He never did that before, but I think he's filling a need, for both himself and his new person.
|Nicky, Harriet and sister when they |
still lived outside
Nick's a little skittish. Like most of my born-outdoors cats, he has rules and sometimes they're hard to get around. He's still head-shy after all these years, but if you come at him from underneath he'll let you cheek-scritch him all day. A true sign of affection is when he comes up to you on the couch and butt-slams you. If you start scratching then, his head sinks lower and lower until it's flat on the cushion and he's standing up on his back tiptoes. Eventually if he gets enough scratches, he falls over and scares himself and goes invisible for about 3 hours.
He's much bigger now than he is in the top photo, but he's camera shy and I haven't gotten a decent picture of him in a while. Being a black cat doesn't help, either - there are more difficult things to photograph, but not many.
I can't believe I'm at the end of my cat posts. This means I'm going to actually have to do some me-sewing soon, so I have something left to talk about.
Posted by Karen at 1:24 PM 2 comments:
I will (and did) survive
|My table at the Philly Free School -|
the sale was held in the school cafeteria
Saturday's show at the Philly Free School was the first time the event was held, so it was a little hit or miss, but again, I had a pretty good day. It seems the shows where other vendors complain about sales and attendance are the days I do really well. Go figure.
|Me with my Traveling Wares|
Saturday night was another appearance at the Arts League, this time a little busier, the weather being cold but at least dry.
On Sunday, I had time to have brunch with my good and patient husband, who acts as driver, loader/unloader and general saint-about-town for my endeavors. It was cold and clear, and it looked like the weathermen, who had predicted flurries, might be wrong.
|The South Street Bridge is out there somewhere|
Though the event never totally picked up, I did okay -- four stockings, a pair of gloves and a knit critter (sold to a Philadelphia writer who I've read for years). I also traded a stocking for a totally cool pincushion doll (she's filled with emery sand and I'll post a pic of her as soon as I get unpacked -- I love her).
|My favorite customer at Dirty Frank's -|
I love dog-friendly bars.
I can't even describe what my house looks like right now.
Posted by Karen at 10:02 AM No comments:
Labels: Christmas, craft shows
Monday, December 2, 2013
I'm tired already
It was not the brightest of ideas. Let me say that again. Not. At. All.
Wednesday evening, I load in for my neighborhood arts league's two-week resident craft show. Which means I have to split my inventory, make inventory sheets and put price stickers on everything. (Generally at craft shows I have signs with prices, which means I don't have to remove stickers or tags from merchandise when I bag, but since I won't be there during much of this show, pricing has to be obvious and easy for the cashier to find). I managed to write out my inventory list today at the office, but of course I didn't have the actual form with me, so I have to rewrite it tomorrow. Bah.
Sunday. What to say about Sunday? Well, I signed up for something called Traveling Wares, which is a group of crafters who set up to sell at bars around Center City Philadelphia. They've been doing it since 1991, and I want in on the fun. Sunday from 2-7 is Dirty Frank's at 13th and Pine. I've drunk there. I've been drunk there in my time. This is a whole different view of a bar.
And Monday? Monday I'm not getting out of bed.
Posted by Karen at 9:14 AM No comments:
Labels: craft shows
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Cat Tales: Lily
A lot of Lily's personality can be summed up from these photos - she does spend a lot of time looking down her nose, judging the other cats and finding them lacking. She's the oldest cat now that Max is gone, Queen of the house of you ask her.
Probably if you ask me, too. Her full name is Princess Tiger Lily, because when I got her, as a skinny nursing outdoor mom cat whose kittens had died in a heat wave, she was still ridiculously regal. (Max tried to nurse on her and found out that queens, no matter what their condition, can rabbit kick pretty hard if you treat them like a soda fountain).
Lily's 14 now, the official sewing room mascot. She also spends a lot of time with Mario in his office because what she likes more than almost anything else is being an only cat. And that's a situation in our house that's pretty hard to come by.
She also knows she's special. She gets to nap on the fabric scraps, bat spools of thread around on the floor, and because she's skinny, she gets wet food twice a day and any people scraps she's willing to eat. The skinniness is just age - and since she's a little arthritic, I figure being a bit lightweight is easier on her than being a chunk like most of my other cats.
We're coming close to the end of the pack here. Thankfully, we're also coming close to the end of the year and craft show season - which means I'll be able to sew for myself some time very soon!
And Lily will supervise.
Posted by Karen at 6:07 PM 4 comments:
Friday, November 22, 2013
HANDMADE MONDAY SALE
There's already Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday AFTER Thanksgiving, but handmade artists are taking the Monday BEFORE Thanksgiving as THEIR day. Support handmade sellers!
I'm offering a coupon code in my shop - HANDMADEMONDAY10 - for 10% off any purchase over $15. The coupon code is good on 11/25/2013 ONLY.
Posted by Karen at 7:21 AM No comments:
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Sweater Mitten Tutorial
The pattern is very simple, only three pieces: a top side, a lower bottom (with thumb) and an upper bottom (also with thumb). The two under sides get sewn across, making a center palm seam which also encompasses the thumb, giving it free movement. Then the flat underside gets sewn to the upper side, pressed, turned and pressed again.
This looks better with a dark or patterned sweater - the palm seam is very obvious on this light green, but then again, I want it to be obvious so you can see what I'm doing. So there.
Cut the upper side and the lower under side pieces, using the band of the sweater. This will make the cuffs of your mittens. I like to cut them a little longer because I like my mittens to fit snugly up under my sleeves. You may have to adjust the width of your band depending on its stretch; it won't likely be too tight, but it may be too loose and you may have to bring it in. Cut two top sides, which will be identical, and two under sides, which will be left and right.
Press everything so that it's nice and flat. Then pin your two undersides together at the center palm seam, from the base of the thumb across to the inside edge of the hand. Stitch from one side to the other, taking care to give yourself a nice sharp corner where the palm meets the thumb. Trim the seam, zigzag it for security and then press it, on hot, with the seam and the thumb facing up.
Pin the under side to the upper, thumb side facing up. Pin your way around the curve of the mitten until you get to the thumb area. Making sure that the edge of the thumb seam is caught in the side seam, but that the thumb itself is still flexible, pin all the way to the bottom of the band. If you can, gingerly fit your hand inside the inside-out mitten to check the fit of the band. If it needs taking in, it's easier to do it now.
Stitch around the mitten, following your pins. Again, trim the seam and zigzag it, then press it again. Turn the mitten right side out, reshape as needed, and steam it one last time.
Posted by Karen at 11:02 AM No comments:
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Get your Christmas shopping done early
There were 50 vendors, side-by-side down a long gallery, through another big light-filled room and then onto a third room with a stage at the end where live music was performed throughout the two day event. There was a table of sandwiches and snacks, and even a small bar. (Shopping with beer -- something to be highly encouraged, as long as they don't spill!)
Though it was very well publicized, and got a lot of press, it wasn't well attended.
On the other hand, it seemed like most of the attendees stopped at my table. Quite a few of them even bought something!
My newest item, the recycled sweater mittens, were the hit of the show. I only had 6 pair, and I sold 2 on the first day. On Saturday, the last 4 pair were gone by noon. When I got home on Friday evening, I cut out a few more pair, but then I fell asleep on the couch. So much for good intentions.
I only have a few shows left before the holiday -- a two-week-long event at my local Arts League starting on December 6th; a one-day event on December 7th; and one more on December 14th. Right now I think I'm good on most of my pieces, but I'm going to make a big pile of mittens and a few more knit critters to get me through the shows to come.
Posted by Karen at 8:33 PM No comments:
Labels: Christmas, craft shows
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Everyone should have warm hands
But if I cut carefully, I can still get a stuffed animal or two out of the remaining fabric after I cut off the lower portion to make . . . mittens!
I made a pair for myself recently, just to see if I could, and then it got cold. Other than for typing and sewing, I haven't taken them off - my hands haven't been this toasty in ages, and the snug sweater band cuff means that the most important half inch of skin ever (that bit that always gets exposed between your glove and your jacket) is actually staying covered.
So I made a load of them for the craft show this weekend. Everyone should have warm hands.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Contents under pressure
Were you one of those children who felt the need to unzip their bean bag chair to see what happened?
It's kind of like that.
You can't get this genie back in the bottle.
Posted by Karen at 7:16 PM No comments:
Monday, November 11, 2013
Saturday, November 9, 2013
I'm not Worthy
one blog post.
I'm so not worthy.
Thank you, Kathleen. For the purchase and the blog post. One of these days I'll even get back to setting in sleeves. I have great plans for January.
I'm so not worthy.
Thank you, Kathleen. For the purchase and the blog post. One of these days I'll even get back to setting in sleeves. I have great plans for January.
Posted by Karen at 9:15 PM 10 comments:
Friday, November 8, 2013
Cat Tales: Ozzie
Ozzie was actually born in the house. I picked up his mom, Sabrina, off the front porch and had intended to pass her along to a friend after getting her initial vet checkup. I thought she looked a little bit pregnant, and passed that info along to the vet. Vet said that would be no problem, just to bring her in. That was on Saturday; her appointment was for Monday.
On Sunday, she gave birth to one kitten, Ozzie. Being very young herself, she didn't much know what to do with him. She sat on his head a lot, and left him on the wrong side of the room until he cried.
We ended up bottle feeding him and keeping him clean, and Sabrina moved on earlier than expected to her new home because she just got in the way of kitten care.
He spends a lot of time with Archie in the front room. My two big boys, sitting in the front window and watching the neighborhood go by. Ozzie, despite his meekness with us, is a ferocious guard kitty and freaks out and howls and throws himself at the window when an outside cat dares to approach the porch. Of course, if there wasn't glass or a screen between him and that other cat, he'd probably wet himself with terror.
Posted by Karen at 10:59 AM 5 comments:
Thursday, November 7, 2013
BIG BIG BOOK SALE!!!!!!!!
Hard as it is, I went through the sewing books and culled a stack. Some are duplicates, some just aren't relevant (quilting, anyone?) and some, while good, are duplicative of other books in the collection and I've just kept my favorites.
So head on over and pick up a few bargains! They're priced to sell, and if you want more than one, I'm more than happy to make a deal. Just leave a comment on the book sale page or email me at sewingbytheseatofmypants @ gmail . com and let me know what you're interested in.
Posted by Karen at 12:29 AM No comments:
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
A trip to the apothecary
Then, in the summer, I got the bright idea to put them on bottles. (That had something to do with finding a really cool pair of purple cotton velvet pants at the thrift store).
Idea stalled again, then I decided that they needed to be pillows, and scrounged through the remnants for something I had enough of to make 4 pillows.
Stall again, until yesterday, when I finally cleaned my workroom -- I can see floor!! -- and found the motifs, velvet bottles and olive green linen sitting neatly together, out of sight and out of mind.
Posted by Karen at 11:05 AM No comments:
Labels: embroidery, pillows
Monday, November 4, 2013
Cat Tales: Bear
Bear hates me. I don't take it personally; Bear hates everybody. She's not even fond of other cats.
When I brought her in as a kitten, maybe 3 months old, she was a sweetheart. She purred and nuzzled and liked her belly rubbed.
She stayed in the guest bathroom for a while, until she had all her shots and the other cats became accustomed to her, and then I let her out.
What I think happened was that the other cats said, "Hey, you know what? She feeds us even when we're not nice." And Bear took that as a direction to never, ever be nice again.
She liked Max. He was the only cat she ever really interacted with. Now that he's gone, she's warmed up to Harriet some, and every once in a while I'm now allowed to touch the top of her head while she's eating her wet food. She growls quietly, but she doesn't stop chewing.
My great hope is that someday I'll be able to comb her, because since she doesn't groom herself (Max always did it), her fur is standing up in big chunks and mats. I just pulled a mat off her back that was literally the size and shape of a sandwich. All I really want to do is shave her bald and start fresh, but I think if I tried that, I'd need reconstructive surgery on my hands. And arms. (If she doesn't get brushed, you know her nails don't get cut either).
Maybe someday she'll even like me.
But I doubt it.
Posted by Karen at 10:02 PM 5 comments:
Fighting with Fabric
These 5 bears were a custom order. The buyer said that her mother had recently passed away, after being housebound for over a year.
While housebound, she wore what the buyer called "polyester loungers." I don't know if everyone thinks the same thing when they hear those words, but an elderly, housebound woman in my family would have been wearing pink or butter yellow spongy polyester with little flowers or bunnies on it.
When she said that, I quaked. When a very small package arrived in the mail, I was puzzled. Then I opened it. Her mom was not that polyester lounger lady. She wore polyester charmeuse caftans - the box contained one with a blocky, jewel-toned animal print, another in turquoise with red, gold and magenta peacocks, and a third in emerald green and bright blue with gold scrolls, cherubs and leaves.
Beautiful for scarves. Pretty for blouses. Pretty damned glamorous for a housebound woman. But to sew with? Slippery as hell, let me tell you. And every seam that had to be stitched shut after stuffing had to be interfaced first so it wouldn't self-destruct.
But in the end, I'm really happy with them. Not as happy as the buyer will be - I sent her a photo and she's literally jumping up and down to get her hands on them - but happy that I survived working with such a tricky fabric.
It really makes me appreciate wool.
Posted by Karen at 9:36 PM 6 comments:
Jewel Box Bears
I sent a photo of the first bear to the buyer, and got this in response: "I can't wait to give these out!!! I think there will definitely be some tears shed."
When I started this project, I was a little hesitant -- the bright colors, the vivid prints, the slippery fabrics -- but as I went on, I began to enjoy them more and more.
These are so much more than they started out being. I hope their new owners will love them as much as I enjoyed making them.
Posted by Karen at 11:59 AM No comments:
Labels: bears, custom, memory bear
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Cat Tales: Harriet
She started out as an outdoor kitten. Here she's a little girl, hanging out in the daylilies under my lilac. Her mom, Alice, would bring the kittens to our yard so she could get some sleep.
When they were old enough, Harriet and her brother, Nicky, came in. They had another sister, and she went to live with a friend.
A neighbor who was a vet student told me confidently that my kitten was a boy. So I named her Harry. And then when she went for her first "real" vet visit, they enlightened me that I had one of each, so she got re-named. I still call her Harry.
|All grown up.|
She was another cat who was very close to Max, and since he died she's gotten a little tighter with Bear (you can see Bear glaring from the window seat in the second photo). They're cousins, actually same tomcat, litter-mate moms.
Harry's also a singer - it's something she got from Max. She'll pick up a toy and start singing to it like it's a kitten. It's very cute, except in the middle of the night.
Posted by Karen at 10:52 PM 2 comments:
Monday, October 28, 2013
Memory bears: one down
Now poly charmeuse is a slippery thing to work with, and keeping it under control made it easier for me not to look at all the warring colors as I put this together.
Now that it's done and stuffed, and his face applied, I actually kind of like him.
Like the plaid palaka bear, it's the kind of frightening that grows on you.
I hope she feels the same way. I just sent her a status update with a photo.
One down, four more to go. Except I just emptied my ten pound box of Walmart fiberfill, so guess where I have to go this week?
Posted by Karen at 8:20 PM No comments:
Labels: custom, memory bears
Friday, October 25, 2013
Friday with Friends: TwoTiming
But this week I'm feeling also the need to share some love, so I give you Kaylene of the Etsy shop TwoTiming. She's another recycler/upcycler, and a leader on the Etsy team that I captain, the Upcycled Clothing 'n Things team.
If you see anything you like, give yourself adequate time for shipping -- Kaylene's an Aussie, so it will take time to reach you, but her work is worth the wait!
Posted by Karen at 9:25 PM No comments:
Labels: etsy, friday with friends, upcycling
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