Thursday, March 20, 2014

Noro Half Blanket

The last few days I've been trying to finish some knitting projects that have been sitting around half done for quite a while.  In the knitting world we call these UFOs, or Unfinished Objects.

I've been working on this half blanket for almost a year and a half now.  My concept for this project was to make a wrap that is a little bigger than a normal blanket, or a half blanket.  It's something that you can take to a game on a chilly day, or on the plane, or any other place that might be a little chilly.  It will keep you warm but it doesn't have the bulk of a regular blanket.

I used a brand of yarn called Noro, which is one of my very favorite brands, and is made in Japan.  It is 40% cotton, 30% silk, 15% wool, and 15% nylon.  This brand of yarns does a self-striping with beautiful colorways.  It's a yarn that feels heavy but is very comfortable too.

It is my own pattern, nothing simple just a seed stitch knitted in what ever length and knit that I thought would be a good length and width for a half blanket.

The yarn company's website is:

Socks for College pt. 2

I finished the wool/nylon socks that I was knitting Sam for college.  Their colors are pretty in person with a gray to subtle shift to purple and sage.  I've heard that you have to be careful who you knit socks for, because once someone experiences hand knit socks they will never be the same, and they will start harassing you for more knit socks.  I hope Sam enjoys these, if she likes them I will definitely knit my girl some more.

For my fellow knitting friends, if you haven't knitted socks yet you should give it a try.  They are a fairly small project but there is enough engineering and architecture to keep the project interesting.  I'm not going to lie though, sometimes I get one sock knitted and then I don't get to the second one for quite a while.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Little Black Dress, Couture Style

I am currently enrolled in a  couture sewing class at Mesa Community College.  One definition of couture is high-fashion designing and dressmaking.  I am learning a lot of techniques used by the high fashion designers and Paris couture houses in this class.  It involves a lot of handwork with less or no work on the sewing machine.

The first and major project that we are taking on is making ourselves a "little black dress".  We started out making a muslin mock-up in order to ensure that the pattern would fit us properly.  Some people in my class had more fitting issues to fix than others.  Thankfully I didn't have too many.

The pattern that I am using for my class is a Vogue pattern, number V8633.  I know this is probably not what you would think of when you hear the phrase "little black dress", but since I am in my mid-40s I decided that I really didn't need a dress for clubbing and things like that, but more for work parties, church functions, etc.

We started out with the muslins, then our next step was to cut out a black silk organza to use as our underlining.  Once that was done we cut out the fashion fabric using the organza as our pattern pieces.  We basted those together on the one inch stitching line.  At the beginning of the project we added 3/8 inch to our seam allowance in order to have a one inch seam allowance that would be easier to deal with in case of tricky fitting issues.

As the piece was sewn we did a catch stitch on all of the seam allowance for a clean and nicely laying seam.  I've only completed the top portion of the dress and now I'll be moving on to the bottom portion of the dress.  I'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Socks For College

My oldest daughter will be heading for college in a year and a half and if she gets into the college of her choosing she will be moving from the hot, dry desert to the cold snowy mountains.  As a mother I'm going to miss her desperately but as a knitter I'm thrilled.  Finally, I get to knit lots of scarves, hats, socks, mittens, and cowls that someone will actually use!  It's hard to find people here in Arizona that can truly appreciate the gift of a knitted hat or scarf.

My first project is a pair of socks made with sock weight yarn that is 80% merino wool and 20% nylon.  I've finished the first sock and started the second sock.  Here are some pictures of my work in process.

Prom Dress for a Fashion Show

My latest sewing project...a prom dress for the high school fashion show!  My oldest daughter Sam is on the student council at her high school and has been in charge of planning this year's junior/senior prom.  One of the activities leading up to the prom is a fashion show the student council puts on about a month before the actual prom.

One of the local bridal stores provides dresses for the girls and a men's wear store provides tuxes for the boys.  After trying on potential dresses at the bridal store Sam came home unhappy with her choices, and frankly, I was unhappy with the lack of choices for a nice, modest prom dresses.  They are young girls for pete's sake, not women of the night!

One evening way to close to the fashion show Sam and I sat down on our living room floor and picked through my pattern stash (which is way too big) and found a couple of potential patterns; Vogue V1172 originally from 1957, and Vogue V8729 origianlly from 1956.

We found a red, rayon taffeta with flocked black polka dots on-line and waited for it to arrive.  As soon as it came in the mail the project was started.  After multiple fittings on the bodice and changing the bodice facing pieces to a lining the dress was completed.

I must say that her dress was my favorite at the fashion show because it was age appropriate, unique, and fit her personality.  Take a look!

Hi, My Name is Kristen and I'm a Sewer and a Knitter

Hi, my name is Kristen.  I am a domestic engineer from Arizona with 4 great kids and 1 handsome husband that I've been married to for almost 22 years.  First and foremost my passion in life is my family, but after they are taken care of I've been known to become bored fairly easily and one thing I've learned about myself is that me and boredom do not do well together.  If there's no project in sight then I am not a happy camper. Luckily for me, I've found a way to combat that with two loves; sewing and knitting.

When I was a child my mom taught me how to sew a few simple things, and like most serious sewists I started making a few outfits for my Barbies and other dolls.  Then, when I was in sixth grade, my mom signed me up for a summer school sewing class at the local junior high with my best friend.  We had a lot of fun, but I hadn't fallen in love with sewing just yet.

Fast forward a few years to when I was a young mom with 2 little girls.  I loved staying at  home with my girls, but at the end of the day I needed some time to myself and a way to express myself creatively.  At first I started out with quilting which I did for a little while, but eventually I started sewing clothes again, for my girls and for myself. I fell in love with sewing and haven't looked back.

In the last few years I've managed to take quite a few sewing classes at the local community college.  Lucky for me, Mesa Community College has a wonderful fashion design and merchandising program that I've been able to take advantage of with classes like Sewing with Knits, Sewing with a Serger, Alterations, Pattern Making, and Couture Sewing.  It's been a blast!

My next passion is knitting.  Again, when my girls were little, I spent a lot of time waiting for them while they were in dance class, sports practices, etc.  It was pretty darn boring.  At about that time my younger sister Amy taught me some knitting basics and I was saved!  I brought my knitting every where with me and when I found myself in a position to wait I whipped it out and the time flew by.  I also found that knitting is a great help when my husband hogs the remote and we end up watching a sporting event.  This happens a lot at our house since my husband is a serious sports fanatic.

With all of my sewing and knitting I thought it was time to document my projects, perhaps share with a few friends, and hopefully meet new and like minded new friends.  Thus the birth of Passion Pursual.  I hope you enjoy