Wednesday, November 28, 2012

FO: Daisy stitch headband

Last week, I finished a very quick project using the daisy stitch:

It's another headband! It is composed of 5 rows of daisy stitches, alternating with small strips of stockinette stitch.

This was a very simple project worked back and forth with only a few stitches per row.

Needles: 2.75mm
Yarn: Fingering weight soft acrylic yarn

Cast on 17 sts using the provisional cast on.
Row 1: knit all sts.
Row 2: k1, *[p3tog, yo, p3tog] in same sts, k1* til end of row.
Row 3: knit all sts.
Row 4: k1, p1, k1, *[p3tog, yo, p3tog] in same sts, k1* til 3 sts remain, k1, p1, k1
Row 5: knit all sts.
Row 6: k1, *[p3tog, yo, p3tog] in same sts, k1* til end of row.
Row 7: knit all sts.
Row 8: k1, p1, k1, *[p3tog, yo, p3tog] in same sts, k1* til 3 sts remain, k1, p1, k1
Row 9: knit all sts.
Row 10: k1, *[p3tog, yo, p3tog] in same sts, k1* til end of row.
Row 11: knit all sts
Row 12: k1, purl to the last st, k1
Row 13: knit all sts.

Repeat rows 2-13 until the headband is of the desired length, ending with a right side row. Using the kitchener stitch, sew ends of headband together.

You can make the headband wider if you prefer to, making sure that the number of sts you cast on is in multiples of 4 +1.

Note: You can make and sell projects using this pattern, but please give credit where credit is due. A simple link to my blog would suffice! And if you do make one, please let me know; I'd love to hear from you! :D

And since my photos do not do justice to the pretty daisy stitch, here's a nicer photo from the internet:

Click photo to get to the source.

I wasn't able to sew the other night. I'm still feeling a bit woozy from that weird bug I got last week. I do hope I get to finish that dress this weekend though! Wish me strength!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Weekends are fun: Singing nieces

Last Friday, we had a sort of mini-reunion for my mother's side of the family. One of my cousins who now lives in the States came over with his family to spend a week in the Philippines.

The group was relatively small; not all of my cousins, nieces and nephews were present, but this did not mean that we would have any less fun together. I love my mother's side of the family -- everyone is different and interesting in their own right. I'm proud of being a part of this family. :)

Blurry :(

In the photo above, you can see two girls singing in front of everyone. They are the daughters of my cousins. and they were singing a song by Adele, I believe. Love how they were singing it with so much feeling and confidence! I don't know how they can so easily get up in front of everyone and sing. I remember being sooo shy about performing, especially in front of the whole family! I also can't remember any of us actually singing in front of everyone when our generation was that young.

Also, Kuya Victor's outfit that night was pretty cool too -- bow-tie and green socks(!).

Yesterday, my brother's eldest daughter invited us to watch her school's annual play - this year, it was Joseph the Dreamer, a musical! Although she was part of the chorus, I think she stood out. I'm so proud of her.

She's the tall on right there in front of the piano

Love how she's looking at my camera haha

I know I sound like too much of a doting aunt, but can you blame me? :)
The play was awesome. All of the kids seemed to be enjoying what they were doing. None of them appeared to be shy or awkward about being a part of the school play, not even the boys! Back when I was in highschool, the teachers had to go ballistic first before they could get us organized and ready for something like this. Hmm, I think this has a lot to do with the fact that my niece and her generation grew up with shows like Highschool Musical and Glee?

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to post about any progress with my second dress. I'm gonna have a date with my sewing machine tonight. Also posting about another headband I made, complete with a pattern.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Blood, Sweat and Tears*

The word "tear" here meaning:

Noun: A hole or split in something caused by it having been pulled apart forcefully.

OK, I'm overreacting. Nothing actually got torn (except my sanity lol), but things might as well have been, considering the things that happened.

Aside from the pretty yarn in my previous post, I also bought a yard and a half of fabric to be sewn into another dress:

I didn't realize it was going to be so pink overall, but I think I'll manage.

Anyway, I browsed through my three-book collection of Japanese sewing patterns last night looking for a dress pattern that pleased me. I found one almost immediately and checked out the specs.

The pattern calls for 2 meters of fabric (which I don't have) and it requires some bias-tape-making skillz (which I also don't have. Yet.). Oh man. Well, I was thinking I could maybe trace out the pattern pieces still and just check it against the fabric to see if I can fit them all in 1.5 yards of fabric. Guess what? The dress I wanted was one of the few designs that wasn't included in the available traceable patterns. %(#^*@!*#

After a quick bout of an adult tantrum (which included me grinding my teeth, trying to take deep breaths and cursing the pattern publishers in my mind. Oh and I kind of wailed about my frustration at mom who was innocently watching TV a few meters away. Does that still make it an "adult tantrum"?), I decided to just use the pattern pieces from the first dress I ever made as a basis for the construction of this new dress from scratch.

So... Where do I begin again?

After taking a look at my old pattern pieces, I remembered that the dress I made ended up a bit too wide and loose at first. I think I had to take out an inch of ease at each side and re-sew the side seams. This got me thinking, "Hm, maybe I should just make the adjustments with the pattern pieces right now before tracing.". I took my measurements, then cut about an inch from the straight side (the middle) of the pattern piece, after which I then traced the pattern for the back onto the fabric.

I suddenly panicked. What if I made a mistake? Maybe I shouldn't have cut from the middle? Should I still continue on and cut the thing? Needless to say, it took me about 30 minutes and several assurances from mom (after some nagging from me) to make me decide to cut the piece. And so...

I cut ALONG the pattern's lines.
Yes, it's confirmed. People do stupid things when they're stressing out too much.

I did cut out the rest of the back piece though, with the correct seam allowances. More on this once I manage to get out of this scrape.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Some pretty yarn and an FO.

Last Saturday, my friend Ricca asked me to take her to Dreams, the yarn shop in Makati, and help her choose some yarn. She has an online shop (it's called I'M Presa and it's pretty good! Check it out) on FB where she sells denim tops/layers and circle shawls in various colors and I offered to teach her how to make the mobius scarves/shawls so that she could potentially add something else to her line.

Truth is, she doesn't know how to crochet (nor knit), so I had to help her make her yarn decisions at the shop. It was a good thing too, or else I probably would have traipsed around and gotten a few balls onto the counter all for me. I'm on a yarn diet, I'm not supposed to be buying anything fiber-y til January! Still, I couldn't help but notice all the new yarns they had there. Oh temptation!

But, I was a good girl and I technically didn't buy anything but my share of the big*ss roll of yarn that Ricca chose. She decided on a nice red-maroon-y color of thin acrylic-cotton blend (at least, I think it's acrylic-cotton. There wasn't any label, and it didn't feel like 100% acrylic to me) which they only had in rolls. So buy a whole roll we did.

You'd think this was too big a purchase for a first-timer like her, but we decided that we'd share it, and then I can crochet a swatch or a sample for her. If she was happy with the resulting fabric, she'd buy my share of the roll back. If she wasn't happy with it, I'd buy the whole thing from her. Win-win sitch.

Here's the yarn:

Pretty yarn, eh? And can I just say, I'm managing fine without a ball winder! Look at that ball there... Nicely wound right? All done with just my hands and a small roll of cardboard. Smugness aside, I still would appreciate a ball winder for xmas though. haha

So far, I've wound a ball and a half, using up about one-third of the whole roll. It's thin yarn, almost laceweight. I normally prefer this kind of yarn for knitting but the thing is, I use big hooks for my crocheted mobius scarves (9 or 10mm). This is so the fabric doesn't end up too thick and too stiff and I love how it makes the project look lacey and airy -- Not too warm for the tropics. A bigger hook for a scarf also makes more mileage with the amount of yarn used.

Since the yarn is thin, I tried using my 8mm hook. At first, I was worried it wouldn't work. That the hook would still be too thick for the yarn. But I guess it worked, 'cause:

It is done! My swatch turned into a sample to show Ricca that the yarn would actually work.

Here it is, worn as a shawl. Forgot to take a photo using it as a scarf.

ETA: Mobius scarf/shawl. Fingering-weight yarn with 8mm hook.
This mobius is nice and airy yet still gives some warmth. I wore it at the office for a bit, and it actually protected me from the cold. It's lightweight and easy to bring around too. Oh, if you don't know what a mobius is, you can read about it here.

The mobius strip actually works well as a circle shawl/scarf because of its twist. I find that the twist helps keep the shawl on your shoulders and helps keep a comfy twist when wound around the neck as a scarf. Though I'm more of a knitter than a crocheter, I prefer crochet for the mobius because it produces a fabric that is relatively uniform on both sides. Since the mobius has only one "side", it would be difficult to hide having a wrong side to your fabric.

And I'd like to add that I love this yarn. Even if it is synthetic, it actually kinda "sticks" to itself, meaning it has "memory" and doesn't easily lose its shape. Almost like *gasp* wool! I think I'd like to try knitting a lace shawl with this. And if ever I do end my yarn diet and go back to Dreams, I think I'll be buying more of this instead of my usual Excel yarns.

Free Pattern: Crochet-chain bracelet

Last week, I made this:

It's a reeeeeally simple crochet-chain bracelet.

6 crochet chains side-by-side, with 2sc's somewhere down the line to connect all of them together and some slip-stitches added in between to change the width at certain points.

Here's what I did:

ETA: Yarn = recycled sweater yarn, cotton.
          Hook = 8.0mm (L)

Row 1: With main color (MC), crochet 60 chain sts (or X = however long you want it). Chain 1 and turn.
[note: as I was making this first row, I put small stitch markers on the following chain stitches: 21 and 41. This will help in counting the first row]

Row 2: 1sc in second st from hook. Chain 18 sts. 1sc each in stitches 20 and 21 of chain from the row below (if you had put the markers in row 1 as indicated, stitch 20 here would be the 41st stitch from the row below, the one with the st marker). Chain 18 sts, 1 sc each in stitches 40 and 41, chain 18 sts, and then 1 sc in last stitch. Chain 1 and turn.

Rows 3 and 4: With contrasting color (CC), 1sc in second st from hook. Chain 18 sts. 1sc each in stitches 20 and 21 from the row below. Chain 18 sts, 1 sc each in stitches 40 and 41, chain 18 sts, and then 1 sc in last stitch. Chain 1 and turn. [For these rows and the next, I no longer used any stitch markers as the pattern is quite evident at this point and easy to follow].

Row 5: With MC, 1sc in second st from hook. Chain 18 sts. 1sc each in stitches 20 and 21 from the row below. Chain 18 sts, 1 sc each in stitches 40 and 41, chain 18 sts, and then 1 sc in last stitch. Chain 1 and turn.

Row 6: 1sc in second st from hook. Chain 8, then 2sc under all the other chains, bunching them all together. Chain 8, 1sc each in stitches 20 and 21 from the row below. Chain 8 sts, 2sc under all the other chains, bunching them all together. Chain 8, 1sc each in stitches 40 and 41 from the row below, chain 8 sts, 2sc under all the other chains, bunching them all together, and 1 sc in last stitch.

Finshing: Bring both ends of the bracelet together, right side out, and crochet 5 scs across both to bind together. Make sure all ends end up on one side together and braid a small tassel if preferred. Otherwise, sew in all ends.

I'm no good at writing down crochet patterns (I actually made a pattern chart, similar to a knitting pattern LOL), so let me know if anything is unclear. It's pretty straightforward once you get past rows 1 and 2. :)

*note: you can make and sell projects using my free patterns, but please give credit where credit is due. A simple link to my blog would be nice! Also, if you make any, please send me photos or feedback. I'd love to hear from you! :D

Friday, November 16, 2012

Out on a school night (or two)

I'm not a teacher anymore, but having a regular day job still means that it's difficult to go out on a "school night". The lack of sleep and the fatigue that come with going out on a weeknight turn me into a zombie at work the day after. But it's always worth it!

Last Wednesday, my sister's band Slow Hello played a gig at one of our favorite bars in the city (side-note: I used to play guitar for this band, but during the time I was working two jobs a few months ago, she got her boyfriend to play for them instead and he's been their official guitarist since). The event only had 3 bands on the bill, but each was allowed a long set. They were playing last so this meant that we ended up going home at 2 AM (!!!).

First we all met up at our neighborhood band rehearsal studio (LOL that sounds funny). They needed to practice first before the actual gig because they hadn't played together in a while.

Russ and Marc

The band + me trying to sneak in a photo.
They were in the middle of a song when I took this shot, it looks funny now how I'm just getting in the middle of everything for this blurry photo.

Look! I'm wearing my Simple Diamonds headband in that last photo. I have a free pattern for this here. People at work really noticed my headband that day. I do realize that it may not be a typical mature office look, but I also realized that I never see anyone above 20 wearing headbands anymore! Why is that? Let's bring them back! (Yes? No? Nevermind.).

While they were practicing (for two hours!), I also knit on the side. I mean, what else was I gonna do for two hours while waiting, right?

It's another headband. Am I serious about bringing the headband back? lol

This project is a product of some swatching from the other day:

With this yarn, you can't really see the daisy stitch pattern.

It looks better here, doesn't it? I'm gonna be making a few of these to maybe sell or give away. Not sure yet though. Definitely posting the pattern here when I'm done.

No photos of the actual gig cos my phone died after their rehearsal.

Thursday (yesterday), Marc's main band had a gig too, at the same bar as the other night. Guess what? They also played last. And this is how I feel right now:

But again, it was all worth it! I got to hear pretty awesome music and hangout with friends and stuff. Here's another one of my infamous (haha, not really) blurry photos:


In more crafty news, I veered away from my knitting obsession for a bit yesterday and came up with this:

It's a crochet chain bracelet. Pretty simple and pretty quick to make. What took me a while to make the two I FO'ed was figuring out the number of stitches and the division of this number to make equal "parts".

Still trying to decide if it's worth coming up with the pattern and posting it here. It's verrry simple. If you feel like you wanna know what I did, just drop me a line. :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Il faisait beau...

Yesterday, the weather was perfect. There was a clear blue sky, pretty white clouds, and a nice breeze all around. Good thing I didn't let my usual laziness get the best of me! Saturday was spent napping and watching TV on the sofa, and I didn't want the same story for Sunday.

Marc and I visited the arts and crafts fair over at 10a Alabama in Cubao at around noon yesterday. On the way, we grabbed some lunch at Good Burger along Maginhawa st.


The cook accidentally made the wrong burger for Marc, but he was still happy ^^

I wanted to take a photo of the beautiful sky, but this machine was in the way haha.

We thought we were just gonna pass by the arts and crafts fair to see Mansy and the Hey Kessy booth, maybe check out other booths for more awesomeness, but we ended up (still) buying a few lovingly hand-crafted products! This is normally not surprising at all, knowing me and my being an impulse buyer... But guess who actually went home with the loot? MARC.

We were in the process of decorating one end of his Fender Bronco bass this weekend, on account of it getting a bad scratch from being stored in the car without a guitar case, and Marc decided to use washi tape (which I bought from Hey Kessy at the last craft bazaar we went to) to cover it up. At 10a Alabama, he saw a couple more designs that he found interesting, and bought them to add to what we'd already done the day before:

Taped over the scratch with my washi tape, and coated it with some glossy ModPodge.

As you can see, the designs of my *ehem* washi tape were a bit girly (see above photos), hence, the decision to buy two more designs of his own choosing. It's not pictured here, but we got him washi tape with yellow and red checks, and one with a cool postal design. Marc also bought a nice notebook/journal -- the cover was made of recycled boxes from the 60s. He rarely buys things for himself, so these were well-deserved. :)

After checking out the other booths at the fair, we bid Mansy and Paul good bye and headed back home. Next up in our plans, we started getting ready to bike over to UP from the house. We were planning on hanging out at Sunken Garden to read a little and people-watch (I did most of the people-watching).

My bike is the mint-green one, which I bought 2 and a half years ago. Marc doesn't have his own bike, so he had to borrow Selena's.

He doesn't really bike, so I was pretty relieved that we got to UP in one piece. XD

What we brought.

Beautiful day!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

FO & Free Pattern: Simple Diamonds headband

These days, I've been trying to come up with a few simple/easy patterns for accessories to challenge my creativity (read: force myself to be more productive).

A friend of mine keeps encouraging me to join bazaars and other crafty gatherings, but I still can't seem to decide on what I'd like to present or showcase. Of course, I'd love to show and sell things whose patterns I came up with myself; I'm pretty sure I don't want to capitalize on other people's patterns. I've already come up with two hat patterns and a sock pattern, but they're the kind of projects that are difficult to make several projects out of, especially when given a limited amount of time.

So I've decided to try my hand at making smaller accessories, and this is the first so far. I have a couple other WIPs on my needles, but they're still in the design phase.

Here's my Simple Diamonds headband pattern:

This headband features intersecting zigzag lines that form diamonds all along the band with a garter stitch border on each side.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Weekends are fun, especially 4-day weekends

I made a list last month in preparation for the long weekend, November 1 to 4. The list contained the following items:

1. Sew the free pattern from Sister's Dreams on Craftsy.
2. Start another shawl or at least draft a pattern.
3. Make a pair of origami earrings.
4. Sew something out of the fabric stash.

But here's what I actually did:

November 1 - Slept all afternoon. Accomplished nothing. Got up just to eat.

November 2 - Tried the HK streetfood style restaurant on Banawe st. with Katty, Mon and Marc. The food was really good, and cheap too! Then we hung out all afternoon at the UP Lagoon, just talking. At night, we had a good dinner at Katte's apartment: sinigang and humba.

The food from Eat Fresh : Hong Kong Famous Streetfood at Banawe st., QC:

Seafood hot pot

HK fried rice

Buttered chicken


November 3 - Attended a beautiful wedding. Marc and his other band played a few songs. The gowns and decorations were amazing. The buffet was amazing.

Sound check before the reception

At the reception...

Waiting for the program to start...

Sandwich played for the entrance of the couple and for their first dance. COOL.

Listening to the speeches.

November 4 - Had lunch with Marc's parents. Watched a movie at his house. Went to Uncle J's 82nd birthday party. Caught up with relatives. And again, there was an amazing spread of food. Oh, and I was finally able to do the frickin crown braid on myself! Proof:


But it was a bit loose on one side haha. You can't have it all.

So basically instead of doing anything productive, I just pigged out. Ugh. Yesterday was the total opposite though! I was able to do all my errands:

In the morning, I went to UP to get my ITR for last year's taxes. Then I went to Podium for an appointment at around noon. Rode the bus to Cubao from Ortigas and walked from EDSA to 15th avenue. Filed a request for my HDMF contributions from my previous jobs to be merged with my contributions from my current company. Then I walked back to EDSA and took the train to meet Marc at his new office.

It was our anniversary yesterday (THREE YEARS!), so I wanted to see him after his shift. We had decided that we wouldn't give each other any presents because we were trying to save money, but I couldn't resist getting him one while waiting for 6 o'clock. I got him new strings for one of his bass guitars. It was a last-minute gift, so I decided to just wrap it with whatever I had on me: the paper bag as wrapper, my metal ruler as paper cutter, and luckily, some washi tape in my bag to seal it! This is one of the times I'm so glad I hardly clean out my bag haha.

The paper bag was all wrinkly by the time I got to the cafe where I waited for Marc to come out, but the washi tape prettied it up. Whew.

Oh, by the way, on my walk to the cafe, I saw this sign at one of the food stalls along the side of the road: