December 22, 2011

SWAP of the TnT: Pick 7, make 11

Swap is back.  It may not (yet) have prizes, but it has the most important aspect of all--the foundations of a good solid wardrobe that you will wear and wear and wear. 

This year's swap concept is definitely a winner.  It started a while ago with a discussion about patterns and needing good basics that could be changed around and used in so many ways.  Then there were a few of us who wanted to fit some good basics, and were going to do this during the last three months before Swap as we waited for the challenge.  And now--fitting good basics is the challenge aspect of swap!

DragonLady posted the rules for SWAP2012, and said don't overthink, just do:

This year, our SWAP will focus on fitting, and making tried-and-true patterns: testing and fitting paper patterns, muslins, and fashion garments that will help lower the overall sewing failure rates,  result in fabulous clothing to be proud of, and (hopefully) give every contestant a pattern or two that works every time it is used.

Choose any seven garments from this list:

Button Down Shirt w/Collar         
Blouse or shirt   (collar is optional)               
Shorts or Capri Pants     
Jacket (jean jacket, windbreaker, hoodie, etc.)                   
Coat  (suit or sport coat)
Overcoat or Raincoat   
Bathing Suit & Coverup

From those seven, choose four to make twice for a total of 11 garments that will work together.   Those four may either be repeated garments from the same pattern, or one each from two different patterns.

It doesn't matter what styles you choose, but *do* keep in mind these should be patterns you will be using over and over in the future, so keep 'em simple with lots of room for future alterations, changes and embellishments.  You will probably want to make a test muslin of each pattern, so that any fitting issues can be addressed early on.

If you already have a full set of basic patterns, this is your opportunity to expand a bit.  You may have all the coats and coat patterns you'll ever need, so you can skip that and make two skirts instead.

For those of you who rarely wear pants, I'm allowing you to choose  another skirt or dress to substitute for a pants-type bottom.  This is only to prevent you from having to make a garment that will rarely or never be worn just for the sake of this contest, and only because the main idea of this year's contest is to make patterns that will be used over and over.  If pants (or shorts or jeans or whatever) are regular part of your wardrobe, you should make pants instead.  If you are using this option to make an extra skirt or dress, remember that you will get more mileage if you use seperate patterns that use different construction techniques or are fitted differently (i.e. one woven, and one knit).
In other words: Pick 7; make 11.   

Here I am looking at the list and trying to actually narrow it down to just 7 patterns, lol: 

Button Down Shirt w/Collar         
1. Blouse or shirt   (collar is optional) ** absolutely                
T-Shirt  (hmm, I have a good pattern for this, and I wear these all the time, maybe/maybe not)    
2. Dress--Sheath dress, here I come            
3. Jeans--Jalie jeans, dress jeans

4. Trousers  ** work pants!       
Shorts or Capri Pants     
Skirt  (hmm, I have two patterns already, and I mostly don't wear skirts)
5. Jacket (jean jacket, windbreaker, hoodie, etc.)  **casual jacket block, and a panel jacket block           

Coat  (suit or sport coat)
Overcoat or Raincoat--maybe?    
Bathing Suit & Coverup

Looks like I'm still thinking about this one...

December 20, 2011

What have I been up to?

Well, for the last 9 weeks or so, I've been sick. I'm still teaching, and moderating part of the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup, and all those things I'm supposed to do, like sing at concerts and direct concerts.  But, wow, am I ever tired.

At first it was a cold.  Then it was bronchitis, that just didn't go away.  Then, when I finally went to the doctor after 5 weeks, she put me on inhalers, maintenance inhalers and antibiotics, and I was better for a while, but I've been really tired. (Her comment?  Well, if you aren't getting enough oxygen, you are going to be tired!)  But, she's ordered some tests, which I will do between Christmas and New Years. Then, week 9 of this ridiculous something,  I was grouchy.  Grouchy is normal for teachers heading into the Christmas season, but this seemed a little odd.  Friday, when I woke up sounding like a bass, I thought--oh, not again!  I don't have time for this. I have a concert to sing on Sunday.  I need to deal with the Christmas tree.  I need to get presents.  The present stash?  Oh it is empty!  So, I ignored it, and trudged on. 

Saturday, I got up, croaked a bit, and hubbie made me go back to bed.  I slept for 20 hours.  Sunday I was up for 1 hour and went back to bed.  Monday, I was up all day, but every time I got up to walk around or I laugh, I start hacking up a lung.  Today, I am officially tired of being sick, which must mean I am finally getting better.  I have enough energy to be tired of being sick.

Ok, enough whining!  What have I been working on?  Stash reduction.  Getting ready for another term as a student in the House Cup.  Dealing with whinging parents, and preparations for another year of VEX robotics competitions, along with Lego robotics competitions.  Planning on how to reduce the ridiculously large stash of yarn that is currently invading our house. 

 One of the things I am going to make this year for our anniversary is a blanket for our bed.  More specifically, this:

Which will, I hope, become this:
  Only bigger!  Much bigger! The pictured blanket is the original Mitered Crosses Blanket for Japan, by Kay Gardiner.  You can purchase the pattern here, on Ravelry.  Each of the squares is roughly 8".   My squares are 19" across. 

On a conservative estimate, I will be making either 18 or 23 squares, to make a blanket that will cover our bed, and drape over the sides.  But the layout, and the look will be like the blanket above, either four across or five across, and five rows down.    I'm not using Noro Silk Garden, which although beautiful is definitely not husband proof.   Well, not my husband anyway.  I'm using stash yarn.  Specifically the Red Heart Super Saver, and other worsted weight acrylics from the stash that are currently exploding out of our basement and invading the living room.

The scary thing is that I think the blanket will only make a little dent in the stash.  

Must tame the stash.  Must get it back to something more reasonable.