the tomatoes have arrived.there are four varieties, but i only remember three, amish paste (which, until just now when i looked it up, thought were the little orange ones, but are actually the plum tomato-shaped ones) a beefsteak variety (big boy i think?), and black prince. so i'm not sure what the orange ones are, but they're all good. i made a teeny bit of sauce but mostly have eaten them raw, and that beautiful beefsteak above was eaten sliced with a little bit of salt.

the warmth that radiates from a giant just-picked tomato is amazing.

i can't boast the same about corn. corn is hard! this ear tasted not so great and was pretty much all we got. now the stalks are dry and dead and impossible to pull from the ground.

the animals (and by animals, i mean rats and possibly raccoons) eat the vegetables too fast, so i picked this little bell pepper too fast so i could have it first, and it was tiny and good. there are more coming!

i can't even touch the inside of the pepper and then touch my lips without running for water. these peppers look beautiful but are, wow, hot.
i just pulled all the carrots today and there are finally some legit carrots. two actually.
to add to the list:
  • italian roasters and jalapenos

what didn't work:

  • corn. maybe if we had more space we could make a square cluster and space them a little better. they might like more water too.
  • green peppers, only because of the critters

for the fall:

pickling cucumbers, broccoli, kale, and brussels sprouts


wiksten tank!

i think this is my new favorite thing i have made. i ordered the pattern for the wiksten "perfect summer tank" - i was very excited because, for now, that is the only wiksten item i can afford. i waited patiently :) and it came last week! i traced the pattern, cut it and sewed it up and finished friday, but it took me a few days to take pictures and find my camera.

the stripes at the neckline are a little funky, but overall i was happy with my sewing (i centered the stripes and i like how it came out and i accidentally got the pocket to match perfectly). but i was REALLY happy with the pattern - wow, so well-made. and i've never sewn something that was finished so nicely. i had never done french seams before! they were so easy, i'm going to do them all the time.
french seams and armhole binding: (can you believe this is the inside of the shirt?! it looks so nice!)

going to make the dress and another tank.


a burlap bag

working through the stash... i started to picture the type of bag with two options for handles, only wanting that foldover style without the second type of handle. make sense?

i also wanted a single strap that comes across the body and sits close right under your arm (i guess i miss my timbuk2 bag, or, really, my bike).

i absolutely love this vintage fabric i got for ONE DOLLAR at a yard sale and have been dreaming up many possibilities for it, including a strapless dress, which i don't know if i'm really ready for.

it's not an ideal fabric for a big since it's a jersey knit (it sort of has the quality of kids' pajamas), stretches and pills easily, but it's what i wanted, so it's what i did. i stitched it to muslin to stabilize it and line it since it's slightly see-through.

lining? burlap. a random find in the remnants at lorraine's for $2 and i love the contrast with the black and white. (the inside of the pocket is a checked canvas i also bought in case the burlap didn't work out)

hard to see but i did red contrast stitching on the pocket.

not bad - and materials probably came to less than $5. unfortunately, it's probably not going to withstand much rough handling because of the outer fabric, but i think it will work for what i need it for.
addendum: notes.
  • stitched on small squares of durable, thick upholstery to the outer fabric before stitching it to the lining where the straps were going to give them a little more durability
  • lined the strap with burlap - a little itchy, but i was too lazy to stitch the muslin to it as well.
  • the zipper was a little tough - not sure what the technique should be when putting it into straight piece of fabric (usually connecting two pieces of fabric this way), but i cut a horizontal slit with a small vertical slit on each end, attached the zipper and topstitched all the way around. burlap frays easily so one corner didn't withstand this process very well.
next up... my wiksten pattern tank!


stash bustin'

since i'm usually a voracious knitter, this isn't much of an issue with yarn, but this fabric stash for an infrequent sewer is a bit ridiculous:very few of these were bought with a specific project in mind... i just have a thing for textiles and love buying fabric, i guess. and sometimes i buy them with an idea for a project that is not really my skill level yet.

i know many sewers have a larger stash, but i'm not really digging into mine, while still actively accumulating. in addition, i have this pile of half-finished projects or clothes to alter:

my sewing "room" is a tiny end of a tiny bedroom. this has to stop. i can't believe i'm actually going to take this vow, but no more fabric. not even if i think i need it to use up something in my stash! no more fabric. not until i work it down so that it is no longer falling off the shelves and the pile in silver tub actually fits in the silver tub.
hopefully this means more blog posts of fo's soon.


pleasant surprise

i've been knitting this sweater oh so slowly for almost a year with this sweater from Impulse Seattle as my goal:

it was starting to get tedious too soon, so i thought i'd try it on to see if i could get motivated or if it was going in time out, and i got motivated.

like the toilet paper background?!


garden variety

some garden updates... the jalapenos are AWESOME and this red italian roaster was supposedly amazing, but too hot for me to even consider trying. there are three more curly green ones on the plant waiting to ripen.

we finally got two small eggplants (two more were removed by some creature perhaps, and rotting on the ground, unfortunately). i made eggplant parm with them and they were delicious. the tomatoes have started ripening, including the black prince tomatoes, which i mistook for diseased tomato, and threw the first one away. once i figured out they're supposed to look like that, we've been eating them and they taste pretty good, although i'm still getting used to the color.

i found one of our big beef tomatoes unripened and on the ground before it began to rot and decided to fry it up with cornmeal, flour, cayenne, and garlic powder (i wish i had added black pepper too), and it was so good that i considered yanking off some more unripe tomatoes - in fact, i probably will.
3/4 of the garden has now been removed (dead, unyielding plants and rotting green beans - completely my fault for not keeping up with them, a big disappointment). and we've planted seeds for pickling cucumbers, zucchini, and broccoli. i started seeds for kale and brussels sprouts that i'll transplant when the carrots and lettuce are all gone.
this plot is too small! i'm glad though, rather than too big. we should have some edible corn in the next couple weeks, and hopefully a lot more tomatoes. i may transplant the peppers and eggplants so they can actually have some room to grow.
so to add to the successes:
  • eggplant
  • tomatoes
and what didn't work:
  • green beans - mostly because we don't love them enough to pick and eat that many i guess, although the plants yielded a hefty amount.
  • carrots - i think the soil is too rocky, because they are too stubby

i wish i was planting cauliflower, potatoes, and butternut squash. no more room.


striped toasty

these handwarmers were born out of searching for a project for this yarn. what i hate to admit is that i bought the yarn as a gift and then kept it for myself. awful. but i rationalized it in part by the fact that it wasn't a practical gift for someone who really doesn't knit/is a beginning knitter. excuses.

but i really loved this yarn, and mostly love these handwarmers, even though i'm not usually a stripe kind of person. i like even width, narrow stripes, sort of. what i didn't expect was for the lighter gray to look pink. but still ok.

the pattern i used is toasty, with the following modifications (also can be found here):
CO 40 stitches, 2X2 ribbing for 4 rows in dark gray, then striping two rows at a time.
After 32 stripes (not counting ribbing), started thumb hole. For left hand: K2, placed 6 stitches on waste yarn, CO 6 stitches.
Knit 11 more stripes (ending with light gray), then 5 rows in dark gray (so the rolled over edge would be solid).
Thumb: Placed 6 stitches from waste yarn on needle, picked up 8 more stitches, knit 5 stripes, then 4 rows in dark gray (for the solid rolled over edge).

i plan on making a hat with the leftover yarn; something coordinating but not too matchy. thinking of striping this pattern, with the lighter yarn on the knit rows.


a honeymoon gift or two

i spent the past weekend with a group of girls in the beautiful countryside of my home state, virginia (not too familiar with this part of va, though) for my good friend kim, who is getting married at the end of august. it was gorgeous out there... this was our view from the backyard pool:

since i didn't get to attend the bridal shower, i thought i would make a honeymoon gift for her, using this "dopp kit" pattern as a basis... and uh, adjusting the pattern after numerous calculations and mistakes because i bought the wrong size zipper. sounds about right.

i packed the bag with some bubble bath, cute unmentionables, and a little vial to save sand from the beach. i liked how the bag turned out and will probably make one for myself. this was the first time i covered seams with bias tape, and i like the results, but the corners were difficult, and don't look very lovely. fortunately, they are on the inside.

little did i know, i would be creating another honeymoon gift, one for which i actually won a prize! the bridal party held a "project runway" challenge in which we chose a simple item of clothing (my name was accidentally not put into the hat, so, picking last, i got a pair of light tan boy short underwear). we were given various craft supplies and tasked with making a winning item to be "featured" at the honeymoon. pictured below is my winning design... look out heidi.

oh, and um, this is the back, not the front. the front i left untouched. don't want to overdesign, per tim.

i'm thinking i should try out for the real deal, whatdya think?
p.s. thanks jenn, for being my third reader! maybe now i can stop counting myself! i'm a reader of yours too and love the colors in your latest painting! and what a beautiful post today too.