Sunday, December 30, 2012

Weekend Happenings

The cats are settling into their new home quite nicely!  Even though they're both misbehaving on a daily basis.

Their favorite rooms are my sewing room and Nick's office.  Eleanor prefers the office because there's a bed; Puddin' has made himself a bed in my sewing room closet with an extra blanket.

He also apparently likes the ironing board!

Remember when I mentioned wanting a new machine and how it probably won't happen?


They were on sale!

I bought a new Bernina 550 QE!  It was $1000 off retail, with all sorts of perks thrown in.  I'd like to thank Lauren for inspiring this very large, unexpected purchase.

Finally, I'll have an item in the online Handmade for Newtown auction, held in mid-January.  If you head to Squaring Up tomorrow, you can see more details about my quilt.  I'll have more information about the entire auction soon!

handmade for newtown button

Adios folks!  Happy New Year's Eve tomorrow!

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Beginnings

It's really funny to me how blogs are such a big deal in my life.  I read them every morning and night, I make friends through them, and I write for them.  It's this little space on the internet but it weighs pretty heavily on me, in both good ways and bad.

For the past month or so, I haven't felt connected to Lemony Fresh anymore.  It seemed too cutesy for me, and I didn't know that the title was something I wanted connected to my name anymore.  Emily Sposetta, author of Lemony Fresh...yeah.  I just don't associate that with my sewing, my crafting, or even my life.

I talked with Nick about this for, like, two hours.  I needed a new blog name.  I'm not good with names, though.  I was terrible with paper titles in college and I'm pretty bad at blog titles too.  Nick suggested names having to do with Charlotte, the Queen City.  I loved Queen City Craft, but there's a craft show in Vermont with the same name, and they already own the URL.  I also liked Queen City Stitch, but it sounded more like a command than a description.

Finally, I decided on Queen City Stitcher.  We live here now, and plan on living here until we retire, at the earliest.  We really love Charlotte, even though we've been residents for only a month (and not at all in the eyes of the DMV--that'll come in the new year, I guess), and I need to adopt my new city as I didn't my old city.

I'm hoping the new name and look help with some inspiration.  As I said in my last post, I'm ready to look at other aspects of my life than sewing.  We're new here, and it'll be fun to explore the city and document more than what I wore that was handmade.  2013 is going to be a really fresh, new year, in a new city and a new marital status.  My blog, as little as it may seem, needs to reflect that.

So long story short, I spend way too much time thinking about my blog.  But I hope you'll stick around while I figure this chapter out.  Thanks for being there so far!

Thursday, December 27, 2012


How was everyone’s holiday?  Ours was so quiet, it made me miss the craziness I usually can’t stand.  We did visit my parents in Beaufort the weekend before Christmas, but we didn’t exchange gifts (my parents bought everyone something, and we did stockings) and we were back to work Monday and Wednesday mornings.  As great as no presents sounds, because it’s no-pressure/cheap!, it was boring.  I saw all the pictures of people getting and giving gifts and felt so left out.  Hopefully next year will be back to normal.

Now that Christmas is over, I can think about resolutions.  As you probably remember, last year I created a list of to-dos, a list that changed frequently but always hovered around 35 projects.  (The final count was 29, after being honest with myself about time and money.)  Out of these final 29, I completed 23, as well as over 35 projects not on the official list.  I’m not going to do a retrospective here, because I think the small group who read my blog have seen the projects they want to see and skipped the projects they don’t. 

However, I will say that I loved this project.  Loved it.  I work really well with boundaries and specifics, and until things went off the rails in late spring, branching out to embroidery and eventually quilts, I would pretty much only sew patterns on my list.  I got a lot done fairly quickly, and learned with each project.  I’ve conquered the front fly!  I realized I hate making shorts!  My invisible zippers have become less visible and my buttonholer is well-worn. 

Before we moved, I started thinking, “I really need to gather the 2013 patterns soon.”  Because this year went so well, and because I had a few left over I still wanted to make, I just figured I’d continue this tradition.  But then I realized that my blog had slowly become a checklist.  I was only updating to say “look what I finished!” and ignoring the rest of my life.  I don’t like that.  While I don’t have a super interesting life, I do other things than sit at my sewing machine until it’s time to go to bed.  For readers who don’t sew, those other things might be interesting.  Nick then suggested I make a resolution list of places to eat in our new town.  I considered this for a day or so, and looking back, it would’ve been really easy: we’ve lived here for a month and have already crossed four places off our list.  But that’s cheating, right?

So I guess I’ll just be sincere and actually make resolutions this year.  Not only will it give me something besides sewing to talk about (which is really difficult for me sometimes) but maybe I’ll actually be held accountable for this if I have to report my experiences on my blog. 

Without further delay, here are my plans:

Comment more on blogs and Instagram
I find that I’m very introverted when it comes to this sewing and crafting community.  While I feel very connected to so many women I’ve never met, I don’t ever make an effort to even tell them good job or just say hi or whatever.  It’s no wonder I don’t have a ton of feedback on my posts.  (Blogging, to me, is a sort of karmic experience, and yes, I’m a total asshole for saying that.)  I worry about looking dumb, and I need to banish that.  Blogs exist, for the most part, for feedback: we put it out in order to get something back.  I need to stop being insecure and just say hi.

Buy the nice fabric—Nani Iro, Tana Lawn, silk—while I can afford it.
Not everything can be unrelated to sewing.  I’ve been admiring Liberty and Nani Iro since I started sewing, and still don’t own any of it.  It’s pricy, definitely; living in D.C., making tiny amounts of money, it just wasn’t going to happen.  But now that we’ve changed our lives and lifestyles, I feel like I can splurge a bit and buy a few nice cuts this year.  As much as I’d love to make all my clothing from these fibers, that’s just crazy, so I have to have a sane medium.  I don’t sew with polyester, and try to buy the best I can afford—and because I don’t have kids or large obligations, I can afford these.

Date night once a month, at least.
I know I’ve talked about this in the past.  Nick and I are homebodies and get very comfortable very quickly.  Saturday nights are usually spent sewing (me) and playing video games (Nick), not going out or treating ourselves.  While there’s a certain level of comfort needed to be in a stable relationship, I do want to employ my nice tights and my fun skirts and actually do something with Nick.  I’m very excited to try new restaurants in Charlotte with him, and maybe even expand this to day-dates?  There are plenty of museums, parks, and breakfast spots around here, and I don’t want to limit us.

Invest in sheets, art, and perhaps a new sewing machine?
God, that would be amazing.  I really dislike my sewing machine and would love to buy a Bernina.  Will that happen?  I don’t know.  Anyway, we desperately need new sheets for our bed.  Ours are very worn (because they’re my favorite) and we lost a set in the move somehow.  I don’t need Irish linen or anything fancy, but it’s been two years since I’ve bought sheets, and about four years since I bought our duvet.  It’s time!  I also want to buy art from Etsy for the house, now that I’m intent on making it a home.  Unlike our Maryland apartment, we like where we live, and I want to make it seem like it.

Try to give more of a shit about your wedding.
Because I honestly could not care less.  We have a date, a photographer, and each other.  Nick wants our parents and Jake and Kali there, which is too much for me, but besides that, I don’t care.  I don’t care about a dress, shoes, flowers, hotel, or anything.  That’s bad!  I shouldn’t feel like this!  I don’t want to turn this into a wedding blog—ew—but I should probably try to put some effort into this.

Visit new and old places.
Living in Charlotte, and being close to family, means more day trips and not saving all of our time off for Christmas.  I fully intend on using it this year!  We’re getting married in Asheville, so that’s a given trip right there, but I want to go back to Charleston and Savannah, and also visit Winston-Salem, Spartanburg, Athens, and maybe other places!

Demolish all credit card debt!
I don’t want to go into specifics, but I don’t have a ton of credit card debt.  However, I hate paying those bills, and I know if we want to buy a house in a couple years, it needs to be low or gone.  I’ve paid off two cards in the past year, and need to pay off the other two in 2013.

Paint those damn Ikea frames already.
I bought really cheap frames in February 2011, with the intention to either paint or cover them in fabric.  Then I bought cute greeting cards to put in them and hang up.  Last December I bought lots of Martha Stewart craft paint to paint them.  And they’ve been sitting in a shopping bag ever since.  I need to paint them, hang them, and buy more!

Finish my quilts!
Three quilt tops are finished and waiting; one is unfinished and waiting.  Time to back, quilt, and bind those suckers!

So that’s it!  Hopefully this will be manageable.  What are some of your resolutions?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Project 23: the Colette Rooibos Dress

You guys!  I'm back in the saddle!  I haven't embroidered in a week and I completed something on my to-do list.  I feel like my old self again!

We're all moved in and we've caught up on all the sleep we lost in November.  The boxes are all put away--there's one left in the bedroom--and we even have a Christmas tree up!  If you've been following me on Squaring Up, you saw my sewing room last week, which is amazing and wonderful and I love it so much.  I don't regret moving here for a second; we're so much happier, we have more room, and we can afford to eat!  Yippee!

Okay, let's get back to business.  It's still 2012, and I'm still working on my New Year's Resolutions.  I don't think I'm going to finish the whole list--unless some miracle drops all the patterns and fabric on my doorstep tomorrow, and that didn't happen with the Minoru jacket--but let's focus on the positive.  I completed another project this week!

I bought my Rooibos pattern and this wool gabardine in summer 2011.  Since then, I've been planning and hemming and hawing over it, too anxious to actually make a cut.  Finally, after organizing my sewing room, I decided to just jump into it!  I had the skillset and I wanted to wear a wool dress before spring came again (which would happen sooner here than in D.C.).  I cut everything out last week and finished it about an hour ago.  Here we go!

Pattern description
Sleeveless dress with collar and defined front pockets

Pattern sizing
0-18.  I cut an 8 for the bodice and a 10 for the skirt (my usual Colette sizes).

Did it look like the drawing on the envelope when you were done with it?

Funky wool draping
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, and I'm not sure if that was because it's a Colette pattern or because I'm more advanced than I was a year ago, when I first wanted to attempt it.  But everything went smoothly.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
It's the Rooibos dress!  There are a thousand out there, and the inspirational pictures on Flickr just made me want my own more and more.  The lines, fun details, and clear instructions made this a really enjoyable experience.  I really love the front and back necklines as well.

Fabric used
Aubergine wool gabardine from Denver Fabrics for the shell; FreeSpirit Solids in Nugray for the contrast; poly lining from Joann for the skirt lining (yeah, this baby is lined!)

Pattern design changes or alterations made
Besides the sizing, I don't think I changed anything!  I didn't do a blind hem, as is recommended; if I have a blind hem foot, I don't know how to use it, and today wasn't the day to learn!

Would you sew it again?
I'd love to!  Maybe in something brighter for spring.  I think the wool is great but I'd like something I can wear in warm weather. This is definitely a winter dress.

I'm so happy I finally took the plunge!  I inserted piping for the first time with this dress, and added a little rhinestone button at the collar for some fanciness.  I think this will look great with a cardigan or even a turtleneck under it--I have a bunch from Target that have three-quarter sleeves.  I rocked the jumper in first grade; I think I can do it again.

The only thing is...I haven't finished the seams!  I really need a serger, but I'm wondering if pinking won't cut it and I'll need to bind these seams.  What do you think?  How would you finish them?

I'd also like to note that this dress was sewn while watching the first season of the Mary Tyler Moore show on Hulu.  I truly believe that if more young girls watched this instead of the Disney channel, there'd be way fewer hoebags out there.

Yay!  It feels so good to be back.

Images by Freepik