Tag Archives: unfinished

Taffeta Woes

What do you do when you learn that the fabric you have set your heart on is *gasp* being discontinued? Commence with the melodramatic commentary.

My curtains are RUINED! The color scheme for my living room is in shambles. The necessary monetary funds for this project continue to multiply, while my budget grows ever smaller, dimishing into a pile of NO MONEY AT ALL.

*Ahem* Now that that is done with…

I visited JoAnn Fabric on Friday, after photographing my living room furnishings, and compared my photos to several different fabrics in person. This confirmed that the Party Taffeta was not available in the right color, but made me reconsider the Casa Collection Taffeta in cornflower. I had originally thought it would be too stiff, and didn’t like any of the colors that I’d seen, but I found about a yard of cornflower in the red tag fabrics and fell in love. It looked lovely with the textiles I already have in the room, but it shifted things away from green and toward blue, just like I wanted. It made everything bright and inviting without being trendy or overly bold. I also liked the Country Classic Solids in sprig green, medium blue, and light blue (apologies for these not corresponding to colors listed online; I’m not sure which ones they are either), but I’m still pretty sure I want a taffeta for the sheen when everything else in this place is so flat.

Seeing as the fabric was available in such a small quantity, I asked the woman at the cutting counter what my options were. She was very helpful, letting me know that special orders need payment same day, so you can use coupons on them (Seriously? How did I not know this before? This is awesome!), but since the fabric was in the red tag section of the store, my best bet for a good deal would be to order online (where it was still listed as regular price) and be able to use a coupon, even if I had to pay shipping.

Next issue: Casa Collection Taffeta comes on 8 yard bolts. I need yardages that evenly divide into 4 1/2 yards. I called JoAnn’s customer service to ask about their policy regarding splitting yardages on orders that were more than one bolt (I needed 18 yards total), and, after some looking things up, discovered that Casa Collection Taffeta in cornflower is being discontinued. There were 4 yards left in the online warehouse, and if I wanted to drive an hour, I could maybe pick up the last 8 yard bolt at another JoAnn store location, but they couldn’t guarantee that the store would even have it any longer.

(See previous teeth-gnashing and anguish for my reaction here.)

So… Color blocked curtains? If I order some cobalt and white fabric as well I can do something like one of these:

curtain_mockup_light-dark-white

curtain_mockup_thindark-light-white

curtain_mockup_dark-light-white

Do I really like any of them? I’m not sure. I ordered the cornflower taffeta ($17 for 4 yards, including shipping, using a 50% off coupon), because I really love that color. Maybe it will be some pillows or a dress eventually; maybe it will go into curtains; maybe it will sit in my fabric stash for years and I’ll take it out to pet on occasion.

What do you think? Are color-blocked curtains too trendy? Will I hate myself for hacking this fabric up into 1 yard segments? Or will I love having at least  bit of it hanging in my living room?

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Creating a craft supplies nook (and generally getting settled into my new apartment)

Lately, I’ve been working to settle in to my new apartment. I moved in last month. I managed to fit all of my belongings (less the things that were at the Gentleman’s apartment from his amazingly generously letting me stay at his place while I got moved to the Cities) into a 10′ U-Haul truck. No kidding. That’s everything.

2013-12-01-moving_truck_full

My lovely friend and her boyfriend helped with everything from driving the truck to loading and unloading; there were an absurd number of freight elevator trips in both the storage unit building and the new apartment building. We were incredibly graceful throughout the whole process. This is how ballet dancers move things, people. I should start a moving company and charge for the show as well.

2013-12-01-moving_truck_with_rach

Of course, this was in the middle of Nutcracker season, and I quickly found out that I would be performing in The Nutcracker with my new studio, despite the fact that I am “retired.” (Query: Is a professional ballet dancer ever truly retired?) My parents were in town for Nutcracker and Christmas, and being onstage with the Gentleman again was lots of fun.

2013-12-21-drosselmeyer_and_snowflake

I had the rest of winter break to recover, and then the insanity started.

I am one of a handful of teachers at the studio where I am teaching now, and one of only three who are there 6 days per week. One of us three had a baby two weeks ago, and is now on maternity leave. The second (my boss) went on a surprise “babymoon” that her husband planned so they would have one last hurrah before she gives birth in April. In these past two weeks, we’ve had three snow days on top of the crazy sub situation created by maternity leave and vacation time. It has been nuts. And on top of it all, I’m still putting together my new apartment.

It’s a great place. It has some crazy columns (stay tuned for colorful plans for those), lots of kitchen storage and counter space (more than twice what I had in my old place), a huge living room, and it’s generally awesome. Here’s that amazing kitchen before I moved all my stuff in and it got all messy:

2013-12-01-kitchen

The Gentleman helped me unpack. He was thrilled to take bubble wrap off the myriad dishes, glasses, etc. that I have.

2013-12-02-kitchen_unpacking

Now that I’m finally all moved in, my head is full of projects to make my space work. First of all, I need a dedicated craft space. I haven’t had one since I moved out of my parents’ house and had essentially a whole room in the finished basement. Obviously, that’s not happening, even in a large one bedroom apartment. My plans involve curtaining off the far wall of my living room and setting up shelving so I can pull back the curtains and have access to all of my craft supplies, or close them and have a neat and tidy space.

2014-01-11-craft_corner_wall_and_mess

Obviously, this plan does not account for the massive amount of mess that I always have everywhere (hello, dirty dishes on the kitchen island, I’m looking at you), but I’m thinking that having an epic amount of storage that I can just close the curtains on should help with that too. (I promise I won’t put dirty dishes on the storage shelves and close the curtain on them. I just may have more kitchen counter space if I’m able to dump all my sketches, paperwork, magazines, etc. somewhere else.)

In case you can’t tell, this is a HUGE wall. It’s 11′ wide, 12′ tall. For my shelving unit, I wanted something simple, sturdy, tall, and able to fill as much of the space as possible in one unit. I was originally thinking of using the wire shelves I have on hand, but they’re nowhere near big enough for this job. They’re loaded up with paper crafting supplies and sewing notions, but I still have bins stacked up in my bedroom.

On top of wanting large shelves, I quickly decided that, since I’m renting and not allowed to screw anything into the walls, it would be easiest to use the shelves to help support the curtains that will cover them. I’d originally thought to create a steel pipe curtain rod and support, but that would be ridiculously expensive. So I started looking at wire shelves that I could possibly hook a curtain rod onto. Those were just as ridiculously expensive, and none were quite the right height.

Luckily I live in a city that has an IKEA store. This configuration of Ivar shelves looked perfect. After a few weeks trying to figure out how to fit a 132 1/4″ shelving unit into a 132″ space, I remeasured and determined that the space is actually 132 3/8″ wide. Let’s hope IKEA’s listed measurements are precise!

Ivar comes up to about 8″ below the top of the cabinet over the fridge, so I’ll use a couple of extra wood uprights to help lift the curtain rod (probably a piece of electrical conduit) up to the ceiling. I’ll be making back-tab curtains that reach from ceiling to floor. For this space, that’s a lot of fabric (27 yards if it’s 54″ wide), so if anyone wants to suggest a good place to find cheap taffeta in a light teal-ish color, I’d be grateful. Current top picks are from JoAnn (although I’m not thrilled with the color choices in my favorite fabric of theirs, the Party Taffeta), Fabric.com (Softline Netherwood Taffeta, Crestmont Lustra Sateen Twill in Sky (too light?) and Teal (too dark?), Two-Tone Taffeta in Dark Teal (too bright?), and Microfiber Twill in light blue), and Mood (Bluestone Silk Taffeta which is way too expensive but my absolute favorite, and this cotton twill shirting which is likely too matte).

And, of course, as soon as I’m done with this massive storage wall and curtains thing, I’m thinking of building a bed frame. Stay tuned to see if I ever get around to that. I have sketches, so it’s promising. (Disclaimer: The previous statement was written by a perpetual dreamer who is far too in love with the planning process of any project and rarely actually finishes things.)

2014-01-28-bedframe_sketch

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Distracted Knitter, Bad Sewer

Seamstress?  Sewist?  Whatever it is, the apartment is nowhere near clean enough to cut fabric in, and my Denver Fabrics order is supposed to show up tomorrow.  It’s going to be so sad to get a big box of wool and not be able to do anything with it.

The thing is, I’ve been spending too much time trying out my new knitting style.  I’m still knitting some on my fuzzy pants every evening, but I’m in love with my new way of holding yarn, so I’ve been knitting and ripping little scrap-yarn swatches over and over.  I know it’s pointless, but it’s addicting.  I’ve started to think that I need a new knitting project for all of that excess energy.  New knitting projects don’t require a clean apartment what with balls of yarn being more compact and portable than large pieces of heavy fabric that needs to be pre-washed, carefully dried, ironed or steamed, laid out, marked, cut, and basted before anything really useful happens.

You may recall that one of my current projects is a pair of mock-cabled pointe shoe covers to use as warm ups at dance.  I had bought some Knit Picks Wool of the Andes for them. When it arrived, it seemed strange that I should have so little yarn for such a big project. I then figured out what went wrong: I scrupulously calculated the necessary yardage based on a rough calculation of the gauge that I’d be using and the surface area of the completed project, but I forgot to account for the fact that I, apparently, have two feet.

(I find myself compelled to mention here that I have a degree in mathematics.  I had several very good and entertaining professors, but one of the most memorable moments was when Professor C. walked into class early and heard someone complaining about how this math course was so much harder than previous ones.  Professor C. responded, “This is not math.  Calculus?  Differential equations?  That was math.  This is mathematics.”  So here I say, I’m pretty good with mathematics.  But with math?  Not so much.)

Now, having realized this serious error in the math, I think I should use my pretty purple wool for something else.  I’m considering a beret and a pair of gloves.  I really like the Ashwyn Beret and Meret for lacy options, and the cables on Nine Dwindling Cables, Laurel, and Brambles are very pretty. Then again, the color would look nice with my Cornflower Cowl so I might do some skinny cables like those. Whatever I do, I’ll either be finding or making a matching glove pattern. I’m bad at making decisions. Feel free to tell me what to do or offer more pattern options.

(Also, am I the only one who feels like a creepy stalker type when I comment on another person’s blog?  It’s like offering unsolicited advice to a stranger on the street, but from even further away, which is somehow worse.  “Oh, hello.  I just reached through the internet to spy on you and comment on your life.  Have a nice day!”  Conversely, I love it when I get comments from random people whom I’ve never met before.  Maybe I’m just too socially awkward for this whole interacting-with-other-people thing.)

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How Procrasterina Plans to Finish This Darn Cowl if it Kills Her

I just love the planning process of a new knitting project.  I get really excited at the prospect of researching on Ravelry and other sites to find the best yarn and pattern, and then tweaking the instructions to fit my measurements.  Then I gather everything that I need, cast on, and leave it sitting out for months.

I have bins and bins worth of yarn sitting in my apartment.  That’s not so unusual for a knitter, but the number of unfinished projects mixed in with the yarn is truly amazing.  I have 1″ worth of a laptop case that I started 2 years ago when the laptop that I’m writing on was new.  I have 2″ worth of gloves that I started for my mom last Christmas.  I have swatches of lace patterns and leafy edgings.  I have single mittens and foot-long proto-scarves.  It’s appalling, and a real drain on the number of needles I have available for a new project.

So, when I bought two skeins of S.R.Kertzer On Your Toes Bamboo many months ago, I didn’t start a new project with it.  I know it’s not the most expensive yarn in the world, but it was a splurge, and it’s delightfully soft, and I didn’t want to waste it on something that would sit on the needles for months before getting frogged when I’d finally forgotten what the original pattern was.

But on November 21, I found Karen Scott’s beautiful Cornflower Cowl on Ravelry and decided that those feminine cables were perfect for my yarn.  I cast on, and now, a mere 2 weeks later, I’m halfway done.

Of course I’m already planning my next project(s).  I need to come up with something to do with the ~1800 yds of 2-ply laceweight alpaca I have, and I ordered some KnitPicks Stroll Sock Yarn in black for a pair of warm up pants/knit tights for dance and Wool of the Andes Worsted in blackberry for some warm up socks to go over pointe shoes.  Let’s hope I get the cowl done before those arrive in the mail!

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