Falling petals

by onblueberryhill on May 21, 2015

peony petals 2

Peony petals are beautiful even when they’ve dropped to the ground :)

peony petals 1

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Sewing with Birch organic knits

by onblueberryhill on May 17, 2015

knit yoga pants and t-shirt 1

I usually find knit fabrics to be too thin and flimsy, not really good quality and, as a result, difficult to work with.  The Birch organic knits, however, are entirely different.  These knits are thick and plush, still with a lot of stretch and give, but they feel so nice, and I love the color palette!

I bought two yards of Teal and one yard of Sky and sewed up a comfy pair of yoga pants and a t-shirt to lounge around in this summer.  The yoga pants pattern is here, and it’s incredibly easy – although I have to say, the sizing seems WAY off.  I fell somewhere between a large and extra-large, so I went with extra-large, figuring that I could size it down as I went . . . which I definitely needed to do!  I must have re-stitched the seams three times, each time cutting out multiple inches.  In the end, I had to reduce the entire piece substantially, and especially the legs – even with a wide-legged look, the way I originally cut it out would have been ridiculous.  So, I just kept sewing, trying it on, pinning in a new seam, re-sewing, re-trying it on, etc.  In the end, I’m pretty happy with the fit – there’s still a lot of fabric around the upper thighs, but then, they’re yoga pants – they’re supposed to have a lot of flow :)

knit yoga pants and t-shirt 2

One note – I used metal grommets for the waist ties, and I like the look, but keep in mind that when you cut a hole in knit fabric, it will GROW – on the first hole I cut, even though it seemed really small, by the time I inserted the grommet, the edges of the hole were showing outside the edges of the grommet – so, just poke a very small hole in the knit and wedge the grommet in, that way you’ll keep from growing the hole beyond the borders of the grommet.

I had a little more difficulty with the t-shirt, largely due to the neckline.  I didn’t have a pattern, so I cut the shape from one of my current tees, and cut the neckline high (as it would be for the back).  Then, you need to trim down the neckline a little in the front, so that it’s not so high on your neck.  Somehow, even when I was really careful trimming it only a little bit (after trying it on and marking with pins how low I wanted it to go in front), it still kind of bags and gaps once I had the edge hemmed.  I even tried sewing the shoulder seams in closer to compensate, and that helped, but not completely.  I’m not sure why I can’t get the neckline to lay flat – it must be something about the shape I’ve cut it in, but heck if I can figure it out!

Otherwise, the t-shirt was easy – I just cut out a front and back, sewed it together at the shoulder seams, then the side seams, then hemmed the neckline, sleeves, and bottom.  The sleeves are part of the front and back (that is, no separate sleeves), and there’s no yoke or facing, which makes it as easy as sewing a pair of pants – just a front and a back.

knit yoga pants and t-shirt 3

I always feel slightly dissatisfied with my sewn wardrobe – for some reason, I can never get the fit to look just right, or maybe it’s that I can never get the piece to look really smooth and finished.  You’d think it wouldn’t be that way – since I can custom-size the clothing piece as a go – but I always end up feeling like whatever I sew just isn’t that flattering on me.  I love the idea of a largely handmade wardrobe, but I need to first get past feeling like the FOs aren’t attractive or flattering in fit and style.

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Cracked pepper shawlette

by onblueberryhill May 16, 2015
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Pattern:  Jana by Yarn On The House Yarn:  YOTH Little Brother (80% SW merino / 10% cashmere / 10% nylon) – 1 skein (435 yds) in color Cracked Pepper Needles:  US 5s I love how soft and textured this yarn feels knit in seed stitch, and I really enjoyed the unique construction of this shawl, [...]

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A whisper around my neck

by onblueberryhill May 15, 2015
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This is the gorgeous result of a beautiful yarn and a simple yet elegant pattern! Yarn:  Two skeins of Lakes Yarn & Fiber Organic Merino Sport (370 yds/ea) in color Whisper Pattern:  Corrugated by cabinfour Needles:  US 6s It is soft and so lightweight, and I think the neutral color goes with so many things [...]

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Two Cranes sweater cabinet

by onblueberryhill May 13, 2015
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My friend and master woodworker Jay Younger made this exquisite cabinet for me to store all of my hand knit sweaters.  The chest is lined in cedar, to keep away moths, and Jay even made the cedar panels removable, so that when it begins to lose its scent, I can pull out the panels, sand [...]

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May in my garden

by onblueberryhill May 12, 2015
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Here’s what’s blooming this week Gorgeous peonies – I think I have over 100 plants by now! Rhododendrons are in full bloom – this is one of my favorite colors. I planted this flowering ground cover on the slope near our pool several years ago, and now it is spreading beautifully. Pin It

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Oregon Rain mugs for sale

by onblueberryhill May 11, 2015
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I haven’t had a chance to get anything posted in my Etsy shop yet, but if you’re interested in buying an Oregon Rain mug (or bowl), here’s how: Cost:   Handleless cups – $10.00 (+ $2.50 shipping) (you can purchase these as candles for an extra $5) Mugs – $15.00 (+ $3.50 shipping) or two [...]

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Candlemaking

by onblueberryhill May 5, 2015
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I found a new use for my smallest wheel thrown pots – handmade candles! First, I made small handleless cups (aprox 3/4 pound of clay each).  I glazed the interior and the top 1/3 or so of the exterior, and used the opportunity to test out some new Mayco Stroke & Coat glazes.  Here’s what [...]

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Laundry room remodel

by onblueberryhill May 5, 2015
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Beautiful end result for our laundry room remodel! Pin It

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The first week of May in my garden

by onblueberryhill May 3, 2015
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Oregon has had a beautiful spring so far, and everything is in full bloom around here!  The peonies are just starting to open: The native azaleas bloom in such beautiful colors, and I love their light fragrance: I’ve gotten most of the annuals planted in the deck pots, including these geranium and sweet alyssum: I [...]

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Yoyogi Park quilts

by onblueberryhill May 2, 2015
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  In anticipation of renovating my daughters’ bedroom, I sewed each of them a quilt from Cloud 9s’s Yoyogi Park collection, designed by Skinny laMinx.  There’s something I love about the colors and patterns in these fabrics, and I especially appreciate that they’re made from organic cotton.  I used similar prints from each of the [...]

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Mugs of the day: speckled glaze and cinnamon clay

by onblueberryhill April 30, 2015
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I’ve been playing around with a particular shape for my mugs – kind of square and squat, ready sturdy-looking, I think.  I’ve had good results with Mayco Speckled Stroke & Coat Glazes – these are glazed in Speckled Cotton Tail, Moody Blue, and The Blues. I wanted to see how these glazes and this shape [...]

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Caging the blueberries

by onblueberryhill April 29, 2015
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A few improvements to the veggie garden this spring: We’ve tried everything to keep the birds out of our blueberries, with no luck – the word is out, and every season they pretty much decimate the harvest from our dozen our so blueberry plants.  So, this year my friend and general contractor constructed this ingenious [...]

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Test knitting Rum Daisy

by onblueberryhill April 27, 2015
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Another beautiful test knit for the incomparable Thea Coleman  The lace pattern on this one is beautiful, and I love the shape – it fits perfectly across my shoulders and around my neck.  Thea’s use of short rows to give it shape and structure is really clever.  I felt like I started slowly, because unlike [...]

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Brave Little Thread

by onblueberryhill April 23, 2015
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This is a gorgeous new yarn (at least, new to me!), dyed by a local dyer here in Portland – it’s called Brave Little Thread, and I picked up a skein of the Lighthouse DK at Knit Purl.  Several things attracted me to this yarn – the colors are beautiful, saturated and bring to mind [...]

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Construction notes for strawberry pallets

by onblueberryhill April 22, 2015
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I’ve tried growing strawberries in many different ways – raised beds, down a slope, in hillocks in a fenced “strawberry annex” – all with very little success.  I’m not sure what the problem is – slugs, rot, those annoying ground squirrels that pick the green strawberries and then leave them mounded up in little piles [...]

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Ranunculus

by onblueberryhill April 20, 2015
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Spring has come so early here in Oregon, I’m already planting my pots of annuals!   Pin It

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Single breed yarns

by onblueberryhill April 15, 2015
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  This cowl was just an excuse to try out Insouciant Fibers 100% Jacob Wool.  The label tells you that the wool comes from Jacob sheep in nearby Port Townsend, Washington – talk about buying locally! I bought two skeins (110 yds/ea) at Tolt Yarn & Wool and liked how it knitted up on US [...]

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Portabella pullover

by onblueberryhill April 12, 2015
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I love the simplicity of this pullover – it lets the beauty of the yarn really show, and it is so soft and lightweight, I should be able to wear it almost year round  You can tell that the pattern is designed for the yarn – they’re a perfect match.  I would love to knit [...]

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Finding beauty in simple things

by onblueberryhill April 10, 2015
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I can never resist a fat quarter bundle when the fabrics are as beautiful as Robert Kaufman’s Manchester, so I impulse-bought these at Purl Soho: After they arrived, they sat in my sewing room for several weeks, waiting for inspiration.  I considered a variety of projects – quilt top, pieced placemats, even a skirt for [...]

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