Pattern Frenzy

A while back Vogue had a sale on all their sewing patterns, so I bought three. This is definitely wishful thinking. I can’t imagine I will find the time to make all of these dresses.

vogue patternsI bought them because they were inexpensive and I thought they might be nice patterns for a beginner. I am going to cut into that pattern tissue, yes I am.

A friend recently bought a real-deal Von Furstenberg and looked great in it, which was the inspiration for 8646. I have no idea what I was thinking about 8825. Those sleeves are sort of hideous. (Though the blue version on their website is much better, and this version rocks.)

The hardest part about sewing is conjuring up an image of the final project — what fabric to use, how it will drape, how I could possibly customize it? I have no idea.

While frolicking in the US last summer I stopped by JoAnn Fabrics and found all their patterns on sale for cheap, like $1 or something ridiculous. I can’t quite remember, it all went a little blurry after the frenzy hit. I had forgotten about them until I went to put my new Vogue numbers away.

pattern frenzyI now remember my excitement about Ms. 8727. In 2006 (or 2005?) I bought a dress similar to view B at H&M for $15, and it is one of my favorite dresses. It fits me perfectly, is printed linen with a lined bodice and pockets, and I still wear it all summer. Even though styles in Japan are quite modest and that much semi-cleavage is scandalous. I don’t care, I need pockets! For years I have been dreaming of making one in every color of the rainbow but didn’t actually know how to do that. Until now!

This is quite the lineup, and none of it gets started until after this:

Nani iro + ElisalexI decided to join another sew-along, this time for the By Hand London’s Elisalex dress. I am making it in Nani iro linen. My excitement can only be adequately described in emoji: ヾ(^O^)ノ

Tiny Punky Needle Book

After paying proper respect to my old sewing needles at the harikuyou 針供養 festival, I started to feel bad about how I treat my other needles. Usually they are scattered on my desk, with random bits of string left threaded to help me find them when they drop to the floor. They deserve a happier place to live.

tiny punky needle case

I whipped up this needle book using the new Kokka fabric Candy Party Tsuzuki, a gift from my friend Miss Matatabi. I bought the button months ago because fancy zebras are awesome.

needle book, needle bed

candy party!

I am really excited about this fabric. Triangles and neon and sparkles. Yes! It’s like Harajuku wrapped up in a little fabric bow: super sweet and a bit punky.

kokka candy party

I put a pocket in the back to hold my Japanese needles because their packaging is just too lovely not to keep. They are from my friend Inna who really knows her needles. They be fancy.

How do you store your needles?

Happy Valentine’s Day ❤

In Japan women do the gifting on Valentine’s Day. Many make chocolates for their friends and sweethearts, which means that this time of year every 100 yen shop and supermarket is stocked with chocolate-making and wrapping paraphernalia. I’ve been ogling adorable, tiny, heart-shaped boxes for weeks.

The thing I discovered, however, is that for most people making chocolates means melting chocolates, then reshaping and decorating them with waxy sprinkles and frosting to make them all somewhat inedible.

I do not like frosting. Or sprinkles. Making chocolates is otherwise appealing, so at my local 100 yen shop I picked up a chocolate mold kit with foil wrappers, which I thought was a good compromise.

I used a double boiler to melt the chocolate then poured it into my mold. After an hour in the refrigerator they popped out easily. I wrapped them in foil, creating tiny hedgehogs, sheep, and cows. Gathered in the box, they look like they’ve been corralled into a barnyard.

chocolate molding supplies

pink sheep, hedgehogs, and cows

chocolate molding

Will you be my valentine?

chocolate barn yard

Happy Valentine's Day!

Then I added neon hearts and sparkle snowflakes to my photo, just in case it wasn’t sweet enough. Happy Valentine’s Day from Japan!

Knit Works In Progress

First, a big thank you! to everyone who took my survey! I’ve enjoyed reading your comments, and next week I promise to reply to some of the questions you posed. I’ll keep collecting responses for a little while so if haven’t yet taken it but would still like to, you can find the survey post here. Thanks again!

I ran to the craft shop this week for some lining fabric (I am making the new Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt) and instead of lining I left with yarn, new knitting needles, and a distraction.

a distraction

This was completely an impulse buy. I’m not sure what came over me. I wasn’t thinking about price or the time it will take to finish, only about how I have always wanted to knit with this type of yarn, and poof, before I knew it I was telling the cashier it was a gift. For myself.

Opal sock yarn

I often ogle sock yarn because I love the way patterns emerge from a random crazy mess of colors. I realize this is not at all random or crazy to people who understand how weaving works, but to me it is magical. A few years back some mean-spirited circular needles broke my heart and since then I have only knit square or rectangular things. The thought of handmade wool socks is enticing, but they are round and tiny and violate all my rules of knitting.

circular needles, you better play nice

a sock yarn muffler

I guess I had a change of heart. This tube-muffler-that-flips-into-a-hat pattern requires 40 cm size 3 circular needles and two 100g balls of Opal sock yarn. The needles are much smaller than I have used before so there is potential for disaster, though right now things are going well. It is fun to watch my sock-yarn muffler grow, never knowing what pattern or stripe might emerge.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Maybe I’ll finish it in time to wear while the weather is still chilly.

knit stats

Shinkansen Felt Ornaments

One of the craft shops in my neighborhood is owned by a very old couple. They don’t always hear the bell ring when you enter the store so I often have to loiter, waiting for someone to emerge from the back room so I can make my purchase. The top shelf is covered by dust, but I pretend not to notice.

One of the perks of a shop like this is that their stock is old, and sometimes you come across an item that has been sold out elsewhere since 1987.

Shinkansen felt mascot

This Shinkansen (known as the “bullet train” in the US) felt mascot kit isn’t that old, but in this dusty shop is the only time I have seen it for sale anywhere. I thought they would make ideal Christmas tree ornaments, so over the holidays I dug out the kit.

Shinkansen felt ornaments

The kit includes die cut felt pieces (very cool), beads for wheels, embroidery floss and stuffing. The directions are easy since this kit is meant for children to complete in about a day.

kit contents

kit instructions

pieces

My favorite parts are the wheels. It took me a little time to figure out that the small felt pieces are actually glued on rather than stitched. Once I had that down, these were really fun to assemble. Sometimes you just need a little something easy to do while drinking all that eggnog at Christmas.

speedy little trains

For those of you who love speedy bullet trains as much as I do, Sanrio has a cute website full of free printables. Enjoy!

Sashiko Snowflake Ornament, a free pattern download

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Perhaps you’ve already finished your holiday crafting. Me? I’ll be stitching until 2 am on Christmas Eve. I do it every year, no matter how much planning or preparation I’ve put into my projects. Now I prefer it this way. A quiet Christmas eve, low lamp light, warm tea and hand stitching.

If you also want to hide with a stitching project, here is a little gift for you — a snowflake sashiko ornament pattern. (Click here to download the PDF.) Thanks for stopping by Saké Puppets! Wishing everyone a spirited winter holiday! ☆彡

sashiko snowflake