Category Archives: sewing

Has it really been that long?

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Usually when I plan to write a blog post, I take a quick look at my previous post to see what I talked about so that I don’t repeat myself. Well, holy yarn, Batman, it’s been nearly two weeks! You must have thought I’d died. If you even noticed, that is 😀

So, what have I been up to. Firstly, this…

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This is the beautiful Winter Sun Square by Pam at Hooks and Hills. She was asking for testers a while back so I quickly volunteered. I made it with the Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK and I happened to have similar colours to the ones she used in hers. I whipped it up in an evening and gave her a little feedback on her pattern along with my photos. She has published the pattern now, and that’s where the link above will take you.

Secondly, I brought home the cutest 100% cotton fabric remnant from work. It’s a full metre and of course being a remnant from the end of the bolt I got it at 75% off.

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Yes, even skunks are sometimes cute.

Thirdly, I have AT LAST finished the four squares for the Kanata Kerchief Tank. I need to block them now. These used a teensy bit over six 50 gram balls of the Scheepjes Linen Soft – I have one ball left for the shoulder straps which had better be enough.

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I had to rip back in a few places where my stitch count was off, but by the last square I was just desperate to finish and I did fudge a corner rather than rip out a whole round.

As for my plans to keep on top of all the things I want to do, the meditation has fallen by the wayside. I think a better plan would be to schedule an hour of crochet a day, but WITHOUT Netflix or other distractions. This would work like a moving meditation in which I could calm my thoughts while doing something with my hands at the same time.

French and German….well, Duolingo has been a bit neglected but I have watched a lot of German With Jenny’s You Tube Channel and also checked some children’s books out of the library in German to practise reading and comprehension.

My other blog, Grains Greens Berries & Beans, has a short new post inspired by a video I saw online  yesterday. I think what tends to make me procrastinate is that I want that blog to have long educational posts with lots of links and a pretty picture, AND I want to share on Facebook and Twitter, which all needs a solid chunk of time. If I lower my expectations a bit, I will probably blog more.

Exercise….I did make it to the gym last week, and had a long flat cycle ride with a friend this week. A Monday afternoon walk with Tai Chi Man was very pleasant followed by a cup of tea at our favourite little independent tea shop. When it’s this hot, the thought of getting even more sweaty is not appealing, though, and I am hoping that tomorrow’s forecast for a cooler day with RAIN actually pans out. Today is the 44th day without rain, which matches 2003 for drought. That year, we had the biggest baddest wildfire ever which burned for weeks,  across the mountains on the other side of the lake from us, and then started in on the houses at the south end of the city. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes. This year, there have been hundreds of fires around the province, but thankfully the ones around here were relatively small and dealt with quickly.

Well, I think we are all caught up. I need to go out this afternoon to register for a class in the fall. I’ve decided not to go back to piano lessons for now, but I am going to join in with a class that some friends are presenting about Food and Health. They have asked me to do my presentation on one of the days, so I’m going to go for the whole six weeks. Plus I find it rather nice to have a predictable day off each week for getting things done.

Happy crafting and see you again soon.

Ooooh, new yarn!

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I’m so happy to announce my new arrival – yarn in the mail from Wool Warehouse!

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It’s Scheepjes (my first ever Scheepjes) Linen Soft which is a DK weight blend of 27% linen, 47% cotton and 26% acrylic. The silver grey colourway is called Heron and the pink is Hummingbird. These are 50 gram balls and I should have enough of the grey to make myself the top that I linked to in my last post, and enough of the pink for the baby dress.

I just love the organza bags that WW sends their yarn in too.

Along with the yarn, I ordered two shade cards, one for Stylecraft Special DK and one for Scheepjes Colour Crafter. It’s helpful to have actual samples of the yarn instead of working off a computer screen, especially a PC!

I’m sure these will come in useful for future project planning.

I have a non-yarny FO for this week. The curtains for my sewing room are finished and hung.

It’s a colourful flowery print on a black background which adds a nice bit of colour to my boring sewing room!

The temperature has been cooler today but the valley is filled with smoke again. The sun has an orange tint to it. I’m not sure where the smoke is blowing in from this time but there are plenty of suspects.

Last night we had a pleasant evening down at the beach with our boys and the senior couple I call their local grandparents. It was windy, which made for a comfortable temperature, and we found a picnic bench under a tree to eat lots of food followed by some frisbee and bocce in the field across the road.

Have a happy crafting week!

FOs: Elephant toy and cowl

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This elephant is a spontaneous little project that grew out of (a) my wanting a sewing project to do downstairs where it’s cooler and (b) an idea from the print of the flannelette I was hemming to make burp cloths for my great-niece.

We’ve had a run of hot weather, by which I mean in the 30s Celsius, and whilst we do most of our living upstairs in our bi-level it can get uncomfortably hot indoors – like 29 degrees hot. We don’t have air conditioning so the best way to get cooler is either take a shower, go for a swim in the lake, or retreat down to the basement where I have my craft room.

Last night I went down there and found some pretty fabric that I bought when it was selling out at the store and I really wanted some before it was all gone. I have three metres of it so decided it would make pretty curtains for my craft room. So far I have cut the panels and hemmed them, but I need ruffle tape for the tops, so if I can get a reasonable photo later on I can show you them.

I also hemmed the aforementioned flannelette, and went through my other stash fabric to see if my inspiration would be jump-started.

I made a list of things I want from the fabric store where I work, including the quantities for two skirts that I want to make. One is a wraparound skirt from the book Weekend Sewing and the other is another tiered skirt using the same Burda pattern as I used last time.

I was doing some trawling around Ravelry yesterday doing an elephant search, and also searching Pinterest, and came across the sewn elephant toy. It’s on a site called Sewandso.co.uk. I found the instructions to be a bit basic and they wouldn’t work well for a beginner who needed to have every step spelled out for them. I had three colours in the same print from a long ago purchase so made the body red, the ears and tail green, and the inner legs blue.

This elephant has no eyes and I don’t plan to add any. Having made this little guy, I’m not sure whether I will make another, but if I do I will do a better job!

To add to the heat we have had lots of smoke in the valley the last few days. Smoke from various wildfires is being blown in. A state of emergency has been declared in British Columbia because there are so many fires burning in different spots. I don’t know how the firefighters manage to deal with them all – their resources must be spread thinly. It’s another windy evening here, which is nice when all the windows can be opened at night and the air moves through, but wind has a dark side in that it whips up fires. Also, there is no rain in the forecast, but sometimes we will get hopeful about some clouds only to have a thunderstorm that just starts more fires.

Now that inventory is over with at work, things will be back to normal. I had a much-needed day off today, part of which I spent at the beach with a friend. I had a very brief dip in the lake but mostly I was sunbathing. It felt good.

Not much point showing you the crochet blanket progress because it’s pathetic how little I’ve achieved since last time. So I will finish with a photo of the Tunisian simple stitch cowl which my co-worker loved and appreciated so much.

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A day at the sewing machine

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These shots, taken by my son, are somewhat bleached out as the sun was bright in the background. However I think you can see the beach cover-up that I made. The pink lacy fabric was the last of a bolt of clearance fabric at work. I bought a string of pink pompoms to go along the bottom edges which adds a nice bit of weight to it.

I actually screwed up part of the construction. My plan was to cut a neck hole and bind it with satin bias binding. Well, it was late, I was tired, and I accidentally cut a hole that was twice as big as I wanted. Hmmm, measure twice, think three times, cut once!

After a lot of swearing that Tai Chi Man could hear upstairs, I ended up cutting right across and sewing up again, and rather than use the bias binding, which just didn’t look right, I hemmed the neck edge with two rows of stitches. Do you know how tricky it is to sew fabric that is more holes than anything!?

Once that project was out of the way, I started on the next project. Thanks to my friend cancelling our gym date yesterday, I ended up having a whole day at home. I did a bit of yoga in the morning and, apart from making and eating dinner, spent the rest of my time sewing or crocheting.

The results are these:

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An apron, oven gloves and towel hanging loops. I used an older apron that I made a few years ago as a template, with a modification. I narrowed the top part as the last one I made tends to gape because it’s a bit wide. This apron is just one thickness, not lined, but I did add a pocket. The oven gloves were a “wing-it” thing as I didn’t use a pattern. If I’d had some purchased wide bias binding I would have used that, but I didn’t. The method I used was to layer fabric with regular cotton batting and Insul-Brite (batting with a reflective metal component) for the main piece, and then make the hand pockets with two layers of fabric. All raw ends were enclosed before stitching the hand pockets to the main piece. Thank the sewing gods for a walking foot.

It’s a somewhat amateurish result but usable!!

The towel loops, designed for hanging tea towels on an oven door, are made with Stylecraft Special DK in Duck Egg, which just happens to match one of the colours in the fabric. Brown buttons completed the look.

I’m glad I took advantage of a couple of nice mornings last week to go kayaking, as I was working all weekend. You could say that Monday and Tuesday were my ‘weekend’ though Monday entailed going to the dentist (fillings where my gums have receded a bit and also some chipped teeth at the front, lots of numbing which took hours to wear off) and grocery shopping. We have a number of places we like to buy our food – there’s Superstore for the usual weekly shop, Costco for certain other items like avocados, tomatoes and big stuff, bulk food store for raisins, oats, flour etc. Then there are the smaller places like Mediterranean Market for olives, artichokes and sundried tomatoes, and the health food store for certain specialty items and supplements. Also I buy instant coffee at London Drugs these days as I am avoiding Nestle as much as possible and we like their own “Brazilian” brand. So all in all I spent five hours on Monday, visiting the dentist and six stores, spending oodles of money on stocking up the fridge, pantry and cold room.

The fact that Tuesday was an at-home day was a wonderful gift!

Well, today I have to work, though I don’t start until 11am. So I’d better sort myself out and think about what’s for dinner in case I need to prep anything.

Enjoy your day and talk to you again soon.

FO: tiered skirt

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Well, look at that! My rebounder is coming in useful for hanging clothes on. Maybe that is the fate of many pieces of exercise equipment that were bought with good intentions! Even though this mini trampoline has been plunked in a high traffic area of my living room for a while now, it’s not seeing much action. However it turns out it’s a good place to display the skirt that I just finished.

This is a Burda pattern #6666. It’s basically made from rectangles, so quite easy, but LOTS of sewing. That bottom layer? Miles of fabric, straight stitching and zigzagging!

It’s assembled from the hem up, but being somewhat of a shortass I had to hem it up another inch after the rest was put together. It might still brush the floor. But I do love maxi skirts! Cover a multitude of sins (or rather cellulite)!

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The fabric is a woven rayon with a tie-dyed look, with a pattern in white embossed on the surface. It’s a little slippery when cutting and sewing, but I felt that a 100% cotton would be too heavy. I would rather like to make another in a different fabric/colour.

I have one yarny WIP right now. Yup, only one! That’s surprising for me, I know, but with my crochet poncho being finished the other day, and this sewing project taking a chunk of time out of my week, a baby cardigan is all I have had time for.

It’s another Baby Surprise Jacket (Elizabeth Zimmermann design) like the turquoise one I showed you a few days ago, but a totally different look with denim blue, meadow green, pale rose and raspberry in the Stylecraft Special DK.

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Even though it means more ends to weave in, I am adding more stripes. The blue is being carried up the sides but the other three colours are being cut after every garter ridge.

Having a home day today, which isn’t all fun as I still have to do laundry and cook dinner! 😛

But I am making time for crafting, another German lesson and other relaxing pursuits.

FO: Big Gypsy Flower Poncho

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The poncho (Ravelry project  notes here) is d.o.n.e. Yay! Yesterday when I was bemoaning the fact that I had so many ends to weave in, I had no idea that all I needed to do was plonk myself on the couch, put on Netflix, and just get on with the finishing off and it would be done in an evening. (Big Gypsy Flower pattern Rav link here.)

Unfortunately I didn’t have enough of the peacock colour to edge the whole thing, seam it AND finish off the neckline. The ball was looking rather skinny, so the neck ended up with a couple of other colours around it, along with some serious decreasing to make it less gapey.

It needs a wash and dry cycle to (hopefully) relax and smooth it a bit. It’s pretty snug around the upper arms, and because the yarn is double-stranded I think it will be very warm.

This afternoon I spent a pleasant few hours cutting out and starting the sewing of the tiered skirt. It has a lot of long seams so I think I will be picking up another spool of thread at work tomorrow.

Tonight – another Baby Surprise Jacket to be cast on.

 

What’s new?

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Hi, crafty people! What’s new?

I have been knitting up a Baby Surprise Jacket this week. It’s an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern, and if you have been a knitter for a while you will surely know that she is (was) one of the geniuses of the knitting world. I have five of her books. I’ve been using the book, The Opinionated Knitter, to  make it, but I think it might be in Knitting without Tears too.

The yarn is Stylecraft Special DK and I had every intention of making it the smallest size possible by using 4mm/US6 needles. However I pulled out my supplies at a coffee shop while waiting for a friend last week, and for some reason my brain led my hands to screw the US8 tips on to the interchangeable cables. So instead of a potential gauge close to 6st/in, my gauge is more like 5st/in, so rather than fitting a teeny baby this year it will be more likely to fit next year. Which is a bit of a shame as the colours match the kitty fabric in the sewn outfit I showed you last time. Hopefully the dress and sweater will be wearable together.

So of course now that it’s almost done (you may have noticed there are no buttons yet) I just have to cast on for another. (The poor poncho is languishing yet again – ah, the thought of all those ends to weave in!) I will definitely remember to use the US6 tips this time and have picked out denim blue, along with meadow green, raspberry and one of the other pinks that has lost its ball band. It will be more girly at least.

One thing about a new baby in the family – lots of motivation to create!

I have bought fabric for a skirt for myself too. I have a Burda pattern (#6666) for a tiered skirt and found a lovely turquoise-y blue mottled rayon at work to make it with. I wanted to start sewing today but thought I’d better wash the fabric first, so it’s having a very short wash in the machine right now. It looks like an easy pattern, just a bunch of rectangles with lots of gathering along each top edge, and as my favourite maxi tiered skirt that I’ve been wearing for the last five years has started to disintegrate I’m hoping that this will be my new favourite. If it works out, I might want to make more!

Netflix watching, now that (sniff) Outlander has been suitably binge-watched, is Suits, recommended by a friend. Light entertainment while I get my knitting and crocheting done.

Piano practice has taken a back seat (less motivation to practice when there are no more lessons for a few months – ahem) and now I am excited about my Duolingo German lessons. It’s free (duolingo.com) and a friend is doing it too, plus I have three Facebook friends who are native German speakers (one is a co-worker). My hope is that one day Tai Chi Man and I will get to return to Switzerland to visit his cousins and I will not be hopelessly lost. We both learned German at school (and passed the exams to graduate) but heck, that was over 30 years ago.

Hopefully you are enjoying a wonderful Easter weekend where you are (and perhaps some chocolate). Tschüss!