WIP Wednesday: No Bad Owl Puns, I Promise!

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Close up of adorable owl print.  This is cotton/Lycra from Minerva Crafts.

(WIP = Work in Progress)

Hello again!

Just a quick one today to update you on the not-so-great owl top from last week, then I’m going to bed because I have not been sleeping well and I’m pretty sure my brain has gone on strike.

Just to recap last week’s exciting action, I made myself a top with the super-cute owl fabric above, didn’t check the sizing very well beforehand and wound up with a top that was a bit more revealing than I would like.

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I’ve got vents in the sides here and it still looks pretty lumpy.  The sleeves are also uncomfortably tight.

So I ripped out the side seams and added a strip of the bodice fabric all the way from hem to wrist.

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I love how most of my owls here are looking dubiously at that strip of white.

And here’s the result:

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The fit is much better, and much more comfortable!

The strip of white on the sides isn’t really noticeable, but you can catch a glimpse of it here.  I kind of like the little accent, but I chose white for it so that it wouldn’t become a focal point.

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The faux piping is looking a little wavy at the chest here, but I’m not too bothered about it.  I still like the accent, and green always makes me happy.

This is now the second Ellie and Mac pattern I’ve made, so a couple of comments on their patterns so far:

—  I really like that you can get this top–in my pretty big size–out of a yard + some scraps of fabric.  I’m sewing with knits more and more, which means knit scraps, which aren’t all that easy to use up.  I love that I can splurge just a little on an adorable knit like this one (which wasn’t cheap), use up some scraps, and have a great top to wear!

—  The patterns are pretty simple and easy, with photos for each step.  Maybe a little too simple sometimes, as the two I used didn’t include a few steps you’ll find in Big 4 patterns like stay-stitching.

—  Both patterns I’ve used from this company (the one here is the Discoverer Tee, and I’ve also made the Memphis Top) have unusually high necklines.  I’ve actually cut both down a bit so that they wouldn’t come up high enough to bother me.  Which is just fine with me, because my usual problem with knit tops is that the neckline is too wide and my bra straps are showing and the top is sliding forward and flashing people.

—  The size range on these patterns is good (XXS to 4XL) and they show women of all sizes in their product photography.  If you aren’t an older fat woman like me, you may not realize how amazing this is!  Big 4 patterns have had a good size range as far back as I can remember, but it was only recently that women my size and larger were actually shown on pattern envelopes and in pattern books, instead of being hidden away like a shameful secret.

—  Unlike other indie pattern companies that I’m familiar with, Ellie and Mac believes in promotion.  Yeah, I know we all get too much junk email, but if you like their patterns, it really does pay to sign up for their emails.  It won’t be too long before something you like is on sale, sometimes for as little as $1.

Anyway, I gotta sleep.  I hope your Wednesday was great and that Thursday is better.  I’ll yak at you again soon.

STh

 

 

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WIP Wednesday: Standards

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WIP = Work in Progress

Happy (late) Wednesday!

I did some more sewing this past week, and also a bit of thinking, but first the sewing.

I’ve been so happy with the last few knit tops I’ve made (this and this), and I’ve been wearing them so much, that I decided to whip out another one.  This time I tried another Ellie and Mac pattern, the Discoverer Tee.

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I had a yard of super-cute owl fabric and my usual assortment of knit scraps.  I had hoped to make the top bodice out of green or pink knit, but my scrap of white knit was the only piece large enough to work (and I had to piece the back bodice).  Then I decided the white was boring, so I made faux piping out of my precious scraps of that luscious kelly green and added that.

All great so far.

This is the point where our heroine’s hubris inevitably leads to her downfall.

I don’t even know what I was thinking, other than that I was so excited about those adorable owls, and I was finally getting some time to sew, and I’ll just cut out the 2X on the top and grade out to the 3X at the waist and hip and it will be great . . . .

I did not measure the pattern pieces, friends, and that is my hubris.  Only the gods can choose the correct size on a new pattern without having finished measurements!  I was struck down by my nemesis!

Okay, it wasn’t as dramatic as all that, but the result was clearly not what I was going for.

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I’ve left vents open on the sides, but this is still too tight.  My usual goal is to have clothing skim over the lumps, but this right here?  This is hugging, not skimming.  And the sleeves are especially tight.

So, considering the problem is all over, I think the thing to do is unpick those side seams and add a strip of fabric all the way from the ends of the sleeves to the hem.  I’m not sure what fabric to use for this . . . I may have enough of the green or white to use one of those.  You know how much I love me some colorblocking.  And once I figure out how to get this pattern to fit me, I’ve got another fabric combination all picked out for another version.

But this experience also got me thinking about all the clothing I have–both me-made and ready-to-wear–that ALMOST fits me well.  I have a lot of clothes that I just pass over every day when I’m choosing what to wear because they’re just a bit too short, or the neckline’s too low, or they’re a little bit too big or too small.  Now that I have some things to wear that really do fit well, are comfortable, and just feel like ME, those other clothes never get worn.  So today I went through my closet and pulled out some clothes I like that just need a little tweaking for me to love them; they went to the top of the still-massive mending pile (sigh; the struggle is real).  And a bunch of things that aren’t fixable went into a bag and will be given away to someone in my Buy Nothing group.

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I think it’s time to raise my standards when it comes to clothing.

[clears throat]

From now on, I’m not settling for less than clothes that feel good, are comfortable, make me look good, and that are what I like and want to wear.  Because why am I sewing if I’m not getting high-quality, custom clothing out of it?  Seriously, I’ve got a ton of beautiful fabric here and a zillion great patterns, so why settle for less than something I will love?

Have a wonderful week, friends, and I hope that whatever you’re making brightens up your life.

STH

WIP Wednesday: All the Colors (Plus Black)

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Tulip Town in Mt. Vernon, WA.

WIP = Work in Progress

Hello again!

Inconsistent posting continues, but I hope you’ll bear with me while I work through the stressful and busy phase I’m currently in.  Sewing has been very sporadic, but I’m hoping the next few weeks will be a little more settled and I can get back to making things, as I miss it!

In the meantime, I have a few pretty pictures to share with you, such as that beauty at the top, from the Tulip Festival up north in Washington’s Skagit Valley.  My honey and I signed up to go on a trip up there that was being organized by his workplace.  I’ve always wanted to go, but the 5-hour drive and other logistical issues had held me back, so I jumped at the chance to take a tour where all the stressful stuff was taken care of for us.

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This is Tulip Town, up in Mt. Vernon.  They have some displays there that have to do with all the countries that tulips come from, and some stalls where you can order your bulbs or have your face painted, but the main attraction is this one big, square field with rows and rows of tulips.  You and a mass of people wander around in the mud and take pictures to post on Instagram, while employees hover and make sure you aren’t stomping the flowers.

Am I making it sound a little weird?  Because it kind of is.  Everybody takes pictures like the ones above, while the actual experience of being there is more like this:

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I have a lot of conflicting feelings about Instagram (and other social media) and how they’re used to show the world one’s perfect, glossy, gorgeously curated life–and monetize it!–while filtering out all the messy, complicated bits.  Maybe I should rebel and institute a policy of only posting pictures on social media of cooking failures, messy makeup, and my kitchen with its sink full of dirty dishes . . . 😉

Despite my complaints, we did have a lovely time, and got to have a fantastic dinner of fresh, local halibut with my buddy Heidi while we were up north.

Anyway, back home, I finally did finish and hem my Memphis Top.  I’ve been wearing it most days since then, so I’m calling it a win.  It’s so comfy, and so cute, that I love wearing it, even if it might make me look a little bit pregnant.

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Not ready for Instagram.

I wound up taking 3 inches off the hem, and I think it’s about the perfect length now, though I have found it to be a bit aerodynamic when the wind blows!  That fun, full skirt does fly around with just a little bit of wind, which we tend to have a lot of here in the spring.  Note to self:  maybe find something else to wear when we have those 25 mph days.

The other big news is the little treat I got myself the other day as a reward for being brave (that kind of makes it sound like I was wrestling bears or something, but when you have anxiety, “being brave” can look a lot like doing normal grown-up stuff).  I heard about a company called Fab Scrap recently (I think on Facebook?) that resells fabric remnants generated by the New York garment industry.  I was sorely tempted by the prospect of unique, high-quality fabrics packaged in grab bags, but the shipping costs all the way across the country made me hold off and wait for a sale.  Which finally happened a few weeks ago.

I got myself a dark yard pack–5 pieces of at least 1 yard each–and a black scrap pack.  (Yeah, I seem to be going through a black phase right now.)  Here’s the yard pack, accompanied by a nice note:

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The photo shoot didn’t last long before things got a little out of hand —

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But here they are:

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The two on the left are ponte (or something similar), and the one in the middle is a pretty standard synthetic lining, but I think the two on the right are probably silk.  The black on the far right is particularly nice–it’s one of those sandwashed silks that were popular during the early ’90s, and it has a beautiful drape and weight to it.

And here’s the scrap pack, which is comprised of mostly knits:

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I got the scrap pack because I saw this video a while ago, and it’s been at the back of my mind ever since.

The tops I love in this video are the monochromatic ones–the white one that she’s wearing, and the gray one he hangs up–and I’m a little bit obsessed with the idea of combining different fabrics with the same colors but different textures.  So I’ve now got the scrap pack and a few other remnants I’ve picked up, and I’m going to have to try this idea soon!

Have a wonderful week, and I hope you’re finding crafty inspiration all around you.

STH

 

 

 

 

 

WIP Wednesday: Spring Silliness

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WIP = Work in Progress

Happy Wednesday!

I know what you were thinking–poor old STH disappeared into a pile of mending and was never heard from again!  Well, it’s not quite that bad, but I just haven’t been sewing much, as I’ve been busy with other things.

I did make a start on the mending, but, predictably, got lured away by a fun spring-y knit fabric calling to me from the knit bin (that’s what I get for organizing my knits).  As I’ve written about before, my generally careful and cautious self tends to make not-very-sensible sewing decisions in the springtime, so it was probably inevitable that the bees-and-flowers top would happen.

And this is the pattern I chose.

 

Potential cons associated with this project:

1.  I’ve never used a pattern from this company before, and I can’t find a single review of this pattern anywhere.  There are no finished measurements on the pattern, so sizing is going to be an issue.

2.  The pattern calls for a drapey knit with 50% stretch; what I have is a not-drapey cotton/poly jersey with about 25% stretch (I got it at a $2/lb. fabric sale at SCRAP).

3.  The last time I wore a “babydoll” style top was when I was 16, and the cashier at Safeway asked me when I was due.  In a lifetime of social awkwardness, this was definitely an awkward peak moment.

 

Pros of this project:

1.  The fabric has bees on it.

2.  It isn’t black, and I’ve been wearing mostly black for the past month.

3.  The pattern is more or less completely different from what I usually make or wear.

4.  I want to make it.

 

So, yeah, inevitable.

My measurements put me at a size 2X, but I was worried about having enough ease in the fitted top, so I measured the pattern pieces.  I decided to cut a 3X for the top part, a 2X for the ruffled bottom.  I partially sewed the top section, tried it on, and decided to lower the neckline about 1/2″; once I was happy with the top part, I cut the lining to match.

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Glamorous sewing room selfie.

My initial reaction was “bleh,” but now I’m not sure.

Here’s a version with about 4″ of hem pinned up.

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I think I’m going to like it!

This version may be a little bit short; I think I’ll try it with 3″ pinned up and see how it goes.  I need to find that magic length that’s “flowy” without looking like hand-me-downs from a taller person.  I was considering ripping out the gathering in the front and replacing it with tucks, but the look of the gathering is kind of growing on me.  This jersey is very thin, so the gathers aren’t too bulky, and hopefully don’t make me look like I’m expecting.  And it feels lovely to wear!

I’ll get this finished soon, then I really need to get back to the mending pile.  I started with 16 items to fix (SOB), and I’ve still got 10 to go.  One item, a purchased fleece jacket with a troublesome zipper, went into the Goodwill box, as I didn’t think I could rip out that zipper without destroying the fabric.  Another one, a pair of knit wool gloves, had a big hole where the thumb meets the hand, and there was no way a darning job would hold for long at that stress point.

Here’s one I did finish, though.

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I’ve had this jacket for years, and wanted to replace the buttons for the longest time.  I recently got some new buttons (sale at Joann’s), and put them on.

New buttons on the top, old on the bottom.

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I’m not in love with these new buttons, but at least they’re interesting, and reduce the “Montana cattle rancher” vibe of the jacket.  I may have only managed to get to “funky Montana cattle rancher,” but that’s an improvement, anyway.

You know, I was feeling like I hadn’t had any sewing success in the past few weeks, but I guess maybe I have!

I hope you’re having some successes with whatever it is you’re trying to do.  Have a wonderful week, everybody!

STH

 

WIP Wednesday: Priorities

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First priority:  CUDDLES.

WIP = Work in Progress

Happy Wednesday!

I am a little tired and low on words tonight, but I do have a few pretty pictures for you, so let’s take a look.

I finally finished up the mini quilt for my sister’s birthday, only a little bit late.  I don’t know why I sometimes lose steam in the middle of projects, but I sure did on this one, so it took longer than it should have.

This is about 13″ square.  Frankie is a bit smaller than he should be, simply because I had to print the pattern at 95% size to get it all on regular printer paper.  Other than that, this project went pretty smoothly.  I used Steam-a-Seam 2 again on this, and I think I may be moving along the learning curve on it–gets easier every time I use it.

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I hand sewed the smallest pieces on there–just easier than trying to get the machine to navigate those little curves, though buttonhole stitch worked through three or four layers of fabric and fusible can also be hard work.  Rain was in the forecast when I did it, and my hands were not very happy about those layers.

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I didn’t really plan on such dense quilting–it just sort of happened.  I did the outline and added a few swirls, but then it looked strange to have the area outside of that be unquilted, so I had to fill it in.

An important note on doing spiral quilting (which I definitely need to remember for next time):  for reasons that aren’t very clear to me, spiralling counter-clockwise, as I’ve done here, is significantly more difficult than going clockwise!  It’s harder to see what you’re doing when you’re going counter-clockwise, but I don’t think the difference is down to just that.  I can’t really explain it, but it just seems much easier, and looks much better, when done clockwise.

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This past week I also did some work cleaning up and organizing my knit stash with the help of some new-to-me plastic drawers from Goodwill.  I also donated a plastic tote full of bags I sewed years ago for a craft show.  It made me a little sad to see them go–they represent a dream that I had that fell by the wayside–but it also felt like a step forward.  I’m trying very hard to work toward new dreams, and it’s time to let some old ones go.

I’m liking my new spacious sewing room, but I’ve run into a pretty big obstacle:

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Yes, it’s the Mending Pile of Doom.  Or maybe Return of the Mending Pile of Doom?

Anyway, it actually toppled over the other day, so maybe that’s a sign that I should deal with it.  There’s some darning in there, another pair of pants that needs pockets, and a couple of the dreaded zipper replacements in ready-to-wear garments, everybody’s favorite mending job.

So this coming week should probably be designated as Mending Week, and I should probably try to be a responsible adult who tackles difficult challenges head-on and forgoes immediate gratification.

Well, I’ll take a stab at it, but no promises.  If I get halfway through the pile and decide to take a mental health break and sew something fun, I’m totally gonna call Mending Week a success.  It’s spring and I’ve got that fun knit with the bees and flowers on it, so don’t count on me being a responsible adult for too long.

Here’s another picture of my bestest buddy, just because.

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Have a great week, and I hope you’re not being so responsible that you don’t have time for a little spring fun.

STH

 

WIP Wednesday: On the Road

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Somewhere near Pendleton, Oregon . . . .

WIP = Work in Progress

Hello, everybody!  I’ve missed you!

I’m still here, still on the right side of the dirt, as they say.  Just busy with family stuff, car stuff, whatever stuff, but not doing much sewing.  But I have a few things to show you today and a few stories to tell, so let’s do it.

First, I did finally finish the second block for the Social Justice Sewing Academy, and both blocks are now back with them to be included in one of their quilts.

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I decided to stay away from the blanket stitch on this, as I don’t think it has the right vibe for these blocks–too cute, too down-home, too neat and tidy for artwork this sharp and cutting.  So I’ve been doing running stitch, that zigzag backstitch I like so much, and a little chain stitch.

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It occurs to me that you could use these blocks for a sort of research project–choose a book on the topic of the block and read along (or maybe listen?) as you do the stitching.  I don’t know that I have the time to devote to something like that right now, but I should think about it some more.  Doing this needlework has pointed out to me some gaps in my education.

Second, I made cat toys!  A member of my Buy Nothing group was getting a donation together for the local animal shelter, so I took the opportunity to purge some old sheets and towels and make a few toys (it’s kitten season, you know).

At first, I tried to make some fish shapes, and, um, well . . . then I came to my senses and remembered I DO NOT DO TINY.  If I’m going to attempt something small–these are about 1 1/2″ across–it’s gotta be simple.  So I did a shape that I know I can cut and sew accurately and have it actually come out looking more or less like what it’s supposed to be.  They have a few catnip pellets inside, so hopefully the shelter kitties will like them–I know mine were certainly interested.

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Third, we took a road trip to the Hermiston/Pendleton part of Oregon in order to check the route for a 300k bike ride.

Lots of rolling hills, cattle, and tumbleweeds out there.  And a little snow.  That’s a cattle guard just visible at the bottom of the photo there; lots more cattle than cars on these roads.

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I’m trying to get out for more walks.  This is the walking path along the Columbia River in Richland up near the National Lab.  Behind me just a few miles up is the Hanford Reach, including the National Monument, and a lot of perfectly preserved shrub-steppe landscape.  It’s preserved because it’s owned by the U.S. Department of Energy and it’s full of nuclear waste.

Living here can be a little strange.

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I also apparently found “where the sidewalk ends” out here.

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And, finally, my latest project, a mini quilt for my sister’s birthday.

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I’ve got the pieces all sewn down except for the eyes, which I’m doing by hand (I DO NOT DO TINY, well, at least on the machine).  I kept to more or less the colors used in the pattern picture because they are bright and goofy and perfect.  I hope she loves this as much as I do!

I hope all is well with you and you are moving along the road to wherever you would like to be.

STH

WIP Wednesday:

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Around and around and around . . . .

WIP = Work in Progress

CW:  Self-harm

So quilting is underway on my Maybe Quilt!

I got out my “Divide and Conquer” book to refresh my memory on how to do Quilt As You Go.  The book discusses several ways to do it, but I’m using Method 1 here; basically, you quilt each section, leaving an unquilted border on the edges you’ll need to join later, then sew the tops together, trim the batting to fit, and hand sew the backing.  So I figured out which edges will need to be joined and ran a line of hand basting about 2″ from those edges.  You can see a bit of the basting at the center bottom of the picture above.  Note: if you do this, be smart and don’t make my bonehead mistake–your basting should only be through the top of your quilt!

On the first panel of the quilt, I started in the middle and did one big spiral–easy and fun!  As you can see in the picture above, I just eyeballed it; I tried to keep the left edge about a presser foot’s distance away from the last line of stitching, but I didn’t obsess over it.  I LOVE quilting you don’t have to mark.  You’d be surprised at how neat and even it looks, though it really isn’t!

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As you can see here, the effect is pretty subtle, which is fine, since there’s already a lot that’s happening in this quilt.  The rainbow fabric shows off the quilting, but it’s nearly invisible on much of the quilt.

I wanted the quilting to be a little more interesting than one big spiral in each panel, so I tried to do a couple smaller spirals in the second section.  And ran into this:

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I think where I went wrong here is that rather than starting in the middle, I more or less ended there, so I basically pushed the excess fabric in toward the center as I went, resulting in those nasty folds there.  😦

I’m not sure how I’m going to go about fixing this–maybe rip out most or all of one spiral so that I have somewhere to push that excess fabric?  Rip out part of each and hope to ease that excess in?  I’ve put this in the naughty corner for the moment so that I can ponder what to do and grumble about the unfairness of life.  One thing’s for sure–on the other two sections, I am DEFINITELY doing a spiral close to the middle, then working out from there.  Harrumph.

While I’m being grumpy about that, I’ve been putting in some time on my embroidery for the Social Justice Sewing Academy.  It’s a nice portable project to work on while I’m waiting for my mother at her various appointments.  Almost finished with this block:

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Blanket stitch gives a nice finished look, but it takes so long on all these letters!

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Tried to use Lazy Daisy to suggest drops of liquid here.

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I did a backstitch in a sort of zig zag pattern on these letters, which I really liked.

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I’m hoping to get these packed up and in the mail next week.

Then I need to get going on a little something for my sister’s birthday next month.  So many things to make!  Note to self–less time reading up on the John Grisham (or maybe Mario Puzo?) novel that U.S. politics is currently inhabiting means more time for making things!

Have a very excellent week and I hope you’re able to set aside the craziness and focus on making lovely things (at least until it’s time for the next march).  Take care.

STH

WIP Wednesday: Drama

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YOU MAY TAKE MY PHOTOGRAPH NOW, HUMAN.

WIP = Work in Progress

Happy Wednesday (and, yeah, that other thing, too, if you’re into it.)

I encountered this very regal goose at Leslie Groves Park the other day and thought I should share the magnificence.  (We won’t mention the fact that its call sounded like the whiniest baby imaginable:  WAAAHHH)

We could also probably talk a little quilting while we’re here.  Specifically, this:

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My baker’s rack and a couple of binder clips:  essential photographic gear.

If you recall, this quilt top is now in four pieces for quilt-as-you-go purposes.  In preparation for quilting it, I set about making a scrappy backing from the leftover fabric from the top.

Like most things, it’s easier said than done, but this is what I’ve got for that section:

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I started the process by googling–there must be a tutorial someplace on how to do this, right?  Well, there may be, but I didn’t find it.  Lots of quilters do things like inserting a finished quilt block into a plain quilt back, but I didn’t really find anything on making a totally scrappy back.  So I spent about three days–and nights, as I tend to dream about problems I’m working on–thinking about how to turn a pile of scraps into a quilt back.  My goal was to use up as much of that fabric as possible without using a quilt pattern or spending a huge amount of time on it.

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The method I came up with was to cut my pieces into squares and rectangles as efficiently as possible.  All the resulting strings were sorted into piles by length and each pile was sewn together, then trimmed.  That gave me larger string blocks to work with; I laid out the section of quilt top, then moved around my string blocks and larger pieces of fabric until it was completely covered.  Then I sewed the whole mess together.

Here’s the front of the second section I worked on:

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And the pieced back:

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This was the perfect opportunity to use that Sylvester and Tweety fabric!  I got it in a huge Freecycle box of fabric several years ago and have been saving it for just the right project; I only had that one strip and the design is huge, so it wasn’t the easiest scrap to use.

So, verdict?  This was really fun to do and I love how the backs turned out!  And LOTS of scraps found a home–almost all the fabrics you see here were completely (or almost completely) used up!  I only made two of the four backing sections I’ll need for this quilt, and I’m actually a little concerned that the blocks I have left won’t be enough to make the other two, so I picked up another fat quarter today while I was out with my mother.

Do you ever start a project for reasons other than “I love this and can’t wait to make it”?  Then your feelings about it change as you go along?  This quilt wasn’t one of those “true love” sorts of projects for me; I started it as an experiment to help me learn more about combining colors and fabrics, and as a way to use up a bunch of scraps.  The farther I get with it, though, the more I like it; I suspect it’s going to be the “good friend that became THE ONE” of quilt projects.  How appropriate for February 14th.  😉

In other exciting news, we were overjoyed to welcome this new addition to our family:

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Thus ending almost three weeks of what my partner and I are calling The Dishwasher Saga.  I won’t go through the whole thing, but it involved (literal) fire and flood, two dishwashers, four installers, innumerable phone calls, a few tweets, and me stomping out of a large department store while swearing to TAKE MY BUSINESS ELSEWHERE.  The saga finally ended last night when I filled this with dirty dishes and ran it.  Then my honey and I found ourselves hanging around the kitchen, half expecting the thing to blow up or something.  It seemed impossible that it should just work without any drama, but so far so good.  [crossing fingers and toes]

I leave you with a picture taken at the viewpoint outside Ellensburg on our way to the Seattle Bike Swap.  Spectacular weather that day, and I was able to get this nice shot of the Kittitas Valley.  (Unfortunately, the weather for the rest of the weekend was, well, normal for Seattle in February, but we still had fun and unloaded a bit of our bike stuff stash.)

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I hope all is well with you and all your projects are well-behaved and free of drama.  Unless that’s what you’re into.  I don’t judge.

STH

WIP Wednesday: Success (Mostly)

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New park last weekend–this is W.E. Johnson Park in Richland, WA.

WIP = Work in Progress

Happy Thursday!

It has been a busy week here!  For some reason, lots of appointments and phone calls and errands needed to happen this past week, and I have been doing a lot of running.  We’re off to Seattle tomorrow for the Bike Swap on Saturday, then next week should be more of the busy.  If you get to the Bike Swap, be sure to find us and say hi–we’ll have the table with the colorful zipper bags.  (Like you couldn’t see that coming.)

I FINALLY finished my PJs yesterday, after what felt like about six months of working on them.  I’ll try to get some better pictures sometime, but these were what I was able to snap quickly between appointments #2 and #3 today.

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Cats are always so helpful.

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These are my patterns:

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The Simplicity on the left is the pattern I used for my last pair of PJs.  They were perfectly wearable–and I literally wore them to pieces–but I wanted to see if I could get a little better fit on my next pair of PJ pants using a pattern designed for women.  So I hunted down the See & Sew pattern, the only one I could find that was just for women, meant for woven fabrics, and not a traditional buttons-up-the-front style (I don’t know why, but I just have an aversion to that style).

So I used the S&S pattern, a simple, quick pattern, but basically complicated it as much as possible.  The top was too short, so I added a band on the bottom, attached with flat fell seams.  The full-length pants were super long, so I made the capris and added another band on the bottom–more flat fell seams–and I mistakenly put the band on the TOP of one of my pieces rather than the bottom, so that had to be fixed.  I used the pocket piece from the Simplicity pattern to add a pocket to the right pants leg.  Which was great, except that I then discovered that my pants legs were too roomy, after I’d done flat fell seams on the sides (with a pocket on top).  So I took in and tapered the pants as much as I could using the inner leg seam.  I would like to take them in more, but at this point I’m frankly in no mood to be ripping out any more flat fell seams.

So, bottom line:  I LOVE the fit on my new PJs, except for the pant legs, which are too big and drafty.  If I get to the point where my annoyance at the drafts outweighs my innate laziness and dislike of mending, I’ll tinker with them again.  We’ll see.  For now, though, I (mostly) love them.

Also this week, I took a stab at making some of these guys:

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But wait, you say, surely these can’t be a need for our friend STH?  Hasn’t she whined (pretty much endlessly) about the indignities of geezerhood, such as her creaky old joints and her not being able to see to embroider?

Well, my friends, all I have to say to that is that Mother Nature is obviously the one in charge here, not me.  :/

I looked at some tutorials and would up using this one.  My version has flannel on top, two layers of thin batting in the middle, and fleece on the bottom.  I intentionally made the first couple of pads thin, to see if I could get away with using so little padding.  And so far, so good!

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Very quick and easy to make, and very effective so far.  I’m using regular sew-on metal snaps on these; they’re a bit time-consuming, but no way am I buying a Kam Snap set for these pads that I don’t expect to use for much longer (I can only hope Mother Nature agrees).  The only real quibble I have is the claim in the tutorial that the cotton tops won’t stain; not my experience so far, but, again, my hope is to not have to use these much longer.  Quite grumpy to still be using them at all, but I do admit to being pleased to be able to use up some batting and fabric scraps to make them.

One more picture from the park, then I’m heading for bed.  Have a wonderful weekend, and I hope all your projects are coming together nicely.

STH

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WIP Wednesday: Two Steps Forward

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WIP = Work in Progress

CW:  Self harm.

I’m not exactly setting speed records here, but I’ve made a little progress on my projects since last week.  The combination of a lingering cold and gloomy January weather is so very un-great for your motivation to get things done.  😦

Above is a picture of my Maybe Quilt top–or 1/4 of it, to be precise.  I’ve been thinking about how to quilt it, and had to face the fact that there is simply no way to do it in two pieces.  It’s sort of grown in the making, and each half of the quilt is about 3 feet by 7 feet!  Sure, there are people who are willing to take on wrestling a quilt that size under a regular sewing machine, but I’m not one of them.  So I took a deep breath and cut each piece in half.  I’m not crazy about putting an extra seam in there, but it was the best solution I could come up with.  Next step is making a pieced back for each 1/4 so that I can finally sandwich and quilt this monster!

I’ve also taken in the sleeves on my PJ top and finished it up.  Pants are next, once Shelby is finished with them.

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Also on the to-do list:  research new camera!

Poor little girl.  I accidentally trapped her in the cold garage last night, which led to a frantic search later when I was ready for bed and realized I hadn’t seen her in hours.  Cue the catastrophizing and visions of worst-case scenarios–YIKES–until she finally came out during my SECOND search of the garage.  I think she thought I’d abandoned her!  She’s been very clingy today; at this moment, in fact, she’s somehow perched on the back of my desk chair, so that she can keep an eye on me.

Anyway, I also acquired an interesting new project this past week.  I came across an organization called Social Justice Sewing Academy that holds workshops in which teens make quilt blocks about the social problems in their lives.  Those blocks are sent out to volunteers to be embroidered, then returned so that they can be combined into quilts.  I love the idea of high school kids having their concerns heard in this way (and seeing where they can take such an ancient art form), so I signed up to embroider.  These are the blocks I was given to work with:

There’s an interesting challenge here:  how to use embroidery to enhance a message that’s beyond the usual “here’s a pretty thing” point of embroidery.  How can I help the people who made these get their message across to the viewer of the finished quilt?  Between that and the actual issues dealt with in the blocks, I suspect I may learn a lot from this project.

Also in that vein, we had our local Women’s March this past Sunday; last year my partner and I went to Spokane, but this time I just drove across the bridge to Richland.

I just took a few pictures to give a size of the crowd–best estimate is about 1,000!  Not bad for such a conservative area on a drizzly, windy day.

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Couple of handmaids showed up . . . .

If nothing else, it helped us all recharge our batteries a little bit, and I’m glad for that.  Because I suspect things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

And a song that we sang before we marched:

Have a great week, folks, and take good care of your lovely selves.

STH