Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Frogs, bunnies, and outfits

First the frog, from this side of the bathroom window,  IMO one more piece of evidence of a wonderful universe:

And the bunnies. 

Every evening a large number of beach bunnies (not the ones with tattoos and thongs) appear in the yard of the house we have rented. Very tame. I must tell you it is a weird feeling to have rabbits hop past a few inches from your toes. More evidence:

And I still have a few previously sewn outfits to share, with the usual random photography I have decided is part of my trademark since it is pretty reflective of life around here.

First up is a Maddie top by Stylearc made up in some silk Carolyn and I bought so long ago at Mood that she must be wondering if I was ever going to do anything with it. 

It has taken me a long time to figure out how to use this border print. I am happy with this very breezy wearable top.

Here is my office shot, taken by my long suffering friend, with my usual teacher "you have got to be kidding, who said they could have an extension" look on my face:

I mean does this look like a face that gives extensions?

The skirt, which I know doesn't look like much to write home about, or blog about, is the Magic Skirt in what they call "scuba knit" these days.

Listen I am hugely amused by this new fabric on so many levels. First off I have seen variations called neoprene.
Now I know from neoprene. I have spent half my adult life yelling "who left their soaking wetsuit in my car? It smells all moldy in there now" (and worse, do you know the old surfer winter trick of peeing in the wetsuit to keep it warm?) and "when are you going to take those wetsuits off the railing on the deck. I refuse to do it and I will let them stay out there all winter if I have to and freeze." (BTW they thaw out nicely in the spring and can go right back in the waves if the swell is good. Just saying.)

I mean neoprene is an all too familiar material in my life and the glamour has long left it (which is more than I can say for the smell in my car).

Also the dressmaker version of this fabric, lightened down to something ambiguously called "scuba knit" is a sort of spongy polyester that our grandmothers made dresses out of in the 60s just in case they weren't already hot enough in their girdles and nylons. I mean we would have laughed at this fabric two years ago but now we want it.

Actually I really enjoyed sewing with it, once I put in a small gauge leather needle and did my old sewing through a Bounce sheet trick to remove static from the needle and eliminate skipped stitches, and will be interested to see if it wears well without pilling.

Oh and my big news.

You know that mesh knit stuff that is available all over the place now? 

It makes the ultimate lining for knits. I discovered this when I saw it lining a silk knit dress by Nicole Miller I bought second hand in that brief time when I lost a lot of weight last summer. You know the time when I thought my diet and exercise program was paying off but it was actually because my thyroid meds were off? Well I can't wear that dress anymore obviously (Matthew McConaughey in the Dallas Buyers Club makes any person feel better about keeping those extra pounds) but it was worth it to find out about the mesh lining.

Breathes, doesn't ride up, and keeps the linee from sticking to your tights.

And finally before I sign off, as a demonstration of my different worlds, here is the same top in Florida with yellow, yes yellow this is Florida, Barb pants in some beautiful stretch fine like butter denim I got at Elliot Bermann. 

Oh and I am aware that my bra strap shows. See notes on photography above. My photographer didn't pick up on that - he was having enough trouble keeping the top of my head in the picture. Lesson here is to either get a new photographer or wear a strapless bra. 

Strapless bras don't cook like angels do they?

Friday, April 11, 2014

And here we are

First off, before I say or do anything else, I have to tell you how very much the comments you all left after I lost Rascal helped me. 

It was tough. 

Of course you never really know if you did the right thing or the smart thing - is there anything else I could have done I ask myself -  but he was very sick, and I did know I did the kind thing.

However after you lose someone, yes that includes animals you care about, not feeling alone really helps.

And you helped me.

I am now in Florida for our annual two months of remote working, golf, knitting, sewing, online ordering of things without shipping charges and duty, shopping for the little girls and new baby, beach walking, canning, and husband cooking eating.

I have decided it is time I just cheered up.

I caught sight of my face in the mirror the other day it and seemed to me that I had a sort of grim look on that face.

You have to watch that sort of thing.

I have a theory I thought up all by myself that the expression you have had most often in your life is the one your face freezes at when you get older. Think about it. Old ladies with bitter faces or interested ones, or old men whose faces are stuck at bully or guileless. 

I am not letting mine get stuck on grim. Particularly if part of that is because of a guy who himself was never either introspective or discouraged. 


It is really good to be here in Florida after all of that and having spent the last winter down the deep shaft of another unscheduled Ice Age. 

I hate to be one to talk about the weather, it's pretty ageing in itself, but really this last one was nuts. We had three snow days at school, and my workplace never likes to cancel classes until noon when everyone is in there, and the sort of day after day light grey skies that never changed at all so you finally got to thinking that maybe the sky got frozen stiff like that, like a face,  and couldn't get unstuck and show blue anymore.

The trip down was good, with me getting nostalgic over tiny dusty strips of grass along side the edges of gas stations where Mr. R peed on previous trips, and we had one really nice night staying with my son's girlfriend's parents in Maryland. They have a nice calm house with a nice calm dog and it was one of those visits where it becomes clear to me why their kid has turned out so well.

I am unwinding now from a busy winter term and will be posting about various random projects but before I do that I will finish up my shots and comments on the batch of T shirts I made before I left, for whatever reason I did that.

The pattern was a dolman no brainer now out of print, very much like this current Simplicity:

BTW you remember Simplicity don't you? That would be the pattern company that has put Canada under a trade embargo, probably for sharing Justin Bieber with the rest of the world, and no longer lets us buy patterns here. 

I got my revenge today with a 99 cent sale at Hobby Lobby where they let me buy without checking my passport or anything.

Anyway in working with a similar pattern from the past, as in the bottom of my junky pattern drawers, I made these little numbers, photographed on my dummy as my husband at the time of the photo shoots was trying to get himself flown home from the North Pole to golf in Florida.

Here we go:

like this one a lot because it is made of a heavy interlock and because I had the presence of mind to cut the neckband on the bias. If you think this looks wrinkled like it had just come out of the laundry hamper where it was waiting for a wash, that is because that is exactly where it came from. No airbrushing going on here.

got this fabric at a place that sells knits for kids clothes but I realized that when I made this up and had added some ribbing, because the actual single knit didn't have enough body for the cuffs and neckline, that it actually looks like a kid's top. A PJ top even. When I wear this I am very comfortable and start whining that I want to watch one more show before bed.

he top I messed up the neckline with and did a semi save with a cross over V after the original had been surgically removed with chicken scissors.

What that looks like.

Another childlike knit top. If it looks a bit crooked here that is not because I didn't match the stripes, but because the top half of the dressform fell off the bottom half and I did a lousy job putting her back together again.

And where does a sewer go from here?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Oh hell

It may be a few days before I post again.

I had to put Mr. Rascal down today. 

He has been wonderful lately, full on terrier but this morning he wouldn't touch his food and I knew he was in kidney failure. We spent the afternoon in his chair with him on my lap and he was peaceful. Then we went into the vet and I held him and he was gone.

My little boy.

Thank you.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sewing comes first

OK, listen.

This is why I have not being blogging.

Life has been nutso lately that I decided I needed to just sew whenever I could for therapeutic reasons, and blog about it later.

In the last two weeks I have made four pairs of knit Elle pants, six T shirts, and, this weekend a lined skirt, a silk top, two pairs of Barb pants and a jacket.

I say this not to display my skill and productivity, which are most often iffy at best, but as evidence of how deep the need to sew has been.

I have had one son home unexpectedly getting a new visa to work in the US, other kids flying in en route to surprise the son who was supposed to be in NYC for his birthday, people passing each other in the airport trying to hide from each other, a major snowstorm that shut the city completely down to the extent the last plane in came in sideways and had to go to Montreal and try it again and even the Red Cross stopped delivering blood to the hospitals because of the snow- all this in three days.

Did I leave out the part about my son-in-law buying my daughter's ticket for the party in New York in her maiden name for some weird reason and that ticket being declared invalid and the three hours it took to buy a new ticket? Or about the fact Miss Heidi washed her hair in vaseline on my watch, just after she dumped the chicken broth on the floor, but before she ate the dental floss, because I was discussing the difference between big and little letters with her sister?

But it all turned out. 

Everyone got in and out for the siblings' surprise party in Brooklyn, including the kid who is going to be taking the beekeeping course (four trips I took back and forth to the airport in two days) and it all came together in NYC last night with my birthday boy surprised after all.


So in the midst of this and the last two weeks of school and students emailing me for extensions because they find "deadlines stressful" I just had to spend a lot of time after hours in the sewing room.

As I think I said a while ago I was able to get so much done by using the most TNT basic super easy patterns of all time and interesting fabric to make it work.

I realized that I have actually finally sewn a SWAP after all these years of dropping out - simply because I made easy clothes.

Why didn't I think of this before?

I like every thing I made.

I figure with school being what it is going to be this week I will post pictures and comments on various projects every couple of days or so, if that is alright with you.

First up in the Renfrew top in rayon jersey:

This was taken at work obviously as I was headed into a Friday faculty meeting and I am wearing some Stylearc Barb pants. Probably the fine knit doesn't bring out the best of my belly in this shot but what can you do? I lengthened this as I usually do but probably won't again. A terrific pattern, great shoulder fit, several neckline variations and good potential as a dressier type shirt.

And if this looks like I was talking while this was being taken that is because I was. Discussing a student who has decided to stop going to classes because he could figure it out himself from the notes and had reported that he was sure he would be fine final markswise - that would be one of us with that opinion.

So more garment shots later in the week.

But before I leave you in case you are under the impression things are running like a well-oiled machine around here with all the sewing I have been able to accomplish, I thought I would share with you with a shot of that fair isle vest I spent the last year working on for my son's girlfriend in New York:

 Yup that's it.

The fit was so outstanding I just ended up throwing the whole thing in the washer and dryer and felting it and turning it into a glasses case. That was about all I could do in the salvage department with that little unit.

That's it from me for tonight folks.

Over and out. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Now everyone knows

Sewing (crafting) is excellent for your health.  I think we knew this anyway.

Monday, March 24, 2014

And now for a bit of Canadian culture

This tells you all you need to know about where I am from.

Notice the sweaters and the mild behavior.

I am typical in the sweater part.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Flypaper thoughts

  • Yes I am still here.
  • The bug came, went, did a U turn, came and now went.
  • Didn't miss any work because I will go home when I figure those kids have all they need to have in their heads in their heads.
  • Last week I got this email just before class "I won't be in class today because I thought today was Sunday and only realized it wasn't when texting my friends and realized they were at school."
  • You see where I am coming from here.
  • Somewhere along the way to Too-much-to-dos-ville I realized.
  • If I don't sew something soon I am going to lose my mind.
  • You know that feeling?
  • However with end of term and dog walking and being flu-esque I didn't really have time to sew.
  • So I took the only reasonable way out.
  • I sewed dolmans.
  • This will be remembered, by me, as the time I was so busy I sewed dolmans.
  • Five T shirts actually to go with my five knit Elle pants.
  • I just might give you a dress form shot a day this week as proof.
  • And you know.
  • Sometimes life is like a V neck.
  • I made one of the dolmans yesterday and the neckband was too wide for not super stretchy fabric and it sort of gaped.
  • Looked OK by those standards that only God is perfect and a man riding by on a fast horse wouldn't notice.
  • That's all fine but when I got up this morning and put it on the kitchen counter for a look I decided - we do better work than that in this shop.
  • So before I changed my mind I cut off the neckband with the chicken scissors and went down to the sewing room and installed a cross over V.
  • Your standards can slip but not too much, and not every day.
  • Or most days.
  • So glad I have finished House of Cards on Netflix.
  • Claire was getting to me.
  • You can't trust a woman with no accessories on her outfit and no knick knacks in her house.
  • That should have been everyone's first clue.
  • It was mine.
  • Sometimes when my husband is away I make a pan of sweet and sour chicken wings and eat it myself. With brown rice and beets.
  • Got to watch those dolmans in the sauce.
  • Got diagnosed this week with saddle sores from riding the exercise bike.
  • Amused doctor told me to wear some of those padded bum shorts out of spandex.
  • I can see me now, getting dressed like Lance Armstrong to go down to the basement and sit on the bike and look at pattern sites in my iPad.
  • Hardly an extreme sport
  • But I guess it depends on where you sit.
  • Literally.
  • I am thinking what I really need is a FBA to the seat.
  • You figure it out.
  • Might have to cut back on the chicken wings.
  • In three weeks I will be in Florida.
  • No more of these long blogging breaks then.
  • Promise.