Thursdays

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My sister and I decided to try to reserve Thursday evenings for crafting together as a sort of New Year’s plan.  We started last week, and it was a success for her.  I showed her the tutorial I used for my lunch bag, and she made a water bottle carrier from a canvas curtain I bought at Goodwill last week.

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My project was less successful.  I added more slices in the fine line wall hanging I started a while back.  Black lines on a light background.  I’m definitely getting better at thinner lines, but I just didn’t like how it was turning out enough to keep going.  Maybe the color combo was too blah?  I also like 90 degree angles better, like I had on my first one, which was a better color combo as well – blue and white.

 

Anyway, I abandoned it to the scrap bin and chalked it up as technique practice.

Today we met up again.  My sister started out by making wavy lines with different decorative stitches.  The plan is to add embroidery and other embellishments between the lines.

 

I’d started a wall hanging on the weekend, without a strong plan in mind.  I got out my scraps and sewed a lot of strings together into blocks, and then cut the blocks repeatedly to make long striped strips.

 

Those then became frames around shot cotton rectangles, and then got their own black frames.  I revised them a couple of times until I got them the size and color combo I liked best.

 

Today I auditioned background colors and got started on filling in the connections between the blocks and making some stripes for the sides.

 

Not a lot of progress, but I have a clearer idea in my head of where I’m headed now.

And we’re having fun.

First finish of 2019

Welcome 2019!  Asking, nay pleading – please don’t have all the crazy of 2018.  We need some calm and sanity to even it out.

My Dress no. 2 obsession (compulsion?) continues into the new year as I finished two more flannel tunics, bringing the number of work wear tunics to ten.

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These are both from Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannel, the same fabric as my gold and gray check.  I loved that first one because it is thick and warm, important in the winter in my library as all the heat goes up to the open second story, leaving none for the people far below.

This one got back ties.

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All the plaid may be a bit lumberjack, but I will be warm and comfortable, and the red and black are my school’s colors so I’m set for spirit days.  And hey, I live in the Pacific Northwest.  We live for plaid flannel. It goes with our Birkenstocks-and-socks.

I screwed up a bit on the blue and gray version.  I was so eager to cut into the fabric that I forgot all about matching the lines on the side seams.  I realized it as soon as I finished cutting out the body pieces, sadly too late to do anything about it.  I was more careful cutting the red and black.

My plan is to pause on these now that I have two weeks of work days worth now, but who knows when the need for just one more will strike?

I had long strips of left over fabric so I ran a narrow hem up each edge and made two long scarves.  I can spend some TV time pulling strings from the end to fringe them.

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Wishing you all a warm, healthy, happy new year.

 

Ready for lunch

The day after Thanksgiving, my family usually hits the mall.  I do not.  I enjoy the calm and the aloneness and do whatever I want that doesn’t involve cooking any more complicated than hitting a few microwave buttons.

Today I got to sew all day.  On Wednesday I finished adding the final sashing  strips to my king sized Growing Up Odd top.

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Just checking the size

Today I pieced together a back for it.

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Now I just need to get a king sized piece of batting and I will take it to school to pin baste.

Then I used this tutorial and some scraps of canvas I dug out of the fabric closet to make a lunch bag.  I think a dark color would be more practical, but this is what was on hand so I figured I could try it out and then decide if I wanted to make any changes.

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The scrap canvas is actually leftover from the ironing surface I made a while back, as you can see in the picture above.

It turned out really cute, and just the right size.

I sewed it pretty much as the tutorial directed, except I cut the notches for the bottom corners a little bigger to give it more width, and I sewed my own straps.  I also improvised strings by braiding some cotton yarn.

I tested it out and it fits everything I need it to, including the Pyrex container I use when I take soup.  Come Monday, I am prepared.

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How many does this make?

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More tunic fabric arrived in the mail, and was quickly attacked with pins and scissors.  I think that this makes numbers 6 & 7 from the pattern for Dress no. 2.  You can see some of the others here and here.

I made a few different adjustments this time.  As usual, I shortened the pattern to tunic length and left off the patch pockets.  I also tried out a v-neck instead of the scoop,  and narrowed the back a bit to replace the darts that I’d added to the others.  For the butterfly version, I added a tie in the back.  So, you know, totally different than the last five.  🙂

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There was one major screw-up.  I cut both front and back at the same time, and I forgot to remove the back piece when I cut the v-neck out on the butterfly version, making a v-neckline in the back as well as the front.  I mulled adding a contrast color insert to fill it back in, as you can see in the pic below, but ended up just getting another length of the fabric to recut with a higher neckline.

Oops.

My work wardrobe continues to expand, filling up with these oh-so-comfortable and colorful tunics.  They don’t look terribly flattering on the hanger, but I like the length and the roominess and it is fun finding the next fabric to use.

The fabric for #8 is on deck – plaid flannel next, for the cooler weather coming in.

Much brighter

My sister decided yesterday that she could no longer live with the curtains she inherited from the previous tenant when she moved into her apartment.

It is not hard to see why she turned against them.

Crtains before

She is very far from a brown and red plaid person.  I don’t know how they lasted as long as they did.

Here’s a closeup.  I think they would maybe work in someone’s hunting cabin in the woods?

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There was a lot of agonizing at the fabric store because she couldn’t find a print that matched what she saw in her mind.  She wanted bright, but not too busy.  She also didn’t want to pay a fortune for curtains when she isn’t sure how much longer she will live in this apartment.

And then we hit on the idea of ombré color block curtains.  Kona cotton rainbow of options to the rescue.

After a bit of math confusion at the cutting counter, I handled the cutting and sewing, and she handled all the ironing.

 

I made French seams to encase the raw edges, as they will show from outside through the windows when she is on her patio.  We didn’t line them as she needs all the light she can get in that living room.

On her way home she went to Lowe’s and got a can of silver spray paint to turn the rings and rod from black to silver.

Such a vast improvement after a morning of work!

Curtains after

The teal/turquoise is also in the quilt that I gave her when she moved.  (A camera shy niece is hiding under there.)

Quilt a d curtains.

Next we need to make some pillows for the gray couch that will brighten up that too.  It is so satisfying to be able to make such a difference with a few yards of fabric.

Dress No. 2, #3

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I got the neck facing and hemming done on my third tunic made with the Dress No. 2 pattern and have already worn it to work at the library, where I ran around making everyone admire the book checkout card fabric.  We all agreed that finding such a specific fabric was a sign – though a sign of what is still a little iffy.  Maybe that it is OK that I’m going to keep making the same pattern over and over?

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I made all the same modifications, but I think I didn’t take it in quite enough with the tucks – it feels roomier than the other two, to an excess.  Easily solved with a few minutes at the sewing machine.

I did get another pattern in the mail this week, so there may be some variation in the clothes sewing in the near future.

Another tunic-to-be, so not a huge change, but a slightly more complex pattern.

Although I still have two more Dress No. 2s already in the works that just need the finishing details, so I’m not moving on yet.

Getting away

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Another fiber friends weekend has flashed past.  This time we met up halfway between the northern people and the southern people, at an Air BnB house in Olympia.  Tucked into a quiet little neighborhood we sewed and spun and knit and played with fiber.  Also, there was wine.  🙂

I cut out and sewed most of three more tunics based on the Dress No. 2 pattern.  I got as far as the neck bands before I broke the sewing machine needle on a misplaced pin and had to stop.  But look at this book card fabric I found!  Perfect for my job as a high school librarian.

Leslie 1 (50% of the group is named Leslie) brought her blending board and showed us how to make rolags, which you need if you want to spin in true woolen fashion.  And it makes it really easy to mix up colors and fiber types.  There is cotton, wool, angora, and alpaca in those sample rolls.

I added another big chunk to my 1×1 ribbed stash-eating scarf.  I’m holding three strands together for a marled effect.

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There was knitting in public, which greatly intrigued the wait staff at the Three Magnets Brewing Co. when we ventured out of the house in search of cold drinks on a very hot day.

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Look at all the handspun my friend Paige has created and accumulated! This is just the fraction I could fit in the photo.

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I tremendously enjoy each of these weekend getaways.  Like minded people laughing together, plus fiber.  How can that not be great?

 

Dress no. 2, 1 & 2

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It was a weekend of alphabet sewing.  The pattern for Dress no. 2 from 100 Acts of Sewing came and I started in immediately with two alphabet covered fabrics I bought while waiting out the mail.

I want a bunch of tunics to wear to work, and this simple pattern – there are only three pattern pieces – means I can whip out a lot of tops without a lot of sewing trauma.

I traced and cut out my size, and then started modifying.  I wanted a tunic rather than a dress (although this would be a pretty short dress) so I left off some length.  When I tried on the body it was much too full in the front for the look I was going for, so I added some waist shaping and tucks.  I left off the pockets as well.  Other than all that, I sewed the pattern as is.  🙂

And I only had to bring out the seam ripper once, when I sewed the neck bias tape to the wrong side because I wasn’t paying attention.

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It fits, is comfortable, and will be great for work.

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I immediately started the second one.

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Exact same modifications, even quicker finish, and I love them both.

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I’m already planning the next two.

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Napkins

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A very quick sewing project during a spare moment.  I’ve been wanting some cloth napkins, so I found a couple of blue fabrics and sewed four two-sided napkins.

It is a quilting cotton, so not the heaviest, but doubling it up gives it a nice weight.  They were cut at 18″ square, which let me get four squares from each yard of fabric with a bit left over.

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It was about the quickest project possible.  Just a matter of sewing around the edges, turning them right side out, and then top stitching to keep the hems flat and close the hole.

I’ve already picked out some more fabrics to make more.

Update – 3/29 – Here is the next batch, folded to show the two fabric choices.

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