Flannel pants and rug progress

I’m trying hard to complete long languishing projects to clear out some space in my craft storage.

I had two lengths of flannel, bought on sale for something minimal like $2 a yard, that I prewashed and folded away and forgot about.  Time for lounging pants!

9F586062-355A-4ADD-AF3A-5B587BC9A94C

These are about the world’s simplest sewing project.  I spread out  a pair of knit pants I wear to the gym and cut around one leg, adding in a half inch seam allowance and a little extra fabric because the flannel doesn’t have the stretch of the knit pants.  I cut the front down a little lower as fronts don’t need as much fabric as backsides.

64E9288A-91A3-4037-A7FF-DC406CB5F531

Then it is just a matter of sewing up the legs, attaching them to each other, and adding an elastic waist band.

I do my waist elastic a little differently than most patterns would call for.  It drives me crazy when elastic twists or rolls or folds, and it always seems to.  So I sew the elastic band together in my waist size, stretch it out and pin it around the flannel waist and sew the elastic down in a rollercoaster of curves to keep it in place.  Then I fold under the raw edge at the top of the pants a quarter inch and fold the whole thing over and top stitch the edge down.  The extra elastic stitching is hidden inside the pants – it is a little messy but hey, these are $5 homemade pants to sit on the couch in.  No one is going to be judging my inside waist band.  And the elastic doesn’t roll!

I’m not going to hem them until they’ve been washed a couple times, in case they shrink a bit more.  If my new gym membership pays off, I may add a drawstring later as well.  All in all, each pair took about 20 minutes to sew, and the fabric is gone from the stash, so I’m pleased.  Plus they are comfy!

61BC217C-75B3-4F28-B789-13647DC2DC69

My rug knitting project is also progressing rapidly.  Ten big skeins almost gone from the stash!  I have about ten inches to go, which won’t take long on these size 15 needles.  The steek where the tube will be cut open is really obvious now.  And the true joy of steeks is that the color changes happen there, so no ends have to be sewn in.

I’m wondering now why I didn’t put a checkerboard on the ends as well.  Though I suppose most of it will be cut away anyway.

It really is using up this yarn.  Here’s all that was left of one color at the end of the last color change.52A12280-F921-4995-B7F8-8DE74C08F8EA

 

New wheel!

For a long while now I’ve been covering a Matchless spinning wheel from the Schacht company.  I’ve spun on a lot of wheels, trying them out, and I really liked the smoothness of the Matchless, as well as its modern look.

img_7360

The above pic is from the Schracht company website.

The thing is, I couldn’t really justify the expense.  My Kromski Sonata wheel is a perfectly good wheel, and has always spun anything I’ve asked of it, plus it folds into a backpack, making it portable in a slightly awkward and heavy way.

But I kept looking at it, and asking questions, and kept my eye out on the Ravelry forums, and a couple weeks ago a used one came up for sale and I succumbed.

img_7277

A week of obsessive UPS tracking and I came home from running errands to find it on the front porch!

The seller had taken off the treadles to fit it in its original box, so my son helped me with the few assembly steps needed.  There were a few false starts where we had to take off screws we’d just put in place until we got it right, and one truly brainless moment where we tried and tried to figure out where the extra black piece went until we realized it was the bottom of the screwdriver (yeah, I may not have a lot of mechanical aptitude).

The lazy kate went together much quicker.

img_7287

But soon enough it was ready to spin!

Low light shots of both sides.  It is maple with a few walnut touches.

And the first single on its bobbin:

img_7352

This is my first double drive experience, and there will be a bit of a learning curve as I figure out how to make adjustments in tension.  It was a big leap forward when I figured out I had the bobbin on backwards which was preventing any take up of the spun fiber onto the bobbin (sheepish head shake).

But I’m very happy with its performance, if not necessarily mine.  It treadles smoothly and quietly, and came with four whorls for as wide a range of ratios as I will ever need.  There was also one high speed bobbin in the box for spinning really fine lace weight, and I have the option to buy a bulky flier for extra thick yarn if I want to make that someday.  It also converts to scotch tension for stronger take up for long draw spinning.

I’m going to hang on to the Sonata for a while for travel, but my long term plan is to replace it with a smaller Ashford Joy which also folds up, and then I should be set for a lifetime of happy spinning.

 

Odds and ends

I go through stages where I binge on books, to the point of neglecting a lot of the rest of my life.  As an adult, it tends to happen in times of stress.  Craft binging doesn’t have the same stress reduction effect – I can still think and sew or knit.  Reading is pure escape.

The last month or so has seen a lot of reading.  I’m not quite sure what the true stressor is – there seems to be a constant low level.  Trying to juggle work and home is part of it, and the election sure isn’t helping.  But it means that the WIPs have been gathering some dust.

A small amount has been accomplished.  I made a couple of trips to my sister’s classroom to use all the tiled floor space to pin three finished quilt tops.

I added some more rows to my Volt wrap. One and a half colors to go – so 24,495 more stitches.

image

And I filled a bobbin and a half with more of the red fiber I’ve been working on sporadically.

img_6818

There was also a yarn sale at Little Knits that resulted in a bit of stash enhancement in the sock yarn category.

img_6838

That is pretty much it on the crafting side of life.  No finishes, just some baby steps further down the road.

One more picture to share – the kids went back and forth on whether they were too old to go trick-or-treating but the real outcome was never in any doubt. The lure of the sugar was too strong.

img_6835

In case there was any question, yes, I am definitely the kind of mom who steals candy to eat from her sleeping children.  No Snickers or peanut butter cup is safe from me.  They suspect, but have no proof.  😏

 

Egg hunt

Our Easter is fairly low key.  We generally put more emphasis on Passover – our Easter celebration is about the egg hunt.

Saturday we dyed eggs.  There was only one fatality, and nothing permanently dyed that we didn’t intend.

Our eggs aren’t fancy – basic dye tablets and dunking.  The boys don’t have the attention span or artistic interest in fancier decoration options.  But we all like bright!

And the extra dye didn’t go to waste.  I used it to color some more of the gray merino/alpaca that I have so much of. (I’m currently on bobbin three of the bag I over-dyed red earlier.) The blue/purple dyes broke, but I always like that effect.

image

I’m envisioning fair isle mittens or hat, mostly gray but with color bands.  More spinning to do.

In the afternoon the sunshine departed and the hail arrived. I left the sugar bingeing boys to their dad and Harry Potter movies and went to work on the purple floral quilt.  I’d already stitched along the edges of all the navy lines.  The big squares are too large to leave unquilted.  I tried some big free motion flowers in the middle – big fail.  The were off kilter and amateur looking.  I picked all that out and went with my usual loops.  I will practice the flowers for another day.

I’m always torn with the quilt backs with which color thread to use when they are pieced together with very different fabrics.  Although it looks white in the pics above, that part of the quilt is soft yellow.  The rest is a yellow green and two different purples. So what color should go in the bobbin?  I went with a purple, since that was the largest expanse, and it didn’t peek through with the navy thread on the front, but it shows up more than I like on the back.  I like my thread more unobtrusive.  On the front I’m changing thread colors depending on the fabric, but that wouldn’t work with the back given where the fabric changes fall.

I was only two and a half squares away from finishing when I ran out of the purple thread.  So close!  I ran to the store but it was closed for the holiday, so I’ll have to try again tomorrow.

image
The half finished looped square where I ran out of thread.

Tidying up

With my last quilt top off the design wall, and the mystery quilt blocks caught up, I wanted to turn to quilting something from my growing pile of unfinished projects.  I am declaring March to be a finish up month – no new sewing projects started, only finishing.

But the craft room was a disaster!  The sewing and cutting tables buried in fabric and tools and yarn.  The design wall and ironing surfaces awash in threads.  Piles of works in progress and supplies overflowing in all the corners to the point that there was little open floor space. Steps had to be taken.

image
The design wall covered in several quilt tops worth of shed threads – every inch of it was this bad

At Madrona last month I bought a new tool for defuzzing sweaters and coats – it proved to be really useful for thread removal as well!

I brushed the flannel on the wall and the canvas on the ironing table and it picked up everything!  Not a thread or fabric clipping to be seen.

I also spent some time sorting through the fabric piles, folding and putting away all the accumulated paraphernalia.

image
The newly cleared sewing table – I still have to tackle the chaos on the shelves
image
The cutting and ironing station is all ready to go

There is still a lot of work to do on the room – I want to add shelving above the ironing table, reorganize the shelves I already have, and sort out the fabric storage closet, but at least I have a space where actual work can be accomplished now.

Tomorrow I’ll write about the post-tidying quilting that I got done this weekend.