Summer progress

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Finally on summer vacation!  And then I made the mistake of watering all the new plants in the garden, and a sudden rain storm blew in.  My fault – I should have know better than to temp the rain gods like that.

But it made for a lot of available sewing time.  I’m back at work on the Growing Up Odd quilt, chain stitching the little squares and building the different sized blocks.

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I’ve finished the 7×3 and 7×7 blocks, 16 of each, and I have 34 of the 48 3×3 blocks done.

I tried hard to not duplicate fabrics in the same blocks.  That was easy in the nine patches, but harder when it was a 49 square block, sewn together randomly in chunks.  There is usually at least one repeat.

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Sashing next.  I’m planning to quilt it in strips to make it more manageable, though the actual quilting will have to wait until I get my Juki back from the shop.  My smaller Brother machine is great for regular sewing, but it doesn’t like too much bulk under the needle.

I also finished up my ribbed scarf knit with a variety of coned yarns.  I’m trying to clear up space in the craft storage.  It is entirely 1×1 ribbing, so it made a great work project I could pick up during lunch or faculty meetings.  No pattern or thought needed.

While I was knitting it the yarns were thin and almost cotton like – coned yarns still have oil on them as they were meant to be used on machines – but once it was done and hand washed in hot, soapy waters, and then dried on the hammock, the yarn softened and bloomed. Definitely a cold weather accessory, so it will be put away for awhile.

Tool box hat

A while back I knit a Craftsy kit called the tool box cowl.  Mine was the hill myna colorway, a gradient of grays with a mustard yellow to cheer things up.  (I love gray and yellow.  Love, love, love.  Pretty much the color scheme of my entire house.)  I added in some cream as well to get a wider cowl and to create more contrast.

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There was yarn left over, so I just knit up a tool box hat to match.

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They are both really simple patterns, with a slip stitch garter transition between colors. I was never knitting with more than one color per row thanks to the slipped stitches.

No decreases needed, and a quick three needle bond off.  Then the corners turned in, a braid, and a matching set is done.

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Spinning my wheel

It has been a long, dry spinless spell, but I finally got back to my wheel this week.

Actual yarn was produced!

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532 yards total of 2-ply fingering to DK weight.

This is not particularly well spun yarn.  I was working with somewhat matted fiber, and I struggled to remember how to spin consistently, so the single plys were not very even.  And then I switched up plying methods in midskein, so the beginning and the end of the skein look a bit different.  I thought about running it through the wheel again, but I’d already soaked it, and by the time it was dry two days later, I’d moved on.  It isn’t different enough to bother me when I knit with it.

You can see the difference in how tightly the yarn winds on the bobbin in the picture below.  The first bobbin was using double drive and went on quite loosely – the second used Scotch tension, which lets me increase the pull of the yarn onto the bobbin, so it wraps on more tightly and more yarn fits on the bobbin.  Both bobbins have approximately the same yardage.  Now I need to get to the Baby Bear stage.  I’ve got too loosely wound but tightly plyed (bobbin #1) and tightly wound but under plyed (bobbin #2).  I want tightly wound and tightly plyed.

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I love the color – it is polwarth wool and silk that I kettle dyed in a deep blue.  There was a lot of fiber in the pot so it dyed a little unevenly, and the silk and wool took up different amounts of dye.  It creates a heather effect.

Now I’ve started in on this black mystery wool and yellow/peach silk noil fiber.  I need to figure out the right treadle speed and take-up, as its pig-tailing a lot, a sign that I’m feeding it on to the bobbin too quickly or that I’m putting in too much spin.

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I’ll get the hang of this spinning thing again.

Chaos in the kitchen

I’m trying to think of an explanation of why I thought it would be a good idea to do a kitchen remodel during the last crazy busy weeks of school.  There has to have been a reason, but now that it has actually started, it escapes me.

But there is no going back now.

On Sunday, my kitchen looked like this:

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On Monday afternoon, it looked like this:

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I’m taking a lot of deep breaths and reminding myself that change is a good thing.

 

Box shelves

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Nearly a year ago we moved to a new house, a decision that made my commute to work much shorter, but my sewing space a lot more cramped.  Instead of a small dedicated room, I have the end of the family room for my crafting space.  At least it is the end with the window!

Storage is the main issue.  If I need a lot of work space, I can take over the dining room table, but that doesn’t work for storing fabric, yarn, fiber, and all the millions of doohickeys and whatsits that I accumulate.  So things are scattered in various parts of the house, and too many of the smaller items build up in the work space and get in the way.

In an effort to improve the situation, I made box shelves.

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It took a number of days.  Once I got the right wood (5″ wide hemlock boards) I went to L2’s house to get a refresher course on using a table saw.  I have a small, portable one – like most of my larger tools, it is the result of a visit by my brother.  He sees home improvements that can be made, always resulting in me owning tools that I may never use again.  (I have two jigsaws now, because I forgot I had the first one when he swung through town and needed one to work on a kitchen project for me.)

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Then L2 taught me that there are corner clamps.  I’m a fan!  And we used her air compressor (though my brother had me get one of those too) to shoot very fine nails into the secured corners to create the boxes.

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Out of two eight foot boards I got three boxes and a 4 inch left-over.  Once I was home again from my power tools seminar, I did the finishing work.  I needed to fill in a few spots – the wood putty was a bit dried out, but it worked OK – and sand.  Stain I had on hand, and I bought a small sample size of limeade colored paint for the inside.

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They aren’t perfect.  I need to remember next time to put the nails on the tops and bottoms, not on the sides where they are going to show more.  I taped the edges when I was painting, but they still aren’t perfect, so I’ll need to go buy a razor blade to clean that up.  And I haven’t yet tried the keyhole fasteners for the back that I intend to use to hang them.  (Mostly because I can’t figure out where I put them.)  But the shelves match the picture I had in my head, so I’m happy with them.

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I need to make one more, for symmetry, as they are going to hang in pairs on either side of the window, making space for button jars, thread spools, and other items that accumulate on top of the cutting and ironing surfaces.

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.