Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Dog's Age

About 13 years ago I made my oldest nephew a big stuffed toy for Christmas. He was six months old and I thought he needed an elephant. So I made him one using this pattern.
The next Christmas I made my niece a lamb. A cow looks like a lamb when you use the correct fabric. I grew up on a farm -trust me!   ;)

Two years later I made a spotted dog for my second nephew.

Not the first tongue cut from this piece of fabric.

My third nephew has a leopard but I couldn't find it when I was looking around my sister's house this past Christmas. It seemed impolite to rummage thru' the closets for the leopard when the elephant and the dog were in plain view.

My fourth nephew has had three Christmases but he still didn't have his animal. I blame his parents, as they have been away for every Christmas since he arrived on the scene. This has been weighing on my conscience as I like to treat all the kids the same, for better or for worse. This was going to be the year he was going to get an animal. Since N2 and N4 are kindred spirits I thought it would be ok if N4 got a dog too.

But as Christmas approached, I found out N4's family was going to be away again and my motivation dropped; I figured I didn't have to rush. I didn't.

I finally cut out the little beast in the middle of January when I went to visit my parents. I sewed the face togehter a few weeks later.

Interfacing to stabilize the fabric and a button to hold on the eyes.

And there it sat. For weeks. And weeks. Impeding any other projects I had because I felt guilty about not working on the dog. Does that happen to anyone else? You can't work on things you want to because of things you feel you should do?

At any rate, I called my sister and asked when would be a good time to get together so I could give Miss S her Christmas present and N4 his dog, even tho' the dog was still at the face-only stage. I work better with close deadlines. I got a tight deadline. She said she would be in town the next day and she would drop by with the kids. Yoikes!

I dragged a sewing machine upstairs and put it on the kitchen counter. It was a machine I found at a garage sale - a Singer 185K- but more on that later. I spent about five hours, on-and-off, fiddling with the tension before I could get started, but it worked like a dream after all that. And I finished that dog.

Its not a difficult project so I can't imagine why I was dragging my heels so.

Here is the dude. Finally.

N4 seemed pleased by his very, very late Christmas present and that albatross is no longer around my neck.

I have a question. Does it count as stash-sewing if the fabric was bought for this pattern and this specific project? Probably not, but at least there is two less meters of fabric and a one less bag of stuffing around.

And I can move along to other projects with a clear conscience.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Separation Anxiety and Singer 318K

About 10 days ago I took my sewing machine in for a tune-up.
I've had my Kenmore for almost 31 years; it was a high school graduation gift from my parents and probably the best gift I have ever received.
The machine has been oiled and cleaned 'regularly' and I have had no problems with it, but I thought it could do with a once-over every 30 years or so.
I must admit to feeling a pang when I walked out the door. It has been with me almost every place I have lived and it feels odd not to have it around.

 An addict always has to have a back-up plan. In my case, it was a Singer 318K I found at a garage sale last summer.

 It came in what I think was it's original carry case, plus an old toiletries case, both smelling slightly musty.

I was puzzled to find two power supply cords in the cosmetic case.

The green one proved to have a patch job, a scary thing in electrical stuff, so I used the black one.

 The little beast comes with loads of cool attachments like these fashion discs which provide hundreds of stitch variety options.

 A box of all sorts of attachments. I have yet to figure out if they all belong with this machine.

 And a buttonholer.
 These switches allow you to toggle through various stitch options when used with the above discs. Plus the dual thread holders/

I downloaded the users manual and I tried it out by sewing it a cover.  Recycling at its finest -I used the a leg from these trousers when I turned them into shorts.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sew Grateful Pattern Winners

 Here are the winners of the patterns. Since I couldn't find the slingshot (I hate it when we clean up) I had to use a different method to determine a winner when there was more than one person requested a pattern. If only one person asked, they got it; when there were multiple entries (Butterick 4018 and McCalls 9361) I wrote the entrants names on a piece of paper and did Itsy, Bitsy Spider to decide.


 McCall's 8770 goes to Phillipa . She has the most beautiful pair of knit gloves in her lastest post. And it hadn't occurred to me to have someone else knit my stuff, since I am so dreadfully slow. Well, it had, but I wasn't sure who I could get to do it. I will have to look into it. Thank you for the tip.

To Meriwether goes the McCall's trousers. Unfortunately, Meriwether didn't leave any contact details. If anyone knows her, could you ask her to drop me a line with her mailing address?

McCall's 9361 was, by far, the most popular item. I hadn't looked that closely at it until Jackie mentioned the princess seams. And sonofagun, it does have princess seams. I wonder if I have time to trace, I doubt wrap dresses do well on bicycles. Maryall, this is going to be heading to you. Maryall has a number of links to free patterns on her blog, and she looks so very elegant when she models her versions.

And Butterick 4018 goes to Rachel. Rachel knits, and spins, and sews. Am I the only one who didn't know Christchurch had an earthquake three years ago?  Rachel and an number of people she knows are still rebuilding.

Thank you all for entering. I have enjoyed finding new blogs to read and, as always, finding out about other little corners of the world.

Ladies, please check your my email so I can get your mailing address.

Take care!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sew Grateful-Pattern Giveaway

(ETA: Blogger is driving me batty. I have no idea which pictures, if any, are showing up; please scroll all the way to the bottom. I will publish this, and try to edit it (again) in the morning. Maybe Blogger is just cranky from lack of sleep. Gah!!)

It certainly doesn't feel like the end of February so Debi's Sew Grateful Week rather took me by surprise. I'm sure I have some fabric and other things to giveaway, but I am running out of time (I'm going to my visit my parents in the morning) so the patterns will have to do.

Without further ado...

Please tell me which one(s) you would like before midnight CST on February 28. If I have multiple requests, I will use the same 'random number generator' I used last year to pick the winners. I will mail anywhere, but please leave your contact information either with your comment, or have it easily accessible on the link to your name.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I'm Now Proficient at Felting

 Unfortunately, I didn't want to felt this cap but it was much too big after I blocked it. So I put it in the wash on what I thought was a cold cycle (sometimes my washing machine reverts to the temperature of the previous wash settings. A rather irritating situation).
Unblocked but fits fine.

   Fooled me. And, then it was like Goldilocks all over again.

Accidentally felted; too small.
 So I put it upside down in the sink to see if I could block it bigger again (I don't even know if that is possible), but it just floated around for the longest time (and I stood there watching. Squirrel!). So windproof and water resistant.

Second blocking.
That would be great if I wasn't living somewhere so very COLD (it's going down to -31C again tonight!!) and precipitation came in liquid form.
 Like everyone else, I am so done with winter!!

Very brief Ravelry notes here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Goldilocks Skirt

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away lived a woman called Sox. One day, Sox decided to sew herself a long, cozy corduroy skirt to keep her warm through the cold winter months. These were dark times, many years before the proliferation of indie pattern designers, and Sox chose a pattern from a house of the Big 4, companies she had sewn with many times before.  

Sweet innocent Sox decided on her size from the measurements printed on the envelope, not from the finished dimensions on the pattern pieces themselves, and merrily cut out and sewed her skirt. Imagine her surprise when the skirt did not fit! It did not fit to the extent that as she walked, the skirt spun around on her waist, much like the sun was once thought to spin around the earth. Sox shortened the skirt so that the hem might not provide so much traction, and thereby reducing the amount of movement, but alas, the skirt stubbornly continued to rotate. She put the skirt in the give-away box.

For some reason tho' Sox still had hopes for that pattern, with its slightly A-line shape and yoked waistband, and in the opening days of the winter of 2012 she took that pattern and some wonderfully colourful, cozy, quirky fabric on a weekend visit to her parents farm in order to cut it out on her parent's huge kitchen table.

Colourful upholstery fabric.

Imagine if you will, Sox's surpirse, when she discovered both waist yoke pieces were missing from the envelope. Undaunted, Sox decided she would simply draft a new waistband and carry on. Unfortunately Sox's motto of 'don't think, just do', a philosophy which has served her well in sporting events, good deeds, and affairs of the heart, did not translate well into endevours requiring mathematical precision. The waistband sides were not the same width, a slight miscalculation that went unnoticed until the sides were sewn together.

If there was pattern matching one point, there isn't now.

And even tho' Sox had cut the skirt two sizes smaller than that first much-too-big skirt, the second version was still much

too big.

So Sox took it in, and then took it in some more, and then a smidge more. And then it was

too small.

At that point Sox regretted the third 'reduction' involved the use of her serger. Shame on Sox for being so impatient. So the skirt was left to languish on the naughty pile, and the pattern discarded ruthlessly into the recycling bin, while Sox moved on to adventures with other fabric.

Then came the never-ending winter of 2013. Sox was Desperate. For. Colour. She entered her magical sewing chamber, saw the skirt of quirky colours and pounced. With some judicious finagaling of the back seam, she was able to get the skirt to a point where it fit (in a sub-standard way)

just right.

Flash reflecting from my Nutella jar 'tripod'.

(tho' slightly too short to be worn without tights).

Why do my top and tights look two different colours?

Is there a moral to this story? Undoubtedly. Will Sox learn something useful from it? Probably not.
But here they look almost the same?

Oh well, at least the skirt is still warm. And colourful. And no longer a UFO.