Monday, April 25, 2011

Bye Bye Birdie!

Bags packed, instructions written and reiterated ad nauseam no doubt.
I'll try to keep up with everyones blogs,and of course my e-mail but this blog will reawaken when I get back at the end of May. If you've stumbled on me by accident, I'm sure there are a few interesting things to see even if it may seem neglected.

I wish everyone a wonderful month, full of sunshine, flowers and springtime joy.

Parting shot: Pogo and the heartache of ear flop. ( Stella's doing no doubt, but that is one clean ear!).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sewing Week

So, I said I wasn't going to sew anything more, but the new Hotpatterns that came last week were just too tempting not to try. I picked the Superfantastic Shirt and took a leap of faith on the pattern and used my dotty bird fabric. This is an easy pattern to love.

Tricky enough to provide interest, the fit is like a boyfriend/husband shirt, a little over sized, but the styling makes it all look so good! I was unsure of those long angled french darts but they are perfect for this shirt.

The shaping they provide from bust to waist is fab. They make the shirt curve slightly in all the right places. The front placket is 3/4 length with a nice pleat down to the hem, option for a true collar or just a band collar and a longer tunic length with a pretty shaped shirttail hem. It was so captivating I made a second one.

BOTH need to have buttons sewn on, so I will get my thread and needle out and go to work on those.

I also made a point of trying out the side cutter foot I bought for the Brother sewing machine.

Hey, it works! It's slow compared to a stand alone serger, very slow, but it gets the job done and worked very well on the cotton fabrics I used for these shirts. It is a nice option to have to do cut and overcast edges just by changing a foot on the machine.

The travel prep is in full swing and while most things are quite streamlined in ease, my boy Dennett has been anything but easy. He has been going on and off his food. A trip to the vet, blood work, worry and cash have all been expended. He is off old meds and on new which we are hoping will continue to provide a good quality of life for a little longer. I am hoping and praying for improvement over the weekend.
It's that fine line we're walking, but nothing in his blood panel indicates he is in any kind of chronic failure or pain. He is still enjoying his walks, and the afternoon meal seems to be relished quite well.

On the weaving front some progress has been made on the overshot. I'm into one of the darker color changes and it looks quite pretty.

Easier to see any mistakes on too!
I've sent off heavy rug wool via mail to Massachusetts. I'm going to give my Dad's Harrisville shaft switching rug loom a spin while I'm visiting.

Parting shot: When Stella sasses, we listen. :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weaving Weekend

It's not like the weather is anything to write home about (rain and more rain) but the indoor activities made up for it. I am sure there are any number of people in the mid-west who trade their horrible weather for our soggy spring rains.

The overshot is in process and I am loving the long natural hued color ways of this beautiful yarn. It took a little doing but I have the two skeins close in color progression.

Instead of using the double bobbin boat shuttle I opted to wind them on one large bobbin together and boy am I glad I went that way. I don't have a counter of any kind, nor a scale, so getting two bobbins wound close in color was iffy. Doing it together solved that problem. The wool itself likes to grab and the two come off the bobbin as one plushy thick yarn. Of course when you wind a bobbin, your last cut end ends up on the bottom of the bobbin and that wouldn't do to keep my progression in correct sequence, so I wind onto one bobbin and then put it in my old Schacht bobbin winder and wind the bobbin I'm using in the shuttle off of it.

Then my bobbin starts right where it left off on the previous fill. Some extra work but oh so worth it. The sett was done at 16 epi, the tabby weft is a lace weight Nature's Palette silk and wool yarn that has been in my stash for a little while. I am still sad the company has stopped production of their beautiful yarns.

Due to the dreary weather we decided it was perfect soup weather, so I threw together a veggie and ham soup. Easy and tasty and with some fresh baked bread, a simple meal fit for a king and queen!

Time grows short here for me. I leave next week for MA and will spend this week getting everything ready here for Gene to take the reins (or should I say yoke!), of the farm duties. He is a saint for doing it too. I sure hope for everyones sake we have turned the corner on the weather by then and he has lots of sunshine to make the chores easier, drier and just more fun.

Parting shot: That's just wrong!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Well, it is done and it was quite the sewing journey. I learned a whole lot about this fabric and combining patterns. The shirt is quite pretty too, on the outside. The inside is not one of my proudest executions of sewing skills. And NO, I am not going to post a picture. :) No way.

The sleeves went in like a charm, so much so I have a note on the Shapely pattern that the one piece sleeve from Vogue 1226 fits well and will probably check that sleeve against other Petite Plus patterns to use should I want a one piece as opposed to the two piece sleeve that come with those patterns. The collar went in pretty well too, although,next run through I'm cutting the pattern with a higher V. It ended up pretty low. I like the slight flouncy ruffle enough to want to try it on another pattern or two. Who knew that this girlie detail would delight me so much? I certainly didn't.

The problems came with the front button plackets. They are attached in such a manner that the raw edge of two double layer ruffle pieces, plus the raw edge of the shirt all make one big whopping heavy bulky clump of fabric. The placket themselves are also interfaced. Now Rayon crepe has a lot of drape, it's a heavy fluid fabric and the front was terribly weighted down by all this stuff. I opted to forget the plackets all together, sew up the middle seam and press it open. The raw edges of the shirt are actually the selvage edges and they won't fray. I serged the ruffle raw edges on either side and ended basting the top of the V neck up ( need to make it a bit more permanent), about 3" for modesty. It works, it looks nice and drapes well, but as I said above, the inside nuts and bolts are not very pretty. I would be more likely in the future to do the ruffle a little differently and also work it into a better placket construction. If I were to use another heavy crepe fabric I would be tempted to do the underside of the ruffles with say a light voile in a matching color and as already mentioned I would certainly raise that low V a few inches right at the cutting table. The fun thing is, I feel confident in doing these changes. Granted, execution might be behind in skill level, but I can see just how to construct it and why. That's growth! We like growth.

An speaking of growth, Hannah Hollandia has her warped beamed on and ready to thread.

I have no sewing going on so my day is going to be devoted to all things loomy.
Some more work on the silk warp on the Delta, and get the threading / sleying done on Hannah. Overshot here we come. I have a decent length of warp on there and if I like the pattern enough, I might cut into some of it for sewing. Heck, why not! In fact, I ordered some more Hot Patterns and one specifically in mind for use with hand wovens ( but not this overshot). The scarf shirt has tons of possibilities don't you think?

Parting shot: Let me guess. Do you want to play ball? ;)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Snow: It's Not Just For Winter

If I didn't have 12 outside critters all waiting on their breakfast, I would have turned around and slunk back to bed Thursday morning. As it was, my morning greeting committee was down to one (Buzz was staying snug in his barn kip), but Juno had enough enthusiasm on my morning arrival for both Buzz and I.

My kitty escort always brings a smile no matter the weather. I get the three nicker salute when I am halfway to the barn and many times a bleat or two from the peanut gallery. They may have their own selfish reasons to be glad to see me, but they are still glad to see me! The wind was wild, the ride on Bob into it, stinging you into a nearsighted and feral feeling blackness. The snow backed bodies, all nuzzling warmth and good cheer made the thought of being in bed and missing this, a quick and poorly planned thought.

It did make for a good day for sewing though. The second to last shirt is done.

I do love these bell sleeves and did a little linen ribbon trim on them.

The last shirt in process.

And what a process. I am calling it Franken-pattern because I am cobbling together two patterns to get what I want. It all started with this new Vogue pattern.

I loved the small ruffled detail going around the collar and down the sides of the button plackets. Nice full sleeves etc. Looked a little straight in the cut but was sure it would be doable. It says "loose fitting" on the envelope so it MUST have decent ease. Well, maybe if you're Twiggy! I am not and not by a long shot. The body of the pattern simply was too small even at the largest size. Ease my butt! What's a girl to do? Well, I could slash and adjust and add darts and finagle the whole dang thing, OR I could substitute a well fitting shirt body. One I know is cut for a fuller figure.( Note to self: Avoid patterns with no darts at all costs) With a little checking, a little measuring I came up with just such a pattern. A plain v necked blouse pattern out of my Petite Plus pattern book.

So, I'm using a PP body and the sleeves, collar and directions from the Vogue pattern. My main concern is fitting the nice Vogue sleeve into the PP pattern armhole and it's a pretty close match. Either pattern sleeve pieces requires some gathering and easing anyway, I should be okay and the rayon crepe looks to be quite forgiving. I did a beautiful placket on the first sleeve and then realized, I had put it on backwards. I had to take the whole thing off, one tiny black stitch at a time so as not to rip the fabric. Took me an hour. I called it a day at the sewing machine and threw the shuttle a bit on the scarf. I'll be back on that blouse to conquer the sleeve plackets today!

On a rather fun and surprising note, there is another weaver on the mountain! Her name is also Teresa and she has two looms that she is waiting to set up. How fun is that? Her husband is a new volunteer at the fire department. She is a retired elementary school teacher. And she lives right down the road less than mile.

Parting shot: Happiness is a warm friend to rest your head on.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fiber Clubs

On and off through the years I have signed on for clubs. Mostly sock clubs in which you get a skein or two (enough for a pair of socks), with a pattern once a month or once every two months. I've enjoyed them, I've even made some of the socks, but mostly I make a pattern I love. The club usually far exceeds my knitting speed though and my stash started to look like it was being taken over with sock yarns, so I discontinued it. I was ripe when Benita and her friend Sandy wanted to start a spinning fiber club and joined on. What a lovely idea and I have enjoyed the surprise package every month so far. Of course I haven't spun a thing yet, but when I clear my bobbins up and get what's on there plied, the packages will come out for some fun.

The handout sheet with information on the fiber and it's properties is spectacular.

I love it! If you want to check it out for yourself the link is here. Oh and you get a beautiful big binder to put it all in too. It's all so beautifully done and the fibers are simply wonderful.

In other news, a little sewing has gone on, a little weaving and a lot of enjoying the few days we had ( yes, had) of sunny warm weather. I made up a Colette pattern doing it as a tunic rather than a dress and I have to admit, I don't like it much.

Looks fine, fits okay, could be tweaked, but wrap styles still don't send me. You never know until you try something new if it's going to work for you. But it was so worth trying. I like that sweetheart neckline and Colette does a nice job of drafting for a curvier figure, so don't think it's the pattern, it's the style that doesn't work on me. I loved the fabric so much, I am buying some additional yardage to make up into a well liked blouse pattern. I'll finish the hem up and wear it this summer around the house and not worry about stains and such. Won't I be styling shoveling manure in it!
I do have another shirt in process and one more I want to get done for my trip at the end of the month.

Then the machines will get cleaned and oiled and covered up for a rest. The looms cleared of projects and it will be spring break for everyone but Gene!

I have a few knitting patterns picked out for trip knitting. The lovely ladies at the Webster's were happy to put them aside for me until my next dip into town. Churchmouse Annabelle Cowl and their Welted Fingerless Gloves. One other pattern I'm bringing is this lovely one from Coco.

I love the big collar version and would knit it up as a vest instead of a sweater.

Parting shot: Oh MY! That's some yawn ya got there. ( love the little crossed paws)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Meet Shiloh

Shiloh is a very sweet and pretty Finnish Spitz. Her owners allow her to run all over the mountain.

For a long time they kept putting a choke chain collar on her, no tags. For a long time I kept removing it when she visited us, worried she would get herself stuck on something, assuming no cars or trucks hit her first. Shiloh now wears a purple nylon collar with a tag on it. At least a stranger can identify her after she's been hit. Everyone who lives on the mountain already knows her. Shiloh likes to chase my goats on occasion. Nick likes to chase Shiloh. The goats are usually safe once they scoot into the horse pasture although I doubt Shiloh would do anything other than chase them anyway.

Yesterday afternoon Gene got a call about a dog crying in the woods from one of our elderly neighbors. She could hear the cries but was unable to go trudging through the deep snows still left. Gene grabbed me, I grabbed treats, a leash, a large towel, a soft long piece of old T shirt to make a simple muzzle if needed and gloves. This is what we found.

Miss Shiloh, with her leg completely wrapped up in a fence wire. Thankfully it wasn't barbed wire. Just run of the mill smooth hard wire that no doubt after hours would have cut and injured just as insidiously, assuming an opportunistic predator didn't happen along before hand. . Shiloh is small, less than 30 pounds. I know, I picked her up and gave her a hug and kiss when it was all over. She returned the love. We know each other well. She was a good girl while I gently unwrapped her leg and freed it.
It was the top wire she got stuck on, then trying to free herself, it twisted around her leg a number of times, tighter and tighter. She got her treats. We didn't need the muzzle or the gloves even though it must have hurt.

It was with heavy hearts we drove her the mile back up to her house. No one was home, it was probably a good thing. There is a sad overhead cable and a dog house too far away to reach. I didn't have the heart to tie her up. Dogs on ties left alone just aren't a good idea. I have no problem with using them under supervision. The dog goes out, does his business, gets some fresh air and if there is trouble can be rescued. I've used a similar set up myself when I had only a couple and no fenced yard or pen. I have no problem with dogs being loose on their property, or even sneaking over to the neighbors to leave a present or two. Many dogs stay close to home, avoiding roads and cross country travel and it's fine. But I hate to see sweet little Shiloh, who has a wandering spirit, left to her own devices. She was peacefully waiting in the late afternoon sun, watchful eyes on the driveway for her owners when we left. She was very lucky someone heard her. One of these days her luck will run out. And it will all be so so stupid and avoidable.