Friday, February 25, 2011

Zoot Suit

Well, maybe a modern day Zoot Suit. But you never know, I could be channeling Bonnie Parker! This particular set of separates is all linen and actually from two different patterns.

The top is Simplicity 3786 and the pants, my go- to pattern from The Sewing Workshop. I trimmed them down again to a size small and am happy with the results.
A new pocket shape was drafted for these and moved to even higher on the hip. Since linen does tend to stretch, the pockets have been interfaced and lined. It gave them a bit more weight but also stability. The top can be worn alone or as a vest as I have done it here on Rhonda.

The long sleeve blouse version (with pin tucks) of this pattern is next up with some beautiful cotton double gauze. These pieces will be packed for my trip back east at the end of April. We go out a fair bit, mostly nice places and barn wear just doesn't cut it not even for the occasional dive.

So, I guess you could say this is how I spent my snow days and we have had a couple of good snow days up here in the mountains.

Old Man Winter is practical joker you know. The moment my paddock begins to dry out he feels the need to give me another months worth of melt, which of course, translates to melt=mud. They must be next to each other on SOME periodic table? ;)

The dogs are driving me nuts. Something about fresh snow and cold weather. They play outside and then come inside and continue the rough housing, the boisterous rough housing. It's made Dennett, Peter and Bea quite grouchy having the youngsters race by them with no thought to politeness or etiquette. They've been huffing and chuffing over it like a bunch of old hens. Hey, wait a minute, they ARE the old hens (and roosters) of the crew!

The weekend will be spent shoveling, "sledding" to town, and on the looms.

Parting shot: The Devil & Mrs. Jones...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Double Duty

I just love it when things are dual purpose which is why I was attracted to a couple of tutorials making pattern weights. They seemed useful and used up scraps AND with the addition of a small loop, could be re purposed for use hanging off the back of the loom to weight a pesky thread or two.

I had to make some. Easy as pie to sew, a real pain in the neck to fill! I used rice, but you can use any dry dense substance like beans say. I chose rice because it seemed heaviest and I had a lot of it on hand.

I've also discovered the joys of using a tailor's ham. No not Taylor's Ham (which is a company in New Jersey I believe, that makes pork roll). You wouldn't want to eat this, it's filled with sawdust. Of course it might resemble my mother's Tuna Casserole, but we won't go there. It is nice to have a hard curved surface to iron curved seams on. Makes a huge difference top stitching to have had the curve nicely pressed, which is hard to do on a flat surface.

You can also see an emery strawberry, which wasn't easy to find. The emery keeps pins and needles sharp and this one is large enough to be used as a cushion without getting lost. The most recent pattern in process is next to it all. Red sleeveless tunic version.

The towels are washed and pressed. I've added a little linen loop to each one for hanging.

Two will go into my kitchen the balance to be tucked away for gifting.
The silk warp is sleyed and waiting to be tied on. I remembered again why I try to avoid that 15 dent reed but this fine silk really needs a fine reed and that's what I've got. I would like to say I have the hemp warp started for the overshot, but I got no further than checking what sett I had used previously (16) and I think I'm going to go up to 18 or 20epi on this piece. I have to sit down and put it all together with the chosen pattern. Monday house cleaning and a quick trip to town Tuesday (in advance of a predicted big snow storm) have all conspired against me. I'll be honest, I'm not a whirlwind most of the time. I putz through my day, balancing what I have to do, what I need to do and what I want to do in small increments here and there. Oh, and it would appear the storm has hit judging by the white backs that came in the door for breakfast after their morning out. The wet floor was another clear indicator! ;)

I did get a pair of pillowcases made, using some vintage fabric I've had forever, at least 20 years. It's the old standard of 36" wide and showing some fading along the creases, but I've loved it and dang, it was time to use it somehow.

Long ago it was going to be a quilt, but I couldn't bear to cut into it at the time. I still have a fair amount left too since I used it only for the deep hem part.

Well, it's about time to go out and do my best Nanook of the North routine, get Bob loaded with hay and grain buckets and fire him up for the delivery run. Feed the chubby barn cats and check on the goatie girls. To think I was considering shearing them down a few weeks ago. The horses are just starting to shed as are the goats, which means they will blow the fleece long before I dare shear it off. Compost anyone?

Parting shot: Blue Dog Imitation with Ghost Ears...ooooooow Spooky!

Monday, February 21, 2011

President's Day

I remember when both presidents got their own holiday! I wonder how many years ago they changed that? I seem to remember getting both holidays at some point in my working career. Have to check on that and report back.

Update on President's Day from the vastness of gobbelty gook on the internet. Washington's Birthday used to be celebrated on his birthday Feb.22nd. Lincoln's Birthday (which not all states observed) was celebrated on the 12th of Feb. In the early 70's, the Uniform Holiday act was passed putting all FEDERAL holidays on Monday. For a time Lincoln's birthday was still celebrated on the actual day, then, finally in the 80's the two were combined to President's Day. How sad, even our holidays have become homogeneous.

I can manage to come up with other blog worthy stuff though! The towels are off the loom and awaiting hemming.

I got 7 from the warp, all 27" long. I hope they will stay a generous length after washing. Some have 8/2 unmercerized weft, others linen and still others, 5/2 mercerized cotton. When they are all ready to go, I'll get another pic up of them.

The new warp for Hannah is going to be a hemp warp.

I've used this before to good effect, sort of like inexpensive linen. It gets just a wee bit softer in the finishing. This is All Hemp 3 fingering weight and runs $7.00 for 165 yards and for me is readily available at Web-sters. And speaking of the LYS full of treasure, my trip to town yielded some new Habu yarn.

This company always puts out such interesting products. They now have copper mixed with either silk or wool. I spent about 40 minutes just playing with the selections. I didn't bring home any of the SS or copper yarns, but the variegated textured yarn is a 1/14 spiral slub of wool and poly, the two cones of solid colors are 2/48 fine merino. I can see using theses to dress some weaving up beautifully.

While it has been snowy and cold outside, I've been snug in my sewing space making a summer top. While it says it's a beginner pattern, I did a few things to it I felt needed to be done. The change from a keyhole to sweetheart neckline meant a whole new neck interfacing had to be fashioned. I also interfaced the button and buttonhole band. The pattern doesn't have you do this and I think it really should, especially with the light fabrics recommended with this pattern. I know the shot cotton I used is quite light in weight.

All the tucks where top stitched to give them a nice flat appearance. I was so happy for Rhonda the dress form. The neck gaped quite a bit at the shoulder seams and I was able to identify it and adjust before completing the blouse and finding out when it would have been a bear to fix. Like after the neck facings were on! Whew, good save because this fine material doesn't like the seam ripper much. The pattern itself is very distinct, but I will use it again on a limited basis. I love the back button detail and was able to keep this roomy enough to slip over my head and leave the buttons, well buttoned!

In other news, Gene was able to fix our big expensive Samsung flat screen (which is only 4 years old) for a grand total of $9.00 in new power source capacitors. This is a known problem to this TV by Samsung ( we didn't know when we bought it of course) but the fix was easy, assuming you know your way around that sort of thing. Gene does. To celebrate we both got sucked into the twin guilty pleasures of watching Titanic and Dirty Dancing. As if those two weren't enough, the new Roberta Flack ASPCA commercials sent me into tears, EVERY time.

Parting shot: Look Deep into My Eyes...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Shiny Shiny!

The lovely silk warp is threaded and awaiting sleying on Hey Baby!. I can't get over how shiny and difficult it is to get nice pics because of that. But I did my best since it is such a pretty warp. I might name it Sister Goldenhair, because that's what comes to mind when I look at it. It warped on like a dream. Unlike the fine cotton warp, the silk has weight and body and threading it was easy too. The pinwheel pattern will be quite subtle since I've chosen a variegated and a solid both with the same sunny yellow, but I'm hoping the greens and taupe's in the multicolored yarn will carry the day.

The scarf worked out to be 10" when all was said and done although it might get a little narrower if I decide to sley a bit closer. I have enough on for a wee bit of sampling.

Rhonda the dress form saw a little activity yesterday too. I pulled this lovely Colette pattern from my binder and started a little fitting to see which size I should commit to.
The fabric I'm using is a soft shot cotton woven like a color changing silk. Tan on the warp, dark indigo on the weft.

If it had the silk shine it would do that iridescent thing, but is still quite pretty with the shade of tan shot through. I like it. The Colette pattern itself is a treasure. Printed on heavy card stock the directions come in book form.

Just a beautiful idea and the patterns are all geared for curvy figures. Of course I am past curvy and might be heading towards lumpy, but you get the idea! Here I'm trying to decide if I want to change the neckline to a sweetheart style or leave the keyhole. Either way the front neckline is too high for my comfort and will be graded lower.

The Postman brought some fabric yesterday.

The gold I'm disappointed in, it's a bit brighter than it seemed on screen, but the grey cotton twill pant weight fabric is just perfect. I LOVE it. It has a deep magenta stripe running through it

I'll be trying my hand on my first fly front pants and will probably save this for when I have a good working pattern. Maybe sacrifice the yellow for a muslin. The hot pink floral is for a another blouse pattern which calls for a light stretch cotton. It'll be a bright one for sure.

We've had snow on and off since late Monday night/early Tuesday. Quite the change from our spring like 3 weeks of sunshine and temps in the high 40's and 50'sF. It also means an interesting slide down the hill to town this morning. The horses have enjoyed it though. We've both caught them through the day running and playing up a storm. The goats, not so much but they were wandering pretty far looking for browsing. Better than hiding out in their hut or under the trees with the horses.

Parting Shot: Hey, where's my bone!

And Valerie, it's musical bones around here but plenty for all.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Michelle at Boulderneigh nominated me for this lovely award. I suspect we have similar styles: muck boots, hay bits and hardworking barn clothes. ;) I'm in good stylish company. Thank you!

Here is what comes with the award:
1. Thank and link back to the person who sent you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

I can never decide if the light and fluffy things or the more serious things are better to share, so I'll mix them up.

1. I always thought that floors where made for finger painting and I still believe that.
2. I don't believe in organized religion.
3. I've had a chance to check out 42 of our great states so far.
Vermont is my favorite state, but Maine comes in a close second. Oregon is third.
4. I love politics
5. My favorite flavor in anything is lemon.
6. Even after 50 plus years I can still be appalled by the things people do to themselves and others (of any species) and know I will never find a good "why?"answer.
7. Two qualities I admire most are humor and kindness.

Now, I have to pass this on to 15 others of which I won't come anywhere near that number, new or old friends but I'll give it a go!

Boise Barefoot Weaver, Judy is stylish in her creations and well dressed on those ski slopes too!

Long Ridge Farm: Nancy I know shares all the barn accouterments of style that Michelle and I do, plus some lovely natural dying goes on in her studio!

In Stitches: Sharon won't admit it, but she has style to spare. Her spinning, knitting and weaving are all just fantastic, and I'll bet she has a nice pair of muck boots too!

Eweniquely Ewe: Cindie simply does lovely fiber work. Anyone wearing one of her creations would feel VERY stylish, and she is too!

Miss Maddie's: Even Stella thinks Miss Maddie is stylish as are her cohorts. A beautiful blog.

That's it, 1/3 of the 15 but there you have it.

Parting Shot: Don't be eyeing my bone either....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Meet Rhonda

Bet you thought I was going to show you a new critter! Heck no, but I will show you my newest helpful assistant. Rhonda, the dress form.

You can hum strains to Help, Help Me Rhonda for the rest of the day like I've been doing. Let me tell you she created QUITE the stir last night when the crew got a look at her. Had I not been calming everyone down I would have taken a pic or two.

Once I got her set up and adjusted (which was quite easy), she was ready to go to work assisting. Her first job was to help me overcome my fear of fitting knits and jersey and we did quite well I think. This is a nice heavy cotton jersey with lycra, just perfect for this Marcy Tilton Vogue pattern. It was a dream to have a 3 D figure to pin and drape onto checking for fit.No muslin was done for this pattern, I just jumped right in. The pattern itself has sewn up quite nicely and I'm looking forward to finishing the neck,hemming, tossing it in the washer to clean up the chalk marks and wearing it.

My little handwoven scarf certainly looks happy against the deep chocolate brown.

Her second job was to be a model for the shirt I finished up yesterday.

It is the same Favorite Things Classic Shirt pattern but this time done up in oh so bright companion fabrics. Occasionally, you just have to go with a something a little different than usual!

So, the sewing machines will take a bit of a rest and I'll get back on the looms tomorrow. I'm almost done with the work space(s) reorganization, no looms have left, I'm happy with all of them, but I did finally make the decision to sell the Timbertops wheel. I loved the idea of it more than I enjoyed using it. I've found my little Schacht Ladybug to be just right and very versatile for the small amount of time I actually spend spinning. The Timbertops made it's way to her new home in the Carolinas last week. The sale allowed me to complete my sewing area, place an order for some weaving yarns, add some fabrics to my stash and banish my guilt for not using and enjoying such a special wheel.

A small note of congratulations go out to Hickory, the Scottish Deerhound and winner at Westminster Kennel Club show. My folks had deerhounds for years and they are lovely dogs! Glad to see them in the spotlight once in a while. But wasn't that terrier group something! ;)

Parting Shot: Beauty Sleep (Dreaming of next year's Westminster...)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Whatever DID I Do?

Well, I got that dang table together, with a little help from DH Gene. They include a little wrench and I use that term loosely. That wrench caused a lot of frustration but Gene came to the rescue with a bit more patience and better tools. Note to self, add a good adjustable wrench to the tool bag. All in all it was a funny scene. Gene and I on the floor with table parts and bags of screws, nuts, washers and bolts scattered around and all the dogs on the bed watching intently. Stella learned that she was not welcome when stuff like this is going on and joined the rest of the crew in the (peanut?) gallery.

For the money spent on this it's a great table. It is fairly sturdy, folds well and with the addition of a cover I can iron on it too. Rolls easily over my hard floors and the height is just perfect.

I'm a happy camper. I wish I had had it when I was making quilts. It would have made everything so much easier. I give 4 out of 5 stars. The top could be a little thicker and it probably could be made a bit more beefy and it is made in China. It is available at Joann's Fabric only, as far as I can tell, list price is $129.00USD but they always have coupons and sales. I used a 40% off coupon I had received for it.

The towel warp comes off today and the overshot warp hopefully will get measured out and put on by the weekend. That's the plan at least. And we know all about plans don't we! I also have a post that needs finishing due to a lovely award from Michelle at Boulderneigh and of course I'm still working on the common cold cure....;)

Yesterday both DH and I slowed down for just a few moments to enjoy St. Valentines Day. It's not one of our favorite holidays, but neither one of us needs much of an excuse to give a fun card, have some chocolates and a meal topped off with a nice bottle of wine. I actually got two cards, one via the computer. I hope everyone enjoyed and kept the day in their own special way.

Parting shot: He's been at it again...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Whatever Shall I Do?

There must be others that find themselves at odds about what to do with their Sundays
now that the football season is over. It's not that I don't have anything to do, but one day a week I could beg off all the little things, plop myself in the comfy chair wrapped in a blanket and critters and have the guilty pleasure of being a lazy, armchair quarterback. For some strange reason every time I think about the end of the football season, the strains of Don't Cry for Me Argentina start playing in my head...pitiful, I know.

But I have been somewhat productive. Here is a picture of what is likely the last towel.

I bought this all cotton yarn ages ago for a knitting project. Well, we know how fast I knit and there it was, just begging to be used in something that would be seen on a regular basis.

And of course, some sewing. I finished up a test garment from Favorite Things Classic Shirt Pattern. I'm so happy I bought cotton on sale instead of plain muslin.

Quite often the sale bin at Fabric of Vision contains something a little nicer than true muslin and runs around .50 more per yard. Since I usually buy 3 yards, this means I spent 1.50 extra for a wearable shirt assuming the pattern came out well the first time. It did and I did and here is the picture complete with Mr. Jack who just has to be near always.

It's been a shopping week. I did pick up a second ball of yarn for the overshot planned and while I was there I spied this little pin. Remind you of someone?

It was just too cute not to splurge on. For those that have never been to the Web-sters, along with a huge selection of fabulous yarns. they carry beautiful art clothes, amazing garments done by fiber artists country wide, handbags, hats and some incredible jewelry. This little pin is by a new artist to the store and there was a charming selection of cats too. I might have to scarf another up for a Mother's Day present.

Yesterday Cindie and I met up for a little morning shopping marathon. I needed a few things at Joann's Fabrics, most importantly a cutting table. The floor or my low sewing table, while both roomy, weren't suiting as far as my back was concerned.
JA had one that folds and is a nice 35" height and pretty inexpensive especially when coupled with a 40% off coupon.

Guess I know one thing I'll be doing today for sure..assembly! Buttons, thread and some pant fabrics rounded out my adventure. I dropped off my Bernina for a cleaning and service (Cindie dropped hers off too so they are keeping each other company) and after lunch, Cindie was off to a meeting and I was off to finish up errands. A wonderful way to while away a Saturday.

I also want to show you the lovely little coin purse Cindie made and gifted me with.

How cute is this!!?? Gosh even the little card is adorable. Thank you Cindie, so much!

Parting shot: Don't be lookin' at MY bone!

Friday, February 11, 2011

One For the Dogs

Just in case you're unsure, I am a dog lover. I am a horse, goat and cat lover too. In fact, you could probably substitute just about any animal in those sentences and it would be true. But it is in the interest of dogs everywhere I write THIS particular post. The catalyst was a link that came to my in box which couldn't be ignored. For those of us with pets, we know that at times human medications are prescribed and this addition by the drug companies to drugs can't be ignored. For everyone who has had a dog injured or lame and been advised to give half a baby aspirin, or an over the counter tab of benadryl for a bee sting, this might be a life saver for your dog. Before any pet approved emergency OTC drugs ( and prescription ones too!), come home with me it will be checked and double checked with the pharmacists and the vet.
Here is the article. Read and remember to ask that important question about Xylitol possibly being used as a sweetener in medications.

And since this post is short, sweet, off the cuff and has no parting shot, I'll leave you with this wonderful link sent to me by a good friend. Some of the footage you might have seen, but most of it was new to me and I just loved it. Dogs are Amazing!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The End of the Line

Well, not quite but the end of the long (for me) towel warp is in sight.

Looks like I am going to get one more full towel out of it (maybe two), and then I'll weave off what I can for samples, or wash/dish cloths or maybe to keep aside for creative sewing projects. I varied the treadle pattern on some. This white on white is more textural.

Most of these towels will be set aside towards the gift bank at the Davies household. But never fear, the next project is already more than just a glimmer. I have yarn, I have a draft, and I'll have an open loom. Hannah Hollandia is being dedicated this year to white or mostly while projects. Next one up is an eight shaft overshot

using a natural cotton warp and this lovely yarn doubled for weft.
This is Kauni from Denmark, 400m of a light fingering weight wool.

There are long natural colored repeats and it should be quite interesting to weave with to see what they do. I think I should probably buy a second skein so that I can wind two strands together and have the color sequences similar. We'll see.

The silk scarf warp is done and ready to be put on the loom in a more orderly manner.

It won't be quite as wide as I like as the multi colored silk yarn is now discontinued and what I have is all I have. But it should be enough. Plan B is, if I run short, this will morph into some fab embellishment on a sewn garment. Think collar, pocket or cuffs.

I spent a little time sewing up a test run through on a t shirt type pattern for knits. I have a hard time with knits. I just do. I bought cheap fabric and it wasn't a nice interlock but a tissue paper thin jersey and was just hard to deal with. The shirt came out well as far as technique and construction. Too big, WAY too big, but there is just enough test fabric to eek out a cute little pair of boxers and call it PJ's. When I cut into the good fabric I'll have a handle on the size and construction from this test garment. I also wanted to show you a photo of the new pants on, but this is what I got instead.

Sigh, I even got to take some of Jack along with me on my new pants. Short haired dogs shed as bad, if not worse, than those with long hair.

And speaking of short haired dogs, parting shots: Contraband, the series. The Chase is On!
Please note, Stella flips her ears back when running, making her much more aerodynamic and earning the names Shooting Star or ##&%! Greased Pig depending on the mood of the chaser or the contraband.