Thursday, June 30, 2011

One Size Does NOT Fit All

I am too ashamed to even include pictures. Not since the vest from a bad Star Trek clone movie was made have I produced such a complete wadder ( wadder=something that hangs at the back of your closet/drawer/laundry basket never to be worn or see the light of day). An alternate title might have been Pride Goeth Before a Fall...
Coming off a wonderfully successful knit pattern for a cross over T shirt (which looks and fits perfectly and is on its way to becoming a TNT pattern).

I cut into some expensive slinky knit and a different pattern. Oh I should have just slapped myself silly! I know better. Three hours later I had a very expensive wadder. It was so bad I cut it all apart and will selvage what I can for a tank top. There were a couple of silver linings though. The first is the Pfaff sewing machine handles knits better than ANYTHING I have ever sewn on. The second is it sent me back down to the looms for some weaving. I was having a grand time there too until I broke a floating selvage on the overshot pattern. The runner is of a size I don't have a temple for, so I need to repair it and work up a temple with some weights and alligator clips to get me by.

Speaking of (or writing as the case may be), one size, I learned again one food does not suit all puppies. Poor Robin has had quite the on again, off again battle with the runs. He has been checked out 9 ways from Sunday, not a worm, not a bit of bacteria, no fever, nothing. So it was time I took some action and the first thing I did was look at the food. Wellness makes an excellent quality puppy food but sometimes, no matter how good a food is, it just doesn't settle with a particular pups tummy. It was time for a change and that's what we did. I've switched him over to Halo and hoping that this suits him better, seems to so far, but we are weaning off the rice and bland cooked chicken slowly. Of course he is still a playful mischievous puppy.

He has climbed up the training ladder and has his sleeping crate in the bedroom now. We have a couple of peeps when he first goes in and then, like the smart little tyke he is, he curls up for night. He is also learning to wear a collar, something Stella abhorred.
He is much easier about it than she was.

Parting shots: Happiness is a Warm Puppy, even for an old cat...;)

Friday, June 24, 2011


It's no secret I like multiples of things. A lot of times it's curiosity, the greener grass on the other side. Other times, I like something so much, I need to have more than one. Hence the many animals that call Camp Runamuck home.

I have 3 floor looms and each has a purpose, although right now they all share a single goal, to get working! I won't tell you exactly how many sewing machines I have in the stable right now (some will be moved along), but it will come as no surprise that another one has shown up. Yep, I was so impressed with the Pfaff my folks bought I needed to find one for myself with the wonderful IDT/dual feed system.

I have been stalking eBay since I returned home and finally, an affordable option presented itself. An older (early to mid 90's) Pfaff Varimatic 6091, also known as the Stretch & Jeans machine. This was a precursor to my folks machine, mechanical with a limited array of standard utility stitches

and the coveted IDT system.

It was like brand new coming out of the box. If it had more than 3 hours of sewing time on it, I would be surprised. Here it has already produced a little summer top out of a skirt I decided to recycle and has another shirt in process.

It's wonderful and I can go forth into the world of silks and other slippery fabrics with a new found confidence. That top feed foot, which works in perfect union with the lower feed dogs is such a boon with fussy piecing or difficult fabrics. The motor is smooth and the piercing power is excellent. It will go through multiple layers of heavy fabrics and the feed system is strong enough to move it all along perfectly

So too arrived some patterns I found on sale.

Hotpatterns are expensive. These were a tad over $5 each at, the Kwiksew patterns are both for knits. I really, really need to get my chops up in that department and find some good go to patterns for tees and tops.

Robin continues to wiggle his way into our hearts. He is a sweet puppy, less pushy than Stella and quite mellow with the other dogs. He isn't seen hanging off Uncle Smoochie's cheek or biting his ears. Smoochie, as always, is being the wonderful tolerant uncle he was to Stella. They all like to curl up together. Robin is much kinder to the cat but he does save some of his puppy energy for big sis Stella, which is only fitting as far as I am concerned. Payback! He is finally going into his crate at night quietly. Nothing like a schedule and some backbone to get that one important training aid done. I don't crate him during the day when I am home and can watch him, but at night he has to learn to sleep through quiet and clean. We're on our way! He had his first puppy check up Tuesday. He is 8 weeks, 3.8lbs, born on April 28 and very good about getting his nails trimmed. :)

Rather than blather on, I'll give you what you really want, puppy pics! Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Three Ring Circus

Oh heavens, Robin is not the prim perfect puppy Stella was THAT'S for sure. Not since Fat Sam was a puppy so good and easy. Not that Robin is bad, he's just more outspoken, shall we say, about the way things are being run here.

There is a fair amount of Stella in him though and a lot of Robin we need to get to know.

Dennett soldiers on, slower and maybe a little fussier. Sleep cradles him about 20 hours out of every day, but when he's up he's up. We still do our daily "crawl" and there is enough moxie in him still to sass at me, especially when it's toe nail clipping time. He can take that paw back at lightening speed still. But we don't live by dog alone, although it may seem so.

On the sewing front, BR (before Robin) I did get a few things made up. This is the very emerald linen/rayon blend you saw in one of the previous pics. It became a wearable muslin for one of the HotPatterns pants patterns. I can't say that every one of their tops has been a winner, but the pants sure have.

Very few changes needed on these. They fit well and I can see this pattern making some yummy and comfortable chinos. Maybe a pair out of baby wale corduroy?

Next up I finally used some fabric that had been in my stash since 1995. Seriously, this was a reissue of a vintage French fabric and when it came out I bought 3 yards of it. It was expensive then, around $20.00 per yard and it is a beautiful tightly woven cotton, like a heavy percale. I used it for the Petite Plus Pattern Yoked Blouse.

The assembly went smoothly. The two things that caused me problems on the first blouse ( sleeve set and yoke) went off without a hitch. The fit, as with all the PPP's so far, is perfect. I added some cute flower trim to the sleeves just for something a little special since it was hard cutting into this fabric. I am oh so glad I did.

I have done a very little weaving because I have been using my usual weaving time to ride, and I've had some nice ones. It's time consuming getting everyone into shape. Dandy is really out of shape. He went on a handful of rides last year and has lost a ton of muscle along his back. Slow workouts for him, lots of hill work, a fair amount of trot work and miles of good walking. Cooper is just tubby and we need to condition him back up too. Nick needs remedial steering work. Rather than put Imp under saddle I've decided to sell him. I only have so many hours in the day and barely have time for keeping the three rideable horses familiar with saddle and bridle let alone putting in the work on a green horse. The horse market is tough, I'm just hoping to find him a great home.

Parting shot: I'm Just as Cute as Stella

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Or maybe a better title might be Love's Labour Sent! It is Father's Day and I promised a shot of the "custom" made gift. It's really nothing much but I had fun making it and thinking about lunch shared at one of my Dad's favorite haunts. You can see what the star of their menu is right here.

Sushi! When I saw this fabric I knew I had to do something with it. Here it is paired with a pretty and very masculine dark blue grey shot cotton. It also makes for a very soft pillowcase.

So how did I come up with the title for this post anyway?

This passage might give a hint as one of Titania's fairies recognizes Puck for the sprite call'd Robin Goodfellow
Are not you he
That frights the maidens of the villagery;
Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn;
And sometimes make the drink to bear no barm;
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that Hobgoblin call you and sweet Puck,
You do their work. and they shall have good luck;
Are not you he?

Let me introduce you to he. ;)

You might notice a family resemblance. Little Robin ( and he might end up being called Hob because he is a SUCH little imp) is a full brother to Stella. And like Stella,
just as fascinated with Rodger the cat.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

For Every Winner

There is a loser in sports and so it was last night in Vancouver. I hoped for the best and planned for the worst and was very happily surprised. It was a fantastic series, all heart stopping seven games of it. Congratulations Boston Bruins! And congratulations to the Vancouver Canucks, for bringing so much blood, sweat and tears. "Almost" is tough.

On other news, I am feeling much better and have been enjoying these late spring days
riding as much as I can. Come the weekend I'll have more stuff to report on, but for now this is it.

Parting shot: Eye See You

Sunday, June 12, 2011


What a beautiful week weather wise and a crappy week to have a head cold. I have managed to keep on keeping on, some weaving, some riding (head cold or not it's always good for the soul), and some gift making. The key word there is gift, a Father's Day gift. While it has left the building, it won't be opened until a week from today assuming the honor system is still in place. I suspect one or both of my folks may have peeked at a gift from time to time...or maybe that's me? ;)
In any event, I do have pictures and will share, next Sunday.

Other than the usual stuff, not much going on here. I have spent more time than I would like parked in bed next to a Kleenex box. The upside has been more time to read
George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones epic series and I mean epic. This has been a
guilty pleasure for sure. I started the series in MA and each book runs somewhere around 700-1000 pages. I'm on the 4th book of the series at present. I haven't enjoyed a fantasy series this much since Harry Potter and before that, The Dragons of Pern series many years ago. It's not often I dip into this genre for reading, but when I do, I thoroughly absorb it. (Can't wait for HBO to release the series on disc). I think the dogs have enjoyed the down time too. They all troop up to rest with me while I read, nap or sew. Not unexpected after being gone a month.
I'm on a short leash I guess!

Parting shot: As above, so below.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Little New Inspiration

I weave with cotton quite often, it's inexpensive in comparison to many other fibers, usually washable and certainly durable in most weave structures. When weaving I often do a test strip at the beginning, checking my threading, my treadling and color combinations etc. The strip usually runs about 8 inches into the warp and comes off
under the heading of waste. So it was with great delight I spied this book. Quilting: Line + Color by Japanese artist Yoshiko Jinzenji.

Simple, colorful and oh, what a super way to use up some of those woven test strips.

Now I haven't bought a quilting book in years. Just nothing appealed to me enough to want to go to the trouble but this one hit all the buttons.

Clean uncomplicated lines both in construction and quilting and small pops of color giving it all a very contemporary feel and a great way to up cycle both some garment scraps and weaving scraps. A winner in my library for sure!

Parting Shots: Time for Work

Her Masters Voice

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fabric Pairings

So, it's no secret I like fiber and fabric and to that end, I added just a wee bit to my stash. My fabric stash is quite small really, everything earmarked for a specific type of project. So let's go over what's in progress and what is earmarked.

The floral/camo sateen cotton from Joann's (not the greatest quality) was inexpensive
and became a wearable muslin for a first run on the HotPatterns Scarf Blouse.

It's okay, I'm not in love with it and in all fairness the pattern calls for a more drapey fabric than this but I have issues with some of the construction of the garment. I'll do a second shirt from it, making adjustments to the sleeve pleating and a nicer cuff construction and see if it works out. I am using a lovely plain silk scarf I own instead of one made from the camo fabric.

I also tried a new Sewing Workshop pants pattern.

It too needs some work to be a winner. The cut is completely different from the Trio pants and while it fits nicely in some areas, it could use work in others. The length from hip to waist is WAY too long for me, so I need to hack off at least an inch there and since it is a front seamed pant with no side seam, it needs just a bit more ease added at the hip. I increased the length since I really don't like cropped pants all that much. While I used a medium weight linen for this first pair, I might like to try a stretch bottom weight cotton for a second run through. The pattern itself has no pockets, so I added pockets because pants without them just won't do!

Now onto the pairings! First up is some lovely Japanese heavier weight cotton in black and tan. This will be for the TNT Trio pant pattern, and some lovely sale cotton for my favorite HotPatterns Shirt.

I could use a dozen of these and by gum, I might just come close.

The second pairing is a lovely drapey linen and rayon blend in a clear emerald green. Suit weight and there is enough to make pants and maybe a short jacket or semi-fitted vest. Along with it is some pretty cotton I picked up in Massachusetts.

It's a darn good match too if I say so myself. This will become one of the Petite Plus shirts, either Shapely or Yoked Blouse.

Since we are talking about pairings and sadly, I cannot get the parting shot up (note to self, when the upload is working put the parting shots up first!) I will draw your attention to last nights pairing of Boston Bruins to Vancouver Canucks. Oh my, what a game for Boston fans with the exception of the hard late hit that sent Ethan Horton to Mass General. Regardless of how the series ends up, Boston fans got a little bit (or is it bite?) of payback last night. GO BRUINS!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Filling In

Isn't he such a handsome dog! I can't begin to tell you how happy I was to see him.
And thank you all for thinking of him.

Well, just so you know, pictures are almost impossible to upload. I don't think it's a blogger problem, more of a or modem problem, but blog on I will and I have a few that made it on.
Just a bit more on the vacation. I did get to use the Harrisville Collingwood rug loom.
It gave me MUCH more respect for weaving rugs that's for sure. It's big, it's heavy and it does amazing things with the shaft switching. You get quite the workout too!
I made a small sample using brown and blue and the shaft switching. Of course, no pics of that. BUT, I also made some towels in a waffle weave variation. My towel is on the left. The big white and blue waffle weave towels my Dad made and gifted me with one.

There was also sewing! My Mom has an ancient Kenmore, and not in a good way.
It's just an old kind of funky running machine and now that it is getting use sewing handwovens, I steered my Dad to a newer machine that might serve well for making hems and such a little easier. He doesn't need whistles and bells, but a good straight stitch and a good zig zag are always handy. I didn't want anything too complicated because my mother uses the machine from time to time for hemming. The household ended up with a Pfaff Select 3.0. Why? It's mechanical so pretty straightforward in function, has stitches for both woven and stretch and the real selling point, the IDT system. The presser foot feeds in sync with the feed dogs like a walking foot. This means that both layers feed through together, stitching perfectly. Something nice to have with slippery or heavy fabrics especially when hemming. Bonus, we found a fantastic sale on it locally. I bought some all cotton interlock knit and made myself a swingy vest to test the machine out. The vest was fun and I fell in love with the IDT system.

I came home with all sorts of goodies, a little cotton fabric, some clothing etc. My folks gifted me with a fabulous print from a shop in Portsmouth NH. The print titled Portsmouth Tugs is the top left here. I will be taking it down for framing in the next couple of weeks. A new radio and ipod dock also followed me back to Oregon. Cambridge Soundworks makes a fine radio similar to the Bose tabletop one. My Dad had a spare complete with ipod dock ( and an extra set of Bose headphones too). I bought an ipod Nano to complete the set, green of course! Thanks Mom and Dad. I so needed something better than the 15 year old boom box with the chewed cord and wired on antenna!

In other news there, the boats all got in the water but sadly, the weather was just as crappy there as here and there was no tooling around the harbor during this visit.
They did pack me up with a lobster roll from Rowand's Fish Market. It was delicious
and made a bumpy flight bearable. You gotta love their motto too. I have two hats with it on it. One for going to town, one I wear around the farm.

In answer to Susan's comment about the Bruins-Canucks playoff series. It was a fluke goal! ;) GO BRUINS!!! Seriously, they are pretty evenly matched, regardless who wins they will have earned it.

And last, here is the Stella fix. Cute as ever.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Long Time-No See

Finally, some time to start in again on the blog, so let's get to it. ;)

The trip was WONDERFUL! There was great food, both old favorites and new. If you like fish and ever see Skate on the menu, trust me, try it. Lobsters clacked their claws in fear at my arrival and I had my fair share and then some.

There was weaving and sewing, exhibits, shopping, gift goodies, good movies and lots of excitement. Those dang play-off hockey games had us all on the edges of our seats. Go Bruins!

I got to feel useful by cleaning out closets and freezers and skiffs. Lots of time to rest and recharge with naps and reading and upon my return, Dennett was waiting for me still. With the new meds he's acting more like a 15 year old than an 18 year old.

I hit the ground running when I touched down in Oregon. The house needed to be attended to and Gene needed some free time after doing such a good job with the animals. I needed a little time to get back in the swing and find my mojo again. Frankly the weather is still like it was in March and April, AWFUL, but compared to what others are going through this wet stormy year, I have nothing to really complain about.

It's good to be back and I'll fill you all in on some more details next post and pictures. Blogger has been difficult at best with uploading pics, but I didn't want to let it go any longer before posting. It's good to be back.