Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Frustration of Francine

 I would love to give a glowing report of the Merchant & Mills Francine top and dress, but I can't. It's not awful, it's just not very good.

 Years ago I had ordered their Trapeze dress and it suffered from the same problem, as does their Dress Shirt pattern. Low, ill fitting armholes. The shoulders in a size 16 become football player proportion, the sleeve still a tight narrow tube and the armhole is so low, that even raising your arms past your waist lifts the top and the sleeve head strangles your upper arm. Then there was that cute collar and facing that attracted me in the first place. Honestly, I have never seen something so simple so overworked.
Anyway, on iteration #2 I did my own thing. Sandwiched the finished collar between facing and blouse. SO much easier. I adjusted the armholes and sleeves and still just didn't find the thing comfortable or flattering. I cut the sleeves off and will just bias bind them, have a serviceable sleeveless top and be done with it.

Now the Jalie Rose pattern is another story. The beauty of that pattern makes up for all the crappiness of the M&M pattern. Here is the second rendition. I had it on before I could snap pics, so this is what you got.

The Cashmerette Springfield top is another winner. When I was putting it together I thought the neckline was going to be an utter fail. To my surprise, while it is wide, it lays beautifully and close.

I opted for the shapely Version B with the back seaming and the fit was pretty darn good right out of the envelope.

 My only adjustment next go round will to bring the waist up about an inch. I have good luck with this pattern company and their size range and drafting is very good!

I have a flock of little grey sheep now on the towels.

Once that is done, we'll have some Baa Baa Black ones too! I guess I'll give them white faces.

I sold the Gilmore Reel, and am awaiting the new behemoth Leclerc. Tracking says delivery tomorrow. I will start in this weekend on winding the endless blanket warp for Mongo.
Who BTW got his own little piece of art as all my looms do.

Believe me, I have kept myself from painting some fancy black scroll work on him......

And there has been some band weaving on the deck, complete with hummingbirds buzzing around and birds chirping merrily at the feeders.

The real news is all the pretty fiber arriving for this years Tour de Fleece!

I have missed the last two years due to life beyond my control, but this year I am on two teams, The Warped Weaver's Team and the Ashford team, both on Ravelry. I love this more than Spinzilla I think. There is no counting, no keeping track of yards etc., just spin and have fun every day they are riding.

 I love the low key aspect of that. I have one last pile of fiber to arrive. A merino/angora blend. Woot! A new one for me to try.

I'm leaving you with Blood, Sweat & Tears, Spinning Wheel, of COURSE! :-)

Parting shot: Miss Dachshund Calendar Girl of 2018.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Time for Some Bold Color

This summer, we are having our foyer, hallway and kitchen floors ripped out and instead of wood, tile is being installed. We have to do the ripping out, someone else will do the tile. But after all that stuff is done, I really need to freshen up the rest of the kitchen. The cabinets, walls and island. I'm going about as far away from any traditional color like Jadite/1940's green and doing something a bit more bold.

Dark red for the island, might lean more towards a poppy red. A saturated orange for the lower bank of cabinets and for the uppers, a taupe/grey neutral. The walls will be light with just a hint of orange in the tint. The new tiles are a light mix of beige and grey mimicking travertine. The cabinet and island paints will have to be ordered in a satin oil paint. NOTHING lasts like oil even though I hate having to use mineral spirits to save my brushes.

Actually, I make Gene handle that odious chore. I do all the painting after all! ;-)

So, I was excited to get sewing on new patterns. The first one I grabbed was the new Jalie Rose shirt. A classic women's button-down sleeveless shirt with collar and stand and a nice deep back yoke. I have to say the fit and drafting were excellent.

 This fit right out of the envelope, no adjustments needed. not even to the darts! I am impressed.
(I've also had to collapse Rhonda to reflect my new sizing). When they say relaxed fit they mean it, like most of us this shirt nicely gives a bit more fullness at the hips. I didn't have to draft it in. The length is good, the collar and stand petite and well crafted.

I love it and that's saying something since I'm not usually a fan of collared, button down shirts. Another one is already cut out in the cute Dala horse print.

 The only change I am going to make is to trim out a bit of the front of the armhole. I do a lot of forward reaching when I weave, so I like the armhole to accommodate that.

Today I'm going to tackle the Merchant & Mills Francine.

A little weaving has gone on, a little flitting about. If anyone is interested I am selling my Gilmore Warping Reel at a very good price. Sigh....with the large Macomber and Buttercup, I see a great need for some truly long warps, especially for Buttercup. She is a pain to thread and at two shafts there is no point in putting short runs on her, all you get IS plain weave after all. I found a large Leclerc floor model mill, 4 yards around that will make short work of long warps! Then it's onto the big blanket warp for Mongo. I'm leaning towards a canvas weave in my 4/2 cream cotton.

I'm leaving you with something a little lighthearted because, well, the USA is becoming unrecognizable to me. Besides calling and protesting and such there is very little I can do, until November. Our power is mighty then. Everyone, register to vote please! Just do it, you'll feel better.
Hear/Here you go!

Parting shot: All Hail! Prince of the Pillows!!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Duck Duck Goose!

You know the game, whoever you touch when you say "GOOSE!" is it! They have to either catch you before you take their vacated seat in the circle or go through the whole duck, duck thing and on and on. Well, it was like that with the looms this weekend. If you got goosed, you became "it" and had to move. The Louet looks quite at home

out in the back studio with Buttercup.

extra Monga shafts hanging on pegs

The two Macombers are indeed facing each other with shared bench

and Mongo (the link takes you to his namesake), is all set up, complete with lights, 8 shafts and 21 treadles.

The Loom Sherpa needs to shorten his rear friction brake by quite a bit since this plain beam has a much smaller circumference than the 3/4 yard sectional his previous owner preferred.

The little Saori Piccolo loom came out from hiding too.

 Oh and look, we finally got the blinds I ordered a while ago hung.

Just in time for summer, although you would never know it was June by our recent weather. Quite chilly. We've had to start Rube two days in the last week it's been that raw!

This morning before house cleaning I made a grand mess cutting patterns and fabric. The Merchant & Mills pattern has its fabric cut and is in a basket awaiting sewing as does, the Cashmerette Springfield top, the Style Arc Jodie and a new one from Jalie, the Rose, a classic sleeveless blouse.

The other pattern is to give a go at some fun sewing for my friends at the veterinary clinic. This pattern was so stylish for a uniform top I figured I could knock a few out for friends if the sizing and drafting were accurate. We'll see.

And since I rarely do anything by half measure, I bought the whole enchilada of Janet Clare books.

 I was so smitten with Freya and Fred I discovered she had a few more wonderful collections I had to have. Here is a link to her Etsy store.

I've had a nice productive weekend as you can see, sadly Gene has had nothing but heartache this weekend. It's not easy being a first responder/fire and rescue chief for a small community. Sooner or later, someone you know is going to be on the bad end of a call. So it was last night when total asshattery struck. Alcohol, motorcycles and speed are never a good mix. One local guy has been racing these roads at speeds up to 100mph for a few weeks. I hear him, we all hear him, add a local girl and let's make the two of them drunker than monkey's uncle, oh and add in a baby. They showed up at the local inn/restaurant. The folks there convinced them at least to leave the baby if they were going riding again at 10:00pm last night. They tried to wrangle the keys to the bike to no avail. Between our driveway and Tub Springs, (map here if anyone is interested.), a mere two miles from the inn, they crashed. Gene was on the scene very quickly, both paralyzed, the girl probably won't make it. She had to be intubated on scene, is in a coma and probably has severe brain and spinal damage. Her parents are flying out from Colorado. Imagine what they must be going through? So this is the kind of summer it's starting to be. Sadness, suicide and stupidity.

Tomorrow is beautification day, I get a haircut. I might even treat myself to new socks or some yarn or...? I'll bring Gene home a sweet treat, maybe a chocolate raspberry torte or some other equally decadent confection. Something.

I'm leaving you with an old traditional by Leadbelly.

Parting shot: More troops at Fort Pillow

Friday, June 15, 2018

Mongo Has Arrived

And he's big and travels with a HUGE accessory entourage! The Loom Sherpa spent about 20 hours this week, picking up a van, driving hours down to the San Francisco Bay area and back to chauffeur Mongo home, and then another couple of hours on the van return.

Mongo himself has 23 treadles, 16 shafts, 4 beams of two different configurations, 4 reeds, lights fore and aft and some serious attitude. At a 56 inch weaving width (70" overall) he commands attention in the studio. It doesn't help that parts are strewn all over the floor and such right now. This weekend I'll work on getting him together. I probably won't hang all 16 shafts, maybe get to know each other with something in 8 shafts to start with. He's going to need a bench too so I'm on the lookout for a nice used adjustable one. I love my Schacht bench and he and Nick might have to share for a bit. I'm wondering if it is worth it to put the two Macs in the studio together with the fronts facing each other, that way I can just scoot the bench a few feet from one loom to another.

As you can see the dogs are terribly excited about a new loom. Gene looked about the same.... ;-)

Besides loom pick up there has been a bit of weaving on various warps and very little sewing. I had a pattern on the table that I was avoiding because I neither liked the fabric nor the pattern and finally made the decision to shelve the whole project and start in on something I was excited about! I have new patterns to share.

The Merchant & Mills Francine is already cut out and a light blue linen has been pulled for a test run.

I have some bright white cotton poplin for the Style Arc Phoebe shirt and a natural and white linen mix for the Jodie pinafore. I can see this being a nice pattern for winter done in a snug wool or corduroy with a long sleeve blouse underneath. I have many choices for the Cashmerette pattern, some lightweight cottons that have been marinating far too long.

I simply lost last weekend. I was terribly saddened by Anthony Bourdain's suicide. His book "Kitchen Confidential" opened up a whole new book genre to me, one that I enjoyed immensely. I loved his shows ( No Reservations and Parts Unknown), too and caught them when I could. I binge watched some of the best run on CNN. Please note that at the top of the links now is one for suicide prevention.

In honor of Tony, I'm offering up one of his favorite artists, Curtis Mayfield.

Parting shot: Just Jack.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Oh Put a Rug Under It!

I can make any loom creep mostly due to our hardwood floors. Both Buttercup and Nick were really lurching around on the painted floor in the back studio so I took advantage of Overstocks Memorial Day sale and bought a rug.

 If you haven't shopped for rugs online lately, plan on spending a lot of time. There are hundreds of them. This one screamed bring me home the minute I laid eyes on it.

It's bright, whimsical, off sets Buttercup to full advantage and doesn't take itself too seriously. It was also priced pretty nicely too.

And don't you know one good rug leads to another. I had grown tired of my blah sewing salon rug and figured why not have something bolder and more interesting?

 I found this one on Wayfair, also on sale and with free shipping. The old rug will get recycled into the basement like all old rugs do.

There has been a lot of weaving related stuff going on. Placemats hemmed and ready for gifts,

 new warps being woven on. I am loving these sheep towels.

They are the perfect combo of intense concentration when doing the sheep and easy and fast plain weave through the body of the towel.

Buttercup has her last rag placemat warp on, although......they are fun to weave.

 I'm thinking maybe a cotton log cabin rug run after this. Haven't decided but you can be sure she won't be warp-less for long.

I was supposed to be unveiling the new big 56" Macomber "Mongo" but due to UHaul's crappy vehicle which never made it out of Ashland Wednesday, we will all have to wait until next week when we try again. Humpf!

A few pretty new cottons made it into the salon last week too.

 There are a lot of really lovely blue's this year in the fabric lines so I guess I'm stocking up. A lightweight denim also made it into stash for about a day and is now on the sewing table being transformed into summer trousers.

I found some wonderful new project bags on Etsy, of course! These two are destined for loom parts.

The badger for the Macomber and the gnomes for the Rio Grande. The maker is here and she has some fabulous designs, all very nicely priced.

Around the farm everyone is getting into the summer vibe.

Terriers gotta dig.

Horses nap in the late morning sun.

Dogs get walked.

Dogs get compared to roasts.

Flowers bloom regardless of neglect.

And since the start of summer is always sweetest, here is a fitting song. When was the last time you heard it? I know it''s been a lotta years for me.

Parting shots: Mus relocation program. On their way to new woodsy digs.