Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hasta La Vista!

Working like a beaver here trying to get things ready to leave at the crack of dawn Sunday morning. When we have a house-sitter I always want things to be just a little bit cleaner and nicer for them. You know how it is. Anyway we have 2 floors done and dusted (literally), the top one of which is my studio and study, aka The Sweatshop, and the basement which houses the laundry, dye studio, wine-making cellar, granny’s grow-op and the woodworking studio. Next up is the main floor which of course we’re still using – to pack and to live in for the next 3 days. Also this includes the rooms that take the most work to clean – the kitchen and the bathroom. They are also the ones which we need to use right up until we step out the door. And of course I would like to tidy up the garden too, at least a little. Hey, I’m tired just typing all this.

Speaking of gardens, the scrats squirrels are now munching on my zucchinis and anything else they can get their paws on. I give up. I’m picking what I can and leaving the rest to fend for itself. We’ve tried an animal repellent and if it worked at all it was only short term. Hard to tell really. At least the heavier net bags that I put over the grapes helped keep them safer. There’s a few bite marks (could also be rats) but the majority are still edible. Yay! At least one strategy worked. This is the first year in ages that we’ve had more than a couple of grapes from our vine. I’ve figured out the type of vegetable net that works best (finer mesh but thicker strands) so I’ll be saving those up for future use.

Enough complaints. So lets have some FOs now, shall we? First up there’s the regular indigo/Japanese indigo dyeing that I did a couple of weeks ago. On top is my favourite piece, the Mokume (it means wood grain) Moon Hankie:

Indigo Hankies1

This was really easy: draw a circle and cover it with straight lines about 1/2” apart. Stitch rows with straight stitches, gather tightly, tie and dye. The other hankie is the only one I did with the itajime (folded and clamped between two plastic squares) technique. The others were all stitched shibori except for the “bubbles” hankie that was wrapped around a string which was then tied in a donut:

Indigo Hankies2

I didn’t get particularly good penetration of the dye even though I massaged everything under the dye surface and left it in adequately long enough. I still love these hankies though. Very classy to blow one’s nose on!

And here’s the Amiga Sweater in slub rayon yarn that I had originally dyed in my Japanese indigo and this time overdyed again in regular natural indigo:

Indigo Amiga Sweater

It’s a few shades darker now but not as dark as I had hoped. And ditto for the scarf, handwoven in India, that I also overdyed:

Woad and Indigo Scarf

I promise to leave these items alone now and just leave them be the colour they want to be! Enough already.

Also you might remember the 40+ Blogger Meetup adventure where I purchased this batik quilting fabric at the Cloth Shop on Granville Island:

IMG_2449 Photo courtesy of Spygirl.

And here is the finished Damselfly Vest:

Damselfly Vest

Was that sewing-up speedy-quick or what? See the back where I added a little pop of red on the field of cavorting damselflies:

Damselfly Vest back

The buttons and the red contrast fabric were lurking in the stash for millennia. (OK, at least since the last millennium!) It was already cut into an Issey Miyake shirt that wouldn’t fit me now but the pattern pieces fit perfectly so I didn’t have to jigsaw them together. The pattern is Katherine Tilton’s B5891 View B:

B5891 View B line

Because I’ve made this before it already has my shoulder and armhole adjustments. This time I lengthened the body 3” by creating my own lengthen/shorten lines on the pattern pieces since there weren’t any printed. And again I left out the tucks on the peplum. I like this length much better than the original which I always want to tug down.

You might not notice but the right side pieces (both front and back) are cut with the damselflies flying upside down. Of course they could definitely fly that way but can the drops of water fall up into the pond? To be honest, I didn’t notice that the print was directional while I was cutting it out. I was just trying to fit the bazillion pattern pieces on a rather small length of rather pricey fabric! Now you can’t un-see my kamikaze damselflies, can you?

I even got an unsolicited compliment on this vest on its first outing today from a shoe shop salesperson. I think she was a bit shocked when I thanked her and said that I’d made it. Oh and then I saw the shoes to covet! Unfortunately $210 (on sale even) was too much for my meagre budget. Of course now I can’t find the brand but they were I think Dutch-made? I’d describe it as a rubber-soled black leather flat with a multi-strapped ankle band that fastened with velcro. Not enough support or padding for me but adorable anyway. Sigh. I’m just too picky about shoes. They have to be a little bit fun and funky. They have to fit properly. They have to have proper support. They have to be very flat. They have to be reasonably affordable. And I have to find them locally because I won’t mail-order shoes. Doesn’t leave a lot of choices there.

Nevermind. On with the show. We got an official refund for our campsite reservation in Kettle Valley. Apparently much of the campground is still there but it’s a little singed around the edges. The fire is still not contained. The guy who threw the cigarette out the window that started it all should be…think of something suitably nasty as punishment. And double it. We aren’t sure where we’re going to end up on Day 1 but we’re going anyway.

So here’s hoping I have all the navigational aids that I need to get us where we’re going and home again. Chances are I won’t be getting much in the way of wifi anywhere. (We’ll be lucky to get an occasional hot shower!) It’s actually kind of nice to be un-tethered for a month or so. (Yes, I keep telling myself that so I don’t start twitching!) If I can post I will but if you don’t hear from me for the duration, not to worry – I’ll have a metric tonne of things to babble at you about when we get back at the end of September!

Adiós, amigas!

Monday, August 17, 2015

One Marathon Ends & Another Begins

I’m absolutely done with sewing! At least for a couple of months. I made 11 garments in total: 6 tops, 1 pant, 2 leggings and 2 vests. Some were simple and some were more challenging. Four were Katherine Tilton’s and one was an adaptation of hers. One was Marcy Tilton’s and three were my own TNT patterns. Only two were regular non-designer patterns. They were all pretty satisfying to make though I had issues with the extreme stretchiness of both the bamboo/lycra and the ribbed poly/lycra. I hope I will get lots of wear out of everything but only time will tell.

I played with my tripod and camera for most of these shots. Can’t say I’m any more pleased with them than with Thom’s efforts. Oh well. I need the documentation so I’ll just have to forego any concern about how silly I look!

First up, the Snakeskin Top, Katherine Tilton’s B6101:

Snakeskin Top

I really like this one, asymmetrical wonky pockets and all!

B6101 line

The fabric, a fairly stable and spongy but still drapey poly/lycra novelty knit, works really well. I played with the pattern pieces’ grainlines to prevent the snakeskin pattern from just all being vertical. And the back:

Snakeskin Top back

I’m wearing this top with my KwikSew 2797 leggings in the poly/lycra rib. This is supposed to be capri length! More like 3/4 length on me. I also had to make the same changes to this pattern as I did to the Pumpkin tights (V9108) and take in the legs, tapering from the crotch to the knee and then straight down to the cuff. Oh, remember the Leggings Wars? I think this pattern won – but only by a whisker. The difference? The waist is a little more comfortable: a little higher and more contoured plus the back seam is angled more. Since I had to do the same re-fitting with the legs, they don’t count in the final score. Now I have a TNT leggings pattern! Not to mention that I totally wish I had bought 4 more metres of this $2-per-m fabric. It won’t be there by the time I can get back to Dressew. I could use more pairs of these.

After I made the B6101 top I knew exactly what my Japanese brick-coloured sweatshirt fabric was going to become. I didn’t think it was drapey enough for the funky folded pocket part so I just used the other side with the princess seam and mirrored it. Also straightened out the hem and hem bands and brought in the neckline at the sides by 1/2” each side (it felt too wide). It has more of a bubble thing going on than the original version:

Arches Sweatshirt

But it’s cosy! I’m calling it the Arches Sweatshirt because both the colour and the pocket shapes remind me of Arches National Park in Utah (where we will be going again for the 3rd time!). Here’s the back:

Arches Sweatshirt back

Also notice the pants which are my TNT stretch pants in the poly/lycra rib. A very plain garment but one I will wear the heck out of. That’s the reason I cloned my original pair of ready-to-wear pants because I loved them so much I didn’t want them to disappear.

Which brings me to the last piece I made in the poly/lycra rib, B5954 in the sleeveless View A. It will probably be worn more as a jumper as here:

Tail Top

As you can see, this one gave me problems. I had issues with seams rippling especially the long curved hem. This fabric would not press flat and my iron-on stabilizer wouldn’t stick well at all. I actually hand-basted the armholes and neckline which just have a narrow hem and not bands or facings. However they still stretched out just enough so I had to take in the underarm seams about 1/2” to compensate. Oh well. Another learning experience and I’ll probably still wear this thing to death even if it isn’t much of an advertisement for my sewing skillz.

Back view shows the sweeping tail:

Tail Top back

I have one more piece that I didn’t get photographed yet. I’m in full-on packing and cleaning mode now though so you’ll be lucky to get it on Debbie Double!

I did get Thom to photograph me in my knitted Periwinkle Necklace Cami:

Periwinkle Necklace Cami2

We tried a new venue, the neighbour’s fence in our back alley. Nobody was there, right? Hah! The minute we started, a girl walked down the alley chuckling that she has the same problem posing for Instagram. Then the neighbour and her sister drove up in two separate cars and wanted to tell us all about her garage break-in and blah-blah. Then another car wants to get down the alley and the sisters’ cars are in the way. Suddenly it’s rush hour. Sheesh.

So what can you do? Be silly of course:

Periwinkle Necklace Cami

I actually like this top much better than I thought I would after all the fussing with the pattern and ripping and re-knitting. And the intense blue-heading-towards-violet colour, although it’s not one that shows up in my closet, is one of my favourites visually. It’s the colour of all the doors on my house and garage after all. Another Good Thing made with my weaving yarn stash!

OK, the heat is on now. We have less than a week to get ready and we’re both still feeling crap. We’ll have to pace ourselves and what doesn’t get done, just doesn’t. In case you were wondering, they’ve opened Highway 3 so we don’t have to come up with alternative plans. I think it’s going to be smoky for awhile though. Right now there’s a slow speed limit and debris but hopefully that will be cleared soon. Unsurprisingly the fire was started by a cigarette. Grrr…

And speaking of GRRRRR…this beast and all his/her relatives are Public Enemy Number One around here:


They’ve already run out of my hazelnuts and walnuts (best nut year ever too! Sniff.) so now they’re digging into my beans, my butternut squash (already ruined 3 out of 5), the sunflowers and ripped the nets off the not-quite-ripe grapes and ate them too. If this keeps up I’m going to give up gardening. Seriously. Why feed the scrats instead of us? And some people actually think they’re cute??? Anybody know of any squirrel repellent that one can safely use in the vegetable garden?

Off to begin the crazy - tidying up my studio!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fly By

Just like the flock of geese that flew overhead honking loudly a few minutes ago, I’m checking in with a quick photo-less post.

First concern: we just learned yesterday that our first campsite reservation is caput. Basically because there currently is no campground since it has at least partially succumbed to a flash forest fire! Even worse, Highway 3 (AKA the Crowsnest) is also closed and it’s the only way to travel along BC’s southern border without going a very long way around either to the north or south through Washington State. We’re hoping that it will reopen before we need to travel eight days from now. Not sure what our alternative camp spot will be yet (and quite likely we won’t know until we get there) but somehow we need to travel most of the way across this very large province in two days to be at the next reserved campsite in time. We may have to leave early.

However, there’s no point in worrying or making new plans until we know for sure when the highway will open. Meanwhile we can’t help but feel for the campers at Kettle River who barely got out with their lives leaving their vehicles and equipment and escaping on foot. Firefighters didn’t even have a chance to apply retardant until it was too late. It’s not certain what is left but the whole area had to be evacuated including the little town of Rock Creek. I really don’t want to imagine how it would be if we had to leave our poor VW Westie like that! Yikes. There is no replacement for her. Absolutely everything is so very dry this year and this was ponderosa pine woodlands. Doesn’t take much to set it alight but they aren’t sure yet what caused this fire.

In more cheerful news, the Marathon of Making carries on and I’ve finished Garment #7 and halfway through #8. I think! I’m kind of losing count now. I’m actually having a really good time with this! I’m going to keep sewing until Sunday and get as far as I can (3-1/2 more garments ready to go) then quit and go on to the cleaning and packing. I’m feeling like there’s not nearly enough time to do what needs to get done before our self-imposed deadline. And we still aren’t feeling particularly well, both coughing and running out of steam too quickly. Oh well. One can only do what one can only do, right?

Hopefully I’ll have some new clothes to show off in my next post!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Marathon Continues

How annoying! Thom and I both have come down with some kind of bug – cough, congestion, postnasal drip, temperature fluctuations and all. Bleh. He is worse off than I am and since he so rarely gets sick, is very unhappy about it. Bare minimum watering and housework are getting done. However, I’m still on track for my sewing marathon. I’m not that sick unfortunately!

So where were we? Oh yeah, these two pieces are variations on the same pattern, my TNTee. First the gray Bamboo Tee that I already mentioned:

Bamboo Tee

This style, though simple, is great layered under other clothes if when it actually gets cool enough again. I lengthened this a bit and lowered the neckline slightly from my usual version. Also 3/4 length sleeves which are my very favourite length. The neckline finish is a little wonky. It should have been stretched a little more when I applied it. But the binding method does have some possibilities with more practice:

Bamboo Tee collar det

And this top I finished yesterday, the Snakeskin Tee:

Snakeskin Tee

I only had enough fabric left to make short sleeves but this beast is quite warm. And a little tight in the middle because the novelty poly knit doesn’t stretch that much. You can’t see them in the photo but I made small side slits and also used the interesting fuzzy selvedge as the sleeve and neckline finish:

Snakeskin Tee neck det

Today I hope to sew the other top that I’m making from this fabric, Katherine Tilton’s B6101. That’s the plan anyway.

Yup, it’s a veritable Katherine Tilton Festival around here! Monday’s project was her B6064 View A vest:

B6064 line

My fabric is a crinkly slightly iridescent poly which hopefully is at least a little water resistant for wearing in damp weather. I’m really happy with how this one turned out! I made a straight-up medium, no mods.

CrinkleVest front

CrinkleVest back

The pattern is deceptively simple but with subtle shaping and the instructions were excellent for once! It’s very easy to wear and every seam is completely finished inside. I particularly like the back stay which keeps it on my shoulders. It was a perfect place for a tag made from a scrap of the damselfly fabric:

CrinkleVest tag det

I also used my Czech glass damselfly button that I bought at Diva Yarn in Port Townsend to close the neck on the outside:

CrinkleVest button det

There’s a random coat button from the stash on the inside opposite shoulder. I certainly won’t have to worry that this vest will get wrinkled when I pack it for the trip! I was more worried that I’d end up ironing all the wrinkles out while pressing all the hems. Didn’t happen thankfully! They’re in there to stay. Super-successful and I may make this pattern again if I find the right fabric.

One last thing, I thought you might like to see the progress on the Blackberry Amiga sweater:

Blackberry Amiga

That big gap in the front gets filled in with the collar/band that is picked up and knitted outward all the way around both the fronts and neck. I don’t think I’m going to make the sleeves more than a row or two longer before binding them off for cap sleeves. This shows the yarn a little brighter than it really is but it wouldn’t photograph any more accurately. Think actual blackberries. Like the ones I could be picking off my back fence right now! Instead I’m off to the studio for yet more sewing. At least 4 more garments to go. The marathon continues…oh, wait! I said that already, didn’t I?

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Marathon of Making

Whew! I’ve been on a rather insane kick of making stuff before we head off on our Annual Trek. Less than two weeks to go! So much to do. No lazy summer days for this damselfly.

In the studio I prepped a bunch of patterns and cut out 10 garments. And now I’m attempting to sew them in groups of like colours so I can save time changing threads in the serger and sewing machine. I have no idea whether or not I’ll be able to finish the pile (and cut out a couple more that I’d like to get done too!) in time. But I’m going to get as far as I can before I have to start packing and cleaning the house for our house sitters.

I’ve finished 3 pieces so far: tights (Marcy Tilton’s V9108 View D), Katherine Tilton’s top (B5925 View A), and my own TNTee. The fabric is a thin bamboo-rayon/lycra knit in pumpkin orange and medium gray. Here’s a rather bad photo of the first two worn together:

Bamboo NotPajamas

I was moving around too much for the low light situation so it’s a bit blurry. Looks like pajamas, doesn’t it? Feels like it too! Perhaps I won’t wear these pieces together out of the house. Heh. This is the first of the Battle of the Leggings Patterns and although the size M fit well at the top, I needed to take the leg seams in by morphing between the M at the crotch to the XS from the knee down to accommodate my chicken legs. Plus I added 2” to the waist height and subtracted 2” from the length. The waist sits where I like it but as you can see I probably could take another inch off the hems where they bag. And these tights are only mid-calf length on the pattern models! They are eleventy-feet tall, right? Either that or I’m even shorter than I thought.

The top was adjusted at the shoulder, armhole and sleeve cap as I mentioned in the last post. Fits me perfectly! However some reviewers mentioned that the pockets in this style tend to bag oddly. Yes, they do! And there’s no way to solve that unless I put buttons or something to hold them up. I think it would show less in a print but it doesn’t really bother me that much. Just another funky thing to go with the twisted neckline and pocket hems.

The last garment I sewed (also in the gray bamboo) was my TNTee that I used to adjust this with so it fits exactly the same in those areas. I lengthened the body to just past crotch level and made 3/4-length sleeves. For the first time I tried Katherine Tilton’s single-layer wrap-around binding method for the neckline finish. It’s described in the Knits for Real People book and demonstrated on their T-Shirt Craftsy class. Mine came out a little looser than I’d like but acceptable. Sorry I haven’t photographed this simple long tee yet.

Sewing the bamboo/lycra was like herding cats! It’s soooo stretchy that it’s hard to get a seam that doesn’t ripple or pop especially on the cross-grain. I got better at handling it towards the end of the last of the 3 projects. It figures, eh? I still have a little of each left which will eventually become undies. But on to the next sewing project.

As well as the marathon sewing I hosted my Spectrum Study Group for another indigo dye day last week. Bonnie brought a beautiful indigo dye stock that she made for us:

123Indigo stock

Isn’t it pretty? This is the Michel Garcia 123 Vat, in this case 75g natural indigo/150g calcium hydroxide (aka calx or cal)/225g fructose. It’s an easy and forgiving vat and we dyed a bunch of things in it:


These are just a few of them. I also picked and processed my Japanese indigo from my garden:

Me and Japanese indigo

Photo courtesy of Leslie.

In spite of all the trials and tribulations the poor indigo went through this year it still gave a pretty excellent blue:


These are my new batch of shibori hankies. I’ll show them better when they’ve been scoured properly. You can’t see the last one, a mokume moon, behind the shawl (which looks darker than it really is). The shawl was one that I had originally dyed in woad but since I had two of them, I thought this one could use more indigo. As did the rayon Amiga Sweater that I had dyed in Japanese indigo. It’s now several shades darker too.

The shawl and the sweater were dyed the next day in the 123 vat. All I did to revive it was to heat the vat to 50C/120F then add a heaping spoonful of fructose and wait for 20 minutes or so and it was ready to go. There was plenty of blue left, even after the mad dyeing from the day before, so I gave things at least 3 dips to darken them up. The advantages of this type of vat are many including the fact that it’s gentle enough for wool and silk. It’s my new favourite method and you can bet I’ll be making it again.

So what else? I finished the Periwinkle Cami but no photos yet. What can I say? It’s been raining a little on and off (yay!) and the squirrels are covering my deck and everything else in the vicinity (boo!) with bits of my walnuts. You can’t even walk out there without risk of getting beaned on the head by a flying walnut! Not particularly conducive to photo shoots. I had a wee problem with the bright periwinkle rayon yarn. When I washed the sweater to block it quite a lot of colour ran into the water. I thought I got most of the fugitive dye out but as it dried the colour pooled on the top of the gathers at the front and back yokes. So I washed it again, this time in Synthrapol which helps to free up the fugitive dye molecules. The variegation is still a little visible but much less than it was. Probably I should have simmered the whole thing in Synthrapol for at least 10 minutes and I may still do that next time it needs washing and see if it helps. Since it takes at least 2 days to dry each time, I deem it’s OK for now. I’ll try to get a photo for next time.

Also in knitting news, I’m at the point where I divide for the sleeves and body on my Blackberry Amiga Cardi using recycled handspun wool. It seems to be going well but I won’t know for sure for awhile yet. Next I need to consolidate all my knitting projects for travel very soon.

Time to go sew again! I need to crank out at least one garment a day to be done by my self-imposed deadline. I may wear out first! Not like I don’t have any clothes to take camping with me but it’s nice to have some new things. Carrying on…

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Pattern Adjustments

Did you see all the lovely comments I got on my last post? I swear those bloggers are the nicest people! And of course pao and Spygirl did get home safely. Just in case you were worried.

So what have I been doing since then? Back to watering the garden. Sigh. I also made 4 pint jars of sweet and spicy bean pickles and 2 of mixed zucchini and cucumber. I love pickles! One jar of beans didn’t seal properly (aged lids probably) so I guess we’ll have to eat them soon. Awww…

The tomatoes are starting to ripen finally. When we get enough for a batch we’ll dry them in the dehydrator. They are so good in omelettes. Sweet concentrated tomato flavour. Yum. The garden is winding down now though. Early-early this year! There are 4 butternut squash and 5 spaghetti squash (one fell off but it will still be good though smaller) so far. The green cabbages are nearly ready (I already picked one!) and the purple ones finally set heads. They’re quite a bit later than the little green ones and will probably stay in the garden until we get back from vacation at the end of September. We have baby carrots growing in the former garlic patch and some Asian greens and arugula in the former lettuce bed. I plan to harvest the Japanese indigo with my Spectrum group next week. There’s not a huge amount though so we’ll supplement with regular indigo. It’s already sending up flowers! That’s a new record for earliness but it will be some time yet before seed sets. Such a weird growing season, this El Nino Summer!

In the studio I’ve been madly prepping patterns though I haven’t cut anything out yet. I was on a roll so I decided to go with it! I have at least 7 ready to go now. My technique has improved so much and I have a lot more confidence that everything will fit me the way I want. For instance this is how I fixed Katherine Tilton’s B5925 T-shirt:

B5925 View A line

I used my TNTee pattern that I’ve developed in the last couple of years as a base. It fits my narrow ski-slope shoulders and short arms perfectly. You can see the difference when I layer the front piece over the Butterick pattern, size Medium:


I try to leave the original style details intact and concentrate on fixing just the parts that need to fit my body properly. I’ve already made sure there’s enough room in the bust, waist and hips. Note that this size Medium (12/14) is still a little wider than my TNTee! It’s obviously quite loosely fitted. I left that width in as well as the original neckline but raised the underarm, scooped out the armscye and sloped the shoulder.

On the back I did the same:


Not quite as much adjustment is needed here. Then the sleeves:


I folded a tuck at the lengthen/shorten line for my usual 2” decrease in the sleeve length. (Those T-rex arms!) My perfect sleeve cap is narrow and not symmetrical front to back to accommodate my forward shoulder so I scooped that out. I did leave width at the underarm though to match the extra body width. If I don’t like it that loose later I can always take it in. But you can’t add it if it isn’t there! All the rest of the pattern pieces are the straight size Medium. And now it’s ready to cut out.

I have one last pattern to go before I start madly cutting out fabrics. I want to add a couple of inches to Katherine Tilton’s B5891 View A/B top/vest:

B5891 View B line

I love my Indigo Batik version of this but it feels a little short especially in the front, even though I left the tucks out of the peplum. It comes about 3” above my crotch level (not a particularly attractive area on this old body!) so I have to be cautious about what I wear it with. I’m excited to make a second version in the damselfly batik that I bought at the Cloth Shop. But I’m dithering over the contrast fabric (green, red or orange-red?) for the peplums and inner collar. It really all depends on whether or not the pattern pieces will fit or not!

And then there’s the knitting. I was unhappy with the Red Tide Vestigan (pattern: Low Tide by tincanknits). It was way too loose on the shoulders and too tight in the bust. Both of these things are interdependent due to the way they’re knit diagonally so I couldn’t fix the bust issue without making the shoulders even more wide. The style just wasn’t going to work for me. Sorry for the really bad selfie but maybe you can see what I mean?


The slightly puffy sleeves are a little twee for my taste too. So to the frogpond it went:

LowTide out

The tide is out! Since this photo it has all been wound into skeins and washed (again!) to remove the wrinkles which really affect my tension badly if I leave them in. They just need to be balled up again and we’re back in business. This time I’m going with another Amiga by Mags Kandis. The first one I made is in rayon slub yarn and dyed in my Japanese indigo. This one will be a warmer woolly one. I plan to make it a bit longer and with cap sleeves. That way I hope I can get the “vestigan” sweater I was going for with the last attempt. I only have about 850 yards or so and there is no more of this wool to spin.

The Periwinkle Necklace Cami also gave me trouble. I had split the hem at the sides just below my waist to make more room for my hips. It didn’t work at all. So I ripped back to about waist height again and started increasing each side every 6th round instead. I still plan to split the hem for the last 3”, much lower than I did before. Not quite there yet. I suppose this summer top will be done by…autumn?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Meetup Madness

The next chapter of the Tale of Last Week involved getting home from Manning Park on Friday just in time to unpack in the rain, pick the beans and squash (luckily the rain mostly quit by then), put a few things away, have a shower, get dressed in my nice clothes (black Mizono Dress, Little Black Cardi, Speedy Gonzales Shawlette, handknit Tulip Socks and my sensible red Blundstone boots) and toddled off on the Canada Line for downtown. Whew! I’m tired just typing all that…

I was headed for the 40+ Blogger Meetup to have dinner with about 25 people none of whom I had ever met in real life before. Yikes! Several of them were familiar from reading their blogs and some actually read mine so I can’t say we were all total strangers. But nearly. And guess what? It was really fun and I wasn’t at all intimidated – which absolutely amazed me! Everyone was really nice, compliments flew everywhere, many photos taken, conversations were crossing over each other and new friends were made. It went like this:


Yep, all a big blur. I think I even had a cider and ate a salad? And then the majority headed for a speakeasy (Prohibition, underneath the Hotel Georgia) for more laughing, schmoozing, imbibing and even some dancing. One single $20 glass of wine later (whatever happened to 1920’s prices?) I was falling asleep so toddled on home. Luckily we were only a block away from the Canada Line Station at that point. We won’t mention the long blocks home at the other end. Nope.

Ooh, I forgot to show you the lovely schwag that darling Melanie (Bag and a Beret) presented to each participant:


It was so helpful to have the name tags and everyone embellished themselves with the rose pins. The Girl Scout badge was a gift from dear Pat (pao of Project Minima) and I discovered through my awesome google skillz that it means “energy saver”. Yay! Very me. (If anyone else wants to attempt to identify a badge, beyond sweet Liberty of Maiwa’s helpful hints, I found mine here.)

On Saturday morning it was back into the fray as we met up at Granville Island for tours, more schmoozing and food:


Photographing the photographers! I ended up leading a little group – just Pat and Anne (the delightful Spygirl) and myself. I dragged them hither and yon, poor things! To Diana Sanderson’s Silk Weaving Studio, the Cloth Shop, both Maiwa in the Netloft and Maiwa Supply, Circle Craft and I forget what else. Then they wanted to go downtown to Dressew and Button Button rather than follow the rest of the group up Granville Street to Anthropologie and Meinhardts.

I have to admit I felt like I was dragging poor Anne and Pat along behind me! They were not used to walking as far as I am (and I had already walked the 4 km to Granville Island before we even started). Oops. Sorry, my darlings! Really! But we did have fun despite the sore feet, didn’t we? At least we got to sit down at the bus stop and in the bus downtown. After some food and drink at the Purebread bakery on Hastings they were more ready to check out the delights of Dressew. Of course I bought fabric! And they didn’t. Obviously it’s been too long since I’ve been there. Heh. Pat did buy 2 zippers though. Dressew has great zippers.

Here’s my haul:


The damselfly quilt fabric I bought at Granville Island at the Cloth Shop. There were less than 2 metres on the bolt but I bought the whole thing hoping to make another Katherine Tilton vest B5891 like my Indigo Batik Vest. I’m not quite sure what else I’m going to combine this with since there’s not enough of it to cut all the bajillion pieces. Either the green cotton left from my LaPine Dress (which incidentally got its inaugural run on this day) or the leftovers from the French Housedress or ? TBD as they say.

Next to that is some more linen/rayon/lycra in a deep chocolate brown (somewhat darker than it appears in the photo). I think I’ll make another Mizono dress only maybe with sleeves this time. Then some really cheap nylon/lycra rib (labelled as “supplex” but who knows?) from the bargain section at only $2 per metre. That will be a couple of pairs of leggings and a sleeveless top B5954 View A. The selvedges are fabulously fuzzy after washing and drying (yes, I’ve done that already) so I just might use them to finish off the armholes and neckline. Lastly is some grey marl bamboo/lycra that will become a Katherine Tilton B5925 View A t-shirt and possibly another more plain t-shirt. Obviously I have every piece spoken for already.

Lest you think I went overboard, I left an awful lot of fabrics still in the store. Just sayin’. I’ve been prepping the patterns ready to cut out a bunch of garments to sew very soon. My big challenge is the Battle of the Leggings or “Marcy Tilton vs Kwik-Sew”. I want a basic leggings pattern with no outer leg seam and since these ones are in the pattern stash, I’m going to test them out:


It’ll be fun. More on this as progress is made.

And we never made it to Button Button at all, sadly. I truly hope that Pat and Anne survived the trip back to their hotel. I’m a little worried since I haven’t heard from them since? Hope they aren’t lost in the wilds of downtown Vancouver. Let me know you got home safe, will you? Love, Damselfly.

So I think the Blogger Meetup was a big success! Folks came from all over to attend. We’re talking places as far flung as LA, Chicago, Florida, London (UK), Holland, Toronto, Victoria and New York! Wow. I didn’t take part in all the events but I had a great time nonetheless. Biggest warm thanks to our hosts: Suzanne Carillo, Melanie Kobayashi and Sue (A Colourful Canvas) for all your work organising this epic blogger meetup. I’m sure my hometown never knew what hit them! I sure don’t.

Family Fun

Oh man! This has been a wild and wonderful week! Driving, camping, family, heat, cold, fish, rain, corn, bloggers, public transit and a whole lot else. Do let me elaborate. It might take a couple of posts to catch up.

First there was the Fambly Campout in Manning Provincial Park. We drove in with Nana (Thom’s mom) and enjoyed the first weekend sharing a couple of campsites at Lightning Lake. Nana had a comfy room in the lodge but spent her days with all of us: two of her three sons, two daughters-in-law (including me), and a couple of grandchildren plus significant others and, of course, one great grandchild, Our Little Miss Rosebud (who’s real name is kept off the interwebs but she’ll introduce herself to all and sundry in person). It’s amazing how one four-year-old can wear out all nine adults!

FamblyCampout2015(Sorry I’m the only one not in this photo since I was taking it.)

The weather was lovely, the bugs were (mostly) insignificant, the company delightful and the campout successful. That Sunday we drove Nana back home, Thom’s younger brother and his wife carried on further with their summer vacation, their son and his girlfriend went home and our daughter and her family stayed on. We stayed home one day to water the garden, wash clothes and re-pack and were back up in Manning Park by Tuesday for another four days of camping with our daughter’s family.

On the way back we stopped just outside Hope to explore the Othello Tunnels.


This series of railway tunnels had been dug (and blasted) out to accommodate the Kettle Valley Railway through a very narrow canyon back in the early part of the 20th Century.

KettleValleyRailway(See us in the reflection? I love that.)

The railway line was decommissioned in the 1950’s due to unprofitable upkeep expenses: avalanches, rock falls and the like. Now it’s a trail system and the tunnels were very popular with visitors while we were there. It was hard to get photos without a dozen random people cluttering up the view! There’s only one original trestle left in this series but replacement bridges for pedestrians and bicycles have been built instead over the Coquihalla River. Only one tunnel is at all dark inside and we managed without our flashlights though it did remind us of some of the lava tubes we’ve explored. We had a lovely walk.

When we got back to Manning Park the weather was somewhat cooler but still lovely. The fisher-persons (Thom and our daughter with the assistance of the littlest grandbeastie) caught two rainbow trout which we ate for dinner Saturday night! (Yum.)

Fishers (So lovely! Now I want to go back again…)

Each night we experienced the wonderful world of the Park Nature Programmes – totally hilarious, especially with Rosebud wanting to participate in everything! She actually did pretty well for a pre-schooler and even asked a few relevant questions. She got to be a moth (for the bat to eat), a wolf (dominant – ears up! or submissive – ears down!) plus a pika and a hawk. Fun! And we all learned a few new things about the park and its inhabitants.

However, grumble… I managed to take a tumble on the second trip and not only broke a plate and a pot handle (I was carrying the clean dishes back to our Westie) but also managed to damage my eyeglasses. So now I have to see if they can repair the nosepiece and make the lens stay in better. It’ll be a few months before I can afford to replace them. Unfortunately progressive lenses are not a dime a dozen. More like $700 for one single pair. Ouch. Meanwhile I’m wearing them anyhow. The good news is that I didn’t really hurt myself much apart from needing a couple of Disney Princess bandaids on my skinned knee but my arthritic hip actually improved afterward. Go figure.

Then we drove home on Friday yet again in a delightful rainstorm. Yeah, I know, but it’s been quite awhile since it rained good and proper! I was so happy that I didn’t have to spend time watering the garden again. It’ll help all the grass and trees too since we’re now on Level 3 watering restrictions which includes no lawn watering at all. We stopped in Chilliwack for some of its famous corn. To go with the trout of course.

Next instalment of the week’s saga coming up. Stay tuned.