Being the continuing story of my creations and curiosities.

Monday, April 30, 2007

ATW

I know everyone is waiting for my report on The Wedding. I declared yesterday as Winding Down Day and unfortunately I had a migraine all day. Could have been stress (what stress?), lack of tea (only one small cup from after 10am), or too much wine (no, it wasn’t that much!) the day before. So today I’m more-or-less functional and I’ve kept you all on tenterhooks long enough.

There were of course a few glitches, mostly minor ones. The pig was too big for the spit causing The Cook to tear out his beard in frustration. The Bride’s brother and family were late for the photography session, though they did make it before they missed it altogether. The pen they were using to sign the marriage forms gave out and they had to find a replacement and a replacement for the replacement. Baby Stargazer got too hot in his finery and had to be removed seconds before the service started. And I almost missed my own daughter’s wedding ceremony for which Somebody owes me an apology but I am not holding my breath.

Otherwise, the weather was lovely after days of pouring rain. The Bride and Groom both looked radiant in their silk Byzantine outfits:


Those are real pearls and gemstones on The Bride’s dress and collar. There was a lot of sewing going on at The First Bridesmaid’s house too, just like at mine! The whole Bridal Party in their finery:


Sorry for the side shot but they’re actually looking at the Real Photographer. In the hall, Collegium Leonum played and sang:


The Bride has been playing with them for 15 years now so she was trying not to sing her part of the harmonies while signing all the forms. My brother-in-law The Eckankar Minister pulled off his first wedding ceremony with calm:


Stargazer’s Big Sister did not trip up the Bridesmaids as she flopped onto the floor just as they were taking their places, though it was a near thing. My Medieval Garb was a hit (except for Stargazer’s though he did look cute for about a minute and a half). Unfortunately we never managed to get an informal photo of me in my outfit (probably because I had the camera) so you’ll have to wait for the formal ones or somebody else to share theirs. Here’s The Bride and Her Dad, T-Man though:


Doesn’t he look great? And Nana, my DIL and Stargazer:


Big Sister and her daddy The Ninja:


The guests included a whole contingent of my family, The Groom’s 2 sets of parents, longtime friends from the SCA and newer ones from their workplaces. The wine (made by T-Man) was enjoyed. (We brought home a few leftovers for later.) The pig was eventually saved by some quick maneuvering in the kitchen and the food for 150 guests was yummy. The Newly Married Couple loaded the trebuchet with marshmallows and jujubes to storm the Castle Cake:


There was much dancing and merriment:


T-Man and I managed to get through a complex medieval dance after only one lesson so we’re congratulating ourselves. We were nervous but it was actually really fun. The dance began with The Groom who chose his Bride, then they split and chose another partner and so on until the last round when all the dancers danced with their Significant Others. Later the music changed to more modern rock’n’roll and The Groom did his Elvis impersonation. I danced with T and my two sisters who came. (We missed the one who lives in Mexico but it was too expensive for her to come.) Most of the dancers at that point were over 50! Personally I think we have more stamina than the younger generation. Heh.

All-in-all it was a wonderful day, but boy-o-boy am I glad it’s over! The Newly Wedded Couple are off on their 17-day honeymoon cruise through the Panama Canal. The Ninja and Family are off this evening to England and I’m trying to catch up on house and garden work that got completely ignored for the last 5 weeks. I’m also trying to shake this darn flu for once and for all. And I have a Moose Stocking to knit still.

Friday, April 27, 2007

DONE!

Dance and celebrate! I’m finished with time to spare. Helped that my sewing machine has been behaving its little Pfaff-y self. I carefully turned it off if I had to leave it for any length of time in an attempt to keep it from overheating again. So yesterday I finished my pouch and cut out T’s. I made my belt and my circlet to wear over my veil. Today I finished T’s pouch and I made a new barbette for my veil because I don’t like how transparent it is. Plus it’s too narrow. The barbette (“little beard”) is the piece that goes under the chin and pins over the top of the head. Trust me, it looks better this way. Though I feel like a nun while wearing it. Must be a flashback to my Catholic schoolgirl past. Snort. It’s actually surprisingly comfortable although the whole contraption is only held on with straight pins. I even tested it with my hearing aids in because it covers my ears and I was concerned that it would cause some extra noise but it’s fine.

I was surprised when I made the roll for T’s hat that you need the tube very much longer than you think. Plus some more. I thought 4 extra inches was plenty but I ended up splicing in about 10 more inches than that. There’s a lot of take-up from the stuffing and the bending plus more still to join the parts together. I would have finished yesterday but I needed his head for fittings and by the time he got home from work, I was too tired to continue. Good thing I waited because it needed a wee bit more length still to sit properly on his head. I also got the liripipe/cockscomb top part of the hat cut out and sewn. I made the liripipe (think extended cone-shape that goes on sideways) really long so it will wrap right around his neck like a scarf. Fun! The cockscomb part is the wide end of the cone that just kind of flops over the side of the roll. Very period. Pretty amusing for the 21st Century. Yes, there will be photos on real bodies coming to this here blog eventually. Just keeping you waiting in suspense until ATW.

I even tidied up the studio and all it needs is a good vacuuming — along with the entire rest of the house. But that can wait for ATW. Meanwhile the dust bunnies can frolic unmolested until then. Just have some dishes to do and then I can rest up for tonight’s Rehearsal Dinner where I have to learn a dance and tomorrow’s wedding when we have to be at a park near the hall for photos before noon. Wedding itself is at 3pm and then the reception with a sit-down feast and dance after. I have to hold out as long as I can possibly manage so it’s going to be a particularly long day for me especially when I’m still sniffling and snorting with this flu. I’ll have to pace myself as best I can. I’m feeling a teensy mite better today but that situation could change at any moment. This is the Flu-That-Never-Leaves-Entirely remember. I don’t trust it one bit.

So in case you haven’t been following the tally in my sidebar, that’s 14 tunics, 3 hats, 1 veil and accompanying underpinnings and circlet, 1 belt, and 2 belt pouches. All sewn by my two little hands in about 5 weeks. I’d like to thank my vintage Pfaff sewing machine and my new Pfaff Coverstitch overlock, my favourite measuring tape, small Olfa rotary cutter, a number of rulers and t-squares, the cutting table, several pairs of scissors, Japanese thimble, and assorted needles and pins. I couldn’t have done it without you all. I still have lots of documentation to complete for my binder. Yes, I keep notes on all my projects. You have no idea how handy that can be in the future.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The End Is Nigh

It took me all day yesterday but I finally finished my overtunic. I think it turned out quite well despite a few snags. (Remind me to stay away from all things with catchy edges, prickles, unfiled fingernails, and, most especially, my cats!)



The colour isn’t quite accurate and I couldn’t seem to adjust it properly. It’s a light madder orange — a wee bit redder and less yellow than this shows. (Even though I didn’t dye this fabric I’ve achieved this colour exactly with madder dyestuff.) The trim is orange and black and the undersleeves and neckline trim are the same dark forest green of T-Man’s tunic. I was trying to finish sewing the trim on the hem just before dinnertime yesterday evening and suddenly had trouble with my sewing machine. It was trying to race away from me even though I lifted my foot off the foot-pedal. I had to unplug it to stop it! I think the electronics got stuck due to overheating. After it cooled down it seems to be ok again. Hopefully it won’t go berserk on me again today. I still have a couple more things to finish including T’s hat. No time to get the poor overworked thing serviced right now.

Since I’m totally tired of all things medieval, let’s change the subject, shall we? Have you seen the current Spring/Summer issue of Vogue Knitting? I don’t regularly buy this magazine but the lace stuff was interesting, though I’m not a big fan of wearing white. While leafing through I was shocked to see the most hideous piece of knitting in recent memory and by none other than Annie Modesitt whom I normally think is a pretty good designer. The ugly in question is a baby onesie in white with cables and (gasp!) embroidered with vertical flower garlands and knitted ruffled cuffs. It’s Elvis in his Las Vegas period gone infantile! I don’t usually have such negative gut reactions to garments but even T-Man noticed this one without prompting from me. All I can say is “what was Annie thinking”? And who in their right mind is going to make this for some poor innocent baby? Gag.

Well, I was missing the noises next door for a few days, but today they are back with the jackhammer. There’s one window in on my side that I can see and a finished roof overhead but there’s still a metre-wide section of the front room the full width of the house that is open to the sky. The way this is looking is the second floor is shifted back like poorly stacked bricks so that the back overhangs and the front section needs to be finished in some way, maybe with a deck? I’m waiting to see what happens. Always something new but now that there are walls up I can’t see very much. Only hear it. All day long.

I’ve stalled long enough. Back to sewing. There’s only 2 days left to finish everything.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Move Over, Rudolf

Yes, my nose is redder than that famous reindeer’s. You could even say it glows. We’re going to make some lovely wedding photos, I’ll tell you. Warning, miserable rant coming up. You might want to skip this next part.

So why is it when every day I’m expecting to feel at least a little bit better, I don’t? I have the Flu-From-Hell that never goes away entirely. Remember, I’ve had it on and off since the beginning of March! T-Man says that a lot of people at his work have it also. Guess he brought it home to share with me? Nice, but I guess it’s not really his fault. He of course never gets sick himself. Right now I need an energy injection because I must finish my tunic! And all I really want to do is crawl into bed with the cats, a cup of hot tea and a box of tissues. And before you ask, yes I’ve been taking my vitamins and mineral supplements, eating properly, getting as much sleep as I can and exercising when I can get away from the sewing machine. There is no reason for me to have a low immune system. Unless it’s just the leetle teensy beet of stress I’m having right now? OK life isn’t fair. Move on.

I cut out my tunic and got about halfway through sewing it yesterday. The fabric is loosely woven and some kind of polyester (aka 100% unknown fibre) decorator stuff. Very much like a handwoven actually. It was easy to cut out because there is a prominent weave pattern that gives faint lines to follow to stay on-grain. However it shreds quite badly, is rather thick and doesn’t hold a crease well. Also very much like a handwoven. My neckline facing looks crappy on the outside so I’m going to have to disguise it with some bias trim which I totally was not planning on. It does drape well though (probably because it was meant for drapes!) so my extra wide skirt will be nice and “swishy.” Because it shreds and is heavy I need to put a reinforcement scrap of interfacing at the points of the centre front and back gores. (I didn’t do that for the other tunics with that style because I was trying to save time and these are all somewhere halfway between costumes and real clothes. They’ll probably never see much wear.) Anyhow that was the point where I quit yesterday because I couldn’t even focus enough to cut the slits.

While I’m at it, I’d like to mention a new magazine that just came out recently by Taunton Press, the same folks who do Threads magazine. (I have every issue!) This one is called Sew Stylish and has a lot of sewing information in it, even more detailed than Threads articles. And it doesn’t talk down to you or get too cutsey but focuses mainly on fashion sewing techniques. It takes you more into basic sewing details with lots of tips and photos of the steps. Although I’ve been sewing forever, I still got a lot out of the Summer 2007 (Issue 1, although there was one premier “test” issue before this) with the theme of “get red-carpet ready.” They discussed fabrics, underlayers, hems, details and embellishments and even my recent favourite subject of gores/godets. I’ll be continuing to buy this magazine if it can keep up the quality of information. This old dog is always ready to learn new tricks.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

You Know It's Raining When...

…you have to turn on all the lights so you can see to work. We’re having a little April Shower weather today. But I don’t care because I’m not going anywhere. I’m chained to my sewing machine and cutting table. I now have my overtunic cut out as well as my circlet to wear over my veil and part of my belt. Nana’s hat that I finished yesterday just before dinner time turned out really cute. I definitely think I like it better than a veil. But I’m not making myself one. I’m not making another one ever. Period. It was a lot of work! I will however let you see what it looks like on me:


Not too great with my very short hair, eh? And notice the red nose and upper lip from all the wiping. I look as bad as I feel. Trust me, Nana will look much better in it than I do. Right now I’m taking a bit of a break but I’ll carry on with my sewing after I’m rested. Don’t forget, I have the flu. Again. I don’t know what I’m running on but it’s not energy. Probably sheer guts and mad determination to get this all done on time! I only have 3.5 days left to sew. Yes, I’m trying not to panic.

OK, I’ve had lunch, read a few podcasts, watched a few Knitty Gritty videos, read my email and I’m still feeling wiped out. (Funny. I almost typed “whipped”. That too.) Got to get out of this chair. Now. Well darn, I’m out of tea. That should get me moving. Right after I’ve posted this.

Monday, April 23, 2007

One Stitch In Front Of Another

The irony of my current situation is not lost on me. I’ve spent the last 4 weeks sewing everybody else’s tunics and the only one I’ve got left to do now is my own overtunic. The Mother Of The Bride is currently half-naked! And I’m having trouble concentrating enough to even get it cut out. I didn’t sleep at all well last night. Between the sore throat, the coughing, the sniffling and the worry that I won’t get it all done in time, it was a pretty restless attempt at sleeping. An Advil and a couple of teaspoons of Benylin cough syrup helped some after I finally convinced myself to get up and get it. If I sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself — I am. But I’ll get over it. Eventually.

Meanwhile I’m hand-stitching T-Man’s overtunic hem while lounging in bed with the cats. The outfit is quite handsome, no?


The fabric is some kind of taffeta-ish decorator fabric in 100% unknown fibre (possibly rayon acetate or maybe polyester) and is slippery to work with. It also doesn’t press a nice flat hem. Does look nice and silk-like though which was kind of the effect he was looking for. That and the lovely dark green colour. The neckline isn’t perfect but at this point good enough is all I can really ask for or expect. Hey, I suddenly realized that I never blogged about his undertunic. You can just see it at the neck, plain dark madder red. It’s just a cotton/poly broadcloth with no trims. I will be using leftovers for his liripipe. You’ll see what that is in a later post.

For Rosemary who asked, all the hems up to now have been serged and then a line of straight machine stitching beside that. With the machine stitched thread I drew up the excess to fit the deep curve. Then I loosely slip-stitched by hand. It’s not the prettiest thing on the inside but it does the trick and so far everything has hung fairly ok when done. Machine stitching is not supposed to show on the outside for period garb. (Though I cheated on the trims because it was faster and mostly doesn’t show much, if at all.) A much nicer hem would have been to use a bias facing but I didn’t have enough of the fabrics and commercial wide bias tape sucks. Not to mention I’m too lazy to spend time cutting bias strips right now. I’m just going with what was easiest and fastest. And I didn’t use my machine’s blind hem stitch because it’s just too hard to control on a deeply curved hem and it shows too much on the outside for my taste. I only ever use it for fairly straight hems on firm fabrics and even then often opt for hand stitching instead.

Speaking of hems, I think my overtunic will have a reversed hem where it folds to the outside and is covered with trim. I didn’t have enough of any of the trims up to now to do that but I want mine to be a bit different and there’s lots of the madder orange/black trim. It’s flexible enough to bend nicely to the curve too. I also didn’t want any trim at my neckline and I wanted it on the upper arm instead of the cuff. After all the tunics I’ve made, I’m obviously getting bored of the basic style. Later I’m going to have to recompense The Bride for using up so much of her horde of precious trim!

This afternoon is devoted to making Nana’s hat. I’m hoping it goes without a hitch. I don’t have a lot of mental or physical resources to call upon right now. I was hoping I could pace things to avoid burning out but how was I to know I was going to get hit with the Third Coming of The Bug? Stuff happens, eh? Darn. All hints for preventing snot from dripping on my sewing gratefully accepted.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sheesh

I knew yesterday was going to be a full one but little did I know that on top of the Neighbourhood Mosaic Project Two and The Bride’s party, I would also come back down with that same darn bug I’ve been trying to shake for a couple of months now. Pooh. It started off on Friday afternoon with a bit of a scratchy throat, segued into a nasty sore throat overnight and into Saturday and today I’m dripping onto my sewing. I feel like something stuck on the bottom of a shoe. No fair. I totally hope I didn’t share any of this with any one of the many people I came into contact with yesterday. Especially the female half of the bridal party. That would really be unforgivable. Anyway, nature will take its course regardless so I might as well not agonize over it and just concentrate on finishing my sewing and getting better before Friday evening.

Backing up, the stone mosaic project went quite well. It was T-Man’s turn to choose the subject matter and design this year so he picked a lighthouse and sketched a few ideas. We had great fun placing our stones to simulate water, sky, cliff, lighthouse and even a seagull. See?


The light in the tower is one of T’s lampwork beads. This is what it looked like before the grouting cement and Portland cement were poured on it. Now it’s wrapped in plastic and piled with many others in a garage waiting to cure. Next step is to take off the mould, clean off the sand, pressure wash it and let it dry before varnishing. Can’t wait to see what it looks like when it comes out! This project, like the one we participated in last year, is fully paid for by a city grant to help beautify our neighbourhood. This time the area is wider and there are even more participants. The finished stepping stones must be placed on city property and permission has to be applied for each spot. It’s totally organised by local folks and has been a great way to get neighbours together for a group effort. I’m still finding stepping stones that were made last year every time I go for a walk. It’ll be even more fun to come upon all the new ones when they’re done.

After all that I only had enough time to walk home, have a shower and get cleaned up before my SIL picked me up for the drive out to The Bride’s townhouse in the suburbs. I took her my Sleeping Beauty spinning wheel and she seemed really appreciative. Hope she can get more use out of it than I have in the last 10 years. It does look decorative if nothing else. The rest of the women who came are all in the Society for Creative Anachronism and are all well-acquainted with (if not related to) each other. SIL did pretty well at socializing but I wasn’t really feeling very well. Hope they don’t think I’m a party pooper or a snob! They had a great time eating really “bad” food: fondues both cheese and chocolate with bread, marshmallows, fruit, graham crackers, and even Timbits (donut balls) for dipping. Also chicken wings, meatballs, veggie & dip, mini quiches, and cake plus wines both fruity and plain. I didn’t even try to stay low carb but didn’t really eat a lot anyhow. I can’t really tolerate a lot of bread and sweets these days. I did manage to have my share of the only dry white wine available though. And the chocolate was very yummy on strawberries…

They played some silly games, most notably a human male version of “pin the tail on the donkey” which was very hilarious. Later in the evening some of the girls offered foot and shoulder massages to each other. In spare moments the matron of honour was stitching on the bride’s jeweled collar and another was embroidering a patch for my brother-in-law the minister’s garb. She googled the logo for his Eckankar religion and it’s looking really nice. (In case you were wondering, none of us except he and his wife are Eck!) I feel better knowing that they haven’t finished all their sewing either and aren’t panicking yet. They are much more experienced in period clothing than I am so I’m glad they volunteered to do the bridal party’s outfits. I’ve got enough to do before Friday evening’s Rehearsal Dinner.

Even though I felt totally crummy today I still managed to hem T’s and my undertunics, all 40-eleven miles of them. I struggled quite a bit with the neckline on his overtunic trying to get the trim to lie flat. Didn’t totally succeed but it doesn’t look too bad. I hope. I had absolutely no trim to spare and even had to taper the overtunic’s sleeves a bit so what was left from the neckline would fit on the sleeve hems. That’s cutting it a bit too close. I tried really hard not to drip snot all over everything but I ended up quitting there. Tomorrow I must make Nana’s hat so T can take it to her after work on Tuesday. This is turning into a really close race. At least I hope I feel more human tomorrow so I can carry on without feeling like I’m going to keel over.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Indians & Indians

The program portion of last night’s weavers guild meeting was a really interesting talk by Debra Sparrow, well-known local Musqueam weaver and educator. For an example of the kind of educating Debra has helped foster, check out the PDF brochure for the Musqueam Museum School. (I would have given my eye teeth to have participated in something like this when I was a kid!) At the end of the evening she showed a few slides of some fascinating early examples of Coast Salish spindle whorls and blankets but the majority of her time was spent telling us stories. She interwove her own life and how she got started weaving with memories of her grandfather and mother and her dreams for the future. She showed examples of her own weaving and the results of her recent collaboration with a local mill who produces her designs in a more commercial way. Interestingly, she was much more relaxed and expressed herself in more gentle terms than the last time I saw her five years ago. I think she has come to terms with her heritage and her place in the world and is consequently less prickly and judgmental than she was in the past. She just seemed more comfortable in her own skin and pleased to be talking to us who, as a group of mostly middle-to-older-aged women weavers, could relate to her in ways that maybe the general public can’t. Hmm…this is about as analytical as I can get. It was thought-provoking, ok?

On the Garb front, in a flurry of activity this morning I got T’s undertunic sewn right up to the final hemming. I’ll let him try it on first before I finish it up. In celebration I’m taking a little well-deserved break. I’m quite tired today after getting home from the meeting at 10:30 pm last night. That doesn’t sound late to you maybe, but it’s a full hour and a half after my usual bedtime! And I woke up at around 6:30 am and couldn’t go back to sleep. So I’m a little underslept today but I’ll survive. Next it’s on with the overtunic. Or maybe I’ll cut out my overtunic. Whichever. I also need to make a card for The Bride for tomorrow’s bridal shower/stagette. That’ll be another late night I’m sure.

Well one consequence of having Sikhs roofing on the house next door is that the music selection has changed to bhangra. I think I like it better. At least it has a great rhythm! I was wrong about there being two dormers on the roof. There’s only one and a large skylight on the other side. Now that the roof is on I can’t really see much of what’s going on. I can hear it all perfectly fine though! T and I are finding this whole thing endlessly fascinating and trying to anticipate what’s going to happen next as we watch a new house unfold.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

How Big Is Your ?

Over on Knitter’s Review Forum they’ve been having a discussion about whether someone’s stash is too big or not. That’s akin to asking how do I look in this dress or do I have enough money for my European vacation. Not a question you can ask and get a realistic answer. Usually all they are fishing for is either “I wish my stash was as big as yours” or “nah, your stash is teensy — go buy more”. My own stash is definitely somewhere between Not Enough and Way Too Much! Just the right balance. For me.

And I must ask: just which stash are we talking about? The knitting yarn stash or the weaving yarn stash? The spinning fibres? The bead stash? How about the dyes and paints stash or the paper stash? And I haven’t even mentioned the fabric stash! Then there’s tools and equipment needed to make use of said stashes. And books and magazines with all the ideas and inspiration and how-tos. Just which stash is the important one? To me, all of it is.

The question of whether or not I’ll be able to use it all up in my lifetime is irrelevant. As long as my stash gives me pleasure and I can still find my way around my house without tripping over it, then it’s all good. I once read about a quilter who was in the last stages of a terminal cancer. She went fabric shopping with her friends and bought fat quarters for a new quilt. It gave her pleasure even if she was ultimately unable to use the fabrics herself. The experience of stash-enhancing was the goal not a quilt. Very important to remember.

There is the thought that some stuff may go “bad” if kept in the stash too long. And indeed the gel pens and paints may dry out, the polymer clay get hard, the thread get brittle. I may have to battle with the occasional m*ths and carpet beetles. But if I’m careful and store them properly, most things can have many years of joyfully communing together in the stash until they finally find out what they’re going to be when they grow up. And occasionally, they even get to do it yet again when I recycle the sweater for the yarn or cut the dress into something else. It’s all in the name of creativity and keeping my sanity as intact as possible. Can’t help it. Must make stuff.

Which brings me to The Garb. I tried to get a half-decent picture of my veil while holding the camera out at full arm’s length. This is the best out of a dozen photos:


And it’s not very good! I will make a better circlet than the ribbon because I’d like it a bit wider to hide some of the underpinnings. The fabric is polyester chiffon and it’s a little too transparent but it’ll have to do because I’m. Not. Hemming. Another! Yesterday I hemmed Nana’s undertunic and today I hemmed overtunic so all I need to do now is get her hat done by next Tuesday so T-Man can deliver it to her on his way home from work. That’ll be another one off the list. I’m currently pinning up the hem on my undertunic which is complete except for that. See?


I do like the pale green I ended up with. You can’t tell from the photo that the sleeves are about 5 inches too long so I can push them up for a ruched look. I’m waiting until my overtunic is done before I hem it so I can see what they’ll look like together. Gives it a bit more time to stretch out if it’s going to do any more of that. Tomorrow I’ll try to get both of T-Man’s tunics done. They’re both cut out and ready to go. I’d work on my overtunic first but it still isn’t cut out yet. Getting there. I feel like there might be light at the end of this particular tunnel. Maybe.

Today I went to the dentist for a cleaning so my teeth are all shiny and bright for the upcoming photographs. The Bride is going in next week for her complementary polishing. The dentist wants to see the photos after the wedding. I don’t blame him! He’s been getting it from all sides after Nana was in last week and telling him all about it too. Yes, most of the extended family all go to the same dentist. What can I say? He’s cute and very good. Pricey though. Glad we have extended coverage that pays for most of it.

Tonight I’m off to my weavers guild meeting. I’m showing off the Cherry Leaf Shawl since most haven’t seen it yet.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gores & Godets Galore

We tried Nana’s garb on yesterday and it fit so perfectly I didn’t even have to adjust the hems. Yay! So now I can stitch them and cross them off my list. I’m a bit iffy about Stargazer’s baby sacque though. That kid is growing faster than a bean sprout! If it doesn’t work out, he can still pop his overtunic on over something more modern. I was surprised that even the coif seems barely adequate. Just shows you that it’s better if you have actual measurements to go by rather than guessing. Oh well. Ya lives and learns. And you wastes a ton of time doing it.

Even though both of T-Man’s tunics are already cut out, I’m sewing my own undertunic today mostly because it was cut out yesterday and I still had the appropriate colour of thread in my serger. Finally, one for me! In this garment I’m using 4 gores — well, actually 6 because the 2 side gores are divided for ease of cutting out and also ease of sewing. This appears to be the method used historically as well because it wastes very little fabric. Here’s a great tutorial on gores (aka godets) and gussets. However, I tend to cut my underarm gussets diagonally in half so that they’re easier to sew. The whole side seam gets stitched in one pass instead of having to fiddle with putting a four-cornered piece into a seam. I’m getting pretty darned efficient as you might expect after nearly a dozen garments. I have only my overtunic left as a major garment to cut out.

In other news, I got a surprise today when roofers showed up next door and started to re-roof the garage. I was sure they were going to tear it down, but they are obviously planning to fix it up instead. The stucco siding is coming off and a new bin just arrived for the debris. Interesting. They’re also building two dormers on the house, one on each side and the roofers have begun to bring shingles up. As I’ve mentioned before, the main bunch of framers are Chinese but the roofers are Punjabi Sikhs. The demolition/clean-up guys are Caucasian. Quite the league of nations we’ve got going here but divided on ethnic lines. Sorry if this is boring for you. I find it fascinating.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The "M" Word

In a house that’s literally full of wool, there’s nothing worse than that evil little critter. You know: the one whose name shall not be uttered for fear of attracting it and all its nasty offspring. We discovered an infestation in the basement dye studio and spent yesterday evening in a clean and purge. Poor cats are now deprived of their sheep’s wool fleeces and have to make do with old towels. (I resisted the urge to buy 18 and 19-year-old cats new beds. I mean, how long will they realistically be in use, huh?) I also lost one stored unwashed fleece and a bunch of other items went into the freezer for a little arctic vacation. And I was finally forced to wash another nice Corriedale fleece that had been in close proximity to the really bad one if I didn’t want to lose it too. Really, I should have dealt with those oh, something like…12 years ago! They were living on borrowed time with a sign out saying “Yummy bug food here!” I’ve been unbelievably lucky. There are still a couple of fleeces kicking around unwashed that I absolutely promise to get to this summer by the latest. It doesn’t totally keep the m*ths at bay but it certainly does improve the quality of the fleece if it’s not left in the grease for decades. I have no excuse except that I didn’t need that particular fleece so I didn’t think about it. Not acceptable.

Now I’m wondering about all the wool up here in the attic storage space. However I don’t have time right now to go through it so it’s going to have to wait for another couple of weeks. Just another thing to add to the ATW list! Meanwhile, back in the studio, I’ve replaced the tie on the bottom of the baby sacque with a piece of white double-folded bias tape. It was all I had available that would work without going shopping yet again. It looks much better so it was worth the switch even though it’s another bit of Creative Recycling.

I dyed my fabric, another length of the infamous linen/rayon, yesterday in a very light green. I used Procion MX dye in a .2% depth of shade. The dyes were from Maiwa and were proprietary colour mixes: 1 gram emerald (bright blueish green) and 1 gram moss (more of an olive green). I had ’em so I used ’em. It turned out slightly lighter than I wanted but in my defense it was very much darker when it was wet and dried considerably lighter than I expected. I do plan for that but obviously in this case not quite enough. It’ll do fine anyway and the colour is very even. Except for one inexplicable dark blue spot, like an ink stain. The fabric must have contacted one errant undissolved speck of dye somehow. I have lots of fabric so can work around it no problem. This is one of the reasons why I don’t like dyeing for other people. Stuff always happens no matter how careful you are.

I’ve cut out T-Man’s undertunic and have the overtunic fabric all ready to go next. Then there’s just mine left. Nana is coming over today to get her hems adjusted if necessary so I can sew them. I’d let her do it but she has macular degeneration and her eyes aren’t good enough. Of course she wouldn’t admit that but I told her I still have lots of time. Yeah, right.

We had a little excitement last night when we woke up to smoke in the bedroom. We sleep with the window open and outside was really thick with smoke. After checking around all over (and waking up rather completely in the process) we concluded that there was no fire nearby and hoped that wherever it was, it was being taken care of. It turns out that there was a house on fire a mile away! Apparently, some idiot druggie was harassing his elderly mom for money and got mad enough to light the house on fire and then jump out the window. Everyone got out ok and he got arrested. Meanwhile it took 40 firemen to deal with the 3-alarm blaze. The house was an old heritage house full of a pack-rat’s accumulations and it was hard to fight. Last I heard it was still smouldering and was pretty much a goner. What do you do with people like that?

BTW, I never found out exactly what happened to the poor workman next door, but he’s not back at work yet. Have to see William or someone who speaks enough English to ask about him. Right now they’re putting on the roof frame ready to be shingled. I bet they’ll be much happier then because they’ve been working in the rain the last few days. Think it's brightening up a bit now? I have to go get some groceries because the Thundering Hordes (The Ninja and Family plus Nana) are coming to help eat this ham I've got lurking in the fridge. They're almost as bad as the m*ths for munching. OK, not Nana. She doesn't eat much at all. Or Stargazer. He just needs his mom. But the rest of 'em!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Moving Right Along

I spent Saturday at my friend D’s house with all but one of the rest of our Spectrum Study Group. They were working on felting flowers for our guild booth at the ANWG conference in June while I sewed on garb. Yeah, so what else is new, hey? I managed to finish the baby garb (which hopefully will still fit him in 2 weeks). I don’t know about the grosgrain ribbon that I used for the tie though. It seems too jarring. What do you think?



Maybe something lighter weight? I also completed the narrow hem on my veil but I didn’t do that neat of a job though I got better as I went. Out of practise I guess and it's much harder to do around a circle than straight sides and on polyester that doesn't hold a finger-press. It took quite a number of hours but that’s another thing off my list. No, you're not going to see a photo until the wedding!

Then yesterday T-Man and I went for a Sunday drive to Rolley Lake where we had a picnic lunch of cold leftover pizza and then a walk around the lake:


It’s a very easy walk but my hips have been bothering me lately so it was plenty of exercise for one day. I’ve been getting lazy and not taking my glucosamine as often as I should so old Arthur Itis is getting way too friendly with this old bod’. I’ve made a pact with myself to be good and take the full 3 capsules a day from now on. The weather was iffy, though the sun poked out a couple of times and it was a bit chilly but not too bad. It didn’t rain on us athough I packed an umbrella and wore my Gore-Tex jacket just in case. Spring is well along here despite the chill in the air:


It was good for me to get out and smell…er, look at the flowers. The trillium and salmonberry flowers were pretty and not stinky. But you don’t want to smell the skunk cabbage if you can help it! Pew! The other item in the collage is the undersides of a bracket fungus. There was a lot of damage in the forest from the ferocious winter storms we had. The trees here are mostly Western Redcedar and Western Hemlock with a smattering of Douglas Firs. It looks like it took quite a chainsaw brigade to clear the trails. It’s unfortunate but the forest will grow back eventually. It will change however now there’s a greater amount of light getting into the understory allowing more plants to grow on the forest floor.

So today I plan to dye my undertunic fabric some hopefully pleasant shade of light green. Heh. I also need to cut out T’s tunics and start thinking about how to make the coffee filter hat for Nana. She and the Ninja and his family are coming over for dinner tomorrow plus I have a guild meeting this Thursday evening, so I have to get along on the last of the items I still need to make. The Bride has a shower/stagette in the late afternoon next Saturday which somewhat conflicts with our involvment in another of the neighbourhood Stepping Stone projects on that day. It wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t take almost an hour to get to The Bride’s house from here. Guess we’ll just have to work fast on our mosaic and hope that T doesn’t get a call from work (he’s on-call next weekend). A person can only do what a person can only do.

Hmmm…did I mention that my shower gift for The Bride is my Sleeping Beauty spinning wheel? T-Man spiffed her all up for me, fixed her wobbly legs and waxed and polished her NZ rimu wood so she’s all ready to be passed down to the next generation spinner. I sort of hate to part with her, but I’m not using her and I still have 3 more wheels (4 if you count the charkha) so it seems silly to have her sitting gathering dust. At least it will still be in the family and is more period if my daughter wants to use it for SCA demos. It’s only 4 years younger than she is!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Not So Lucky

Today is Friday the Thirteenth, if you happen to put any credence into those kinds of things. It’s pouring rain and windy today but I have lots to do indoors. But first, there’s a new issue of Crochet Me up. (Link in my sidebar.) Check out the amigurumi dodo bird. He’s adorable! Do be patient though. The server seems to be very hit or miss today. Maybe too many avid crocheters are trying to access the magazine at once?

With only two weeks left before The Wedding, I’m actually farther along in the sewing race than I expected to be. I’m kind of obsessing about this. (So what was your first clue?) But I feel as if I should go with the momentum. I’d rather have it all done early than be scrambling at the last minute. Today I cut out my veil and sewed the bands that hold it on my head. I’ll be sewing the veil’s narrow hem tomorrow at my Spectrum study group along with finishing up the baby garb. If I can dredge up the energy later I’ll start cutting out T-Man’s undertunic.

But first I want to show my MIL’s almost finished garb:


Nana is quite petite and though I can get into these tunics, they’re still a couple of inches too short for my 5’ 3-1/2” self. I’m going to make her a “coffee-filter” hat which is kind of like a stiff pleated buckram crown held on with a chin strap. She insists she doesn’t like hats but I told her she’d be underdressed without one and this is better than a veil! Besides she likes coffee. Heh.

Meanwhile there was some excitement next door when one of the “hammer brigade” fell out of the non-existent back door and down about 10 feet into the basement stairwell which luckily no longer has cement sides on it but dirt instead. They took him around the house and into the main floor. It took over an hour while they debated but I think they finally decided he had hurt himself quite badly because first a fire engine and then an ambulance showed up. The rescue people tucked him onto a backboard and stretcher and took him off to Emergency accompanied by another of the workmen. A third drove in his own panel van leaving only 2 guys left to get on with the work. They’ve only just started again but none too enthusiastically. First of all they put up a piece of plywood over the open doorway probably at the fireman’s insistence. Hope the man is going to be ok. Guess there IS something to Friday the Thirteenth being unlucky — at least for somebody.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Getting Somewhere?

Well I might be getting somewhere but it wasn’t into the forest. We ended up not going for a hike and picnic because it threatened to rain. However it didn’t rain more than a drop or two so it was only a teaser. Doesn’t matter because we both got a bunch of stuff done instead. While he worked outside, I completed my MIL’s garb all the way up to pinning the hems where I think they will go. Now all she has to do is try it on so I can confirm that the hems are correct and I can sew them. I also made teeny baby garb for my grandson. I even made him a little overtunic complete with trim. It took me almost as long as the grownup versions (why is that?) and I haven’t done the handsewing yet because I’m saving that for Saturday. I’ll be at another meeting of our Spectrum study group and I will be skipping the felting and beading stuff in favour of sewing garb, including my veil. Photos of the finished garments will be coming when it’s brighter out so I don’t have to use the flash.

Next I need to cut out T-Man’s tunics, under and over. I also need to dye my undertunic fabric before I can cut it out. I’m shooting for a light green which I hope will look well with my pale madder orange overtunic fabric. It’s going to be kind of a lighter and counterchanged version of T’s garb which is dark warm red for the undertunic and dark forest green for the overtunic. At least that’s the plan.

You’re probably getting bored with all the garb stuff so for variety go check out the new spring issue of For The Love Of Yarn. There’s a lot of information on loom knitting including a couple of patterns. Remember spool knitting? This is the same thing only bigger and more complex. Quite interesting except that it’s not about to make me give up my knitting needles any time soon. There’s also a nice sock pattern and several other items. Link is in my sidebar.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Snip Snip

I didn’t end up going for a walk yesterday even though it was so nice. I got into measuring and chopping up fabrics and couldn’t stop. I now have several more tunics ready to sew. I also have a little bitty coif done. Funnily enough it looks just like a baby bonnet (which in this case it is) but in earlier times everyone wore them. And it’s usually pronounced “coyf” not “cwaf”. It kept one’s head warmer even under hoods and hats and was also part of nighttime attire. There were also chain maille versions to wear under a helmet. Early coifs were very simple and unadorned but were much more elaborate in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. This one is an early version:


I think the baby sized coif is too cute. (Just like the baby it’s for!) And it looks just like the medieval illustrations, doncha think?


Hope it fits that Stargazer guy. I’m going to hold off on his baby sacque for a bit while I carry on with my MIL’s tunics. I’m making these very similar to DIL’s though she’s a much smaller person. I have a deadline to complete them up to the hems when she’s invited over for dinner next Tuesday for her fitting. Of course if they’re ready sooner I’ll just carry on with the next couple of garments. However, we’re planning to go out for the day tomorrow when T-Man gets a rare day off work in the middle of the week. We both need some fresh air so we’ll be heading for the wilderness for a hike and a picnic.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

This Is My Brain On Jackhammer

Ackkkk…the jackhammer next door is on it’s second day in a row of driving me nuts. They are removing the house’s original external basement stairway to build a new and different one. Good thing I’m partially deaf (and leaving off the aids) — can’t imagine how annoying this would be with normal hearing. I’m loading up my Palm’s memory card with podcasts so I can plug out some of the racket.

Meanwhile, I didn’t get as far as I expected yesterday. I only managed to complete the hemming on DIL’s garb, though I did also replace the too-tight cuffs. I whacked them off and sewed new ones to replace them. Again. Then I picked the trim off the old ones to be reused while I was relaxing after dinner in front of the tube. Wait. Can we call it the “tube” anymore when I was actually watching a large wide-screen LCD computer monitor? Guess not. It’s not really a TV anymore either. Guess we need a new word. I really like having a Media Center-equipped computer instead of a TV. We don’t stay up late enough to watch the programs we like so the computer automatically records them onto the hard drive and we can watch whenever we want and fast-forwarding through the increasingly annoying commercials. The only problem is when there are two shows on simultaneously. Then we have to resort to the TV and old VCR to tape one of them. Awww…It’s not like there’s a lot of things we really like to watch. Most programming is frankly crap. But I digress, as usual.

I spent some time this morning doing the pattern diagrams for cutting out my MIL’s tunics as well as the baby one. Since the undertunic and the baby tunic and coif will be from the same fabric (the oatmeal linen/rayon), I can cut them out at the same time. As I mentioned yesterday though, the little one is a complete guess though I suppose as long as I err on the side of too big rather than too small, it’ll be alright. The coif would be better a little tighter than too loose so he doesn’t squirm it over his face. Some research turned up the fact that an average baby head is about 16” around which looks right to me so I’ll use that measurement to draft the 3-piece coif pattern. A 2-piece one is not very head-shaped so probably wouldn’t stay on as well. So what if the latter more in keeping with the period of dress his parents are wearing! Gotta be practical as well, hey?

The weather outside is gorgeous this morning so I should break sometime and go for a walk. We need a few fruits and veggies anyway. It smells so nice — like lovely flower blossoms. I feel sorry for those who are still experiencing more winter-like conditions. It sure is Spring here!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Made A Wadder

Well that brown undertunic fits nobody except me. And it’s not a long woman’s version but a short man’s one. So it has become a “wadder”. A reject. At least I know the measurements for when I finally get to do my own tunics. Meanwhile I’ve made another undertunic for The Ninja and got more fabric for his dad’s. Speaking of my handsome son, this is the guy who really encouraged him to become a ninja. Bill is his original teacher and former roommate. And yes he does own the black pajamas (actually called gi)! Truly! Darn, nobody ever believes me. Guess it’s because real ninjas don’t look like martial arts experts. Or turtles either. Heh.

So yesterday while everyone was hunting for wherever the Easter Bunny hid their eggs, I was busily finishing up TN’s undertunic and I think it looks quite elegant for a man’s dress:


The neckline is a bit of a squeeze to get over the head but as long as the stitches don’t pop, it’ll be ok. I did have to add another set of cuff extensions after I took this photo since I can't seem to get the sleeve lengths right. They're probably still too short! And here’s what both tunics look like together:


He will wear them belted over sweatpants (as a substitute for breeches). I really loved the fabric as I was working with it. A friend gave me a partial bolt of this natural oatmeal-coloured linen/rayon and it has wonderful weight and drape, presses perfect seams and generally is extremely cooperative fabric. I’ll be making my MIL’s undertunic, the baby’s tunic and coif, and my own undertunic (possibly dyed another colour, green maybe?) from this stuff and I still have quite a bit left for something else After The Wedding. I owe my friend a bunch of dye sessions in my dye studio for this for sure.

At my sister’s yesterday (where we had a lovely family dinner), I got a chance to pin up the hems on DIL’s tunics:


No, that crooked hem didn’t stay like that! We gave her a wee bit of a train in back but hopefully not enough to trip over. I have to say they look absolutely fabulous on her. At least the body fits her perfectly so my bad dream about that part didn’t come true. There was a however a slight glitch in the undertunic’s sleeves. She managed to get them on, but it took me and Daughter-The-Bride to get her out of them again! The process was made much more difficult by the fact that we were all laughing ourselves silly at the whole struggle and we were being called down for dinner at the same time. I’m thinking of cutting the cuffs right off and reattaching new slightly wider ones so she can actually escape her garb, especially if she has to breastfeed Stargazer during the festivities. I don’t understand it — there’s plenty of room for my hand to fit through! Though as DTB reminded me, I do have extremely small hands. Sigh. There’s never a garment that goes without a hitch. Not yet at least.

Today it’s hand-hemming both of DIL’s tunics, repairing the cuffs on the undertunic, and then on to Stargazer’s baby tunic with drawstring hem and coif. Hope I can gestimate the size without measurements. I just held him in my arms yesterday but no measuring tape handy at the time. And besides, I want this one to be a surprise for his parents.

Well, back to the salt mines…er, sewing machine.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Another Bad Friday

Well, it wasn’t a very good day for poor old JC, now was it? Heh. As for me, T-Man has to work today and I need to continue my sewing marathon. I’m trying to get as much done as possible as early as I can. Quick before I burn out or something.

Carrying on. My DIL’s undertunic now has a new added cuff with more silver and black trim and hopefully the sleeves will be long enough for her. It’s not hemmed yet because I want to see it on her first. It looks very nice though. See?


Too bad most of it gets covered up, eh? At least the cuffs will show. After that quick repair and instead of working on her overtunic, I got The Ninja’s overtunic done up to the hemming. I had exactly enough fabric to widen it to a more comfortable fit though it meant a lot more seams. The trim around the keyhole neckline was a PITA as I tried to fit straight trim around a curved neck. It’s a bit lumpy and not really up to my standards but it’ll have to do. I think I’ll just go ahead and hem the thing today since it’s not so critical as long as it’s comes somewhere around his knees. Longer is more elegant than shorter anyhow. The fabric is a polyester wool-look-alike and it’s heavy! Real wool was not an option because it’s too expensive for a garment that will be worn only once or twice and TN is allergic to wool and so wouldn’t be able to wear it anyway. I tried it on T and although it’s a bit too big for him it looked quite nice. It’s going to be quite a warm garment though so I hope they keep the temp down in the hall for all of us overdressed revelers! They dressed warm in the days before central heating for a reason but we’ve gotten used to having much less fabric on our bodies.

Today I’ll carry on with the brown undertunic that started out to be TN’s but is now his father’s. If the sewing seems to be out of logical order, I’m trying to get all the red/brown/burgundy sewing done first so I don’t have to change the thread in the serger so often. Though I’m only using a 2-thread overlock so it’s not a big deal really. I’m still sewing them first on the sewing machine but I’m loving having the speed and efficiency of being able to overlock all the narrow seams so they don’t fray. There are a LOT of mostly straight and mostly very long seams on these garments. Good thing I don’t have to sew them by hand! However there is also very little fabric left over and you have to know that people who had to handspin (on a spindle not a wheel) and handweave (on a primitive loom) their fabrics wouldn’t waste a scrap if they could help it. Moving right along.

It’s a bit cloudy right now but the temperature has been quite balmy. It’s supposed to get up quite warm today which is not an advantage to me if I’m going to be stuck up here in my stuffy garret sewing my fingers to the bone! Maybe I’ll save the handsewing to do outside on the deck later this afternoon when it heats up. One good thing about today being a holiday is that it’s quiet next door since the workmen knocked off early yesterday and are off today. Peace!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Visions & Revisions

I seem to be having trouble with just about every one of the garments I’m trying to make. I had a nightmare (yes, I’ve been dreaming about it — that’s how all-consuming this project is!) that my granddaughter’s undertunic was going to be too tight so I cut out an extra gore for front and back. I like it much better now and I’m pretty sure it will go over her head. We haven’t had a chance to actually try it on her yet. (You try dressing a 2-year-old when she isn't interested!) Both under and overtunics are now hemmed, for better or worse. Two down. Fourhundredfiftyten to go.

I put The Ninja’s tunics in Time Out for the moment and cut out his Lovely Wife’s tunics instead. Yesterday I sewed up her undertunic and it looks really good. Fits me with room to spare (she’s breastfeeding, remember!) but the sleeves also fit me and her arms are longer. So today I have to extend the sleeves by about 2 inches. Sigh. At least she’ll have double bands of silver and black trim which should make her happy. The overtunic is the same size but with shorter wider sleeves. I did have to fudge the underarm gussets a bit but it should be ok. The only hard part is the neckline trim that she wants. It’s too stiff to bend around a curve so I’ll have to make the neckline with square angles as I did her daughter’s. Maybe not quite so square but with angled corners? We’ll see how it goes later today.

In a fit of brilliance (dreaming again) I also figured out how to save The Ninja’s overtunic with some extra side pieces. And there’s just enough fabric left to do it. I hope. The undertunic is not going to work for him though so I’m going to sew up the seams and try it on his dad instead. I haven’t cut T-Man’s tunics out yet, so I can use his undertunic fabric for TN. The oatmeal colour should go nicely with his burgundy overtunic and brown and cream trim and I can actually make it fit. I hope.

In the process of hemming GD’s tunics, I located my Japanese thimble to protect my poor finger from punctures.


That yellow twill is quite stiff and hard to pierce. I can’t wear a regular metal thimble because not only is it really difficult to find one that fits my dinky finger but I find that I push the needle with the side not the tip. It slips off the round edge rather than catching in a dimple so in frustration I end up using my next bare finger instead. So this Japanese thimble is just perfect. It has a flat-ish side where I push the needle made of leather backed with plastic (so it doesn’t go through into my finger). The leather is not slippery and has holes that help keep the needle in place. It’s also stitched into a ring with a simple thread knot and when it was too loose I just re-stitched it a bit tighter. Because the top is open my finger doesn’t get so hot and sweaty either. You can position it wherever it's most comfortable on your finger if you don't like it right on the tip. I got it at Maiwa’s supply shop (scroll to the bottom of the page) but I’m sure they’re not hard to find. I think Clover makes them cheaper than what I got mine for. I’m sure you could even make something similar easily enough.


Lots more hemming to go. This thimble is going to get a workout!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Why Am I Bothering?

’Splain to me why I’m busting my buns to make fourhundredfiftyeleven tunics? I’m frustrated because I tried to fit the half-finished undertunic on The Ninja yesterday and somehow either it shrank or he gained 4 inches around his middle since I measured him for it. It’s too tight but he swears he will lose the weight he gained in the next 4 weeks. Hope so, otherwise he won’t get this on and I’ll have wasted 3 days out of my life that I’ll never get back. grrr…

His overtunic is slightly wider so I’m hoping it won’t be as much of a problem. But you never know. Am I getting frustrated about now? You bet. And I’ve barely started. It’s so nice and sunny outside but I’m stuck in my studio with noisy hammering and sawing going on next door. Speaking of hammers, this is what I get to look at out my study window now:


Guess they cut the window holes out later? Or maybe there aren’t any on this side. Heh. As long as they aren’t staring me in the face I’ll live with it. I won’t be seeing any more sunsets out this window though. The house next door is too high now. It will be a half-floor taller than my house when it’s done.

I had a lovely but exhausting afternoon babysitting the grandkids yesterday. GD is pushing at her boundaries, getting into things and then getting upset when she is thwarted in her attempts to do something she’s not allowed. Typically two-year-old behaviour. And 3-month-old GS can go from smiling and giggling to full-out roar in a split second. I spent the day without my hearing aids on this time and it was much more comfortable for me. He’s hungry every couple of hours and I’m sure his mom underestimates how much he can pack away. It’s hard to tell when he’s breastfeeding so she pumped what she thinks he will need for 3 or 4 hours but he wolfed it all down and was ready for more. I was just about to give him some water to see if that would make him happy when they returned in the nick of time. Whew! At least he will drink from the bottle unlike his big sister who was much more fussy.

Both kids have colds (as does their mom) so I’m hoping I haven’t caught it too. That’s all I need, hey? T-Man and I did manage to take them out for a walk well bundled up. It’s been sunny but cold. On the way home GD had a chance to play at the little park nearby with a gazillion other little kids. I’d forgotten what a community it becomes with all the parents and nannies and a few grandparents (like us) watching and interacting with the little ones. Quite amusing! She wanted to ride on another little girl’s bike so when we got home, T got out the little tricycle we’ve got (donated by a friend who’s granddaughter grew out of it) and she enjoyed playing on it in the basement. She can’t quite peddle yet but she can push with her feet instead. Trying to run us down is the best part!

So today I’m recuperating and finishing the Tunic That Doesn’t Really Fit. Remind me why I’m doing this again?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

All Over The Map

I wonder if any of my readers are concerned about my crafty wanderings and personal musings on this blog? I know some people prefer to stick to one subject but I don’t do that in real life so why should I do it here? Though I do go through certain crafty phases, I’m interested in just about anything that has to do with fibres and beads plus gardening, nature and sometimes more personal things like my family and my health. I see no reason to stick to one subject or to apologise when I go off on tangents. If anyone gets bored with it, just stop reading and go read someone else! Simple as that. Sing it with me — “It’s my blog and I’ll post what I want to, post what I want to, post what I want to. You could blog too if you wanted to too!” OK, that’s really bad I know. But I’m still singing! Heh.

Heck, Yarn Harlot gets like 300 comments on her blog posts and she doesn’t always write about knitting either. (I just loved the recent posts about redecorating the bedroom while husband Joe was out of town.) Stephanie is so popular these days (surprising nobody but herself) that she can fill a large auditorium with people some of whom actually flew there or drove for hours to see her speak. Knitters Unite! Ahem. Anyway the upshot of this monologue is that I like a lot of the personal and off-topic stuff in people’s blogs. I’ve learned all kinds of things, particularly how similar we crafty people are in some ways and how different in others. It’s intriguing to me and I’m glad the blogiverse was invented/created. I’d rather read blogs than watch television, that’s for sure. In another month or so it will be my second blogiversary and I’m planning a little something to celebrate. So stick around, eh? At least until May.

So anyway. What have I been doing? Sewing of course! Garb, garb, and more garb. It’s Medieval ‘R’ Us around here. Here’s the first outfit almost finished:


It’s a miniature version for my 2-year-old granddaughter. Cute, huh? (I didn’t pick out the colours though it does look like I did the way it matches my studio d├ęcor!) Still needs hemming which I hope her mom can accomplish herself. T-Man and I got the fabrics for 3 more overtunics yesterday and I think they’ll work out just fine. His is kind of a silk-ish looking synthetic (rayon?) in a dark forest green, mine is light orange (think pale madder) in a textured weave and for his mom we got a pale lavender-blue cotton. They’re all washed and ready to cut out. That is the big thing, the cutting-out part. It’s actually drafting a pattern directly onto the fabric in mostly rectangular shapes. The hard part is that every piece of fabric is a different width and every garment is slightly different in style. It’s not just a matter of plopping pattern pieces down on the fabric and chopping around them. It would take me just as long to plot this all out on paper so doing it directly on the cloth with chalk is actually a timesaver and I can use the fabric efficiently. So far there hasn’t been much in the way of leftovers. As a matter of fact I had to buy another piece for The Ninja’s undertunic because the length they got for it was just too narrow to accommodate the shapes I needed. It doesn’t match exactly but I don’t think anyone will quibble. So far in 4 hours today I’ve cut out his two garments which are shorter than the ladies’ tunics. He plans to wear them belted over sweat pants.

I’m beginning to think I volunteered to help too many relatives with their Wedding Garb. At the rate I’m going I’ll still be hemming my overtunic the morning of the wedding. But I couldn’t bear to think of them all struggling to find something to wear when I’m capable of doing something about it. After all they’re only simple t-tunics. Two each. For 6 people. With fancy trims. And hugely wide hems. Plus several veils, hats, belt pouches and other accoutrements. And a baby sacque and coif. In 4 weeks. Urk. Back to work. No Foolin'!