Saturday, January 31, 2009

YIPPEE !!!! - my January Wrap-Up

My room is done - fabric is all pre-washed, catalogued and put away. All the books are now on the bookshelves. All the itty-bitty bits & pieces are in drawers, or plastic boxes (except those in use on the cutting table. Everything now has a place and I can breathe again :-)

Final tally of fabric ? 316 m

Wanna see ?


Relatively clean cutting table, Bookshelves with sorted books (sewing, cross stitch, mags-BWOF, Threads, etc)

From top down - stacks of fabric (sorted by type), boxes with buttons & thread, small boxes with various notions, patterns somewhat sorted in the baskets, pressing accessories, sewing machine & serger on a clean table, ready to go.

Plastic bins, drawers sorted by type - there is another plastic bin in the pic above, under the cabinet just to the right of the serger.

See the tote bag on the back of the chair ? Yup, I did manage some sewing this week, too. My UFO List showed 2 totes in progress - all that was actually done were the straps. Now one is done and the other only needs the second strap attached and I'll have 2 new grocery bags.

I got this fabric from before I had any idea what I was doing. Based on the description that it would be good for clothes (totally not noticing that it is listed in the Home Dec part of the site !), I ordered 6 different patterns for skirts and dresses.
What arrived was VERY STIFF fabric. I prewashed one piece 3 times to see if it would soften up. It did...some and I made a skirt of it (M3341 - the one I 'didn't' post a pic of). It is actually pretty comfortable and I will wear it alot but while I'll probably make 1 or 2 more skirts, this fabric will work much better for totes and aprons - my generic store grocery bags will soon be replaced with a mish-mash of fabric bags !

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nearing the End and an Award to show for it

The light at the end of the tunnel is a little brighter tonight. Unless another piece crawls out of the woodwork, this is the end of the fabric to be washed, & logged in. There are 18 pieces here with a rough estimate of 50 m. Hoping to post a final total by Sunday and maybe a pic or two of the cleaned up sewing room.

Lisa at sewrandom awarded me the Kreativ Blog award ! Thank you !

When I started this blog I never dreamed anyone would be interested enough to come back :-) As I was so new at sewing and blogging I didn't think I had much to contribute although I had/have a lot to learn. The blogs are a wealth of information and my research now begins with you ladies.

I'm now supposed to nominate 7 other blogs but since it's been going around a while, I think at this point just about everyone has been thought of. I do agree with Carolyn who voiced that everyone who blogs is entitled but it's really nice to be named in person - can I admit to butterflies when I read Lisa's comment ?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Anyone want to hazard a guess ?

It could be dangerous ! My mind can be a scary place sometime ... LOL

In the course of organizing the Collection, I opened a bag today.
Not so unusual, I've had many fabric pieces so far that were still in bags, with receipts. Great for keeping the log pretty accurate so far.

But today I came across a Mystery Bag of stuff. There was no receipt and therefore, no date. We moved into our house in spring of 2000 and this bag was in the apartment with me for at least a couple years before that. So it's got to be 10 years old or more.

Shown are:
  • 2m piece of plain White fabric - I have no idea what it is, not batiste, not muslin. It could be a shirting but who knows. It's a woven with no stretch at all.
  • 2m each of red and navy double fold bias tape
  • 2m 1/2" elastic
  • 4m of cording
  • a package of 4 small tie-back hooks
  • 4 7" zippers
Not shown are
  • 3 pieces (2m each) of cotton fabric (medium weight like for chinos, no stretch) to match each of the colored zippers
  • 2m piece of a purpley/lilac colored fabric (cotton blend ?, polyester ?)
All the fabric is in the wash now for what I think is probably the 2nd time. Until now I only prewashed cottons once and now I usually do them in 'HOT' at least twice for maximum shrinkage. They were done at least once before - all the edges were machine wash frayed.

So, what on earth was I thinking/planning ?

The fabric and 3 zips that go together, ok - probably had skirts, or pants in mind BUT the other stuff !!!

I've NEVER used bias tape before - was I intending to make Piping ? 2m each of tape and 4m of cording.....Maybe. But, what for ? There is nothing in my sewing room that gives me any inkling of what I had in mind for this. No fabrics that would go with them, nothing.

Elastic - ok - so now I know you can always have elastic on hand, but when I bought it, it was at a time when I would have had a project in mind.

4 tiny tie-back hooks - NOT A CLUE.

Update on organizing - 9.5 m of fabric in the dryer - will run it through one more hot wash (total of 3x) before shelving it. That'll bring my total so far to 156m.....................and not done yet.

I do see a light at the end of the tunnel, though. It's dim but it's there.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I sewed a Seam !

Literally, one seam.

All week (and all weekend) I've prewashed, folded, yada, yada, yada the Collection. And all I've really wanted to do is actually sew something.

Tonight, in the interest of organization, I sewed an elastic waistband into a pair of DH's sleep pants. They're done & off my table and I had my sewing fix. This was one of a couple pairs I made for DH for Christmas 2? years ago. The elastic ends were sewn together but they broke and it took me awhile to get to them.

As for the fabric - after the dryer chimes in about 20 minutes, I will be up to 136 m accounted for. It's funny how your mind works, isn't it ? My room now has pretty much the same amount of piles as it did before I started BUT now when I look at it, I see stacks of fabric that make sense rather than just a jumble.

The top shelf is emptying out as I pull what's there to be washed and sorted. It will gradually have organized stacks.

The 2nd shelf is, from left to right: large pieces of wool, skirt pieces (mostly wool, but not all), the misc pile (linen, embroidered stretch cotton & a few other pieces), shirtings and knits.

I'm making progress, but there are lots of pieces sitting around the rest of the room still waiting for attention.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

98m, 99m, 100m ....

Still sorting, prewashing and logging in fabric.

105 m & counting (and you should see what's still left to do !)

And no, I have not washed 105 m of fabric in the last 6 days - a fair amount had already been done. They just have to be sorted to their grouping and logged in the excel sheet.

I've thought about how to sort the piles and decided to go with type of fabric. Sorting by color just won't work for me, as I tend to decide what to make then find the right fabric. Better to keep types together.

Right now I've got a shelf with 5 piles (lg pieces of wool, 1meter skirt cuts of wool, knits, shirting and an interim misc. pile which will get resorted as I create new appropriate piles)

Also, the plastic bins are coming along -
  • 2 drawers with jersey & interlock t-shirt knits,
  • 2 drawers with cuts of flannel for sleep pants
  • 2 drawers with bottom-weight cuts of cottons for skirts, pants, etc.

On a side note, I've tried to comment on a couple of wordpress blogs today and pretty much have given up.

On one blog, it took 3 tries for a comment to show up (the other 2 attempts are in the black abyss of blogland, I suppose)

On the other, up to now my comment has not yet shown up (a 2hour time frame so far), but I tried to re-comment and the system told me I was trying to post a duplicate comment.

I don't seem to have this trouble on the blogspot blogs - anyone have any ideas ? Do you have trouble posting comments, too ?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Clutter !!!

Edited to add pics

My sewing room is a mess - not an organized mess, just clutter !
I'm considering posting a picture (hmmm, I'll think on it).

Yeah, ok...

I stood in my doorway and took 4 pics moving clockwise - for the last pic I squeezed in the corner by the iron and took the opposite corner. I will admit, this is not a true 'before' picture as I started this cleanup on Saturday. And looking at the pictures, it doesn't seem as bad as I had in my head - It definitely needs organizing but I'm not sure why it's been haunting me to this degree.

There seems to be a few posts lately regarding stash-busting and the ever-present 'do you stash, or don't you' - I definitely stash and have decided to go with the word 'Collection'. It seems a more productive word. Right now I like everything I have and have enjoyed the collecting. So, this post is not about having too much of a stash but just of having an organized system !


Before Christmas, I could ignore it and do what had to be done. Now, I've stalled.

When I look around my room I see:
  • piles of fabric, some prewashed, some not; some catalogued, some not, some organized, some not - this doesn't include the fabric sitting in the laundry room
  • UFO's - my coat (some pieces on the cutting table, some on the shelf, some on the ironing board, some next to the sewing machine), my duvet cover (and the pile of pieces that go with it), 2 totes, and others that are not as conspicuous, but I know they're there.
  • Mending - sleep pant elastics to be replaced, buttons to be resewn on pants and shirts.
  • Bookshelves - horizontal surfaces that collect everything, not necessarily books.
  • Books - some on the bookshelves, some on the fabric shelves, some in the other room on the coffee table !

Now this room is only 8'x10' and it is home to my computer desk, chair, cutting table, 2 bookshelves, a sewing machine cabinet that opens to approx 7' long, 3 plastic rolling drawer units, wide ironing board and a steam generator iron which is sitting on a TV tray table.

There are shelves on the walls of course, but everything listed above is sitting on the floor. Since Christmas, I go in there and immediately FREEZE ! There's no room for me - so I leave.

In the fall, I bought shelving. The kind that has the vertical wall supports and laminate shelves sitting on brackets. There are 2 - 6' long shelves now pretty much filled with fabric - no rhyme or reason, just piles. The bottom shelf is a bit narrower and holds patterns, small boxes of notions, and pressing notions.

Through the year I started to note down the applicable info regarding my fabric stash (a lot of it was still in bags with receipts, believe it or not :-) !) Somewhere on the Net, I'd found a .pdf template for organizing fabric. I printed out some pages and started logging it all in - after a while I stopped. Yes, I kept buying fabric though.

Thread storage - After looking around for quite a while, I did manage to find plastic storage units somewhat like the CarJammers that Carolyn uses – so all my thread is now all in 1 box .

Notions - zippers, markers, elastics, etc. Now in ‘labeled !’ plastic storage boxes (gotta love those portable labellers).

This past week, I decided it's time to 'really' clean it up.

BOOKSHELVES - I need to sort the bits and pieces and clear the shelve so I can actually use them as bookshelves (is it me ? I find it so much easier to deal with the large items, the bits and pieces are always a pain in the butt)

Shannon posted that she keeps her stash logged in an Excel sheet - now THAT's more my speed - Thanks, Shannon !

I borrowed her template, modified the list of headings, created an Excel sheet for me and got to work.

Every drawer and portion of shelf space now has a number assigned to it and I added a 'location' column to my file. To make it onto the list each piece of fabric must be prewashed and be physically filed (did I ever mention ? I'm a secretary - filing is my middle name LOL ! )

So far, I've logged in approx 80 m of fabric - my final total is going to be scary !

I want/need to finish my coat but am way too distracted. Once the brain clutter has eased, I can get back to sewing.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Slowcooker has been replaced

No, we did not find a new slow cooker, instead I got this !

An Acer Aspire One netbook. I'm not sure how I've missed these (apparently I don't get out often...LOL) but I've never knew these existed until just a couple of weeks ago. While I was in New Brunswick, my brother & I were in Future Shop and saw them for the first time - there were 4 different display models, from different manufacturers and we tried them out. I went from 'oh, look at these, they're so cute', to 'I WANT one!' in about 15 minutes !

'The HP model was a bit larger (10") and so it had a more comfortable keyboard. But once I got home and started researching and comparing features on the available models I found the Acer had more 'bang for the buck'. 'Nicole - let your dad know this, in case he's checking them out :-) '

Acer had many different variations on what is included in their netbooks. Mine has 1GB RAM, 160GB HDD, Windows XP & the 3-cell battery. I could only find one with a 6-cell battery online and I was too impatient to wait. It came with 60-day trial versions of McAfee Security & Office 2007.

I picked it up yesterday and came home all ready to set it up. DH went to set up a wireless connection for me and lo and behold - NO INTERNET ! After much troubleshooting and a service call, we had a Bell rep come this afternoon to troubleshoot our connection and the modem. Modem was dying a painful death and has been replaced. Internet is now up and running, wireless is set up - all my updates are done and my little netbook is good to go.

I am a happy camper !!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The 2009 Collection - started

I knew it - no willpower !

The Collection now shows on the sidebar - 6.5 meters purchased today

1) The dark green wool - it WAS still on the shelf, although not in the same place as I left it. I'm glad whoever looked at it, didn't want it !...I was hoping for at least 1m, there was 1.5m and I bought the whole piece (@ $2.50/m)

2) The poly knit below it is sort of a lime green, a tiny bit more yellow than the picture shows...1.5m

I'm no good at seeing 2 colors together unless one is white or black...can these two colors be worn together ?

3) Red wool - 2m (@ $2.50/m)

4) Another poly knit... also 1.5m (the knits were $9.99/m on sale for buy 1m, get 2m free, so each knit piece was $5)

All told - 4 pieces for $21 - I'm happy with that :-)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Keeping track of things

I'm going to try to complete my WIPs and UFOs this year ('try' being the operative word here !)

Also, since starting this journey last year, I've managed to accumulate a stash, er, collection. This has grown substantially over the year and I did not really keep any record of what came in. My numbers of meters sewn was easily tallied (3 skirts, 1m each; shirt, 2m; capris, approx 1.5m; coat, 3m).

That being said, I've added 2 items to my sidebar, one to show progress/completion of the WIPs and the other to show fabric purchased and used.

After a quick pass through the sewing room and the living room knitting basket, the WIP list is started - to be edited as required.

The Collection list will show itself tomorrow after I hit the 75% off sale at Fabricville on my way home from work.

I've been eyeing a piece of green wool on the wool samples shelf since November. It has been whittling away off the bolt since then and today I was in town and went in to scope it out. There is still a small piece (maybe 1m ? cross fingers) left on the bolt and I hope it is still there tomorrow when the sale starts. Shhh, don't tell anyone, but I'm not above a bit of sneakiness and hid put it back on the very bottom of the shelf hoping no-one else is energetic enough to kneel right down on the floor to look for it.

Back to work tomorrow - I thought I would get some sewing time in over the holidays, but after the craziness of December and 5 days travelling, I just didn't get back to the sewing room. All crafting time was spent with the knitting needles. After giving the dishcloths as gifts, a few people have asked for more, so I've just kept knitting - my Dad has 2, one of my brothers has 4 and as shown on the sidebar, I have 10 more to do.

Friday, January 2, 2009

One more look back

The loot...
A KitchenAid Slow Cooker & Blender and a new cell phone.

We returned the Slow Cooker this morning...the lid did not fit the ceramic liner well at all - it wobbled horribly and there was a large open space where the lid did not sit flat.
I got a new slow cooker last year (different brand) with the same problem and it just doesn't cook well (actually it doesn't cook at all - a meal still uncooked after 10 hours is not good).

This year I knew enough to check the fit of the lid right away - after checking, I went onto the KitchenAid website in the forum to check it out. It seems like this is a somewhat common problem and the company line of the forum moderators is

quote..."An airtight seal is not a positive feature - It causes pressure to build. This could cause things like moisture spraying out when the pressure relieves itself when the lid is lifted. Also, if the pot cools before cleaning with the lid on, it can actually cause a vacuum making it hard to get the lid off. The purpose of the lid is to help retain heat and moisture while letting the unit breathe. Extensive testing has shown that even a slight gap (up to ¼”) would not affect the performance or quality of the food cooked in the KitchenAid Slow Cooker"...unquote

Sorry, I'm having trouble swallowing this one ! The whole point of a 'slow cooker' is that it cooks at a low enough temp that it WON'T boil over and with a large air gap, too much liquid evaporates defeating the purpose of keeping the moisture in the pot.

I'd like another one, but only if I can find a better lid/insert combo.

My last fabric/yarn purchases of the year. The Fabricville near my Dad (less than a 10 min walk!) is great and I always check it out when I'm home.

all three fabrics are quite a bit darker than the picture shows

The orange on the top is a knit, I think ponte de roma but I'm not positive - it was in the remnant bin, 1.25 yards for $1

The brown and the other orange are wool samples. Originally $10/m but on a 50% off sale - brown (4 meters), orange (3 meters). The tags were not specific of the exact content - they could be wool blends but I'm not sure how to tell. They're definitely wool - they've been pretreated already & wet wool has it's own smell !

As usual, I have no specific projects in mind, but with this amount of yardage, I could do a short jackets & skirt with the orange and possibly jacket & pants with the brown, we'll see. Knowing me, they are about to start the aging process :-)

There is no Michaels in Montreal, there IS one near the Fabricville in Saint John so, yes, I have to check it out. They had some great sales for Boxing Day...I went to look over the yarn.

I'd like to attempt socks and these yarns were all $7.99 for $4 per ball. A lady in the store told me 3 balls will make 2 pairs of short socks and showed me the ones she was wearing !!! We do have some interesting experiences when buying our crafting supplies, yes ?

I couldn't decide which I liked best so I bought 3 balls each of the 4 yarns in the picture, no point buying 2 balls and having 1/2 ball left over LOL. I don't know if they're good quality or not, they are very soft and hopefully I will have wearable socks at the end of this 'new' journey.

And so, 2009 begins...