Friday, December 31, 2010

My Look Back on 2010

I spent a bit of time looking over my posts from this year. In no way was it a sewing year - in fact, the only piece I made completely during the year was my orange dress. That's not to say there was 'nothing' sewing - the absolute highlight was the 2010 PatternReview Weekend in June in Montreal !!! It was such a fabulous weekend, working with Connie, Kay and Anne-Marie to plan it and finally after months of anticipation, meeting all the sewists who were able to come and share the weekend with us.

Knitting was pretty productive this year - I finished 8 pairs of socks and 2 hats (socks take me about 6 weeks to do a pair - the exception being a stockinette foot and rib cuff, 2 weeks for those !) The 9th pair of the year is still on the needles with a couple of inches to go, they won't get finished before midnight tonight but in the next couple of days for sure. November and December were busy and I didn't post much at all *smile*. The 2 hats and 3 pairs of socks are still due to be pictured, posted and added to my logs.

Personally, the year improved somewhat - I got off the short week and was back on full time in April, thank goodness. Work is busier and that gives a bit of security. Our owners are very optimistic for an improved 2011.

In October, I got off my duff and started a treadmill walking program in addition to making a concerted effort to walk more often and longer. Took off a couple of pounds too - bonus !

New Year's resolutions and I don't usually get along - the quickest way for me to NOT do something is to SAY I will LOL. There are a few things though...I want to keep up the walking and exercise; make sure I get some sewing done (I've a capsule/collection in my head just waiting to be made) and finish some of the sewing and knitting UFO's. Both the yarn stash and the fabric collection have grown and need to be worked up.

2011 is a big year for DH & I as a couple. Come November we will have been together 25 years - our wedding anniversary is 11 years behind that though :-)

I want to thank everyone who checks in on my rambly posts and comments with such encouragement. It is much appreciated and truly makes me feel a part of a very welcoming community.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy, prosperous New Year !

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Anyone still out there ?

Have you all given up on me ?

Life sure does throw curveballs once in a while doesn't it ? My last post was the beginning of my Christmas to do list. Since then, all the cookies were baked, gifts bought & wrapped, the party was held Dec 11 and in the blink of an eye it was all over. How does that happen anyway ?

So, now for the past couple of weeks, I've been looking forward to traveling to Toronto to visit our friends for the week. And here comes the curveball - DH was sick last week, I'm sick now and I'm not sure which it is but either a herniated disc is acting up or I have sciatica in both legs - what a freaking week ! The pain is worse than the flu and all I really want is to be able to get some sleep.

All that means we are now having a quiet Christmas at home, just the 4 of us, although I'm sure Alex & Skippy really have no idea of Santa LOL :-) I have to admit, now I'm looking forward to it.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year !

Saturday, October 23, 2010

...and so it begins again

LOL - to answer Ann - Yup, 'already' :-)
and for everyone who may think I'm batty - I booked my Christmas dinner date this past week and let everyone know. Then I checked the calendar - I've only got 7 weekends to get all these cookies made. Oh, and there's another couple coming so I have to make up 1 more cookie box than usual. Let the baking commence, er continue...

First up...spritz

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

From UFO to FO - Part II - the Dress (Finally !)

It it now Thursday, I posted this last night and this morning, checked to find that pretty much all of the text was gone. So I try again.

Wow - 3 posts in as many days - must be a record for me LOL

My first post on my Marjie/GMarie sewalong lace/PR Weekend Cocktail/Niece's wedding dress was way back on July 7. Since then I finally finished the dress - before Aug 1 actually - that's quick for me LOL.

The full review is on PR (but for some reason, I just cannot get the link to work)

I've worn this dress and while I was happy with it after the fitting process, I see so many things wrong now. The 2 worst to me are the bust seam is too high and those folds at the back shoulders. The folds may be a normal feature of cut-on sleeves but I don't know. If I could fix those two things, I'd be pretty happy with it.

Oh, and don't look at that 'not invisible', invisible zipper ! I looked and looked for a matching zipper forever. At some point it was suggested to get one in cream and paint the pull with nail polish - Yeh, I won't actually ever recommend this to anyone. Blech. Anyway, days after the zip was in you'll NEVER guess what happened. Yup, found an orange invisible zip that matched just about perfectly. Murphy just loves me :-(

DH took a few pics. Sorry for the horribly squinty eyes - it was a VERY sunny morning !
All of the lines are shadows - it was impossible to get a clear pic.

The shoulder folds and that wonderful zipper !

I kind of like this one.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Butterfly Socks - SFTTU #5

I figured I'd better get my sock log uptodate before the next pair is finished LOL

This is pattern no. 5 in Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toe Up - Butterfly Socks

It was a LONG 6 weeks making these - I absolutely detested working with the yarn. There is a black thread running the length of the yarn and it's not really twisted into the yarn so it's splitty, and so easy to not pick up all of the yarn on a stitch. With all of the double YO's in the pattern, I didn't enjoy making the socks at all. It was just a matter of getting them done.

Now they're done and I really like them after all. When trying to figure out where to start each sock to make the pattern the same, I realized the changes between colors was extremely gradual. You'd need better eyes than mine to line them up ! I just gave up and cast on to let the pattern fall where it would. Turns out the socks coordinate nicely although the pinks and purples are offset by one pattern from one sock to the other.

My stats -
Cast on Jul 22
Cast off Sep 12
Regia Hand-dye Effect - 06553 (Purple)
Purchased at Tricot Quartier - Montreal, Quebec , June 2010
2.5mm needle
64 stitches
Magic Loop
Judy's magic cast on
Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sewing - but not sewing

Still no sewing going on here. Still have tee partially done and waiting for me to get my act in gear.

BUT - I'm still Buying Stuff ! There is a problem with this as I haven't yet kicked DH out of his computer room and switched it with my sewing room.

Saturday's acquisition ? We went to a local open air flea market and while we saw 5 or 6 sewing machines, none came home with me. This did...for $5

It's huge - I put the one I bought from Fabricville on top and measured them. The longest part of the small one is 18 inches - the large one is 30 inches.

I'm going to recover both of them - I don't want the silver covering on the small one and the new one needs to be updated. I've got a green/white stripe twill (a mistake from that should be enough to cover both. Just need to find something for padding.

This weekend was about finishing up things - there are 2 posts in draft mode now - 1 sewing / 1 knitting. First one - tomorrow.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Whoo boy - a busy 10 days !

A week and a half ago, I headed to New Brunswick for my niece's wedding. As a lucky coincidence, our friends from Toronto were also planning a visit home at the same time and volunteered to pick me up on the way through Montreal ! Yay, a one way ticket saved.

The wedding was wonderful, the bride radiant and the groom never stopped smiling ! They are young and in love and I wish them all the best.

One of the high points of the wedding was, unbeknownst to any of us, my niece called my Mom's nursing home and made all the arrangements necessary for Mom to attend the wedding. Wow - she hasn't been outside in a whole year ! This would be quite an undertaking - how much would be too much for her ? Well, they got her all dolled up - made arrangements for 2 tentative pickups for the Handi-Bus depending on how she was doing through the day and as you can see, she arrived in great spirits ! There was a bunch of us all waving and smiling at her and she just started laughing.

Wow, what a difference from when I last saw her in the spring - my sister said she's been very animated and chattering and happy for a couple of months now. Mom did very well sitting through the service, 20 minutes wasn't too long for her. Afterwards, though, there was 3 hours before supper. The hall where the reception was held is attached to a mall with a very bright atrium set up perfectly to sit and chat and people watch. A few of us sat with her and the 3 hours passed pretty easily. After supper (and 6 hours !) after she arrived it was time for the Handi-bus to come back to pick her up. She had such a good day - it was wonderful to have her there.

Here are a few shots of the bride & groom - I don't take great pics but the first one is my favorite.

Once I got home on Sunday, the fur she was a flyin'...

Otherwise known as, a a 10lb pom playing tug with a 3lb yorkie - believe me it's a fairer game than you might think. At least til Skippy shakes, then the yorkie doesn't stand a chance LOL
Hmm, did I forget to mention we're babysitting the Toronto dogs ? Yeah, AND DSIL's pom, Charlie, as well. A group shot - can you pick out all 6 ? A cookie bribe was the only way to get them in the same place at the same time.
Clockwise from top left - Sophia, Kelawney (lord knows if I spelled THAT right !), Alex, Lester, Skippy & Charlie

This morning the Torontonians all went home, dogs and people and Charlie's mommy called about 1/2 hour ago. DH will take him home shortly. In the meantime, this is what our day looks like LOL

This was a filler post - I do have a couple items to post (dress & socks) but have to admit I just haven't got to taking pics and posting. Soon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ladies who Lunch - Part 4

I'm VERY late to this party - since everyone else posted practically the next day !

But, since this will be my whole vacation post, I'll start at the beginning and lead up to the good stuff. As we often do, we spent some of our vacation visiting friends in Toronto. Normally, we have no plans, it's downtime (& shopping LOL) This year, I had one day planned for me, the rest we played by ear.

In my last post, I mentioned, amongst all the SM pics, that we spend some time visiting antique shops, consignment shops and the like. Last year, we carted home two pieces of furniture - this year one new piece came home with us. As an aside, I don't go "just" to buy furniture - if I could find these kinds of deals in Montreal, I'd snap 'em up !

Our house has NO cupboard space - my tiny galley kitchen in our old apartment has more cupboards than this house does. We've been looking for a buffet/sideboard type of cabinet for a long time. The intention was to take off the lunch counter in the pic below and replace it with storage.

An hour after we got home, the counter was off and replaced with this...please, please ignore the mess !

Now the good stuff !

When I knew we were going to Toronto, I emailed Connie and let her know. Connie, who should list mindreading in her list of talents, absolutely recognized the hidden (but not extremely subtle) message in my email - 'please, please come to Toronto and shop with me!'
And so she left her family to take care of business for the day and did just that :-)

Here we are at the start of our morning. I didn't know that Toronto had their own version of New York's Sewing Man sculpture. We've got a very large thimble, with concrete buttons surrounding trees as seating and a measuring tape imprinted into the sidewalk - pretty cool.

There's no point rehashing the trip down Queen Street as Connie has done a wonderfully complete post on the subject here...The down low on fabric shopping in Toronto

And that's not all ! I emailed Reethi and Connie emailed Sue and they met us for a while at lunchtime. We managed to catch up on the past couple of months, eat and get in some bead shopping before they had to get back to work.

Here's the 'Friends' shot - yes, we all have the same pic. We gave our cameras to a gentleman in Downtown Fabrics and he took one for all of us - we probably should have changed positions a little bit LOL !

The haul (from left to right):

16 yards of black poly/cotton broadcloth (I picked this up at a local thrift shop for $5.99) It's sure to come in handy.

Downtown Fabrics...
The wild print is a Nina Ricci cotton
Below that is a blue cotton, for a shirt and a purple and light blue knit for tees.

The steel blue and red fabrics are technical fabrics. The blue (cotton/nylon) from Chu Shing Textiles and the Red from Affordable Textiles.

The only fabric with a plan is the blue cotton/nylon - I've got a skirt that is just a titch too small and I'd like to try to copy it.

The yarns are both sock yarns, the yellow from Romni Wools on Queen Street and the other from Creative Yarns in Scarborough.

And that was my phenomenal vacation this year - I sure hope we can do it again sometime !!!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

How Many is Too Many ?

The herd is growing. When I wanted to make curtains for our bedroom back when (1988/89?), my DH wanted to buy me a sewing machine right away. Instead I borrowed a friend’s machine, made the curtains, and a few other things, a dress, a skirt, etc. A year or two later, DH bought me my first SM - a Kenmore 30 stitch from Sears in a cabinet that opened up quite large but could fold compact in our small apartment.

In ‘95 or so, I started looking around at sergers. A very basic model was my goal - 3 or 4 thread. While at the Creative Needlework Festival in the fall of ‘97, DH bought me the 5 thread Singer serger with coverstitch capability - it was sooo much more machine than I was looking for and so far beyond my sewing capabilities that I was terrified of it. It sat in the box for 7 years, we were in our house for 4 years before I got the nerve to open it up. Now I use it regularly.

For years I was very happy with the two machines - DH mentioned upgrading a few times but, I didn’t feel the need so I continued as I was.

A couple of Christmas’s ago, I opened a Singer HD110 and was very surprised as I had told him I didn’t need another one.,.’it might come in handy’’, he said.

Well, turns out it does a better buttonhole than the Kenmore and has an invisible zipper foot. It also gets put to use often now.

Now…after some time on PatternReview and blogs, I’ve stumbled across the names of SM brands that I’d never heard of (Necchi being one) as well as the sites and threads of people who promote the use of the vintage machines.

In a local thrift store in June, I saw a Necchi BU Mira (1953) in a cabinet - it needed new electrical cords and at the time, the only thing I knew to check was if the handwheel turned or if it was frozen. It was VERY smooth. It also came with a drawer full of stuff - manuals, feet, cams, instructions for everything. A week later it was still in the shop and I had to have it. Had to learn to use a knee control with this one.

This past week 3 - yes, 3! have been added to the SM collection (which wasn’t a collection at all until now LOL - denial, denial, denial !). We are on holiday in Toronto visiting friends. They have 3 machines - 2 were going to be tossed unless I wanted them.

1st one is a Singer 99K - Serial number dates it to 1953, manufactured in Scotland. It’s in a cabinet and uses a foot pedal, has a stitch length lever, manual and attachments. This one will get a bit of a cleaning and oiling but is good to go.

2nd one is also a Singer 99K - Serial number dates it to 1951, manufactured in Scotland. It’s in a bentwood box (for which I found a new key), has a stitch length knob instead of a lever and has the same attachments as the previous one. It needs a good cleaning, an oiling, and new electrical cord).

I’m not sure about this one - it looks so much older than the other that I wonder if it really is a ‘51. The serial number doesn’t look tampered with but there is no ‘99K’ plate on it. I don’t know if there is any other way to definitively date a machine though, so any info would be appreciated.

Almost done ! During our visits to Toronto, we frequent a few antique and consignment shops.

Yep, in the consignment shop the other day there was ANOTHER Singer bentwood box ! I was called to come see - it had only arrived that morning and hadn’t yet even been priced. We used the computer to check the serial number - I think it came up 1935 - maybe it was 1934. Anyway, it was another 99K. This had a much darker wood box, a knee pedal and a box of attachments, including a few I didn’t have).

Owner said ‘make an offer’; I said ‘no’; DH said ‘$45 ?’ - I have another machine !

It needs MUCH more work, We plugged it in and the light came on but the hand wheel is extremely sticky. Lots of cleaning to do - it's filthy. A good oiling as well. New electrical cords. There is a bit of fraying and in any case, I’d rather have DH replace them than take a chance with bad wiring. This is a true before pic, all I've done is lift the cover off.

My sewing room is approximately 10’ x 12’ - Our basement living area has a 14’ x 14’ nook off of it that DH is using for his computer set-up. He has volunteered a few times to switch spaces with my sewing room. I’ve always refused for 2 reasons - I like a door on my sewing room so I can leave it a mess when I’m mid-project and also I’m a tiny bit afraid my fabric/machines will expand/multiply like rabbits to fit whatever size room I have available to me (a pretty legitimate fear, apparently LOL)

I see a room-switch happening sometime in the not-to-distant future.

We go home tomorrow - I can't afford to stay in Toronto any longer !

Sunday, July 18, 2010

From UFO to FO - Part I - Socks

Did you know that you really can't knit while laying flat on your back ? Well, I can't anyway.

Thursday morning a really nasty pain hit my lower back - I went in to the clinic thinking it was a kidney infection but it turns out that it's 'something' muscular. 'Something' ? what the heck does that tell me ? I either managed to sprain my back while typing (very strenuous typing !) or it is a muscle spasm...if the pain was in my leg well, then it would be a herniated disc. Lots of possibilities will the same treatment, lay still, ice 4x per day and meds for 7 days that put me to sleep - after which I would need physio if it's not gone by then. About an hour after seeing the Dr. it was in my leg and by late afternoon it was all the way below my knees. hmmm, herniated disc ? maybe.

I called the physio clinic where I go for my regular massage treatments and they made me a physio app't for Tuesday - better than waiting a week to see if the pain was still there and THEN calling for an app't ! In the meantime, I've been pretty sleepy from the muscle relaxants. Today is the first day that I have any comfortable movement - not painfree by any means, but less.

I'm able to sit up for a little while at a time and decided I'd better get some things done. 3 of those things being the 2 pairs of socks and the dress each with only a bit left to do to finish.

The socks were first on the list. The Skew socks have been sitting on the coffee table for almost 6 weeks laughing at me. I finally wove in the ends !

My stats -
Supersocke 100, colorway 1214
Purchased at Romni Wools in Toronto, Aug 2009
2.75mm needle
Magic Loop
Judy's magic cast on (my first attempt at this that it actually worked !)
Jeny's surprisingly stretcy bind off (love, love this bind off !)

Pretty pink diagonal stripes...

...and, the heels

2nd pair - SFTTU #4 - Tic-Tac-Toe-UP Socks

I made quite the boo-boo on this pair. I was making the size medium, but when I started increasing for the gusset I forgot to check the number of stitches and kept going till there were enough stitches to make the heel in the large size - there was no way I was undoing these in this dark yarn so I kept going and crossed my fingers. After all, the heel is not 'really' that much too big, the foot is a tad too long, but I can live with it. So far all my socks have tightened up in the wash, I'll just hope these do the same.

My stats -
Patons, Kroy, colorway Gentry Grey
Purchased at Michael's in Saint John, Dec 2008 (my very first sock yarn purchase)
2.75mm needle
Magic Loop
Judy's magic cast on
Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off

Part II - the dress...coming soon

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Burda 02-2009-124 & Socks - Almost Finished

The past few days were somewhat productive.

The dress is almost done. The dress that I’m calling my PR Weekend Cocktail dress. The dress that in fact came to be when I decided to follow along with Marjie and gMarie with their lace dresses. I couldn’t find any lace (& where would I wear a lace dress, anyway?) and put it out of my mind til I found fabric I really wanted to make it in. This linen was already in the collection and I just love the tone-on-tone embroidery at the bottom. Actually, I just really love orange :-)

When PR Weekend and its Cocktail Dress Contest were coming up, I decided that this would be my entry. Not really a cocktail dress but definitely a summer dress to get lots of wear (I hoped).

You know it didn’t get done !

In its third planned entry to my wardrobe, it is now my dress for my niece’s wedding in September.

The invisible zip is in, and the lining is machine stitched to the zipper tapes. It was a pretty wiggly process. Each of those seams was done twice. One side was too far from the zipper and needed to be restitched closer. The other was REALLY wiggly and needed to be straightened out. The thread matches the linen close enough that I’m too afraid of picking fabric threads instead – so, I didn’t pick out the bad lines of stitching. In any case, they’re between the lining and fabric and no one will ever see them. Plus, I look at it as a bonus as they are giving a back-up line of stitching in case the zip malfunctions ! Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I also stitched up one side seam, both lining & linen. What a job ! Since the armholes were stitched and flipped right side out earlier in the process, it was really difficult to get the stitching of the side seams right up to where the armholes seams ended. It’s not neat and I think I’m going to topstitch about 1/2” or so just at the bottom of the armhole / top of the side seam – just in case.

Only the other side seam (did that last night) and the lining hem to do now. The wedding is the second weekend in September – I should have enough time to get ‘er done. Ya think ? LOL

2 pairs of socks are ‘this’ close to being done – my Skew socks have been waiting for me to weave in the ends for a long time now - for as long as it has taken me to knit another whole pair of socks (6 weeks ?) ! My 4th pair of socks from SFTTU are just about finished – I’m on the cuff and working my way to the end of the yarn – I think I’ve got enough for about another 5-6 rows.

Pics on the way...soon

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Oh, a little of this & a little of that

I hope everyone has had/is having a great long weekend. I've been off since Thursday, puttering about. Friday was beautiful day, just right for laundry - Alex kept me company while I was hanging out the clothes...

When it got too hot, she moved to the shade - smart girl. Skippy spent most of the day under the kitchen table - no pics of my little boy.
I did a bit of sewing on my PR Weekend Cocktail Dress (Burda 02-2009-124). Before the weekend, I had the pattern adjusted, the lining basted for fit and the pieces all cut out. Since then all I had done were the darts.

Over the past few days, I sewed the bodice & lining each at the shoulders, sewed the bodice to the lining at the neckline and the armholes and turned it all right side out.
It turned out ok but my understitching leaves much to be desired.
I quite like the V-neck in the back

Since I took the pics, I've also attached the rest of the skirt and skirt lining pieces. It's ready for the invisible zip.

The last of the weekend projects was gardening. I've never been satisfied with the bed outside my front window - there were originally 2 cedars in that bed, one like 8ft tall that tipped over so we took it out to find the roots never grew down - the whole thing had been anchored with a root system no more than about 8" deep ! The other one was a globe cedar right under the living room window. Every year it collapsed under the snow and eventually was growing sideways instead of in an upright manner. It now looks like this.

The bed is partially reworked - the cedar was taking up about a 5' x 5' space. I added a couple bags of much needed new earth and manure to that space, moved (and divided) some of the plants that were on the outside perimeter of the bed and added a couple of new plants just picked up yesterday. You know, I never mind a bed that looks brand new with small plants, next year it will all fill in some more and look just fine.

The outside perimeter now contains 5 hostas that need more space (You can see on the far right where the hostas are smooshed. That what the cedar practically laying on top of them.) and a couple of groundcover plants that are taking over and need to be thinned out. Once that is done the bed will be done and hopefully I'll like it better.