Buck up, little soldier…

Hello all!

It’s been an age since I’ve made a post, hasn’t it. My blog reading and commenting have been pretty lean, too. Many of my favorite bloggers are on IG, but even though that’s so fast and easy, I haven’t commented much there either. But I digress…

My world has been rocked a bit lately. I hadn’t planned to share, but since I always appreciate hearing everyone else’s back stories and knowing that they’re ok when absent for a while, it seemed the logical step.

So here we go. You likely know that my 91-year mother lives with us. Mom lost a kidney a few years ago due to sepsis from a hospital visit while she still lived in California. Her remaining kidney had very little functionality, and it was declared that she probably would be with us only a “few more months, certainly not a year”. She lived on another three years there, and has been here with us over a year and a half – I’d say she has definitely beat the odds on that one!

During the last few weeks, however, there’s been a decline in her general well being. I’ve been doing more for her and watching her become increasingly dependent. My normally chipper mother has lost some of her sparkle. She has more aches and pains, sleeps more, eats less and has lost a little weight (we rejoiced to see her finally reach 105 lbs, so this loss is not welcome). Her kidney function has fluctuated, other key lab tests have been wonky, and she’s had a bout of dehydration. It’s a delicate and difficult balancing act.

To bring a long story short, her doctor believes she has turned a corner in her life, and it may be time to consider hospice services. Not because she is actively dying (isn’t that the oddest expression), but to keep her comfortable, and most important, keep her here at home. And yet again, we hear the prognosis of “months, certainly not a year”. That may be the case, or she may surprise us once again! How I’d love to be surprised, in spite of what my eyes are trying to tell me.

So why did I decide to share this? As a means of explaining my absence, of course, since some have inquired, but also to begin my own healing. A way of forcing myself to push through. My sewing blog buddy, soon to be in-person buddy, someone a lot of you know (… it’s Del!! …) sent an email that inspired me. “Saw your sweet list on IG a few days ago… ” 

I had to go back and read my “sweet” list. It was a tad maudlin. I was obviously missing my children, worried about my mom, perhaps having just a bit of a pity party, certainly not the light-hearted post I intended. One listed item was that Mom taught me to sew on her Bernina. Now I have my own Bernina, and would like Mom to see that those long-ago lessons were not wasted. So as she takes more and longer naps, I’ll have some time to myself and intend to use at least part of it to do some sewing again! I have one project nearly finished and a few lined up. More on that in the next post.

That’s it for today, friends, thanks for reading … and Stitch On, Everyone!

 

 

 

1, 2, 3, 4….

Four fabric squares, each with four seams and four corners. Now that is some advanced sewing, wouldn’t you say? And all these “fours” rolled together in my brain, and came out as 1, 2, 3, 4 … can I have a little more … a dandy little ditty by my four favorite guys.

So after this little digression, let’s get on with the post.

While on vacation last September I bought 4 cotton fat quarters (2 in Brecon and 2 in Chester) to make bandanas for my dear hubby. There couldn’t be a simpler project and as it is now April, he has waited long enough, wouldn’t you agree?

I zipped through the first one, but didn’t turn the corners properly.

Even though they are not terribly bulky, I needed to make better corners with the next one. Unfortunately, the next one was a very lightweight fabric that hubby had chosen himself. Now, who can worry about proper corners when one can’t even keep the feed dogs from chomping up the teeny tiny hems? And of course, this was the smallest of the pieces so making wider hems posed a problem. (Hmm, shouldn’t fat quarters be fairly uniform in size?)  So I did some troubleshooting. I cleaned and dusted my machine, grabbed a new needle, rethreaded both top and bobbin thread. I changed from the lightweight transparent foot (which I had just bought, and love!) to a heavier edge foot and checked the foot tension. The only thing left for me to do was buck up and start again. Starting with great trepidation on the flimsy little square, I happily discovered my machine just whirred right along, and no more hungry feed dogs! And look, my corners have improved!

Rather blurry photo, my apologies.

Here is the completed stack. A grand total of 16 corners and 16 hemmed sides to create four workout/running bandanas for himself. I don’t know which is his favorite, but I’ll just bet you can guess which one is mine!

Somehow, the color is a bit off on just one of these bandanas – the plain green one is a nice, bright green. Won’t he be a big hit at the gym?

And next to come, my new True Bias Hudson pants! And could it be? A dress!

Excuses, it’s the end of the road!

My sewing has been going sooo slowly. I’ve made a few garments (and got in some good practice time and a little skill learning) and have created a plan to make nine garments this year. Of those nine, I’ve finished one top, and really like it! Have a pair of pants and a few more little projects already started, but not worthy of posting as yet. (I do, however, have about a gazillion ideas for fabrics, patterns, etc needing to be ordered from absolutely everywhere! I’ll need to find a job … and a place to store everything …)

But you may wonder what I mean by the end of the road for excuses. I’ll explain. If you’ve followed me for the nearly two years of my blog (amazing!) you’ll recall that my sewing machine initially resided on the little-used dining room table. The table height wasn’t perfect for my back, and I had to run upstairs to the laundry room every time pressing was needed, but it sufficed well. But when my mother moved here with us, we converted hubby’s office to her suite, moving his office furniture into the dining room. Stella the sewing machine was banished to the laundry room, convenient now to the ironing station, but squeezed into a tiny corner. We purchased 2 utility tables, strapped them together, and the resultant 48″ square table is perfect for cutting fabric and folding laundry (and storing everything left over from remodeling) in this tiny room. To further complicate the situation, after my recent knee surgery, the dining room is now the dining room/office/infirmary. So, no more room at all for sewing (although I have been printing and cutting out some pdf patterns in there.)

You also know that our old house always has projects; the latest were the master bedroom and an emergency bathroom repair. With those completed, the sewing room arrived at the top of the list! And now it’s up to me to make all requests for my perfect sewing space. Soon. Like today or sooner.

And as is my wont, I’m turning to my knowledgeable sewing friends for some advice.

Here’s a little description for you. We are working with a 14′ x 10′ 6″ space with 3 doors and 2 windows and one overhead light/fan fixture. The little closet in the second picture will be for hubby’s clothes storage (after all, I have both tiny closets in the MBR).

Mr LTSB is crafty and has offered to build shelves, tables, storage, update electrical – you name it. (Yes, I’m the lucky one, that is for certain.) What I’ve come up with so far is a 48′ x 60″ cutting table with storage underneath. It would probably be in or near the center of the room. The sewing machine will go just to the left the window on the longer wall. The ironing board will stay in the laundry room, which is just steps away.

My general questions to you – what storage is best for what purpose? open shelves? closed shelves? drawers? what size cutting table works best? should it be against a wall or in the open? TV? lighting? I’ve seen lovely pics of sewing rooms (so many pictures my head spins) with threads, scissors, etc on display – very pretty, but don’t they get dusty? Think I’d like mine enclosed. Fancy sewing machine cabinet or just a table? This will be a simple, functional space.

And the most basic question – what is your number one must-have in an efficient sewing workspace?

I’d appreciate any advice. And when this is all finished, I solemnly promise a flurry of fabulously finished sewing projects!!

Stitch on, everyone!

Just the top, ma’am…

This was supposed to be a post about a pajama/lounging outfit, but I’m so happy with the top, I couldn’t wait to show you.

Working on my #2017makenine, I hit a snag right from the outset. It seems all the materials I had on hand were of the stretchy variety, which I’ve never sewn, even back in the old days when I made most of my wardrobe. (oh wait, there was a pink textured polyester shorts & tank set – ack! I’d forgotten about that gem – wore it proudly, but  in retrospect, it was an absolute horror)

Anyway….I decided to  toile my first planned make, pajamas, sewing the top from the Simple Sew Shannon Collection, a pattern gifted to me by Ali of THIMBERLINA fame. I would be using a beautiful piece of Art Gallery stretch jersey, purchased at Akhaban in Chester, when I met Ali and her mum.

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Thanks to all your good advice, see previous post, the neckline was stretched into submission and sewed to near perfection (although still a bit puckery).

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I tried on the top again; the fit was right, but something was not right with the sleeves. Were they too long? Maybe. Too tight? Not really. They just weren’t right. So how did I resolve this issue? Ditch the cuffs! So, with sleeves hemmed without cuffs, the length is perfect and the top is great! I love this cheery fabric.  For my next version, I’ll most likely make wrist length, snuggly sleeves.

Truth be told, the sleeve hems are not perfectly done; I turned them under twice so they’re a tad thick. I wanted to do a better job on the hem, so I searched the internet for tutorials and tips for sewing knits without a serger/overlocker. It seemed rather hopeless, as all the examples looked so nice and mine looked so …. well, not nice.  So I procrastinated, and tidied my sewing area instead. Lo and behold, I found some hem tape! I made a couple of sample runs to get the desired width, and with the hem finally sewn, this top is finished!

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Not the best hairdo for this picture, as it reveals that something is askew with the shoulder/neckline. The neckline isn’t so pointy when my shoulders are in a normal position, not up in a funny how-does-one-pose-for-a-selfie shot.

I love this happy little top so much, it might be allowed out in public after all.

Next up, to complete the outfit, my Hudson pants in a luscious black double knit. They just might have a little contrast trim in a familiar print.

Watch this space.

 

We’ve had MAN FLU around here…

Curses. My sewing has fallen off the shelf. Or more to the point, my photographing has fallen off the shelf. Hubby has been down with a severe cold (fever and bronchitis) for several days and now that he is very nearly recovered, I’ve succumbed. However, with only a low fever and no bronchitis for me, I expect to be up and around in a day or so.

The first day of his affliction, hubby found this video and shared it with me. And I’m passing it along to you, as anyone who’s had a sick man around the house can probably relate. Enjoy!

A real sewing post with pictures to come tomorrow or the next day.

Stitch on and stay healthy, everyone!

Sewing along, singing a song……

Sewing is happening here, and the following is a little progress report. A little report on a little bit of progress. But, even small progress is progress, right? And I may or may not be singing along, and there just may be a curse now and again.

I’m excited to be working toward my #2017makenine goal, see post here. I’m combining four elements of my plan to create my first make; pajamas, tee shirt, pants and some fun printed knit fabric. The knit fabric was destined to be pjs – but I was unsettled on the pattern, and apprehensive about sewing with knits. On the advice of dear Ali, I’m using the printed fabric to make a muslin of my Shannon tee pattern. This will be the new pj’s top. I’ve purchased a solid black double knit for a muslin of the Hudson pant, which will be the pj’s bottom. Very soon I’ll have a great pair of comfy pj’s (or lounging about outfit), and know that two of my new pieces will fit! (Not certain where the jams will fit into the original plan……..perhaps they will be Number 10!)

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How is it going? Well, the top fits! I’ve added 5 inches to the sleeves, and the sleeve bands are just right. The neckband? Not so perfect. I believe there is nearly an inch of extra fabric around the neckline than on the band. Good thing I elected to use the same fabric to make the bands instead of the black, as it has far less stretch.

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After doing a little research, I tried steaming the neckline to shrink it, and that didn’t work. So as I see it, these are my options; stretch the band to fit the neckline, attach it as is and try to smooth out any gathers or bunches, or recut the neckband to fit (there is plenty of leftover fabric). Any advice?

Hoping to finish the top (a super simple pattern, that should have taken about an hour to sew) and cut out the pants this afternoon, if all goes as planned.

Stitch on, everyone!

Blogiversary Textile Giveaway!

Hi everyone, I’m reposting this Giveaway offer from Sheila of LaCartera. Good luck to all!

I’m celebrating my 4 year Blogiversary and I wouldn’t have anything to celebrate if it wasn’t for YOU!

So I decided to share my love of textiles with one lucky follower!

textile-giveaway

You decide which fabrics, Wallpaper or gift wrap designs you want from my Spoonflower shop and I will have it shipped to you.

International and U.S. participants are welcome!

(Note: Spoonflower will ship to locations all over the world except Belarus, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Somalia, Yemen, Cuba, Iran, and Syria.)

mix-or-match

Here are your options to mix textile designs or match one single design (Kona Cotton Fabric, and Satin Gift Wrap valued at $55 :

  • 5 Fat Quarters (Mix or Match designs )
  •  3 Yards of Fabric (Mix or Match designs )
  • 2 Yards of Fabric and 2 Fat Quarters (Mix or Match designs)
  • 1 Roll of Wallpaper
  • 4 Rolls of Gift Wrap (Mix or Match designs)
  • 2 Rolls of  Gift Wrap &…

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No resolutions, just a plan – #2017MakeNine

Through Rochelle’s blog, LuckyLucille, I learned about the #2017MakeNine. Since I’m not “doing resolutions” for 2017, but want to ramp up my sewing and need some accountability, I’ve decided to join the MakeNine group.

So in no particular order, these are my chosen patterns.

  • The True Bias Hudson Pant – because it seems like a fairly easy make, and looks so comfy! This will be my first pair of pants to make since 1970. Those were green/beige plaid wool lined with something slinky. Oh and they may have had cuffs. Yikes.

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  • Grainline Morris – because I’m possibly the only person alive who hasn’t made one and it will go with nearly anything! Perhaps in a lightweight wool? My last jacket was a close-fitting floral blazer in hideous shades of red and blue, if memory serves. And giant buttons.

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  • Simplicity 2208, Version C in fleece – because it has a hood, and great lines. It will be a great cozy jacket for those days when the big, puffy down coat isn’t necessary. I might even match the pattern photo, if I can find dotted fleece.

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  • Merchant & Mills Ellie and Hattie dress – because it looks terribly comfy, has nice, roomy pockets, and look at those interesting darts with contrast thread! Do you think this could this work in a knit?

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  • Sewaholic Patterns, Gabriola Skirt – because of the pretty yoke detail, and the long lines. Will likely made up in the white polyester I received from Carmen, my StitchingSanta.

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  • Grainline Linden – because it’s a sweatshirt, which is perfect for fall, winter, and spring around here. And that comfort factor again.

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And these patterns have fabric purchased already, set to cut out and go!

  • I bought loads of this cotton jersey at Abakhan in Chester, and it seems perfect for jammies. On the fence, though, about the pattern, which I bought for $1 at a Joanne’s super sale.

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  • The same Abakhan shopping trip resulted in this oh-so-soft gray jersey, which I’ll use to make up this tee shirt pattern, a gift from Ali. Can the sleeves be lengthened without spoiling the look?

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  • And last but not least, this pussy bow blouse (also from Ali) will be made up from this fabulous polyester print (gifted from Del, Curls n Skirls).

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It’s a good plan, wouldn’t you agree?  Mostly simple and comfortable, and I’m ready to sew!!

Stitch on in the New Year everyone!

Photo Challenge – Ceiling

The 2017 One-a-Week Photo Challenge is sponsored by Cathy from Nanacathydotcom and Sandra from Wild Daffodil.

The new challenge begins with the prompt: CEILING.

One of our favorite haunts is the Eastman Theatre, home of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the host for many other events. And in the theatre, one of our favorite spots is the lobby, where hanging from the CEILING is this breathtaking sculpture. This piece was created by the American glass artist, Dale Chiluly.

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My iphone photo does not do justice, but the following link has some outstanding photos. Enjoy scrolling through the other photos of this wondrous place; the Chiluly shots are at the end. I zoomed in on one of them for my feature photo.

http://www.rochester.edu/giving/gec/gallery/the-eastman-theatre

 

 

 

StitchingSanta Revealed…What Carmen Gave Me

Hoping you’ve all had a marvelous holiday, and that 2017 brings you peace and joy. And a great big thank you to Sheila, of Sewchet, for again hosting this delightful StitchingSanta Christmas gift swap.

My parcel arrived a few days before Christmas, and it was so difficult to not peek! But I was strong, and managed only to notice a gentle rattle when the box was moved. Ooooh, what could that be? Popcorn? Peppermints? Lumps of coal?

And so it is opened….

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Ooooh, look at the wrapped bag of snowy goodness!

And emptying the parcel solved the rattling mystery: buttons! Lots of cute, mostly wooden buttons! And who doesn’t love a nice button. See the one with the world map?

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Buttons and more….

 

Everything all spread out and looking pretty impressive.

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The contents, in no particular order:

A lovely Christmas card
A yellow book, all about the color yellow
A rubber stamp featuring a vintage sewing machine
Two spools of thread
A roll of golden circle trim
A roll of stay tape (now I don’t need to buy it)
A pack of buttons and embellishments
Six (!) patterns; 3 garments, 2 home decor, and a duffel bag
Three yards of snowy white polyester jersey

Quite the haul, wouldn’t you agree?

Thanks so much, Carmen of See Carmen Sew!

 

Stitch on in the New Year everyone!