A CAUTIONARY ‘TAIL’ AND A ‘TIME’LY REMINDER

Do excuse the dreadful puns, but my cautionary ‘tail’ has a serious note. My #3 daughter’s cat has just returned after being missing for almost a week. My daughter was distraught; there are coyotes in the woods not far from where she lives and she was convinced her cat had been on their menu.

The Monday had been a public holiday in America and the weather had been warm and beautiful for October in Upstate New York so most folk had been busy mowing and putting their gardens to bed for the Winter. You’ve guessed it! The cat had noseyed its way into someone’s shed or garage and been accidentally locked in. Those of us who are cat owners, or had a cat at one time, would most likely have had a similar incident. When the owner of the garage or shed  next opens the door, the cat shoots out. Pierre was incredibly lucky. Normally by now Winter sets in there and folk have no need to get their tools out again until Spring! Winters there are very cold [sub-zero] so it could have been goodbye Pierre! My daughter and her family had done a neighbourhood check, but of course no-one had seen her [despite the name, Pierre is female]. SO the moral of the tale is – please check for any visiting pets before locking up for Winter. Mind you it can happen any time of year, but incarceration would be for a shorter time then as we go in and out of our tool sheds. So please be extra vigilant.

Really my timely reminder isn’t mine at all, but Patience Strong’s. It amused me and I copied it out and then forgot about. Feel free to be amused, irritated or both – but there’s an irritating ring of truth here somewhere;

TIME IN HAND By Patience Strong.

[a counsel of perfection!]

When a busy day you’ve planned – give yourself some time in hand – so that jobs don’t overlap. Try to leave a little gap – between the things you have to do – a tiny pause enables you – to get your balance with no need – to rush around at breakneck speed – never poised or punctual. Try to make an interval – so that there is time to spare – instead of hurrying everywhere.

 

Sometimes it’s beyond your power – to arrange a crowded hour – in a way that leaves a break – giving you a chance to take – a few brief moments to unwind. To be ahead and not behind – thus conserving energy – for the next activity….Up to most things you can stand – if you have some time in hand.”

AMEN!!!

Not much more to add to that !

 

 

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THIS TIME OF YEAR BRINGS UNCERTAINTY.

Here in England our unpredictable weather becomes even more unpredictable and certain items of the wardrobe tend to yo-yo in and out of the closets. Unless we are very organised the agenda for Winter sewing becomes a moveable feast with changes in the weather. I mention England rather than the UK or Great Britain as a whole solely because that is where I live and I well know that throughout these islands the weather varies enormously ~ even in what part of England you live, tiny though it be!

Then there are the Winter Collections to savour! Not that I buy RTW any more, but I do like to meander the stores and see what styles and colours are new [and usually I mutter something like "oh, that's back again. I remember that in '*' and again in '*'] but it does give you ideas and fresh perspective of construction and colour ~ and the styles are usually translated in the patterns we buy. The only fault I can find is that after a few stores the similarities and identical colour palettes all blur into one. One or two things did catch my eye, however, and I managed to re-create a similar style to those I like in a jacket and a skirt. I wasn’t really brave enough to take photographs and had to mentally make notes of the particular elements I liked. I only made one return visit to the stores to check a detail I hadn’t been sure of and have to say that although the jacket was meant to be a practice piece [not a toile - too much work went into making it] I quite like the finished styles although not particularly enthused about the dark grey fabric of the jacket. The only adjustments I might make in future to the drafted pattern is to lower the front neck opening and perhaps lengthen the body a smidgen.

Normally this time of year – the changing of the Seasons, brings its own collection of goodies for me in the way of various ailments and indispositions and this is the reason I have been absent from my post lately – no blogging, sewing or taking pictures – can’t be asked the way I feel at the moment, but hopefully very soon. Meanwhile, here’s some I took earlier.

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NOT QUITE M.I.A.

Missing perhaps, but certainly in action. Sorry for the long silence, I’ve been a bit under the weather and I just haven’t got around to taking the pictures. Trouble is I have forgotten what I’ve shown and what I haven’t, so I am having to go back into my archives to have a look myself!

Whoah! I just realised what a rubbishy post the last one was! A medal to anyone who bothered to read it. I was certainly mean with my explanations, had I been reading it on another blog I would have been very miffed as I like all the details with other peoples’ makes. So if you can bear it I will briefly fill in, otherwise we will be here all day.

First up, the dishcloth cotton knitted short sleeved jumper;catchup 001

It is of course the easy-peasy Sea of Jeans pattern once again [ check on Ravelry, my Ravelry ID is Creatifcrafts - it really is easy]. It really is dishcloth cotton too, that washed up to a lovely creamy white and very soft fabric.The patterns were taken from a Treasury of Stitches, The Knitters’ Bible “Stitch Library” – sorry to mislead, this is a much better collection i.m.h.o. They and are ‘Twist Stitch Chevron’ and ‘ Nosegay’. Both have 16stitches, so the stitch count had to be adjusted to accommodate the patterned panels and the stocking stitch panels in between.. As can be seen, I put the Chevron as side panels, I also just did three panels of Chevron in across the back, as I didn’t fancy the bobbles at the back.  The only difficulty I had with that was the two patterns had a differing number of rows, which I solved in a very basic way; -pencil and paper. I wrote down the corresponding row numbers in two columns and ticked them off as I went, rather like a school register [if you remember that far back!]

Hopefully these are more informative pictures. The top and skirt;

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The top really is just a sleeveless shell. It just slips over the head, no problem. I used to put a zip in the side underarm seam [upside down, so the open end was at the hem]. This is how good RTW used to make them in non-stretch fabric for fitted tops, but I realised after a while there was no need in these looser boxier tops. The only difference with this particular one was that I had to piece together odd pieces out of the remaining scraps of the material to make up the front and back which makes for seams in odd places as can be seen in the above photo, but it all adds to the charm! As I said in the previous post, the skirt is a straightforward ['scuse the pun] straight skirt. Just three main pieces and I added side seam pockets. Instead of darts I made tucks as in this grey polka dot summer skirt, blogged previously. sea of jeans 005.

Now,  here’s a list, just to remind me of the pictures I need to take for next time – these are the items made recently but not blogged or shown;-

1. ‘denim’ blue short sleeved cotton blouse; 2. white art silk sleeveless top; 3. beige/cream patterned cotton jersey tee; 4. plain beige cotton jersey tee; 5 plum coloured soft plushy-wool type skirt with front mock slit pockets; 6. charcoal grey Italian wool jacket with bow/press-stud fastening and 7 a black cotton jersey tee. The three tee-tops are from the Alabama Chanin pattern that came with this book DSC_2647 and all the patterns are incredibly simple, straightforward and well fitting relying on embellishment to make it something out of the ordinary. However, I still haven’t got round to making a proper stencil

and having a go at the real deal [below]; [photos from Alabama Chanin website]

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My own freehand attempts below – blogged previously are as far as I have got on this one.catchup 008  catchup 009

My head just hasn’t been in the right place, although I did draft the pattern for the charcoal grey jacket this week, which I am secretly quite proud of! [not so secret now though]. That is a tale all of its own but more of all that later when I’ll try and catch up a.s.a.p with the photo’s – promise.

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VISIBLE!

I have a camera ~ so this will be a pic-heavy post with minimal words I’m afraid in order to catch up with finished items before they’re forgotten. Once again I apologise for my photography – I may have another camera but my photography skills haven’t improved. I also just snatched a few minutes to pop these on my dress form to take the snaps, no styling I’m afraid.

First up another ‘Jeans Top’, this time in dishcloth cotton would you believe?

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Not a lot to say about this top, I chose two separate patterns for the panels just to keep my interest  whilst knitting the third version of this very easy top.

Second up is the mystery jacket Burda M104 ensemble. Skirt is just a straight skirt with side pockets and tucks instead of pleats. The top is sleeveless shell top made from button through dress that had seen better days and just yielded up enough fabric [with a lot of engineering] good enough for this top. [Skirt and top are self drafted patterns].

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Lastly my version of Alabama Chanin -made before I got the Mylar sheets to attempt the proper stencils just because I was impatient to try it out. I cut out the T-shirt pattern that came with the book and just free handed a drawing in tailors chalk and made it up as I went along. I quite like the finished version, even although it isn’t the ‘proper’ thing, which hopefully will come later. Made in two layers of 100% cotton jersey in olive/khaki combo.

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I’m happy to say that all the above look much better in ‘real life’ than my photography gives them credit for.  I also made the ‘A’ line skirt in the cotton jersey in the same olive green from the book – this photograph is almost too bad to show, but I have no shame!

catchup 012I have made another couple of tops, one in jersey and one in an ivory embossed silky fabric, but these will have to wait for another day. Glad to be back.

Posted in Blouses, dressmaking, FIBRE CRAFTS, handmade, knitting, Life a Work In Progress, me-made wardrobe, Sewing, skirts | 3 Comments

I’M HOOKED! but sadly invisible….

Lets start with the invisible bit. My camera wont stay on, there is something wrong with the on/off button and even holding it down hard won’t keep it on, so although I have lots quite a bit to show, a skirt and jacket, a couple of tops, another jumper and a brand new sewing machine*@#!!

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This is a product picture, I can’t even take any pictures myself, but this is a pretty good picture of it. When I can borrow a camera from my #5 daughter I will take more. My Frister Rossman is fine, but only does one kind of buttonhole. It was a good basic sewing machine for those like me two  years ago just starting [or in my case] re-entering the world of machine sewing. I shall put it on Ebay most likely. I will also put one of my Singer vintage 99K’s on at the same time – I don’t really need two. So now I have three sewing machines and an overlocker, so I think that is enough, don’t you? I know my DH does.

What am I hooked on? This

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I have been lusting and lurking around Alabama Chanin and all their absolutely out of this world gorgeousness, but really thought it was for the younger ones amongst us. But then I saw Carolyn’s Mum’s outfit on  http://handmadebycarolyn.blogspot.com.au  and I was converted. You must go and look. I have the book and I have the samples and cotton jersey on the way tomorrow – so way to go Moseley! [my yankee s.i.l.'s nickname for me]. I have been practising my stitching and cutting, and when my mylar sheets come later this week I will get going practising my stencil cutting. A busy but happy time ahead my crystal ball tells me. See you again when I am more visible.

 

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MY HAPPY PLACE

I have sometime spoken in the past about my happy place. I have more than one, as we probably all do, but this one is sewing related.  So this is just a continuation of my previous post with pictures that speak for themselves.

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Many happy, industrious hours are spent here. Whilst it may look like a surplus of sewing machines they all have their uses- the Singer 201 let into the surface in front of the window [previous post] is my main machine for straight stitch. Nothing, nothing can compare to the quality of the stitch on this machine, truly a Rolls Royce! The other vintage model on the window sill is a hand cranked Singer 15-90 which belonged to my mother, and on which she made my clothes when I was a child. In its time it has been a treadle machine, an electric machine and is now hand operated. I still have the light and motor, but has no foot pedal at the moment, although it could be obtained from somewhere, Ebay most probably. This has purely sentimental value, and does still work remarkably well as it would do being a Singer of that era. On the table on the left are my Cooperlock, a good basic overlocker, another workhorse and my Frister Rossman,  which I use for buttonholes and stretch stitches. Oh, I must mention my chair – a charity shop bargain for £20. It is a comfortable swivel office chair, which allows me to swing round and scoot from table to table, such fun and so convenient.

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THE BEST ANNIVERSARY GIFT A GIRL COULD HAVE

especially if she is a seamstress! Always on my wish list, but especially since I did my ‘Sew Better, Sew Faster’ Craftsy Course with Janet Pray when she advocated this;
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No, not the machine, but the surface it is let into! It was our wedding anniversary on the 2nd August, and my DH made me a raised surface, the same size as my sewing desk with a cut-out that my lovely Singer 201 fits into beautifully.  My better half is something of a craftsman and anything he does is always finished to a very high degree. Me? I just wanted a platform that could have been stuck on runners for all I cared as long as the surface was there, but always going the extra mile, I got a beautifully smooth and finished new surface. The difference it makes is unbelievable. We just used up some ply that we happened to have, filled, sanded and painted to a smooth silky surface. Definitely the best present ever.[apart from a new super duper sewing machine for buttonholes and zig-zags that I am lusting after needing right now, as sadly my nice cheapy £99 one is chewing up more than she sews].

Finally, just a beautiful burst of colour, just for eye candy. I wish I was as brave to wear these colours together – perhaps one day soon?

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These phlox have the added beauty of a lovely scent too.

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