Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back to Sewing

Much later than promised, but here's a few of my new sewing projects. These aren't fashion fabrics, instead I used whatever I had around here rather than making a muslin. First is Easy Pieces a quick top that I tried out with some old rayon challis. This was super easy to make, although I spent more time mitering the bias binding around the neck. This is one of three new patterns designed by Dana Bontrager I bought recently. I really like the way she gives ideas for embellishments or modifications to her patterns. I have another one cut out and ready to sew this weekend. The other two patterns are Forecast and the Ultimate Jeans Jacket.

Next up, The Weekend Shirt. I used some really funky fabric and I don't think I'll wear this for anything more than dyeing or working around the house, but I will make the pattern again in a better fabric. It's very comfortable without being too baggy. I like the 3/4 sleeves too.

When I make other Loes Hinse patterns I've made the shoulders a size or two smaller because they seem to hang too low. I think the Criss-Cross Top has less ease and I'm going to retrace the pattern using one size larger for the shoulders. This fabric is a 50/50 poly/cotton textured knit. Between the flash on the camera bouncing off the polyester and me trying to stand up straight my white bra can be seen shining through! I like this pattern and contrary to what the picture shows, is actually flattering. I highlighted the diagonal seamline because it didn't show up on the dark fabric. I made the ungathered version, but I'll make the gathered version next.

Nancy's Top is a Silhouette Pattern which has separate front pieces for A, B, or C cup in each size. I'm not sure what I was going to use this bright orange fabric for but it came in handy to try out this pattern. The pattern has both horizontal bust darts and vertical darts coming up from the bottom front for a more fitted look. I like the deep facing around the slashed neckline. It would be great for embellishment, maybe some of those beads that keep following me home! It's a little bright, but maybe I'll wear it for handing out Halloween candy!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

More Beads

I found a semi-local bead place and took a class last Thursday evening. In one of those small world things the woman teaching the class was in my needle felting class with Sharon Costello. She showed us how to make a right angle weave bracelet that can be embellished with beads, pearls, etc. By the time I left I had about half of the bracelet done, along with the button loop and a few embellishments. It only took about an hour the next day to finish up.

I had a few beads left over so I tried to come up with earrings to match. These looked all right until I stepped back and realized they would look like Bojangles dancing on my ears! I cut them apart and made them again, this time with just the two blocks and no square stitch. I attached the piece to the ear wires with loops of metallic delicas. I forgot to take pictures of them and it's too dark now.

I also started some sewing projects. More details tomorrow.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dude! I'm Beading

It's been almost three years since I started collecting beads and tools, but did I have anything to show for it? Sure I do. A couple of stitch markers! That is until this weekend.

With the rag rug samples finished took the table loom back to the basement (on the pool table, where else?) and cleaned off the dining room table. It actually looked like a dining room for about 5 minutes, then I brought up all the beading supplies and started working.

Fortunately I didn't see the mistake on the right until the next morning, so I went to bed happy. I wanted to use a magnetic clasp (we are supposed to have break-away lanyards) but was worried it was too heavy. I was able to put the clasp on and secure it with those nifty little Beadstoppers. I attached a key (because I know it's heavier than my plastic id) and wore it around the house for a couple of hours. When I was sure it would be secure I fixed my mistake and added the clasps. This picture, taken this morning in daylight, shows a truer color.

My learning style involves gathering all the resources I can find and then reading, rereading, and reading one more time. Three years of this and I think I'm ready! So I took out a kit for a Serpentine Necklace. I'm not sure I'd wear it - it's very sparkly and if you know me at all you know I don't do sparkle. However, it was an EXCELLENT pattern. Well written and easy to understand. It also had very good illustrations. If you are a first time beader I would encourage you to try one of her kits. She walks you right through the process.

Here's a close up. While my daughters fight over this, I think I can adapt this to use with matte beads, using only half the width of the design.

Now a question. I have two pairs of earrings that I love. They are metal discs, the one on the right seems to have a glaze over copper, I think. I vaguely remember glazing copper disks in high school art class.

Do you know what these are called? What would I ask for? Every catalog and website I use has plenty o' sparkle, but I'm having trouble finding elements like these. I found two bead stores that are fairly local so I can try there too.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Taking It To The End

I finished off the warp on the table loom with some dyed muslin strips.

I cut the strips 1" wide and sewed them on the bias as I did for the earlier mat. On Rugtalk people were discussing different ways to work with rags: sewing, glueing, tapering the beginning and end of a strip. Those that glued used a water soluble glue. It holds the strips together while weaving, but washes away without leaving any hard spots on the mat. The 1" would make a nice place mat. I think I'm going to wash these mats several times to see how the raw edges on the strips hold up. I'm still thinking that bias strips would not fray as much.

I dragged out a fleece that I love, but was giving me problems. It's a beautiful, fine fleece with wonderful color, but it seems to my unskilled eye that it sort of felted together by the clippers. After teasing and carding I still wasn't happy. I know June would have said "send it away" but I was too involved at this point and needed to find some way to make it work. What worked was to spin fine, allowing me to pluck any neps that didn't work out during processing and then 3 ply.

I wish there was some way for me to show you its squeezable softness. I feel like Mr. Whipple is going to come around the corner and yell "stop squeezing the corrie!"

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I'm recovering from a whopper of a sinus headache/migraine/infection/whatever. I finally could focus on the computer screen and read through bloglines while drinking about 47,892 ounces of water. Since I haven't been doing much of anything I thought I'd post some cool links.

Fiberscriber is making a jacket using Trudy Roberts' California Rag technique.

Valerie posted a link to a great fiber video.

Carolyn talked about a nifty little contraption that might help with even dyeing. I need another appliance like I need a hole in the head (actually I do need a hole in the head - might relieve some of this pressure).....

Can it be August and I haven't done any summer painting yet? The powder room is up for next week. Now that I've seen Kirstin Nicholas' decorative painting tutorial I may have to rethink my plans.

Leigh has turned her many samples into a beautiful bag.

Oops! The water bottle is empty. Off to fill it up. The upside is that by making myself use the upstairs bathroom, the many ounces of water are creating quite the workout.