May 23, 2009

In which I try to sew a skirt the day before I leave on vacation...

Yesterday, actually, the night before yesterday...oh my I don't know when. I'll start from the beginning. What better way to do that, then to start from right now & work backwards.

Today is Saturday. I leave early in the morning on Sunday, which means I pretend I leave tonight so that I am ready to walk out the door in the morning and don't have to pack in the wee hours. I am going on a wonderful trip to the east coast, which in my mind is like entering a different world. I am very Alaskan. I can wear floor length black to the symphony and know that there might be a man next to me in Carharts. And I roll with it. That man might even be my husband (heaven forbid I let him escort me in such an outfit, but I can't always control the man.) But I have this sense that the East Coast is not so forgiving. For 1/5th of my trip I will be staying at a lovely place with a wee bit of a dress code. The dress code did not scare me too much until I read what was NOT allowed. All of my wardrobe. No denim, shorts, casual sandals, athletic get the picture. Now, this is not a bad thing. This is a chance for me to elevate my wardrobe. It needs to be elevated--I lost 25lbs and look like a waif in most of my clothes. (mind you, this is the ONLY time I look waif-like.) But in my initial panic I decided I needed new clothes BEFORE I left so I would be ready. This sudden energetic idea got me out of bed at 6:30 am on Thursday.

3 days and counting.

I went online to my favorite clothing store--Anthropologie. I usually just try to knock off their knitted sweaters, but this time I needed to research style & skirts. I found this lovely skirt and decided I needed something like it.

I happen to have lots of eyelet cotton in my fabric stash from an eyelet phase I went through some time ago. I think it was intended as curtains for yet another crappy apartment.
Psychoanalysis Moment: This is why my house that I love has no curtains. Every crappy apartment we lived in I sewed new curtains and now putting up curtains makes me feel like I don't like where I live. Go Figure.

I whip out the fabric, find some lovely white silk to line it with. Yes, also in my stash. Maybe I should sew more? Looked at my paltry collection of patterns. Decided, yes, I need a pattern. No I do not own one that will work. Hemline? No idea. Make emergency call to friends who are required to be ready at a moment's notice to analyze, opionionate and decide on any wardrobe glitch a friend might have. I then race off to town. Meet with friends & try on every potential piece of my traveling wardrobe and pick the ideal hem length. Buy a zipper & pattern. Return home. Get distracted until late at night after the kids are in bed.

Now, just because I don't sew many clothes now, doesn't mean I haven't sewn a lot of clothes in the past. The problem arises in that I was sewing clothes for the stage and the nearest audience member is rarely closer than 20 feet or so & there was a LOT of fudging in my sewing. Dress making is VERY different.

I lay out the fabric, the pattern, the skirt to match length...and realize a problem. The pattern I picked has a curved hem. Eyelet is straight with a finished edge. The two do not mesh. At all.
I stare at it for a long time. I know what I would do if it was a costume, but it isn't & I don't want any funkiness. I chose the "call a friend" lifeline. While well meaning & probably good advice if I had an iota of sense in me. It didn't really help. Clearly, I was going to have to call in the big guns.

I called my mom.

"Please, mom, could you come out & show me how to sew this eyelet skirt?"

2 days & counting...

SAVED!! She not only sewed the skirt & the lining. She modified 2 patterns, combined them, adjusted things not even present on the pattern, fitted it perfectly & finished in less than a day!!

I now have a new skirt. Almost, just like the one in Anthropologie. For the price of a zipper, pattern & forever indebtedness to my mother.

1 day & counting...

On the left is the Anthro skirt. Below right is my new skirt.
Far below is a closeup of the eyelet cotton of the skirt. Please forgive the unpressed state of the skirt. I unpacked it to take the picture. I realize now there are a few more pleats in the Anthro skirt making it a bit more full, but I don't need fullness around my body, so I like mine how it is.

And yes, since you asked, that is a bear in the background. He is a foam archery target that we use to terrorize our visitors.

May 20, 2009

Manly Man Durrow Sweater

Drum Roll Please......

This is my manly, man in all his glory. And new carharts! I finally finished the Durrow Sweater & this was the first day cold enough for him to wear it. I really like how it turned out. I threw out the pattern almost when I began. I followed the cable charts religiously. I knitted the body in the round up to the armpits. Then I knit the sleeves 2 at a time on a long circular needle, also in the round. Then I followed The Sweater Workship by Jacqueline Fee (sp?) and finished with raglan shaping in the round. I added many shortrows in the sleeves to fit over his extra wide, muscular shoulders. Apparently, only being bone & massive muscles makes them a bit squarer than normal. Then I paniced just before starting the collar and thought the back of the neck would be too low so I tossed in a couple more shortrows across the back. In retrospect, I don't think I needed them, but they didn't hurt. Below is a shot of the sweater back. If you can see the shortrows you are a better knitter than I!

Continuing the cables up and over the shoulders emphasized the raglan shaping, but he can pull that off with his shoulders. Overall, a lovely knit & I am ready to start my own sweater! But first to finish the lace neck warmer and the little girl's dress...
isn't he cute!

May 19, 2009

The latest in Needle Case Fashion

I have finally taken pictures of my roll-up needle cases!
That took a while. (embarrassed sigh) I am not going to post these on Etsy until I get back from vacation. I need to whip out several more. There are only 2 left at the Tangled Skein which makes me sooo pleased.

To the right is a purple flowered case in the closed position.
The case is closed by a loop of elastic which hooks around a lovely button. In this case a big silver filigree button.
One of my favorite parts of the cases are the buttons. It is delightful to pick out just the right button for the fabric.

Next we have a close-up of the pocket construction. Each case has 19 pockets ranging from 1" to 3" wide. Each row of pockets has a labeling strip that the owner can label what size needles go into each pocket. Seams are sewn with a double needle for additional reinforcement.

Each case also has a hanging tab with 2 eyelets for hanging your roll-up case on the wall when you are not traveling with it. You can easily unhook it from the wall, flip the top flap down over your needle points, roll up and go.

Here is a brown, flowered batik needle case.

Both of the cases shown here are going on sale at The Tangled Skein this week, so if you want them call me quick or stop by the shop after Wednesday. They will be $35 at either location.

Off to Wonderland!

I am going on vacation!!! East Coast here I come! Hopefully I will return with fibery goodness. I am lusting after a set of 4 pitch combs. Not likely, but more likely than Alaska to find a good deal. I am also hoping to come back with some Alpaca. Never worked with it before. And a bunch of dyes. They are a pain to get shipped up here. Let's just admit it, I hate paying for shipping. I would rather buy an airplane ticket and go pick-up stuff. I have been feeling stagnant in my dyeing life. Now I am off to sew some more needle cases.

5 days till lift-off!