changing seasons

We’re having a slight taste of Fall today, but my enthusiasm’s tempered by the knowledge that we’re back to the 80’s by end of week. Heigh-ho.

Sewing is a bit up in the air, too. Have had another New Look 6871 cut out, with some lining basted in place to avoid the neckline stretching out, but it’s been sitting for several weeks.

What I have been doing is crocheting up the leftovers from other projects. Here are 2 examples, the first one (cream & multi) is still in progress.

Am currently reading The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles and enjoying it. (That’s in between listening a second time to whatever Louise Penny is available via the library app Libby.)

Incidentally, Libby includes magazines, so I’m keeping current with Country Living UK (always fascinated by the glimpses from Lucy’s Attic24 blog). Also Simply Sewing and Simply Crochet (both are UK publications), Peppermint magazine (Australian), Scotland magazine (mum used to get it), and Sew News (U.S.). Very sadly, Threads magazine isn’t available.

But special thanks go to Lizzie over at The Vintage Traveler, for mentioning PieceWork, which is available on Libby. Some really fascinating articles about all sorts of “things made by hand and the history behind them.”

Has anyone been reading Lucy’s Blogtober postings over at Attic 24? For those not in the know, Lucy — considered by many to be Crochet Queen, as well as living in possibly the most charming spot for photographing (Skipton, Yorkshire, U.K.) — writes a daily post during October and I’m thoroughly enjoying them.

Last but not least, here’s a second prototype of the soap sack, using more leftover yarn. It’s been in use and nothing’s fallen out this time, so it might be a working model.

It’s just a rectangle of (U.S.) single crochet, folded in half, with three sides stitched together, and a 3-strand yarn braid woven around the top (4th side) for a gathered closure. Be sure to leave a bit of room at the top of the rectangle for slightly larger soap bits!

I remembered to do that because I’m struggling with how to fix the too small pockets I put on my last denim dress-to-skirt conversion. But that’s for another time, after I’ve tried out an idea that came whilst I sorted through the jumble of assorted to-be-ironed items thrown laying on top of the ironing board.

Trying to convince myself to at least iron the pillowcases and napkins and leave the rest for later, I sat down to check email. . . and here we are. Well, I’m sure you never have days like this, do you? 🤣 😆 🤪 Aaagghhh!

👻 It’s C🎃ming! 👻

🍂 It’s October – YEAH! 🍂

And I’ve finished Osman’s latest adventure, The Man Who Died Twice, book #2 of the adventures of the Thursday Murder Club. What can I say? It’s every bit as good as the first, if not better, ’cause I think the book’s longer. Hard to judge as I read an e-book this time, instead of waiting for the hard copy from the library.

(I gave up getting either book from our local library, which reminds me to cancel those requests.)

Now to catch you up on what’s been going on creatively since my last post —

All the soap bags I looked at online seemed to be single or double crochet patterns and I just didn’t think they’d allow much sudsy action. So this is what I came up with for my first attempt. Would you believe I sat down the very next day and crocheted it? Then to test it in the shower…

Unfortunately, once in the shower I quickly learnt how much that 100% cotton yarn stretches when wet. Instead of 3 soap slivers neatly encased, I wound up with 2, plus an escapee. Live & learn, right? 🥴

No, I haven’t started a second soap bag yet . . . .

Possibly because I was going hammer & tongs on a yummy scarf with some leftover yarn sent from Yorkshire in 2016 as an unexpected gift from my sewing bud, Ali.

Ali hangs out mostly on IG these days. Look for her in 2 places: #timbers OR #the.fabric.first.aider. As an NHS emergency paramedic, she’s had a harrowing schedule for the last umpteen months.

Yes, GBSB’s (Series 6) Ali. I’m right chuffed to know her before she became famous! She is the most generous, sweet & kind soul you could possibly imagine, and always smiling. Here’s a clip of her on set.

(For those who don’t know about BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee, Wiki has a season-by-season guide. Ali is in Season 6.)

The start of this story goes back to 2016 when Ali was crocheting several of what she christened Octopus scarves. If you’re intrigued, her pattern is here, and my version is here.

The reason it’s coming up now is I’m seriously working on eliminating my yarn stash before venturing out to buy more, considering the C-urrent situation. . . A-hem!

Yarn is Sidar’s Sylvan, 2016 vintage, and discontinued — ’bout time I used it up!
(Please note that freshly polished brass piece I used for contrast!)

Sewing sorta got lost in the crochet and ebook reading this past week, but I have plans, so stay tuned . . .

😆 🍁 😘 🍁 🤣

what’sit wednesday

Been meaning to crochet a small open-weave sack to put all my Maja soap shards in, but I don’t have any ideas for a pattern and can’t remember the proper name for what it is I’m looking for, so can’t search Ravelry.

Can anybody help?!?! HUGE THANK YOU’s!!!

In return, here’s some piccies I took to answer a question over on IGgy, when I showed one of my reels of rayon Hug Snug. If you’ve not heard about it, have a gander. . . . .

(Click any pic for a larger view, just like the older version of WP.)

Which also reminds me ~ remember I started knitting the remainder of some brown flecked yarn as a second narrow scarf? When I realised just how tense my shoulders got whilst knitting it, I frogged the puny 4″ I’d accomplished and went back to crochet. So now I have my own lovely narrow crocheted scarf, and a you-know-what gift already done. Hope that rates as a ta-da. (It’s too early for the C-word 🙀)

Plopping in all the Hug Snug piccies reminded me of another query: Any suggestions on if & how I can unravel & recycle the gorgeous Italian merino wool in this sweater? Adore the colour❣️

This being the Autumnal Equinox has gotten me remembering what “regular” Autumn was like before you-know-what.

May your weather be cooperative in whichever hemisphere your lovely selves are gracing.

🍂 🍁 🍂

end of a short week

Friday noonish and I’m remembering Agatha Raisin‘s deep freezer that housed (houses?) her frozen ready meals (Americans say tv dinners), along with casseroles from Mrs. Bloxby & assorted offerings from other Carsely friends.

Considering the small (by American standards) size of U.K. fridge/freezers, do they still have deep freezers?

Remembering my own experience here across the pond, there was a time when folk could purchase half a side of beef and get a freezer to put it in — cut up and portioned into neat freezer-paper wrapped packages, of course! In some places — I’d guess cattle country — you probably still can.

What looks like chaos is actually order.
Floppy bags don’t help.
😖

Over here most everyone has a combo fridge/freezer, with no room for half a side of beef. We apartment dwellers are on a stricter regime: See mine at left. Of course, there are plenty of old fridges in house basements, chock full of extras, both frozen and un-.

So why the pretty pear picture? I ordered a bag of organic pears from Aldi’s, and when it arrived they were all green. I was in a bit of a quandary: What to do with green pears?

Time to do a little searching on the ol’ web… where I discovered that pears are shipped unripened. They’ll hold in that condition in a fridge for some weeks.

If left sitting on a counter, they’ll ripen in company with other pears, as they all exude the same gas-whose-name-I-don’t-recall.

Or you can put an apple or a banana in with ’em to hasten ripening. (They exude the same gas). Plus — you can also let them ripen in a brown bag on the kitchen counter. With or without the extra fruit.

Living in a southern section of the country where bugs are rampant year-round, I wasn’t about to leave anything around that might attract ‘visitors.’ 😱

I used the brown bag method, and yesterday and today have enjoyed a lovely, ripe pear, with two more ripe ones in the fridge for the weekend.

Unripe pears-in-waiting

Another four green ones are being cosseted in the fridge ~ Autumn’s on it’s way.

Hope whatever your next season is, it’s a good one!

❤️ 🍁 🎃 🍁 ❤️

Tea-Dyeing

It’s been a while since our last catch-up. What can I say? The weather’s been rotten triple digit heat & humidity . . . typing took too much effort . . . so did thinking . . . 🥵 . . . blehhhhhhh.

But September is almost here. We’re being promised lower temps on Thursday. On the strength of that, and despite the horrid effects of Ida, I decided to pen a quick update.

Now, of all times, why did I start tea-dyeing fabric? I’m pleading insanity. A luscious pair of cotton lawn shorts-turned top wasn’t getting worn. WHAAAA??? Then it hit me: I could fix the starkers white background my subconscious hates. Just do it. I did. (The undyed is on the left, the tea-dyed is below, on right.)

Coincidentally, Sis#2 was doing a batch of eco-dyeing. We compared notes. She suggested I try coffee for dyeing. Enter The Next Project.

I’ve been needing new night gowns, going back-and-forth trying to decide what pattern to use. I finally decided to stick with my TNT pattern – an OOP NewLook 6871. (Check etsy.com if you want one.)

am already planning how to use this pattern, view b first!

For the gown, I always cut a couple sizes larger & longer, and use the sleeveless version. This time I decided to reeeally widen the front and back pattern pieces as well as lengthen them.

The fabric? A blue & white floral cotton bought at a going-out-of-business sale. Did you catch it — the starkers white I don’t like?

(Please ignore the pattern photo’s caption. Despite all the “improvements,” WP hasn’t learned how to separate captions from photos used in previous posts. This one’s at least 6 years previous!)

When I discovered an old jar of instant coffee on a back shelf I decided it was Fate. Time to test again.

Check out the photos below. What do you think? Can you see any difference? Have you done any coffee-dyeing?

Note: Click any pic to enlarge all of them. The ONLY coffee-dyed piece is the one labeled “Coffee.” All the rest are either tea-dyed or plain. The bottom photo shows all 3 – plain, tea-dyed, and coffee-dyed.

Right now I’m leaning towards using the coffee, but that could change. Will sew up the fabric, then dye it in the kitchen sink with really hot water and half the jar of instant coffee. Or umpteen tea bags.

A quick update on Agatha Raisin, Season 3: This time the episodes are about 90 minutes each, and there are 4 on 2 disks. (There’s a whole 3rd disk of various cast members answering questions from fans. If that sounds boring, you’re right, except when Ms. Chesney is there. She’s great!)

Given current horrendous world events I’m reading escapist lit at the mo’. . . Got one of the newer Louise Penny audiobooks from my local library (via Libby app) and enjoyed catching up with the Quebec characters, especially Ruth.

Also decided to finish up the Agatha books I hadn’t read. Beating About the Bush (2019) and Hot to Trot (2020) are good, light reads. Judging by M.C. Beaton’s Introduction to the 2020 volume, we might not have heard the last of Ms. Agatha . . . . . .

😳

silly saturday

Thought I should make mention of the Agatha Raisin Season 2 that arrived last weekend and was immediately watched.

The first season had been 8 or so of the usual 45 (or was it 54?) minute episodes, all based on author M.C. Beaton’s books, using the same titles as the books. (Thank goodness!)

Some characters were changed/added/subtracted, and Agatha herself was upgraded from the 1990’s to the 21st century. I thoroughly enjoyed the first season repeatedly for several years, all the while wishing they’d done more.

Surprise! Surprise! They did, and I’d missed ’em, thus last weekend’s little orgy with Season 2 (and Season 3 winging it’s way as I type). These episodes are double the length, which feels just right. But there were only three – aghhhhhhhh!!! So I watched them twice. 😆 🤣

Ms. Beaton (a.k.a. Marion Chesney) was also the author of the Hamish Macbeth detective series, as well as a series of Victorian novels that I never read.

Wanting to know a bit more about the Scots author who died last year, I located these two articles (here and here), which gave me additional insight into her character and writing.

Incidentally, she thoroughly approved of this whole series. In 1998 she penned a book in the Hamish series, Death of a Scriptwriter, which ought to tell you how she felt about that telly “adaptation.” 😬

From Folkwear Pattern’s August newsletter comes a very interesting-to-me note about a book on indigo, Indigo – The indelible color that seduced the world. I had no idea the real deal is indelible, and that Columbus’ ship sails were made from denim.

NPR, our national public radio, did an interview with the author, Catherine McKinley, some years ago. At just 13 minutes, it was most enjoyable!

This past week has also been an enjoyable respite from the previous week’s triple digit “feels like” temps. (You know, when a high temp plus higher humidity makes the air feel like you could wear it.) Alas, next week it sounds like we’re going back.

Dummm-dee-dum-dum. . . . . Something tells me that cardi I was thinking so hard about earlier ain’t gonna be uppermost in thought . . . . and that microwaved-not-baked cake will return . . . .

wordless wednesday (not really)

Editor’s note: The maaany links in today’s post should all open on separate pages. Should, but they won’t all cooperate & I’ve given up trying to force them. Just wanted you to know, in case you’re expecting them to all do the same thing.

As most frequent readers will know, the recipe above was altered when I made it up — I was looking for a spicy microwave cake recipe that didn’t require an hour’s baking time (in other words, a quick Raisin Spice Cake alternative). You can download it here.

I’ve been giving the above with spice variations a trial run. So far have made it twice, managed to waaay over-spice the first one (hint: 1 teaspoon of ginger, not 2 ), forgot the molasses the second time, but got the spice amount a bit better.

As usual, I only used 1 tablespoon of brown sugar rather than the 3 listed. Have yet to try it with a few raisins, but the chocky variation, which includes chips, came out nicely. So maybe a few raisins will be fine.

As mentioned above, this also chimes in with Deb’s & Donna’s monthly #WhatsOnYourPlateBlogChallenge.

Above piccies are further research into a yarn substitute for The Habitat Cardi by Make & Do Crew mentioned in a previous post. Thanks to the lovely Lynn (of The Tialys blog) for telling me about the wonderful web site YarnSub.

I adore the colours of the James C Brett Marble Chunky MC07 yarn on the left (see how I made it up here) and know the soft and easily washed yarn well. The way they go from one mixture to another is why I think it might be about the same weight as the sweater calls for.

But I’m tempted by this one as denims would “go” with everything. It’s James C Brett Marble Chunky MC10.

However, on close examination (hence the close-up), all the Brett Marble Chunky is probably 2-ply. But aren’t those strands thicker than the 4-ply of the red Vanna Yarn on the right (which I used yonks ago & still had a bit of)?

I know Vanna is not as soft as Brett’s Marble Chunky. Which might be why I’m not too keen on using any of the specified Lion Brand yarn. Aside from the fact I cannot find any colour I like. 😒

Am also tempted by this Brett Marble Chunky MC02 – the deep, dark blue reminds me of my dark blue stretch denim skirt.

Which would you choose?

Which looks more like denim to you?

Decisions! — Decisions! — Decisions!

🙄

del's sewing stuff

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