Category Archives: sewing

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.

🍂 🍁 🍂

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!

🙄

hoovering

I decided to hoover my mattress the other day. No forethought. No reason.  

“Hoovering” is a British term for vacuuming, but I’m claiming it’s kosher for me, too, because I own one.

It came with a miniature suction roller attachment. They claim it’s for hoovering up pet hair or soft furnishings. (No, it’s not recommended for use on pets, even if some owners are tempted.)

I spent most of the day washing bed linens, putting pillows in the dryer to refresh them, just getting on with it and never changing out of my jammies.

(Don’cha love those days when you give yourself permission to just do the work and not worry about getting dressed ?)

Mind, I did do all the crockery washing up, proper morning ablutions and such, but I sooooo wished I could ‘a been pegging out in the sunshine and fresh air.  Ahhhh . . . . .

About mid-afternoon the thought came that I was getting on with something I’ve been wanting to do for ages, and I should be a happy chapess. 😳 What might encourage the feeling?

The Stitch Sisters! The YT gods put up a 2-part Autumn/Winter pattern review from 2020 – their COVID collection of comfy clothes. Perfect! It’s never to early to think about cold weather togs!

Comfy is still the vibe I’d be going for, so I settled down for a very late clean-out-the-fridge lunch with The Sisters.

(They’re really partners who started a sewing business together, and both also have teens and hubbies — none of which applies to moi. But working from home is working from home, and so is comfort! (Plus, their choices aren’t so laid back you’d be under suspicion if you risked a quick trip for take-out.)

Plus — and this is a BIG plus — I got several great ideas for easy crochet patterns for Autumn/Winter, and now have a great free sweater pattern to find yarn for: The Habitat Cardi by Make Do & Crew. (Note to self: Check pattern directions & Ravelry reviews first — would I reeeally make it? Yeeees!)

I had no idea Agatha Raisin (on telly) had continued over in Blighty, and their fourth season is in the works now. 😱 😱 😱

Where have I BEEN????

Not checking BBC, that’s for sure. As I type, series 2 is winging it’s way to me and I plan a bit of binging as soon as it hits my mail box.

Have been test-wearing my Autumn tablecloth top but cannot decide if I’d be comfortable wearing it out. It’s shorter than my usual well-below-waist length.

That’s very cooling inside, and should make it ideal for outside. . . except I keep thinking that if air can flow in freely…… so can 🦟 🦟🦟

😳

the unwelcome visitor

Elsa, the hurricane/tropical storm/depression raced through my area today. Yesterday was spent prepping for a worst case scenario: boiling eggs, washing & dicing fruits and veg, making sure my bottled water supply was topped up. You probably have your version of the drill.

Altogether it wasn’t the time to do a What’s On Your Plate post, but I did sneak in a quick post over on insta, to #whatsonyourplateblogchallenge.

My Weekend Special is scrambled eggs and whatever else in the fridge is leftover. Last weekend it was tomatoes, blackberries, and half a baked potato. I fried potato slices before scrambling the eggs, and left the tomatoes and berries raw.

I love potatoes done this way – golden and crunchy on the outside, with a good tangy tomato ketchup for contrast with the creamy inside – but rarely treat myself to the little extra time it takes.

(In case you’re wondering about pudding – no, I didn’t consider the berries as my afters. There’s a raisin spice cake in the freezer that’s slowly diminishing. 😉 Hehehee)!

A day late, I’m chiming in with Deb and Donna’s What’s On Your Plate Blog Challenge. Do click over and enjoy their recipes for cool meals on very hot days!

macro monday chat

This might be an “official” holiday weekend here in the U.S., but having the real holiday on Sunday sorta throws me off, if you know what I mean. There were fireworks displays in some places on Saturday night, and other places Sunday night. I wonder if tonight will also be punctuated with pops . . .

But life goes on, and with it came this morning’s overdue walk up to the recycle center, right past a huge hydrangea bush. I couldn’t resist the photo op!

Seems about time for a knitting update, too.

I ripped everything out and started over, using the same 12 stitches cast on. I played with the alternating k2p2, p2k2 and didn’t like the effect at all! This yarn is so slubby and has different colours running in slubs as well as tiny bits of bright colours — totally obliterating everything else.

I found it very frustrating, and definitely not restful knitting. So I am back to the basic stockinette stitch of knit one row, purl the next, and am using where the tail of the yarn is to remind myself which row I’m on. Curling will have to be handled after I’m done. That’s the extend of my definition of relaxing knitting!

Now I might guess someone is gonna spy with their little eye that the felted piece above is attached to a large hair pin. Yes, an extra large plastic hairpin.

But no, I haven’t started felting – it was included in the package Sis#2 sent around the hols. She’s the master crafty person, dabbling in felting, eco dyeing, and a major knitter, far as I can tell. One difference between us is she has a house. With a back porch. And lives farther north, where it’s (generally) cooler than my apartment complex/state.

She also recommended a new author to me (Tony Hillerman), and although technical/electronic bits are outdated, the stories include correct info on various Southwestern areas and peoples.

The main character in the majority of the series is Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, a member of the Navajo Tribal Police. “Hillerman is considered one of New Mexico’s foremost novelists.” Wikipedia. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, The Blessing Way, and learned a lot!

Have I already raved about Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club? In case I haven’t, let me report I literally couldn’t put it down. Finished it in 2 days, and sincerely hope there’s a sequel already in the works.

As this is fast becoming too long a post for Macro Monday, I’ll love you & leave you, to report on sewing projects another time . . . hehehee!

Ciao, Lovelies! 💕 💕

I framed the felted picture & hung it above my sewing table.
It deserves a better mat, but that’ll have to wait for a proper store visit.

🙈 knitting heeeeelp!

No, that’s not a typo – I mean knitting!

Above is my completed, crocheted scarf… but I discovered another ball of the same yarn. So . . . . .

First, let me define some terms. I can only knit & purl, and I crochet/knit for relaxation so don’t often do anything with a pattern. Besides, with such a busy yarn a pattern’d get lost!

After I got the brown crocheted scarf long enough to finish off (see above photo), I realized I had that other ball of yarn, plus the leftover from the crocheted scarf.

Remembering how to cast on with Maggie Righetti’s “Knitting in Plain English.”

So I decided to knit another scarf.

I started out trying to do 1 row knit, 1 row purl… then forgot which one I was on when I picked it up later. Now I have 2.5″ of what I’m calling the forgetful pattern… but the whole thing’s curling quite a bit, which I don’t like.

Do you think I should rip it out & start over? I’m not averse to that, and am tempted to restart with either all knit or all purl. The thing I really don’t like is that curling, which I’m not convinced can be steamed out, given it’s half cotton, half man-made. What do you think?

Yarn deets:  Content: 51% cotton, 37% acrylic, 12% polyamide.  Recommended needle size: 4 or 4.5 mm but I only had 5 mm.

Thank you – thank you – thank you in advance!

❤️ ❤️❤️ ❤️ ❤️❤️ ❤️ ❤️❤️

it’s a 5-day week?

(After a Monday morning “off” in preparation for a long afternoon meeting, am feeling like it’s a repeat of last week: What happened to Monday?)

As you can see from the photo above, I’ve been making headway with this slubbed Italian yarn. Surprise-surprise! It’s going to be a lightweight scarf. The ruler reported 27 inches and I’ve just started in on the second ball. The range of colours continues to fascinate me even if it’s been stashed for 10-ish years. 🙈

Which brings me to this hastily whipped up elasticated-waist skirt. I’m not gonna hem it because it’s a jersey and was cut very neatly. And really – hem jersey?! The length is below knee, for more sedate wearing; hoicked up it’s still long enough to be a dress.

A Nicola Miller design for Joann from more than 4 yrs. ago, it’s one of the two pieces I found in the remnants. Whilst stitching up the casing for the elastic waist I noticed some light staining on the wrong side, which might explain why this buttery soft knit got shifted to the discount table.

I don’t see a thing wrong with the right sides of these two pieces, and they’ve both been washed several times. The jersey’s also got good 4-way stretch! Now what to do with the other piece that’s 60″ wide but under a yard . . . . . . am thinking a loose top. . . . . 🤔 Which reminds me . . .

For yonks I’ve had a couple of smallish tablecloths that just kept shrieking “Make me a top!” so I’m finally paying attention, currently experimenting with a neckline I’m not quite happy with yet.

Thinking loose and boxy so as not to waste too much fabric, and deal with the heavy heat & humidity that’s now here, probably here to stay until….. could I hope for July??? Maaaybe not.

BAH! 🥵

Let’s talk BOOKS!

On the weekend I finished an electronic copy of Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. It was sooo interesting, learning how NASA (National Air and Space Agency) came into being. . . . . . and the Black women who worked there for decades.

Before computers were created, these women were the computers. That was their title, which I found jarring every time it was used in reference to a woman instead of a machine.

Ms. Shetterly has written a superb book, focusing on both how and what several of the women endured in the 1930’s, 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s in America’s South. (Unlike the movie, which consolidated events and covered a fraction of that time.)

I really cannot do justice to all she’s written, or tell you how deeply so many things in the book have affected me. The movie doesn’t even begin to do that, but this C-Span clip of the author talking about her book is a beginning. At under an hour, it’s time very well spent if you’re at all interested in America or history.

Laters!