Tag Archives: books

connecting dots

I’d been wearing my dotted duster a few times and decided that the facings along the length of the front, although attached at the bottom, were still entirely too flappy. Time to get out the needle and thread and do a proper stitching all the way round.

So I did just that, whilst enjoying the third Jane Harper book, The Lost Man. Another Aussie mystery, set this time in the outback of Queensland. It was marvelous listening!

In case you’re interested, Harper has done a great 10 minute TED Talk on practical creativity, and it’s on the site.

I spent part of Saturday cutting out a 1998 OOP pattern, Butterick 5487, which I’d just seen over at Anne’s The Compulsive Seamstress. It immediately reminded me of a linen knit top I’d loved and wanted to replace. B5487 is close enough to the linen to have immediately caught my eye, and luckily saw a copy on Etsy.

In between that I finally started an early crochet pattern from Lucy at Attic24, and realized Sunday I was using half double crochet instead of double (U.S. terms). Oops. 🤭 Why I keep confusing these two stitches is beyond me.

Had quite a bit done but decided to frog it all out and start over. Glad I did and it’s progressing much faster as I’m now familiar with the first part of the directions.

Also on the sewing table is a black linen skirt, which I decided last week was too dowdy and needed to be shortened about three inches. The midi look I’d wanted just wasn’t working.

However, because I’d hacked an RTW maxi dress, it was the original hem. All I’d done was cut the dress at the waist, made a casing and inserted elastic. A quick fix.

But as I had a few more cd’s of The Lost Man to listen to I decided to keep the original hem and take the skirt up from the waist. Picking out that seam wasn’t as bad as I feared, and the skirt is on deck to get finished whenever I remember to try it on and measure exactly where to cut a bit more off.

Hope everyone is having a lovely week with decent weather. For those of us desperately wishing for the season to end, the solstice arrives tomorrow, and soon every day will start getting shorter (or longer if you’re south of the equator).

I knew I was forgetting something! Remember my peppermint stripe outfit from last week? It got worn this weekend, and a bit of work has been done to make it more, um, palatable.

The shoulder seams got hoicked up, which raised the arm holes and neck-—already high enough. I also did a 3″ slit on either side, using the side seams. If I feel inclined in the future, I’ll cut more binding and fix the arms.

The other fix is for the shorts. I realized they were a couple inches too long and started fiddling, then realized I should tighten the elastic waist… then realized if I did that I should consider chopping a couple inches off at the waist. That would raise the waist, the legs, and the crotch. Then I remembered adding extra to the top of the waist when cutting out… why, I don’t recall. Duh!

So there’s plenty to do round here. Wonder if I could find another fascinating audio book at the library…

tuesday’s tee

I am bound and determined to get this “muslin” tee shirt D.O.N.E.

The pattern is one brought from California, which means it’s older than dirt. And never made up till last week when I got out the camisole pieces and started measuring tissue fitting.

But my knit fabric is a bit younger… from several years ago when that last fabric store chain was closing. Sad day that.

Don’t know the fabric content of this knit, and seems like either side could be considered the right one.

I can never remember, do you? Does the knit curl to the right side, or the wrong?

Not gonna make any difference with this tee. As you can see, the piece on the left is now the wrong side.

Shorts to come, using my tnt Butterick 5432 pattern.

So what else is going on? I’ve been clearing off the cutting table.

Keeping me occupied whilst dealing with those piles of fabric was an Australian novel, The Dry, recommended by a friend. Not for the faint of heart is this one, chronicling a very small town way out somewhere in Queensland. I’ll pick up the second novel this week.

We’ve got a three day weekend coming up, so I’m getting ready. 😉

A good contrast is another Mitford novel, also on cd… 16 of them!… is To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon.

And the lovely translation of The Little Prince. Such a sweet story with plenty for adults to consider.

All for now, Lovelies! I have a boa constrictor to draw. . . .

remembering

Remember Hodge, Chicago’s famous bookstore cat? Grab a hot cuppa and prepare for some icy reminders…

Hodge joined Keith in retirement, and now prowls around Keith and wife Gail’s apartment, whilst lording it over their other cat, Ma’at.

In January Keith sent this along with a few other photos to remind me of what winter in Chicago looks like.

(Those not familiar with the Windy City should know it’s got huge Lake Michigan all along its eastern side, and is known for having very cold winters.)

In January Keith wrote—

“I went out last week to take photos at ‘the Point’ – Promontory Point, the park just outside our door – where trees near the lake get covered in frozen spray on windy days. And, this was from days when the temps were fairly normal, though below freezing – I’m going out again maybe on Friday when temps moderate to see what things look like now. We’ve had 25-30 mph wind for a couple days now.”

A bit more about the Point here.

When I touched base with Keith this week he wrote, “I took a walk around the point the other day, and one of the trees I photographed looks like it didn’t survive the ice and the later polar vortex we had. Everything is leafing out, but that one looks like a broken stick in the ground.”

Sincerest thanks to Keith for sending these, and for permission to share with you Lovely Readers!

PS/ Keith is selling his golden oldies collection on Alibris here.

catching up on puttering

My spring break felt shortened and diminished due to some bad weather, silly politics, and general ickiness.

Hope all you Lovely Readers had wonderful weather, lots of good things to eat and wear, and were able to enjoy Life a bit.

I decided to take as much of last week as possible to make up for losing the first part. Te-hee! Not enough to catch up on puttering! So this past weekend was added.

I managed to decide why two items just weren’t getting worn and fixed them (hems hiked on my red culottes from late last summer, and a jade green skirt made in late winter. ) I also found some light weight cotton for the inside waist facing for next autumn’s navy flannel trousers.

Which led to this floaty duster, now half done — one sleeve in, facings and finishings to go. Am now contemplating the dark & milk chocolate cotton and silk mix for something to wear underneath.

As the duster is a slightly fuzzy 100% cotton with an outstanding print, and there’s this other outstanding silk/cotton print to wear with it, I’m thinking plain lines either dress or skirt and blouse. (More flexibility with separates.)

And I did a bit of baking, as it was Easter. A bit of chocolate, of course, plus the always-a-favourite fruit muffins, and a raisin spice cake.

As usual, the reading and listening continues…

Finished the 400+ pages of Sayers’ Have His Cascase, and enjoyed it very much. However, I think I’ll wait a bit before tackling the third Harriet Vane mystery. It’s over 500 pages.

ADDED TO LIBRARY!

Also listened and loved The Little French Bistro by Nine George, am wending my way through Kipling’s Jungle Book (another childhood book never read) and am half way through listening to Jan Karon’s Come Rain or Come Shine.

Meanwhile, there’s a sleeve to put in and lots more fabric to contemplate. 🥰

❤️ ❤️ Hope your week is going well! ❤️ ❤️

little books

very late Thursday night…

Today marks two little books coming into yours truly’s purview.

The lovely little one (left) is full of positiveness and support — things we in the sewing community hold dear, and which author Karen Ball (Did You Make That) has in abundance.

(Added: Click the book to go to amazon U.K. to order. This is mailed to other countries; the download Kindle oversion is not available in America. Don’t know about other countries. Sorry. ☹️)

The other book isn’t small. A large dark chocolate egg might help. I suspect the first book will be an antidote for the second. Meanwhile . . . . ✂️ ✂️ ✂️

Patterns are cut out, fabric awaits, and the holiday weekend is upon us. Time to crack on! 🤣 🤣 🐣 🐥 🐣 🤣 🤣

rayon, rayon everywhere (aka, viscose)

Last week I was musing over this Butterick pattern, B5655. I got it out to confirm there are two complete items here, a dress or tunic and duster, sewn together. Both duster and dress use separate front and back pattern pieces.

For me, on a very hot and humid summer day, this is a big deal. If/when I make this up I’ve a feeling there won’t be double layers both front and back. If there are, they will not be sewn together, and one – probably the duster – will have longish and loose sleeves. 😉

Also under scrutiny last week was this cocoon dress from Vogue, V1496. Whilst talking with Vogue Fabrics to locate elastic lace for those half slips, I saw an interesting rayon/viscose fabric that might work well for this Vogue dress. Eager to have it in my hot little hands, I hoped it would arrive on the weekend. It didn’t. 😟

Wednesday the package appeared. I like the fabric very much. It’s very light in weight but not transparent, and it washed and dried in cool temps with nary a wrinkle. However, this is a fuzzy fabric. Fuzzy does not feel good in heat and humidity.

So I’m back to the planning stage for this fabric. But as you see below, there are some interesting color combinations in the offing. More thinking . . . which at some point makes my brain begin to feel a bit like Pooh’s, but we’ll get to that later.

About those other fabrics – The solid teal rayon (left) I’ve planned for trousers; the green and black pattern (another rayon) is already both blouse and skirt. The dark brick, right, (rayon again – are we noticing a trend?) was earmarked for a half slip, and the cinnamony arrows (cotton lawn) is a dead match for those tiny butterflies… another blouse?

I’m thinking the fuzzy rayon might make a blouse that can also be worn as a second layer atop another blouse, leaving the solid teal for trousers, and do the arrows cotton lawn as another blouse.

What do you think? Have I totally lost you? 🤪

books

It’s been a while, but you know I haven’t stopped reading! The local town library has opened again after renovations, so I collected a little pile… and just finished Becoming (Michelle Obama), loaned graciously by Jen of Let the Sewing Begin after I mentioned there were over 1,000 on the waiting list.

It was an absorbing book for two reasons: First, it is extremely well written and paced, and is very conversational in style. Secondly, it felt personal. I was living in Chicago and walked home from a late work session the night of Obama’s first election and could easily hear the crowd’s roar a couple of blocks over in Grant Park. The whole city felt lite up that night, proud and honored that one of our own was going to the White House.

The night of Obama’s re-election I could hear the crowds over on Michigan Avenue roaring every time cars flew past, hoping it was Obama on the way from his home, south of me, up to his campaign headquarters further north.

On the weekend I listened almost non-stop to the audio version of The Music Shop because the first paragraph grabbed me and I couldn’t stop listening. At two in the morning, exhaustion demanded a pause for sleep.

No, I never read the whole Winnie the Pooh and thought it was time. The stories are well suited for any age reader. The contrast between them and headlines is a stark but needed reminder of what I prefer to consider normal: gentleness, kindness, consideration, and lots of humor.

The unreadable title underneath it is Sayers’ Strong Poison. Haven’t started this one yet… And I couldn’t resist picking up Clinton Kelly’s book, Oh No She Didn’t, for a quick review of What Not to Wear. Remember that program?

Crochet One-Skein Wonders is interesting to look through but I’m not planning anything from it just now. It’s just because it was there and I thought it would be interesting to look through. (We’ll have to wait and see how that works out. 😉)

Yikes! This is marathony! Best stop, say many, maaany thanks to anyone still reading, and wish everyone . . .

May your sewing machine always be oiled, your needle sharp, and your bobbin full!

tuesday

Have been working on a rogue skirt on the weekend, a remnant I picked up whilst living in Chicago because I couldn’t resist the feel. Although 54″ wide, there’s only enough for a gathered skirt.

Imagine a buttery soft rayon twill with a perfect amount of weight, and such intriguing colours and pattern. Heavenly! And it doesn’t wrinkle easily.

The skirt is mid-calf, no pockets or zip, elasticated waist and will be ever so delicious to wear! Another possible match with that batik duster?

books

Haven’t been including any books, although I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the three Mrs. Tim books re-released earlier this month by Scott’s Furrowed Middlebrow subset of Dean Street Press.

Finished all three and cannot say enough how totally enjoyable they are. As Alexander McCall Smith wrote in his introduction,

“One of the main features of Stevenson’s novels is their simplicity. That is a quality that is not rated in fiction today. Many writers now feel that in order to be noticed they must go out of their way to be clever –even to the extent of being opaque. Nothing should be portrayed as it seems to be; cynicism is all; sincerity is hopelessly naïve. In such a climate, direct stories that follow a fairly strict chronological pattern, that eschew obfuscation, and that place feasible and, in many cases, rather likeable characters centre-stage are not highly regarded. And yet that is exactly what Stevenson does, and that is what many readers still seem to want. Add humour to the equation and the mixture will find a ready audience…

“These are gentle books, very fitting for times of uncertainty and conflict. Some books can be prescribed for anxiety – these are in that category. And it is an honourable and important one.”

Am also wending my way through the short stories in Silent Night, edited by Martin Edwards. Was very impressed with the Sayers short story, and will at some point reread her Wimsey books.

The mystery crochet project has run out of yarn, so a squidgy package has been ordered. Goodies from across the pond – yeah!

On that good thought, will wish you Lovely Readers happy sewing!

reflection in a puddle

This has been the wettest year in my area since . . . ever.

The wet stuff is still falling, and projected to do so into January.

At least it isn’t s**w. 😳

I’ve been reading a “new” British author, almost unknown these days: Annie Haynes. She and Agatha Christie were the only two women authors published by The Bodley Head, a noted early Golden Age publisher. Unfortunately, Haynes died young and her books went out of print.

I’ve downloaded four of them, the Inspector Stoddard series, from Dean Street Press. At 99 cents each they are a welcome bargain.

Just finished the third, Who Killed Charmian Karslake? and am enjoying them. I guessed the murderer in the first book (The Man With the Dark Beard) but have been clueless reading the others. More info is here.

Meanwhile, have a yard of knitted scarf in that autumnal yarn and have decided it is not what I want. Will wait a bit more before deciding whether to rip it all out and start something else. . .

Seems almost wasteful to continue, yet almost foolish to frog all that knitting. Any thoughts, Lovely Readers? 🤪 Continue reading reflection in a puddle