Tag Archives: stash

happy, hot july

white loops on red medium weight cotton

Hello, Lovely Readers — how are you? Life’s been happening since my last post, so this is a mite lengthy.

Hope you’ve time to settle in with something cool (or hot, as appropriate to your weather) and stay for a catch-up, including some sewing. Yeah!

Have cogitated and cogitated over what to do with this medium weight cotton, of which I bought maybe 1½ or 2 yards. Finally decided on shorts with pockets, as my blue pair gets worn constantly at this time of year. How long has it been in stash? Ummm . . .  absolutely no idea.

But I couldn’t resist it as it’s that wonderful tomato red that I love but can never find when I have a specific project in mind. Now that I consider it, I was probably thinking “summer dress” but after laundering realised it would be too hot, and stashed it.

At one point I thought “tote bag” and have a piece cut off for that, as well as what I assume were the handles, except there’s a strange “V” cut on one end. Wonder what I was thinking…

Anyway, this is finally out of stash, ironed, and might be cut out by the time you read this. (Not yet, but the pattern’s out!)

this is what I frogged back to – 😳 – but next time maybe I’ll count better

Remember that green & mustard ski cap I was working on last time?  I got it out and looked at it, then counted my stitches and realised I’d got off about 8 rows from the start.

Yes, I was good and frogged it back, but that put a damper on my crochet ardour. That, plus the early onset of extreme heat & humidity. Managed late last week to pull out of the doldrums a bit, and am almost back to where I was.

See what the triple digit temps have done to the lovely hydrangea bushes dotted around the apartment complex? The roses are too scraggly for piccies and grass that isn’t on a sprinkler system is dead brown because our rain has been sporadic.

Looking on the brighter side… Heat means time to tackle the small unread stack of books on my shelf… and was delighted to have found one I’d forgotten I had!

piccie courtesy British Library Crime Classic site

Back story: Several years ago I discovered the British Library Crime Classic series and ordered Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay. I quite enjoyed it, and learned what a humpty is (a.k.a., hassock), as well as absorbing more bits about British women’s university years.

BTW, if anyone has a humpty pattern they wouldn’t mind sharing, please let me know (sewing, not knitting or crochet).

British Library Crime Classics
originally published in 1934
Click to go to book on British Library Crime Classic site

My forgotten mystery was another Hay book, Murder Underground, which also mentions a humpty.

(I’m blaming my humpty fixation on triple digit heat. That and a desire to stuff one with stashed fabric. Add a zipped top & it might be great storage as well as hassock.)

Hay has a third book, The Santa Klaus Murder,  that I haven’t acquired yet just ordered, but I’m also looking for a nice used copy of Bats in the Belfry, by new-to-me author E.C.R. Lorac (Edith Caroline Rivett).

click to go to the book on British Library’s site

If anyone’s read any of Lorac’s books I’d love to know what you thought. Somewhere I read she was a witty author, and if there’s one thing I like to read in summer heat, it’s something humorous.

(Speaking of witty, just found & ordered Doonan’s Wacky Chicks & another Gerald Durrell. And that third Hay book, too.)

I’ve been puzzling over what to do with some of this cotton batik (below) ordered last summer from Vogue Fabrics in Chicago, but now out of stock.  It’s heavier than I’d thought and has a funny sort of texture (possibly from all the dyes used to get the particular splotchiness of the pattern). I love the colours, but the texture put me off for a season.

Chatting over t’internet with fellow sewer Jen (Let the Sewing Begin) with fabric in hand, she thought it would make a good duster, and we talked a bit about what colours to wear with it. Afterwards I remembered a green linen camp shirt I’d found at a thrift shop in Arlington and got it out to check. What do you think—a definite maybe?

Lastly, a “goodness, I’d forgotten” moment earlier this past week when WordPress sent a Sixth Anniversary note. It’s been a tough time down here for most everyone, and I’m trying to buck up and stay more focused on goodness.

To that end I really really am valuing all you sewing bloggers around the globe. Reading your posts and seeing how you all are coping with a very turbulent world makes me feel not so alone over here, and sometimes even hopeful for a decent future. To that end, am sharing one last thing, which I hope will make you smile as much as it does me. . . . . . .

I finally read the last bits of Doonan’s book, Eccentric Glamour, and want to share a quote from the “Wallflowers and Big Stinky Peonies” section (p. 217). This might sound a little strange, but hang on as I’ve the perfect example below it.

“As you begin to stick your toes into the luscious lagoon of eccentric glamour, you will experience a jarring increase in the amount of amorous attention you receive… It is simply a result of how gorgeous and fabulous you think you are…” (Doonan’s emphasis)

If you begin to feel overwhelmed at such prospects, Doonan chides us not to “stay at home and watch “Dynasty” reruns…” Instead, he flatly says that is “…a waste of time—yours and mine (meaning Doonan’s)—unless you share it with someone… It’s a “What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play” Liza in Cabaret kind of a thing.”

As promised, here’s one of my favourite bloggers’ recent posts that perfectly illustrates Doonan’s concept. If you don’t already know NYC’s utterly & outrageously adorable Marcy Harriell, also known as Ooonabaloona, click and say howdy.

HEARTIEST THANK YOU’S & CONGRATS TO ALL WHO’VE MADE IT THROUGH!

Ice Cream, Hot Chocolate, or GnT for All!

❤   ❤   ❤    Happy Sewing!    ❤   ❤   ❤

 

 

puttering into coincidence, fabric stashes & joy

anticipating a holiday weekend of sewing

This was supposed to be about receiving fabric for a weekend of three blissful days spent sewing.

Except the fabric didn’t arrive, it rained all weekend, and I hardly sewed anything.

So have been feeling a bit… fraught trying to account for lost time, feeling guilty, but clearly (in hindsight) just needing time to putter.

So I caught up on chores, read blogs and sewing videos. I enjoyed The Fold Line’s Sewing Summer Trends  and tried hard to find something to suit my summer heat & humidity ~ absolutely can’t be doing with anything tight. It was nice to hear what’s doing on the high street s of London.

speaking of hiding – decided to get this duster out and try to remember how i’d meant to piece together a sleeve & front after packing it all away some….. 2 years ago?

Then had to check out Hila, over at Saturday Night Stitch. There were two videos I hadn’t seen. Goody!  It was great fun seeing what she’s up to, and her industrious stash sort-out made me feel curious about what might be hiding out in my own.

Before watching Hila’s video on organising her stash, perhaps I should give a little heads up: Hila’s stash is sooo luscious I get mega fabric envy and want to move to (or order from) N. Yorkshire’s shops. So hide your plastic, Ladies!

(If any of you Lovelies think you have a huge stash, you might be surprised. However, she has FOUR Little People and a Hubs she sews for.)

I also caught up on the blog over at The Confident Stitch (TCS). (No, I didn’t order more fabric!) In fact, reading one by Kate (owner of TCS) on tidying up fabric stashes she mentioned a book. It reminded me that Hila had, too.

Being in procrastination mode, that was enough of an excuse a reason for me to spend time reviewing both and confirming it was the same book: Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. Has anyone else read it?

Now being firmly in exploratory mode after finally putting my unmade heavy winter fabrics back into stash, I grabbed a white plastic sack of fabric I’d bagged up for donating months ago. That’s how I discovered some dark green fabric I’d been hunting for pillow coverings. Dub – what was I thinking when I piled it in there?

It was the ending of Hila’s video that really inspired me, because also in that bag I found a lovely summer cotton sheath I’d totally forgotten. I loved the slightly heavy cotton fabric, but hadn’t gotten it made up into something practical enough to wear in summer heat.

I decided to spent the evening ripping it apart. I’m determined to remake it into something wearable – probably a simple top. I’m also going to take time to enjoy my fabric stash.

As Hila explained about her fabric, “What is this life if we can’t stop and feel the joy in fabric?!”

 

yesterday’s squidgy package, or thought processes for summer clothes

Oh happy day!

A squidgy fabric package arrived yesterday from out West and made my week.

In the spirit of ‘when copping a plea, go for the gold,’ I’m blaming it on Mrs. Maile (a.k.a., Tanya Hughes).

Being much taken with the fabric she’d used in her post (previous link), I’d meandered across her conveniently provided link to her fabric source – The Confident Stitch.

As one does, I wondered what else they had, and wandered around a bit, eventually looking at all their barkcloth (or bark cloth). I was surprised to be more drawn to a different fabric, which made me pause, wondering why.

click to go to The Confident Stitch

Being thorough, I’d also noticed their stock of independent pattern makers, including the Closet Case’s Charlie Caftan that Tanya used for her barkcloth dress. Then I remembered seeing it several times last year on Karen Ball’s Did You Make That?

Fast forward a bit:  Having finally acknowledged the sad state of my summer frocks ~ 3 made at least 3 years ago ~ and also having resolved to remedy the situation, I’d contemplated enlarging my pattern stash. On that note, I spent some time reviewing both ladies’ posts on the Charlie Caftan (Karen made several).

Everything looked okay from my perspective, so I ordered the paper pattern, plus a couple of swatches, including that other barkcloth.

Oh yes, somehow a piece of cotton lawn got into that first squidgy package.  Which will be discussed at a later date because I decided it was a bit too sheer for a Charlie and I’d ordered the wrong yardage anyway.

#   #   #

Meanwhile time passed and because hot weather is arriving down here I was looking forlornly at my summer tops and sighing. Actually, doing a great deal of sighing, and wondering how to remedy. I had that lovely cotton lawn, which just needed matching thread… and a pattern…

Just to relax last Sunday (really!) I went browsing on The Confident Stitch site. Up popped a pattern sale: 25% off through 28 April (Saturday).

Divine Intervention!

Which is how the cotton lawn’s matching thread and Grainline’s Hadley arrived in yesterday’s squidgy package, along with that barkcloth, which very possibly will become a Charlie.

Do tell if I’m the only one making such convoluted decisions.

culottes and maybe a Grainline Farrow dress… and 2 sweet labels sneaked in!

P.S./ Almost forgot. A couple more swatches also arrived yesterday, which look like great next additions to the summer wardrobe. Final decisions in a bit…  you know how that goes.😉

life’s been happening . . .

just keeping a hand in . . . uh, i mean hook!

Hi there, Lovely Readers!   There’s been a bit of sewing and crocheting going on despite distractions, and have managed to mostly keep up with reading everyone’s posts. There’s been little or no commenting and for that I apologise.

Sometimes life just gets in the way, drat it! So here’s an attempt to catch you up. Hope you’ll grab a favourite cuppa and have a read. . .

really low yarn stash & nothing in sight to fill it with, but oh, wool warehouse is tempting if it wasn’t so far awa-a-a-y

Decided to go through what’s left of my mostly-Chicago-acquired yarn stash and discovered bits & pieces.

Although I tried, twice, to find something tempting at a local chain store it was futile. I wound up getting 2 more soft cotton yarns for yet more mug mats (see the pile above). Plus a third cotton that might become a hat.

renfrew on top of hemlock

Here are a couple more tees – a renfrew and my first hemlock. I took a photo of the renfrew in front of the hemlock just to see what the differences were.

The hemlock’s much too long but the sleeve is short. It will work for layering underneath my solid green. I like the higher neck on the hemlock.

The renfrew is a better fit and I have room to hem sleeves & body as I didn’t want to add the bands. (Although now I see how much the fabric is curling just might change my mind.)

Also, I did something different with this v-neck and rather like the effect. I got tired of the problems I have trying to follow the pattern for a perfect centred v. (It’s me, not the pattern.) This was so much easier! If I could only remember where I read it or saw it I’d direct you, but I don’t.  My apologies . . . 😟

I simply cut my own width & length for the neck band, allowing an extra 4″ in length. I wanted at least 2″ extra of length to play with. Also wanted it wider.  I pin-eased the bodice onto the neck band, working from several inches above the v on one side, then the other, leaving the v pieces dangling. Then I sewed up  one side, then the other, meeting at centre back. (I’d read somewhere that helps to combat extra stretching of the bias-cut neckline – again, don’t remember where.)

 

Then I pinned the left dangly bit, then the right into place, with the pieces crossing somewhere in the vicinity of the centre and sewed. Honestly, the pattern of the fabric is so wonky, I didn’t much care if I got it spot on. Hope it doesn’t show! If the sewing polis come and get me you’ll know I did wrong. Otherwise, it’s our secret.  he-he-he!

Thanks for hanging out with me!  Hope to be back again soonish. Meanwhile, Happy SEWING!!!

stash busting for extreme weather

some of my swatch collection from The Rain Shed – VERY superior fleece

Whether its heat or cold, look to your stash!

Insulation across windows and doors (to the outside) needs a small air space between the glass or whatever and your temporary fabric curtain. That air space is key to providing more insular effects.

I currently use tension rods for window curtains and generally have a few extras  just in case. If that’s not a possibility for you, there’s always tape & tacks.

Any tightly woven fabric can help, as the tighter the weave the less air (and temperature) can pass through.

Here’s another section I just looked up on Polartec®, which I like to use because of its light weight and wash-ability (and further use as blankets if I’ve extra pieces).

source:   The Rain Shed
“If you have questions regarding a fabric please email or call.”  541-791-8900 or Contact. They ship internationally.

About Polartec®
FAQ
Care
Polartec® Windbloc     “Polartec(R) Windbloc(R) fabrics block 100% of the wind and offer maximum protection from the cold and the elements. A soft hand, stretch and a durable water repellent finish (DWR) make this the highest quality, most comfortable windproof fleece product on the market.”

Polartec® 200 (one of two swatch sets)     “Polartec Series 200 is a mid-weight, non-pilling, double-faced fleece from Malden Mills/Polartec LLC. Made of 100% Dacron Polyester. It’s light, non-absorbent, and wicks moisture, dries quickly and retains body heat even when wet.”
“How does it work? The 100% polyester velour, pebbled, or shear ling surface create air pockets that trap air and retain body heat, providing outstanding warmth without weight. These fabrics off excellent breath ability and dry quickly.”

Polartec® 300     “Polartec(R) Series 300 is a heavy, non-pilling, double-faced fleece from Malden Mills. Made of 100% Dacron polyester. It’s breathable, wicking, dries quickly and retains body heat even when wet.”

I’m not affiliated with The Rain Shed or Malden Mills/Polartec.® I just appreciate their products.

I’ve also written on extreme weather here and here.

two more bold caftans

What can I say…

Once I got started and was encouraged by Sheila’s comments on the first caftan, I decided to go for it.

that first caftan, 45″ wide cotton flannel, is floor length

That first one (left), being  very special colours plus yummy flannel, got a little extra time because it has a nap. Said nap almost didn’t all go downward, as I almost forgot and sewed one piece upside down. Phew!  Black is not a good colour to have to unpick.

Then I finally got my other two caftans with bold designs made up as well.

The huge brown & salmon pattern (scroll down if you click the link) is from deep stash, whilst the other, possibly my oldest piece, is a buttery soft rayon bought in California sometime ‘twixt 1985 and ’95.

Both caftans were made with the self-drafted pattern I used for the flannel caftan.

An exception: For the rayon stripe’s neck facing I decided to use rayon bias tape. Although it took more sewing time, it’s a better match for the fabric’s weight, which is very light.

For some reason I’ve never thought of removing the fringe on that rayon. It’s always been part of “the overall concept” and once sewn on it’s stayed on.

The moral of this is if you’ve got some large-patterned fabric in your stash, drag it out and make it up.

Then have fun wearing it!

stash-busting

view d

Finally getting back into a routine here, with sewing definitely in the mix.

In June I’d pulled from stash (after at least 3 years), cut out and finished the edges on a lovely cotton lawn ( White Tree Fabrics, U.K.).  Got it completed this past week (below left).

Used view D from this inspiredly (is that a word?) gifted pattern (thanks again to you know who), which I love to wear for sleep or lounging because it’s so comfortable.

Also just completed a gorgeously autumnal patterned cotton flannel caftan. That fabric I’d ordered whilst living in Chicago and is from fairly deep stash.

Originally, I’d thought I’d wear it a lot, but worried about the so-large pattern. Finally decided no one will see it but me, so why worry?

Am using a “pattern” from my head. Something I sewed up quickly one day in Northern California in the 90’s when I didn’t have time/money/whatever to go hunt for a pattern.

There the evenings used to get very cool in summer, unless El Niño was blowing all the cool Pacific air away. Residents called it Nature’s air conditioning. Carl Sandburg’s poem, “Fog,” expresses that summertime phenomenon perfectly.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Coming back to current East Coast to say the 2011 photo on the right is that summer fog rolling in over the Santa Cruz Mountains and across Silicon Valley, round about 3 one afternoon.

No leaves turning pretty colours round this lower East Coast. They just die, are brown, and fall off. Sigh.

Meanwhile, hope you Lovely Readers are comfy & cosy whichever side of the equator you’re on.

 

mid-week hodgepodge

sewing hang tabs on tea towels – pedestrian, but necessary!

Love this quote (thanks to Prof. Pski’s blog) from Poirot in Christie’s 1947 short story, “The Capture of Cerberus” (The Labours of Hercules):

“All these young women who surrounded him- so alike, so devoid of charm, so lacking in rich alluring femininity! He demanded a more flamboyant appeal. Ah! To see a femme du monde, chic, sympathetic, spirituelle – a woman with ample curves, a woman ridiculously and extravagantly dressed!”

But, wait . . . Searching for a better link to this story after declining to use the official Christie page (“BUY” written everywhere), I found the excerpted story and a newsy bit: Christie’s Poirot, hints of “s*x,” and why this story went unpublished for 60 years. U.K. readers & Christie aficionados may know all about this, but it was news to me.

So take a break from today’s “reality” and escape into Poirot’s world, where method and order prevail.

~ ❤ ~ ~ ❤ ~ ~ ❤ ~

last fabric order
Got my fabrics from Vogue Fabrics and immediately checked to see if they were on-grain before serging the raw edges and tossing into the washer. Of the 3 pieces of cotton, one of the six edges was cut properly.

behold the pile from ripping the other five edges.
turquoise cotton batik “pegged out” over the shower rail – it does feel a bit better…

Perhaps because I got the end of the bolt, the touch was rougher than the swatches, and I was disappointed when it came out of the dryer. Have just washed it again and am air-drying over the shower rail. (Noticed the fabric is translucent both wet and dry.)

So, am re-thinking the turquoise/teal group of fabrics…  Perhaps the turquoise would make a better Victoria blazer (By Hand London, or BHL)  but I’d have to try squeezing out the cropped version. And find a lining. So am still very much in planning stages for that group.

The orangey batik is lovely and light weight, but I’m wondering how badly the off-grain printing is going to affect my plan for a duster with an opening straight down the front (like this one).

bottom edge is selvedge; left edge is serged after ripping

Check out the lower selvedge and the left serged edge in the photo. Do please tell me what you think. Am I being too nit-picky?

Had thought an asymmetrical front instead, but am afraid it might look a lopsided mistake rather than planned.

gotta have me greens!

Lastly, the neutrally-dotted lawn’s texture is good and should pair with a lot of the greens I already have (as shown). It will be another duster to blend over the greens and the few browns in stash.

Lastly, from Lizzie’s latest Vintage Traveler Miscellany is a 20-minute film I found utterly charming, scenic and informative. Thank you, Lizzie!

TWEED: From Hill to Hill, a Rural Tradition

octobre ennui

why have i left these in plain view all summer???

After four whole days of lower humidity 70’s (mid-20’s C), cool nights when I can actually sleep, and just as I’m beginning to think about sewing again… slap-bang and its back into heat & humidity again.

M-E-E-E-E-E-H-H-H ! ! !

Am not at all keen on sewing (or anything else) when it’s miserable, and this summer’s been no exception.

Except I also moved at the end of June, and that added another dimension.

However, I did manage to keep the beedies blog reading and salivating over fabric & patterns. Guess some part of my brain kept thinking, Cooler weather! Cooler weather!

None of which explains why I left those two fabric swatches (above) out on my desk. For weeks they just lay around. Occasionally I’d fondle them and wonder what on earth I’d ever pair with them.

The blues I liked immediately. The other sorta left me wishing for a lot more of the yellow-orange and a lot less of that background, occasionally castigating myself thinking no one else ever does this.

Then I woke up last week, looked at them, pulled out 3 fabrics maturing in stash, knew exactly what to do with everything, ordered the two batik cottons that day, just getting the last of the blue, and really hoping they’d arrive soon.

Maybe there was some angst-ridden subconscious struggle going on, as I’d decided months & months ago to sew only with stashed fabric. Or maybe it took a cool night’s solid sleep for me to see what had been staring at me. Whatever.

Meanwhile, Happy October to all you Lovelies!

remembering esther

does your parchment paper begin to burn even below 400℉ as sides of mine do?

Every Labor Day I remember a neighbor named Esther. A dear and very talented woman, I once asked what she did on Labor Day.  I always labor on Labor Day, she said. And now, so do I, in her memory.

edible, but not too…

Had been telling myself all week that it’ll be September soon and time to bake scones again.

Yeah!

Labor Day weekend’s goal was peppery olive oil scones with Parmesan cheese (from this book).

NOTE added 5 Sept.: This recipe is made specifically for olive oil, not butter. It is not a simple substitution! Read remarks in Alston’s introduction, available here as she specifically discusses substitutions!

Remembering I’m not fond of whole wheat (wholemeal) flour in this recipe I used plain, and decided to try Greek yogurt instead of soured-with-lemon milk.

Big mistake because Greek yogurt isn’t nearly as runny as buttermilk or plain yogurt and the dough wouldn’t form into a ball.

I added milk several times, albeit in tiny amounts. That overworked the dough.

rather dense . . .

I used a different combination of herbs, and didn’t get enough to add much flavour.

The just out-dated flour and baking powder probably didn’t help.

At least they didn’t burn!   😳

Neither did the loaf of wheat bread I threw into the machine this afternoon. Mind you, I almost forgot the salt. And the paddle – an essential if you expect the machine to do any mixing or kneading.

Ah! Home-made bread to toast in the morning.

On the sewing front, am making progress with the winter fabric, washing and loading into large zip plastic bags. Now just need to do a bit of a sort and it should be done. Unless I find another pile in some deep, dark corner . . .

he-he-heee!

using up yarn.
still.