Tag Archives: transitional

creativity vs. ennui

Currently, ennui is winning, but hopefully not for much longer. Seen this past week ~

SCAMPER: 

S-ubstitute, C-ombine, A-dapt, M-odify, P-ut, E-liminate, R-everse

As comic relief to weather, world events, and general January doom & gloom I pulled out some old DVDs of comedy-dramas, this last being New Tricks.

The original starred Alun Armstrong (Brian), James Bolam (Jack), Amanda Redman (Sandra, the boss), and Dennis Waterman (Gerry). The men were all retired London police officers, with Sandra the only serving officer.

The group was called UCOS (Unsolved Crimes and Open Case). For details I refer you to the first episode, which explains many of the on-going and humorous references.

I’m explaining this because an episode in the second year’s series (“Creative Problem Solving”) applies to sewing. In the video, its the framework for how the case gets solved.

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We sewers don’t have old criminal cases to solve (I hope !), but we do sometimes have old creative problems to (re)solve: those pesky UFOs (unfinished objects) for one.

I’d also include some (many?) of the items hiding at the back of closets, in the bottom of drawers, and stashed away amongst out-of-season clothes.

(Please tell me I’m not the only one doing this!)

Which brings us to the photos below ~

They illustrate how I’ve just spent several weeks frogging (unwinding) an unused (5± years)  3”-wide looong knitted wool scarf, then  crocheted it into a 6″-wide & much shorter fringed scarf.

See all that crinkly stuff in the first photo? That’s how my loosely wrapped & frogged ball of yarn looked as I started crocheting. When it came time to cut the remainder up for fringe I did get a little worried, and hoped I was remembering correctly that it would all straighten out once washed.

Fearlessly I washed everything. All went well.

(I think I owe this explanation to Felicia but I couldn’t for the life of me find her post, so my apologies. And apologies if it was someone else. Edited to add: It was Felicia – see her comment below.)

Am right chuffed to have re-purposed good wool into a more usable object, whilst also enjoying its softness running through my fingers during the reworking.

(He-he! We are tactile creatures, aren’t we? 😉)

Anyone else care to share a creative solution?!

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happy holidays!

getting lots of wear with several different scarves (this one’s from vogue chicago fabric at least 8 years ago!)

Thought I’d better extend best wishes now, as its been a bit crazy round here for the last month or more. And will probably continue…

But there’s also been odd moments of sewing and crochet going on at some very odd times.

right is latest tee (above) which is getting lots of wear; left is possible hemlock (grainline freeby pattern)

And even have some photos to share!

Best wishes to all you Lovely Readers ~ may all your gifts be inspired and plentiful.

May all health, happiness, joy, and peace be yours now and in the coming year.

(And all your holiday sewing be completed magically!)

🎄   🎄   🎉   🎄   🎄

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

linen #2: different kinds

Why am I still banging on about linen? Because it’s still hot enough to wear it round here: Sunday it’ll be above 80℉/28℃. ‘Nuff said.

Besides, the Southern half of our world is going into Summer. 😎  First, some piccies from my collection.

Puh-lease click a pic so you can read all the captions ’cause you’ll miss words if you’re only hovering.

 

Linen is described by different terms:

  • gauze – light weight, very loose weave, and see-through (think sheer curtains)
  • handkerchief – light colours might be sheer, but generally very good for dresses and blouses; Threads article suggests 2.8 to 3.5 ounces per square yard
  • medium – firm enough for lightweight jackets and trousers, also possibly some home décor; Threads’ article lists 5 to 7 ounces per square yard
  • heavy – think coats, handbags, home décor (including wallpaper!); Threads’ article suggests over 7 ounces per square yard.

Then there are linen blends, which should always be noted if the fabric isn’t 100% linen:

  • linen and cotton
  • linen and rayon
  • linen and wool
  • linen and silk
  • linen and wool and silk, etc.

If you’re getting the idea that all linens are not created equal you’d be spot on.

How to tell the difference between good and not-so good? Know the fabric and the supplier:

  • read the fabric description carefully
  • if in doubt, order a sample piece
  • look at the weave
  • look at the weight (ounces per yard or metre)
  • purchase from a company you’ve learned to trust!

Slubs: What the heck are they and are they good or bad? Neither! You see them in just about any fabric woven from individual fibres of wool, silk, hemp, cotton, etc. It’s the place where each piece has been joined together to form a longer thread, which is then woven into cloth. Obviously, the longer the original pieces, the fewer slubs, but remember that slubs don’t weaken the fabric.

According to the Threads‘ article, “Slubs are more likely to be a sign that the flax fibers were cut shorter in order to process them with equipment designed to process cotton, which is less expensive.”

Visible lint:

  • indicates either the presence of another fibre (such as cotton), or
  • lower quality linen

Ready to run screaming back to easier fabrics?

RESIST! Just an ickle bit more and you’ll feel better. Promise. Think SILK!

Huh? It has slubs too, right? (Silk fibres joined together, just like linen.) Think of the luxurious feel of a heavy silk – the lustre, the smoothness!

Good linen’s the same. But without the slippery factor ~ a-ha and he-he!

 

If you’ve watched the Fabworks video above, you’ll see the examples Dawn gives of linens available from their mill store. And while you don’t see close-ups of weave, seeing how the fabrics handle is very important. Dawn writes the descriptions of fabrics for their online store, and I’ve found them accurate. (Close-ups are on their web site.)

Julianne Bramson, author of the Threads article, suggests Fabrics-Store.com as another good online source. She councils if in doubt, order a minimum amount of the linen, look at the fabric and launder it before making a large purchase.

HUGE thank you’s for getting to The End! (Chocolate, anyone?)

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Next up, after you’ve chosen your linen, you can read how to launder and care for it.

Note that the Threads‘ article referenced here is not available online at this time.

For the record: Nobody mentioned here or elsewhere on this blog contributes anything to me or my blog. My opinions are my own!

Edited to add: linen #1: learning about linen 

linen #3: boring? no way!