Tag Archives: winter

not quite friday’s crochet & natter

Hodge, the bookstore cat, is ba-a-ack

We’ve been having another spell of coolness and I’ve been luxuriating in it and not getting much done besides crochet.

But my scarf got finished last night whilst watching some of the Oscars, mostly with the sound off so I could just look at the gowns.

Here’s a quick batch of piccies … click any one to read everything (looong captions), as hovering won’t work. Sorry!

And lastly, my former bookstore owner & friend, Keith Peterson, sent me a copy of Hodge’s latest book last week, which I instantly devoured.

In case you’ve not heard about Chicago’s most famous bookstore cat, you can read more about his vibrant secret life here and here.

curing the monday blahs

click pic to go to photo on The Rain Shed site. the web site has the true colour – this is a bit dark.

It has been a nasty, gray, rainy Monday so I’ve holed up with my newest find: BBC’s A Stitch in Time and the presenter Amber Butchart.

U.K. Lovelies can view on their iplayer, but ‘usins’ everywhere else must resort to an alternate (youtube).

Having watched the second episode last night (they’re about 28 minutes each) I decided to start at the beginning and not get distracted…

But alas, lunch did it. Plus a growing list of Things To Do that will include a spot of long distance natter and tea with one of my Yorkshire friends. (The Atlantic is a bit of a drawback, but Edison and the internet make it easy.)

So what’s been laying on my sewing/cutting tables seems like forever, whilst my sewing mojo is MIA?

Up top it’s a crazy print from The Rain Shed bought last January & designated for exercise togs. Don’t laugh! My idea is more yogic so the trews will be very loose, and I’m using the renfrew pattern for the top. Again. (I’ll get it right eventually.)

Just to liven things up I got this tissue rayon knit cut last week, using the free Hemlock pattern

from Grainline.

wonderful soft tissue jersey with very subtle colours of navy & dark green

Granted, I’ve had this pattern ‘aging’ and I understand they withdrew then reissued it. This is probably the original. Heigh ho, we’ll give it a go.

Meanwhile, am enjoying these from last week’s mini-Galentine’s Day celebration and hope they brighten your Monday as well!.

Mwah-mwah!

crochet & natter friday

Cathy, over at Nanacathydotcom, does Knit & Natter Fridays, and she also crochets, so I’ll join in with my ickle quandary.

Just last night I was working on this little scarf, using up some stashed yarn left over from a shawl I finished some time ago… Oh, dear, it was July 2009 in Chicago… Better late than never.

I decided not to do a hat, and already have a shawl… a scarf seemed appropriate.

Decided to try some rows of single then double crochet (that’s American for double & treble crochet in U.K.) to see if I liked it. I don’t.

Then I realised I could ask my dear readers whilst tying in with Cathy’s post — goody!

Now what to try instead? I’m not bothered by frogging the whole thing, and think probably one airy stitch might be the best, considering the colour changes.

I say ‘airy’ because upon washing, the shawl did felt up a bit, and it was originally quite airily stitched.

What do you all think? Puh-lease make any suggestions that come to mind as your assistance is so much appreciated!

The yarn is hand painted 50% merino/50% silk “Precious Aida Pastel” bought at slashed end-of-supply sale in my old, now sold, Chicago neighbourhood store.

It does feel yummy. I couldn’t resist it despite including that lavender (?) which I normally never go near.

It’s almost ten in the morning here across the pond, and I’m finishing a cuppa  whilst editing this. Those of you in Blighty must be finishing lunch. I usually read (e)mail at breakfast and only just realise how British that sounds.

Should be off soon on this cloudy and too-warm-for-February Friday. Guess we’re in the season of daily 20-degree temp shifts. Sigh.  Time to pull out summer dresses.   Double sigh.

  ❤  ❤ Happy Weekend Knitting-Sewing-Crocheting, Lovelies!  ❤   ❤

 

P.S.Looking at this again I may just frog it soon as I’ve got this posted!

faffing about with a farrow #1

So far this is about all that’s gotten done, buuut . . .

grainline’s farrow (click to go to their pattern listing)

I found where I’d noted my changes on my last renfrew, so will be ready to crack on with this once I’ve compared the two patterns and made my changes.

Jen, at Let the Sewing Begin, and I are sewing our versions “together.” That’s in quotes because she’s about 4 states north.

Last time we talked I was reading from Jen’s (the Farrow’s designer) initial post in her sew-along, which didn’t make too much sense to us at first.

from my personal copy

Then Jen (not the Grainline one) mentioned a little thing called ease and we promptly decided we’d better check that out. Left is the measurement chart for the Farrow.

Jen had also just gone to a local-to-her sewing guru and had all her measurements taken; we wanted to incorporate those as well. More on measurements in general in another post.

For those of you who haven’t seen this pattern, it has a lot of ease. I dutifully took the pattern out of the envelope yesterday and realised a couple of things whilst mulling everything over:

from my copy of the directions, with personal notations
  1. There’ a Length at Center Front measurement but not one for Center Back. The back is longer. (Will try measuring the pattern pieces for this.)
  2. There’s no natural waist line marked on the pattern, so I can’t tell if this is going to be really long on my short torso. I don’t want pockets at my knees, or some other more inconvenient place.
  3. The ease isn’t given for the hips.

So a day was spent looking at IG and blog photos trying to see where hems (front & back) and those pockets were on everyone.

Unfortunately that didn’t help as no one I looked at mentioned lengthening or shortening either hem or torso, and I had no idea how tall they were. (They all looked lovely though.)

Dear & Most Wonderful Sewing Community of Bloggers ~  Any suggestions along these lines?

(Sorry ~ LOL!)

😄    😉    😄

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.

catching up..and Happy New Year!

This didn’t get published last month, so am putting it here.

Happy New Year, all! I spent it tucked up with Hamish Macbeth, a creation of author M.C. Beaton, and due back at the library.

yes, there IS a santa … er, a lot more of this fabric stashed away

Meanwhile, back in Renfrew land . . . .

I found a nice little stash of leftover bamboo fabric and made a new neck band. Ta-dah!

Although now I’m noticing a crossed eye effect if I look at the pattern across the front for very long.

I left the sleeves extra long so I could roll them up easily when doing dishes, etc. Wound up cutting off those wrist bands when I discovered how long was too long.

Might have enough to make a sleeveless version for summer… will have to decide which way I want those lines to go. On second thought, as this isn’t 4-way stretch, better keep them as is.

Which brings me to another Renfrew that’s just gotten fixed. I discovered the bottom band of my very first orange Renfrew wasn’t cut with the maximum stretch going around the body.  (Me conserving fabric. NOT.)

That lack of stretch made taking it off a pain. So it didn’t get worn. And it was just a tad too short, so it really didn’t get worn.

However, I discovered more of that same fabric too, and effected a fix: I cut off the offending band after cutting a wider one using the stretch of the fabric. In the end, no fabric got saved, but I have another wearable Renfrew. And another good lesson learnt.

click to go back to the 2015 version

Oh, the things we gotta remember whilst trying to be smart. 😳

 

 

can you guess?

a long-sleeved renfrew that somehow escaped from the sewing table last january and was found lounging amongst the ufo’s

D’you see what’s gone majorly wrong here?

Don’t remember doing this, so it musta happened in the almost-year it’s been “resting,” right??

Seems somehow the neck band didn’t quite get cut out properly…

Uh-oh-h-h  . . .

ickle trees in an ickly sled

Time for a rummage in the scrap drawer. Or maybe a substitution.

More anon. 😉

 

changing times

colour from 2015

The Time Change came over this side the pond last weekend, ushering in a week of rain, fog, and general gloom. Nights didn’t draw in, they slammed shut.

However, this weekend promises to be sunny, if distinctly cooler, which will hopefully encourage more Autumn colour. Now if they can just manage to keep 80’s outta the forecast. . .

After goofing off for a week, I’ve been trying Karen Ball’s suggestions (Did You Make That?), with further encouragement from Jen’s post (Let the Sewing Begin).

All of which means my two started & abandoned tops (UnFinished Objects, a.k.a. UFOs) from last winter might get finished.

click to go to pattern

The Renfrew is short sleeved, so might not get worn much. On the other hand, if this winter is anything like last winter, it will.

Am curious how the McCall’s 6992 in dark green will turn out. I used light weight knit, but Suggested Fabrics list sweatshirt fleece and double knit.

What was I thinking???

Toile. That’s what it was.

Just don’t tell the fabric police. 😉

click to go to pattern

fabric updates

the green collection
1 & 3 are silk
4 & 5 rayon viscose
2 is a blend with slight stretch

I was contemplating where to begin sewing The Green Collection (left) when everything halted for the move.

Unpacking led to relocating bits & pieces used for packing, which led to…

Deciding I really need a casual green duster to accompany numbers 4 and 5, currently thought of as dresses. Which led to…

Ordering some swatches from Vogue Fabrics, two-thirds of which are to hand and none will do… which led, whilst awaiting swatches, to. . .

vogue swatches Lt to Rt:: double knit, cotton gauze, 2 rayon viscose

Making more order amongst heavier fabrics (a.k.a. winter), which led to . . .

Me realising I’m not sewing heavier fabrics because the climate’s too hot to wear them.

Ooohhhhh.

Oh me oh my.  Horrors! 😱

Does anyone else buy impractical fabric??

my very appropriate penguin copy

books
Am delighting in the latest Durrell volume, My Family and Other Animals, because its lyrical, hysterical, and utterly charming.

     “We had agreed that we would not invite a lot of people to the party; we said we didn’t like crowds, and so ten guests, carefully selected, were the most we were prepared to put up with… Having unanimously decided on this, each member of the family then proceeded to invite ten people. Unfortunately they didn’t all invite the same ten…”          From “The Enchanted Archipelago” chapter.

Am wending my way through Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series, watching each episode after reading the book, and using both as antidotes for summer heat.

Finally have gotten a copy of Julie Summers’ Home Fires and couldn’t put it down. Although quite different from the PBS programmes, a very enlightening read!

 

off topic: survive extreme heat

 

see difference between right & coated wrong side

Reading Karen’s post over at Did You Make That? reminded me it might be appropriate to do a post about insulating fabrics available on the U.S. side of the pond.

Karen includes a delightful vlog about her latest Liberty purchases. It left me drooling with envy . . . but that’s another story!

(To read my earlier post about curtains, click the photo on the left.)

Here are some suggestions, from make-up to general health. Please feel free to add your own, too!

Adding to my list with your suggestions, Lovelies. . . . .

❤     ❤     ❤

  • “…if people are designing and building new houses in hot climates (or adding to an existing structure), high ceilings, verandahs and overhanging eaves make a huge difference.” from jennyrecorder
  • “One of the many good things about old French houses is the shutters. I’m usually very British about it and have them all open all day every day but in the heat we’re having at the moment, they are staying closed.”  from tialys and she adds, “…[her house has] Very thick stone walls – which also help of course.”
  • From Jen: “… ditch the polyester if you can and live in lovely rumpled linen or other loose weave fabrics… Oh, and don’t forget about hats!”
  • In extreme heat go s-l-o-w.
  • Don’t wear anything too tight or too long. You want air to circulate between clothes and you.
  • Caffeine & alcohol take moisture out of your body. Even if you don’t indulge, sip cool water continually to stay hydrated.
  • Use fans or air conditioners.
  • Carry a fan in your purse & use it!
  • When outside keep to shady areas.
  • Revive parasols! If you have to be out in the sun unfurl your prettiest brolly (umbrella) and make your own shade.
  • Wear lightweight make-up & sunscreen if you have to go out.
  • Use lightweight moisturizers on face and body.
  • If you use a facial toner, stick it in the frig before using.
  • Be prepared to gently rinse & damp-dry your face, neck, arms and legs periodically. Let the cool water evaporate naturally to cool your body.
  • If you sweat heavily, give your physician a call and ask about salt tablets.
  • A water-filled spray bottle cools everywhere. Just be careful of any clothing that might unintentionally be on show if wet. (Undies showing through damp clothing is not a good thing!)
  • Stay out of hot crowds if you can.
  • Don’t let sunlight in through windows – a darkened interior is a cooler interior, particularly with a fan circulating the air. If you don’t have insulating drapes on windows consider making some. They help in hot or cold weather, and deaden street noise.

Need I remind you this is not the time to cook a roast or a bake a batch of scones?

Fabric resources:

  • Roc-lon makes Blackout cloth. In the U.S. find it at Joann’s 
  • 3M Thinsulate is insulation for coats, etc., in cold weather. In the U.S. find it at various small fabric stores (The Rain Shed, Vogue Fabrics, etc.)
  • Polartec® makes many different kinds of fleece with wind-proofing up to 100%. In the U.S. find it labelled as Polartec® and also at The Rain Shed.

One more thing… How many times have you gotten a call from a friend and known just from tone of voice something was wrong? Everyone’s voice is extremely sensitive to stress.

So if you notice your voice starting to get raspy, pay attention! That’s the signal your body’s not doing well.

How do I know? Aeons ago in a galaxy far, far away yours truly taught voice/speech, but those  stories are for another time . . . 😉

Stay safe and sane, Lovelies!
☀️ ☀️ ☀️