So Much to Blog About

Been doing the Blogging 101 Course, trying to do new things for the new year…however, the assignments seem to be just the same as the ones for this course last year. I remember doing the same things…like this one, trying out 3 new themes.

Since I did that last year, I’ll just skip it for 2015. As I recall, during the assignment last year, I accidentally changed to a theme that they wanted me to pay for. I didn’t sign up to blog on a platform that would end up costing me money! Free I like!

Meanwhile, I finished a sewing project (duh, yup, almost forgot, this is a sewing blog!)

I worked on some uniforms for my favorite non-profit organization, Plenitud PR. The uniforms consist of shirts that have the staff workers’ names embroidered on the fronts and a mandala-shaped logo patch sewn on the backs.

logo patch

logo patch

Once I got used to my new machine and lined up all the shirts and their 3 different tasks to do in assembly-line fashion, it got better and better. I got great directions and suggestions from some of the staff, which helped a lot. Among us, we decided that black would be a good thread color for the text embroidery on the fronts, except for a couple of shirts that were very dark-colored. Carson liked the Clarendon font best of the 3 text fonts that were right on the sewing machine without having to download anything extra, so we went with that. All the shirts were different, so I hooped most of them with a 100 x 100 cm hoop (a few had large pockets that were tricky to hoop around: a 150 x 150 hoop worked for them). In some of the practice runs, a few problems cropped up, like major bird-nesting underneath, causing some of the text letters to come out crooked or stunted in shape. So when starting the embroidery directly onto the shirts, I took every precaution. One or two tear-away stabilizer sheets went underneath, and water-soluble stabilizer (Sulky Solvy) went on top of each embroidery. I made sure to use the recommended sensor Q-foot that really bears down and flattens the area all around the needle, rather than the simpler R-foot I always used with my previous machines. The hoops for Husqvarna Viking sewing machines have marks inside at north, south, east and west (former mapper; for all others think up, down, right, left) so you can mark on the fabric with chalk or a temporary marking pen where they intersect, and that’s where you want the center point of your finished embroidery to fall. Some hoops have a plastic insert that has a little hole in the center, making it even more easy to line up the position of your embroidery. The machine comes with a bunch of little metal clips to put on the hoops, but I hate to use them; they tend to pop off and fly through the sewing room and get lost.

One shirt had a very large sectioned and zippered pocket right under where I wanted to embroider the name. At this point in the project, I felt like I’d seen every monkey wrench that could have possibly been thrown, so to head off any trouble, my idea was to fold down the top of the inner pocket and secure it with sticky-backed stabilizer so it wouldn’t flip up during embroidery and get trapped in the domain of an out-of-control bird-nest jungle.

machine embroidery sticky stabilizer

Sticky stabilizing possible bird-nest area

I tried this first with some Pellon sticky-back stabilizer. Unfortunately, this had been in my stash for a few years and the sticky back wasn’t very sticky at all. Luckily enough, some Sulky sticky-back stabilizer, also in my stash for a few years, worked like a charm.

machine embroidery stabilizer

Sulky is the superior sticky-back

How about you, do you have any new projects for the new year so far?

For Me??? I Shouldn’t Have! :) and Weekly Photo Challenge: Warmth

I did a minuscule amount of holiday sewing, mostly for me. Why me?

1) I’m not offended getting a homemade gift 🙂
2) If I mess it up, I totally understand.
3) I, as giver, will not be hurt if I see that the givee (also me) has re-gifted the item to another person or institution.
4) I can chalk it up to experience.
5) I can chalk it up to having a bad day.
6) If it doesn’t fit, I can ask my daughter if she wants it. Also, she likes weird styles and things anyway.
7) If I’m going to spend a lot of time making something, at least I know I will appreciate that.

Star Trek fleece blanket

warm Star Trek fleece lap blanket

As you may know, I like to knit while watching TV at night. Of course I have other lap quilts and blankets, but this one, my gift to me, is special. Why special?

1) It’s fleece, very warm and fuzzy (my other usual TV-watching lap quilts aren’t fleece)
2) It has a TV show theme, ideal for…watching TV
3) I like to think it is the Original Star Trek. Actually, it obviously is the Star Trek animated series, which I like to think is based on the original Star Trek: William Shatner as Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, etc. I love the new actors too…but the old school series shaped me into the adult I am.
4) It fits the area of me as curled up on the loveseat upon which I perch to watch TV and knit.
5) The fabric was a remnant, so 50% off the regular price.

Marcy Tilton Vogue V8497

Remnant Marcy Tilton top

Next is the remnant top I made for myself.

Vogue pattern

pattern

top

top

The pattern shows this Marcy Tilton Wearable Art top, three views, all made in a solid-color medium-stretch knit. My expectations from the pattern photo did not lead me to the top I created from this pattern. Why?

1) I used two remnants that have greater than medium-stretch quality. And for the neck band, I used a rib-knit, not a piece of the overall fabric. The two remnants I used have the same colors, but vastly different patterns. I wanted to make the fronts and backs half of each fabric, but I couldn’t because the back pattern pieces are longer than the front, and the fabric I used for the front wasn’t long enough.
2) The picture on the front of the pattern appeared to have the z-shaped seams lapped under. According to the directions, the seams are just sewn, leaving the edges on the top piece exposed to the elements. So after wearing, washing, etc., these unfinished seams will curl up. Also, according to the instructions, the neckband is only sewn on the bottom edge to the neck of the garment, leaving the top edge to fray, curl up, whatever. I didn’t like the look of it on my rib-knit band, so I sewed the top edge of the neckband down onto the bottom edge.
3) I do like the look on the pattern envelope, so I may decide to sew a solid-color top according to the directions some other time.

Meanwhile, other quirks I noticed with this pattern:

1) The directions tell you to glue the seams together with spray-on fusible adhesive prior to sewing or top-stitching. Why? It can’t be just to affix the seams together and keep them from moving while sewing, because you’re also directed to pin them together as well. And you’re still directed to stay-stitch the neckline, and to reinforce the shoulder seams by stitching them on top of a piece of tricot interfacing. I think the idea is that the knit fabric won’t stretch during sewing and therefore pucker, if it’s glued together.
2) I didn’t enjoy using the spray-on adhesive: it’s extremely messy and irritating to the skin around my fingernails when I’m trying to position the hems, etc. But I have to admit that the hems didn’t pucker, they stayed flat as could be, and I was able to use a nice top-stitch, and not the usually-called for serger cover-stitch hems. (Good because I hate to re-thread the serger).

spray adhesive

gunky spray adhesive

Speaking of hand-made, my friend Aura is fabulous at making beaded jewelry. Here are some examples of earrings she has made recently:

beaded earrings

Aura’s beaded earrings

Hope everyone is still basking in the light and warmth of happy holidays! For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Warmth ping here.

Long, Long Summer with Remnant Skirtini

It may be Labor Day weekend, but summer’s not over! Not for Central Florida anyway, it will continue to be hot and muggy here until mid-October.

Continuing in the vein of the last Jalie Tankini post, I followed through on my intention of creating that adorable skirtini.

skirting

Jalie Skirtini

Pattern 3023 has to be one of the cutest swim suits ever. It has a camisole top with a built-in shelf bra, optional drawstrings in casings on the sides that can have beads threaded on them, or can be tied in a bow. The bottom has a wide waistband and can be made with a flirty little skirt, if wanted.

I’m happy to report that I didn’t have nearly as much trouble with this version as I did with my first try! I did make use of the excellent Getmystitchon blog tutorial once again to do the straps. Piece of cake! The worst problem I had was discovering that I accidentally cut one of the waistband facings out of fabric that had a big notch already slashed into it. Mulligan waistband facing!

unwanted notch

Ooops

The recipient of this project picked out the two contrasting colors from my spandex-remnant box. What a beautiful match of colors! These photos don’t do justice to the metallic gold splashes all over the fabric of the camisole and skirt. Really gorgeous! And…as you know, half-price at JoAnn’s because they were remnants! Fabrics like this are usually about $15 per yard. This suit, for a twelve-year old, took less than a yard. It did, however, take a lot of thread to make this. Compared to a basic leotard, this skirtini had a bunch of stitching. Layer upon layer.

skirtini

side view

A Size 18 Tee from Sightly Less Than .9 Yard

Yes. Well, now I know I can do it, but it’s not the best top I’ve ever made for myself!

tee shirt

Remnant tee top

First: the SIZE issue. A mature woman with a size 40 bust measurement can have a number of designated sizes. In ready-to-wear, lately a 14 does it for me. But when you make the jump from young, lean and lithe in figure to…ahem…mature, weighty, gravity-affected, your bulk may not be located in the same area as others who fall into the same measurement slots. I have relatively wide shoulders, and not a voluptuous cup size. My waist measurement is never what the patterns say it’s supposed to be compared to my bust measurement. And I’m shorter than the average woman, too. So according to sewing patterns such as Vogue, Butterick, Simplicity, I should be a size 18-20. My Jalie pattern size would possibly be a Y. Burda size: 23 Petite (best case scenario) or a 46 (adjusted for height). For this tee top, I used Emma Seabrooke’s SewkeysE Claire pattern in a size A: her size 10 shoulders with CD cup size.

remnant tag

remnant info tag: end price was 50% off this

Next: the FABRIC. To make a top with set-in sleeves out of less than a yard of fabric, the remnant has to be pretty wide: this one is 57 inches. And the sleeves are very short. The last top I made with this pattern was from a knit remnant that had some lycra in it, so it looks and fits differently than this one and is stretchier. This fabric, a Nipk Caviar Glitter Tie-Dye in shades of yellow, orange and peach, is 100% polyester and the label says it must be hand-washed. That’s because it has thousands of little glued-on metal dots and hearts cascading over the fabric, that glitter in rainbow colors when the light hits them. Really pretty, but once I tried it on, I didn’t so much like the color on me. It’s also more see-through-ie than I thought it would be. 😦 I feel good in peach and orange, but yellow does not flatter me. See what you think from the picture.

tee shirt

Claire Tee in remnant Caviar Glitter Tie-Dye Knit

BTW, this is my 200th post on this blog! I think a celebration may be in order!

SHHHH! a remnant Quiet Book!

Fabric remnants: what do you do with all of them?

I made some Quiet Books for three of the youngest grandkids.

cloth books

Quiet Books

I did happen to find a pattern in the pattern stash.

Rather generic-lookin', isn't it?

Rather generic-lookin’, isn’t it?

I decided to change mine up from the one in the pattern. I made the pages out of a big length of muslin I had on hand. I used some of the ideas, changed some of them, and added some completely off-beat ones. [Hi Bob! 🐱 ]

cloth book

Tying and buttoning

cloth book

Pages from a book

cloth book

Zip up the corn

cloth book

One finished

cloth book

Walk the dog

cloth books

(Velcro bird sitting on candy eggs)

Hmmm, Cadbury eggs and it can be sort of an Easter treat…

Using up remnants, not just of fabric but remnants of notions, too: ribbon, zippers, buttons, fibers. They look a little bit goofy, but I had fun. I hope the little ones have some fun with them!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Three

This week’s photo challenge theme is all about Three. First, my take on the Three-fer:

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Grayzie and his catnip toys. Lately Grayzie has been found to have a thyroid condition, so we have to give him meds for that and it sometimes makes him gallop around the house and treat the other cats like he’s the villain in a spaghetti western.

Meanwhile, I did finish a remnant project so I haven’t been completely worthless. This is my 4th nappy mat, and first girly one.

nap mat

pink purrfect precious nappy mat

rolled and ready nappy mat

rolled and ready nappy mat

The mat isn’t for the cat. It’s for a cute little toddler girl. I would be deathly afraid to even show it to the cats. Bob got sick a few months ago with pancreatitis, then we found out he has diabetes. And ring-worm. So we’ve (that is, DH) been administering insulin, oral fungicide, antibiotics, milk thistle extract, and for a considerable amount of time, pain meds. Bob did like the pain med. He would saunter up to DH and meow plaintively when he thought it was time for another dose. And then he got extreme constipation. As a result of that, he got a couple of hernias from trying to poop, and the vet said his colon was the size of two softballs. I thought about drawing you a sketch of what his colon might look like, but there are obscenity laws….So when he came home from staying at the vet’s and getting a whole regime of enemas, he started pooping in the living room over by the piano instead of in his cat box. Needless to say the room that has the piano in it is now blocked off to ALL the cats, sorry, they must all suffer for the sins of the one. And Bob is the Alpha cat here so we can’t give him an inch. I am not making this up…so no, I don’t let Bob see cute little toddler nappy mats right now.

Roots Tech Simpatico

Goodbye Provo Canyon!

Provo Canyon

Carry on, carry on, carry on!

Back home in Florida, I will flesh out the Roots Tech 2014 blog-a-rama with Day 2, which I haven’t yet written about.

Keynotes blew me away: Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, talked about Scots-Irish ancestors and their propensity for story telling. And the possibilities of searching in places where the chances are slim that you’ll find a gold nugget of info, then you do! I attended her Thursday class on Black Sheep (the one about ancestors who were in prison). Awesome! Dr. Spencer Wells, who does population migration studies for National Geographic, utilizing DNA samples, gave such a fascinating talk that I realized I had to jump on the DNA bandwagon.

A short interview après-speech: does his face look like Sundance might have been on his agenda recently?

ancestry.com DNA test kit

ancestry.com DNA test kit

I went to 2 Mac genealogy classes that day. Crazy, huh? I’m a neophyte Mac user and I took advantage of the chance to learn some arcane Apple tricks to supplement what I do on my PC. The most appealing thing I want to take back from Jimmy Zimmerman’s class is Alfred. Batman has Alfred, everyone needs an Alfred! The other class was by taught by Nancy E. Loe of Sassy Jane Genealogy.com. From that class I learned an easy tip for adding the accent grave in the above après: all you do is hold down the e key for a few seconds, and a pop-up menu with diacritical mark options will show up.

The other class I attended was Cartography for Genealogists by Pamela Weisberger, who also taught the Jewish Roots class. Weisberger showed many great sites and sources, including her Gesher Galicia Map Room and the amazing David Rumsey Collection.

I found a sewing book that is simpatico with this conference.

fashion patterns c. 1900

Historical Costumes

Mastering Genealogical Proof

Dr. Jones’ book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to Dr. Jones’ class Thursday, and was so impressed with his work I snagged a copy of his recent book.

Sew Happy

hologram

szdt – szdt – szdt hologram

I didn’t get much done today, and what I did do is of questionable importance. I worked on Zero to Hero Day 14, Blogger’s Choice. My choice was to add another element of new, a marked-up photo, see below…

Been planning to finish the holiday sewing but the Ruby had to go in the shop again: an error message came up over and over again like an old phonograph record with a scratch on it. “Clear out thread under throat plate, szdt szdt szdt” (the word szdt wasn’t printed out in the message but that was the sound it made).

I dreaded taking her in to the shop. Who knows when I would ever see her again? So I dramatically threw my head back, descended onto the nearest facsimile of a fainting couch, and meekly begged and pleaded with my DH to do it. He did! The silver-tongued, country-gentleman, good-ol’-boy, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours, lovely man did it! And because he did, my Ruby was fixed and waiting in an hour, while 30 other machines allegedly languished in the bottomless repair pit.

sewing machine repair receipt

this was the receipt for the repair.

Would you believe they will sell your machine for the cost of the repair, if you left it over 30 days? That’s why it does pay to suck up to your local sewing machine repair shop. This shop also sells sewing machines that cost thousands of $$’s so they know if a machine is actually worth the cost of the repair or not.

Would you believe that my sewing machine review post, the one I linked with Sew Mama Sew’s blog, is one of my all- time most-viewed posts?

So I was able to finish a couple of dish towels.

embroidered kitchen towel

embroidered kitchen towel

This particular one, and its twin, are not fashioned from remnants but are finished, unembellished towels straight from the package, that I bought from JoAnn Fabric. You must use a coupon, because these are a bit pricey otherwise. I’ve got some Kokka remnants of cotton and linen that I plan to make more dish towels with.

Kokka linen fabric

Kokka fabric

Kokka fabric

Kokka

cotton linen fabric

dish towel fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Word to the wise: if you don’t want trouble with your machine, clean out from under the thread plate with a vacuum, not canned air.

vacuum thread plate

Do

canned air

Don’t.

 

 

Even though I bought the canned air on Nancy’s Notions web site for cleaning lint out of small crevices, apparently it blows lint onto a sensitive sensor and then there is szdt! to pay.

Holiday Gifting Damage Control

Are you like I am? Do you like to make things for people and give them as gifts for a holiday occasion? But do you sometimes fall short of your projected gift list goals?

When the holiday got really close, I narrowed my to-do list down to 2 basic things: shopping bags and dish towels. I still fell short…

Mostly because of this little number…which by the way, is a fabric remnant project. Another Kwik Sew shopping bag.

Snow White shopping bag

the diabolical Snow White bag

In retrospect, I can see where the red flags should have driven me back, but I was very distracted. A lot of things happened that I didn’t expect.

Red flag #1: the embroidery was too big for the pattern piece.
Red flag #2: the embroidery was too complicated for the design and function of the item.
Red flag #3: my available time was cut short when people dropped by and I was asked to do things I hadn’t planned, so I set the embroidery going and left it to go and do other things…

So that I ended up with a finished embroidery that is a poster child for what NOT to do.

Snow White machine embroidery

the puckered and distorted embroidery

The complex, busy, heavy embroidery was no match for the thin cotton center panel of the shopping bag, even with a sturdy tear-away stabilizer underneath. When finished, the shopping bag fabric was considerably drawn-up and needed some adjustments if the pattern pieces were ever going to fit together. I had to add extra fabric and cobble it together with some stitching. The straps went on a little crooked and covered some of the thick embroidered flowers, but what else was there to do? Aargh, some of the fabric ended up not exactly on the straight of the grain. I was in a hurry and it shows. Sigh. But the recipient will still get it (in January!) and she can decide whether or not she thinks it is too shoddy to use! I think she can use it for something though, as she loves anything Snow White.

Here are some shots of other holiday things that (in retrospect) seem a bit weird or short of their mark:

deflated Santa

Bad Santa, lying on the neighbor’s lawn sleeping

under the Christmas tree pic

Grayzie, hiding from Psycho Granny Claus, who’s holding her candle upside-down

Nativity set

tiny crystal Nativity Scene overseen by a giant cardinal that is the wrong color

religious decoration

Madonna and Child with large turtle over a brass buddha

A little eccentric, perhaps, but I have room for all.

Weekly photo challenge: Grand

20131207-202738.jpg

A grandiose Christmas tree in the Thornebrook shopping center. Or, should it be called a “holiday tree”? If the focus is shopping and buying presents to curry favor with our materialistic friends and associates, probably “holiday tree” is good. For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand and/or to submit your own interpretation of the theme, go here.

Holiday remnant project: gym towels…possible quick gift, or even wrapping for small gift.

machine-embroidered gym towels

gym towels for yoga class

I found some terry cloth remnants at Joann Fabric, cut them into small towels, and embroidered yoga motifs: crown chakra, aum symbol. I found some nice chakra embroidery designs at Urban Threads. Then I just turned under the exposed seams and sewed narrow hems. The shiny stuff on the brown crown chakra embroidery is Solvy stabilizer that will wash out. It’s good to put on top of fabrics that have a nap or texture, to keep the needle from snagging or skipping during embroidery.

I was looking at some old family photos and found this one of my GRANDfather’s Christmas tree, circa 1910. He decorated it himself, as he attests in the handwritten inscription on the back.

Christmas tree 1910

Grandad’s Family Christmas tree c. 1910

Christmas 1910

Grandad’s (as a child) own words on back of Christmas tree photo

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