Thursday, August 29, 2013

Misery, Thy Name is Collar Facing

Poor Shakespeare, probably one of his most bastardized lines. Just to set the record straight, the line is spoken by Hamlet of his mother. "Frailty, thy name is woman".

But none of that explains the absolute fit the collar facings gave me on the barn coat. Two hours of meddling and torture. Now, the SEWN pattern is wonderful and the drafting very good, the instructions are even pretty clear, it's just a technique thing. If you were putting a zipper in on all options this would likely be the standard way of going about getting zipper, collar and facings on, but two of the options are not zippered and for those options, really, it is easier to build the collar and then set it in the fabric sandwich rather than building it by attaching bottom collar to the jacket and top collar to the facing and sewing them together at the outer edge. I did finally tame it into place and ended up with a beautiful coat. I reinforced the collar with some Velcro to encourage it to hold a certain way.

 And easy enough to have it grip back into place if I have turned it up against the wind or cold.

Yes, it was worth it, and yes, next time (there will certainly be a next time on this pattern), I'm doing the collar the way I would usually do my collars.
So, here are the pics of the finished barn coat.

The pocket design was pirated from my old barn coat. I love the big flapped pocket for holding treats or parts or tools, and I love the not so little hand warmer pockets.

 In winter my old coat had mittens sticking out of those pockets often. I would just slip my hands in.

I didn't think I would like the interlining approach compared to a regular loose lining, but I do and for a coat that is safer with less of anything swinging loose, perfect.

 For the same reason I opted not to do the cuffs, they hold hay bits anyway. I did hem the sleeves a little longer than I normally would. When I'm working on something I still wanted to have my wrist area covered if my gloves are off or of the shorter variety.

I knew I wasn't going to get a snap to go through all the layers of torture around the collar area, so put the snap on a keeper and did it that way.

 The closures also go right to within two inches of the coat hem.

Pocket whimsy. I just had to add a touch of this tractor ribbon. Note to self, do this stuff BEFORE the pocket is set and finished on the garment.

Now, technical data. The pattern is drafted generously and will fit the average curvy or pear shaped figure close to "out of the envelope".

 It is long in the waist and I had to shorten all the pieces. There are no markings for the waist so the main pieces back and front were pinned on Rhonda, waist shortened and then the side panels shortened to match up. The pattern will notch you to death. Good for novices, but I skipped a few myself. They all line up well. The ease is good, however there are no finished measurements offered. The arms are very long and will most likely need shortening. The sleeve itself roomy enough for a sweater or sweatshirt underneath but not too roomy. There is a lot of top stitching. I did this with regular thread, looks fine. Don't skimp on doing the stitching, it makes the jacket.

Bottom line, this is a flattering design for most figures, well drafted, multiple lengths and sizes included in one pattern and allows for tons of customizing opportunities. What's not to love?

Parting shot. Smoochie, thy name is perfect! ;).

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Splish Splash

This Junco is certainly enjoying its bath! Probably as much as I was with the camera handy.

 The last week has been spent watching the skies. Every day a Red Flag Warning for thunderstorms and finally, after we had begun to scoff at the warnings (only a little), the rumble and rains came. Thursday morning brought the beginnings, a few showers, a little growling overhead, a flash or two from somewhere far off and wind. By mid morning, it had cleared out and steamed up and then just like the last train to Yuma, the afternoon brought some pretty serious cells right to us. The sky darkened, the lightening flashed and the ground shook. I had horses spooked in the pasture, goats bleating pitifully from under a tree and torrential rains all while I worked to get up a short run of tape fencing that encloses one side of the small run in barn. I had left it down when I had taken Bob in (about 3 weeks ago), to finally push the winters manure up into the pile to sweeten for a year or so. Stupid me! They went in, but at every overhead crash, came bolting out like racehorses from the gate. They sure didn't look fat, old and slow! ;) Ten minutes after changing into dry clothes I decided to feed everyone a little early, coaxing the boys to settle in shelter. Of course I got wet, again and needed to change, again. By dusk, the ground soaked, the skies clearing, the hay eaten, it was quiet and chilly. 16 fires were started, a couple up in this area and ODF (Oregon Department of Forestry), was on it. Friday crews in trucks, on foot and in planes were out looking for smokes which are fires that may have started but were just smoldering instead of igniting the surrounding forest. A few were found, a couple of tip calls and a morning of investigation yielded very little. We lucked out, again.

But the week wasn't all craning our necks watching the sky

 or hunched over the computer storm tracking. Friend Mary visited on Wednesday and took a spin on the Murphy loom. Her first time weaving and she took to it like a duck to water. (Or maybe a junco to a birdbath?!). I wonder how many people have learned to weave on this fine old loom?

By the time she finished up the last prayer flag on the run I started last summer, she was throwing that shuttle with some finesse and rhythm!

 I cut off the run of five flags and quickly hemmed and tied them together and sent her off with her own set of prayer flags. Maybe they will grace one of her beautiful gardens!

There was also a little sewing going on. I played with the Kimono Jacket (Bold & Beautiful book), pattern. This one was cut longer, the bottom hems modified and finally, an additional panel added to the right front both for length and interest.

 The back details are a small piece of flower dyed linen that I was given one day ( in June!), spent with Mary and friend and artist Anna at River Garden Studio.

 Roxanne is an amazing artist and we all had such fun that day, laughing, sharing fibers and loading up on inspiration. Right now I have a new barn coat in process.


This is mental practice for starting work on my Dad's coat.  I want to get my skill set up to par. While his coat will have a silk lining, this pattern, Sewn Square One's Upline Coat,

has all the pieces underlined with the lining fabric.

 Something different, fun and a bit challenging!

Parting shots: Handsome Rufous Hummingbird. She was happy to sit for me and I was more than happy to snap some great shots.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

In My Own Back Yard

Or really, my front yard. I have to admit, I have not been as observant as I probably could have through the years in regards to the summer avian populations. I've spied Tanagers here and there, a few different looking little brown jobs etc. but I haven't really watched and looked. No more! We have some beautiful birds and we are enjoying seeing the new and familiar alike. Junco's, Pine Siskins and assorted sparrows twitter about all day, but are heaviest in the morning. Yesterday early, on my third (and final), cup of coffee I watched the hummingbirds line up to take a dip in the bubbler of the fountain. They dove right in and then sat on it, spreading their tails and opening their wings. All liking the strongest part of the fountain itself. A bird version of a whirlpool tub I guess. ;) Of course I didn't have the camera handy and chose to just enjoy the parade myself. Next time I'll try to catch a few snaps. Wonder if bath day is always on Saturday?

So what new did we see? Wilson's Warbler

Cassin's Finch. This guy is substantially larger than a Purple Finch. Shy too!

An immature Blackpoll Warbler? This one is questionable. The problem with IDing
this bird is the black bill. It could be a Bullock's Oriole, or even an immature female Wilson's Warbler. I may send this pic to the local birding group for a positive ID.
If someone reading knows, PLEASE, let me know!

Spied without pics was a Hermit Warbler and MacGillivray's Warbler. I was buzzed by a small hawk or falcon while I was watering and doing a little weeding. Oh and one very brave or very stupid chipmunk is scampering about. No telling how long he'll survive once either Juno or Buzz realizes he is no longer way out in the woods. Tuesday night I just about collided with one of Grey foxes taking out the garbage. We were both startled. He retreated a little ways to watch and I drove the trash down to the bins.

Like most weeks, it has been busy. Finally, lining fabric arrived for a coat I'll be making my Dad. The lining is silk and was procured from a Belraf Fabrics in NYC. The main fabric a beautiful dark blue wool. This was purchased in MA at Sawyer Brook in Clinton MA.

 More on that when it's in progress. The new car went in for a service and I got to spend Tuesday morning with friend Mary in Klamath Falls while the dealership did their thing. Thursday was errand and shopping day and we sure had them stacked up. Seven stops.  Friday I finally got to spend time in the sewing room. Finished up a pair of pants

and a simple black voile sleeveless top.

 Started in on some wonderful green denim cargo type pants. The cut out pile has been going down slowly.

Today, a little sewing, some cooking and pick-up work around in prep for painting next week.

Parting shot: Buzz: On the hunt.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Women Who Ride with Goats

Sounds pretty exotic doesn't it? The reality, pretty flippin ridiculous. Goats are not good riding companions. In fact they are quite annoying.

The winds and temperature aligned and made for some perfect riding conditions this weekend. Little to no smoke, cool in the high 50's/low 60'sF and pretty darn fresh horses. Cooper was the Saturday ride and not a single goat thought of following.

 I guess we didn't look exciting enough. It was a lovely ride, although my mount was heavy in the face and for him at least, a bit excited. He did most of the trail ride at a trot or canter and wanted to gallop. Even gave me a little lift from behind when I allowed some speed, which we nipped in the bud right then and there. Really Cooper, you aren't 8 any more!

Sunday was Dandy's turn. He's had some work in hand and in the round pen and a scoot around the property one evening bareback, but no real rides in almost a year. At 18 though, he knows the drill. Of course, he would be the one the goats wanted to follow!

 I tried numerous times to chase them back from the saddle to no avail.

 In fact I ended up annoying my horse more than them. Nothing like taking a slightly barn sour horse, turning him towards home repeatedly, trotting and then stopping and heading out again. Enough! We rode with goats in tow, bawling, baa-ing and bells from behind. We certainly didn't sneak up on anything. Each time we trotted out, the goats bleated and then ran bucking, bell clanging on Ben's collar and bumping and jumping right into Dandy's back legs for safety. A lesser horse would have likely bolted, spooked or kicked but the red rocket was rock solid. Oh he had his moments, a little head shaking and balkiness at passing by the first cut off towards home, but the discussion was short and being a gentleman, he let the lady have her way. The goats were exhausted by the time we reached the barn again. Everyone had a big drink and settled down for a late morning nap. That included the rider. Next time, goats into lock-up before we even grab the mount of choice!

Parting shot: Three's a crowd.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Not quite, but this is pretty graphic and bright. Fun to wear too. It seems to me that I also met the goal of sewing with lighter colored fabrics. I need to round up the recent sewing and see if that is true. There is no question that I do love bold prints.

 I still love my giant strawberry curtains and while the tomatoes are not as big in this print they are certainly bold.

So to tone it down a little lets look at a reissue by Moda, something they don't do very often either. I missed out on the first round, but jumped on this the week it came through the door.

 Paint by numbers made into a simple 3/4 sleeve tee.

Having a little fun with the back label.

And finally, toned down completely, a heavily modified Scout, done as a tank and with an asymmetrical neckline.

 A terrific "under" top of  whisper weight woven chambray or for show on a hot summer day.

The week passed by so quickly. I did a lot of morning puttering in the garden.

 The air for the most part was way to smokey to consider riding or dog walking. Quality has been so bad that The Shakespeare Festival has been cancelling their outdoor plays in the Elizabethan Theater left and right. I am sure a great disappointment for many and a huge loss of revenue both for the company and Ashland in general. I was down in town Weds. night for a dinner with a friend and couldn't believe how much worse it was in the valley. Grants Pass must be unbearable.

The afternoons have been frittered away either at the cutting table, in the kitchen or with book in hand and dogs in lap. The paint cans are coming out, the brushes, the painters tape all have migrated from their resting places to the upstairs counter. Today, I'll play with 3 color choices for some downstairs walls. If I like one of them the color may also find itself  used in an enamel form for the staircase, which could use an update. Depends on how ambitious I get.

Doe and fawn spied off in the back of the property.

 Lately deer have been hard to find and avoiding the garden. No doubt that will change as their usual browse starts to disappear and my succulent, well watered plants look tastier and tastier. So far electric shocks and deer repellent have had good effect.

The evenings have been spent tracking thunderstorms and we have had a few each night. One coming quite close with a few good strikes within a couple of miles of us. Spotters have been going out on and off as weather and time of day allow to look for smoke from anything smoldering out in the woods. It's hard when everything is so hazy and smoke filled all ready. Such is life come summer in the forests and grasslands of the west.

Parting shot: Taking it easy.