Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fanfare for the Common Bird

My utmost respects to Aaron Copland, you couldn't have a better ear worm for the day!

This handsome trio displayed for me as I was trying to leave my folks home. Just around the corner from their house is the golf course and these guys were showing off in the road. They strutted and did their courtly dance for quite a while in front of me, but finally I had to move on. No sign of any hens.

The back room, the three season room is finally being opened up and made pretty for use. The little Sidekick is set up and ready to spin

 and I am storing the fun novelty cottons in there for weaving.

Another placemat on the Wolf Pup done with some softball cotton.

The softball cotton is also being used on Nora's play warp.

 The ground weft is some natural soft cotton rug warp.  Odd but cute kitchen towels maybe? The Louet Spring has seen a little weaving too but I didn't get upstairs for a picture. Right now it is a linen weft in rust.

In the sewing salon, I grabbed some of that heavier weight linen and used it for another pair of the Phoebe pants.

These are so fun and comfortable. I embellished them with a piece of an old hand embroidered linen towel. Last year at the Rogue Valley Manor annual sale, I picked up some linens. Nice handwork but maybe stained or worn or faded. These little Scotties spoke to me and finally, they have a new use. I think I paid .25 cents for the towel.

I also grafted the Fen pockets onto the Grainline Scout tee pattern.

Worked a charm but next time I will raise the bodice just a little.

I like the waist to be a little higher but not quite empire.  This is a nice grey green handkerchief linen and no doubt it will see a lot of wear come warmer weather. Such a nice color!

As you have all figured out I don't shy away from prints of any kind, so lets go over some stash stuff.

Hedgies and mushrooms plus a great large print in fall colors. This is a sateen cotton. Both of these are from Wiggle Fabric, an Etsy seller.

And then there are these from Stash Fabric.

 Great prices and they have an extensive sale selection.
I love the ombre solids. We'll see how they work up. I wish I could find linen ombre.

Finally it was Stella's 6th birthday yesterday. What a wonderful, fun 6 years we've had and how lucky for Timmy too. All those saves! ;-)

Parting shot: Whose toes are those?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Does a Good Pocket Make Up for a So-So Sleeve?

That answer would be a No! In sewing things just don't average out like in other things. And I fall for a cut on sleeve at least once or twice a year. The Fancy Tiger Craft Fen dress is not a bad pattern. It is well done, nicely drafted, has a plethora of options and looks great on many body types.

 I am just not one of them. But I do love a great pocket and the Fen has one.

I have stolen those pattern pieces and am frankenpatterning them onto my much loved Scout tee. I cut out a test run for it in a handkerchief linen which I can replace easily and inexpensively.

While the Fen didn't work out as I had hoped, the Lotta Jansdotter patterns are working up better than expected! This is the Esme done in tunic length complete with split neckline and wide facing.

The facing actually went in well and behaved nicely. Now I had to draft out a bit, her cut and sizing is a bit skimpy and the sleeve more so. But it was quite easy to do and the result is a very comfortable and nicely fitting sleeve.  This pattern, like my Grainline Studio Scout pattern can offer endless possibilities once you have the basic fit adjusted. There is also a little cap sleeve option.

The Kiota top got made up as a long tunic or dress in a very fine smooth cotton.

 I loved this print, it has two of my favorite things, Foxes and toadstools! Now if I could only find gnomes. ;-)
It has been paired with a handkerchief linen pant using Tina Given's Phoebe pant.

Light, loose and just perfect for hot summer days. I like this style and will be making a few more in linen.

Everyone is feeling the call of spring, even if it has been rather damp and cold. Excavation jobs have been started and are moving along.

Our prime mover and shaker here has earned a new nick name. Mud Hooks!

Some additional fabric purchases. A little here and a little there. Trying out new sellers. So far one of my favorites is Fabrik.

Etsy sellers, Bobbie Lou's, ZeetZeet and Fabrik

Good prices, not an overwhelming selection and they offer a discount with your next purchase. Shipping is reasonable. I have a second fabric on its way using the coupon included with the first. And yes, I rebought that cute fox and toadstool fabric. Some you just love so much you want it in stash. Mushrooms and toadstools are plentiful this year, so you'll be seeing them "sprouting" up frequently.

A quick trip into the Webster's yielded some wonderful finds. Softball cotton in 765 yard skeins hand dyed for ikat patterning. You can be sure this is going to be woven up into something wonderful some how. The yarn is "Wicket" by Prism Yarns.

 Heads up, there are a slew of Habu yarns that will be discontinued. Webster's had these marked 25% off and I picked up a few different styles to try in various warps. A book I have been meaning to add into the collection also popped into the cart.

Yesterday I delivered the Gem for a tryout with friend Cindie. Instead of going home with an empty car, Cindie made a gift of a number of cones of softball cotton she had used years ago to weave baby blankets. I added a lot of fun into my stash and she made some room for more of the things she is using.  The bright yellow made it into the Wolf Pup warp immediately.

 Thank you so much! Then of course, we ended up at The Kitchen Store filling up a few bags and emptying wallets before lunch. It was too cold and rainy to do the Grower's Market there but we made a date for another Saturday when the weather is better.

Parting shot: Sunshine (like most things.), is best when shared.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Little Looms Need Little Benches

Now I know many folks can and do use a regular dining chair for their smaller looms. I'm not one of those folks. Dining chairs are too low for me, and counter height ones obviously too high for anything but sipping an adult beverage.  And while Jack thought the big book and cushion idea brilliant I was less than happy with the arrangement. And who's doing most of the weaving anyway I ask? ;-)

So I started my search online for a bench for Fiona, the Schacht Wolf Pup. OMG! When did loom benches get so expensive? The last bench I bought was a Schacht bench with two side bags. It was $100.00 used, local and a steal. All my other benches came with looms. Harrisville and AVL too were out of the running due to price, but then there is Etsy and a seller many years ago who made a beautiful custom raddle for the Thought Products Barbara V loom.  Handywoman (Janet Fox), makes a great raddle and a fabulous, well priced, well crafted  bench. A perfect fit for the Wolf Pup and my butt! It's quite comfortable with it's generous seat and I love that she has given me some on bench storage underneath and the option of having a tilted seat or straight.

 I'm still deciding how to finish it, but if you need a loom bench this one gets high marks all around. Shipping was reasonable and very fast via FedX ground. Thank you Janet!

It was a busy week package wise. Two new to me fabric store packages arrived. Harts Fabrics had my order wrapped and taped in OOP pattern tissue.

 Both of these fabrics are a cotton linen blend.

These might sit until late summer for fall sewing. The second package came from Fancy Tiger Crafts which might be kind of the Purl Soho of the west. They are in Colorado and also have their own line of patterns. I couldn't resist the Fen Dress and top.

Why YES! Those are badgers! Couldn't resist those either.
 Muslin's have already been cut to try out along with some other items geared more for spring and summer.

Sooner or later the sun will arrive with a vengeance and on it's rays, fire season.  I have to say so far, my experiences with fabric buying online has been good, but nothing makes up for being able to shop in person.

I did up a second make of the Lotta Jansdotter Kiomi top. (There will be more!).

Can you find Hazel photo-bombing this pic?

 This one with inseam pockets.

 The fabric is a Japanese cotton lawn, quite silky and smooth. Completely wearable now with a sweater or linen jacket.

The Merchant & Mills Dress Shirt tunic was completed and made it out for St. Patrick's Day.

And I dug into all that linen for my linen blanket. It was a bugger to make. King sized anything is hard to work on. The linen was stiff and heavy. I did not get the softened fabric. The stiffness helped with keeping things lined up as I worked it through my sewing area. A couple of hours and some pretty tired arms later I had what I wanted. It was washed, tumbled and allowed to finish drying outside Saturday afternoon in the sun. I am very pleased with it.

 Reversible to white.

I might try a lighter weight one some day using a fine handkerchief linen. Oh and I grossly over bought. I have at least 6 yards each of the white and natural to use on other things.....

Parting shot: After the photo shoot real life happens.
The Itchy Scratchy Gang. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Post Apocalypse Fabric Shopping

Okay, so maybe that is a bit dramatic but really, going out of business was sort of like a nuclear option! And for a little while I felt like I didn't want to sew and was treating my curated stash like a shrine.  Well, I got over it. Things got cut, things got sewn, and most of all, new shops were discovered and fabrics were added.

Lets start with something that has been sitting around for a year. I loved both fabrics aesthetically but really didn't like working with either one.

The wool suiting had a lot of stretch in it making it hard and heavy to work with. The silk, no stretch or give whatsoever and was slippery as all get out.

 But I got through it and have a nice black duster to grab on those days that it is too cold for no coat at all but not cold enough for a winter coat.

I tried out the simplest garment pattern from the Lotta Jansdotter book and love it.

 Cute, comfortable and nicely drafted.

 I'm thinking an almost maxi length in some lightweight linen for the next go round on this pattern, with pockets of course!

Lastly, in-process, a Merchant & Mills pattern (The Dress Shirt), made up with some cotton linen bought on sale.

 I think I got this at the clear the bolt 75% off sale. For the bib front I paired it with some lovely leftover Japanese fabric I had saved for a number of years. They go perfectly together I think. This is   a longer length, not quite maxi, but mid calf. I can wear it with leggings or not.

So where am I buying fabric? Well, a few places. First up is Fabrics -Store. Com.  The is the go to place for linen in all weights (solids, yarn dyed, jacquards etc.). The prices and the daily sales are EXCELLENT!

Here is 12 yards each of heavyweight natural and bleached for linen blankets and some handkerchief linen in bleached for summer undergarments and sleepwear although it would be lovely for pillowcases too....

The second store just happens to be in Oregon. Cool Cottons in Portland. I didn't know that until I ordered but nice to keep the money in state and the shipping certainly is reasonable. Prices are good, maybe a little better than average, but prices for newer fabrics are pretty close all over. Finding a store that shares your taste in fabrics is a whole different ball of wax.

This place has a nice selection by my taste and I'll be back. Packing was great and shipping lightening fast.  These two are lovely cottons.

The toadstools and foxes is so smooth and tightly woven it feels like a lawn.
And this is a cotton linen blend.

Who wouldn't love a fabric with hedgies, foxes, owls and other assorted wildlife?!

In the weaving studio, Nick has been cleared of his kitchen towel warp and here is the run, washed, hemmed and pressed.

 Most are promised out, two I am keeping and one is making it to the gift pile. Next up on him is a 700 end bath towel warp. I need to count heddles though before I start threading.

The prayer flags got their silk bindings.

Next is to sew bells on them and add some dowels for hanging and then out and off they go.

The Gem was emptied too of his trade warp. I managed a beautiful twill runner and two fun place mats out of it. I changed the treadling and the weft for the mats.

They are all washed and dried, awaiting finish work. Maybe today! The Gem is going out on loan since a friend is interested in ordering one of her own. What better way to be sure of a large purchase than to get a little time in actually using one? It is not like I am loom poor and since this is a portable it makes it easy to get it from place to place.

Parting shot: The Squirrels Must DIE!
Only bushy tailed rodents make the hair stand up!