Saturday, September 22, 2018

improvisational sewing and other Saturday snippets

in which our plucky heroine has no idea what she is doing...

at least, not to start with.

In the beginning, there was a concept: another denim pinafore, but this one slightly less basic, but still very versatile. Instead of smooth plain dark denim, the fabric is a denim jacquard, originally a thrifted duvet cover, with an overall abstract foliate scrollwork design. My current fascination for turquoise/teal as an accent color means that using a precious piece of multicolor handwoven ikat for the narrow edge bindings will let the binding be a transition as well as a memorial (every time I see that fabric, I remember my dear late friend Larissa, and the trip we took to the Puyallup Sewing Expo).

There was also a challenge: at some point in the past, I had cut from the denim jacquard a Theoretical Pinafore, but not using the current pattern. There were Viking Apron Dress style pieces, and a few large-ish scraps. This was challenging in two major ways. One was that it would be impossible to modify the pattern pieces to create my favorite pockets, which are constructed as part of the skirt gores, and require both more fabric, and, well, the pinafore skirt to have gores! The other was to figure out a tidy way to attach the shoulder strap bands to the body of the pinafore, since loops and Viking brooches was not a practical idea for everyday wear!

After several possible options for pockets stalled my progress, the simplest option seemed the best, patch pockets not double welt pockets. I've never made double welt pockets, and wanted pocket openings with a long diagonal curve, which would be complicated to get right. That is a technique to try in the future, but with hard fabric limits, I wanted a sure thing. The patch pockets with a curved top edge looked great, and once stitched down, matched my image of the future garment.

One minor issue was that the entire pinafore was too wide by at least six inches, rather a bit in excess of "comfortable not snug". Six evenly spaced inch wide pleats from the top edge to the waist at the center front added some shaping in the bodice while allowing the pinafore to skim over my belly. For the shoulder straps, flat felling the narrow strips to the bodice was much simpler than my other ideas, such as spaghetti straps, or straps inset between a facing and the bodice. Plus, it turned out that there was enough of the ikat bias to neatly bind the neckline and armscye openings, which strengthened the edges as well as adding beauty.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the new pinafore, as it is subtly different than my other pinafores, but still obviously in my own style.

Last year I planted garlic at the beginning of November. It all grew, but would have done better (had more cloves each) if planted earlier. This means that I need to somehow create a new planting place for the garlics, as I believe it is better to not replant alliums where they grew the previous year. Indeed, it would be good to create, eventually, four Useful Raised Garden Beds, so I can practice a form of backyard crop rotation. Now to figure out HOW to use what is already here to make something suitable, and Where To Put It... Landscape design is not my forte.

Four pounds of plums cut up and macerating prior to making plum sauce tomorrow tonight, veggies from farmers market acquired (alas, there will be no more local organic iceberg lettuce this year, it is a very seasonal treat) Final pocket for new pinafore shaped and cooling on the ironing board prior to stitching in place, warp for new tablet weaving combed out (my least favorite part of tablet weaving and ready to attach to the weaving frame. One rack of dishes put away and the second rack about to be washed. Trying to decide which additional tasks needs done soonest, probably watering the baby trees, then washing dishes. Will probably do some studio tidying after dinner, preparing for metalwork tomorrow set up tablet weaving loom, and continue cooking down the plum sauce tonight...

Friday, September 21, 2018

eye spy

in which our plucky heroine actually doesn't spy anything at all...

Eye exam this afternoon at 2 PM. Almost five hours later and I still can barely see, (have the text size all the way up on the computer, and the brightness all the way down). Pupils still look like I have done way too much funners. Cannot read, or do handcraft, or work. I hate eye exam day. I should be able to focus my eyes by sometime midday tomorrow.

...and so, decided that processing the Awesome Sauce that was in the fridge required not much in the way of clear eyesight, so now there are nine 8 oz jars cooling on the counter instead of two large containers taking up fridge space. Can't see well enough to sew or read, but I can boil water like a boss! The actual cooking happened earlier in the week

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

to dye for

in which our plucky heroine gets experimental...

Since there was no orange wool for my next tablet weaving project, it seemed like a fun idea to try using food color and vinegar to dye wool yarn. After all, there was both a box of gel-paste food coloring and a jug of vinegar in the pantry... 

First step, according to online tutorials, is to soak the yarn in a water/vinegar mixture for at least 30 minutes. Started on Tuesday evening, and continued the project this morning. The now thoroughly hydrated yarn is visible in the Pyrex measuring cup:
The food colorings are much stronger than the little jars of liquid from the grocery store. Gel paste is used to get vivid colors in foods, and is usually found in either baking supply shops or craft stores that sell cake decorating supplies. It didn't take very many times dipping the toothpick ends into the gel and stirring it into the custard cup of hot water to get a deep orange liquid.

Since both food coloring and vinegar are food safe, I had no qualms about using my regular cooking pans for this experiment. The dye, added first to the saucepan of hot water/vinegar mixture, looked a nice medium carrot color, just the thing to set off the olive-y green motifs on the weaving-to-be. The presoaked yarn took up the dye really quickly, necessitating some careful movement of the fibers in the dyebath, and adding a little extra food coloring to get as even color as possible.
Once all the dye is transfered to the wool, the liquid remaining in the saucepan turned clear again. It seemed like a good idea to just let the yarn cool down in the acidulated water while errands and a trip to get an eye exam took up the middle of the day. Once home again, and the yarn cooled, it didn't take much to rinse out any excess dye, and the now much more colorful yarn was draped over the kitchen towel rod to dry...

September SMART goals (x=extra)
1 charter # 10 bathrobe hang-loopbag to Goodwill
2 fig sauce many pokey wiresbutterfly chair
3 seraphdye yarn orange first leaf raking
4 charter # 11
x -
5 hat for Thorax -
6 applesauce x -
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x