Thursday, October 31, 2019

potential swappety garments

in which our plucky heroine compiles a list...

In no particular order, other than that a grey pinafore is greatly desired

Things I want to sew:
  1. grey linen pinafore
  2. grey/black houndstooth flannel shirt
  3. grey knit teagarden T
  4. grey/black stripey dress (overdye cream/black)
  5. grey/brown/black gollar
  6. grey leggings (stencil)
  7. lt blue horses blouse
  8. sturdy barn jacket
  9. grey scrappy/colorblock cardigan
Things I already have that will coordinate:
  1. grey/blue/black stripey dress
  2. grey/white stripey dress
  3. grey/black stripey turtleneck
  4. grey turtleneck
  5. grey rayon popover
  6. black pinafore (several)
  7. pictorial horse/acorns handknit cardigan
  8. grey floral cardigan
Accessories:
  1. black/grey day pack
  2. black pom pom cowl
  3. grey pom pom cowl
  4. grey/black scarves (several)
  5. need to make: grey/black hat
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progress is happening on the grey scrappy/colorblock cardigan - a bit more surface decoration, stenciled in black. Once the paint cures and is heat treated, I can start sewing the pieces together...
.
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October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 6 jars grape syrup moar apple pruninggrapes harvested
2 Maeva undergownwool fabric sortedyard waste bin
3 Maeva overdressAC put to bed yard waste bin
4 Maeva wool gollar
quinces picked red fence slats
5 Maeva wusthalbepicked persimmons excess mustard
6 Maeva steuchlein x
-
7 calligraphy letter x
-
8 SWAP rules 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

today's gratitutude - I have art supplies, and I am not afraid to use them.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Your Perfect Vision - SWAP 2020

in which our plucky heroine is the group moderator, which means that this year, I get to make up The Rules! (and answer questions, and keep track of what is going on in the message board threads)

11 pieces, in two groups:
  • 9 or 10 that may coordinate (be worn together) to form outfits
  • 1 or 2 that MUST coordinate (be able to be worn with all of the others)  (1 if you make 10 other pieces, 2 if you make 9)
  • no required garments
  • no required colors
  • You may include one garment that is knitted, crocheted, or handwoven

SWAP sewing will begin December 26th, and all garments must be finished by April 30th, 2010. Pattern fitting and cutting may be done whenever you're ready.

You may include 1 garment you had already sewn prior to the rules announcement and 1 purchased ready-to-wear garment, or 2 pre-sewn garments made prior to the rules announcement. (I encourage either of these options, as integrating your SWAP sewing with your current wardrobe increases how versatile your self-sewn clothing will be). In addition, you may include one additional garment that is sewn after the rules have been posted and before the official start SWAP sewing date of December 26. If you include these three garments, that gives a total of eight more to be sewn before SWAP ends, for a fairly reasonable 2 per month.

You must choose a theme for your collection to act as a focal point -  something that inspires you and will help give your SWAP wardrobe a cohesive "feel"; it could be a verbal phrase, a photo, a location, an artifact, or even an accessory (like a scarf). You must post what you have chosen as your theme.

You must include, as part of making one (or more) garments, a technique that both stretches your skill set and is something you have been wanting to learn. For example: someone who is a beginner might choose zippers, someone who is further along on their sewing journey might choose Hong Kong seam finishing or welt pockets, someone who loves embellishment might try making an Alabama Chanin style reverse applique garment, etc....

For the purposes of this SWAP, a sewn "garment" is one that consists of more than one pattern piece, stitched together. A poncho (one piece with a hole for the neckline), or a wrap (one piece of fabric) are not. Some knitted or crocheted garments are made in one piece, but involve careful shaping, so they count as garments.

SUGGESTIONS:

It often helps to choose a limited set of colors as well, that relate to your theme. While I myself like to choose from the palette of colors already in my wardrobe; that certainly isn't required, though it does make your SWAP sewing more versatile if the new pieces will coordinate not only with each other, but with previously sewn or purchased garments. The original SWAP concept had a very limited group of colors and a very limited number of simple-to-sew patterns, in order to get the maximum useful combinations with a minimum amount of difficulty and sewing time. For some, that will still be an ideal way to approach SWAP, while others may wish to really dive into a challenge instead. Both approaches are commendable.

The more separates you include in your SWAP, the more combinations you will be able to create, but if your wardrobe preference is single garments such as dresses (or jumpsuits?) you can still participate.

Using simple patterns, or TNT patterns, will increase the likelihood you will complete a whole SWAP. That said, choosing to also add a challenging pattern or technique can allow you to stretch your sewing skills - I chose the rules this year to encourage a mixture of both in your SWAP, as simple patterns in quality fabrics can be great building blocks for wardrobe versatility, and improving your sewing skills and vocabulary will gradually increase what you are comfortable sewing.

Here are a few, but certainly not the only, possible examples of "recipes" for groups of garments that all fit this years SWAP criteria
  • 9 knit tops + skirt + pants
  • 5 tops/shirts + 2 pants + 2 skirts + jacket + cardigan
  • 6 tops/tee + 2 pants + dress + jean jacket + hoodie
  • 9 dresses + jacket + cardigan
  • 5 tops + 2 tunics + 3 pants + vest
  • 4 tops/shirts + 3 pinafores + 2 leggings + vest + cardigan
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October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 6 jars grape syrup moar apple pruninggrapes harvested
2 Maeva undergownwool fabric sortedyard waste bin
3 Maeva overdressAC put to bed yard waste bin
4 Maeva wool gollar
quinces picked red fence slats
5 Maeva wusthalbex excess mustard
6 Maeva steuchlein x
-
7 calligraphy letter x
-
8 SWAP rules 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

today's gratitutude - confidence to take on being moderator, and the appreciation from my sewing peers for my efforts

Monday, October 28, 2019

a long planned challenge successfully completed


in which our plucky heroine has a busy weekend...

We went to Olympia, where the Collegium event was happening at a local hotel. Fortunately my Mud Bay pals live only a few miles from there, so instead of a horrid hotel stay there was time with beloved friends, Little Kestrel now two, and Toshi the Wonder Akita. Cozy featherbed and comfy bed in the great hall was eversomuch nicer than bad hotel air, and chai and scones from Blue Heron did for breakfast... on Saturday I gave the presentation (an hour long slide lecture on Vitreous Enameling in History) that I have finally put together. It only took me three years to get over my fear and imposter syndrome, but now I have the slide set as a resource for future talks.

I also delivered the calligraphed Hogwarts letter to The Aunties, who are putting together a Harry Potter themed birthday party for young Aesa, who is turning 11, Took Rotrude's class on creating tooled leather Etui (hard-leather, belt-carried, boxes for storing small objects), spoke with several people about my ideas for a non-competitive Arts and Sciences challenge, and got some good conceptual tips from Mr Dawson about ways to transform my rope bed system to a slat bed, to create better support for a future new mattress.

Today there was massive laundry, and far too many errands in mutually exclusive directions, so I spent most of the day on the bus or MAX. But I now have refilled prescriptions, a fresh furnace filter (because it is now cold enough outside that I must needs turn on the heat tonight, as this morning it got to 51 inside the house), a few bags of dollar store candy for Halloween later this week, and half size ironing board from Ikea, because I want to turn my RÃ…SKOG cart aka guest/sewing room nightstand into this adorable ironing station!
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October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 6 jars grape syrup moar apple pruninggrapes harvested
2 Maeva undergownwool fabric sortedyard waste bin
3 Maeva overdressAC put to bed yard waste bin
4 Maeva wool gollar
quinces picked red fence slats
5 Maeva wusthalbex excess mustard
6 Maeva steuchlein x
-
7 calligraphy letter 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

today's gratitutude - Young Heather took a huge chunk of her weekend to drive from Olympia to Portland and back, so Ursel and I could get back home after the event. Epic kindness!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Tuesday tidbits - golden fruit, and silver stencils

In which our plucky heroine picks quinces, and decorates surfaces...

Quince tree planted spring 2018, and though the tree is barely six feet tall, with small whippy branches that could barely hold up their heavy burden, I was much impressed!! First harvest, fifteen quinces! A total of 10 lbs (4.5 kg), and the largest of the quince weighs 7/8 lb (400 g)

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Playing with layered scraps, my goal a cardigan for the Stitchers Guild jacket challenge. Combining shibori silk with hemp jersey, I've then added some of my favorite stencil motifs in pearlescent fabric paint. Once the front and back pieces please me, I'll add sleeves from another scrap of slightly thicker tweedy grey hemp, decorate the cuffs, and finish assembling the garment. This improvisation is a real departure from my usual sewing!

..
Left front      -      Center back      -      Right front

My hope is to end up with something I can wear with the black/grey part of my everyday wardrobe, and that pays homage to some of my favorite creative clothing designers* without being a copy. The pattern I'm using is self-drafted, and the stencils are ones I created. Being able to use "scraps" (from the resource shelves aka my stash) of leftovers from other garments means the new cardigan ought coordinate well...
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October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 6 jars grape syrup moar apple pruninggrapes harvested
2 Maeva undergownwool fabric sortedyard waste bin
3 Maeva overdressAC put to bed yard waste bin
4 Maeva wool gollar
quinces picked red fence slats
5 Maeva wusthalbex -
6 Maeva steuchlein x
-
7 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

today's gratitude - a break in the rain let me air dry the bedsheets outside, always a pleasure

* some of the designers I admire for their creative fabric collage and embellishment are Marcy Tilton, Koos van der Akker,  Lois, and Diane Ericson, and Pearl Red Moon.

Monday, October 21, 2019

oh so busy...

in which our plucky heroine accomplishes much...

For weeks now, I've been working on making a set of 16th century German clothing for my friend Maeva; she was attending Perfectly Period Feast North this last weekend, and I completed her linen-lined wool supportive undergown and her wool long sleeved overgown. In addition, I made multiple accessory items, including a gollar (shoulder capelet), a three layered headdress, and a hand-smocked, entirely hand-stitched linen apron. This sewing was quite the stretch, as it combined a small amount of machine stitching with a lot of hand stitching, and a number of techniques that were new to me. While I myself do historic re-creation as a hobby, my primary interest is in the Viking Age, and the clothing styles of centuries later than that are very different and much more complex in construction. I learned a lot and enjoyed the challenge.

Maeve, wearing the 16th German clothing I sewed for her, put on an impromptu fashion show Sunday afternoon when we stopped by Bolt Fabrics. The sales associates there had been following my progress with great interest, and it was a treat to be able to show them the results "as worn". Here I am helping her get all the layers properly in place. I hope to have better photos soon!
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Mindy came down this last weekend, and the biggest thing we tackled was removing all the horrid irregular red plastic "privacy slats" from the chain link fence in the backyard. They didn't ever actually block the view of the neighbors, or the alley, but being all different lengths, turned the never-very-attractive chain fencing into a real eyesore. Now it is a lot less visually cluttered, and the offending plastic bits were tied in bundles and donated to the Rebuilding Center for re-use. We also put away the air conditioner til next summer; being able to close the window all the way means that the kitchen is a wee bit less drafty.

Saturday night we sorted through and re-folded all my wool fabrics, so the resource center shelves are now about a quarter dealt with. Not sure but that in time I may donate some of the wool, as there is definitely SABLE* happening in that category! There is only so much melton cloth our plucky heroine can use... That said, I found a piece of nice thin finely-woven grey herringbone wool, and even better a very special piece of what is probably cashmere in a deep chocolate brown! (soooo silky-soft) After trying on the gollar I made for Maeva, which seems the ideal garment for warmth in my Very Chilly Cottage, my plan is to make one for myself as well
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In the interest of using up some of my assorted precious indigo fabric scrap (as opposed to the simply ordinary scrap, which gets discarded in various ways) and inspired by the current "Freewheeling Single Girl Sewalong" I've started piecing arcs of indigo, with the idea of a quilted bed throw... While at Bolt yesterday, took advantage of their anniversary sale to acquirea few yards of Kona cotton chocolate brown fabric for the background to said indigo rings. While I won't be finishing a quilt in six weeks, most of which I spent on the aforementioned 16th century clothing, my hope is to turn at least some of the fabric stored here into  wintertime warmth and comfort. Aside from the brown cotton, all else needed for the project was already in the resource center!

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October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 6 jars grape syrup moar apple pruninggrapes harvested
2 Maeva undergownwool fabric sortedyard waste bin
3 Maeva overdressAC put to bed yard waste bin
4 Maeva wool gollar
x red fence slats
5 Maeva wusthalbex -
6 Maeva steuchlein x
-
7 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

today's gratitude - my "emporium" aka "resource center" formerly known as stash, is a highly curated (if not yet well organised) source of materials for Useful Projects, and I am continually grateful for that

* SABLE = Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy

Saturday, October 19, 2019

playtime

in which our plucky heroine does something unexpected...

...at least for me. I usually approach my sewing with a fairly utilitarian attitude. I love planning out what I want and need to wear, and figuring out how to make that happen. This project is rather the opposite. I decided to enter CCL's Pre-2020 SWAP Jacket Challenge on the Stitchers Guild forum, since I had so much fun last year with the Dress Challenge. At first, I was thinking about the Zambeesi Jacket. But I realised that what I found appealing about that pattern was how creative the designer has been with her collage-style fabric combining...

So, with that in mind, and because that sort of thing is not part of my repertoire, I gathered a bunch of my "too small to make a garment pieces of knit fabrics in grey colors, and some of the interesting silk scraps from the last Gathering of the Guilds, and started cutting out pieces and simply zigzagging them together! 
with a base of two fronts cut from striped grey and pale blue hemp knit, I overlaid the very sheer chiffon shibori dyed scrap, and added a few extra bits along the front edge, and the shoulders. I didn't expect/realise that the circular spots, which looked transparent, were actually dyed black, which caused an interesting effect laid over the striped background...

not being very keen on purple, I cut out some of the blue/grey/black tie-dyed silk and added a few rectangles. The rest of that fabric will be added to the back of the cardigan, and as bands on the sleeves. While the front isn't yet finished, it will sit for a while while I think about what else to add, to balance out the asymmetry. Am considering either possibly some couched applique, or some block printing, or both...

today's gratitude - fun bits in the scrap collection

Thursday, October 17, 2019

storyboarding for SWAP

in which our plucky heroine is thinking about SWAP 2020...

Storyboards are a visual presentation of an idea. A storyboard can provide inspiration when planning a seasonal wardrobe, or a series of coordinated sewing projects, and can also offer guidance when purchasing additional garments or accessories. And not least of all, storyboards are fun make...

Here is a storyboard that I created for myself as part of the "SWAP 2005" contest fourteen years ago
I began the process with a small line drawing of myself, (traced from a photo), that I use to try out possible pattern ideas before sewing. Using tracing paper, I draw in the styles I hope to sew, cut out the little drawings and made a kind of collage with glue stick on a piece of paper, adding tiny swatches of the intended fabric, colored paper, and some magazine images that I found inspiring.

This coordinated monochrome wardrobe of blouses, bias-cut tops, t-shirts, a jumper, overalls, skirts, and a denim jacket became a practical set of garments for casual wear, where every piece could interchange (all the tops coordinate with all the bottoms, and the jacket with every outfit. I don't currently have either enough suitable fabrics in one colorway, or the budget to buy a vast quantity of new fabric, so my upcoming SWAP must needs be organised a bit differently.

Still, planning out how future sewing will interact with current garments is one of my guidelines, as is having a minimal but functional amount of clothing. Acorn Cottage is wee, and my closet space is commensurate with the size of the house. I have room for only another few garments in each category and I'll have reached my desired goal of eight of each type. I'll be doing some rough sketching in my journal about possible ideas, and maybe buy a length of grey linen, as I sorely miss my grey corduroy pinafore, and finding good quality corduroy is a thing of the past. Once I've a better idea of what I might want to make, putting together a storyboard may be a fun small project to help keep my SWAP sewing on track.
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October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 6 jars grape syrup moar apple pruninggrapes harvested
2 Cathy undergownxyard waste bin
3 Cathy overgownx yard waste bin
4 Cathy gollar
x -
5 Cathy wusthalbex -
6 x x
-
7 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

today's gratitude - gaps in the rain, that allow for errands on my bicycle!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

wishful Wednesday - run the clock backwards

in which our plucky heroine starts catching up...

Last night was my presentation/demo at CMAG on the Technique of Cloisonné Enameling. Despite my being stressed about speaking in front of my fellow metalworkers, my demo and talk was quite well received. General stress level now reduced by 25%.

Special thanks to Bob Woods for transportation for all my kit and clobber and kiln to and from the meeting. I am now a tiny bit less stressed about doing my presentation on The History of Enameling next weekend at Collegium, as I now know what standing in front of a group and talking for an hour feels like...

Still need to build most of my slide presentation as I calculated I need about sixty or more slides. At least I think that I am getting the hang of how to use Google Slides
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Not only is it time to start thinking about Sewing With A Plan 2020, but this year I have volunteered to be the moderator, aka the person who comes up with the rules... pretty exciting! I am doing my best to come up with rules that will work for widely divergent people in various parts of the world, with varied lifestyles, climate, and wardrobe needs. Stay tuned!
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My great current stress, aside from the minor one of learning new tech tools and creating presentations, is my gums. Because of years of no dental insurance, and not a lot of dosh, I didn't get regular dental cleanings. Now mind, I brushed twice a day, and flossed, never drank soda, and showed no obvious signs of any problems, so I figured I was okay.

Ummm nope, not so much. Apparently gums can go to ruin without showing symptoms, and there are places in my mouth that even a deep cleaning has not improved, and my dental student has recommended I go to the perio clinic. (cue our plucky heroine screaming and running away) Not only is all perio work including the initial exam not covered, so quite expensive out of pocket, but the mere idea has set all my terror back in motion.

As a young adult, at fourteen I had a completely horrible oral surgery experience, which is why I am now phobic about novacaine, and about people doing the wrong thing in my mouth. The surgery then was done wrong, and had to be done a second time once my mouth healed. The idea that I might need surgery has caused me horrible dental nightmares every night, and I have barely been sleeping. I am trying to deal with this one step at a time, because however awful it is or becomes, I cannot ignore it, since infection can become systemic and fatal. Dying of stupidity is dumb.

If I could run the clock backwards, I would find the nonexistent slack in the budget somehow, and get my teeth cleaned every six months. This level of stress/terror is exhausting
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October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 6 jars grape syrup moar apple pruninggrapes harvested
2 Cathy undergownxyard waste bin
3 Cathy overgownx yard waste bin
4 Cathy gollar
x -
5 xx -
6 x x
-
7 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

today's gratitude - I did a hard thing and it went well.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

sweetness where you find it

In which our plucky heroine begins autumnal preserving...

Eight pounds of grapes = about 2 liters of juice, minus the crystalised tartrate after sitting overnight = 8 cups of juice = cooked down into six 4oz jars of saba (ancient grape syrup) currently being processed on my stovetop. Yesterday I steamed some carrots, and melted a dab of butter over them and a little spoonful of last years grape syrup. Not sweet like sugar, but a complex sweet/tangy subtle flavor...
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this showed up on my Instagram feed under "medievalmanuscript"...
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October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 6 jars grape syrup moar apple pruninggrapes harvested
2 xxyard waste bin
3 xx -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 x x
-
7 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

today's gratitude - homemade shelf-stable condiments that add savor to everyday meals

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

fun with Feral Grape

in which our plucky heroine has a juicy afternoon...

harvested the rest of the fruit off Feral Grape (about 8 pounds), with the intention of cooking the juice down to create sweet grape syrup. The grapes I harvested earlier, at the beginning of September, were quite tart, so that juice is in the freezer, currently in cubes, for use as verjuice. This juice is noticeably sweeter. 8# grapes = about 2 liters of juice. Not sure how much syrup will result once this is cooked down, but as these are not table grapes, this is really the best use, since our plucky heroine is not a wine drinker... First the juice needs to stand overnight to allow the tartarate crystals to form, so that can be strained off before any further cooking down happens
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October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 x xgrapes harvested
2 xx-
3 xx -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 x x
-
7 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

today's gratitude - sometimes there are random free gifts. Feral Grape showed up in the middle of the backyard five years ago, and has been transplanted next to the south facing fence , where they continue to thrive. Originally my intention was for an occasional harvest of grape leaves for dolmas...