Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sundress Alteration

align the shoulder seams on the ruler
I recently purchased a couple of simple sundresses for summer. I love the dresses, but I did not like the depth of the neckline opening and decided to add a "modesty panel."

I went to the local thrift shop on Thursday and found a camisole that was close to the color that I needed for two dresses and at $1 it was the right price. I carefully removed the straps by removing the stitches securing them to the back edge.
front of camisole
I didn't want to use the gathered front edge of the camisole, so I used the back instead. The back was in better condition than the front, and it was a straight edge. I could also use the entire back, creating panels for both of my dresses. The dresses are different fabrics, but they share similar color schemes.

determining the depth of the modesty panel
From the measurements, I determined the panel needed to be 3 inches deep, and I marked the edge with pins. Next, I cut the panel and made sure it was the correct size.

a panel cut to fit the neckline opening and the depth I needed

I turned the dress inside out and pinned the fabric panel temporarily in place. (note that part of the camisole label can be seen on the right)
lots of pins to secure the fabric and its placement
After I had pinned the fabric panel in place, I tried on the dress to make sure the panel was where I wanted it to be.
sewing the panel in place
I found some thread that almost matched and began stitching along the existing neckline stitches, removing the pins as I stitched.
top-stitching close to the edge
I top-stitched close to the neckline edge to add a finishing touch to the panel.

The dress was turned inside out, and I trimmed the excess fabric close to the stitch line. The trimmed edge should not roll or fray.

completely trimmed
(note that the camisole label is no longer visible)
all finished
The back edge of the camisole provided fabric for modesty panels for two sundresses, and I'm thrilled that I can wear the dresses comfortably and that the fix was quick and easy to do.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Judy's Gift

Judy's Gift
60 x 69 inches
Quilt of Valor #141
Judy's Gift was made the layer cake squares remaining from the stack I received from Judy M. in February. To make the quilt large enough, I supplemented some 10 inch squares from my Quilt of Valor scraps. The border fabric was part of Judy's generous fabric donation.

Pattern: Easy as Pie Layer Cake Quilt - free pattern on Moda Bake Shop

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Two Socks but not a Pair

woman's size 10 sock
April 2018
I've finished two socks so far this month, but they are not even close to being a pair. The first sock of the "non-pair" is being knit with Cherry Tree Hill self-striping yarn, called Sweet Summer. I didn't notice until I cast on the second sock that the striping changed on the first sock - the sequence is backwards near the toe. As I knit, I felt the join but didn't pay attention to the sequence. Even though the socks won't match, I rewound the yarn for the second stock to make sure the striping sequence is the same.
woman's size 10
April 2018
The second sock is also being knit with a Cherry Tree Hill yarn. This color way is Spring Thaw and has a mix of orange, green, gray, and a tiny bit of black.

Both of these skeins do not contain any nylon, so they probably will not wear/wash as well as the other socks I've knit this year.

I'm ahead of my goal for knitting a pair of socks a month. When finished, the Sweet Summer and Spring Thaw socks will become pairs #5 and #6 for 2018.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Star Gazer

Star Gazer
60 x 72 inches
Quilt of Valor #140
Star Gazer was made entirely from the fabric that was donated by Judy M. (Lynchburg, VA) in February.

Pattern: Stargazer - free pattern on Moda Bake Shop  (I adjusted the pattern to include only 12 blocks)

Judy, thank you for making this Quilt of Valor possible.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Back in Time - On the Stage

cast of the Bermuda Triangle play
Wheatland High School
Wheatland, WY
approx. 1977 or 1978
Friday the 13th - a day based on superstition - seems to be an appropriate day to share memories about a play I directed in Wheatland, WY. I can't remember the exact title of the play, but it was a mystery on board a cruise ship as it travelled through the Bermuda Triangle. (Remember when that area was in the news all the time?)

This was the first play I directed in the new theatre, and I remember selecting this script because it could be staged without a proscenium curtain, which wouldn't be installed for several months. The lacy screen in the set is actually the plastic rings that holds a six-pack of soda together. The rings were stapled together and spray-painted black.

Looking at this cast photo, I can remember many of the students' names and wonder where their lives have taken them and if they remember performing on the Wheatland High School stage.
stage setting on board the cruise ship
Earlier posts about my memories of Wheatland can be found here

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Spring Sign

"spring" barn quilt
April 2018
Even though it feels like Spring is taking its sweet time arriving, it's pretty typical for it to arrive in late April or early May in this area. The only new growth appearing in my yard are tulips breaking the ground and slowly growing. It will be a few weeks before they bloom. The trees are starting to show buds and the grass in somewhat green under its brown winter layer.

In the spirit of the season, I hung the "Spring" house/barn quilt that Brenda helped me painted last summer.  I love these signs and the bit of color they add to the entry.  Thanks, Brenda!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Back in Time - Battleship

Nancy & Brenda playing Battleship
Denver, CO
approx. 1977
Judy (Stitch Along with Me) posted a photo last week of her grandchildren playing Battleship, and the photo triggered some good memories of playing the same game with my niece and nephew over 40 years ago. I found a photo in my computer files - Brenda and me playing Battleship.

From the photo you can see that Brenda was a worthy opponent, as it appears she had found two of my ships and I'd found two/three of hers. Based on Judy's photo, it looks like technology has changed the game a bit, but the concept is still the same.

Some games I've enjoyed playing over the years include:
    Dominos, especially Mexican Train

What are some of your favorite games?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

April UFOs

#1 on die indicates the UFOs for April
orphan blocks and a "Crow" panel quilt

Two very old projects were selected from the UFO challenge list with a quick roll of the die. Number one on my UFO list included some "waste" triangle orphan blocks and a "Crow" panel kit I purchased at a quilt show a couple of years ago.  It's clearly time these projects saw the light of day.

Monday, April 9, 2018

High Ridge Crossing

High Ridge Crossing
60 x 72 inches
Quilt of Valor #139
High Ridge Crossing was made with a Northcott Naturescapes panel. The mottled dark green fabric used for the end "reflection" strips gave me fits. It stretched and then shrunk, causing some issues with the borders. I think the wide outer border solved some of the problem. I warned the longarmer that this one may be a problem for him, too. Needless to say, the fabric has been pitched.

Pattern: Reflections by Mountainpeek Creations

Modifications: I shortened both the top and bottom "reflection" strips by two inches.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Helpful Tools - Clover Clips

Clover Wonder Clips
March 2018
The Wonder Clips are handy little gadgets. I used them recently to keep the layers of cashmere from slipping as I sewed. The clips stayed in place and didn't snag the delicate fiber.

I also use the clips when I work on quilt bindings, as well as clipping notes to cut pieces of fabric. I love these helpful tools.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for this post: I am merely a satisfied customer.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Colorful Mitts

colorful fingerless mitts
April 2018
These wild mitts should make some teenager happy: they will go to the local charity knitting group for distribution.

Pattern: Fingerless Gloves by Stephanie Haberman

Needles: US size 2

Yarn:  2 balls of Schoeller-Stahl  SOCKA (color #9166)
           75% superwash wool, 25% polyamid

Modifications: I shortened the mitts - beginning the thumb gusset 3 inches from the cast on edge. The thumb was also lengthened: I knit ten rows (approximately 1 inch from the picked up stitches) and increased the ribbed edge of the thumb to four rows. The second pair (shown at right in the photo below) is a bit longer - 3.5 inches from cast on edge before beginning the thumb gusset.

two pair of fingerless mitts
20 grams of remaining yarn

Twenty grams of yarn remain (enough for one baby hat) from the two 50 gram balls of yarn. I don't remember where I got the yarn, but it was nice to knit and even though it was fingering weight, it made a nice thick fabric.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Upcycle Challenge

Nancy's 100% cashmere sweater
December 2017
At the December meeting of the Fremont Fiber Arts Guild, interested members exchanged thrifted, wool sweaters for an Upcycle Challenge. You can read about the challenge and see the before photos in this post.

The package I selected contained a 100% black cashmere sweater with a white stripe down the front and at the bottom.  I've been procrastinating, and decided last week that I needed to just get it done.

Since Sue had some difficulty felting the cashmere vest she received in the swap, I knew it would require several cycles in the wash. I put the vest in a pillowcase and pinned the top because I'd read lint from the item would be a problem, added some towels and liquid dish soap.  I stopped and started the wash cycle three times, to keep the felting process active. I added some boiling water to the washer in the second wash because I doubted the water temperature was hot enough to felt. Once I thought the sweater was felted (fulled) enough, I allowed the washer to go through the rinse cycle.

I even tossed the sweater in the dryer with the towels for a bit to remove some of the lint, and trust me, there was a LOT of lint.

labels attached to a section of the sweater neckline
Through this process, I learned that cashmere does not felt as heavily or densely as wool because it is a very soft fiber.

Once the sweater was dry, I decided to turn it into a mobius scarf. I cut off the sleeves and slit them open at the seam. The front and back were cut apart at the side and shoulder seams. I folded the back and front sections in half and measured the widest section I could achieve for a scarf, which was 6.5 inches. The flat sleeves produced a 6.5 inch flat section each. I determined the sleeve sections could be seamed and added to the folded front and back sections to produce a 50 inch long and 6.5 inch wide double scarf, which would be adequate.

The seams were zig zagged - more on that later.

I made several mobius scarves before with rayon, but I forgot how to do it easily. The following video explains it very well.

Once the machine sewing was finished and I turned the scarf right side out, I discovered a problem: I used black thread to sew the seams. Of course, it was not a problem on the majority of the scarf, but it was on the ivory sections.

I debated about taking the whole scarf apart and sewing the seam with a lighter thread. In the end, I decided to leave it and add some embroidery detail to make it look "planned." The embroidery breaks up the large white stripe. In hindsight, I should have not put the two stripes together because it would have broken up the large expanse of black.

cashmere mobius scarf made from a thrifted sweater
March 2018
This scarf is soft, heavenly, and has a nice halo.

I look forward to seeing what the others do with the sweaters they received in the swap. The finished Upcycle Challenge projects will be displayed at the county fair this summer.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Frosty Morn

two baby hats and a pair of women's socks - size 9
March 2018
The mornings have been very frosty lately, so it is appropriate that the color way of this Cascade Heritage Prints yarn is "Frosty Morn" (#05) This is pair #4 for the Box of Socks.

The remaining yarn was used to knit the two baby hats. The hat at the bottom was knit with a semi-solid purple, using the helical stripe technique. I love how alternating the colors changes the appearance of the hat. The technique creates a smooth surface without having to carry the yarn on the wrong side.

baby hat knit with multiple, tiny balls of scrap sock yarn
March 2018
If you've never tried the helical stripe technique, I recommend it. I love how the yarns blend and create a design. This multi-colored hat was knit with over six small balls of scrap sock yarn, so I did have ends to weave as I knit.

More information can be found on Mason-Dixon Knitting's website.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Vera's Surprise

goodies from Vera
March 2018
I discovered a bulging package on my front step on Thursday - a surprise from Vera (The Threaded Lane).

My goodness, the package was filled with a sewing-themed yardage, some fat quarters and a book about Wyoming.

Vera recently downsized her stash and thought I would love the items, and I most certainly do. Thank you for thinking of me, Vera!

Friday, March 30, 2018

"Hairy" Knitting

preparing to cast on
March 2018
Someone donated two skeins of Haute Fur to the local charity knitting group, and I took both skeins to knit "No-Hair-Day" Chemo Cap by Sue W. Thompson (Ravelry link)

I've knit several of the caps before, but this was the first time I'd knit with the Yarn Bee brand (Hobby Lobby). The skein contains 76 yards, and I thought it would be enough to knit a medium/large cap, and it nearly was.

The pattern is easy - just plain knit in the round for six inches and then begin decreasing. I was on the sixth row of decreases when the tail of the yarn came into view over the arm of my knitting chair. Tinking back is impossible with this hairy yarn, so I to make some adjustments and began decreasing more quickly. In the end, it didn't change the appearance of the hat, but it's probably a half and inch shorter. After knitting the hat/cap is turned inside out so the smooth knit side is worn next to the head.
a very "hairy" cap
Yarn Bee Haute Fur yarn - Magenta #545
March 2018
Now that I'm aware of how the yarn knits, the multi-colored skein, shown above, will become a size small/medium cap and shouldn't need any last minute adjustments to the pattern.

I recommend this yarn for knitting the "No-Hair-Day" cap because it doesn't require attaching a new ball/skein of yarn, and the "hair" fibers are much longer than the Lion Brand Fun Fur yarn I've used; thus, creating a more realistic and thicker head of "hair."

Do you like knitting with eyelash, novelty yarn?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Book Recommendations

reading and knitting
March 2018
I can't remember whose blog post recommended Donna Tartt's book, The Goldfinch, but I liked it. It is a compelling and sometimes dark story. The plot gets bogged down in several places with unnecessary explanations: in my opinion, large sections could have been cut without changing the story. Be aware, that this book uses the "F" word liberally.

Sewing and knitting are wonderful accompaniments to audio books: another pair of socks will soon be finished.

Books that I have recently read and recommend:
  (books with ** are highly recommended)
** The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
    Lie in Wait by Eric Richstad
    The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech
** A Man Called Ove  by Fredrik Backman
    All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
** The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate
    The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
    Split Image by Robert B. Parker
    Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict
    The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman
    Sleeping Tiger by Rosamunde Pilcher
    Voices in Summer by Rosamunde Pilcher
** Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
    A Single Breath by Lucy Clark
    Deliver Us from Evil by David Baldacci
    My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

What book(s) do you recommend that I add to my book queue?

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