Wednesday, February 21, 2018

wardrobe Wednesday


in which our plucky heroine does a bit more wardrobe planning...

After finishing my floral cardigan, it is time to start thinking about the rest of my 2018 SWAP sewing, as there are another 2½ months in which to finish seven or eight garments. I am feeling a bit of a disconnnect between my actual wardrobe needs, the SWAP requirements, and my desire to sew from stash. What my wardrobe is in real need of are four more popover summer dresses, 4 more pairs of cropped leggings, a few tops or blouses, a fleece jacket, a handknit cardigan, and some other random things like a new nightgown, bedroom slippers, some fingerless mitts, and a sunhat.

My current difficulty is that the pieces of knit fabrics I have, suitable for cropped leggings, do not coordinate with my SWAP, as I have it set up currently. The rayon fabrics I have for making popover dresses are mostly not solid colors. I am debating acquiring some indigo fabric dye and using that to solve the dilemma. It also occurred to me this morning, on the way out through the snow to the hen yard, that I could use some of the chunk of black velour to make a pair of black leggings, with the pile on the inside they would feel delightfully cozy!

I also did some croquis revision, since sketching out my ideas is easier with a template... I have a croquis I made and printed out back in 2009, but somehow in decluttering and reconfiguring my computer/office zone, I misplaced it. A bit of time with Photoshop, and I have a new page for wardrobe sketching. I took the original image, resized it, and set six of them on an 8½ x 11 page. After printing that out, I realised that it would work better if the croquis outlines were barely there, so I went back into Photoshop and reduced the contrast and increased the brightness, which gave me a page with pale grey outlines. Exactly what is needed, and will work better for my purposes than any storebought option. As I wrote nine years ago: "While it doesn't look much like what you see on a pattern envelope or in an advertisement, it looks a whole lot like what I see in the mirror..."

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With great effort, I am gradually getting through the emotional logjam that has been making my actual work really difficult. This week I started on the Goutte de Crystal/Red Hart pendant, as that is one of the two studio projects that have been "on backorder" for some time now. I think that scheduled specific workshop time every day will help getting back on track.
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank deck broken downcracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve dwarf pine plantedbag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmaladebathrobe patched landscape cloth
4 Seville marmalade croquis revamp yard waste bin
5 new garden bed- -
6 blood orange marmalade x x
7 17 dishcloths x x
8 finished A/C cardigan x x
9 red deer enamel
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

it's not over yet...

in which our plucky heroine has a snow day...

there is a thick soft layer of snow all over... actually several inches at this point, on top of what fell earlier. It must have been very still last night, as every bit of fencing has a decorative trimming of powdery white...

When I tramped out to the hen enclosure, their door was slightly frozen shut, and opening it to the solidly white world did not improve the situation, as the ground is also frozen. The chooks are dubious...

Boneclaw Mother leans in to take a closer look...

"truly, you expect ladies of our gravity and age to sled down the ramp and romp in the snow? You must be joking! How about some warm water and porridge served in the chook house instead..."

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

what I do with interstitial time...


in which our plucky heroine does some approximating...

I've been working on this cardigan for quite a while.
This is a loose-fitting outer layer, here worn with four underlayers as we have had a sudden cold snap, complete with snow! It will be comfy/casual in normal wear, but is large enough to fit over my current outfit (turtleneck, dress, wool pinafore and handknit wool vest) I am quite pleased with how this turned out.

For current and future reference, here are a few of the finishing details, and some close-up photos of the front snap closures:
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The edges are bound, with the front, cuff, and hemline edge binding extended to form a kind of facing. I made the hemline facing deeper, to add a bit more stability and weight to the bottom edge. All the edges except the neckline have all their stitching done in brown rather than grey, as I wanted that part of the construction to be less obtrusive. I found these lovely HUGE snaps for the closure, and modified the instructions from Alabama Chanin from a four hole to a six hole snap.

I added small additional pieces of the jersey knit on the interior of the cardigan to reinforce the snap stitchery, and then after stitching, trimmed most of the excess away neatly. I thought this would be preferable to using interfacing, which I have never had success with on knit fabric, as more in keeping with the A/C construction style. Having at least three layers of fabric backing each snap will add greater strength in use, and support the somewhat heavy snaps...

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday snippets


in which our plucky heroine attempts to remember to count her blessings...

When I was in primary school, we hid under our desks because the Russian might send nuclear bombs, and I carefully memorised all the locations of "air raid shelters" in case the alarms sounded while I was out riding my bike. When I was in high school, we wore black armbands, and walked out of school to protest people being drafted to go kill people in Viet Nam, which we saw every night on the 6PM news... Nowadays the killing is local, and personally impersonal. I get off the bus when I see a younger man with an instrument case or a big duffel, because it might not be a guitar. The children in high school now are walking out in protest against being murdered where they live and learn. This is not the world I intended to grow up to live in...
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My friend E posted this song, from 1969, on FB today; I had forgotten it for a long time, but the message seems still sweetly and sadly relevant...

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And, in an entirely different mode, am still waiting for the pattern for the Haiku jacket to show up, but I figured that pre-shrinking the intended fabric would be a good start. This color-and-weave fabric is actually indigo/black and not just dark indigo, but since it visually reads as dark indigo, I am putting it in that neutral category for SWAP 2018. The fabric has two very different sides:
I sort of expected that after it came out of the dryer that it would have turned into a kind of waffle weave, but while it did tighten up a bit, it is still pretty flat, and still nicely drapey. If anything, I like it even more!

I finished the hand stitched cardigan today, but photos will have to wait until daylight. It was crazy weather today, with sunshine, rain, wind, hail, and giant snow feathers... still really cold again too!
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank deck broken downcracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve dwarf pine plantedbag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmaladebathrobe patched landscape cloth
4 Seville marmalade - yard waste bin
5 new garden bed- -
6 blood orange marmalade x x
7 17 dishcloths x x
8 finished A/C cardigan 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 I am grateful for the nice clerk in the water bureau last week, who, when I went to renew my discount, very kindly pointed out that I could, at my age, be switched over to the permanent discount program, which will not require me to keep coming in to renew over and over again... I didn't even know that was an option, and felt most heartwarmed to have someone in a bureaucratic office offer me a random act of kindness.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Year of the Dog, or the Crafternoon that wasn't..

in which our plucky heroine is sad...

in honor of Lunar Year of the Dog, which started yesterday, I decided that the Crafternoon this month would have an Asian potluck theme, mostly because I also wanted to try making these pot stickers, that my sister in law Barb made for their Superb Owl shindig.

Assembling the pot stickers was much easier than I imagined, given that I could purchase the wrappers at Hong Fat grocery over on 82nd; making the wrappers is, I imagine, the hard part. (also, and incidentally the ginger hands at the market there are about three times the size of the ginger at my local market, and a lot fresher) Actually filling and folding them did not take as much time as I expected, and they freeze well. I will probably make them again. In a while. Because no one at all showed up today, so I have a LOT of uncooked pot stickers.

I did cook up a few of them for my lunch though (and they were delicious), and made some progress afterward on the final edge-binding on my Alabama Chanin style cardigan, before I succumbed to my sad heart and decided on an afternoon nap. Tomorrow is hopefully a better day. Not sure if Crafternoon is an idea that has run its course? Maybe a more specific invite with RSVP rather than the open house mode? I try and remind myself that it isn't about me, but merely that my friends have busy and complex lives.

tasty savory homemade pot stickers


Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine struggles to shift focus...

Note to self: make certain burners on cooktop are turned off and cool before reaching across to deal with back of stove. Now I need to patch my bathrobe! Still, all is well that ends well, could have been much worse. Did I mention I hate my range... a gas stove is visibly either hot or off, an electric burner can be HOT without being visibly hot. Someday, if I am really really good, I will get a gas range for my birthday...
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Dishes are washed by hand here, as the 1950's kitchen has no mechanical dishwasher. Rather than use a sponge, my preference has always been for using dishcloths, which can get changed out fresh every day (or more often if needs must). I had, for a while, been using ones hand knitted from cotton yarn, that I made during my recovery from surgery five years ago, but truly, I loathe knitting with cotton yarn, and as those were wearing out, I came up with an alternative...

The oldest towel in the linen cupboard was worn thin and soft, while still quite sound (unlike our plucky heroine, who, though soft and cuddly, is neither thin or quite sound) I decided that rather than spend hours and hours of unpleasant knitting to create useful kitchen helpers, that cutting up said towel and serging the edges would serve my purpose much better. It took less than an hour altogether to cut the towel into suitable squares and run them through the serger, and now I have many more good dishwashing cloths, and have given that at least fifty year old towel a second life...
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Would that it were so simple to sort out health issues... two days ago I woke up with my right ankle screaming at me, for no reason I could discover. If acupuncture and massage doesn't shift the pain, I will have to make an appointment at the clinic to get seen by a medical practicioner, and get some idea of what is going on. There is no external indication of injury or inflammation that I can see. Sometimes it seems obvious why our lives are finite. Pain makes me tired and dysfunctional.

I have been trying to make my peace with my legs being out of warranty, ever since the brunch incident almost three years ago, when I tore the meniscus on my right knee, which eventually, while I cannot say it actually healed, did calm down. I have been dealing with my gorram left achilles tendon since summer 2016 which varies in pain but never actually stops hurting. To have both my legs yelling at me in entirely different types of pain with every step is akin to listening to dissonant sounds all day long and about as aggravating.
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank deck broken downcracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve dwarf pine plantedbag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmalade- landscape cloth
4 Seville marmalade - yard waste bin
5 new garden bed- -
6 blood orange marmalade x x
7 17 dishcloths 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

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

it's awesome...


in which our plucky heroine gets a little bit spicy...

The very last of the tomatoes in the freezer are about to be turned into Awesome Sauce. My plan to gradually shift the freezer contents onto the newly cleared pantry shelves, by transmogrifying them into shelf stable condiments and preserves, is proceeding well. As well, my lovely next door neighbors are also fond of Awesome Sauce, which means I can gift them with some as thanks for all the times that they watch my hens on the rare occasions that I am not home.
So simple, and so tasty if it is made from homegrown tomatoes. The times I have been gifted with tomatoes, I simply chuck the ones I do not immediately eat into the chest freezer in a bag. They need no preparation, and the process of freezing means that as they thaw, there will be a span of time when it is easy to slip off the tomato skins, which otherwise would entail faffing about with dipping the fresh tomatoes into boiling water, and then into ice water in order to skin them. I prefer the texture and taste of condiments made after removing the tomato skins. The almost defrosted tomatoes, either halved or whole, are easily chopped up in preparation for the low slow cooking down of the future Awesome Sauce (aka British Chili Jam)

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It has been a treat to ride about on my bike now that Farbjorn refurbished the chain with the dry lubricant... no more grindy-squeaky sounds, and it runs smoothly once again. I sped off to the local grocery store today for a few necessities, after my return from the Asian grocery earlier where I purchased gyoza (pot sticker) wrappers and ginger. I plan on making these dumplings for my crafternoon/stitch-n-bitch shindig on Saturday, as a nod to the start of Chinese Year of the Dog. It will be a noble experiment, as I have never made pot stickers from scratch before, but my sister in law made them for Superb Owl snacks, and if she can do it, I can too!
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Making slow progress on my SWAP sewing, but am now in the last stages of my Alabama Chanin style cardigan assembly (adding edge bindings to finish it) and then will be adding snaps for a front closure. I suppose then I shall need to decide what to sew next... probably the plaid wool pinafore, as it makes sense to get that put together while it is still early in the year and cold out! I am still amazed that fabric acquired at least ten years ago is such a perfect match.

I also am considering trying out a new to me pattern, the Sewing Workshop "Haiku Two" jacket. After reading Martha's blog post about the one she just completed, it occurred to me that it might be a good option for a loose fitting overlayer. The reviews on Patternreview all make note of how oversized it is, which means that it will likely fit without my needing to do serious pattern alterations, and the half raglan sleeves mean that my eternal bugaboo, my ridiculously narrow shoulders, shouldn't be an issue. Plus, gigantic pockets!! I have some textured indigo linen, which will hopefully have enough drape to work with the pattern.