Tuesday, 29 June 2021

And sew on

Too darn hot to do much of anything.  I did knit two rounds on my little green top but the next round is an increase round and I need to print off a copy of the pattern for that.  It is under heavy use by small people at the moment and even though I told myself, I wasn''t going to let them use it, grandma is a sucker for a sweet face and those beautiful blue and brown eyes begging me to please, please let them borrow it.  I will try do do bettter today though.  The yarn for the Shetland Shawl forever edging is at the post office according to Canada Post and it will get picked up this week.  I have one ball to work through so this should be about perfect for working on that.  Plus the giant shawl is in one enormous bag that makes it supremely easy to take here and there around the house.   And I do mean around the house.

We have been hiding in the basement, where it is very cool.  I haven't been down there in over a year so it feels weird to be in someone else's space.  But there was all sort of fun to be had with cushions  

because we had to talk to Uncle Keith about how to operate his tv system.  

But we have it now.  We are going to watch Teletubbies on Prime on Uncle Keith's account so we can despoil his otherwise pristine algorithym. Bwahahahaha

The dress might get hemmed today.  I say might because I will have to get Cassie to mark the hem.  It was just too hot after Keith got home from work.  I sure wish I was wearing it.

The madras cotton is light, almost too light.  It is on the verge of being see through and is as far from cotton braodcloth as wool boradcloth would be.  It is perfect for the hot weather we are having and the way this dress is cut, it's wide simple top, and it's ethereal gathers catch to cool air under it and make every move cooling.  

If I was at a different place in my life, I would have never had the bravery to wear something that is oversized as this is.  I found it hard to do the oversized look in the 80's and I was barely overwieght then.   I am pretty sure that my mom would still tell me it doesn't do anything for me, short and wide as I am.  The truth is though that whatever size I ever was was not hidden by clothes. It has never been hidden by style or by cut and even as a young person in high school weighting in at 104 pounds, my hips and shelfie butt were still very much housefrau hips and shelfie butt.  

I am what I am and it is such a relief to be able to say that.  To be able to feel that.  To know deep inside that every other person on the planet has no right to decide what looks 'good' that they never did.  And yet the ads and the TV shows are full of people helping you dress right or better.  The rule of me is, does it make me feel good wearing it?  If the answer is yes, I am game.  That is what matters.  Short wide me will wear a short wide dress with joy and I will admire it all the more for how cool it will keep me.

I have to be careful with the sewing thing though.  The Torrens box top is really comfortable to wear and the fabrics are all down right cheap at the moment as the winter stock will soon arrive.  At under two metres per top, it is incredibly difficult not to order a bunch more fabric just for more liitle cool tops.  The idea is sto sew it all down from here, not to add more. Harumphhhhh

Monday, 28 June 2021


Oh .  My.  Gosh.

And just for the record, that is an oh.  My.  Gosh with the pieces as per the pattern, because I just decided that one things great was better than two things iffy.  And this is great.

It looks fantastic here, laying flat.  Wide, loose and inexpressibly light and airy.  Just what I wanted.  I still have to hem the voluminous skirt but I don't anticipate that taking too long.  I am going to get Keith to give me a hand tgo hem it from the floor up so that the bottom is even.  That is a problem because of the aforementioned shelfie butt.  It isn't difficult though.  All he has to do is two pins x many inches from the floor.  

I do have to make one note for the red one and that is that I could go down to three inches from the sleeve cuff join for top length.  This is okay and I wouldn't do it over again but slightly shorter will be even better.  


Kid have arrived.  They are off doing kid things.  Hence the quick post.  I gotta go make lunch now.  And Helen's Clost just put ou a new patterfn that is really nice if you neded to know.

Friday, 25 June 2021


I opted for perfection.  I went back in to the cutting room and cut out the rest of the bits I needed and I cut out my bonny red with white polka dot fabric and today those will get done.

I am really pleased at what I got done though it wasn't nearly so much as I hoped for.  

I had hoped for much more.  I had hoped for the skirt to be complete and on the bottom but there it is.

This gorgeous fabric was  6 metres of 45 inch wide Madras Cotton and all my caluclations for what I needed for gathers were based on it.  When it got to cutting the red fabric, I quickly realized, that was a whole other kettle of fish.  

The red fabric is rayon, 60 inches wide and I had 4 metres of it.  It was like starting all over mathematically for the skirt.  I had to sort out how many skirt panels I could get from what I had.  I could get to the same gathering ratio that the cotton was only if I shortened the skirt by four inches.   

I don't do a lot of skirts though I like them for summer.  The one I made last year is long, almost too long I would say but in the deep dark of my drawer, I have a skirt that I purchased a decade ago for five bucks, that has never been worn.  I do not understand why I still have this skirt but there you go.  It is 26 inches long which is too short without leggings or tights that are good but not quite pants. I own one other skirt.  It is the dress I wore to Scott's wedding.  For years, it has stayed in case an occasion came up where I needed a dress.  I measured it.  29 inches.  It is doable, but a little longer is better.  And it all comes down to back rise.  It is great standing, but sitting, my generous back rise takes up slightly moreof the length than I am comfortable with.  For a special occasion of a couple of hours, I could deal with the constant concern but for wearing everyday around the house and for shopping and doing stuff? Too short.  

Back to the drawing board to see what gather gradient I had and what it would look like.  It will be fine and still well in the range of nicely gathered at 2.3.  The very drape of the rayon could have had more but it is what it is and will be fine as is.  

So I cut that one out too.  I made one change to the neckline of both of these.  I found the original front neckline cut to be quite high on the tester top, so on the Madras, I lowered it by and inch and on the red by another inch.  

Keeping my fingers crossed for the red. The Madras cut is perfect.  I normally wouldn't worry too much but the neckline does tend to gap a bit in front due to the casual cut of it.  It is a wide neckline, but it will depend on the fabric.  The polka dot rayon will drape very differently.  I do have a fall back if it is lower than I want.  A white band could be added easily at the neck to raise it.  Plus replacing the sleeve bands with white and possibly adding a white band at the hemline or waist, would change the look of the dress completely in an interesting way.  If you added a white band at the waist, you get into Minnie Mouse styling but certain of may grandchildren would find that very cool.  

I would need ears though.  Just sayin'.

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Cheatin' on my sewing

The whole time I was knitting with my zoomy knitting friends, I felt like I was cheating on my sewing.  

It is nice knitting, but honestly, we are just friends.  I am using a sweet little Laura Aylor pattern, Breezeway and now that I have everything right, it is going along very well.  I am within two stitches of matching her stitch counts and that is just fine.  I don't think I have ever been so close to a count before.

I did get my sewing set up and one dress cut out yesterday morning but the whole thing ended up being a bit of an adventure.  When I opened up the fabric to wash it the other day, I realized that the fabric store had gifted me with almost a full metre of extra fabric.  There was an separate piece that had been tossed in with my order.  At first I thought, how sweet and I wasn't going to need to worry about bias binding or anything.  And then I set out to cut the fabric.  

I was preparing for cutting basing my number of skirt panels needed on reading the Waikere Dress expansion instructions and a blog post from Heelen's closet.  That sent me to the wise internet ( yeah, not the foolish one!) and I found all kinds of interesting information about gathering ratios and what is right.  I very quickly came to realize that if I could preserve the gathering ratio at under 2.5 times rather than just barely under 3 times, and if I found some creative ways to finish the sleeve openings and the necklines, there would be enough fabric left to also make a top.  Because of that extra almost a metre of fabric.  

And taking into consideration how much I love this fabric, 

the idea made me pause.  But that is okay.  It was time for the zoom anyway.  

To be honest, part of me really wants to do that and get the most bang for my buck and run with the idea of a top as well, and part of me wants to just do all the things normally and add an extra panel of fullness to the skirt to reach for perfection in the dress.  Either way, is fine, but I am thinking about it still.  If I do not get a top out of it, that remaining piece will be a great fabric to use for a knitting bag, which is something i want to do for a winter project.

I am going to cut out a second dress using the red polka dot fabric this morning and sewing will commence, one way or another on both.  The household tasks are well under way for the day and I have supper sorted out too.  The regular laundry is on the last load and the next load of fabrics to wash is standing at the ready.  Nothing between me and getting these two things done.

You've heard that before.  I know, but it needs to happen.  Just like pants.  It needs to be so.

Addendum to adda couple knitting related things:

I won!!  Briggs and Little had a contest thing on facebook and instagram and I was one of the winners!  And secondly, the rest of the yarn I need for the Shetland Shawl is at the post office.  Finishing is in the very near future.     

Wednesday, 23 June 2021


I forgot one thing.  

To wash the fabric.  Most of the stuff that is old fabric stash was washed when it arrived so I know it is ready to go.  The stuff I was using for pants was a blend of fibres so I knew it wouldn't shrink much on using.  I had washed most of the fabrics that were purchased over the lasst two years BUT that very large batch of fabric wasn't washed and that is what I wanted to use.  So washing fabrics was yesterday.  

Cuttiong is today and is already well underway.  I am having huge huge amounts of fun with this.  Almost as good as knitting.

But not quite.  See you at knitting zoom.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Sticking to it.

I cannot tell a lie.

I thought I would knit just till my coffee was gone.  Cutting and sewing is much more difficult with a coffee than knitting is.  And I put in one dvd program.  Just one.  

And then I looked up, I'd had more coffee, several more dvd shows, and it was 3 o'clock.  The good thing in my day was that there is another top underway in those pretty greens.  None of that helped my sewing goals though so today, I am being ultra firm.  DVDs or any audio can only be on in my room.  My livingroom tv will have one setting today, over air channels only.  

I have already done the alterations on the test fabric Torrens Box Top and it is looking good.  I have to re-attach the sleeve bands.  It is right over there by the machine, ready to go.

I spent time after knitting yesterday looking at hacks of this top and the way people wear it on Instagram.  Goodness, people are creative.  One lady did an amazing duster version that just blew me away.  There were v neck versions, which were already in my plans, and I saw how others were making it to knee length, which for me, would be the right length for a tunic, and then wearing it with leggings, which is something I saw in my mind with the Waikere  pattern, but not the Torrens. 
But mostly, I was looking at the dresses.  Oh there are some lovely dresses made with this pattern.  On version is made in a patchwork of fabrics.  You can tell this person quilts because of the way things are put together colourwise.  She has such a strong hand with colour and scale and shapes,  that you just know that she has looked at this many times before.  It really is a stunning dress. 

The other thing I did yesterday may have been foolish.  Or not.  Torrens was the one pattern that I bought thinking it is a good basic piece but I never really bought fabric thinking of it beyond as a dress. Even as a dress, I did not buy fabric specifically for it, but rather bought dress fabrics and kind of left any decisions of what fabric will be what down to cutting day.  But yesterday, I cought a couple pieces of fabric specifically for Torrens.  

I have lots of fabric and have been working very very hard to stay away from looking.  And since this is the lull in the seasons for new fabrics before fall fabrics come in, it hasn't been too bad.  But it is sale season and the pressure to buy in my emails is heavy.  Even that I could avoid, but the prices right now are quite simply unreal in comparison to the prices at the store. If I was buying a single blouse from the only plus sized store in Canada, Penningtons,  the starting price for a basic tank top is just under fifty dollars.  Even the sale prices at fifty percent off are generally over twenty for a very basic tank.  

The price per metre of the fabric I am buying specifically for Torrens based designs is $5.10 and $5.78 per metre.  Both fabrics have been in my cart before so they are not really impulse buys.  They kept getting kicked out because at the time and at full price, they made my cart total more than I was prepared to spend.  They are very desired fabrics and at these prices...well, even in my well stocked world, I can have this tiny bit extra.   

And that is my story and I am sticking to it.  

Monday, 21 June 2021


This was a weekend of trying things out.  I did finish the green top on Friday.  It currently is getting ends woven in and will be in the wearable rotation in very short order.

I pulled out a lovely old project, the Bridgewater Shawl, from the deepest WIP bin.  It is the only thing from the time before that remains in my WIPs.  Everything else has been finished.  I had the book at hand just a few days ago and spent all of Friday afternoon going through books on the shelves looking for it.  When finding it proved impossible, I pulled out the fuzzy Phil Light top I had consigned to the hibernate pile.  I worked on that till I could sort out the where's and the what's of the next thing.  

Swatching seemed like a good idea.  I have this beautiful skein of a hand dye, swiped from the stash of my neice Shasha that I wanted something special for.  I had the idea of a Love Note  with it, where the lace is made with the hand dye and a strand of something fuzzy.  That idea came to me because I love the way this sweater, Zweig, with the delicate cable section done in a broad stroke of an accent colour.  I like the Love Note lace more than the cable bits so Love Note it is.  This is swatch one, because I did have to play around with what looked best for the combination of yarns, and in truth, I am not a hundred percent sure my fuzzy yarn is right.  I have some alternative selections in my stash and will dig them out soon enough.

I also planned to swatch these yarns now that I have finally sorted out what I want from it.  Stupidly, I just cast on, rather than swatching and I think I am going to have to go back to the drawing board.  It seems a little long even for the openess of the collar  on the top I have choosen.  

And then, I did something different.  I pulled out my tester fabric and cut out the Torrens BoxTop pattern. I want to do a bunch of sewing this week.  Kids will be a regular part of the routine here over the beginning of summer and I can much more easily knit than I can sew with the kids here. 

There will be a little refining today to make it fit.  It is a very simple thing, a box after all, but that doesn't mean that a box can't be too big for the wearer.  Too big, no matter what size you take, still is too big.  I need it to fit me right in the shoulders and not look to a-line to hold to the style, which I adore.  Even so, I'm not aiming for a top today.  Nope.  I am aiming for a dress but the fit testing is right to do at this time.  There may be a top later in the week. But the dress, oh my yes.  There are some really great versions online and it is my turn.  By the end of today, I do hope to have a dress fully cut out from one of the wonderful fabrics I purchased in the big pile of stuff.  

If there is time this afternoon, or first thing tomorrow, I am going to cut out the muslin of  another dress, the Sydney Designer Dress from Style Arc.  I am really hoping for a wearable muslin from the pattern.  It has a more traditional fit in the shoulders and upper body than this first dress I am working on so I do hope and pray that careful measuring will get me the rest of what I need to make it work.  And if all goes well, those things and more will consume my week.    

I am so excited by all this.  First up, pants, which I had never sewn before and they have been such a success.  They are comfortable and fit well, and surprisingly have taught that I like the ultra wide leg of my youth as much now as I did then and that I like them as much as I like the pencil leg.  It is wonderful to have both in my repetoire and in my closet. Now there will be dresses. My multiple size required body confined me to tops and skirts if I could find them and now to have dresses...makes me giddy.  Just giddy.  

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Letters and Books

I forgot to mention yesterday that the green top is close to complete.  I  am on the bottom edging right now and that will go on till the yarn runs out.  I may have to redo sleeves though.  there seemed the be some pulling on the shoulder pieces as if there were too few stitches there.  All things considered, plus math and lack of skill with said math, it may very well be.  I will try it on again before I decide but so far my mind is set on redoing them.  It is such a little sleeve and doesn't take any time at all.  It is also possible that the count is right but the distribution is wrong.  We shall see.

But that is not really what I wanted to to about today.  I wanted to talk about letters and collections of them.  I am not talking about formal letters but rather the kind of things you would write more casually, more conversationally.  

I love books of letters.  I have for years.  I have a couple in my book library. 

My book of a collection of Thomas Jefferson's letters fascinates me. 

And endlessly readable is a collection of love letters from Antonia Fraser.  

This last contains letters from Napoleon to Jesephine, Abelard and Heloise, Catherine of Aragon to Henry VIII.  They are beginnings and Endings and everything in between to dowith love.  Really a sweet little book.

I have a book of Jane Austens letters in my digital library too.  That has been read many times.  

I think it started when I first saw the movie 84 Charing Cross Road.  A movie of letters.  sigh.  It was lovely the first time, and every time since.  A few years ago, I came across a copy of the movie in a bin of movies.  It gets regular rewatching.  But I never had the book till recently.

The audio book came across my email feed a few weeks ago, an audible daily deal I think.  I didn't blink, but bought it immediately and finally got around to reading it last night.  What a lovely way to not fall asleep.  I couldn't, not when the whole story was  playing out in time and place.   I know the story, I know it well.  I thought it would be a great thing to listen to to fall asleep by.  But it took a long time for the voices to get me to sleep.  It was just too interesting  being carried along by the letters and charmed by the lovliness of it.  I was so invested in their relationshop  and fascinated by the books they talk about.  It was gentle and slow and made me feel very content.  

Except for the books.  I wish I had those books.  I think I would have loved that store and loved her library.  

But not sleepy.  So, I am going to go back to bed now for a bit to have a morning nap.       

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

A green kick

There are yarn in my cabinets that just demand knitting.  Often it is because I started knitting with them and it did not work out well so the thing was taken apart and made into something else.  Often, these are very pretty yarns that I would dearly love to wear.

Like this batch of fine stuff.

The thing I wanted to make from them once upon a time is not something I desire any more.  There is only so much yarn thought, so I have to sort out something else to make.  Even in this batch, the center ball of green and browns is an add in because without it, a top is not doable.  I spent much of the day yesterday contemplating just what it wants to be but didn't find something that was quite right. It is destined not for a pattern but is going to get a me made 'treatment'.  I just need to decide, raglan start or round yoke start.

Even though I don't have a resolution for that yarn, looking at tops is not a waste of time.  No, indeed.  It is always time well spent.   I did find a something for this very lovely stuff.    

   This is Some Madtosh Twist light.  It is perfect for Scooby,  another design from Laura Aylor and perfect for this yarn.  The one ball of the multi colour should be just about right for the top section, leaving the gorgeous greens for the skirt.  

Here I am, thinking of all hte prettys and I keep coming up with green things.  Hmm, seem to be on a bit of a green kick.  

In spain

Tuesday, 15 June 2021


I don't remember what I did yesterday.  I am not sure anything really registered.  Everything I wanted to pursue had a component of things I needed the internet for.  I have been wandering around the house trying to figure out just what I did.

I started a new ball of yarn on my top.  Right,  I did put it on a string and I gave it a good try on.  It needs a tad more length and it may need the sleeves to be redone.  Not endless work, and in a way, not surprising but not happy about it.  Still I am determined to keep on till it is right. So there was that, but of the new ball, sweet little yardage has been consumed.

My bathroom drawers and counter tops are tidier than they have been in a while.  Apparently, you don't need to keep all your lotions and creams and ointments out on the counter if you have drawer space to put them in in a very convenient drawer.  It seems I was keeping empty pill containers.   A lot of them.

The kitchen door has zero boxes in front of it.  They have all been cut down and put out for recycle pickup.  The counters in there are awfully tidy too.  I can't take credit for that though.  Keith did that on Sunday.     

There is a pile of books on my footstool.  I have books tucked in every little corner of my home, and some of them are not that easy to get to.  I was thinking about things I have been reading or things that I have been listening to or watching and as usual, stuff that began in Agatha Christie's mind rank high here at Ville de Needles.   

I watched the movie Crooked House with Max Irons just before our internet ran out.  The story was so familiar and yet, not remembered at all, as they sometimes are.  I wondered if I had a copy of the book, so I squirreled  in and pulled them all out.  I have a half a shelf of hard covers picked up at used book stores over the years and a half a shelf of papaerbacks, some of which I bought and some of which were given to me from a pile of remaindered books they had to get rid of.  They used to do that.  Tear the covers off books that had not sold by a certain date and send them to the dump.  My friend was a big reader and I think it used to bother her a great deal that this was the way of the world in those days.  She would take huge boxes home and we would have coffee and I could take as many as I wanted before she burned them for heat in the workshop.  The deal was I was not to speak of it, and I never did.  Till now.  Strictly speaking, it was wrong, but I have a feeling Agatha would have understood.  There was so little money to spare and I needed to read the same as I needed to breathe.  

I played with this pile of books for the rest of the afternoon.  Reading the ends of stories, reading parts here and there.  Checking out any turned corner pages I found to see where I had left off.  It was like reaquainting myself with old friends.  It was lovely.

The only story that I knew I had read and reread and read again was And Then There Were None.  Somehow, I manage to suspend my knowledge of the story and am surprised each and every time I read it by who actually did it.  One of them, I have never read at all.  Death Comes as the End.  I really ought to read it.  I think I read most of the others paperback and hardcovers.   Some of them are certainly worth reading again.  

I have many of Christies books in my audio library and in my electronic book library, but there still are reasons to read the paper books, even if it is a strain and I cannot read them as I used to.  Sometimes, there is a turn of phrase that you catch or a view described or a detail of the character that becomes more sharp from the written word.  Sometimes you just need to pause and read a line out loud because it is so brilliantly written. 

Each story I see or read in a different format, I learn something a little different.  Each time, I find something fresh and new.   That is how you know quality and Christie is quality.  

Monday, 14 June 2021

The best way

And then there was that guy in the football game and they had to do chest compressions right there in front of us all.  It was horrid to be one of the watchers.  Because yes.  That was the game I was watching and no one was close to him.  He just collapsed and even the medical people thought it was just the usual.  And then they ran.  No.  He did not die but me and millions of others were very very worried.

There are only a few balls left now.

I am debating if it is long enough yet but I am also aware that this is where I would be likely to talk myself out of knitting to my desired length because I am lazy and tired of this project.  

I think I'm going to put it on a string and do a try on to see what is what.  It really is the best way.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

I am watching European Football on TV.  The fun thing about watching a sport you know about but played in a way you know nothing about is that you can ask stupid questions.  Like if this is a national sport, why is Wales.  No seriously.  Wales has not been a country for a thousand years.  Was Wales ever a country.

Or why is that guy rolling around on the ground?  It seems that in soccer if a guy gets close to you it hurts.  I do not know why.

Mostly I miss the internet.  Not really feeling withdrawal at all.  Oww

Friday, 11 June 2021

Not missing it at all.

I'm not feeling any withdrawal.  Not at all.   Not hardly.  Well maybe a little bit.  Okay.  Fine.  A lot.  

Is this how it felt for most people when they had to stay home particularly at the start of the pandemic?  

I am staying busy.  Really busy actually.  I put a couple patterns together and now I am heartily sick of that.  Which is a bit irritating.  I still have the Otis overall pattern and my most favourite Sydney Designer dress to put together.  

That's today's fight.  Do I cut and sew or stick to finishing this job?  I am really torn.  I want both!  

There is also knitting.  That is going amazingly well.  I am working on my green top in between paper and tape.  The top is now past the waist and I have a good idea of how long the top will be when the yarn is gone.  

I am pretty pleased.

And hardly missing the choice and the luxury of the internet at all.  

Beware of bald faced lies.  Even here on this blog.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Teeny Tiny Data

We have hit the end of data at my house so I am posting from my phone.  It has it's own wee bit of data and the overage charge is better than the house plan.  It is minuscule amounts so this is about all I will do.  

I was bored of knitting everything yesterday and I had been thinking about monster socks recently.  I decided to pull out the bits and ends box to see if I could find inspiration there.  As usual, that box does amazing things to the regular way of seeing stuff.  

It is mostly pinks and reds and oranges and all highly patterned yarns.  But I was thinking contrast and powerful coloured.  I came up with this combination.  

A little odd as a pairing and yet...

Which is rather exciting.  

And that, right there is why I keep knitting.  Endless little pops of joy and thrills of color.  

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Like Puzzles

If you liked setting puzzles, you would enjoy putting patterns together in this modern world.  There is a general plan and thank heaven the pages are numbered, but still, it feels like setting puzzles.

It looks like it is going to be another day of putting together for me.  I have a zoom this afternoon, if there are any other takers, that is, but if there were not it would be fine.  I would just bury my head in Atticus Punt and keep sticking things together.  I finished the second Vera Novel, Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves.  I did not see that end coming.  Not at all and yet, knowing the whole, I can see it now in the way that character was the whole way through.  Excellent writing.  I am so glad I did not read her as she was putting out this series.  What a wonderful thing to have now to look forward to. 

I put the Waikere pattern together yesterday and was aiming for the Waikere dress conversion today though there may not be time.  The zooms often go nice and long and the Waikere dress conversion is a whopping 88 pages long.  I am not certain that leaves enough hours in the day to do the whole thing in one fell swoop.  I can see why Muna and Broad are splitting up this dress design to make two separate patterns.  

I might put the only pants pattern I have not yet sewn from Muna and Broad, their newest Birchgrove, together.  It features a much narrower leg than any of the other patterns.  Now it might seem that if I had four pants patterns, I wouldn't need another and could just narrow the leg myself, but I have tried that and screwed that up before.  I am only a newbie at pants and at this point feel more comfortable with a pattern to follow.  

Part of putting the patterns together is figuring out just what size I will be using.  As I said, pants was easy, but a new shirt creates some room to question myself.  I am much much more familair with top sewing and fitting.  I can adapt the various bits easily enough, but I do want to end up with something that looks and fits the way this blouse seems to.   Will I be able to get a nice closer looking fit on the shoulders from this pattern as well as having the room at the hips?  I think so, but the only way to know for sure is to see how it starts as written, fitting the pattern as is first and trying it on and then adapting the design to get what I want.  That is how I started knitting sweaters the way I do now and that has turned out quite well.
Today is oddly well framed.  I think I am going to make some potatoe soup for supper, it being another rainy cool day (Yipeeeee) and maybe some biscuits fresh from the oven for with it.    And with the oven on, I may as well make something for desert too.  Maybe a one pan cake with a custard over top to serve as the base for some rhubarb I plan to steal from the neighbour.  She won't mind.  Keith asked her if we could and she was happy someone would take some.    

A full day, I expect, and different than some, but fromed with all the things I enjoy.  I fully expect it to be a day of paper and tape, like a puzzle but different.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Paper and Tape.

I did work on sewing stuff all day yesterday, but not quite on what I said.  

I spent the entire day with paper and tape putting patterns for tops together and trying to get the pattern 'put me together pile' down to something sensible. I ended up printing one pattern for the second time and had to put that together first.  

When I printed out the Torrens Box Top the first time, plenty of nice photos here of how versatile a patttern this is for all sizes, I wasn't sure I wanted to use it as is.  I sewed a black long sleeved top grading between shoulder size and hip size with it. Pants were easy.  Go big or go home, but tops?  I have no idea.  That first black top was a great sample of what this pattern can do and be, but I want to try it based on how they say it should fit and perform, so this second print out is to cut it out as is and see what happens.  

There is also a very good possibility that this top will shortly be a dress pattern as well. (Hacked by me)

Just fyi, I do like that black top.  It has been worn and washed regularly but it is a long sleeved black knit fabric top.  It is kind of winter wear.  This time, what I am looking for is a top that could be overwear as well as summer wear.  

I think I am going to keep putting patterns together today.  The ones I printed so far, are ones I want to sew soon, like the Waikere shirt and the Otis overalls.  I also need to put the Waikere dress expansion pack together  because there is a ton of dress fabric here for this summer too. There is a little free tiered dress pattern that I have some really sweet yellow fabric for that needs to get put together too.  It is a very long time between yellow dresses.

Putting takes a long time, and is a category of this sewing adventure I wasn't really expecting, but not having the patterns ready to go seems to be becoming a bit of a roadblcok to actual construction and sewing.  As usual, I do best when I have dealt with my mental roadblocks first.  Putting together everything deals with it.  It is all ready to go. 

The other thing about putting patterns together time is that it is fantastic reading time.  Audio book of course, but it doesn't take a lot of brain power so you can really sink into a good book.  I am about two thirds through the second Vera Stanhope novel, and as anyone who has read any of Ann Cleeves work, this is the point of almost unbearable need to knowness.  All the clues are coming thick and fast.  All the truths of each character beginning to be revealed.  I need to read the rest of this book.  There is a very good possibility that I thought of putting patterns together just to read more of this book.  

I also have an Atticus Punt book just at the part where the Atticus Punt book starts as well.  That may not make sense till you have read these Anthony Horowitz novels, but they are seriously fine.  Seriously.  There may be yet another day of printing patterns and putting them together before I am done just for the joy of reading!

Paper and tape is today's adventure.  With a dash of good book on the side.

Monday, 7 June 2021

Two Steps Forward!

I had a great knitting weekend.  After sorting out sleeve one on Saturday, I made it halfway through the second sleeve before the end of the day.  That was completed in the blink of an eye Sunday morning and I did a good try on before putting the bottom back on the needles.

I am really pleased.  The neckline is just what I was hoping for, even though it looked so wide before the edging was on with the stokinette shouders rolling up all the time.  It is exactly what I wanted.

Even better, I think the back will work.  I am doing some dramatic increasing and I am hoping for some deeply draping waves of fabric.  It seems to hang how I wanted and only time will tell if it will look right as I add more length.  The plan is to place a small band with buttons on either end somewhere midback to pull the fabric together just enough so that the back becomes the real focus of the top so the back is a cascade of gently draping waves.  Think like we used to put skinny ties on blouses in the 70's.  That is the vision.  We shall see if it works in fact.

I added a healthy bit to the bottom length before the days end.  It was just such a good knitting day.  My hands never got tired and my brain never searched for something different.  The rounds flew by even with the significant number of stitches on the needles.  It was hard to stop but I knew that I would pay if I didn't.  And this morning, I find that I ought to have stopped earlier.  My whole upper back is feeling a bit tired and stiff.  

So stretches and doing something different today.  I am going to break into the fabric pile and do some serious stuff.  First up some testing of top patterns.  If I get one done that is great, but my goal is for two different patterns to be cut out today from material that will act as my muslin.  If I get a start sewing on the second, more power to me!

Friday, 4 June 2021

Two steps forward, one step back

I finally made it to the end of the yarn that was previously knit.  That meant decisions on sleeves and edging for the neckline.

I went with seed stitch for this and I really like the way it looks.  Ribbing in worsted weight cotton would not stay looking crisp and tidy for the long haul.  I felt it would eventually look soft and heaven forbid, floppy.  I thought about garter, but much as I like it, it wasn't what I was looking for.  Seed stitch just looked perfect in this yarn.  

I moved on to sleeve one but it didn't take long for me to see that I had picked up far too many stitches.  

First thing this morning, off it all came.  I managed to get a few stitches picked up again before my alarm went off to remind me that today was vaccine day.  I'm just home now, and as soon as I have lunch, I am planning to attend to the task of getting sleeve one complete.  

Sleeve two is my goal for the weekend. Let us see how that goes.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Green shirts and stuff.

It seems I forgot to post yesterday.  Whoddathunkit.   There was a bit of a kerfuffle when I tried to set up my second covid shot yesterday.  The vaccine I got on the first shot is only being offered in the city so if I want to have it, I would have to drive to get it.  The worst part was there was no option about time or date that you could get it, they simply slotted you in and done deal.  Since I did not want to take going to an area of the city I am not familiar with at  afternoon rush hour, I ended up having to take a different second dose.  At least I can do that locally.  There are studies showing that this will be a good to very good choice, but I am feeling a bit grumpy that the 'choice' was no choice at all.  Rush hour.  I mean, seriously.  

This was Tuesday's knitting.  It is moving along nicely.  

This was yesterday's knitting.  It too went along well. 

The big plus is that I am very near the end of the ball.  So sleeves and neckline finishes are next.  It also means that I will get the chance to put it on a string to see if what I hope is happening on the back of this shirt, is happening.  Fingers crossed.  If not, it isn't a loss.  It will just mean fewer back increases for the rest of the body.  

So I am knitting, printing patterns and taping them together today.  The knitting is so that I have a shirt to wear with the pants being made from the green fabric.  Finish one piece of clothing at  a time, you see and then get the rest of the things ready for sew appalooza next week.  

And note to self:  next time you have a thing you use regualrly but not heavily and it doesn't work reliably routinely well and wouldn't be easily repairable, replace it if you possibly can.  The new sewing machine has me wondering why on earth I went so long with the old one and it's quirks.  It is lovely.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021


There was knitting.  I am not sure if you can see how much farther it has come since the last time I showed this off, but far enough that I am pleased with the progress.  

It's about three and a half inches from the underarm now and is starting to show the shape I am hoping for.  (draping flowing back, regualr front)  Plus I am still on the big ball with lots of knitting left to do.

and when that is done, I still have this to knit through.

There are twelve balls of never been knit before, which will take this top to the longer length I am hoping for. Keeping my fingers crossed, though, just in case. I am going to keep going with the giant ball right now, but shen it is complete, I will knit the sleeves and neckline finishes so I can just keep knitting till it is all gone or until it is long enough for my liking.  

That alone made for a great days work, but what really sealed the deal of the day was that midway through, I got an email that my fabric was at the post office. 

Buying fabric online can be a crapshoot.  You have to accept that you are taking your chances with what you order so you had better be sure, and matching fabrics can be difficult. But when it comes and there is only one stinker in the bunch (which you sort of knew anyway), it is such a thrill.  

The greens match!  And the checked madras matches too!  And the yellow is the right tone of yellow.  I would have been more than happy if the yellow rose fabric only would have worked with the green so I am beyond pleased that it all works.  The green is for a nice flowing pair of pants, the rose fabric is my test fabric for the shirt pattern, the maddras is for a shirt.  The real conundrum is the yellow was for a dress patterns first try but now I am wondering if it should be just a nice tunic length or a full longer dress.  The dress is only because they really are cooler in summer, but how long should it be?  Dresses do look nice over long wide legged pants though so we shall see.

The lightweight denim is great, the black is perfect, but the red is bang on.  I worred about the red.  I was hoping for true red, not tomatoe red or even cherry red, just a nice crayon red is what I wanted.  And it is! 

The only stinker in the bunch is this.  

I thought it might be.  After I completed the order, I was looking at the fabric online again, and something about it just struck me.  It wasn't on a black background as I thought it was.  It was on a garnet coloured background.  I still hoped for a more  red garnet, but it quite solidly in the brown red mahogany camp.  Oh well.  I was thinking of this for a test fabric for the Sydney dress but now that I see it, I think it will be more useful as a test for the Otis overalls or for the Winslow culottes.  It has a bit of a stretch that might make a less than perfect fitting test of a pattern more wearable.  It is a fabric to get me there and away from my face, perfectly fine to wear.  Besides, the blue in the flowers matches the antique blue top I knit last year.  

And then to top off a perfectly lovely day, the notice that my sewing machine had arrived as well,  also popped in around lunch time.  My first machine was a Kenmore and it sewed for years and years and years. It was pretty basic and I wasn't sewing knits very often so it worked.  I was working at the office already when I bought the White sewing machine.    In a lot of ways it was a dud.  I had it since 97 or 98 but those years weren't big sewing years.  It sewed only off and on, cost a lot of money and was repaired twice after very little use and now needs a third repair.  Plus it would probably cost more to repair than a new machine and I would have to drive to the city.  Of all of these, the city driving is the straw that breaks the camels back.  

This one is not expensive, has a nifty threading feature which is really going to help keep me sewing longer and has all the stretchy stitches I need now that I am sewinng stretchy materials.  If it can get me through this batch of clothing and keep me going a few years, it will have been well worth the money.  

Today is bound to be full of adventures!  Off I go.