Thursday, January 29, 2009

For Gwen

These are William's temples. He used the sample end off the last towel warp to make them. They are just very basic drawstring bags that he filled with pebbles (rice or sand would work also)

He uses bent paper clips to attach them to the edges of the selvedge. They help you keep a square grain in your fabric and also make it easier to keep your selvedges neat.

There is a corresponding one on the other edge.

Check out the information at The Woolgatherers. She has a wealth of information including this page on homemade temples. She does some really lovely work, especially in linen

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

William is also busy

William has been working this month on another set of towels.

The beginning of the month- warped and ready to go. Notice that there is fabric being used as a warp separator. William did go to lease sticks for these towels, but we didn't have enough. Careful wrapping of the fabric, to make sure it doesn't bunch makes it useable with fewer tension issues than on the last warp.

The first towel

These are two variations of the dornick twill (quite similar to a herringbone- the difference is in how the v's of the pattern meet up - in a herringbone, it will be a continuous pattern of v's in one color vvvvvvvv- in a dornick, the v's are offset one white v one black v,etc.

Another weft color
The second variation, with the squares, is just a different treadling pattern.

He's on a business trip right now, but hopes to finish these up in the beginning of February and start a new project. I think he warped 10 towels and has 7 done.

Quilting Progress

Well, I've gone from this

to this

since the beginning of the year...

Right now I'm trimming all of the squares(or octagons rather)and then comes the fun part.

I get to put them up on the wall and decide which goes where!

Then have to put corners on all of them and sew them together...then quilt and bind it!

Deep breath. This is a big project with a tight deadline. The best way to get through it is one step at a time.

Wish me luck

Some stats:
Quilt for my sister-in-law's wedding in March
5760 pieces (already down to 2400- hooray!)
You can get the idea of what this will like at the top of my blog- I used the same pattern to make the quilt that is used as the background to the title.
This is a scrap quilt- it has lots of treasures: scraps from clothing my mother made my brother & I when we were little, a piece of fabric that was my grandmother's. Fabrics from friends in California, fabrics from almost every quilt I have made and lots of the clothes I've made for Coleen too.
The original quilt had larger squares - I believe they were 6", but for this quilt I shrunk them to 4" because I wanted to use the above scraps and a lot of them were not big enough to get pieces out of for a 6" block.
That means there will be 480 blocks in this quilt.

I hope to have it up on the wall by this weekend.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Winter Wonderland

What looked like a cold, wintry day yesterday

actually turned out quite lovely except the wind felt like it was blowing right through you.

I had to go over to Winona, Minnesota to run some errands. The last two pictures are from Lake Winona right in the middle of town. There are parks and walking trails all the way around the perimeter. Yesterday, there weren't many people out walking but there were several out on the lake ice fishing.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Year in Review 2008

After surveying what everyone else had done last year, I had decided against doing this post because I felt there really wasn't that much. But Coleen insisted that I take a look at what I had done and I was really surprised by how much I had accomplished. The first half of the year was largely taken up with doing 7 bridesmaids dresses (I made all of them in this picture, except the one on the far right),

but I still managed to make Coleen a blouse and a couple pairs of pants.

I also made an outfit for a client from a piece of lovely silk an exchange student from Thailand had given her.

In the second half of the year, I made more pants for Coleen (we both made pairs at the same time- which is a great way to teach someone how to sew- especially, if you are like me and are always trying to show your pupil how to do something - this way I could do exactly that and still leave it for her to do on her own pair),

We also did the same thing with t-shirts.

I tweaked the pattern for shirts for William until he is very happy with the fit,

I made Coleen a hobbit costume for Halloween

and even turned out a couple of skirts and t-shirts for myself.

I learned a great deal making a winter coat for Coleen,

managed to make Christmas presents for family

and ended the year with making a poodle skirt for a client.

Here's hoping 2009 is just as productive!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Poodle Skirt

A sewing client asked me to make a poodle skirt for her granddaughter for a Christmas present. After some brief research on the internet, I decided I could make it without a pattern. There could be nothing simpler. It is a full circle skirt and because she was unsure of her granddaughter's exact waist measurement, I put elastic in the waist so it could be easily adjusted if it ended up too big.

All you need for a skirt like this is two yards of 72" wide felt, a poodle applique, some ribbon and elastic for the waist.

First take your fabric and fold it into fourths. (In the picture above I have drawn the waist arc and am now measuring the hem arc.) Starting at the center point, draw an arc where you want to cut out the waist. For an approximately 30" waist, I cut out a 4" arc. From this line, measure how long you want the skirt and add an inch and a half to turn over for the waistband. I only added an inch and used 3/4" wide elastic. This leaves a very tight opening to get the elastic through, so if I were doing it again, I'd add the half inch and give myself some breathing room. The felt won't fray, so you don't need to worry about a hem allowance. This skirt was to be 27", so I measured my second arc at 28". In the next picture you can see both arcs drawn. It is now ready to cut out.

I then cut along both arcs and then unfolded the skirt:

I then folded over my waistband to the inside and stitched it shut using my blind hemming foot. I have found I use this foot a lot for edgestitching as I can but the fabric up against it and be a lot more consistent. I left an opening to insert the elastic. When I removed it from the machine, I inserted the elastic, stitched the ends together and closed the opening.

At this point you have a skirt and all that is left is the embellishment. I put the skirt on my dress form, figured out where I wanted the poodle and then took a spool of 1/8" wide ribbon and played with it until I had a leash I liked. I pinned it and then took the skirt off the dress form and sewed the ribbon down by hand, smoothing out the curves as I went along.

If I were to do this again, I think I would add a separate waistband piece. It would just give a more finished look. I think it turned out well though and my client was very pleased.

Christmas Presents

Now that Christmas is over, I can finally show the projects that William and I were working on.

William made dish towels from the Keep it Simple Pattern in the downloadable book top ten towels on 4 shafts

I made these clever Criss-Cross Coasters. I followed the tutorial at
allsorts. She does such a good job explaining how to make them. Just follow the link.

Coleen made owls for all of her cousins. All of them are really into the Harry Potter books and so she wanted all of them to have their own personal Hedwig.

She made painted glass objects for everyone else on her list this summer in a glass painting class she took at College for Kids in Winona, MN. Somehow I neglected to get pictures of them, but she had lots of fun making them.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009 Resolutions

I have been thinking about what I would like to accomplish with my sewing in the next year ever since people started posting before Christmas. Here's what I have come up with.

1. Make pants that fit me well. This is from ground zero. I have not even made any pants for me yet. I know all the steps though because I've made my daughter's pants for years. Will it be difficult? A lot of alterations? I don't have any idea, but I am always putting them off... This is the year to get over the hump.

2. Be more balanced between my sewing and business sewing. I find myself swinging wildly between the two. If I have a big job, I'll become so obsessed, I don't do any of my other projects and then I'll resent that it took all of my time. The time doesn't necessarily need to be equal, but I need to feel like I am accomplishing something of my own or else the work part will become no fun.

3. Part of being able to being more balanced with my sewing is making sure I spend at least 30 minutes in my sewing room every day. Even if this time is just spent cleaning, I will feel more like spending time down there if I have the discipline to do it every day.

4. Find some quick and easy knit top patterns that I love and always have one ready to work on. Most of what I have right now are turtlenecks- great for this time of year, but it will eventually warm up. If I had some TNT patterns that I could whip up, I could be ready for spring.

I could probably list a dozen other things, but I think I will try and keep it manageable.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

And now back to our regularly scheduled program...

It was a wonderful holiday season and now it is time to get back to schedules and deadlines. I was sort of lazy over the last two weeks and now feel I have some posts to catch up on! I have really enjoyed reading everyone's posts about what they've accomplished in 2008 and their goals for 2009. I'll get there. I just have a couple of posts to write before that...

First off-

Christmas was delightful. We opened presents, had a late breakfast and went skiing! The snow was perfect and the trails were in good shape. The world is so beautiful and quiet with a layer of new snow over it. We then came home and baked a ham and had a delicious meal with horseradish brussels sprouts and cream biscuits. That evening it snowed again. What a great Christmas present - good weather on one of the days that we could all enjoy it as a family.

To top it off we had a Christmas pudding. Here is a picture of when we lit it.

We had it warm with whipped cream on top. It was quite delicious and worth the wait... we cooked them in October and they have been aging in the refrigerator since.
As good as it was warmed on Christmas Day. It is even better the week after: sliced with butter and a cup of strong tea.

Some favorite gifts? Warm slippers, an extra-wide ironing board, a new cuisinart and a wonderful handmade apron. All of which have already been put to good use.

I always make something for Coleen to wear for Christmas - I really like how this turned out. It's from Ottobre... one of the boy's patterns. That's another post to write.

Thomas, being the cat he is, felt it was all for him and picked his own present from among the many offerings...

a close second for him was probably the marble run Coleen got from my parents. He was fascinated by those marbles moving down the track.

Lucy, our other cat, was not sure about the whole unwrapping presents thing. She is skittish to begin with and all that noise was enough to drive her downstairs until the craziness was over. She, however, loved the fact that we had a tree in the house. She spent most of her time under it and I am sure she was saddened when we removed the tree yesterday.

I hope your holiday season has brought the year to a good end and that you feel refreshed and ready to face the joy and the challenges of the new year.

Happy New Year to everyone!