November 27, 2012

A few small projects

 The frock coat is finally done.  There are a few issues with it, due to my just learning some of the basics of tailoring.  There will be a next one though and it will be even better.  The yellow bit underneath is a quickie vest I whipped up.  It will be remade one day as well.  This outfit will be useful when we visit certain friends.

As I'll be baking at the bake oven for a few days in December and the oven is outside, I thought I should make myself a nice warm hood to wear.   It is two layers of wool fabric, quilted with bamboo batting between them.  If I had thought about it properly, I would have carded up some wool and used it as the batting.  However the hood was a mock up experiment which worked quite well and I didn't think about the wool batting until the hood was completely finished.  I will say that leaving it on the styrofoam head where it got just a bit of light at night, was pretty eerie looking.  I had to move it and put the head back away.

The socks are done.  The pattern is much more clear when not having a flash reflect off the socks.  They fit nicely but they still need to be blocked.   I was thinking about making another pair of socks for December as it's always nice to have a small, portable project.  However, that quilt is calling to me.  It really needs my attention first.

November 20, 2012

Black on Black, with black thread....

Update on the coat I'm making.  I found the fabric in storage, having bought it ages ago.  It's a 2/2 twill which I'm pretty sure came from an unlabelled sale rack.  I did a flame test and it self extinguished and turned to a fine ash, so I think it's probably a wool blend of some kind.  It sews up quite nicely.

Here is my effort at a welted pocket with a flap.  I've done one welted pocket before and this one turned out quite nicely.  They aren't actually difficult, just fussy.  I'm happy that the underside looks as nice as the outside.  The pattern didn't call for an upper welt, but I think if I had to do it over, I'd probably put one in, just because it isn't too much more work.    These pockets are large enough to be more than decorative.

 I sort of wish I'd been able to find a nice polished cotton or some other interesting fabric for the lining, at least all but the sleeves, but in the time I had, this regular old lining fabric was the best solution I could find.

 The peplum lining is mainly sewn in by hand.   It's slip stitched along the hemline and on the back opening.  On the back, the two sides are slip stitched together.  This is when I really love my old thimble that actually fits.  Black on black, with black thread is something I'd not put into the equation.  Good thing my sewing room has pretty decent lighting.
The jacket top only really needs a few things left to do.  I should go back inside and do a bit of support stitching.  The buttons and button holes need to be made and if I have time, I'll do a prick stitch from the underside of the lapels to give them a bit of stability.  The pattern doesn't call for it, nor does it call for top stitching but it looks a little unfinished without something .  Perhaps the weight of the peplum will give it a more polished look.

What's left to do?  First, slip stitching the other half of the peplum lining.  Then assemble the two halves.   Attach the peplum to the top.  Then it's make the button holes and sew on the buttons!    Before the coat can be worn though, it will need a very thorough dehairing from the shedding cats.

November 14, 2012

Quilt Update

The quilt is not going to be made by October, but it is coming together, albeit slowly.  I did find my missing quilt squares.  I was obviously using my awesome observation skills, which unfortunately must fall someplace between non-existant and 11 year old boy who doesn't want to go find his missing mittens.  There were, exactly where I had left them.  No less, they were in the same place, the exact same place as the rest of them, just waiting for me.    They were all ready cut into four and ready to go.   I'd looked everyplace but where I'd put them in the first place!  sigh..

I've been using the treadle machine for this project and was happy about being able to leave the machine set up and just sew a few blocks when I had a few extra minutes.  However, it's been slow going, for only one reason.

Every single time I have a few minutes to sew the quilt, the kitten is sleeping on it.    He's a fairly active kitten, getting into mischief at every waking moment.  He's awake running, playing and finding new places to explore, conundrums to solve and figuring out new and exciting ways to get into what he was barred from yesterday.  I tend to let sleeping kittens sleep. 

While it does look like he's sleeping here, he's actually tussling with the quilt blocks.  It took a few tries to get him to explore elsewhere, while I started to lay them out.  It was short lived peace though as he decided to play with the potted plants, tumbling them to the ground from the bench in front of the window.    Emergency clean up and vacuum at the south window in aisle 1! 

Right now, my plans of getting 2 quilts done by Christmas are on the back burner.  Getting this single quilt done will be quite fine, thank you.

November 10, 2012

All in a Kitten's Day

I made a mock up of  the coat for my husband and it was way too big, although I'd used the smallest size.  I'm using a commercial pattern and I have 2 different brands which have a similar pattern.  I decided to trace off the second pattern as they have several smaller sizes.  Not wanting to cut the pattern before I knew what size would fit, I traced it off onto tissue paper.   Before I could cut the pattern and fabric, I had some chores to do.  From the kitchen, I could hear some rustling.  My son had made the kitten a paper ball, which he has been enjoying chasing about the house.  It makes just that type of rustling sound.  However, when I checked up on things, I found that the kitten was not chasing his ball but rather my pattern!  It is so shredded and crumpled that I'll have to trace out a new one. 

Please note the multiple ends - all kitten chewed up!
I was finally able to spin again.  I blended up some Polwarth and some Alpaca to make some mitten yarn.   I spun and spun and spun.  I plied it up and it was a lovely, soft, yummy 2 ply yarn.  I wet finished it and let it dry.  That was a couple of days ago.  Today I went to skein it up and what did I find?  Broken ends..... Lots of broken ends.  I'm guessing they were kitten chewed.  The longest piece of yarn left is almost 8 yards long.  Everything else is shorter.  Much of the skein is in piece which are a yard or less long.  No mittens will be made from this yarn!  

To chase away any horrible feelings from the chewed yarn and shredded patterns, here is a photo of a pretty sunset which we had the other night.  Actually was the first sunset we'd had in ages, due to rain and grey, dull weather.

November 05, 2012

Spinning days off..

A few days ago, I was forced to take a few days off from spinning.   Not wanting to sit around doing nothing,  I managed to finish up the socks I'd been knitting.  They still need to be blocked, but they're done!  I did a grafted toe on these.  Lately I've been doing a cinched toe on my socks, as described in an article in Knitty.  While I really like the toe closure in the article as it actually fits my feet nicely, I feel that once in a while I should at least pay lip service to grafting practice.  These socks closed up really nicely with grafting.   Yes, they are a little long.  Sometimes I make the cuffs/leg an extra inch longer just to make a more effective winter sock.

Still needing something to do, I checked out Ravelry's Sock Knitters Anonymous group to see what their monthly challenges were.  This month is textured socks and there is a Mock, or Mystery Sock project.  This is a pattern which usually comes in 4 parts over the whole month.  I downloaded part 1 and started in.  This is clue one.  I've started the second sock as well, so hopefully in a couple of days, when clue 2 comes out, I'll have both socks ready to start on the next set of instructions.  I'm knitting from both ends of the yarn cake, so that is proving to be an interesting effort.  It didn't help today when I found my working yarn in broken, still wet with kitten drool, I'm guessing.

I did start a new coat for my husband.   I found  a length of black misc. fabric in a bin.  I've the muslin made and should have it fitted later this evening.  Then I can start cutting and sewing in earnest.   As well, tomorrow, I should be able to spin again... yay! 

November 02, 2012

November Colours

We've had day after day of gloomy grey skies and dreary rain.  For about 5 minutes today, the sun peeked through the dark, heavy skies, creating a cheerful glow.  I grabbed my camera as an excuse to be outside.  As always, I was greeted by my little flock.  They are truly a little flock now as we lost 4 over the summer to raccoons and hawks.  They are very, very careful now, except when they see me.  They race to see if I have a treat for them, be it a snack from the kitchen or worms from digging in the garden.  If I don't, they'll visit for a few minutes before wandering off back to their daily chores.

This is what is left of our Golden Rod.  No longer the bright, warm bits of gold in the garden and on the roadsides, the soft fuzziness of the spent flowers have their own beauty. 

One of the Rudbekia plants refuses to give in to the weather.  It's still struggling to flower.  I don't know what variety it is, but it flowers earlier than my Rudbekia Goldsturm and straggles on until the heavy frosts.

The sun was disappearing quickly and in the field behind the house, the colours shifted in the changing sunlight.

Other than the Willows which seem to be the first to leaf out and the last to drop their leaves, and the Oaks, which hold on to their leaves until the winter winds force them to the ground, this little shrub is the last plant holding on to it's leaves.  It is a splash of gold in what has been a very dull two weeks.