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Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

I’m coordinated

While on or off the slopes. I finished my Malabrigo mittens to match my upside down, tumbling block hat.

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Tres chic. Very warm and soft. Now I’m thinking of using up all my soft scraps in stranded hats and gloves. Worsted weight knits up so quickly. Only 42 stitches around for the mittens!

The winter weather is finally turning in my favor. By that I mean, we have a decent snow cover and I have a chance to use my season ski pass. I admit it. I’m a princess. I enjoy skiing midweek, early (snowboarders are either still asleep or in school and I won’t fear them scraping behind me at breakneck speed on the hill); when there’s enough snow covering crust or ice so I don’t hear myself scraping down the slope, and when the temperature is at least a balmy twenty degrees. It’s a lot easier keeping warm these days and not because I’ve switched to anything high tech. As a teen, I skied in cotton(!) thermal underwear, probably polyester or cotton socks, leather mittens and often went hatless so my hair could flow in the breeze. May have looked cute, but I froze my tuchas off!

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Now I wear wool from head to toe and am warm as a sheep.

On a final note, my stunning red bathing suit was a smashing success. Looked stylish and felt great, while I continue to be the worst, but most improved, swimmer in the pool. And you can bet I am the only one in a homemade bathing suit.

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I’m no Barbie

No one should be. I know this is old news, but someone figured she’d be 5’9″‘ with a 19″ waist, 35″ bust and feet so small she’d have to walk on all fours.
Barbie’s dimensions

I’m not your average, off the rack size either. Let’s just say my “core” is in the middle of a pear. There’s often a compromise in fit with dresses, coats and bathing suits. I may have the last one licked.

Sometime before the holiday, I went to a sale at a clothing maker’s house. She had a couple of yards of sparkly red swimsuit material and a pattern she said was easy and had good results. Now that my initial baby knitting and weaving is done, it was time for a project for me. One designed for me right from the beginning and not because a potential gift was flawed. The pattern is an old one from Stretch and Sew. It was easy to customize for me: small on top, not so small on bottom. It was a cinch. And it fits like a glove! Now to test it in the pool. I may still be the slowest but I bet I’m the only one in a home made bathing suit!

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Thinking of what to do with that truncated blanket. I thought about a sleeping bag but don’t think it’s PC any more.

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Instead, I may make a “sleep sack”. Sort of like a sleeping bag and a jumper combined. I guess that way the material is guaranteed to stay away from the face. I’m thinking of something like this but in wool. I have some blue wool material and thinsulate for the upper body and could attach it to the blanket bottom. We’ll see.

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I got my vintage Viking sewing machine today and almost burnt the house down. Not really but the pedal definitely overheated and the machine was revving like a race car. It looks like part of a ceramic (I hope) resistor(?) broke off and heat was being dissipated. I fixed it with some electrical tape and it’s back to normal. Just a reminder to watch these vintage electrical items. I never leave them plugged in when I am not using them. I’ll also treat the pedal very gingerly.

I also learned that just because I can quilt, doesn’t mean I can sew. I made the simplest and cutest baby sundress today, reversible with snaps! But I had to cut it out twice, because although I lined up with the fabric grain correctly, the little pattern was upside down. Not something you really think about when quilting
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I flipped everything around to get the flowers right side up, but still made the little bloomers upside down.

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Since I anticipate making lots of baby items I the upcoming years, I invested in a snap installer. Easy peasy and it allowed the little sundress to be completely reversible.

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I cut apart the rainbow blankets and tied fringe for the larger one. Looks like it’s time to hit the loom again.

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My new green machine

My, new to me, Husqvarna Viking sewing machine shipped to my office while we were in Maine. I work with such great people that we all, excitedly, gathered round while I unwrapped my purchase.

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It’s so retro and green. Look at this plaid fabric lining the case.

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It was manufactured in Sweden in 1959 and was under warranty until 1984. Lucky for me, it sews like a champ right out of the box.

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It can even sew buttons onto fabric!

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I love it because it’s mechanical, not computerized and I can see its working parts. I justify this purchase because it has a powerhouse motor, which I will need to sew new cushions and a sail cover for the boat.

But I’m sure I’ll find lots of other projects for it. In Sweden, they even use it to sew a form of Rya rugs. The mind boggles.

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Sewing with assistants

I learned to sew from the best surgeons. I entered medical school with knowledge of and some experience with embroidery but emerged from residency with a bounty of useful stitches and techniques.

My teachers’ words came to me yesterday as I was sewing a blanket stitch (known as the mattress stitch in medical parlance) on a rug I am trying to salvage.

The mattress stitch is used to approximate tissue (skin, fascia) that is bleeding. Tissue is actually easier to sew than a rug because it is alive and does most of the work on its own.

I wove my first rug with a cotton warp and wool weft and fulled it a bit too long in the washer. It shrunk to a strange size and list all the warp colors. So now, I have folded it in half, woven a tablet band and applied it on top, to remind me of the colors I lost in the wash. Next I evened up the edges, and embellished it, with a blanket stitch border.

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My technique felt awkward. I quickly realized why. I needed an assistant. In the operating room, someone always held the trailing thread and wrapped it around my needle as I sewed the mattress stitch ( and swabbed away blood).

In addition, it wasn’t going smoothly until I remembered the words, “always sew towards yourself”. I may have been slow to learn; one of my mentors once head butt me when he didn’t like my work. I’m still learning.

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The perspective of the rug photo isn’t good. In reality, it’s almost square.

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Well, actually my email delivers.  I’m headed off to visit family today, and like Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin, “I never visit empty handed.”  But what to bring a couple who have everything.  Maple syrup is always a good standby because we have delicious, local syrup in large quantities.

I opened my email yesterday and found a new video was uploaded by Missouri Quilt Company.  The tutorial demonstrates a french braid table runner.  I told Tim I was thinking about making a table runner and he said, “that’s the most useless gift ever.”  Perfect.

I found some stash material. My work area was already set up because I’m working on a large quilt.  By noon, I had it pieced and by dinner it was put together and quilted.Image

I stitched in the ditch with my walking foot for the borders and then practiced machine quilting.  My little Singer featherweight doesn’t like any of the free motion foots I have tried.  So, I use my regular foot, cover the feeder dogs with a business card and loosen the presser foot.  It seems to work.

Once again the universe delivers.  I have my gift and a lap blanket for the ride since the thermometer read 19 below zero this morning.Image

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I spent the past couple of days holed up inside finishing a number of fiber projects. I completed a zipper baby cardigan which I just love.

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The Marble Chunky yarn by James Brett is beautiful and will be machine washable. I knit a garter stitch button band as I went and it was so easy to insert a zipper by machine.

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It has a seed stitch yoke so I didn’t mind back and forth knitting but otherwise knit a bottom up raglan as one piece. Then to top it off, I made care labels by computer, printed directly onto fabric with Jacquard inkjet Fabric sheets. . The only drawback is I have to set the ink before I sew it on and don’t have any Scotchguard on hand.

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A favorite little summer dress of mine deteriorated and I decided to make a copy. I roughed out the pattern pieces on an old sheet and stitched away. I am pretty happy with the finished product.

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I finished a set of rag placemats on my rigid heddle loom. I may have worked up the courage to approach my floor loom again.

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So this morning I went fishing and spent most of the time trying NOT to catch the little minnows that were attracted to my lure. Not the elusive trout though.

Speaking of placemats and water, I devised these for the boat. I used that rubbery non-skid shelf liner and bound it with upholstery fabric. Hopefully it will keep the dishes in place.

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Finally, my clothing sewing began this summer with this cute little wrap dress. The rayon fabric is pretty but not quite stretchy enough so I look fine standing still but can’t reach for things too well.

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Bing, bing, bing. That’s a typical week for me. What will it be today?

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