Thursday, March 31, 2016

Well...............

It's the last day of March and I am still at 45 yards....because I started my new job on Tuesday!

This has been the wildest thing.  My hip has gotten better, and I had started looking through jobs trying to decide what I could do that would work with my hip.  My background is outside sales and fundraising, which are both long hours and a lot of stress, and I don't think I'd be able to do that.  And not being able to sit for long periods of time rules out many things.  I had just been wondering about retail, when I saw an ad for a music store.  Did I mention that I have 4 guitars, a piano, a keyboard, and a trumpet?  So, it was just 2 weeks ago from tomorrow that I emailed my resume, had 2 interviews last week, and started Tuesday.  There is a lot to learn, and today will be my third day, and I still can't believe someone is going to pay me to talk to people about music all day.  If I could work yarn or fabric into this scenario, I might not even come home nights. 

Once things settle down a bit, I think I will still be able to manage a little sewing each day, so I don't think 200 yards is impossible just yet, but this week is a bit overwhelming.

And I finish the month with:

Yards of fabric: 17
Yards of yarn: 372
Skeins of yarn: 1

Still not bad considering the whirlwind of the last 2 weeks.  :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

45!

The pants are finished except for adding the elastic, which puts me over 45 yards so far for the year, and as my friend, Gaidig, pointed out, I didn't start trying to reach 200 yards until February, so being a little short this quarter is okay.

The jacket is just down to attaching the sleeves and the narrow hem around the entire edge of the jacket, so it could still happen as well.  The tank top is pretty simple, and I've attached the facing (which I'd be showing you except black on black on black looks like pretty much nothing) for the neckline, but it's going a bit slower.  But I'll either get one more thing done by the end of the month or have two early projects finished next month. And without solving the question of whether my records are wrong, or if there is also a 6-yard piece of this fabric lurking somewhere in the sewing room.  Let's call it a secondary goal to know what's actually IN my fabric stash, shall we?

Yesterday was Me Made Monday, and I did indeed wear things I made:  years ago I made the same pattern I'm making now out of a heavier fabric, and the pants do that dreadful corduroy "whoosh-whoosh" when I walk, and the tank top is so large that the straps are constantly sliding off.  Lesson learned on THAT project:  don't cut patterns on the fold of a fabric that is too resilient to fold flat. With this charming ensemble, I wore my very first project from my very first year of Cold Sheeping back in 2008:


 This is the picture from when it was first finished.  It now looks 300 years old.  I used Knit Picks Shine Worsted, and between the pilling and leaving Pepto-Bismal fuzz everywhere, it is by far the most disappointing yarn I have ever used.  It's soft, but that's about all that can be said for it.  But I thought it topped off the disaster ensemble rather nicely.............

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Rats

Thursday I did indeed finish the skirt!
And for one brief, shining moment, I thought I had found a "freebie."  Last year I finished these pants,
 up to the point where they would get elastic for the waist.  Since I was putting elastic in the waistband of the skirt, I put some in the pants as well, and was hoping to get to count the yardage for the pants--but I found I'd already done so.  However, I get to count it as a finished project, though as my goal for the year is 50 finished projects and I'm now at 26 with 3/4 of the year left to go, that's less exciting.  Oh well.  I do have a new skirt and a new pair of pants. 

With--or in spite of--Theo's help,
 I got the lining for the tank top cut out, sewed the darts and the shoulder seams,
 and I am happy to say that I figured out this was not going to work at this point, rather than after sewing the pieces together at the neckline.  This is usually the sort of thing that I don't figure out until FAR more seam ripping is involved, so this is big for me. 

I had hoped to start cutting the next project,
but Theo spent most of the day on my fabric.  And I now know that it holds cat hair really, really, REALLY well.  Probably good to know.

I didn't have time to do anything yesterday, but this morning Theo is out napping on one of the patio chairs, so hopefully I can get the peachskin cut out.  I thought about moving on to one of the stiffened fabrics,
 but the black set would add more pieces and more versatility to my wardrobe--and at least the pants are pretty quick to make, which would at least get me to 45 yards before the end of the month.  I'm using the same jacket pattern on the peachskin as the butterfly print, so I could cut them both out and work on them at the same time.  And the butterfly jacket would go with the black pants and shirt, so this could be considered wardrobe planning, I think.  Hard to say as I've never really managed to do it. 

Today marks 90 days since I last bought fabric!  It hasn't yet gotten easier, and I had Andy take me when I needed to pop in to Joanns to pick up a button as I just don't think I can be trusted.  I would have imagined that sorting my fabrics and finding things I didn't even remember would feel like buying new fabric, but it doesn't.  It does, however, at least scare me somewhat and it helps when I can line up several more projects to do to keep my mind off new fabric.  It does help a bit that I still have much more fabric to sort through, and heaven only knows shat I'll find.  Has Jimmy Hoffa ever been located?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Trying to Get To 50

I'm trying to always plan a bit ahead with my sewing--leaving something pinned and ready to sew for the next day, having a next project lined up--that sort of thing.  It helps keep my mind off buying MORE fabric, and it's actually really helping with getting more done.  So this morning when I came into the sewing room with my coffee,
I could finish another seam while waiting for the computer to boot up.  Maybe I really CAN get to 200 yards this year.  If I can reach 50 yards by the end of the month, I'll be on track. 

Sitting too long anywhere makes my hip hurt, so I had to take a break from the sewing machine after attaching 4 of the godets, and Calisto and I decided to talk about the next project. 
Theo has obviously been coaching her on her "helping" techniques.  I think this fabric is a black peachskin I bought to make the green outfit in this pattern:
I've used this pattern quite a bit--having made all the pieces in a green and black paisley peachskin (though I left off the pockets of the skirt, my hips needing no further bulk added to them with strangely-placed pockets), and I wear it a lot because it looks nice and doesn't wrinkle.  In my stash spreadsheet I show 6 yards of black peachskin, but I haven't run across a bigger piece, so maybe I used part of it?  Got it wrong?  It's hard to say, as I haven't been terrific about always adding things, and if I don't have one of my cards attached to the fabric, I couldn't say for sure that it's even in the spreadsheet.  If, however, there are 6 MORE yards of this stuff, that's fine--black is always useful.   This piece is exactly 4.875 yards, which is exactly the yardage I would need to make all three pieces, so I'm thinking this is the fabric I'm looking for.  Note to self:  not keeping track of ALL the fabric one buys doesn't really make the stash smaller.  
 
 I also sorted through my pattern stash to find some new patterns to work with
 based on fabrics I know I have.  Oddly, THAT is something I've never bothered to do.  My approach to wardrobe planning has always been a bit hit or miss, and when it comes down to planning a wardrobe to sew, completely non-existent.  Picking out the black outfit that would coordinate with all the paisley pieces is a very big step for me.  The odds of me actually getting all three pieces done by the end of the month aren't good, and I'd still be short of 50 yards even if I did, but if I didn't sleep the rest of the month, there is the border print that I cut,
 which was REALLY fast to put together as a table runner and now just needs to have the batting and backing added.  And only 7 days to do all of this?  Sure.........who needs sleep?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

So Far, No Sociopaths

Yesterday I got all the pieces of the skirt cut out and mostly marked,
and I think I might have an idea why the pattern was so difficult for me.  Looking at the layout chart.
there are 8 identical rectangular strips, and 8 triangular godets, one between each strip.  For reasons known only to the pattern manufacturers, in spite of being absolutely identical and having exactly identical notches, they have chosen to mark them as front and back and side pieces, and without knowing that it doesn't matter in the slightest, I was probably driven half mad trying to keep my backs and fronts separate from my sides.  There is an optional drawstring, which would make "front" a bit important, but as I didn't include it the first time, it wouldn't have mattered in the slightest.  It's just this:
over and over and over and over.  I'm not even using the pattern instructions at this point.  For future pattern notes, this gets to be a very boring skirt.

Since I had an extra yard of material left, I altered a sleeveless tank pattern,
and cut out a shell.  I had worked out how to make a facing piece to cover the armholes and neckline, but 
as thin as the fabric is, I'm thinking just a full lining is in order.  While I like to wear shells with jackets, I would like to occasionally be able to take the jacket off without being just this side of naked.  So, I'll be cutting two more pattern pieces, if there's enough fabric. Otherwise, I have some lining, which would be less ideal but will work. 

The skirt is, quite honestly, pretty monotonous, and while there is still one silky fabric prepped, I haven't found a pattern for the fabric, so
I've been lining up the next ones to prep.  In theory, the stabilizer works with knit fabrics as well, and the blue is a really obnoxious jersey, so it will be a good test.  If all goes well,
I'm thinking the full-length pants and the sleeveless top of this pattern.  I have knit fabrics in my stash, but my first attempt to work with a knit fabric was an irrecoverable mess that put the Fear of Stretchiness into me.  Strange for a knitter, I suppose, except that a hand-knit item meeting a sewing machine is either a tragic accident or steeks, which are justifiably terrifying by themselves.  But because I am ME, being afraid to sew them has not stopped me from buying knit fabrics, so if the stabilizer works, there's a lot of fabric that will change from just needing to be dusted to USABLE STASH.  Because, you know, I was running so short....

The shock was too much for Theo:
Can you believe that THIS is the cat I'm treating for stress issues?

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Stay Focused On The Yardage

When I tried out the fabric stiffener, I prepped 4 fabrics.  Of course, what I'm dying to do is to use the stiffener on the butterfly fabric, but I don't know how long this stuff lasts, so
 this morning I am going to use up the coral fabric I've already stiffened.  There are 7 yards of this stuff, six of which will be used for this skirt:
I've made this pattern before--the long version--and I really like the skirt, though in all fairness I seem to not be the sort of person who can wear "maxi" skirts.  I don't know how other people cope, but instead of looking elegant in a flowing full-length skirt, I'm the clumsy dope who is always tripping over the skirt.  So I've shortened the pattern pieces by 4 inches. 

Usually, it's nice to make patterns that I've used before, because I've worked out all the details and know what to expect.  I put the pieces in a file folder with the edges stapled shut, then write any appropriate notes on the back.  However, on this one, it seems I was a bit vague:
In case you can't read that, my only note on this one says, "Cute skirt, but pattern written by sociopaths with dyslexia."  I'm guessing I had a few problems making this skirt, don't you think?  But it uses 6 whole yards of fabric, which would get me over 40 yards of fabric for the year so far.  This is what I'm going to focus on.  And a glass of wine this evening if things go badly......

Monday, March 21, 2016

Well, Where Did THAT Week Go?

Hm--it's been a whole week since my last post. How did that happen?

I've been a bit more sore this week (still), though I did manage to get the buttons attached to Andy's shirt:
finished the tunic for me:
started the next project:
which I have been dying to use.  I have loved this border print since I first saw it in Joann's, and ordered 3 yards of it when it went on sale last fall.  Now that I've done a few table runners with 60-degree triangles, I have 3 or 4 different layouts I want to try with this, so the 3 yards might not be such a bad thing.  It did take a while and a bit of Pinterest surfing to decide where to cut, but this was the most popular place:
Did you know how long it takes to cut three yards of fabric into strips?  So, this isn't very far along. 

The BIG achievement of the week is:
FLOOR SPACE!!!!!!!  Since I bought my thread chest, the box it cam on has been next to my tv stand as a place for the cats to sleep (because they're not spoiled at all).  Being the sewing room and right inside the door, lots and lots of stuff ended up on top of it, because it is a seriously sturdy box:
and only those who haven't moved often wouldn't swoon at the sturdiness of this box.  We'll have been here 10 years in July and have zero plans to move, but it's still a difficult box to give up.  We frequent movers never lose that cardboard obsession, it seems.  However, it is OUT of the sewing room, the stuff on top of it has been put or thrown away, and there is one uncluttered spot of floor in the sewing room.  Whoo hoo!!!!

I also did a bit of work on the upper fabric shelf:
which holds a scary amount of fabric, and as I'm not going to get to it all this year, I'm trying to get it all covered up and protected from dust and light.  And to make sure I know what I have. 


This:
 is an odd sort of utility fabric that I got to make Christmas and summer pillows with.  Then there's 4 yards of turquoise poplin:
that goes really well with 6 yards of a turquoise cotton print:
 so I think a "wardrobe ensemble" could be in order here.  I also found some coral cotton sheeting
in a color that matches exactly nothing I own, so whatever it becomes, it needs to be something that doesn't need a coordinating piece.  It's very cheery, though.  However, what I really wanted to find was this:
which I had a friend pick out to make her a dress several years ago, and I've never gotten around to it.  It got moved to the "this year" pile, which is currently a Rubbermaid container right outside the sewing room door, and which I have to walk past ever single day.  It's a pretty decent reminder, and there's a big part of me hoping that all the fabrics in it will be used up by the end of the year so I won't have to find a place in the sewing room for them.  Fingers crossed!  I added this as well:
which is 3 1/3 yards of a chiffon print.  It was an impulse buy, but isn't it lovely?  That could pretty much be the motto of the entire sewing room.

Today is Me Made Monday, but this time I was a bit ahead of myself.  This
 made its first appearance last night when we had friends over--which led to a little "fixing" today.  I hadn't finished the seams attaching the sleeves (for whatever reason) and they were unraveling quickly.  So I fixed that and also turned in the outer hem one more time because the jacket edges roll and the serging was obvious.  It was okay in general, but I think I'll look for better patterns for the fabrics I want to make light jackets out of.  The "quick" pattern from the internet required a lot of time to fix, and the jacket kept falling off my shoulders all night.  This
 is one of my favorite things I've ever made, and yes, the pattern requires more effort in layout and cutting, but it's a much better end result as well, and will be fabulous in the butterfly print.  I'm sure I have something similar for the smaller pieces I found recently.  And with the fabric stiffener and surgical tape to help with the pinning problems, it might be a LOT easier than the first one anyway. 

Yesterday was the first day of spring, and:
our forsythia is blooming!!!  It adds a nice touch to my sewing table, don't you think?

Monday, March 14, 2016

One Year and One Day Later..........

On March 13, 2015 I finished this:
and wore it for the first time today.  I really do love the jacket, but it was already too warm for it by this time last year.  No worries this year--rain, sun, hail on and off--and that was just today.  Wearing it made me want to immediately cut out yet another one, which is ridiculous as they take a LOT of sewing for not very much yardage, and I have other fabrics prepped and ready to use first.  And the 25 pattern pieces involved, almost all of which require 3 seams (together, edgestitch, quarter-inch topstitch) making it THE most time consuming project I could think of. 

I'm guessing I cave and start another one by April 15..........What do you think?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

It's Done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last night I finished up the buttonholes on Andy's belated shirt,
and today added the buttons.  I've been hurting more this weekend, so I've been mostly on the heating pad, but with a little help from muscle relaxers today, I've been able to be up and about.  They're maybe not exactly great for one's sewing, since the first thing I did was to attach the pocket flap with the Velcro side UP
but things got a bit better as I went along and the pants are now done and the whole thing is in the washing machine as I write this.  The whole thing used up 4 yards from the stash, so I'm just under 36 yards of fabric for the year.  To get to 200 yards, I should be at 50 yards by the end of the month, so
I'm laying out one of the other fabrics treated with stiffener, and my helper and I
are cutting out another tunic--this time in a bit nicer fabric.  To be honest, I love this fabric, and I did debate whether a tunic was good enough for it, but I've now worn the dragon print tunic and really like it, so I think I'll like it even more in this fabric.  Calisto already loves it.  It will only add another 2 yards of fabric to the tally, but that's okay.  It will be more fabric out of stash.  This is the main thing.  Sooner or later, all this will add up to a visible dent......like maybe by November?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Cotton Yarn In The Air

Today I received an email offering a cotton-scented candle free with the purchase of cotton yarn. So, YES, there IS a perfectly normal explanation for why I am sniffing cotton yarn this morning.....

I don't smell anything--maybe this is why I don't own too much cotton yarn.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I've Slowed Down a Bit

I didn't sew at all yesterday, but I did remember it was Me Made Monday, so I wore one of my favorite sweaters
 in an effort to remind myself that there are often about 10 days in the entire year when cotton sweaters actually fit the temperature because the catalogs are coming.  There is no bigger pain than trying to splice cotton or weave in cotton ends, but every spring those bright colors of cotton trying to suck me in with their promises of bright colors at 12-year-old models frolicking on the beach.  Thank heavens,
there is cotton fabric.  Theo has rediscovered the joys of sewing, and has become quite a determined sidekick, which has slowed down progress--as if I needed any help with that.

The pants I'm making have a drawstring, which I usually don't actually make as turning long, skinny tubes of fabric inside out ranks just after frogging mohair on my list of Activities to Make One Drink, but thanks to Nancy Zieman, I  now own a set of these:
 They're bias tape makers, but they also save one from turning tubes.  I basically feed the fabric in one end, then follow behind the small end with the iron and the ends are folded inside, then I folded the edges together and stitched it all up.  That Nancy is certainly an enabler, but she does tend to also be right about such things.  So, the drawstring is all done, and this morning I'm making my way through the stack of "pinned and ready to sew" pieces I put together Sunday night:
 I'm trying to get into the habit of leaving everything ready for the next step before  I stop sewing, so if I only have a few minutes, I can still get some things done instead of wondering where I was at and where everything went.  It's a level of organization I have generally been incapable of, but 200 yards of fabric in a year calls for desperate measures.

I'm not doing nearly as well with my resolution to buy no craft related items this year.  These:
are my newest acquisitions.  I learned to sew in 4-H when I was a kid, but I didn't learn much, in all honesty.  Nothing about changing needles to fit projects (or when they were just old), nothing about fitting, nothing about dealing with different fabrics--really, nothing except that I had to rip out any stitching that wasn't perfectly straight because I had to get a blue ribbon.  You can imagine how much fun THAT was, so after two painful years,  I gave it up and refused to ever sew anything again. Now, however, without someone looming over me to tell me I'm doing everything wrong, I enjoy it, but I still don't know very much about it.  The Super Stitches book is new, and probably geared toward someone fairly new to sewing, but while I have all these great utility stitches on my machine, not even the book that came with the machine explains what they are FOR.  If I tell my machine I'm sewing with heavy woven fabric, it picks a particular buttonhole, but I don't know why, and the sewing books I've located are too simple.  At first, I was going to wait until the end of the year, but as this year I am making a lot of clothes, making those clothes CORRECTLY would be kind of nice.  The shirtmaking book I had borrowed from the library, and two of his techniques have already made collar points SO much better that I knew I would buy the book, and again, I'm making shirts this year, so why not learn it now.  So, I have broken that resolution, but this should keep me busy for the rest of the year, so hopefully I'm back on the wagon for the rest of the year.  AND I'm going to find out what all those extra stitches on my machine actually DO,  Seriously, the Platinum 770 that I bought on Ebay a few years ago has so many stitch options that I've only been guessing which one is the actual zig-zag. NOW I'm not buying any more books though.  Really.  I promise.  I've made it seven whole days now......