Ever Practical


On our first day of waking up to below freezing temps a rayon challis Carolina Mae (Sis Boom Patterns) is on the cutting table.  Because of the close fit Swedish tracing paper is out and old curtains are in for muslining the bodice.  Thoughts so far on this pattern are that the instructions are awesome with lots of tips for fitting and alterations and that the pattern offers lots of options.  The only negative so far is that the pattern is 369 pages long in order to have each size printable separately.  Thank goodness that newer patterns commonly nest the sizes for ease of grading and layer the PDF for ease of printing.  There was sooooo much wasted paper in the assembly and cutting out phase.    My muslin seems to fit well apart from it not meeting correctly in the back it overlaps 3+” at the waistband and doesn’t quite meet at the top.  Hopefully, this will be simple enough to fix by simply adding 3/4″ to each side at the center back top, removing 1″ from at the center back seams on the bottom and grading in between the two.   That should leave some ease for the waistband while allowing room for zipper installation.  Possibly, I should move the front darts a bit more toward the center.   If all of this works out maybe a flannel version with  pleats rather than gathers in the skirt will be in order.  All of this doesn’t help my winter wardrobe much, but it did allow me enough time to decide that the Seamwork Oslo isn’t  a silhouette that suits me and saved me from wasting my lovely grey ribbed sweater knit.

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Gametime Reindeer

Beginning Reindeer and Santa Candle Mat

Needed another small project for our monthly gaming session so I dug this out and am continuing my head start on holiday prep.  This is Santa and Reindeer by Bareroots. It turned out the embroidery really would like to be marked before stitching.  Finishing will have to wait for next session.  Not wanting to source all of the felts, I purchased the kit, which was diappointing in that the light blue had been replaced with grey (above) and they left out the DMC for Santa’s face.  Still a fun easy stitch so far.

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Oslo vs Oslo

Having just plain given up on proper photos, this post is brought to you once again by keeping it real complete with frizzy hair, a lack of ironing and soapy kid fingerprints all over the mirror used to create these bathroom selfies.  This is the case of two Seamwork Oslos.  Both are sewn in Rayon/lycra jersey with at least 95% rayon.  The first, in navy, is a large with 3″ added to the sleeves and the cuffs eliminated.  Like the creature from the black lagoon, it swims.  Just look at those underarms…


The second, in dusty rose, is a medium back, a medium front in the shoulders with a faux knit fba and grading to a large at the waist and hips for the front pieces, which simply seem not wide enough to me.  Another inch of length has been added to the sleeve.  With the changes in the shoulder I trimmed an inch of width off of the upper sleeves to narrow them and fit them to the new armscythe.  Even with clear elastic in the shoulder seams (standard) this shoulders seem to droop a lot.  They don’t want to be any where near my shoulders.  Yes, this is a design feature.  As I’ve said before, drop shoulders aren’t my thing.  Taking a look at the underarm on this one the fit is much better.  When considering these, please understand that the wrinkly sleeves and wavy hems on the rose version are due to not ironing during any phase of construction. It is hot off the sewing machine and a quick pass with an iron or trip through the drier will eliminate those.  Neither happened, because I had no idea if this project would be worth doing or would come together alright and plenty of other things to do that day.

rose oslo

These two wear in completely different ways and the bad part is I’m still not sure the pattern is worthy of my good sweater knit.  Any ideas on how changing to a heavier knit would change the drape or wear?  Do you think I should bother giving this pattern one more try?  The collar doesn’t seem to lie right in either version and is entirely unaltered.

My big plus from this is watching some of the piles of fabric finally turn into clothes again.  I’ve missed sewing this summer.

Happy Stitches to you.




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Play It Again Sam

Oslo Muslin 2

Among the jumbled pile of fabrics upon our guestbed sat some dusty rose rayon jersey.  Much the same as the navy I used for my Oslo muslin it could nicely fill a niche color- and garment-wise.  It had turned out to be too thin for a decent Myrtle and become a fabric orphan. This was just the push I needed to work the adjustments to see if I would like the Oslo better with a better fit through the shoulders.  The new version is cut as a medium through the shoulders with a fake knit FBA and 4 inches added to the sleeves to eliminate the cuff.  One more muslin will probably be necessary for the fit to be good enough for a heavier weight fabric, but once sewn up this should tell me if it is headed in the right direction or just a headache.

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Enchantress Progress

enchantress whole october 2017

This must be my longest standing project.  She’s been with me since grad school and hasn’t made much progress for long periods, but the trees are creeping along.  Thanks exclusively to audiobooks.  This portion is too boring to get much attention by itself and has color changes too complicated to work when there are any distractions.  It’s been my going to meetings project when I didn’t have any pressing projects, but it takes a long time to get set up and figure out where I am, what needs to be done next etc. even with highlighting the already stitched portions on my pattern.  It was time to get out the floor stand again and really dig in.  Maybe just maybe it’ll keep progressing.

enchantress October 2017

Still a bit more of this tree, which is done in half cross-stitch.  Next comes what should be some comparatively simple and speedy patches of light and shadow also done in half cross-stitch, then the last trees and I’ll be down to finishing off the other edges.

On the sewing front.  I made a navy jersey muslin of the Seamwork Oslo in large.  A navy cardigan is definitely a great addition to my wardrobe, just as I’m sure the intended grey ribbed sweaterknit version would be if I felt comfortable with the muslin results.  Pictures haven’t happened in the last week and don’t seem like they’ll happen soon, but the issue is once again the fit of the Seamwork pattern.  The overly wide back  gives you drop shoulders, which I’m not fond of, but more importantly miles of extra fabric under the arm.  This isn’t a problem for the lightweight rayon jersey I used in the muslin, but would probably drive me nuts in a mid or heavy weight sweaterknit.  I’ll have to google some more Oslo’s and maybe work on narrowing the back by perhaps as much as 4″, which seems like it would put the sleeves and shoulders where they belong.  The real question is “Is it worth it?”.  I already shorten the sleeves and skip the cuffs and feel like the front isn’t as wide as it should be.   Does anybody have a favorite cardigan pattern that they would recommend?  Alternatively, the sweater knit could become a Cashmerette Appleton.  There is some nice rayon challis inviting me to make it into another Myrtle, which would be justified considering the amount of wear my others have gotten and the fact that I need more dresses, but it’s not the most fall/winter like substrate or garment.  Maybe I should finally make up my Harrison Shirt kit.  For now I’ll turn IT back on and work on these trees.

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Holy Tangles Batman

 late night plying
Late Night Plying

Many are the posts and pins about plying from a center pull ball, though most of these are discussing plying using a wheel.  Many are the instructions for plying using two balls and things like flower pots for the drop spindle.  This latter is where I started when I was plying with a single and some thread.  It worked, but you had to pretty much ply everything at once and it could be tricksy.  Owning a ball winder I decided the center pull ball was a great next step in plying my handspun singles.  Both plies coming from the same ball should mean that things would even out a bit and that the color would end up fairly uniform throughout.  Unfortunately you sort of need one hand to control the ball, one hand to spin the spindle and one hand to feed the singles, which is one more hand than I have.  This would be fabulous for wheel plying since you can use your feet to spin the wheel, but my feet while monkey like in their ability to open doors and pick things up off the floor can’t do any of the three required tasks for centerpull ball plying on a spindle.  Tangles galore.  Half my time was spent trying to untangle enough to ply a bit before stopping to untangle yet more.  Sometimes it even got knotted.  Ugh.  In order to finish my plying I had to enlist my husband, which was not his favorite thing.
In an effort to find the mysterious trick to making this work  I turned again to Youtube.  There I found Luca Costigliolo, an Italian spindler with many useful videos on spinning basics.    He seems very down to earth with practical no frills methods and tools.  Do I envy him his 3 interchangeable spindles, with their simplistic versatility?  Absolutely.  Check him out.  Any way, one of his videos was on spinning from a plying ball.  Another was on how to wind a plying ball, where all of your singles feed from the same source to the spindle for plying.  This seemed like an obvious and practical option, which would allow for using as many plies as one likes with ease.  Having now tried this out on a few recently spun skeins I can tell you it is awesome.  The plying ball method means you now have a spindle and a ball of yarn to carry, no pots or multiple balls.  Time for dinner?  Just wind the ball and the spindle tightly and set them next to each other and pick it up again later.  No more getting stuck with  a backlog of unplied singles because you are waiting for a large chunk of time at home when you can ply an entire skein.  You can ply anywhere you can spin, even walking.  Simplicity for the win.

In other news, tonight I will go to my first gathering of spinners (apart from Angel’s Wilderness Woolery).  During a recent heritage festival I encountered several spinners from a group that meets somewhat locally and was invited to their monthly meeting.  As far as I can tell they are all wheel spinners, but spinners are spinners and they seem like they are skilled and knowledgeable and would be an excellent resource and crafty social connection.  Wish me luck.

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Just In

deer and doe

Fall is starting out well.  These just arrived in the mail.  Hiking later, then it’s time to see what inspiration I’ve pinned and make some sewing plans.  Do you have a favorite version of the Belladone or Bruyere?

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