Wheelspun Hat

Hat from first wheelspun yarn

What do you do when you want cream or navy aran for a hat to go with your cranberry coat and know that you have maybe brown and dark green aran? You realize that the hat pattern uses little enough yarn that your first wheelspun yarn would work.  Spun from knitpicks Wool of the Andes this charcoal is at least a neutral that I really like.  The hat turned out a bit more somber than I was hoping.  A few floral decorations helped to lighten it up though.  The flowers (made from scrap bits of yarn) are pretty messy,  but I’m thinking of adding 6mm round beads to match my coat to the centers, which might make it less noticeable.  This was my first pompom and it may need to be reattached so that it is more centered.  I did work from a pattern initially, but I can’t find it now.  This was done 3 hook sizes smaller than called for and improvised after row 9.   Some of the flowers may get restitched and I may stitch more further up the hat in each row, or it may stay the same.  This cablework was also a first and turned out well. Handspun hat for the win!

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Stitching In Public


One month ago today this candle mat went to our game session.  Today it went to the hospital to hang out with me.  This ended up being a much longer chunk of time than I’d anticipated, which allowed for lots of stitching.  Most of the embroidery is now complete.  Santa’s face, bells on collars and stars remain before the final step of adding bead snow.

Pieces of Red Flannel Carolina Mae

This pile will be the first of several flannel Carolina Mae (someday).


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Sleepy Sewing


Carolina Mae is a pretty shifty character.  She was reluctant to become a rayon challis dress, but she eventually volunteered to be sewn up in this gingham shirting, which was part of a recent pre-cuts sale at fabricmart.  Having already assembled, traced and muslined the bodice with a high neckline. I took the top edge of the bodice in a quarter of an inch then cut out the size M with a 24″ sleeve and a 42″ length from my gingham.

Then stupidity wouldn’t let go.  You know that time when you know you should stop working because you are tired.  That was me.  I really wanted to wear my new gingham maxi to my spinning guild meeting, but housework meant a late start and not nearly as much progress as I’d hoped. The bodice and skirt were complete, but needed to attached,  and then have a zipper and a bottom hem.   The instructions called for attaching both the bodice and bodice lining to the skirt all as one with a 1/4″ seam.  This seam could then be finished.   It seemed like a very sloppy method and having sewn the Made by Rae Geranium Dress, which nicely sandwiched the skirt between the two layers, I wanted to go with that.  It was a trainwreck.  Straight lines were hours behind me when I tried to fold up the lining hem 1/4″ and catch it by stitching in the ditch below the front waistband after using a 3/8″ seam to attach the two I missed a lot of the lining waistband.  Two tries later I set it aside.  This did allow for a try on and convince me that the gathers needed to be converted to pleats to minimize the pregnant belly effect.

It felt like a lot of work went into the bodice and the many ways it might not fit and would need to be altered, but that after that the simplest rather than the best methods were employed for the design and instructions.  The long sleeves where huge and the skirt had more than enough fabric to go around my waist twice, gathered at the waist.  Still the bodice is nice and I love the options, but I ended up making a quite a few changes before being happy with the dress.  It was worth spending a couple of early hours picking out the layers of messed up stitching in order to make them.

The first change was to add pockets (The Mendocino Sundress Pockets are my go to) 8″ below the waistline.  Then I worked out pleats and decided that some of the waistline fabric simply had to go.  Trimming 3″ from each side (12″ total) and grading it down to the pockets using the hip curve on my French curve made that easy.  Gingham was awesome for making these changes too. as I could count down or across squares to line things up.  Six front and four back pleats did the rest of the work smoothing out the waistline.  Then using the method described above I created a clean interior.  Finally, the switch to an invisible zipper gave the back a clean finish and taking in the binding on each cuff 4″, re-gathering and re-sewing the cuffs took care of the gigantic sleeves.

It was all worth redoing to get the dress desired.    Maybe next time I’ll stop when I should have.  If I had, the dress might have been done in time.

What changes would I make in the future?  I would move the pockets up an inch or two, use the included  low neckline for warm season garments and raise the back neckline for cold season garments.  Possibly bring the shoulders in half an inch and definitely do away with partial under stitching on the bodice.  There is no reason it can’t be under stitched entirely again creating a better finished garment.

Now to find out what flannel I have that could be used for this.

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Finally Gingham

This did become a dress.  I’m pretty happy with it , but just had oral sugery instead of taking pictures so only a teaser today.  Sorry.  Gonna veg with an ice pack.

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Queue Jumper


Having finally muslined the Sis Boom Carolina Mae to the point where it is time to cut the fashion fabric but, not being ready to double check the math to be certain I create my dream dress with the sparse fabric, I cut out a test Appleton.  Essentially both dresses will be muslins for dresses that are to be made out of warmer fabrics for winter.  After sewing while the kids were in the tub yesterday I found myself getting up at 3 this morning to finish it.  Sewing Mojo feels like it has been hiding just around the corner and if I can get through these muslins quickly and still find time to sew then I might actually get to sew a few of the winter dresses.  Though there will be another Colette Myrtle (probably) coming up for our office holiday party.  It’d be so nice to start to build up a few TNT patterns again and to be able to work on things I’d really like to have in my wardrobe rather than fitting and refitting, muslining and re-muslining.
Getting back to the dress, this is another rayon spandex mix from Fabricmart.  This time I’ve sewn a 12 G/H, which means I’ve sewn the 12, 16 and 18 G/H.  I’m considering moving to 14 E/F for a little more coverage, but remain undecided.   I apologize for the crappy grainy (apple says the latest update will fix that) faceless bathroom selfie. Sleep and sun have been in short demand lately and I really wanted to share a sewing project with you rather than another stitching update.  Do you have long awaited winter garments on your queue? What are your favorite garments and patterns for winter?

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A Tale of Two Spindles

Two turkish spindles

The pull of the Turkish spindle is real.  Those spinning weights, those pretty little centerpull balls, they whisper, “Come play.  Come play.”  So my birthday list included one (non-specific).  I was lucky enough to receive one too.  It was far from what I expected.  I had no idea how much variation there is in Turkish spindles.  My first Turkish spindle was the Ashford shown on the left.  It is 15″ in length and advertised as 1.9 oz though measured at 2.1oz on my scale.  Never having used a Turkish spindle I watched some Youtube and got started.  The first thing I noted was that the weight arms kept spinning independently of the shaft.  This made it hard to flick the spindle from either the top or bottom.  This did improve after a small cop had built up, but it was hard for me to handle such a large spindle and winding the single up the shaft each time was time consuming on top of only being able to spin it by kicking the weights.    I couldn’t help think I was being an idiot so I asked a friend who told me I should have fed the roving through the weights with the shaft, which would have helped.  This spindle will definitely be my friend for spinning any bulky yarns, but it being not the portable tool I’d wanted to have for travelling, I ordered another.  It came from a Ukraine based Etsy shop called WoolSilkDesign.  With it came some orange and yellow roving.  from the very beginning the arms fit snuggly without spinning.

testing second turkish spindle

It had the more traditional notch for settling a hitch rather than a hook and was much smaller being 10 1/2″ long and weighting 1.13 oz.,  which makes it lighter even than my favorite spindle which weighs in at 1.3oz.  A quick test with some of the orange roving has proven this one is much easier to handle and can readily be used to make fine singles that can become lace or fingering weight yarn (my preferred weights to work with).  It should easily travel in my spinning basket and is proving fun so far.  I definitely need more practice with it and find it easier to use standing rather than sitting, but it’s always fun to try add a new fiber toy to the mix.

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Looming Fabrics


Looms have been sneaking up on me.  First this summer when there was discussion of next year’s camping project for the kids would be weaving the yarn they’ve spun in between.  Then seeing all of the lovely woven projects at my last spinning meeting.  They  draw me in, entincing me to spin lovely cloth.  Completely ignoring the fact that the only loom I have is this little Spear’s Number 2, that I got as a child,  most of what I would spin would be too course a weave for the styles I favor.  Pinterest insists I work on card woven decorative bands.  They look awesome and possibly workable if  I had a card loom.

Meanwhile,  I have this project to finish.  The scarf on the loom is from 2009 if the flier in with it is any indicator.  That at least can be finished up and it turns out that A is actually pretty good at feeding the shuttle back and forth or operating the heddle.  She can’t seem to get enough.   I may need to actually learn the basics of weaving as it’s best not to pass on bad habits.  Knitting really is supposed to be my next skill…

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