Background Noise


Are you a podcast listener?  During those few times I don’t have any little people with me and I am free to work in my craft room, podcasts often accompany me.  Some of my favorites are:  Swedish Radio (in English), LORE, Legends Myths and WhiskeyIroquois History and Legends and Crafty Planner.   Crafty Planner was my first podcast.  Sandy Hazelwood of Crafty  Planner interviews various crafty people, mostly quilters.  My interest these days waxes and wanes, but her most recent interview was with Timna Tarr.  It inspired me to look into Timna Tarr’s quilts.  If you enjoy beautiful things, you might like her modern take on traditional quilts.  What podcasts or audiobooks do you enjoy?

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Happy Spring Equinox!


A and I are very fond of this Bee

In honor of Spring, things are all green today to help make up for the piles of snow sitting outside.  This is the first of my Crabapple Hill designs. 


You’ll be seeing this again when I complete the second version.  It still needs to be ironed, as ironing just hasn’t happened lately, but overall I am very pleased with the results. I worked on this over the course of a month.  The coloring and prep took place over two days (as I prepped two of these).  the stitching was pleasantly engaging without requiring a lot of thought.  I used outline stitch for the stems and back stitch for most everything else.  The bee has some satin stitch and there are French knots and lazy daisy/loop stitch in small quantities.  Button hole does feature prominently in the small circle flowers.  Just basic stitches, but they really bring out the coloring, which I had been afraid would be too pale. If you are new to embroidery, or colored embroidery I would say don’t be afraid to pick up a design like this.  Starting with something smaller might help you get an early success under your belt and might prevent lost effort if you decide that embroidery just isn’t for you, but Crabapple Hill packs a lot of punch for simple stitches and gives a lot of guidance for coloring so the designs should be doable even for a new stitcher.

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Vintage Recreation Alterations.

IMG_9458Are you familiar with the Oliver and S Building Block Dress Book?  It offers a lot of information on how to alter patterns.  I preordered a copy back when it was first coming out last fall and was hoping to use it to alter a jacket for A.  Well, it’s spring now and I’m finally getting to it.  Of course having O home 3 extra days this week and 3 more next week, plus not having my mother’s helper come last night and having my husband away on Saturday isn’t helping that get very far.  All of that means that the only thing I have to share at the moment is a picture of the alterations in progress.  The first is the front piece for the VFT Molly jacket.  The second is the front with a bodice and yoke rather than a single piece.  The third is me (incorrectly) trying to figure out how to recreate the front bodice pleats on a vintage jacket.  I’ll share a picture of the original jacket in a future post.

I love making kids clothes because the simple lines help give me the courage to recreate them in the image I want enabling me to test ideas a practice skills I can later use on garments for me.  The Building Block Dress Book doesn’t quite give me as many options as I want, but I’m looking forward to trying out some more of them soon.  Do you have a favorite resource for information on altering garments?  Or maybe you have a pattern you’d really like to have be just a little different?  I’d love to hear your ideas.

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Snow Day Special: Birthdays Preview


First of the handmade birthday gifts for this month.  Now having finished these seals, I’ll add a few more notes on making them.  The baby seal was much much fussier to sew than the adult.  Be sure to check your seams as you go and again before you stuff as those 1/8″ seams can be really rough to get just so, particularly where the flippers are sandwiched in.  At least one flipper ended up with a 1/4″ seam, because after sewing it 4 times (over the flipper) it still hadn’t caught the flipper entirely.    If you’ve gotten the seams to catch, but there is a slight overlap, as long as it doesn’t look odd, you can trim a little (1/8″) of the overlap away to neaten up the seams.  This applies to the flippers area wear the seams are visible on the outside.

Next up a Violette Field Threads Molly coat for A. Unfortunately, this one probably won’t be done in time as my 4 days of no kids between now and A’s birthday has become. 1 day of no kids.  Sometimes it seems like our school district cancels school (in advance) whenever the North Wind sneezes.  Boy has it thrown off any maker plans for the past several months.  Truly an impressive feat considering it has been a very mild winter.  (And I insist I am not biased just because I lived in the north country where 2 feet of snow was what you cleared from your driveway every morning starting at 3 am in order to leave at 6:30.) It must be a lake of snow plows, since we haven’t seen one today.



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Fluff Everywhere

Working on Betz White Slippy and Slide Seals for my littles is a bit messy.  The patterns are simple and come together easily.  It is clear that the designer glued on the eyes and nose because they are done very late in the pattern where as it would be much easier to do the eyes at least, first, before assembling anything.  The baby seal is much smaller than the large seal, less than half the size.  That should work well for my two littles, though I do wonder if I should have made two larger seals.  There is plenty of felt left for me to do two more, if time allows, but I also want to make A a coat for Spring and would like her to have it as a birthday present.

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I happened upon one of my favorite quotations in not one but two blogs I follow, “Not All Who Wander Are Lost.”~Tolkien.  Then I learned that the adorable cross-stitch pattern was one of a set by Emma Congdon that was featured in Cross-Stitch Crazy’s September issue, which is now available online.  The other two quotes are favorites as well and also done as lovely cross-stitch smalls.  So, while I’m making excellent progress on “How Does Your Garden Grow?”  I have been itching to stitch these.


Waiting room time seemed like a great time to get started.   Only a little progress, but it is a nice change from my other projects.  If you are curious, my results came back and I started 2 weeks of antibiotics that should end what had been 8 months of illness.  I’ve never been so happy to be told I am sick, not that I didn’t know, but it’s nice to be able to really do something about it.  Here’s hoping this is the last health update.

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Parts of Things

Bear with me.  This rambles a little, but I’ve no finished projects to share just many parts.

The only day I didn’t have a little person with me this week was the day I was in the hospital for some tests.  That meant very little sewing time for me.  Last Sunday I made underwear.  Over the last 4 days, I spent another half hour and made a matching pair using KwikSew 3381 in purple.  I took the side seams in a total of 1″ for a better fit and cut all of the elastic 1″ shorter.  The results are great, but not that exciting to look at.  Like the last pair these are an upcycle from an old t-shirt.   Another pair, cut from the same shirt, is waiting to go.  The fit is good enough now that a hack or some lace might be in order for future pairs.

 I had hoped to finish my lastest shawl, Calliope by Julie Blagojevich. It needed only 3 rows.  Usually if I can’t sew, I can at least crochet as the kids play, however, while the tests went well the IV removal didn’t.  My nurse was completely thwarted by the medical tape. The bruising you see above is how it looks after 5 days.  Typing, crocheting and stitching are all limited to very short periods with long rests in between.

This week I saw two movies; Logan and War on Everyone.  I highly recommend them both.  I mention that only because the next project is inspired by another movie Song of the Sea, a lovely animated story based in Celtic Mythology, that leaves my children running for their bathrobes/Selkie Coats.  If you are unfamiliar with selkies they are skin changers; seals who also have a human form.  As O and A have birthdays this month I wanted to make them each a seal.  Slippy and Slide Seals by Betz White fit the bill.  The patterns have been traced onto freezer paper and cut from felt.

“How Does Your Garden Grow?”, is progressing nicely with stems stitched and bell flowers complete.  I’ve heard that the Cosmos embroidery thread doesn’t get fuzzy as quickly as DMC or Anchor.  That might be true, but I don’t feel  the difference is worth the much higher cost.  I’m glad to have tried it, but would make the investment again only if I can’t get a comparable color in DMC.

Have you started any new projects lately?  Or seen any good movies?

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