Sunday, August 06, 2017

Bobbing Along

With the purchase of a couple of kayaks our stay-cations just got a lot more fun!

We've been "trying out" kayaks from Western Canoe Kayak in Abbotsford annually for a few years now.

Always something came up that made us postpone the purchase.

But we've finally taken the plunge. Well, not literally; no one has been dumped in the water yet. The kayaks are surprisingly stable.

I'm looking forward to the mini-vacations. There are plenty of small "no motor boat" lakes to explore around here. 

We purchased the kayaks yesterday and today we went to Abbotsford's Mill Lake to get them out for their inaugural run. 

Even in the midst of the city it was peaceful just bobbing along out there.

We didn't have to buy expensive, ugly roof racks for my car either! Both kayaks load quickly and securely into the back of my husband's truck and only require a tie down rope.  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bathed and Pressed

The Dogwood Blossom yardage has been bathed and pressed for quite some time but I only just remembered now to take a few photos for Ravelry and my blog.

I haven't decided yet exactly what it will become, but most likely some sort of Saori style art clothing. 

Likely a layering piece to be worn over a "uniform" aka Anita Luvera Mayer style. 

First it will make its public debut at the Chilliwack Exhibition.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Bit Each Day

With so many other projects urgently needing attention I haven't been knitting a lot lately, but I do try to put in at least a little each day so that my granddaughters will get their sweaters in a reasonable amount of time. Lately my knitting time has been confined to the 30 minutes or so that I sit with my morning coffee. Still, it's adding up!

A little each day adds up.

I only have the front bands to do and the youngest granddaughter's sweater will be complete. It's miles too big for her. We've had a couple of try on sessions. Better too big than too small at this age though! She's growing like a weed.

Even though the sweater would likely fit the older sister right now the colour and mood of this one would be all wrong for her. Wildly colourful with lots of pattern and variety is in keeping with the youngest's personality. I'll come up with something less busy for the older sister!

On Sunday when I wrote the post about the handwoven hat I did not have a picture of the inside to show you. So here you are, an inside shot. The hat is fully lined with a fabric labeled as "mixed fibres", but seems like a polyester to me. It's the perfect weight and colour for this hat, has a nice hand, and doesn't fray or wrinkle.

It's lined too.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Add a Hat

There was a time when men, women and children all wore hats when they went out. 

I'm glad that that's no longer the case since I look dorky in every hat I ever try on!

I also have a very large head so it is hard to find hats that fit me.

Luckily Heddie is always happy to model hats for me since her lack of a torso and limbs makes her a rather poor model of other clothing.

The hat is sewn from handwoven fabric left over after making the white tunic and using the "Brimmed Hat with Side Pleating" pattern by Etsy seller kalliedesigns.

It is fully lined, and beautifully embellished.

Hopefully both the hat and the tunic will be accepted for display in the Chilliwack Spinners and Weavers Guild's textile art show, "Fibre Flair!" which will be opening at the Chilliwack Community Arts Council's Art Room Gallery in September.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Like Riding a Bicycle

After taking up knitting for the second time (She first learned a little when she was very young)

Knitting once more.

My ten year old granddaughter is very happy to discover that even after all these years she still retained some of the knowledge.

Knitting once more.

She claims it is "just like riding a bike. You never really forget how." She's doing a wonderful job. I'm very proud of her. She says, "I knit and I'm proud", like the lyrics in this YouTube video.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Carefully Chosen

My youngest granddaughter was over yesterday for her regular weaving time. This is the first warp she's worked on where the colour and all of the yarns in the warp were of her own choosing.

Considering weft choices.

She chose the yarns last week and was a little disappointed that she wouldn't get to weave with them right away. I told her I still had to wind the warp and get it onto the loom. It was all ready to go when she arrived yesterday. 

She's also weaving pink, just like Grandma.

I think she's really enjoying working with a warp full of colour and texture, rather than the plain black prewound she's been using so far, though she's finding that having pompom yarn in the warp is a little troublesome.

It just so happens that her warp is pink, just like the weaving I just finished! We even used some of the same yarns.

The yardage below is my Dogwood  Blossom weaving, now off the loom and ready for its wet finishing.

Off the loom and ready for finishing.

I plumped up the fringe ends by adding in extra yarn before twisting them.

Plumped up the fringe.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Moving Along

This project is moving along at a good pace considering how busy I've been with other commitments!

First 36 rows.

The first 36 rows are complete, and with the yarn being an aran weight a few rows adds up quite quickly. I'm already finished the neckline shaping.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Off On Another Tangent

Never a dull moment around here. I have strong interest in SO many different fibre arts that even if I only occasionally touch on some of my many hobbies I am kept very, very busy. The Crafting Muse has been pushing me in the direction of knitting lately. Haven't done that in a while, especially not at "human scale" as apposed to doll scale.

Swatching and designing.

I've been trying out different needle sizes and stitch patterns in preparation for knitting my youngest granddaughter a cardigan type sweater. I'll knit it big so that it will fit for back-to-school in September. I have to start early since the older granddaughter will want one too.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Where To Store Nine Snowflakes?

I managed to re-tat those snowflakes, so now I have nine nearly perfect ones ready to give away next Christmas. The original ones weren't stiff enough so I re-blocked the whole batch.

Now I have to decide where to store them safely until it's time to send them out. It's not so much the problem of finding a place, but finding one that I will remember come December!

Friday, June 09, 2017

Love That Internet

I have a love/hate relationship with the Internet. Sometimes it seems to be the biggest time thief ever, hours from one's day missing and little to show for it. Let's face it, none of us are getting any younger! Knowing that, I like to make every moment count, and time spent chasing useless Facebook side links is not what I want to see when I look back on the moments of my life!

On the other hand, the Internet can be a wonderful, handy, economical teacher, accessible at any hour of any day, and right when you need it. For instance, when I decided to use circles as design elements on the back of my denim Boro/Sashiko vest, I realized I had barely any experience with applique, and no experience at all with how to get a really nice, smooth edge on a circular applique. 

Enter the Internet wonder world of YouTube instructional videos. Pretty much anything you want to learn can be found on YouTube videos. Not just one instructor or method, but many to choose from. I watched several and finally decided that the one I've embedded here would be the one I used. It seemed to be just the right fit for me. It appealed to the perfectionist in me and yet skipped the tedious hand gathering stitches of some of the other methods.

The loose pile of circles pictured above was a photo taken several days ago. I've now selected the ones I'm going to use, have appliqued them to the centre back panel, and I'm well on my way to stitching the background in a Sashiko inspired manner. More photos of that when that section is complete.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

When Shopping Fails

Sometimes when you can't find what you want in stores you just have to resort to making it yourself. I've looked and looked for tunic length tops which are long enough to cover my butt when I wear leggings. It amazes me that leggings are so popular and yet it's still hard to find long tops to wear with them!

So I took matters into my own hands, and with the help of an excellent pattern, "#3245 Raglan Tee, Racerback Tank and Tunics, by Jalie", I created the sleeveless tunic I was looking for. I made one in solid red as well. I think both turned out great! I love Jalie's method for binding the neckline and armholes. It turns out looking so professional.

The purchase of a single Jalie pattern gives you multiple sizes. In this particular case it provides sizes from 12 month baby all the way up to size 52 ladies. I couldn't resist buying fabric and make a couple up for my granddaughters as well.

Though the binding takes a while , and you are working with knit fabric, the whole shirt is very simple to do. My eight year old granddaughter's was finished the same day that I bought the fabric!

It fits her very well.

I have had a few busy days since and haven't had time to sew, but my older granddaughter will be getting one too. She has requested a shirt length, rather than tunic, and a slightly higher front neckline. Hopefully I can get to that tomorrow.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Snowflakes in June

There has been a flurry of curses!

There has been cursing.

I've been tatting intricate snowflakes for what seems like ages.

I calculated that I would need eight for Christmas gifts for next year. I thought I had all eight of the snowflakes done. I washed them and got them soaked in the stiffening solution. It wasn't until I was actually pinning them out that I discovered two of them have mistakes. ONE of them might be salvageable. It's missing a picot and likely 10 double stitches in one of the outer arches. That one I might be able to fudge through enough to use on my own Christmas tree.

The other one has a mistake that is so bad that it is destined for the trash. I'll have to remake it from scratch. It is so weird that I can't figure out how I did the deformity that I see. I couldn't even really block it since there seems to be an extra chain in there AND a picot connected to the wrong place. Cutting out the mistake and retatting only that section is not an option since the starching material will prevent reworking. 

All this resulted in a few choice curse words. You can't tell me that those Victorian ladies didn't mutter a few at times.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Inspired by Boro

"Boro" is perpetual mending and patching that can extend the life of a garment indefinitely.  The technique originated in rural Japan. "Sashiko" is a form of Japanese folk embroidery that uses a basic running stitch to create a patterned background.

Collar and collar stand

Inspired by examples of boro and sashiko online, I've started a very long term boro/sashiko inspired project. Only "inspired by" because true boro was born of necessity, to extend the life of expensive cotton textiles and sashiko has rules I don't intend to follow strictly and a uniformity I am not yet able to achieve. This is just for fun and to create a comfortable, functional, and one of a kind garment for myself. 

My husband had a denim shirt hanging in his closet that was worn beyond the point of being wearable for anything other than painting and messy household chores. In fact, it has a few paint and spackle stains that I'll eventually cover with patches!

Boro shirt beginning.

I started by removing the sleeves since they were far too long for me anyway. I then used the fabric salvaged from the sleeves to fashion large, functional pockets along the lower edge of the shirt. The narrower pocket, close to the hip, is just the right size to hold my cellphone. Another just like it on the other side of the shirt will be handy for my reading glasses.

Working around the snaps of the Boro vest.

I then started in replacing the very worn areas of the collar stand and front button band with material repurposed from an old dish towel. With the addition of boro embroidery to hold the layers together and add an element of decoration, I quite like the way it looks. 

Of course covering the button bands with material also covered up the snaps, which I wanted to remain functional. It wasn't too difficult to snip tiny holes in the patching material and stretch it over the snaps, tucking the ends into a slim groove in the snap itself. Well -- it worked for both the top and the bottom of the "female" end of the snap anyway.

Working around the snaps of the Boro vest.

Uncovering the "male" portion of the snap was considerably more difficult because there was no groove to hide loose ends in. After some experimenting I ended up snipping a larger hole, turning the ends under, and stitching all around with a blanket stitch. Not as neat, but at least functional. That side won't be visible when the vest is worn anyway.

Working around the snaps of the Boro vest.

You'll be hearing more about this project in the weeks, months, and perhaps years to come. Once I get the initial patching and embroidery done I'll be wearing this vest a lot, perhaps only in the house, but maybe for walking the dog or camping as well. As the vest gets worn out further I'll just keep patching it!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wha? I thought I - - -

Pardon the confusion. I thought I had already posted an update on this. I guess it was just one of those posts I had taken photos for, thought about, but never actually wrote? The vest I posted about nearly two weeks ago now has a button.

Saori Vest, buttoned

I like it better this way. It bothers me when vest/coat/cardigan edges flop about when I'm walking. Having it buttoned also gives the vest more shape.

Button and button hole

So here's the buttonhole. I ended up ironing fusible interfacing to the backside of the fabric and then I made a machine sewn, corded buttonhole. Against the busy handwoven fabric it seemed to need more ompf so I decided to create a tatted piece to go around it. That looked too much like a second thought so, using the same cotton weaving thread I used in the tatting, I hand embroidered buttonhole stitch over the opening and the tatted edging.


Saori Vest, buttoned

I've really been on a roll with various forms of fibre art these past few weeks. Of course that also means I've spent less time online, which in turn results in less participation on forums and nothing in the way of blog posts. 

Saori Vest, buttoned

I have plenty of blog fodder. I hope to get at least a few posts up in the next few days. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Unusual Construction

I took that weaving I wasn't too happy with and made a vest I actually like!

It's unusual construction started with some notes posted by Sally Gray, a fellow Saori weaver  on a Raverly forum.

My handwoven fabric wasn't of the same dimensions as hers so I had to tweak the idea to work with what I had available.

The fit is good and the vest is very comfortable to wear.

I'll be shopping for a large focal button to close the front though, as I think it will look better that way.