Tuesday, 30 June 2015

finishing - less glorious

This tunic has been loitering around my sewing table for over a month, waiting for its moment of Finishing Glory. Unfortunately for Burda 7220, that moment is not going to come. Which is a shame, bacause this project demonstates some of my best seamstressing and finishing to date. It also marks a change in my approach to garment making.

Really, it is a change in approach to my wardrobe. At the beginning of the year I took five bags of clothes to the charity shop, and today I've tootled back there with another. My cupboard has been stuffed with things that didn't suit my lifestyle, didn't inspire me, and didn't fit. It says something about my life that I can get rid of 75% of my clothes, and not miss any of them. I feel very fortunate.

Despite my best seamstressing this tunic falls into the 'Doesn't Fit' catagory. It doesn't fit in with anything else in my wardrobe, and it doesn't fit me. The shoulders are perfect, but the bust is way too small. Not a problem I'm overly familiar with. The lack of boob space means that the gathering in the front sits too high, so that the front sticks out like a maternity top. Not a look I'm going for.

There is a lesson here. I'm at a point in my stitching career where making a toile is essential. I want to be able to abort a make when it becomes obvious that the garment isn't going to fit my wardrobe needs. And I want to achieve a better fit than I can get from my ready to wear clothes.

I couldn't even be bothered to put this poor tunic on for its Finishing Glory shot. In fact, I didn't even iron the back! It is heading for the charity shop while I ponder my next project.

 

Monday, 1 June 2015

finishing glory - the post office bag

This was one of those projects where you see somebody elses, and think "Yes, I want to make one just like that!" It was also one of those projects that promised to be finished in a couple of hours. That never works for me. Partly because I don't want to rush, and make a mess of things; and partly because I love the neatness of hand finishing things. I'd seen this project on the Minerva Turkey podcast. Okay, confession time. I've only watched one episode of this podcast, and I only watched to the point where Minerva held up the bag. At that point I had to dash away, watch the tutorial video, and buy all the stuff. I can't watch again, and risk this happening every week.

The tote tutorial is available through the Crafty Gemini. It is as easy as it looks. Yes, a beginner could totally do this. That fabulous iron on batting stuff makes the quilting super easy. The Bosal In-R-Foam is a available through Amazon in the UK. I used a Moda Reel Time jelly roll, and the leather handles came from U-handbag. I also used binding around the top edge so that it would sit flat.

Those handles where the fiddly bit. I hadn't anticipated who difficult it would be to find a prepunched hole from the back of the fabric. There are quite a few prepunched holes in my fingers now too. The only way to do this seemed to be to stick a pin through from the front, and use that as a guide for the needle. I hope you can see what I mean from the picture below. (I'll probably wander over to U-handbag now, and find she has a tutorial on how to do this really simply.)

 

Should I confess hat I had intended to quilt this bag, as it suggests in the tutorial, then just completely forgot to do it? Perhaps I'll keep that to myself, and the world can think it came out exactly as intended.

I'm so chuffed with the finished bag. The poor old calico bag, which I use for my Post Office run, is being retired for this snazzy thing. I think the leather handles were worth the effort, despite the Sleeping Beauty effect.

 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

dirty words

I've been putting off writing this weeks Love Your Blog Challenge. Not because I didn't know what to say; because the theme, 'ugly', just really gets my back up. The term 'ugly' is usually an undiplomatic, poorly articulated opinion; stated as if it were a cold hard fact.

My formative years were spent on a hill country farm in New Zealand. Whenever I show people pictures, they always say how lovely it looks. Being a teenager in an environment where the horizon is never more than a kilometre away, and the nearest unrelated human lived 3km along the road, was claustrophic and isolating. I couldn't live in that landscape. It would feel like being held under a duvet cover. I wouldn't say it's ugly, that industrially farmed landscape just has no allure for me.

When I moved to East Yorkshire, an aquiantance asked why I was moving to the ugly part of Yorkshire. It's certainly not the bit that everybody likes to photograph and put on postcards. I love the rolling wolds countryside, and enjoy marking the changing seasons here. I've found love, community, and a deep sense of belonging. I wonder what experience has made this person brand the whole county ugly?

So there you have it. To my mind ugly just expresses an unquantified malevalence, and that's all I have to say about that.

( This was the view on the way home from the post office. The oilseed rape just bloomed today.)

 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

clever kate

Over the last few months I have been filling every bobbin the house with beautifully spun singles. My plying paranoia has come to a head. It's not like I can't ply. And I love knitting with my handspun yarn, but the process of plying had been all arms and legs, knots, snags, and tangles. I've read books, watched DVDs, tried various kate and wheel positions, and put bobbins in bowls half was across the room; before arriving at the conclusion that I was just a clutts. Plying was always going to be painful, and needed to be put off as long as possible.

Last week I decided to treat myself to a Anything But Lazy Kate. It was a last ditch thing. The Kate is made out of untreated maple, so I spent a few days oiling the thing to make it pretty and durable. Then yesterday we went for a test drive with some beautiful Romney. Oh my word, the whole process was actually fun. There were no twist backs or tangles. The yarn fed off the bobbins evenly, and didn't jump about or spin back. And it was easy to pop on a new bobbin and thread up with one hand. Phew!

The difference between this Kate and the others, is that there are three methods for tensioning the bobbins, and you can choose which ever one works best for you at the time. it also packs up into a handy dandy little box. There is an excellent explaination of all the workings over at the Nancy's Knit Knacks website if you are interested.

Meanwhile, I'm off the herd all those disperate bobbins together. And contemplate what to do with the wheel I bought especially to make plying easier ...