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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

I made a video!

It's not perfect, I'm still learning the video function on my camera but it turned out better than I expected.   It did bring to the fore just how much weight I've put on, apparently a camera is much better at telling the truth than the mirror is.  At least I know now, and I know how to deal with it!

I also got some sewing on the dress done, but no photo's or video of that.

Back to the video, it's all about how to spin on the Majacraft Stylus; there's a bit of waffle about other things but I stuck fairly closely to my intentions.   I'd love to know what you all think and if there's anything in particular you'd like to see me do in the future.


Tuesday, March 03, 2015


My blue dress is now cut out and ready to go; hoping to get sewing tomorrow

I'm currently spinning long draw on my stylus and at the same time attempting to do a video of the process; I've had 3 goes so far and keep cutting my head off and misjudging where the camera is pointing when showing my fibre length.   I'll try again tomorrow when the boys are at school.  If I can get it sorted I might try doing the odd Vlog.

I'm up to row 42 on my Evenstar shawl, it's feeling a bit like a slog, but it'll be worth it in the end.  Only problem is the end looks like it's a very long way away!

Almost finished my current travel sock and have just wound the ball for the second one.
I'm decreasing for the toe now, this is my dye effort and I'm loving how it's turning out.

Have finished the fibre and knitting for my advanced spinning group, and I've even sent it off to the North Island for festival.  The remnants will be used with some yellow commercial yarn to make boot socks; I need some thicker socks to go in my Caterpillar boots.
3 ply East Fresian and silk.   Flick carded the wool and the silk caps were spun with swearing.

The mini-sock sample
I've also made myself a pair of Fehr Trade workout pants.   I think I need a smaller size in the legs, alternatively I need to lose more of the tummy so everything fits better!   There's no more sugary stuff in the house now so that should help.
Ignore the red, that's the pair I was wearing when I tried these on, I was lazy and left them on.

I love the peacock, pity I muffed the one on the other side.
And finally I spun some superwash merino, this has been Navajo plied and come out Aran weight.
It's beautifully soft.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


This was originally meant to be my January Historical Sew Monthly Challenge; it's late and I put yarn in instead, but I'm still going to go with the same information for it

The Challenge:  Foundations
Fabric:  Lining is cotton duck for strength and the outer is a very fine silk twill which still has excellent body
Pattern:  Red Threaded's Regency Stays pattern, bought off
Year:  1810
Notions:  Thread (polyester), German plastic boning (when I ran out of the spiral boning), spiral steel bones, sprung steel bones, silk bias binding (made by me), cotton cording laces, polyester ribbon and black steel grommets.  There will be a wood busk, but I have to make that yet
How historically accurate is it?  Probably about 70%, some of the materials aren't quite right like the cotton laces, some of the boning for obvious reasons and some machine sewing.    A lot of it was hand sewn though and I'm pretty sure the silk was close to accurate.   The grommets aren't but I wasn't about to put my RSI through that many eyelets by handsewing, unfortunately I only had black.
Hours to complete:  No clue whatsoever, but they're done now so I can now start working on the dress and shift and bodiced petticoat.
First worn:  For the photo's, managed to get them on by myself, was worried they weren't going to fit, but with the laces snugged in they fit well.
Total cost:  Hard to know, many of the supplies I bought some time ago, but probably around $100
See, they fit!  The shoulder straps could be slightly longer, mainly cos I'm slung a little lower than ideal for these styles, indeed too low for modern styles too.  I have to do pattern adjustments for modern clothes too.

Need to work on my lacing being more even, but considering I had no help this is pretty good.

hand sewn gussets

and all the annoying black grommets
 I wasn't only working on the stays today, this is the East Fresian all plied and waiting to come off the bobbin.
And now I'm going to take a break and kill some zombies.   I might get the dress cut out in a few days.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Some very good advice

Today I took a break from tidying out my corner cupboard and perused Facebook and I found a link to a blog I think is really valuable it's about pricing handmade items.   Now at the moment I don't sell what I make, but I am considering selling my hand-spun yarn at some point and when I get good enough my weaving.   I know a bit about pricing, but the main thing I know is that most people who sell their hand-made items undercharge "because it's just a hobby".
When I do start selling stuff I will be charging enough to cover my materials and a reasonable amount for my labour. 

In the meantime though I'm still working on my stays, at the moment there's the top to bind and the eyelets to add which I'm hoping to finish this weekend

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

1st week of school

I thought I'd get heaps of time in the sewing room, and in some ways I have, but not sewing.   Mostly pulling out yarn I've sold, addressing bags and putting it all out for shipping.    Not quite what I had in mind, but as a result I'll be making a big dent in the HP for my macro lens.   I am thinking about spending a wee bit of it on a Fitbit as well though.
I think I'd managed to forget the first week of school back is busy.   Monday was full of phone calls, making appointments.   I've now had my eyes checked and all is well there.   Heard from ACC, no sign of injury in the MRI (I had to ring them to find out), so not covered from here for the pain in my arms.   Will have to go back to the doctor for that, but it'll have to wait as I am going to the chiropractor first and I can't afford both in the same pay.   I've also made a mole check appointment, there is a family history on my mother's side of skin cancer so I decided it was time to check on that.  And, also had the plumber back to check the outside tap he replaced as it was leaking a bit; turned out to be brass filings inside it and now it's fixed.
Tomorrow is also busy, probably more yarn to pack, at least I hope so!   Then just Thursday left of the first week back at school, wonder if I'll get some sewing done then?   I need to finish my stays so I can start on the dress.   Plus I need new jeans and I think I'll have to make them both to save money and to reduce stash.

So far the boys are enjoying being back at school too, they're even getting ready relatively quickly; I hope that lasts.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Historical Sew Fortnightly Foundations Challenge - A Change of Direction

Originally the plan was to make the stays, but they're not finished and I've been feeling off colour yesterday and still a bit today so they've not moved.   I am still going to finish them, I have to in order to make the blue dress.  However since I did finish an item that could be considered a foundation on the 14th of this month I'm going to count that for this challenge and the stays will simply be in addition to it. 

What the item is:  746m of sport weight 2-ply handspun yarn (Perendale)

The Challenge:  Foundations

Fabric:  It was originally some perendale roving, it will become 18th century hand knit stockings

Pattern:   None

Year:  1775

Notions:  I used my Majacraft spinning wheel, which is totally not accurate, a spindle would have been more appropriate but the wheel is the tool I'm best with

How historically accurate is it?  Overall probably about 90%, I may have used a modern wheel, but the spinning itself is the same no matter what tool.  The 10% is the prep as I sent it off to the local mill to be carded and washed.  It's slightly overspun and overplied to make improve its wear characteristics.

Hours to complete:  A lot, I'm calling the fibre the neverending grey to give you some idea.

First worn:  Not worn yet, but patted quite a few times, does that count?
Total cost:   Probably about $30.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


The Regency stays are now cut out and I've started sewing them.  The boning channels are in the main pieces, and I've got the gussets partially done, the lining still needs to be attached to them but the fashion fabric is all sewn to them, and I did that by hand.
The inner fabric is cotton duck and the outer or fashion fabric is the most gorgeous silk twill which is tightly woven, no real sheen but is perfect for what I'm doing.
Hip gusset, there is another hip gusset but it goes between the front and side pieces so it comes later.

This is the front of the stays with the bust gussets, the lining isn't in this yet, next I need to put the busk pocket in and then I can attach the lining.
I will get onto the machine sewing tomorrow hopefully, after the groceries and I suspect I'll have to get another curtain track too as Ian broke his second one tonight.

I got a little more done on the shawl, still a very long way to go but it's looking more like it'll be lovely now
Ok, it looks like a wet dishrag, but a little imagination is handy here.

I got some knitting done on the travel socks last night at the guild meeting, loving how this is looking, especially as I dyed it up myself.
I've started destashing yarn as well, I'm finding that the huge amount I have is a little overwhelming and I think having so much is also attracting more that I don't need.  I don't even want it that badly, it just seems to happen.   So I'm thinking if I get it down to manageable proportions I'll feel better and there'll be more working space in the studio.   I've also reduced my queue on Ravelry down from 9 pages to 4 and that feels better too.    I think I need to do the same with my fabric, but for now I have a destash page on Ravelry which is slowly growing and once it's all sorted I'll be listing them all on Facebook.  Getting some money won't hurt either as I'm not getting a lot of work right now.   That's a two sided thing, lovely having more time, not so good having less money; it's something that's out of my control though so I'll make the best out of it.

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