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Monday, September 03, 2018

I've been doing a lot!

Still having health issues, back pain and sciatic induced foot numbness have been added; plus a recent probable reaction to coconut in my diet was not pleasant.  I'm certainly hoping it was coconut since it's been going on for 2 weeks now and if it's not that then who knows what it is or when it'll stop.  I'll know in a few days if it's gone or not though; fingers crossed!

In the meantime I've been sewing, knitting, weaving, tidying and cleaning and travelling for a day.

I've finished my coat, got one area where the lining isn't quite long enough under one arm, but I'll tack it down at the top which should fix it.  Also the pocket lining keeps peeking; that's a design flaw.
I found the perfect buttons in my stash.  Pattern is an OOP Burda one.
I've almost finished Ian's socks, they should be finished by the end of this week, just 1.5 toes to go and I've made sure there's a little space in the end so he won't outgrow them too quickly.
Yarn from Vintage Purls, pattern is my own and I may publish it later.
The weaving which is now off the loom, still needs wet finishing but I'm going to check what people at guild recommend before I do that.  I'm in love with this.  There's enough for 2 scarves; one with a sewn hem and the other with fringes.  I'll keep fringe scarf and the hemmed one will go to the lady I bought the loom off.
Warp is hand dyed merino/possum/silk by Agnes Hauptli and the weft is black alpaca also from Agnes.
I'll do a separate post in a couple of days about our trip to Wellington, see you then!

Wednesday, August 01, 2018


I feel like I've been doing a lot of that, but it's really only on two things so far.  I've done hemstitching on my scarf on the loom.   The actual scarf is finished now, but I've not yet cut it off as I don't want to waste any of the warp; instead I've wound it on enough for the fringe and then started again to make actual fabric for the rest of it, which will probably become a soft toy for the previous owner of the loom.

You can see the scarf on the bottom; the new fabric on top.  I am really pleased with how this is working out.
I'm also hand hemming my new coat, it's the next step before I start on the sleeves and then the lining.  I need to finish this so I can cut out some new undies for me and some tops too for working out in.
Catch stitch, takes ages and a heap of thread, but it's secure and invisible from the right side.
On a health front I'm now gluten and dairy free and my palpitations have reduced significantly in strength so it looks like there may be a food problem in there.  Had butter by accident two days ago and got major indigestion; this is not a good thing as I was hoping it was gluten that was the issue, not dairy.  I'll have to stay GF for a while yet before I challenge it back though, gluten stays in the system for longer than dairy.  Two weeks on the new eating plan and I've also stopped getting restless legs at night.  Still having problems with having to get up frequently and inflammatory joints but the other improvements make me hope that over time this will also improve.

I'm starting to enjoy the gym too, I don't have enough suitable clothes so have some on the way from the Marika Balance range, I find their stuff fits me well; though I do still need to make myself some tops.

Will be back later with more photos of spinning and the socks I'm knitting from my own pattern for youngest.  I'm over halfway through the foot and need to get them finished to deal with the lack of socks in his drawer, this is mostly due to the constant growth of said feet.

Monday, July 09, 2018

I've been a delinquent blogger

There are a number of reasons for this including laziness, too much time on the xbox and laziness.  I have been doing other things though.  This includes many appointments at physio, acupuncture, joining a gym, stopping the front door from sticking, weaving, knitting, spinning and sewing.

I'm about to go clean all the window frames since mildew is starting to show on some, this is despite having double glazing and the forced air system in the roof; the downside of no thermal break in the aluminium frame I guess.

On the health front things are improving, the acupuncture is helping, though she wants me to give up gluten for a month which I'm not looking forward to and T is not supportive of at all.  I'm hoping that it might be one of the causes for my palpitations though, since if it is at least that's something I can fix by avoiding it and the fact that I love wheat so much is a pointer that it may well be a problem.

On the crafting front I'm working on a wool coat (not sure why since I rarely wear the one I have, but the fabric was there and needed using so...).  I need to get that finished so I have space in the studio since the loom in there has now been sold and the new owner is in the North Island; there will be movers coming in to shift it out so space would be good.

I've got a project on Maire (the Macomber loom) and I'm really enjoying that, over halfway through the scarf at the moment and the remaining warp will be made into fabric for a soft toy, which toy depends on how much I have.
The warp for this is hand-dyed by Agnes Hauptli in merino/possum and I'm using black alpaca for the weft; it's at 28EPI and although it's slow it's so much fun!

Maire will go out to the studio once this project is done and of course once the other loom has been moved on.

On the spinning front I'm back to my combo spin for the Tour de Fleece
The theme for this one was orange and purple; it's going to be a very vibrant yarn.

On the knitting front I'm working on a boucle cardigan, the yarn for which was bought about 5 years ago for me by Dh and was for me when I was smaller; the gym will help take care of that along with cutting sugar again; fell off the wagon there for a month or so.
It should still fit anyway, the pattern is oversized and I know I went for a smaller size since it looked better on me.

Finished the candy stripe socks, wanted to cast on some Wandering Cat self-striping for me, but youngest needs more socks so his needs come before my wants.  He's getting lilac socks; his choice and I'm making the pattern up as I go since I couldn't find what I wanted.  Photos will come once it's further along.
That's it for me for the moment, now going to go clean those window frames and get the kids to feed themselves lunch; they're old enough to do that themselves now.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

I got some sewing done!

Not the coat yet, but I'm blaming my son for this delay.  He bought Far Cry 5 for me on the Xbox so I've been running round the wilds of Montana shooting Peggies instead of sewing.  It's been fun though! 

I have however managed to get my loom heddles threaded with the next project and I've sewn 2 things in the last few days.

This is the early 18th century vest I've made for Dh

 It's silk brocade on the fronts from very deep stash and the back is a silk/wool blend fabric I bought at The Fabric Store here in Christchurch. 15 buttons and buttonholes.  There is a small amount of non HA fabric lining the back as the silk/wool was a bit too stiff to use as lining as well as the outer; there is one layer of that lining the front and another narrow piece behind the button areas since I refused to fully interface the front pieces.
and this is my gorgeous muff.  The inner is separate and made from slightly felted wool coating (a remnant) and stuffed with mohair roving from the stash.  The outer is a goat fur and will look amazing with the dress when I make it as that is a slightly pinky red shade of silk.

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And now back to the studio to do some more sewing and maybe read the book on my warping up the loom as well.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

What should I sew next? - Vote closed

Edited to advise the results:

Dress - 5
Vest - 3
Coat - 7

I've got 3 choices, all have good reasons to be sewn, none have been used by me in the past.  Help me decide!

1:  Butterick 5951 which is a retro style dress; I'd be doing  a mash up of view C for the top and view A for the skirt.  This would make a wearable winter dress.

2: Simplicity 4923 The start of an 18th century outfit for Dh, probably starting with the vest which would then tick off the fastenings challenge for the Historical Sew Monthly

3: Burda 8124 view B.   I think I have enough of the purple wool out in stash, if not then I'll go hunting in stash for something else.  I need a wool coat that's not as 1990's as my current one and in a colour that suits me.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

March Historical Sew Monthly

This month's challenge was Comfort At Home and I chose to make myself a wool skirt.

What the item is: 1780's wool skirt
Material: A wool blend, haven't done a burn test but it presses like wool and I suspect a bit of mohair too.
Pattern: Koshka the Cat's tutorial
Year: 1780's, made to go with my bum pad
Notions: Polyester thread, twill tape
How historically accurate is it? I used Koshka's instructions so probably fairly accurate on that front, it's all machine sewn though as I'm not willing to put my RSI through 4m of hem. I'd say 70%
Hours to complete: 6?
First worn: Not yet, I'm 4 months post abdominal surgery so not wanting to put the stays etc on yet; that and I don't have the jacket to go with it for wearing out in public yet.
Total cost: $10? The fabric cost me $10 for the whole bolt, then there's the thread and the tape, both of which came from old stash.

I'm figuring this is the sort of skirt you would have worn around home for pottering in, it's short enough to be out of the way but still suitably modest and it's a good hard wearing fabric too.  I'm wearing it over the bum pad and a linen petticoat here.

Once I've made the jacket to go with it and reached the point of being able to wear the stays as well I'm going to go grocery shopping in it and possibly drop in to the special needs unit to show my son's classmates.  I suspect they'll love it.

In other news I've been knitting and spinning and making T trousers for work.
This fabric was a freebie from Levana, a wool poly blend I suspect

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And this one is the same fabric as my skirt, lovely to work with.

My combo spin on Esme, first bobbin still not full.

My spinning, a little more than the last photo

A new shawl in progress using up stash, including handspun on the top tier when I get that far.
And my finished socks for Sock Madness, the next round starts any time from now.
I've still not got my warping done for the loom, but that's next on the list for between socks as well as next month's Historical Sew Monthly project if I can work out what I'm going to make; I won't have time for the stomacher with Sock Madness being on.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Not Impressed!

It's only just hit autumn here and youngest has already brought the flu home.  He had a very mild case, eldest also fairly mild (both had 3 days off school).  School told me it was a cold, but eldest and I had muscle aches and a temperature too which says flu to me.  Mine is still hanging around a week after starting and has headed into my ears and sinuses giving me tinnitus and pressure issues; not fun!  However despite that I've been doing Sock Madness and I now have 1.5 socks in 5 days and hope to finish by tomorrow.
First sock finished

Second sock at heel turn
 I've also done a smidge of spindle spinning, been a while since I did this so I've dropped it a few times.  The spindle is a Whimsy Wood and Wool spindle and it's lovely to use.  The wood is Mahogany and Tedge made it especially for me.
The fibre is dyed by Anna Harris who does lovely dyeing and sells at The Wool Yarn and Fibre Shop at The Tannery.  Unfortunately they don't have an online presence and nor does Anna.
I've also got cut out one pair of trousers for Dh and got the fabric ready for another as well as cutting out an 18th century skirt for the March challenge, and I've started the warp for my fabric on the Macomber loom.  Socks come first though so I can get into a team for Sock Madness, after that I should have a week to get the sewing done and maybe a bit more warping and spinning.

I can also show you a t-shirt I made a few weeks back as a test sew, love this top as it's comfy and looks good.
This is the Ostara Top by Jennifer Lauren Handmade and I'd seriously recommend you go and buy it.  It uses stretch knits, mine is a cotton lycra.  Obviously I still need to lose some stomach to show this off properly, but that's a WIP following surgery and will take a while.
Oh, and I think I'm going back to sugar free again, Christmas derailed me horribly and I've just not got back on that wagon properly since.  I'm showing signs of candida issues again and I'm suspecting that might be why this flu hit me harder than it did the kids too.  I've got an appointment with a nutritionist and she's got my latest blood test results to help her.  I've also got an appointment to be assessed for fascial stretch today, my SIL went to these guys and is feeling much more flexible and pain free as a result, so I've some hope they can help me too.  Would be nice to have a pain free neck/shoulder and my left upper arm is a bit stuck too.   Plus the lady I'm seeing has experience of working with internal scarring from surgery which I can guarantee I have even with doing all the things I could think of to keep things from seizing up (I've been taking serrapeptase and stretching)

Monday, February 19, 2018

It's summer

and as a result we're getting stuff done outside.   The washing line got moved a few weeks ago which has made things much easier, but it did mean the trail of paving stones leading to it were now leading to the middle of nowhere.  Yesterday I levered them all up, backfilled the holes and placed them in the right place for the new line position.  They're just sitting on top of the lawn for the moment but in winter it means I won't get my feet wet when putting washing out.  That's not been a problem for the last wee while though, we've had 30 degree days again and it's been hot and humid.  Rain is coming tomorrow though, a cyclone is passing through; we'll probably only get high winds and lots of water but we need the water; maybe not the wind so much though.

I've been cleared for exercise now and started doing some HIIT workouts, very intense, but hopefully they'll help me find the body I know is hidden under all the fluff.  It's a strong body and I want it back, hopefully that will also help with the other health stuff like sleeping and the throat issues etc.  We'll see, but even if it doesn't it'll make the rest of me stronger so still worth it.  On the off days I'm either doing work outside (see above) or going on the rowing machine.   I'm also starting kegels, all that surgery has weakened things so I need to build that up too!

I've been busy with sewing and knitting and I'm busy warping up as well, though the latter is going slowly due to me not liking the warping mill much at all, and forgetting I need to warp differently for the Macomber since she's got a sectional beam. 

I made a t-shirt using some modal from Levana, this was offcuts and I'm really happy with it

I finished my shrug, but haven't got to wear it yet.  30 degrees and possum down do not mix.

I've planned my next shawl, hopefully I'll have time to work on it between sock madness socks, pointy bit is the bottom and it works its way up to the handspun at the top.

The latest piece for the historical sewing, this is a bum pad for late 18th century and is stuffed with wool from my stash that I wasn't going to spin.

Fibre that I am going to spin, I dyed this with a Canterbury sunset in mind and it turned out really well.

and my latest knitting, I'm now knitting the final 3 rows of the blue and then have one more tier of raindrops before I start on the edging.
My next projects involve curtains for Dh's games room, the track is up so I just have to cut and sew the curtains (I hate making curtains so I hope he appreciates them).  I also need to clean the oven (ick), do some re-upholstering if I have something suitable in stash and shift the raspberries from their current spot so we can kill the Bear's Britches growing in the middle of them.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Historical Sew Monthly January Finished Item

The Challenge: Mend, Reshape, Refashion
Material: Silk crepe with a peached finish
Pattern: Mrs DePew #2023; 
Year: 1930's tap pants
Notions: Thread and hooks and eyes
How historically accurate is it? 95%; the fabric is probably good, the beads are glass so ok too, and the pattern is a reprint of an original, only the thread is polyester and I machine sewed everything.
Hours to complete: 6?
First worn: Only tried on so far
Total cost: All recycled so nothing really.

I made a 1920's 1 hour dress a couple of years ago and I've never worn it, but I loved the beading I did on it so wanted to repurpose it. This required me to seam the fabric back together to make one cohesive piece, but it's worked and I'm much happier with the new item of clothing; this will actually get worn (when it's not 30 degrees celcius though)

See, it's a sack; lovely fabric, great embellishment, but still a sack

Worn over shorts here, too hot to try on otherwise; I'm much happier with this finished item, it may even possibly be flattering!

and a closer view of the actual construction; that seam on the left is where I pieced the fabric back together before cutting out the bias front.
 In other news I've been gardening, transplanting a swan plant or three into the garden since it had outgrown its pot.
being very careful not to disturb its occupant.
I've been knitting, I'm now on the border for my shrug, and have only had to undo part of one row.  This proves to me my brain is still not quite right from surgery yet, but it's getting better!
Just before starting the border
And I've finished my mat for the studio!  
Really, really happy with this; it's just the right size and all my best colours.
So I've now done sewing, knitting and weaving since surgery, just have to do some spinning now and get the other loom fully set up. I can use it as is, but I want to sort its tendency to spew too much warp at me when I release the brake.  I could just get up and release it from the side, but I want to be able to do it from the front and I will not be beaten by a bunch of wood and metal!

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Plans for the year

I've got a number of plans.  There are knits I want to make, weaving I want to do and sewing as well.

On the knitting side I have some cardigans I want to make as I currently only have jerseys and I love me a good cardigan.  I already have Dew Point on the needles in black and Fox Crossing, though the latter needs my brain to be working properly to work out their short rows which currently make no sense to me at all.  I may have to change the technique used to something else once my brain has come back.
I am also planning a Timely, a Penrith and a Wrap Cardigan (I have the kit for the latter, bought by my beloved some years back).

On weaving I'm currently working on a floor rug on the 4-shaft loom which will go  on the studio floor and likely be the final piece on that loom before I sell her on.  I also need to make something on the 8-shaft before I sell the other one to make sure she will do what I want.  There's still some more work to do on the 8-shaft before she's completely ready for the next project but I have high hopes that she'll be exactly what I need after that is done.  That project will likely be a table runner using a cotton/linen blend I picked up from Colourmart.

On the sewing front there will be another dress like my Christmas one, sans waist ties as well as a top from the same pattern since it fit me so well.  More undies, more clothes for the kids and all going well some historical costuming too.  My middle is feeling better so I think it's time to revisit that.

So, I now need to decide what projects I'll do to fit in with the Historical Sew Monthly (this is a closed group on Facebook). 

January: Mend, Reshape, Refashion: Mend or re-shape one of your previously made historical clothing items, or refashion a new one out of something not originally intended as sewing fabric.

I'm thinking for this I might make a suitable 18th century cap from one of the old sheets in my stash; now that my hair is short I have to disguise it somehow.

Feb: Under: Make something that goes under the other layers.

Just had a thought on this one, a bum pad to go under the skirt so I have an earlier shape for my 18th century gear.

March: Comfort at Home: Make something to wear around the (historical) house.

For this I think I'll make a more casual 18th century skirt; think Outlander style for wear when working in the dispensary rather than going to a ball.

April: Buttons and Fastenings: Create an item where the closures are the star of the show.

I wonder if I have time to make a stomacher; these are highly embroidered and you pin your gown to them over the stays.

May: Specific to a Time [of Day or Year]: Historically, some garments were worn year round, and for a range of events. Others were exclusively for certain times of year, or specific times of day. Make one of the latter.

Might be time to make the fur muff I bought 2 goat skins for a few years ago; I have the stuff and it's winter by then.

June: Rebellion and Counter-Culture: Create an item that pays homage to fashion rebels and clothes that flaunt their place on the fringes of standard sartorial society, or that was signature to a rebelling cause.

This requires some research, I'm thinking something that might support the Jacobean cause before Culloden, maybe something with tartan cloth.

July: Sleeves: There are some amazing examples of historical sleeves styles out there. Put the focus on the arms and shoulders in your creation for this challenge.

Time for a ballgown?  I've got the American Duchess pattern coming.

August: Extant Originals: Copy an extant historical garment as closely as possible.

Not sure on this, might have to peruse Pinterest

September: Hands and Feet: Create a fabulous accessory for your hands or feet.

Linen mitts, embroidery a must.

October: Fabric Manipulation: Take fabric to the next level with any kind of historical embellishment or manipulation: smocking, shirring, embroidering, beading, pinking, ruching, printing, painting, dyeing etc.

Pinking was all the rage for trims in the 18th century, just got to decide what to make

November: Purses and Bags: You’ve got your arms covered in July, your hands in September, now make something amazing to dangle from them.

A pocket?  Normally in the 18th century women didn't carry bags or purses, but they used pockets inside their dresses instead; these could also be embroidered.

December: Neglected Challenge: Was there a challenge this year (or, if you’ve been doing the HSM for a while, in a previous year) you missed? Or didn’t create quite what you’d wanted for? This is your chance to make it up!

I have a hankering for a Bergere (sp?), have to find a suitable straw hat to turn into one though.

Being realistic of course I won't get all of these done, but even if I make a start and get a dress/outfit that fits then I'll be happy.

Monday, January 01, 2018

New Years Resolutions?

Not as such.  I'm feeling much better now so my plan for the new year involves movement, good food and creativity.  Today as an example involved woodworking on the loom which was movement and creativity and dinner included beans, zucchini and peas from our garden.

I'm planning more weaving, first project is on the outside loom (sort of), waiting for some yarn to arrive for the inside loom, but it is coming from the UK and of course has to fight upstream for the holiday mail season. 

There will be knitting too, and reading and some Xbox with Dh.  I'm also planning on going back to the eighteenth century.  I suspect I may need a new set of undergarments since I'm going earlier in the century and since I've lost weight, I'm hoping not as I love the stays I already have and the shape should work for 1745 as well.  I guess we'll have to wait and see.  I have the Outlander pattern from Simplicity and I love the idea of a more casual or work-friendly outfit.

On the knitting front I've got started on a Dew Point in black Bohemia Sport yarn by Outlaw Yarn since my brain isn't up to the version of short rows used in the cardigan I was working on; once it is up to it I think I'll change the short rows to the ones I normally use.

Current sock project

Dew Point and yarn

An out-take from a very windy Christmas day; me wearing my new dress

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