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Friday, December 13, 2019

Back with more sewing

I've been having some elbow issues of late, a dickey nerve (I thought it was tendons but my physio says nerve) so less knitting.  Still waiting on more horsehair for the chair so that's on hold, and I can't start weaving till the next stage of the chair is finished so....

What do you do when you can't knit much, can't game (thumb tendonitis) and need to do more than read all day?   Well, you start cleaning house for one thing and you get back to the sewing for the other.

Today I deep cleaned the dining area, all bar the biggest book case which somehow I didn't see despite it dominating the room; will have to do that tomorrow.  Before I started that though I'd been doing sewing.   Some for the boys and some for me.  You've already seen the undies, now to show you the rest.

Youngest in his favourite new t-shirt.  Fabric was from For Fabric Sake, pattern is OTT T-shirt by Little Kiwi Closet.

I hate taking selfies, but the sports bra is the Pika pattern by Jalie and the fabric is from Levana Textiles.

Leggings for me, pattern from Apostrophe patterns, fabric from Levana (it's a polyester elastane I think).  I think I'll try this again with a little less negative east and shorter legs.

Eldest in his new favourite T, same pattern as youngest and fabric also from For Fabric Sake.

Modified Jalie Julia top, the original is an A-line, but didn't work in this fabric so I took it in and made a semi-fitted tank.  Fabric was originally beige, but I dyed it.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

The Challenge of Finding Undies That Fit.

I'm sick of store bought undies, they don't last long in many cases and it's rare that they fit well so I decided to try out some home made ones instead.  I chose 5 patterns I already owned and got cutting.  I might have some more to try out later, but in the meantime this is my selection this time.

Clockwise from top left we have:  Jennifer Lauren Handmade Trixie Briefs, SUAT Women's boxers, SUAT Frisky Knickers and Jalie Julia Briefs

and finally SUAT Bunzies in the full coverage cut.
I'm not showing photos of them worn, my butt isn't something I want to show the world but I'll give you an idea of how these all fit.  I have a reasonably full rear end so I like coverage; all these undies were chosen because of their coverage claims.   I'm reasonably happy with 3 of them and found the other 2 did too much of the wedgie creep for me.

1.  Trixies - I love the look, they're a bit vintage, but unfortunately they do the wedgie creep; not the worse of the 5 but not good enough for me to make them again.

2. SUAT Boxers - surprisingly comfy, no wedgie for obvious reasons and will be great to stop the summer chafing.  Only downside is they do use a lot more fabric than the other styles and since they're a completely different style I'm taking these out of the running.  Will possibly make some for cycling in when I'm wearing a dress.  They have the advantage they don't look like you're flashing your knickers!

3. SUAT Frisky Knickers - these were the best ones in my opinion, very little creeping at all and reasonably flattering.   I do like the self bands too.

4. Jalie Julia - 2nd best, a little creep, but I didn't do the elastic quite right (cut it too short after reading the pattern incorrectly) so I'll have to make these again to see how they work when done correctly.  I do like the option to use a different fabric for the front panel too.  I think the FOE elastic I used was possibly not the greatest which may also be contributing.

5.  SUAT Bunzies - I was expecting a lot from this pattern after the Friskies (and the Scrundlewear I made a year back), but unfortunately these ones head straight for where they shouldn't and then stay there.  They won't be one I'll make again; pity cos I love the fabrics I used.

So that's it so far, I'm also testing out bra type tops but having only made 2 so far I feel I should try out at least one more before reporting on them.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Gluten Free Doesn't Have to Mean Taste Free

I've slowly been perfecting my gluten free bread recipe; this started out as a white loaf and has slowly morphed to a good solid seeded bread with body!  It's not a brick and it has good flavour and I'm pretty sure it may even be approaching good for you.

I make it in the breadmaker cos I'm lazy, but I'm sure you could do it the other way too.  I do premix; one thing I've found with GF bread and breadmakers is that if you don't premix you end up with lumps of dry flour in the finished loaf; not a good thing.

2 cups GF flour - I use the following for this:
1/2 cup each tapioca, chickpea and sorghum flour (sieve these as they tend to clump)
1/4 cup each sunflower flour (home ground) and hemp flour
Handful of hulled hemp seeds, crushed almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds plus a tablespoon of chia seeds
2 tbsp sugar (don't leave this out, the yeast needs to feed on it)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp xantham gum or similar; I'm slowly reducing this from 2 tsp and will see if I can get to 0
1 1/2 tsp active dried yeast

1 cup lukewarm milk or alternative (I use A2 cows milk)
2 tbsp oil (I use olive oil)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 room temperature eggs

Combine and mix well in a bowl before transferring into your breadmaker's mixing bowl.  Set for GF loaf and let it do the rest.

Let the loaf rest after it comes out and then enjoy.  This goes equally well with butter, jam or cheese.   Tonight I'm using it to go around a sausage or two; it's less malleable than gluten type bread, but you can't have everything!

Keeps well for a few days on the bench.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Progress on the chair.

Despite some hiccups, mostly involving the silly staple gun jamming, I've managed to get the chair re-sprung.  I've also bought an upholstery staple gun and contacted the place I bought the heavier gauge one from to let them know about the jamming issue.  It's now a week since I emailed them a video of me using it as requested with no response; I'm feeling distinctly unhappy about that and will be ringing them on Monday if I don't hear anything by then.

This is what the chair looks like now:
As you can see it's now fully sprung and I've done the 8-way tie.  Unfortunately there's a couple of places I had to redo as the staple gun also cut my string a few times; I'll have to recheck it all before I put the first layer of fabric on it.

I've also started sampling for the fabric I'm weaving for the chair.  I can't do the main fabric until the chair has that first layer finished so I can get semi-accurate measurements.  Once that's done then I can warp up and get weaving. 
I'm weaving at 10EPI and I'm happy with that on the loom, it remains to be seen what it turns out like after wet finishing of course.
The yarn is a Romney boucle, it's not as easy as I'm used to due to all the lumps in the yarn, but it's actually behaving itself better than I expected.  I'm having to be careful to just use the beater to place the yarn as I'm aiming for an even weave with 10 picks per inch approx; though I will also trial a section with a harder beat to see which works best in the finished fabric.

This weekend will hopefully see me finish the sample and also get that first layer of fabric onto the chair as well as making the edge roll for the chair.  The only edge roll I could get here was an extruded foam product which is something I wasn't prepared to use.  Instead I'm making my own using the jute webbing and filling it with wool roving.  The reason for the edge roll is to soften the edge of the timber so the fabric won't wear through where it goes over the edge.  I want to get this finished so I can then move onto making my weaving stool.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Long Time

Yes, I've been a bad blogger again.  Partly due to health issues, partly due to losing my sewing chair (it's now my son's homework chair) and partly just me forgetting to blog.   I've been knitting and spinning and I'm trying something new as well.

The reason I don't have the sewing chair is that the chair my son was using started attacking him; it was originally my gran's chair and I decided to refurbish it.  Unfortunately I don't have a before photo, but I'm documenting as I go.   I first of all took off the disintegrating fabric, and took out the innards which had not been done correctly; they'd stapled the springs to a piece of wood on the bottom!

At this point I'm almost ready to put the new springs in, it'll be quite a high crown on the seat but the frame is quite short so it needs to be higher in order to be comfortable to get in and out of.  I've torn out the silly timber on the bottom and remade the back from scratch due to some major cracks in the original.  I've also learned how to use a compressor and put webbing on the bottom (after making a webbing stretcher) and also on the back.  The original back had 2 pieces of webbing, total!

The newly webbed chair, I'm pretty pleased with this.  You can see the original frame colour is brown too; this is being updated.

The new back, sides are made from an old loom and the rest is new timber.
The last few days have been spent sanding the chair and today I put on two coats of the new colour.  I will need to sand again tomorrow and put at least one more coat; I'm using a gloss spray paint.

This is after 2 coats so you can see there's a few spots where the wood is still drinking in the paint.  Hopefully a good sand and another coat will fix that.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Pathfinder Vest in Boiled Wool

I've finished my Pathfinder Vest by Twig + Tale using the gifted boiled wool and cotton elastane from For Fabric Sake and I'm in love! The pattern is wonderful with great instructions and the fabric is perfect for it. Boiled wool is lovely to work with, because it's a stretch knit it's very forgiving and being wool adds extra forgiveness, it doesn't need prewashing and won't fray either. Only thing to be aware of is when pressing be sure to use a press cloth or else it will go shiny; this is normal for wool, however that's a small price to pay when you consider how well it reacts to pressing in the first place; unlike polyester it plays very nicely with heat.

Pixie hood!  And embroidery :)

It's beautifully warm and it's going to be a staple in my wardrobe this year. The colour in the worn photos is more accurate.

You can get an idea of the lining here; unfortunately my phone didn't want to focus properly for some reason

I do love how the hood sits when it's down

See, embroidery!

And the lining is peeking, so pretty.
I made a couple of adjustments to the pattern, the main one was dropping the bust point due to Mother Nature attatching my breasts a little lower than pattern companies design for and I also graded between sizes since I'm best described as non-standard.  I have to do these adjustments with almost every pattern I use.  I top stitched around the hem and fronts so that the lining can't roll around; it wasn't actually trying to, as I said wool takes pressing very well but I don't like to take chances and I love how topstitching looks so...

In the interests of full disclosure I was given the fabric for this project by For Fabric Sake, I bought the pattern a while ago. Although I was gifted the fabric my opinions are not swayed by that in any way. If making the same outfit yourself I'd probably go with a slightly heavier weight lining or else use a woven fabric as a lightweight knit can be a little tricky unless you're used to them, but in this case the print went so well with the wool that I'm glad I put the effort in.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Sewing and knitting

I've got stuff cut out, but the weather has now turned cold and it's all summer stuff; it'll now be put on hold till next spring in the hopes that I'll be feeling healthier and that the fit will be better too due to my new diet I've lost a little weight.

I have done some sewing though and some knitting, I've finished 2 pairs of socks for Sock Madness and cast on a 3rd, and I've made Dh some undies.  Unfortunately the pattern doesn't suit him well, the cuffs are too tight (tree trunk legs from judo) and the top band isn't firm enough and rolls down.  This was the SUAT Mens Boxerwear pattern, I'm going to try a Jalie one next.  Much as I love SUAT's women's undies, my shape is rather different from DH's and not all pattern companies work for all body types.

Excuse the wrinkles, they'd been stuffed in a drawer; he won't be photographed in them so this is the best I could do.
On the knitting front here's the socks so far.
Smock Madness for Ian's enormous feet.

Demogorgon's Lair (fraternal socks for me)

Echoes with help from Ray

Saturday, March 16, 2019


Yesterday something awful happened in Christchurch.  Someone attacked people at prayer, people who had done nothing to deserve it, people who were a part of our community.  I feel for those families and their friends as well as the people who are now helping them and who were first responders. 
If you are upset about this you should be, if you are angry that is also fine, but please don't take it out on anyone else.  Don't give the person who did this airtime, don't reward the behaviour; give your time to those who were affected instead.  Let us pull together as a community to support eachother in our grief, reach out your hands in love, do not give in to hate.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Doesn't look like it is the suppliments

I've been off both of them now for 2 weeks I think and no improvement.  Now looking at a gastroscopy to check if my hiatal hernia has decided to get worse and cause diaphragm issues, if it's not that then my doctor and I are both stumped and I'll have to ask for a referral to someone who specialises and hope they can work it out!

In the meantime I'm knitting and sewing and doing more house cleaning/tidying.  Kon Marie is happening and I'm also challenging FODMAPs.  I've determined that lactose is definitely an issue in larger amounts (up to 1/2 cup yoghurt is ok) and garlic (fructans) is too when over 1/2 clove; we're not sure how much over 1/2 a clove due to Dh forgetting the need to be exact, we need to rechallenge that.  He's now aware of that.  Honey (fructose) also seems to be ok so far, though I had the last challenge on that today so I may find differently in the morning.

I've also done knitting, which includes finishing 2 handspun hats with a commercial contrast; both using the same pattern.

And I'm still working on my cardigan with the foxes on it.  7 rows to go on the hem and then I can pick up for the sleeves.  The end while not in sight, is at least able to be contemplated.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Side Effects?

The question mark is because it might just be coincidence, I won't know for certain for a few more days.

On the 7th of this month I started taking Metagenics Parex, shortly afterwards I started feeling short of breath and noticing I was chest breathing again.  Now it's possible this was happening before and I'm just remembering incorrectly but I know it was Saturday last week when I was getting the shoulder blade pain and I remember lying to say I was fine when I was feeling breathless; why I didn't immediately connect that with the new regime I don't know.   Last night I started making some connections and this morning I did some research.  I didn't find anything on breathing as a side effect from Parex, but when I looked up the individual ingredients I found that Pomegranate skin extract can cause breathing difficulties as a side effect.

So today I'm not taking it and have put it away, and hopefully this'll mean that tomorrow I'll be breathing easier and can retrain to stomach breathing more easily.  At the moment it feels like my diaphragm is tight and can't expand fully.  I'm hoping this is the cause, sure it'll mean I can't take it to fix my middle, but in the scheme of things breathing is a slightly higher priority to me.  If this doesn't work then I'll be heading to the doctor (again).

25.02.19  Update:

Doesn't look like it was this, have been off it and NAC for well over a week now and it's not improved, if anything it's worse and we're now thinking my hiatal hernia might be a contributing factor.  Now been referred to get that looked at in the next 3 weeks, I'm hoping sooner since this is most uncomfortable!

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

New Year, no resolutions because...

I'm simply continuing what I was doing last year, I'm still visiting the gym 2 or 3 times a week and most times I'm biking there.   I'm still trying to get my digestion sorted, still having issues and we don't know why yet.  I'm on the low FODMAP diet and boy is that a pain in the arse!  I've determined that coconut is definitely an issue which makes things worse as many of the "safe" breakfast options include coconut; grrr.

I'm tidying house, so far the hall cupboard, main wardrobe and the pantry have been done and I'm doing a modified Kon Marie version.  Of course there are things that are necessary that don't spark joy and someone gets grumpy if I try to ditch things we've been given my relatives even if they're things we never ever use.  Some may just have to quietly leave.  Some things will be going on Trademe, including a very old Moulie (baby food grinder thing) that mum used for me.

I've made more little sheep baubles for an order at guild and finished my pin cushion, do you want to see her?   Of course you do!
Very fiddly and I'm never going to make another one, but very happy with her.  She had a light tea bath to get the skin tone right.
I'm now finding my studio which I'm hoping will spark my creative side again, at the moment I walk in and then walk straight back out again as it's so messy.  I really want to finish warping up for my fabric, but it needs to feel welcoming first.  I've also started washing some fleece that's been waiting for years, the weather is good for it right now, but I've got a lot and I don't have many places to safely dry it in the wind we've been having.  Plus it's mostly Polwarth which has a high wax content which makes it harder to wash.

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