Saturday, August 18, 2018

August 18, 2018: Rainy Summer Saturday!

What a summer it's been: hot, dry, and humid in a way I've never experienced in Maine before! We've broken records, etc., and had a sense (both political and environmental) of hurtling towards disaster that has been enervating at times. HOWEVER, it's important to make a few steps forward, to keep gentle with ourselves and each other, and to Mary Oliver our lives a bit.

So: lots of pies, lots of facetimes with Nate and Vianney, nice times with Lyle, loving times with old dog Zeus even as it's clear this will be his last summer (lots of cleaning up), some nice movies, plays, and books, practicing my banjo and working on my knitting and my sewing projects. Good times with my beloved: we swam the Echo Lake swim, we went to a SeaDogs game with Ann, Dad, and Nate (so hot, so hot, so hot, but fun!), we watched a lot of Red Sox, we continue to play backgammon. . . . I will post pictures.

So today I want to see about the farmer's market for eggplant so we can have ratatouille for dinner, and I want to run, possibly see a movie (Crazy Rich Asians?) and also sew, Duolingo, and banjo. So I need to get moving. It's nearly 11! But also nice to move in a leisurely fashion. Soon enough, we'll be in school mode, and while I love that, it sure ain't leisurely.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

May 6: Another Hour. . . .

. . .on the shirt, and I finished the other placket (this one set in, not sewn on) and did the darts. The Sewalong presents the pockets as the start of step two, and since I'll have to sew OVER the dart, I think that might mark the start of my frustrating "do your best and then iron the hell out of it" stage, so I decided to quit and wait till next weekend to start that. If this is truly a mess, I might even *skip* the pockets. I mean. . . really. . . .

The darts seem okay, though a tad pointy (perhaps a good reason for a pocket or two?). I tried the "shrink your stitch size till the very end" technique that I had read about elsewhere, so we'll see if that makes a difference.

One other frustration with the pattern is the layout/cutting info: the only place that #s of pieces and interfacing requirements are listed is right on the pattern pieces themselves, which is frustrating to check should one forget or some such human error. ALSO: the two placket pieces of 1" x 29" interfacing aren't mentioned as pieces per se, so one stumbles upon them after one has put one's interfacing away. . . . But one has now added a lot of notes to the pattern, so one will not make that mistake again, one hopes.

I'd say my self-satisfaction was at a 10/10 yesterday; today it's about a 9/10, but I am anticipating a plunge to an 8/10 "good enough for government work" level when the pocket gets involved. Anyway. Here's a non-helpful dart-and-second-placket picture. Over and out.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

May 5: Spring! And some steps forward on the shirt!

I've been trying the "just one hour" approach, and so far it's gotten me moving a few times when I wasn't particularly motivated. I have cut out all the pieces, marked them, and cut all the interfacing. Today, I made the "wearer's right set-in placket," the steps to which were confusing in a few places, but the comments on the (not really very helpful [more on that in a minute]) sewalong helped me figure out one fuzzy spot and helped me decide to wing it in another. I'm pleased with the result so far!

(That's my neatly edge-stitched set-in placket.)

So, the sewalong: so far it's mostly photos added to the directions. There's a blurb at the top from the designer, but the directions are word-for-word from the pattern, AND, especially annoyingly, the fabric in the example shirt looks the same on both sides, so there's no helpful contrast for visual learners like me. Maybe it will get "helpfuller" as time goes on, but so far it's a "partially meets" for me!

Still: I am happy to have gotten one of the fiddly bits done. I feel like I'd like to do the other and stick the buttons and holes on right off, as the buttonholes have been my bĂȘte noire for years.

Ooh: I guess I do the other band next, and then I do the darts, the pockets, and the back tucks, so the fiddly stuff is coming at me hard. I may be able to do an hour tomorrow, though, in my lovely sunny workroom.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

April 28: Project Record: The Classic Shirt!

Well. I am hoping that I can follow this detailed shirt project to learn how to create the comfy, classy, fun shirts that I love to wear and that are way too hard to find or too expensive to buy. We'll see.

As part of my wonderful April vacation with Cyrille, our visitor from France, I was able to set aside a few hour-long work sessions to get the fabric washed and the shirt nearly cut out.

I really like the fabric, but/and it was 2.49/yd from Marden's, so it's okay to use as a muslin. I did pay full price for the pattern from Sewing by the Sea, and once I get confident with the pattern, I will probably get some really nice fabric from them for repeat versions, so no guilt there.

Today I finished the cutting and am about to mark the pieces and then cut out the interfacing *and* sew all the stay-stitching, all before staring "step one" of the sewalong, which is the front band and darts. This may be a long project--but I hope it will be filled with learning and progress!

**ETA on Sunday, April 29: Had a lovely two-shot session, one doing the cutting (about an hour in the morning) and then one doing the marking and stay-stitching (an hour-plus in the afternoon listening to Abbi Waxman's not-very-good Other People's Houses) with the window open so I could enjoy the sunny air blowing in over my workspace! I hope to get another hour put in this afternoon, but Sundays are always a bit unpredictable. Still: I love the fabric, and I'm encouraged by how well the "only an hour" mindset works to get me to actually engage!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Tuesday, January 23, 2018: Back.

Huh. Here I am, mostly because it suddenly feels like I want to communicate a bit, and maybe ? this platform will force me into the actual official act a bit more. It's been nearly six months, I think! Today is a nasty day--true Jane Eyre/die on the heath from exposure weather--so I skipped my 5 am run partly because we had a two hour delay! I slept for two more hours and am now padding about. I did think I looked marvelous in my colors while I stumped out to get yesterday's forgotten mail in the sneeze of the current 32.4 degree weather:


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Saturday, August 5: Waiting for rain!

I finally have blocked and pinned out my shawl, and of course it's dim and humid. We desperately need rain, but it's one of those days when we could easily miss it but still have this nasty patch of weather. . . . so I sure hope we get some.

August has "incentivized" me into action: I have painted the door and closet in Lyle's/Vianney's room:

I love the blue! The room has a nice fresh touch and yet it took only about four hours. I am a terrible painter, but I do enjoy the end result!

I have also been deep into my shawl project, learning a ton about wet-blocking lace with wires (thank you to Jen and Dawn, my knitting buddies, one who lent the wires and the other who picked them up for me). So far, so good:

 And the last shot is of my *edited* cast-off, of which I am extremely proud, since it took a risk and it turned out just as I'd hoped:

The study is full of fans, which I hope will keep the cats off the futon and the shawl while speeding up the drying process. 

We. Shall. See. 

The rest of August has featured another Shakespeare event ("Merry Wives of Windsor" at Fort Knox yesterday--always a treat!), a lovely time buying L a new, long-promised Pfaff "Select 4.2" which seems perfect for his needs: 

We got it at Sewing by the Sea, and he was made much of there, and it was a great, celebratory time, smiled over by the spirit of Joan Stephenson, my beloved mother-in-law, who always maintained that high quality tools made projects much better. We followed that up with my first-ever meal at the Luau BBQ where we both had delicious lunches, and then a trip to Marden's to look at fabric, and for me to convince L to buy a 3.99 quilting book. . . . :) 

Feeling lucky and happy and excited about our new boy arriving on Thursday. Time continues. Let's hope for rain to top it all off! 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday, July 30: Top. Ten. Day!

Truly, it's the kind of day to store up against a February or March sneezing, flat, nasty stretch of gloom and rawness. Blue, gold, green, breeziness. Wow. Can't think of a better day to go watch "The Tempest" on the lawn of the Saltair Inn in Bar Harbor. Ahhhhhhh.

And I am near to the final bind-off for my alpaca shawl project, and I am thinking I might take a risky step and change the pattern for a more elegant finish: instead of the garter stitch stop, I'd like to add an eyelet row before I bind off so that the top mirrors the sides. I've found a tutorial:

 and her basic product matches my basic idea, so that's a step in the right direction

For me, inveterate rule-follower, this is a Very Big Deal. More to come. My goal is to be done by July 31, though the blocking may not happen till later, since I need to borrow blocking wires.

Here's a link to my ravelry page with my pattern info and musings on it.