Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015


Mending was the sole use I had for my sewing machine for a long time, and it's still pretty good at it. This is a strip cut from an old bedsheet, used to shore up and repair a tear in a cotton kimono my sister gave me many years ago. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Dip Your Toes Into the Victorian Era!!!

My friend, Wendy, and I are planning a workshop for this coming April. 

We will make a teeny version of my Bootstrap Socks and learn about how that fits into 1850.

Join the authors of "Yarn Works" and "Sock Architecture" for a day-long dive into history. Wendy J. Johnson (author of "Yarn Works: How to spin, dye, and knit your own yarn") will start in the morning with the methods and materials available in dye baths of the 1850s. Choose a provided 19th Century dyestuff to hand-dye a skein for a pair of adult-sized socks and learn past (and modern) natural dyeing techniques. Lara Neel (author of "Sock Architecture: Heels, toes, and techniques for knitting awesome socks" will pick up the ball in the afternoon with the history of sock knitting in the Victorian era and will walk you through methods for knitting socks that have been partially lost to history. As you knit a mini sock, Lara will show you techniques that are fast, fun, and fantastic—and can be used in any sock pattern you choose.

You will go home with the naturally-dyed skein of yarn that you dyed in the morning (enough for a pair of adult socks), the mini-sock you created in the afternoon, and a pattern to knit an adult-sized pair of socks using the techniques you learned in the afternoon.

Additional workshop benefit: The day-long session is being held at Gale Woods Farm, a 410-acre, working educational farm and park within the Three Rivers Park District. It's located on picturesque Whaletail Lake in Minnetrista, Minnesota. You will have an opportunity to tour the farm facility with a farm staff guide and meet the animals during a break in the day. Before or after the session, you may take advantage of the walking paths located throughout this beautiful site.

Cost: $75.00 (cost includes supplies*)

Date & Time: Saturday, April 2, 2016 – 9 am – 4 pm (A half-hour is allotted for lunch. Class participants should bring their own lunches. Refrigeration and a microwave are available. Tea, coffee, and water will be provided.)

Location: Gale Woods Farm, 7210 County Road 110 W., Minnetrista, MN 55364

Ages of participants: For ages 16 and over. (We can only accept a total of 16 participants so sign up early!)

*All materials & supplies (except needles & misc. knitting notions) will be provided by the instructors. You will be given a miscellaneous supply list when you register.

Register by March 15, 2016 at the Three Rivers ParkDistrict/Gale Woods website or call Gale Woods at 763-694-2001.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Reading Practical Dress Design: A Laboratory Manual in Fitting and Free-Hand Pattern Making, by Mabel Erwin (1933)

Ok, lovelies. This is the kind of thing that used to drive my coworker Joyce crazy. I think she thought my interest in old drawings/photos/books was a bit strange, and certainly not blog fodder.

The "vintage"  Math4Knitters shows have all been replayed! I'm working on a new series that I will launch at the beginning of 2016. 

In the interim, my Throwback Thursday posts will be all about me reading this sewing book from the 1930s. It seems to have a lot of great information in it on fitting and design details. I have a copy from my local library, but there's also a version online here

I'm ignoring her "purchase a new corset" advice and taking away the parts that I think seem useful! I think, at this time, a lot of sewing patterns were sold with just one size at a time, so grading in between sizes was harder. But, it still seems like sound advice for choosing a size to start from a multi-size pattern.

p. 5

How to choose the best size, when you are in-between sizes. 

- Try tightening your measuring tape to the smaller size and loosening it to the larger size, to really see the difference between the two on your body. You may be comfortably closer to one or the other. 

- The larger size can usually be altered easily by adding a tuck.

- In general, choose the best fit for the section of the dress/garment that has the most design details. For example, if a dress has pleats or yokes in the hip area, choose your size based on the hip measurement.

- If your measurements are very different from the ones in the pattern's size chart (bust is one size, waist is another, hip is yet another), try to choose dress patterns that have a waistline seam and gore lines, so that you'll have a better time fine-tuning the fit. 

The larger size might be best when:

- You have wide shoulders. (That's me!)

- Your body is shaped more like an oval than a circle.

- You have a high bust.

The smaller size might be best when:

- Your body is shaped more like a circle than an oval.

- You have a low bust.

- Your hips are small, in proportion to your bust.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Blue Sky and Clouds

I'm heartbroken by the violence and hate in the world, but it keeps turning. Even on rainy days, we have to try to remember the sun. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sometimes You Rip, Sometimes You Sew

Here's one of the many things knitting taught me that also applies to sewing and life.

When you don't like what you're getting, and you can do it over, just do it over. 

Otherwise the bad job you did on that seam/gauge swatch/email will haunt you for as long as you care to think about or use the thing. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Boo Boo Balm

OK, returning to previous obsession for a bit. After you have made your herb-infused oil, you can blend it with a little beeswax and essential oils and make a pretty awesome, and easy, salve for bumps and bruises. I love it!

Complete info. in Beeswax Alchemy, the book that made my basement smell awesome.