Thursday, September 13, 2018

It's nearly time



The 2018 SAGA Convention is fast approaching.  On Monday, I'll be heading to Winston-Salem, North Carolina for a week of stitching and conversation with a whole crew of other women.  Of course, Florence is also barreling down on the North Carolina coast, so we're all waiting to see how she veers before throwing the suitcases into the car.  The venue is 60 miles or so inland so storm surge won't be much of an issue, but this hurricane is supposed to be "really wet" which makes heavy rains and winds an issue to watch.  Hopefully, the storm will have hit and weakened by the time we need to head south.

Most of my week will be spent with Claudia Newton. My first day is a small hardanger ornament.  I like the idea of small, and I like that the project is something I should be able to finish.
   On Thursday I migrate to Australian teacher Judith Adams for a class on designing smocking plates. Earlier in the year, I'd started trying to design a few graphs that had cables  tapering into large hearts.  It looks easy enough on similar plates.  You just need some baby waves for the tops and then some trellises to make the lower part of the hearts.   My math/engineering/design skills were NOT up to getting the bottom points of the hearts hearts to meet up properly with the center or the upper points.  I finally gave up and used a- transcription? interpretation? - of a dress I'd seen on Pinterest (as one does).  It turned out well, but I'd like to be able to figure out how to put these elements together on my own. 

   I'll be with Miss Claudia for the remainder of the convention. I'm repeating a class on dainty edges.  She teaches a gorgeous mitered hem suitable for delicate hankies or hand towels, and while I finally got the gist of it in the first go-round I would like a refresher.  There will also be instruction on a shell edge and applying delicate lace or tatted edgings to fabric, discussion of the proper threads to use and when to use color.     
    Hemstitch is the topic of my next class with Claudia.  We'll be making a sampler with several variations of a basic hemstitch.  (I need to practice my basics before class!) 
    Finally, there is a pretty tape-measure circle that features a shisha-worked mirror centered between some decorative stitches, all done in shades of sand and sea.  She has an entire set of "smalls" and possibly a sewing case that match this piece, but I like the idea of a small project that I might actually be able to finish. (Unlike the three different styles of reticules and several dresses up in the Room of Doom!)

Photos of all these projects and more can be seen at www.smocking.org under "convention class descriptions".  It will probably only be available for another week, though.  I'll see if I can post photos from the brochure here in my blog after that.  It bugs me when I read a blog and get links to photos that have disappeared, so I'll try to avoid doing that to you, my readers. 

In the interim between now and taking off I'll be doing the usual- frantically catching up on laundry, sorting out the tools and supplies I need to take along with me, watching the Weather Channel often, and finishing up a few Wee-Care projects for donation. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Sewing Room Updates

In the past couple of months I have:

organized most of my magazines and donated or recycled ones that I've finally admitted I'm never going to use again.   I've not weeded out my Threads yet, but I think I'm going to buy past issues on disk and donate the paper copies. 

Cleaned off my computer desk, shampooed the carpet around it and installed Viking Premier +2 Ultra (for Mac) on my Mac.  I've even read some of the manual and played around with the features  a little. 

Cleared out some fabric that no longer appeals to me.

Made a Christening Dress for a client.  I still need to finish the slip, but want to do a monogram on it and have to figure out how to manipulate Ultra to design one.  Or find one I like online and do it by hand...

The annual Smocking Arts Guild of America is coming up in 9 days and I need to complete three items to donate to the Wee-Care charity,  do some fun homework for one of my classes and finish up a silk ribbon project for a friend who is also going.  We're trading my work for one of her Featherweight machines. 

Monday, August 6, 2018



I'm back in the sewing room!

Someone recommended me to a friend who was in the market for a Christening gown, so I've been working on creating one for the past few weeks. 


The fabric is cotton batiste from Spechler-Vogel and the smocking is done with two strands of DMC.   I'm happy with how it's turning out so far, although I always forget how fiddly adding lace to a neckline is.  Takes aaages.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


I'm not very good at keeping up with blogging.  There are reasons:

I don't do much.
    Especially when the weather is very hot or very cold, my fibromyalgia tends to flare up and keep my activities to a bare minimum.  I've managed to make it to my gym training for all but two of my three-times-per-week sessions, and I count that as a win.  Blogging about the same thing every day is boring to do and boring to read, though,

I'm easily overwhelmed.
   My sewing room still looks like a battle site for the most part.  I have organized a couple small areas, but it isn't enough to be able to WORK up there.  There have been at least two attempt where I got up there, moved things around for five minutes and then just gave up because there is So Much Stuff that I couldn't deal with it.   I've made a few lists since then of things that I will just never get around to doing. Once I box up the fabric for those and get it donated and out of the room, I'm hoping things will look a bit less horrifying.   For example: I have at least 2 dozen pair of old jeans up there.  I'm sure I can use them to make things.  Potholders.  A braided denim rug.  I saw some really cute beaded denim bags on Pinterest that were made from repurposed jeans.  The jeans have been up there for at least 5 years: how likely am I to actually make any of those things?   Yeah- time to pass that part of the stash on to someone else.
    Last week I started on the computer corner and discovered that my boy cats have sprayed and re-sprayed all the surge protectors and cables.  Crusty dried pee is caked on most of the surfaces. Cleaning it up is going to require some prodigious scrubbing and wiping in order to keep Loki from just re-baptizing everything again. ( I'm seriously considering putting a half-door at the bottom of the stairs to limit his access.)  The cords, cables, desk and walls will all have to be de-felinated before I can get Himself up there to help me move the heavy desk so I can clean the carpet.
   I screbbed, soaked and then re-scrubbed the surge protector cable, then let it dry in the sun for a couple of days, then let it dry in front of an AC vent inside for another few.  Loki didn't bother to sniff it, so I'm hoping that means I got it clean.  Now I need to see if it still works- but I'm a bit wary of plugging it in. (The Husband says it will either work or blow out the outlet, so go for it.  Maybe tomorrow.  Or maybe I should just invest in a new one that I know will work.)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

so sad



The best laid plans and all that.  This post has been sitting in my drafts file since Feb 1st waiting for me to add some photos. 

I'm finally getting some work done on a friend's reticule.  I'm sure she'd like to be able to use it sometime this year.  The fabric is lovely, and so are the silk ribbons.  I started transferring the embroidery design onto the fabric the other day and ran into a couple of snags.  First, silk dupioni is a bear to write on.  Either bits of the design don't show up, or they get missed due to the texture, or they start to fade out quickly.  I traced the pattern onto some Press n Seal, but have decided getting the plastic out from the stitching without nipping ribbon might be a little difficult.  I'll be tracing everything onto a light-adhesive washaway stabilizer instead.  That way, I can trim away most of the excess and use a fine line paintbrush to melt the rest to a state where I can disengage it.

I purchased some more silk ribbons from Beehive Needleworks a couple of weeks ago.
This is an incredible shop!  They carry so many fibers and gorgeous beads and sequins.  This is my haul from my first visit:

The beads are size 11 and 15 seed beads.  15s are teeny!  The silk ribbon is for an upcoming stitch along project.  I'll be using wallowberry silk dupioni for the tissue holder, and I think the contrast of colors will be stunning. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

New Year, New Post Habits?

 
I thought about doing a post at least once a week throughout 2018.  That's gone well so far.   😺

My stitching has been going just about that well, too.  I'm fairly sure I did NOT finish one single project in 2017!  This must change.  I have too much stash, and still collect ...  well, things.

Today, for instance, I visited The Beehive Needleworks in Mt. Lebanon.  Ooooh, what a delight for the eyes!  I went for silk ribbon and a couple skeins of silk floss for a dragon needle painting and walked out with those, plus some tiny flat sequins and coordinating beads in sizes 11 and 14.  I'll be using these to embellish some Alabama Chanin style tops.  These will join some other colors of sequins and beads I picked up last September in Burlington, Wi.  I have quite a few plain knit tunics and thought it would be nice to embellish some of them with machine embroidery enhanced with sparkly things.  note to self: get the sewing room cleared up!

Last year I did attend a local workshop with my SAGA chapter friends where we worked on a size 2 smocked square yoke dress.  I was having some vision problems, so didn't get as far along as I wanted, but will finish it soon. 
   I also attended a retreat in St Charles, MO where I took a hardanger class from Jane Briscoe and a T-Yoke smocked dress from Debbie Glenn.  No.  They aren't finished, either. 


Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Great Pescatarian Experiment of 2016



   Several weeks ago the husband woke up and discovered that the thought of eating meat made him feel queasy.  Even BACON!  Since then, I've been attempting to cook more vegetarian meals.  Many nights, I just make sure all the sides are meat-product free, then cook salmon for him and have a pork chop myself.  (I don't like salmon anymore, for some reason.)  For Thanksgiving I went all out.  We had Lentil Loaf,  roasted brussels sprouts and stuffed portobello mushrooms.   I sent my daughter a photo of my plated dinner.  She texted back "Is that food?  uh, I mean, that looks tasty."  It was surprisingly tasty, and both the stuffed portos and the loaf will go into regular rotation.  I've also made a meatless chili that was delicious!

I still have far too much crap in my sewing rooms even though I've been working on a thorough revamping.  I bought new bookshelves and have started sorting through magazines and books with a plan to sell or donate the ones I'm not using or likely to get around to using.  I've decided that my inventory of projects is probably outweighing my probable life expectancy by a factor of three.  Time to downsize.  This would be so much easier if there weren't so many cute new fabrics coming out all the time!

I'm thinking about selling the loom I bought last year.  It's a huge floor loom- the learning curve is high, and when taking into consideration all of the current projects I have that I know how to do, it's very likely I'll never get much use out of the loom.