Friday, November 6, 2015



I haven't updated for ages because for the most part I've been living in a lather/rinse/repeat mode of Physical Therapy, yard work and household crap.

Several weeks ago, my therapist determined that I wasn't actually getting any better.  He put me on a 6-week hiatus from professional PT with a caution to keep up my range of motion exercises.  At the end of the six weeks I went in for another evaluation and was at just about the same degree of "well" as  before, so he officially discharged me from therapy.  No use charging the insurance company for something I can effectively do on my own, after all.
    Wednesday I went in to see my surgeon for his evaluation and when I presented him with my dissatisfaction with my level of movement he said that he's glad I have as much as I do.  Because of the amount of damage done to my shoulder joint there is not a lot of bone holding the tendons to the prosthetic humerus, which means there isn't a lot of strength there.  It was discouraging to hear.  That afternoon I went to the club where I'd been having my pool PT and joined- it's more expensive than my membership at LAFitness, but the pool is deeper and warmer, they have a whirlpool spa and I can unofficially check in with my therapist from time to time.  I went in and worked through my exercises today and did some deep water work.  So far, I feel better.

In September I made a dress for my great-great niece to wear to her little sister's baptism.  It has a fully smocked front bodice, silk ribbon embroidery, and some lace trim.  Doing all that smocking made my arm ache, but at least I know I can still do it.  The ggn was more entranced with the sticker I put on the tissue paper, but her mother was thrilled with the dress.


  Next up:  a baptism gown for a co-worker's baby and a presentation outfit for another friend's
baby.

In october I attended the third of this year's Smocking Arts Retreats.  It was held in Valley Forge, so I was able to drive and took machine classes.  (HA!  I don't think we used our machines for more than a half hour in the 2.5 days of class. *sigh*)  I learned a few great tips and had a nice time with my stitching friends.  4 of our 5 members attended, and EACH of us won a basket  at banquet!  Mine was from the Chesapeake Treasures chapter and included the book Sewing for a Royal Baby and all the fabrics, trims and tools needed to make one of the projects.



  Not a great picture, but I'll add more when I do the project.  I'll also try to post more often now that I'm sewing again.  

---Kathy

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

oh, dear.


I'm about to head up to the sewing room, and while thinking about the numerous projects I have to do, it occurred to me that I should look up my last couple of "projects to do" posts and see if I actually managed to finish - or, indeed, start - any of them.

I might just be too depressing.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Brrrrr.  It's cold outside!

I've just shoveled the walk and was happily surprised to discover light powder rather than the
sticky pellet stuff I was expecting.  I guess it's just too cold for damp snow!

  This year I'm going to try to blog more.  I have a lot to blog about; it's a matter of doing them, and then writing about them.   Among my projects:  micro-preemie clothes for a friend's baby who was born at 26 weeks,  a princess dress for the baby of another friend, a couple of reticules, and two Craftsy classes.

I suspect there will be more shoveling, too.  Who came up  with the idea of these Polar Vortexes, anyway?  Weren't Arctic Blasts enough?


Monday, August 12, 2013

A little bit o progress

I've made headway on the sewing room de-trashing.

I redeemed some Viking points to obtain three new sewing machine feet:  an elastic foot, a rolled hemmer and a variable bias binder.

I discovered the instruction guides for my TruEmbroidery software.  Still might need some help from Himself figuring out how to work it, but at least I know where the help files are, now.
The entertaining thing:  I've still not found the instructions for how to import and image into any of the modules.  They all start after that point.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013



Settings seem to have changed AGAIN.  I can no longer comment on any Blogger blogs.

Stitching Foolishness:  I LOVE that kit!  Perhaps you could do a compromise alternating two hours on a WIP and an hour on the new one?

Southern Matriarch:  That is a lovely group of kids.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Dress that Never Ends


Last August, when my great-grand-niece got married, I offered to make a Christening gown for their first child.  The project got moved to the back burner for one reason or another until late May.  I had an idea of what I wanted to make, and I knew what kind of fabric I wanted to use. When Martha Pullen had a fabric sale in late May, I ordered the fabric- a 55/45 cotton/silk blend she calls Elegance . I'd wanted to use Micheal Miller's Radiance, which is 65/35 silk/cotton, but at $15/yard, the on-sale-for-$4/yard fabric won.   I ordered a lot.
   MP usually has great customer service and quick order fulfillment.  However- they got blasted out of the water with their sidewalk sale, so of COURSE the white fabric I needed was backordered til "sometime".  I ordered the Radiance from LowPriceFabrics (it's a misnomer).  While I waited for the fabric to arrive, I traced off patterns, found threads, cleaned my pleater, etc, so I was ready when the lovely stuff showed up.

    So, cue a couple of days doing yardwork. Add 5 days of frantically readying my guest room for an actual guest-  it's been the box room and the random storage room since we moved in.  It's now looking pretty good, although I still need to paint and put up the new curtains.  By the way- the guest didn't show up.  By this time, the days between "now" and the Baptism were dwindling.  I got busy.

These are things I re-learned.
1)  pleating fabric for a full-smocked bodice is a job.  It needs to be done slowly and patiently, and for best results without a cat trying to eat the dangling threads.
2)  it always takes longer to smock a row of geometrics that you'd think it should.  Add in lack of practice and bad counting skills, and the work time starts to really add up.
3) entredeux, good laces and Swiss embroideries are not cheap.
4) You don't just "put in the entredeux".  First you measure, then you trim the seam allowance on the lace, then you stitch it on,  press it open, then reinforce the stitching.  Then you do it again for the other side.  And you do these steps for each and every row of decorative stuff you put on that item.  And they all take at least a half hour on a size 3 month.
5) A comfortable chair is a must for long stitching sessions.  I have a decent chair at my sewing machine, but the one at my handwork table is just a folding chair.  My lower legs and ankles are swollen as badly as they did when I was pregnant from sitting on it.  (moving the good chair from room to room isn't a viable option - there are no paths big enough at the moment.
6)and speaking of that, having a tidy sewing area with stuff put away would probably be a really big help.  [put on list of things to do soon]

I ran in to a couple of snags.  The petticoat pattern has, in teensy letters, a memo that you need to cut apart the skirt pattern and spread it 7 inches in order to get the proper length.   Guess when I saw that?  Not before I cut, that's for sure.  The skirt also didn't come anywhere near to fitting the bodice, either.  I made a new skirt for it that was just gathered.  It worked, but it added time.  I can use the rejected skirt to make dolly underwear.
   Somehow I wound up about 15 inches short of the lowest band of lace.  I remember there being a loose piece that was on the table, but I'll be darned if I could find it last night or today.  I discovered the shortage at 4:30 this morning.  I had nothing similar in my stash and nothing I could substitute.  Just what I didn't need- a trip to the fabric store in Mount Lebanon.
  Did I mention I made this discovery by running out of the edging while sewing it onto the skirt band?   Yeah.  
       Aaaand the Liberty Tunnel is closed, which means a new and exciting detour.  yay!
             AAAAnd, they didn't have the damned edging!  Someone had bought up the whole card since I was there a couple weeks ago!  We Hates THem!   I got something that would blend with the intention of removing the current edging and replacing it with the other, but what I wound up doing is removing it, then putting it back on but starting with it centered in the front rather than starting from the side seam as per the pattern.  I then improvised a small patch of the similar stuff in the center back.  Nobody sees the back of a baby anyhow, right?
   In any case, the gown, petticoat and booties got packed into a box and zoomed up to the Fed Ex store where they were shipped out via overnight delivery.  Hopefully this means Aria won't have to be nakey for her big day.  

I had no time to take photos.  I finished sewing on the edging at 4:30 and needed to get the stuff packed and up to the shop by 5.  I made it at 4:47.  Go, me.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

On the Joys of Sewing with Cats


I love my kitties.  I do, really.
Stitching with them in the same room can be a bit of a chore, though.  Kali and Loki are pretty sure they are fabric weights and that once they are ON the fabric, it is supposed to just lie there until they're ready to do something else.  Loki likes to eat patterns and pull pins out of my pincushions.
   Bes has decided he is an embroidery fan.  He plopped himself onto my lap a while ago.  This also happened to be on top of all my threads and my embroidery scissors.  (of course it did).  After several minutes of head-butting and rubbing allll over my hoop he settled down...until I started stitching.
Oh, Boy!  Im'a bite that!   He managed to get most of one strand swallowed before I was able to grab it and pull it out of his maw.  Ewwww- slurmy floss.
   Despite this, I managed to get all 8 thousand french knots done in the center of the sunflowers I was working on.  Next up, blanket stitch flowers.  Pity I can't remember how to start them....  :)