Saturday, October 5, 2019

and time passes

Convention has come and gone.   It was a wonderful week.

In the pleater class I took with Judith Adams I learned how to roll oddly shaped fabric onto a dowel rod and get it through the pleater in record time.  The next day, in another class with Judith,  I accidentally pulled a couple of pleating threads out of the bishop top I was working on and had that sucker unpleated, pressed, re-rolled and repleated in less than 6 minutes.  When you consider that this included rethreading the stupid pleater needles, this is awesome!  Seriously, this class was worth the price of the entire convention. 

Somehow, I managed to lose the porcelain half-doll for my pin cushion and my dowel rod for pleating at the hotel.  They didn't turn up in the hotel lost-and-found, so I'm on the hunt for a new half-doll.  It would be tragic if I had to take a ceramics class and actually make one.  Wouldn't it?

Miss Buford's Bonnet was another fun class.  I got the threads pulled for hemstitching and a few other bits of the bonnet prepared, but it will be a few weeks before I finish it as I have to continue working on my nephew's Christening gown. P I'd like to have it in the mail by the 15th.  The slip is half done, and the gown is cut out.  I'm misplaced all the laces I bought- I know they are in the sewing room, I just can't remember where I put them when I needed to do something else on the ironing board. ) I don't remember learning the trailing stitch in class, which is a good bit of the bonnet embroidery. Hopefully I can find a video on the internet. 
   I love to look at Jeannie's work.  Check out her blog at .  Her designs, with are mostly based on vintage and antique garments that she's collected, are lovely, and her stitching is absolutely exquisite! 

I'm still suffering with the remainder of the poison sumac rash I picked up back in early August.  A side effect of my fibromyalgia is that my histamine cells are a bit excitable, so when I get a rash, it likes to spread.  I haven't noticed any new blisters since the 28th....but geez, I am tired of being itchy.

The next SAGA convention is going to be in my town, Pittsburgh, PA.  While the hotel isn't the most convenient for off-site excursions, it's well laid out, has plenty of natural lighting in the classrooms.  They have both and indoor and outdoor pool, and don't close the outdoor one until the weather actually gets cold!  I am very much looking forward to staying there. 
"What?" I hear you ask..."You're going to stay in the hotel in your own city? "  Oh, you bet I am.  I live on the southeast side of town and the hotel is on the northeast side.  (you can look up Highland Park and GreenTree on a google map if you like) Traveling across the rivers at 8am is Not Fun In Any Way, and driving home after a day of classes and extra activities such as meetings and Design Show and a Wee-Care workshop doesn't sound like a lot of fun, either.  At least half the fun of convention is hanging out with other stitchers, which I can't do at home.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

SAGA Convention 2019

           Just one week until the beginning of the 2019 Smocking Arts Guild convention!

   I have had my hair trimmed and got a pedicure and manicure, so that's my body ready- mostly.
I'm still fighting the rash I developed from getting into what was probably poison sumac and am fairly sure it will be at least another three weeks before that has completely healed.
  I am never weeding again. 

   My class supplies are (mostly) gathered and (mostly) organized.

   I've tried on all my jeans and chosen the four pair which fit best to take along.  I know which tops I'm taking, and have an outfit ready to wear to the banquet and opening reception.  Kit fees are sorted into individual labelled envelopes ready to hand to the Teacher Angel in my classes.  That will be myself in two classes, unless another person volunteers for one of them on the day. 
  I don't think I've been this prepared this early before.  Usually I'm doing laundry until 10 minutes before it's time to get into the car and head to the airport. 

   This year I will be repeating a class on using a smocking pleater.  I don't pleat often enough to remember all the little tips and tricks, so this refresher should do me some good.  I'll also have a nice clean pleater at the end of the day, and that's never a bad thing.
   Second day is a class called Duckling Delight, in which we will pleat a bishop style top (see, there's yesterday's class coming in handy already!) and do some picture smocking.  The kit includes fabric to make coordinating pants for a complete 3 month size outfit. 
   On Friday I will be making a porcelain pincushion doll using pleated embroidered lace for the skirt, smocked with variations of the Van Dyke stitch. Lady Gwendolyn is a lovely little accessory for my sewing room.  I will have to be sure to finish her!
  Jeannie Baumeister will teach her class how to reproduce a lovely linen baby bonnet that is adorned with fine embroidery, french laces and hemstitching on Saturday.  I love baby bonnets!  They don't take a lot of fabric, but they give one enough of a 'canvas' to practice some pretty stitching and techniques.  They're easy to finish, and sweet to display. 
   Finally, on Sunday morning I'll be making a little pair of baby sandals from pima cotton.

If you're interested, you can read about these classes and more on the SAGA website: .   Look for the "saga convention brochure" link in small blue print. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

It's Been a Busy Few Weeks

Things that have been keeping me busy:

Working in the sewing rooms is a given.  I have been making a Christening gown for our newest nephew, Benjamin, who was born on June 29 after his mother suffered through 60 hours of labor.  Yep. 60 hours.  I didn't think the medicos let a woman do that anymore, but, hey, these did.  They finally relented and performed a C-Section; mother and baby are both doing well, and Crazy Mom is already discussing "when Ben has a sibling". 
   Back to the gown. I started with the petticoat, and decided to make teeny pintucks on the yoke. I pulled threads.  I folded carefully, pressed, and stitched slowly, and yet-They are not quite even, and I'm not happy with the finished look, so I ordered a bit more fabric and have started that part over.  In the meantime I've moved on to smocking the front and back bodices.

In mid-July, Hubby and I went to Minehead, England, to spend a week at a Butlin's Holiday camp.  I'm not quite sure how to explain this to Americans.  (The linked website has photos and descriptions, if you're interested. ) There are standard town fair rides like go-carts, bumper cars, swings and merry-go-rounds,  a "minebot" course (similar to Segways, but not that brand), various shops and places to eat, and many types of accommodation which  more or less surround the fun and games.  You can come for a day, or stay for a week or more.  You can opt to find your own dining choices, or pay for a full dining plan which includes a breakfast buffet and a dinner buffet, both of which are quite good with lots of choices.  We had a really good time with Hubby's younger brother and his family, watching the kids cavort on the various rides.  I have a good friend who lives in Exeter who came up and spent a couple of days with us as well.
   She went home on Saturday, and the rest of us stayed until Monday morning. The family returned to Yorkshire via Gloucestershire so they could hug on that new baby a little more, and H and I drove down to Exeter for a couple more days with my friend and her SO.  I got to have my Cream Tea and explore a bit of the city, and we lolled around and chatted. 

  This month, we are spending a weekend in Denver, CO, for the Hubby's workplace company picnic.  It's supposed to be 94 degrees, but allegedly there is shade to be found in the park. 

  When we get back from Denver it will be time for me to gear up for the SAGA convention in Texas.

Monday, June 17, 2019

It's like The Neverending Story without Falcor

     Mostly it just doesn't end, this organizing of the sewing rooms.

     I have not, as yet, encountered any stone demons, evil wizards, fluffy creatures or even a child-like Empress.  Just fabric, more fabric, patterns, magazines and "what the heck is this and why did I buy it and why is it up here?" things.  Fun times, my friends, Fun times.

     I've spent about 15 hours up there in chunks over the past 10 days, not counting Wednesday
thru Saturday because I did "something" to my left knee and couldn't go up and down the stairs.
It doesn't look as if I've spent any time organizing, but it does still look as if a tornado tossed things
around again. 
   I can see where the improvements are, but I doubt that anyone else would. 

I ordered some comic book storage boxes from Amazon and have been putting them together and moving some of my less-used magazines into them.  MAN, are these things GREAT!!  They're a bit
over  15 inches deep, so they hold a lot of magazines, and they take up the entire depth of the shelves I have. The magazine files I was using are much prettier, but they only utilize about half the depth available, and stacking them two deep wouldn't have been practical .  By the time I've relocated my Creative Needle collection and my SagaNews into these, I'll have made about 5 feet of linear space for the items I use more often. 

  Approximately 90 ancient craft magazines will be going to the recycle center soon. Yes, there are some cute projects in them.  No, I will probably never actually get around to making said projects.  I'm pretty sure that I have supplies for at least 10 years of projects on my shelves already without adding new ones into the queue.  I have moved these magazines from Philly to Amsterdam, to a little town north of Alkmaar, to California and then here to Pittsburgh and I have not made one single project from any of them.  It's time to thank them and let them go.  Past time. 

   As a totally unhelpful bonus, both of my Dyson vacuum cleaners have stopped sucking this week. I just had my upright in for a servicing!  It worked great for a day or two, and now it just doesn't pick anything up.  I get good suction through the hose, just not the beater brush.   I'll take it apart and check for a wad of paper; if I can't find anything obvious, it goes back to the shop.   The canister vac is probably due for a service visit, too.  I cleaned out the brush head really well last week, but that hasn't added to the suction capabilities at all.  The hoses all seem to be clear, there's just no suckage.
    This may sound like a tragedy, but seriously, both machines are over 8 years old, and with 2-3 cats and two adults with waist-length hair in the house, I think we've gotten our money's worth out of them. That being said, my next vacuums are going to be far less expensive models.

   Check back soon.  I'll tell you all about the Christening Dress I'm making for an impending stranger!  (not me- a sister-in-law)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

sewing room frivolity

  A few years ago, my hubby supported a Kickstarter for a laser cutter.  He thought I might enjoy using one to make stuff.  They had many delays, but finally my new GlowForge arrived.  It was several weeks before I gathered the courage to use it.  I used the learning tutorial to make a ruler from maple plywood and a couple of cable ties from leather.  It was very exciting.  Since then, it has been languishing in the kitchen waiting to be noticed and loved.   
   The reason he purchased this, I think, other than "it's so coooool", is that I'd mentioned wanting a Scan n Cut.  He got me that for my birthday last year.  It's out of the box, but I haven't done anything with it yet; I'm a bit intimidated by the thing.  (This is the main part of my problem with the GF as well. )  This past Christmas he offered me a gaily wrapped box which, when opened, proved to contain a Cricut Maker.  I now have two similar machines...and the Cricut is still in the box. 

Today, my Pinterest email had several pins about using a Cricut.  Clicking through to the original articles and reading them has motivated me to at least attempt to Do Something with them.  I was intrigued by a pin showing the machine cutting out doll clothes, which led me to the thought that I might be able to cut out Wee Care item parts, as well.  They're about the same size as doll clothes. 

   Step one for both the Cricut and the Scan n Cut is to open the box and download the software....
Well, I do have one box open.  I kind of need a place to put the makers, though, which has led me to decide, finally, to pack up my Singer Quantum sewing/embroidery machine and sell it.  I haven't used it since we moved to Pittsburgh from Santa Clara, so I obviously don't need it hanging around in the sewing room, set up and ready to go. I have a Baby Lock Xscape (now called the Amelia, I think) that I can use as a backup if something happens to my Designer SE.   It's time to thank the Singer and let her go.  [Why yes, I have been watching tidying up.  Why do you ask?]

All this is part of my ongoing battle with organizing my sewing room.  The wire shelves I have in there make me feel a bit boxed in, even though the rooms are quite large. All the plastic bins along the walls add to that trapped feeling.  The hubby has been taking some woodworking classes and sort of offered to make cabinets to replace, or at least hide, the bins.  I would love to have some sort of streamlined, matching cabinetry all along one wall that would contain most of my junk, provid edisplay space, and offer work space.  We'll see how that goes. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Post Christmas Post

Well, those two little dresses didn't get finished due to this and that and too much procrastination.  Their mom found the girls a couple of cute dresses to wear instead, and I can now spend the rest of the year working on the green dresses for next year, sizing them up one to allow for growth.
   I'm pondering whether to re-pleat the pleats  on the smocked dress since I pulled it up to the incorrect, too-small size.

Christmas went well enough.  A friend (my ex, actually) came out from Philly and brought his new companion dog. The cats weren't happy, but they spent the day on the third floor and recovered quickly after Moonlight left.  She's a Pit Bull/Lab mix (mostly) and just the sweetest doggo ever. She'd been a stray on the streets of Philly and was rescued.  R was fostering her until she could go to her furever home (she needed some medical care), but just couldn't give her up.  Can't say I blame him.

Tomorrow I'll probably make a list of all the Things I Want To Complete for the coming year.  I don't call it a resolution.  It's just a game plan, subject to amendments and editing as needed.  There are a few things that are solid though:  put the elastic in my ironing station cover, re-cover my tiny ironing board, as I've found that I actually do need that pointy bit from time to time when ironing pleated skirts and sleeves and such, and installing two more drawers on the station.
   Getting things sorted and weeded out is an ongoing project.  I have a hard time letting go of anything that might be useful, but a harder time keeping those things in a manner where I can actually find them if they ARE needed.  I suspect there are lots of multiples of basic sewing supplies on the third floor.  Time to gather them up and use them. 

Two projects I know I want to finish: 
      The Glittering Gentleman's Nightcap, a project I started a few years ago.
       Those two Christmas Dresses.
I've also recently discovered that my youngest sister-in-law is going to need a Christening Gown for an Impending Stranger.  My favorite sort of sewing.  I'm already planning that particular confection, and ordered fabric for it Saturday!