bike trip

I have been very busy. Last weekend, we went camping in Wisconsin to bike the Sparta – Elroy trail. We had a great time. Paul rode 45 miles and I rode 26 miles, each a personal best. The tunnels were great. It was neat experience to go in them, a little eerie, and really unusual. So, life intervenes again. No new projects today.

Published in: on July 20, 2014 at 8:48 am  Comments (2)  
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Alabama Chanin bolero – pattern review

I am now working through a great book I bought called Alabama Studio Sewing and Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe. The pattern I tried was the bolero.

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I am very happy with this pattern.  If you remember the corset I made that matches this bolero, I used two men’s size t-shirts.  I had enough extra to make this matching bolero. I wasn’t sure how useful the bolero would be, but since we have had few chilly days, I have used it quite a bit, much the way I would use a scarf.

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There were a few things I struggled with. First, the sleeves have quite a bit of ease. Chanin recommends putting them together flat, I did it in the round. I will try it flat next time.

Also, the binding. She recommends sewing through all layers at once. I found this difficult and it made my stitches uneven. Instead I bound it much like I would bind a quilt. I sewed the binding to the wrong side, then brought it around the edge and sewed the right side. This gave me much better stitch quality on the outside and a firmer bind.

I would also suggest to think about the binding at the garment cutting stage so you have longer pieces.  I did quite a bit of piecing for the binding and it made it a little less nice.

Just like the corset, the fit is very flattering. It is especially nice with the matching corset. I had fun using the different colored fabrics for different parts to create a subtle color blocking. I definitely will make it again.

Published in: on July 15, 2014 at 7:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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multi plaid robe

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I have been working on a robe for a long time. I call it the multi-plaid robe because I used four different plaids. I love it- although everyone I showed laughed at it. It is super warm and comfortable. I used McCalls 6231. This is a super easy pattern. I am not happy with the fit.  The fit issues have to do with it being a men’s robe pattern, so next time I make one, I will get a new pattern. Still, I am happy to have a second robe so I don’t have to go without when I am washing my other one. I hope it make you smile today!

Published in: on July 6, 2014 at 8:08 am  Comments (2)  
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yarn bomb

I was invited to go to a yarn bombing. I wasn’t able to go, but went to look as soon as possible. Look at this fabulous yarn bomb:

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It is such a cheerful, happy piece with so much attention to detail. I love how dimensional it is. I love how many different yarns were used.

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This photo shows the beautiful sun.  I can’t believe what  a great job they did.  It was made from leftover donated yarn. If you live in Minneapolis, this is at my church, Holy Cross, on 1720 East Minnehaha Parkway.  The column that is decorated is on the east side by the basement.

Published in: on June 29, 2014 at 7:56 am  Comments (2)  
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Busy week

I am in the midst of a little bit of chaos. One of the good things is my mother-in-law is visiting. I am excited and happy she is here. However, any visitor requires me to maintain the façade that always have a clean house. Yes, there isn’t a layer of dust and ketchup on most of the horizontal surfaces of my house and hand and foot prints on most of the walls.

What is nice is the house cleans up pretty good. Steve even painted the walls of the front porch. He bought floor paint also, but time got away from him with all of the things going on. He plans on finishing the floor later this summer, as part of our four year plan to have the house really nice by graduation 2017.

We also noticed we were very low on chairs. So I went out with my usual dining room chair budget of five dollars each to get new chairs. I found these at a garage sale for twenty dollars for four. I am very happy with them, only one has a slight crack in the upholstery. I have had chairs like this before and I know they are super easy to recover so I may do that in the future. Steve wants to paint the carved insert red. I am not convinced because we have nothing else red in our house. However,  I agree with him that it would look super neat.

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We also found these chairs for seven dollars each:

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They look like they have been in our house forever. They are very comfortable and came with these matching pillows.

The other thing going on is the rain. We have had incredible amounts in Minneapolis- all of Minnesota really.  We are in the midst of what is already the 2nd wettest June on record, with a strong shot at the wettest. The parkway is very flooded and we even had a small amount of water in the basement.  I am including a link to some footage shot kitty-corner from my church.

http://www.kare11.com/story/news/local/2014/06/19/minnehaha-parkway-traffic-blocked-by-surging-creek/11031135/

The nice thing about much of Minneapolis is that we  have a history of a edge of public space around our streams and lakes.  For this reason, there is a buffer between the parkway and buildings.  So it hasn’t bad as it could be.

Published in: on June 22, 2014 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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pattern review corset from The Alabama Stitch book

For many years, I have been very interested in The Alabama Stitch book by Natalie Chanin. I finally began to work on the projects. The pattern I first decided to try was the corset. Here is my first attempt:

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I am very happy about this one. It fits very well and it is very flattering.  I had a little trouble with how low-cut it is. I shortened the straps by quite a bit, and it is still a little immodest for me.

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Now this attempt was not as successful for several reasons. I used a more stretchy fabric. Chanin recommends using cotton jersey of a heavy weight. This was a microfiber for exercising in. I also sewed most of the corset by machine. For this reason, even though I did the pre-basting, I had a good amount of stretching. I simply had to add a modesty panel, which then gapped. So finally, I added elastic. In the end, I kind of like it even though it is not exactly Chanin’s vision.

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I am extremely happy with my third attempt. I dyed these two t-shirts and used them to make one corset. I sewed it completely by hand. For size XL, it takes more than one man sized t-shirt to make one camisole. I shortened the straps by about a half inch and added about an inch to the top of the front center pane. This is creates a more modest neck line for me. I love the effect of the pattern of the original t-shirt on the front.

So all in all, it is a very flattering pattern figure-wise. It is very easy to put together although it is most successful when it is hand stitched. It took about 2 hours to put together (outside of dying), but it was very pleasant easy sewing. I did it after dinner. I will make it again definitely.

 

 

Published in: on June 16, 2014 at 7:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Small start to garden

I am still working on a pattern review. I also got out my multi plaid robe and cut the last pattern piece. I am hoping to start sewing it together during the week.

In the mean time, I have a spring garden update to share:

This first one is Eliott’s part of the garden. He is having a lot of success. Mostly beans, corn and nasturtiums.

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The next one is also Eliott’s but requires an explanation. I went out in the yard and saw him sitting in the grass by this one. He had planted a line of lettuce and the seedlings were too close together. So I found him carefully removing each one and transplanting it. Here is his transplanted lettuce notice the perfect spacing:

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Steve planted his tomatoes this week also. We were a little nervous because they looked a little tired but a good rain yesterday perked them up nicely:

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I am looking forward to a very productive garden particularly because I have put in such small effort. It ‘s great to just watch the progress without any input on my part. Everything is finally popping after this especially cold winter.

 

Published in: on June 8, 2014 at 10:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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Jean transformation

I missed last weekend because I was out-of-town.  I am working on a pattern from Alabama Stitch Project. I will have full review in the next few weeks.

In the mean time, I did some dying this week. Remember these jeans?

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This what the lighter pair looks like now:

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I plan to make them into shorts.  I love this new color- although if you look closely you can see the mint green zipper.

 

 

 

first rainbow jean project

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As promised I made a little skirt with the rust jeans.  It turned out a little shorter than I envisioned, but still very successful.  I will get a lot of wear out it this summer.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Hope all the mother’s out there are having a great day- especially my own- Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I got a little sewing in yesterday on the denim quilt, but it hasn’t really advanced to a point that a photo would show advancement.  I plan to go to the fabric store today to spend my gift card from my birthday (thanks, Mom and Dad).

We went to the Minneapolis Art Institute to see the Matisse exhibit last night.     It is a small show, but it really shows a comprehensive variety of his work: sculpture, paintings, drawings, lithographs and the later cut out work in disassembled book form.  The crowd thinned out after we arrived and when we doubled back to look at our favorites, we were alone in the gallery.  It was a great experience.

I have seen Matisse’s work in person at the Art Institute before, but it was nice to see all in one space and laid out in a chronological way. I have a better understanding of how his work progressed through his lifetime.  I could see the logical way he moved from Post-Impressionism into his own (fauve) technique.

One of Steve’s favorites was Standing Odalisque Reflected in Mirror:

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I also liked this one due to the pattern of the wonderful plaid chair.  I have been always drawn to Matisse’s use of these contrasting patterns.  I was surprised how fluid, loose and carefree the patterns in his paintings were when viewed in person, not through a photo.  I had a preconception that the patterns would be much more precise.  Yet, they are very sophisticated.

I also was struck by what a master craftsman Matisse was.  The lithographs ran from very quick drawings to nearly photographic charcoals.  If I had seen any of these before either at the Institute or in books, they didn’t resonate with me the way they did in the context of this show.

If you are in Minneapolis, there is one more week left for the show.

 

 

Published in: on May 11, 2014 at 1:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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