brewing, steaming, invigorating
A vessel of ambrosia for mortals
During a business trip last week, I started reading the Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud. I wasn’t sure I was blown away by the first book…But apparently I was interested, so I read the second. By the third I knew I liked them. But then, I have a tendency to like teenage adventure stories. You should check them out. It’s approach was a little different.
I‘ve been working on my sewing “do over,” and it doesn’t suck. I’m trying to figure out a way to do a big reveal without actually having to be in the picture. Let’s just file this under the “Coming Soon!” heading.
This one remembered she had a B.B. gun and set about to teach herself how to shoot. Have you ever seen a hot pink B.B. gun? Is it just a Texas thing? Anyway, she also wrote a Cinquain poem this week in class that I think is awesome:
I like the Cinquain form, it’s fun and there are a lot of variations. I think I may have to do a Cinquain for the Weekend…. 🙂
My rock-star sister-in-law is pregnant and will be delivering her fourth little angel in November. To that wee one destined to be the precocious little sister of three other incredibly precocious little girls, I dedicate this ensemble. Possibly the only item she will own for many years that is not a hand-me-down.
It’s my opinion that babies are precious, and innocent and deserve to have adults jump through hoops for them. Hence, this baby sweater. It’s my first crochet garment, and it’s a little awesome, if I do say so myself. But then, baby things are always pretty awesome.
This project is the result of yet another Craftsy.com class called “Beyond Rectangles” by Linda Permann. Depending on your skill level, some of the instruction was a little basic, but I learned quite a bit and find that I just like guided projects. It’s reassuring to have a reference point for those little details in a pattern that confuse or befuddle. The base pattern for the sweater is simple. Which made it perfect because I like simple.
The cap was not a part of the class. I made one based on a Bernat pattern, didn’t like it, and ended up just winging it and adding the same edging that I used on the sweater. I like it much better. It’s simple. Simple and Sweet.
Sweet and Simple. Simple and Sweet. I like this sweater. I think that it’s neat…:)
I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m in the middle of a “Sewing Do Over”. And as I’m sure you all know, you can’t have a “do over” without having first attempted something and failed. I also may have mentioned a few times that I have a tendency to “go big” and over extend myself when I’m excited about something. If I haven’t mentioned it before, well… I do that. I don’t just select one project and follow it to completion, I envision hundreds of projects and accumulate everything needed to accomplish them eons in advance of their likely coming to fruition.
With my first attempt at sewing, I started a few things that were never finished. So great was my ultimate frustration level with sewing that I popped them in storage boxes and walked away. That was roughly four years ago. Maybe more. A couple of weeks ago, I happened across one of these unloved, unfinished projects, and on a whim, I decided to finish it.
It was a bag designed to utilize the pre-quilted fabric you can buy at the fabric store, and inadvertently, it’s got that Vera Bradley thing going on. I’m not necessarily in love with it, but I still think it’s cute.
As I laid out the pattern pieces that I’d cut out four years earlier, I was actually a little pleased with myself. They were pretty terrible. On one hand, it’s never fun to confirm that you suck at something. On the other hand, it actually let me see that I’ve gotten a little better. I could actually see the mistakes I made and even distinguish what I would do differently now to eliminate those mistakes.
I still had to rip out and re-do three times to get it finished. (Sewing is an incredibly humbling process for me.) The lining has four pretty deep pockets-but I won’t be photographing them. The final result was not pretty…
I’ve heard it my entire life. It’s the philosophy that led to the purchase of my Chi flat iron, and instigated my quest for a Dyson. It’s more than marketing, it’s an irrefutable reality. The right tool for the right job really does make a tremendous difference.
As I’ve stated previously, I’m in the middle of a Sewing “Do Over”. I’ve been dedicated in my pursuit of basic sewing competency. And truthfully, it’s been incredibly frustrating. It’s like I’ve taken the whole concept of “do over” literally. I’ve had to do the same tasks over and over.
Several years ago when I began my sewing quest, I purchased the best machine I felt I could afford. I researched a little, and one Sunday night at 9pm, I went to Walmart and purchased a Singer Fashion Mate 7256. It was packed with features and I paid $199.00 for it.
It seemed fine. I’ve been so challenged as a seamstress that the equipment seemed like a superfluous concern. Then one day, it broke. I took it to the local sewing machine repairman and he fixed it quickly and cheaply. He was a very nice man and explained the repair he had made on the machine. As it turned out, he had worked for Singer for thirty years and had an encyclopedic knowledge of the Singer product history. He explained to me that the machines now have plastic internal components and that both their durability and functionality are not what they once were. He had repaired my machine by replacing one of these plastic components-one with a track record of breaking with routine use. Bummer. My nearly new machine broke because I used it. From that day forward, the blush was off the rose.
Suddenly, I noticed that my machine would not cleanly back stitch. Every seam would begin and end in a bit of a snarl. And sewing through multiple thicknesses? Forget it. It would sputter and stall. I began to wonder, what if I’m not the only problematic variable in this sewing equation? What if the machine is making sewing harder than it has to be?
Before I knew it, I was casting surreptitious glances at other machines. I would linger after my daughter’s sewing camp, asking questions of the staff at my local sewing machine dealer. I began to haunt craigslist and ebay, researching machines all the while. I decided that I had made a key error with my initial purchase. I had gone for maximum “features” rather than maximum “function”. I began to focus exclusively on the big three (Bernina, Pfaff, Viking Husquvarna) and exclusively on mechanical machines. By the time I was finished, I almost had myself convinced to go “new” and purchase a new mechanical sewing machine outright. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, though. Until this sewing “do over” results in some sewing skills, paying retail is just not an option. So I returned to ebay, and with a little time and a little patience, successfully bid for and won a Pfaff in my cheap-o price range.
Ta-da! The Pfaff Hobby 1042. The current generation equivalent is an 1142, but here’s the deal, I don’t care. I purchased this machine, had it serviced, and bought half a dozen additional, special-function presser feet for about the same price I paid for my Singer.
Back stitching?…Fabulous, no problem….Multiple thicknesses of fabric?…Super.
Suddenly, sewing is a little a easier. My “do over” is a little more do-able.
Seventy stitches? Nope. Not even close.
But it has a good assortment, including stretch stitches and a one-step buttonhole. So let me sum up by re-stating…The Right Tool for the Right Job. Sweet!
I’ve been crocheting for about four years now, and I’ve been fairly prolific. I’ve started and finished a lot of projects, and if you do the math, that nets out to lots and lots of ends that I’ve woven to complete those projects
I’ve also been a student of the craft. I’ve read voraciously, and studied all of the information I could assimilate with a single-minded focus. So when I say that there’s not really a lot of information out there on how to weave ends, I feel pretty comfortable with that statement.
People may tell you to leave an “ample” end to weave. They might even give some direction on methodology, but never once have I seen or read anything that recommended a “tool” as superior to others in the end-weaving game.
You can just imagine my surprise, when lo and behold, I found one! And this find is truly…yes, truly….wait for it…Nothing Less Than Miraculous! And simple..it’s so freaking simple! And maybe everyone in the world knows it, but I didn’t!
It’s the composition of the needle! For four years I’ve been using these
That’s right, the good old $1.99 a pack plastic yarn needles. I’ve gone through packs of them. I lose them like you lose pens. They’re functional, sometimes come in cute colors, and that’s about all you can say about them.
Then last week, out of the blue, I bought these
They’re steel! Cold, smooth steel! The now forever sub-standard plastic needles utz their way through the yarn. (Utz is a non-scientific term for sallying forth in a manner that is not awesome) These chrome beauties, however, slice through the yarn, rendering the act of end-weaving mere child’s play.
Why didn’t anyone tell me? They’re phenomenal! And they’ve been here all long! Behold….Awesomeness!