Friday, September 12, 2014

On the Needles

Last week I got a bag of freebies at the gathering of the sewing sisters... the stuff outside of the plastic bag was a donation from my auntie who was cleaning out her sewing room.  She's preparing to put some additional cabinets in there, so she emptied the whole room to clear a space.  She says she's only putting back what actually is intended for projects.  I am the beneficiary of some of the overflow.  These partial skeins of pastel yarn will make some very nice doll items.

Actually this picture is of stuff sitting on the end table at my house.  You can see my toes at the left, and they look mighty far away!!

What I was knitting last night is another doll sweater.  This one is with self-striping yarn.  I wound two balls with what remained from knitting the back, and I did a pretty decent job of lining up the stripes on the two fronts. 
The sweater fronts laying sideways in my lap.
 You do that by unwinding enough of the yarn to match the next color change, then back up to the shortest end and cut the longer one to match.  Then you cast on the same number of stitches from each ball of yarn respectively.  Being a few stitches off is no big deal, but they should line up fairly well.  These will match better after the pieces are blocked.


Then I sew the pieces together at the shoulders and pick up the sleeve stitches along the edge.  The trick is always to mark the 'ending' spot for the sleeves in the same place on both sides of both sleeves -- 4 matching points!  On stripes it is just a little easier, but it's important to get it right.  If you don't, when you sew up the side seams you'll have a tough time.

Ask me how I know this!  <wink wink>

Happy birthday tomorrow to my favorite son. 

Son behind the tree -- grandson with big fish!
Keep calm and knit on...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Utility Sewing and a Patty Project

Sewing is a life skill that is so useful in the general stewardship of all your worldly goods.  I'm glad I know how to do it, and so are many of my family members.  However, sometimes the challenges are too great.  And I am not the world's biggest fan of mending. 

The darning stitch by hand...  Not my thing!
Last night I was out at my quilt guild meeting so I got home late, after most of the household was in bed.  My hubby said Miss A was over looking for me to fix her sock.  Now with Miss A, who has been known to wear her socks outside without her shoes, this can be anything from a tiny hole in the toe to reconstruction.

I didn't see the sock, so I can't tell if the circle my husband made to illustrate the hole is right, but according to him it was humongous!  He said the entire heel was gone... although if he's told you any of his fish stories there is some doubt, if you know what I'm saying.

He told her it couldn't be fixed.  She said "Gramma can fix it!  These are my favorite socks!"

We'll see.

Two of my sewing cousins have a sister who doesn't sew.  She's the baby of the family.  Isn't that normally the way it goes?  She brought several projects over the last time we had sewing night.  Nancy took the pants and I took the top and a swimsuit cover-up.  THAT was going to be a challenge. 

I love a challenge!

Patty bought this garment in Hawaii and she's sentimentally attached to it.  And I was hoping to help her get one more cruise out of it...

It was one of those colorful tropical sarongs and she's been wearing it for a number of years so it's nice and soft.  And thin.  Very thin.  The fabric is loosely woven to begin with.  The two cut ends are fringed with about a dozen or so threads pulled into a knot every inch or so along the entire length.  These are natural tearing places!

There was a quarter-sized hole in one spot further into the garment, and a six inch tear along one side, at the spot where I am sure she ties it together at the hip. 

Big shredded tear right up the dolphin's back...
The only thing to do was to reinforce it and hope that the other non-reinforced parts don't tear in protest.
I had purchased some silk organza on my fabric acquisition road trip.  I cut a bias strip, rounded the edges and laid the cut area on top, right side up, pinning very carefully.  Bias cutting was to keep it from raveling.  Silk organza was to keep the patched area soft, because now she's going to have to wear the patch inside against the skin.

I don't know if you can tell from these pictures, but the fabric does have a right side, the black is a bit brighter.  I had a choice of using black thread and having it show on the yellow, or using yellow and having it show n the black.  I decided that the second option was least distracting.


I tried the mending stitch on my Viking but that was too much thread weight.  I ended up sewing with a multiple step zigzag stitch.  Then I put a line of normal zigzag on the two fringed edges just to help in case any of the other fringes decided to separate from each other.
Then I made a round patch and used the zigzag stitch to fasten that in place on the hole.  That was mostly yellow so it didn't show much at all.  At least it won't get any bigger.
Patty was leaving on the cruise the next weekend so I dropped it off and told her to have a good time.
And PERHAPS look for a new sarong when she reaches those tourist market place!  Even the best mended garments only last so long.
Sew on...