Monday, October 17, 2016

WI Sheep and Wool

I made it to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool last month, this time accompanied by this little guy. He was such a trooper while Mom shopped, caught up with knitting friends, and watched sheepdog trials. The sheepdog trials were particularly great as we watched in the afternoon instead of our usual morning viewing and got to see the more experienced dogs. Nothing is better than watching dogs herd.

I vowed to be good this year and told myself I did not need any more yarn or fiber. That resolution lasted until I hit the Fiber Optic booth. I'm so addicted that I immediately spotted the new gradients Kimber had available this year. I could not resist picking up a new Wild Thyme fiber pack (mine is more muted in color than the photo) and this Damson-to-Gold gradient made of merino-tencel. I just love the look of the tencel in the braid and couldn't resist it.

I've actually already spun up the Wild Thyme gradient. I pulled out my Louet S10 wheel and made approximately DK weight singles. It was very pleasant to spend a couple evenings with my wheel, especially as I've been mostly spinning on a spindle in the last year.

Overall it was a nice day trip and I'm really glad baby was laid back about everything. WI Sheep and Wool is one of my favorite fall traditions.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016


Wow does having a baby decimate craft time. It's not that I haven't been crafting, it's that I'm making less with even less time to blog about it. However, as I just returned from vacation, I've got plenty of new photos and a few worth are sharing here.

Since we were in Hawaii, this trip was the last chance to wear light clothing before returning to Wisconsin's crisp fall weather. In particular, I broke out this lovely shirt which I've been meaning to blog about:

This is a Scout Tee in a cotton voile, which is a pretty heavenly combo. It's light weight, easy to wear, and was easy to sew. I love this tee so much that I really want to make another (the highest praise you can give a pattern). Here I am wearing this shirt with my handsewn super wide-legged pants:

Happily, I have some new fabric that will probably fit the bill! I picked up all of this fabric at the local swap meet. I was incredibly excited to find a booth that sold fabric and did my best to limit myself to 10 yards (3 yards of the right three prints and 1 yard of the leftmost).

I'm thinking that the leftmost pattern would make another lovely Scout, especially given its small yardage, and the other three may become dresses. All of this is pending actual craft time, of course. In the meantime, I have lovely fabric to admire.

Friday, July 08, 2016

The Mechanical

Did I ever tell you how much I cried when my old Singer sewing machine died? (The answer is a lot.) It was a mechanical machine bought new by my mom in the 1970's. The thing was practically a tank though it couldn't stand up to the jostling of a cross-town house move. I still miss that old mechanical machine even though my new machine, a Janome DC2013, is light years more advanced.

I'm reminiscing on the old machine today because a new mechanical Singer has come into my life - a 1909 Singer 27.* Its arrival into my house was total serendipity; I was talking about old sewing machines with coworker A when coworker M mentioned she had been looking for a good home for her Mom's old Singer for a good while and would I be interested in it? Yes. Yes, I would.

The machine itself is lovely and comes with a sewing cabinet. The cabinet houses the treddle mechanism, has drawers for storage, and protects the machine when not in use (configuration shown below).

I also really love the Sphinx decals! You can see the bobbin winder in this photo, as well.

The machine is in pretty good shape, though it could not actually drive the needle when I first got it. After a good oiling and adjusting the drive band, things are running much more smoothly. (I will note that having done maintenance on my 1970's Singer made it a breeze to oil this one; it's easy to "read" where mechanical machines need oil once you're used to them.)

I still have some fiddling to do on the machine. The thread tension needs adjusting and it needs new screws for the needle arm faceplate (this parts search is looking to be a bit of a rabbit hole).

Otherwise, I'm really excited to get treddling and enjoy this beauty!

* I've been amazed at how much information there is out there about old Singers. They don't come with model numbers on them, but that's not a problem because someone made a database of model type by serial number. Need a manual? Here's one! Now if only I could find those screws...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Roll Out The Barrel

If you've ever been to Milwaukee, you'll know that beer is a thing here. As the founding home of Pabst, Miller, Schlitz, and Blatz we have quite the German beer heritage. While 3 of those 4 are no longer headquartered and brewed in the city, something equally awesome has popped up in their place: biergartens.

With spring officially in our midst in Wisconsin, the local biregartens (and travelling biregartens!) are opening for the year. And this being Wisconsin, we have of course taken kidlet to a few of them with us.

Don't worry, he's now appropriately dressed for such outings with some baby leiderhosen:

This one's beer hall, of which Milwaukee also has a couple

I drafted this pattern for kiddo and then had to rework it because giant diaper butt is a real thing. The new version is made out of knit fabric and I'm hoping it will still fit him in the autumn for Oktoberfest. The waist elastic can be replaced and the straps are adjustable, so there is definitely some room for growth here.

My favorite part is the front piece on the straps where I got to play with some fun stitches on my sewing machine. Now all he needs is a little German-style hat and he'll be a true child of Wisconsin!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Crazy Pants

One of the "fun" parts about being pregnant is how much your body changes. And then how long it takes for your body to get back to normal. In the meantime, it's a challenge to dress nicely. Thank goodness that I know how to sew!

Pants are particularly challenging at the moment, due to size changes in my waist and hips. This is doubly difficult because I need something nice to wear now that I'm back to work. Enter in the vintage pattern stash I recently received from my Grandmother and this stunning pattern from 1969, Simplicity 8550 [1]. I have loved palazzo pants since I first watched Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and thought they would be a good choice for my transitioning frame.

The fun part about this project was that the pattern was a size 12 (too small), was missing directions, and required reworking the waistband design to accommodate my current size issues (yay elastic!). Needless to say, I made a mock up. Thankfully, the pattern only involved 4 pieces and I have several nice reference sewing books to reference when issues popped up [2].

Now I am the proud owner of a pair of cotton-linen palazzo pants with an elastic waistband. I think they look crazy awesome and should fit me until I can get back into my normal pants (and even after). In the meantime, it's been an interesting foray into sewing pants - in that the pattern was simple but also required adjustments - but will give me confidence for the next time I sew pants.

[1]: Also cool is the fact that these pants were originally made, not by my grandmother, by my mother for herself.
[2]: My vintage Vogue sewing book had particularly helpful notes on fitting pants and how to sew a crotch seam.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Baby Steps Toward a Finished Object

I've got some time off work to stay home with the little one and, as awesome as that is, I've needed to find something to keep my brain occupied during the quieter moments. Enter in the sweater that's been hibernating for over 3 years...

This is a Knitpicks Telemark ski sweater (both the pattern and yarn are no longer available). When last I knitted on it, I had worked the body to the neck steek division. Now I've finished the body and have started the first sleeve. Here's to hoping that I can get the whole thing finished before I go back to work in just over a month.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Handspun Kerchief

I realize I forgot to show off a finish object from January, an Age of Brass and Steam kerchief!

I started this way back in the springtime of last year and thought I should finish it before baby arrived. I love the pattern for its simplicity and how it sets off the handspun, which is '24 karat' from Hobbledehoy Fibers.

It's a bit artsy for everyday wear but it's still a lovely finished handknit.