This ‘n That…

I’ve been working away at stuff – got another pair of socks finished:

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My sister Barb was visiting from Toronto on Sunday and she went home with one of the pairs of socks in my stash. This pair will take their place. The others will be Christmas gifts, quite likely.


Yesterday, the zipper on my small “wallet” separated at the back end. It’s a small zippered pouch I made maybe four-five years ago – small enough to fit in a jacket pocket but large enough (with enough zippered pockets) to hold just about everything I want to carry with me: a few credit cards, a couple of loyalty cards, a bit of cash, some change, and a spare key (along with a pocket screwdriver). Here’s a second one I made at that time – discovered when I’d finished sewing that it was for a left-handed person!

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The zippers open the wrong way and if you hold the pouch to open them with your right hand, then all the pockets are upside down! I use it to hold my driver licence and car permit in the large compartment but not much else. I needed a pouch that was right-handed.

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The one I made today is a tiny bit wider and longer but the zippers open on the right side and the pockets are right way up when you open them.

I used some royal blue rip-stop scraps I had kicking around from my days of kite making. I had a some turquoise/lime green grosgrain tape, and some lime green zipper tape (without pulls) left over from a roll of make-a-zipper tape I’d bought from Nancy’s Notions years ago:

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I’d used all the pulls that come with the tape – so I removed the pulls from the zippers on the original pouch – with some tugging, managed to install them on the green tape (which is why one pull is pink!).

Project took a couple of hours – the rip-stop is slippery and I had to pin as I went along to be sure the sections of the pouch would be aligned – slowed the sewing process down. I should actually make a pattern for this project – I’m sure other people would be interested.


This morning a jar of Rustins Leather Re-Colouring Balm arrived in the mail from England. I’ve had a dark brown leather chair for over 40 years. About 20 years ago I had the cushions restuffed but I was never able to find a product to refinish the leather itself. With this move I decided to see if I could find something to renew the leather on the cushions. I came across this Rustins Recolouring Leather Balm:

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I ordered a jar in dark brown. I’ve just used it and it’s wonderful! I thought to myself as I started applying it to the chair cushions I should take a “before” picture – I didn’t. But here’s an “after”:

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All the white wear marks are gone. The balm soaked in quickly – there wasn’t much excess to wipe off. The best part is it’s not going to come off on clothing when someone sits in the chair! It didn’t take long to apply, wait for 5 minutes, then wipe off (the wipe off cloth didn’t pick up much colour at all). I’ll apply a second coat tomorrow just to catch the few uncoloured spots that I’m noticing now. I can’t believe how much better this chair looks.

So now to get organized to quilt that latest quilt. The sandwich is pinned together. I’ve set up an embroidery design to quilt it edge-to-edge. Gotta try out the embroidery on some scrap fabric to make sure of the dimensions so my edge-to-edge quilting will align properly.

 

 

Convergence Quilt #1 – Top Completed

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So here is the top completed. The original convergence block is the center of the quilt, with triangles matching one of the predominant colours on each side. Those triangles were difficult – in the end, I laid the sewn convergence block on the floor, laid paper under one side, then drew a triangle – the base of the triangle was the length of the block side, 45° angles to form what is an isosceles triangle! Where the two sides met created the apex of the triangle (which I made sure was a 90° angle). (I remembered to add seam allowances to each side of the triangle.)

I didn’t have enough fabric left to create the triangles in a single piece although overall there was enough fabric – if I made two smaller right angled triangles, stitched them together on what would become the diagonal of the overall block. Then I had enough width to accommodate the edge of the convergence block.

Once the triangles were attached, I added a 3/4″ sashing piece for stability – the sides of the triangles on the outer edge were all on the bias and needed to be have something attached that would retain the overall shape. I cut the sashing on the length of fabric (since I had just enough length of the Kona solid I used). Then added a 4 1/4″ border from a fifth fabric that I’d bought as part of the set with the other four fabrics.

Now I have a 54″ square top. I need to think about what to do with the second side (back). I bought another 1/2 m. of each fabric, as well as 2 1/2 m of the dots fabric for the back. Flying geese? Half square triangles? Strips? Crazy quilt? Lots of possibilities. I’ll wake up with something in mind, I’m sure. That’s how these things seem to work themselves out for me.

Convergence Quilt #1

Yesterday I drove to Parrsboro to retrieve my quilts from the Art Lab Exhibit. No sales – wasn’t expecting any. Lots of nice comments in the guest book, though.

When we were hanging the quilts three weeks ago, Michael asked me if I’d ever tried a quilt using the Fibonacci Sequence of numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…). I never have but I googled Fibonacci Quilts and found a gazillion examples!

Turns out that modern quilters began playing with this idea quite some time ago. One of the earlier quilters to explore intersecting graduated, spliced fabrics in two directions was Ricky Tims. He used a slightly different sequence of numbers but the effect is similar. His book: Ricky Tims Convergence Quilts offers a variety of ways to play with this idea.

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Book Cover

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Example from the book

Quilts called out to me today. I put the shirt/jacket to one side (I have to take the back princess seams apart and reduce the fullness of the side back panel to smooth out the fit of the back of the garment – I’ll get back to it likely tomorrow because once I solve the back fit problem the assembly of the garment will go very quickly!).

I went to my fabric stash and chose four complementary fabrics – two with strong patterns, two more muted. I had 1/2 m of each fabric – I cut 20″ blocks from each, pressed and starched them. Lined them up, trimmed them, sewed two together, folded them right sides together, then cut the following strips from each pair: 1″, 1.5″ 2″, 3″, 4.5″, and 7.25″ (that used up most of the width of the fabrics).

I interleaved the strips, then stitched each set together giving me two graduated panels. Here they are with the strips assembled in one direction:

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The second step is to cut the panels again, with the fabric rotated 90°. I laid the two pieced fabrics right sides together, strips horizontal, then cut vertical strips again, using the same dimensions, then interleaved them once more. This produces a single panel with the four colour blocks converging into one another:

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My “convergence” panel #1

My finished panel is 34″ x 34″ – now I need to do something with borders to extend the quilt top so I have a lap size quilt (~ 45″ x 60″). That means asymmetrical border elements so I end up with a top that is longer than wide. I’m thinking I might want to use this panel on point, making the strips diagonals… something like this example below – I’d want to offset the panel somewhat more than this one so I could then add more asymmetrical borders to the enlarged square. 

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Convergence block on point…

I’ll work on this some more tomorrow. Tims calls these “mystery quilts” – he’s right! It’s hard to anticipate how the spliced, interleaved fabrics will look. I’m happy with this first attempt – I’ll want to play with it some more using strong coloured fabrics with more muted patterns to see how that might turn out. I can see I might be engaged in this cutting, sewing, cutting, sewing for quite a while – there’s lots to learn here… 

In Progress

In April, Ann Williamson blogged about having just made a couple of “hitoe” jacket/blouses from her kimono silk stash. She calls them ‘hitoe’, the Japanese word for a silk, light weight, unlined kimono, because these jacket/blouses are unlined. By chance she discovered they look terrific layered, so often she shows them in pairs, like the two hitoe below (each with contrasting facing fabrics).

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A double hitoe

I love Ann’s work and the garments she creates. After my visit to her studio in Portland Oregon in 2013, I ordered some kimono silk myself from Ichiroya.com.

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Two bolts of kimono silk

Kimono silk comes in 14″ wide bolts with anywhere from 10-12 yards of fabric – enough, I’ve discovered for a single jacket/blouse. The hitch is you have to piece the fabric to make it wide enough to create a garment. Or you can do what Ann does – cut the silk into small bits, piece it into a large swath of fabric from which to construct a garment.

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Pieced trench coat (using silk from four different bolts)

In this case I decided rather than cutting my silk into bits and piecing it, I’d use a princess pattern – all the pieces would fit on the width of the kimono bolt.

It just so happens I have a princess-based pattern I could adapt to create a hitoe – McCall’s pattern M4394 (out of print but available online from eBay, for example, although I actually bought my copy from McCall’s some time last year). It’s a vintage classic coordinated collection. I’d bought it because of the simple lines and the fact that it actually had fit adjustment markings on each of the pattern pieces!

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Hitoe-like jacket – View A

View “A” (shortened a bit) I thought would work for a hitoe like Ann’s. I selected the pieces I needed for the jacket, traced each, making size adjustments to the tracing. Cut out each pattern piece ready to work on the kimono silk.

This is where I should be making a “muslin” – trying out the garment using some inexpensive fabric first to make sure the fit works. I actually went so far as to prep some muslin from my stash, but thought – why not try the pattern using one of the kimono silk fabrics I’m not especially fond of – if it works (with adjustments, likely) I end up with a wearable garment, If not, I will have learned what I want to anyway before using silk I really like.

I selected the mauve silk with trees in the clouds. The bands of pattern are intended to embellish the kimono sleeves and hem area. I was able to match up the pattern for the front so the design crosses from high on the right shoulder to lower on the left hip, lining up across the center front.

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Partially constructed fronts

I was able to match the center back but the side back pieces had to be solid mauve (no pattern left). One sleeve has an enlarged tree in the center of the upper arm.

So far, I’ve pieced the fronts and backs. Now I’m ready to piece the sleeves (these are two-piece sleeves which I needed in order to have them fit the fabric width – a single-piece sleeve would have been too wide for the fabric).

I thought about doing the facings in a contrasting fabric, but I’ve used the mauve for that purpose in order not to detract from the flowing design in the main fabric.

More to come as this garment develops.

 

 

Latest Socks

I manage to knit a pair of socks about every two weeks – that’s how long it takes me – 25 hours or so. Since I knit for a couple of hours only in the evenings – two weeks.

People say to me, “Oh you should sell them!” Right – 26 pairs of socks, more or less, a year – any idea what I’d need to charge to make that worthwhile? People are shocked when I say I charge $50 for a pair – $25 for the yarn, 25 hours – that’s just $1 an hour for my labour.

Want to know what these socks are really worth – @ $90/hour that my physio or massage therapists charge – these socks should be priced $2250 + $25. The price I should be charging is $2275! Why should my time be worth less than theirs?

No, these socks are gifts of love to people I know are going to treasure them!

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If fact, I like these ones well enough that they may just go into MY sock drawer!

Garment Sewing Again

I’ve finally made it back to some garment sewing. A couple of weeks ago in her Distinctive Sewing Supplies newsletter, Catherine Goetz featured ITY knits (some prints for tops as well as solids in a 300 weight) perfect for making leggings. She included this Jalie pattern as well.

 

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Jalie Leggings Pattern

I ordered 1 metre of the ITY knit in black and navy, and the pattern. They arrived early this week. Couldn’t wait to give the pattern a try – very simple: cut out x2 the single pattern piece (no side seam) in the navy, some elastic for the waist, quickly stitch it up on the serger (no hand sewing required). In under an hour I had a finished pair of leggings that fit very well.

Now I needed a tunic length top. A while back I had made a top using Marsha McClintock’s t-Shirt Trifecta pattern – turned out well. So I looked through the garment fabrics I had on hand, found two jersey knits I’d purchased earlier in the spring. Cut out the pattern (had to use some of the leftover ITY knit for the top since I didn’t have enough of the jersey knit), sewed it up. Not as fast as the leggings, obviously, but a couple of hours and I had a finished tunic length top.

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Tunic Top

Top with matching leggings – an outfit I can wear now, and into the winter (with a turtleneck for warmth).
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That was yesterday. I got up this morning and headed directly to my cutting table to cut out the second pair of leggings in black. Those went even faster than yesterday – I knew what I was doing at this point.

Then a second tunic top. Again, I was short on fabric, but this time rather than use the black ITY knit, I had enough fabric to piece the sleeves with a center seam from shoulder to cuff (if I hadn’t mentioned it you likely wouldn’t notice it when I have the tunic top on – and the seams in the sleeves lined up perfectly with the shoulder seams!)

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Tunic Top II

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Outfit #2

Three hours later: another outfit.

I try to keep to the rule – new garment in, an old garment out! I tossed two summer t-Shirts so I could put these two new tunic tops in the closet. I confess, though, I didn’t throw out pants to be replaced by the leggings.

A quick mop up once I was finished and I’m ready to tackle whatever will be my next sewing project – likely a quilt.

Pillow Remakes


I don’t have “before” photos but here are the remakes. I did the needlework about 40 years ago. I was going to toss them out and look for new ones, but when I took a closer look I thought the needlework had held up well even if the velvet backing fabric was definitely showing its age. 

So I very carefully unpicked the seams, discarded the old backing fabric. This time I installed zippers, new backing fabric (on two of the pillows I used some of the leftover upholstery fabric from the sofa), and the pillows look like new – definitely refreshed.

What I find so interesting is that the colours I used 40 years ago are still the colours that draw me today! The pillows go fine with the new sofa and daybed fabrics. Didn’t take long to do, either.