Thursday, July 3, 2014

What I've been up to

Celebratory cake on 7/1/14.  We had fruit tart and brownies too!

So, I'm going to indulge in a totally non-sewing related post.

I'm a bit punchy.

My big work project, which started in earnest for me 21 months ago, went live on Tuesday.  I had seen the go live date of 7/1/14 for so long now written in so many ways for 21 months:
July 1, 2014

and on Tuesday morning, when my eyes popped open at 4:30am, and I turned on my laptop and looked in the bottom right corner of my laptop screen, there it was.


I am SO happy, SO excited, SO relieved.  There is still plenty left to do, but the heavy lifting is over, the analyze, design, develop, customization, spec writing, configuration, business process, testing, initial data cleanup, data conversion, data validation phases are all over.    I have been teaching folks on the new system, and there more training to be done and documentation to write. I will run some labs. There will be more data cleanup.  There will be better data checking.  There will be a phase 2.   I doubt that phase 2 will be as much work, as intense, as stressful, or as meeting filled as phase 1.  There was a week where I had reached my personal record of 21 meetings in 4 consecutive days.  Could it ever be that busy again?

I have been working 6 days a week for a while now.  I worked the last 18 days straight, some of them were 12 hour days.

I feel like I just graduated with a masters degree in PeopleSoft Grants.  Or like it was Christmas morning.

We had an amazing session with the university president on Wednesday morning.  I felt so proud to be on this project.   A project that I did not volunteer for.  A project that was not in my job description.   This project was one of the most difficult and stressful things I have ever done.  There is a school of thought that anything worth doing is hard work.  This was hard work.  It was worth doing.   I have learned and grown so much, been challenged in many ways.  And I'm so glad the project is released!

I'm taking these three days off, but afterward I look forward to reconnecting with you, my blog readers, doing some sewing again, and posting here actively again!!

Be well.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

First time with Sashiko (in progress)

Though my thread looks white in the pic, it is actually baby blue.  I just have to stitch the border.  The stitch lines are printed on.  I think my stitching looks better in the photo than in real life, ha ha.

May 2012:  I first heard about Sashiko at PR Weekend 2012 in NYC.  Diana Rupp was one of the guest speakers.  She had patterns with McCalls that featured Sashiko, in particular a tunic with Sashiko on the bottom.

August 2012:  ATP and I go to Perl Soho so I can buy Sashiko supplies (needle, thread)

(some other date):  I buy some Sashiko coaster  kits at The City Quilter in NYC

June 2013:  Velosewer and I go to The City Quilter.  I buy this book.


Tonight:  I find myself with 90 free minutes and think, should I sew a pair of UW (yes, it really takes me 90 min to sew a pair of UW) or start a sashiko kit?

You can see my choice.

Wow, it is a *lot* different from cross stitching.

The book recommends a special thimble I don't have, ha ha, but I could see how it would be super useful.

The instructions with the kit are in Japanese so I don't know how many strands I'm supposed to use (in cross stitch there are 6 strands in the floss and typically 2 strands are used--though its been ages since I've done cross stitch--maybe it was 3 but I think it was 2).  Based on the amount of blue thread in the kit, I figured it was to use the entire floss, not to split it, but it is so hard to pull the needle through that I had to use my pliers. It makes me think the floss should be split into strands.

Have you ever done Sashiko?  Any recommendations for books or videos???

15 days til my work project goes live.  Then there's the stabilization period.  Then let the sewing begin again!!!

Leafy green richness in Princeton this afternoon, with my dad, on Nassau Street.

Be well!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New Look 6843 as a knit!

New Look 6843 as a knit
Look at that side seam matching!  When I serge the elastic to the top (right now it's zigzagged on), I think it will get rid of that little white bits poking up at the top.

New Look 6843 as a knit
The inaugural wearing/test run was yesterday!

I used my TNT New Look 6843 A-line skirt pattern, but it's meant for a woven.  This fun and fantastic knit fabric is from "Stitched Fabric" at the Austin Fabric Co-op, purchased during PR weekend Austin 2014. It is cotton and feels fantastic.  I'm wearing it with a slip because it's very see-through.

I folded out the front pleats and half of the back pleats on the pattern piece, then cut out the skirt  I had only bought a yard of the fabric, so I had to position it carefully.  This was as long as the skirt could possibly be!
New Look 6843 as a knit
I used Pamela's Fantastic Elastic and applied it to the outside to make it look like a band, like I'm wearing a belt with it.  I will say that I made two muslins (yes, TWO muslins for this very simple knit version of my TNT woven skirt pattern, I was not taking any chances messing up this fabric!) before cutting the real fabric.

Muslin #1:
 For the first muslin, I cut my front and back pattern pieces including the darts, but I did not sew the darts.  I followed the directions that come with the elastic, which says to cut the elastic 2-3" smaller than your waist, then overlap a half inch. Ha ha ha ha ha, I cut it 2" smaller and it was just too tight.  I also had not removed the darts and did not sew the darts, so there was a lot of, you know, gathering, which was not the look I wanted.  I wanted a very smooth look on the front.

Muslin #2.   
On my next muslin I cut the elastic 1" smaller than my waist and it was still snug so on my last version I basically cut it the same size as my waist and that was MUCH better.  Pamela's Fantastic Elastic is pretty fab, by the way, it is very sturdy and actually you can cut down the width, which I considered doing but haven't.  I ordered more of it this morning as I would like to make another knit skirt very soon!

Also on muslin version #2 I folded out the front pleats and half of the back pleats before cutting, which gave a much smoother look.

When I applied the elastic for version 2, I divided it up into quarters and it was more "gathered" in some places than other, still not the "generally smooth" look I was going for.

The Real Deal
So when it came to the real deal, I cut the front out first, folding out the darts of the front pattern piece then cutting.  But when it was time to cut out the back, I realized I could not do the pattern matching unless I cut out two fronts (i.e. they had to be cut one on top of the other to match the pattern pieces).  So that is what I did!!

Then I fused interfacing onto the lower edge of the fabric, and used my rotary cutter to cut under the white scallops. That seemed much better than trying to officially hem it.  I figure the interfacing will keep it from curling, and who doesn't love a scalloped edge?

Then I used my walking foot (for the second time ever) to sew the side seams.  I must say I found the walking foot much nicer this time around and I enjoyed the clack-clack-clack sound it makes.

Then I serged the side seams.

Then I threaded the serger tails into the side seams.

Then I sewed the elastic to the top of the skirt.  Instead of dividing it into quarters, I divided it into eighths, so that the fabric was more evenly distributed and more smooth.  I zigzagged the edge, with the idea of if I hated it, I could easily remove it.

I am probably going to serge it on the top and call it a day.  :)  Does anyone have experience serging the elastic band to the top? Any tips? Is my serger going to hate it????

New Look 6843 as a knit
The Debbie Cook pose.

New Look 6843 as a knit

The back
New Look 6843 as a knit
The Carolyn pose (I should have borrowed the neighbor's dog).

It's a new summer so you know what that means....
New Look 6843 as a knit
Time for leaping!!!

Fresh look for summer
I redesigned my blog --do you like it?  Do you want to hear about how I did it?

Public Service Announcement
This is what happens when you don't drain the water out of the pipe that leads to your outside spigot. It doesn't matter if you remembered to do it every fall for the first 8 years you live in your townhouse, if you forget choose not to do it because you have other things to do, the ninth year you will turn on the hose in the spring and half of the water will come out the hose and the other half will be released into your bathroom wall and seep out from underneath the wall onto the floor and nine bath towels later, it will be mopped up.  Nine bath towels are also handy for sopping up your tears as you clean up the water.

It is a highly effective way to be forced to clean your bathroom floor, but I don't recommend it.

You're welcome.

Be well!!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day & Skirt Update

Memorial Day

To all our veterans, as my Dad wrote in email this morning:

In loving memory of Judy Burkhardt I wish to continue the tradition she began .

THANK YOU for your service to our country. Your sacrifices are all very much appreciated and respected.

Skirt Progress
The sides are serged and pressed, the elastic waistband (Pamela's Fantastic Elastic) is zig zagged on to the outside to make it look more like an official waistband.

Trial wearing will be tmw or Wed!!  If I like the band I will serge it on and if I don't I can easily remove it and rework it.(make it thinner maybe?)

I'm so excited!!!  Time in stash was only about 2 weeks!!!

Be well!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Stitched Fabric Skirt in Progress


I am still contemplating waistline treatments (and if I should line it vs wear a slip with it).
But so far so good!!!  And the "hem" is done!  (more on that next post)


It *mostly* matches down the side.  The top part is the worst match.

I haven't sewn since March.
Guess what?
I'm still the slowest sewist on the East Coast!!

And how is your 3 day weekend???

Memorial day cupcake

These pix were taken with my new cell phone....the flickr app automatically uploads them to my flickr account...can you say LOVE?

Be well!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

No Fabric Left Behind: Austin 2014

It's really more like "Every Other Fabric Left Behind" this year.
2013 was the year of No Fabric Left Behind.

Here's what I bought in Austin.
Fabric from Stitched Fabric in Austin (cat fabric from Stitch Lab) 
Above, all from Stitched Fabric (Austin Fabric Co-op) except for the cat fabric that's from Stitch Lab.

Fabric from Stitched Fabric in Austin
A closer look.  Can you see all the texture?
(btw I just bought a new camera, should be here by next weekend, very exciting, am hoping to take better pix as my current camera has been on a decline the last year).

I am the most excited about the black and white fabric.  I hope to make that into a simple, outstanding skirt tomorrow.  Not to set expectations too high or anything like that.

TexStyles fabric, elastic, trim
Here's half of the TexStyles goodness.    
TexStyles fabric (cat fabric from StitchLab)
And here's the other half. (cat fabric from Stitch Lab).

Too bad you can't pet the fabric through the internet.  There's stretch velveteen, sweater knits, rayon knits,and a ponte knit in there too.  I know it looks very dark but hey, kitties!

And don't get me started on that ruffle purple elastic--I bought 3 yards of it in Nov 2011, made a pair of UW with it and was hankering for more.  They still had a WHOLE GIANT SPOOL of it.  So I bought 10 yards.

 I washed and dried it all today--cut 4" sample squares too to check for shrinkage--rewashed and dried pieces that had shrunk, a second time, to make sure there was no further shrinkage.

Nakisha recently asked about how we feel about our fabric stashes and if they overwhelm us.  I think I can barely fit all this new fabric into the fabric closet (which is really a closet and a half).   And that is my goal, to keep all my fabric in the fabric closet.  No more of it spreading to other areas of the house or anything like that.  It makes me feel out of control when it starts spreading or piling up.  I like a neat and tidy house.  I don't like feeling out of control.

Irises from the Princeton Farmers Market
Gorgeous irises from the Princeton Farmers Market last week

It's a little over 5 weeks til my intense work project goes live. So, I am enjoying this 3 day weekend and doing barely any work this weekend--I have worked every weekend and most nights for a long time now.   I am really excited for go live and the stabilization period as it means my life will stabilize as well.    I have fond memories of painting the downstairs hallway last year during this same weekend.  So much has changed in a year.

Be well!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sophia double knit swatch card love

So.....I was trolling the Vogue Fabrics site ~2 months ago and found this:

Vogue Fabrics Sophia Knit fabric swatch card
The Sophia Knit fabric swatch card!! For only $5. I ordered but it turned out they were sold out.  It arrived this week.  yay!
Vogue Fabrics Sophia Knit fabric swatch card
Swatches of all 28 Sophia colors are on this card.
Vogue Fabrics Sophia Knit fabric swatch card
No more guessing about colors on the computer monitor, yay!

Since I know there are many double knit fans like me out there, I thought I'd share this gem.

my mom's lilacs and her sewing machine
My mom's sewing machine and her lilacs. The lilacs always smell great and this year was no exception.  This picture was taken the morning after Mother's Day.  Dad moved mom's sewing machine into my childhood bedroom. I need to make space for it here so until then it will be in my childhood bedroom. Mom didn't enjoy sewing but she taught me how to use her sewing machine and until I started taking online and in person classes at sewing expos, I taught myself the rest.  It was the machine I sewed on from ~12 until I graduated from high school and got my Baby Lock as my high school graduation present. She sewed a bunch of Cabbage Patch Kid clothes on that machine and I still have them!

 Be well!