Monday, February 03, 2014

A bit of a print - wardrobe sewing

 I've been working on the Wardrobe Challenge 2014 and the Wardrobe Architect exercises simultaneously, so I'm getting them sort of confused merged in my head. It is helping though to affirm in my mind what I want to make, and to help me keep in mind that I'm sewing for the life I have, not that other one. (Thanks Melodye).

Some of the boards I've put together - these are idea boards, not pattern and fabric selection boards.
Reminder, I live in dresses a lot when it's warm, even on the boat, and the knit dresses that I made before we left St Louis have totally bitten the dust.

In keeping with working with fabric I already own, and as important, fabric that I know where it is...and these are two pieces I've purchased since we've been cruising...I put together a plan to sew first two items that represent "A Print or Two"
 Found online are dresses made with the Milly cotton Voile. My interpretation will be a bit swingy and easier to wear on a daily basis. I like the Anne Klein pattern and I like the idea of banding the part of waist seam that is there with black.

Haven't made up my mind between the Marfy shirt-tunic and the Victory Patterns pullover top.

Now to pull the fabrics out of the storage compartment they're in and set up my machine at my moms house.
I have great aspirations.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

1/2 way to a sewing studio

We broke ground in September, and as of January 31 we are framed in and the rough mechanicals are almost finished.
My studio is Way Bigger than I'd imagined!! I wasn't accounting for the 5' hip wall the builder built up from the first level before sloping for the roof.
I'm going to have room at the end you see here for my sewing machines, my ironing board and my cutting table. I gained a 4' x 12' closet when the builder decided he needed a short support wall where the door comes into the room, about 12' from the back wall. So all of my fabric stash should fit on shelves in the closet and not be subject to light fading.
I'm going to have room at the other end of the room for my loom, a table where I might have small groups - maybe even do some lessons up there, and a sitting area. I've added J-boxes for future chandeliers at each end of the room, and am having fun pinning on Pinterest all sorts of furniture options.
I have CVT flooring samples on order. I'm so excited to have found hard tiles in COLORS! I didn't want wood flooring, we have wood pretty much everywhere else in the house, I didn't want vinyl roll goods, and I didn't want vinyl that is trying to look like something else.
I found these Armstrong CVT tiles on Lowe's website so now I'm playing with graph paper to come up with a pattern I want.

It's all exciting!
Meanwhile, some knitting, some needlepoint and a bit of hand applique are getting done on svFarNiente. It's been a brutal few weeks to be living on a boat in the water.
I desperately need clothes, and I need some quality time with my sewing machine.

Not that I don't know my own style, but for fun I'm following both the Wardrobe Challenge 2014 by Angela Wolf and Colette's Wardrobe Architect challenge
They allow me to play with patterns and fabrics on the net without actually having to figure out how to sew right now!  My current collection of clothing - I won't dignify it with the word wardrobe, is ALL going in the trash bin when we cease living on the boat. Boat living, and laundromat laundry, is very hard on clothes.
My own additional challenges are
1.) to sew with fabric I already own. Time to further reduce the stash, and I'm not into giving any more of it away. Just sayin'.
2.) to sew for the life I have, not the life I Used to Have, and not some fantasy life in my head. I need casual clothes, clothes that will live on a boat.

Did I mention that as soon as the house is done we'll be moving the things we have in storage into it, then getting settled, then going off cruising again? We are not fully moving off the boat yet. ... sigh

So who else is doing some wardrobe evaluation?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The appliqué quilt blocks

Lately I've been spending a lot of time working on the appliqué quilt. Specifically on the prep. I'm using a freezer paper prepared edge technique, as taught by Evelyn Crovo-Hall. There is a significant amount of time spent transferring images to freezer paper, cutting out each individual element of the motifs in paper, then pressing  to fabric, cutting again, painting the edges with a solution of spray sizing, then ironing the edges under. At this point the pieces are basted to the block. I use teeny tiny drops of Roxane's basting glue to baste the elements I'm going to stitch right away, and use silk thread to baste the elements that I plan to stitch later. In the block below most of the leaves are thread basted as I plan to take this with me to the Midwest next week. I'm stitching all the red cherries down now. It's really nice after all that prep to actually sit down to stitch awhile. This is the start of the oak leaf and acorn block.
I've also been working on the Off-block construction of the flowers. There are over 600 flowers on this quilt top, and most of them are constructed "off-block" first before placing them on the quilt block or border and stitching them down. 
Below are two of the pink flowers. They are ~3" to 4" in diameter. T
This is good and easy stitching to do while sitting on the boat. 
As I think I've noted before, this is my 5 year project. 

Friday, June 21, 2013


its official, so I'm going public with this now.

We're going to build a land-based home. Last November we bought property in South Carolina, then went off cruising again.
We will keep the boat and after the building project is finished we will go off sailing again. Probably to ports as yet unexplored by us. Possibly the Caribbean, possibly up the East Coast, possibly down to Georgetown in the Bahamas, who knows, we'll see.

And building a home means I get a studio. My own space to play and create in. I'm SOOO excited.
The space that I'll be getting for my studio is space that normally might be storage, so I definitely will have some arranging challenges.
I've pulled the picture below from Houzz - you know, that time sink site that you can get lost in for hours. This is very similar to the space I'll have. Right now I'm considering lighting, storage, work station space, and aesthetics. Because it's HOT in SC for much of the year I'm very reluctant to put in lighting as featured in this photo. Adds too much heat. But I'm also not thrilled with banks of flourescent lighting. I've been spending hours in building stores, kitchen design stores, and on the internet researching options.
If you follow me on Pinterest you may have seen my winnowing process. As I consider options I'm posting alternatives, then as I get closer to decisions I delete the "pins" that don't make the cut.
(today I've been posting white refrigerators - I do not want a big hunk of stainless in my kitchen in the only place the refrigerator will fit, and I do not want to spend the $$$ for the built in kind that utilize your own cabinet doors)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Quilting Project

My garment sewing friends are going to be a bit dismayed to hear that I've gone over to the dark side... I'm getting into quilting. And boy have I jumped into the deep end, taking on an epic project. 
The pattern is by Sue Garman, the Friends of Baltimore quilt. It's really convenient to work on this project while on the boat. 

Hand Appliqué blocks for my Baltimore album quilt.
The eagle block is traditionally included in the Baltumore Album quilts. I've completed this block now up to the point of adding embroidery. This photo was taken before the berries were added to the branch and the remaining flowers added to the banner at the top. And before I had a clue as to what I was doing. Notice the wonky gold lozenges on the wings of the Eagle. My appliqué and prep work was not up to my high expectation for standard of work. 
So in February I flew to Norfolk VA where my mom picked me up. Together we attended the Elly Sienkewicz Appliqué Academy in Williamsburg. I took a 4 day class from Evelyn Crovo Hall- she's Fabulous! This is the block from her class- I should say the start of it. I learned so much, and now my work is up where I would like it to be.
Don't exactly know what I will do with that block, but I love it!
So, back to Friends of Baltimore:

Finished appliqué portion of this block. Saving the embroidery work for later.

Saturday, May 04, 2013


I have two Christmas Stockings to make this year. In the past I've spent 5 years making one (Mark's), 8 years making one (Daniels), one year each making Ashlee's and Megan's, and 9 months of intense stitching to get Emma's done in 2011. Last Fall I picked up 2 new canvases, one for Caleb and one for Kiersten. Actually, Daniel and Ashlee went with me and picked out the canvas for Kit.
Needless to say I've spent a good deal of time stitching since then. I'm not certain I'm on track to have both finished by Christmas, and my hand hurts!

Notice the French knots I'm adding to Santa's beard. I love the curly texture and and since I'm using Whisper fiber, when I brush it out it'll be a bit fuzzy. Need to remember to buy a mascara/eyebrow brush from the drugstore. Perfect for brushing up fibers

Monday, December 10, 2012

I just spent an hour writing a post, and lost it in the publish. I'm too discouraged to rewrite it now