Month: July 2016

I Need to Knit!

I have been sewing and sewing and sewing this summer. My hands are itching to knit. I tried to keep the itch under control by completing some socks, but now this itch has gotten completely out of control!

I think that the top foot is a 1/4 inch shorter than the bottom, but the angle makes it look huge!

I believe this desperation was fueled by the 160 flower appliques that had to be turned and ironed for the wedding quilt, which is in progress. I even listened to the Aeneid  and Portrait of a Lady during this long and daunting task, in an attempt to keep keep the boredom at bay, (and to expand my mind with classic literature-that’s another post) but when my box from Knitpicks arrived, I nearly lost it! Suddenly, the sock (and those darn flowers) needed to be done, and something Substantial and YARNY started.

In addition to my leftover wool stash, I also have a basket of odds and ends, mostly acrylic from a variety of projects over the years.  (Not really very interesting.)  As for my new additions…the white and aqua will be my rendition of the peace sweater by Dale of Norway, the cranberry is a lovely cotton for a cardigan a la Catherine’s Wheel and the blue and cream is going to be some dish cloths. So who wouldn’t be tempted beyond reason looking at all of this wool and cotton goodness!

imageMy Substantial YARNY project is actually coming from my old stash. I have lots of colors here, all suitable for the tall boot socks that my hubby loves, however, they really aren’t meant to be machine washed, so I wanted to reduce this stash and eventually replace it with some machine washable DK. The current project is going to be a sweater for hubby. He isn’t super keen on Norwegian style knitting, (too busy, he says) but they are warm and he will eventually need one. I think he will end up wearing this a lot in the evenings at home, and who knows, he may wear it out and about as well. I’m using current, khaki, green and navy, though I haven’t worked out how the green and navy will go yet.

I am using one of my Norsk patterns, so am translating as I go. Google translate has come a long way in the past two years. I last attempted to use it to translate a crocheting pattern, and I had lots of trouble with the specific crocheting terms. This however, has gone smoothly, and I am delighted to see that I can still make out the gist of things! No surprises yet.

imageStarting this sweater, even though progress will be limited, and very slow, makes my fingers very happy. I am not pining to start my peace sweater, not one bit, now that I have something on my needles. And, it is a welcome relief from my sewing machine some days! In fact, it has actually encouraged me to keep on sewing, knowing that I have something started on my knitting needles.

And, for the curious, the Aeneid (/ᵻˈniːɪd/; Latin: Aeneis [ae̯ˈneːɪs]) is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans.  What can I say, my youngest is a classics major, a mom has to keep up, though mine was in English!


SAL Update # 2 July 24

I am so pleased to join this group of stitchers working on some beautiful projects. And, they don’t just stitch, they do all sorts of other amazing things too, so go visit their blogs as well. During my “tour” I saw quilts, sewing, sculpting, crocheting, all sorts of amazing things. It made me smile and inspired me as well.

So, here’s where I was…


and here’s where I am now!


It’s slow going, only working on this at lunch, but the light in my office is excellent, and it gives me a welcome break from 4-H summer craziness.

Go visit these new friends, and be inspired!

AvisClaireGunCaroleWendyLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbierose, Christina, Susan

Lining and More

Lining and More

If you stopped someone on the street and asked them to explain the difference between all the different types of linings; as in lining, underlining and interlining, they would likely look at you as if you had grown two heads. However, we in the sewing world understand that each has its own purpose and adds unique elements to the garment. While constructing my Marfy 3219, I have utilized all three types of linings.

imageLining is the one layer most people on the street are acquainted with. It is often made of a slippery fabric and covers the inner construction  details. It usually hangs free, and may add warmth,  serve as a slip or make wearing a rough textured more comfortable. In my case, lining wool garments makes them easier to wear, since I’m allergic to wool.


Underlining is attached directly DSCN0382to the fashion fabric, and provides stability, pattern markings, and may reduce the sheerness or wrinkling of a fabric. Underlining is never seen, but you can feel it because it subtly changes the drape of the fabric, and makes it feel more substantial without adding bulk. Underlining is generally basted to the fashion fabric and the two are then treated as one piece during the construction process.It makes it possible to completely hide your hand stitches.

Interlining can be a little confusing. Its purpose is to add warmth to the garment without adding bulk, and it can be attached to the lining or to the underlining/fashion fabric. In my case, I attached the interlining to my lining pieces. image

A wonderful article to introduce you to all these linings in detail is available at Threads magazine.

This Marfy coat was my first try at underlining. I was sold after reading so much about it in Karen’s blog over at Fifty Dresses, and followed her advice, purchasing silk organza from Susan Khalje, which is some pretty amazing stuff! I had some cheap man-made organza, used previously for bound buttonholes, and the difference is quite astounding. I will continue to use the cheap stuff for buttonholes on my heavier garments, so it won’t go to waste, but I would never consider using it for underlining after experiencing the real thing!

My experience with underlining was pretty positive overall, any issues that I had were related to the lack of decent marking materials available in my home town. I finally resorted to tracing with a pencil, which is nerve racking and slow. My to do list for late fall is to find some really excellent quality tracing paper. If you have a favorite brand, please share!

I have attempted interlining once before, but I didn’t really do it correctly, and wanted to improve my effort with this coat. I purchased lambswool because bulk was an issue, and I must say, it is soft, airy, cozy, ahhh. The open weave captures air, which will then insulate the coat. I am quite excited to see just how warm this thing will be! I attached it to the lining with a simple baste, and seaming it all together was very straight forward. (It’s about time….there wasn’t a lot of straight forward in this coat…)

Though I’ve not spent much time on my coat recently, I did commit to completing two seams each day when I changed from the quilting foot back to the regular presser foot over the weekend. The result of that effort is a nearly complete lining. I’d planned to have a picture to share of it hanging, but when I got to the bottom of the pile, I discovered I had not cut the back piece, so I have one more round of marking and basting before it will be ready to hang. I’m glad to finally be thinking about finish work.


Speed Quilting Required

In my last quilting post, I introduced my new project, a wedding gift for my youngest daughter’s best friend. I was planning to work steadily and expected to have it completed in time for the October 1 nuptials. Fast forward to July 1, and oldest daughter’s other best friend announces she is engaged! When’s the wedding? October 15 or 22. The only person more stressed than me is the  mother. Yes, you read correctly, the brides are sisters…this family is going to host TWO weddings in the same month! So now my stress has been put into perspective, yikes!

However, I still have two quilts to attempt to complete before the end of October, so it is time to turn on the speed! Thankfully, I had a week off  work that didn’t turn into a camping trip, so I spent it sewing almost non stop. The Romance and Roses quilt is moving along. The green blocks are finished, all 77 of them!imageThe second block is simpler, and rendered in four or five color groupings. So far, the gold, purple, blue and cranberry groups are complete.

The final group will be on the pale pink side. I found some pinks that look nice with the cranberry, so hopefully it will work.

imageYesterday, a sewing break came in the form of tracing templates on to freezer paper for the appliqués. There were 400 of those little guys in all. 😳  I plan to take a few with me to work on over the lunch hour until I am done with the piecing. I will machine appliqué the stems, but am planning to do the flowers by hand, or maybe not!

The appliqué templates are all cut out, and basting glue purchased, so now I have a couple of things to work on when I get tired of sewing seams. Hang in there Marfy coat, I’ll get back to you real soon, I promise!image


Toward the Finish Line

Progress, moving forward, advancing. After deciding that today was going to be a “coat day,” I changed my bobbin and thread before retiring, as an incentive to act instead of just ponder.  The question at hand:  What is the best method for attaching the facings to the coat? After a quick review of the tailoring section of my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, I knew I was definitely making things up as I went along. The solution?

I inspected my pieces again, and started by sewing the front facings to the back facing I had drafted, and pressed. More contemplation was necessary, so I inserted the sleeve heads made of lambswool scraps and did a full press on the sleeves. I have a Sunbeam Professional iron that does vertical steam; it and a rolled hand towel allowed me to shrink in a bit of fullness, while keeping the sleeves nice and round. I love this iron, and I love the price tag…$35.00, and I think it will keep up with any Rowenta just fine!! By the time I was finished with the sleeves, I had a plan.

I pressed the collar seam on both sides so that everything was laying nice and flat.

I sewed the collar and collar band on the one side with a square edge, trimmed it and turned it, also pressing.


I attached the whole mess to the coat, being very careful to abut the notches to the proper spots on the lapels, then pressed that seam open. Because I sewed the collar band and its facing to the collar, applying the front and back facing was going to be…creative.

To attach the facings, I did three separate seams. The right front facing was first, stopping the seam where the tab extends out from the collar band. (note the pin in the photo below) A quick turn established that I was close enough to the tab that any gap could be closed from the inside. Success!

I moved on to the back facing, again stopping where the collar and collar band met the lapel. Finally, I moved to the left front facing. The photo below illustrates the pinning technique I have adopted. The horizontal pins are on the seam line, and the vertical pins prevent slippage when the horizontal pins are pulled. I can push the horizontal pins out with my presser foot if I keep the speed down, which allows them to stay in place until the last possible moment.


And, finally, after grading the seam allowances and pressing, The front is ready to be top stitched.


Interlining and lining sounds like a piece of cake after this!


Garden Hodgepodge

I’m not a huge plant person. I have an iris border that reminds me of my Grandma and Mom, a planter that gets a packet on pansy seeds every 3-4 years, and a fortress in the back yard for the vegetable garden. We are on city water, so the only thing that gets watered are the vegetables…the lawn has to rely on rain, and it is a wimpy Kentucky bluegrass instead of a sturdy South Dakota grama or buffalo grass, so it always looks dry. Especially next to my neighbors with the Better Homes & Gardens designer yard. (They have a well….)

We’ve had a dry summer so things are looking tough from the street, but the fortress is starting to look promising.   We call it that because of the 8 foot high fence around it…the deer around here must be part reindeer, a six foot fence is nothing to them!

This is not the main reason for this silly post, however. Actually,  I have embarked on a plant adventure that is quite odd for me. I am quite adapt at killing house plants, and our garden is managed by my dear husband who is the plant expert. So, here’s the big announcement:image

I made lemon curd a few weeks ago, and planted the seeds in a pot, AND 2 SEEDS SPROUTED!! WHAT?! Not only that, while I was gone on a 4- H trip a week later, they kept growing! I am so excited! My logical self is thinking, duh-of course they grew, why is this a big deal.However, the rest of me is taking pictures and announcing to the blog world that I have 2 baby lemon trees!!

I guess new life in any form is always exciting. 🙂



Collars and Collar Bands

Collars and Collar Bands

I have been dividing my time between the wedding quilt and my coat. At the moment we are working in black thread, so it’s a coat day. Actually, I spent most of one week hand stitching, because I decided to pad stitch the collar and the collar band, and I like what I’m seeing so far. It is amazing how much effect those stitches can have on a piece of fabric, and they really don’t take that much time to do.


The collar is looking pretty good after the initial trim and clip job. The Marfy pattern has two separate pieces, and the difference in sizing is noticeable. It didn’t cause any trouble putting the collar together, and oh my goodness what a wonderful turn job it creates.  The seam line is consistently on the under edge, with about 1/8 inch to spare from the actual fold. There will be no seam showing anywhere on this one! Such a small thing makes quite a difference, and it made the topstitching a breeze!


This collar band is unusual on a coat, so there is no real advice about how to handle it in the regular sewing resources I have. It made sense to me that if I had a regular tailored coat, the collar would be one piece, and pad stitched, so I decided to implement that on the collar band. It didn’t take long to do, and now the only thing left to do is to make the windowpane opening for the bound buttonhole, if I don’t chicken out! Because of the way the tab is constructed, I would have to do a windowpane opening before attaching the facing, so EVERYTHING will have to align perfectly, or this will be a disaster….not sure if I’m up to that. (I wasn’t 🐓!)

I pinned the collar to the collar band, but needed to work through whether to attach the band/collar to the jacket, then the collar band facing, or do a traditional shirt collar treatment. Maybe it doesn’t matter, however, I had no intention of ripping out the neckline, so left it sitting.

In an effort to keep moving forward, I decided to start basting lambswool to the lining, and got some of those pieces completed before taking off on a 4-H trip. If I need more time to consider the collar band, I can start sewing the lining. 🙂

Upon my return, I decided to baste the collar to the collar band, and sew the facing to them. That included the part of the band with the bound buttonhole, which was a pretty tight turn, but it looks good, even before a press.image

The collar band is now pinned to the jacket, and it looks like everything will match up pretty well. Next question is how to handle the front and back facings, but I’ll put that collar in while I think about it. I can always go back to the lining :). Best of all, my coat is starting to resemble that lining drawing I fell in love with!


Keep enjoying the summer, and a Happy Independance Day to my American friends. Take a break and retread our Declaration…it is an amazing essay in itself!