Friday, April 17, 2015

Natalie Chanin's New Book


Everyone knows about this, right? Natalie Chanin's new book, Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns. It's a nice addition to the Alabama Chanin library, focusing on how to alter patterns to fit you better. Very helpful if you've been intimidated by that process! It also contains a CD with every pattern from all the other books--including my favorite six-gore dress and bolero.

If you're new to the process of altering knit garments to suit yourself, it can be very helpful to use cheap jersey, not the real thing, to practice on. I've had good luck lately finding jersey sheets at the thrift store for a dollar--they may be a little worn or a little pilled, but they are great for a practice run at a new pattern. 

In fact, I used a jersey sheet today while setting a personal record--I cut out a skirt, sewed it up, and put it on in less than fifteen minutes, using Kwik Sew 3513 (though my pattern says 639). I needed a second-tier skirt to garden in, immediately. It worked.

(edited to the correct Kwik Sew number)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Daisy and the Goats


The light was perfect for some photos tonight.


Nutmeg's face is changing from dark to light.


You can't tell, but Dixie Trixx has lost almost all of her "fluffy pants."


 And little white Bonnie, who always comes last because of her lame leg, is as sweet as ever.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

More Facets


The best thing about embellishing jersey is the cumulative effect. The end product is always more glorious than you think it will be when you just have a little done.

 Even though, as Mr. Beaver said in The Lion, the With, and the Wardrobe, "It isn't really finished!"

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tiny "Dick and Jane" Totes


Last week's cleaning revolved around the sewing room. I took out every piece of fabric from the cupboards, thought about it, refolded it, and noted down my plans for it, if I had any. I uncovered some treasures, including my last four "Dick and Jane" panels, which I proceeded to make into little tote bags. They're in my etsy shop--take a look if you know any little people who look good with bags!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Afternoon in the Pasture




Dolly's baby is definitely getting bigger in there--we don't know much about a due date so are open to a surprise. She's getting used to being handled, and spends much of her day rolling or resting in the ashes of the burn pile. We didn't burn the brush there with her comfort (or existence!) in mind, but it's working out for her.


Corky magically reappeared in the pasture while we were at our Wednesday night Bible study. I understand he'll be visiting until Dolly's baby arrives. He's worried she'll be lonesome without another big animal. He's always giving me the stink eye.


So that's the news from the pasture.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Sunshine and Wisteria







Thursday, April 09, 2015

Feedsack Extravaganaza*


I found this outstanding quilt imprisoned in an antique store, the quilt top unsuitably matched up with a nasty pink flannel sheet bottom layer. And as for the "batting" in between, it was an unbelievably heavy plasticized polyester bedspread that weighed about twenty pounds. The three layers were tied together with ratty pink acrylic yarn.


I performed top-removal surgery, cutting out each tie. Then I sent it to rehab--my mother's house. She put soft cotton batting in and chose a charming cotton back, then hand-quilted the whole thing with embroidery floss.


I worried that the yarn would leave indelible holes, but everything healed just fine. There was a little suturing required at seams here and there.


Apparently (see below), at some point the quilt had required a transplant. One of the corners is a churn dash block. Based on the seventies-nature of the fabric, I am guessing that the pieced blocks sat in a closet for decades, then were put together by a daughter or grand-daughter who found herself one block short, and took the easy way out, before turning the whole thing into the horrid tied mess I started with.


But our surgery was successful and the patient has recovered just fine.

*"Extravaganaza" is a term that Giles accidentally coined and used in a big batch of printed posters. We've found it to be quite useful.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Tulips, Sunrise


Hanging out with the tulips at sunrise. 
We planted a row of bulbs in the vegetable garden to keep them safe from the deer. That worked out well.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Seawater Log Cabin Quilt



This is a crib-size quilt, log cabin squares built around cotton velveteen centers.


Blues and greens speak to me.


Mother put the back on it--it's literally a hospital gown . . .


and some vintage embroidery.
I plan to get this into my etsy shop tomorrow.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Easter 2015


 "[Christ] was neither abandoned to Hades,


 nor did His flesh suffer decay.


This Jesus God raised up again, 


to which we are all witnesses."


Acts 2:31-32

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Almond Cakes Done Small


For tomorrow's Easter feast, I've made our favorite almond cake with the zest of a lemon, and put it in muffin tins. Each little cake got a single blackberry dropped in, though raspberry would have been good too. 

Friday, April 03, 2015

Daisy's New Chicks



Daisy just got a batch of Barred Rock chicks through her 4H club. We've stowed them in the incubator, and will be tending to them twice a day until they're ready to move into a pen. Expect cuteness.

 


 

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Enjoy Them With Me


Wednesday, April 01, 2015

That Day When You Buy a Lot of Plants



The garden takes a big step forward the day you pick out your plants at the nursery, doesn't it? Suddenly going from no columbine flowers to these gorgeous lavender specimens . . . or from no tomato plants to a boxful . . . .


I also found bare-root blackberry vines for $2.50 each so I got enough to finish going around the garden. And the spaces I had dug for dogwoods under the kitchen window? Filled now.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Queen of Spring


Daisy and I are back home  in our warm and blooming woods. Bella reigned as Queen of the House while we were gone, handling her schoolwork, job, and all the meals. The fridge is still filled with leftovers.

It was warm enough to eat dinner outside in the Bistro tonight, and after we finished Daisy got up and started weaving flowers into Bella's hair. Too beautiful.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

"The Most Progressive Man"

"If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man."
--C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Here's Dolly


Here's Dolly, our silver donkey. Gentle but a little shy. Daisy will be wooing her with sweet feed, after we get back from going to visit Giles tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Felix with a Banjo




Felix looking handsome during spring break.

* * * * *

In other news, we're getting a donkey tomorrow to guard the goats from coyotes. We had a heartbreaking event Sunday night in which four goats were killed. The new donkey (pregnant!) is the silver lining.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

When Daisy Travels


You can expect the vintage train case, the bag full of books, the sewing box, and the (very) lucky doll or stuffed animal chosen to go along.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Handful of Hyacinths



I got wise and planted these in the fenced-in vegetable garden where the deer can't eat them. Daisy's picking handfuls every day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Slippers. I Made Them.


Somehow I'm fascinated with vintage patterns for slippers--they are often included in bedjacket patterns. I tried these out this week.

 They are completely hand-stitched because I couldn't get them under the machine.


For materials, I cut the sole out of some kind of fake suede/shearling I had a hand-me-down scrap of, and the cream color is wool felt. The outer layer is pink corduroy, and they are bound with commercial quilt binding. They were fun and easy--but I don't think they'll stay on without a strip of elastic sewn in place to be a heel strap, as suggested by yet another vintage slippers pattern.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Full Bloom


Saturday, March 14, 2015

More Fun in Florence


Last night I literally dreamed about jersey. After breakfast we headed back to Alabama Chanin. I had to finish looking at the swatch books.


These samples are all so beautiful to see and handle in person. Look at the saturation of these different shades of red that make up this Facets design.


And I love the red peeking through the apple green in this one.


I found myself really drawn to the appliquéd samples. Which is too bad, because it's my least favorite technique. Too hard to keep up with all the little bits and get them placed correctly. But my, it makes for a beautiful piece.


I had never been particularly interested in either the Vitae stencil *or* the spiral embroidery, but I just love this combination. The figures are appliquéd on, and the negative spaces are filled with spirals! It's just enough.


And look at this sample of Climbing Daisy worked in light on dark! With some sequins sewn in the mix. Also love the effect of working it down from the top--imagine that from the neckline of a dress, front or back.


Finally I settled down to the serious business of choosing what to buy. 


The moody blues definitely led today. I picked out several, including this baby blue (it's deeper in person), and some silvery-plummy "pewter."


After lunch we wandered around Florence, which is full of great old buildings, many of which have awesome names in the doorways.



One building used to be a glorious department store, and its elevator doors are still glamorously intact.



We did go to Muscle Shoals and visit the most famous music recording studio. It's just the building now, with a few defunct instruments left around. But it draws people from all over. While we were there one very talented musician had his guitar with him and sang and played in the studio just for the fun of making music in the same place all those greats had been in. This may be the only place I have crossed paths with Paul Simon--just a few decades late.


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