Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Racism in the 'burbs

To the ladies (and I use the term loosely) at the class in the public store this morning:

Your racism was showing, load and clear. It was extremely upsetting to listen to. "Missing clothing ends up on the Boston Bus"...why did you have to keep repeating that? Are you that proud of your racism?

If your little girl brought her American Girl doll to kindergarten and she couldn't find it, how do you know it was in the backpack of the CA Metco equivalent? Did the teacher let you look? Did the teacher tell you? Or did you just assume "it was in the little black girl's backpack", while the teacher figured out which child had the doll and got it back to your daughter? It might have been in any child's backpack, and the teacher is unlikely to have told you which child.

And to the woman whose son lost his brand new black Northface jacket. How do you know it "went on the Boston bus"? How do you know, really, that he was correct with the statement that the last time he had it was on the playground. Maybe it ended up in lost and found, and that afternoon Jacob's mom found it, thinking it was Jacob's brand new black Northface jacket, lost yesterday. Only Jacob's jacket is on the floor under Anthony's bed...where Anthony announced to his mom his missing blue jacket turned black! Only Anthony's missing jacket is at grandma's summer house, left there at Thanksgiving....not to be found until next summer. The statement "Our kids don't need clothes. The only ones who would need to steal clothes are on the Boston Bus"....just boggles the mind.

My daughter's green Lands' End windbreaker wasn't on the fence, with all the other kindergarten coats one warm afternoon, in the middle of pickup. But a very similar, same size and color, London Fog windbreaker was! After several days, that London Fog coat showed up in lost and found. I eventually gave up and took it and washed it, and let my daughter wear it, posting a notice offering to swap coats back. Never heard a thing.

When we were on a long distance train to Florida, I put my sons handknit sweater (with sheep on it! It was so cute!) with our coats. It went missing. I didn't know if I left it on the train, if it was stolen, or what. It was just gone. What would one think? Those ladies, I bet, would assume that one of the many other passengers on this crowded, diverse car had stolen it.

Years later, when packing for a plane trip, while carefully checking every pocket of the suitcase for sharps, guess what I found in an obscure, seldom used pocket? Yep...Harry's long outgrown sheepy sweater!

I hope the teacher suggests a little more tolerance to this group of women.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

End of the season

We had a great time at Hartwell, doing a foodways presentation of preparing and preserving food for the winter.


I got to hold Ginger the Chicken. She's a Buff Orpington, just like that silly lady kept in Busman's Honeymoon.


Sabra orchestrated a fabulous lunch...and as Sue said, we eat best in the Fall, because it's harvest!



We used the market stalls that Ken built...they are just so terrific, and they look so much like the drawings! I love having realistic tools and furniture.


Ginger had quite the fan club.

Rick built the cart kit that the park bought. We all used it to shlep our gear out. It worked great. Harry was able to pull it up all by himself. You have to balance it carefully, and tend it while loading and unloading, or else it tips over...not hard to keep it from tipping, but you do have to watch it!

Kids make it all real!

NOTHING looks more real when reenacting that a properly dressed child! Usually kids' clothes get skimped on, but that is a mistake. Kids are camera bait, and if someone's photo is going to wind up splashed across a paper, it's a child's, so it's worth doing them properly.


I never did finish posting the little outfit I made Anna. I'm totally happy with how it came out. The only things that aren't just right are on purpose...it's a tad loose, because I want it to fit next summer!

I just love this photo!!!!



Construction details can be seen here...the gown has a string to fasten its skirt, and those go through the lacing holes, so that they stay up! There is a placket to cover the lacing holes, and it really does make a neat effect.

I don't have a photo of her in her cloak and black bonnet...I need to get those, the whole thing is just so sweet! Anna still needs another petticoat and stays, but these will do for right now, breeches are next on my list!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Too tired to blog...but here:
She was obliging me by showing the back of her gown to the camera.

More coming.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Saintonge Flag Quilt


I have a friend, who's sick. He's going to be dealing with a lot of doctors and hospitals and feel crummy for a while. There isn't much I can do to help...but I can help keep him warm, while reminding him that there are people who care. And, while we are at it, this will remind every doctor and nurse who enters his hospital room that this man is important enough to have people making him hand made stuff.

When my daughter had her tonsils out, I noticed that the medical staff flocked to her, to admire her handmade doll and quilt...so I do my best to send friends and family prepared.

So, here is what I did....

At Jo-Ann's, we wanted to get fleur de lis polar fleece, but they didn't have any (I though I'd seen some, but, sadly, no). So Abe suggested a Saintonge flag, backed with Marine Corps polar fleece. I decided that was a great idea, so here is the flannel for the flag:

And my rulers and rotary cutter...this would have been impossible without big, good rulers...at one point I had to use 3 to cut my squares, these are big squares!


If one is clever, and remembers how, and the weird seam allowances necessary, you can get 4 squares, each made of 4 different colored triangles, without ever actually sewing a pair of triangles.


You take two squares, sew them diagonlaly, twcie, then cut between...that gives half square triangles.


Then you do the same, again, to get quarter square triangles.

I put the white all around, and the stripes of all the colors, like the ribbon/braid hanging from the real flag pole, to make it rectangular and long enough (a hint of this is to the left in the photo way back at the top). Here it's unironed, waiting for me to go to Jo-Ann's to get more white flannel. It's very very bright in person.


It's flannel on top, fleece on the back. Totally washable, soft and very cuddly. It folds up small, but should be nice and warm.

We just got back from giving him the quilt. He liked it, we chose well ;-)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

For No Good Reason

Ok, I do have a reason for this post, but it's not a good one. I'm sewing growth tucks. I want this gown to have growth tucks. I just don't want to sew them. But I'm doing it. But I'm also bored. I have about 1.5 lengths of thread left to do, and I don't want to. So I'm procrastinating here.


My thread is waxed silk thread, from Utica threads. Size A.


I take the skein, as it comes out of the bag, fold it in half, so that there are two loops at one end and it's about 9 inches long (this makes each strand 18 inches) and tie a string around it at the middle. Then I cut the two loops, and divide it all into 3 sections, and braid it, and tie it off. Then, when I need a new strand, I gently separate one from the top of the braid (not the fringy end), and pull it out! No tangles, no cutting, no waxing, just one piece of 18 inch sewing thread! Very efficient, I love this thread!

This is how I sew. I always use a thimble. I didn't use one many years ago, and I wanted to learn to rocker quilt, so I used a trick by Ami Simms' How to Improve Your Quilt Stitch. I wore a thimble all day! I got used to it, used to considering it part of my hand. Now I hold my hand like this to sew:

You can just see the eye of the needle at the thimble.

The bandaid is from the abuse I gave my hands on Friday. I stabbed my thumb repeatedly, burned two fingers making dinner, and scraped a sewing callus off while peeling squash. And I never figured out what I used to shred my thumb. Then on Saturday, for the first time in YEARS, I stabbed myself on a pin closing my bedgown. I haven't done that since I first started wearing straight pins! I figure it was the cold I was just getting over.

I hold the right of the fabric between my pinky and ring finger:

Then I push the needle the rest of the way through with my middle finger.

This is pretty much what my hand usually looks like:
I hold the left side with my left, of course, and my thumb nail presses down right next to the needle tip, and my left and right hands stay tensed, while then rock up and down, building up sts on the needle. The fingers stay pretty still, relative to each other, except for slight pressure on the needle with my middle finger.

There. A totally useless post, and I'm ready to go finish those foolish tucks!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Some finished little clothes

It used to be that I could see threads in fabric, and doing things like cross stitch over squares made of two threads was easy. It's no longer easy...with my reading glasses (not bifocals), I can just do it. Sigh. But it came out ok.


So this makes the shift done. And cute. As long as I was at it, I ironed pleats into the sleeves, just to be silly. You can see them, a bit, if you look closely. A simple shift like this probably wouldn't have those pressed in pleats, I suppose, but they are hard to do, at least if you don't want to burn your fingers, so I keep trying, to see if I can.

Clearly I have some work to do.

See? The cap is done, with a cute bow and ribbon to tie behind. Nice shift, the skirts that will attache to the bodice, (which is all cut out, but still in pieces), and the apron.


We'll see how much I get done tomorrow. Eyelets...I don't have green silk for eyelets. Blast. I could've gotten it from Sue, had I thought of it on Wed...or even earlier today.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

LIttle clothes coming along

This isn't really exciting...but things are becoming wearable! The little shift just needs marking and ties or button links for the wrists (ties for now, certainly!)

The bodice lining is basted, boring boring...gotta stitch it properly in the morning, and cut out the outside fabric.
it's a lining!

The skirt waist is all pinned...that is the most nuisancy part of it. Whipping it in place will be quick, now.
pinned waistband

I'm sure Anna will LOVE her pockets (also half done, no photos yet)...so she needs slits to get at them. I think I made them a bit too long, though. She has tiny little hands!
pocket slit

It really is starting to look like a gown skirt!

Monday, September 20, 2010

More linen cuteness

Anna's cap is done! I still want to make a ribbon bow to put on the top, to tie behind her neck, but that will wait for a calm time, when I don't feel like getting something useful done.


They are pretty boring, when spread out flat, but it makes it easier to iron, if the back is on a drawstring.


When it's pulled up all the way, it's just such a sweet little cap! I tried to copy this one, the one the blue girl is wearing. I liked the ruffles...they are box pleats! Box pleats are easier to make than gathered ruffles, look better with less fullness (so less hemming), and are easier to iron, as you can just plow the iron right over them! So, box pleats like the painting or gathered ruffles? No contest!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Testing, 1, 2, 3! N

This is just a test to see if iPhone a d blogger place nicely together. The answer is, sort of. I have to grab any photos, first, because flickr and iPhone don't play nicely. At least, I haven't figured out how to do it, yet!

But, I've been meaning to post my crutches for a while. Today, I had PT at 9, and my knee worked until 8:00!!!! Clearly, there is hope, that I won't need them forever.

Forest Clogs for Alex

I got this pattern from Meg Swansen. It's going to be in the new book she's putting out, on her mother's garter stitch work: Knit One Knit All! I'm really looking forward to it! I have preordered my copy.

Here is my adaptation of Elizabeth Zimmermann's pattern for funky clogs


I cast on and went merrily along, until I realied I was knitting way too tight, and they were way too small. (the color above is too pale)

So, I redid the toes, and here I am, getting ready to do the really weird (easy, but weird) shaping on the foot/instep.
FunE Feat from knit one knit all

I decided that my pattern was not quite what I wanted, so I lengthened the ball of the foot part, for more coverage, and made the sides higher. I appear to be almost incapable of following a pattern without making changes. But, I LOVE doing so on EZ's patterns, because I have perfectly good brain, I know how to use it, and I use it to make my knitting do what I want it to do!

But, my changes aside, it's a fun little pattern, really fast and easy, and took less than one ball of Sheepsdown yarn! I've decided I really love this yarn. I'm working on an afghan out of it, too. It's funny, though...it's a bit delicate, for all that it's so thick. Ok, that is a "duh". If it were more tightly spun, for more strength, it'd be thinner, with the same weight of fiber, so to get this thickness, with more twist, it'd need more fiber, making it heavier and stiffer.

Here they are in all their finished glory!

Teddy says they are radish shaped. Teddy is a strange child.

They are not at all a teal color, they are really forest green.

They look much smaller than they are. Garter stitch stretches so much that if you don't make 'em small they'll fall off after a few weeks!

They are for Alex, who's about to spend a year at St. Andrews, in Scotland. It's cold over there, and raw, so he needs to have warm feet! Good luck in school, Alex! Enjoy the Scottish Weather!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Colonial Tinies

I'm making a set of colonial clothing for a little girl. She's tiny, so are her clothes. I have her first cap almost done, just going to add some more ruffles.

I'm attempting to copy, more or less (in a coarser fabric) the cap on the Ludwig's Blue Sash Girl.


We were at a party, so I tried it on. I need to pull the strings in back a bit tighter, she is clearly at the small end of this cap, but the baby size would certainly be too small. So, since I rather doubt Anna will shrink, it's perfect!

Here are her shift sleeves, languishing in my bag (caps are more fun):

But the apron is completely done.

These clothes are fun! I'm making them to free up our friend Steven, who would otherwise have to make her new clothes, so that he can help my son Teddy, who's turning 16, put this together:


It's a big project, the wood is only roughly shaped, and the is a bunch of metal work still to do...

Teddy is about the happiest boy in the world, right now!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I don't wanna sew

Since I don't want to sew or, really, I don't want to make a pattern, when I saw this knitting survey, that was just the ticket!

Here is a knitting survey that is going around…

Bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing. And I add red for UFO

Afghan/Blanket (2, mostly done, but not quite, an other 1/4 done)
Garter stitch

Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn Camel? How about alpaca which is much nicer? YES!

Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn --- it's just rayon...why bother?
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn -- again, it's just rayon
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn-- again, it's just rayon
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn only swatched so far
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street) -- um, no
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book -- would like to, don't expect to, but I will put out a few patterns, soon
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)

Knitting to make money yeah, right. I don't think it'll happen
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors I've done this with fabric, not yarn

Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to kni
Knitting for a living well, knitting IS living, for me ;-)
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
swatched, but there is a cute little dress in Cast On....
Dying yarn Kool aid
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads

Long Tail CO

Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere

Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern

Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting

Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Pillows I can't believe it, but I don't think I've ever actually made a pillow....at least not knitted
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Rug for a dollhouse...made many!
Knitting on a loom but never finished...boring

Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift

Knitting for pets I have my son making a dog bed, I may finish it up, since I want it done!
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories I used to finger knit (two finger) hair ribbons all the time!
Knitting in public

I guess I knit a lot ;-)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Home, again!

I'm back.....knee is surgered. Boys were packed up and sent to camp and the west coast. One boy was injured (cut his pinky with a knife), surgered and sent home from the west coast. I was packed up and sent off to Chicago, Wisconsin, Chicago and trained back home. Husband surprised me by meeting my train in NY! Injured finger had its stitches removed, only to discover that the tendon had reruptured, so more surgery scheduled. Now, back to regular life!

Knitting Camp!

Show and Tell:

Spinning Lessons:

The tables of people
(see my crutches, in back?)
That is Meg, in the center in the cream top
My seatmates
Across from me.


That is the Stonington Shawl....made by Elizabeth Zimmermann herself! I loved wearing it!

100 years of Zimmermann contest entry by Greg...it's a "fire cracker"! Or maybe a bottle rocket. A tube covered in knitting, with dangly sparklers and shooting a cork!