Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time


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A Glimmer (or two) of Light Dawns

A month or so ago you may all remember my complete disgust with Vogue 8937 and the fabric choice I made. The fabric was a silk boucle’ with little or no staying power. It was a loose weave and it raveled something fierce – and it grew.

I had approached this jacket from my dearth of sewing skills. I think I can safely say this is the first time I’ve used boucle’ for anything. And it was sad.

In my last post about this jacket entitled “A Wadder” I made an offhand comment about needing to interface all of the fabric to keep it from growing. From little acorns……………..

Since that failure, which smoat me in my heart and made me weep, I have been searching for the why. I have found it. You MUST stabilize a boucle’. Wouldn’t it have been great if I’d looked for that information first? Then the jacket would still be alive and not in a landfill in Maine …………….

There are various blogs on the net – particularly this one – http://www.brensan.com/Garment/Techniques/BlackBoucleJacket.html which give you all the steps necessary to complete a stunning boucle’ jacket.

I am a very lucky person. I do still have some boucle’ – a beautiful black wool with multi-colored puffs – waiting to be put to use in my stash. After I gather ALL of the necessary interlinings and linings and read the directions several times again – I’m going to attempt that wadder and turn it into a thing of beauty!

Vogue 8937

Vogue 8937

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A Wear With Everything Hoodie

Today I’ll finish hemming my new shirt and put it in the closet, ready to wear. It’s so nice to look through my closet and see that almost everything in there was made by me. It gives me a great feeling.

It’s turned cold here in a hurry, as is usual in Maine. I’m reminded that I’m going to need a nice warm jacket to throw on over everything before we get to the OMG I have to wear a coat weather. So next on my make it list is this:

blackhoodie

 

I’ve made this pattern already in a red ponte with a hood lining that I’m not nuts about now, but I’ll wear it.

mccalls6614A

 

and the notion info on the pattern was wrong, so I bought a zipper two inches too short. The snap tape looks pretty cool though and since I have my new serger, I’m going to finish off all the seams again on the serger so it looks great inside too.

The one I’m going to start to wear everywhere will be in black double-knit with substantial body. I already have the zipper for it here:

zipper1

 

which will just add that little quirky bit of difference to the hoodie that I’m looking to get. The rest of the hoodie will be black – not going to do any contrast fabric for the inside of the hood. Also this one will be in a size that actually fits me rather than oversized as is the red jacket!

Many more on the make list …………… I also have some fantastic faux leather that I want to use for a jacket too. This is it

white gold

 

This is outside my comfort zone weird wise. I think I can make it work though and the fabric is very soft and malleable so it will work up well. I think this calls for a Riri zipper – which is good because I need one for another outfit and I can get them together and save on shipping – more money for FABRIC!


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It’s All Done! Style Arc May Top!

This top is fantastic. I wasn’t at all sure about it until I tried it on. Even seeing it on the dress form didn’t appeal to me that much. When I put it on I felt like I’d just gone out and bought a VERY nice top.

The fit is fat-lump skimming – if you know what I mean. One day – soon – I am going to get this stuff off – but until then I need clothes that make me look good. And this top does that.

The neck line is just a teensy bit low but nothing extreme, so it’s very wearable. Also that weird, hard to do seam under the bust means that it is very flattering. It hides the old tummy and it has a flattering A-line.

I hemmed it with a double needle which always turns out looking professional. I just have to keep reading the directions on how to thread the two needles because I don’t do it often enough to keep it in my head.

Here’s the pictures!!

And on another high note – I spoke to my husband just a few minutes ago and he’s doing well. He let’s me know that he likes where he’s at – that’s so good. I’m glad he’s adapting and I know I wouldn’t do it as well.

And on the second note? I have a job interview tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!! I got the call at around noon today and I cannot. wait. I love that I will actually be able to work and my husband will be taken care of at the same time!

 


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Changing Course

Yesterday was the LONGEST day I’ve known for some time. It seemed like the time crawled. It wasn’t just me, DS noticed it too.

I started my day errand running. I needed to get gas for the trips to the nursing home. My cat, who will not eat hardly any food, needed to be tempted by kitten food from my pet store, medicine needed to be picked up. All of these were accomplished by 11:30 and after procrastinating on the internet for as long as the non-updated web could hold my attention, I had to sew.

I finished the seam on the front of the shirt from Vogue 1247. I used the sewing machine to stitch it down properly and then serged the seam to trim off the excess and finish it nicely. Then I lost interest . . . . this often happens while I’m making a muslin. I just get bored with it. I’d probably be better off just cutting the good fabric and going with it, but I try to not ruin fabric I’ve paid a ton of money to own.

For the last year or so, the cushions on my dining room chairs have been shot. The set, purchased here in Maine, is one of my favorite things. The chairs have wicker bottoms and rungs across the back. They are wide – over 26″ and they are on rollers. Each chair has arms and it is cream in color, much as you would expect cottage furniture to be. The table looks like it is made from planks, although it is just channels routed out of a single piece of wood. The cream finish has been distressed on the chairs and the table to give the impression of old furniture.

The original cushions were a cream and light green plaid with a tiny red line for accent. These have been on the chairs for 6 years. Enough. They have had stuff spilt on them, some have had to be washed in the washing machine and they all look way past presentable.

Yesterday, in the midst of my lethargy, I decided to make cushion covers. I have several pieces of fabric with large yardage. Years ago, while still living on PEI, I travelled all the way to Borden-Carelton from the east side of the Island. It was a Sunday and pouring down rain. Really pouring down. There was a bargain barn type fabric store that was advertising a sale. I wanted drapery fabric for a couple of rooms. So we went.

I brought home two fabrics that look like quilts. Naturally. One is beige/black/red/indigo/cream in a one-patch pattern. The other has small 9-patch blocks in various colors on a dark green background. And I have a bright, almost olive-green Tattersall plaid.

I more into decorating with floral instead of quilt-like fabrics these days, but needs must. I can’t afford to go looking for new cushions – the only ones I’ve found would cost over $200. That’s not going to happen. And also new fabric for the cushions just isn’t in the budget. So I had to choose. I did it the way I usually do. I asked my graphic designer son which one he liked. He chose the beige/cream one and I started cutting out the covers.

The cushions are curved on the bottom front. I took my trusty pattern material, placed a bottom cushion on it and traced the outline, being careful to add an inch all around for seaming and fitting. I then did the same with the top cushion although this time I just did it straight on the fabric with the pattern material.

I now have all of the fabric cut out and ready to sew. Today I’m going to get these done and on the chairs. I also have to make two ties for each upper cushion and I’ve cut these too. The dining room is going to look lovely with clean cushions on the chairs!

I visited DS on Saturday and he is doing very well. He’s so much perkier. His walking seems to not have improved at all and in fact may be worse. I notice the dragging of his right foot more. Luckily he has learned at the memory care unit that he must walk with his walker. Here he didn’t want to. It may be that the walker with wheels in front is much easier for him to walk with, however it happened, it is a good thing. Whenever I visit I am seriously tempted to grab him and bring him home. Knowing that I cannot take care of him keeps me from doing this. I don’t think that he has recognized yet that he won’t be coming home at some point. I hope I can be strong enough to break this to him and as gently as possible. I miss his company a lot and am having a tougher time with this than I thought I would. Probably because now that he’s not here, I actually have time to think. Before I only had time to rush around and do things that needed to be done to take care of him.

Pictures to follow – which is what I always write – but today they WILL follow.

 


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I Think The Moon is Out …….

I actually think the moon is out of its mind. It is huge. I know they’re calling it Super Moon or something silly like that. It’s just the moon and it’s big.

I find the full moon interferes with my sleep. Maybe I’m some kind of a sensitive (well I am psychic) or something. Doesn’t it sound ridiculous when I say I’m psychic? Well I am. I worked as a professional psychic for several years. Odd how I haven’t put that on my resume although they always want to know what I did in these years I look like I didn’t have work. I fall back on the wife/mother thing.

I paid a visit to DH today in the memory care unit. He’s doing really well although I can tell he wants to come home and he’s wondering if he will be able to. I wish I could take care of him. I almost packed him up and dragged him out of there – even though it is a lovely place out in the country with fields and woods surrounding it. He has nice nurses and they are sensitive to him and his sadness. He’s only been there less than a week.

I saw him last Tuesday and then I had a lot to do here and what with being exhausted I took Wed, Thurs, Fri and Sat off. So that was four days I didn’t see him and last night he was asking for me. I am going back to visit on Wednesday so he will only have two days without me around. Wow. This is harder than I thought. I really miss him – even though he drove me absolutely nutso. And he did. He didn’t argue with me – he just wouldn’t do anything I asked him to. Not that he ever did – little sugar that he is for sure. He has this really bad stubborn and ornery streak and you can tell the way he looks at you that he isn’t paying attention or just isn’t going to do what you ask him to do.

I couldn’t take the falling or the pooping in his Depends. Such a mess and I’m really not good at cleaning up that stuff. Over the last two years I’ve had major messes to clean up where he’s just messed all over the bedroom, bathroom and the basement. It was horrible. He hadn’t had a spell of all over the house stuff for about a month but something happened a couple of weeks ago and now he doesn’t recognize that he needs to go to the bathroom. He just goes.

I came home and got busy on my shirt. Boy I do not like those cuffs. I put new ones on and they still look stupid so I cut THEM off and now the sleeves are shorter for sure – but I’m just going to hem the sleeve and let it go. Enough with the cuffs already. I’m going to see how I can do this in a better way than Drape Drape 3 gives you directions for – not that I was using the directions – maybe that’s the problem?

The shirt is cute. I will wear this and I will make more –

The fabric is a lot darker than the pictures show. It’s a dark teal. The sleeves here look longer because the first cuff is still on. Not anymore! I cut them off put on another and cut it off too. So now I’ve lost about 3 inches or more in sleeve length. It will be fine.

I have all this “spare” time now so I cleaned all the old bills off the built-in china cupboard in the dining room. We have a dish cupboard with three glass doors and shelves and then the shelf and three drawers under that and then two large drawers under the three small ones. It’s very nice and a lot of the old Maine houses we looked at have them. I wish my drawers weren’t solid full of junk though. I need a shredder and I just keep accumulating paper and sticking it everywhere because really who wants to spend money on a shredder? I will have to spend weeks shredding paper.

I think my manic shopping sprees have ended. I surely hope so. I am going to quit looking at stuff I want for the house – with the exception of some curtains for the cabinets in the kitchen and some paint for the deck. I want to get an estimate on how much it would cost to paint the house too. It needs something and I’m pretty sure I can’t afford siding.

I’m taking an early night – boy this feels weird – hope I get used to being an ex-caregiver!

 


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Quince and Co.

The Fabulous Saco River Dyehouse

The Fabulous Saco River Dyehouse

I almost hesitate to write this post. Why you say? Because I am afraid you will all go buy the yarn I have my sites on and I won’t get any. I’m going to take that chance.

I learned about Quince and Co. while browsing Ravelry for patterns. I came across this awesome vest called Georgia by Cecily Glowik MacDonald. She is a master knitwear designer. You can see her stuff on Ravelry.

Georgia by Cecily Glowik MacDonald

Georgia by Cecily Glowik MacDonald

In that pattern she used Quince and Co.’s Tern yarn. It is a combination of 75% American wool and 25% silk. I bought it in the barnacle color. This yarn was fun just to roll into a ball. Nice and soft and not fuzzy or scratchy. The color reminded me of a nice cup of latte’.

The vest has gone the way of most “I can’t do this” projects only because I ran out of yarn and I had made so many mistakes I just said hey go onto something else. You’re done with this. It was a good first project in that I was able to practice the rib pattern – I don’t like the rib pattern at all. I forget where I’m at. I just knit 2 purl 2 and for a while it will look like a rib and then boom it doesn’t and I have to tink it and try again. Sigh. Not being an experienced knitter I don’t know if I will ever get over my fear of ribbing.

When I started this project and my new fascination with making sweaters back in December 2012, Quince and Co. was in the process of refurbishing an old mill to use as a dyehouse. The small dyehouse they had used had closed and they were left with a problem. Too small a company to use a large dye house with big lot requirements and too large to stand over pots of dye and stir in their kitchens. Bubble bubble.

They decided, along with a couple other companies, to start their own dye house. They found the mill in Biddeford, Maine and began the huge undertaking of making it a dye house. On their blog you can see before pictures and get a sense of how much work they had to accomplish to get this up and running.

Not only did they need to refurbish the building, they also needed, I presume, to get the dyeing down right. If I lived anywhere near Portland I would be standing at their door begging them to let me work there. For free even. I love dyeing anything. I have stopped short of the cat, but only because she bites and scratches and wouldn’t let me put her in a pot of water ……………

Since I don’t live in Portland, mores the pity, and I have a ton of stuff I have to do here – I just dream about what it would be like to work in that dyehouse. The pictures of the mill before and during rehab can be seen here http://quinceandco.com/blog/2012/09/ and you will be amazed at the work done.

But lest you forget, they make yarn. Glorious yarn in alpaca, American wool and Tern which is blended with silk and a pure linen called Sparrow. They make yarn in these gorgeous colors that look like the shore to me here in Maine. The colors are those of nature and the yarn is the yarn of every knitter’s dream.

It does not end with color or yarn. Quince and Co. prints some of the most glorious patterns by top knitwear designers you will ever see. Hannah Fettig, Gudrun Johnston, etc. Hannah’s Featherweight sweater has been in the top 10 most popular patterns on Ravelry FOREVER. It’s a gorgeous raglan open cardigan and you can play with it – add a fancy stitch to the edge, make it longer, make it shorter ……………. I have the pattern. I only need the yarn. Which I will get from Quince and Co.

Featherweight by Hannah Fettig

Featherweight by Hannah Fettig

It is only my addiction to fabric that keeps me from buying yarn from Quince and Co. daily. I’m finishing up my Boxy by Joji – also on the top 10 of Ravelry’s most popular – and then I’m on to Featherweight or Brise if it is still warm when I’m knitting. Brise is Hannah’s cardigan in Sparrow – a linen with exquisite colors, many of which are new and just out of production.

Quince and Co. is a knitter’s find – a jewel in the wonderful state we call Maine. I urge you to go to their site – browse and see if you can get out without buying a ton of yarn. Just leave the undyed Osprey alone. It’s mine.

Limited Edition Osprey Special


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No Sewing Room Time Today

Did I get into the sewing room? No I did not. We had the physical therapist in and the speech therapist in and that lasted until almost 3.

For some reason they want me around. I was pleased that DH could say words today for things the speech therapist would point at and start to form the word. He has no trouble understanding – he just can’t remember anything and he can’t generate the word even though he knows it.

She’s going to bring him an alphabet board so he can point to the letters of the word he’s trying to say. That will make communication so much easier. I’ve been around so long I can almost know exactly what he’s saying but sometimes I can’t. And I let her know that English is his third language. That was important because he didn’t learn English until he was 11 going on 12.

He’s still frail as heck. The physical therapist is going to see about a leg brace for his right leg which drags. That’s causing him lots of trouble walking because it catches on everything. He’s going to check with the doctor and see if she thinks that would help.

I’m going to the nursing home for a tour on Tuesday. DH doesn’t want to go and this makes it so hard. I wouldn’t want to go either and I wish there were a way I could say I could keep doing this longer. I already feel guilty. God I wish it would just be easier. He will be better taken care of there – but he doesn’t see that I don’t think. And I won’t have to run all over and have so many chores I can’t keep up. I can’t lift him out of bed or help him off the floor if he falls – I’m big but not strong in that way.

So I didn’t get into the sewing room. It was almost 90 degrees here today – the first hot day we’ve had all year. It went from the 60s to the 90s in a day. Maine‘s like that. We have another couple of days of warm weather and then we’re back to the high 60s, low 70s.

I need to check on the moon – I think it’s full – it feels like it – sewing time tomorrow?