Sunday, January 22, 2023

Thread goes fast

I used up half a dozen spools of thread in making the coat, and almost three more since then in other sewing.

I cut fabric for two corduroy skirts, one of which is ready to assemble, once I finish doing some embroidery along the hem.  The handwork is delaying the skirt by only two days, and is visually striking.

I also turned a pile of old clothes into kitchen wipes and baby wipes and a pair of fitted leg warmers for me.  The leg warmers would have been easier if I had sewed the seams first, and then cut the fabric, because the edges of the knit fabric curled up a lot.  I use a zigzag stitch with knits.

I've been transitioning sock styles recently, from homemade knee-high tights with ankle sock feet, to wool blend hiking socks, because I'm not happy with the ankle socks.  The leg warmers are working well in conjunction with the hiking socks, and I will probably make more.  They are just tapered tubes with casings for elastic around the top.

I've also been transitioning my sleepwear toward clothes that resemble my daytime clothes, and I altered a few of my older skirts so they have just elastic at the waist, and not ties that are knotted, and they can be used for either purpose.

A few weeks ago we had a big snowfall of fluffy snow, just what I was waiting for for cleaning my old living room rug, since I never quite had the energy in the warm weather to haul it out and scrub it on a tarp.

Supposedly fluffy snow is best for rug cleaning.  I've read that if you spread a cold rug over the snow, and sweep snow across it, and perhaps dance on it, that the snow will melt slightly and release just enough water and ammonia into the rug to loosen soil.

In practice, I've found that the rug will not get clean, but it will get a little less dirty.  In this case, the rug started out fully dirty, because I didn't clean it at all before I put it in the garage.  Lots of sand came off, and the snow underneath it definitely got dirty.  I moved the rug to fresh snow to do the other side.

We made two large bowls of clean snow into snow ice cream, by adding sugar, cream, and vanilla, and they didn't last long.  I noticed just a slight ammonia taste, so it seems the source of my rug cleaning information was correct.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Tying up loose ends

I finished the coat.  The recipient reports that it feels like a life jacket.  I tried it on myself, and it's not quite that bad.

After that, I moved on to getting a number of things around the house into better order, and getting some deep cleaning done.

That was interrupted by a domestic crisis, which the landlord promptly dealt with.  He mentioned that the first floor layout was different when he bought the house, which explains some of its quirks around the dining area. 

Now I'm back to getting things done.  Today I mended an old kitchen towel, and then boiled it in water and baking soda to see what would come off it.

The water turned brown, I couldn't see the bottom of the saucepan, and I only boiled it a couple of minutes. 

A few years ago I tried something similar with washed bath towels in the bathtub, and the results were the same.

I think I need a laundry stove.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Continuing with the coat

There was a library book I read once by a popular maker of Western shirts, who said that she always made the shirts quite large, and then altered them in the direction of smaller to fit her client.  

It would have helped if I would have remembered that book earlier in this process.  I had to add width in several places, which was time-consuming as the material was too thick for my sewing machine, and each insertion required two long seams.

Now I am in the finishing stages of the coat...zipper, collar, cuffs, bottom edge, and pockets.  It is amazing how much labor and materials go into such a thing.  The outer shell and lining took almost an entire flat bedsheet.

I've been using my homemade leather thimble very heavily, and I thought I should describe it.  It's a strip of medium-weight leather almost one inch wide and long enough to wrap in a band--shiny side in--around my thumb with about an inch of overlap.  Three stitches of dental floss at the exposed end hold the shape.

The overlapped area is the part I use for pushing a needle.  Having the suede side on the outside helps the end of the needle not slip off.  Wearing it on my thumb lets me use my other fingers for steadying the needle even more.

The thimble is one of my essential tools.  I misplaced it at one point, and then had a miserable time trying to use a steel thimble that was among the sewing supplies I picked up on vacation.  Then I took a couple minutes to make a new leather thimble, until I found the original one again.  It needs new dental floss, but it is still usable as long as at least one stitch holds. 

I've also been using one of the mannequins as a handy coat form.  That helped a lot with the layout of the outer and inner layers.  I cut the pieces large, laid them on, and then I could see where I needed to cut and sew them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Coat in progress

It seemed best to start from the innards, and work outwards.  I've been piecing together two layers of sweaters (acrylic mostly) and one layer of blanket into a thick vest.  Sleeves, collar, outer shell, lining, and zipper to follow.

The coat shape is a simpler, larger version of a shirt.

When re-using sweaters, it is best to stitch along the edges before actually cutting them, so that the knitting doesn't unravel.

The machine sewing is going about as well as usual.  I decided it was time to take a break when the needle fell way down into the machine when I was cleaning lint out of it.  I'm going to have to turn the machine upside down and shake it to get it out.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Resourcefulness with black walnuts

An interesting look at uses of black walnut products, with an important note that resourcefulness involves knowledge, tools, and developed skills.  Alternate video link.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Cozy cottage

I made progress on the mending pile.  It is not the easiest or most fun kind of sewing, but it is gratifying to see an entire garment ready to wear again, after putting in much less work than making a new item would take--or than shopping for a new one would take, either.

I also was able to fix a zipper.

I'm been putting off most of my Christmas crafting, aside from a knitted towel experiment, and I'm giving some already-completed projects as gifts instead.

Today is Yooper Scooper weather:  shovel early, shovel often.

I have a pile of used materials to make into a coat.  The most challenging part will be fitting the arms so that the recipient has enough freedom of movement for sparring with siblings. 

Our second mannequin torso was released from dress form duty, so I found an outfit for it and put it back with the other one.

I couldn't find a good place to display Christmas cards, so I've been putting them on the Christmas tree.

A child found a doughnut maker at the thrift store--it's like a waffle iron, but with two doughnut-shaped cavities.  This one was brand-new and unused, and at least forty years old.  An elder sibling bought one at a yard sale a decade ago, and has used it occasionally.