Friday, November 29, 2013

And now, on to Christmas!

Thanksgiving was fabulous at Redwall. We had 27 people for dinner, and there was much laughter, sharing stories, playing games, music, and general merriment. And food. Lots of food. We capped the evening by lighting and releasing some Sky Lanterns. Here's Bob sending up a big smile:

These lanterns are tissue paper with a framework of metal wire, and are held aloft by a small piece of waxy material that is ignited by a match. We used our gas firepit to "prewarm" the lanterns so they would rise better (and not land on our cedar shake roof!).

Today my daughter and I dragged the Christmas decorations out of the basement and got the tree set up. She and her fiancee, Alex, live in the apartment over our garage, and since he's now living with us, I figured he needed a stocking to hang on the mantle. He is in the army, so I decided to make one to honor his service.

I didn't use any kind of pattern; the size was determined by the other family members' stockings so they would all be about the same size. I freehanded the boot shape and used some bottom-weight digital camo from Joanns, along with some cream-colored felt for the top band and some black felt for the boot sole. The sole is just glued onto the bottom of the front of the stocking. The stocking is lined with a pre-quilted jacket lining from my stash.

Rather than have his name on the top band, I digitized a dog tag with his name and embroidered it onto a piece of gray felt. This was then glued onto the front of the stocking, along with some ball chain from the scrapbooking aisle.
He saw it for the first time when he got home from work today, and he was tickled pink. I don't think he was expecting to have a stocking on our mantle!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Winter Skirt for Diana

I am very fortunate that my lovely daughter can be patient when it comes to waiting for me to finish a project for her. Case in point: I made this skirt muslin for her last year, but dragged my feet on making a wearable skirt. She encouraged me to make this interim version out of corduroy, and it she liked it a lot (and still wears it often). But I was loathe to cut into the $40-per-yard wool cashmere I had bought to make the final skirt for her.
Fine, she said. I'll buy another test fabric and you can make a wearable muslin out of that. So she bought some feels-a-lot-like-wool cotton flannel, and I rummaged in my stash for some suitable lining. And, at last, I finished the skirt last night.
Just in time, too: the temperature is starting to drop and she really wanted a warm winter skirt!

It's a pretty difficult fabric to photograph, but it looks like a very fine blue and black herringbone.

Of course, it needed pockets.
The original skirt idea called for large applied patch pockets, but she decided she preferred inseam pockets instead.

It's got a nice twirl to it.

The buttons are from Joanns. And can you see my mistake?

I'll give you a minute.

See it yet?

I'll tell you about a little mnemonic I learned from Jim Suzio when I took one of his classes at the ASG Conference in Philadelphia back in 2012. "Women are always right, and men are always left over."

When I put the skirt together, I accidentally put the buttonholes on the left skirt front, rather than the right, so it overlaps "wrong." To which Diana replied, "Big whoop."

Here's why it's not such a big deal:
Only the bottom two buttons are functional! The rest of the button placket is sewn shut, and the buttons and buttonholes are just for show. The real closure for the skirt is a back zipper!

Overall, I'm happy with how the skirt came out. However, I am now worried that I don't have enough fabric to make the cashmere version as flared as this one is. For this skirt, I ended up having to cut out the gores in both directions in order to get it to fit on the fabric. Fortunately the fabric didn't have a distinct nap or direction! I'll have to see how many yards of the cashmere I bought... but I fear it won't be enough. We shall see.

And it looks like my prediction of finishing the final skirt by Christmas might be a bit optimistic. Still, there's always hope (and a bit of nagging from Diana...).