Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Case of the Flyaway Straight Pin

Alternate title:  How I Spent My Friday Morning

In the process of trying on my newly sewn pants with its generic trial waistband, I went into the closet to get the portable full-length mirror.  Something grabbed the waistband on the way out.  It was the groove/hole for the latch on the doorframe.  Oh, no, I thought, and checked the pants and nope, no hole and no pulled threads nor snags.  Whew!  However.... of the straight pins holding the band on had gone AWOL.  I made a quick check of the area and no pin in sight.  I checked on hands and knees next, using my super light, running my hand through the carpet fibers---and still no pin.  Since it's a low pile it would  be easy to spot.

Then I spotted the white pin head about three feet away, but that's all it was---the pin was not attached!  I continued to check carpet in all areas I thought the pin could possibly go;  I checked my person;  I checked my newly sewn pants.  The pin was definitely hiding quite well from me.

By now I've checked the carpet  a few times.  I have four choices:
1) continue looking
2) try vacuuming and hopefully---and maybe falsely---expecting it to be picked up
3) execute the most trustworthy of operations to find a missing sharp object:  going barefoot
4) quit looking and hope for the best

I must continue to look for the pin as I don't want my hubby's foot to find it.  After all, it's not his fault---nor mine either---but I am responsible for the event which led up to this.

Once more I go over the carpet, expanding the area to be covered slightly.  Nope, no luck.  This was exasperating me.  Where else could the pin be?  Well, it could be anywhere.  I have the lower rod for my blouses so decided to check them.  I would grab 2 or 3, shake them, then check the carpet.  When I was almost half-way through....there it was!!  There was the pin, no longer AWOL.  Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you.

I picked up the pin and saw what had happened to it.  As seen in the photo one end of it had been bent into a 90 degree angle---a factory perfect right angle---which was quite impressive.

A lot of luck had been in play since the pin had given way and not done any damage to my yet unfinished pants.  I breathed a sigh of relief...well, more than one.

And that is how I spent Friday morning.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Big 4 now Big 1?

In case you haven't heard the ol' Big 4 are now what could be called the Big 1.  The business which had bought out McCall's has purchased Simplicity.

Thus, the pattern companies will be in competition with each other within the same company.  This is nothing new in business as General Mills, Procter and Gamble and others do the same thing.

So, how will things change?  We don't know, but my guess is that it will be "business as usual" with each pattern brand name keeping its own policies and fit as usual.  Perhaps if one of them falters in sales, it could be eliminated.

It's sad to see this happen as people may like a certain brand over the others, so let's hope that not too far down the road they don't merge into one brand.

As of last year it was KwikMcVogueRick, now it's going to be SimpKwikMcVogueRick.  Sigh.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

There, their....and they're

There, their, and they're are three different words, pronounced the same but spelled different.  They are homonyms.  So, where to use which?

Since I'm good with helping others with word associations I have been asked to please share.

There:  notice that the word here is in there.  So, it's not here, but there.

Their:  notice that the word heir is in their.  So, they (each being an heir)  inherited the house and it is now their house.

They're:  notice the apostrophe.  This means that a letter---or letters--has been omitted.  In this case the letter a.  In full it would be they are.

Other words with apostrophes are jack-o'-lantern, o'clock, O'Leary, ma'am, etc. which indicate that a letter--or letters--has been omitted.

Thus, there:  not here, but there.
         their: each an heir so their house.
         they're:  omitted letter, a in this case.  Also, if the other two don't fit, it must be this one.  :)

Then there is it's and its.

It's has an apostrophe, so an omitted letter, in this case i (it is) or ha (it has).  

It's raining = it is raining.  It's rained = it has rained.

Its is a rare possessive as it doesn't have an apostrophe like Jim's books, boys' bats, or deer's tail.

If a letter has been left out, (it's), then use this word. If showing possession, then use its.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Knitted Scarf for a Gift

 I wanted to gift a knitted scarf.  Finally, a project!  I'm not certain where I got the stitch pattern, probably from a friend.  It is an easy one.

I casted on 26 stitches with size 8 needles with Red Heart Soft.   It is approximately 5 1/2" x 36" and be wrapped one more time around the neck.

The pattern is 
Row 1:  *k2, knit into back of next stitch, purl 1*, until the last 2 stitches, k2.
Repeat this row the entire length you want the scarf.  It took roughly 3 oz.

I'm not certain what happened to the color with the first two photos.  The photo below is more what the color looks like which is Grape. 

OK, so it's not much as far as making things this year, but I'm going to do my best to get a lot more accomplished in 2017.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Applesauce Cake

It is rare for me to post about a recipe but it's rare for me to be sewing these days. :(  This is my husband's grandmother's recipe and has been tried and eaten by at least three generations.

2 cups sifted cake flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/4 t. cloves
1 cup seedless raisins
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 t. vanilla (adjust as desired)
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten slightly
1 cup thick, sweetened applesauce

Sift first 6 ingredients together; stir in raisins.  Using large bowl cream shortening, vanilla and sugar together thoroughly.  Add egg; beat until light and fluffy.  Add dry ingredients alternately with applesauce, beating after each addition.  Pour into greased pan, approximately 11" x 7".

Bake @ 350 degrees about 45 minutes

I haven't made this in awhile; perhaps it's time. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Crafting--How I Would Have Done it Differently

Knitting--(large) stash of yarn, patterns, and supplies--Check
Crocheting--(large) stash of yarn, patterns, and supplies--Check
Cross Stitching--(large) stash of yarn, fabrics, patterns and supplies --Check
Sewing--stash of fabrics, patterns, notions and supplies--Check
Misc. crafting--stash of supplies--Check

Since I've been purging the above in the past year, I've asked myself why I have so much of everything.  How did it happen and why?

Some of the reasons are
--get excited about the craft, find all kinds of projects I want to make, so buy the supplies
--find supplies on sale or have coupons for a large percentage off so must purchase while on sale.
--much like the person who has "eyes bigger than their stomachs" I have plans greater than that for which my energy or time allows.
--realize what's missing from my supplies and buy to fill in the gaps
--cannot resist when people give me large bundles of items for free--free is good.

Probably the #1 reason:
--have learned over the decades that if I don't buy when I see it, it won't be available when I want it.

This is most true of fabric.  So many times I went specifically for fabric for pants or for a blouse.  Being successful less than half the time I made it a point to buy the fabric  I liked when I saw it.

OK, this explains the fabric --and I have a fraction of what some do, but this is what started the entire stash of everything.  What's the excuse for floss or knitting patterns or embroidery thread or sewing patterns?

Probably none or at least not a good one; just that I liked it, was excited at that time about the craft, and might even have had a coupon.  Never having a lot of spare money, "on sale" was quite tempting.

The good part is the items purchased years ago were less money than that of today, saving me money.  Did it?  As I'm now donating some items, my "wisdom" didn't wind up saving me money.

The smart thing would be--and I would strive for today--to do things differently and purchase supplies as I needed them, not for the future, at least not quite so much for the future.

Or would I?  One thing I know about myself is that I like choices.  Sometimes on the spur of the moment I decide on a project.  Since it's generally late at night and knowing that locating something is not all that satisfactory at the store, it's good to have "my little store" to go to.

Why so much embroidery thread?  I was very excited when I got my embroidery machine and just kept buying thread (from several different companies) so I would have almost every shade with all the various types of thread:  metallic, silky, polyester and blends, cotton, for various projects.  My purchases added to whatever threads I already had for doing the "fancy" stitches on the sewing machine.

This would explain all the embroidery floss also.  To add to this collection, my mother-in-law would buy for me tons of it in those neat special boxes for floss.  How could I say to take it back; that I had enough already?

People have also given me bags of yarn, knitting and crocheting patterns, sewing patterns, notions and fabric.  You wouldn't catch me saying, "No, don't give me free stuff; I'd rather pay full price at the store."

Can't forget the fabric, supplies, yarn, and patterns, (sewing and knitting and crocheting) for The Doll.  You know which one:  the one who is named Barbie.  Besides what I had purchased, a friend from out of state sent four large boxes, mostly fabric, to me.  It was her fabric scraps.  Ha--my scraps are always small pieces; hers could be up to two yards.

Now, I have so much to go through and purge, but what, which?  There are some difficult decisions to be made!

I'm certain that I'm not the only one.  Anyone else have any stories that they would like to share--or laugh along with me, or shake their head along with me?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ukrainian Easter Eggs (Pysanky)

Traditionally Ukrainian Easter is celebrated a week later than that of other Christians, so this year it is April 12.

My mother decorated eggs. Most of hers are now gone.  They would be several decades old.

The ones in the center are larger and are of wood.  I believe that they are painted, which was done in only the last few decades.  Well, they don't break!  Click on the pic for a larger view.

The ones from the past are done by the wax method and take hours and hours for just one egg.  The one example of my work when I was 4 years old is long gone.  It was a masterpiece.  

By the way the tradition began pre-Christianity.

You can do a search for more info and how the eggs were made.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sewing Machines From the Mid-Fifties

In an old McCall's magazine, Fall-Winter '55-'56 was an article about the latest features on machines.

The newest innovation was the automatic zigzag, which could do all that straight-stitch and manual zigzag machines could, plus do embroidery pattern stitches automatically.

They had discs or cams to be inserted or some were built into the machine.

Above are the machines they highlighted.  Unfortunately they don't mention the model # and that is not always visible on the machine.

If you have an older machine but don't know when it came out, perhaps it is shown here.  These machines would be from 1955 or possibly 1954.    The year could certainly be a place to start to find out more about your machine.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pfaff 1475--some hints

Over the years I've come across those who were not aware of some of these functions of the Pfaff 1475.  They may be available on other models, but the 1475 is the one with which I am acquainted.  There are still a lot of this model in use.

When using the single needle foot and/or plate, there is a chance that the operator will forget and tap in a stitch which has width.  This is not good for the machine and could cause the timing to be off.  There is also the possibility that the needle could break and hit the operator in the eye.  Ouch.

There is a security measure:  touch the twin-needle button, (#29) which is lit showing it has been engaged.  It will prevent any stitch from sewing which is not a straight stitch.

The presser bar lifter has several positions: up (foot lifted), down (foot engaged) and darning.  In the photos, shown are up and darning.

When darning position comes in handy is when threading and using the threader.  It doesn't always catch the thread the first time and the thread keeps pulling off the spool.

Putting the presser foot in the darning (part-way) position tightens the tension disks so the thread won't unwind.  Be certain to do this only after the upper threading and lift it to the upper position for pulling up the bobbin thread.

To put it in this position it needs to be pushed toward the back.  If you're having a problem finding the position, check it from the back of the machine.

Then there is one more position for the presser bar lifter, which is temporary and must be held up.

When having a problem getting a hoop under the bar, lift this lever just a bit higher than the up position and the hoop should fit.  

This extra lift can also be used for extra thick materials and for darning.

When I first obtained this machine 23 years ago I spent a lot of time playing with it and learning what it could do.  After many weeks of this, my hubby asked me if I was ever going to sew anything.  Good question.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sliding Buttonhole Foot--Pfaff 1475

The sliding buttonhole foot is one type of buttonhole foot.  It came with my Pfaff 1475 (on right) I obtained late 1991 and with my Riccar 808E obtained late 1978. (on left)
The red arrow indicates where the buttonhole will begin.  As you stitch the slider moves and the calibrated lines will help determine the buttonhole length.

How is this buttonhole length determined?  Many times I've read to put a tape measure around the button.  What?  A better idea would be to put a string around the button, then measure the string.

I have a different way of doing it which I have been using since the early 80s.

An old piece of scrap fabric was used upon which I stitched buttonhole to the lengths of each red mark and the half red ones.
It doesn't have to be anything fancy.  This was done on scrap fabric and buttonholes were mainly for length, not beauty.  After all,, no one else was going to see this but me. Ha!

Just slip the button through the buttonholes until the perfect size is found, then stitch the buttonhole to that length.

The Pfaff 1475 has fully automatic as well as semi-automatic buttonholes.  To determine which length of buttonhole to program in, use the strip for the button.  You will need to know how the red marks translate to metric as that is how most Europeon machines are programmed.  For example, notch 4 1/2 is 20 mm; notch 6 1/2 is 28 mm.

When using semi-automatic buttonholes on the Pfaff 1475 use 150 flashing.  When the first side reaches the length you want, proceed with the rest of the buttonhole.

For more accuracy and control I tend to use the semi-automatic mode as opposed to the fully automatic ones.  For years I've said that I should make a similar strip for my Pfaff 1475, but there is really no need as the red marks are the same on both buttonhole feet.

As usual, click on the pictures to enlarge.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Pattern Making Systems

Pattern Making Systems allow a person to make just about any garment to his/her size.  The two most popular are Lutterloh and Sure-Fit Designs. .

There have been others along the way. The American Way to True-Fit Patterns was apparently connected to Lutterloh in some way.  Recently I found the same outfits in same pose, in a Lutterloh manual for sale at ebay. There was a True-Fit (Lutterloh) in Florida, but that has been inactive for a few years.

I've been told that Sure-Fit developed as a result of Dusan's Magic Fit but am not certain. on this.

Using a special tape measure, you measure yourself, then make dots to correspond with the numbers given
on the pattern, in a radiating fashion,
then connect the dots.

This is the pattern for this outfit.  (I've covered the numbers, because of copyrights.)

This True-Fit (manual only) was $2 at an estate sale.  The original credit card
receipt was there and the entire kit
cost $40 in 1977.  Yes, the styles are a "bit" dated but there are always
some patterns which can be used.  There are 8 patterns missing, but, for $2, I'm not going to get too upset.

The Perfect Fit ($8) I recognize from magazine ads of the era.

This system is similar to the others, with its own special tape.  It also has "trans dart" template (for moving darts), where were actually there!  Missing are front and back armhole curve templates as well as a French curve, but I have those from other sources.

 These (hopefully) will fit in my Master Plan which is to have a few basic patterns from which many designs can be made.

The wonderful thing about these systems is that one would need to fit them  only once, then just tweek other patterns made from the same pattern.

Hopefully, I'll have more on these systems later in the year.

Has anyone used any of these systems and care to share their experiences with them?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Internet Disconnects

For several months I kept getting disconnects on my laptop.  Sometimes hours would go by and I stayed connected; sometimes I would get disconnected several times in an hour.  It got to be quite annoying.  Was it my laptop, my browser, my ISP (DSL), my modem/router?

The laptop was ruled out since I was able to stay connected when on a wired connection with a different ISP (cable).

The browser was ruled out because somehow it was updated to IE11.

The ATT Boards, where several others were complaining, suggested checking the phone line filters.  I made certain they were functional, clean, and the little metal part was intact.

Others suggested to re-set the modem which helped a bit.

It was down to my ISP or the modem/router which is now 4 years old.  The thought of waiting for a replacement and being without the internet is not a pleasant one.

Then I read somewhere to get a replacement for the surge protector.  It was worth a try, especially since ours is about 12 years old.  I doubt that they would get worn out, but possibly something else is involved.  Ours is on a carpet (fibers) near an open window (dust), and just plain dust getting in the outlet holes.

The store was out of the one I wanted but I picked up one with more outlets.  What's great about it is that you can cover the unused outlets, it has two outlets for those large converter plugs, and you can plug in your phone line if desired.

I would have been happy if this new surge surpressor improved my connection by 25%.  I am very happy that after several weeks of use, the improvement was at least 75%!

If you're having internet disconnects, try one, or more, of the tests above.  It's so nice to have  mostly uninterrupted internet service! :)

Note:  I have been trying for weeks to post the above.  It wasn't the words that were giving me a problem, but the pics.  They would upload, I could click on Add, but nothing happened, plus I couldn't X out the page.  Checking with Help let me know that this has been a problem since January.  I tried their suggestions, finally deleting cookies.  That didn't work either.  They were saying that they don't support IE 11.  What?  

Another of their suggestions was to download Chrome.  So, it's "We won't let it work unless you use our product"?  I guess that's it because I finally downloaded Chrome and it's worked like a charm.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Knit. Tink. Repeat.

You know "knit" but "tink"?  Spell tink backwards.  Knit.  Tink is used to mean "to un-knit", or, to undo the knitting.

Most sweaters are made by knitting the back, the front, the sleeves, then sewing them together.  This is a top-down raglan, meaning all the parts are knit at the same time, then separated at the underarm.  Thus, the neckline needs to be started with the desired size.  I was fairly pleased that I had to tink the neckline area only twice.

Things were going along swimmingly; i.e., no errors, until the contrast stitches on the body of the sweater.  I didn't want to make a sweater that was plain (stockinette stitch).  When I saw the sweater in the mag with garter stitch at the neckline and in the body, I knew that was what I wanted to do.

The beginning of the sweater (the neckline) of my sweater is worked flat, meaning a row is worked, then turned, then a row is worked, and turned, and so on.  The stockinette stitch is made with alternating a row of knit with a row of purl stitches.

Garter (the bumpy one) is made flat by knitting each row.

However, this is switched when working in the round.  After the neckline is made, the end of the row is joined to the beginning.  The work continues going round and round, and not turning the work.

Because the work is not turned, it always looks like the right side but actually every other round is the wrong side.  Thus, stockinette stitch is made by knitting every round.  Garter stitch (the bumpy one) is made by alternating knitting one round with purling one round.

I prefer the knit stitch over the purl stitch, but felt I could do alternate rounds of purl stitches to get the garter stitch pattern.

Sounds good, but, whoops, forgot to alternate rounds and just purled every round---for the full 3 inches!

You can see the difference in appearance of the band on the body versus the band at the neck.  How did I not notice this?  I guess I was paying more attention to the individual stitches, looking for stitch errors.

When I was through with the band is when I noticed it.  Oh, geez.  What I had succeeded in doing is making a reversible stockinette stitch (which is what stockinette stitch looks like on the wrong/back side of knitting).

There are three ways to tink stitches.  1) taking out the stitches one at a time.  This would be over 200 stitches for each round,  with approximately 22 rounds.  Ugh.  2) removing the needles and just pulling out the stitches.  This goes much more quickly but the results can be disastrous, with stitches coming undone where you don't want them to.  After that, the round of stitches must be put back on the needles, correctly. Ugh.  3) having a lifeline in place.

I had never used one but felt this was the time to use one.  Usually lifelines are used for lace patterns and are put in a round (or row) just after working it.  With this situation I had to put it in at the beginning of the 3" garter stitches.

A lifeline is just running a smaller yarn--or crochet thread--through the stitches so they won't come undone.

Lifeline, here I come------

By the way, my dressform does have two arms.  I was too lazy to snap on the other one.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting--a Review

The  Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen came out early this year.

My shelves are filled with design, fitting, and sewing books, but this book is on my "Best Ones" list.

It so reminds me of a college level sewing textbook from the early 50s I have, where there are photos of exactly how to fit---and on the person.                                                           
She covers bodices, including princess seams; sleeves of various types; skirts; and slacks.  The slacks fitting is limited.  Maybe she was limited to x number of pages and was left with only a handful for the slacks fitting.  I suppose it is possible that she will be writing a separate book on slacks(one can only hope). :)                                                             
The book is geared toward having a fitter and a client.  Though it is doubtful  that most of us have a fitter, much less clients, the book is extremely helpful.
Fitting yourself requires a lot of taking off and putting on muslins, but that would be the way to get the most out of this book.     
In some cases she made three muslins per garment, but then she is being paid by the client to get a perfect fit!  In many cases I think one muslin, with adjustments included, should be sufficient.   
The book gets a thumbs up--way up--from me.
ISBN# 13:978-1-58923-608-0 (pbk)
ISBN# 10: 1-58923-608-4 (soft cover)
As usual, click on the pics to view a larger version.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tissue Topper

It surprised me a little that some didn't know what a (toilet) tissue topper is.  Why?  Well, I'm usually one of the last to know about something, so I figure that, because I know, then surely the rest of the world knows about it.  LOL.  Not true, apparently.  (regarding my being one of the last as well as anyone else knowing.)
I've seen many in my life and there are many shown in crafts magazines.  This topper is a combination of several sources, including me.
I like the idea of an extra roll being handy, but not blatantly, so the guests won't wonder where a fresh roll is, should they need it.
This one is crocheted, but I have seen some knitted or even done in needlepoint.
You need to use a washable yarn such as acrylic or cotton, and a hook size of your choice, but I wouldn't suggest a huge one as it will make the topper too "holey".
I used a G hook, chain 4, 10 double crochet in 4th chain from hook,, join with a slip stitch in 3rd chain of ch4 (11 double crochets).  Do not turn, but continue in circles.  The next round is 2 dc in each dc.  Continue in rounds increasing one stitch for every 5 sts.  This is fairly standard for making circles.  This isn't a coaster so being completely flat is not critical.
Many tissue rolls are double rolls so make certain that the circle is the diameter of the side of the roll.  when that has been achieved, do the sides.  To do that, just make 1 dc in each dc around, join and continue.
Fit it on the roll every so often.  Adjust number of stitches if too snug or too loose.
There are several ways to finish these: it can be straight down or about an inch or so above the bottom, add a flounce.  This is a basic one and I just added a bow to the top, but crocheted flowers can be added to any part of the topper if desired.
Double crochet stitches are usually used, but almost any can be used as long as it is not too open a stitch pattern.
This is one I made many years ago in a little different style.

Click on the pics to see them larger.

I didn't give complete instructions because most of my followers don't crochet, and those who do, will surely be able to figure it out. ;)