The Joy of Spinning…in Public

Although I have crafted textiles for a long time many people that know me have never seen me work. Most crafters rarely work in public. If we do, it’s usually with a small knitting group.

After all that fun I had at the living history event I realized how much I enjoy engaging the public about crafting. Especially spinning yarn. So many people are fascinated by the process. I love demonstrating the process, and letting people feel the different fibers. Most rewarding of all is persuading people to try spinning and teaching them on the spot.

A piece of the new spinner's yarn. I'm so proud of how well they did with just a few minutes of instruction

A piece of a new spinner’s yarn. I’m so proud of how well they did with just a few minutes of instruction

Ever the dreamer, I envisioned teaching lots of people to spin so I ordered 48 drop spindles.

I ordered 48 drop spindles in hopes of  teaching people to spin

I ordered 48 drop spindles in hopes of teaching more people to spin

Who does that? right.

It is too cold right now for me to attend outdoor living history events so I decided to pack up my spinning wheel and some fiber and spin at the St. Joseph Public library. Thankfully a wonderful crafty friend came with me. It was a hit. We had so much fun and met so many people that I decided to make it my Sunday community outreach.

Today was an especially awesome Sunday. I had 4 girls come and learn to spin! I should have brought more than two spindles. They picked up the skill extremely fast and are already talking about what they want to make. We even had a new weaver friend come and show us some of her beautiful brocaded trim. (I will try to get a picture to share next time). Next week I’m going to show the girls how to dye their yarn with sharpie markers and alcohol.

We can dye the small amounts of yarn with Sharpie markers and alcohol

We can dye the small amounts of beginner’s yarn with Sharpie markers and alcohol

I made small dots on the yarn with Sharpie markers. Sprinkling alcohol on the yarn will spread the colors and set the dye

I made small dots on the yarn with Sharpie markers. Sprinkling alcohol on the yarn will spread the colors and set the dye

Sharpie marker dyed yarn

Sharpie marker dyed yarn. Reminds me of Tie Dye

 

Keeping Sockupied

Gosh, I haven’t knitted anything in a while. What better way to get my knitting mojo back than to whip up a pair of socks?

I have a confession to make. One would think that someone that has spun countless 4oz skeins of yarn would have made a gazillion pairs of socks by now. Nope. Not me. Master of None. I have a tendency to move on after I figure out a new technique.

Although I know how to make socks and have lots of yarn; my hand knit sock collection consists of 2 pairs of socks. One pair knit from the top down and another pair knit from the toe up. One turned heel and one short-row heel. They were knit from commercial yarn, not even handspun. No tomatoes please. I promise I’ll do better.

My first pair of hand knit socks ever.

My first pair of hand knit socks ever.

My first top down sock. This is one of only two pairs of socks I've knit in the last 7 years

My first top down sock. This is one of only two pairs of socks I’ve knit in the last 7 years

After 7 years, I finally finished another pair of socks.

Blue handspun socks in progress.

Blue handspun socks in progress.

Might as well wear them

Might as well wear them

finished pair of handspun socks..finally

finished pair of handspun socks..finally

Trying to keep the momentum going, I started a new pair

Trying to keep the momentum going, I started a new pair

It’s Pajama Time

I’ve been sewing up a storm lately. My mom has sort of caught on that if she can get me excited about the fabric she can get me to make her stuff. LOL

This time she saw some flannel fabric a friend bought and left in my sewing room. It is super cute with ice cream motifs. I’m helping her make pajama pants.

Mom insisted that I take her to the fabric store to “see what they have”. She found a nice See and Sew pattern. B5667 has pajama pants, top and a night gown. She also ended up buying fabric for 3 pairs of pj pants and a top.

My favorite is the cupcake fabric.  I like the pattern too which has ready-to-wear sizes. No alterations needed. The gathered neckline is also a nice touch for a pretty basic design.

Fabric for pajamas

Fabric for pajamas

Mmmm cupcakes!

Mmmm cupcakes!

Another Milestone, a quilting triumph

My fascination with patchwork quilts started back in my high school days long before I had fabric scraps to work with. It was an expensive experiment of collecting supplies that never really yielded an actual quilt. I kept my quilting supplies, even the ugly fabric for 14 years in a box until now. I even have the tattered Quilter’s Almanac special edition published in 2000 that fueled my quilt dreams.

My one and only Quilt Almanac magazine from 2000

My one and only Quilt Almanac magazine from 2000

 

Now, my working woman’s shirt quilt top showed me that it takes more than a sewing a straight line to make quilt pieces fit together correctly. Luckily, a friend taught me a new way to make it work. Paper piecing! It makes it possible to use up little fabric odds and ends and sew a quilt together little by little on-the-go. Plus it’s super easy and precise.

Super easy to do with just paper pieces, thread, and fabric scraps

Super easy to do with just paper pieces, thread, and fabric scraps

My first paper piecing experiment is with hexagons. I’m loving it. It’s basically made up of left over fabric scraps. Even some of the fabric from my first quilting attempt back in 2000.  This has got to be the most precise thing I’ve ever made. I can’t wait to start incorporating this technique into other projects.

I altered this dress for a friend. She needed 2"inches taken off the shoulders. I'm getting gutsy! I decided to ad the scraps to my Hexi quilt

I altered this dress for a friend. She needed 2″inches taken off the shoulders. I’m getting gutsy! I decided to add the scraps to my Hexi quilt

So far so good. I even included sequins fabric scraps from my first alteration project

So far so good. I even included sequins fabric scraps from my first alteration project

 

I couldn’t wait. Vogue 1132 vest

I was so excited about how the 18th century peplum jacket turned out that I ran out and bought Vogue pattern 1132. It has a jacket with tapered ruffle in the back. I decided on  making the vest with some houndstooth fabric bought recently  and green mystery fabric that was purchased back in my university days at a department sale we had. The armholes were self-finished with a rolled hem  and I used a hook and eye as the closure.

Don’t worry, I’m getting rid of that old fabric stash little by little with my sewing experiments. My choices back then were pretty scary.

I didn't make any alterations to the pattern this time. I traced it and went straight to cutting

I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern this time. I traced it and went straight to cutting

lining the contoured back piece was a snap. Just sewed 4 layers together at once.

lining the contoured back piece was a snap. Just sewed 4 layers together at once.

The back was fully pieced and lined in just 3 seams

The back was fully pieced and lined in just 3 seams

I used the same lining technique where the fashion fabric and lining are layered and sewn together in one seam. Still loving it although I did run into some issues with the front facing. The collar needs to be sandwiched in first, duh Melvenea.

All done

All done. I skipped the button and added a hook and eye closure. Too cheap to buy a button this time.

All in all it was a successfully project. Still debating whether I need a matching skirt. We’ll see. I actually wore it with black pants and a tee and got compliments. It feels good to finally be making things I can wear. The ultimate compliment was having someone ask me to make one for her. I think I will!

Peplum vest I wore it!

Peplum vest I wore it!

Peplum vest front

Peplum vest front

Peplum vest back

Peplum vest back