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Archive for January 2019

Plum-Colored Cardigan

January 29th, 2019 — 8:48am

Here’s what I did last weekend:

Pattern: Blackwood Cardigan from (Size 10)

Fabric: Plum-colored cotton/bamboo/spandex fleece from Mood Fabrics
(Christmas gift!)

It took a lot of courage to cut into the fabric. It’s by far the most luxurious fabric I’ve ever worked with — thick, drapey, and crazy-soft; it’s softer than a kitten, seriously. I made a practice cardigan first, just to be safe. (Yellow, see previous post)

Here are the pieces cut out

Here are pockets pinned in place with temporary tissue paper backing for stability

And a pocket sewn. I did all the top-stitching on the Featherweight; even though it isn’t zig-zag it’s fine because those areas aren’t under stress. The fabric was so much loftier than I’m used to that I slid off the pocket edge a few times. Oops. But no one will ever notice :)

And, finished!

It’s a simple, straight-forward, well-designed pattern. The instructions are clear, as is usual with Helen’s patterns, and it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that it took longer to cut the fabric than to sew it together! The design includes extra-long sleeves that bunch up adorably or can be pulled over the hands for warmth, but because my arms are extra-long the sleeves on my yellow practice cardigan weren’t long enough to suit me. I added about 3/4″ inch of length to the sleeve and an inch to the cuff (which is doubled so it’s actually only 1/2 inch longer).

All seams sewn on the serger; all topstitching sewn on the Featherweight (straight-stitch).

It’s a perfect replacement for my ancient worn-out Target cardigans. The fit is excellent and the fabric is cozy and quite warm; it blocks the wind better than I was expecting. I’ve worn it every day since I made it :) Extremely proud of myself.

2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Singer Featherweight 221

January 25th, 2019 — 10:30am

As promised!

My Grandpa bought this Singer Featherweight sewing machine for my Grandma in 1951. I know the exact year because it has a special Centennial badge on it, as described in this post:

This photo shows the original instruction booklet and all the accessories:

The funny-looking thing is a buttonhole attachment. This machine only sews a straight lockstitch, forwards and backwards — no zig-zag or other fancy modern stitches. The buttonhole attachment actually moves the fabric back-and-forth under the needle while sewing. Amazing. You can see it in action in the first video here:

At some point over the last SEVENTY YEARS, Grandma lost one of the buttonhole cams and the TINY black screw that holds the feed-cover in place, but the wonderful sold me vintage replacements for these parts for just a few dollars! From them I also bought motor lubricant (specially formulated for this machine), a pretty little matching seam guide, which you can see attached to the machine in the first photo, and a thread guide for modern cone thread.

I have set my big modern Pfaff aside and am attempting to do all my sewing with just my serger and the Featherweight. It’s sort of challenging because I sew with knits a lot, which usually require a zig-zag stitch; however, with the serger for stretchy seams I’ve been managing ok. In the 70s Grandma bought a little zig-zag attachment for the Featherweight. It doesn’t work perfectly, but I think it might be good enough for the occasional hem. I need to experiment a bit more.

Here are a few of my recent sewing projects. Sorry for crappy selfies — I no longer have Henry at my beck-and-call for photographer duty :)

Practice Blackwood Cardigan (before I cut into the luscious plum-colored cotton/bamboo/lycra fleece that Steve gave me)

My third pair of Avery Leggings. This adorable striped cotton/lycra is from The Fabric Fairy:

Underlovelies, sewn without a zig-zag! I stretched the hell out of the elastic while sewing it on with a straight stitch. Worked great! Pattern is from Klimpergross. I’ve sewn about 6 pairs so far and I love them. Elli sent me the fabric, and she also gave me all three Klimper books over the past few years. Wonderful Elli. <3

This suit for Lulu is made of two layers of cotton flannel. So thick and warm! Pattern is based on Babyanzug from Kinderleicht. The matching cap is Ohrenklappenmütze by Schnabelina.

This little flannel jumper for Lulu has extra-long straps with extra snaps for growing room. Pattern is based on the Mikey Strampelhose.

Ok! How’s THAT for a real blog post? With photos, even! :)

3 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Happy 2019

January 24th, 2019 — 11:14am

Ugh, the longer I go between posts, the harder it is to get started again.

It’s 2019 and the world has an entirely new crop of Public Domain literature! I can hardly believe it. When we started LibriVox, only books published before 1922 were legal for us to record, but finally we get an extra year of stuff, so everything published in 1923 is now fair game! And if the laws don’t change, next year we will be allowed to record things from 1924. Unbelievable. We were so sure they’d change the laws to restrict the Public Domain further, rather than allow anything new to be released so this is incredibly exciting.

My health: Getting worse. All the migraines and other side effects forced me to drop my Remodulin dose back down to 0.038 mL/hr, so my shortness of breath is worsening and I need more supplemental oxygen and I’m ever more exhausted. Ah well. At least I’m still here. I have a new therapist, Suzanne, whom I love! She’s young and enthusiastic and sweet and so helpful.

My family: Henry, Jayla, and Lulu (Annaliese) have moved to Vancouver Washington! I’m so excited for them. They’re staying with Dan for a few weeks while Henry works and earns enough money to get them their own apartment. Cost of living is much better up there so they should actually be able to afford their own place, which would have been impossible in the Bay Area. I’m quite envious of their rain and trees and I can’t wait to visit once they’re settled.

My Life: On weekdays I pick up Em from school and ferry her to her wonderful after-school care at my friend Uwimana’s house. Uwimana’s daughter is Em’s dear friend so it is perfect. And then I pick her up again at 5:30 and give her dinner and spend some Em-and-Kara time with her till her parents get home. She’s an incredibly kind-hearted, empathetic, creative, artistic, sweet-tempered, bright little person and I adore her.

I’ve been playing Stardew Valley on the Switch; and on iOS my current favorites are Clash Royale, Pocket City, I Love Hue, and the Cryptic Crosswords apps from Teazel.

I Love Hue, in particular, is a very special game, unlike anything I’ve ever played. It is gentle and calming, with no timers or punishments of any kind. There are hundreds of levels — I’ve been playing for months and am nowhere near the end — and now that I’m at the very advanced levels I’m able to sort colors that are almost identical. It’s astonishing what the brain can learn to do.

Speaking of learning, I gave up on online MOOC courses ages ago, because what the PAH and all the meds and everything my short-term memory is shot. HOWEVER! My ability to learn languages seems to be relatively unaffected! That bit of my brain must be extra-strong. I improve in German all the time. I’m reading familiar novels with relative ease, and just last night I noticed that I don’t always need to translate into English in my mind. I just… understand the German. Sweeeeeet. Also I’m working through the Italian course in Duolingo, at least two lessons a day. Today is my 137th consecutive day.

OK enough for now. Next time I’ll tell you all about my new Prize Possession — my grandmother’s Singer Featherweight sewing machine!

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