Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Class List...

My classes for Convergence:

The Virtual Vest w/ Leslie Killeen
Timeless Tablet Weaving w/ Inge Dam
A Degree in Twills w/ Cate Buchanan
Grand Lace (Woven) Inspirations w/ Elaine Bradley

Materials List:

notebook/sketchpad
pen/pencil
colored pencils
paper scissors
glue stick
ruler
graph paper

I will also take my camera.

Leigh asked about weaving software: I own WeaveIt Pro, having started with the original release of WeaveIt way back when. Upgrades were purchased at discount as they became available. It's an okay basic weaving program. I have no aspirations of having a computer controlled loom, I like the dance of treadling and throwing the shuttle.

Last year I took the Big Twill Class from Bonnie Innouye who uses Fiberworks PCW extensively as she teaches. This experience gave me a taste for that program. I was impressed with the ease of use, flexibility, and speed of the program. Also the "view fabric" and drawdown screens were easier for me to 'read' the fabric than any of my versions of WeaveIt. I've coveted Fiberworks ever since, but decided to wait 'til Convergence.

Breaking news: Bonnie is coming to our guild in the fall to teach an overshot class. I am looking forward to this (which is also why I need to hold a little cash in reserve from Convergence). Bonnie can be a bit of a task master when teaching a workshop, but I learned more about manipulating tie-ups from her Big Twill workshop than I learned in my previous 24 years of weaving.

Okay...gotta go now. Yoga w/ Karen tonight. Then get my act together for the big C.

While I'm gone, go check in with Danny Gregory. I found Danny through The Curious Weaver.

Danny and his book The Creative License inspired me to get out my sketchbooks and remember the drawing class taken at the Ann Arbor Art Association 10 (gasp!) years ago. Danny will convince you that drawing is an end unto itself and a great way of journaling. Perhaps I'll talk more about drawing and journaling when I get back. Meanwhile...click on over there, pick up a pen, and start looking around. It's one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Credibility gap...

I realize my credibility from the previous post might be in question since there are no pictures of the finished pants. They're black. I have no confidence in my ability to take a picture modeling a pair of black pants that would give very much visual detail of how they actually fit. I just got in from a meeting and am wearing the pants as I type (and they are very comfy0...does that improve me credibility?

In response to comments on the previous post:

Charleen...yes, that is the crotch depth fitting solution.

Charleen and Cathy: I did not sew the old pants back together. They really do have some threadbare spots and I shouldn't be tempted to wear them. And they make a great pattern in their dissembled state: I use one side front for pants with a zipper on the side and no pocket and the other one for pants with a fly front and side pockets! Anyway, I bought another pair at the same time I bought the corded ones which are in better condition. (If I find something that fits that I really like, I always buy more than one!)

Judy: Yes I should be packing for Convergence...but w/o sewing I'd have nothing to pack. I don't think Convergence security would want me showing up sans pants! (Though the Dutch soccer fans were an inspiration last week!)

A Convergence Aside: I sat down to start making schedules and lists yesterday and discovered that I had a hotel room for the days I was not going to be there...and no motel room for the days I am going to be there!! Made a couple of frantic calls...got cancellations w/o penalty fees, then found a room for the nights I need. Talk about panic attack.

Have checked my class schedules. I don't need a loom or a wheel, but I need a lot of art supplies. Most of the stuff is around here somewhere, just have to gather it up.

On my shopping list: Fiberworks PCW. Also want to check out Mirrix tapestry looms and Treenway silks for a few things.

Time is running short....I must sign off....

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Fitting Solution:

I have been sewing for a very long time. Not continuously, but in fits and starts. If you've been reading this blog, you know that I am currently in one of those "fits".

Pants fitting has always been a headache. I have the Vogue book of pattern alterations and fitting. I have all the Threads magazine articles on fitting pants (the fact that there are at least two articles per year on this topic is telling). I have made a fitting shell per Palmer and Pletsch. I have Sandra Betzina's book on fitting patterns and her "perfect jeans" pattern.

I have had only moderate success until this week.

In my closet were a favorite pair of pants. A pair that fit so well I have worn them until the bottom hem and top of the waistband were worn threadbare. They are made of a durable corded cotton and are very comfortable.

So it was quite a sacrifice to sit down and take those pants apart, seam by seam, and use them to create the perfect "Valerie-pants" pattern. The cording in the cotton was a bonus because the fabric structure provided obvious grainline markings.

This sacrifice was well worth it and taught me some things that should have been obvious, yet I have never seen in a fitting book or article.

Hips (on me at least) are curves...they are three dimensional curves. Most commercial pants patterns have 2 back darts, with the side seams of the front and back matching perfectly. When you consult all the fitting guru's, they have you play around with the crotch seam, the darts, and the waist seem. Occassionally they may have you add to the side seams, but they never talk about ease.

When I used my dissembled pants for a pattern I learned that the front and the back side seams did not match up perfectly from the waist to the first notch. In addition to a single modest dart, the back pattern piece had a larger curve, which necessitated putting in some ease between the front and back pieces when sewing. DUH!!! It's so obvious and yet it made all the difference in the way the pants fit.

See the drawing below...the back pattern piece is on the right. It is traced from a commercial pattern mock up...the outside curve line at the hip is from my dissembled pants pattern.

Also, the front waist on my favorite pants had a nice curve to it, with the front waist being just a bit lower than the back waist. Now this, I have seen in the fitting suggestions, but am not clear on the reason for its application.

With these changes at the waist and the hip...and no changes in crotch depth or inner thigh depth (which all of the fitting advisors were having me do), I have a beautifully fitted pair of black linen capri pants.

In the past, most of the pants I made had elephant legs because the fabric had to drop straight from the hips (my widest part) because there was no ease at the side hip seam. Every attempt at trying to taper the legs caused gaps and wrinkles higher up. Not so these new pants from old.

One might say that the ease in these pants came from the fabric stretching out over time. I don't think so because the fabric peices, with all of the stitching removed, lie flat. If the fabric had been stretched in that ease area, it wouldn't lie flat.

After this success I'm eyeing everything in my closet to see what other garment might teach me something by being dissembled!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Elements of a Perfect Day
Remember Ernest, who guest blogged for a me a few days ago? I don't think he told you his name, so I will now: Ernest A. Toad. The A. stands for American since he's an American Toad.

Earlier today we were talking and Ernest asked me what my perfect day would look like. Hmmm...I can't tell you exactly what a perfect day would look like. But I can give you a list of the elements that would make up a perfect day for me:

- Waking near sunrise to birdsong and stretching out on fresh bed linens with just lightest scent of lavendar.

- A half hour of quiet devotion time reading devotions or scripture and prayer.

- Fresh blueberries and old fashioned oatmeal for breakfast.

- A walk in the park with temps. in the 70's, a light breeze and just a few clouds in the sky to provide relief from the sun as they blow past in the breeze.

- A half hour of sketching and working in my creative journal, or blogging.

- Checking my Bloglines and finding that Sarah Lamb, Charlene, Cathy, Catherine, and Judy have all posted photo's of their latest fiber projects. And Franklin Habit has posted a Delores cartoon.

- Discovering that someone else has already vacuumed, dusted, cleaned up the bathrooms, and emptied the dishwaher and kitchen sink.

- A call from a friend to tell me the good things happening in her life.

- Lunch with girlfriends. Perhaps a salad with a grilled salmon filet on top.

- Two hours of sewing, time at the loom, spinning, or doing fiber preparation with no interruptions.

- A few minutes in the garden to deadhead the petunias and notice that no new weeds have sprumg up over night.

- Discovering a new title by an old, familiar,and favorite author. Or, finding and old title by a new (to me) favorite author.

- A yoga class with Karen or Adrianna, my two favorite yoga instructors.

- Having all the ingredients for a supper menu that appeals to me.

- The people for whom I cook to enjoy the menu as much as (or more than) I do.

- Being able to leave the kitchen, knowing that it won't need touch up cleaning after the others have finished with the dishes.

- A curl up with an "evil" Sudoku puzzle that I have intuitive insight to solve quickly.

- An hour or two of quiet reading.

- A good poem (Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Robert Frost, a psalm) before bedtime with time for preprandial contemplation.

- And a snuggle down into those clean cool lavendar scented sheets to drift off to sleep without listening to someone else snoring.

- Oh yes, and finally....someone, who is interested enough to ask what would make my day perfect. Thanks for asking, Ernest.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

You know you're in a bad mood when you hear the current news about North Korea and your first thought is "go ahead, just get it over with."

It causes me to recall the fact that in all the years that I've been voting, I have never cast a vote to the winner of a Presidential election.

My mother never voted in her life (that I knew of..and the polling station was in our back yard for a number of years!) Yet she always cast aspersions on sitting politicians. That seemed like cheating to me. In my rubrick, one has no right to complain if one didn't vote.

I vote every chance I get. Therefore, given my history and the acknowledgement that a vote is not a bet on a winner, I believe I have a right to complain.

Let me just say this one thing:
Wouldn't you think that the father of twin girls would be able to recognize when he is being tag teamed by Iran and North Korea?

Yeah...we have to remember who we're talking about here. Learning is not the strong suit.

End of political rant.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Guest Blogger

Just thought I'd step in and help Valerie out a bit. I met her a few weeks ago while she was out planting impatiens by the basement walkout. We struck up a conversation and she seemed like a pretty nice gal, so I decided to help out by lapping up a few mosquitoes while she dug around in the dirt.

I have to admit, I sort of fell for her right then and there. But alas, she's married. In fact, it's 29 years today.

A fellow would have to be pretty fast on his feet to keep up with her these days. Most mornings she's been out with the hose and watering can, keeping up with the flowers she planted.

Shortly after that she takes off for an hour or two. Am not sure what's up with that. She always has on her walking shoes and sometimes she carries this little bag that holds some sort of mat rolled up into a tight cylinder along with a belt, foam block, and towel. Must be something good because she usually comes back pretty chilled out.

Once she's home and has the house cleaned up she starts in with sewing. Now this is a trip! She thinks no one's around since her hubby and son left for work hours ago. So she sews half dressed....sew a seam, try it on...rip it off and head back to the sewing machine sans garment. Once in awhile she seems to think that different underwear would improve the fit. It seems to work because she's finished at least one complete outfit that I've seen. However, there's a trail of clothing, bra's, slips, etc. to be cleaned up at the end of the sewing session.

Meanwhile I hear her muttering about something called Convergence. She's making lists and checking pieces of paper and getting a little frenzied about the whole thing.

Then every now and then she pulls out this set of paint chips she's put together and walks around the first floor of the house muttering something about, "haven't even started yet and it's the middle of June!"

Do you think she'd believe me if I told her I could have that first floor painted and carpeted for her in a minute if she'd give me a kiss?

Yeah, me neither.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I promised

that postings would be sparse this summer, and I aim to keep that promise!

As I mentioned earlier, Convergence is coming up at the end of the month. My summer wardrobe is down to torn, stained, and frayed items. I have shopped & returned items, mail ordered & returned items, then shopped again...and returned items.

Summer wardrobes have always been difficult for me. I'm a simple, tailored fashions kind of person. Summer clothes are simple and not tailored. Add to that the current look of too short, too tight, and generally all over too revealing and I'm left with no clothes in the closet and nothing out there to purchase.

Enter Threads magazine, trusty sewing machine, and pattern stash! I am sewing clothes to wear to Convergence, summer vacation at the shore, MIL's 80th birthday party, and nephew's wedding.

I have linen and linen/rayon blend in Biking red, black, periwinkle, and natural unbleached linen shade (somewhere between tan & khaki). I have a wonderful black and cream polyester print. I have a great cotton/poly blend, open weave print fabric that coordinates w/ the periwinkle. AND...I have patterns which I've sewn before and I know will fit!!....for shirt type jackets and casual jackets w/ 3/4 sleeves, for a shell top, two styles of skirts, and capri pants. I have shoes and bags....but am going to need to update the costume jewelry/accessories once I get the garments together.

Here's the pattern for the print, semi-sheer, polyester skirt:


Here's one of the patterns for the linen fabrics:


And here's the pattern for the black linen jacket:



That should keep me busy this week, along with prepping the laundry room for painting, and washing a few windows. Let's hope the temperatures stay nice and cool , as they are right now.

Stay tuned for the next episode when I publish my Convergence shopping list!