Month: May 2014

Weekly Portraits- The Last Week of May

  Another week I’ve dropped the ball on.  Oh well, I’m definitely hitting my bare minimum of every month…I’m going to go ahead and give myself a little bit of slack.

  The last few days we’ve been getting outside when we can, but there have also been thunderstorms rolling through.  G decided he wanted to build a “pirate ship” and yanked all of the cushions off of our couch to do so.  It has quickly become our favorite indoor game.  The pillows all get piled into a big heap, and the “deck” (made of the two, large, flat cushions that make up the base of the couch) becomes a dance stage.

  Being as crazy into super heros as he has been lately, most of his dance moves consist of “blasting” and “web slinging”.  All that dancing is a lot of work, so we all take turns.
  R on the other hand, does laps around the “ship”, occasionally stopping to “butt-hug” me.  …I’m not sure if this is a “normal” phase that all kids go through, but both of my boys have done it.  They go in hard for a hug, and then at the last minute, turn away so instead of a hug, it’s you holding onto them while they sit on your lap, or just refusing to look at you while you hug them.  It’s awkwardly adorable.
  He’s getting lots of mileage in walking now, but, poor kid, kinda looks like he has been brawling.  I told my husband, he doesn’t ever hurt himself when he’s doing something that you’d expect him to get hurt…he’ll climb up on the top of something insane and be, like, hopping on one foot while waving a sword (WHO GAVE HIM THAT SWORD?!?) and he’ll be fine…but then five minutes later he’ll be walking on a perfectly flat surface, and totally bite it, giving himself a black eye (see exhibit A above).
  As for me, when I’m not herding cats, I’m working on prototypes, artwork and trying to tame some of the overgrown flower beds in our yard that got neglected last summer.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get a little bit more sewing and creative stuff up on here soon!

Prototypes and Small Projects

I haven’t shared much sewing on the blog lately.  It hasn’t been because I haven’t been sewing, but because I’ve mostly been sewing things you guys have already seen.

My lavender sachets have been hanging out in my closets and pantries for a while now, and were losing their potency, so I decided it was time for some new ones.

  I decided to use some of my fabric.  I had some extra swatches kicking around that hadn’t made it onto my board for Quilt Market for one reason or another (color change, scale change, ect) and decided that rather than keeping them around, rolled up and not seen, I’d make them into pretties for myself.  This is my Iris Dot pattern, in the Frosted colorway.
  The other sewing I’ve been doing has mostly been working on prototypes for aerial clothing.
  I’ve been making a large percentage of my own stuff, and quite a few of the instructors have been enviously eyeing my leos and shorts, and encouraging me to make some for them to buy.
  Now, since I’ve got a lot of other irons in the fire, I may not exactly take off with a full out spandex empire, but I figured that standardizing the patterns I’m using can do nothing but save me time in the future when I go to make my own…and, if I crank out a couple to sell, it’s only a bonus.  So, lots and lots of pairs of tiny shorts to go over leggings, and a couple new leos to work out the exact fit of the leg holes and get the neckline where I want it.
  Lots of sewing, but not much to show off!

Weekly Portraits- The Second Week of May- R’s First Haircut

These have been sitting on my camera for a week now…time to get them posted so that we (hopefully) don’t have a constant week lag for portraits!

Because I was gone a good chunk of the weekend of Mother’s Day, and was going to be gone for the entire next weekend, my Mr. took a couple extra days off of work to spend together as a family before I headed to Pittsburgh for Quilt Market.  R’s hair had been getting rather shaggy and was always getting in his eyes, and both G and my husband’s hair were in need of trims as well, so we decided to take a family trip to the barber.

  R’s first haircut started out a lot like his big brother’s first hair cut did.  That is to say, not well.  He managed to sit in the chair by himself, but beyond that, there was just as much wailing, gnashing of teeth and general misery, despite his brother and Daddy’s attempts to soothe him.

Luckily, not long after the haircut started, he got startled by a large truck passing by outside and stopped crying.  It occurred to us that if we could keep him interested enough in what was going on out the door, he’d probably be a happier camper.

So G and I headed outside the building and played peekaboo with him through the window.  Which mostly consisted of me repeatedly lifting 40-some pound G over my head.  Huzzah for aerialist arms.

It did the trick.  He went from sobbing to smiling by the time his hair was done.

  Then it was big brother’s turn.  He’s old hat at it by now.
 …but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still tickle sometimes!


Wild Women of Washtenaw, Take 3

Ok, you know I’ve been busy when it takes me two weeks to get my pictures from WWOW up!  As always, the wild women’s weekend was the same weekend as Mother’s Day, and as always, I had a blast.

The weather was ridiculously better this year than last year.  Where last year it was utterly freezing overnight, this year we went traipsing around in the woods, in the dark, in 50 degrees.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

This year was slightly different than the previous two in that since so many new folk signed up, they added on a fourth session (instead of the usual 3) to accommodate everybody.

I always take my photography class…I learn something every year, and archery is just a given.  This year I decided to take “instinctive” archery.  I could have gone for the intermediate, since I now have my own bow, but my bow doesn’t have a sight….or, uhm, anything but the bow and string….so I figured instinctive was more what I was doing anyhow, and I might as well get some tips and tricks for that.  Also, since I already knew I was going to be hauling my camera and gear along, I didn’t really want to bring my bow too.  Cuz I’m lazy like that.

My other two classes were survival and Smartphone GPS…which was my 4th class, that I didn’t know I’d be getting until a couple weeks before the event.

We also shot pellet guns Friday night after dinner…more my speed when it comes to guns than the shotguns I tried last year…quiet enough you can shoot them inside and not have a ringing headache by the time you’re done!

My husband asked if I was threatening him when I sent him this picture
  In my photography class, we tend to hit several of the same landmarks every year, so now that I’m photographing some of these things for the third time, it’s getting more and more challenging to find ways to make them interesting.  For example, there are always bright orange cones marking the edge of the parking lot.  The first couple years we used them as an example of line and depth of field.  I have both of those concepts pretty well under my belt (at least I think so), so I decided to try and do something that made them…a little less like traffic cones.
  First, I shot the cone from almost directly above it.  Not terrible, but still pretty obviously a traffic cone.  Then, with my instructor’s help (she held it for me while I took the picture), I shot through the hole in the cone, towards the trees.
  I sort of love the result.
  As I know I’ve mentioned, ahem, once or twice, this winter was really hard here in Michigan.  There was a lot of damage done to trees, and it made for really incredible texture shots, just waiting to be taken.
This tree’s trunk had entirely splintered, and the colors inside were astounding.  It ranged from pale, almost butter yellow, through red and almost to purple.  I had to take this shot!
  We actually wound up wandering off of the sportman’s club’s property by the time we finished the class… There were some really cool, twisty trees just outside the gate, and once we were outside, we just kept finding things that drew us further and further down the road.
  Good photography seems to require a mild disregard for trespass laws.
  This shot is actually of a powerline tower, but the lines and angles in it make me just about giddy.  I want to turn this one into a fabric, bad.
  I have many, many more pictures I could share, but I’ll call this good for the moment.
  If after 3 years, I’ve finally convinced you that WWOW is something you want to try, the link for the event is here.  I’d love to see you next May…you know I’ll be there!

Checking in

Yikes I’m behind!  Just got back from Quilt Market and am entirely and completely fried.  I have pictures of the boys from last week (R got his first haircut!) and a finished project to update everybody on, but right now I’m utterly tanked.

  This is only half of the convention I just spent the last 3 days at…

Weekly Portraits-The First Week of May

  Another rainy morning kept us inside today.  We’ve actually gotten outside quite a bit in the last week, but never when I’ve had my camera on hand.  Poor little R good and walloped his face (as you can see) yesterday.  He was “helping” me with some yard work, and decided to see how well his face could catch him on the driveway.  Here’s hoping he figured out that that isn’t really what faces are for, and doesn’t try it again.

  We decided to make a train track together.  R mostly filled his usual role, as “the monster of Sodor” and ran around pulling apart the track as quickly as it was built, much to his older brother’s chagrin.

  Disputes about destruction aside though, they’re finally starting to really play together, and I love it!

  The little one gave me this lovely shot:
…but when I start getting poses like this, I know it’s time to put the camera away.

How To Sew a Leotard from Scratch (without a leo pattern)

These leotard posts sit on the back burner for a while before I post them.  I finish a coat or a normal top?  I usually photograph it and post it the same week.  This leo has been done for probably a month and a half though.  I need to work on that…especially if the giant pile of spandex I just bought from JoAnns is indicative of what I’m going to be sewing soon…

  I went back and forth on how I was going to photograph it.  It’s a leotard, so part of the functionality is that it attaches between the legs like a bathing suit, so it feels a little bit like cheating taking a picture in it while wearing jeans.  On the other hand, you guys have already seen the bottom of one of the leos I made, and I’m a little concerned it’s not going to be a sewing audience I’m going to wind up drawing if I start posting all sorts of pictures of my thighs on here.  I put off doing the pictures with the excuse to myself that maybe somebody at the gym would take a shot during my aerial class and I could use that…but it just didn’t happen.

So here we are.  Moody shot on a cloudy Saturday, wearing jeans.  We’ll pretend it’s the early 90s and it’s a rocking bodysuit.

If this is looking vaguely familiar, it should.  It’s McCall’s M6288, that I used to make this top not long after R was born.

To turn the pattern into a leotard, I used the same basic process as I did when I was modifying the tank tops into leotards.  Essentially, I left an extra amount of length at the bottom hem (though since this shirt was long to start with, it wasn’t much), created the shirt, and then modified it to fit at the bottom in the same way.  I used an existing leotard to give me an idea of how long I was going to need beyond the pattern’s bottom edge.

This is actually the first project I completed using my cover stitch machine, and I love the results.  I did a lot of detailing using the back of the stitch, to get the flat, sporty seams you see on a ton of workout wear.  Some of the details turned out better than others, but, of course, every machine has a certain level of learning curve involved.

A few notes about this:

I did not use a 4 way stretch knit for this particular leotard.

If you want to make a traditional, going to cling to the body and not-bag-out-anywhere-when-you-move leotard, you want spandex, and you want 4 way stretch.  Fabric with spandex is easy to find.  4 way stretch, not so much.  Give your fabric a good tug along both grains.  Pretty much any knit will stretch fairly well from selvage to selvage, but up and down, towards the raw edge, it may stretch or it may be pretty stable.  For a leotard, you ideally want it to stretch.  But, this was for me, and frankly, I liked the colors, and didn’t really give a damn if it fit exactly to my body 24/7 or not, so long as it kept me from getting silk burns on my lower back.

Keep in mind you’re probably going to have to alter your side seams

I used a contrasting color for binding the sleeves and neckline on this leo, and thought it’d be super cool to run a line of it up the side seam as well.  I had already made quite a few alterations to the side seams when I attached them, but having them there kept me from messing around and tightening up the sleeves after I put them on like I kind of wanted to.  I’m really happy with the side seam bands, but if you decide to add them, make sure you have your fit right before you add them!

Remember that you have to fit through the neck!

Being able to modify any top pattern into a leotard opens up a whole lot of possibilities, but keep in mind, no matter how cool that keyhole detailed neckline might look as a leo, if you can’t fit your hips through it, it won’t be wearable!