Sew Cranky

Today's guild program and workshop is going down as one of my all time favorites. I'd arranged for Sew Cranky to give a talk and demonstration of their antique hand-crank sewing machines.

I was expecting three or four machines but there were 16 working machines and a few others just for display, all from the late 1800's to early 1900's. And they were gorgeous

Mike's talk on the invention and history of the sewing machine was interesting and funny. This was the first 'lecture' presentation they'd done - they usually do hands-on demos at civil war reenactments and historical sites - and we gave them an A+. If you ever have a chance to see them in action, it's well worth it. 
The nine of us in the workshop had a choice of making a grocery bag or "pocket" bag, and almost everyone chose the pocket.
I envision using this as a spindle bag, or to hold yarn for a crochet project on-the-go, or to take along to flea markets to carry all my (small-ish) treasures. It can be tied around the waist or worn as a shoulder bag, making it a great all-purpose little thing.
The stitching isn't the most even, but when you consider it was made using a machine over 100 years old, wonky stitch lines can be excused.
And the best thing of all? Mike and Ginger refurbish old sewing machines. So this poor neglected little thing, which has been sitting in my garage for well over 20 years, is going to get a make-over.
Based on patent dates on the bobbin plate, Mike thinks this is from 'teens to 1920's.
Can't wait to see it all polished up and pretty.


Miss Perpetual Motion

I finished a new dress for Leanne today.
Her mom dropped the t-shirt - and Leanne - off this morning,
and after I finished a few errands, I whipped this little beauty up from fabric I'd been saving specifically for Leanne.
Every girl needs her own zoo skirt, right?

Getting pictures of Leanne in her new attire was almost harder, and more time consuming, than sewing the dress.
PopPop tried to slow her down
with only limited success.
Around here, a girl in motion tends to stay in motion.
Until she (or grandma) passes out from exhaustion. 


End of the Tour

Sunday was the end of this year's Tour de Fleece. I spun right up to the final minute, finishing my last yarn just as the Manx Missile crossed the finish line on the Champs-Elysee in Paris.

Clockwise from top left - 
311 yards of Bee Mice Elf's Merino wool in 'Beloved Bard'; 
340 yards of Corriedale custom dyed by a friend; 
171 yards of Spinderella's 'Harvest'; 
and lastly - 420 yards of Bee Mice Elf's Falkland wool, in 'Nutty' and 'Plumage'.

That's 1242 yards - .7 miles - of finished yarn, for which I spun 3726 yards between the singles and plying. That's a grand total of 2.1 MILES of spinning. Think the Peloton would be impressed, after their 3,000+ plus miles around France?

I was pleased with how my experiment with the two BME colorways turned out.  I think this will be the first handspun from this Tour that I'll make into . . . . . something. Any suggestions on what it wants to be??
And in honor of my pledge, several years ago, that I'd spin Merino again when pigs fly . . .
Look out below!   


Guild Gold

Part of my recent 'inheritance' was two big, black trash bags, full of yarn, that had been in the rafters of my MIL's garage for 10? 15? years. Mom was a prolific, talented knitter during the years when my kids were little, but her failing eyesight put an end to that pastime years ago.

Today I went through the bags, sorting the usable yarns, tossing the scraps, and getting just a bit teary-eyed at the labeled leftovers - 'Vickie's sweater', 'Meg's clown doll', 'Matt's sweater' brought back some good memories.
These were considered good yarns when they were purchased back in the 80's or 90's; not so much today. Most are acrylic of one form or another - the "Virgin Orlon" tag on one skein made me giggle. I did find a little bag of brown angora and a tiny spool of gold paper-like yarn that will be joining my stash. The rest is destined for the Ways and Means table at my weaving guild.
More stuff destined for the Guild -
a bag of miscellaneous weaving tools and a box of books
that were gifted to the owner of my favorite yarn store by the son of a deceased weaver. They followed the usual path for donations of this sort, from Lois, to me for transport and sorting, and on to the Guild. I go through everything - which I love doing - checking the books for value (out-of-print books can be very pricey), and deciding what will be auctioned, raffled, or placed on the ways-and-means table, the Guild's equivalent of a five-and-dime.  Occasionally, I'll find something unusual or valuable, but not this time.
So why do I love sorting through this stuff? There's the thrill of the hunt; my compulsion to organize stuff; and first dibs on little things I like. The small wooden shuttle, in the bottom box, and the bobbin lace bobbins, in one of the cigar boxes above, will be moving in with me. With a suitable donation to  ways-and-means, of course.


New Dress, Soaked

While Leia napped yesterday, I raced to finish a dress* for her to wear to a block party with her dad. 

She 'allowed' me to get a few pix on her way out the door, 
practicing her curtsy
(and trying not to fall over.)
And what's the first thing my little Princess did at the party? Jump in a wading pool, dress and all. 
Glad I got some 'before' pictures.

*Leia chose the two fabrics for the skirt by herself. I think she did a great job. 


End In Sight

I spun the second Bee Mice Elf batt, in Plumage, into singles today; still planning to ply it tomorrow with the BME Nutty I finished yesterday.
Last night I also wound the Susie batt onto the new Clemes & Clemes niddy noddy I purchased at Convergence. 
340 yards of 2-ply at about a sport-weight, I think.
Love the texture and how (mostly) evenly spun it is.
Now I just need to decide which shawl pattern I want to use with it.


Tour Company

Each night, Leia joins hubby and I as we watch the Tour de France. She has absolutely no interest in the bike race, but she wants to be with us (which I love.) 
She makes herself comfortable with blanket and pillow, picks a movie to watch on the iPad, has me put the headphones on for her (she can't get them to stay on her ears without help) and settles down for an hour or two of together time before bed.
While she's occupied, I spin. I finished plying the Susie Corriedale yarn yesterday - 
I still need to get it on the niddy noddy for a yardage count - and started another Bee Mice Elf project tonight.
I'm going to spin two Falkland colorways - Nutty 
and Plumage -
and then ply them together in a single yarn. I love brown and I love purple, so I'll love them even better together, right? ~crosses fingers~


Challenge Day

I finished plying only one yarn - the Bee Mice Elf Merino - but I worked at it for over 3 hours, so I'm counting Challenge Day as done. 
311 yards of 2-ply, at about a sports-weight, I think. Once it's dry, I'll check that thought, since my 'assumptions' have been kinda wacky lately.
Remember the antique niddy-noddy I've used for the past 2 years to measure my handspun? Yeah. Turns out it isn't 2-yards around, like I assumed thought. It's 2 meters, or 80". So all the handspun yardage I tallied during last year's Tour? Short. By a lot.  


Tour de Fleece

It's been a pretty crummy week - a former co-worker died unexpectedly on Friday and my MIL passed away on Sunday - so not much blogging or crafting has been happening. 

I've done a little bit of spinning almost every day, working on my Tour de Fleece goals.

Tomorrow is TdF Challenge Day and I'm planning to ply both the 6+ ounces of Corriedale from the Susie batt
and the 4+ ounces of Bee Mice Elf Merino.
Not sure I can get both done, but that's what makes it a 'challenge', right?


Stress Reducer

It's been a pretty stressful week, with one thing and another, so I wanted to make something for me; something I could start and finish fairly quickly. I'd seen this - 

on Pinterest and loved it, thinking it was a cute little purse. But when I started searching for the pattern, I found out it is so. much. more.

My version - purple, of course.
And when you unbutton it . . . 
first one side, then the other . . .
and lay it out flat . . .
you end up with a hot-iron tote* and portable ironing pad to take to quilting classes.
And the best parts? It's purple and it's finished.

*It's called 'Caddy Pad Jr' and I got mine on eBay from the designer. Pad comes in three sizes to accommodate most irons.   



I've been bugging hubby to locate a metal yardstick so I could make a growth chart for the little girls. Leia seems to grow inches overnight and I wanted some way to track it. 
This wall outside the laundry room is now measurement central. Hubby tacked it up and I measured Leia - 41" (the ruler is 12" off the ground) and 42 pounds just 2 months shy of her 4th birthday
and Leanne - 32" and 24.5 pounds at 16 months -
and walked into the kitchen to put the marking pen away (maybe just a little bit longer . . . ) and returned to find this:
My little artist had been very busy. And how can you get mad when she proudly says, "Look Gamma, I made an 8!"

But you can bet that the marker her sister had "hidden" in her backpack is now hidden much, much better.
And much higher than 41".