Laundry bag

I’ve been aware for some time that I wanted a laundry bag for traveling. While not getting around to making one I had been musing on what qualities I wanted in it.

-lightweight
-colourfast
-ok to be washed with either lights or darks
-smooth, non grabby fabric (so the clothes go in and out easily)
-fairly strong
-visually different from the rest of the contents of my luggage.
-as always, natural fibre preferred.

After thinking of, then rejecting a number of options, I remembered an old defunct garment. Now too small and burgundy no longer being my friend for wearing, I could claim the lovely Liberty lawn for a laundry bag. An unused thing isn’t taking up space and I get to enjoy the gorgeous paisley fabric in a new shape. It ticks all the boxes.

It’s 80x52cm and weighs only 100g, which is less than most tshirts.

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Indulging a whimsy

I’ve been doing a bunch of woodwork and painting designs on it, none of which  has made it onto the blog yet. Here is the most recent one, an idea that wouldn’t go away.

Take a sexy wine crate, make it smooth.

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Give it a lid and a hole in one side.

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Paint an eye around the hole, oil and burnish give it hinges.

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Pay your friendly neighbourhood glass men to line it with mirrors (actually before the hole was drilled in the wood, sensible I thought).

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Add a tiny LED light or two, look inside…

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…and get a star field, the matrix, a glimpse of infinity.

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I have twice delighted in the wonder of being in a fully mirror lined room. I was aiming to capture a little of that experience. I think it’s worked. It ought be even better when I can take off the temporary holding tape and clean the mirrors. I mean to have fun placing different things inside the box and seeing what craziness results.

Micro Fortuny Shirt

Sheer stretch without knit in natural fibre even. Slim fit in luxe fabric but comfy. The magic of silk crinkle chiffon.

I’ve done this before by accident. Make a garment in crinkle fabric, wet it, the fabric texture condenses and becomes closer fitting and springy. One of these garments became a favourite. Another I didn’t like because it clung to bits of my anatomy that I didn’t want to show off.  I’ve been meaning to have another go for ages and here it is.

I cut a collarless shirt in black crinkle silk chiffon straight off the bolt. It’s much easier to work with pre wash. Otherwise all the little pleats get in the way and I think it’s harder to estimate the fit, though one could possibly use patterns meant for stretch fabric. Anyway. This is yet again my standard shirt pattern, cut with the centre front on a fold. I’ve left the shirt tails off, shortened the sleeves slightly, gathered the sleeve ends, faced a slit for the neck opening and bound the neck and wrists with straight grain strips of the same fabric. No interfacing, I wanted the fabric to be able to transform freely. The narrow bindings don’t need support and the straight grain prevents unwanted stretch. All sewn with silk thread so that it moves with the fabric and stays fluid. I wore it once before I washed it. Loved it! So I might also eventually make a similar top in plain chiffon.

Here are three before and after shots of the magic transformation wrought by wetting.

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The “before” shot below was prior to making the fastenings. The tie is a twist cord made from… silk thread of course :-).

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I wore it once before I washed it. Loved it! So I might also eventually make a similar top in plain chiffon. I’m also mostly happy with how it pulled up. The body fit is lovely. I hadn’t realised that one loses a little length too, so if I make another, I should add a little length to both body and sleeves. The post wash micro pleat version hasn’t been for an outing yet but I’m looking forward to that.

Oh, and extra bonus: with careful hanging after a wash (admittedly by hand), there is no need of ironing.

 

Shopping Bag Mk II

The floppiness of the Mk I version did not please me. Looking again at the synthetic original, it has bound edges which act as stiffening. I’ve made up the same pattern again with a few significant changes:
1. The seams are done as inside out french seams for the stiffening effect
2. The base reinforcement only extends to the fold line, not beyond
3. Stiffer fabric. This is a pretty linen canvas (or so I conclude) remnant from Laura Ashley. Good fabric for the purpose.

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This folds nicely more easily too, which pleases me. If I make the handles a cm shorter each side, the folding will work even better. Hurrah, I have a workable pattern and several bags to be going on with.

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Fiber to garment

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I’ve done a little drop spindle spinning in years past, but I’d not made my spinning into any finished thing. I first tried the spinning over 20years ago. Then had another go about 10years ago, some chocolate brown alpaca that time. I still have a little of that yarn. I picked it up again a couple of years ago, spinning prepared wool top this time. I decided to spin as much as I could during a week long event in January that event. I took a handful of each type of wool fiber I had, with the intention of alternating types to stave off boredom. This is what I had at the end of the event. I’d spun everything I took, plus a little wool from a friend’s sheep.

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I did some more at the next event in April, and ended up with 7 balls of yarn in varying sizes.

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I had originally thought to make socks, but I didn’t think I had enough yarn. So I made a hat instead. I have some yarn left, so I could probably have managed socks. I do like the hat though so I’m still pleased.

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The dun coloured fibre is three lots of corriedale wool. Easy to spin but quite coarse and prickly. The coloured and white fibre is all merino, fine and soft. I spun some plain corriedale singles, some alternating merino and corriedale in a particular colour order, but random amounts. Then I plied the two together. The rib band is just merino though to minimise prickle on my forehead. I like how it came out and I’m delighted to have spun, designed and knitted a thing.

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Blue almost-jeans

I made a trouser pattern in a hurry in early 2016. I was pleased with the method, maybe more on that later. However, the fit of these was really quite baggy. I’ve worn the original of these (and the only dark blue pair) so much that they are now gardening trousers rather than worthy of being seen in. I was just going to make more to the same pattern, but decided to improve the fit. Gah, trousers are hard to fit! so many interrelated curves in all sorts of directions. I can’t buy trousers of any sort to fit me though, including jeans. So the effort is worthwhile!

This is not a true jeans pattern. It has darts at the back and patch pockets at the front. If I end up with a version I’m happy with, I might try converting it to more classic jeans construction. Then I’ll most likely change shape again eh?

The light is dim today so the pic on me is not wonderful.I’m cautiously excited by the fit I’ve managed though. This is heavy wool/cotton blend twill (denim? drill?) with no elastane. The fabric is really nice. I’ll be heading back to the shop tomorrow to see if I can get a little more for a repeat pair later.

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I have fun with the decorative sewing on pockets. The designs are free hand drawn in chalk and then stitched freehand with a twin needle. This is my current favourite design. Gentle arcs are easy to sew. After taking the picture, I realised that these still needed the stitching run across the top, which I then went and did. I use a straight grain tape under the top folded edge to minimise stretching.

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My fitting changes in the tummy/hip/bottom seem to have made the vertical leg seams twist, so I’ll have to fix that for the next pair. Not cutting any more until I’ve worn these though.

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I feel I must add that testing fit in an underheated house in winter is tedious! How many times have I had these on and off in the last couple of days. 6 maybe?

Pink!

Some months ago, my niece pointed at a picture in a book and said “I want that one”. I didn’t see the picture, but I’m told it was a bag made from a pair of pink jeans. I needed to organise a present for her and this is something well within my capabilities. She may not even remember the picture, or the wanting, but I hope she likes it anyway.

An opshop provided a pair of size 8 ladies jeans in brilliant pink. I chopped them below the fly, inserted a rectangular base and handles, cut from the legs.

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I then put a coordinating lining in.

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I left the button and fly functional for fun. Then I realised that gave access to the space between bag and lining for the putting of things, and a five year old would. So to prevent the inevitable struggle of having to get them out again, I sewed through to catch the placket closed. Pity I didn’t think of this until the lining was in, so that stitching shows on the inside. Oh well. If I ever make another I shall try to remember.

And the backside:

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I reckon it came out quite well. It occurs to me that my old jeans would make good grocery bags made up like this with a squarer base. I wonder if I’ve kept any?

Orange merino jersey

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I bought this length of orange merino jersey in Wellington over 2 years ago. I’ve had at least 5 different plans for it. When I got it out recently, I realised that there was less of it than my faulty memory had been telling me. Enough for some sort of long sleeved top and no more. I have need, or at least want, of orange clothing for this coming Saturday, so I settled on making a button necked pullover. I could have just made a skivvy, but that felt too boring. So I added a neck opening and buttons. Not my best design decision ever. Pullover + buttons + long hair = trouble. Oh well, I like the look and I have a long standing fondness for Henley type jersey shirts.

I put a lot of thought into the construction method. The fabric is medium weight and very stretchy. I have a poor history of getting machine top stitching to behave on such fabric, other than my standard twin needle hem. I was right to worry. I got the neck facing sewn down but not as neatly as I would have liked. I tried applying the first button loop by machine but it did so not go well. The rest got applied by hand.

The button loops are made from a simple three element braid of “tapestry” woolen yarn in appropriate colours. I plaited it, then steamed and cooled it to minimise unravelling.

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Here is a close up of the neck. The grey shell buttons have previously done service on another shirt.

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And on, both buttoned and un.

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Not the most flattering shots. I was suffering from tshirt hem build up. I have another skivvy of the same cut, plus a short sleeved cotton T under that. It’s cold!

William Morris Shirt

Or “Mama shirt stage three, the real thing”.

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This post is just me showing I did make up that lovely William Morris fabric for Mama, mentioned in my earlier posts Mama shirt: stage two, trial shirt  Mama shirt: stage one, the pattern

Also skiting* about my best ever pattern matching effort across the front.

Thankfully, she likes it, and has even collected a random compliment already.

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*hmm, it turns out this is local slang. Means boasting, showing off.

 

Sock pair #28

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Yup, this is the 28th pair of socks I have knitted. I’d forgotten the count had got so high. This pair has taken a while to knit. I started them on the New Zealand trip back in January. I usually knit socks only in trains, planes and waiting rooms various. I obviously haven’t been doing much of that recently.

There are several experiments here. Lots of design decisions all to make socks for travelling that dry quickly. They are also short so they take up less luggage room. I’ve used slightly larger size needles (2.75mm) than normal (2.5mm). Fewer stitches to balance that of course. The yarn, by Araucania, is on the fine side of 4ply.  I don’t have the colour name or code ’cause I can’t find the label. I think it might be old stock though because I bought it about a year ago as an oddment at a yarn market and couldn’t find it on the net when I looked then. I’ve also knitted them very plain to enhance drying, including my first Fleegle heel, which is shaped like a slip stitch heel, but is just flat knitting. I’ll wear them for a bit to see how they go while I knit up a more standard pair for a friend.