Monday, August 18, 2008

Onward and Upwards with the High Society Hat*

My knitting will be kicking into high gear tomorrow when I go to jury duty. I'm bringing the High Society hat project with me and if I'm stuck waiting all day I swear that hat is going to be done by dusk. There isn't any reason I shouldn't be. I've just got three pattern repeats and then the top of the hat to do. That's it. Yes, the chapeau will be complete. Then it will be onto blocking the thing. Since I don't have my hatblock around, I'm thinking about how I can cheat on this part. I could use something like this or even this. What if I just skipped it all together and just did the wiring? What do you think, Milliners of the World who are reading this? Have you ever not blocked a hat and then later wished you had? I need your advice now, and badly. Please aid me in my indecisive moment. To block or not to block is the question. And it just occurred to me now as I was writing. I don't mind blocking, but it feels like an unnecessary step. I've worn at least one thing I've knitted that wasn't blocked and I lived to tell the fashionable tale. No one could tell (although the wire fibers themselves would probably enjoy a steam bath - who doesn't?). Anyhow, it's just food for early-morning thought right now as I'm already thinking about Hat no. 2.
Okay, I've returned from jury duty which was adjourned at noon, just in time for lunch. While there was absolutely no action and no one in the room was called, I got lots done on the hat. I'm in the last repeat pattern, which means I could be done knitting the baby by tonight. I feel a little stunned at the thought. I mean this was the chapeau I was avoiding. I had it in my head that it was going to be the hardest thing not ever but at least in the month of August. It's only the 19th; I've got plenty of August to embark on even more challenging projects. Now that's a truly dizzying thought. You know what? I'm just proud of myself for just diving into this pattern. That's right. I give myself a pat on the back for that part. Now I'm thinking of emailing Annie Modesitt to find out if there's a way I can bypass blocking. It's just too warm to do anything more than walk (not run) around the block, and most certainly it's not the weather to do anything that involves steam.
* By the way, here's a link to a Continental Airlines story I wrote on hats.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Considering Ellie*

The High Society Hat Project has officially begun. It's not as snotty as you would think. Of course, the name alone just summons all sorts of images of snobbism and elitism. You know - of women who hold up their noses when they see a haggard woman without a proper hat and gloves walk by. Or ladies who have tea everyday at 2:30 p.m. on the dot without fail, a proper Earl Grey - but no bags of dust in hot water please. The hat might even make you think of your great-grandma shushing all the grand kids at Mass when the priest is giving the homily and laying down the law when a fight breaks over whether the pew should be up or down. This is what you might imagine about a woman (most certainly not a gal) who dons a High Society hat.

I'll admit I had none of those ideas when I saw the High Society hat designed by Annie Modesitt. No, I just took one look and said, "How gorgeous. I want that hat!" But then I shuddered to think how difficult it might be to make. While I knew it wouldn't take much yarn, I just pictured myself all tangled up on the two skeins of yarn it took to knit up the thing. Yes, I took one peek at the instructions in Romantic Hand-Knits and then the four pages long (very grey to my eyes) of type on Millinery. I felt afraid, not too afraid, but I did remember the 1940s crochet hat that went well until I wired it, and the whole thing turned into a Saturday Night prop for Amy Sedaris. Wobbly, tornado-blown brim created by me. The whole, expensive fiasco sits in my linen closet, crushed by a load of pillowcases. I'm not sure what I'm waiting for, why I don't just ditch it already?

But that's what I think of when I even consider playing Milliner (Winona Ryder does it so much better in this movie which I've never seen).

I dwell on that much more than now that the actual knitting is going much more speedily than I thought. I've just begun! And I'm almost already done. Gosh. I'm never going to knit sweaters or skirts that months to complete after this. Never. Not when I can start and finish a project in about a week, which is what it takes for me to sew a skirt or a dress these days between laying out the pattern, cutting it up the fabric and stitching. (Not counting this dress I just made, of course. One day!) And the size of the project. Oh, my. This wee hat, circular needles and one yarnball, fit into a sandwich baggie. Yes, a plastic bag the size of six-inch Subway sandwich. Unbelievable. So I can naturally fit this into my tote along with a couple of newspaper sections. Oh day soon, I'm going to be able to carry the project - along with the pattern in its plastic protector sheet - in my skirt pocket. This will not fit a jean pocket, I know. Not enough room, not to mention that I might poke myself with a needle or scrape myself on the elbow with it. But I could get it into a medium-size skirt pocket. Then I would never ever be without something to do. My digits would never be idle, not for a minute, no. I'd be cranking out lots of hats, so many that some would need to be sold, if only to pay for this:This is Ellie, different from the one that Alicia Paulson owns. I've no idea what she (the object above, not Alicia) costs, since there are no price tags listed on this web site. But I like her already if not for her modest name, her brown eyes and hair (much like my own, except my locks are highlighted and I've got bangs). But brown-eyed brunettes are always much more fun! Now, if Ellie would only smile, she'd be perfect. No, she's ideal now with her Clara Bow lips stained ruby red. Now if I were able to purchase her for princessly sum, I'd put her to work straight away. Modeling hats, of course! Her primary work would be modeling all of the hats I make, starting with the High Society hat (see above). Then I'd protect her dark hair with this hat, and then maybe this, all of them made by me.

If it turns out Ellie is out of my financial reach for the moment, that's fine. She's a reproduction. There will be more like her. Now I could get the real McCoy (or McKay as the name was mutated in Buster Keaton's film on the South's most famous conflict - not the Civil War. ) at the Broadway Antique Market. Now the display model has blonde locks, and she's really old - from the 1940s although she really doesn't look like it. She doesn't have a dowager's hump, a cane, fake teeth, none of those tell-tale signs of a 70+year-old. But I really don't want an antique, especially one that can break. If I'm going to have a display piece for my hats, it's going to be one that's readily replaced. None of these wringing out hankies or t-shirt edges over a one-a-kind old thing that can't be fixed cheaply. Forget it. I've got enough World War II memorabilia in my home.

So that's it. I'm saving my nickels, dimes and pennies for Ellie because she's worth it. She'd have a special place here and I'd treat her well. She'd have the best food. Wait, she can't eat. Never mind.
* The swatch above is for the High Society hat!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Swatch for next Simplicity 3759 dress

The above swatch looks more orange than the pretty pale pink it really is. It's more a wearable lipstick in your bathroom bin and less Orangeade. In any event, this is the stretch lace I plan on pairing with a cloud grey (the overcast sky variety not the ones thunderstorm type) super soft jersey for yet another rendition of Simplicity 3759. I'm trying to lighten the load in my closet by using two fabrics at once. The stretch lace will act as an overlay on the basic grey skirt. So to imagine it (as I often do in the pre-production stages) the lace will be on the skirt and the sleeves. To put it all over would be much too heavy. I'm going after a cocktail party at 8 p.m. look, besides, I'd totally lose the ruching detail at the neckline if I put the lace on the bodice. Somehow, I have this idea that I could put a crinoline underneath, but I don't think the skirt's quite long enough, but it would be fun to take Simplicity 3759, the first rendition, to a vintage shop and try one just to see how it would look. Maybe I will one day soon. There's always the vintage apparel shop in Evanston (naturally near Vogue Fabrics on Chicago Avenue, a half-block away from Whole Foods or to the Antique Resale and Thrift Shoppe (which has a new web site - more of a reference point that actual online sales portal).

But back to the stretch lace. It's funny how little I see this stuff in ready-to-wear or even made up in clothes by other sewers. Is it scary to sew? Not if you have the right needle, tension or even stabilizer if necessary. Or is just too sexy looking for everyday wear? It doesn't have to be if it's paired with more meek textiles. In my case, I plan to team it with a dense but still light jersey so I get coverage I need besides, my knit is so humble it will let the lace be the star of the show! I think the dress will be so stunning, I'll feel like wearing a pair of 1950s-era gloves, fascinator and coordinated tights. In my mind (a vast place even if it doesn't look like it), baby no. 2 will outshine no. 1. That isn't the always the case in real life, you know, where the first-born gets all the attention no matter what the second child does to gain notice? At least in my sewing world, the second even third attempt at a pattern can be far superior than my initial attempt. Haven't you found that to be the case?

So while flowered dress's hem is being pinned up, I'm also working at a snail's stride on the High Society hat from Romantic Hand-Knits. I have happily completed the brim, now there's the small matter of working on the crown. Even so I was surprised at how swiftly and easily I started this project. It's been a while since I knitted any lace pattern, so I wasn't sure how hard this hat would be. I'm hoping that the crown is quick work so I can wire the whole shebang already. I'm already contemplating another round on this particular pattern, this time in the suggested Knitpicks yarn. Blue might be pretty, I'm not sure. But I'd love to get something in a tweedy marigold flecked with bark brown, just something I can wear in the fall perhaps. Just maybe.

Here too are some interesting links that you might enjoy reading:
* How to make a t-shirt quilt. This is for all those whale-sized tees in your drawer or even get ones from a friend for a fantastic and personal birthday/holiday gift.
* Shirt Sold Out? DIY.
* The International Millinery Forum, Wagga Wagga, Australia, Jan. 17-22. Registrations are coming faster and furious, according to this blog.
* Finally least but not last, my newest poll results. When I asked how much sewing gets done when it's really hot outside, 40 percent of you responded, "a little." Aah. You're just like me. Over and out.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer's Not Over Yet...Pushing Daisies in Evanston*

For all the talk of summer slipping away like an eel, I'm not quite ready to write the season off just yet. In fact, I'm the type that won't even officially acknowledge fall until sometime in October or at the very least when the cool, jacket-weather winds blow through late September. To be completely fair (hard to do, I know) we've had a really mild summer so far in Chicago - no 100 + degree days, and the one day to date that was unpleasantly warm was actually only about 85 degrees but felt a lot hotter because of the humidity. Considering both coasts (East and West in the U.S.) have had some really scalding 24-periods during the past couple of months, well, I feel blessed and unable to complain about a few scattered thunderstorms here and there.

So I had to make a dent in my collection, so I really just went for the heaviest bag of fabric. I grabbed a hefty one with 3 yards worth of a pale grey super-soft jersey that I bought thinking I'd make Valerie's top again. I thought why not slay two birds at once and use some other fabric at the same time? So, just goofing around, I put a remnant of this pretty peach flower-print stretch lace on top. What a knock out! Then I pulled out Simplicity 3759 because I like the simple lines (read: super-easy to make) of View A. Figuring I'd cut two dresses at once, I uncovered another Vogue Fabrics bag with a lightweight sheer white knit with appliqued t-shirt weight fabric daisies in periwinkle, ruby and dusty beige. Summer magic, not fall lust.

So I headed off to Vogue Fabrics yesterday (Sale Sunday, folks!) with a short list of stuff to do: finish sewing bathing suit, and cut out two dresses while I was renting the classroom for $5 for the entire day.

Well, I ended up only getting one dress cut out and sewn. But I consider that an accomplishment of sorts considering this fabric has been neglected in my closet for at least a year. I remember buying three yards of it at Vogue Fabrics in the silk room. I don't have a receipt to show for it now. It was probably $2.99 to $3.99 a yard. It begged to be made in a flowy dress from the get-go, although I was thinking more along the lines of a wrap-dress not a t-shirt collar dress that it consequently became.

But I'm quite happy with the outcome, especially since it's wearable, with virtually no detectable flaws. Here's a short-list of what I like about this dress and some things to watch for if you, my friends, are decide to use this pattern:

1. This dress is ideal for women with small shoulders. It is a Misses/Petite Knit dress, according to the boldface print on the back of the envelope. It's also a raglan sleeve style, which is also flattering if you're small-boned and -busted on the top. I'm both, and I'm happy with God for making me that way. It makes sewing that much easier.
2. Probably the hardest part is the collar. While I cut a size 8 straight through from top to bottom with any alterations, I did cut a size 10 in the neck band, and actually could have gone with a size 12 in that department. I'd always always suggest cutting that piece out longer than you think because the pattern doesn't know how much stretch your fabric has. If it's too long, you can always cut, if it's too short, well, I'm not aware of any fabric growth hormone to make it longer. Be sure to notch it as suggested, and fit that part first, adjusting the threads on the ruching on the front bodice to fit. Then pin the rest of the collar all around. I serged the whole kit-kaboodle with the 'fake' serger stitch on the classroom Viking 735.
3. Since the fabric was so lightweight, I lined with a nude light knit that I think I got on what used to be the dollar a yard table (it's now $1.29 yard). I simply cut a top front and back, and both skirt pieces from this jersey. Stitched them directly to all pieces. Then sewed together the lined sections. I didn't line the sleeves because a) they don't need it b) it would appear too heavy.
4. I blind-hemmed the sleeves because anything else would have drawn attention away from the loveliness of the appliqued flowers. I did adhere Steam-A-Seam2 so I could keep the hem straight while I was blind-stitching, but that was awkward and time consuming because I had to pull away the somewhat sticky raw edge of the sleeve bottom just a little so I could do the hem properly. Sure, I could pin it, but I dislike having pins sticking out while I am sewing. It feels like I'm just going to get jabbed (Ouch!) that way. So I'm not sure what's a solution. Anyhow, the results looks good. So I'm content for the moment.
5. While I stitched the skirt lining and main fabric as one piece, next time around I would attach them separately so they hang free. I think it'll look better and be easier to hem. Right now, I've got to undo a little bit of the stitching at toward the bottom of the dress, so I can blind hem the edge. I'm hoping it'll still look smooth and pucker-free, fingers double-crossed.

All in all, I more pleased than Hawaiian Punch. I started the dress at 11:30 a.m. (laying the fabric, pinning the pattern pieces) and finished sewing around 4 p.m. (minus the hem, which is still undone). I love a pattern without zippers and buttons! This particular pattern might be a little boring for an advanced sewer, but it's great for a novice, especially someone who wants to sew with knits but doesn't know quite where to begin (start with the proper needle - I used a ballpoint one for jerseys - and fix the tension accordingly). Another note: this dress, with its below the knee hem, is probably a little demure for my taste. (I feel like I should go to high tea or at least a wedding reception wearing this). A certain, nameless member of my family would adore this dress. So while I'm not wild about the dress, I'm not entirely displeased, I do delight in how it turned out. I plan to cut at least one more out since I know exactly what to do and when. Yesterday, I also cut out the view B (a top) with the flowered remnant. I ran over to the main room to buy a yard of $1.29 sheer pink mesh, which I'll use to line it to make it distinct from the dress. By the way, when I wore the finished dress afterwards around the store, more than few admirers thought this was a top and a skirt, not one complete dress. So to make sure that the eagle-eyed sales staff doesn't think the top-to-be made isn't just part of the original dress, I'm lining it in pink so it's clearly different. So...summer stick around! I'll treat you well, well everyone's getting ready for autumn all too soon.
* Here's a fabric swatch, I'll upload a picture of said dress as soon the sun cooperates with my camera (i.e. I get an overcast day) and my hair's up to speed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Going for the Gusto*

I'm a knitting wussie. So much of it intimidates me, I wish I could just swan dive into like some other fanatics out there. You know the ones. Those that buy three hanks of Brown Sheep Cotton fleece and three days later whip out a lacy top or skirt. Or those that have at least three projects going at once, and rotate them according to their level of speed like so many pots on a stove. Those lacy knit gloves? Stuck. Put on the back burner. Moss stitch beret? Making progress, but I need someone to help me rip back a row. Sweater? Swatching and blocking that later this evening. It seems to me too that those with large stashes of yarn, in other words, those knitters who get buried by a snowfall of skeins when they open the closet, they're the ones always working their sticks (though not necessarily reducing the collection aka stash). Me? My yarn collection is so small, it scarcely merits closet space. Whereas I'm hasty to cut out fabric and patterns, knitting takes me so much time that if I were running the Chicago Marathon, I'd do best to start now. It doesn't matter that the starting line hasn't been set up yet. Then there's the budget. If I buy any yarn, by golly, I'm going to knit now, not wait until winter when it's suitably cold enough to be doing K2, P2 with 100 percent wool. I don't want my yarn to gather any dust, and I want my money's worth right away. What's more, I really think about what I'm going to do for the longest time. I've got more 100 projects tagged favorite on Ravelry, but nothing queued. I don't even know how to use that function. So it was quite amusing to read in the latest issue of Vogue Knitting, that there are users who actually watch what others are lining up in their list of projects. That would actually be an interesting function to add to Patternreview. Maybe it's already available there. I dunno.

I'm thinking that the knitters who learn the most are the ones who invest the most, whether it's time, money or both. They aren't content to just sit on the sidelines, cheering on players, they jump the pointy fence, stumble on the dirt knees first (ouch!) and play. If they fumble with the bumble, help the opponent score a point, it doesn't matter, they're learning. It's all about the journey, which clearly needs to be the topic of a t-shirt, if it's not already somewhere, somehow.

I think I have that hunger to just make lots of mistakes fast and quick with sewing. I've tossed out dozens of projects. I've gots lots of unfinished projects in shopping bags throughout my home. A closet collection collaborating and planning future growth. Pins dangerously poking about on the bedroom floor, rolling in laughter on the living hardwood floor.

Meanwhile, the knitting needles are lined up nice, prim and proper behind a glassed in bookshelf. Ditto the knitting needles. The yarns are sequestered in a beaten-up shopping bag on a hanger in the front closet. There's nothing remotely knitting-related on my to-do. No "go to Arcadia today," or "test out lace pattern this weekend" or even "stock up on Malabrigo for bolero jacket." There's a bit of lingering fear, a fear of commitment - like how long will it take to make the cute 1930s knit hat in Romantic Hand Knits? Or the pom pom peds - how quickly can I master the pattern to the point that I'm cranking out a pair lickety-split without thinking? I just want to get to the point where I'm done in the way I am with sewing. Materials? Check. Pattern? Cut, cut, and CUT. Stitch, stitch, stitch. A little pressing. Steam here, steam there. I'm done. I'm wearing the sewn garment hot off the iron in a matter of hours.

Knitting seems like it's a lot of pre-crafting plotting. Get enough of same color lot yarn. Swatch. Rewrite pattern that so that it fits you and not your sister. Start project in fits like you're hand-cranking a Ford Model T. Speed only comes after you add ethanol. If you're lucky, you'll have something in a matter of 48 to 72 hours. Nothing, nothing, not even Tinker Bell, comes overnight. A lot, from what I read, gets done within months. Some gets aside and finished a year later. Gosh, what a slow-cooker hobby. Where's the instant gratification - but not a straightforward knit-and-purl scarf - that can be accomplished without enlisting an army of experts in person or online? I just dunno. Hence my hesitation.

Then again, knitting is a portable project as I've mentioned many times before. I'm not quite ready to give it up just yet. But I'm not in love. I don't swoon over skeins of yarn. I'm not ready to buy a drop-spindle let alone a spinning wheel just so that I can say that I not only carded the fiber but I spun the yarn. That's too much, although it does appeal to me in a Tasha Tudor sort of way. I feel the same way about hairpin lace. I've got the tool, but I hem and haw at the edge of the pool. (A fitting analogy given that I'm always in the warm-water pool for aerobics thrice weekly). Will it be cold?

With that in mind, I'm ready to sign off the computer and do something crafty. Will it be Vogue Fabrics or Arcadia Knitting? Vogue is a cheaper fix, Arcadia feels more like I'm signing up for Pre-Cana classes and the pre-wedding jitters are already kicking in. What about you? What hobbies are you ready to try but not quite ready to carry out?

Enough on my knitterly anxieties. A little bit of this and that:
  • Pattern Poll Results. Forty percent of you love McCalls, 40 percent love all big four patterns (McCalls, Vogue, Butterick and Simplicity) ; 20 percent of you like Vogue. I'm the lone star in this crowd: I mostly love Simplicity, seemingly a small-shouldered girl's beeeeest friend.
* The swatch above is from a gauge-swatch cardigan started in Des Moines two years ago. I need more yarn to complete it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Little Bit Hatty...*

Here's a hodge-podge of millinery-related information:
If you're in London, sign up for the last of two spots in a millinery class at the Make Lounge. If you're interested in the future of millinery, you might be interested in the following, which was sent to me by Eia:

On behalf of the Fashion Department at SAIC, we ask for your support for the 2008 Raymond Hudd Millinery Awards as an investment in the future of millinery design. Gifts of any amount are welcome.

The Millinery Program in the Department of Fashion Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is rapidly growing in size and reputation. The department is deeply grateful to everyone who has supported the development of our students’ work.

The Fashion Department’s recent move to the Sage Studios in the historic Sullivan Center has allowed the Millinery Program to expand course offerings and classroom space, and to create a dedicated hat display area within the Fashion Resource Center. The Program strives to provide students with public exhibition opportunities, and to facilitate their connection with the Chicago art and fashion community. During the opening celebration for the Sage Studios, the millinery students were able to display their exciting hat designs for Mayor Richard M. Daley and members of the Fashion Advisory Council, as well as hundreds of dedication guests. Our Millinery Design students also recently participated in Fleurotica, a hat runway show, at the Garfield Park Conservatory.

The Raymond Hudd Millinery Awards were created last year to recognize the extraordinary efforts of our talented hat design students, helping them gain further millinery education or get a start in business. Raymond Hudd is a renowned Chicago hat designer, and the awards were named to honor his body of work as well as his enthusiastic support of new milliners.

If you have any questions about the award or would like to make a donation by credit card please feel free to contact Ingrid Messer in the Development Office at 312.899.5146 or Checks may be made out to "SAIC" with a memo specifying "Raymond Hudd Millinery Award" and mailed to:
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Office of Development and Alumni Affairs
37 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603-9847
* This is me wearing a 1930s tyrolean hat I bought at Silver Moon when it was on Halsted Street.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Portable Projects*

Aah. The Portable Project. There's a lot of talk about that now, along with great books to read while sitting on the beach, hanging around for the endlessly delayed flight or on a sidetrack while waiting for a far more important freight train to pass by (this is for American train passengers idled on an Amtrak train).

Consequently, the project becomes hugely important. It's something to do after you're bored watching movies on the laptop, when it suddenly it becomes urgent to do something challenging with the brain. If you've get a well-thumbed paperback, you're set in the grey-cell activity department, and it is actually somewhat tacticle since you've got to turn those wrapping-paper thin pages. But I like digging into making something, a show-and-tell-for the road, a task that you can see progressing as you move along your journey, and hopefully complete before your adventure is finished.

Contrary to popular opinion, knitting and crochet aren't the only projects that you can easily pop into a handbag. Here are a couple of other handiwork entreprises that travel nicely like a well-covered homemade blueberry pie:
1. Cutwork. It could be paper or fabric. If you're not obsessed with perfection and you can handle carrying a little pair of scissors (particularly on airplanes, and I've done this, so it's all right at security checkpoints), this is a great way to exercise your hands and just play. For me, I've been hacking iron-on copper facing into tiny, big, and huge circles. These past two days, I've just sat there with no music, cutting and cutting, little bits of copper paper floating onto my bedspread, floating onto the wood floor. I even got some assistant from an admirer, who with Depression-era thriftiness, folded the paper in half, cut two circles at a time, sparing not one little bit of scrap. I've got lots of circles for my blue knit fabric. One more thought: you could make lots of cut-out for later use. I did that for a hatblock and this folding screen. What's even better, you can enlist fellow passengers that way your hands don't get fatigued.
2. Embroidery. This is excellent if you got your sewing on a hooping, and all your floss and needles arranged on a card. It's fantastic because you can set it on your lap, doze off, and pick it up hours later and know exactly where you are, which is not the case with knitting or crochet, particularly when you're following a pattern. Then you must reread the instructions at least twice to make sure you're on track (an appropriate wisecrack when you're traveling by rail, which I just might do tomorrow morning.) Another on-the-road worthy project is smocking, which is a great, slow way to add detail to a garment. Right now, I'm keen to cut out a square of small print red-and-white gingham, do 10 minutes of chicken-scratch embroidery across each. Then I'll have two pockets to machine stitch to a nice, big full, knee-length 1950s gingham skirt, which I'll make nice and fluffy with a crinoline.
3. Scrapbooking. I'm not sure you could bring a huge project with you, but I'd bring a lightweight blank pocketed binder, lots of stickers, then stick various bits of memorabilia in a sleeve as you park at various destinations. (Hopefully you will not stop on a cloud mid-journey on a plane. There are no postcards there.) Of course, to make it really meaningful you'd need to scribble little notes throughout, comments like: "We were stuck in the airport for three hours but dad took us to McDonald's" or even "We waited out a tornado in this rest area. It was really scary when the wind blew knocked over a garbage can, but we're okay."
4. Letter-writing. I think this is absolutely the best. It's basically like journal-writing, but instead of keeping each day's escapades and thoughts to yourself, you share it with family and friends. You'd need to make sure you have a pad of paper, pen, envelopes, stamps, and most importantly, your address book. Write everything that happens, preceded with "Dear >>>" to put it all in perspective. When you're finished with the missive, seal, stamp and drop it in the nearest mail box. Then you can relive your experiences weeks later when your friends call to thank you for your note. A lengthy letter is preferable than a postcard, which is short, somewhat sweet and sometimes, unreadable.
If all is fails, you can simply take a nap, and catch up on your sleep. Sugary dreams.
* The remnant above is not a part of a Portable Project right now. It's the by-product of my Patternreview tour at Vogue Fabrics last week. Yes, I got 10 percent off of $5.99 for 1 1/2 yards of this 54-inch swatch of stretch lace! I scanned the peachy fabric against a piece of black paper...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hamlet's Holiday and My Pre-Vacation Silliness

Hamlet is gone for the weekend, vacationing right across the street from Lake Michigan. Yes, his weekend get-away is a mere five blocks away from my apartment. He's staying with a woman who has a dog named Hazel. I'm hoping he's behaving - yesterday he went to the bathroom inside this lady's home, not five seconds after entering the place. Oh dear.

In the meantime, I'm actually thinking of doing some pre-sewing fun with the above fabric. I've got a sheet of this iron-on copper. Here's the plan: I'm going to cut a bunch of circles. I'm debating whether or not to cut out the pattern pieces for this top and then adhere my circles, or figure out where the pattern pieces go, remove 'em, then iron on the cut-outs. At that point, cut the front and back pieces. Oh yes, I'm thinking of sticking a few circles on the back just for a little coming-and-going surprise, which is what I like to do when I make hats (which is rare right now, but that might change now that Deepika tells me there will be a Patternreview hat contest, I'm feeling competitive.)

I plan to do all this cutting out stuff while I'm on a mini-vacation. I'm considering bringing my sewing machine with me. Just contemplating. Then again, won't that be too much stuff to carry around? I just really wish I had a knitting project in the works, but I don't. Not right this minute. But if I were to haul my machine with me, this project would be done pronto. It's an easy topic after all. I'd have to remember to bring pins, twin-stitch needle (for the neckline), regular jersey knit needle, matching thread, some clear elastic for the ruching, along with my sanity. A little Steam-A-Seam wouldn't hurt.

I just washed the fabric in the bathroom sink. I'm not sure that was a brilliant move given that I'm leaving within an hour and that sodden mess is coming with me. I'm certain it will dry out quickly, but carrying that thing will be heavy. But it had a stain on it (which is why I got this huge swath for one dollar at Vogue Fabrics) and I wanted to get rid of it immediately so I can get down to business once I arrive at my destination. I'm actually thinking of draping this knit on the backseat of my brother's car so it can dry while we're in transit. Practically speaking, I'm not sure this will work. It might as long as the windows are open, but that's going to make our highway trip really noisy and windy. To other motorists, it might look like we're in Chicago's Blue Bag program in a big way. That economical, quicky dry is one way to ensure that I can dive into my hobby when I arrive. However, haste makes super-waste, at least in my notebook. I wish I had a book to read. Sigh. Wait! There might be some novels on the shelf where we're going. I'm off to finish up prepping for the trip.