Word of the Day!

Word of the Day

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Work in Progres and Fabric Shopping

I am not going to actually show you the partially completed bodice of the dress I'm working on, but I will show you the pattern and fabric I'm using.

It's a high-quality quilting cotton that spoke to me in the fabric store and said "Make me into a shirtdress". And who am I to argue with the talking fabric in my head? While I am excited about the finished dress, I am not so excited about the actual things I have to do to finish it, like setting in sleeves, so it is progressing slowly.

I considered several vintage shirtdress patterns before choosing a current one from McCall's, not only because it was on sale, but also because the ones I've seen on Pattern Review look a lot better than the one in the envelope illustration. Also, the vintage pattern I most favored would have required some modifications and a muslin, and I was just too lazy for that, though considering the cost of this fabric, I should have probably done one anyway. I am making view E, with the 3/4 sleeves.

Today I stopped (made my husband stop, actually) at Alco in Muleshoe. We hardly ever go to Muleshoe, and so I always stop in to see if their tiny fabric department has anything interesting. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't; if they do, it's a whole 'nother headache to get someone to actually come and cut your fabric. But this time I was in luck. They had some nice quality cottons on sale for 50 cents a yard. Luckily I only had about $3.00 (most of it in change) or no telling what I would have come out with.

I have been trying to sew more from my stash, and thus reduce it, but if I keep running across stuff like this, it isn't going to happen.

Friday, February 20, 2009

My Secret Revealed

I found this thing online called the Gender Genie that purports to be able to tell by the words used in a piece of writing what gender the author is. I entered in a piece of my novel and then a piece of my blog (the entry about the tie). Both times the Genie read me as male, which I find interesting. It bases its assessment on words that you wouldn't think would be gender indicators, such as should, we, with, not (female) and the, below, at, and it (male).

I'm going to be cutting and pasting random things in there for the ten minutes or so, trying to figure out if it's just a bunch of hooey or if I really have a "masculine" style.

I have no pictures today. I'm working on a dress, but Brandon took the digital camera with him in the truck.

*** AN UPDATE ***

After fiddling with the Gender Genie awhile, I think it more or less consistently identifies certain blog authors as male or female, but it has very little do do with the actual gender of the author. Some females are consistently predicted as male, and some male authors are consistently predicted as female, and a slight majority of people's gender is predicted correctly and consistently.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's a Tie!

I was in a very nice quilt shop in Amarillo and I came across a great acoustic guitar fabric. Since Brandon plays bluegrass guitar, I knew it would be perfect for him, so I bought a fat quarter, thinking I would make him...something. He saw it, and loved it, and immediately said he wanted a tie. Being as it was only a fat quarter, and ties are cut on the bias, there was no way that was going to happen, so I had him take me back and I bought a whole yard (Of which I still have quite a large amount left over. Bias cut things are so wasteful to lay out.). I am glad that I did it, though, because it looks a lot better on the bias than it would have straight up and down, much more like a real tie.

So the day before Valentines I was messing around with an old tie I had taken apart, using it as a pattern. The construction is not as simple as I had assumed, and I still didn't get the mitering at the tips right, but it doesn't show, so I say, it doesn't matter.

On Valentines Day I was at the card store, getting a card (their stock was severely depleted) and it was just me and two men searching frantically for the right card. Which goes to show that (a) I am not good at planning ahead and (b) the stereotype really is true about men always buying Valentines gifts at the last minute.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Scientific Experiment

I have always prewashed my fabric for quilting, because I learned to sew clothing first, and you always prewash the fabric for clothing to avoid any unwanted surprises the first time you wash a garment, like the sleeves shrinking up and exposing your wrist bones, or the rear becoming suddenly too tight.

Some quilting books say to prewash, some say to pretest (make sure the different fabrics shrink at the same rate and don't bleed), and some say it isn't necessary at all. So I've been sticking with what I know and prewashing all my fabric as soon as I bring it home.

Recently I was saying something about the difficulty of keeping pre-washed and non-prewashed scraps straight (when some are given by people who do not prewash) and our preacher's wife, who knows a lot about quilting, told me it really wasn't necessary. That mixing the two wouldn't matter. Even though she knows a lot about quilting, I was wary of trusting that advice to the extent of a whole quilt, so I made little miniature test quilts that mixed prewashed and non-prewashed scraps, and washed them on warm then machine dried them. The one on the left is before, the one on the right is after.

It really doesn't seem to make much difference, with quilting cottons. Mixing flannels that aren't prewashed with cottons (prewashed or not) would be a whole different story, I think, as flannel can shrink a lot the first time you wash it.

Also today I made another "Moon Over the Mountain" quilt block, although I prefer to call this one "Hippy sun". I used my little tie-dye swatch to make the sun, and then for the sky I traced the template onto tissue paper and used it as a foundation for the string piecing, then tore the paper off. It's similar to an example from Georgia Bonesteel's book, but a lot brighter colors (and wider "strings").

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today's Breakfast Special: White Chocolate and Apricot Scones

I don't know if it looks like much in the photo, but these scones that we had for breakfast were delicious. They are very bad for you (stick margarine, heavy cream, and white chocolate are all pretty high fat) but the taste totally makes up for it. And I figure next time around I will tweak the recipe to make them healthier. I did go ahead and replace some of the white flour with wheat flour.

The recipe came out of the magazine that the Texas electric co-op association puts out every month. They tend to have good recipes in there, I think because they are the winners of a monthly contest. It can be found here (scroll down, they're called "Coffee Dog Apricot-White Chocolate Scones").

Because I am not running at full capacity first thing in the morning (True story: once I left the baking powder out of the biscuits. They were hard and flat, but Brandon ate them anyway. That's why I love him.) I chopped up the butter and apricots (and the cubes of almond bark, the little store in Farwell doesn't have white chocolate chips) the night before and mixed all my dry ingredients in the bowl so there would be that much less to do before I had my coffee.

The recipe says make a big ball out of the dough, flatten it slightly, and cut into eighths. These were huge, and I couldn't even finish one for breakfast, so next time I will make two balls of dough and cut them into eighths.

Yes, I know I said I didn't like white chocolate. But for some things I make an exception. Like these scones. And white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies. As long as the chunks of white "chocolate" aren't too big. I just don't want to eat a bar of the stuff.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Refashioned Skirt

Months and months ago, when it was barely fall, I bought this skirt for ten cents. Sure, it was a color I hardly ever wear (if that unbleached muslin oatmeal-y color is actually considered a color) and it was a size 1x, and stained, but I thought I would dye it brown and have a nice ankle length skirt for the winter.

Then it sat in a box for a long time, and I changed my mind. First, brown seemed very boring. And then the length turned out to be a not very flattering one on me.

So today I dyed it red, and monkeyed around with length and width, and here it is:

You know, I dyed a jean jacket bright purple in junior high (I thought it was cool and wore it to shreds, but I only remember getting one compliment on it), and I remember the process being more involved and taking more time than this did. It must have been because of my age that it seemed so arduous.

While I was dyeing things, I made a little tie dye too, to use in my quilt:
It's only about 9 inches square. Since I like the way it turned out, I wish I'd done more, but it was a sort of a spur of the moment experiment.

Quick Sale Announcement

Isn't this an awesome pattern? I so wish it was my size, but my wishes lack the power to change reality, so it's for sale in my Etsy shop.

I am having a Buy One, Get One Free (of equal or less value, must still pay shipping on the free pattern) sale on vintage patterns all this month. The patterns have gone from taking up space in the spare bedroom (that we are clearing out to have ready for foster children) to taking up space in my sewing shack, which doesn't have a lot of extra space.

I am posting multiple new patterns daily, so the selection will be changing throughout the month!