Thursday, October 30, 2014


Thank you all for your sink advice. While I was away my husband read my blog and tried out all the suggestions.

I came home to a sparkling sink.

Now on to crochet a dog coat too.

All this help is so much appreciated.

Another quick update


I am writing this before I go off to the dentist with my daughter who needs a root canal. 

Since little Mr. Billy sticks to the front of her body like a mussel to a rock my role is to hold him and walk him (he is three months old plus now) and if he gets desperate pass him over for a breastfeed.

We can do this. 

The dentist is a friend of hers with three small children of her own, including two twins who have to have their diapers duct tapped on so they won't take them off and hit each other over the head. These are the same guys who are locked in their room at night with a webcam aimed at their cribs.

We should be good this morning with that level of understanding.

The other domestic news around here is that I have my son's Border Collie staying with me in the week while my son is away working commissioning wind mills.

Birdie has completed the last of Daisy's rehabilitation.

There were a few things we couldn't get through to her, like asking to go out as opposed to waiting for a walk, for those times of the day when I didn't have time to do the seventh walk of the day. It makes sense as there have not been many open doors in her past, but communicating the barking at the door to go out concept was beyond us both.

Enter Birdie, the original Real Dog, who she adores. Within a few days she had all normal dog behaviour squared away, barking at the mail man included. It is so interesting to me how a whole lot of dog culture got communicated between the two of them. 

Most importantly having Birdie here changed Daisy's relationship with my husband. She has been wary of him, men in general but it seems men with beards in particular, and very much my dog. Since my husband is the big soft heart in this family this made me sad, for the both of them. 

Birdie, who loves Leo, was able to pass that on and in the last week, and particularly after a weekend babysitting her while I was in New York, he and Daisy have finally bonded.

I am so happy.

Well that brings me to my trip.

This was a shorter trip (more fabric stuff later) largely centered on taking something to my son he needed. I was on a mission.

The night before I left however I had a real dilemma. 

About a month ago I dropped a large heavy wooden cutting board on my right foot from counter height and my foot has been slowly getting really painful. (It took me a month to connect the two events, but then again I have been busy teaching kids, teaching sewing classes and remember I have been making Renfrew tops and shirts). 

Finally I got it X-rayed and the night before I flew out at 6:30 am I was standing once again in my kitchen trying to figure out what to do. My choices were 1. wait for the doctor to call with the results 2. get my hair done  3. go off to teach a shirt class. Of course I opted for 2 and 3 as I had already decided that there was no way I was not making this delivery or missing out on a day in the garment district. Sewing, your kid, versus putting your feet up, what would you do?

Anyway it turned out not to be broken and I am getting the rest checked out tomorrow.

Where was I?

So I made it to New York and then, this is the completely best part, I made it to the garment district. One up for mothers in their Naot shoes and cross body purses.

I walked into Elliot Bermann first thing (I always start there) and what did I hear "Hey is that Barbara from Sewing on the Edge?"

I kid you not.

Two blog readers from Tennessee, Karen and Bobby,  where there, very nice purchases they made too, that fleece jacket is going to be outstanding, and we had the nicest conversation. I can't tell you how much this made my day. I mean what are the odds? My people there, despite all distance.

Feeling at that point that I was off to a great start I continued for the rest of the day with a nice long rest stop at Ben's where I had cabbage rolls and tea and put my foot up until it was time to head over to Brooklyn and the kids.

Now the other best part.

When I looking for a cab on 6th Avenue a very nice couple from Georgia stopped me because they recognized me from my blog. Must be the pink glasses. Marie just happens to also be a shirt marker (much better one than I am, you believe me) and her husband took off his jacket so I could do a shirt inspection right on the street. Excellent shirt I can tell you. Great fit, really crisp cuffs and collar and even a nice monogram on the pocket. I am hope for some pictures to share with you. Seeing such quality sewing really helps keep your own game up.

So that's all I have time for now before the root canal.

The moral of this story is no matter where you go in this world there is always some sewer there to meet you.

Remember that.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Questions for you

I have had a very quick visit to NYC, arrived yesterday and going out tomorrow early, and have lots of news to tell. That will have to wait until I am reunited with my laptop.

However as long as I have to keep it short I have two requests for any help you can give me on major life issues that are bugging me.

First does anyone know how to get stains out of a corian sink? We did our kitchen a while ago and put in a nice big deep sink that is at one with the counter top. All very nice but it is a cream colour and picks up and absorbs stains like a paper towel soaks up spilt milk. Despite all my best efforts and reading advice on the internet it looks to me like a sink in a gas station where the sign that says ladies is written in cardboard with the last two letters very small because they were running out of room. If anyone can tell me how to get this sink back to normal I would be pretty pleased. That even I am bothered tells you how bad it is.

Second does anyone have a super easy pattern for a crocheted sweater of some kind? I have been slaving away trying to teach myself how to crochet and have made so many dishcloths now in different stitches I can hardly get the drawers in my kitchen closed anymore. And after all I am a clothes maker. I would pretty much make any kind of sweater if it required the basic skills used to make 800 dishcloths.

More later, on such subjects as great surprises like meeting blog readers in the garment district and how it is possible to spend nearly half of what your plane ticket cost on tiny shirt buttons without really thinking.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Flypaper thoughts

  • If you are cooking onions people are going to walk into the house and say "something smells good"
  • Guaranteed
  • I cut out the Alder dress today
  • I am liking the look of this pattern a lot
  • Making it sleeveless in a denim stripe but you could wear a tee shirt and tights under it
  • I am in the process of teaching a Negroni shirt class in the evenings
  • So enjoying it
  • The guy with the tats who raises chickens and brought homemade fruit leather is making a shirt with mushrooms on it
  • Friday I am going to NYC to visit the kids and buy buttons
  • Holding on until then
  • Friday night we are babysittting a friend's nine month old
  • Just like home
  • I am really excited
  • Gone there enough to know exactly what where I want to go
  • Including matzo ball soup when I regroup at Katz's
  • Anyone need a sewing teacher?
  • In NYC
  • Frying up mushrooms also works
  • Last weekend had an old friend I had lost touch with in for a sew day
  • Sewed all day and talked
  • I felt like I had docked
  • Know what I mean?
  • In ten months I go part time and can sew when I want, not when I can
  • Who's counting?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My window this week

Two days ago my next door neighbour died. The cancer he lived with but more or less ignored while he went about his business fishing for salmon, working, and visiting with the street, caught up with him. Ten good years despite of it and about ten days of things going to hell.

Not bad really. Someone in the family has put one of those little signs on the door "Old fishermen never die, they just get reel tired."

My dining room window looks right onto their driveway so the last few nights I kept getting up to see if the car was there. 3:00 a.m. and she still wasn't home, bad sign.  Two days still no car, not good at all. Calls every morning from the lady across the street to wake us up with the progress report.

All week people have been going in and out of the house. The funny man who won the lotto and quit work to stay at home and do what, who knows, letting himself in to make sure the dog was walked, plates being put in the fridge every night, a neighbour driving down an egg sandwich because you know what that cafeteria food is like.

Now he is gone the side door is open all day. You go over there it's like a party but everyone is in black. A lot of people around here still have wakes and that will be going on all weekend at least. I went over and talked to someone's baby while my neighbour cried in the bedroom and then came out to make tea. Someone's son doing something under the deck in the home repair department. The dog getting more walks than he ever got in his life. Some one bringing him in a marrow bone too. I was going to bring muffins but I think they have lots.

The older lady who has the two dogs she walks in tandem like a team told me her daughter suffered for 10 years before dying at 32. Her other daughter moved back to take care of her sister and that's where she met her husband, who is like a gift from heaven. The good and the bad stuff is all mixed up she says.

And she is right. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thought for the day

Some sewing, a few things happening on my street, and lots of school happening so this is a quick thought.

I just read an academic study of British hospital patients. One of the observations was that if the older person was well dressed they were far, far, more likely to be listened to, respected, and given appropriate care.

Not really news, like many academic studies, but it sort of validates one of the things I feel about aging.

It is real easy to say I am in the house most of the time now, or it doesn't really matter, etc. and default to the basics, just because you aren't out and about the same way any more.

Quite apart from the fact I am myself an out and about person it is important to consider that how you look can affect what happens to you, even when you are older, in fact especially when you are older.

Sometimes I think to myself I am spending far too much time thinking about clothes to sew and what to wear and I feel almost guilty (I said almost), but I feel a bit validated by this.

It reminds me of a recent conversation with my doctor when I asked him about a brown spot on my face, apologizing since he is in the life saving business, for my vanity.

"I like to see a vain patient," he said. "To me it means they still care and are taking care of themselves."

Which is why lipstick is important when the only person at home is the dog.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Vogue 9022

When I first saw this pattern, I thought great. Something other than the Kristin knit dress for me to make.

It's fine to have a go-to, but after a while you just wonder if you should also be going to somewhere else.

A few things you should know about this pattern before I get into what I did with it:

  • it is one of those odd ball patterns that says it is OK for both knits and wovens. Translated this means you probably won't need the back walking slit or the keyhole opening at the back if you are working in a knit. I just zipped up my centre back seam and that was fine, although I still liked a seam there so I could do a little shaping for my forward neck and my prominent behind.
  • the pockets are a cool idea. You will note that even in the picture there isn't any top stitching, in fact there is no real stitching at all. The side panels are long and you make a fold in them that creates the pocket and the sides of this pocket bag are captured in the side seams and the seams where the front panel is attached.
  • that's the good news. To make the side panel long enough for all this folding business you have an extra piece you stitch on, nothing more than an rectangle,and this seam is then hidden by the face of the pocket after you have done the fold up. This extra seam you sew to created this extra length doesn't make any sense to me, except for the probably reasonable desire to save on fabric in the layout. In a knit this seam makes kind a ridge that shows through and I will just tape this all together and cut the side panels and one long piece in the next knit version.
Now here are my pictures. One taken today by my long suffering friend at work in my natural habitat with my natural at work teaching expression on my face. Gives you an idea...

A close-up in case you can't believe your eyes, also lightened with my superior photo editing skills to help you see the detail, which it doesn't at all.

For that reason when I sent home to let the dogs out and have lunch I did something no one should ever do.

I took a selfie of my stomach.

Here it is with the note that the pockets are actually not crooked, my arm was up dealing with the camera:

This will give you an idea how the pockets are formed.

All in all I am really pleased with this dress, although I think the colour might be a bit dull. That's why I have the bright scarf with it and am considering also wearing it with a big turquoise "statement necklace" I bought in Florida where things like that look normal, as opposed to here in Nova Scotia where they do not.

The next time I make this pattern, which will be soon, I am going to work in a ponte.

I have to tell you about this fabric I used here, a so-called "scuba knit."

Let's not let the wool be pulled over our eyes folks - this is really heavy old polyester that we would have said "eeww" to before they renamed it and tried to talk us into believing it was anything but.

IMO this fabric should stay with wet suits or form fitting dresses that are more or less urban wetsuits and taken out of the hands of your average person making dresses like say me. I mean this stuff will outlast me, stand up in the corner by itself, but it sort of feels like it was manufactured from recycled tires.

My grandmother wore this stuff and had hot flashes in it at teas in church basements for the rest of her life.

I myself taught in it yesterday and noticed fog on my glasses.

Not to mention the stitching issues.

I have used this fabric before to make a straight skirt and had some trouble with skipped stitches that I eventually worked out.

This time, in a heavier version, no such luck. I tried every needle in my arsenal and in the end the only thing that did sew through it OK was my serger so this is a totally serged dress. Not ideal when the seams should be pressed open but best I could do.

So final verdict. Good pattern with potential, kind of knuckle head fabric.

On to the next thing.