Make Do and Mend

Historically clothes were often remade. But somewhere along the way clothes became cheap and thus disposable and we stopped remaking them. Well, we also stopped making clothes (that’s a discussion for another day) and thus we lost the skills to make (or remake or mend) clothes.

The other day my husband ripped the elbow of his dress shirt. He has done this before and it always pains me to throw out an otherwise perfect shirt. This time I had an idea: why not use his shirt to make a shirt for me?

before

I laid the shirt out, cut off the sleeves and up the side seams, laid my pattern out (I’m using the Wiksten tank), and cut out the pieces. I was in a bit of a conundrum about the bias binding until I remembered the perfectly good sleeves (well, one of them was perfectly good, and the other very nearly so). Using the sleeves as bias tape also reduced my waste. cut

I pinned and sewed and ironed and sewed some more, and here is what I came up with:

I made some modifications to the pattern because of what I had to work with:

  1. The shirt is a little less full at the bottom than the pattern (because my husband is a skinny man). It still fits very comfortably.
  2. The last time I made the Wiksten tank I really didn’t enjoy turning up the hem. Since I was working with a shirt that already had been hemmed I kept the existing hem (even though it was a little different in shape from the pattern).
  3. The neck is a little higher – partly because I feel more comfortable with a higher neck, partly because I wanted a button at the very top of the shirt.
  4. The neck and arm holes are simply sewn over with bias tape instead of being turned under.
  5. I moved the pocket to the right hip area (and it’s a man-sized pocket so it fits ALL THE THINGS).

pocket

I feel so pretty and comfortable in this shirt! And I can wear it with jeans or coloured pants. And the pocket! Did I mention the pocket? I love pockets.

What would I do differently? Well, I somehow messed up the shoulder/back neck so it doesn’t hang well in the back. I need to raise the whole back panel. And I think I will end up putting in some bust darts because the arm holes are a little wide for my taste.

All in all I like it. Would I do it again? Maybe.

In Progress

My Fibonacci blanket is getting too big to cart around. Thusly, I have barely looked at it recently. This square is going to be done soon, though.

blanket

My Crochet shawl continues apace. As a knitter this is surprisingly easy to work on and I am enchanted with the play of light and colour in these two yarns.

shawl

My Pink Floyd socks are close to being finished. I have a few more inches left on the foot and then the toe and afterthought heel. I’m hoping to finish them this weekend.

socks

And here’s a sneak peek of a project I’m just about finished with! I can’t wait to tell you more about it next week! (Look, it has a pocket!!!)

shirt

A Well-Kept Home

A book shop is a pleasant place to while away an hour. And, of course, one cannot leave a book store without a book. This is the most recent addition to my library:

book

What a refreshing and thought-provoking book. I feel like I’ve sat down with women of many generations and been told all their secrets of keeping a home. I long for a simpler life where my main concern is how to keep my linens white and my silver polished. That life may never come back to our culture as a whole, but I can capture pockets of it by using the knowledge and traditions of yesteryear (also, lots of lemon, salt, lavender, and soap).

Here is what Amazon has to say about the book:

This classic volume … provides time-tested advice and old-fashioned wisdom for maintaining a lovely and inviting home. The frantic quality of modern life and our increasing reliance on technology and on manufactured goods has submerged our awareness of the inherited and seasonal patterns of effective domestic household management. A Well-Kept Home revives the more natural methods used by our forebears to run their homes, reflecting on the traditional way that earlier generations cooked, cleaned, decorated, groomed, and gardened. In this exquisitely illustrated book, Laura Fronty draws on her own grandmother’s life experiences in the home and the garden, providing helpful tips and natural solutions for effective food preparation, cleaning methods for clothes and the interior, restorative beauty treatments, and basic approaches to gardening. She emphasizes the satisfaction gained from even the most mundane of tasks and offers indispensable tips for activities that cover a variety of domestic themes, such as making bitter orange marmalade or instant shortcrust pastry, lighting a wood fire, treating wooden floors with wax, mixing ivy water for cleaning delicate fabrics, and preparing lily oil as a face moisturizer. A Well-Kept Home transforms our approach to the daily chores surrounding the upkeep of a home. The practical advice and natural recipes make it possible to take real pleasure in essential household duties, while at the same time evoking the atmosphere and spirit of a time gone by.

 

Fastest Spin Ever!

Next time I’m in the middle of 5 large projects with no end in sight remind me of the week I finished ALL THE THINGS! Also, remind me to spin a few Rainbow Rolls because those things spin up FAST!

A month or two ago I bought two Rainbow Rolls because they were on sale and I was curious. A Rainbow Roll is a roll of predrafted, unspun fiber. It’s 2″ thick and about the size of a dinner plate.

noro

After I finished my Rumplestiltskin yarn I needed a palate cleanser, and this seemed like a quick spin. I had no idea how quick it would be though. Here’s what I had after an hour.

first

The next day I finished spinning my singles (2 1/2 bobbins worth).

bobbins

I plied the yarn (first time plying from 2 separate bobbins! Woohoo!), and now I have 3 beautiful skeins!

skeins

It’s like a magic trick! Tadah!

Rumpelstiltskin

Once there was a miller who was poor, but who had a beautiful daughter. Now it happened that he had to go and speak to the king, and in order to make himself appear important he said to him, “I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold.”

The king said to the miller, “That is an art which pleases me well, if your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to-morrow to my palace, and I will put her to the test.”

And when the girl was brought to him he took her into a room which was quite full of straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and a reel, and said, “Now set to work, and if by to-morrow morning early you have not spun this straw into gold during the night, you must die.”

Thereupon he himself locked up the room, and left her in it alone. So there sat the poor miller’s daughter, and for the life of her could not tell what to do, she had no idea how straw could be spun into gold, and she grew more and more frightened, until at last she began to weep.

But all at once the door opened, and in came a little man, and said, “Good evening, mistress miller, why are you crying so?”

“Alas,” answered the girl, “I have to spin straw into gold, and I do not know how to do it.”

“What will you give me,” said the manikin, “if I do it for you?”

“My necklace,” said the girl.

The little man took the necklace, seated himself in front of the wheel, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three turns, and the reel was full, then he put another on, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three times round, and the second was full too. And so it went on until the morning, when all the straw was spun, and all the reels were full of gold.

By daybreak the king was already there, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and delighted, but his heart became only more greedy. He had the miller’s daughter taken into another room full of straw, which was much larger, and commanded her to spin that also in one night if she valued her life. The girl knew not how to help herself, and was crying, when the door opened again, and the little man appeared, and said, “What will you give me if I spin that straw into gold for you?”

“The ring on my finger,” answered the girl.

The little man took the ring, again began to turn the wheel, and by morning had spun all the straw into glittering gold.

     The king rejoiced beyond measure at the sight, but still he had not gold enough, and he had the miller’s daughter taken into a still larger room full of straw, and said, “You must spin this, too, in the course of this night, but if you succeed, you shall be my wife.”

Even if she be a miller’s daughter, thought he, I could not find a richer wife in the whole world.

When the girl was alone the manikin came again for the third time, and said, “What will you give me if I spin the straw for you this time also?”

“I have nothing left that I could give,” answered the girl.

“Then promise me, if you should become queen, to give me your first child.”

Who knows whether that will ever happen, thought the miller’s daughter, and, not knowing how else to help herself in this strait, she promised the manikin what he wanted, and for that he once more spun the straw into gold.

And when the king came in the morning, and found all as he had wished, he took her in marriage, and the pretty miller’s daughter became a queen.

     A year after, she brought a beautiful child into the world, and she never gave a thought to the manikin. But suddenly he came into her room, and said, “Now give me what you promised.”

The queen was horror-struck, and offered the manikin all the riches of the kingdom if he would leave her the child. But the manikin said, “No, something alive is dearer to me than all the treasures in the world.”

Then the queen began to lament and cry, so that the manikin pitied her.

“I will give you three days, time,” said he, “if by that time you find out my name, then shall you keep your child.”

So the queen thought the whole night of all the names that she had ever heard, and she sent a messenger over the country to inquire, far and wide, for any other names that there might be. When the manikin came the next day, she began with Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, and said all the names she knew, one after another, but to every one the little man said, “That is not my name.”

On the second day she had inquiries made in the neighborhood as to the names of the people there, and she repeated to the manikin the most uncommon and curious. Perhaps your name is Shortribs, or Sheepshanks, or Laceleg, but he always answered, “That is not my name.”

On the third day the messenger came back again, and said, “I have not been able to find a single new name, but as I came to a high mountain at the end of the forest, where the fox and the hare bid each other good night, there I saw a little house, and before the house a fire was burning, and round about the fire quite a ridiculous little man was jumping, he hopped upon one leg, and shouted –

‘To-day I bake, to-morrow brew,

     the next I’ll have the young queen’s child.

Ha, glad am I that no one knew

that Rumpelstiltskin I am styled.'”

You may imagine how glad the queen was when she heard the name. And when soon afterwards the little man came in, and asked, “Now, mistress queen, what is my name?”

At first she said, “Is your name Conrad?”

“No.”

“Is your name Harry?”

“No.”

“Perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin?”

“The devil has told you that! The devil has told you that,” cried the little man, and in his anger he plunged his right foot so deep into the earth that his whole leg went in, and then in rage he pulled at his left leg so hard with both hands that he tore himself in two.

~Story by The Brothers Grimm (found here)

I am no Rumpelstiltskin, but I feel like I have spun gold.

Started December 29, 2016

Finished May 9, 2017

Recycled Sari Silk spun worsted, plied with silk thread and beads

Approximately 700 yds!

Archeology

Dragged up from the depths of my stash, here we see a project started 3 years ago or more. I was poor and had recently started knitting. I kept seeing pictures of people with yarn bowls, but with no money to buy one I decided to make my own. After a quick google search I came up with this: cotton rope wrapped with yarn. Every inch or so I would wrap the row underneath to hold the thing together.

This project came and went and spent a lot of time hibernating. When I pulled it out on Sunday it only needed another 30 minutes of work. Tadah! Instant satisfaction.

My husband decided to wear it as a hat. I think he looks rather fetching. But then again, I am rather biased.

hat

On the non-crafting front, I just bought the world’s most beautiful tea kettle.

Oh, ummmm. Ignore all that wool. It’s just from Three Waters Farm. It’s not amazing or anything. *You are distracted by the tea kettle*

The Joy of Finishing

Ah, the joy of (finally) finishing something! Starting new things is always fun, but I tend to start lots of big projects and the middle always becomes a bit of a joyless slog (well, as joyless as crafting can be). I always forget how quickly sewing goes compared to knitting!

On Thursday I printed (and taped) the pattern for the Wiksten tank. Due to a problem with the printing size I had to do some math to make sure my shirt would fit. After mathing it was time to lay out fabric and cut. Scary! Eeek! Cutting was accomplished, I pinned, matched thread, and began sewing. The pattern is very clearly written with excellent photo instructions, and it has french seams. I adore french seams for the tidiness inside the garment. Thursday night I finished the basic construction of the garment.

shirt

Friday and Saturday I worked on all the edges and bindings. I think the finishing actually took longer than the construction, though all in all the shirt took me about 6 hours – and that is hand sewing. This thing is seriously fast, people!

I love it. Go buy the pattern and make your own, because this one is mine and I’m not sharing. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make 20 more.