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a photo and some footnotes

It's a slightly fuzzy image but it illustrates the finished product

It’s a slightly fuzzy image but it illustrates the finished product

It was probably merciful that I was busy with bunting, because we’ve had more internet problems. Unfortunately, we’re still having them so my ability to share photos of the bunting is limited but I hope the above gives you a fair idea of what it looked like.

I said that finding an adequate space for cutting was my biggest challenge and in purely practical¬†terms that’s probably true. My truly biggest challenge, however, was being a full-time worker with a lengthy, twice-daily commute. It was, simply, difficult to fit a lot of sewing into my available spare time because there wasn’t much of it.

All the same, I was very pleased with the finished product (actually, extremely chuffed; and even YoungB commented how nice it looked). There were several comments from other guests about how good it looked, which was also very nice. But, most important of all, the bride and groom loved it. You couldn’t put a price on that ūüôā

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Posted by on October 12, 2015 in Sewing

 

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almost absolutely random

A tiny part of what I've been doing, but I love the colour combination in these lavender bags :)

A tiny part of what I’ve been doing, but I love the colour combination in these lavender bags ūüôā

Hellooo, here I am again. Did you miss me?! I’ve been¬†to the cinema a couple of times and one night I made those¬†lavender bags to be¬†a raffle prize (nine bags, a bit over 2 hours of work; nobody would be prepared to pay what that would cost). I used stash fabric and some truly venerable ribbon, which came from Great Aunt’s stash and¬†is¬†possibly¬†older than I am. I¬†squashed all nine¬†into a fancy, little presentation box with a handwritten label that read, “Lavender bags: stick ’em in your drawers :)”. I hope whoever picked that particular prize thoroughly enjoys it.

Mostly, however, I’ve been sewing a lot of metres of wedding-decoration bunting: approximately 270, to be precise ūüôā Without further ado, let me deconstruct the process somewhat.

Because we weren’t sure about¬†what would work in the¬†space, we rough-calculated we’d need 15-metre strips and I made¬†18 of them, to ensure adequate coverage. Mission accomplished. There were enough leftovers to decorate one of the outdoor areas as well, plus hang a little strip across¬†the front of the bar.

Another guest asked if there’d been a pattern to the way I sewed the bunting? I responded that it had been almost absolutely random; and before the purists beat me up and insist it’s either random or it’s not, let me explain.

There were plain and striped triangles cut from the large amount of hessian that Eldest Niece provided; two different sorts of lace triangles, cut from some¬†leftover curtaining that was lurking in my stash; and a lot of¬†lace strips cut from the continuous rolls provided by Eldest Niece.¬†I cut and counted every bit of bunting, and divided each total¬†by 18. That gave me a count¬†per item,¬†per tape. Unsurprisingly, there were leftovers, so they were totted up¬†and that¬†total¬†divided by 18, then all of those put into an “add¬†a couple¬†of these to each tape” container, meaning from the outset that no two tapes were¬†likely to be the same.

Dr B helped me square up my sheeting so I could cut it¬†into tapes and¬†purchased an A0-sized self-healing cutting mat¬†for me (at my request; also¬†some new pinking shears). YoungB helped with picking piles prior to sewing¬†and accompanied Dr B to pick up the¬†cutting mat whose delivery they’d missed. They put up with my eating and running – that is, I’d get home from work, have tea with them and vanish into the sewing room till bedtime – and didn’t complain too much about my moving their cycles from the hallway so I could set up my cutting station on the only large, solid bit of floor in the house. Finding an adequate space for cutting was probably the biggest challenge, although I’ve since had some brainwaves around old doors and sawhorses; but with a¬†template made from a plastic¬†chopping¬†sheet, my¬†new metre ruler and the large¬†cutting mat, I managed to get the job done.

Once all the tapes were sewn – five three-metre x¬†2.5 cm strips joined to form a tape just under 15 metres in length – and¬†all the shapes were cut out, counted and sorted into piles, I’d pick the required number and prepare a stack for sewing. This is where the random element truly came to the fore. As I stacked the pile, I’d¬†sometimes turn it¬†pile over before adding the next piece and every now and then that meant¬†a long run of – usually, because there was much more of it – hessian and one lonely piece of lace before an alternating pattern, or a run of two hessians and one lace, but it wasn’t predictable except that I only had a certain amount of pieces to work with for each tape.

I’d then put the pile by the sewing machine and, using the needle plate as a rough measure of distance between pieces, away I’d sew on the sheeting tape. Ideally, the tape would have been folded in half along its length¬†and the pieces of bunting slipped into the resulting crease, but I quickly realised that, while that provided¬†the neatest finish, it¬†would require far more time than I had available to me. I ended up using a wide zigzag stitch and machining the pieces directly¬†onto the tape, leaving about 40 cm either end for tying purposes. Because I used both my Singer and my Janome, the¬†distance between pieces wasn’t precise¬†but it would be fair to say, I think, that the gap¬†was rarely more than 7 cm. I threw in a handful of¬†lavender bags, packed it all into one of those large, striped shopping totes¬†that would probably¬†hold a couple of small children, and Middle Niece collected it the day before the hall was to be decorated. I’m told that unpacking it was akin to a magician’s trick: the bunting just kept coming out of the bag ūüôā

So that’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. And now? YoungB wants me to magic up some pockets inside his motorcycling jeans, so that he can add in extra protective armour for a forthcoming long trip. I’m scratching my head about that, because I don’t see how I can do it without unpicking a serious amount of heavy-duty seaming. Should I run now?

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2015 in Sewing

 

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Bloody Long Walk: bloody long and bloody hard!

We're smiling, but next year Eldest Niece and I will be busy, we've decided :)

We’re smiling, but next year Eldest Niece and I will be busy, we’ve decided ūüôā

I managed to make four cooling collars. That’s the most important thing ūüôā I found mine very useful and Middle Aunt wore hers. Mine kept me cool and, as a bonus, protected me from sunburn. Of course I was sewing till the last minute because MY plan for my day was derailed. But no matter, I was able to soak the collars and get them fully plumped up prior to the walk; and there’s mine in action (I’d only just reached the finish, the others had been there for ages). I’m always easy to spot because I’m the shortest. Eldest Niece, Middle and Youngest Aunts also did the BLW, making it a family affair. It was a good feeling to get to the end of the walk, so the sense of achievement probably made our grins wider than usual.

Despite our having done the whole walk¬†prior to the event, albeit in bits and not always in the correct direction, we walked through¬†some new territory because of last-minute route changes that the local councils had requested. I am not generally a fast walker.¬†I¬†know¬†what pace I can sustain to get to the end of the distance I’m doing. Yesterday, I walked at someone else’s pace for far too long and burnt out early. I could DO the pace but I could not maintain it for another 20-or-so kilometres. By the time I reached the Tennyson Dunes and some lumpy, scrambly stuff that we’d always known¬†was going to be tough especially if we were tired, I was almost ready to call it quits. But I didn’t. I sat down and had some dried fruit, nuts and a piece of chocolate, slurped down¬†an energy gel¬†with a swig of water, slapped on another layer of sunblock, gave myself a stern talking to, and picked up my feet again.

And all the while, the thoughts running through my head were along the lines of, “I can do this. I have the energy to do this. It’s bloody long, bloody hard and bloody tiring but it’s not bloody impossible.” If I had mito, I wouldn’t be doing anything of the sort.

Although¬†my recording device had me down to a speed of¬†about 25 minutes per kilometer at one stage, it’s not accurate. I stuck the thing in my pocket when I set out and left it there for the rest of the day. That means simply that there’s no account taken of breaks anywhere, whether that was at checkpoints or comfort¬†stops. Having said that,¬†I WAS¬†walking slowly through the Dunes but I kept going, eventually picked up my pace and managed not to be too downhearted when I reached Semaphore and realised it was still another 5 Km to the finish line at Largs Bay ūüôā I was the last of our little group to finish, by quite a long way, but by no means the last of our larger group to reach the finish line.

Today I was back at work, mildly stiff all over and with a couple of sore spots on one foot – no blisters, however! – but I went for a brisk walk at lunchtime and practically galloped to the tram stop this afternoon. Someone suggested I could participate in next weekend’s event, but I said I’d rather do another Bloody Long Walk tomorrow than a mere 12 Km. It’s not so much that 12 Km is no longer a challenge (it could be), but that I hate the idea of jostling 29,000 other walkers!

And now, now that all that extreme outdoorsy stuff is over, I’m about to knuckle down and do some extreme sewing: metres of bunting. Wish we luck ūüôā

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Health, Sewing

 

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no knitting but lots of walking

Just a few of the stairs in store for us

Just a few of the stairs in store for us

Beyond all that greenery, you can see some steps, I think. Youngest Aunt and I managed to scamper up and down – well, that was more Youngest Aunt, the scampering part; but I went up and down them, however badly – quite a lot of stairs last Saturday, clocking up 19.95 Km, according to my tracking device. We’d been aiming to do 20 Km, so that wasn’t bad. Had Youngest Uncle met us just a few metres farther along the road, we’d have romped it in. Well, we’d have made it. By that time of the day, very late afternoon,¬†there wasn’t a lot of romping.

However, I have managed to do something a bit craft related: last night, I bought some wetting beads to use when I make the cooling neck collars. Also, the fabrics for the wedding decorations are exercising my calculating abilities. I cannot reconcile the differences in area in any meaningful way! My suspicion is that I might have to get some more of one to balance the other. Headache-inducing, but in the nicest way.

May all your crafty problems be equally enjoyable ūüôā

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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bombed again

We weren't looking for any of these yesterday :)

We weren’t looking for any of these yesterday ūüôā

Youngest Aunt and I trained for the Bloody Long Walk yesterday, and did encounter one part that required scrambling on the beach. After having walked about 20 Km (17 Km on the actual training walk, the rest on various to-and-fro trips around public transport, shopping, visiting friends and the like), I wrote a post about our day’s adventures. It¬†disappeared when my computer crashed. Again.

In other news, fabrics for the wedding decorations are now in my sewing room. I’ve ordered new pinking shears, stocked up on thread and ensured a supply of blades for my rotary cutters. Given¬†half a chance, and measurements for the area to be adorned, I ought to be able to make a start on the project¬†fairly soon.

I sincerely hope that your endeavours have encountered fewer frustrations :-/

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2015 in Health, Sewing

 

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shall we cross our fingers and hope it’s third time lucky?

Taking it at a run makes it easier but sometimes you have to plod along until you get to the other side

Taking it at a run makes it easier but sometimes you have to plod along until you get to the other side

Two previous posts vanished. One might have been my fault, the other was not ūüė¶ and I’m uncertain if this will make it beyond my desktop. Fnigres corsesd.

So it’s oh well, here we are again and, you know, it’s still winter, I’m tired of the cold (how about just tired?), the Bloody Long Walk is frighteningly close and I’m still somewhat under the weather with a tail-end-of-winter bug that has made, and continues to make, training a fairly unappealing if not occasionally impossible task though everyone else is going great guns with their training, work is so busy I don’t know what to tackle next from the pile, I finished Nonna’s cowl (using remnants of the Moda Vera Ambruni), and YoungB is home and it cheers me to see him still wearing the grey sweatshirt I¬†made for him and even – take note! – to see Dr B wearing a balaclava I made for YoungB. It’s so cold we don’t care who wears what, really, it’s whatever it takes to keep the heat in (Dr B is not entirely bald. But there’s not a lot on top).

More worryingly,¬†I haven’t started the bunting for Eldest Niece’s wedding, though she assures me she has all the fabric. The trouble is, the wedding is in October and, you know, I rarely¬†have the luxury of full days available to me for sewing (especially with training to catch up on and maybe one weekend day with shared¬†availability because of domestic interruptions). Never mind, we’ll get there. We will, one foot after the other. It’s really no good stressing about it because nothing I can say or do will change the situation.

I’d like to make all our Bloody Long Walkers a cooling neck collar – there are 11 in one team and six of us loosely associated but not precisely a team – so that’s another sewing task I need to address more urgently than the wedding decorations. If push comes to shove, I’ll do the six for my immediate crew and let the other team manage without but it would be good to have something for everyone. I think it’s unlikely to be hot in September, on present indications, but it’s foolish¬†to be unprepared. Neck coolers are at least simple and, in this case, I think Great Aunt’s nurse’s uniform fabric might be just the shot: quality cotton and plentiful, no matter how many collars I make.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re up to and whatever weather surrounds you, I hope you’re finding a comfy spot to pursue all your favourite activities. I’m off to do some sewing.

 

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