Coding, sewing, and knitting

If you’re reading the abstract of this entry through Bloglines, NewsGator, etc., today might be a good day to come on over and visit the actual blog – I updated the color scheme! Please hit refresh!

It’s all Purly‘s fault – I was inspired by her own recent color update, then prompted by her to change my own, and last, she helped me with the color selection! Thank you, Purly! Now I think my blog more accurately reflects my color preferences.

I know there are still a few glitches, namely the way some characters (quotes, accented letters, etc.) are displayed, and I’ll fix that shortly. Also, I need to update my button to reflect the new colors. But if you see something else wonky, as always, e-mail me (especially since I haven’t yet checked the blog on IE).

(knitting content below the sewing content)

I want you to be honest with me. About the sewing content on this here knitting blog: I talk about it a whole lot, and there is nothing to show because I’m at, like, level zero. Are you getting annoyed by this? It’s okay if you are – tell me. Perhaps you’re just amused…

On the other hand, I definitely know how to make a mitered square now, all thanks to you. Look!

I forget exactly which link I ended up using, but I know I had to snip a corner to lessen the bulk (some of the sites suggested just folding the fabric under).

As for placement of my pins, which so many of you pointed out, I was just demonstrating the way I wanted the hem folded, it’s a practice piece of fabric. At one point or another I did figure out that one does not put the pins going into the machine “head first.” You should’ve seen me trying to wrestle the pin out from under the presser foot!

Anyway, I have another sewing question for you. What is this type of fabric called?

All are 100% cotton, very soft (the white are blouses, the mint is a duvet cover). As you can see, they aren’t just a simple weave, they have a little bit of interest. I want to know what to ask for in the store.

Also, I’ve been reading Singer’s The New Sewing Essentials, and am officially declaring it “a favorite.” Just thorough (yet dumbed down) enough for me. I was going to ask you about making perfectly even seams, but there it is on page 17! What I need is a seam gauge (and I’m thinking tracing paper and wheel aren’t such a bad idea either). Oh! Do you guys use water-soluble glue instead of pinning/basting? Page 20!

Okay, knitting.

Dad’s socks. What happened?!?

Well, I was almost done with the second one. I started at the toe, knit to the heel, turned the heel, and then completed another two inches. All along I was noting that it was coming out bigger, both wider and longer than the first one. It was almost as though I had accidentally grabbed larger needles! But I hadn’t. What gives? I have no friggin’ idea.

Anyway, then I whacked myself across the face with a large sheet of Plexiglas. You see, I was on my way to the library and I was carrying the Plexiglas in a plastic bag in one hand and my purse in the other. I lifted one of my hands to scratch my face, and it was the hand with the Plexiglas, and then it was not good. Not good at all.

So I get to the library and I’m examining the damage in a hand mirror, and it looks okay but hurts like hell. I take out the sock, and instead of thinking (is it really that much wider than the first? do I really care that the second will be 10 rows shorter than the first in order to be the same length?), I just ripped. Every last stitch. Sigh.

Now I’m reknitting that sucker while paying more careful attention to my tension, because the only explanation I could come up with is that I was knitting the second looser than the first, for some unknown reason. Of course the stitches look all ugly and wonky:

Yuck. I should’ve refreshed the yarn to un-kink it.

I think it’s coming out the same as the first in terms of size. I think. Keep the Plexiglas away from me to avoid another wild frogging session in the library (while muttering every curse in the book under my breath).

Also, I would like to make a public plea to Santa: Dear Santa, please send me a dishwasher, a finished dissertation, and 2 extra hours every day, so that I may find the time to write something about the new KnitPicks needles. I know it’s not Christmas. Nonetheless, I’m hoping you’ll take pity right now. July 20th is as good of a day as any. Amen.

76 thoughts on “Coding, sewing, and knitting

Comments are closed.


  1. Annarella

    New colour scheme looks great. Funnily enough I changed my blog too yesterday! :)

    Sorry to hear about your sock adventure, you dad should be doubly pleased to get his gift when he hears about this.

    xx

  2. Lara

    Argh. Knitting socks for dads sucks (just finished dark grey birthday socks for my mine). And having to frog them sucks even more. I think you should be fine when washed/blocked, should even out the wonkiness.

    Like the new color scheme.

  3. Nancy

    Not sure if you are a visual learner – but there is a series of DVDs on Amazon called Learn to Sew in the You Can Make It series. A total of 7 DVDs – I got the first two and they are very thorough with going through all the fundamental skills and each subsequent DVD builds on the previous. I learned more from 1 DVD than I did going to two sewing classes. They are a little pricey at about 43$ each – but both my sister and I had wished we’d seen this DVD before taking our class. They dont just tell you how to do things, they also tell you why.

    The only weirdness to them is that they are a bit dated – think mid 80s hair styles, and the narrator never looks directly at the camera.

    That being said they are extremely helpful and more than once we caught ourselves saying “Oh THATS how you are supposed to do it.”

  4. amy

    Like the new colors. And I find the sewing content very interesting. And I have to say, that usually when someone says something along the lines of “I whackedt myself in the face with a large sheet of Plexiglass,” I think it’s going to be in the figurative sense. OUCH. Hope the damage wasn’t too bad.

  5. Ronda

    Speaking for myself, I don’t mind the sewing commentary at all. I’ve just returned to the machine myself, after waytoolong. Blog on!

    The material in the photo seems to be cotton voile “shadow stripe”.

    One thought on pins: try placing the pin heads so that they’re towards your dominant hand. Then when you’re slowing, it’s easy to slow the machine a tad, and pull the pins out, just before they reach the presser foot. That eliminates pin-and-needle collisions (and the inevitable bent pin/broken needle repairs/replacements…not to mention much grumbling).

    (don’t ask how I learned that little gem)

  6. Debby

    When sewing a seam, try taping a piece of masking tape on the bed of the machine in front and to the right of the needle. With a pen, mark off the width you’d like your seam to be. (You’d measure out to the right from the point where the needle enters.) When sewing, just run the fabric through while lining the edge up with the marked width. I hope this makes sense.

  7. Kate

    Mean ol’ plexiglass! I do stuff like this all the time. I currently have a giant green bruise on my ankle and I can’t remember how I got it. Be careful with the whole water soluble glue thing. I’ve had only sporadic luck with it. Good idea requesting things from Santa. What does he really have on his plate right now? He has to be just sitting around with the remote in his hand this time of year.

  8. Elizabeth

    I don’t mind the sewing content. I think of this as “Grumperina’s Blog,” whatever you happen to be up too. It’s actually making me think of starting a small project…

    I hope your injury is only minor and doesn’t hurt too much.

    My first pair of socks looked just like your second Dad sock. I never realized why it was so lumpy; I thought my meager knitting skills just made things uneven. Now I know it’s because of all the frogging.

  9. anne (subversive suburban)

    I love sewing, so that content interests me.

    What’s really important to me is passionate pursuit of any subject. You are most definitely passionate about your interests, so I love reading about them, whether or not they match my own.

    (And my personal sewing tip? Use lots of pins. You can never use too many pins.)

  10. Judy

    I also think the fabric is a voile, which you won’t find in every fabric store. My advice is to go to That Fabric Place, which has everything. You could take your garment or a picture of it and ask for that kind of fabric. One warning – this fabric may not be the easiest for beginners to use but as long as you are careful it will be OK.

  11. Sarah

    I’m loving the new colors — so bright and cheery! (Just what I need on a morning when I had to force myself out of bed!)

    All I can say, Kathy, is that perhaps you should be carrying plexiglass and other potentially pain-inflicting materials in such a way so as not to accidentally whack yourself with them. Perhaps in a bag slung over your shoulder? Or in a backpack? I for one eagerly look forward to reading your blog every day and seeing what you’ve been up to, and it would be just awful to find out that you haven’t been able to knit and blog about it because you’ve, say, knocked out an eye or something. Be careful, girl!

  12. joy

    Love the new colors of the blog! Can’t wait to read more of your sewing adventures; your enthusiasm is so infectious! :-)

  13. Judi

    A couple of comments:

    1. On many, if not most, sewing machines there is a series of lines to the right of the presser foot. they indicate the distance from the needle to the line. The only things you have to remember about using them (or tape, or permanent marker) is that it is only accurate if the needle is in the center position and it is only accurate at the point DIRECTLY opposite the needle. On straight seams this isn’t an issue, but if you are sewing a curved seam you have to guide the fabric so it is AT the line AT the direct center point when the needle enters the fabric. If your sewing machine speed can be adjusted it will be much easier to keep accurate seams if you work at the speed that allows you keep control of your fabric. Slower is usually better.

    2. It seems that no matter how “water soluble” they make the adhesives they will gum up the needles. They can be useful, particularly in places where you can’t tolerate ANY slippage, but use them with care. I try to keep the adhesive off the sewing line.

    3. I hope your career plans include teaching – you are very good at it.

    Judi

  14. Sarah

    I LOVE the new colors! The site looks fabulous!

    And yeah, please be careful with that plexiglass. Nobody wants you hurt!

  15. Anne

    try freecycle.org for the dishwasher. We got ours for free through freecycle, and see them come up fairly often. Good luck!

  16. Mary K. in Rockport

    Handkerchief fabric? St. Jude (patron saint of almost hopeless causes) might be more efficacious for you at this point than Santa.

  17. Judy

    Even though I am sewing-impaired, I like reading about your sewing adventures. As a previous poster said, I just think of this as “Grumperina’s blog,” so whatever you write is fine with me!

    I can’t see a difference in the colors, even after refreshing. But I’m at work, using IE, and our server is weird, so I’ll check at home with Firefox.

    I think the fabric is voile too, for what it’s worth.

  18. Wendy M.

    Hmmm… No one thought to ask why you were taking a large sheet of plexiglass to the library. Is this part of some elaborate bank heist?

    I for one am enjoying the sewing content. I can knit, quilt, and sew teddy bears, but sewing actual clothing mystifies me. I’m living vicariously though you as you learn.

  19. Susanne

    I would stay a loooong way away from that water soluble glue, it reacts differently with different fabrics but pins, pins, pins…and nice and slow on the machine and it will all turn out I am sure.

    That is either voile (beautiful btw) or a batiste which could be the same darn thing for all I know.

    There is a small ruler out there designed specifically for sewers, with a sliding “thingy” that lets you put it where you want and I use that all the time when sewing as I can constantly check my allowance as I sew.

    Wish I was closer, we would have a blast trying different things.

  20. Susan

    I like the new blog colors. And the sewing info, being a sewing nerd myself. The machine and I just don’t get along that well, although I can sew a straight line; that’s about it. So I am tickled to be learning vicariously with you and greatly appreciate the sewing posts. Btw, I made two placemat dpn holders and one table runner circ holder (the same Mizrachi runner) thanks to your instructions. Used my sewing machine, but then put it back in its usual Time Out spot until I work up the courage to use it again. Re: the socks, are you working the second up from your frogged yarn? I had to frog a cardi front recently and the reknitting looked wonky, so I refrogged, wound the skein on a niddy noddy, soaked it briefly in Euclan and hung to dry. Rewound into a ball, the “washed” yarn is much neater – like the original unknit yarn. You may want to do that rather than live with wonkiness. Speaking for myself, I find it’s worth the time to re-do something since I have to live with it staring me down. Even if you’re giving it to someone else, it’ll stare you down in your dreams.

  21. Rose

    Nice color scheme. I subscribe via bloglines, but I only get the first 5 or 6 lines of the post, so I have to come over here anyway to read what you’ve written (which I don’t mind at all).

  22. Red

    I think a lot of knitters are crafters in general, so those who know sewing are feeling your vibe and those who don’t are getting a taste of it through you. Not every crafter has time for all crafts, but that doesn’t mean they want to be left out of the fun!

  23. Ruby

    Reading your frogging the sock because it didn’t match well enough for you brings back many memories. I learned to knit (and sew) from my mother who FIRMLY believed that anything worth doing was worth doing WELL. This allowed for no mistakes in the finished project! Words that I had engraved into my brain were, “A good knitter is a good ripper!”

    I personally enjoy reading about both your sewing and your knitting. I makes me appreciate again the hours that my mother watched over my shoulder coaching me through the twists and turns of learning new skills.

  24. Elizabeth

    I’d say voile. I also recommend checking out the ‘All About – ‘ series by Julie Parker. The books come with real swatches of fabric that illustrate the descriptions of what the fabric is made from and how, recommended uses, wear factors (crushes easily, holds creases, finish wears off, etc). I find these books useful as a dictionary to know what the sewing books or Threads are talking about when it comes to mentioning fabric names. If you to buy them used, check for the fabric sets being complete. You could replace the swatches if you had to, but it would be annoying, time consuming and potentially expensive.

  25. B.

    I’ve never tried sewing with glue, but if I have to sew something really tricky I will baste with thread and needle. If you think about the hand movements involved, pushing a threaded needle through the fabric doesn’t take much more effort than pushing pins through. Then you can sew along without having to pull out pins.

    (If you try this, use a contrasting thread and baste 1/8″ into the seam allowance so the basting is easy to snip and remove.)

    Doesn’t your machine have marks to tell you how far from the edge of the fabric your needle is sewing? If you are sewing a hem wider than the marks, measure from the needle and use a piece of masking tape to make a guide. For narrow seams or stitching keep an eye on the presser foot. Mine has one side (toe?) that is a quarter of an inch, so I use that as a guide and also aim right down its middle for 1/8 inch.

  26. karenology

    Actually I find the sewing stuff useful, as I am starting to sew too, and thus am shamelessly stealing all the advice you are getting from the other commenters :)

    Nice color scheme, btw!

  27. Sara

    I love reading the sewing stuff since it is a subtle reminder that I still have a couple of quilts to finish. And with my horrible memory as of late, I can use as many reminders as I can get!

    Love the new colors… the red is especially yummy!

  28. MamaDeb

    Pretty colors!

    Are sock blockers useful? I’m about to finish my first pair ever, and I think they need to be blocked, but do you need the blockers?

  29. Carole

    The new color scheme is beautiful. As for the sewing content, it’s your blog. You should talk about whatever is interesting to YOU. Sorry about the plexiglass.

  30. hellahelen

    I also find the sewing content very informative, as a sew-a-phobe who has tried intermittently to conquer the fear. There should be a “Fear Factor” for crafters!

    My first thought when I saw the fabric was “cotton jacquard stripe”, but I’m no fabric expert. I think “jacquard” refers to the way in which the stripe (or other pattern) is woven into the fabric, and I’m not sure if it usually refers to a thicker, heavier fabric or not.

    Anyway, keep on keepin’ on! Love the new colors!

    Helen

  31. Risa

    I like the new color scheme. Much more exciting than the blue!

    I must say that I’m enjoying your adventures in sewing. If you pick it up as quickly and expertly as you did knitting, I think we’re all in for a treat!

    One thing that I cannot live without when I sew is a Grabbit magnetic pincushion. It makes everything so much easier – you just throw your pins at it and they stay. Awesome.

  32. alice

    I’m not seeing any new colors, unless the main background is subtly more pinkish. What am I missing?

  33. Tana

    I like the sewing content – I am an experience seamstress but have not done much sewing/knitting combo projects. This is the only place I’ve seen anyone discuss such things and it’s been immensely helpful seeing what someone else has done and then thinking about how I might do it the same or change it to make it work for my project. Love your site!

  34. Mary

    Hey girl, it’s YOUR blog – you put whatever content you want on it! That’s the beauty of self-publishing! So maybe you call it a “needlecraft” blog instead of a knitting blog – no biggie! And that leaves it wide open for you to blog guilt-free about crochet, embroidery, sewing, knitting, tatting, whatever.

    The Egyptian dress looks beautiful on Annie’s dressform. I’ll be interested to see it on a live model.

    Looking forward to your KnitPicks needle review.

  35. Elizabeth

    If your machine doesn’t have seam measures marked, or their hard to see, or even if you just want more options, you might try a seam measure guide. It’s basically a big sticker that you attach to your machine that shows various seam allowances. It’s handy because it shows more than just the basic 5/8–it goes up to a 2 inch allowance, which is handy under certain circumstances. I got mine from Clothilde–here’s a link:

    http://www.clotilde.com/cl/product_group.asp?topcatname=Sewing&listtype=dept&subcat1=SEW&subcat2=SEW-16&catalog=CF05&dept_name=Sewing+Machine+Accessories&pg=10&g_id=164275

    And heck, it’s on sale for $1.78!

    I also warn you again gluing fabric. For one thing, it won’t allow you to ease fabric as you go–something that you sometimes need to do when sewing curves or your pieces just don’t quite line up.

    The best advice I ever got about sewing: take your time. Make a muslin first if you’re worried. You probably know by now, a muslin is a “practice” version of the garment (traditionally made out of, yes, muslin.) You work out all the kinks on this practice version, then you can even take the finished version apart and use it as the pattern for the final garment. It’s tedious, yes, but the results are well worth it.

  36. Marlene

    It’s either voile, lawn, or fine batiest. The three of those are so similar sometimes I wonder if they’re not the same thing. My mother (a professional seamstress) assures me they’re not though.

  37. Connie

    Years ago I bought a quilting seam guide (even though I don’t’t quilt). It’s a six-inch length of lucite that you attach to the machine bed with removable tape and makes it ever so much easier to maintain a straight seam. It doesn’t work at all on curved seams. (For that you need a smaller gauge that offers both straight and curved edges.)

    Naturally, it was such a good idea that Nancy’s Notions no longer lists it, but wouldn’t a bit of plastic from Home Depot and some removable tape work just as well? And probably cost less than what I paid.

  38. debra

    LOVE the new colors (I’m promising myself to change the colors on my own blog… something lighter for summer)…

    The sewing content is great.. and the photos very nice. And I’ll agree that the fabric is a voile. OK, so basically a worthless “me too” comment. sorry.

  39. Marlene

    Oh, yeah, and if you wander into joann’s or hancock fabrics and ask for something like that, you’re likely to get a blank look and a stupid answer. I’d search at specialty shops (the cotton shop is a good one in my area, athough they charge crazy stupid amounts for some stuff) or online.

    (Seriously stupid amounts 20 bucks a yard. I can get silk for less)

  40. Wen

    Why do I keep thinking that you’re teaching yourself to sew not just to make things and repairs, but so that you’ll be good and ready for steeks? Eeek!

    As for the dishwasher, I bought a portable dishwasher for my apartment since there was no way my landlord was going to tear up the 1930′s tilework to install one. It’s one of my best purchases ever. They come in “apartment” sizes, which is about half the size of a regular washer and they are simple to use. Craigslist usually has someone selling one.

  41. Beth S.

    Yikes! I guess you didn’t need stitches or anything, since you didn’t mention the ER–? And that’s a good thing. Still, how awful! :-(

    The socks will be fine after a nice bath. That’s what I tell myself when I re-knit yarn, anyway.

  42. Stephanie

    Good luck with the sewing. I learned decades ago from my perfectionist aunt. To this day I value the sewing lessons I learned from her.

    I know you’ve been searching for a real live sewing instructor. Have you thought of using craigslist – either to post what you’re looking for or to see if there’s someone out there looking for a student just like you? Might be worth a try . . .

    Keep up the good work!

  43. marjorie

    I agree that it is usually called “voile”, but you also might see it identified as organza. You should make a few garments that are not sheer first, because you should have “beautiful” seams if you can see through the fabric. For fabric like that, I would make French seams (a double seam with the ragged edges encased in a “pocket” made by the two seams).

  44. leslie

    You know, if you get a dishwasher it’s like getting two free hours every day! Seriously: I would give up buying wool to buy a dishwasher.

  45. Moby Knit

    Dear Kathy–I’ll see what I can do about the dishwasher–do you have a chimney? I’m working on the dissertation *right now*, though Mrs. Claus says it isn’t up to your standards. I’ll do my best. Love, Santa

  46. Patricia M. Vigen

    It’s been a while since I did much sewing but I think the material is cotton batiste (not sure of spelling but the i is pronounced long e)

    I enjoy your blog sooo much. You are amazing.

  47. Melissa

    Great new colors! I must say, though, I’m a bit disappointed you didn’t update the header image. Somehow I don’t feel like it reflects the personality that is Grumperina.

  48. Karla (threadbndr)

    Your fabric looks like a voile or handkerchief linen with a twill stripe to me. As a couple of other people pointed out, a fabric that sheer is probably an “advanced intermediate” project becuase it will take some very picky handling (due to the fact that it will probably ravel like crazy) and ‘detail’ seams of one sort or the other (French seam, flat felled, or clean finished – again due to the ravel factor and the fact that you’ll be able to see the seam edges through the fashion fabric).

    If you decide to tackle it anyhow, please save yourself some grief and get a very fine needle, extra fine thread and a single hole plate for your machine. If you use a ‘zigzag’ plate with the wide slot where your needle goes down into the bed, your machine WILL suck that fine fabric right down to the bobbin. Don’t ask how I know and I won’t tell you about the fact that I made the bodice of my wedding dress twice.

  49. Purly Whites

    I’d say that it is cotton voile. Isn’t it a lovely fabric? Sucky about the socks, love the new colors and what were you doing carrying around a piece of plexiglass?

  50. susan

    Your fabric looks like voile. Make sure you reinforce it before stitching…even a piece of plain paper, running under your stitching will make your seam smooth.

    Oh, and I’m trying a pair of Jaywalkers…wish me luck!!!

  51. Joanne

    I think it’s a satin striped batiste. Most clerks at fabric stores aren’t very knowledgeable — you should take a sample or a picture with you when you shop.

    Joanne

  52. Sharah

    Please feel free to post about whatever you fancy Grumperina! I so enjoy reading your posts for what they are- they are so interesting! I think that it is great that it has been mostly knitting content, but I am enjoying your sewing commentary- and I wonder if that is part of why I never took to sewing; my mom and sister both seem to enjoy it quite a bit tho!

  53. zeska

    The very fine cotton seems like batiste to me, like the fabric in fine hankerchiefs. The pillowcase _could_ be fine cotton satin, if I remember correctly satin in just another way to weave the fabric. And oh, the sewing content is interesting, it is making me google loads of stuff and I keep learning things too!

  54. Norie

    You’ve gotten a number of good sewing suggestions: I can only re-enforce a couple.

    Just bring the fabric to the store with you — although, like shopping in a yarn shop, you may miss something excellent if you’ve closed your mind to options before you set foot in the store. (Voile is nice, but can be a beast — look for a batiste — just check it’s fray tendency before you buy — make it easy on yourself)(Oh, to do that ~ just fuss at the cut edge with you fingers and see how easily it frays out – if it ‘dissolves’ with little resistance: look for something else. Doing French seams at this point are a stretch)

    DO NOT USE SEAM ADHESIVES – unless your dearest friend is a repair person – gums up the works and can even throw the stroke timing of the machine off enough that the stitches get ratty.

    Big headed pins – and lots of them – are great. Place them on the seam so their heads face your dominante hand – and take them out faithfully. The down side is they tend to be ‘fat’ pins – and eventually you’ll want to invest in some good brass silk maker pins – not magnetic, but wonderfully smooth and won’t ‘punch holes’ in even the most delicate of materials.

    Remember: sewing machines are like cars – just because they CAN do an eighty mph cruise speed with ease doesn’t mean you SHOULD go 80 mph. That’s why the power control has a varible speed. Take it at a speed appropriate for the roadway or seam line; and brake slightly as you go into a curve.

    Tape on the throat plate for a seam allowence is a good idea or you can use a quilting guide that attaches to the drop arm of the sewing machine. I suspect you’re doing a typical rookie error – watching the material AT the needle — don’t. Judge the seam width about 1/2″ or 1″ IN FRONT of the needle — just like driving, you’re looking ahead at what comes next. Remember to guide the material not wrestle the fabric to the presser foot – and machine baste about a quarter inch less than the final seam with contrasting thread if you’re working on a tricky seam. (and this isn’t exactly wasted time – since basting will give you an excellent idea how the fabric/machine deal with the seam – and allow you to press the whole mess before final seaming)

    Threads is an excellent ‘inspiration’ mag, as well as having wonderfully tempting ads.

  55. Jacquie

    I’m probably the 62nd person to say it but here goes, it’s batiste. Beautiful for baby clothes, heirloom sewing and lingerie.

  56. Stephanie

    Love the new colors. Very pretty. That Purly is just good to have around. Sorry about the Plexiglas – sounds painful. And sorry about the sock, but you know you would have ended up ripping it anyway.

  57. April

    I like seeing the differences in content. Mix it up baby! =)*) Actually everyone is sewing these days, I’m gonna have to bust out the sewing machine, too! I found one in my closet the other day, I wonder who it belongs to? (seriously, it’s not mine) lol

    Too bad about the wonky sock, that’s SO weird, especially for your stuff? I don’t get it. I would have done the same thing though, even if I hadn’t been concussed with plexiglass.

  58. Susan Gonzalez

    One word of caution about a tracing wheel and tracing paper. It doesn’t always wash out of the fabric. The best marking system for me is thread tailor tacks. They are easy to remove and leave no marks.

  59. Melissa

    I agree that the fabric is a voile or batiste. About the tracing wheel…I would avoid it. They ruin your patterns. I have a Tack-It pattern marker, which is no longer made, but you may be able to find one on ebay, and it’s the best. You just slide a piece of tracing paper between the fabric, tap it on the dots on the pattern, and voila, marks that don’t ruin the pattern! My definite, can’t do without it, sewing tool.

    And if you’re going to sew with those really lightweight fabrics, definitely do French seams, and use tissue paper under the fabric when you sew.

  60. Thorny

    I love the new color scheme! It’s awesome! And it does seem more suited to how you come across in your writing – you come across as rather tasteful and elegant, and the old color scheme was a bit more on the wilder rebellious-y side.

    Which is not actually why I was commenting! I just wanted to say that while I don’t often comment much, I’m enjoying reading about your adventures in sewing. I haven’t gotten myself together enough to get my sewing machine out and try to figure out how to make it all work, but the more sewing posts I see in various people’s blogs, the more inspired I am to give it a try. So please keep it up!

  61. Kim

    Love the new color. What was the old color???? So far I am the only one to say, but I prefer the knitting only blog!!! What can I say…..It’s your blog, but since you asked for opinions, guess I’ll be truthful!! I think it’s because you’re at zero level, as you say, and I love to see your masterful knitting!! Your knitting and commentary totally float my boat. :)

  62. shelly

    Love your new color scheme Grumperina. I don’t sew, but I like reading your blog when you write about sewing, somehow it seems like maybe I could do it too. It’s your blog and you should write what you want, even if that means you lose readers, IMHO.

  63. Krista M

    I looked in my Reader’s Digest New and Complete Guide to Sewing for your fabric. They have a really good index of fabrics and their characteristics. The closest I could find was Faile, but I think that may be too dressy for what you have there…closest I could guess…

    When I was 4 years old I learned to sew; my grandmother taught me in her own “suzuki method.” She showed me how to use the sewing machine, gave me some fabric and let me have at it. Very effective. Learn the rules, but make sure you have some fun at it, too. As Knitting Saint Elizabeth would say, un-vent some of the old ways!

  64. Jenny

    I love the sewing content—not just your entries, but all the great answers and tricks in the comments! And I second the masking tape trick for sewing even seams. I’m a pretty terrible seamstress, but I did learn that one thing from my mom, queen of the homemade halloween costumes.

    And thanks to your sock pics, now I also understand why my current sweater project is all nubbly, as it looks just like your sock. It was also frogged four times before this version stuck. Of course it makes perfect sense that the yarn would be kinked, it just didn’t occur to me before–I was sure my tension was just off.

  65. Carolyn

    The material looks like voile, sometimes, but very rarely called handkerchief linen. It is so lovely when made up into sweet little blouses with lots of tucks on them. Of course, to do that would mean lots of sewing and cursing for me so I’m not doing it! But it would be pretty in a little cap-sleeved blouse fitted with darts in the front and back and some little verticle tucks running up and down the front by a placket with teeny tiny pearl buttons…..

  66. Lynn

    You’re always up to something…so what if it’s not always knitting! I like all of your content!

    As I commented on one of your previous posts, I’ve been sewing for a number of years now, and with the questions you’re asking and the great help your other readers are providing, *I’m* leaning more, too!

  67. Lin

    Whole bunches of people have noted the fabric is probably voile, batiste or satin stripe–the easiest way to look for it in fabric stores is to ask for designer fancies. The fabric business is WAY different then the olde localle yarnne shoppe. I mean really.

    Most big cities have a fabric row or street with most of the fabric stores on it. Manhattan has two. You can find some incredible bargains in wal-mart’s $1 yd junk. Last year’s or 2 year old fabric goes to wholesalers who make up bulk lots for export or for big customers like WM. They generally don’t know or care what they have. I have found $30 yd tencel and very pricey rip stop nylons for sports wear. Also a lot of denims and denim style twills in cotton or cotton blend. Learn how to do a burn test for fibers.

    There’s a mill outlet chain in Minnesota where I picked up Armani silk/wool suiting for $4 a yard. Made an incredible tuxedo for my son for $25. Don’t let anyone kid you, flat fell sseams are the only way to fly–at least for those of us with a teensy touch of OCD–okay so we’re just screamingly picky.

    The people who worry about the sewing police will fuss at you constantly over picking out the right needle size and so on. Sears still has a Q needle. I don’t know what the puppy is made from, but personally I can sew anything from a fine silk georgette to heavy denim. I use it for nearly everything.

    I hate new sewing machines though. Computers irritate me for things I expect to USE. I don’t want one in my washer and dryer and I don’t want one in my sewing machine. I have a 40 some year old Kenmore 10 with 8 whole stitchres I use for most stuff and a 50 something Pfaff. The Pfaff lives in my sewing table the Kenmore I can haul around. You can still get an old Pfaff for less than $350 most of the time and they will literally work forever, perfectly. Find a good sewing machine repairman and then woo him like a lover. He will be your best friend one of these days.

    Use compressed air and a paintbrush and dust your bobbin compartment EVERY time you sew.

    Put a dot of sewing machine oil on the bobbin hook EVERY time you sew.

    My best friend was told this when she bought her Pfaff in 1954–she and the machine are both in good condition–although the sewing machine doesn’t have heart problems. (I get the machine when she dies)I’ve done it with my machine for 25 years and as long as I’ve had the others. I did however wear out or destroy 3 NEWWhole bunches of people have noted the fabric is probably voile, batiste or satin stripe–the easiest way to look for it in fabric stores is to ask for designer fancies. The fabric business is WAY different then the olde localle yarnne shoppe. I mean really.

    Most big cities have a fabric row or street with most of the fabric stores on it. Manhattan has two. You can find some incredible bargains in wal-mart’s $1 yd junk. Last year’s or 2 year old fabric goes to wholesalers who make up bulk lots for export or for big customers like WM. They generally don’t know or care what they have. I have found $30 yd tencel and very pricey rip stop nylons for sports wear. Also a lot of denims and denim style twills in cotton or cotton blend. Learn how to do a burn test for fibers.

    There’s a mill outlet chain in Minnesota where I picked up Armani silk/wool suiting for $4 a yard. Made an incredible tuxedo for my son for $25. Don’t let anyone kid you, flat fell sseams are the only way to fly–at least for those of us with a teensy touch of OCD–okay so we’re just screamingly picky.

    The people who worry about the sewing police will fuss at you constantly over picking out the right needle size and so on. Sears still has a Q needle. I don’t know what the puppy is made from, but personally I can sew anything from a fine silk georgette to heavy denim. I use it for nearly everything.

    I hate new sewing machines though. Computers irritate me for things I expect to USE. I don’t want one in my washer and dryer and I don’t want one in my sewing machine. I have a 40 some year old Kenmore 10 with 8 whole stitchres I use for most stuff and a 50 something Pfaff. The Pfaff lives in my sewing table the Kenmore I can haul around. You can still get an old Pfaff for less than $350 most of the time and they will literally work forever, perfectly. Find a good sewing machine repairman and then woo him like a lover. He will be your best friend one of these days.

    Use compressed air and a paintbrush and dust your bobbin compartment EVERY time you sew.

    Put a dot of sewing machine oil on the bobbin hook EVERY time you sew.

    My best friend was told this when she bought her Pfaff in 1954–she and the machine are both in good condition–although the sewing machine doesn’t have heart problems. (I get the machine when she dies)I’ve done it with my machine for 25 years and as long as I’ve had the others. I did however wear out or destroy 3 NEW< COOL machines in that time. I’ll stick with my oldies but goodies.

    You have taken your first steps into a dangerous world, though. Do you have any idea how easy it is to buy fabric. You can find phenomenal bargains all over the place. Yard sales are dangerous. And you know that you can turn a piece of fabric into a garment much quicker than you can knit yarn. This means you can feel virtuous about buying 6 times as much fabric as yarn. Besides, you need a variety to ispire you, right.

    Lin

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