Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cover Stitch Talk

Can we talk?! (That was my Joan Rivers impersonation.) My quick search of cover stitch machines has revealed 3 contenders. This is the Babylock - I believe Robbie mentioned this one. It may come in a combo machine with special jet air threading if I remember correctly. Otherwise I don't know anything about it.

This one is Becky's machine that I played with at GCGSW - I think this is the same model. Katie from Kadiddlehopper has this one too and gives it rave reviews.

And this is the Janome. Looks like my other little Janome pretty much. I think my local dealer, All About Sewing, sells Janomes, so I might could get it locally.

So, what I've heard from the comments so far are that the combo cover/serger machines are a bit of a pain to switch over, and it's nice to have a stand alone if possible. I have my mom's old Riccar serger which is working fine, so I have no need for a combo machine. But what brands do all you ladies use, and what advice do you have? Also, where did you buy them from? I'm listening....(That was my Frasier Crane impression - I'm going to change my name to Rich Little!)

Monday, July 29, 2013


Well, it was a great weekend at the 1st Annual Gulf Coast Girls' Sewing Weekend. The weather was perfect for sewing at the beach...meaning that it rained nearly the entire time. We may have sat on the porch drinking wine and talking more than we actually sewed, but everybody accomplished what they came for, I believe. Please allow me to do some shout-outs now. Becky brought me this awesome HANDMADE sewing bag that she sewed up herself and painted, then filled with goodies.

And this is a hemming tool that you actually iron on, so I won't have to futz around with my tape measure constantly, like I usually do.

This is the awesome fabric Robbie brought me. I had coveted the outfit she wore at our last lunch together, so she brought me the fabric to make myself a matching set - we'll be twins!! (I can't wait to see the hostess's face next time we eat at Ruby Tuesdays, Robbie!)

And Katrina, i.e. Susie Homemaker, MD, brought the most delicious pina coladas I've ever tasted, which I plan to re-create next weekend with the mix and coconut rum she gave me. Here's a link to her recipe - you're welcome!

So here's what I made - another scoop-neck T-shirt from my Meg McElwee Sewing with Knits class at Craftsy, and this is muslin #2. It was super helpful to have these ladies around to work out my fitting issues with the shoulder and sleeves. My next version should be perfect.

And here was my favorite sewing thing - I got to use Becky's Brother Cover Stitch to try my hand at hemming and collar-ing. How cool is this?

But it DOES take practice and a steady hand - oops!

And now to just a couple of tips I picked up this weekend. I never thought to serge the raw edges of new fabric before washing it for the first time. Now that I know that, no more pics of ravelled fabric from my laundry room before I even cut it. And look at this perfectly good zipper on an old pillow case package. I save these things and never use them, but Becky unpicks the zippers while she's watching TV - voila, free zipper.

And one last tip was to put my new stretch denim that reeks of chemicals despite being washed multiple times in the trunk of my car. The heat gets rid of the odor! Who knew?! Well, the engineers did. It turns out that we had 2 doctors and 2 engineers (chemical and mechanical) sewing all weekend. (Now, Pam, we need you to come next year so we can say we have a lawyer, too.)

Lastly, I'll leave you with Jake, who treats every bone like it's a snake getting ready to strike. Have a great week!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Robbie's Dress

Robbie nearly finished a beautiful dress, modeled by Katrina. More finished products to follow...


Look at this pile of fabric - my first swap! We went around like it was Dirty Santa, without the steal.

My New Coverstitch?!

I got to try Becky's cover stitch machine - LOVE! This may need to be my next sewing purchase...


Getting serious, and sewing barefooted....

Piña Coladas!

The perfect way to start the Gulf Coast Girls' Sewing Weekend - piña coladas courtesy of Susie Homemaker, MD!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Knitting Competitively

Can you believe this? There's a knitting reality competition thing! I haven't watched any of it yet, but I plan to. ("Will you watch or will you swatch?" Very clever!) Speaking of that, did you watch Project Runway's premiere? I think the judges got it wrong - I would've sent sustainability boy home for making his model CRY. How pitiful was that? (No, seriously, the Army chick should've gone home for not using the real parachute fabric, in my opinion.) But wasn't it funny when Zac Posen told him he released dangerous toxins in the air when he burned a synthetic fiber - awesome moment.

Okay, the Gulf Coast Girls' Sewing Weekend is coming up - GCGSW for short. It's not quite as big as Mimi G's fabulous weekend, but Sandra Betzina WILL be making an appearance...on my DVD player. More details to follow, and pictures of course.

But first I have to get rid of this knitting bug. I realized my shrug was going to be way too big with my Berroco bulky yarn and needles, so I'm frogging it (I hope that's what "frogging" means) and doing a T-shirt from my Yarn Girls book - I'll show you a pic later of the pattern, but here's what I've got so far.

Off to watch some competitive knitting...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Wicked Game Revisited

So here's one of my all-time favorite songs, Wicked Game, by Chris Isaak. Watch out - I forgot the model's name, but she's scantily dressed. (This video is routinely rated one of the sexiest ones of all time on MTV.)

And NOW, as presented by Phillip Phillips - sounds totally different. This boy GOT it...and that other guy, too! I heard it on the radio Friday and had to look it up - the only videos are a couple of these small crowds he played to sponsored by radio stations. Nothing terribly sexy...unless you count his flip-flopped foot bouncing around. (I'd count it.) Where my guitar?!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Flash from the Past

I was just talking to my sister about kids and electronics these days (don't get me started), and I remembered my dad buying a Commodore 64 computer.

He got a magazine that had programming for different games and things you could do, and in the back was the code that you typed in. I typed 80 wpm because of my high school Typing 1 and 2 classes (even took Shorthand 1 and 2 - I was all set for secretaryin'!), so he'd ask me to type everything in for him, then we'd play the games.

If there was a glitch, which was kind of frequent when they went to binary code, which was all 1's and 0's, he'd sit next to me and read it line by line while I looked for my error. It was pretty cool to watch a game come to life just because you typed thousands of 0's and 1's.

On a different track, have you read The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini? They're fantastic, right? Depressing, but ultimately fantastic. Well, I'm reading And the Mountains Echoed, which is his latest book.

People, I'm talking DEPRESSING. And it's one hit after another. At least with The Kite Runner, it's the 2 boys, and the awful thing happens, and then this is how life moves on. Well with this one, an awful thing happens in the first 10 pages. Then a different awful thing happens in the next 30 pages. Then somebody else's life is ruined. It's just one thing after another. The big difference is that you move on quickly to another character, so BAM, they're devastated, then we move on to see how that affected everybody else. I'm about three quarters done with it, so I'll see if we circle around to the beginning, which is what I think happens.

It better end on a good note, or I'm going to need some Lexapro....which I thought I was going to need anyway this weekend for some reason, but my mood has lifted to the point of mania. Wonder if I'm manic-depressive? What did you say? No, I'm not hearing voices...wait, was that you talking?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Knitting Ideas

Well here's the beginnings of the shrug in the blue Berroco cotton meshy yarn my mom gave me for my birthday. In person, it looks kind of ribbon-ish - very cool! I finished the back but haven't started the sleeves or fronts yet.

And this is what I bought at the same yarn shop in Opelika:

The owner weaves and has several looms in the back where she's working on projects. (It didn't occur to me that I should've taken pictures of the shop until we were already back at the sewage spill...I mean the lake house.) It's an awesome store if you're ever in the area. She took her iPad and pulled up a pattern to show me, then emailed it to me right then - how cool is that?! This is what I have in mind - it's a T-shirt from Yarn Girls' Guide to Knits for All Seasons ("Daniele Did This One").

This also caught my eye - it's from Knitting Simple Jackets by Marilyn Saitz Cohen - checked it out from the library. Tons of projects in that one.

I also checked out Knitting in the Sun by Kristi Porter from the library. And yes, I most certainly am going to make this....if I can find the yarn.

You may feel like Wonder Woman when you sew your own bathing suit, but you're not there yet until you KNIT one! (I pity the people swimming with me that day...)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lake Trip from Hell

Okay, I posted some nice photos from Lake Martin, but I couldn't type the whole story up on my iPhone. It was the trip from Hell. Booking the house was a pain, and we almost didn't have anywhere to stay this year, but it worked out after a few false starts. We'd gotten used to a great house where every family had their own bathroom, and every couple (4 couples, plus kids for a total of 12 people) had a king bed. Heaven. This year there was one king bed, couple of queens, a bunk room, and 2 twins. The good thing was that everybody had their own bathroom and the dock was just steps from the house - nice.

Unfortunately, it rained every minute of every day for a couple of weeks before we got there, and on our second day, the septic tank backed up....right into my bathroom and twin bedroom....and also my mom's bathroom. This was discovered about an hour after we discovered that Jim's pontoon boat had 2 dead batteries, and Scott's jet ski also had a dead battery. Plans were being made to get the boat back across the lake to the marina, and Scott was going to Birmingham to get parts for the jet ski. We went ahead with those plans after calling the owners about getting a plumber out. Several of us made about 4 trips from Eclectic to Dadeville (45 minutes each way) just in that one day, either by boat or by car, to deal with the pontoon boat issue. At around 4 o'clock in the afternoon, we still hadn't seen a plumber, and my SIL was ready to start cooking her chimichangas. Frantic phone calls were made, and it ended up that they couldn't fix the septic tank until the NEXT DAY. (You can't use any water until it's fixed, just FYI, and if you're eating Mexican, you know somebody's gonna need a bathroom.) We decided to all head to Auburn, where my mom and Jim have a condo. There were a couple of other condos empty that we rented, and we ended up having an awesome Mexican dinner and plenty of margaritas.

The next day we headed back to the lake, and the septic specialists showed up, as well as the maid service to sanitize the joint, so we were back in business...except for more rain. It was the last full day we had before we could get in a nice boat ride and some good tubing for the kids. So on the last day, my sister took off first to drive back to North Carolina...except her window suddenly dropped down in the door while she was driving and shattered. They had to divert to Auburn, where it was several hours to get a temporary replacement, so they stayed in yet another condo and got back a day later than planned. She told me they were waiting for something to happen to me, since I was the only one who hadn't suffered a mechanical breakdown of some sort. (I thought sewage in my room was enough, but apparently not.)

So there we were yesterday, safely back at the beach and having boated over to a restaurant for some lunch, when the worst storm I've seen lately happened. I have a real nice video of the lightning and thunder that I posted to FB, but I didn't get it to Youtube in time....see, there was a hole in the dry bag where we put our phones after that, and by the time we made it back to the house, there was about half a cup of water in there with my phone. I guess I got mine too...and now you know why I don't have any photos to go with this post. Hey - go have a great week!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jumping off the Boathouse....

Like a dang chicken with a life jacket and holding my nose. Parker and Drew were much braver. That's the highest thing I've ever jumped from, except maybe the rope swing we found there a few years ago.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Bream on a Hook

Drew had to catch and cook a fish to finish a merit badge. Success!

Bream in Batter

Bream on a Plate

Bream in My Belly!

Mom Knitting

Beautiful yarn from the Yarn House in Opelika.

K Braiding

These are K's braided bracelets - they're $4 with the family discount!

Lucas Snipping

Craft time during the rain....this ended up as a bracelet.

Linking Tubes

Tube Acrobatics

Got a little bit of tubing done before rain came again.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Kimono Night

Kimonos from Aunt Kikuchan in Japan! Little did we know of the sewage in our future...

Before the Rain Came

The kids got some good float action in. This would be before the boat batteries died, the Seadoo battery died, and the septic tank backed up into our bathroom due to excessive rain. Lake Martin 2013 shall be the Trip from Hell. Worse than the year we got locked out and Dean climbed a ladder propped on a patio table to reach a second floor sliding door that was unlocked....worse than the year the dishwasher got stopped up and prompted a plumber's visit....worse, even, than the year a storm knocked out our power, ripped a shingle from the roof, and repeatedly knocked Jim's boat into the dock and sea wall....yes, worse than that.

Because when the guy finishes vacuuming water and sewage from my bedroom, I'm joining the others at my mom's condo in Auburn. They can't pump out the septic tank till tomorrow, so we can't use any water. Elvis has left the lake.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fourth of July

We had a quiet Fourth of July, if you discount the noise from the ice cream maker and the howling wind that was just below hurricane force and lasted all day and all night. We started by hoisting the flag (the wind tried to take it).

Then there was a little feeding frenzy right next to the dock when a dolphin showed up.

I can't EVER get a decent shot of them.

Then a little bike ride...and I do mean a LITTLE bike ride. This is an adult-sized bike, but Drew makes it look like a little circus bike - ridiculous!

Then I broke out the Nostalgia Ice Cream Maker, which luckily matches my kitchen doors. I mean, what are the chances?! (They should pay me for advertising this thing.)

After our burgers and dogs, we lit up the sparklers, which lasted exactly 2.8 seconds in the gale-force winds. I love the look on his face when it flared up the first time.

He then proceeded to his fire-breathing act.

And I'll leave you with some crazy fireworks that made us wonder if something caught fire by accident. Turn your volume down to avoid hick accents, please.

Oh, PS - I've noticed a lot more traffic since July 1st (but not more comments, oddly). Is this Blog-Lovin' bringing you here? Am I just more interesting since I turned 46? What gives?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Candy Striping

I love knit stitches up close!

This is the second Nainai's Favorite dishcloth - these suckers are thick enough to be potholders, probably....but I'm not recommending you try that at home.

And this is the very cool Berroco cotton yarn my mom got me - look at that netting! I've never seen anything like it. It's going to be my second Yarn Girls shrug, since the first one lives in Japan now. Off-topic, I was checking the pattern book out of the library, and the librarian who had to help me find it (because I can't count, apparently) asked me how long I'd been knitting. She started 2 years ago and made lots of baby stuff, but the lady who was teaching her died. She's on Ravelry, but she didn't know she actually was a member once she signed up, so she didn't have a user name for me to look up. Resuming previous discussion...

BAM! Candy Stripes! This was on the clearance rack at Hancock a while back, and I can't pass up stripes on sale. This is the scoop neck T-shirt from the Sewing with Knits class.

This is a muslin, and the next one needs to be bigger in the armscye and chest, plus a swayback adjustment is in order.

Is this the worst-fitting pair of pants you've ever seen? And I paid money for them, so you see why I'll wear ill-fitting pants of my own making. I seriously need to give these away.

What do I love? The beautiful top-stitching with the triple stretch stitch, that I learned from Meg's Sewing with Knits class on Craftsy. I never knew I had this stitch - I thought the "triple stretch" was the same as the "lightning" stitch - totally not!

What do I hate? The bell-bottom sleeves I ended up with because my bands were SLIGHTLY larger than my sleeve, so I had to stretch it just a bit. They look like circus tents. Hey, wouldn't it be cool if you could do that to a skirt on purpose!

Seriously, I'm not wearing this shirt anywhere, so I'll probably serge off the sleeves and make it a sleeveless PJ top. Next up will be a V-neck version of the same shirt, in a more palatable fabric.