Thursday, February 26, 2015

Our Little Secret...

If you want to keep a secret,
you must also hide it from yourself.
~ George Orwell

I decided to do one more weaving project before I returned to working on the panels to cover my weaving bench seat cushion - a guitar strap for a friend of mine.  He asked for red and black.  

I played with an online pattern generator (here) to come up with this plan:  
I set up a warp to do this pattern, and discovered that it was too narrow - so I added some extra red and black warps on either side of this pattern.  

Then, I started weaving!  

Here's how it is coming out:  

I guess you could say that it bears some resemblance to my plan, in that it does contain red, black and white yarn...  ;)

Here's the thing - I think that my best bet at this point, is to just not show anyone else what my original plan looked like...  

So, can it be our little secret?  ;)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weaving AND Sewing!

Everybody has to leave,
everybody has to leave their home and come back
so they can love it again for all new reasons.
~ Donald Miller

Well, I've completed three more key fobs AND I even snuck in some sewing over the weekend!  

First, the fobs:

I tried to go for a fancy, "comb" pattern with my second fob:

I like the colors, but the pattern just didn't work for me - it feels static - kind of like a ladder...  

So, for my third fob, I pretty much copied a pattern from someone else participating in the weave-along (WAL):  

And I LOVE it!  I think it came our really, really cool!  :)

Finally, for my fourth fob, I decided to focus on my weaving technique, rather than the color pattern.  I just did a series of stripes, with each narrower than the one to its left.  

I didn't love it at first, but it is growing on me...  ;)

The key fobs were a blast - each one only takes a couple of hours, I learned a lot about design and I was able to practice my technique!    

That being said, I've decided to move on from the WAL - I owe a friend a guitar strap and, of course, I have two more of those major panels to do, in order to make a cover for the cushion on my weaving bench.  


As for the sewing, remember when my 10-year-old friend and I made a tote bag (here)?  

Not surprisingly, many of her friends and her mother's friends clamored for one of their own.  One such friend, Mayra, actually made arrangements to come over so that I could help her sew one to carry her workout clothes and shoes to the gym each week.  

We started with a quick trip to Joann's for some fabric.  She liked lots of the fabrics as we wandered up and down the aisles of bolts, but I kept waiting for that moment when she fell in love...  ;)

Then it happened - she was totally smitten by a brown cotton with multi-colored Spirograph-like flowers and designs. 

I've seen that look in the eyes of so many people - I love it when it happens and I can SO relate to it!  

I walked her through the steps of sewing up this tote bag - she used a green canvas to reinforce (& decorate) the bottom and to make the straps.  

We lined it with a cream-colored canvas.  

And she loves it!   

She told me that she kept touching it, because she couldn't believe that it was real and that she had made it herself!  :)

The whole morning made me miss sewing, and I browsed through my waiting projects and picked out two fabrics to make two versions of the same, A-Line skirt (a TNT for me).  

I finished one and got half-way through the other. I'll post pictures later this week.  It felt so good to be back on my sewing machine!  Like coming home...  :)

I hope everyone had a good sewing weekend!  :)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Little Colored Pieces of Love

Hold fast to whatever fragments of love that exist,
for sometimes a mosaic is more beautiful than an unbroken pattern.
~ Dawn Powell

Our ex-foster teen is here visiting and we spent Saturday morning at a local make-your-own-mosaic shop doing art work together.  

Here is Carolyn (13) with her "Be Free" dove:  

Mariana (10) made a cross for me:  

(She is such a sweetie!)  

Our ex-foster teen (19) made a Valentine's Day present for her boyfriend:  

And Mariana's art teacher (her age? let's just say that there was a death threat involved here...) made a wall decoration for her baby's room (a daughter, due in June):  

It was a lot of fun to make the mosaics...

But the best part was being together!  :)

What?  You want to see my mosaic?  

Oh, okay...  ;)

I made a decoration for my sewing room.  :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fob, Fob, Fobbing Along...

Wherever you are in that lake,
whether fighting to keep your head above water
in those horrible first waves,
or whether you're somewhere along
the more gently bobbing ones,
just keep your eye on the shore and know
that you are a little closer to it today
than you were yesterday. 
~ Liberty Forest

Well, despite the best efforts of my lungs to leave me, strike off on their own and make a new life for themselves, I have managed to convince them to stay and I have even gotten some weaving done!  

First, I finished my second, 47 inch long fabric panel!  Here are the two panels, side by side, on the bench cushion that they will eventually be covering:  

A closer view:  

It's a bit busy (you think?) - design is something that I need to learn about and work on - but it is still progress towards a goal.  :)

And, remember that Key Fob Weave Along (WAL) that I joined?  You know, the one with all the complicated rules?  ;)

I actually wove a key fob last weekend too!  

Here's the warp:  

My loom set up:  


Some progress:  

Houston, we have a fob!  


I am really happy with this design - I kind of copied it off someone else's fob - but the colors and color sequencing are all mine.  :)

Boy, it's a nice change of pace to do a 1-inch wide, 6-inch long project, after two, 7-inch wide, 47-inch long projects!!  

I've already got a plan for my next one - as usual, I jumped right from simple to insanely complicated and the design could easily crash and burn...  Wish me luck!  ;)

Monday, February 2, 2015

London and Limited Options

London - a place you go to get bronchitis.  
~ Fran Lebowitz

And I didn't even get to go to London...  :(

What's up with that?!?   :(


Man, I've got to say that, when you are searching the internet for cute clip art and silly (OR meaningful - I'm nothing if not flexible) quotes about bronchitis, your options are seriously limited!  

What's up with that?!?   :(


Don't worry, I'll be better soon...  

Heck, I'd better be, or else the doctor who ordered me that painful shot in my tush is in big trouble!  ;)


P.S. - my weekend pretty much sucked - I hope yours was better!  

Friday, January 30, 2015


Esther always avoided asking questions of Lydley,
who found an answer as she found a key,
by pouring out a pocketful of miscellanies.
~ George Eliot

"So, Gwen, how was your trip to see Ana in Mexico last weekend?"

(The sound of someone rustling in her pocket...)  

Ana by the fountain outside of our hotel

The hotel pool

Weaving by the pool

Typical street scene

Art work on display along the street

Hand painted ceramic tiles

The sun and the moon

The classic Spider man piggy bank - didn't we all have one as a child?

Dia de los muertos hand painted skulls


Hand woven birds

Ah!  Here it is: 

"We had a great time!  Thanks for asking!"  ;)


Speaking of weaving, I haven't started weaving any key fobs yet, but the other folks on the Ravelry site have been gorgeously productive!  

Check out the work of the moderator, Laverne Waddington:

Aren't they beautiful?  

I can't wait to finish my second panel and start working on a key fob or two!  :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Found Treasure!

There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy's life
when he has a raging desire to go somewhere
and dig for hidden treasures.
~ Mark Twain

I zipped down to Mexico over the weekend and spent 2.5 days visiting with Ana.  During that time, we browsed at a flea market that included a huge stall full of old magazines.  Imagine my joy at finding a handful of sewing pattern magazines!  It was like uncovering an unexpected, hidden treasure!

I purchased 8 of them, at $2.50 each!  

Here are some images from 4 of them, for your enjoyment.  :)

This first one may be a Spanish translation of the German sewing pattern magazine - it appears to have been published in March, 1987.

How awesome is that beret!  Not to mention the creative application of suspenders...  ;)

Next up, Moldes. This issue appears to be from 1997.  (I was surprised by how difficult it was to find publication dates on many of the magazines.  The cover of this one, for example, only says "Year 1, No. 6.")

I thought it was kind of odd that the word WEDDINGS ("BODAS") appeared over a woman wearing a black dress.  But the actual wedding dresses shown in the magazine were in the more traditional white.  

While the magazines I found are like today's Burda World of Fashion sewing pattern magazines in many ways, there are some interesting differences.  For example, in many of these magazines, there is not a sketch of the garment on the same page as the photograph of the model in the garment.  

And check out these poses!  Seriously!?!?   

They do have the standard, abbreviated "instructions"

...and the insane, overlapping sewing pattern sheets to be traced:  

However, some of them threw in some extras for their readers - like the horoscope!  :)

Here is another brand - Moda & Confeccion.  I swear, I searched inside and out, but could not find a publication date anywhere.  The cover only says "Year 1, No. 01."  

This magazine included a few outfits for children; check out this adorable little girl:    

How about this ruffled skirt?  The description includes the phrases "rural ambiance," "aristocratic" and "always in fashion."  Yup, that pretty much sums up my feelings about this outfit too...  ;)

Here's a sample instruction page, including one of the little girl's dresses:  

While all the other magazines I picked up were in Spanish, there was one in German (despite the Spanish on the cover), and it appears to have been published in 1992.

Look at the jacket on the front cover model - yikes, it seems so unflattering on a female form to me...

It is obvious that this magazine was not published in the U.S. - check out this advertisement!

In addition to sewing patterns, this German publication includes hair styles,


and even a crossword puzzle!

It has been so delightful to browse through these magazines!  I'll share some images from the other four magazines (with more focus on the styles themselves) and some photos I took during my visit on another day...  :)