Friday, October 21, 2016

Something Fun For My Feet

I'm sorry to report that the work island is not finished yet. Sorry because that means I have no sewing to show although I'm not completely empty handed.

Yesterday, I walked down to my son's house and asked him to drive me back up the hill. I wanted to see how long it would take because I thought I might walk to knitting today for my daily quotient of exercise only then I wouldn't be able to wear my painted shoes and I definitely want to do that so... no... not today... but it was pretty walk yesterday.

As mentioned in the previous post, on Wednesday I went to my friend's painting studio to paint shoes. When we do something sewing together, we work in my studio and when we do something painting together, we work in hers. It makes sense from a stash point of view. It was a wonderful pay day with the happy bonus of something fun for my feet.

The brown shoes didn't work for my wardrobe so they were the perfect ones to start with. We first painted a base of GAC200 from Golden to allow for adherence and hardening. We also mixed a couple drops of it in with each paint colour. Francine thought a base colour would be a good idea... so I painted mine black... and it was good... however... now that I have a wee, tiny bit more experience I think a better base colour to start with would be a medium tone like lilac or grey or a light tone like white. Trying to lighten a dark colour is a lot of work.

The shoes had some interesting details and seaming that were hard to see in the brown shade. I painted a wiggly, wobbly white line between the stitching that Francine helped me clean up while teaching me how to manage a small brush. And then I painted some dots with a stylus. I do appear to be in a dot stage. I do want my own stylus.

This colour looks more purple on my screen that it is in person. Think fuchsia. It's on the tips and around the side but not all the way back to the heel. Back there...

... I painted black dots one one side and swirls on the other (which I realize I don't have a good picture of) plus a dotted "stitching" line along the join. The saw tooth edge above the white line was painted green and the final step was to sponge the toes for a bit more detail without going too cutsy. TOO FUN for $1.25.

Francine painted a pair of shoes that she loved the shape and feel of but not the colour. She said she wanted red shoes and used this fuchsia colour as a base to build up from. That was interesting especially...

... when it was the copper-ish colour she put over top that turned them red on the toes. The top edge and the strap are still fuchsia and the inside is turquoise. We both painted the inside of the heels to make sure that the original colours didn't show at the bottom when we crossed our legs.

I've started on my second pair but they're not done yet. I used left-over turquoise to paint the toes and then blended some "scrap" paint to get a-never-to-be-reproduced grey for the strap. The blue on the toes is not as denim as I wanted nor is the green at the back as lime as I wanted so they may change. I'll see. I definitely want to add some hot-pink detailing. Luckily, I can use the fabric paints that I have in the studio to finish up. A book I bought several years ago when I first started exploring painting on leather said to finish the shoes (or bag) with Future floor polish.

Painting shoes was a lot of fun. It's a great way to play with paint and surface design without a huge investment. I have several pairs of shoes that aren't getting worn for one reason or another. As long as they are comfortable, painting them could make them more wearable.

LOL - I now have visions of painting shoes to go with the parts & starts of the outfits I'll finish when I lose the weight or go on my next trip. Whichever comes first. Although my feet might shrink. I should probably wait a while but I could paint a bag or necklace. Hmm....

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a fun day with a friend

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

An Inexpensive Adventure

The studio is still a mess. The main body of the work island is almost finished and I'm just about ready to start painting the doors, drawer fronts, and shelves.... which will be fiddly... with a coat of primer and two of paint... and even so, it needs to be done... quickly. Knitting is good but.... I. NEED. TO. SEW.

In April, I went to my friend's studio an hour away to paint a canvas bag. This morning, I'm going back to paint shoes. I've never done that before - which is perfect - exploring something new. I bought two pairs of Naturalizers and one pair of Clarks at the thrift store for a total of $3.75 so it'll be an inexpensive adventure. And fun.

Like this denim dress. How fabulous are those waistbands along the hemline! The overall style is a little two sweet for me but the idea tickles. I'm only dreaming about clothes right now for several reasons, one of which is the studio mess.

A great thing about my little town is that the hospital emergency department on a busy day is like a turtle going backward compared to a slow day at the one in Kamloops and if you have the "right" symptoms, you get to go straight to the head of the line like I did. Thankfully, after what felt like forever and a million tests, they "only" had three recommendations.

1. To lose weight. 2. To get more exercise. 3. To avoid stress. The first two I can figure out but the last one always makes me laugh. I was joking with the doctor about how casually they throw that suggestion out there without any how-to and he jokingly replied that he can only give so much advice. Yesterday, I went to a Weight Watcher's meeting and was incredibly underwhelmed by the greeting and the discussion content to say nothing of the fact that they barely explained the system... which I believe is good... but it's also good I can read. I'm debating whether I'll stay or not.

I spent some time on-line looking for ideas on clothing to wear while losing weight. That was less than best as well. The suggestion was made to buy two pairs of jeans, some basic tops, and a couple skirts and blouses every ten pounds. I need to lose forty. It's highly unlikely I'll buy three sets of clothing on the way down and I definitely won't be sewing three sets. I need transitional garments. If you have any advice, it would be greatly appreciated. I tend to lose on the bust first and the hips last so styles like the ones above might be more doable especially if I could take the underarm seam in bit by bit and wear them with a t-shirt or cardigan.

My next coaching session with Diane was rescheduled to early November. Since losing weight changes what I'll be doing in the studio, that's turned out to be a good thing. One creative challenge I'd like to discuss with her is sewing clothes in parts that could have the final seams sewn when I'm ready... whether that's because I reached the goal or because I'm heading off on a trip. As you can see, I've found more polka dots to enjoy. I think it would be fun to start creating them with applique or paint or both. Before that though...

... I want to turn this 19" x 31" quilted piece into a knitting bag as a thank-you gift for a friend. When I cleaned the studio, it was crying make me pretty again - LOL. We'll see. Friends are a wonderful gift.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - health

Friday, October 14, 2016

Knit Sew Paint

Yesterday was super busy and I didn't get a chance to write the blog posting before going to bed - thinking I'd have time in the morning - only the power was out. Since I can't write... or knit... or sew... without power, I rolled over and went back to sleep, then to journal, then breakfast with Howard before he left, and now here I am. Hopefully better late than never.

The work island is back together. I absolutely LOVE that I can move it all over the room very easily. I'm the type that likes to move the furniture so this is perfect. I've purchased a paint that is designed for cabinets. It's oil-like so will paint over the melamine sides without a primer but the doors and drawer fronts will need it. That actually works quite well for me. I'll do the main part first and the doors after making sure that each coat gets the maximum drying time as well as giving the surfaces time to cure before starting to use them again. I haven't read the instructions but that's typically about a month so...

... I've set up a temporary pressing station at the end of my desk and moved the mess to the edges of the stash room. Good thing I had that all cleaned up. That said...

... it's likely I'll be doing more knitting than sewing which can make for some really boring, slowly progressing, pictures. I'll try to come up with more interesting things to share than 2" of garter stitch or some such thing. Above, I've finished the main body of the cardigan and I'm most of the way through one sleeve. It's short, just above the waist length, and will have three quarter length sleeves.

Instead of copying the bottom of the body to the sleeve and being matchy-matchy, I started the sleeve with the cast on edge, one row of knit and one of purl to get a slight curl and then four rows of 1 by 1 rib and then another row of knit and another of purl before beginning moss stitch like the main body. I'm designing as I go so there was a bit of stuttering getting the stitch count and increases correct but now it's flowing and seems like it's going to work out well.

After spending so many years knitting scarves, I am suddenly really interested in knitting sweaters for myself. The above design is Lily from the book Essentially Feminine Knits. I have a heathered, charcoal grey, Cascade 220 yarn (shown bottom right) that I want to use for this. The sweater below is a free pattern on Ravelry called Aurea that I want to knit in a mixed colours yarn from Regia.  This probably sounds hilarious but...

... I so missed going to the Design Outside the Lines workshop this year, that I've already signed up for the Spring 2017 session and started thinking about what to sew. I'd like to develop outfits that include these sweaters. I have a gorgeous, warm-orange, linen fabric and one that is black/pink/orange. Both should go great with the Aurea sweater and - of course - charcoal grey goes with almost my entire wardrobe, being mostly black - LOL.

The guest instructor for the Spring session is Carol Lee Shanks and the theme is 3 Easy Pieces: Layering Up Your Spring. It's a combination that works really well for me. I've admired Carol's work for some time and I like the idea of creating within the guideline of the three pieces. LOL - I just have to wait until April now however...

... now that Howard is heading back to work and fall is setting in, there's a long period of relatively free time to spend in the studio. I'm looking forward to knitting, some sewing, and working on developing my painting skills. Next week, I'm learning how to paint shoes like these wonderful examples above and I'm also planning to paint yardage to sew into aprons if I can figure out the dynamics of how to do that with the studio in disruption. Hopefully... there will be some work island painting and some fabric painting to show.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - directions to work in

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Makes Me Crazy

This is Howard's last week of holidays. He had four weeks in total and the time has gone quite quickly. We've mostly moved slow, partly because he needed the rest and partly because we were still - since February - waiting to hear if he was going on strike. He's not. The contract was settled the end of last week. YES YES!

Yesterday morning, we drove to Vernon (45 minutes) for breakfast at a wonderful restaurant called Eatology and then Howard waited patiently while I visited the yarn store, dropped a package at a friend's, and went to one of my favourite dress stores - South of Pine - before picking up coffee and driving home to work in the studio.

Earlier in the week, he added legs to the former upper wall shelf turned new button cabinet. The doors looked silly turned the other way so, for now, the handles are at the bottom and it's fine. It works. It is much wider than what I had before and as you can see with the empty containers, there is room for stash growth. LOL - always good. I've decided that instead of covering a coffee table with buttons, I will do the frame for a mirror for the studio, perhaps a three-way one. That seems more useful and still fun.

My work island has been moved several times and "forced" into different configurations. This last move was particularly tough on it and some parts were damaged and others destroyed beyond repair. What I was left with was four units that didn't match in length or height. At first, Howard suggested I buy new units but when we priced them out at $1,200.00, we decided we could shape and strengthen the pieces I had into one that worked.

There are four sections including two 24" deep units one of which is 30" wide with three drawers and one of which is 36" wide with one drawer and two doors plus two 12" deep units one of which is 36" wide and one of which was 33 1/4" wide. We had to take apart, trim to 30", and put back together that unit. Luckily, it was the one in the earlier picture with the chunk missing. We trimmed from that end.

Howard would be the first to tell you that he hates wood. He'd much rather fix something mechanical than build things. For me, wood work is very much like sewing. I can see what needs to be done quickly and have to be patient while he sorts it all out in his mind. VBG - this can be hard for me to do. I'm glad he has the right tools and I'm glad that he's willing to help me especially as it's quite difficult for him physically to do the work.

Keeping that in mind, I am minding my manners even though a mess in my studio makes me crazy. The orange pants are still in pieces and I've been knitting instead. I finished two pairs of socks and am working on a sweater while I wait to be able to block them... including ordering the sock blockers. Apparently, I don't need to do that but I want to. They are gifts and I think they'd look much better blocked. MEANWHILE...

... when we quit working last night, the island was upside down with the four units staggered, slid close, and partially screwed together. The plywood piece we had cut for the bottom will fit perfect and the castors will make it easy to move the unit. AND... if I have a 36" exterior door put into the studio, the height of the island minus the castors will be 30 5/8" so it should never have to come apart again and can be moved out by turning it sideways through the doorway if necessary. Right now, it doesn't feel necessary. I have no intention of moving. My children don't believe me - LOL - and I wonder why! We'll see.

HOWEVER... I do intend to fill all the holes and cracks and paint the island before filling it back up which may mean the studio stays messy for a while longer. Hopefully, I can push the mess all to one side and do some sewing but paint and fabric are not a good combination so that may mean more knitting or taking the machine upstairs for a while. I can do some dreaming... on Pinterest... that lovely time sucking source of inspiration.

That's where I found this version of Katherine Tilton's Butterick 5891 sewn by Now Sewing. I wear my vest from this pattern frequently. In fact, I wore it yesterday. This fabulous version inspires me to try the jacket or perhaps the vest with sleeves.


In the earlier picture, one of the dress forms is wearing a beige sweater. I bought it at the thrift store because I like the yarn and the moss stitch however, it's not really my style so I've been pinning and tucking and playing with refashioning ideas. This shibori idea has possibilities AND... another dot idea. Dots are everywhere. Perhaps, it's the year of the dot.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - Howard rebuilding the island and adding castors. I love being able to move the furniture around.