a Perfectly Pleasant Peasant Top

I have made a new Peasant Top.
This was part of my Make a Garment a Month plans for February.  I didn't make the pants I'd planned on, so am wearing this with my Simplicity 7131 pants I made in January.
Love the way it moves with me.
I'd made this shirt before in the sleeveless version so I knew the neckline was cut a little low, so I raised the neckline 1" and am sooooo glad I did as this fabric has a little 'stretch' and the neckline still turned out a little lower than I really wanted. 
I cut a size 10 and constructed with french seams with the exception of the sleeve inserts and sleeve bands.  Those were serged.  I added a little flare from the waist down too.  The neckline band was doubled in size - to help with the modesty factor and also because I decided I liked it that way.  No drawstring and no center 'opening', though I did include a center seam as per the pattern instructions.  Originally I didn't and cut the front on the fold, subtracting the seam allowance, but the shirt was just so big.  I was able to get the fit I wanted by manipulating the center seam after all.  There was a huge difference in the way this fabric sewed up into this shirt and the way my earlier cotton fabric one did.  I also modified the sleeves to have a simple band to finish them off.  Even though this fabric is not a knit, there is some stretch and give to it, and coupled with the grand neck opening it is quite easy to pull on and off.
Fabric came from Wal-Mart and total cost was $4.50.
My daughter tells me my cute top looks like a renaissance period shirt with its gathers at the shoulder seams and fullness at the wrists.  All I know is that it is comfortable and I like it!

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'Not Your Grandma's Quilt'

Usually when watching the NBC Nightly News, one doesn't expect a full-blown story on quilting, or any of the domestic arts come to think of it, so it was a nice surprise to see this story on Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Co. last night, covering not only how she is teaching and inspiring so many of us quilters, but also bringing healthy growth, in the form of jobs and tourism, to her small Missouri town.  Please click the link below to see the the  2.5 minute video.  I tried to embed it, but just couldn't get it to work that way.
Credit NBC Nightly News
I LOVE her videos!  As a new quilter myself, she shows that quilting can be doable and fun, not something to be stressed about.  I used her Fast and Easy Pinwheels video, below, when I made my pinwheel blocks for a 'prayer' quilt for a sweet young girl that I wrote about here.

And thank you NBC Nightly News, for giving us a story on a 'Quilting Queen' during the prime-time news hour.  May it give others the opportunity to be inspired to pick up a needle and thread!

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a handsewing tip or two

With my Alabama Chanin inspired scarf done, I thought I'd share a little handsewing/embroidery tip I found useful.  Using an empty spool of thread (the white plastic tube below), I wound the separated, cut-to-size embroidery threads 'round, which kept tangled threads under control with thread prepped at-the-ready when I needed to re-thread.  I also used an old plastic bread clasp (middle, in photo below) to wind the un-separated un-cut embroidery thread 'round to keep that more manageable too.
It's so much more pleasant to sew, when one's not battling one's thread.  :)

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an Alabama Chanin inspired scarf

I made a scarf for my oldest daughter, who lives out-of-state.
After I finished my Alabama Chanin inspired top, I thought Jennifer might enjoy a scarf out of the soft comfy fabric, so this scarf was constructed exactly like Melissa's (she's my youngest daughter), then added the hand-stitched embroidery.

Edges were pinned this way, see photo below, and using one strand of embroidery thread....
...hand-embroidered a herringbone stitch all 'round...
....leaving the knots exposed on the 'wrong' side added an extra design feature.  And because I was careful to cut my embroidery thread(s) all the same length, all the knots ended up evenly spaced out.
I want a scarf like this now.

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A couple of fun, easy projects for the home

Though I haven't been doing any garment sewing - which I need to do, I have been having fun with my Thrift Store box of fabric.  *smile*

I've made 2 new (striped) pillows for the sofa in front of the fireplace.
The cotton duck canvas fabric seemed to have been waterproofed on the 'wrong side', so the pillows were supposed to be for the two deck wrought-iron rockers.  But my husband and daughter both loved them here.... so here they are.  I used the pillow inserts I'd made for the Christmas pillows, so this was a fast 'n easy project. 
(Note to self - cut the fabric 16 1/2" square, 1/4" seams, and it's perfect for these two inserts.)
Re-covered a @100 year old family heirloom vanity bench.  Cutting into this beautiful, velvety-sort-of-textured fabric didn't phase me at all.... but removing brad nails down to the original silk covering and not destroying any old wood made me hold my breath.
This little bench is a companion to my Oklahoma grandmother's vanity, but is now a footstool for our tapestry wingback chair in our hearthroom where we enjoy catching up with each other's day, watch TV and spend most of our time.  It felt good to prop my feet up for a moment after I nailed the last little nail and screwed the top down.  Whew!
Oh, and what is in that pretty red wooden box there?...
My Shetland Lace Scarf I've been spending so much time with.  I must be a s-l-o-w knitter as this seems to be taking me forever!  The yarn's been giving me such fits, I finally thought to check the yarn's Ravelry page, and sure enough it's been discontinued.  Not surprising.  It does not hold its 'twist' and it's like knitting with two strands of yarn - one fuzzy and one like a cording.... hard to keep track of the stitches.  I'm about 60% done.  Tom made me this little wooden box too and painted it 'barn red'... my favorite color.  Now I have a couple of pretty boxes to hold my work-in-progress projects.
Towa's my one and only companion now as Gummy, the Cockatiel, did not last long in my sewing room.  The dust and dander she created was simply too much, so she's back in Melissa's room, where I think she feels more comfortable anyway.
Hopefully I'll have a garment to share soon.  All is cut out, just need to sit down and sew.  In the same breath, it feels nice to have a few home dec projects done to sort of 'spruce' up our home.  Both the little bench and the two pillow's fabric came from my Thrift Store box... with more in-the-works.

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a Shetland Lace Scarf - in process

It's hard to believe it was only last week we were snowed and iced in and so, so, so c-c-c-cold...
...as today's sunshine warmed us up to the mid-60s, with a Southern Spring-like feel to the air kind of day that drew me outside to work on my knit project.
The pattern can be found in 'a stitch in time' by Lucinda Ganderton.
This yarn combines all of nature's colors, with just a bit of 'sparkle'!
I'm almost embarassed to admit the yarn for this project was purchased looong ago, in 2003-2004, and the project was 'officially' started in 2009, per my notes.  But after I finished my poncho, I remembered this Shetland Lace Scarf in-process project that had been tucked away, and sure enough, the colors are perfect, not only with the poncho, but also with the other new garments I've been making for this winter.

So, I'm on a mission to finish this pretty scarf while our weather is still cool enough to wear it!

You can read more about the Shetland Lace Scarf on my ravelry page.

Tomorrow we're forecast for low-40s and rain, rain, rain....

UPDATE 4.18.2014 ~ It's complete!!!  It finished at 7 1/2" x 82" and is perfect with my poncho!

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