Wednesday, October 20, 2010

vacation fabric scores #3 & #4

Home again, yay! My weekend Portland (OR) hookup with my two sisters was a blast, but I am sooooooo glad to be home. (Not so glad about the fatigue, achy back/neck, itchy throat, and inflamed sinuses that yesterday I was trying to blame on vog and jetlag, but this morning must accept are likely early symptoms of a cold picked up somewhere along the way from Portland, ME, through Portland, OR, to Honolulu, to Hilo: 5 airports, 5 flights, many hours of layovers and delays, and exposure to a few more fellow humans than I typically encounter in 4 days.)

However, not jetlag nor germs, nor a combination thereof, are enough to keep me from jumping right into pre-washing and ironing my recent fabric acquisitions. At this moment washer load #4 and dryer load #3 are in the works, and a lovely pile of yardage is stacking up in the sewing room.

Highlights from Fabric Depot (ginormous) and Bolt (small), both full of goodies and worth a visit when you are next in Portland, OR...

Does this every happen to you: you see a fabric and part of you thinks it's hideous and awful, and another part of you falls totally in love with it? That's what happened to me with these peonies. Which are huge. Each blossom is at least 6" across. I'm seeing a long skirt, full at the ankles, fitted at the hip (long godets, maybe?), so got three yards of it. I may wake up and wonder what I'd been drinking:

This one's big, too, but only a yard, and will probably end up as part of a summer skirt:

This one, I don't know yet. Again, the print is huge; this is about half the width. I have 3 yards of this, too, and may end up wearing it. Or not.

USEFUL STUFF for the Stash (yards and half-yards):

I seemed to be primarily in orange/green mode, so these fit right in:
And I had in mind finding some luscious dots, like these. And look, there's the orange colorway of that leafy green I wished I gotten more of in Maine. Lucky me, Bolt had the green, too, so I did get more of it:

I love this, although it's not my colors:

If Fabric Depot had had a brighter colorway* I would have gone for it. I went with this anyway because I had cut up some jelly roll strips of other Philip Jacobs prints like this for the hexies quilt in progress, and it translates extremely well to random small bits.

*likely they did and it was in someone else's cart; the store was so huge and busy, and the cutting table lines so long, it was impossible not to wonder what beauties were overlooked because someone else had picked them up first.

And, allthough it's not my colors, it is totally my Mom's palettes (pale blue, beige and brown, ashy everything else, yawn), so I got a big piece with a future One Block Wonder in mind. It will look great draped over the arm of her (boring beige) couch.

I thought I was done shopping when I happened upon the "novelty" section and picked up some more yardage with future just-for-fun OBWs and charity quilts in mind. I haven't taken pics of those yet, and they're in the washer, so you'll see them another time.

I also have not yet added up either my total yardage acquired or the damage done to my Visa balance. I briefly considered setting a fabric budget before leaving home, but knew there was no chance I would have stuck to it, so I did the sensible thing and took along a Visa card that's been hanging around with a zero balance for a few years, waiting for me to come up with a good reason to use it again. Fortunately my quilting sister is an even more avid stash-builder than I am, so my pile looked reasonable next to hers.

I also did the other sensible thing and took my machine in for servicing while I was away. I'd hoped to pick it up today, but am feeling less and less inclined to do any kind of errands; a hot bath and a nap and a few more megadoses of Vitamin C are more appealing at the moment. Looks like fabric fondling and daydreaming about new projects will be the extent of my sewing efforts for the next few days.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

vacation fabric score #2

One highlight of any trip to visit "the 'rents" in coastal Maine is shopping in Freeport. Mum and I ended up there on Monday, which given it was a holiday I thought would be a zoo, but it wasn't too bad. Mum did my budget a favor by insisting on buying me this Dooney&Burke bag (super discounted; roughly 70% off), which I coveted on sight:
I also picked up an armful of plain-color (no graphics) summer-weight Ts for Mr. de Hilo at the Gap, not exciting to any of us, but he'll be pleased. We could not have had a nicer day for a drive and shopping, plus we got to stop off at Alewives Fabrics in Damariscotta Mills, which is a wonderful shop full of contemporary quilting cottons (and very little of the dull traditional calicoes which are mostly what I see around here).

I picked up a couple of FQs, some half-yards, and a fistful of colorful zippers, all shamelessly for the stash, no specific project in mind:
 I already wish I'd bought a larger piece of that leaf print in the center. I am going to want to use it in everything. And here's a larger piece (just over yard) that was the end of a bolt. I have no idea what I will do with it, but Mr. de Hilo will like it. It will linger in the stash, too, as I await inspiration:
And that's not all! Mum also insisted on buying me some fabric to be my XMas present, so two large pieces of loveliness went into her shopping bag, to be shipped to me in December. Pics of those will await delivery by Santa. 
On our way out (I thought) of the store, Mum (who sews only under duress, and then without pleasure) saw a "layer cake" of 42 William Morris print 10" squares and drooled over it, saying wistfully, "Gosh, I'd love to buy this, if someone wanted to make me something from it." Um, okay: hard to say no to that when you've just bought me 10 yards of Kaffe Fassett fabric. So, back to the cashier we went, and I've add one pieced jacket for Mum to the projects list. I negotiated a lenient schedule, though, so no XMas deadline for that. Plus, I've been looking for a reason to make a pieced jacket, so I guess this is it.

Here's the foliage shot of the day: this one from late yesterday afternoon, at NW(?) end of Megunticook Lake, near Camden:

I'm heading back to Portland, OR, tomorrow, where I hope to blow the remainder of my fabric budget at FabricDepot and Bolt. Reports will be filed after my return home to Hilo.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

vacation fabric score #1

Aloha from the mainland!

I had an afternoon in Portland, Oregon last week before my red-eye flight to Portland, ME. I used that time wisely by squeezing in a visit to Josephine's Dry Goods. This charming little fabric shop makes great use of limited floor space by filling it with a fabulous selection of garment fabrics. I have no need of anything woolen, alas, but I did snag some of this luscious stretch jersey (enough for a cap- or maybe elbow-length sleeve top of some kind), at vastly greater expense than I usually pay for fabric, but I was ready to splurge:

I also picked up these two pieces from their small selection of cotton wovens, a yard of the larger piece, and a half-yard of the smaller one. I have nothing specific in mind for these yet; don't even know if they will end up as parts of a quilt someday, or (more likely) yet another multi-fabric cotton skirt next spring sometime:

I've also blown a large portion of my vacation fabric budget on BUTTONS, which I can't get locally (other than boring basic plastic ones). My first set of pics did not come out well, and I've bought more since then, so I will post those another time.

I'm enjoying being in Maine again (it's been several years since my last visit). Here's the view from Mom & Dad's guest room, where I am staying (that's a lake at the end of the lawn, not the ocean although we are on the coast):
 I've been enjoying my "self-sewn" trip wardrobe. I've been wearing my two versions of the Jalie 2908 pant daily, and am happy to report that they are divinely comfortable. Hope to get a pic of me in them one of these days. Since I don't have clothes pics yet, here's a look at the autumn foliage from atop a nearby hill.
It was COLD up there: in the 40s, but with wind chill in the 30s. Quite a change from Hawaii!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Button and Hem Day

... was supposed to be yesterday, but it didn't happen, so add that to what I need to get done today before my suitcase can be packed. I'm this close to done, though: the black stretch twill Jalie 2908 "jean-style pant" still needs its button and hems, but is pinned and ready to go. I'll get that wrapped up when I'm done here. The Marrakesh pant and light blue Jalie 2908 are finally in the "done" pile. With several disappointing knit tops shelved recently, I've gone back to the Santa Monica Tee to make two more last-minute tops. On my "to do" for when I get back: catch up on postings to Pattern Review.

I am now well-supplied with self-sewn clothes for my visit to Maine (mom & dad) and Oregon (sisters). I'm pleased that I've gotten so many new pieces done, and that I am only 10 yards behind on year-to-date yardage purchased vs. used. That will change by the time I get back, as I have multiple fabric store stops planned.

It will be great to spend time with family and see autumn foliage again. I will not enjoy being apart from Mr. de Hilo, though: he's staying here to keep our business chugging along (and feed the cat). He gets along fine with my folks, but while having him along would mean a nicer trip for me, it would also be a poor use of vacation time for him and a distraction from the many things he's trying to get done for our biz before the end of the year. We'll do something together another time.

Doesn't look like I'll get any pics up today, as I still have not gone out to do errands and it's a crappy day for photos: rainy and grey and looking like it will stay that way. I'll post from the road if I can...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

my best friend: the seam ripper

Still waiting for that USB camera card reader. Online tracking says it left Honolulu yesterday, so should arrive in my PO Box today, but I've got too much to do to drive over to the other side of town to pick it up. Maybe I'll have some fresh pics for you on Monday afternoon? If I'm not too frantically trying to catch up on everything I have/want to do before departure for the east coast on Tuesday am.

Lots of sewing this week. A bit too much. I do best with short sewing sessions. When I keep going and going I am prone to stupid user errors. Like sewing the yoke onto my black stretch twill pants (Jalie 2908, wide legged version #2) backwards. A fixable error, but one I wish I'd noticed before I zigzag-finished the raw edges and added two rows of top-stitching. Oh well. It's all been picked apart and pressed back into shape, and as soon as I finish up here and get a little more caffeine in me I'll go put it back together again the right way.

I also produced an epic fail of Vogue 8323, the cowl-neck version:

It sewed up easily enough. I reduced the (ginormously long) cowl by half, by cutting on the "fold here" line, and stabilized the shoulder seams. But I wanted full-length sleeves, and when I tried it on the weight of the sleeves pulled the cowl neck sideways and that mid-shoulder princess seam ended up off the edge of my shoulder. The problem is that my fabric, although "light weight" as in thin and stretchy, is too "heavy" (as in weighty, not thick) for this style, and the wide cowl makes stabilizing the neck impossible. PR reviewers who've made this version have commented that a lightweight, droopy fabric (which mine is) is necessary for this view because a too-stable knit makes the cowl impossibly high and awkward.

I am very sorry I used some of my good fabric for this one. It might be possibly to save it: I'm thinking of, first, cutting the sleeve off to a minimal cap sleeve or, if that doesn't work, removing the sleeves entirely, and maybe taking an inch off each side of the cowl. I think without the sleeves it might be okay. It might even be better than okay. But sleeveless is not what I need to go in my suitcase, so any rescue operations on this one will have to wait until I get back from my trip. Unless a miracle happens and I end up with an hour or two of free time between now and Tuesday morning.
The bigger disappointment is that I had the cross-front version of this top (with sleeves added) in mind for another print in this same rayon jersey, and now I don't dare attempt it. I've had this fabric for a couple of years now, and want very much to make something with it, but finding the right pattern remains elusive. I may fall back on my TNT Santa Monica T, but had hoped to find something with a little more styling detail.
I've also made five (5!) "origami bag" zip pouches from Amy Butler's new book, Style Stitches: 12 Easy Ways to 26 Wonderful Bags
This book is GORGEOUS, one of the most beautifully photographed and designed books I've ever oogled over, and worth spending time with for eye candy fun even if you aren't much into bag sewing. The Origami bag is the only pattern from the book I've made so far, and is a nifty little design in six different sizes. I found a few parts of the instructions less than crystal clear the first time through, but having made one the rest were quick and easy. Several of mine are not to Amy's proportions, as I was working with pieces from the "large scraps" quilting drawer and using odds and ends of whatever bag-weight interfacing I could find. They all turned out great, though, and all the little crap I'm taking with me will now be sublimely organized.
Pics of these cuties will follow eventually. In the meantime, someone has posted a page-shot of the Origami Bag to Flickr here.