Monday, May 31, 2010

the free Round Ripple pattern written out

To my crochet friends-- would you try this pattern and see if I've written it out right? I'm not used to following written patterns (prefer diagram form) OR writing them! So I'm not too sure about this. But I got a request from someone who wanted to make one and can't follow my graph :-)
Would you let me know if you find a mistake? 

(EDIT-- I changed this post on July 8th, so that there's only one row of any that has a multiple of three!  In other words, one row of 3dc, two rows of 4dc, two rows of 5dc, one row of 6dc, etc) 

Chain 5, join w sl st to form a ring
1. ch3, 11dc in ring for a total of 12dc
2. ch3, 1dc in same space, 2dc in each dc around, for a total of 24dc
3. ch5, 1dc in top of previous ch3, *skip 1 dc, in next dc 1dc, ch2, 1dc, repeat around and join
4. sl st to next ch2 space, in space *2dc, ch2, 2dc repeat around for total of 12 groups
5. sl st over one dc, ch 3, *in ch2 space make 2dc ch2 2dc, in next dc make 1 dc, skip 2dc, in next dc make 1dc, repeat from * around, join with sl st
6. sl st over next dc, ch 3, dc in next dc, *in ch2 space make 1dc ch2 1dc, make 1dc in each of next 2dc, skip 2dc, 1dc in each of next 2dc, repeat from * around, join with sl st

etc... increasing one dc every other round, or if that's too many for your gauge, then every time the number of dc is a multiple of three, only do one round of that... hope that makes sense, it's what I had to do to keep my project from curling up :-)
Here's the page with the diagram...

I started a thread crochet doily version...

Edit--I already think it should have only ONE round with 3dc!  It was starting to curl up.  I've ripped out this much progress, and I'm doing 4dc immediately after the 3dc row.  I'll post again if it works  :-)

(July 8th)  YES and here's the new version!  It's coming out perfectly now!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spiral dress 2

I made this using the Spiral Dress top, and the skirt pieces of Spiral Skirt 1. So finally Skirt 1 gets tested! It came out pretty much as I expected... which isn't really what I was going for.

 I made it from a floral because that's pretty much all I want to wear! Call me a church lady, it's okay...

Camera in left hand  :-) 

THERE, just so you can see the lowest limits to which I will sink... there is that dress turned inside out with the seams highlighted so you can see them!!  
Because I know, otherwise they'd be quite invisible  :-) 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quilt idea

Wandered into quilt shop yesterday and saw this pattern on the wall. Isn't it clever! And all strips, no diagonals to cut.  

Barbara Stanny - Overcoming Underearning

This was a good book.  The main topic doesn't really apply to me.  I already don't spend more than I have to, I'm pretty thrifty.  It's true I often end up working for free!  That's kind of to be expected in my unique situation-- almost forty and never had a job-- but I don't consider it a problem, since I'm not headed for any serious "work" right now anyway. 

What I got out of this book that was VERY useful, was from one of its brilliant sub-themes-- on the topic of self-esteem and trying too hard to please people.

Here's my notes:

Breaking through your barriers requires the recognition that you really are a capable person with something valuable to offer, and you understand beyond doubt that you deserve to be happy, successful and well paid because you're worth it.

Women who take on more than their share of responsibility often carry too much weight. And many take on this responsibility because they don't feel good about themselves. So the habit of service to others and neglect of self becomes a default setting. But once self-esteem is enhanced through asking for more money, and more of the good that life has to offer, women find themselves so fulfilled that they don't need to fill the emptiness with food or other addictions.

You need to value who you are enough to put your own needs at the top of the list.

"The man who tries to please everyone, ends up whittling himself away."

Every time you go to do something different, every time you deviate from the norm, every time you break a habit or end a pattern, your brain cries, "Stop, this doesn't feel right! Don't do it." Do not listen!
The number one requirement for success in anything is, You've got to be willing to be uncomfortable.
Discomfort is an automatic response to anything out of the ordinary. The ability to tolerate discomfort is absolutely essential to go to the next level in any area of your life. Anxiety, fear, worry, nervousness, resistance... all these are normal reactions to new situations. It need not mean something's wrong, just that something is different.

"Embrace what doesn't come naturally. Only then will you stop limiting yourself."

The Defining Truth:
No one is doing this to me. I am doing it to myself. Therefore, I have the ability to change it.

One of the major reasons people get stuck is because they're clinging to the very thing that's holding them in place. Nothing propels us into our Discomfort Zone quicker than letting go. And it's usually that which we're most afraid to let go of that is the very thing we need to release.

"We must be willing to relinquish the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." - Joseph Campbell

Success is a social activity. You can't do it alone, you just can't. There ARE people who will joyfully greet the person you are becoming.

"They started to fall off like flies," she told me. "People took it personally. Others understood, but it was obvious our relationship had changed. There were great people... I love them, but I knew I needed to find others operating at the level I wanted to be at. That was absolutely necessary if I was going to move forward."

You can no longer abandon your self to make everyone else happy. If you're even slightly codependent--neglecting your own needs to concentrate on, control, or care take others-- you're probably reading this in total horror. But... I can't tell you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure: try to please everybody.

She stopped listening. "I started using that phrase, 'Thank you for sharing,' and I'd think to myself, 'I don't agree. But I love you anyway.' I've had to let go of needing everyone to be in Jolee's pep club... I might lose some friends along the way. But the workshop gave me permission to not be angry and do what I want whether they like it or not."

No matter how bold you may be, it's easy to lose your footing when you're caught off guard by a naysayer during a weak moment.

Watch what you talk about. Language is powerful. There is a direct correlation between the words that you use and the life that you have. I saw this principle in action right after I wrote my last book, when the economy went sour. I noticed I was having very different conversations with the six-figure women I had kept in touch with than I was having with most others. Underearners were constantly complaining about the lousy economy, quickly dismissing the mere idea of making more money. But the high earners, even those who had been hit by hard times, were surprisingly upbeat about the opportunities that were out there. Their words became self-fulfilling prophecies. Their outcomes directly reflected their different perspectives.

Watch what you say. Talk about what you're committed to, not what you're worried about. Stop apologizing or belittling yourself in any way.
This is not about positive thinking. It's about the power that words have over your attitude and behavior. Life follows what you say. What you share, you strengthen. What you focus on expands. It's never the other way around. Never!

Journal exercise...
The next day, and for the following week, consciously choose to only talk about possibilities, not problems; about what you aspire to achieve, rather than everything that is going wrong. Talk as if you're a powerful person, not a victim. How does this make you feel?

When you do this exercise, you'll likely feel strange, awkward, arrogant and phony, especially if you've been hanging out with negative folks. That's exactly how change feels. Remember, the number one requirement for success is the willingness to be uncomfortable. Pretty soon, what now feels weird will begin to seem normal.

We'll never attract people who respect us until we learn to respect ourselves-- by taking time to take care of ourselves.

"What have I done lately for me? I took three weeks off work. I read novels, took naps, meditated. I had never taken time for me. I had to learn to sit and be quiet, listen to what was inside me. I found I could near a choir of voices saying, 'You can do this if you have a vision.' I found a whole reservoir within me that said, 'Get up and go.' Then it was 'All right, now one foot in front of the other.' I took jobs I wanted, turned down the ones that drained me. I weaned off old friends, I'm finding new ones. And I am having so much fun."

The word 'community' derives from Latin words cum munere, which literally mean to give among each other. Giving to yourself and receiving from others are equally critical components for overcoming underearning.

Hang out with the kind of people you want to be like, not who you've been.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

analysis of Civil War fashion in pictures

Book I just finished reading, VERY enlightening and informative, and entertaining.  It's packed with pictures.  This lady took a huge sample of Civil War era photos, and categorized "who wore what" by age and economic status.  Some results are not at all what you'd think!  She points out that most pictures are selected to illustrate a certain point, and very few "ordinary" pictures are published.  She focuses on ordinary and average instead, because that's what we should be going for usually, in our impressions.

Miscellanea for today

So I'm not a thread expert yet! On the way to pick up the Pfaff I stopped at a little thrift shop and found some old thread on those charming wooden spools (the lady told me most people wanted those for the spools, for making crafts)
I like old stuff! This looked like nice thread, Necchi brand made in Italy back in the day. Everything was half off, so I got all this for $6.50!

Went to Pfaff store to pick up the (I want to say "baby", but let's not be that silly) and told the guy about the thread I'd just bought and he said... "Sewing thread has a shelf life, you know! Old thread gets brittle and breaks easily!"
Argh. I think he's into raining on my parade!
And he's right, that old thread does break easily. Pity. Well I have a whole pile of nice wooden spools now...
I was going to buy quite a bit of their thread, (had already compared on internet, and the Pfaff store was actually cheapest!) but they were still out of basic black and white. I got a spool of very light grey, one of dark brown, and one rose pink. Close enough to "basics" for now.

Came home and found my daughters have been dipping strawberries in chocolate, and here's some in the freezer waiting for me.

At the collage-making class there was a big tin of neat old buttons that we could use. I spotted these and just had to ask for them! Not for a collage, just because they were too cool not to take home. Check out the fasces!  It's a "Fascist button", how could I not want that!   Hehe, not really, read about it
And I love ladybug jewelry even though I don't own any! I had these darling red ladybug earrings that my daughters said they didn't want, and I always wore them until one day they took them back again :-(

Finished another potholder to match the others, made on the Singer!

Was my wallpaper for a while. I like the authenticity of wildflowers, and the reality of some withered ones in back. Reminds me of some old masters paintings, remember the ones I mean? Some of the most beautiful still lives of flowers and fruit have dead flowers and rotten fruit in the picture, because that's how it really is...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Now THAT's exciting!!

Pfaff and fabric

They just called to say my Pfaff is done. It was very dry and needed lubrication badly, that's why it was making the noise and odd smell. I asked what he would guess the history was. I had rather wondered if I was the first person to sew on it... that was my impression because after sewing a while, I noticed lint in places there hadn't been lint before. He said that made sense, because he found it very dry and dirty in an unusual way, as if it had been stored for a long time in a dusty place. Sewing machines that were being used regularly didn't look like that inside.
I think I can pick it up today! I'm going to buy some of the thread, too. Just a couple spools of white for now... I'll have to use up that "junk" Coats and Clarks thread in the other machine, I guess!

Look at the cool $1/yd fabric I just found on the discount table. That's prettier than cheap fabric normally is! And it came out of the dryer beautifully smooth and ready to go. There was a little more than five yards of each!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My poor Pfaff, and the rest of my stable

The other morning I started sewing as usual, only it made a faint squealing noise every time it started. I was worried about that, and my daughter came in the room and wanted to know "what's that strange smell?" and decided it was coming from the machine. Wha...??
My beautiful Pfaff!!
I hadn't had it serviced when I got it because I couldn't afford the $80, but I could do $80 now, and just hope it's not something else going haywire in there! I hauled it over to the Pfaff store.
And how very HOT I felt carrying my Pfaff into the Pfaff store!!
The lady asked when it was serviced last, and I told her the story. She asked if family had given it to me? Surely not a stranger? And I said a stranger had. She said that was interesting because she was trying to reconcile herself to giving a Pfaff away, a very nice high-end machine that a lady who was going into a nursing home had wanted to donate to someone who would appreciate it. This lady (the one who ran the shop) had immediately thought of a mother of five kids who currently sewed her kids' clothes on an old Kenmore that only did zigzag. I said, "I have five kids too!" and she felt that was definitely a significant coincidence. Her husband came to look at my machine and she told him about it. So I think some lucky mother of five is about to get a really nice machine partly because of me :-)
Anyway, back to me. The man started looking at my machine. He wanted to know if that was really a Singer needle in there? I said I thought my daughter had done that (it's possible it was my daughter, it's also possible it was me) and he said sternly that we must not use Singer needles in a Pfaff, it'll wear away the something something, and ruin the threader, too! Yikes. Then he asked if I wasn't really using Coats and Clarks thread in this machine?? And I had to admit sheepishly that that was the case. No, no, they said, Coats and Clarks is made in Mexico and it's junk! The thickness varies, and it has little knots and snags, and it'll ruin the tension. I simply MUST buy the quality German thread from them! They said it'll be cheaper in the long run, because I'll be getting it serviced less often.
(Actually it's cheaper right now, or at least not any more expensive, because the nice thread is $7 a spool, but there's 1000 yards on a spool... C&C is only 300 yards!)
Then he asked me if that was me who had written all over it! Yes, that was me. I always use permanent marker to make a note about which way the bobbin goes in, so I don't forget and do it backwards. I said, "Don't tell me that can hurt it somehow!"
He said, "Well, you never know, this is a German machine, maybe it doesn't want you writing all over it in English!"
Hahaha, yes he was teasing that time!
They said they hoped I didn't mind.
I don't mind.
I can come pick it up in a couple weeks. So it's back to my old machine for a while. Here we are:

I bought this machine when I was first married and didn't know better. Visible on left, the famous rubber bands. It didn't have a foot pressure adjustment, and the foot was pressing so hard it was basically impossible to sew with. For a long time I thought I was doing something wrong! I resorted to holding the material in front and back and pulling to keep the layers feeding evenly. One day I ripped out the spring and strung rubber bands in there instead. Now it doesn't press down very hard at all, and I've still got to use my hands on both sides, but too little pressure's a lot easier to deal with than too much! The rubber bands break from time to time, and I replace them.
It's still a huge improvement over sewing by hand!
I have two other machines. A good friend gave me a lovely Singer made in the Fifties-- "Fifties" gets capitalized, don't you think? The Fifties must've been a great time, to hear everybody talk about it. It was after the war, and everybody's rich and happy and wearing huge skirts, and having lots of babies. And that Fifties Singer was a wonderful machine, a pleasure to sew with, but the motor burned out with smoke and everything. It happened when I had zero money, so I just set it aside and went back to the old machine. I also have a White that I paid $25 for, and it's kind of okay... it's decent, sorta. It's so clunky! It's very noisy, and I don't know what's wrong with the feed dogs, they just kind of go all astray. It works great on blue jeans, big heavy jobs and such, but it ruins anything more delicate.
I have a certain affection for my rubber-band machine. Any time you invest something of yourself it's hard to hate it later!
And, you'll notice, my rubberband Singer has an external belt? I hooked it up to my treadle base and it works dandy. When the power goes off and the computer goes dark, I can sew :-)

I just made that with it.
Check out the top right where it skipped three stitches in a row, and the lower left, alternating long and short! I think I'll do more ordinary sewing in the meantime and let the next potholder wait until the Pfaff comes back.

Monday, May 3, 2010

We Were There! At the Battle of Fort Steilacoom

Victoria sewed her own, er, “War of Northern Aggression” era outfit! 
When we knew this event was coming up she put something together for Karen, and I made the boys jackets which for not having a pattern or any time, I think came out quite well! 

I had the most fun making those flags!  Adobe Illustrator came in handy for the stars and the placement.  Oh, I’ve no idea if I got them “correct” at all, but at least I got the points evenly spaced and into a circle, and that’s all I was going for   🙂

Caps from the sutler  :-) 
What I'm most impressed with was that the fabric I had happened to have lying about so closely matched the caps that we bought at the event!