Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I Made Another Skirt!

This time I made a less fitted, longer skirt with an elastic waistband and drawstring. I think I should have not worried so much about fitting my hips and done what all the books I borrowed said to do about this type of skirt and go by the waist size. It's definitely a bit baggy on me but as it's a summery, lightweight cotton it's not that noticeable (I hope). I did take about a quarter inch in along the side seams which helped a little.

This skirt also has a flounce. It's like a ruffle only it uses less material and it's not gathered. For the heck of it I pinned the pattern pieces together and the flounce wasn't the same length as the hem which drove me nuts for at least a week. I asked on a sewing message board and did a lot of web searching and read up on flounces in all the library books I borrowed. Everything I found said they should be the same length. I figured it might have something to do with part of the flounce (it's a long curved rectangle) being cut on the bias, so I did a small test piece in muslin and indeed, enough of it stretched to fit.
But I was also adding a couple inches in length to the whole skirt which would change the flounce length and as I didn't know the math behind that difference, I couldn't adjust accordingly. So I erred on the side of caution and added more than I needed which made attaching the flounce and cutting off the excess a bit of a pain. It wasn't a perfect solution, but again, it's probably only me who will be bothered by it.

Tonight I finished the skirt and though it's another lousy photo, here it is. Hopefully, I'll have a better photo soon.
Simplicity 1807

Still Smokin'

With the white electric smoker and the larger brown oven electric smoker Hal built out for me, I have smoked bratwurst several times, a whole chicken once, salmon, and lots of ribs. The other day Hal tried a ham roast his dad gave him as well as some cod. Tomorrow we plan on smoking 2 pork shoulder butts to make into pulled pork for the weekend. Usually I just threw a butt into a slow cooker which is pretty dang tasty. I'm hoping smoking will make it even tastier.

The butts have been marinating since yesterday while thawing in the refrigerator. Tonight we will apply a dry rub, I'm using the one I made and have used before on ribs and salmon, Hal plans on making his own. Looks like we'll have competing butts.

Here's a photo of the ribs we made the other day. The curved one in front is the baby back and the one in the back is St Louis style. They were both very good though we preferred the baby backs this time. It was the first time we'd done baby backs.
And here is the salmon, two kinds, I think the left was sockeye, and the one on the right was orange and pricier. extremely good.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hello Summer

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day in the year for the northern hemisphere. It is a lovely 70 F, humidity isn't too bad, there was a cool breeze earlier when I started walking the dogs but it seems to have died down now. Last night we had a campfire at Hal's parents' house along with one of Hal's brothers and his wife. The last campfire of spring I suppose. May have another one tonight, who knows? Depends on the weather. But we will be over there again for dinner as today is also Father's Day. And that is where I am now, waiting for the grill master to finish the ribs so he can grill the whitefish I bought 2 days ago. Smells great so far.

But what else have I been up to? You are probably not even asking. I've been pretty busy, I did finish that skirt and am even wearing it right this very moment! Yes, I know, wow! I've bought more material and specific patterns to hopefully make more clothes this summer. Probably went a little overboard as I did with yarn last year, especially as I have plenty of material purchased previously and still languishing in bags and boxes. I am planning on making one particular skirt with a flounce on the bottom. I've never done a flounce, it's supposed to be easier than a ruffle, which I have done, but the flounce pattern piece isn't matching up to the length of the skirt hem and I don't understand why unless I'm supposed to stretch it to fit and it's the only thing that makes sense because that part of the flounce will be on the bias which is very stretchy. But everything I've researched and the people I've aske on line all agree with me that 2.5 inches is a bit much to stretch. It seems it would make the skirt bunch. So I'll have to do a test piece out of muslin and see what happens and alter accordingly if I have to.

The vegetable garden is doing fairly well, snow peas are starting to come in though there haven't been enough to pick and cook for a meal. My Jade green beans are a couple inches tall and getting real leaves but the Masai beans are a failure. Two plants came up, what happened to the rest I don't know, something must have tunneled in and eaten them because I can't find the beans and there are no obvious holes. I have another half packet of each to plant so we'll see if I have better luck or if I need to drop Masai from my repertoire.

Only half my pumpkin hills came up, less than half, 2 out of 5. And many cucumbers failed to sprout as well or if they did had their tops nipped off. So I reinforced the fencing because it has to be from a critter. I planted more cucumber seeds but have misplaced the pumpkin packet.

My cherry tomatoes which are in pots on the east side of the deck are still scraggly, and I found a hen in one pot one afternoon digging merrily away. I swung a bag at her and chased her away. This explains the dead tomato on the ground I found earlier in the week. I hope the tomato cages I put in will deter any more chicken shenanigans.

Hal and I are still well, our weight loss seems to have plateaued again. I am still down almost 17 pounds The dogs are well, Ziggy has run off into the woods a couple times chasing something and ignoring my calls. I still blame his beagle half. Otherwise he and Luna spend most of our daily walks chasing chipmunks and digging at the base of trees and stumps trying to find one. My walks have become fairly lonely. I'm averaging at least 3 miles per day now and for a stretch of about 9 days managed 4 miles each day. A couple days I've done 5 miles, but it really depends on the weather, we've had some hot and very humid days and it makes walking 5 miles kind of unpleasant.

Dinner is over now, there were baby back ribs, whitefish and whistle pig all grilled by one of Hal's younger brothers, as well as various store bought and homemade salads. Now we just wait till dark and have another fire. Nice start to summer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I Made a Skirt!

It still needs hemming and a little hook and eye above the zipper but otherwise, it's done.
I haven't made a skirt in at least 20 years, possibly more, in fact other than a couple set of pajamas with elastic waist bands and nightgowns I've really only made quilts or nothing at all. My sewing machine has sat idle for years at a time. But after wearing an old slightly too tight jean skirt last month during a heatwave I decided I was really comfortable and ought to have another, better fitting summer skirt.

Last year I had tried sewing a short sleeved top with seersucker fabric. I already owned a pattern but that pattern was bought when I was much thinner, still, I picked something like size 14. I didn't realize how different store bought clothing and pattern sizes were, and even though I stared at the bust, waist and hip measurements, seeing that I was not the pattern's size 14, it just didn't sink in. Suffice to say, it was pretty much a disaster and remains unfinished.

For the skirt I already had Simplicity pattern 5914 and it happened to have larger sizes included so I chose view A, size 22, the shorter tulip shaped skirt without embellishments. First thing I did was make one out of an old sheet because my shape has changed a lot since I last made fitted garments. I thought I had figured out to widen the front seams to hide the belly and took in the waist in the back. Seemed to fit. So the next day I pinned and cut the denim and started sewing.

Turns out the added fabric in the front seams was not needed and I had a devil of a time removing it and getting the skirt to hang straight. The tucks in the back waist though were perfect and so I continued. The zipper instructions in the pattern guide were confusing but the zipper package had much better ones and the zipper went in just fine. I had to do mock French seams inside to stop the fraying. That was a pain in the butt. First I tried just folding and sewing, then ironing each side and sewing and ended up folding, pinning and then sewing. Took all afternoon but not bad for my first ever mock French seams.
Today I added the facing for the waist (there is no waist band), used twill tape for stabilization for the first time ever. It's supposed to keep the waist from stretching out of shape. After pressing and trying it on again (did a lot of that these past few days) I noticed one of the front seams still didn't look right so took it in a little more and it's laying reasonably flat now. The instructions say to let it hang overnight before hemming so that's what it's doing. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get to the hemming and have a finished skirt to wear.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Vegetable Garden

It's all planted now except for the second half of the bush beans in another week or so. Some of the snow peas are finally flowering. In the past few days planted 10 hills of pickling cucumbers, 7 hills of slicing cucumbers and 5 hills of a pie pumpkin called winter luxury. Just need some rain now.