Sunday, January 30, 2011

Groundhog Day is Feb 2

In Ontario on February 2 we 'celebrate' Groundhog Day with a character by the name of Wiarton Willie. Here is a photo of a statue of the fellow. Tradition has it that if 'Willie' comes out of his home and sees his shadow we will have six more weeks of winter! So of course what better reason to have a party? or a full week long festival with a wonderful pancake breakfast on the morning of Feb. 2?  Whichever way he goes he makes someone happy. There are other famous groundhogs in Canada and the U.S. You can read about them and the history of Groundhog day in an article, "What Wiarton Willie sees".  Great fun!! We will all be listening to hear what is in store.

One of my students brought in her latest bishops for me to see. They were wonderful and Lynn has experimented with colour and created some very interesting effects. The first dress is smocked in grey greens that work really well on the pale mint green of the dress. I would never have chosen these colours but was so impressed, with Lynn's permission, I just had to share. The unifying factor here is that all the greens have a blue value to them. Had the floss been to the yellow direction on the colour wheel it would not have worked at all.
The second dress I am posting today was smocked with overdyed floss. Lynn decided to let the colours fall where they may rather than try to line everything up. Another perfect job is stitching and interst is created by the changing of the pastel colours. Unfortuanately my photo skills have not done justice to either of these dresses (Both dresses are from "The Baby Bishop Dress" pattern.) Both these dresses would look like tinted whipped cream puffs on a wee child.


It is so rewarding to hear back from people who have taken a class and actually finished their projects! Joan sent me photos of her "Saddle Sleeve Shirt"from the class I taught last fall in Norfolk, VA. She's done a terrific job of finishing her shirt and photographing it.
And here is a photo of the cuff detail. Thank you so much, Joan, for sending this on. It really means a lot.

So this is going to be another busy week ahead. I managed to clear the top of my desk, ironing board, cutting table (sort of) and sewing machine table. But now there are piles of things in front of the closet that need sorting and putting away. My big problem is that if things all get put away out of sight I forget about them in the rush to move to something new. But this pile will have to be attacked and I will make a stab at it this week. One more thing on the list of things to do so a new sewing year can begin. And here it is already one month into that new year! Where does the time go? 

Hope you have a great week and that Groundhog Day predicts the right amount of winter to suit your liking!! 
So till next time.....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's cold out there!

It's cold out there! And I'm snuggled up in my wrap to keep warm while I write this. 

My friend dropped by with a little dress she had made from the 'Little Snowdrift' pattern in a very pretty, delicate Liberty print. We had been shopping on Queen Street in downtown Toronto when Pat spotted this 60" Liberty on sale. She wisely took a good sized piece and yardage of several other prints. 
Pat used baby rickrack to define the yoke rather than piping and created one of a kind flower buttons to repeat the wavy edges of the trim. To spark the red she stitched tiny yellow beads in the centre of each flower. She said she felt the bead would stand up to washings better than just a French knot.  She chose to leave the back unsmocked. In fact, the pattern could be made without any smocking, perhaps in a light weight washable wool or fine wale corduroy. With this weather we talked about how cute this would be with a long sleeved turtle neck and leggings underneath!! Perhaps a sunny yellow....

Betty M sent me this photo of her new grand daughter who was born in Dec. What a charmer! Betty said she had three of these nighties from 'Baby's Breath' ready and smocked for Emily's arrival. This one has the bunting bottom. Baby nighties are impossible to find in the stores these days. A nightie like this one allows the baby to kick and move without getting cold if the covers come away. 

Thank you Pat and Betty for sharing.

I should mention "The Needlework Pages" here.  If you subscribe or are familiar with the Canadian publication, "A Needle Pulling Thread" magazine, you may already know about the web site/directory Carla has created in conjunction with the magazine. If you are looking for a product for some sort of needlework or you are travelling into a new area on holiday and want to find a shop that deals with your favourite needlework or stitchery or quilting etc. you can search the "Needlework Pages" to find a shop! If you know of a shop and it isn't listed, encourage then to contact Carla (the owner and editor) at "A Needle Pulling Thread" to get on board! Once you have used it you will go back time and time again.

I've been busy the past two weeks cleaning up all the paperwork from 2010 and preparing the schedules for April, May and June. These will soon be posted as we get the web site updated. There are a couple of class samples to be made up and then it is back to that drafting board and the baby wardrobe. The first couple of test fitting have gone well and I think we are ready to move on once the pattern pieces have been tweaked.

So until next time.....

Sunday, January 9, 2011

On with the new year....

The Open House is over once again and it is time to move on with the new year! Everything will go back into its place and the house will look like normal by tomorrow. 
I wish to thank those wonderful ladies who braved the weather to drive long distances to join us. A good time was had by all and I hope next year we will have bright sunny skies and those of you who missed it will be able to attend.

Just have to share this photo of little Zoë who lives in Belgium! Her grandmother made this smocked dress for her first birthday a month ago. This was the first smocked dress her grandmother had made in many years and of course Zoë's first smocked dress. What a precious little girl. Now let's hope she gets many more smocked dresses! Keep up the good work Leslie!! The pattern is "The Baby Bishop Dress". 

My dear friend Kathleen lives in England and has sent me her interpretation of "Autumn Leaves", my most recent ladies pattern.  She used a fine blue wool twill and smocked it much lower than I had anticipated. Kathleen being Kathleen, she designed her own smocking plate and used variegated threads. Obviously influenced by traditional English smocks, Kathleen has cut her smock to knee length and prefers to wear it over a turtle neck and casual jeans. No doubt she will be scooting out to the local Farmers' Market on Fridays in this outfit.  Looks so great Kathe and I hope this will inspire others of you to try different looks.

All for today.....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Day 2011!

Well here we are, the first day of the new year 2011 and I am determined to make the time to get this thing up and running.

What a wonderful time of year it is for all the new beginnings and I always feel it is time to clean out the sewing room (and other parts of the house) and make a list of what needs to be finished off and the new projects that need starting with their due dates in mind. 

So this is what our new bird feeder looked like after our first surprise snowfall of the winter season. That was about 10" that fell over two days. We squeezed in a green Christmas but it turned mild just before Jan. 1 and all you see out there now is green grass. In fact it is raining as I write this. Next week we are supposed to get snow again. I guess Mother Nature felt what we had was looking a bit dirty so decided we should get rid of the old stuff and have some new and fresh. Such is life in southern Ontario.

Work is coming along slowly on the Christmas decorations. When they are finished I will post a photo. Have been thinking of calling them "The Pink Chocolate Collection". 


And here is the photo of my "Baby's Breath" pattern as seen in Sew Beautiful's newest "White" issue (Jan./Feb. 2011). It is made of Swiss Pima cotton Heirloom Dimity. The neckline has been tucked then gathered and the tucks were pinstitched in place. The neck and sleeve bindings are a dull satin fabric for contrast. I used a machine satin scallop to finish the hem and added touches of tiny blue embroidery for accents. If I were a great hand embroiderer, I would love to have seen the gown's hem done by hand with beautiful buttonhole stitching. But I am not, so.....

Well this was easier than I thought. Will try again soon!