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Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Right Stuff

One of the hardest parts of making a Chanel-style jacket for me is finding the right trims. Sometimes you find the right texture, but the color is all wrong. Sometimes you find the perfect color, but the trim is too big, too small or just not the right style for the jacket. Thank goodness I know how to dye stuff.

I thought I had finally got the right color but after it dried it lightened up, so I don't know, may need one more dip in the dye bath...and now that I look at the photo I'm thinking that it isn't the right color at all. Sigh. I'm often torn between "get on with it" and "get it right". Considering the cost of the fabric and the amount of time I've already invested, I think I'll go for the it's back to the dye bath for sure...
The dyed trim--still not quite right
Possible trim combo
I have been playing with combinations of trims--the photo to the right is my front-runner. It's a little hard to see, but there is self-fringe on the bottom of the stack.
I really like the texture if the linen-y trim, but now thinking the color is too light, so that might go back in the dye bath, too.

Maybe I should just go back to the Aran sweater that I've frogged 3 times. Or I could clean the house. Nah.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Felting fun

I've been playing around with felting using yarn I've gotten at Tuesday Morning. If you don't know, felting is what happens when you submit natural wool yarn to heat, moisture and agitation. Most of us have unintentionally experienced this--the wool sweater that gets thrown in the wash and comes up doll-sized.
Believe it or not, sometimes people do this on purpose. According to Knitting: Fashion, Industry, Craft
some hats were made by knitting fabric pieces, felting the piece, then cutting out the shapes and sewing them together.
I've done a few samples, but this was my first finished project: the bag is knitted complete then felted (I've found the "sanitize" cycle on my front-load machine works great). After felting the bag is about 20% smaller, and the fabric is very sturdy and dense.

felted bags
So, how does this 'felting' work, you ask? (SOOO glad you did!) Untreated wool fibers have scales on them:

closeup of wool fiber

Those scales work like a cable tie--you know those plastic straps that you can pull tighter, but can't loosen? All those fibers criss-crossing keep getting pulled tighter, making the overall dimensions smaller, but the fabric itself thicker.
Washable wool doesn't do this because its been treated--either to coat the edges of the scales or to etch them away. 

Pretty cool, huh?

yeah, I'm a fiber nerd, and dang proud of it. :)


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Back in the groove, Planning The Next Big Trip and Sewing Stuff

My latest Chanel-style jacket
I came back from the ASDP conference in Nashville all revved up, just like I do every year. My husband was sick of hearing about it by the time we got back home from the airport (about 45 minute drive), and so many things are spinning in my head I have trouble focusing.
BUT, I did manage to spend one evening playing with what I learned in June Colburn's class on silk-screening, got about 6 women at work to agree to being my pants fitting guinea pigs, started a pair of toe-up socks on my shiny new Chaiogoo Red Lace circular needle and made really good progress on the latest Chanel jacket (it is ready for trim and pockets). I even found some cool trim to use.

I also did some brain-storming on the Threads Challenge for 2014.

One of the things I found out at conference was how many people were following my blog while I was in Europe last year--fabric shopping and exploring with me vicariously.
So I will plan to do the same and try very hard not to complete flake out when I hang out with my friends.
I've booked our plane tickets already (Austin to Heathrow direct, baby!), reserved all our apartments and we've got a house-sitter/critter-sitter.

Our homes-away-from-home:

The London flat
London, Knightsbridge--March 12 - 15

Marseille, Port Vieux--March 15-20
Two Steps to Vieux-Port

The Marseille apartment

Our stay in Lyon

Lyon, La Croix Rousse--March 20-22
Furnished Apartment in Historic District of La Croix Rousse

The gorgeous Paris Flat
Paris, Montmartre--March 22 - April 2
Amazing Terrace Eiffel Tower View
This is the place I stayed in April--so perfect I just had to share with hubby. (AND it is close to the fabric district!)

I'll be doing things differently this time in regards to work. Instead of working 2 solid weeks, then taking off a week I plan to scatter my days off so that I work a couple of days, then take a day off. I'll probably end up having the same number of days off, but this should be easier for my co-workers since there won't be any large block of time where I'm not available. It also means far less catchup for me when I return.

I've decided I am a "Touriste des Tissus" (Fabric Tourist) or maybe better a Fiber(Fibre) Tourist.
Other than working and spending time with friends/co-workers, I hope to do the following:


Visit La Droguerie and a couple other merceries (notion shops). I haven't seen any fabric stores that I really want to visit.

  • Visit the Fabric and Decorative Arts Museum
  • Tour a silk weaver's studio, maybe this one: or this one:

I was sad to find out that most museums have stopped having textiles and historical costumes on permanent display, thought I understand why. Textiles by nature are fragile and difficult to curate.
I was lucky in April to catch the Couture exhibit on Hotel de Ville (and that Mario was a good sport and agreed).
I just found this museum and am trying not to get my hopes up, but....
I am hoping there is another exhibit when we are there, but if not I'll just have to check out more fabric shops and maybe some vintage clothing stores.

All I need to do now is book train tickets: London to Paris to Marseille, Marseille to Lyon and Lyon to Paris. Have I ever mentioned how much I love traveling by train?