This is Moses. He is Mitzie-the-Sewing-Kitty’s litter mate. I got Mitzie and Moses around 2014-15 while I was filling in as principal for Tri City Elementary. One of the third grade teachers, Natalie, brought a basket of kittens as “writing prompts” for her class. Natalie was a genius! First, she got 8 and 9 year olds to write all day long about the adorable fur balls scampering around their classroom. (Descriptive papers on what the kittens looked like; imaginative kitten stories; persuasive papers on what the kittens should be named; and research papers on the life and history of cats). Secondly, Natalie left at the end of the day with a much lighter basket. The Title 1 Reading Assistant adopted a kitten; the Cafeteria Lady adopted a kitten; and I took home 2 (so they wouldn’t be lonely).
Mitzie and Moses have been a joy. However, this August Mo got his whiskers in a huff and went AWOL. If you are doing the math, that was 9 months ago. I had faithfully been leaving him a bowl of cat food in the garage every night….but the truth was, I had no idea who was eating it. Over the months I have seen a variety of cats strolling in and out of my garage. A couple times I thought it was Mo but I could never be sure.
Then on Easter morning, I heard a “Mew” at my patio door. Not a big “Mew” either. Just an every day, regular “Mew”. I walked to the door and there was Moses!!!! Acting like he had never been gone! He came in, took a nap and has been with us ever since….Cats.
A COVID 19 Check in….
How is everyone?? When I pause I am absolutely amazed at how quickly and emphatically most of our lives have changed in this past month. I have been praying for all of you. I hope you (and your families) are healthy and safe. If you are experiencing financial distress, I hope that you are able to hold on, gain help and support from places you didn’t expect, and have a strong light at the end of your tunnel.
The State Forest Roads are closed so I’ve been walking a lot near my house. At the end of my road is a pond where I walk with Dunkin and Mitzie almost every day. (Mo stays home and naps) .
Is it just me or has nature become more nature-y since the shut down? I swear the sky is bluer, the birds are louder and the animals are easier to see. During our pond walks I make an effort to look up and look down to pay attention to things I might normally miss. (I got that idea from a great post by InBLOGnito from WordPress). I have noticed the buzzards migrating; geese tracks in the mud; a woodpecker tapping away at an oak tree; a hawk carrying something away in its claws; Nutria swimming in the pond (this was a bit disconcerting because Nutria’s have that great big rat tail that creeps me out); and the bright red flowers of budding clover. How did I miss all of that before??????? Anyway, I took some pictures so we can pretend that we were seeing it together.
About the Sewing
I am not sure how I would be doing if I didn’t sew. Now, more than ever, sewing is my outlet. It soothes me when I am stressed; gives me purpose; and is something fun and interesting to look forward to each day. Here is a brief run down of what I have worked on…….
Masks, masks and more masks.
I think all told I made 66 masks. I know that is less than a lot of people, but it was a lot for me. I have one mask left. I got a little gritchy about sewing masks somewhere in the mid 40s but I took a break and now I am okay. I gave most of them to Umpqua Rehab for their employees to wear; a handful to friends; and a dozen or so to people who found out I could make masks and asked me to help them out. My current plan is to get out of the mask making business but keep 5 or so spare ones around the house so I can give them away if I want to. I thought it was very cool that neither of my grown son’s wanted a mask from me. They made their own…….(how did they get so crafty????)
Goood bye to Winter with Vogue 1635
I often get my groove on sewing for a season right about the time it starts to change. I’m still sewing velvet and sweaters knits when it is time for tee shirts and sun dresses. No matter, I can always turn the air conditioner up to “Arctic Blast” and I’ll find a great surprise waiting in my closet when I open it up next fall. At least, that is what I told myself when I finished this V1635 sweater. I am pretty sure it was 64 degrees the day I put the last stitch in. But it is such a cute sweater!!!! And doesn’t the zipper rock????
Here is what is amazing about this pattern. It was rated Vogue “easy”…..and it WAS!!! There were just 6 pieces for fabric and one for interfacing. You laid the fabric out flat so I made sure that I positioned my pieces on the fabric edges to save cutting. I used a sweater knit from Marcy Tilton that could be officially classified as “Dream-level fabric.” It sewed up like butter. I had to be a little careful when I ripped stitches but the fabric went together so well, the ripping was minimal. (Just once, when I spaced out the directions and sewed closed what was supposed to be left open.)
The zipper is the big feature on this sweater. It goes from sleeve to neck and was 34 inches long. I had to order it from Amazon but putting it in was a breeze. All I did was follow the directions. (it’s a beautiful thing when I can say that!) I am often intimidated by zippers but I realized part of the reason is that I don’t own a zipper foot attachment. (Well, no wonder!!!) But I looked up a video on how to put in a zipper without a zipper-foot, screwed up my courage and went for it. Presto-Bango! A working zipper installed!!! Now I have two plans. One is to make more things with zippers. The other is to order a zipper foot for my machine.
I made one change to the pattern. I wanted a little black accent and found a piece of ribbing that I bought in my travels. It is soft, fuzzy and from Paris. I have a lot of happy attachments to it. So the same day I cancelled my plane tickets for a trip that Sewing Sister and I were going to take in June, I decided to add the Paris ribbing to the bottom of this sweater. I think it was a good call. I might not be wearing it until next fall, but when I do, it will make me really happy.
Hello to Spring with a Remake.
I was rummaging in my remake-closet and found a coral tunic that Sewing Sister had taught me how to rusch with. Sewingguide.com uses the following definition for ruching: “Ruche in French refers to a strip of folded or gathered cloth. Ruching, as we sewists say it, involves gathering, pleating or repeatedly folding a fabric as an embellishment. This is then incorporated into a pattern……..Ruching is an oft-used technique in dressmaking – it creates a 3-dimensional look to the fabric and emphasizes the contours of the form wearing it.”
I really liked the ruching effect on the tunic….It took the piece from being big and floppy to having some definition. But I wasn’t completely satisfied. So I added a large heart-shaped embellishment on the back, stuck some smaller ones along the front, put some lace around the sleeve, and attached a wide swath of eyelet around the bottom to change the garment from a tunic to a sundress. Voila!!! Now I was super happy. And I think the dress turned out cute.
Making the heart embellishments is super easy. You just cut hearts in sequentially smaller pieces and then layer them on top of each other. I zigzagged the edge of each heart onto the main body. Stitching and layering the hearts mirrored the idea of “adding dimension” that is accomplished through ruching. I mainly used lace for the hearts but added a little bit of pink knit for a pop in the middle. If you decide to do this you can play with either textures or prints. I think it would be fun to layer polka-dots and checks and maybe pink the edges to make a garment look bright and sunny!
Okay everyone!!! I am out of stories. Take care. I love you and Look Up; Look Down; See Something Beautiful. I will talk to you soon.