The Sewist

I sew, knit and crochet hats. (Not all at the same time. Whaddaya think I am - a machine?)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Folks, I'm back!

You can find me over here: The Lazy Milliner

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Returning to The Web
Very Soon!

For those of you who have missed me (and those who haven't), I'm coming back very soon in a big way in another blog. So check back here every once in a while and I'll provide a new link.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Happy Friday...

What's a little flooding when it's the beginning of the weekend? Water can't dampen my spirits when playtime beckons! Anyhow, I just wanted to let you all know that I will be reinventing the blog, doing something a little different, still talking about my grand passions, hats and stitching apparel. Sew (pun fully intended) stay tuned, and I'll be back back soon. Over and Out, Mary Beth

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

You Never Know Where
Your Hat Will Take You

In this case, my hat led me to the canine you see above. I was on my way from my morning work-out when I encountered this little pooch wandering around across the street from my apartment.

I have to tell you, I'm not one to pick up strays, dandelions with questionable provenance, or even wrapped pieces of bubble gum on the street. However, after I saw a small dog demolished by a bus a month ago (somehow it got loose and was trying to visit friends), I couldn't let the same fate befall this creature.

First, I grabbed this little gal by the nape because she was aiming to travel somewhere where large metal vehicles go. Then I called 311 on my cell phone, begging them to come and pick up this peachy dog pronto. When I realized that I might be waiting a while in this big city we call Chicago where emergency 911 calls take greater precedence, I took my unnamed mammal home. I called the city's hotline again from there.

When I realized that my town's finest would likely take this poodle to the pound, I decided to hold off and see if I could find the dog's owner on my own. I started asking strangers on the street if they knew of a missing pet. One, two, three, no one knew. Someone suggested I put a listing on Craig's List, so I did.

In the meantime, I felt like the instant mother of a newborn, like I'd just given birth to a baby and I didn't know I was pregnant (the fodder of many a dream, I have to say). It's been a while since I've had pet in my household. It's been more than a year since Freaky, my feline, graced this place. I don't have a litter box, a lead, or even a collar in my possession.

I felt a little panicky. Would this creature with big soulful brown eyes chew me out of house and home? Destroy my shoes (I put a few out of harm's way)?. Piddle where she shouldn't? I was nervous to say the least. I set out a pot of water in my kitchen.

Later in the day, I bought a bag of Purina Alpo Prime Cuts. I placed a bowl of the latter out just before I made off for Arcadia Knitting to get some assistance on my pleated skirt pattern (it arrived a few days ago, hurrah!) and then my lindy-hop class. I was skittish about leaving my found treasure alone in my condo so I barricaded her into my kitchen with an inflated air mattress so she couldn't leap into living room.

She didn't like that in the least, protesting Loudly. I left her, hoping I wasn't causing any psychological harm (actually I was more concerned about her making a mess). I put out a couple of sections of the Chicago Tribune before I locked my door.....

Oddly enough, I noticed earlier she had no interest in pattern pieces for a top on the floor in my bedroom. Freaky would have ripped those to shreds faster than you say, "No, Get Away From there!"

How do your pets (or lack thereof) get along with your belongings and hobbies?

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hatty Road Trip
I cannot figure out why I favor my little H&M black straw hat. Is it all the pins that advertise my every pet cause (ranging from Lifesource to railroad safety) to my hobbies (crochet, travel) and foods (White Castle). Or is it just because it's darker than dark and it goes with everything?

I think it's the latter. My white straw hat with the baby-blue ribbon doesn't seem as versatile, although it would be much more comfy when the sun beats down mid-day. WIth that hat, I feel like I need to coordinate the blues and whites in the hat with what I'm wearing. So that fedora is much more likely to stay at home and make friends with the dust mites gossiping in every corner.

It's funny how one hat can become such a favorite. It's like a much-loved food and how you never tire of it. Right now, that's fresh pesto sauce for me. I can eat it every day, and I often do because I'm working in my home office where no one has to encounter my post-lunch breath. Much like that H&M find, my favorite skirts are in a pile on a bedroom dresser. I hardly ever go into my closet - not even to grab another garment. Everything I don most often is within arm's length or in a cedar closet nearby. I daresay the wardrobe could disappear in a poof of firecracker smoke and I might not miss it. Not the belts I've made with grosgrain ribbons and vintage 1930s buckles, nor grandmother's baubles, not even the 1940s platform shoes purchased at antique shops and vintage shows. What I'd shed tears for would be for the apparel and shoes that gets the most wear: all versions of New Look 5671, my Victoria's Secret bras, the Born Drilles with their interchangeable velcro leather flowers.

At times I feel more lame than a woman with a pair of crutches that I wear the same clothes day in, day out and week after week. I haven't figured out the percentage, but I'm betting what's on my body in a given 7-day period amounts to less than 10 percent of the clothing I own, not accounting for the growing stash of fabric amid the dresses, tops, skirts and pants in the aforementioned closet.

What are your favorite clothes and hats?

(By the way, the picture above? It was taken outside a gas station in Beverly Shores, Ind. yesterday. Admire the old railroad depot, still in use, in the background.)

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Blue Skies
Smiling At Me...

Nothing but Grey horizons do I see (at least right now. Rain's in the forecast.) But I did order Blue Sky Alpacas' pleated skirt pattern. Finally. After admiring it in scads of yarn ads in knitting magazines for the past year. Even though I already have other patterns I could tackle right now, this particular skirt is the one I want to do, it's been in the bulging (okay, collapsing) filing cabinet I call my Brain just yearning to be Made for the Longest Time.

How eager am I to start? So ready-set-go that I've already bought the yarn (a merino wool) and swatched a nice little 4-inch square. If my gauge's wrong, I am going to be a little bit peeved. Just a wee bit annoyed because I don't mind knitting up little 4" by 4" stockinette panels. Really. It's easy compared to the labor of creating a garment that needs umpteen decreases, increases, and Lord knows what else.

So this is going to be one of my many fall skirts. In fact, I figured if this skirt looks nice enough, I'll make at least two more. I adore knitted wool skirts, especially ones that stop the Chicago Wind like a brick wall. In my part of the world, you need all sorts of tricks to keep the elements at bay. A skirt as cute as this is one way to cope with the freezer we call Illinois in December and January. I'm not likely to be in Hawaii at that time of year (although one never knows), so I like to look cuter than cucumber (which you know doesn't do well in our climate during Christmas time) traipsing about in the snowy slush.

This skirt is admittedly preppy. It does definitely seem to want an argyle vest, and I'm happy to oblige. However, since I'm a Kwik-Sew pattern freak, I'm certain this knit will be making more friends with surplice-jersey tops with bell sleeves than anything remotely reminiscent of junior high or high school.

And at night? I figure I can take my knitted creation out on the town with a beret. What you WON'T see me doing is painting anything in it like the model above. Why take a chance getting paint on a garment you've spent hours creating? Good grief. This gal should wear a smock at least.

Anyhow....what fall clothes are you sewing or knitting?

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Jumble
of Hat Projects.
Notice I didn't say UFO (unidentified flying object or unfinished fabric object, take your pick) or uncompleted sewing projects. Every craftster has their own definition of what's done or not, what's meant to hemmed, sewn up and likewise, ignored and ditched.

I look at this Banana Republic paper shopping bag and I see three hats, cut out about three years ago. What I find particularly intriguing is that they're all snipped from vintage fabric. One's a sailor print cotton from a resale/antique shop on the Chicago's Way Northwest side, another I think is from a thrift store that was plowed under to make way for a swanky Chicago condominium building and the other is from a defunct vintage apparel shop in Oak Park, Ill.

All this stuff is from a time when I was fascinated and I had to have vintage fabric. Knit fabric? I would have shuddered at the mere mention of those words then. I was all about rayon, 1940s, and Depression-era chic. Less you think I've ditched my retro roots, I haven't entirely. I can't. Unless I sell at least a box's worth of fiber acquired from eBay in the late 1990s when prices were good. In fact, I got five yards of this amazing Hawaiian polyester print that I'm going to use to make a halter-dress one day very soon.

While I sew more now than I ever did then, I don't hanker for all that old rayon, cottons, although I might jump and bite if I saw some really adorable 1950s border print (like the one with piano keys that got away on Vintage Martini not too long ago) or an incredibly dainty vintage eyelet ((I'm a sucker for that fabric type, particularly the all-cotton variety).

Even if I don't finish these hats, I see them as a happy opportunity to revisit my late 90s self, when I was all about swing dancing and the dancers I had crushes on then, the retro-style clothes I sewed out of cotton and denim. And the cool, one-bedroom apartment with an interior red brick wall that I rented...Those were good times!

And if I don't complete the hats? I've already pinned parts together for someone else to finish...perhaps my 90-year-old self. Ha! I actually know a rug hooker who set aside a project in the 1970s and then finished it some 17 years later. So it does happen, folks!

What projects have you set aside for future fun?

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