Saturday, December 14, 2013

 I love knitting. The stitches are neat and tidy lining up like soldiers in perfect rows. Knitting gives cadence, pattern, order. It makes sense visually and mathematically and if I make a mistake I can rip it out and start over.

I need structure in my life. That doesn't make me special in any way, I believe we all require routine and the assurance of knowing where things are and what happens next. Visual rhythm, the pattern of waves on sand, the repetition of line and color in fabric, these things give me a sense of the harmony I crave. So, the lava rock with the black stained concrete grout on my walls is disturbing, even ugly. The contrast between the beauty I desire and the dark rough stone is glaring.

Life is this way. I have a plan all lined out: stuff to get done and meetings to attend and places to be and things to buy and books to read and reality intervenes. A grandson gets sick at school and suddenly the day and my plans are in chaos. I drop everything, drive to the school, pick him up and bring him home. His cheeks are too pink and his eyes too bright with fever. We settle down with string games together snuggled under a blanket. A sweet quiet time with a precious little boy and I am aware of the beauty in the unexpected, the gift of slowing down, the delicious pleasure of spending time, taking time to simply be.

Yes there is charm and grace in order, in the predictable but it is in bending to the unusual, the unexpected that I discover beauty in myself and the truth of who I am.

The little grandson goes home with his mother and I am left gazing at the lava rock on the wall, still unable to see beauty. It is the ugly beautiful and I am trying to embrace it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

As you can see, the blouse is partly constructed. I think, when I cut it out I was going for a color match with the skirt and not absolute authenticity. The blouse fabric is a soft flowing polyester charmeuse with a cotton calico lining in the cuffs, collar and placket. The cream and pink print looks pretty with the taupe solid. I plan to use pink Swarovsky crystals and silver tone buttons to embellish.
I am using Folkwear pattern 120 in the child's size 10. Not at all sure how the sizing compares to whatever is considered standard in store bought. Will have to do some research. This blouse will measure 32 inches at the chest so the most a child can measure at the chest is 30 inches and really, 28 inches would be better.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Yardage Requirement for 3 Tier Skirt

(Directions shown are for 36 inch long skirt)

1. Determine the desired finished length of the skirt by measuring from waist to mid calf or ankle. (36”) Divide that number by 3 and add 1 inch. (36/3=12+1=13) This is the length to cut for each tier.

2. You will need 2 cuts for the top tier, 4 for the middle and 8 for the lower; 14 cuts in all. So multiply 13 by 14 and add 5 additional inches for the waist band. (13x14=182+5=187)

3. Divide the 187 inches by 36 inches to get required yardage. (187/36=5.19) Round up to 5 ¼ yards.

Keep in mind that cotton shrinks and is often wound on the bolt crooked so plan on purchasing at least ½ yard extra. For this 36” skirt you should purchase at least 5 ¾ yards of fabric.

4. Before cutting you will want to pre-shrink cotton fabric. I usually wash in warm water with mild detergent to remove any sizing. Dry in dryer on hottest heat setting. Remove immediately and iron lightly to remove any deep wrinkles, being careful not to pull the fabric out of shape.

5. Fold the fabric in half length wise and you are ready to start cutting.

6. Use your predetermined tier length (for this skirt 13 inches) and cut.

7. Assemble using ½ inch seam allowance.

If you would prefer to purchase the skirt click here

Part 3

The skirt is finished. I like it. The embellishment is more subtle than I expected but I can always add more sparkle.  
Traditionally Navajo skirts are gathered to a straight waist band with a slit opening and are often closed and adjusted for size with a safety pin. They are made from either cotton calico or velvet and are sometimes trimmed with rickrack.
So this skirt fails these "traditional" tests; The waist is elastic, the fabric crinkle cotton and the trim crystals. However, the hem interest, pink satin bow and pink Swarovski crystals are really pretty.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Part  2

I have always loved the look of broomstick pleated skirts but have hated the work involved; wet the skirt, bind it tightly to a broomstick to form the long vertical pleats and wait (forever) for it to dry. Not so bad except the skirt will eventually be worn and get dirty. The whole process has to be repeated with each washing.
So, for this skirt I chose light weight crinkle cotton gauze; the look of broomstick pleats without the work! And I stand by my choice, even though assembling the garment while not stretching out the pleats is proving to be a challenge.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Part 1
About 7 years ago I started sewing for the students at Puente , a tri-lingual magnet school in Flagstaff, AZ. Students are enrolled in either the Spanish/English or Navajo/English programs of study. Each year the school puts on a Spring Cultural Dance event. Students perform with their own grade/class on stage in full costume (aka regalia). Its a very colorful, entertaining and educational evening.
My involvement started when my oldest grandson was in Kindergarten in the Navajo/English class. I made a traditional Navajo red velvet shirt for him to dance in a traditional Navajo round dance. I continued to make shirts for him and his younger brothers every year. Gradually I started sewing for other students to make a little extra cash.
Three years ago, I decided to do some spec sewing. Translated, that means I designed and cut out a lovely skirt and blouse set. And that's as far as it went. The un-sewn outfit has been sitting in a plastic grocery bag through two moves and umpteen cleaning/organizing rotations. Today, I opened the bag and decided to start sewing. I'll let you know how it goes.