Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Skirt Part Two

I promised pictures of the pre-ironed bias tubes -

It's a whole pile of wondering whether the whole thing will work out, if the stuff will stick, if you're going to iron it down in the wrong spot, and which one was supposed to go under? I found that laying it out on my project table and then slipping a cutting mat underneath the panel and transferring it carefully to the ironing board worked the best. Nothing moved, and I had a firm surface to press against while fiddling the bits into place.

The first panel took 2 hours from start of placement to sewn finish. Each one after that to 40 minutes or so, depending on how temperamental the thread decided to be during sewing.

Finally, all were knotted and ready for the rest of the skirt.

And it was time to start putting on the panel frames:

It was at this point that I made a critical decision: to top-stitch or not to top-stitch. I decided that if I was going to this much effort to make the knots that I would top-stitch everything. So, sew 6 bottom edges on, then go back and top stitch them. Sew the side edges on; top-stitch. Sew a couple panels together, and then top-stitch. More than doubles the sewing time, what with fiddling with the settings and switching the feet around on the machine, but is more than worth it.

Half the skirt done:

I'll cut to the chase. Let's just say that there is an underskirt made of muslin - 6 panels only with fully enclosed seams so there will be no raveling. The inner and the outer skirt are then sewn to the same waistband. Separate hems for the inner and the outer skirt.

The final product:

It has been declared incredibly comfortable.

And, at the Festival this past weekend:

One of my favorite things about it is how it hangs. The frames of the panels fall to the inside, and the centers of the panels bow out. Since I did a pointed hem on purpose it just makes a cool shape when worn.

It has been washed now, just like all other clothes she has, and with a light ironing looks just beautiful.

I'm already making plans for the next bit of Celtic appliqué work. I've been dreaming of a very cool bodice for a while, and now I think it might even work.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trying Out a New Skill

I've had this wonderful book for a while now, drooling over the pictures, and figuring what I could do with it. I'm not a quilter, so I dream instead of appliqué on clothing or bags.

I finally decided on something to do with it. The Anti-Craft, in their book, has a great pattern for a Wheel of the Year skirt. I used the general idea for a quick, non-appliqué skirt for myself last year and it works great. This time, I decided to try to make something for my daughter, who loves long, full skirts.

Their skirt uses 8 panels, but that's too full for her to wear comfortably. So I modified it and recalculated for a 6 panel skirt. I found a motif that I really liked in Williams' book, and it just so happens it's designed for a repeat of 6. Hooray!

The combination of these two things, along with some creative redrawing and rescaling of the knot work to make it fit the panel gives this:

Yep. Those are going to be the colors. Dark brown for the main body of the skirt. Orange for the appliqué. And bright red for the divisions between the panels, the hem, and the waistband. Hey, look here!

The orange really is that eye-searing. I love it, but I have blue trails on my eyeballs after working with it for a while.

Construction has begun, first with the creation of a lot of little 3/8" wide bias tubes from the orange fabric -

- followed by tracing the knotwork design from my template onto the brown fabric. Normally I would attach the fabric to my window over the pattern and use sunlight. With brown fabric I needed to get creative. Hmmm, the window panel is removable -

.... and I have a small fluorescent light ...

So, yesterday was spent tracing and tracing and tracing, to give me all 6 panels traced and ready for the next step.

Today's task was to finally try the applique. It uses a product called Steam-a-Seam 2, which is basically a double-stick tape which is re-positionable until it is ironed down. After ironing it can be washed or dry cleaned without the appliqué coming up - supposedly. The technique in the book calls for sticking, ironing, then sewing down all the edges so there's no chance at all of things coming loose.

I'll spare you all the agony, for the moment, of the sticking process and how utterly hopeless it looks until it's ironed down. Mostly I just forgot to take a picture of that step - I'll get one later. For reference, Steam-a-Seam 2 seems to have a shelf-life. The original package I had was probably 2 years old, and would not stick at all - to anything. I went and got a couple "new" packages, and they stick somewhat. Some places would stick very well, others had no hope at all until they were ironed in place.

Here's what it looks like after it's ironed down.

See where there's still some shadow underneath the orange, as in the bottom left corner? That's why it still needs to be sewn. These are tubes, not flat pieces, so they have a puffy upward dimension until properly squished by sewing.

Top thread is transparent mono-filament thread. Bottom thread is all-purpose thread which closely matches the orange of the applique.

Using a small zig-zag stitch, every single edge of the design is anchored down, jumping over the crosses of the knot as appropriate.

And when it's all done, and gently ironed, I think it looks pretty darn close to the sketch that started it all.

Only 5 more to go. This one panel took me 2 full hours to complete, but then I've never ever done the technique before. I'm hoping that this will have taught me the sticking points, and that the next will go a little better.

Either that, or it's going to be a very, very long week.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Much better today. Things have actually been crossed off the list. TSTWNE is living up to its name, but at least it has both sleeves now, and is neatly packed into a basket for finishing later.

The more critical project is completing Lil'Rogue's outfit for next weekend's trip to the Colorado Renaissance Festival. It is massively unlikely I'll get a new bodice in time, unless somehow there get to be 48 hours in every day and I can live solely on coffee. Heck, I may just cash out some of the money I earned earlier this year with freelance writing and buy myself something pretty. Or just repair my green bodice and get one more year out of it.

Further details as progress is made. I have a whole lot of bias tubes to make.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Planning, meet Reality

What I needed to get done today:

1) Get the second discussion problem done and submitted for my class.
2) Start a draft of the paper that's due on Sunday.
3) Clean up the still-wet tiles in the basement, so it can stop smelling like mold down there and actually dry.
4) Finish the second shoulder seaming on The Sweater That Will Not End.
5) Keep the kiddo entertained, since it's summer.

What has actually gotten done so far today:

1) Listen to kiddo whine that she never gets to do anything fun - just because she was asked to go do her completely normal morning jobs.
2) Got the tiles pulled up from the basement, and washed that part of the sub-floor with bleach. Set the tiles out in the sun to dry completely.
3) Get yelled at some more by the kiddo because, no, sorry, we don't have a kite available right at this particular second.
4) Start the laundry of the nasty towels used to clean up the flood in the basement and the doll clothing that got slimed.
5) Take kiddo out for a bike ride.
6) Have small snack.
7) Read a little bit with kiddo.
8) Clean the kitchen floor and the lower cabinets on my hands and knees because both are repulsive.
9) Get whined at by kiddo that she's bored and can we paint?
10) Make deal to be allowed to finish the floor.
11) Get supplies.
12) Paint with kiddo.
13) Kiddo wanders off "to take a nap", having cleaned up 2 items out of our painting festival.
14) Clean up the rest of the painting stuff.
15) Bring the tiles back inside, brushing off all the *##@& cottonwood fluff I knew would adhere to them, but I had no choice, it's how they had to dry.
16) Prepare a snack, since I had no lunch.
17) Find out kiddo didn't take a nap, but was just reading, and as soon as I sit down to eat my snack, she comes down to ask for something else.

Summer break is only 2 weeks old. I may not survive the rest of the month.

I still have to get this next problem and paper draft for my ethics class done today, since I refuse to work on them over the weekend. At this rate, there's no way kiddo's getting her new skirt for renaissance festival next weekend. So I guess it'll be another night where I'm up until midnight studying or trying to finish a project.

And kiddo wonders why I don't have a lot of patience right now. Mommy needs just a bit more than 5 hours of sleep a night, kiddo. And possibly some time during the day that doesn't involve the demands of other people literally every 5 minutes, with constant sentence interruptions.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

And Now the Snow...

You'd think that the continuous rain over 5 days, which led to flooding our basement (again) would have controlled it. Or dampened it. Or something.

But no.

June is the season of fluff, and each year seems worse than the last.

It pools in drifts and piles.

It fills all available space.
It's covering the entire back yard.

And there's even more up there, somehow, ready to fall and float and fluff everywhere.

I have never been more tempted to vacuum the outdoors.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Rain Keeps Coming Down

Not as bad as elsewhere obviously, but the last few days of rain combined with the crud on the roof from the cottonwood trees finally overwhelmed the gutters again. Without our noticing, either yesterday or last night, it came in the basement window - again.

So, we have a flood in the basement again. The carpet tiles are soaked beneath the window, and there's a patch of paint about 8" diameter which has completely separated in a nice pocket. Spectacular.

I'm glad I have a steam cleaner, now - it works nicely for extracting water from the carpet. Now we wait for it to dry out, pull up the tiles when it's sunny enough to lay them outside to dry, and figure out how to patch the paint on the wall.

Not the thing I wanted to find when I came home from a fruitless shopping trip looking for a new desk.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I'm dreaming and procrastinating. It's been an interrupted week, what with the sudden "Let's repaint lil'Rogue's room" festival, kiddo's dance/gymnastics/cheer camp and the whole beginning of summer thing. And classes.

So I have one big project to finish - seaming a sweater for my MIL. And one big project to start - a skirt for lil'Rogue for faire in 2 weeks.

Instead I'm dreaming of new projects and pondering dying yarn, and thinking about having a beer and a big bowl of baked Cheetos.

Way to be productive, rogue.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Discovered that, yes, it is possible to ride a bike from the house to the library. Without riding on truly major streets, and only one huge street cross. With time to wander at the library and rest for the ride back, it's about an hour and a half total trip. About 25 minutes each way, riding time.

The way there has one short steep hill and the rest of it looks flat but is very subtly uphill.

Which makes the way back an easy ride. Even with a backpack full of books.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Customer Service Message

How to Lose Customers as a Pediatric Dentist:

1) Buy the practice from wonderful people who really understand children and who my daughter has been seeing, with no problems even with a cavity filling, for the last 2 years.

2) Change all the policies which made it a successful practice, including putting a signature page in the new paperwork that has the parent sign away their right to come back into the office with the child. This new policy does not have an age limit on it - they could take a 2-3 year old back there with no supervision now.

3) When questioned, say that the new policy has always been in effect (BS), and that the reason for it is that it “reduces drama” and “gets them used to going back on their own”. NB: I’m all for kids doing big stuff on their own, but can only read “reduces drama” as “the kids believe anything we tell them and they’re too scared to say anything to their parents afterward”.

4) When I’m back there with my daughter and you’ve brought in two 3-year-olds with their moms, it’s bad form for a hygenist to say “What is this? Mommy day?!?” loudly.

5) When my 6-year-old has been a complete sweetie through the x-ray, and the poking, and the spinny-thing cleaning, and the first half of the flossing (uppers), when she flinches and squirms and wiggles around during the second half of the flossing there might be a problem. NB: I noticed this, but said nothing. I was quiet as an invisible mother.

6) Do not say to said 6 y.o. “Why are you crying?”, in a clearly ticked off voice. When she says “My gums hurt” and points to exactly where, don’t look at me and say “This is what happens when parents come back. You haven’t been brushing well enough and there was some build-up. A little bit of bleeding is perfectly normal after cleaning.” No, no it’s really not, thanks

7) Do not use as part of your defensive argument that you’ve been doing this for 37 years. You’re clearly only about 10 years older than me, at most.  So, unless you started being a hygenist at 13, you’re lying your ass off.

8) Do not blame the patient for being in pain, and very quietly crying.  She is 6. This is pain, not drama, I can tell the difference, even if you can’t. Do not argue with me about this point.

9) When I look in her mouth and see a dark pink stripe between two teeth where your over-enthusiastic flossing of her teeth bruised the heck out of her gums, possibly even cutting, don’t give me lip and continue to blame her crying on me being there. Do not tell me that this is normal. Do not tell me there’s nothing wrong. Do not say that clearly I’m wrong and that she’s had cleanings before, and that I have to do better cleaning her teeth. I never said she’d not been cleaned before. I said she had no problems before.

10) When checking out, Ms. Receptionist, don’t continue to blame me and the patient for the fact that she is still quietly crying and pushing against her gums where they hurt.

I am quite proud of myself that at no point in all of this did I speak in anything but the most calm and mature voice. I blamed no one, I said I clearly understood what they were saying. I just at no point agreed with them. Particularly about the brushing - she brushes her teeth twice a day for over a minute and a half each time. I supervise every brushing and even do it for her if she’s not doing it right. There is no yellow build-up anywhere on her teeth. Anywhere. The x-rays showed only perfectly healthy teeth with no new cavities - we must be doing something correctly, even without flossing since there is absolutely no evidence of cavities between her teeth.

I never said to the hygenist that this was her fault; not even by implication. I never did anything but ask my daughter to calm down, where it hurt, and talk to everyone nicely. All of the arguing was coming from the hygenist who was clearly feeling very defensive. Gee, I wonder why. I also wonder what would’ve happened if I had stayed out in the waiting area like a good little obedient mommy - believe me, you’d’ve had one really ticked off amazon then.

I informed the dentist of all that happened (since he wisely asked) in the same calm voice, and explained that since her lower teeth are very tightly together with a large space near the gums what probably happened is that the hygenist had to force the floss to get it between the lower teeth. This makes it snap down very, very hard on the gums, hurts like hell, and can cause swelling which makes the mouth painful for hours or even days later. This is precisely we don’t floss except in extreme circumstances. I will gladly teach her how to do it when she is old enough to control the floss herself.

No, we will never be going back to that dentist.
Yes, I will tell everyone about the new experience and recommend against this place to everyone.
Yes, I have already found at least one “rate the dentist” site, and put a very condensed version of this up there.

It took 30 minutes, with ice water rinses and a dose of ibuprofen, for my kiddo to calm down after we got home. There is a huge pink line between each of two sets of teeth, exactly where she was complaining.

Thank you "Pediatric Dental Group of Colorado - Arvada". We'll be searching elsewhere from now on.