Late Spring Sewing Projects

You might remember that Jay had made a smaller corn hole board for a coworker.

Buffalo Bills Mini Corn Hole Board 5-26-20

You can’t play corn hole without the corn hole bags. I still had all of the materials on hand from the last time I made bags. Instead of regulation 6″ square I sized them down to 4″ square. Unfortunately I didn’t have the correct colors of duck cloth on hand to make Buffalo Bills themed bags. Oh well. They are just going to get thrown around.

Mini Corn Hole Bags 5-31-20

My sewing job to close the seam isn’t the best. To be fair, I was battling with hands and fingers that hurt from all of the gardening I had done the day before. (Yes, I’m whining and yes, I’m using it as an excuse for my poor sewing skills).

This set is technically for the guy to use with his kids so I knew I would have to make a bag to hold the bags in otherwise they are going to get lost.

Drawstring Bag 5-31-20

Again, I’m using what I have enough of in my stash. At least it shouldn’t get lost!

So, the full set:

Mini Corn Hole Bag Set 5-31-20

You may be wondering, like I was, if I made the bag too small to actually fit the corn hole bags. Luckily they fit in there snuggly.

Drawstring Bag with Corn Hole Bags 5-31-20

That was delivered yesterday and the coworker loved it.

The next project I’ve had on my list for a few months is a bag to hold the outside part of my electronic thermometer.

Thermometer Bag Supplies 5-31-20

You need something that will allow the device to breathe, but has to be weatherproof. I decided to use this extra mesh laundry bag that I had laying around.

Now, I warn you… this is a utilitarian project so I was not going for anything that looked like it could grace the cover of Home Sewing magazine.

Thermometer Bag 5-31-20

Very simple and very basic. It’s only going to be seen by me when I’m changing the batteries or trying to figure out why the inside part isn’t registering anything from the outside device (which seems to happen to me a lot). This hangs in a stupid bush at the corner of my deck.

Thermometer Bag in Place 5-31-20

I don’t care for this bush, but it gives me a place out-of-the-sun to hang my thermometer device. Also, I hate to just rip it out of the ground. I hasn’t done anything to me except be a bush that I don’t care to have in my yard.

Speaking of yard, I have to show you the rhubarb haul I brought in last night:

Rhubarb 6-1-20

We added the can of coke for scale. I know that you’re not suppose to let your rhubarb get this big, but my plants are very sassy and do not listen to me at all. It’s only the beginning of June. It shouldn’t be this big already. This is only half of what my two bushes have growing on them. With these giants gone the others should have a better chance to grow.

Here’s the dumb thing about my gardening skills. I baby my roses and other plants. I make sure to water them consistently, I try to spray my roses for aphids, black spot, and worms. I check my vegetable plants to make sure they are growing at a good pace and add fertilizer as needed. Last year my roses all got one thing after another and one bush had all of its leaves turn yellow and fall off after the first bloom. My cucumbers barely made an appearance and my tomatoes refused to do anything.

Yet the rhubarb plants are the most neglected plants in my yard. They are stashed over in a corner surrounded by a burning bush, a rose of sharon and lots of weeds. I have to usually weed just to access the rhubarb bushes because it’s behind the fire pit and I keep forgetting about them. And here these stupid things grow like I’ve been giving them my total and complete attention. I just don’t get it! Maybe next year I should toss my cucumber plants over there and walk away to see if they respond better to neglect. 😉

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Crocheted Sweater and Hats

A while ago I had started to make the Rose Cathedral Stained Glass Window afghan.

Cathedral Rose Window Afghan 2-18-20

I got this far before I decided that I didn’t like how it was turning out. It wasn’t laying flat and I knew if I kept going the waviness was just going to continue through the rest of it. So I stopped. I currently have this in my car as an emergency blanket. I was going to let Bob have it, since he seemed to like it so much, but Jay was horrified that I would give something like this to a cat to sleep on.

I had purchased a lot of yarn for it and still had quite a bit left in my stash

IceY Cathedral Window Yarn 7-3-19

I was using Ice Yarns’ Cakes Blues – Rainbow and Saver in Turquoise and Purple. Originally I planned to make a sweater for my sister, but then I realized that Mother’s Day was coming up and my mom would probably love a big comfy sweater for the winter. I knew it was going to be a bit “loud”, but my mom can pull it off.

I used the Tammy Sweater pattern from Christa at The Secret Yarnery with a slight modification to the sleeves. I tried the sweater on to see how long I needed to make the sleeves, but they felt too tight on my lower arms. I marked the point where I wanted to start fixing the problem and then tore it out and redid it. Instead of decreasing three every row I decreased one every other row for a bit and then eventually got it down to the size that I liked.

Due to the pandemic I was limited with my choice of models, but she was cheap and available. You know what they say, “Beggars can’t be choosers.” Here is the finished sweater:

Babe's Sweater 5-23-20 Cropped

I wasn’t sure that I would have enough of the Cakes Blues to do the arms and collar, so I opted to use the purple Saver yarn to add a little interest.

Babe's Sweater Back 5-23-20 Cropped

I also made this one a little longer than the last Tammy Sweater I made for my friend Chrissy. My mom seemed to like it so that’s all that matters.

I have also managed to make a few more hats.

Crocheted Hats 13-15

I used a pattern found in an older leaflet from Annie’s. It’s a crocheted Man’s Camo Hat by Glenda Winkelman. I found that you can purchase it as a pdf pattern here. After crocheting it I had Jay try it on and he said it was a bit tight. I really liked the brim, though, so I made a few changes.

Crocheted Hat 13

This hat is actually supposed to be crocheted in two pieces (the crown and the brim) and then sewn together. I’m lazy and didn’t want to sew a brim on so I decided to try crocheting it on the hat as I went. After I had finished the last round I chained the number of stitches that I wanted for my brim and single crocheted. On the return row I crocheted in the back loop until I reached the body of the hat then I slip-stitched to that row, and then the row above it. I think it makes an okay hat. The rusty orange hat was made using Loops & Threads Impeccable yarn that I purchased at Michaels. I have to say that I’m not a fan. I probably will not buy this yarn again. It’s very stiff and thick. I don’t like the feel of it at all.

I went digging into my yarn stash and came up with a skein of yarn that I had purchased from Hobby Lobby. I’m not sure what the color was because the label had been missing so they had just placed a regular piece of paper around it as a band and marked the price down. The colors are really pretty and I love crocheting with Hobby Lobby’s yarn.

Crocheted Hat 14

I made this one a little differently. I decided to crochet the body with the same kind of increasing pattern as I’ve used on other hats until I was up to 72 stitches per round (the camo hat that Jay said was too small was only up to 60 stitches per round). Then I maintained the 72 stitches per round until the body was as long as I wanted. I also made the same kind of brim as described above. Jay tried it on and said that it fit nicely.

I still had about a third of the skein of yarn left, so I started another hat. I knew I wouldn’t have enough to complete it so I decided to use black for the brim.

Crocheted Hat 15

I think it turned out really well. Fifteen down and only about twenty-five more to go…

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Lots of Woodworking Projects

Jay hasn’t been working on just the train layout. He’s also been doing some woodworking. The first project I’ll show you is one of my birthday presents.

While looking through the March 2020 issue of Wood magazine Jay saw a quilt display and asked if I would like one.

Wood Magazine - Swingin' Quilt Display

It’s called the Swingin’ Quilt Display because the arm swings out so you can more easily drape your quilt on it.

Wood Magazine Swingin' Quilt Display Detail

At first I didn’t know where I would put it, but then I found a spot and decided I was going to hang the double wedding ring quilt that my mom made me years ago.

B is for Bissell

It’s the only quilt she has ever hand quilted. It’s only a full size so it won’t fit on our King bed and I hate to hide it on the bed upstairs.

Quilt Shelf Pieces 5-26-20

We had some oak laying around so Jay used that to cut out the pieces. They are stained and in the process of being poly’d. I hope to have these done by this time next week.

The next project that is already hung on the wall is another rack for my spools of ribbon. Jay had made two for my old sewing room.

Ribbon Holders

But when we hung them up I quickly realized I was going to need at least one more.

Spooled Ribbon Shelves

The large one is on top with the two small ones below it.

I didn’t realize that I have so many spools of ribbon and lace!

Ribbon Shelves

Another project for my sewing room is a shelf that Jay had installed in the kitchen of my old house. It was bare wood, and really very cheap (I can’t recall where I bought it) so I decided to stain it and poly it. Then I’ll have Jay hang it in my sewing room.

Sewing Room Shelf 5-26-20

Nothing too exciting about that shelf.

The other thing that is sitting on my bench for me to poly is a sign for Jay’s work.

Shipping Sign 5-26-20

He cut this out last week, but I had to make room to finish it for him.

One other project that was made out of this wood is a set of mini corn hole boards for a coworker.

Buffalo Bills Mini Corn Hole Board 5-26-20

I think Jay’s router bit threw up a little in its mouth when cutting this logo. Jay is a Patriots fan and I’m a former Dolphins fan, so both of us are having a hard time with this in the house. It makes me feel ill…

The last wood working project that I have to share with you is technically one that has been done for a year.

Library - 4-15-19

My cedar bird bath. I put it out last year, but we never ran power out to it so that we could actually plug it in. That has finally happened!

Cedar Bird Bath Running 5-26-20

These aren’t the best pictures, but I’m so happy to have it running. After we plugged it in and went into the house I saw at least six different birds stop by for a drink.

Cedar Bird Bath 5-26-20

I’ll take better pictures once I have the front gardens cleaned up and flowers planted. I definitely don’t look forward to cleaning this because it’s going to be even more of a pain than what it was prior to electrifying it. First world problems, right?

Posted in CNC Router, Garden, Quilts, Sewing, Wood Magazine, Wood Work | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

N-Scale Layout- Trees and Street Lights

The Flower and Garden Club was in an uproar. Not only had Mrs. Crosby been dealing in black market ornamental trees, but it turns out she was also dealing in illegal oak trees.

2020Layout-Oak Trees

The club had originally voted and raised money for maple trees. Their plan was to process the syrup and sell it as a fundraiser to continually support the club. The money for the maple trees was gone, along with Mrs. Crosby who had skipped town. There was a rumor going around that she went out west to try to make some deals on giant red oaks. As the club tried to figure things out the local Rotary club stepped up.

They made a deal that if they could plant some pine trees on Dead Man’s Curve (they wanted to use them in a Christmas scene in the winter) then they would help raise money for more maples. The ladies happily accepted their offer.

Dead Man's Curve Trees 16

It was agreed that the pines actually looked quite stately, so the Rotary club was given permission to sprinkle a few more throughout the town.

Behind Main St 19

When the new trees arrived the ladies got busy showing the landscapers where to plant them. The town was really starting to look good!

Dead Man's Curve 18

They even planted a few shrubberies near the tracks to pretty up the edges.

Dead Man's Curve Bushes 4

As trees were being installed around the town it was noticed that there was also activity at the north bend of the line.

North Bend Inc 3

A vacant building was now occupied with a little bit of activity happening down there in the evenings. Nobody in town seemed to know who had bought it or for what purpose. Some of the husbands of the flower and garden club insisted that they would help out by planting some shrubs down at that end of the line, just to make things pretty.

North Bend Hump 6

They spent as much time as they could on that little mound, but they couldn’t determine what was happening in the building.

North Bend Inc 1

Then cars started appearing in the parking lot. Train cars would be pulled up alongside of the building one day, and the next day they would be gone. What was going on down there?

North Bend Inc 2

Nobody has any idea, so the mystery continues…

As the town started to establish themselves they had to wait for power to be run to them. The coal-powered electric plant that supplied power for their part of the state just hadn’t had time to run new lines that way. As the town started to grumble, the president of the railroad stepped in and made a deal with the power company. In exchange for getting Jayville high on their priority list, they would do some extra maintenance work for the line that helped deliver the 80 car loads of coal to their plant each day. The power company agreed and started setting poles and running temporary lines.

Power Lines 8

Finally, the village felt like they were coming into the 20th century!

Power Lines 7

Then the progress stopped. Why? The power company could set the poles, but the electricians who would end up running the lines were part of the Union and it was a holiday weekend, so nothing was going to happen for a while.

The town had requested LED lighting so that it would be more energy efficient. These particular electricians had never installed these types of LED lamps, so it was an interesting process.

First they laid out a special electro-static discharging blanket so that the LED would not be accidentally damaged. Then they laid out their wire in the configuration that would be needed to hook up this LED to the power grid.


Once that group was done they called in the second group. The guys in this second group were specially certified to solder the wires to the LED.

Wired LED 10

Once they had soldered the wires and twisted them around each other, the last group was called in to actually install the LED on the street lamp. They could only do this with the supervision of the second group, however, just in case the solder joint broke and had to be redone.

Installing LED 11

Light Poles 12

When all lamps were wired they called the power company back in to re-install the posts that had been removed. Again, all three Union groups had to be available and supervise the re-installation just in case something happened and the process would have to start all over again. It was very tedious work.

But after five months, the nine poles were installed and working!

Lit Poles 13

Lights 15

The only thing that the village lacked, now, was their church. A committee was assembled and soon had built a beautiful structure.

Methodist Church 20

There had been some debate about where to set the church. After all, with a church comes the church cemetery and you would need a little bit of space. Luckily the town isn’t very large so they didn’t feel a huge lot would be necessary.

Church Property 21

Progress has stalled on the church, however. It seems the price of wood and paint was more than anticipated so they have to wait for more money before they can purchase and install the stained glass windows.

Yes, Jayville is really coming together! Work still continues on the town buildings, but just a little walk down Main Street shows the potential of this beautiful little village.

Main Street 23

Posted in model trains, N Scale Train, Trains | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gary and Penny Return

I know, it’s been a while. I’ve been receiving a bunch of questions regarding Gary and Penny. Where are they? Are they still around? Did Gary send Penny to the orphanage? Did Penny get sent to military school? And so on…

I thought I would fill you in on their adventures.

Gary and Penny 2018

Shortly after their first Christmas together Gary thought it would be a good idea to take some time and get to know his daughter, Penny. He took a leave-of-absence from work and they went on a road trip. To be fair, Gary has told me what he does for a living but I can never really remember what it entails. It has something to do with security and maybe the government. I’m thinking that he might be part of the border patrol? But I can’t be certain. Anyway, he decided that the best way to get to know his daughter was to be stuck in a vehicle with her for hours as they traveled about the country.

Looking back, Gary realizes this was a huge mistake. After all, Penny has boundless energy and can be hard to contain. I believe that the comparison was used of taking one of those super balls (the small rubber balls you can get out of vending machines) and throwing it as hard as you can in a closed car. That was what it was like to travel with Penny. Apparently they had fun. Gary let Penny use the camera. I’ll show you the wonderful pictures she took.

Penny's Selfie

I’m told this was a selfie at Niagara Falls.

They traveled up to the Thousand Islands in NY and Penny was very disappointed when she discovered that they weren’t actually going to sleep in a castle.

Boldt Castle (from my balcony)

They headed south and stopped in our nation’s capital. I’m told that this next picture was taken on the Mall:

Gary's Foot

Gary was excited to see Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. To commemorate their trip, Penny took a beautiful picture from inside the track:

Southern Vacation 2009 168

I believe it was at this point that Gary decided they needed some time in one place. So they stopped by and visited my sister.

Gary Relaxing

Penny was kept busy with my sister’s five cats so Gary happily took many naps in the pool. After a while, though, they had to move on. They made it as far as the Mississippi River before Gary had enough and turned the car back towards home.


The biggest thing that Gary learned about his daughter was this: No more road trips until she’s old enough to share the driving. I was told that this picture was taken near Lake Erie:

Gary's Face

Apparently Penny has to learn that the camera has a zoom feature and you don’t actually have to walk right up to the person when taking their picture.

Penny is a good kid. She is just very curious and always wants to learn everything she can. In fact, she’s been helping me in my sewing room. Last week you saw the pictures of her modeling the baby dress for me.

Well, she helped me organize my lace collection.

Penny in Lace

And she was very intent on learning how to use my rotary cutter.

Penny on the Cutting Board

She did help me cut some material for the burp cloths, which had her so excited that I had to remind her not to flail around with the cutter in her hand.

Penny Cutting Fabric

I’m sure there will be more adventures with Gary and Penny, but I wanted to give you an update. Oh, and Penny asked me to please share a picture of their May 4th outfits with you:

Yoda Gary and Ewok Penny

These are not the Storm Troopers you are looking for.

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More Baby Stuff…

I know, I know… we’ve already had two girly posts in a row. Where’s the good stuff? Well, the good stuff is in process… patience is a virtue. Until then, let me show you what I’ve been doing with my “spare” time.

This past winter I received my Spring 2020 issue of Crochet! Magazine and a dress in there caught my eye. At the time my best friend was expecting a little girl so I just HAD to make it for her!

Frilly Baby Dress 5-1-20

It’s the frilliest girly dress that I’ve seen! I used the Nicole brand of Storybook yarn (which is now discontinued) and made this in the 9-12 month size in the hopes that it would fit the baby sometime this summer. I mean, I realize that this is a very impractical dress, but look how frilly!!

Frilly Baby Dress Skirt 5-1-20

That is the skirt. Is it awesome or what?! Okay, so perhaps I’m projecting my love of frilly dresses with big skirts onto this poor child. She had better get used to it because there will probably be a lot more of these kinds of impractical garments in her future.

When I was taking pictures of this dress Penny saw and was begging me to let her wear it. She claimed it was so that I could get a better picture of the dress, but let’s be honest… Penny is also a girly-girl so I let her try it on.

Penny Modeling Baby Dress 5-1-20

It was much too big and Penny couldn’t walk in it, but just look at that smile!

Penny in Baby Dress 5-1-20

I might have to make her a ball gown.

Can I just tell you how much I love my new sewing room? Even on the brightest days my previous sewing room was like a cave. Now I have all kinds of light and sparkles on my wall. It’s wonderful! I’ve been working on a backlog of projects, most of which have been baby gifts.

Baby Stuff 5-10-20

This is the batch from this last weekend.

I have two fleece blankets:

Fleece Blankets 5-10-20

A couple receiving blankets:

Receiving Blankets 5-10-20

And a bunch of burp cloths:

Burp Cloths 5-10-20

I still have more projects in mind, but Bob only allows me so many sewing room hours at a time. Then he needs Mama Lap Time.

I did manage to squeeze one more project in this week. A year ago we had some windows replaced in the back of our house, including one over my sink.

New Kitchen Window 6-3-19

It is so bright and beautiful that I felt bad leaving it naked. I had some lace yardage so I decided I would make a lace valance. Somehow I never managed to get to that until yesterday.

Kitchen Curtain 2 5-14-20

It’s not much, but it goes with the lace curtain theme that I have throughout the house.

Also, I was very happy that I managed to actually get it straight!

Kitchen Curtain 5-14-20

That’s all from my sewing room for now. Stay tuned for more baby things (I have another friend due in August) and possibly a purse or two. Who knows what the future will hold!

Posted in Blankets, Crochet, Garment, Penny, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Crocheted Baby Blanket and Hats

One of my very good friends is expecting her first child in August. As soon as I found out my head started reeling with ideas for what I could make as gifts. Unlike most couples nowadays, though, they have decided not to find out if it’s a boy or girl. So anything that I make prior to the little minion (that’s how she refers to the wee one) being born has to be gender neutral. I admit that I might be pushing that a bit because one of the projects I’m working on is all blue, but I’m a girl and blue is my favorite color so it counts.

Anyway, I knew that I wanted to make her a blanket. So I did.

Light's Baby Blanket 5-2-20

Are your eyes bugging out and you’re wondering how in the world I could have possibly chosen those colors for a baby blanket??!! My friends are HUGE Pittsburgh Steelers fans. In their house these colors are definitely gender neutral.

This pattern is the Easy Breezy Mile A Minute Baby Blanket by Christa at The Secret Yarnery. I really like to use her patterns because they are typically easy and work up quickly. This one was no exception.

Light's Baby Blanket Detail

You crochet your strips and then join them together and add a border. I did leave off the popcorn dangles because I figured that would keep it slightly more gender neutral. I’m not sure that guys like popcorn dangles. It’s one of those personal preference things.

Bob was a bit busy so he had his friend, Vader, help with quality inspection.

Light's Baby Blanket with Vader

He gave it the Light Saber sear of approval.

I’ve also managed to make a few more hats. Remember, I’m trying to make in the neighborhood of 40-60 of these by Thanksgiving. I’m not sure I’m going to make it because I’m only on #10 through 12.

Crocheted Hats Detail 10-12

This blue was washed out by the sunlight coming in through the window. I tried to get a different angle hoping that would help.

Crocheted Hats #10-12

The blue one on the right is closer to the actual color, but still a bit washed out.

Again, these had to go through quality inspection.

Crocheted Hats #10-12 Modeled

Vader says, “It looks good… on me.”

After that groan-worthy line Bob suspended Vader’s quality inspection certification, so Bob will be officially inspecting for a while.

Bob 5-5-20

“It’s so hard to find good help!”

Posted in Blankets, Cats, Crochet, Hats | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bodycon Dress 2

Now that my sewing room is mostly together I wanted to get back into Project Custom Clothes for my friend, Jamie. When I last posted about it in November I’d just tried to create my first bodycon dress and had failed spectacularly.

Bodycon Dress 1 Front

My biggest issue at that point was I needed to make sure that Addie conformed to Jamie’s body shape as best as I could get her. Jamie had sent me pictures of her dressed in some form-fitting clothes and then had sent those to me so that I could compare how they fit her versus how they fit Addie.

At this point there was a hiatus because I was trying to get through the holidays and then get through my bathroom closet and sewing room remodeling projects.

There was also a delay because I was nervous and hesitant. I knew that it was going to be a lot of work and fussing around to try to get Addie padded out just right. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to come close to what I needed, and then I worried that I had invested a lot of time and money into a project that would end up failing miserably. However, the Biltmore did not use the guy down the road to carve the goblins sitting on the roof. Instead they used craftsmen who had studied and lived stone carving all of their lives. At one point they really sucked at their craft, too. That’s the long way of saying that everybody begins from a point of zero ability and zero knowledge. So I squared my shoulders and went to work.

I’m glad I had the pictures and clothes from Jamie because the biggest change I had to make was in Addie’s shoulders. Jamie is a tiny and petite woman, but she has quite a set of shoulders and rib cage. (FYI… the following statement is a compliment) I think that she could have easily dressed like a Gibson Girl without having to add much cinch or padding to her corset.

I’m not sure how much you will be able to see the differences, but I’ll post a Before shoulder padding and After:

This illustrates how the same dress (no adjustments had been made) will hang differently based on the shoulders. That’s the reason why most fitting instructions for dresses and tops have you start at the shoulders and work your way down. Often once you fix the shoulder issues some of the other problems will go away.

Feeling better about the fit of garments that I would be trying on Addie I decided to plunge into the bodycon dress. I didn’t go back to the red one, though. Instead I decided to use a pattern that was definitely for a very form-fitting dress. I used McCall’s M7999.

Bodycon Dress

Instead of using numbered sizes, this one does the range of XS to XL, which makes sense since there is a lot of stretch to the fabrics you should be using. This time I chose the size that corresponded to Jamie’s measurements (mostly) and used a Polyester/Cotton/Lycra Interlock Knit. The only adjustment I made to the pattern was to create more of a scoop neck because I know there is NO WAY Jamie would be comfortable with such a high neckline (we think she must have been strangled in a previous life and now can’t stand anything even remotely constricting near her throat).

Bodycon Dress 2 Front1

I was very pleased. I knew there would be some issues, but I didn’t feel that I had completely failed. From the front most of it looks good, except for the saddle bags at the hips. I told Jay that it looked like she was wearing the old riding pants with the poofy sides under the dress.

Bodycon Dress 2 Hips

I was not stretching this at all. I had merely tugged it to see how much extra material was sitting in this area. It looked to be at least 2″ on each side. Then I turned Addie to look at the side.

Bodycon Dress 2 Side1

This is definitely not a flattering fit from the side. Again, this is suppose to be a body conforming dress. That definitely wasn’t happening here, but when I turn her around to the back you will see why.

Bodycon Dress 2 Back1

The shoulders seem to fit good, but there is all kinds of extra material swimming around her back (and a better view of the poofy pants at the hips). I grabbed my pins to see how much extra fabric I was dealing with in the back.

Bodycon Dress 2 Extra Fabric

You can’t really tell, but I had almost 2″ of fabric pinned up to get the wrinkles out. What does this mean? This means that we need to do a sway back adjustment. To be honest, after seeing Jamie’s pictures, I realized that a sway back adjustment will be needed in any pattern that I use for dresses or tops. If you’ve never heard of this adjustment, let’s see if I can do an okay job of explaining it, using one of my very horrible drawings.

Sway Back Adj

(I will explain more of this drawing later). Let’s pretend that the drawing on the left is of your “normal” person standing in profile. The big pattern companies design their patterns to fit these people. This is why so many sewers have to make adjustments to patterns in order to get the garments to fit their bodies. Well, if you stand especially tall (like we’re suppose to) with your shoulders squared and your bosom jutted out in front of you, this actually causes a curve to your figure and shortens the distance between your shoulders and lower back. The person on the left will have a much longer measurement (and require more material to span that distance) than the person on the right. I realize the drawing is a bit exaggerated, but hopefully you get the idea.

Before I did a sway back adjustment, though, I wanted to take the extra fabric out of the sides. I decided to do the adjustments one step at a time so that if something went completely wrong I would know exactly what caused it. I calculated approximately how much material I wanted to remove and then adjusted my pattern.

Bodycon Dress 2 Grading Pattern

I actually thought that I would grade the pattern down, but after getting this far I realized that I would just remove the extra while keeping the same shape and wouldn’t worry about the pattern for the next size. Then I recut the fabric pieces (I’ve used basting stitches to sew them together so that I can easily remove it), and basted them back together. Let’s see how it looks after the width is removed.

Bodycon Dress 2 Front2

I only removed width starting around the waist area, which is why the top still looks slightly baggy. But look how much better it sits at the hips! Let’s get a side profile comparison.

Look at the difference! I’ll admit that I might have taken off a little too much, but I can always add a smidgen back onto the pattern. Remember, this is not how it’s going to look on Jamie exactly, but it will be very close. Now let’s look at the back.

We definitely fixed the conforming issue at the hip. However, now the extra material on the back is REALLY noticeable. Also, I don’t think that I had done a good job smoothing out the back of the dress. Addie has a bodysuit on to keep all of her padding in place and it really likes to hold onto this fabric.

I am at the point where I definitely need to make the sway back adjustment. Most of my fitting books, though, only discuss how to adjust woven fabrics, garments with center seams, or garments with other seams. This is a bodycon dress so I only have the side seams to work with and everything that I’ve been reading assumes that you’ll have a back center seam. Let’s take a look at my drawing again so that you can see my quandry.

Sway Back Adj

When you do a sway back adjustment you figure out how much material you need to remove at what spot and then pivot at the side to move the back down and create your new pattern line. Again, that makes sense because you want your side seam to remain the same length, but you want to remove a portion of the back area. I had to remove 2″ from the back of this dress. When I did the pivot like everything was saying, my pattern piece looked almost exactly like the one on the right. It had quite the sharp bend. You can’t put that on a center fold. So what do you do? You turn to the internet because obviously you aren’t the first person to have this issue.

I found a couple of blog posts that described the process of doing the pivot for the adjustment, and then you have to redraw the pattern piece in order to straighten out the back piece if you want it to be aligned on the center fold of your fabric. It requires a lot of drawing and monkeying around that I wasn’t looking forward to doing.

I dragged my feet and procrastinated. The pivoted pattern laid on my cutting table taunting me as I justified my delay with the excuse that I was doing more research. Then I stumbled across the most wonderful blog post in sewing history at a blog called Pattern.Scissors.Cloth. Not only does she do a WAY better job of explaining the sway back adjustment, but she also shows a much easier way of doing it based on her experience. Please go check it out if you have any interest in doing this type of adjustment because it will save you a TON of time!

I adjusted the pattern, recut the pieces of fabric and basted them back together. Let’s see the first (baggy) version versus the final adjusted version.

Not a huge difference from the front. Let’s look at the side, though.

What a difference! Yes, there are still some drag lines, but honestly I’m at the point where I need to send the muslin (my adjusting garment) to Jamie to have her try it on and see if some of those issues are resolved. I think she will fill out the top in different spots so the fabric will sit differently on her.

Bodycon Dress 2 Side Wrinkles 3

This is just a guess on my part based on the fact that when I pull the underarm up and out, the wrinkles mostly disappear. For good measure, let’s take a look at the back.

I was so happy with the results that I had to text a picture of it to Jay while he was at work. He knew that I had been struggling with the fit, so even if he didn’t quite understand what he was looking at he could completely understand my excitement.

There are certain things about Addie that I can’t adjust to exactly match Jamie, so that’s why I’m going to stop adjusting this particular muslin and send it to Jamie for some final fitting. I’m just excited that I actually have something to send Jamie to try on. Once I get this pattern just right I should be able to theoretically use it to make numerous dresses out of different stretch materials. I can lengthen the hem or add sleeves, but as long as I have the core part of the dress pattern perfected I shouldn’t have any issues.

I decided to use this adjusted pattern to fix the problems with the original bodycon dress that I had attempted, but that failed spectacularly. *sigh* Once again I fell into the barrel of thinking that I sucked and can’t do anything. Except, after doing more research it dawned on me what failed, so this weekend I’m going to take a second stab at it. If I can get a dress made out of Ponte knit (the red fabric) that fits almost as good as the gray fabric then I will be really happy. Wish me luck!

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N-Scale Layout- Sidewalks and Ballast

2020Layout-Town Landscaping

The villagers were happy with how the their town was starting to really come together. Once all the grass had been planted they felt like it was starting to feel like their home. They couldn’t wait for the buildings on Main Street to be installed. They had been living like nomads for years every since eminent domain had been instituted and their original town had been destroyed to make way for a furniture manufacturer.

Train Layout - City 7-7-16

(The former site of Jayville)

Jayville had been granted the use of the current property where they were building because nobody else wanted it. There were rumors of buried nuclear waste, Indian burial grounds and even that it was frequently visited by UFOs. In all reality, it was because nobody else wanted to build a town in an area that was going to be completely surrounded by train tracks. This line was going to be a transition area for freight trains crossing from one busy railroad line to another. There will be freight trains rumbling through at all hours of the day.

The villagers didn’t care, though. They happily continued to establish their village in what they deemed to be a very beautiful piece of property.

One of the last jobs the concrete crew had to complete was installing sidewalks on Main Street. In order to avoid squabbles with the landscapers (and possibly more legal fees) they decided to build the sidewalks off-site and have them flown into town and placed in one piece. It was quite a task!

First they had to establish the footprint of the block area. Then they poured a single pad that included not only the sidewalk, but also the foundation for the buildings.

2020Layout-Main Street Sidewalk1

Once that had cured they mixed up a slurry layer that would contain the base color of the sidewalks and exposed cement.

2020Layout-Main Street Sidewalk2

As that layer was starting to set up they roughed in the sidewalk portion.

For the last step they mixed up the final layer of sidewalk and delicately poured it so that it would allow for the easier placement of the buildings against the sidewalk.

2020Layout-Main Street Sidewalk3

2020Layout-Main Street Sidewalk4

Due to a pending patent and proprietary information I am unable to show you how the company air-lifted the portion of sidewalk and flew it to the site. Let’s just say that it involved a few helicopters, lots of strong cables and many prayers. And that’s all I can say. At least about the air-lifted concrete. I have a LOT more to say about the village.

2020Layout-Main Street

Isn’t that exciting? The villagers were beside themselves with joy. They had a giant party the first night with lots of merriment and reveling. However, Otis (the town drunk) discovered a potential issue with having tracks run through the center of town. He stumbled into the open area between the rails and almost scared himself sober. Luckily he was okay, but there was definitely an issue with having that kind of an opening where people would be constantly crossing the street.

Capital expenses were through the roof (literally… as you can see in the picture above one of the buildings is still waiting for its roof until there’s more money in the budget). How could they make the track safer for pedestrian traffic?

Cliff Brown, the local handyman and drifter, had an idea. The village council heard his suggestion and felt that since nobody else offered up any solutions they would give Cliff permission to go ahead with his idea.

Cliff went out and bought a lot of plywood, and took it to his son-in-law who has an industrial-sized laser.

2020Layout-Track Filler

They cut pieces out that were wide enough to sit in between the rails, but wouldn’t impinge upon the functions of the train.

2020Layout-Track Filler2

Cliff then measured the thickness of the wood, compared it to the depth that would need to be filled in along this section of track, and topped the wood with concrete to bring it up to the correct height.

2020Layout-Track Filler3

Once the pieces are installed he will paint them black to match the surrounding asphalt. Very ingenious, but I question where he procured his materials as there were articles in papers from surrounding towns about thefts of plywood, concrete and paint around this same time.

After the landscapers had finished cleaning up their mess from seeding, the railroad was able to go in and put ballast around their track.

The president of the railroad had a son who had decided he wanted to get into the stone business. When the first ballast was laid the railroad just happened to purchase the ballast for the first part of the project from the president’s son.

2020Layout-Ballast 1

The guys putting down the ballast were not impressed. There was a lot of dirt mixed in with the stone. It was as if the stone company had gone out in the back creek and used shovels-full of it to fill the railroad cars. They had no choice, though. They had to use it.

2020Layout-Ballast 2

The more they used it, the more they grumbled. At one point they started to call this the Graham Cracker Crust line. The president of the company heard about the belly-aching and went out to investigate.

2020Layout-Ballast 3

He took one look and called up his son to cancel the rest of the order. A phone call was made to the company who provided ballast to the railroad in this area and the loads began to steadily arrive.

2020Layout-Ballast 4

The railroad crews were so much happier with this stone. It was the right size, it handled well, and there wasn’t a ton of dirt mixed in with it. They were able to quickly get the rest of the track finished.

2020Layout-Ballast 5

2020Layout-Dead Man's Corner 4-27-20

2020Layout-Ballast 6

2020Layout-Main Street 4-27-20

Things were beginning to really come together! Trains were starting to run through the area, construction crews showed up to finish the inside of the buildings, and plans were put in place to erect a church. Life was looking up for the residents of Jayville.

Yes, things were really looking rosy… and that’s when a crisis hit. As a cliff-hanger I’ll just leave you with a picture that foreshadows the impending doom…

2020Layout-Oak Trees

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Project Linus Blanket #32

Project Linus Blanket #32:

Project Linus Blanket #32 4-17-20 - A Yarny Tale

A Yarny Tale

This isn’t the best picture, but currently it’s the easiest place to photograph a blanket of this size. The rest of my house is a mess (I’m still trying to get things moved into my sewing room and out of the other rooms).

This was the blanket I started to make when I wrote the post a few weeks ago called A Yarny Tale. When I make these blankets I concentrate on the little boy at the end of that story. He is the reason why I continue to make blankets for Project Linus. I have a zillion other projects that I want to eventually make, but I try to crochet a blanket on a regular basis so that I don’t do too much selfish crocheting.

Project Linus Blanket #32 Detail

In this blanket I used Premiere’s Sweet Roll “Blueberry Swirl”, Stitch Studio Classic “Light Blue” and an unknown light blue that I had in my stash. The Stitch Studio color is one that I used to buy at A.C. Moore and is one of my favorite yarns. Needless to say, I was VERY excited when I discovered that Premiere Yarns will now be carrying this line of yarn!! Seriously, I will pay the extra money to use the Stitch Studio yarn instead of the Red Heart Super Saver. The quality and feel is just so much better with the SS yarn.

I actually finished this blanket about two weeks ago, but I had other things that I needed to blog about first. I’m lucky enough to still be working during this pandemic so I haven’t had any extra time to sit and crank out more blankets. After moving the majority of my sewing stuff out of the old area, though, I was able to reorganize my yarn stash.

This is what my yarn stash looked like at the end of May LAST year:

Yarn Cubbies After 5-20-19

In one year I’ve had two large orders from Ice Yarns and A.C. Moore went out of business. This is what my yarn stash looks like now (after organizing it):

Yarn Cubbies 5-1-20

The pink bag has a Christmas project kitted up, the laundry basket needs to be wound with the ball winder, the black yarn organizer has a Project Linus blanket ready to be stitched, and the gray totes contain shopping bags of kitted Project Linus blankets that I just have to grab and start stitching.

I realize that it looks like a mess in this picture, but I assure you that it is in much better shape than just a few weeks ago. It makes me so happy!

Posted in Blankets, Charity, Crochet, Project Linus, Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment