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I'm thinking of saving my pennies instead for a used serger. I'm leaning toward a Babylock with air threading. Though a Viking or Pfaff would be OK, too. The pickins seem to be half way decent on Craig's List, and if I'm patient I can probably get what I want or darned close to it. There's also a large dealership an hour or so away - though I can probably get a better deal with Craig's List. Fee-Bay is less of a bargain these days than it once was. And Sergers are heavy to ship.

So, speak to me of sergers. What do you recommend? What do you like? What do you not like? Share your collective Wisdom, Oh Hive Mind!!
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ONE of the front bodice bones in my gown is too long. I'm boggling over the assymetry.


Pick out buttonhole stitching on short side and use longer bones?


Buy shorter bones and take up on longer side at waist?

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Anneliese had picked out the Mulan costume for Halloween this year. I considered this to be a good thing, as it was big enough to cover wearing pants and a shirt underneath. So I put her hair up in a ponytail, wrapped it with a ribbon, and did her face in white make-up. She was delighted. I'd been on the fence about taking Rori at all. Seven years is a big age difference for something like that. So I just put her in the little panda shirt Mom got her, and loaded her up in the stroller, muffled in blankets. She seemed to enjoy things for the most part - till the last four blocks. Partly my fault - Mama forgot to bring a pacie. We gave out rather a lot les candy than previous years. I'm guessing because we were the ONLY house on our block passing out candy. Not worth the hike, probably.

Oh, and John found his new hero. One house we went to did it ALL the way up. Music playing over outdoor speakers, a dozen jack-o-lanterns on the porch rail, a "skeleton" buried partially in the lawn, and creepy "eyes" blinking on and off in the darkened windows. Plus strobe lights in the lawn pointed at the house. Tres Cool.

Sunday was sewing day with 'Laina. Pammy stopped in to hang out for a bit. And iron. ;-) It's her calling. I got the bodice to my Enkhuizen overgown mostly done. But I had a brain cramp on the math for organ pleats. Whoops. And now I can't find the tutorial page, either. ANybody have it handy? It's probably OK that I couldn't get that part done, though. On thinking about it, the wool is so very thin I think I should probably pad the pleats. Maybe run a 3" wide strip of wool flannel along the top of the skirt to give them more "oomph."

This morning I am unfond of Daylight Savings Time. Why do we still do this? Not enough people farm to make it an issue. Now it's extra dark when I get up. *sigh* Even the big ol' full moon was gone. (Hmmm, Full Moon - that ought to make for an interesting day at work).

Anneliese has no school the next two days. Poor John. He's such a trooper.

If I get time this week, I'm going to play with Joomla. Interestingly, it has a feature that enables both right-click protection and also prohibits the keyboard copy shortcut. Keen. Then maybe I can put up a costuming diary on the Enkhuizen dress.
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A couple of questions/polls.

First, I think I WILL go for the hand-quilted silk petticoat. Any directions/suggestions/tutorials on cutting? I'm thinking something basically cone-shaped with no gathering to the waist is what's needed.

The second is more homely in nature. 10 years ago, when I got married, I registered for Pfaltzgraf's Naturewood dinnerware. Confession: I hate it. It's heavy, it chips, more than a few pieces have broken. And my favorite pieces are no longer made. I've even had employees at the outlet store try to tell me certain pieces never existed.

So if we go to replace our dinnerware, I'd like something more neutral anyway. Something that can go with whatever tablecloth and decor I want to use for any given holiday. I like the look of vintage ironstone. But I hate to get caught in the trap of buying something from Crate and Barrel or WIlliams-Sonoma that DOES match but gets discontinued in a couple of months to make way for the new trend. I do also like antique dishes, and have a few that I've picked up or been given here and there. I love milk glass, and some depression glass. Especially serving pieces, compotes, and dessert dishes.

So... do we look for a reproduction set by a company that is likely to keep producing it? Or do we scout antique stores for genuine pieces and not worry about their matching? As I'm unlikely to find (or if I find, be able to afford a complete purchase) of a whole set.

I await your collective wisdom.

Accomplished today: 2 pecks of tomatoes into 9 qts canned tomatoes - plus some parboiled ones after one of the jars broke in the canner. o_O Never had THAT happen before. Once my peachies ripen up - I shall can peachies. Tomorrow I may do up the plums and some other jams.

Anybody got any thoughts on the topic?
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One of my fabulous technicians is also an amateur photographer. She's got a great camera, and has been slowly building a business - doing wedding and portraits. So, since I've done a few tidbits for her - (fixed a hernia on her calf, etc) she's going to do the girls' fall portraits for me. For this, I would like to make them new outfits. Something fall, feminine, and adorable.

And with the soundtrack to "Gigi" in my car, I remember her little dress from the movie. And how they remind me of the dresses on the little girls in the Madeline books and others. I'd like a soft wool plaid. Sources for nice colors of that would be good, too. Maybe pink/taupe or blue/brown.

So - where might I find pictures/resources for the little French school girl outfits of La Belle Epoch. If I google - I mostly get naughty school-girl porn. *sigh*

Help me lj!!
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For the local crew, Fields' Fabrics (at least on 44th St) now carries a good selection of sizes of steel corset bones, some spring steel bones and extra caps, and some narrow hoop steel.

Just sayin'.

Boy do I need a nap. Or a vacation.

Maybe I'll buy a little piggy bank and start stuffing money in it as a vacation fund.

We will inevitably take a hammer to it to put new tires on the van or some such this fall, but it would make me feel as if I'm working TOWARD something.

Heck, maybe I'll just repurpose one of the one gallow carboys in the basement. Then I could see how much was in it. Hmmmm.... good idea? Or not?
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For the other seamstress-y types....

I have a relatively new iron. It's a Rowenta, and it specifies in the instructions NOT to use distilled water, or it will leak. It's apparently designed to be "self-cleaning" and requires tap water.

Now, the last two times I've used it, a "blast of steam" has come out as a blast of white mineral powder and crunchies. Hmmmmm - almost looks like limescale.

Is this HOW it "self-cleans?" 'Cause now I've got a brand-new ironing board cover full of gunk. Once it dries I'm sure it will brush off, but... grrrrrrr.

Should I ignore the instructions and use distilled water anyway? Or cut the tap water with distilled? Or just buy plain bottled water, since that probably has a more standard mineral level? I'm on city water, rather than a well. But it's an older house with older pipes. And West Michigan has a lot of limestone, so I imagine there's a fair degree of Calcium in the water.

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A meme:

Your Score: Rosalind Russell

You scored 19% grit, 42% wit, 28% flair, and 26% class!

You are one wise-cracking lady, always quick with a clever remark and easily able to keep up with the quips and puns that come along with the nutty situations you find yourself in. You're usually able to talk your way out of any jam, and even if you can't, you at least make it more interesting with your biting wit. You can match the smartest guy around line for line, and you've got an open mind that allows you to get what you want, even if you don't recognize it at first. Your leading men include Cary Grant and Clark Gable, men who can keep up with you.

Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the
Classic Leading Man Test.

Link: The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

On the update front:

I've begun maundering on a design for Dad's "Captain Hook" jacket. Not that I'm likely to get to it until NEXT spring. But I like to contemplate for a while, first.

Found a cool image from Memling's "The Last Judgement" Triptych that has a burgundian with partially sew in sleeves. I kind of like the look. I might have to try that for the whole Maternity garb thing. Also, the beaded veil rocks!


Knitting - not a lot going on. I very briefly maundered on doing a medieval silk relic bag, then thought better of it. Silk is probably not the best choice for a first try at colorwork. And I'm probably more likely to finish an embroidered pouch, anyway.

I have a list a mile high of stuff to do for Darling. And he's busy stressing over the job-thing. So we're quite a pair. I might send him off tomorrow to finish his polearm and great sword. It will keep him out of my hair. Though I'm not sure he'll bother with GR practice with gas at $3.65/gal. *sigh* At least I'm on call for the weekend, so no travel plans to agonize over.
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All the running around has had me not posting much this month.

So our new Doctor has started, and I really do think Marlene is overestimating any new grad's ability to hit the ground running. She needs to spend more time with me or Marlene (preferably Marlene, as I have no patience) before going out on her own. Really, only time will build confidence.

My techs all got together and got me some VERY spiffy birthday presents. A very pretty hanging basket with fuschia and impaitens in it. And two books from my wishlist - one on saving vegetable seeds for a self-perpetuating garden (cause DANG seeds are getting expensive!), and one on knitting itty bitty hats. So, I invite you to look through some of the hats from the book that were knitted up by someone much more dedicated than I am here:


Scroll down a bit to the adorable hats. Any votes for favorites? I don't really have much of a stash for the ones that have all kinds of different colored flowers. So I'm thinking something more solid.

Recreationist related stuff....

I managed to score some nice white brocade the other day, as well as some white and red softwill. So I'm going to put together a heraldic surcoat for melee use, as well as a jupon for tourney use. I'll need some new red brocade to line the sleeves with and to make the little piggies. Thank goodness for heavy duty heat'n'bond!!!

Alaina is kindly making me a new gown. Which means I should get off my butt and do a new summer outfit for the Muffin. I'm thinking cotton chemise and sleeveless kirtle. Still not sure what to do for Darling. He's lost enough weight that he either needs a new hole in his belt or a new belt entirely. So I'm debating about how much work to put into a summer outfit for him. If this keeps up, he won't be able to wear it next year. Which, while wonderful from a standpoint of his health, makes my life more difficult for making him stuff.

And reading "The Lady and the Unicorn" now has me in the mood to monkey a little with tapestry weaving. I wonder if I can get Dad to make me a loom....
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Or "I should behave better than Lydia if I should go to Brighton"

Sooooo... Another Golden Seamstress shot to hell, to paraphrase my Grandfather. We had ourselves a good time, nearly finished an outfit for Antonia, and learned a few new things. Just so nobody thinks I'm being whiny. There is a good deal of fun to be had spending the weekend with friends, knocking out a style we've never tried before. We enjoy it.

Now the snark: For reasons unknown to us, we seem to be permanently on the wrong side of the judges. Ever since we cut up a sari for a Venetian ensemble two years ago, we seem to have occupied a place just south of Satan. Which is OK. But the A&S arena politics can get to be a bit much.

For those of you unfamiliar, I speak of the Quest for the Golden Seamstress - in which teams of up to 6 people have 20 hours to complete an outfit from the skin out, no patterns.

Click for detailed whining )
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My brain is SO not in gear this morning. I'm trying to put together a packing list for Golden Seamstress. And other things keep romping through my brain in the most distracting way possible.

Uppermost, Sarafina's conversation with me sometime back combined with a Project Runway marathon whilst cranking out Wedding Clothes made for a strange compilation effect. Alaina and I got to talking about putting together an event, and in my head it has morphed from "Project Runway" to something that's more "Iron Seamstress."

The concept: Collect donations of fabric, trim, doo-dads of various type, and any vaguely garb-related thing anybody wants to contribute. Each team can bring sewing machines, sergers, tools of all kinds, muslin, interfacing, etc. They receive a box of fabric and etc. They have 'X' hours to create garb from the box. TO enliven things, there will be a table with various fabrics, trims, etc available. You may trade one entire item from your box for an item on the table. OR, you may trade whatever you like with other teams.

Sounds like fun and giggles to be had to me.
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Sooo... the wedding insanity continues. Alaina and I both spent far too long feeling like we accomplished too little, I think, last Wednesday. Still, she took me to lunch at Bono's. Which was deeply appreciated. The Wedding (TM) approaches like an oncoming train. Too much to do, too little time, and an absolute motivation vacuum. *sigh* Hopefully, this weekend when I get back to the folks' place from Golden Seamstress I can fit Mom and Dad for their various "stuff" and be ready to roll. Then it's going to be pull-out-all-the-stops time and lack of sleep to get everything done, I suspect. I now estimate that I'll have spent about twice as much time on Wendy's wedding than I did on my own.

Meanwhile, I'm itching to get at other things. Darling desperately needs a new gambeson. The points on his are wearing out. He asked me to mend it - 12 hours before Val Day. I laughed with a slight edge of hysteria. But it will need to be fixed soon, or replaced. Problem - his next one I intend to be a grande aisette. So first I need to finish the toile for that, make a cotehardie from it, test the fit, and modify to a gambeson weight. Errrrr.

I also need to get cracking on Alaina's Court Barony scroll. And start the Laurel scroll I've been commissioned to do - as soon as he decides precisely what he wants. He wants a Russian pieces with lots of gold, maybe gold text, adorned heavily. My Russian sources are pretty minimal, so I'm REALLY struggling.

Boo needs summer garb. Badly. I'm thinking linen shift and Flemish Kirtle. That way, a wool overgown will transition the whole outfit into the fall.

I need a new summer gown. Yeah, I know. Not bloody likely.

And I've decided that what I really want to do when I grow up is hand dye sock yarn. Mostly because I'm easily fascinated by bright colors and would love nothing better that to play with them all day. So maybe if the Michigan Fiber Fest runs another workshop this year, I'll be able to go. My first sock yarn is on it's way. Yippeee! And whilst surfing for more, I stumbled across a project knitting black regulation socks for Soldiers. Wool being so much better for feet that spend a long time in boots than anything else. Hmmmm... if I get to spend much time knitting socks, I might set myself a goal of doing one pair of Soldier's socks for every 4 fun sets. And maybe even a set of Eleanor of Toledo's stockings if I feel the need for a challenge.

I'm hiding from work. In the last few days I've been dragged out for 3 "emergencies" that weren't, been threatened and screamed at by a woman who insisted I screwed up her dog's surgery, when in fact he licked out the sutures, and had my answering service complain to my office manager that I'm just mean and nasty. Mostly because I have this strange belief that my answering service should be able to page the correct doctor with the correct phone number with better than 80% accuracy. Silly me.

Back to the wedding sewing.....
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It must be said that after a few weeks of very mild weather for the season, Winter has set in. I'd guess we got about 6-8 inches since yesterday morning, with another 4 likely today. It's the fluffy kind, though, so Darling has already blown out the driveway so I can leave for work unimpeded. All in all, it's probably a good thing. We're in for a serious cold snap this weekend, and a nice blanket of snow on the ground does tend to take the edge off that. Of course, the lake is still open, so the cold will set off another bout of lake effect snow.

The crazy woman who's cat I declawed on Monday is driving me STRAIGHT up the wall. If she would leave him the hell alone, we'd be fine. She keeps insisting on bandages, etc. He tears them off, then tears into his toes. I got a little short with her last night and told her to call the office in the morning. There was absolutely no way I was going back out last night in THAT crap.

I got the skirt for the Nuremburg cartridge pleated, and the bodice basted to it's lining. So today's project involves sewing the skirt to the bodice. The cream thread will show a little, but I couldn't find a good match in the heavy duty thread. And that skirt is a beast, it likely wouldn't hold with the regular stuff. The all I need to do is put on the hooks and eyes, velvet guards, line the sleeves, and cuffs, and hem. Plus finish the brustfleck, and make the chemise. I'll have to try it on and determine if it will need a corded petticoat or not.
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Darling and I loaded up the Tricycle Motor and headed to GR for Twelfth Fight this weekend. A good time was had by all. The Small One didn't care that Mama had forgotten HER dress, and played happily with her stuffed castle set for most of the day.

Baroness Kassia invited me into the Ladies' gallery - and I dragged my sister and Harley along for the ride. This is the only event I get to on a regular basis that is a formal Pas, rather than a "last man standing" tourney. I enjoyed the show rather thoroughly. Counted blows at the barrier and on the open list made for a nice change of pace. Of course, I might be biased by the fact that Darling one the tourney! This was the choice of the Baroness, and largely based on his extemporaneous oration on the virtues of the ladies of the gallery (complete with somewhat backhanded complement to the Baron - panic sort of set in for a moment), and choosing to match weapons with the Baron in spite of never having fought with an axe before. *g* The first bout, Baron Garth took him in the head on the first shot. The next, Darling made quite a good accounting of himself. He was delighted with the 14th century armor book, and handed over the chocolate to me.

I wandered around the room, sharing the fruits of his labor, even with Them. We are determined not to give them any polish for their martyr's crowns. And I decided just to flat be the bigger person. I have no respect for them, I think their character is lacking. But it's their problem, not mine.

I got about 1/2 of my brustfleck embroidered, the gown cut out, the trigger seamed and hemmed for cartridge pleating, and can probably get quite a bit more of the construction done tonight. I've decided to go ahead and do just a single gown with a high-necked chemise and corded petticoat. Hence, two layers of acro in the bodice of the gown for structure. So I still need some black velveteen for the hat, some gold lace for the brustfleck and hat, some pillow ticking for the petticoat, yards of bias tape and cotton cord, and some trim for the chemise. Bridezilla was not all that pleased with me for setting down wedding clothes in favor of something for ME, but tough cookies.

I DO also have enough fabric to manage a cotehardie and chausses for Darling, and a viking apron dress for Boo. Of course, I do have a Court scroll to do as well, and I need MY corded kirtle done shortly so we can fit my overgown. By Feb 14th at the absolute latest. But I'm darned well not going to be embarrassed by the scruffiness of my family if I can help it. And, as Ingrid keep promising Boo a viking necklace of her very own, she ought to have a dress to wear it with.
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Why, WHY is it that such a large proportion of people on the SCA-related E-mail lists I'm on that aren't focused on a specific topic have so little sense? And by that I mean, ability to understand when a topic is appropriate for a given list, what sort of posts might be deemed polite by the audience, and a basic concept of grammar and spelling. In short, so many of the posts show such blatant disregard for others that I get VERY aggravated. Couch these obnoxious posts in language that is 5th grade level or lower and spelled incorrectly at that, and tell me WHY I should even bother to read it, let alone offer assistance?

Now, some of it can be blamed on a general lack of emphasis on basic literacy skills. Look around your local grocery store. How many products are "lite" or a "delite"? How many of the business vehicles in the lot for home-based companies offer "Kustum" creations? People, it is NOT anything goes! And it DOES matter. Nor is there really any excuse for it in this day and age. Hell, LiveJournal has a spell checking mechanism, for pity's sake. I will grant that it doesn't catch improper use of homophones or other grammatical errors, but STILL. Put a teensy, tiny iota of effort into it. Why, you ask? Because if you send a communication - even one so informal as blogging or E-mail - that is rife with such errors, you look ignorant. Not stupid, necessarily. Ignorant. And that is something you can bloody well do something about.

I will honestly tell you that every resume that crosses my desk with multiple spelling errors hits the circular file. If you can't put any effort into making sure something THAT important is correct, why should I trust you? Not that typos don't happen. They're certainly allowable in other settings. This one, in fact. You'll note any number of sentence fragments and other formal construction errors.

This is, however, a far cry from some of the barely literate drivel I wade through on a daily basis. In all honesty, when I see it, I assume the author doesn't care enough to make an effort and I delete the message.

Maybe my Grandmother has a point when she calls me "spoiled and overeducated." Still, I claim a right to the high ground by dint of sheer effort getting here.

I must be generally cranky, since I had a small Turet's episode, tossed the chemise I was working on over my shoulder and decided I'm going to make myself a @#(*$^ dress for Val Day. The Nurnburg gown , naturally. In periwinkle. I got the pattern drafted and fitted, fabrics selected out of my stash, decided what more I needed and stopped off to get a little velvet and some beads. I cut out the brustfleck and started embroidering it. I might decide I don't have time, but I was quite thoroughly annoyed at the time. Now I'm feeling guilty about not working on the wedding clothes. *sigh*

May 2014

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