Amaryllis

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My amaryllis last year was a serious disappointment – one flower stalk which began fading before it was full opened. I look forward to a couple of weeks pleasure from this one (2016) – two sturdy stalks, each with four blooms. A bit of spring in the midst of winter!

Striped Leggings with Top

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OK, here are the wacky striped leggings and the black knit tunic I just finished to go with them! Not too bad. This top is a bit shorter and somewhat more flowing than the previous tunics. The small embroidered bag is to hold my phone – no pockets in the leggings or the tunic (the fabric is too stretchy to use a pocket to hold my phone – the small purse is colourful and works well).

I’m even going to wear the outfit out to dinner with a couple of friends this evening!

And that’s it for garment sewing right now. Back to finish the wall piece I began a couple of months ago and I’m thinking about a modern quilt of some sort.

Needle Books

Needle Books

Needle Books

On Friday afternoon I knit with a group of women – this Friday we will be celebrating birthdays for four of us, mine among them. There was one birthday on December 25; mine was today – January 2. There’s another on Thursday and a fourth on Friday. So we’ll likely have some wine (a couple of the women are involved in wine making) and some nibbles to celebrate.

I wanted to make a small something to give the others – I keep a small “needle” book beside each sewing machine with a variety of hand sewing needles in it – I like shortish large eye embroidery needles (rather than small eye sharps) for sewing. I also have a couple of “self threading” needles (which are handy for tucking in end threads when I’m machine quilting), as well I keep a couple of used machine needle for those situations where I want to carefully pick out a seam – the machine needle is just that bit larger and stronger than a hand needle for the job.

[I just looked up a hand sewing “needle guide” – John James makes fine quality hand sewing needles of all types and sizes – turns out my preferred hand sewing needle is a size 7-8 “embroidery” (sharp with a large eye to accommodate embroidery floss), rather than a comparable “sharp” which has a small eye which I find difficult to thread. Darners also have a large eye but I find them too long and too thick to be comfortable to work with. I also keep some “easy threading/calyx eye” needles – these are self-threading needles which are threaded by pushing the thread through an opening at the top of the needle rather than through the eye.]

So I whipped up three needle books and have outfitted them with a few straight pins (with glass heads – the iron doesn’t melt the bead head), three quilting pins (I don’t have any safety pins on hand – just curved quilting pins), four different needles (embroidery and sharps), a calyx eye, and a blunt tapestry/cross stitch. I also included one used machine needle. I’ve closed the book using a quilting clip.

I’m sure the gals all have places where they stick their sewing needles but I’m betting none of them has a needle book. A small gift that I’m sure will be useful for these women who knit/sew.

I also keep a “machine needle” book at each machine – for those needles that haven’t had much use – the problem is keeping track of what kind of needle and its size. The machine needle book solves that problem for me. So if I need a slightly used needle for a small job that’s where I head first. If I know I’m going to use the needle for an entire project, it’s a new needle each time.

Machine Needle Book

Machine Needle Book

And in case you wondered – because I do a LOT of machine sewing I have a complete selection of machine needles for each different job!

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Machine Needle Collection

Knit Tunic

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As you can see, I’m  not exactly a “leggings” person. However, everybody seems to be wearing them so I thought I’d give them a try. I bought a funky black and white pair during the summer in Lunenburg. I have yet to find something to wear with them! I’ve tried printed fabrics, and solids, but the prints just don’t work with the stripes. I made both a black and navy pair from some lovely stretch knit I bought from Distinctive Sewing Supplies, they both fit fine but same problem – nothing to wear with them that looks reasonable.

Last week, I bought a couple of pieces of solid colour knit fabric, hoping if I made a couple of tunic tops they’d work with the leggings – forget that, the black and white stripes come above my knee in the front (really, I can’t publish a photo) and so even this sedate solid rust colour tunic does not look great. Here it is with black leggings. The tunic turned out fine, but, really, it doesn’t make me into a leggings person. The dark teal tunic – exactly like this one, same length – doesn’t look any better. Wearable around the house but for going out anywhere – not too sure about that. I just don’t have the shape for leggings. Probably shouldn’t wear them…