Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Careful What You Wish For!

Wow. When I wished for rain I think I wished a bit too hard.

This story starts with a 20-year old bed. It has nothing to do with sewing so you'll have to get your fix elsewhere today. And to be clear - no one got hurt, so at the end of the day we are blessed!

So back to the 20-year old bed...

My fella and I went out on Monday afternoon after I finished work to pay for and arrange delivery of a lovely new bed suite. It is our council pickup next week so we thought it would be a good time to get rid of the rickety old thing.

We knew a storm was forecast and it looked certain to hit soon so we were keen to get home. After four months without rain the roads can get really greasy and be treacherous to drive on once it does rain. Just as we took off, something bounced off my bonnet. "What the $%^& was that?" we both say. My fella suggested hail, but it was 30 degrees outside so I couldn't see how that was possible. Well my fella was right! The next second the car was getting pummelled by golf ball sized and larger hail stones. My driver's wing mirror was smashed right through the plastic casing and the noise was unbelievable. The ice hitting the hot road was forming steam and we could barely see a thing. We tried to take shelter under some trees but just then the rain started and the ground went all boggy so after a few minutes we decided to press on.

By this stage - about five minutes in but it felt like 45 - the roads were completely flooded and all we could do was keep trying to head uphill to get away from it. Eventually the hail stopped and the rain slowed and we breathed a sigh of relief. We decided to stop off at the local bottle-shop as we both needed something to calm us down after the ordeal (and I rarely drink so that it HUGE!). My poor brand new car is peppered with damage. We think it will probably be written-off but I will know more after the assessor has seen it. Shaken but in good spirits we headed the last five minutes home.

Only to get inside and be greeted by a giant hailstone on the dining table and this gaping hole in the skylight:

There was water everywhere and the terrified cats were hiding under the (20-year old) bed. Unfortunately the bedroom skylight was also smashed so things were pretty damp in there too. We put big tubs under the roof holes and had a hug and said "it could be worse". And then it was!

The rain came back with a vengeance. Pouring down our driveway and straight towards the front door. We tried to bail the water away with buckets but couldn't keep up and soon it was in the house. Simultaneously it started coming in the back door as well. All we could do was lay down every towel we owned and keep moving the furniture further and further away from the door. We were in full adrenaline mode by this time. Finally the rain stopped after flooding our entire bathroom and laundry, living room, dining room and hall. Fortunately we were able to hold it back a couple of inches from TV etc. Oh, and in the meantime the water in the roof had fused the lights so we were in darkness while this was going on.

My fella's friend Clint was nearby and came by with a tarp and he and my fella got up on the roof an covered the holes as best they could, just in time for another round of thunder, lightning and rain - fortunately not as bad as before though, but enough for me to be worried it wasn't going to hold.

It held and all we could do after that was to has a drink and spend a very sleepless night jumping at every sound. The next morning here is how my living/dining area looked:

And my garden:

After an hour on hold I got through to my insurer and was told I could rip the carpet up - thank goodness, the smell was awful already! My lovely friend Sarah came over and helped up pack everything up, move the furniture out, rip up the carpet and move some of the furniture (just what we need) back in. Here is the state the underlay was in:
As I said no one was hurt and I am fully insured. Our loss is a lot less than many homes in Perth so we are aware how fortunate we are. We are also very grateful to have such awesome friends who dropped everything to come and help us. Plus I really hated that carpet anyway!

Here is the great tragedy though. Guess where all our belongings are now stored...
Yup, that is/was my sewing room . So all the patterns and fabrics I prepared last weekend were in vain and there will be no sewing done until the flooring is replaced. Given the scale of the damage around town, who knows when that will be - but I hope it will only be a few weeks. If I had to find a silver lining it would be that my ironing board and iron are somewhere in there so no ironing for me for a while!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Just a Quickie – The Millefoglie Scarf

Well productivity remains at an all time low in this household. At least the weather is finally turning and it has been below 30 all week. We even had a drop of rain – the first since November last year!

I have made another toile of the McQueen jacket, converting it to a conventional armhole and sleeve but it still isn't quite right and I have decided to put that particular project on hold for a little while. It will remain a work in progress until I can work up enough steam to give it the energy it deserves…

On the plus side I did manage to churn out a measly scarf! I am ashamed to admit I didn't make any effort at all with this. The yarn (Millefoglie by Moda Vera) comes with a variety of novelty yarns joined together – a chunky grey, olive/khaki nubbly, copper/silver metallic, black fluffy and white with a black thread through it. I didn't even finish the joins properly, I simply knitted the knots in wherever they fell.

I used 8mm needles and a simple 11st repeat ripple stitch. I am really happy with how it came out. I wear scarves every day in winter and I have loads of bright ones to wear with neutrals but not as many neutral ones to wear with coloured clothes. I love the combination of yarns and feel sure I couldn't have come up with this on my own – I am really not great at combining colours and textures.

This picture shows the various yarns but I probably wouldn't wear it wrapped like this.

Here the scarf is folded in half with the ends passed through the loop. This is great for bulky and shorter scarves.

Here it is wrapped around the neck with one end passed through underneath and hanging over the top. I think this particular scarf works well this way. This was my favourite scarf tie last year. Who knows, this year I may find a new favourite – there have been some awesome tutorials posted by northern hemisphere bloggers – thanks guys!

Up next I will start on a series of outfits for a four-day conference. It is an international event but unfortunately not the one in Vancouver that a number of my colleagues are going to, it's here in Perth. It will be my first time presenting a paper at this kind of shindig in about six years. Am I nervous? Hell yeah. But new clothes will help won't they?

Monday, 1 March 2010

The McQueen Jacket

So my Alexander McQueen experiment is done! I spent all day on it yesterday and while it was not easy by any stretch, it didn't turn out to be all that difficult. The instructions provided with the pattern are a little light-on but as long as you just go with it everything goes together in quite a straightforward way.

I suspect there would be as many versions of this jacket as there are makers - mine doesn't look exactly like the photos, but close enough and I am happy.

Here is the back. You can see that I have sewn down the pleats on the left side and left them open on the right. Unsewn, the pleats made me look really hunch-backed and I am way too uptight to have all that out-of-control-ness going on behind me! I don't even wear linen because I can't control it!!!

Here are the unsewn pleats from the side view.
Here is the front with the bands lifted out of the way. I really like the front bands and pleating. It's a shame the bands hide this nice detail.
Although the bands do look very nice as well. A bit fashion-forward for me though. I'd probably just keep dangling them in my dinner!

Speaking of clothes getting in your food, how about the kimono sleeves? I love them on the model but always knew they'd be a problem on me. I just don't have enough length between my bust and my waist so I need to keep things simple around that part of my torso - dolman sleeves are a complete no-go. And the final back view, all stitched down and with one sleeve. I really do think this is a beautiful jacket and, even though I'm a pretty good pattern drafter (not that I ever do it these days) I would have had no idea where to start with this!
It was never my intention to make this jacket through to proper fabric but I may do with some alterations. I already added 2cm to the side seams as a rough method of grading up from a 40 to 44(ish). If I make this again for real I will make the following changes:
  • Convert to a standard armhole and set-in sleeves.
  • Tuck out some length in the upper back
  • Leave off the collar/bands and come up with another solution.
I know it might be sacrilege to mess with a design like this but I would just keep the details I love and modify the details I don't.
I seem to have got my mojo back, but I have no idea what to make next!
************EDITED TO ADD**************
A note on sizing:
When I said the jacket started as a size 40, I meant a Patrones 40 (ie. tiny) not a Burda 40 (ie. medium)!
You have been warned...