- Hi, I'm Vanessa. In 2010, when I was 25, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I blog about my life after cancer, my love of knitting and cage fighting. I make sewn and stuffed body parts at Survival Organs.
Want to make one of my organs yours? Pick ‘em up at Survival Organs on Etsy. Check back often because new organs are added all the time!
This weekend, the SGT and I closed on our first home here in Minneapolis, MN.
This is the current view of our living room. I call it Mount Boxmore. I think it needs a few more boxes covering up the front windows. Like most works, I, as its creator, will never feel like it’s ever truly finished. Or something. Thankfully, the boxes of yarn have all been unpacked. I just haven’t had time to make anything with said yarn.
For WIPs, check out Tami’s blog.
Yes, this will be a post in two parts about Stitches South! Part one featuring the goodies I picked up will be up tomorrow. I had the pleasure of splitting a room with Stacey from FreshStitches (check out her blog post about our weekend over here) and she is a hoot! And a great roommate, too.
We had a delicious Southern home-style lunch at Folks‘. When I saw the giant rooster in front, I had to get a photo of us in front of it.
As you can probably guess, we were up to no good for most of the weekend. The food was amazing! And tasted so fresh and from scratch. For example, the gravy that came with my mashed potatoes had a strong beef flavor and not like it came from a packet. That taste only comes from making gravy from beef drippings.
I also had the pleasure of meeting (and purchasing from) the fine folks at Cephalopod Yarns.
As some of you may know, they were the Sanguine Gryphon and now operate as Cephalopod Yarns. They were hilarious and delightful to talk to along with (not pictured) Shannon Okey from Cooperative Press.
Her yarns are super textured while still being soft. I like working with art yarns so I treated myself to some of her mini skeins, but more on that tomorrow.
I had a blast this year at Stitches South (I did last year too!) and I was pleased to see that there were more vendors this year. I still don’t quite fit into the ‘target’ market (I saw a lot more women who are older than I am by quite a bit) I’m glad to see that XRX is trying to lure in more young and independent shops.
I hope all my American readers had a nice Thanksgiving weekend! And that my non-American readers had a nice November weekend!
The SGT’s birthday always falls on Thanksgiving weekend and unfortunately, I didn’t finish his socks. Not even one sock. I have some commission work come in so he’ll be receiving those for Valentine’s Day, though it’s a holiday we tend to ignore. The universe sensed that I couldn’t come through on the sock front and so the local indie movie theater, The Belcourt, screened his favorite movie, Red Dawn, at midnight on his birthday.
And because our friends have similar taste and ideas we all went dressed up, ready to fight off Communist Russian/Cuban invaders:
Unbelievably, our group (about five of us) were the only people who dressed up. Some folks have no sense of imagination.
I’m glad that I could make his 35th birthday as fun as possible. Go Wolverines!
I had so much fun at last year’s Fiber in the Boro festival that I eagerly went again. I didn’t come home with any yarn but I did meet some pretty cool people.
The first vendor I saw was Bluebird Legacy Farm. Kim was selling both yarn and art therapy quilt packets. She had a few examples framed
She also had vintage button bracelets up for sale. I had to go home with one of her quilt packets. They’re made from vintage scraps of fabric, lace, buttons and rickrack and packaged together in coordinating colors. I’ve already started on mine so you’ll have to wait until Wednesday to see it.
Another vintage up-cycler was in the booth next door, Sara McLoud of McLoud9.
She takes vintage fabrics and turns them into dresses, pin cushions and aprons. She also teaches sewing and embroidery classes from her Nashville home.
The festival takes place in rural Tennessee and there were farmers with their livestock on display. I think I’m in love with alpacas.
How can you resist those pretty eyes? I was pleasantly surprised that they don’t smell like sheep and goats do. Nor do they spit as often as llamas do. And they’re a lot smaller than llamas.
Of course there were sheep! And they were adorable, if messy and smelly.
It was a bit nippy so they were all huddled up together. Or perhaps, that’s just normal sheep behavior? I’m not sure.
The SGT and I had a good time but we both felt like it was smaller this year with fewer vendors. I’m not into hand spinning but we were shown a demonstration of an electric spinner. I was surprised at how much less expensive they are (the lady who showed me said she paid $300 for hers, as opposed to the $500 manual spinning wheel she also has at home) and much smaller. I like the idea of pushing a button and letting it do most of the work but I think I’ll just stick to buying “pre made” yarn from the store.
She’s so cute! I’m a little sad I missed it but it seems like it was a good time.
My good friend from college, Tina, surprised me the other day by showing off her crafty side. She shared this tutorial on a cute and quick alteration she makes to her skirts when they’re either a wee bit too snug or too loose. She’s kindly agreed to let me repost and share with you! I hope you enjoy it!
I get a lot of my clothes secondhand, partially because I like thrifting and trawling the vintage section on Etsy, and because I like fashion, but I especially like not spending rivers of money. But whereas buying something in-store or from the actual manufacturer’s website means I can debate over which size to buy and return something if I need the next size up, if I fall in love with some random vintage something and the measurements are off by a couple of inches, it’s just not gonna work.
Unless it’s a skirt and the only real problem is the waist measurement. Like a lot of other women, my weight tends to fluctuate, and I don’t like super-tight uncomfortable clothing anyway. So if it’s a skirt that I like, that works right everywhere except the waist — or let’s be honest, if it’s a skirt I fit into just fine three years ago that’s just not as comfortable on me now — as long as there’s a back zipper, magic can be made, my friends.
YOU WILL NEED:
Okay, first thing you’re going to do is take a good look at what you’re working with. This skirt has a strip of material on the left side that is meant to hide the zipper; hence, the zipper tape is much wider on this side than it is on the right, which barely has any leeway to stitch something onto at all. I try to make a point to only sew the trim onto the zipper tape, because I don’t want to make little holes in the skirt fabric in case I eventually want to take the trim off, or in case I mess up while I’m sewing it and have to rip my stitches out, or if my weight fluctuates enough that I can zip the damn thing up properly one day.
I don’t want to remove the zipper itself or damage it, just in case, so sewing horizontally over the teeth or actually removing the metal pull are things I don’t do, either. Besides, the seam where the zipper tape connects to skirt fabric creates a natural line that makes it easy to follow while hand-sewing.
Next, pull the zipper pull upward just the tiniest little bit so you can shove the tab (the thing you actually pull on) down into the vee where the skirt fabric is sewn to the lowest point of the zipper. You just want to nestle it in to get it out of the way, so it can blend in and no one will be able to tell it’s still there.
I don’t pre-cut lengths of trim, because it’s hard to predict exactly where that last loop is going to fall once it’s all sewed on. So I just go right from the roll and cut where I need to cut at the end. Starting from the bottom of the zipper tape, I’ve gone up the left side, the one with the wider strip of zipper tape, first. Make small stitches, make sure you don’t snag that little ridge of skirt fabric, and go slowly! The good thing about that little ridge of fabric is that it’ll hide any mistakes.
You stitch right up to the top, and ascertain which loop on the trim will be your last complete loop before you don’t have any more zipper strip to use as a base to stitch on. Cut your excess trim after that point.
This is how it’s going to look when you’re done with the left side.
This is the right side, in progress. If you squint, you can see where a couple of my stitches are — in that teeny tiny ridge of tape between the calico and the zipper teeth. Just delicately make your stitches, making carefully sure not to actually snag that little fold of fabric between your tiny ridge of tape and the skirt’s seam. The underside of this stitching looks pretty much like what you’ve already done right-side-up on the left side.
When you finish that off, take a deep breath, because you just done did it! After a break, in which you will look down at what you just made with as much affection as you had loathing while you were actually sewing the thing, you can try it on and start lacing up. Because all this really is is a pseudo-corset panel, only without really obvious metal latches or grommets or something that will make the panel blend in less than you probably want. My own preference is when it looks like this was just the design of the skirt, so I try to match the trims to the fabrics and make them subtle.
I like to use thicker ribbon to do the lacing because (as pictured) it creates almost like a little fabric panel of its own, in case you don’t want whatever shirt you may be tucking into the skirt, or skin, or anything, to show underneath the laces.
So this is what it would look like at the end! And what makes the corseting especially versatile is that you can lace it tighter or looser depending on if you’re tucking your top in or leaving it out, or if you’ve fluctuated a few pounds depending on the time of the month (god knows I do that) or whether you’re just in the mood to wear it looser rather than tighter that day. Super cute. AND THERE YOU HAVE IT.
There we have it, indeed! Many thanks to Tina for letting me use her words and pictures. I’ve also been interviewed by blog friend Underground Crafter as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. You can read that over here.
Yesterday, the SGT and I spent part of the day at the Tennessee State Fair. I was really excited to hear that there would be exhibits of prize-winning needle crafts. I guess I didn’t know that was still a thing that people did. Not all of my favorites were blue ribbon winners but on the whole they were pretty good.
My favorite knitted/crocheted piece was the chess set and I love the portrait embroidery. I think I might do something similar! I also loved the sea themed quilt
We were quite impressed with the “Spoon tomatoes” that are as big as the nail on your little finger. They tasted just like a normal tomato!
I had a lot of fun and perhaps next year, I’ll enter something. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get a blue ribbon!
Are you from a crafting family?
I am. My parents were from the “make do and mend” generation. My mother especially enjoyed sewing clothes but, as she pointed out, even in the 1950s and 60s sewing was still a requirement for most things.
My father had some formal schooling but he trained as a cobbler as a young boy. He sold his shoe repair business to work a factory but he still enjoyed working with his hands, especially on model trains.
Mom taught me the basics of crocheting and knitting. She taught my sisters too.
Did any family member teach you to craft?