19 June 2015

I made a shirt!

Last weekend, under the watchful eyes of a few friends with a lot of garment sewing experience, I made a shirt!

I made a garment! It's a #washidress in the tunic length + a few inches (I have a ling torso. I put "one" on this photo mostly to cover up the bright gold boob light on this ceiling, but also because I dare say I will sew another garment soon!   And I'll

This is a Washi Dress in tunic length.  I had the guts to dive in and make it because I know Rae does an amazing job on her patterns and because I've seen so many Washi dresses in action, and they all look great!  I was able to try on a few Washis at Rae's studio last winter, and my friend Emily let me try on her washis (she has three, each in a different substrate) and I looked carefully at the garment's construction.  I felt like I knew my size, that was going to like the end result, and would have help if I needed it.  It went very smoothly and I love my new shirt!

I'm already contemplating making another Washi and perhaps trying out this tunic pattern from Anna Graham's new book, Handmade Style.

Fiddlesticks, I only have two yards of this voile and the pattern calls for more. I guess I have to go fabric shopping.�� #handmadestylebook

I have faith that I can follow Anna's directions as I've made a few of her bags.

I had been hoarding the pink voile in the corner of that picture and thought it would do well for that tunic, but it turns out that I need a larger cut than I possess. I'm going to lay out the pattern pieces and see how much more I need.  Maybe I can mix a few prints together or maybe I need to go shopping!

Honestly, part of the reason I'm finally giving in and learning to sew garments is because I love some of the fabrics that have been made in the last couple of years.  That coneflower print for one.  And I also couldn't resist the speckled lawn from Cotton + Steel.

Craftsy is having a huge sale on their sewing and quilting fabrics this weekend, so I might have to pick a favorite or two from their selection.  I've narrowed it down a bit...

Do you guys have a favorite garment pattern?
What about a shop with a good variety of fabrics suited for tops and dresses?

Please note: some links in this post are affiliate links.

12 June 2015

The Optimism Quilt

Optimism Quilt by Rossie

At Quilt Market Sample Spree, I was lucky to get a chance to buy three upcoming lines: Heather Ross's Tiger Lily,  Kim Kight's  Lucky Strikes, and Lotta Jansdotter's Lucky.  Once back to my room that night, I opened up the bundles and played with the fabrics, noticing that parts of each line played very nicely together.

{Heather Ross Tiger Lily + Kim Kight Lucky Strikes + Lotta Jansdotter Lucky} #quiltmarket

Back home from Minnesota, I pulled out the fabrics again and added to them from my stash.
I wonder what sort of quilt this fabric would like to be.

I wanted to sew with them RIGHT THEN.  So I started cutting and arranging pieces on my design wall. This design began from my love of the "vee" shaped traditional 4-patch that's in so many quilts, but used so effectively in Digital Hearts from Cloud Nine and Fair Isle from Just a Bit Frayed.

The white background isn't doing it for me.  I'm contemplating Seafoam Green (lower left on #rjrfabrics color card).

I did my own spin, wanting the vees to go UP and also be grounded and show off more fabric, by putting in a bigger square beneath.
Once I had a few on the design wall with white as the background, I realized I needed a better neutral, and so I broke out my solids color cards, eventually selecting Seafoam Green by RJR Fabrics.

Yep, I like you, Seafoam Green (RJR cotton couture). This quilt needs a name. Something about up, but not "Up Yours Marie DiFalco" because that would be offensive to some people, but probably not @mariedifalco ��

This quilt really started to pop for me once I added that seafoam green.
It went together in no time.

Optimism Quilt by Rossie

I can't wait to quilt this up and share it again!

04 June 2015


WE'VE GOT GOATS and I'm obsessed with them.
Jon is taking the ladies on a tour of the yard. So far their favorite spot is on the porch, where they can stare at us and the dogs. #goatlife #beaandgracie #nofilter

Can you believe how darling these faces are?
If everything goes smoothly, this is totes gonna be my goat! Gracie and Bea are twin sisters. 3-year-old Nubians. Their current owner is a retired guy who is scheduled for a few surgeries this year, so he's not up for goat shenanigans, even though he love

And these girls are so nice.
I adore them.
Gracie and Bea

Back to the beginning.

We bought the new house about 8 months ago.  It's on 10 acres of land, which is mostly wooded and hilly, with a bit of pasture, and about an acre that is mowed.

Sidenote for those who enjoy geology: Our hills are truly odd for Michigan, which is a really flat state.  We've got hills because we're in a glacial end moraine.  The geology was formed between three glacial lobes 13,000 to 16,000 years ago and marks their maximum advance.  It's pretty awesome and reminds me a bit of where I grew up in the driftless area of Wisconsin (a part of Wisconsin that is very hilly because it escaped glaciation).  You can read more about our geology on the website for a local land conservancy.

Since moving, we've been asked many times if we have plans for the land. And the plan has been to not do much.  Just live on it and enjoy it. We harvest fallen trees and burn them to help heat the house.  We take walks with the dogs.

Jon contemplates hunting the deer (though honestly we see the same deer over and over, so it would be like killing a friend and I don't eat mammals anyway, so Jon would be on his own).  We do have a few deer cams and they are fun.

MAYBE, maybe, maybe we'd get some some of livestock eventually, we said.  The land doesn't have pens or fenced-in areas, so this was a down-the-line proposition.  Maybe we'd get sheep.  Maybe goats. MAYBE.  In a few years.

But then we fenced in a half-acre behind the house to prevent the dogs from visiting the neighbors (which they had taken to doing.)
And then we discovered that there is quite a bit of poison ivy on our land.  QUITE A BIT.
And then we discovered REPEATEDLY that I have an above-average allergy to poison ivy.

Did you know that goats have a barnyard super-power?

Gracie and Bea

I work in town part-time and its a small town where everyone is chatty.  I tend to have trouble with small talk (I'm an introvert), but I do alright if I have some topics to ask people about.  I started asking if they had goats or know anyone in the area who did.  I just wanted to see what breeds people had an how easy the goats were to keep.  No one knew anyone with goats for months and months and then one day, a fellow named Pat, who is a sheep farmer, told me he did know someone with goats and it was a shame he hadn't known I was interested in goats sooner, because this guy, John, had a really nice pair of goats and had just given them away.

"Too bad!"  I said.

But then Pat appeared again the next week and said, "You know those goats?  My friend still has them and he says you should call him." A few days later, we went to John's house and met the goats.  First impressions:

  1. THEY ARE HUGE.  Their shoulders are at my hip.  That's about 38" above ground.   People think our dogs are big and the taller one is only 24" at the shoulder.  
  2. They are very social.  They walked right up to us when we arrived and hung around with us the whole time we were talking to John and Eileen about the goats, which was almost an hour.
  3. They are well-behaved. They didn't jump on us at all or butt us.   They have been living free-range and never left their owner's land.  They peacefully coexisted with sheep and chickens and dogs.  
  4. They have a lot of personality.  They definitely look for little opportunities to misbehave.  One went into a greenhouse as we stood there and uprooted some vegetables.  
We agreed to take them, but asked for a few days to build a barn for them.  As for transport, while we could put them in the back of our Subaru wagon, that'd run the risk of them peeing and pooping  whilst in there.  Pat, the guy who introduced us, was going to be delivering sheep in John's neighborhood and said he's transport the goats to us when he did.  

Perfect.  Free goats AND free delivery.  We had some money to throw at the goats, but building their barn and getting them shots and such was a fun way to spend it.    These goats are about as perfect a fit as we could have hoped to find.  They are used to dogs and big enough that our dogs will respect them.  They have been kept as pets and that's how they'll be for us, too.  YAY YAY YAY.

Here's the barn we built:

Please note, this barn is too high off the ground. Whoops. We're going to put in a porch for it (largely to function as a huge step) this coming weekend.  

Also, the barn will get a door when it gets cold, but it's good as is for now. 

Bea and Gracie arrived less than 48 hours after we met them and have already started trimming back our poison ivy.  In fact, they actively seek it out and munch on it, which is THE BEST THING EVER.

Gracie and Bea

I've started a quilt that depicts the goats, but I'll post that on it's own another day.  Because today, the goats are getting all the glory.

Related posts:
About buying the house.
About the dogs.