Saturday, November 21, 2020

Barbie patterns

I have a number of patterns for sewing clothes for Barbie dolls. I even have some Barbies - both the well-worn dolls I played with - and sewed a few clothes for while growing up - and some newer ones, bought to sew clothes for. I don't know why I want to do this, except to challenge myself and relive childhood perhaps. There are no children in my life who'd play with these dolls or the clothes I'd make.

These are just a few of the patterns I have. There are more.

I wonder too if anyone has actually made these clothes. I see these patterns for sale on eBay and they do have buyers, but I've searched and haven't found any evidence of anyone making them. If anyone has, please let me know!

The reason this topic came up is because I came across a new Barbie who'd actually be a more appropriate model for the historical clothes, should I actually make them, than the perky blonde Barbies of my youth, the vintage cat-eyed one of the 60's, or the new dolls that Mattel has come out with - they really do have a wide variety of looks, ethnicities now. But to me, this Florence Nightingale doll fits the look for me - not a lot of makeup and her hairstyle fits a broad range of periods. 

Photo from

So yeah, I bought it. I felt that I should make a decision with these patterns - either keep them with an intent to sew them one day or get rid of them because I'll never make them. If I decide to sew them then I'd want a doll that looked appropriate wearing them. But if I wait, this doll will eventually only be available from resellers or collectors, which means potentially more money than I will want to spend. And if I eventually decide I won't ever use the patterns, then I can sell them. Hey, maybe I'll sell the patterns with the doll for someone else who'd want a more appropriate doll to model the clothes. 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Finished the Christmas band and made some yarn

Here's the finished Christmas band I wove on my inkle loom. It's 3 yards long and 5/8" wide. I'm not sure what I'll do with it. I might dress up some glass jars with candles in them - I made some candles last weekend but didn't have the right dye (gel food coloring does not work with soy was, despite what I read online) and my green candles look more like key lime pie. I have proper candle dye on order. But right now I just like looking at it. Maybe it's too soon after weaving it to think about cutting it up.

I also finished plying some fiber I spun last year. It's chain-plied Targhee/bamboo blend. I waited to ply it until I learned how to chain ply - if you ply two different colored fibers together you get a barber pole effect when the two colors combine. When you chain ply you are combining one long twisted fiber with itself serially, so the colors mix more evenly. That's the look I wanted for this yarn. 

The wheel didn't stay empty for long. I received the fiber at my spinning guild Christmas party gift exchange last year. It's very pink and not my color, but I thought I should spin it anyway and perhaps use it to knit up a baby item as a future gift for someone, or perhaps something else for a pink-loving friend.

Now I am faced with project paralysis. Which of my many, many projects to work on next? I think right now I'm going to do a bit of sewing. My husband asked me to make him some hops bags for his home beer brewing. Here's a picture of what costs $7 from a homebrew company (ok, the one that costs 7 bucks is 1 inch larger than this one, but still) Correction - he's since told me they actually cost $2 each. Yes, it's a muslin bag with a drawstring and the inside seam allowances aren't even finished. So glad I sew. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

A year of projects and a recently completed UFO

It's been almost a year since I posted on this blog. If you follow me on my Instagram account: lori_sews, then you have seen my projects over the last year. If not, then here's a round up of projects and some related crafty purchases, from most recent to oldest.

First, a finished UFO. I started these pumpkins probably 15 years ago (actually 2 pumpkins and 1 gourd). I got as far as stuffing them and had all the leaves and stems cut out and interfaced the leaves. I carefully had stored all the pieces with the pattern (McCalls 4189) in a ziplock bag. Why didn't I finish them sooner? I don't know. They sat on the top of my sewing bookcase for almost all those years and then went into storage while I was in Germany. After moving back and unpacking they again went to the top of a bookcase. I saw them the other day and thought it was time to finish them and enjoy them! 

I made the small and medium pumpkins - the large size must be huge!

I tried out some tapestry weaving. This is sort of a sampler, designed as I wove, just to try out some different shapes and techniques. I used a Hokett loom - handmade looms by Jim Hokett, who unfortunately no longer makes them. I have a small (7x8) and medium (9x10) size; I used the small one for this project. 

Small and medium Hokett looms

I finished knitting some socks. These were my "work" socks because I knit them during Tuesday lunchtime knitting meetups with other knitting employees at work. But since the pandemic, I've been working from home, so these became my Webex socks - I knit them during reviews and other meetings I attend remotely when I need to listen but don't need to present or take notes. As other knitters may find, knitting actually helps me focus and listen to meetings and keeps me from wandering off to check email or do other work. As long as it's easy knitting and not lace or complicated patterns. Now these will become my work-from-home-socks during the winter.

Regia sock yarn, just a simple stockinette

I've started on a new pair of work-socks, which I am also calling "Webex Socks" I'm knitting these for my husband.

More Regia sock yarn. I have a lot, but it's the best for socks in my opinion.

Weaving in progress - I'm working on a Christmas-themed band on my inkle loom.

I bought a new spinning wheel last summer. It's a Daedalus Starling XL electric wheel, made of carbon fiber and 3D printed plastic. I absolutely love it!

Wool/silk blend 

First yarn made on the new wheel - it was a freebie fiber they sent with the wheel

I also bought two new looms this summer! My weaving guild was thinning out their rental looms and selling them to members at a great price. I couldn't resist. They're table looms from the Mountain loom company (now since closed). The large one is a 28" 12-shaft and the small one is an 18" 8-shaft. I cleaned them up and now they're ready to be warped. 

A thorough cleaning!

Fleece prep. I'd resisted buying a whole fleece for a while because of the work involved in washing and combing, but I gave in and started with a 1 lb fleece from the Deboulliet breed. I washed half of it and then combed it and discovered that it's actually quite fun - well, the combing part at least. When you comb, you pull align the longest fibers and then use a "dizz" to pull them into a long roving. The shorter fibers that are left behind can then be carded into batts.

Drying the washed fleece

A big decorative button I bought in Latvia came in handy

A basket of roving and batts of the shorter staples

I did a lot of spinning in July when we had "Tour de Fleece" - it's when spinners around the world get together to spin during the Tour de France bicycle race (usually virtually and this year definitely virtually). The race was postponed but we spun anyway. Here's what I spun:

Merino/silk blend on my drop spindle

I liked this action shot!

Alpaca - I actually just finished spinning this today

Some finished wool yarn.

Machine embroidery. I finally tried out the embroidery on my Pfaff Creative 3.0 by embroidering a muslin bag to store some of my Blue Face Leicester fiber.

Sewing! I made some pajamas. And some more pajamas. I do hope to make something other than pajamas but I needed them.

My "go-to" pattern for pajamas: KwikSew 2811 

My other "go-to" pattern for pajamas: KwikSew 2821

A new serger! This is the Babylock Triumph - a combo coverstitch/overlock. I have used my Evolve coverstitch/overlock for 18 years and it's still great but showing its age. I'm keeping both though.

So much bigger...and whiter. 

I'm knitting a sweater. It does have sleeves and they are done. I "just" have to pick up and knit the border along the front and neck edge, then block the pieces and sew everything up. My least favorite parts of knitting! But I do need to finish so I can wear it this winter. 

More spinning. I tried to make thicker yarn than I usually spin. 

More sewing. His and hers NASA-themed sleep pants. Yes, more pajamas!

I sewed the pajamas because I wanted to use the fabric remnants to make masks:

Some sock knitting:

Regia sock yarn

Outdoor chair covers. The last sewing project I showed on this blog was the large cover I made for our outdoor couch. I finished the chair covers a few months later - yay. 

I almost forgot my other big purchase last year (I did make a few, didn't I?). I bought a Sailrite sewing machine. I didn't take any photos of it though, and it's put away in its storage case and very heavy, so I'm not going to get it out now to take a picture. It's a great heavy duty sewing machine. I bought it because sewing the cover for the couch pushed my Pfaff Creative 3.0 to its max - at one point it stopped and I got a message saying it had to rest! Now if I have anything heavy weight, I'm using the Sailrite. Here's a picture from the Sailrite company website:

And finally, here's a weaving project I completed during a course I took at Stitches SoCal last year. It's called "clasped warp" weaving.

That's it! Just a few projects this last year. I have so many more project lined up, of course. I had to make a list because my head spins when I think about what to work on next. Do I warp the loom to weave some towels? Sew a top (NOT pajamas!!)? Finish my mini quilt? I did work more on it, but I haven't sewn on the binding yet. I have a Christmas-themed embroidery project queued up. I want to finish prepping the other 1/2 pound of fleece because I bought two full fleeces this summer (yup, I did). I have some singles to ply into yarn. I'd like to make some Christmas candles using some empty yogurt pots and maybe use the band I'm weaving to decorate them. 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Fiber, fiber, and more fiber

I've rediscovered my enjoyment of spinning this year so most of my craft-time has been spent doing that...or buying more fiber to spin. Yeah, there's been...ahem...a lot of buying.

It was on clearance! Lots of colors of wool to play with.

Another sale = more colors to play with

There was a fiber festival. I went. I bought.

Sometimes the braids of hand-dyed fiber are just too irresistible:

Guess I really like this dyer's work
...and this one too!

The first fiber in my collection was a gift from my in-laws after they visited New Zealand, and it was many years before I started spinning. I think the presentation is beautiful and I may never spin it because of that!

Then there's the fiber I bought because it was from interesting breeds of sheep or other animals or plants. My stash contains fiber from sheep, camelids, goats, plants, and other sources. Most weights are 4 ounces, but some are 8 ounces and there are a few larger "bumps" and some very small samples of 1-2 ounces. Some are blends, either two sheep breeds or mixed with something like cashmere, silk or bamboo. Some fiber is in its raw, natural color and some was purchased dyed, either by an independent dyer (like the braids above) or commercially (like the wool and bamboo in the first two pictures). All are prepared fiber, ready for spinning, with the exception of the one fleece in the list.

Here are the sheep breeds:
  • Merino (what spinner doesn't have merino?)
  • Bluefaced Leicester (known among fiber people simply as BFL)
  • Corriedale
  • Shetland
  • Perendale
  • Gotland
  • Jacob
  • Texel
  • Finn
  • Icelandic
  • Norwegian
  • Ramboulliet
  • Targhee
  • Polwarth
  • Teeswater
  • Swaledale
  • Romney
  • Herdwick
  • Deboulliet (my first fleece that I'll have to wash and comb first)
  • Black Welsh Mountain
  • Wensleydale
  • Cotswold
  • Navajo Churro
  • Wallace East Friesian
  • Falkland
  • Whitefaced Woodland
  • Manx Loaghtan
  • Gray Masham
  • Coopworth
  • Mohair
  • Cashmere
  • Pygora
  • Llama
  • Alpaca
  • Camel
From other animals and living or formerly living creatures:
  • Angora rabbit
  • Yak
  • Musk Ox, which is known as Qivut (very soft and very precious)
  • Silk
  • Seacell
  • Milk
  • Cotton
  • Flax
  • Bamboo
  • Banana
  • Corn
  • Hemp
Why so many varieties? Well because it's so much fun to use and learn about different fibers! Last year I bought a drum carder, which you use to blend fibers into batts. You can combine different colors, textures and fibers and come out with some really one-of-a-kind blends that can be very arty or whatever you want.

This is the model drum carder I bought last year. 

So yeah, I have a lot of fiber. But it makes me so happy!

I haven't yet played with my carder beyond one very fun day with my spinning guild, but I have been spinning.


After! Now I need to learn how to chain ply so I can keep the colors separate.


Just finished spinning this fiber last week - two full bobbins. Ready to ply!

Some spindle spinning while vacationing in France. Not finished yet!

Here are some of my spindles:

Support spindle used to spin cotton

The spindles in the center are old support spindles from Bulgaria and I don't spin on them, though I suppose I could.

Mostly I spin on my wheel:

Lou√ęt Victoria

So there you have it. Lots of fiber!