Saturday, January 31, 2015

Delta Farm Life - San Francisco Bay

Four Thousand Years Of
Food And Fiber Production
From Rich Delta Soil
~ ~ ~

A Sewing Field Trip to my buddy Susan's house , in the Delta's Discovery Bay

Friday, January 30, 2015

Ench By Sew-028: A Very Fitting Sewing Day With Susan

This show is created, produced and brought to you by Laurel Shimer.

A Tule Fog in California's Sacramento/San Joquin Delta
Susan's Living in the Historic Land of Tules These Days!
The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!

Socializing over sewing never gets old. It's that’s the kind of thing that keeps me . . .  enchanted by sewing.

Listening Option I) You can listen to the show right on the web (while sewing perhaps?:-) by clicking on this link 

~ OR ~
Listening Option II)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes

The Enchanted by Sewing Podcast is, an extension of my regular sewing blog - Me Encanta Coser,  ( which,  roughly translated means, Enchanted By Sewing

My blog is written in English. The name celebrates the historical and modern use of the beautiful Spanish Language in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, where I live.

Bruce - "Scored Mom's Boho Bed!"
This month’s show  is  *A Very Fitting Sewing Day with Susan*
Recently I went to visit with my buddy, Susan, and her household’s two dogs, Bruce and Bain. You’ll hear Bain’s comments at various times during the show, just the way you occasionally hear some of the audio from things in my house like the train that runs just behind our yard. I’m partial to including a little locally occurring audio ,because it adds another sense to the personal journal style of the show.

Don’t you feel like you know Susan by now?  I’m always mentioning her and the time we’ve spent together in this show. This month I got a chance to share a sewing day at Susan’s house with you. It started out as an interview, but it became a duologue – even when I cut out several of the places where I interrupted!

Bain - "Aren't I a Good Dog?"
Pensamientos Primeros/First Thoughts . . . we talked  about our sewing relationship and some of the non-sewing things that give you a sense of who Susan is and what drew us together.

Entonces/Then . . . we talked about some of the things that she learned about fitting patterns, that I’ve benefitted from over the past couple years.

This month's Pensamientos Finales/Final Thoughts . . .  are scattered throughout the show as we each share with you a little something about where Susan is living. The area she’s recently moved to has a very long-term historic role in agriculture and pre-agriculture, within California, that has provided people with both food, fabric,  and more, for over 4,000 years. 

I wrote a posting showing some of the gorgeous tapestry purses Susan made for holiday presents. As you can tell, not all the bags were completed when I took the photo. back in early December.

Susan designed and sewed these San Francisco Giants take-it-to-the-game cold drinks bags for a number of lucky relatives for Christmas presents.

Blue Ice fits inside

After the interview Susan and I talked more about our sewing plans
We both liked Vogue V1412 for her
Recently she texted me to say that she has started working on it
~ ~ ~
Web Resources

Remember when Susan Sang Backup for Neil Young?
Neil Young Interactive Greendale

Neil Young - Greendale Album

Tutorial - Full Bust Adjustment and Small Bust Adjustment

A Threads Article about the book Susan talked about in this interview, Fitting and Pattern Alteration by Elizabeth Leichty, Judith Rasband and Della Pottberg-Steineckert

Discovery Bay: Geography and Agriculture Interest

Tule Fog

Invasive water hyacinth threatens the Delta 
I was reading up on Discovery Bay, which is in the Sacramento/San Joquin delta, cause my buddy  lives there. You read a lot of CA history about the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate in relation to first nations people, European explorers and Gold Rush, but less about the agricultural and natural harvesting food value of the Delta region to people over the last 4,000 plus years - which continues today. Looks like these creepy little weeds have a big impact on the value of this region. Unclear how they arrived, but invasive plants have a way of doing that and the drought has made the situation worse...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Discovering a Little Delta History in Discovery Bay (San Francisco Bay)

The most recent Enchanted by Sewing Audio/Podcast is a sewing duologue between me and Susan in this glorious California Delta setting. You can download it to a mobile device, or simply listen on the web while you're doing something else.
Tule Fog has been both helping and hindering locals in the Delta
for over four thousand years
We often zip through the delta area of the San Francisco Bay, on our way to or from the mountains. This month I took my time with the rural, delta scenery on a day field trip to hangout at
 my buddy Susan's house for a chummy lunch and sewing afternoon. Susan lives in Discovery Bay, a rural-edge  community near Livermore, along the banks of the historic California Delta water system - where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers flow into the San Francisco Bay.

When I lit on the windmill above, I knew I'd found a time travel portal back to an era of freshly plowed fields, misty skies and well-loved farm houses. It spoke of California in another age, a time before silicon when fruits and nuts reigned supreme.

Discovery Bay emerged from barley and potato fields in 1964, but it still looks very agricultural 'round about. The area is still rich agricultural land, second only to California’s Great Central Valley, which still feeds many parts of the world. You can imagine that wonderful soil being washed down the great rivers and depositing itself in the valleys here. Nowadays with a lot of land zoned agricultural, I wonder if you’d be able to convert agriculturally zoned land to housing?

Humans have inhabited the Delta for at least 4,300 years. Before European contact, the Maidu and Miwok people benefited from the rich soil, just like the later farmers. These early inhabitants harvested foods and wildlife that grew and fed here. They also gathered the native tule reeds that grew in the marshy areas hereabout. They used the tules for boats, houses, and fabric for clothing.

Next time I go for a sewing day with Susan, maybe we'll keep out eyes open for tules. I wonder if there are any Vogue patterns we could alter to sew up from tules?

When I drove to Susan’s I witnessed a mild tule fog. If you don’t live in California, you’ve probably never seen anything like this soupy fog. It’s unique to the area. Tule fog happens between November and March, after we've had a good soaking rain. The moisture then rises up and hangs in the air, where it becomes the leading cause of weather-related accidents in California. It turns out that over the past three decades, tule fogs are decreasing.

Wouldn't you think that would be a good thing?

It turns out that local fruit and nut crops, an important part of the economy, have been impacted by this lack of moisture.

Bring back the tules!
 ~ ~ ~
Web Resources
Listen in on my sewing day with Susan in the Enchanted by Sewing Audio/Podcast 

Discovery Bay,_California–San_Joaquin_River_Delta

Tule Fog What is it?
Impact of decreasing Tule fog on crops

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tapestry Purses/Totes/Bags - Sewing Day with Susan

My buddy Susan, made a number of really beautiful purses and totes from tapestry prints with McCalls M5822. The pattern envelope doesn't show what great creations are possible with this pattern, or else Susan is simply a better designer than whomever created their display pieces.

In this month's Enchanted by Sewing Audio Podcast show, I'm interviewing Susan and we talk about her experiences making these gorgeous purses. You can sign up to get an email when that (and other) monthly episodes are published. I publish the shows shortly before the end of each month.

I like the way Susan altered the print so she uses both directions on this purse!

Oh lucky sisters and sister-in-law who got these purses for Christmas!

In Progress: This is my favorite purse
~ ~ ~
Web Resources
 Listen in on my Sewing Life in the Enchanted by Sewing Podcast

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hiking the Dish (Stanford University, Field Trip)

Hiking at The Dish
Radio waves measure stars,
Space commands and chat. 

The Dish, a giant radio telescope above Stanford University, can be counted on as a time travel portal that takes me back to a time when we *knew* our short-term future lay beyond the stars.
~ ~ ~
Web Resources
About The Dish at Stanford University

Downton Abbey Cloche Hat Works Today - Starting to Make My Own (Hats, Millinery)

Do you remember when Lady Sybil wore this cloche? It was in the episode when Branson drove
her to a political meeting she wasn't supposed to attend. So it wasn't a super dressy occasion.
I want to create a head fitting pattern out of multiple 
pie-shaped wedges like this. 
I'd also like it to have a nice rolled brim
that displays some kind of lovely lining.
I'm thinking about trying for something like this in lightweight denim.
Sybil's hat appears to have some kind of ribbon around the crown as well.
I'm enchanted by the cloche hats on Downton Abbey. A lot of them would be very wearable for modern times, especially for folks like me who live in a mild-winter California climate and walk a lot. We need to protect our skin (in addition to our SPF 50!) and keep the sunlight out of our eyes. So far I've mostly created fabric caps for this purpose. I like those, but I'd also like something with a brim that goes around the entire hat, not just a bill in the front. 

I use an inexpensive foam wig stand for
storing this straw hat I produced from the first millinery class I took (Wayne* blocked the straws for us, we trimmed them).
See the tissue sticking out underneath?
I need that because my head is 2 inches bigger than
the crown of the stand. My hat is 3 inches bigger than the
stand (for comfort)
It's important to store hats on something that holds the material of the hat in place,
because otherwise eventually, they will collapse.
The wig stand is only 21" around the crown
The crown of my head is 23" - and that's a very tight fit
When I make a hat, it's 24 or 24 1/2 inches, for a comfortable fit.
I want to create a pattern for a cloche hat.
This one measures about 24" around, after I strapped a number of layers of duct tape tightly over my head.
My cloche will have some kind of a brim to keep the sun out of my eyes,
but the first thing is to get a well-fitted shape around my skull
I made this one out of duct tape and a nylon stocking (the knee high kind)
The stocking (more or less!) kept the duct tape from sticking to my hair
I got my ideas for this form from this post on Crafster

After I peeled the duct tape form off my head (pulling out a few stray hairs along the way!) and trimmed the knee high stocking, the rest of the stocking started to peel away, so I applied leftover (tee shirt) cotton knit scraps on the inside. Then I reinforced the edge all the way around with more duct tape. It was actually helpful, making the head/hat block more stable.
The cloche form needs to be stuffed with something to fit well on the foam head block
I could use leftover cotton knit scraps

 (I left the scraps sticking out in this photo just to make the point)
Or I could stuff it with tissue scraps
 (again, I'd actually stuff the tissue all up inside)
At this point, I can start creating a pattern that fits my head, with or without a brim.

~ ~ ~
Web Resources
My tapestry cap inspired an Enchanted by Sewing show. In August of 2014 I recorded an entire audio podcast about sewing fabric caps, including technique and pattern talk

*In this posting I talked about my experiences in Wayne Wichern's millinery class. We focused most of our time on a fabric-covered buckram hat.,  Early this year, I'll be taking a three full day hat making workshop from Wayne in his studio in Burlingame. I expect to block my own straw and felt hats there. 

My first fabric cap in 2013, was a lovely subtle denim print. I've just about worn this out!

Alvan's Crafster post about making a duct tape cloche hat form helped me with my form. Thanks!

Floracraft makes an Inexpensive form for base of a head block - a foam wig stand

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Quick (?) Sew: Floral-Velour, Cowl Neck Knit Top (M6078)

I've still got some work to do on my latest version of McCalls 6078.
Pretty though, don't you think?
It's always so interesting working with knits. I really have to think about drape and fit on each unique project. Once more I'm needing to take in and reshape the side seams. It's a relatively quick sew, but not just zip-zap and she's done. Still need to put a little extra thought and time into it.

This is a remnant leftover from my V8323 Katherine Tilton Princess Laurel Tee. Since I've worked with this fabric before and found it not to be super stretchy or fluid, I would have expected not to need to alter the fit at the side seams. But that is just not the case! Right now I've got the sides safety-pinned and I plan to double check that I'm happy with the fit before I stitch them up. I also still have all the edge finishing to do (armhole, neck and hem).

Yup I'm looking forward to wearing this cutey. She's the kinda sorta-quick project that keeps me....
Enchanted by Sewing!
Project UPdate
I'm so glad I got my floral velour cowl neck tee done in time for my sewing day with my buddy Susan out Discovery Bay way (that's in the San Francisco Bay delta). Is there anything better than having a new thing you made yourself, to wear when you get together with a buddy? Boy, did we have fun! Can't wait for our next meetup. I interviewed her too and will be using that interview in this month's Enchanted by Sewing audio podcast. And thanks for taking all those photos Susan, so I could get the perfect one 

San Francisco Legion of Honor ( Field Trip)

European Art
Love Collections and China.
Best Part? View of Bay!

Fantastic views of the Bay, Golden Gate Bridge, Marin, wonderful waking paths - and, oh yes, did I mention a lovely, lovely museum with a great café

Make sure to visit to the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, next time you visit San Francisco. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Winter Walk Across the Golden Gate Bridge (Field Trip)

Walked across the span
Fort Point to Marin, then back
~ ~ ~ 
When might my next walk lead to? 

Nothing beats finding time travel portals so close to my own home. . . 
How many folks have started out on the Fort Point end of this golden span,  to travel back to the Panama Pacific Exposition, Civil War or Gold Rush? Not to mention Ohlone times, before the first European foot pressed down on local sands.

Earlier this week we lucked out and managed to find parking at Fort Point, then walked up stairs to cross the bridge. The cold dry air, chock full of ozone, elated us! The bridge loop is about 3.6 miles. Add in the short walk to and up the stairs made the total expedition about 5 miles. A perfect cool, winter's day field trip.

Another way to get parking is head over from the Presidio, another favorite field trip of mine. It's a longer trip, but parking is more available.
~ ~ ~ 
Web Resources
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge
Fort Point dates back to the Civil War,_San_Francisco