Wednesday, November 07, 2018

I Found It! (The Instant Jacket Pattern)

I'm sure most of you have just as much stuff as I do related to our love of needlework of various kinds, and this will be a familiar tale.

This summer I suddenly decided I needed to make another little knitted cardigan/jacket, and I wanted to use a TNT pattern (Tried and True) that I've made several times before, but it's been probably 10 years since I used this pattern. And so, the pattern hunt began.

This is a photo from 2010 and the only one I can find right now, but you can see why it's just a nice, handy, boxy little cardigan that takes very little yarn.  I'm pretty sure I've made this pattern with a collar as well.  It was a ribbon-y yarn mixture with pink and brown and gold, maybe.  Hmmm, I 'll have to look for that one.

I looked hard for a while, then finally decided that it would show up eventually.  It wasn't really an emergency anyway.  Well, today was the day. I was putting away the few Halloween decorations I have, and found a pile of knitting magazines I had overlooked. At the bottom was a very large 3-ring binder with notes and patterns.  I hardly dared hope it would be there, but TaDa! There it was. Now I need to find the years I thought I had in mind.

I've really been in a knitting, sewing, making, singing mood lately, and it's great.  I hope it lasts.  I think it's the singing that's doing it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Microwave Toffee Recipe

This recipe was requested, and I'm happy to share. It's a really easy, delicious treat. I've made Toffee Spoons several times, but it's been a while.   I guess I should do it again this year.  It's fun to get demitasse spoons and dip them in the toffee, then decorate or dip again in chocolate. I tie small cellophane candy bags over the bowls of the spoons with festive twist ties, and they're nice gifts. I have been surprised how often I get the spoons back. I think people are hoping I'll make them again.

Buttery Almond Toffee  

(Recipe from my friend, Beth K D)

1 cup chopped whole natural almonds (or pecans)
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup light corn syrup
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Parchment paper
1 (12 oz) package semisweet chocolate morsels

Toast the Almonds: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine almonds and 2 Tbs. butter on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, stir and bake 2 more minutes. (Try a little less time than called for if using pecans).  Drain on paper towels.
Make the Toffee:
Place 1 cup butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and
microwave at HIGH for 1 minute.  Add sugar, ¼ cup water, corn syrup, and salt. Cover;
microwave at HIGH for 3 minutes. (This step washes down sugar crystals from sides
of pan.) Uncover, stir gently, and microwave at HIGH for 10 minutes or until golden

Using oven mitts, remove bowl from microwave, stir in vanilla. Pour candy mixture,
without scraping sides of pan, onto a greased baking sheet lined with parchment
paper, quickly spreading candy to ¼ inch thickness.

Sprinkle chocolate morsels over toffee; let stand 1 minute or until chocolate begins to
melt. Spread chocolate evenly over candy; sprinkle with almonds, pressing gently
with fingertips. Cool completely. Chill 1 hour or until firm. Break toffee into pieces. Store in
an airtight container.

(Note:  I added most of my nuts into the toffee mixture except some really fine ones for
sprinkling on top.  I also melted my chips in the microwave so I didn’t have to wait to

My own, personal notes:
(½ Recipe makes about 70 Demitasse Spoons)
Xmas 2013 as per recipe instructions.
Xmas 2014 half recipe. Half as dipped toffee spoons using demitasse spoons.  Added 1/2Tbsp oil to 1 Cup chocolate chips for dipping. Chopped nuts very fine and dipped after chocolate.  Half as per recipe instructions. Will use dipping chocolate/almond bark next time. Otherwise it never wants to harden, and is a mess.

Spoons from They are unbelievably affordable.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Vogue 1250 in a Woven Cotton (for Carolyn)

I promised Carolyn some photos of the front of this dress when I got them taken.  I think these aren't too bad, and so here they are.

 You can see that I used a 'belt' at centerfront, with covered buttons to attach it, to control the fullness that I had to add to be able to wear this dress in a woven, totally non-stretch fabric rather than the knit it was designed for.  There's also a zipper on the side seam for ease of getting it on.  You still have to pull it over your head, but this helps.


Frugality and a New Gym Bag

I thought this was just interesting.  To me, if no one else, anyway. I have always liked mending, to some extent. It's nice to be able to keep something going if I really like it, rather than throwing it away for a small problem

The photo above is my OLD gym bag, which was a give-away from the World Wildlife Fund, probably about 8 or 9 years ago.  It has held together remarkably well.  I have mended it several times, but mainly it was the straps that would come loose.  I've reattached them several times.  I think I re-sewed the seams at some time or other, but only because there was a small opening in one, and I thought I might as well just reinforce them all while I was at it.

As you can see, the laminated layer finally was de-laminating, and I didn't know what to do about that.  I love the size and shape of the bag though, and the fact that it has almost no weight by itself. 

The bottom photo is my new gym bag, which is a give-away from the World Wildlife Fund. Luckily, they were still offering these as a premium, so I got a nice blue one.  Still turtles, but I miss the seahorses.

Though it doesn't look like it, they are the same 'fabric'.  The old one almost looks quilted at this point, but it's just the structure of the fabric and the way that it's gotten old and worn.  I'm assuming the new one will do the same in a few years.  It didn't start de-laminating until the last few months, so I have high hopes for another decade or so from this one.

Friday, August 31, 2018


Nebraska Bishop Method of Clothing Construction
Kearney Area Sewing Guild


I promised  you the flyer when I got it, so here it is.  
This expo is coming up very soon, so get your reservations in if you are able to attend.  

I would LOVE to see you there!
If you're having trouble reading it, it's as big as I could make it.  
Make your check payable to NBMCC and send to:
Maureen Childears
12825 E. Kilmar Valley Road
Stapleton, NE  69163-9626

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Photo Day

As some of you know, I'm going to be the Presenter at the Kearney, Nebraska Sewing Expo September 21 and 22, 2018.  It's put on each year by the Bishop Method Clothing Group of Nebraska, and the Kearney-Area ASG chapter.  It's always a wonderful weekend, and I'm so excited to have been asked to present this year!  Their flyer will be out this month, and I will put it here in case anyone is interested who hasn't gotten it before.

So as you can imagine, I'm madly getting ready for my classes.  I've been working on this for quite some time, and it's getting down to the wire. 

One of the things I will be doing is a Trunk Show with many items from my wardrobe.  It will be mainly Marfy pattern garments, since that's what I sew most, and like best, but of course, there are others too.  When you come across something great, you have to go for it.  There will be 4 classes altogether including

Wardrobe Planning & Perfect Proportions

Marfy + Trunk Show

Project Planning for Sewing Success

Saran Wrap Fitting Techniques

I am so lucky to have a sister who's a whiz with a camera.  She came over today and we took quite a few long-delayed photos of my projects.  Here are a few teasers.

This is Marfy dress 2330 and jacket 3828. The fabric is from Barcelona, Spain when I shopped with the legendary Paco Peralta and Cristina.


Marfy caftan 3924 in silk charmeuse with lace motifs at the neckline.  This was made to wear at a destination wedding in Cozumel.

Vogue dress 1250 in a woven cotton print.  The dress is designed for knits only, but it worked out well with a side zipper and a sightly larger size.  I also added the double collar with applique.  This was made to attend a summer wedding, and it's one of my favorite summer dresses.

FSG Tunic 1960, Marfy Tank 9829, Marfy pants 0913.  The tank and tunic are in a semi-sheer knit, so two layers give opacity.  The pants are in a pleather-type fabric from one of my New York garment district shopping trips.