Monday, January 31, 2011

Swing dress sewing misadventures

This weekend was one of those weekends that really made a somewhat novice sewist want to chuck her sewing machine out the window.

In Casey's Swing Dress Sew-Along, we started the muslin. Because not only have I never sewed a dress before but I've never sewed anything with that kind of overlapped v-neck, I have been very diligent in going through all steps. I cut my pattern pieces out of Swedish tracing paper (I love that stuff), measured my nape-to-waist and trimmed down the bodice pieces accordingly, along the line it tells you to. I sewed it all up and the waistline in the back was 2" above my waist. I took it all apart, cut out another set of bodice pieces 2" longer, sewed it all up again and it looked like you could fit a sack of potatoes in the bodice with me. I even posted the horrifying photos on the Flickr group for the sew-along, which was helpful if a bit humiliating. (I am so not posting them on my blog.)

The next day, I cut the bodice pieces again, this time a size smaller. Then I trimmed the overall height of the waistband a bit, but lengthened it to account for an extra 1" in the skirt that I thought I could use at the waist. That extra 1" is something I haphazardly let out in the skirt instead of actually cutting out the next size larger skirt pieces, because I basically have no muslin left to play with at this point. All I did was decrease my seam allowance on the front center and back by 1/2" per side and ripped out the old seams.

I sewed it all together. This time I got a much better looking fit on top, with the exception that it feels like the bodice is riding up my girls a bit. The waistband isn't sitting flat on my stomach at the top, but hovering in a little gap between my waist and my bust. (I also don't like that the way you attach the waistband on the front is by top stitching, but that's just me. Can you just turn the pieces right sides together and stitch that way?) I'm thinking an extra 3/4" in length would help. Since I knew I was running out of muslin, on this third set of bodice pieces I cut the original size, folded up the excess I wanted to get rid of and sewed it. Because of this bit of trickery I actually think I'll be able to rip out the stitches, re-fold giving myself the extra 3/4", sew it again and not even have to undo the construction of the bodice and skirt (which is a pain in the ass...especially when you've done it three times already). I'm hoping that will get the front waistband in the right place.

I still have a lot of issues to overcome. The side seams look like a mess, with my size 12 bodice and half-ass modified size 14 skirt that's going to eventually get cut between the 14/16 sizes—nothing matches up smoothly at all (I tried adding in a small fabric insert to make the transition from the bodice to skirt at the side seam smoother, but I didn't need the width of the extra fabric above my waist). Plus, it occurred to me on the bus this morning on the way to work that the reason I haven't been able to get my skirt notches to match up on the side is that I must not have the back waist seam in the exact center where the front waist would be if it didn't have the wide waistband. I'm not sure what to do about that (and not sure which side is higher since I'm at work and my muslin isn't). I also don't have a dress form and this has a side zipper, so I've been making do with one side seamed and the other held or awkwardly pinned together, but I worry it's not giving me a complete picture of how the waist will fit. (I'm going to have to install a zipper on my muslin, aren't I?)

But overall, I feel better about it today than I did on Friday when I made the first two ill-fitting muslins, or Saturday when I took the ugh photos of the worst muslin. I do admit, on Saturday after taking the bad muslin photos I just abandoned the sewing completely for a craft I actually understand.

 (Which reminds me, more info on the vintage sweater knit-along coming tomorrow!)

And in-between bouts of sewing nonsense, we did have a productive thrifting adventure yesterday. I found a 1960s yellow floral nightgown/house dress (similar to what Divine, as Edna Turnblad, wore in Hairspray while ironing), a simple vintage cotton blouse and a pair of cute red Hush Puppies. They're from the 1980s (and I can't even begin to tell you how much I do not consider something from the 1980s to be vintage *shudder*), but I think they have a cute kind of outdoorsy vintage look, with their sensibly tiny wedge heel. I think they'll be fun for summer and camping.

I also got a fun Etsy find in the mail. Some deadstock plastic barrettes, still on the original cards.

The little ones are sadly too small to hold back my hair at the sides like I sometimes wear it, but they may prove useful for some future hairstyle. The large one, however, is perfect. It worked great for a casual hair day like yesterday, when my curls from my set had relaxed to waves.

The seller has several other sets of barrettes obviously from the same lot, for anyone interested. Now that I have long hair for the first time since high school, I'm remembering that "jewelry" for your hair can be fun.

Distractions aside, anyone else working on the Swing Dress Sew-Along who's having better luck than I am? I guess at least I can say this is a good learning experience, even if I'm a complete hack at how I'm going about it all!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Vintage knitting pattern: Topnotcher

Happy Friday! For you vintage knit-alongers, just a little note to say I'm going to let the preliminary post simmer for a few more days to get more opinions, and then next week will reveal the winning pattern so we can start thinking about yarn and supplies. :)

Today is cold. This is old news for Chicago in January. But I thought I'd share one of my favorite winter items: my  Topnotcher bonnet. You'll have to pardon the fact that it was a super sunny day when these photos were taken so I'm all squinty.

I knit this for myself last winter and it's one of my favorite cold-weather items. It's pretty friendly to vintage hairdos, it's cute and it's warm. I love hats that cover my ears and pretty much couldn't make it through the dead of winter without them!

I mentioned it was sunny, right?

The coat I'm wearing is not vintage (though my brooch is). I bought it on Grafton Street in Dublin. Along with an Irish sweater bought on Inishmor, the largest of the Aran Islands, this coat is the other big-ticket purchase I made on our trip to Ireland last Fall. I wasn't in the market for a new coat, but I loved the red red color, the pleated peter pan collar, the slightly puffed sleeves and the two closures at the top. The rest of the closures are large hidden snaps and it's impeccably tailored on the inside. I definitely think it has a vintage feel. I love it, and when I wear it I think of our great trip.

Back to the bonnet. Literally, the back of the bonnet.

The most amazing thing about this pattern is that it was part of an entire set! A bonnet, mittens and a sweater. Can you believe it?

Who wouldn't want to go ice skating in this lovely ensemble, like the girl from the pattern? With a little wool skating skirt, warm tights and ice skates.

I've gotten a lot of requests for this pattern from Ravelry over the last year, so I thought I'd finally post it. It's knit in DK weight (I used two strands of fingering weight held together). 

For all the other cold climate vintage lovers out there, this one's for you!

Download: Topnotcher vintage knitted set (pdf)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vintage sweater knit-along: Preliminary post #1

This is the first of probably a few preliminary posts for our vintage sweater knit-along! (Never mind the fact that I’m having to write this twice, since I accidentally deleted my draft that I’d spent hours working on. Oh no, we won’t talk about that since it might incite rage in me.)

Anyway, I wanted to talk about some of the basics for the knit-along. We’ll be knitting a short-sleeved sweater from a vintage pattern. There will be one main sweater that most of us will work on, but obviously I can’t guarantee that everyone will love the same pattern, and I don't want to exclude anyone. So if you’d like to join us but want to work on your own vintage pattern, you’ll be free to do so. Just know that I’ll be gearing any advice and tips towards our knit-along pattern. :)

Prerequisite skills for the knit-along

Let’s say I’ll be gearing this for advanced beginners or intermediate knitters and up. If you’re an old pro and don’t need any tips along the way, great, just play along with us and ignore those parts of my posts! And if you do need some extra help, I’ll be providing a lot of info along the way.

Skills you’ll need (or not be afraid to learn as you go along):
  • Cast on/cast off, knit/purl, yarn over (has a few different names around the world including ‘wool round needle’), m1 increase (making 1 new stitch), and a few different ways to knit two stitches together (k2tog, ssk, etc.)
  • Mattress stitch or your preferred way to seam two pieces of knitting together

Really, that’s about it! If you’ve never knitted a sweater before you can totally do this with us.

Things I’ll challenge you to do (if you don’t already do them when you knit)

We will be checking gauge before we start knitting our sweaters. No, this is not optional. If you want to make sure you knit a cute vintage sweater that will fit you and not look like you’re wearing either a potato sack or something meant for a five-year-old, you will need to know your gauge. I don’t care if you do a cheaty gauge swatch like I sometimes do (shhh, don’t tell), but we will definitely be doing one for this knit-along.

I'll also make you think about your actual body size (and how you want the garment to fit you). Now, if you buy vintage clothes online or if you sew you probably know your measurements, but if you don’t, you’re going to need to know. There’s nothing like being disappointed in the finished product because you guessed your bust size and were wrong.
    I will probably spend a lot of time on gauge and sizing, because those are two really crucial pieces to the 'fit' puzzle.

    Possible patterns

    Since I want this knit-along to be accessible for everyone, I want to pick a pattern that’s relatively basic. Not too much fussiness, no all-over stitch pattern unless it seems pretty easy, you get the idea. Fortunately there are lots of patterns that fit the bill.

    Here are the ones I’m currently thinking about. I’ve linked those patterns that are available online (you can click on an image to see a little bigger version, too). If we go with something in my stash, I will provide it.

    Double Dates
    Lacy Yoke Blouse
    approx. 1950
    Briar Rose
    Style 2426
    Neat and


    I don’t know about you, but Briar Rose is my favorite of the bunch right now. I love the adorable chevron-shaped pocket and matching collar, how cute is that??

    It also would allow you to show off just a few awesome vintage buttons. You could work the pocket and collar in a contrasting color (or even stripes!), or easily omit either if you wanted. Knit it in a light color for Spring, or a darker green or khaki for kind of a W.A.C. look. 

    Another plus about the pattern is that it would be easy to size up and down (something I will be covering in-depth), and I could provide different sleeve alternatives for those of you who either hate seaming sleeves or who don’t want that 40s-style pleated sleeve cap. And I think the pattern that would be a great jumping off point for customizations by the more advanced knitters in the crowd.

    So, what do you think?  I don’t want to select it if a lot of people don’t like it, so opinions, please!


    Okay, this one I’m not that sure about. We’re just about to hit February, and I want to make sure everyone has enough time to get yarn and supplies once the pattern is selected (along with time for the word to spread a little to anyone else out there who might want to join in, so please feel free to let your other knitty friends know!). I’m thinking perhaps an official start knitting date of March 1st? I want to nail down the pattern soon so I can talk about yarn and supplies.

    And how long should this last? Do you think two months is sufficient, or would you feel comfortable with a little more time? I’ll plan out my posts on the knit-along according to our schedule.


    Okay, I think I've covered most of the basics. Are you getting excited? I am! Once some of the details are worked out I'll create a couple of small ads you can use on your blog for the knit-along if you'd like. Please let me know your thoughts on patterns and the timeframe, anything I'm missing or anything else you want to add! I'm really looking forward to knitting with you vintage lovin' gals. :)

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Knitting in a new direction

    Sometimes a project just isn't meant to be that project. Case in point the short-sleeved sweater I started a couple of weeks ago, Fair Isle Yoke from the book A Stitch in Time, a beautiful book of vintage patterns that have been re-worked by the authors. The neat thing about this book is they show the modern pattern and the vintage pattern, so if there's any question or you're curious about what technique was originally used (though the authors are quite true to the originals), you have the vintage pattern as a reference.

    Anyway, I was working Fair Isle Yoke. I changed my mind yesterday. I'm knitting the body in the round up to the armpit, where I'm separating for the front and back to work them separately (leaving two less seams to work, something I sometimes do). Right at the armpit level I decided hmm.... I don't think this wants to be Fair Isle Yoke. I think this wants to be Knit it in Flag Colors.

    Knit it in Flag Colors is a free vintage pattern from the June 13, 1942 issue of Australian Women's Weekly. The newspaper has been digitized and the pattern is available online. It's been electronically translated so there was actually a mistake that I was able to fix for them. :)

    The fun thing about simple stockinette sweaters is that you can do things like this. "Oh wait, I want to knit this instead..." Obviously there's a point of no return, but I wasn't there yet so here I am, working on a different sweater entirely now at the drop of a hat.

    Instead of the same color scheme as the original pattern, because I was already working in red, I'll just be flip-flopping the white and red, so the body will be red and the top of the yoke and sleeves will be white.

    Not sure if I'll be doing the collar yet. What do you think?

    Don't worry, I'm still pulling ideas together for the vintage sweater knit-along! I'm prepping for a preliminary post on that soon...

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Weekend round-up

    This weekend flew by! I didn't even have any time to knit or sew. Yesterday was the first time we were able to see Mel's parents to exchange (obviously belated) Christmas gifts, so we had them over for lunch. Then like entertaining superheros, we turned right around and hosted an impromptu gathering with some of our friends last night.

    Our friend Jen made yummy bruschetta. I was going to make our popular roasted garbanzo bean snack and then post the recipe here, but we decided there was already enough food, so you'll have to wait for that another time. ;)

    Emma, who's from Wales, brought back a bottle of the Welsh whiskey Penderyn when she was home over Christmas.

    Mel was trying to decide what it smelled like before tasting. The whiskey drinkers among our circle of friends (which does not include me) gave it a thumbs up.

    This is me in our very plain jane kitchen. I really want to paint it and spruce it up but it's a small galley kitchen, so there's not much to work with. I have a few plans in my head rolling around, though.

    I'm crap about doing outfit posts, so all I can really tell you about the above outfit is the overalls are from Jitterbugin made with a vintage wool plaid. I wish I had several more pair in solid colors for winter! The plaid is fun but kind of limiting to just the right blouse, so the scalloped peter pan collared one I'm wearing is literally the only one I have that I can wear with them right now.

    After all the flurry of entertaining yesterday, we had a lazy morning and then went thrifting. Sadly we came up completely empty. To add insult to injury, there were two potentially great finds that weren't meant to be!

    Great find that wasn't meant to be #1: a boxed set of 78s of Bing Crosby singing cowboy songs. I absolutely adore Bing Crosby and we both love anything cowboy-related, so at first glance this really excited us. Then Mel opened it up... and it wasn't any of the right albums. Curses!

    Great find that wasn't meant to be #2: a vintage woman's Pendleton jacket in pastel blue with a light yellow, peach and brown plaid. I love a good Pendleton. Sadly, this wasn't a good Pendleton. Well it was at some point in its life, but those days were long gone. Now it had lots of stains, dozens of small holes and only one button. So disappointing! My only consolation was that someone obviously loved this jacket, and loved it hard, for a long, long time.

    After the crummy thrift store experience we had an early Sunday dinner at a favorite haunt, the Lincoln Restaurant. Basically a big diner with several rooms, lots of wood paneling and Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. One neat thing about this place is they host un-diner-like events, like a Monday Banjo night, a Saturday night free speech forum, and comedy nights.

    We found out about the free speech forum in 2006 on accident, when we went there with friends prior to a Halloween party. Someone happened to be speaking about gun control laws in the front room. There we were in the back room, dressed like Bonnie and Clyde, fake guns and all. What miscreants!

    The Lincoln also has really good food. Oh, and Cokes the size of your head.

    I swear I don't make it a habit of consuming odd things like tiki drinks and Coca Cola out of beer steins, though the last two weekends may lead you to believe otherwise.

    Now we're just relaxing and watching documentaries.

    Hope you had a lovely weekend like we did!

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Pink elephants on parade

    Wow, I'm so excited to see that there is some interest in a vintage sweater knit-along!  I will definitely do this.

    It sounds like several people could use the motivation of working together that an 'along' brings, want to finally dabble their toe in the vintage knitting waters, need a bit of extra help with the details or just want to work on their first garment. I'll think about the best way to go about all this, so expect to hear more about it and perhaps some questions for you soonish. The beauty of a knit-along that's blogged is even if you don't keep pace (because let's face it, starting other projects can be alluring...), it's all permalinked so you'll have the resources at your fingertips whenever you need them.

    Anyway, I'm determined to make some progress on my Miss Laverty's Motoring Hood. I sat down to do a little bit of knitting on it yesterday. It's slow going since it's 1x1 ribbing the entiiiire way, but I'm about a third done with the scarf part. Then I'll have to do the hood part. I think I want to line the hood with something warm and soft—what do you think would be appropriate, warm, yet still have a vintage feel to it when I don't feel like wearing the hood up?

    Then I got a little silly. I'm always trying to fit my knitting into vintage purses, and unless I'm knitting a sock, it's a futile endeavor. The yarn may fit...

    ...but certainly not the actual knitting.

    Nada. Nope. Never. You don't know how many times this scene has played out even though I know the ending. I sit there with knitting in one hand, a purse in another, knowing full well the knitting is way bigger than the purse. Yet still I try. Because oh, I do love little vintage purses so.

    This is one that I think is particularly cute. I just got from Etsy. It's totally not appropriate for winter use, with little painted gold, white and pink shells encased behind laminate on a glittery woven straw background (there's a lot going on for one little purse!). So I've just been content with walking around the house with it, dressed up, like Sophia from the Golden Girls. (Remember how Estelle Getty always carried her wicker purse around the house?)

    In case you're wondering, yes, I did knit that pink elephants sweater. Incidentally, if you're a fan of pink elephants like I am (and why wouldn't you be?), I highly recommend looking up "Pink Elephants on Parade" by Lee Press-On and the Nails on iTunes, it's an amazing version of the tune from Walt Disney's Dumbo. Mel found it for me last week and I practically jumped out of my skin with excitement when I first heard it.

    (And I was about to apologize again for my messy hair, so let's just put it out there: my hair is frequently messy. I have a bit too much lazy tomboy in me to be that good of a fancy dame!)

    So now please tell me I'm not the only one fantasizing about beachy things like seashell purses and open-toed shoes when it's 3° F outside?

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Vintage knitting pattern find: Patons Knitting Book No. 294

    I need a little break from thinking about my birdies blouse sewing project. (Incidentally it dawned on me when I was cutting out the fabric that the birds are sitting on little bird swings, not in bird cages. Even cuter!) One thing I have a ton of is vintage knitting booklets, and I want to start sharing some of my favorite pictures, I think. There are so many precious gems inside! Maybe a regular feature?

    Today's vintage knitting pattern find is Patons Knitting Book No. 294.

    I have a few Patons Knitting Books and love them. Mine are all probably from the 1940s (they made them through a few decades), published in Melbourne, Australia. They are little delicate things, only about 18 pages or so, with a small handful of patterns in each. One of my most often-worn winter knits is a bonnet I knit from another Patons Knitting Book.

    I love the sweater on the cover of this one, "Dorothy". I'm actually using the general contrasting scheme from this in the sweater I'm currently knitting. Mine will have a red body with white yoke and sleeves, with the yoke having fair isle details.

    Next up is "Lee".

    Don't you love the wavy stripes? There are several vintage patterns that feature this, including the 1945 Your Victory Jumper, a free pattern available through the V&A Museum. (I started a version of that in shades of green aaaaages ago. This post is reminding me I really should get back to it.) It also uses a technique that I love for button bands, a vertically ribbed knit-in band. It's something that was really common in vintage patterns but is fairly rare today. In vintage patterns it was always executed in a more tedious way than necessary, so I tweak it to make it easier. Anyway, this long-sleeved wavy cardigan is something I love but I know I'd never wear it since I seem to own no solid-colored shirts, unlike the fetching lady above. Perhaps as I progress in my sewing I can sew up some solid blouses and then reconsider!

    Last but not least, we have "Averil".

    I love the little collar on this one, paired with the lace on the sleeves, yoke and panel down the front. Just so pretty and feminine. I think it could easily be modified to have a normal crew-neck for more practical everyday use, and the painstaking 1x1 ribbing going up the sides after the deep ribbed hem could easily be switched to stockinette.

    All of the above patterns call for Patons Azalea Wool and Queen Been knitting needles. Doesn't that sound rather dreamy?

    One of the things that I love about knitting is that there is so much power in knowing your size and knowing how to make garments work for you. If you know your gauge (which is easy enough to determine, and a lot less time-consuming than sewing up a muslin!), with a little basic math you can make something that fits you perfectly, no matter your size. You can re-size a pattern for heavier or lighter weight yarn, re-shape an armhole or shoulder, change the style or length of a sleeve, length of the body, you name it. I do it all the time.

    I wonder if there is any interest out there in a vintage sweater knit-along, at some point? I think I'd have fun hosting. I could share the tricks up my sleeves that help me customize my knitting as well as some pointers geared towards working with vintage patterns. And I'm sure I'd pick up tips from others, too! Maybe something like a fingering weight short-sleeved sweater (that could be tweaked or embellished as desired). A good starting point for those who haven't branched out into garment knitting or knit with thinner yarn much yet, and a good staple for those who have. And the type of garment that would be a great addition to your Spring wardrobe! It would have a fairly slow time-frame. To maybe start in a month or two.

    Anyway, just an idea I'm tossing around. I don't know if anyone would actually be interested, though! So please let me know if you like the idea of participating in a vintage sweater knit-along, either by comment or email me at tasha {at} bybumgybolly {dot} com. I think it could be fun!

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Finished project: Blenders blouse

    I finally got photos of my first sewing project of 2011. It was a project I started last year. In fact, it was the last sewing project I touched last year. I am now not 100% sure why I tossed it to the side, but I know one reason was due to a beginner's error of not remembering that if you don't clip corners of an angle before trying to turn it, it's going to be lumpy and weird looking and you're going to think you did something wrong.

    I hope I can gain confidence with every new project this year. This was a good start. The fact that I returned to it several months after shoving it in the closet was amazing in its own right. The fact that I then finished it—well, the world may have tilted on its axis just a wee bit.

    It was an Advance pattern. I can't remember the number as I'm not home, but I just barely showed a picture of it in my post when I was explaining about pin basting the sleeves.

    It's a button-down blouse with a one-piece collar. (And oh, how I loved working on that collar compared to my current project.) It's supposed to have a little self-fabric tie for a scarf around your neck, but really, I'm not in Girl Scouts. Not happening.

    I'm pleased with the final result (though I was wrong when I said it buttons high enough to cover my tattoos at work, it really doesn't but a higher button next time would work). It fits a bit like a camp shirt since there weren't any darts or tucks on the body except bust darts, but it's the type of blouse I'd usually wear tucked in anyway.

    You can't really tell from the photos, but the sleeve cuffs are turned back. That's about the only thing I'd change in the future. I like the turned back look but the amount of extra sleeve fabric the pattern called for was ridiculous. I'm not sure why I didn't chop off several inches, but I didn't, so the cuff is a little bit stiff from the extra fabric. Depending on how it washes, I may go back and re-do that part, but I'm leaving it for now.

    And this is the perfect type of blouse for me. The type of thing I wear 90% of the time.

    I've been thinking about the post and resulting comments on Susannah's Fashion on the Ration Part I post. In the new year, so many of us seem to be re-assessing our wardrobe. What do we actually like to wear? What do we like to knit or sew? What holes can we fill in, bought or made? I know I need to do more  self-reflecting in this department. Last year I spent most of my time knitting sweaters that I never, ever wear, with few exceptions. Styles that I was drawn to knit because they were fun, not because they would have any place in my wardrobe whatsoever. I will not be doing that this year. I'm trying to fill in gaps. I could use a few matched sets of mittens or gloves and hats. I could use a few more short-sleeved sweaters for Spring or Fall. I could use a few more basic handknit cardigans. Even if I knit less this year, I want each piece to have a proper place in my wardrobe.

    Because I'm only just starting to sew for my wardrobe, I can't look at it the same way as I can my knitting. I'm not going to fill in gaps per se, but sew what I actually like to wear. I'm already pushing it by doing the Swing Dress Sew Along, but I do really want to tackle sewing dresses, even if I know I rarely wear them. Like Susannah, I want to focus on everyday appropriate sewing. Things I will reach for time and time again when I open the closet. I know in practice this will mean mostly blouses (until I feel confident enough to try pants, but I feel that's a long way off). So far in my experience, finding patterns for vintage blouses that don't look exactly the same can be a bit of a challenge, but it's a challenge I'll willingly accept.

    I'm going to ruminate a little more about this topic. In the meantime, I know that I started off 2011 by finishing a 'wardrobe' blouse a week and a half ago.  I've worn it three times since then. I think I'd call that a success!

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Wisconsin weekend

    As I said yesterday, we went to Wisconsin for the weekend. Really just one night, but it's amazing how rejuvenating even a 24-hour mini-trip can be. Little local weekend adventures are some of my favorite things to do.

    We went up with two of our friends to the Milwaukee Public Museum to see their Mummies of the World exhibit.

    I knit in the car on the way up. In the picture below I'm wearing a vintage yellow acrylic cardigan and peter pan collar blouse, both of which are relatively recent Etsy purchases. The sunglasses are prescription, a deadstock Italian pair of frames from the 1960s that had one temple really stuck when I took the plunge and bought them anyway. I brought them to my optician, who specializes in dealing with vintage eyewear, hoping he could work a little magic. He wasn't sure if he could fix the one temple but he did, so I was ecstatic when he showed me he could now easily open and close both temples successfully. He said he used to have a sign that read "Optician / Magician". And how.

    In the car, I started Miss Laverty's Motoring Hood from Vintage Gifts to Knit, which is a completely adorable hooded scarf. My love of prints extends to plaid coats, and the coat I'm wearing in the first picture is my heaviest Pendleton (which sadly is still not warm enough for most winter days... I made an exception for this trip). I love it dearly but don't seem to have an appropriate scarf or mitten set to wear with it, so I'm working on that. You can buy the individual pattern here.

    It was a really amazing exhibit. It did a good job of presenting a lot of artifacts (mummies and other items from all over the world except North America, I noted) without an overwhelming amount of reading, while still providing enough detail to really capture your interest. I just love museums but sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming when there's paragraph after paragraph on all the walls in an exhibit. But this exhibit was nicely done and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. (Even if the morbid side of us kept talking about mummies crawling out from under the hotel beds for the remainder of the day. I never said we were mature!)

    The rest of the museum was mostly what I'd call a "dead zoo". Large scale dioramas of stuffed animals and fake people, miniature dioramas created from the 1920s through the 1940s (I couldn't find dates for the larger pieces). The type of exhibits that probably haven't changed in decades, can be a little creepy, and are as odd and slightly off-putting as they are intriguing and wonderful in their weirdness.

    I almost had to rescue Mel from an animal on the hunt.

    And naturally, I found the only three balls of yarn in the entire museum.

    After the museum we drove to our hotel in Kenosha to relax for awhile, before heading back out to Rendezvous Tiki Bar. Yes, a tiki bar in Wisconsin! It was fun. Great decor, really friendly staff and serious attention to detail in the drinks, which were made right in front of us. We bemoaned the fact that this place isn't closer to us!

    We noticed their tiki collection overlapped ours by two mugs.

    I had a Ruby's Fruit Salad. Cute name, tasty drink. (Yikes, my braids sure looked messy!)

    Overall it was a lovely weekend, all wrapped up in 24 hours.

    Now, I'm going to sit down to cut out fabric pieces for my blouse, my project for the rest of my day off. Even thought bunnies and lemons got a few votes, looks like most people were leaning towards birdies for this one, and I tend to agree. So birds, it is! And those of you who voted all of the above... I expect ALL will eventually become blouses at some point, fear not. :)
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