Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Taking Care of Your Wool Nursing Pads

How To Care For Your Nursing Pads
For most women, two pairs of woolen nursing pads are all you'll ever need.
When your pads feel wet, or at least daily, let them dry while wearing a second pair. Place them to dry, preferably, over a mild heat source, such as a mildly warm radiator or on top of a running dryer. The use of dry heat is important, especially if you live in a humid climate, since natural wool can absorb up to 40% of its own weight in moisture without feeling wet. Wash untreated wool as seldom as possible. The natural lanolin content of the wool keeps it hygienic - as the wool absorbs moisture, the lanolin is converted to lanolin-soap, which has an antibacterial effect. The moisture evaporates away and only the milk solids are left. Eventually, depending on how much leakage you have, the pads will begin to feel "stiff" or you'll notice white powdery milk spots. Then you will need to wash them.
Wash As Follows
For best results, allow the pads to dry before washing.
Gently rub the stiffened area between your knuckles, to break up the milk particles. Wash by hand in lukewarm water with mild hair shampoo (cleans without stripping lanolin from the wool) or LANACare Lanolin Soap to replenish the lanolin content of the wool (recommended to use approximately every fifth washing to maintain the wool's antibacterial effect). Use just enough soap to keep the water mildly sudsy. Swish the pads gently in the water. When using Lanolin Soap, let the pads soak in the sudsy water for 5-10 minutes.
Rinse in lukewarm water. Always use lukewarm water when washing and rinsing wool. Both hot and cold water can shock the wool fibers, resulting in shrinkage of the wool.
Place or roll your pads into a towel, pressing out the excess water. Lay pads to dry, preferably over a mild heat source.
Boiling Your Pads
Boiling of the pads is recommended for women diagnosed with breast yeast infections. Occasional boiling is also recommended for women living in humid climates, where drying the pads thoroughly can be more difficult.
Boil your pads by this special method only! The key is to not expose the wool to extreme temperature changes.
Place the pads in a pot with lukewarm water. Gradually bring the water, with pads, to a gentle boil. Let boil for 10 minutes, using a spoon to periodically push the pads under the surface of the water. They tend to float to the top. Avoid stirring or agitating the pads. Remove the pot from the heat. Do not remove pads from the water. Let the water with the pads cool to lukewarm.
 After boiling, the lanolin content of the wool must be replenished. Using 1 Tblsp. Lanolin Soap, wash the pads as directed under "Wash As Follows".

Friday, February 10, 2017

Christmas Party Dress


Yesterday I wrote about my Rose Dress and my Christmas Party Dress is made from the same pattern. I changed the darts slightly but otherwise the pattern was perfect. I wore this dress to my husband's annual work Christmas party. It was a huge hit and is my favorite garment I've made to date. I hope to get more use out of it on holidays to come. 🎄🎅🎁




Thursday, February 9, 2017

Rose Dress


Front of the Rose Dress
The Rose Dress came about from a desire to have something with a deep sweetheart neckline. I've wanted something vintage and romantic and feminine and this dress was the result.

Bodice Pattern
I drafted the bodice pattern from my personal measurements. The skirt is a simple gathered affair and didn't require a pattern. The skirt is a rectangle that's gathered at the top and hemmed to my knees.

Mock Up
My first practice piece (aka mock up) was made in left-over fabric and not meant to be pretty. I just wanted to test the fit and make adjustments. I ended up changing the neckline slightly and I took the waist in a little. 

Lining and zipper placement
The dress has an invisible back zipper and is fully lined. The lining is under-stitched at the neckline and encases all the raw edges of the skirt.


Back of the Rose Dress
The back of the Rose dress could have had the print lined up but I was running out of fabric. However, the invisible zipper really gives it a nice finished look.

I wore this dress for the first time to a friend's wedding and didn't take a photo of myself in it. Next time!




Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Portrait Blouse


Scottie Dog Portrait Blouse- Front

The pattern for the Portrait Blouse came from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, page 137. I have all of her books and highly recommend them!

Scottie Dog Portrait Blouse- Back

For my blouses, I decided to lower the front neckline scoop. I have a heart tattoo on my chest that I like showing off and the higher neckline cut it in half. I also needed a larger size and ended up making myself a muslin so I could get the fit right.
Close up of the Scottie dogs and the machine embroidered heart

I made both of my blouses out of cotton and especially loved the Scottie dog and yarn heart fabric I found. I also machine embroidered a heart to the center front of the Scottie dog shirt. I did this before I cut out my fabric so I could get it positioned properly. I did my best to match the stripes on the Scottie dog shirt and they meet nicely at the shoulders.

Yarn Love Portrait Blouse- Front

Both blouses have a neckline lining. I tacked it down at the shoulder seams and at several locations along the front and back to keep it from flipping out as I wear it. That's one of my pet peeves so I tack down the lining even in store bought tops.

Yarn Love Portrait Blouse- Back

One side has an invisible zipper for easy on and off. I've gotten quit good at putting in invisible zippers and prefer them over regular ones now. You can even paint the pull tab with nail polish to match your fabric better if you can't find the correct color.

Invisible zippers are awesome!

I love wearing these around. They're comfortable and stylish. In the book, Gertie uses nicer fabric, but it's not necessary or practical for me. I live in the country and work at home. For the most part just see my husband, sons, and chickens, and they don't care what I wear. ;) But I like wearing pretty things and Gertie's books have a nice mix of everything I want and need.




Monday, January 30, 2017

Striped Socks


Learning to dye my own yarn has been a lot of fun! Making self-striped yarn was easier then I thought. My first test I used the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. The next time I make striped yarn, I'll be sure to photograph it so I can make a tutorial.

I do have a few hand dyed striped yarns available in my shop Color to Dye For!


My go-to sock knitting pattern is David's Toe Up Sock Cookbook from Ravelry. It's one of the easiest patterns to follow that I've found so far. These socks are considered 'plain vanilla' aka basic knit with no pattern design. You can make fancy lace-y socks with this pattern as long as you make a gauge. Yes, I said the G-word! Anyways, this striped yarn didn't look that great with anything but a knit stitch.


I hope to make more fun yarn and socks as time allows! 



Thursday, January 26, 2017

Mint and Chocolate Chip Shawl





I've never designed any knitting patterns before. I've always found plenty of inspiration on Ravelry. But I recently made that leap and tried my hand at making up something for myself. It was a challenge, to say the least, that I doubt I'll repeat any time soon. :) The finished garment turned out beautifully and is just like my favorite ice-cream inspired treat.

Testing the pattern
I came across mosaic knitting while working on another shawl. I liked the idea and knitted up a test swatch so I could determine how many repeats I wanted.

Finished knitting the border
The completed bottom border with all the diamond repeats has a nice weighted/drapey feel to it. The mosaic knitting was really enjoyable!

Working on the shawl
Knitting the last of the striped repeats on the shawl seemed to take forever. As soon as it was done I wove in the ends, washed and blocked it, and called it done!

I took notes on my progress but I doubt I can make heads or tails of them now and I'm not going to become the next amazing knitting designer. I'm happy to make my own stuff and keep it at that.

Thanks for stopping by!



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Winter Wool Coat

The finished garment

Last fall I took a couple college classes, one in pattern drafting and the other in tailoring. These two classes gave me the foundations I need for creating my own clothing and I have enjoyed making several items from scratch since then. In our pattern drafting class we had our measurements taken so we could pretty much design any kind of clothing we wanted from our basic blocks. 

I found this really pretty woven fabric from Mood and knew I wanted to make a winter coat from from it. I began with an idea I had in mind and sketched it out on paper first. I wanted a wide collar, an overlapping front, and it had to be knee length. Either way, I wanted it to fit my own frame perfectly.

Drafting the pattern

Mock up created from the original pattern

Coat Lining

The coat is fully lined in matching light brown satin. It's smooth and slick putting it on and taking it off.



Catch stitching the inner garment

The inner construction was very involved and isn't seen on the finished garment. I used traditional tailoring techniques and catch stitched in hair canvas. The woven fabric is 100% wool and easy to work with. Wool is such a versatile fiber and can be molded however you want with steam and heat and the hair canvas gives it a nice foundation to sit on.


Buttonhole mock up

While I was constructing the garment I knew I wanted bound buttonholes to fit my large 2" buttons. I took the extra time needed to do them properly and made a sample first so I could get the technique correct.

Creating the bound buttonholes





The finished garment fits perfectly and turned out beautifully. It was a ton of work but I'm glad I created it.



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