Thursday, 17 March 2011

Don't Fence Me In!

OK - I won't, but I will fence you out!

Day 2 Wednesday 16th March
"Hang on, where did Tuesday go?" you say. "This should be Day3."
"Ahhh." I reply, "but I'm only counting child free days, because it's impossible to get anything really significant done when J4 is home."
"Right" you nod with understanding.

As it was 'Ride to Work Day' and I just had to take J4 to the members sausage sizzle at the RBWH Cycle Centre (I tow him to work & childcare in a Chariot attached to my bike). So I was a little delayed getting started - but I had planned for that.

Today's job was, as you might have guessed, to fence the chickens out of the vege garden site.  And, aside from the entry gate (which I'm still thinking about) we got it done. In an hour & a half!

I had planned to attach the support wires with staples (that's nail in ones, not the sort you use for paper), but Dad pointed out that they can be right b*&%^$'s to nail in, and he is right, I've done it before.  So he found our one & only drill bit that is long enough to pass all the way through the fence posts - and discovered it is the largest one that will fit in the drill bit (weren't we lucky?).
After marking each post at three points we drilled the holes & started threading the wire through.  Once I had tied one end off (wrap around post then around itself multiple times) we had to tension it.  We wrapped it round the head of a hammer & PULLED using the hammer handle as a lever.  Not quite the way the professionals do it but, as I said to Dad - we're not dealing with cows or horses here, just chickens and Brush Turkeys.
This is not a Brush Turkey, this is Fasty Africa, our Guinea Fowl, he helps keep the chickens pest free, and is rather cute!
So we ran three wire strings along the front, then did the right hand side separately (does anyone else have to concentrate every time they spell that?).  Next we attached the chicken wire.
Now, on a farm you would have a giant roll of the stuff attached to a special fitting on your tractor, it would unroll beautifully as you drove along and somehow would keep its tension  - well, we just manhandled it.  Smaller quantity & no room for a tractor.
It was actually quite quick & easy once Dad had figured out that you put the links in the crimper & then around the support & fencing wire.  Rather than the way I started, which was positioning the links, then trying to get the crimper in place with my sausage fingers in the way!

So here it is - finished, and good enough for our purpose, though hardly a work of perfection.

In that space there are going to be 4 vege beds, each 1.5m wide by 1.7m deep, so I can rotate my crops to maintain soil quality & reduce disease.  I am going to make them no-dig beds as well, and lay a drip irrigation system, with automatic timer, under the top layer of mulch (I plan to qualify as a lazy gardener).  Might start laying the pavers to mark out the beds on Day 3.

Helped out with literacy & maths groups in L6's grade 1 class, which is fun & enlightening, so I don't really mind that it cuts into my sewing time.  I was reading 'The Cat in the Hat' with L6's group today, talking about rhyming words.  They came up with some great ones. How's 'game' & 'maim' or 'fox, box, dots, lots, socks, blocks & clocks'?

Anyway - it was way too hot & humid to spend at the machine in the sewing room.
It doubles as a guest room, by folding up the cabinets & opening the sofa bed (on right).

So I decided to do some handwork, sitting on the deck, watching the chickens & contemplating my new fence.
The project I chose was the refashioning  of a jacket that had come into my possession (and I will probably tell that story another time).  Loved the fit of the bodice & the fabric, but the arms were too short, and, let's face it, jackets don't get an awful lot of wear here.
So - turned it into a low-backed waistcoat/vest and a scarf instead.
Today's job was finishing sewing on the binding over the cut edges.  I machine sewed the first side weeks ago.  The jacket has/had a cotton velvet collar, plackets and covered buttons.  To look any good the binding had to be the same - and I was lucky to find what I would consider a perfect match.  But turning cotton velvet into bias binding? Not a lot of fun.  It doesn't hold a crisp fold very well.  Next time (?) I'll use some spray starch I think.  Still, the binding is on & has turned out OK.

Unfortunately, due to a combination of lost weight & removed fabric - it makes me look HUGE! Because (as you can see below) there is not much fabric left at the back, the sides gape, making me look much wider than I am.  I had intended this to be a 'sexy' backless number, but as it is it would be positively indecent!
We (Mum & I) think we can improve it somewhat by putting a small tuck/dart at each side underneath where my arm sits in the photo below.
I also may add a ~ 4cm wide strip down the spine, flaring out at the bottom, or from below the shoulder blades to join the base.  This would leave the back still fairly exposed, but prevent the collar riding up and causing the front to gape again.
What do you think?  Black lace? Net? Other suggestions?

The other thing I made from the jacket was a scarf, from a design by Junky & very basic diagrams & instructions in their book Junky Styling (which I found at my local BCC Library ).
Very little of their stuff would be my style (very London street) but I liked this one.

To make it you
a) take the sleeves off the garment, cut perpendicular to the length.
b)Cut another length of fabric twice the width of the cut end of the flattened sleeve (or two pieces once the width) plus seam allowance.  The fabric needs to be long enough to wrap comfortably around your neck, see picture.
c) Sew this piece into a tube and, leaving it wrong side out, insert one sleeve, so the right sides of the tube & the sleeve are together. Pin the ends & sew using the free arm of your sewing machine (ie you maintain the tube).
d) Do the same with the other sleeve at the opposite end. But with the sleeve oriented so that the buttons (or whatever you are featuring) faces the other way to the first one (you'll see why in a sec.)
e) Pull one sleeve through the other to turn the whole scarf right-side out.
f) If you now lay your scarf flat on the table the buttons will be facing up on one sleeve & facing down to the table on the other.  This is necessary because you are going to fold the downward facing sleeve back on itself to form a loop.
e) Check this loop is large enough to slip the other sleeve through, and then stitch down.

How do you like it?
The extra striped fabric is from another, pure wool, hand tailored, Japanese style jacket (from the same source) that I unpicked and felted. The side against my neck is more of the cotton velvet I used to bind the waistcoat.
I think it is probably more suited to a man than me, and it certainly looks good on the bloke in the book, so I might make a present of it.  My brother lives in Tassie, where he would get more wear out of it due to the more frequent need for scarves.  Not sure if it is his style though.

That's it for Day 2.  This blogging business could get addictive! But tell me if it is too long.

No comments:

Post a Comment