I'm crazy to be undertaking this, that's the only explanation.
Today I actually gulped a lot and cut the snakeskin print cloth to make the "poncho" top. Then, I pulled out the old Kenmore sewing machine. It's got to be 30 years old. The case, a heavy-duty plastic, is all yellowed, but the machine is heavy - it's made out of metal, not plastic!
I actually remembered how to thread it immediately, I impressed myself:) Then I screwed up by starting the hemming of the edges with the light-colored bobbin already in the machine. The top stitches were too light; so I took out that bobbin and saved it since I figure I'll be using an off-white thread sometime in the future; I laboriously unwound a bobbin loaded with pink thread. When the hell did I use pink thread? It has to be from 1986 when I made curtains for the dining room in my first house - they were made out of sheets with a pink background. Sounds icky, I know, but they were actually quite beautiful - an oriental floral print!
Once I had the bobbin unwound, I had to put the new color thread on it - I remembered how to do that too. I'm amazed I remembered! I probably haven't had this sewing machine open in 18 years or so (last project I can remember was making a new set of curtains, again out of sheets, for the patio door in this house that I have not been up for several years now).
Then I had to unpick the stitching from the top that I'd already done - fortunately, I had not got very far when I realized that the wrong color was coming out on the top, so I didn't have much to unpick.
Now I'm watching the premiere of Amazing Race, and while I'm enjoying this break I'm thinking I'm not going to have a new poncho top to wear to work tomorrow. Bummer :(
But while watching the show I believe I've figured out an easier way to hem the poncho material; I've got to hem it first before marking for the seams that will create both the sides and the separation for the sleeve openings and doing the opening for the head. My initial plan was to do a straightforward quarter-inch hem with turned corners all away around the material, but after struggling to do the first corner (with the wrong color thread), I decided there must be a better way. I'm going to put a -- not sure what to call it -- a zig-zag enclosed stitch all around the perimeter that will "lock" the edges, and then I will hand hem the material. It may take longer to do it this way, but I can hand hem while I'm watching t.v. :)
December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan