Aug 27, 2015

next step: quilting

1. Having a retreat at your Mum's house is awesome. Working with Mum for two days straight, getting to ask all the questions, and having time for shopping, jokes and meals = priceless.

2. Even though you think you have to sew non-stop, there IS still time to go to a fabric shop or two. We proved it by going to two.

3. Two parents do a great job holding up the top-secret quilt top that was finished after a long first day. I really like it! We are likely to have the grand reveal next Thursday.

4. The man-quilt (56 squares) made it through layout, assembly and sandwiching, even with a trip to the store to pick up dog food for the Nan and a bit of show-and-tell upon delivery. (It's the "man-quilt" because hubby accompanied me into fabric shops and even ventured into a few on his own while travelling ... and always went to ask for the .2, .3 or 1/4 yard cutting himself. Awwww!)

5. As stated above, all that's left to do is quilt and bind this puppy. Piece o' cake, right? Did I mention those 56 squares are 12 inches square each? That's my biggest quilt EVER. It's scary. I'm thinking vertical lines randomly spaced in red. We shall see - I won't be starting til next week. I don't have the red thread yet.


Aug 23, 2015

sewing called weaving that is actually knitting

It's weaving in ends, of course! And I have two socks' worth of them planned for this evening. I also have a limoncello and cranberry on the strong side that's going to help me through.

For you IKEA lovers, yes, that's a Sissu  cup.

Sometimes, in knitting, sewing is necessary. It pains us, but we do it. It's really hard when you have a fresh skein of beautifully-dyed-in-Bellingham yarn (Cedar House Yarns) staring at you, though. Like, really hard.

I'm jetting off to a small retreat at my Ma & Pa's house in the morning. And by jetting I mean driving the speed limit or slower. I should have more to show after that ... but not the top secret thing! I have to finish that this week and then get it in the mail to its owner and then, when all four of us have our starters back, we will open the packages and go mental. Round Robin joy.



Aug 18, 2015

and then there were 56

Remember Square 1? I had cut just over half the 450ish pieces then, and decided that that was enough cutting for a while, so I started sewing. I sewed them all up, and then I cut the rest. Since the zombies I faced in Cut Round 2 were really, really fussy cut and not at all square, I stepped away from the rotary cutter and did some serious math. It was a Sunday morning and it was mostly successful to do it that way, rather than the original way I did it, which was to perform every calculation mentally just before I cut. That produced three errors. Writing it down only produced one error. Neither was the end of the world, but method 2 felt a lot less stressful.

My third-to-last square was a sight to behold! I call it Tiger Farting on Dragon's Head.

I changed sewing machines partway through and it took me a while to learn the quarter-inch sweet spot on the new machine. I have some squares that are really not square. I was aiming for 12.5" squares, but I may yet trim them all down to 12". That will shave several inches off the final size of the quilt, but I have the option of throwing in another row and column, either by piecing more squares, or by introducing borderless blocks of solids.

At this point, I'm leaning toward blocks of solid. I would do them all in black or white and I think they'd really tie things together. And is it ever going to need some tying together! I only used so many border colours, but there's a wide variety of combinations and widths. We'll see how this lays out. Very exciting!

Now to prepare to cut the very well planned-and-thought-out addition to Amber's starter. I'll be done ahead of schedule. No sweat.


Aug 14, 2015

sew long ago

As a wee girl, my Mum had a Singer sewing machine. It was not a featherweight. It was white, electric, and it folded down into a table that was really cool. When you weren't using it, the machine faced the floor suspended under the table-top (which folded out and became wings when it was open). I learned to sew on that machine. When I got to grade 8 and had to make a pair of bermuda shorts from a pattern, I whipped them up in no time flat and spent the rest of the unit helping other people. I can't remember everything I sewed at home, but there was a poplin dress a la 1980-something, a grade 12 grad dress in taffeta, and then a wedding dress in satin or pretend-satin.

Now let's go back to 1979 and imagine my wee Nan looking forward to a new sewing machine. She was probably completely stoked because she was looking at the first programmable sewing machine EVER. It memorized stitch patterns like flowers, dogs, etc. and strung them all together into a repeated thing. You could flip them over too. So if you wanted flowers this way, that way, this way, that way, you could totally do that.

She must've been giddy.

It was a Janome Memory 7, which also went under the name of the New Home model 5001. Janome apparently bought the New Home company and I know my machine and its hard cover said Janome, but I've seen some on the internet that still said New Home.

And that's what it looked like. The left side of the dark part to the right of the throat was a cover over the control buttons for the memory functions. It flipped open to the right. The top flipped open as well, and all the feet were stored up there. The whole thing was made of the heaviest metal possible and it probably weighed 50 pounds. I might be exaggerating, but I doubt it.

When it started making REALLY loud noises in 2013, I took it in to see if it was worth servicing or selling. The shop didn't think so. It's not old enough to be a collectible item, and I couldn't see spending a lot to fix it up when I could get a basic new machine for $400. So I retired it.

Two years later, I outgrew the basic new machine. Truth be told, I would have outgrown the Janome as well with the crazy stuff I'm into now. I was going to have to upgrade regardless. All is not lost, though, because the basic new machine can be my daughter's ... if she ever decides that sewing is something she wants to do.

So (sew) that's the history of my sewing life.


Aug 13, 2015

a couple notes about blogging

I didn't realize, until I adopted feedly as my all-in-one-place-and-don't-need-to-remember-or-fave-the-urls blog reader, that my very own blog was one of those annoying ones that doesn't display all of a post in the RSS reader.

I'm sorry for the truncation.

I've stopped the short form and gone full version. If you're using a thing like feedly, you won't have to click the button to go to the site to see the full post anymore.

And also, I know that blogger sometimes has a hard time with images. When I am writing a post, it all looks good. When I post it, something happens and worlds collide and babies cry and pictures break. I try to then fix them within as short a timeframe as possible. It's not like I'm a narcissist who has to go read her own blog for personal satisfaction - I'm checking it.

I'm sorry if you're a quick reader who had the annoying experience (ever) of reading a post with busted-ass pictures. It sucks.

ps - have you noticed your spell-checker correcting anymore to any more? I'm finding it annoying. I know some stuff about words and when I want to say that I don't look at the short feeds anymore because I don't want any more of them ... that's what I'll say. And you'll never catch me typing alright. It's just not a word that I can get behind. All right then.


Aug 12, 2015

sew much stuff going on

So, let's start with the knitting so it doesn't feel left out. I'm using up odds and ends of sock yarn in a pair of crazy socks. I realized once I'd cast on that my choice of slightly bigger needles and the accidental repeated stitch count of my last pair meant that I would have socks that wouldn't fit me.

Enter random friend. She thinks I'm knitting socks for her. I tried to explain the subtle difference between knitting something for someone and knitting something that will later be given to someone, but the subtlety was lost on her. She's still happily believing that I'm knitting socks for her. I'm not. I'm knitting socks because I want to and because it's fun to use up scraps, and she'll happen to get them in the end. It's different.

I'm doing an afterthought heel, so while they look like they may be close to done, they are a little less close.

The cherries there are what I made my knitting project bag out of quite a while ago. LOVE IT.

Now then, on we go to the specimen below. I struggled to quilt this little gem for my sorta-cousin's younger son, and it came out goodish. Ish. I think he'll like it, regardless.

The bit that looks purple is actually gray. Thank you, artificial light. And thank you for real, my accommodating teenager. The quilt is a creeper from the pixely game Minecraft and was the lad's choice. He doesn't realize that he's getting it this month, though. Muhuhuhahahaha!!!

In my usual way, I didn't really plan for the back very well. So when it wasn't wide enough, I had to get creative. I didn't like the idea of a stripe; I needed to break the pixel mould.

Shhhh! Don't tell him!

In other news, I've had enough of my sewing machine skipping stitches when I quilt, when I go fast, when I use Heat n Bond Lite, when I use spray baste..... It's wimpy and fussy. I needed to upgrade.

Cynthia. We will blame Cynthia. We can also blame a really good sale, and the fact that my Nan started me on my first only-mine machine and it was a Janome and I loved it. Who wouldn't love on-board feet?

I've only wound a bobbin and sewn two seams, but I'm in love. Just the size of the armpit (throat) is enough to make me squeal. OMG. And the features are amazeballs. This is like a Caddy compared to a Lada.

I'll be knitting tonight because it's too hot to use the iron, but you can bet that I'll be itching all day tomorrow to get home from work and get sewing ... Oh, and I'll be itching because of this 4-day-old tattoo, but that's another story for another post.