Sunday, May 29, 2011

In which I show another character flaw

I think this guilty pleasure shows that I am not a good person, although I'm not entirely sure how. I am sure several of the deadly sins are involved, but which ones? This is what I do. When I'm reading my way through the quilting blog world (and it's been a chemo week, so I've been doing much more reading than sewing) I stop when they mention a town. Perhaps where they live, or where they shop, or work, or someone is visiting from there.

And then I go to, and see what I could buy if I sold up and chose to move there. Now this is only fun if you currently live in an area of unrealistically overpriced real estate, like me, and you can imaginary-shop for all these amazing mansions on vast tracts of land with bathrooms for everyone in the house including the cats. Is this stupid? Yes. Do I have a job in rural Iowa? No. Would I want to live there anyway? No. But if I did.... I could buy a big damned house. And when it comes to big houses, domestic comfort and some seriously swagged interior curtaining, there is nothing like the US of A.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I don't normally make this shit

I am not one for making pincushions, mug rugs, placemats or really any small decorative items. I can admire them, but I know what they would end up as in my house - bits of crap clogging up the sewing room. Which is clogged enough, trust me. I did make some Christmas napkins in 2009, and there was the great craft-stall-fail bag fiesta. I still have all those bags in the wardrobe in the guest room. I'd like to think my houseguests have been quietly making off with them, but I'd be kidding myself. They are not desirable items.

But, on Saturday, I tidied the sewing table. It was an inch thick with dust, and small sewing items, and papers, and threads all tangled up, and pens that don't work. And just MASSES of needles. Sometimes in pincushions, and sometimes into random scraps of fabric, and sometimes just lying there. So I decided to make a needlebook!!! Like some 19th-century miss with too much time on her hands, although I had the massive advantage of being able to google "needle case pattern" and take it from there.

I never follow patterns, so I read over a few of the instructions, closed the computer and did it My Way. I couldn't be bothered doing anything very fancy, although I also couldn't be bothered changing to a walking foot, which in hindsight was a bit foolish as the quilting went quite puckered. I also decided this would be a good time to machine-stitch binding, for the first time ever. It doesn't look too bad, I might use it in a quilt one day. The worst corner is the one above, honestly. The others you can't see are much better.

Mission accomplished, I now have something bright and easy to find with all my needles altogether. I can now avoid all small sewn items for another year.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wonky owls finished

Here are my wonky owls, all bordered and bound. After a bit of trial and error I went with a plain grey border - I had originally planned to put the owl print as a nice wide feature border, but it was just too busy! And on this quilt, too busy is busy indeed.

I went to quilters' day time meeting on Wednesday for the first time for ages. It was lovely just to sit quietly and sew on my hexagons! I still don't really know anyone there, but everyone's very kind. So I sit and sew and listen to the stories of grandchildren and house moves and all sorts of quilts. I was completely exhausted by the end though, but worth it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

But how do they all go together?

I've been happy sewing up my hexagons the last couple of weeks - but now I'm thinking I should have put some thought into the bits I was sewing! I'm not entirely sure how they go together, although it shouldn't be too hard to work out. I have a map, after all.

I am quite sure that I didn't do it the most efficient way though … there are going to be some wobbly seams and fabric wrenching to get through to fit them all together. I am not sure how I'm going to finish it - the age old problem of the hexagon quilt. I don't fancy the thought of a bound hexagon edge; I mean, I like the look of them but not the reality of all those corners in and out. The same goes for a hexagon facing - a very clever finish but might be a bit fiddly. At the moment I'm leaning towards appliqueing it onto a square border, which will give me a much easier top to work with.

Here is a bracelet made by my very clever nine-year old in after-school care! Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I've long admired the folk art applique of Sue Spargo and those like her - it is colourful and free and interesting to look at. But I was intimidated ... I'm not an embroider and I don't know any fancy stitches or embellishment techniques. And some of the really cool stuff looks fearsomely complicated. But a few weeks ago I thought - bugger it, why don't I just try something simple and if it doesn't turn out it doesn't matter. So I ordered in some pieces of wool-blend felt.

25 colours from Feltorama. The wool blend isn't as nice as the pure wool, or the felted woven wool, but it's a fraction of the cost. If I get really into this I'll get some of the nice stuff.

I also bought some background - it looks quite grey in both the photo and real life but it's actually a khaki weft with white warp. I wanted something neutral and neither light nor dark. I'm going to make a 60 x 60 cm cushion cover with maybe flowers and stuff on it! At this stage I think I'll be sticking to blanket and running stitch but if I'm feeling adventurous I might branch out into feather stitch or something. I don't know how to do that but, frankly, how hard can be when I have the whole internet to teach me. The real question is - do I start now when I really want to, or do I be a good girl and finish the hexies first.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Curse you, world

Here is some depressingly useful sewing - headwraps! The chemo has kicked in and I am now an unappealingly hairless mixture of stubble and mange. In my pre-chemo buying frenzy (because EVERY human activity is tolerable if you've shopped for the right clothes) I bought a lovely knit headwrap - but there were only a couple of prints and I wanted more! One for every outfit! So Easter Saturday I bought some stuff at Spotlight and made some more. They don't look very exciting on the ground.

Much better on my head.

I also bought some squares of lawn/voile and hemmed them; for when I want the cleaning-lady look. I also have fancy scarves, and hats, and I will get a wig too - although I'm not too thrilled with the wig concept. But sometime in the next six months I might want to go out without being quite unmistakably a cancer patient. The pale blue voile is a beautiful print, just slightly too light for quilting I think.

Although I am very impressed at my cleverness, I can't help feeling that the world is not right, and I am one of nature's donors of half-arsed charity craft items for the infirm... not a recipient.