Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Changing Again

A few years ago I made a worship banner for Lent, with six symbols for six different weeks.  I hand dyed the fabrics to give it some depth.  Then, after Easter, I put it away on a shelf. Last year I decided to change it and use it again.  That seemed appropriate because the church itself was in the midst of change, about to being a search for a new pastor and to begin a renovation project.  And, the fabric was so nice that I hated to keep it put away on that shelf.  I cut up the original banner and put it back together so that the symbols would become part of the design but not recognizable as their original shapes.  All good.  It hung at the church for several weeks.

Now, I need a communion table cover for Mennonite Arts Weekend, which is coming up fast.  Besides that weekend (a big undertaking for a small congregation,) the renovation and the pastoral search have begun, and we are considering a welcoming statement.  I've had in the back of my mind that the banner needs another change, this time with a lot of free motion quilting.  No more cutting, just changing the surface look.  Representing the changing church.  I also want a nice binding so it will look nice on the communion table.

I had forgotten how time slides by when I'm doing this kind of work.  That's a good thing.  I hope to have it free motion quilted by the end of next week, but I also have several other things going on.  I figure that I'll go as far as I can, working from the middle out, and if need be I can finish with walking foot quilting around the outsides.

I'll let you know how it goes.    

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Microwave Potholder

My friend Carrye gave me some wonderful scraps and small pieces, and there is good energy in that bag.  Why is it that her scraps are so much more appealing than mine?

Anyway, I started out making this microwave potholder, which is basically some piecing, some quilting, some darts, and some turning inside out.  All minimal. 

The idea is that the bowl nestles into the potholder and the whole thing goes into the microwave. The hot bowl is then removed from the microwave by opposing little tabs. Very clever.

You can find a good tutorial for making a microwave potholder here.  You do have to be sure that the batting is all cotton, since it's going in the microwave, but there are various cotton battings.  I used Pellon Nature's Touch, which is incredibly soft and nice.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Friday Off

Every other Friday, Aaron has a day off kindgarten and yesterday was his Friday off.  I always enjoy an outing with him during his off Fridays, and we headed to Bellevue for lunch at Twisted Sister.  When we were almost there, he spotted Subway and decided on that instead. 

This is a really nice Subway, shared with a Burger King, with large windows and a view of Cincinnati across the way.  He opted out of the library and aquarium and the dollar store, some of our favorite haunts, in favor spending the afternoon at my house.  I know that the day will come when he will declare that my house is b-o-r-i-n-g, so I treasure time spent at home now.

We battled with light sabers, a lot, and Aaron played Kindle games, with light sabers, and we watched several Peanuts videos.  There was a bit of play with Legos, but not much, and the art box wasn't requested this time.  At the end of the afternoon, his mom stopped to pick him up and he took the leftovers from his Subway sandwich to eat on the way home.   

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Big Stockings, Big Font

Big stockings, big font.  Fifty-point Curlew.  My daughter got the stockings for 75% off after Christmas.  These stockings are big enough for a pack of markers or a little notebook or other bulky little stuffers.

I think I sewed too close to bed time last night and dreamed about sewing several times.  Not that such dreaming is necessarily all bad, but I think I'll shut it down earlier tonight.

Yesterday I watched most of The Butler with my neighbor.  It's a glimpse of the personal and professional life of a White House butler over several administrations.  Fascinating to me because I can remember much of the history as a young adult.  I didn't get to watch the end of it, but I'll borrow her DVD today when I go out to clean the walks.  If I can talk myself into it - five degreees.  Every time I look it's a little colder so I'm not looking any more.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thread Doesn't Count

One of my goals for this year, same as last year, is to have the same or less amount of fabric at the end of the year than when the year started.  I'm pretty sure that's what happened last year, although I didn't actually keep a running tally, which I am this year.  So far, so good, I've used more than I've purchased.  What I've purchased has been in the form of some fat quarter packs and small pieces, but that all counts.

Thread, however, doesn't count.  (Neither does fabric that people give me.  The rules according to me.)  So yesterday at work, when we got in lots of new Robison Anton embroidery colors, I got lots.  Robison Anton is my favorite, I like the smoothness of the thread and the large quantity of thread on the spools.  I didn't duplicate any of the colors I already have, and I'm using one new color today.

Lots of snow yesterday, and a slow morning commute.  I only work at the store a couple of days a month, and it was just my bad luck that the weather was bad yesterday morning.  By the evening, though, the roads were clear and it was very cold.  My windshield washers froze up again.  Today, it's even colder, up to 0 now.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sleepover at My House

No school today because of the Martin Luthur King holiday, so last night the grands and their mom had a sleepover.  Very fun.

Now they've gone on their own way to the Museum Center and I headed for Baby Quilt Group, a return at Target, and now back home.  I think the thing to do is start on my sewing.  In the early January days I hoped that no new sewing jobs would appear from customers so I could do some catch up.  That happened, and now suddenly there are repairs and curtains and hemming.  Maybe I can do one job, then a quilt block, then another job followed by a quilt block.  It's no wonder that the jobs take awhile.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Loaves of Bread

This morning I got a phone called from Aaron.  "Gran B, I can't wait to come to your house tonight."  Well, Aaron, I can't wait either. 

In preparation for dinner, I made oatmeal bread from the More With Less cookbook.  My mother bought me that cookbook, and she has been gone for a long time, maybe 25 years ago, I'm not good with dates.  The oatmeal bread is by far my favorite recipe in the book, and I've made it over and over again.  Probably hundreds of loaves.

Aaron also informed me that he is bringing applesauce made in the crockpot.  With apples, sugar, cinnamon, and water.  His kindergarten class made it around Thanksgiving and he was impressed with the process.  That boy is a lover of homemade applesauce.

We're also having roast pork, scalloped potatoes, cooked carrots, brownies.  Tomorrow is a day off school to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, so there will be a sleepover too.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Caught Up Again

Thanks to Ginny, who gave the each member of the baby quilt group three pieces of fabric for this month's quilt.  Of course it will be interesting to see how the quilts look alike (the fabric) and how they differ.  After some thought, I went with my default improvisational method.  I never know quite what it will look like but I'm never disappointed.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

All OK

First of all, the Lucy update:  her doggie tummy is fine, no trace of the corn cob.  Sarah and Winnie are relieved.

About a year ago my friend Carrye and I went to Cabin Arts in Burlington and we both got some of this fabric with the trees and skaters.  I used most of mine for a baby quilt for my friend Bev's new grandbaby, but there was a bit left, and I LOVE that fabric.

So, it shows up again in this month's premmie quilt, the very last of it - I was saving it for winter.  I like to do my quilting pretty tight, about 1/2" apart, but in the interest of getting finished I did this one about 1" apart.  I really had to talk to myself and give myself permission to do that.  I like to think that the premmie quilts are just as nice as the ones I give my friends and relations.  Once I finished it, though, I realized that it actually makes no difference.  It's just as nice, just has a different look.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Wool Bowl

Here is the wool bag I made yesterday.  The directions called for boiled wool, but I had some wool felt fat quarters and used those instead.  There is some piecing, but it will be ok.  There is no boiled wool at my fabric store, and if there were it would be very expensive.  The bowl is lined with more wool felt.  Viking January Project by Marie Duncan.

Last night, this picture appeared on my facebook timeline with this pitiful post: 

"Dearest Gran B.  I wish you were here.  No one will feed me.  Around December 4 I ate a corn cob in a dark alley.  Not much was thought of it until I puked part of it out a couple of nights ago.  Now I have to get an x-ray tomorrow and was told I must "fast."  I have demanded food many times and tried my best to remind my people to feed me.  They are just staring off into space watching their pet box (his name is Teevee) which has no fur and isn't cute at all."

Oh, dear.  So far this morning, there is no news about Lucy, except that the x-ray showed that her stomach was enlarged so it was on to more tests. 


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Three Hole Yarn Foot

There are a lot of sewing machine feet in their designated basket at my house, and some come out more often than others.  For some reason, though, this three hole yarn foot had never made its debut until today.  You'll notice that there are three holes in the front of the foot, and the yarn/cord goes in from the front to the back.  There is the usual sewing thread in the needle and bobbin.

The sewing thread couches the yarn/cord and the only thing I needed to do was make sure that the cords stayed in the right order.  Easy.  For Viking folks, the stitch is X1:17 but a wide zig zag would work too.  You'll notice that there is a tear-away stabilizer behind the fabric. 

Sometimes I like to volunteer to make work samples just because it challenges me to try things I usually wouldn't, like using this foot and sewing with wool.  You'll see the completed project tomorrow.  I'm almost finished.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Jewelry Roll Project

On March 1, I'm teaching a class featuring this Anita Goodesign jewelry roll.  It has a large pocket plus a separate smaller zippered pocket and a ribbon holder for rings.  Except for just a teense bit of machine and hand sewing, it's all done in the embroidery hoop, including the zipper.

This is how it looks rolled up with the embroidery showing.  I'm thinking about how the zipper feature could be used in other bags, not that putting in a zipper is all that hard, but this is really, really easy.  This design calls for a 200 x 360 embroidery hoop, so my next project will be a little smaller, to fit in a 200 x 260 hoop, for people who just have that size hoop.

Last night Aaron called me, laughing, to tell me that he'd just seen my identical twin in the parking lot at Frisch's.  Glasses just like mine, blond hair, similar build, jeans, and a purple coat like mine.  At first he and Nora were sure it was me.  They thought it was hilarious. I'd like to have seen this person.

My friend Carrye and I had the nicest afternoon yesterday, but I forgot to take pictures.  We went to my church in Oakley to change out the Advent decorations, then on to Sewn Studio just down the street.  Lunch was at Essencha Tea Shop, next to the fabric store, really a relaxing treat.  Then back to Newport where our friend Ginny was having a sale of her fabrics, which are usually available only at quilt shows around the country.  She has the most beautiful hand dyes and commercial fabrics, very unique.  And, we got to see some quilt samples she's made to show them off.

Every day I've been doing a little more cleaning in my sewing areas.  I knew that it was in disray by the time Christmas came, but I really didn't appreciate just how much. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

January's Gift

This Christmas I seriously ran up against a wall in getting my holiday sewing completed.  I love, love handmade gifts and enjoy making them, but I ran out of both time and energy.  So, one of my goals this year is to make a gift every month.  It can be big, it can be small, but when the holidays come around next year I want to be able to pull things out of a tote and wrap them prettily.  With ribbon.

And, I figure that if I show them now the recipients will have forgotten all about them by next Christmas, if they even read this blog.  So, here is my January project,which photographed pretty yellow when there is in fact lots of pale green.  It is made with 1 1/2 charm packs of Bernatex's Basically Holidays, no special piecing, just nice fabrics and close organic quilting.  A lap quilt for throwing over a sofa.

This is big enough that it actually won't go in the tote but will be carefully stored wrapped around a pool noodle so it will be uncreased when the wrapping-and-ribbon time comes.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

For Me

A lot of things come out of my sewing studio, but almost none are for me.  So, one of my many goals this year is to make a little something for me every month, even if it's only some machine embroidery on a flour sack towel.  Which this is.

I love the vintage-type designs on flour sack, and with a little hanging loop this was quickly finished and in my kitchen.  Then, I realized that it really wanted to live in my bathroom instead.  Design from Embroidery Library.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Not Yet

The outside lights are down, the peripheral decorations packed away, but I'm not yet willing to give up the Christmas trees.  Not yet.  I keep them lit day and night and they are so comforting on these dark days.  Part of me is pulled toward putting the ornaments back in their little boxes and one of these days that part of me will take over.  But not yet.

I am searching for some sort of low energy project for these winter evenings.  I am not a tv watcher, not much of a knitter.  I always end up reading in bed far too early, and that's not what I'm looking for. 

Last night Aaron was scheduled for an only-child sleepover while Nora enjoyed her own sleepover with the one little girl who couldn't make it to Nora's December birthday party.  Because of the bad roads, Aaron had to stay home once again, although the little girl did arrive.  I saw a picture of Aaron battling with light sabers, so I'm sure he had his own good time.

Today we're scheduled to go to the Museum Center if the roads are clear.  I haven't seen the Duke trains yet this year, and that could be part of the visit.   

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everybody.

Let's get creative!