Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I need homework.

In the before time, when I was making bags and coasters, there was always something to work on. If I felt far enough ahead of myself I could branch out and do something fun or unusual, but the bags were quite fun in and of themselves.

Then there was the between time when I could not sew. I found some comfort in crochet and dreamed about all of the things I would make when I could finally sew again. I wondered if I would forget all of my know-how and be frustrated.

Now I am sewing once again. All of the other stuff that happened in the between time means I am a slightly different me and I am still sorting out what that means in terms of sewing. For instance I haven't made any bags yet.  While I am still wondering if I want to make things to sell, just about everything I have made I have given away. It's some sort of unspoken rule in my subconscious - once the pieces and parts become a thing - I have to find the person to whom it belongs.

This is all a long way of saying that what I've noticed in the past couple of months is that when I have a specific task in mind of what to make and for whom, I am happy. Plus I am busy as a beaver. I flounder  without an assignment. I am now trying to stay one step ahead of myself so that I've always got something to get buried in. Putting these pieces of cloth together, making those straight lines meet, ironing the crinkles out, and those magic moments when the parts become a 'thing' and I feel like Giopetto, are all good for my soul.

Thus, that scrappy trip along has come in handy. I did try to make an all blue block but couldn't get the color gradations in the right blues together. So I went back to a rainbow assortment.

My cousin is having his knee repaired in a short while and he's making plans for his recovery. I decided he'd need a pillow so that's what I worked on today.
trying out some fabrics. 

the final result. 
I've never made a log cabin block but I think that's what this is, with a whole lot of improvisation. I started with the typewriter block since we share a love of vintage machines, and went from there. I am happy with the way it came out and I can't wait to give it to him. The picture really doesn't do it justice unfortunately. I need to get better at that.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Scrappy Trip Along

I found this tutorial recently, most likely because a bunch of other folks found it and posted it to Flickr or Pinterest. It looked fairly easy and not too fussy so I decided to give it a go.

 I used a modified rainbow-y set of colors for the happiness factor. It also allowed me to use some fabrics I've always wanted to use but that have never quite fit in with whatever it was I was doing, like those sweet orange cow boys.

 This was also a good chance for me to practice 'scant' 1/4" edges and precision. The tutorial says to press the edges alternating so that they will lock together, but I love pressing edges open. Pressing them open also means I don't have to keep track of which one is going which way, and that means so much less fuss.
This is what I've got so far. I'm not sure how well the rainbow effect comes through, but they are very happy blocks, that are kind of the same size, and the seams mostly have aligned and i'm pretty pleased.

If you become inspired there is a Flickr group already set up to which to post your photos.

I'm going to finish up that last block while the sun is still coming in though my frosty window,

Sunday, December 30, 2012

If I make a cute thing . . .

but do not post on the interwebs, did it really happen?

It's been a while. We moved to Saint Albans and we love it here. Initially our apartment was too small to set up any kind of sewing area so I took up crochet. I made lots of little bits of things and didn't take many pictures. I also made a scarf for my cat, which he seemed to enjoy.

You can't see from the picture but he is purring loudly here, I swear. 

I had a short career as an LNA. I loved the people I cared for and I didn't mind the work, but there was never enough time or help to give the kind of care that I wanted to. It was a good lesson in learning my limits.

Now I work at a craft store, and we're in a slightly bigger apartment and I can sew again. It is marvelous. To get back into sewing shape I made tissue holders for everyone I work with.

I've also made a pillow cover or two.

I am trying to get in the habit of taking in process pictures. At this time of the year it is a fight against the fading of natural light, and the desire to get to that moment when an assortment of pieces turns into an actual object. That moment keeps me going.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

symbols and changes

My dad used to console me by saying "you can have a good job, a good apartment, and a good boyfriend, but not all three at once".  It' the kind of thing that's good to hear when you've got one out of three (there must be some hope) but maybe not so good when you think you've got all three.  For me, in the next two weeks, 2 out of 3 will be changing  completely. I'm planning on  holding on to the boyfriend, who is actually my fiancรจ,  til death do us part.  

I'm leaving my job as a sign artist (after 9 years!) on Thursday and I'll start training for my next job as a Nursing Assistant on Monday. Also, we've  gotta find a new place to live by June at the latest. We've really been gunning for May 1st in order to give ourselves some breathing room. We've found a place we like, we're just waiting to hear from the landlords, who could call at any second. It'll be a huge relief knowing where we'll be living!

In the meantime, this morning I realized I had better take the following picture or forever hold my rant. 

So I've been taking the bus a fair amount, due to my deep concern for the environment, to avoid paying parking fees,  because I love the walkas I just can't get enough time with the other kinds of folks who ride the bus, since I procrastinated taking care of essential car care thingies like inspections and floppy tires. Anyway! I've had a lot of time to stare these symbols, and part of my job as the store's sign artist was to try and come up with ways that a symbol or illustration could convey the intended message as quickly and cleanly as possible, maybe even to people for whom English was not an initial language. 

The first is clearly no smoking, and I think this is the internationally recognized symbol for that. That one makes total sense to me.  It took me quite a while to discern the middle symbol, finally seeing the cup of pop behind the  hotdog. If this symbol was in more than one color it would be much more readable.  I've gotta wonder how many people understand this symbol. 
On the right is my favorite, since it's so silly. That is an image of an old-time wooden radio, the kind I am young enough to have never seen in action. I've been wondering, lo these long months, if there are now actual records in museums, as well as these kinds of radios, how many people can possibly recognize this symbol? Even a boom box would be outdated, and difficult to convey.

These are the things I ponder as the subconscious part of my brain tries to contend with the huge upcoming changes which are all gonna turn out to be awesome.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More snow on the way?

Squiddy's expression really sums up how I feel about hearing that there will be MORE snow coming tomorrow. We've really had quite enough, so much so that we're not done with the last helping we got!

I took this picture a week and a half ago, and this bike is still seriously frozen in this snowbank. Frozen as in one would need an ice pick to get it out or maybe a ginormous hair dryer or 75 gallons of hot water, or 135 old geezers farting in it's general direction or . . .I know! How about a couple of actual spring days?!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bias tape, binding and photo heavy.

I have a mental list of things I don't know how to do (sewing wise) that I think I should know how to do. It includes zippers, buttonholes, ruffles/pleating and elastic. I'm sure there is more but that is what comes immediately to mind.

However! Thanks to the patient efforts of my dear sweet mother, binding is no longer on that list. That little item was beginning to feel like a 10 page paper I hadn't written and  I am so glad to get it off of my list.

There are so many very good tutorials so what follows isn't really one. I took photos of the process so that I could remember how to do it next time without having to bother me' mam.

Started stitching in the middle, rather than a corner, with enough binding to overlap. This is the back side of the piece.  I forgot to fold the initial edge under so it looks more finished but for this test piece it looks just fine. 

I sewed almost to the edge of each corner, stopping at about 1/4 of an inch before and then starting on the next side.
Folding  the tape over like this means there'll be enough fabric to go to the other side and it will look mitered on this side. 

Then I flipped it over, and folded over the binding. It's possible I used pins, but unlikely. It was a little tricky at the corners, but nearly as scary/impossible as I had previously thought.

My mother is generally a woman of few thread colors. She knows what she likes and she sticks to it. So I was puzzled when she brought out the box of many colors and asked me 3 different times what color thread I wanted.  Once I was done however, I understood. Matching thread means that if your stitches are at all wobbly, it won't show.  Since this was a test, only a test, it's no big deal, but I'll be certain to all kinds of matchy-matchy next time.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I love Japan and it's lovely people unabashedly. Do you see the cushions on the chairs in the photo above? They demonstrate one of the bajillion reasons I am so fond. Someone in the neighborhood of that train stop made those cushions. The cushions are completely unmolested - there's no gum on them, no rips, no nothing! Also, the cushions are still there without having been locked down in some way. I think this is the ultimate in neighborliness of which I think there can never be enough.

 I have been feeling especially powerless to help the folks affected. Thus, I am asking you to consider donating to 2011 Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Victims  via my friend Aya and her sister Emilie who have family in Tokyo. They've found a fund that will help directly and are hoping to raise $4k by Friday. Thank you for being neighborly along with me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

here's hoping

in progress veggie bag, originally uploaded by moxiegrumby.

that these bits end up being something I like. Lately i've been in a bit of a slump as my experiments haven't turned out as well as I'd like. This fabric is so fun and vibrant, so much so that it's hard to think anything could go badly!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

long awaited!

Alright, alright, maybe it's only been awaited since I placed the order last week, nonetheless, my new camera arrived last night.  I'm so excited, it's got functions aplenty plus it is a very bright pink.

It will also allow me to take pictures even after the sun has gone down, and at this time of the year, that will be hugely helpful. Any scheme to feel like I'm beating this never ending winter is one I am on like lines are on graph paper.

This means I am much more likely to post pictures of things I'm working on. There's an idea floating around the crafty blogging world of posting the process of your own projects, rather than just the perfect finished product. I'm all for that, partly because my stuff is rarely perfect, and a lot of times what I'm aiming for isn't quite what happens in the end, and it will be good to have a better record of that kind of thing.

Thus! Here are some pictures I took last night of a raw edge applique small project I started.  I've been using interfacing for this kind of applique, as interfacing had been on my list of things to no longer be afraid of, like zippers and binding. I'm working up to those.

The extreme closeups show where I'm having some trouble with machine. I'm told that maybe the bobbin is defective, but I'm not sure. I was too excited to see how this would look to stop and take it all out and start over. I will though, because I really like how this looks. I'm also excited to see this in other pattern and color combinations.

The pattern and the project before I've tacked it all down. I know this is a little dark.

My stitches have gone all kinds of wonky. On the plus side my camera  has a macro function that makes me very happy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

There was indeed a time when we didn't have snow.

My entries to the Fair last summer - they both got honorable mentions. I'd long wanted to get some sort of ribbon at the Fair, and I was so incredibly happy to get these last summer.

Both of my parents entered items into the Fair's judging along with me. My mother entered some seedless blackberry jam. This is a picture of the actual judging of her very jam. She won a fist prize blue ribbon! Unfortunately, my dad's honey was deemed to watery. We didn't know that could even happen. However he has vowed to try again this summer, should summer time ever come again. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Birdhouse Mini Quilt

I discovered a Mini Quilt swap on Flickr, and on a whim, decided to join in. This is the quilt I made. In the next day or two I'll find out who to send this one too and then I'll get someone else's in the mail. It's an idea that's full of win to my mind.

I used freezer paper to piece together the bird house, and treated it like a giant coaster in order to avoid binding, as I have yet to really figure out how exactly to do binding. I just need to get together with my sewing mentor (aka Mom) and practice a bunch. Or maybe I'll start making round mini quilts!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Design Style

There is a design style that I adore, in the way of people remembering their favorite childhood stuffed animal. I connect it with the highlights magazines that were and are ever present at the Pediatrician's office, and the TV show Bewitched, and the Fifties in general. 

Today I have links to two artists the embody this style to me, one I'd very much like to emulate someday when I grow up to be a cloth designer.

This is a lovely entry about Tammis Keefe whose simple lines and colors evoke such sweet whimsy.

The second is a designer from Japan, shinzi katoh. He's also someone who uses simple lines and a limited color palette to evoke friendliness with a heavy dusting of kyoot.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I've been up to lately.

I wish I had more in-progress photos, but I have been sewing up a storm in the past little while. So much so that in the next few days the patchwork bags that I've made will be available for purchase at City Market, This makes me all kinds of fluttery inside. Anyway, here's a little preview of what will be on sale. Also, soon to come will be fabric coasters!