Friday, December 19, 2014

Finishing Friday - FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm not wrapping anything and will only be sending Christmas cards if I need some time on the heating pad today (which is probable as I had physical therapy yesterday).  This morning, I am crafting!!!!!!!!!

Melodye had a great suggestion for the problem table runners--either doubling the stabilizer or using tissue paper.  I always forget how useful tissue paper can be in the sewing room--apparently I prefer to struggle with things.  But having a PLAN prompted me to stitch up the remaining little monsters strips this morning, which is when I discovered that the problem was in the tan fabric itself.  It's a quilters cotton I bought from Hancock Fabrics, and it is bizarrely stretchy for cotton.  All woven cotton stretches on the bias and a bit in the crosswise direction, but I struggled to even get the strips sewn onto the darn stuff.  I'm not a good quilter, but usually even I can manage straight seems on square pieces.  At least this explains the problems with embroidery--the fabric is stretching too much.  So, I decided to try a fusible shirt tailor interfacing on them,  It's maybe a mid-weight stabilizer and so far,
so good.  I have been so irritated with this fabric that I might have been tempted to abandon them for a bit, but 1) I want my crafting table back and 2) I promised myself I could play with this
After physical therapy I stopped at Joann Fabrics to pick up more white patterned cotton for kimono ornaments,
because I've cut up all I had and am still adding Christmas fabrics.  I haven't ever bought a jelly roll before, (and, of course, have tons and tons and TONS of fabric), but ever since I got this book I have been dying to try making something from it,
 and thought the best way would be to cut extra strips from each cotton as I got them out for other things.  While this is working fine in theory,
because I took a break from fall fabrics and switched to Christmas for kimonos, I haven't gotten enough strips of anything even close to working together.  So, if I finish all THREE remaining table runners AND find a spot on the table (another story), I can play with my new toy!!!!!!!!  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

And It Hasn't Been A Whole Week!

Is everyone else having this sort of December? 

The remaining packages were shipped off last night, and with that, most of the wrapping is done as well.  Or at least it feels like it as I can dawdle a bit on the gifts we can hand-deliver.  Christmas cards are in-progress and I think I only have 2 parties to attend this week--so far at least.  Ho! Ho! Ho!

This morning that darn cat Theo woke me up at 2:00 AM because he was feeling lonely and in need of a cuddle, and I couldn't get back to sleep.  I have never been able to nap, but Theo, after a busy night of keeping the humans awake, slept most of the day--in spite of me waking him up regularly just to retaliate.  (I might be a little cranky when I only get 4 hours of sleep.......)  Such days are not the days for high-mental-function projects, so
there are two new mitten ornaments.  I haven't made many of these this year.  But we've given away almost all the wooden ornaments Andy made, and all of the kimono ornaments that didn't go on our own trees, so the gift supply needed a boost.

And,
 look!  It's YET ANOTHER pair of socks.  I didn't buy this yarn though--one of my friends who is learning to knit had originally tried starting to learn on a sock, which didn't really work out.  Finally, she brought the yarn over here and asked if I could make the socks for her as she's working on simpler (actually beginner-friendly) sorts of projects right now.  So, while I don't have to ADD the yarn to the stash, it doesn't count as coming OUT of the stash either, but I am encouraging another knitter, so stash tally vs. world domination.  It works out.

Speaking of stash, I dug these out today:
They're mostly fingering-weight yarns, and I started with the idea that moving bins around in the sewing room is probably not overly back-friendly and since I was digging out the fingering bin, I wanted to not need to do it again for a while.  BUT, seeing this nice little bag of yarn made me think, "If I used up all this yarn, I'd know exactly how much yarn has been removed from the stash."  This, of course, was the theory behind some of the "basket dashes" I hosted on Ravelry--and which I was not even very good at--but I thought it might be worth another try.  So,
 the first yarn is in progress as I type!  Okay, barely, but we who have scary stashes must cling to what we can.  One of my friends had a baby girl TODAY, and while I do actually (hopefully) already have a baby sweater in the gift bin and while this would be spectacularly lousy timing otherwise, I was really motivated to knit a baby sweater or two.  If it will use up stash, I'm up for anything (well, except moderation or giving yarn away.........let's not get stupid)  So it might happen this time........

And, because I am a crafter and therefore obligated to do really stupid things in December,
I did start two new fall table runners today.  The first one:
 is off to its new owner later this week.  On it, I used fusible interfacing to stabilize the squares to embroider.  The design still pulled a little, so on the next one (far right above) I used regular stabilizer and they pulled a LOT and I actually had to trim the blocks by 1/4-inch just to get them square again.  So the next two are going to be pieced, then I'll try either fusible fleece or regular sew-in interfacing as the batting for the entire project, using whichever one as stabilizer.  We'll see how this works.  I don't actually need to get them done before Christmas as I have other things lined up, but they would make lovely gifts..............

A crafter who CREATES December deadlines when she doesn't really need to????  I need help...........

Thursday, December 11, 2014

And It's Almost Another Week.............

My last post was almost a week ago.  Wow.  At least everything has been good-busy since then. 

Saturday we had tickets to the matinee of "Jersey Boys," which was FABULOUS.  And,
We took a "selfie!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  I can't even tell you how proud we were of ourselves for this.

The show was wonderful--I just couldn't even begin to describe how much fun it was.  THEN we went from there to a "Tom and Jerry" party, which is a drink besides being a cartoon character.  You know how exciting it is when your friend marries someone you like because then you can truly enjoy being with both of them instead of just tolerating the spouse/significant other?  Well, in this case the party was hosted by one of my favorite marriages ever--I knew both of them independently and for a really long time before they ever got married.  When they got married it was fabulous and now they have two cute kids and the Tom and Jerry party is a family tradition dating back to at least his grandparents.  We've never been able to make the party before, so we were thrilled to get there and say hello.

THEN we had a holiday house concert party to get to.  I'm sure I've mentioned that we have a large group of friends who have taken up music.  Anyone who wishes to perform simply signs up and practices.  It's a very informal group and a lot of people are new to instruments, but it's the kind of group who applaud everyone for effort and never pay attention to missed notes or that sort of thing, so it's ALSO a terrific time.  Andy has formed a "trio" with the host and her sister (which sounds strange but isn't), and every year they pick a song and practice at our house.  This year was a guitar trio,
 and they did REALLY well--in my completely unbiased opinion.  I've missed them practicing this week.  We all have a cup of tea, chat and laugh, and then I go upstairs to work on whatever with a live music background.  Hello!  Who wouldn't love that?

THEN the next day we drove out to visit some friends who make their own wine and needed to sample this year's harvest.  Again, I had known both of these people before they ever got married, so again just fabulous people who are a joy to be around.  Fun, fun, FUN weekend.

Monday, of course, I was pretty much flat in bed on the heating pad, but it was totally worth it.  :)


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hello Christmas!

I was trying to be responsible and bought only a yard of the red metallic red fabric because I wasn't sure it would work as a garland, but experimenting with TWO yards would have worked even better.....

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yikes!

It's December!  I'M NOT READY!

But there are 10 new kimono ornaments tonight. Some have already been put on the tree, some are in the gift bin, but these are the two new color combinations.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

.....And We're Back

Wow!  Was that a fast week for everyone else?  It was here--fast and busy.  Whew!

For Thanksgiving we headed up to my parents' ranch two hours away.  Because it's such a long drive, I've only been there once in the last 3 years, and paid dearly for it later, so it has been a while.  The ranch used to belong to my grandparents and is now a corporation between my mother and her twin sister and their husbands, and is now up for sale, so there's been a great deal of cleaning and sorting.  Since I haven't lived there in over 20 years, anything I wanted of mine I've long since brought home, but I did find an old box that belonged to my grandmother that always had spools and small toys in it when I was a kid.  Some of the spools are wooden, so I brought that and will clean it up.  Originally she used it to carry bottles for the twins when they traveled.  It's just one of those things that is totally worthless but carries fond memories.  My mother gave me these:
which are two old curtains that were probably never used.  We moved to the ranch when I was 4, and at that time there was a hired man named Bob who lived in the bunkhouse, and had been there much of my mother's childhood.  He had a Dachshund, so my sister and I were immediately drawn to him because the first thing on our agenda was meeting all the "safe" animals on the ranch and what is  more fascinating to a child than a weiner-dog?  He died when I was still pretty little, but he was a nice man, and there's enough fabric for a couple table runners and maybe a nice bag. 

We came back Friday, stopping at Joann Fabrics in Ontario for the Black Friday sale.  I'm not sure I've EVER shopped anywhere on Black Friday, but that store on Black Friday is less of a nightmare than the Boise store at any time, and I was hoping to find more of the white tulle (found) and the glittery leaf print (didn't find), I wanted to pick up a bolt of paper-backed fusible webbing while it was 60% off, and I still needed two black prints for the wall hanging pattern I bought in Victoria:

They had THE most beautiful completed one hanging up, and we both really liked it, but ever since then I've been trying to line up pieces and supplies for this thing.  It's more complicated than anything I've ever made, so I'm buying fabric in full yards because I figure some of it is going to end up in the blender.  I think I'll be set to go after the holidays though.  The only thing I might not have by then is muslin because I have almost gone through my stash of it.  I'm going on a crafting buying-ban again on January 1, but rather than scramble at the end of the month, I might make allowances for a new bolt of muslin (seriously a bolt--I use it for everything) when I need it.  Or maybe I'll order one before the end of the year.

There has been a definite increase in the fabric stash this fall, which you can blame squarely on these:
 which I bought with some birthday money.  I am fascinated by the color progressions, and have been padding out my fall and Christmas fabric stashes, as they are the only ones even remotely close to having enough colors to be able to do them.  And, in case you were wondering about the sudden obsession with fusible webbing, Andy gave me these for my birthday:
and I pretty much want to make all of them.  I'm sticking with table runners instead of quilts for a while--they're faster, I can learn quilting techniques on them, and I can do them as gifts.  I could do quilts as gifts as well (and have) but the general lag time on them is about 5-10 years so far, so it's not working out well.  I've decided that one either has to shop a lot OR have a large stash for quilting--it's one or the other.  I can live with that.  The fabric for clothes, however, would be a heck of a lot more useful as clothing, so I am currently flirting with the idea of the goal of 115 finished objects and 115 yards of fabric used up for next year.  We'll see........

I'm hoping to finish decorating today, so I'll have pictures soon, but I did have to show you this:
Not only my very first table runner AND my first-ever quilt-type project, it might be the first thing I made after taking up sewing as an adult.  It looks pretty good from a distance.  I didn't actually quilt it, and it's so thin that either I ironed the daylights out of the batting by now or didn't include any.  I have no idea.  I also didn't understand the directions for the binding, so ended up just taking the 2 1/2 inch strips and not folding them, so on the back side I had to iron a quarter-inch hem onto it.  THAT was a long process.  But it was a learning experience, and is looking quite festive on our landing.  And there are a few things on top of it now in case an actual quilter ever got the bright idea to pick it up and check my work..................:)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A VERY Big Day

I am sort of tempted to tell you that I cleaned the sewing room today, but since that seems to imply that either the sewing room should look at least somewhat cleaner OR, as is usually the case in my world, that I have just misplaced a bunch of things that I will spend hours looking for in about 6 months, that would (hopefully) be inaccurate.  Maybe the appropriate thing to say is that I have achieved a new level of personal growth, because I am donating crafting books and magazines to the library.

When you have recovered from the shock, let me say that it started with this:
I had gone into the sewing room to look for a book, and ran across the Christmas quilting book, which is the misguided source of the disastrous folded-ornament attempt to make the ornaments on the cover of the book.  I am generally a very big fan of books and usually find them quite friendly, but there are a few bad apples in every society, and this one insists on taunting me with the cover picture that in no way actually matches the written instructions for that project.  Lest it corrupt any of the other sewing books into such devious behavior, I thought it time for the willful miscreant to find a new home.

It's very hard for me to part with books in general, but especially crafting books, so feeling invigorated by the decision to donate one, I found found a couple more books and two magazines that I just wasn't interested in any longer.

THEN things got interesting.  Many years ago, I had subscribed to Threads magazine.  It is a wonderful magazine, and though it was perhaps (and still is in some cases) way over my head, I always enjoyed reading it.  However, after a few years I decided to stop my subscription and just reread the issues I already had whenever I got the urge.  And seven years later, it hasn't happened.  So, in an act of maturity that I must have borrowed from someone else, I decided to donate them ALL.  And on a high from that:
I went a little declutter crazy!  Or sane, depending on how you want to look at it.  If these had all come from the same place, I would actually have an entirely empty shelf to show for my efforts.  I don't, of course, but it's STILL very exciting. 

For the last couple months, I have been trying to sort through all the non-crafting bookshelves in the house, and after today's purge
I'm going to need a third box.  A third box!  I was on a roll!  I was at least flirting with moderation--right until this newly-found moderate inner voice had the nerve to think, "Wow, you know I really already have a lot of sweaters....." at which point we ceased all communications and have gone our separate ways.  Some people always have to take everything just a little bit too far...........