Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 17, 83 to go: Even more robot pjs

So cute when they're little

I am starting to feel like I am catching up.  Those gnomes won’t make themselves.  And I really do need to master making buttonholes.  Here are this morning’s little robot jammies for my friend Shannon.  She mentioned she liked the retro-robot design when I posted pictures of the ones for my nephews.  I had some fabric left over and offered to make a pair for her son, Cyler.  They are a size 3.  How cute!  And boy do they go fast—When they are this small, there are no side seams.  So these are in the mail for Cyler.

Sewing is quicker than laundromatting
I made these tea party jammies in the spring because it was quicker to make them than go to the Laundromat and do wash.  They have become my favorites.  I still have some fabric left and may even make a second pair because I think this is just so cute.  I just hate to repeat myself.


In the big Joann sale over Thanksgiving, there was a pattern called “pink with green dots” but there was no picture.  I ordered some because I couldn’t imagine how that combination could make me unhappy.  Here is what arrived.  J’adore! I love this combo.  I haven’t decided what to make yet.  I could just make bottoms, but this fabric is just so adorable, I may make a nightgown.  Rumor has it that my niece Lily loves polka dots.  Maybe she’ll be getting something dotty.

One of the reasons I started this 100 days of making blog mission was because I am experimenting with ideas for whatever job I get next.  In my last job, no matter how frustrating it was, I found that shopping for fabric would cheer me up.  I have really been enjoying making something every day and writing about it.  So I am wondering if there is a way to make a living from this combination. 

Maybe at the end of 100 days, I will be sick of it and never want to sew another stitch.  I definitely need the variety and self-determination that I get in deciding what to do every day.  Or is this just a boomerang effect from nearly 4 years of mailing out thousands of personal property tax returns?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 16, 84 to go: Starched bunnies and Medieval Tunic

Just a little starch

I pressed those dish towels I worked on during my travels on the turnpikes and think they just look so cute.   I am especially loving the pink one with the varied tones.  I have some green thread like it and may not be able to resist the urge to embroider more bunnies.

Gettin' all medieval on...
An old friend asked if I could whip up a medieval tunic with a cross on it that her kid needs for school.  I was happy to once I figured out the logistics to get it to her in Chicago in time.  This is made from some of that flannel I picked up over the weekend. I was really happy with the way it has a kind of sueded look to it.  Hopefully her kid will approve.  He says it has to make him look like a soldier.  That kid could use a lesson from the Master Thespian, Jon Lovitz—“Acting!” 

I am feeling so behind on my plans to make stuff.  Thank you all for your encouragement.  It really helps. It feels like Christmas is flying at me at top speed.  I keep thinking of all the things I want to get done before I head out to da burg again.  Tomorrow I hope to finish up a couple of half-made things to ship out and hopefully add a couple of gnomes to Zoe’s tree skirt. 

As long as Felicity and Fergus approve…

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 15, 85 to go: Pink Bunny in Bowl dish towel

It was a bumpy ride.
Travel is exhausting.  And not conducive to making stuff.  Yet I persevered and managed to get most of this bowl embroidered on the bus yesterday.  It was a bumpy ride and more difficult than I remembered from when I was embroidering the green bunny last week.  Then I realized what was different.  I embroidered the green bunny on a bus to New York City on the New Jersey turnpike.  This poor pink bunny was subjected to the Pennsylvania turnpike. That explains everything.  The Pennsylvania turnpike was state-of-the art when it was built in 1940.

Color variations created under a cat.
I used an embroidery floss that has varied tones in it.  I tried to keep the darker hues to the right as I stitched, hoping it would give a kind of sense of a light source coming from the upper left.  I don’t think I accomplished that, but I do like the effect of the color transitions.  Those ladies stuck with Turkey red in the 1880s would be so jealous.
This post is late because I have spent much of today pinned under catlings.  My absence for the last few days made them quite vigilant.  Felicity decided the way to keep me from leaving again was to nap on top of me no matter what I was doing.  Fergus came along and did his checks as well to make sure I am still here.  They are the boss of me.   Lucky me.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 14, 86 to go: Etsy Shop

I ran through all of the things I had brought with me to make on this trip.  Although I was at Joann’s at 6 am for the doorbuster specials (Thanks for the ride, Borg #7 of 8) I didn’t even think to grab a ball of yarn while I was there so I could start another goofy hat.

I felt obligated to the commitment to make something every day for 100 days in a row, so I looked around, completely at a loss until I remembered a certain item on my list.   I don’t have much to show for it yet, but today I started to set up an Etsy Shop. 

It will share the name of this blog: Spinsta at Large.   
I plan to open it in January after the holidays.
Chocolate for a nice hot break
(And get this, I decided on January because it will be easier to think about taxes if they are all in one calendar year –in case it becomes wildly successful.  Who says I didn’t learn anything in that tax department?)

I have a rush-job commission from an old friend that you will see on Sunday. (You’ll see the commissioned item, not the friend, though maybe she will send pictures when it arrives at her place)
In the meantime, I'll catch some zzzzs so I can get to my bus on time tomorrow.  But first, we have to make an important stop at the local grocer for the one thing I love and can’t find around Philly—Coco Wheats.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 13, 87 to go: Finished Bunny at Cookie Jar dish towel

Chocolate Chips, obviously.
So I finished embroidering the dish towel I had started almost a week ago on my bus ride to NYC.  As I was working on it near her sliding door, my mother mentioned that I reminded her of her mother who was always doing handwork at a window.  (You met her mother if you read the Day 1 blog.  She is kind of my guiding light on this project.)

I eventually did manage to buy the flannel I picked out yesterday from for a mere $2/yard.  However, tomorrow morning they are selling it for $1.47/yard at the store.  So I will join the other pajama-sewing nutcases bright and early to see if they have anything good at the store that was not available on line. (Thought it’s hard to imagine beating the lovely Brainiac fabric I posted yesterday.)  I am still glad I bought on line because I won’t have to haul that fabric back on the bus.

I also hope to score a portable full-spectrum light for $2o.  It should help with the handwork and even ward off SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) I would think.

We had a nice Thanksgiving with all of my sisters and their families—25 people in total, including a couple of great kids who are dating my niece and nephew.  We missed my brother and his wife and daughter.  My sister (Borg Designation: #7 0f 8) and I set up 3 parallel tables—like in the Great Hall at Hogwarts—without room for Slytherin. The arrangement worked very well.  The table full of college and high school kids was THE place to be. They really enjoy each others’ company.

It just occurred to me that I made Maria Rodale’s raw cranberry sauce the other day and didn’t even think to mention it here on my “making” blog.  It is delicious and easy.  You process cranberries, a whole orange and the juice from another one along with some sugar and let it macerate for a couple of days in the fridge. It is spectacularly gorgeous as well as yummy.  Not overly sweet, which is how I like it, but you could double the sugar if you like…

Hat for the beast.
Zoe snatched up that hat I made on the bus and was delighted to find it was big enough for her giant mane of hair—she and her friends refer to her gorgeous abundant curls as “the beast.”

The little boys like their new robot pjs.  Their mother was happy the fabric had a blue background—it looked white on her computer when she saw it on this blog.

Clinging to Mom and Raggedies

I was stunned and delighted that Raggedy Maggie and Raggedy Lily accompanied Maggie and Lily to Thanksgiving dinner.  My sister (#6 of 8) told me that since the dolls arrived, Lily and Raggedy Lily have been inseparable.  Lily even takes her Raggedy in her backpack to kindergarten with her.  Both girls were too shy to even talk to me—they only see me once or twice a year.  But they adore the dolls.  You never know what kids will latch onto.   

Another holiday survived.  No known casualties.  In the words of the great philosopher (and my former co-worker in Youth Ministry) Chuck Babiera, “No one died, so that was good.”

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 12, 88 to go: More robot pjs

 Not feeling worthy of this fabric. .
Oh I think I am soooo smart, don’t I?  I got an e-mail from saying they were putting their flannel on sale for 2 bucks a yard at midnight and if I order on Thanksgiving Day, I can get free shipping. 

I can not resist $2/yard flannel, especially when so many of you dear readers have been clamoring for pajama bottoms of your own.   I thought I would be clever and log in to my Joann account, do my shopping and at the stroke of midnight, hit “send” in order to avoid missing out on any of the good designs. 

So what happens at 11:15 pm?  The site crashes.  I am sure it is more "flannel freaks" like me hoping to minimize their annual before-dawn flannel raid on Friday at the store.  Based on previous experience with the site, I have little hope that it will be repaired by midnight, or that I will get first dibs on the adorable flannels I have selected. (so far.  I still have another 50 designs to pick through)  So waah.   I will just have to take my chances and see whether anything good is left by the time my order actually can go through.

Robot pjs for the bros.
In the meantime, I made the other pair of robot pajamas I cut out Friday.  I will be seeing my nephews tomorrow and wanted to have a pair for each of them.  The robot fabric is available on the Joann site—or will be once they have it back up and running. $2/yard…(PJ bottoms take about 2 ½ to 3 yards)

Tomorrow will involve the hordes arriving for Thanksgiving, except for my brother and his family who are painting their dining room and installing hardwood floors in their house in the Deep Baptist South.

It will be good to see everyone,  and hopefully the visiting will be long enough to enjoy each other’s company but too short to get on each other’s nerves.  There is something about returning to the scene of the crimes (being teenagers all at once in one house) that can set off PTSD, I think.  Hopefully the flashbacks will be of humorous anecdotes rather than traumatic ones.  I find it helps not to get one’s hopes too high and be pleasantly surprised rather than deeply disappointed by these get-togethers.   Crossing my fingers that everyone will have gotten a good nap BEFORE we are all together.  That should keep the whining and crabbiness to a minimum—for everyone from age 4 to 81.

Happy Thanksgiving. And Good Luck!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 11, 89 to go: Striped Crocheted Hat

It’s been a challenging day.   Travel days tend to be like that.

Although I had that tea towel to finish embroidering, it was so dreary and rainy, there wasn’t enough light on the bus to be able to make the tiny stitches necessary.  So I settled for crocheting this hat.  I just made it up as I went.  I was so glad I had this project.  I find the rhythm of crocheting is so deep-seated in me that my mind can just wander and work on all manner of problems and notions. 

It also reminds me of all those nights crocheting with Grandma while we watched tv.  I remember watching her and being fascinated with how quickly she was able to work an afghan.  Today I watched my hands speed through maybe even faster than she did.  It always profoundly touches me when I feel her presence come through me and the memories wash across the stitches.  She died 30 years ago when I was in college.   Yet she still teaches me.

Since I was at my mom’s, neither Felicity nor Fergus were available to supervise my work.  I did, however, have Monty.  He is such a friendly and handsome boy.  He is a boarder at my mom’s while his family has run off to live in Mauritius.  They will be back to see him every summer, but at his age (12 or 13) they felt he wasn’t up to the rigors of international travel. (When he was younger he lived with his family in Senegal)

Challenging as this travel day has been, at least I wasn’t on the turnpike before this awful spill.  What a way to spend Thanksgiving week. I wonder if they will think of it as Black Tuesday?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 10, 90 to go: Abduction

I had a big plan for making stuff even when I was traveling.  I even had a back-up plan for making something when I got back just in case I couldn’t get anything made on the road.
This is my life.

But the bus ride home interfered.  Apparently someone thought it would be a good idea to show a movie on the bus.  Whether I wanted to watch it or not, the sound was piped throughout the cabin.  This is a problem for a Luddite like me.  I refuse to haul an MP3 player around with me. I want to hear the sounds of my actual life rather than cut myself off from them.  This is the first time I wished I could have muffled what I was hearing.  This movie was nothing like my real life.

As it turned out, the bus lights were not bright enough for me to embroider under.  And with the movie playing, there was no way I would be able to get any reading done.   It seemed that my only option was an attempt at a nap.  (Having grown up in a house full of babies and toddlers, I learned to sleep through pretty much anything, which was very helpful in college dorms.) 

The Dreaded Highmark HQ
But I didn’t learn to sleep through this train wreck of a movie, Abduction.  Not only was it playing on the screen at the front of the bus, but when I tried to look out the window, the reflection of the screen was all I could see.   Something familiar caught my eye--a building that said “Highmark” on it.  Uh oh.  Was some of this movie filmed in Pittsburgh?

Having lived in da burgh for 10 years, I found I could not avert my eyes.  I searched every scene for familiar landmarks and buildings and was rewarded about every 5 minutes.  There were good actors in this movie—Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver, Maria Bello & Jason Isaacs.  Most of them got killed off far too early.  This left that werewolf kid from Twilight and a 90210 escapee with an uncanny resemblance to Frida Kahlo to carry the Swiss cheese plot.  Sadly, Abduction sucked the life out of me and by the time I got home, I was just too exhausted to put anything together.
Frida Kahlo, Zombie Movie Star?
I will have to make up for this lost day by making at least 2 things tomorrow. The last time I took this particular ride, I brought yarn and a crochet hook and made a hat that my niece snatched from my hand the minute I offered it.  So I am going to take a crochet hook and more yarn with me this time too.  Hopefully the bus will have wi-fi and allow me to post pictures of whatever I make. 

The big question as of today is whether I will be able to resist Joann Fabrics on Black Friday.  They love to put pajama flannel on sale. 

Gratuitous image of Jason Isaacs

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 9, 91 to go Bunny dish towel

Almost done!
On the bus ride yesterday, I worked on embroidering another dish towel.  I was a little distracted by the conversation of two 20-somethings sitting two rows behind me. For an hour and a half it was the usual bands they liked, roommate problems etc. And then she starts explaining to him her polyamorous lifestyle. She saves THAT for the last 10 minutes of the ride?  Geez! Couldn't she have started on the topic sooner? 

Actually, it struck me as a sad story--apparently some guy in his 30s convinced her in college that polyamory was the way to go.  All I could think was that he was a pervy old man refusing to give up his long-term partner and finding a way to get some nubile college chick on the side.  Somehow she seemed to think she was getting something good from being in a relationship that could not possibly be exclusive while she was young.  But I never heard a word about love or intimacy or commitment. Not as components, not as intention, not as expectation.   That just made me sad. It sounded like she was trying to impose some sort of rational theory on relationships,. Sage old spinsta that I am , I could have assured her that was pointless.  At least in my experience, love sneaks up and bonks you on the head--no matter how rational you try and be about it.  I just wish I had had a copy of Keeping the Love You Find in my bag to hand her on my way off the bus.

L-R Nicholas, Gary & Tony
I didn't get anything done on my making project today because we went to Baby Loves Disco where there was 80s music, a bar and children dancing their butts off with their parents.   Here are the dancers in question.

Spinning Leelah in the Vortex of the West Village
After so many years of talking about each other, I finally managed to introduce Leelah and Tony TO each other.  Gary and Leelah hadn't seen each other since we were in college 28 years ago. Today, they ignited a bond over their mutual love of 80s bands and dancing... Tony and Leelah talked shop about being massage therapists. And then there was Nicholas. He immediately fell in love with Leelah as most men do.  He is an outrageous flirt. He spent a good half hour turning Leelah's chair into a carousel and spinning her around and around.  Leelah reports that this is not a good combination with Jack Daniels.

I shall return to the catlings tomorrow. I missed having them sleep on me, although Nicholas came and snuggled this morning while his dads slept in, so that was almost as good. :)  More portable making on the agenda for the next few days...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 8, 92 to go Pajamas, pajamas, pajamas

Big fan of pajamas.
Despite Fergus’ claiming this fabric as his own nap spot, I was able to cut out 3 pair of pajamas today. 

I also learned an important lesson.  Just because you still have clean underwear, that does not mean you don’t need to do laundry.  So I did laundry.

Pajamas. No Gnome.

Then I put these two pajama bottoms together. 

More robots.

I still have another robot pajama bottom to do for my other nephew. 

I have tried to generate some projects that will be portable since I will be spending a lot of time on buses in the next few days.   

Tomorrow I visit Gary, Tony and Nicholas in the Big Apple! We are going to occupy the baby disco.  Sunday I will finally get to see Leelah’s new place.   
And then, all of a sudden it’s Thanksgiving! How did that come so quickly?  So there will be crocheting and embroidery coming up. Although I may not have a chance to blog on the actual day I make it, I am sticking with my plan to make something every day. So the blog may be slightly sporadic, but there will be new stuff to see.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 7, 93 to go: Robot PJs and Gnome #1

The first thing I made today was a batch of Ghirardelli brownies.  Nothing special, but a good source of warmth and chocolate in the kitchen (which is also where I sew.)

Just the right size.
Then I whipped up the robot pajamas.  They went really fast.  My sister sent me her kids’ measurements and I am kind of proud that I predicted what size her kids would be now when I cut them out earlier this year.  (I must have cut them out too late for them to get any use out of them last winter.)

I learned that another of my sisters is reading this blog because she guessed the general concept of the tree skirt.  Of course she had an incredibly unfair advantage since she is Zoe’s aunt.

Gnome #1?
This is Zoe.  She loves GNOMES.   No one can really explain why.  She just does.  So she dressed up as a garden gnome for Halloween in this gorgeous costume my sister Barb made for her. (Barb is her mom.)   Zoe is an incredibly creative person.   
Dressing up as a garden gnome is one thing.  Having the leadership skills to convince all your friends to dress up as lawn ornaments is even more impressive, don’t you think?  The group included a Kissing Dutch Girl, Flamingo, Lawn Jockey and best of all, a BVM.  Because no lawn is complete without Our Lady of the Lawn.

So the official name of this design is The Amish Gnomes of Whoville.  Amish because, like Amish dolls, they won’t have faces.  Whoville because it occurred to me that a bunch of gnomes holding hands around a Christmas tree was an awful lot like the big musical number in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (The Boris Karloff cartoon version, NOT the horror show that involved Jim Carrey. Anyone want to sing along? Dahoo Doris, Fahoo Foraze Welcome Christmas, Christmas day.  Just wanted to make sure it was stuck in your head too if it was gonna be stuck in mine)

There are a total of 21 gnomes who will encircle the tree.  My plan is to make each one different and individual somehow.  This is the first gnome.  She is at the far right end of the skirt. Hopefully my design process will come together better as I work my way toward the front of it.  

Gnome #1
This one is very loosely based on Zoe’s Halloween costume.  Green waist cincher, red hat, braids, white peasant blouse and then a skirt with a kind of miniature PA Dutch print I had in my stash.  I don’t have any yellow in my stash. Or orange.  So I went with the red heart fabric for the apron.  It seemed Christmasy. Hearts are big in German folk art.

So from here until Christmas, you can expect to meet the rest of the Gnome Collective.  If you have any ideas for gnome costumes or tributes, I welcome them.  Should there be a Miss Piggy gnome, for instance?  Or perhaps a Browncoat gnome.  Zoe won’t know what it is, but I will.   Maybe I will include characters from musicals she loves. Wicked, maybe?

Anyhow Grubsneerg, you came the closest.  You want pajama pants or a sleep shirt?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 6, 94 to go: Zoe’s Tree Skirt (Part 2)

It matches the thank-you card!
When I opened my email this morning, I discovered that one of my sisters actually reads this blog.  Who knew?  She wanted to make sure I knew what size to make those pjs for her boys—you know, the ones that I didn’t work on yesterday.  So I guess I am going to have to break down and assemble them.   I got a very sweet thank-you note from her sons in the snail mail today. (I had sent them some magic trick decks of cards)

Note to my sister: Hey Martha, this is the fabric I picked out for your kids’ pajamas.  Based on the image on the thank-you card, I am guessing you like it?

I worked on Zoe’s tree skirt again today. I stitched that ginormous rick-rack to it and discovered that I have really good spatial relations skills.  I had about 4 yards of it, which was not enough to put around the outside edge of the skirt as I had originally envisioned.   Yesterday I had pinned it in place to get an idea of how it might fit into the design I had in mind. 
Arbitrarily, I decided to sew it 4 ¾” from the edge.  Not 4 ½”, not 5”.  I have no logical reason that 4 ¾” struck me as right.  I basted the rick-rack in place and discovered I had found the circumference that was just right for the amount of rick-rack I had available.  There was about an inch left over at each end, which was perfect to tuck under to finish the edge.   I could have done math out the wazoo for hours to figure it out.  But it turns out, at least for today, all I needed was to follow my intuition. 

Any guesses?
I also worked on a series of pink sections that I had started making last night.  I stopped when I got tired of the intricate cutting, thinking I probably had another dozen or so to make.   Today I pinned them in place only to discover I had gotten tired of making them just as I'd made the last one I'd need!  I am feeling quite triumphant about my sense of space when it comes to sewing.  I don’t know how I did that, and am wondering if anyone would be impressed if I put that on my resume.  This is what the back looks like today.  You can see the straight line of the basting on the large rick-rack, the curvy stitching along the bottom edge of the rick-rack and then a line of stitching at odd angles above.  Can anyone guess what I am making?

I am in awe of my spatial relations skills today.
How about now from the front?  Any ideas? Please guess in the comments section below. If you guess right, I will whip up a pair of pajama bottoms for you.  I thought up a name for this design—as if it were an artwork on display in a gallery.  I will reveal it tomorrow, along with a sample of one of the pink sections finished.
So far, blogging daily has been really helpful to my getting-through-the-day process.  The discipline was tough to force myself into-both making something every day and then writing about it.  I don’t feel like I have gotten into my writing groove yet, but I do sense I am getting somewhere.   
If you want to read an incredibly entertaining blog, I highly recommend checking the link here to Sharon Wheatley’s blog, My Own Space.  She is married to a guy who went to school with my younger sisters.  She is a Broadway musical actress. He is a music theater professor and music director.  They live in NYC and have two daughters with the most lovely literary names, Charlotte and Beatrix. Sharon writes in the funniest voice and manages to make both the crises and the daily drone of life entertaining, exciting and full of cliffhangers. She is also the author of a book called Til the Fat Girl Sings. How can you not love a book with that title? (And it's really cheap on Amazon right now.)

I love Fleece.  And also shrubbery. Ni!
Apparently today was Felicity’s day to take the watch.  She perched herself in the middle of the table for a while on alert.  Then she crawled into the pile of fabric and took a nice long nap.  She is a big fan of fleece fabric.

As I was finishing up this entry, Fergus jumped up on the table to play with the mouse.  Not a toy mouse.  The computer mouse. I had no idea he understood IT.

Day 5, 95 to go. Tree Skirt (Part 1)

Pajamas didn’t happen today.  I looked at the cut-out pjs and just wasn’t in the mood to zip them together.  Instead, I decided to start on something that has been hanging over me for a couple of years.

When my first niece Katelyn was born, I started a tradition of giving a Christmas ornament to each of my nieces and nephews on Christmas Eve.   I try to find them ornaments that reflect their interests and obsessions.  By the time they graduate from high school, they should have a collection of ornaments that serve as a kind of timeline of the story of their lives. 

To complete their collections, I give them tree toppers in their senior year of high school.  For the following years, I give them other stuff that would complete a tree—lights, plain ball ornaments, a tree skirt...

So I started working on Zoe’s tree skirt today.  This is all I have done so far. This will take a while, but hopefully it will be just right for her when it’s done.  Then I have to do one for Kathryn who is a college freshman… I don’t have that one designed in my head yet.

I didn’t realize just how involved the catlings get in my creative process.  When I put the sewing machine away for the night, Fergus came over to see what I had accomplished so far. 

Thank goodness for his supervision. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 4, 96 to go: Peace Sign PJ Bottoms

Last autumn, I sent care packages to my nieces at college.  I made them chocolate chip cookies and pajama bottoms.  I put the cookies in cute tins and told them they can return the tins to me and I will refill them, but they have not done so.  Oh well.  There are plenty of people who would have gotten the tin right back to me… College kids are just so busy, I guess.
One of my nieces told me that when her friend Carleigh heard about the care packages, she was jealous because her aunt never makes her pajamas.  I cut these out last fall, but never managed to stitch them up.  So today’s creation is pajamas for Carleigh.  Hopefully they will fit. All I know is that she is “tiny.”  I figured groovy peace signs should work for most college girls.

I have another pair of pjs already cut out for one of my nephews, so that will probably be next.  I have to find out how much he has grown since I cut them out.  They may go to his younger brother at this point. 

I am still trying to figure out how I can have so many started, but not finished projects around here. Hopefully this 100 days will let me drive down that pile. I think this may be pajama week here.   I really have a lot of flannel picked out for friends and family… It takes up a lot of room…

Oh, and then there is the nightshirt I made for a friend.  I got a new sewing machine and haven’t tried to figure out how it makes buttonholes.  Tomorrow I must learn the buttonhole feature.  That’s all that stands between me and finishing that nightshirt…  What are these psychological roadblocks that keep me from finishing, I wonder?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 3, 97 to go. Embroidered tea towel

Stamped Towel waiting for me to  find the floss.
Today’s project was embroidering this tea towel.  Way back in 1870, a fad for the embroidery which came to be known as redwork took hold because a cotton thread called Turkey Red became available.  It was colorfast, so ladies could embroider to their hearts’ content, bleach the heck out of their linens and still have color. Better yet, it was CHEAP.  So everyone could afford it.  Pretty soon, you could buy 6” squares of cotton fabric stamped with an embroidery design for a penny and then spend another penny on the Turkey Red.  The redwork moved from tea towels to quilts with those squares. 

"Limework" Sounds catchy, right?
I think there is something charming and kitschy about the iron-on stamp designs you can get from AuntMartha's.  I came across a set of days-of-the-week kitchen designs featuring cute little bunnies.  (I have a thing about bunnies I blame Peter Rabbit for)  I thought it would be fun to do the set in colors I love—shades of hot pink and lime rather than the traditional red.  (Heaven forbid I do anything the way someone else did it.)

I stamped these a few months ago, but couldn’t find the embroidery floss I had bought for it.  Today I discovered it in its cubbyhole exactly where it should have been (but hiding behind some spray adhesive and turpentine…)  So I stitched this one.  I also started noticing there are a lot of unfinished projects around here that I should really finish.  I came across a cross-stitch I was working in wedgewood blue and dusty rose.  That puts it into the 1986-1990 time period.  Just finish it already.  Those colors should be "in" again soon, along with hunter green and the inevitable country stencilled duckage of the period.

I also remembered today why I end up choosing sewing over all the other things Grandma taught me.  IT GOES FAST.  I can make a pair of pajama bottoms from cutting out the pattern to finish in about an hour and a half.  I can make a dress in a day or less. Everything else seems so tedious and time consuming by comparison.  I got a late start today, but managed to stitch through and finish this one towel.   

Felicity stood watch and/or napped through much of the stitching. Here she comments on her annoyance at being awakened when I finished. 

Here is the towel, pressed and hanging with its predecessor.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 2, 98 days to go: Polymer Clay Earrings

I thought it would be fun to make earrings with the Clover Market logo to wear when I volunteer at the booth.  

The brief shining moment.

For a brief shining moment, I did have this pair, but one broke.  I made another and then it broke. That tendril is tricky and delicate. But it was actually one of the clover leaves that cracked off first.  (Theoretically, repair is possible with Krazy Glue, but that was not my experience.) So I will make another one before the next market in April. 

Good thing I have plenty to make replacements with.

This was the first time I have experimented with polymer clay. These earrings took much longer to make than I had imagined.  Getting the feel for the material, as well as mixing the right shade of green took time, ingenuity and a surprising number of colors

Felicity monitors the situation and keeps warm.

Most importantly, I was reminded that cats are born hall monitors and heat seeking missiles.   Felicity felt it was her duty to monitor my activities, although I think this was just an excuse to get close to the warm toaster oven. 

Fergus took the next shift.