Sunday, 19 April 2009

Aprons and signs of Spring

My front yard and along my driveway still looks like this ......but I had a walk around the property today, and in the sunny open spaces where the snow didn't get piled up from shovelling, I found these flowers starting to make an appearance ...... and this ... rhubarb buds! Now I know for sure winter is finally on its way out!
It's been a really busy work week with an all-day workshop on Wednesday, and a 9 am to 9 pm day at the Volunteer Fair in the Mall on Friday. I had volunteers to help out this year (last year, I was there 12 hours with no relief), so the task was quite pleasant. I managed to get this much of a sock knit ...
... while sitting at our booth in the Mall. I also had some great conversations with other knitters, many of whom find my "toe up" method of knitting socks quite unusual. And of course, I heard from various older European knitters who wince and shudder at the awkward way I hold and manipulate my knitting needles. Hey, it works for me!
I've been putting in little bits of time at my Celtic Table Topper during the week, and was really looking forward to finishing it this weekend. However, I didn't like the looks of the quilting design I had chosen for the border, and ended up carefully picking it all out.
And what does one do when a project gets frustrating?
Start a different project, of course! I've promised myself a dozen new aprons this year ... some of the "old timers" are going to go in the garbage, they're even worn past usefulness as rags! ... so this weekend, I added another four to the apron drawer. (Six more to go!)
I was a bit short of fabric to make my usual "all along the bottom" pockets for this Asian Cat apron, so I made two circle pockets instead, and then folded back a cuff on each of the circles ...
... and discovered I liked that look, although these little circle pockets are pretty much "frou frou" pockets and not very useful. But what the heck! Sometimes you want an apron just for the looks, right? So, I employed the same technique with this pink and block polka dot fabric ...
... which my neighbour says looks very "Minnie Mouse-ish": I think this apron has a 50s look. However, the object of my aprons is FUN and CHEERFUL COLOUR, so I don't mind a little Minnie Mouse in the house!
All this apron-sewing did exactly what I wanted it to do ... let me go back to my Celtic Table Topper with a refreshed imagination. Here's me hand-stitching the outer binding ...
Stay tuned! The finished product will be revealed next post. Have a great week, y'all!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

productive sewing weekend

I've been busy! Little Madam C has been bugging me for some new outfits for her dollies. She has told me at least four times that EASTER IS COMING, and her dollies MUST dress for the occasion! So here is her "Patty Matty" wearing her new Easter Sunday dress ...Little Madam C doesn't know it yet, but I sewed an identical human Easter Sunday dress for her too.

"Patty Matty" lives at my house so "my stupid poophead brother can't wreck her!" "Chrissy Sue" lives at Little Madam C's house because "my stupid poophead brother has already pulled out her hair and coloured on her with felts". Despite "Chrissy Sue's" sad disfigurement, she STILL requires wardrobe updates, so I sewed each outfit TIMES TWO. "Patty Matty", "Chrissy Sue", Little Madam C and myself are all hoping for warm weather soon so dollies can wear this sportsy little number ...... or this summer sun outfit ...It is important to note that the hat is REVERSIBLE, thereby multiplying the total number of available outfits. It is also important to note that photos of "Patty Matty" in a summer sun outfit requires posing with summer sun toys. Since we do not have summer sun toys at my house, we had to resort to bathtub toys. I'll probably never hear the end of THAT! With dollies taken care of, I was able to spend a few hours completing yet another RAGGEDY ANN AND ANDY set ...I'm sure it won't take long to find a home for these two. I wasn't sure I'd like the orange, but it's quite cheery. (PLEASE NOTE -- another February Fever project complete!)

Then I embarked on an impromptu quilting project sparked by this magazine article ...I remembered that I had some green and yellow batik prints ...... and decided they would be PERFECT for this little quilted table topper. Here's the first stages of the project, applying WONDER UNDER and ironing celtic knots to squares ...This part of the project was fiddly and time consuming ...... but once I had all the squares cut out and the celtic knots ironed on, I really liked the way the project was coming together. I love yellow in my kitchen, and could already imagine this on my kitchen table ...I chose to zig zag around the ironed-on celtic knots, and that chore took an entire evening and lots of patience.I quickly learned that I should have been a little more particular about the SPACES between the individual parts of the celtic knots. (I'm not famous for careful attention to small details or anything to do with straight lines.) However, one sore butt and a stiff neck later, all the zig zagging was complete. Here's the table topper with all the blocks sewn together, and the layers of top/batting/backing all pinned together and ready for ... machine quilting. However, that's going to have to wait until next weekend. My sore butt and stiff neck just can't take any more!

So you might be wondering WHY this burst of sewing energy? It has a lot to do with ...... my new sewing machine. I had an elderly Mason sewing machine, but have been having problems with it this past year. Every time it went for a checkup I practically got a hernia CARRYING IT downtown on the bus (VERY heavy even though it was portable). For the price of the last two trips to the shop, I could have bought 2 or 3 NEW portable sewing machines. So I told myself that the next sign of trouble and I would replace it. Which I did recently. This new machine is so light, I can practically lift it with two fingers (which will make it a joy to take to quilting classes)! At the same time, it purrs through repairing denim jeans like a hot knife through butter. And it has a ...... clear bobbin cover so I can see how much thread is left on the bobbin (no more unwelcome surprises), as well as a ...

... built in thread cutter (great because my scissors are never where I want them) on its side. The only negative thing I've found about it so far is ...

... the foot release which is clearly designed and located for a right-handed person (which I'm not). However, I'm looking forward to getting to know my new sewing machine better. Who knows ... if I keep having productive sewing weekends like this, I might take ANOTHER non-academic semester. Or even say to heck with the Master's degree!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

The first week of April

The first week of April. Hmmm. It did THIS outside ...... and did THIS inside:What does that mean in terms of SPRING???