While coming up with ideas for pretty, useful, and easy gift projects for gather here, I whipped up these plus-sign coasters which make for a super-quick project. Not too much to say about them other than the hand-quilting took longer than the actual construction of each coaster - they were that speedy and easy to make. You can bang out a batch of these for the kids' teachers or for some of your favorite co-workers.
I put together a top to use as my demo for class today and ended up not even touching it (people were at different stages of completion, I just wanted to get everyone caught up, used the students' WIPs for demos, yadda yadda). It's a little... chaotic? Busy? Something? It's pretty different from my prototype quilt for the class, that's for sure. I like the colors, though, and plan to go ahead and quilt it.
Was that too subtle? Let me say it a little more clearly:
Still too quiet? I'll say it loudly and proudly:
I have never understood what all the fuss is about over a four-letter word that doesn't carry any sort of racist, sexist, or classist stigma. It's just a word. I use it as filler. I use it casually. While I sometimes use it to express contempt or frustration, I don't necessarily always associate it with vitriol or hatred. It's just a colorful adjective I use to pepper my speech. I use it when I'm psyched, happy, or enthusiastic about something. "Fuck yeah!" is a rowdy cry of joy. I use it jokingly when chatting with friends. Context shapes usage.
Today I am thankful for this kid who lights up my life with his joy and enthusiasm. I never thought I would be able to be a mom, and yet here we are. It is wonderful and challenging; makes my heart burst with love and wracks my nerves with worry all at once. I am thankful for this opportunity and thankful for my doodlebug. It hasn't always been easy with the postpartum depression, but I'm doing what I can to recover and make my kid and myself happy. I'm thankful I have a supportive and loving partner in all this. He has been the best, and I appreciate every little thing he has done to make our lives better.
By the way, happy Movember! I cannot believe it took me this long to get around to our annual Movember photo. I love how excited the kiddo gets over it, too. I'm looking forward to many years of this:
And what's Thanksgiving without a little pie?
Hope you and your loved ones are having a fabulous Thanksgiving.
It feels great when in the midst of a crazy case of crafty A.D.D. or some serious startitis you can actually finish a project or two. That's two more quilts to cross off of my whackadoodle-long list. Wooo! Satisfaction! More on these quilts later this week.
I was lucky enough to come across this piece by swoon today. If you don't know who she is, you should. She blows Shepard Fairey and most of the other "street art" boys out of the water. She's been doing her thing for a long time, and she is amazing. Her exhibit at the ICA is soon drawing to a close, and I need to go see it asap.
Ah, the ever-popular mugshot.... It comes in so handy when you want to make a pretty picture and highlight the lovely aspects of a handwarmer/wristwarmer, like the color and texture. It makes the world's easiest project seem interesting and attractive. I love these handwarmers because for some reason this shade of rose strangely appeals to me and because they were a quick and easy, mindless project that I was able to zone out with while watching old episodes of 30 Rock, as comforting and cozy in its concept as its ultimate utilitarian purpose. I want to emphasize the loveliness of the single crochet and the warmth of that rose and hide the fact that I accidentally increased and decreased every other round which made for Frankenseams that zig-zag along my the inside of my wrists. I want to highlight the sheen of the silk/wool blend and not kvetch about the fact that it is super-sticky yarn that did not like being ripped out. In fact, I had to throw my starting chain and the next row away because I had too many stitches and wasn't able to pull them out in order to start over again. We won't speak any more of that. Just imagine yourself sipping on something warm and tasty while wearing these warm and toasty mitts. Mmmmm, yes.... There. Much better, right? Now go make yourself a pair, because everyone needs some squishy crocheted wristwarmers. (Basic recipe: Chain stitch 29, SC into 28 and join to form a cylinder, SC for 16 rows, SC back and forth for 8 rows, join again and decrease to 24 stitches in the join row and the next, SC for 4 rows. Alter to your taste and measurements.)
Class was great tonight! I love that feeling - when everyone is enthusiastic and open and they get it. It reinvigorates my enthusiasm about making stuff. It becomes an unspoken mutual exchange, and it's kinda awesome as hell.
Too tired to quilt more tonight, but I'm hoping to get this pretty little sucker done tomorrow. I might also have something more interesting to say about improv sewing (and I might even have the ability to better articulate it).
So speaking of simple, satisfying projects, here's one I whipped up recently that only took about half an hour to complete. I was inspired to make patchwork tea towels the moment I saw toweling at gather here. Funny coincidence that - Matt and I had been talking about no longer using paper towels in our home, and lo! I walk into gather here, and see they now carry toweling. Perfect! (So really, these are intended to be used as hand towels. Whatever.) I bought a few yards and set to work. I had all these leftover scraps of Outfoxed from another project and wanted to use every last bit of it. I combined those with some Castle Peeps I had cut a while ago for a demo and some other matchy-matchy scraps. They work so well together:
So here's how you do it. First, if you want to add a strip of patchwork as your design element, piece that together now. I used 2 strips composed of 9 2 1/2 inch squares pieced together. Next, score each strip on the wrong side (using a hera marker) 1/4 inch from the top. Now cut your tea towels to size. As these were already 17 inches wide and hemmed, I only had to concern myself with the length. I cut them to 24 inches using a rotary cutter. Also, you should cut 2 strips of fabric 2 inches wide. Cut from selvage to selvage (the width of your fabric) that way you get 2 pieces at about 20 inches or so from each strip.
Iron your toweling and set aside. Take your 2 inch strips and make tape out of them - iron them with both sides folded toward the middle:
Let's sew these onto the ends of the toweling. First, align the center of the tape with the edge of the toweling. You want to see only one half of the tape. Make sure you have overhang on each side. Cut away most of the overhang so you have about 1/2 an inch peeking out on each side, like so:
Fold that overhang twice and press the hell out of it. Now fold the other half of the tape over the edge of the toweling and press the hell out of that:
Now stitch that sucker up about a scant 1/8 inch away from the top edge of the tape:
Use your hand to guide you because it's easier and less fussy than using a million pins to hold the tape in place:
Repeat for the other end of the toweling. Look at that edge. Aw yeah!
Now position your patchwork strip. In this case, I wanted it to be 3 inches from the bottom, so I marked the toweling at 3 1/4 inches to indicate where the patchwork should line up (remember, we're using a 1/4 inch allowance when sewing, so that 1/4 inch I added there disappears). Pin it right side down pointing toward the bottom of the toweling and sew up that bottom edge:
Once it's sewn down, flip that sucker right side up and press the bejesus out of it. You remember how we scored it earlier? That makes it easy to fold that top edge down 1/4 inch and press it nice and flat:
Now topstitch about a scant 1/8 inch away from the bottom edge of the patchwork:
Do the same for the top edge:
Take your overhang, fold it in twice, press it, and sew:
When sewing that, lock your stitches a little before and slightly after the width of the strip to really secure it:
Hooray! You have tea towels! Go forth and prettify your kitchen. Or just wipe stuff up with 'em. Because they're useful like that.
Ah, placemats - such a quick, easy yet satisfying project. And? They pretty up the place. This one's the prototype for the class I'll be teaching at gather here this Tuesday. Of course, I forget how teeny our humble little kitchen is and use the 50 mm lens when I can't get more than a couple of feet away from the pretty. Derf. But hey, enjoy this detail shot:
Yesterday while the kiddo napped, I got busy and finished this triangle top. All I had left to do was join the strips, so I was able to whip it together pretty quickly. Now to quilt and bind. The quilting itself is going to be easy as I already know what I'm going to do. The binding? Well, considering I have three quilts sitting here awaiting their bindings right now, I'm half-tempted to just birth this quilt because that will be easier and might work well for what I have in mind for this project. I'll get to that later this week.
Meanwhile, I've got some bindings to work on! Hope you're having a lovely crafternoon.
Some days are not all that interesting to write about, though they are lovely and full of laughter and hugs and other smile-making stuff. I'll spare you what's most on my mind because the subject of parenting is the most exhausted and exhausting topic on the internet (and IRL). The park? Super-fun but in a "you had to be there" kind of way. Play sessions? Storytime? Yeah. Probably not as exciting to hear about it as it is for the kiddo and me to enjoy it first-hand. Scratch that - definitely not as exciting. I will say that I am incredibly happy that we've reached what feels like an important milestone, and that's getting the kiddo to sleep by himself in his own bed. While in the grand scheme of things I realize it's nothing, right now it just feels like a huge deal, a major accomplishment on both our parts, and it is making me sing "Fuck yeah!" and do a little victory dance as soon as he's away in dreamland.
Oh yeah, and uh, this happened:
Yes, it is what it looks like. I know. I know. Oh look! A squirrel!
I hate machine-binding - partly because I suck big hairy badger ass at it. and partly because it just doesn't look as lovely as hand-binding. I'm gonna suck it up and try to salvage this mess later. For now, I clearly see what I did wrong. I gave my initial seam a 3/8 allowance, which was really just too much and compromised the amount of binding I would have on the other side. If I ever try this again, I will use a 2 3/4 inch binding, give it a strict 1/4 inch allowance, be more meticulous about the join (I would have never been so sloppy with one of my quilts - why allow myself that on a smaller object?), and make sure I have at least 1/2 inch of binding on the back (or between 1/8 - 1/4 of an inch difference between the front and the back, with the greater amount on the back). Ugh. Until the day comes that I try this again, I am going to stick to hand-binding even if it is so much more time-consuming.
In the meanwhile, oh hai! Look at the kiddo's pretty lashes!
He is so happy-making. I am thoroughly enjoying his toddlerhood. He is starting to speak more clearly and cracks me up by saying "Bye-bye, booger!" when I clean his nose.
I've been a little stressed out about the fact that I keep getting kick-ass, breath-taking Braxton-Hicks contractions. I know sometimes some women get them early, but it's still a little worrisome. So I need a mindless project to keep me busy and calm. Never underestimate the soothing properties of crochet, which combined with the super-simple, super-easy construction of wristwarmers make for the perfect project for this time. These wristwarmers are chunky and meaty but so squishy and warm. I love this silky wool, though it's a bitcharooni to rip. I'll probably have the second one finished tonight.
Oh, color! So juicy! So happy-making! I love playing with it. I love to surround myself with it. It just makes everything better.
At the moment I'm also enjoying the immediacy of using my phone's camera to take snapshots as I go about my day, then taking those snapshots and processing them with Instragram or other apps with fun filters. I'm growing more comfortable with the idea of using these snapshots on the blog. Sometimes a blog post is just that, isn't it? Just a quick snapshot of life. I don't have the energy to write lengthy detailed blog posts about whatever I'm working on or to bang out project upon project and give myself tons of material. So little pops of color, snippets of current inspiration, and WIPs will have to do, and I am actually pretty happy that.