Now I Remember

What it is I’ve always hated about sewing: a Photo Essay.

I finished the last couple of blocks for the Kimono quilt and Sassy and I spent a few minutes moving blocks around to find the best placement. I was so excited to start the sashing…the first set of blocks held together with sashing:

Ooooh, aaaaaaaah – to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum, “Yeah, that’s always how it starts, ‘oooh, aaaah’. Then pretty soon, there’s running and screaming.”

Here, I give you 2 rows held together by horizontal sashing:

But what’s this?

Um, a slight mismatch in the blocks, leading to this:

Fuck. Where’s my knitting?

A Few More Snaps

I had pictures of these the other day, but either forgot to upload them, or Blogger ate them. Here are the last 2 kimonos for the quilt. I really like these 2 because when I first put the fabrics together, I thought, “ewww red and green – like Xmess.” When they were finished, they were much more subtle than that.

These are the fabrics for the last block. My plan is to make 2 and then play with the placement of all the blocks. I only need 9 to complete the piece. Since I’m still a little ambivalent about the flowery blocks, I may chuck those and make a couple more in different fabrics. I can see how this quilting thing can get out of hand…”just one more block”.

Jillian made the suggestion that I farm out the quilting part. I believe I will do that for my queen-sized bed quilt. I feel like I have to do at least one – to understand the whole process. Will I do it by hand? No, I do not have the desire to understand it quite that much.

From her August 16, 2005 post, Carolyn’s suggestion is to practice, practice, practice. She says “Get a bunch of muslin and some batting, and a can of spray baste. Spray baste some 18″ square practice quilt sandwiches and just try it.” This sounds like a good plan to me, besides, I like the sound of spray baste.

So this is my plan for the day – finish those last (ha!) 2 blocks and give quilting a try. I’m sure you’re dying to see how it all turns out.

Things I Love

In no particular order:

1. The financial aid department at UM. Seriously, the Public Policy department let me in a little later than everyone else and I’ve been playing catch up ever since. I didn’t know where to turn in my financial aid documents and as a result they were late. I missed all the deadlines for grants, so I was only applying for loans. They came through for me. The year of hell will be paid for up front. I’ll be paying out the back end for a long time, but at least I don’t have to worry about where the $$$ will come from while I’m trying to get my brain around Calculus (obsess much?).

2. Little Big Man. I sure hope he realizes that for me to go to a football game to watch him play in the band at halftime is a huge sacrifice. Especially since the last time we went to see him play, I accosted no less than 2 dozen people about their atrocious public behavior. Does Miss Manners answer questions about how to stop overshares from strangers in the bleachers?

3. Auntie Twister: If you need something to make you laugh out loud, check out this blog. Hub walked away from me last night, mostly because I was reading it out loud to him, but he couldn’t understand what I was saying…. I was laughing too hard.

4. Harry Potter. Am I the last person on the planet to take this little test?

How cool is that? I lurve me some Hermione! Go take your own HP character quiz.

Better late than never…right?

Finally, I finished my bag from the Lynne Vogel workshop. Here it is in all its twisty goodness. I was a little worried as the yarn sat on the bobbin a little long (still less than the 4 days or bust period), but it didn’t look so twisty while I was kniting. Fortunately, I can’t tell where that bit of knitting is on the finished bag. This is from my Early Pumpkin Patch roving dyed in class. I love the colors, but wish there was more of each one – I guess so the stripes would be wider. I’m looking for a pumpkin charm to put on the drawstring. Sassy loves it and wants to claim it as her own.

Have you seen Jillian’s twisty project? Go have a look and let her know how gorgeous her barberpole yarn is.

Here’s what else I’ve been up to in the last 2 weeks. The Kimono quilt pattern calls for 9 kimonos. I have 8 finished. What I tried to do was have them be complimentary, so I used 3 fat quarters for each pair. One of them has a fabric for the kimono and a complimentary fabric for the obi and the other switches them. The third fat quarter is used for the long strip down the front of the kimono skirt and short strips on the bodice.

I love, love, love the red fabric in these 2. It’s got darker red ginko leaves printed on it with a gold leaf scattered about randomly. The pieces are so small, that I had to work to get a gold leaf in every now and again. I’m not sure I was entirely successful with that – but I’m happy with the squares.

These are a little busy I think. I didn’t like them at all while I was putting them together. Hub said, “they aren’t so bad.” Um, thanks for that bit of confidence. I told myself to keep going and if I really hated them at the end, I could call it practice and make a couple more. I still think they’re busy, but not in a terrible way.

These are my favorites. They’re also the first 2 I did. The orange-leafy fabric is so beautiful. I was tempted to go and get more of each of these fabrics and make all the kimonos the same. Good sense prevailed. How many places can you hang an orange and purple quilt?

I have a gray/black fabric for the sashing and 3 more fat quarters for another pair. I think I’ll make 2 more and use one of them for actual quilting practice. I think Sassy’s Kit doll will enjoy a small quilt for her bed.

Does anyone have any tips for the actual quilting? I find that the closer I get to that part, the slower I’m beginning to work. I’ve had no trouble cutting and sewing, but the quilting is intimidating me. I think I’ll be machine quilting in the ditch, but what color thread do I use? Do I buy eleventy-thousand different spools to match all the fabric? What patterns? Do I outline the kimonos, put something inside them? Has anyone else been paralyzed by these choices or am I the only freak?

I’m Exhausted

I never knew it was possible to be this tired and this content at the same time. Lynne Vogel is a Goddess. No, seriously, GODDESS! She came in on Wednesday night to stay at my house. {A Goddess stayed at my house!} There are very few people I am at ease with instantly – count Lynne among the handful. We talked constantly (almost so much that my throat hurt).

I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with an incredible group of women doing something I truly love to do. Best part? Sitting next to Jillian for 3 whole days. We mumbled, we laughed, we sang, we ate…it’s good to have a great friend.

Friday, we spun. Saturday, we dyed. Sunday, we spun, knit and compared notes like crazy. I have no pictures as Hub took the camera on vacation with him. I’ll snap shots of my roving and my knitting tonight and have them up in a flash.

I love it when my expectations are exceeded so far that I won’t be able to take a class for a while because this one was so good. I couldn’t sleep last night despite being exhausted because I had too many things in my head. There are so many colors, fibers, things to knit. I don’t want to have to sleep ever again.

On a related note, Lynne wanted to go to Trader Joe’s because she loves the place and there isn’t one near her. You wanna know what ambrosia is?

I can hear the angels singing now.

Cranky with a Side of Stream of Consciousness

Man, I wish I was anywhere but here today. I’m thinking of all the things I could be doing at home and wishing I was there.

Do I need another new hobby????? I asked Jillian the other day what a good starter cookbook was. She recommended How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman. I immediately went to my favorite book sites and nabbed a used copy of this tome. I knew I could trust her, she has every cookbook known to woman at her fingertips. This book is amazing. I pulled open the package and skimmed through. Then sat down and opened the book at the very beginning and started to read. How very 1950s – sitting down to read a cookbook. You gotta love a man who tells you that you don’t need to spend $3,000 getting the best of everything before you can cook edible stuff.

And because once I’m obsessed with something, I take it all the way…I’ve been perusing food blogs for a couple weeks. I can’t tell you how hungry this makes me. All that good food and I have to live with the cafeteria upstairs. Anyway, someone recommended Pie, by Ken Haedrich. It came yesterday. Who knew there were this many kinds of pie? Really. My mother makes apple (with 2 kinds of top crust), blueberry, pecan, and pumpkin. This morning I found a recipe for fig and grape pie. Fig. And. Grape. Pie. Have I mentioned my obsession with figs lately? Now if I could just find a receipe for goat cheese and fig pie…

I finished registering for graduate school yesterday. Yes, ma’am, I said Graduate School – at the renowned Ford School of Public Policy. It’s a one-year program that I’m sure will age me 10 years. I have to take calculus. Let me just explain that I have a BA in English Language and Literature. I managed to go my entire undergraduate career without ever having to take a class from the mathematics department. Calculus. Does your head hurt yet?

One thing to look forward to this weekend. Lynne Vogel is coming to do a workshop that yours truly organized. She’ll be here for 3 days – allowing me to spin, dye, and knit like crazy. What fun. I will say there’s a special place in hell for anyone who commits to something and then backs out at the very last minute. Suffice it to say that the woman who did this will not be invited to attend an event I organize again. Ever.

Did I mention I was cranky?

Thursday?

Dang! What the hell happened to my week? Okay, here’s what I got done on Monday:
These are 2 stairs to the left of the photo I showed a couple of days ago. They go from the landing right inside the back door up to the hallway. Hub put all these stairs in when we re-did the kitchen. He was looking for the “distressed pine” look. I love them. There are marks and indentations and the scruffed up pine took the stain beautifully. Now I just have to put eleventy-million coats of polyurethane on them.

I managed to get only 1 complete door polyurethaned on Monday. When I started the door to Sassy’s room, I saw watermarks all over it (like a wet dog shook near the door). I had a fit. Hub said, “Well, just put the varnish on and we’ll see what it looks like.”

I said, “Fuck that! You think I want to re-do what I’ve already done????”

He called the lumber company and they’ve ordered a new door blank.

Here’s what I spent all day Tuesday doing:
Hub was working at his mother’s house and when he came in to get water I said, “Hey, I’ve been using my rotary cutter” (in an effort to distract him from no varnish smells). He said, “Cool.” Never mentioned that I’d taken the week off to finish up home improvement. The man is incapable of throwing guilt. It’s a good thing I can take care of that on my own.

And, ummm, yesterday? I put all those blocks together – and knit a little bit. So, today, I’ve taken myself firmly in hand and said, “Self? It’s time to get some WORK done. Get busy.”

Yeah, when I’m done surfing the blogs.