23 June 2012

Let me tell you

“It's like — someone comes to dinner. They like the curtains. They like your wife's dress. They like the food. Nice, everything's nice, you're just starting to relax.” He leaned back into the chair. “Then they compliment the dinnerware — almost right when you've left the table, this is — and it turns out they can't even tell between earthen and china. You'd feel — ”


“Not cheated, I'm not going to say that. But, well, what could you call it?”


I like writing, a lot. And as such I have a stash of fiction bits that I've spent time on but that probably won't find their way into a longer work, in large part because they don't match my other writing but also because they're not quite cleaned up. So these posts are  not clutter, I'm not going to say that. But, well, I'm trying to fight my tendency toward hoarding; these are things I need out of my way, for a short while at least. Maybe I'll use them eventually (hopefully!). Until then I'll be posting them one by one on this blog.

22 June 2012

5 patchwork tips which I may or may not use

Patchwork as a craft is a distinct and slightly awe-inspiring thing. It has its own cutting tools, its own presser feet, even its own rulers -- and of course it has its own set of sewing rules. I'm not an expert piecer or quilter by any means, but over the past few projects I've adopted a few habits that help me with my patchwork.

1) Use a textured backing to cut cloth on. If I try to trace and cut my fabric right on my regular sewing board, the cloth slips all over the place. By using felt (glued to a stiff backing), fine sandpaper, or craft foam, I can work with the fabric more easily.

2) When making a lot of similar units, pin and sew them in a large batch. I usually pin them all at once, and then "chain sew" them by simply feeding them one after another into the machine without cutting thread in between units. But I always remember to leave a few centimeters of thread between units! At the end I have a long "chain" of pieced units that I can clip apart and then press all at once.

14 June 2012

Quilting with cardboard again

A new week, a new bag, that's pretty much how I roll.

handmade accordion fan bag with zipper

Yeah, right.

As much as I'd liked to have sewn this up in the single week after I finished my turnback cuff shirt, it's actually a project I started way back in September, before the school year even got underway. I'd been obsessing over the whole "quilting with cardboard" idea and decided to make another bag, with the vague notion that it would have more room, a better zipper, a longer handle, a fuller lining -- and of course a set of board-backed knife pleats all along the front. Every bag needs that.

trimming seams for a bag
Before and after trimming the bottom seams.

But the whole process of making those pleats (sorry, no pictures) was so draining that almost right after finishing them I ditched the project completely. That meant that when I finally went back to this bag last Friday, it had spent about nine months being tossed around, stuffed into closets, sat on, and generally mistreated.

06 June 2012

Turnback Cuffs Completed

Turnback cuffs are cool. They're so cool that they confer incredible amounts of awesomeness on whoever's wearing them, at least in that person's own head. After putting on my turnback cuff blouse for the first time this morning, I can attest to this fact wholeheartedly.

That's right.

(On second thought, I'm not sure I did look that cool at all, seeing as I spent at least a third of the day gawping at my own wrists.)

This is the completed James Bond cuff, or turnback cuff, that I've been working on for so long: