Improvised design wall for lastest baby slab quilt

Okay, okay, it’s my bad, I should have hung up my design wall as soon as I moved in to my new home BUT instead I procrastinated although I was convinced I had all the necessary hardware.

This morning since my design study group is meeting tomorrow I decided I really must do something about the design wall.  Out comes the industrial gray felt with the hanging tabs, out comes my box of hardware, out comes the rubbing alcohol to clean the wall.

The wall is cleaned, the felt is smoothed out all ready to hang.

IMG_0020

OBSTACLE!  what I thought was removable strips for the plastic hooks turns out to be a pack of Velcro removable strips to go directly on the back of a picture frame.  I need the kind with adhesive on both sides to stick to the back of the hooks.

Pause to kick myself (because I did a mega-shop yesterday and could certainly have bought the right product had I realized) and to wonder also why they package three of these Velcro doohickeys when the illustration on the back shows putting two on the back of the picture frame?  Why do I wonder, it’s so they can make everyone buy two packs in order to hang two pictures, and then have two left over.

Don’t let me rant about this way of packaging that forces you to buy more than you need or can use.  Our dustbin lid went missing recently.  New dustbin but will anyone sell you a lid?

Anyway back to the drawing board, er, I mean design wall, and back to a supply I can’t do without, i.e. masking tape!  It’s not pretty but for now it will do.

The two columns on the left are sewn together and the other three columns are still under design.  I’ll let it percolate for a bit and probably move things around.

The colour palette is analagous, which was the design exercise we had set for ourselves at our first meeting.  It was interesting to see what others made of this, because I was the only person to use a neutral in my design.

IMG_0023

It’s good to have feedback from supportive friends who ‘get it’ because originally the bottom corner looked like this (more or less, excuse the masking tape!)  I had focused on the fact that the structure of that block makes it a good corner block, but five fresh sets of eyes noted that the weight/volume is much too light.

After some reverse sewing I was ready to replace the offending block.  Set-in seam strikes fear into my heart, but I found a terrific YouTube tutorial by Kaye Wood which I watched several times and followed, and I’m quite pleased with the result:

IMG_0021

Here’s a close up of the set in corner.  Kaye’s method is very simple.

My only regret is that I got confused and the part which I planned to have on the outside corner isn’t.  However I think with a new to me technique and all the seams it’s better to quit while I’m ahead.  Am I being a wuss, what do you think?  You can tell me, I can take it!

All the tutorials online show how to do y-seams as part of a block like Bright Hopes, Tumbling Blocks or Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  No one has posted a tutorial on “sewing round corners when you need to fix a design flub.”  Hmm, an unmet need.

Advertisements

Quilt Without Guilt

Did you know that fibre can be kept out of the landfill?

Sure you probably send your gently used clothing to the thrift store where someone else can enjoy it affordably.

But what about the other stuff?  The baby bibs with ground in mashed carrots, the dress shirt with the leaky ballpoint on the pocket, the ragged bath towels, the teeny-tiny scraps of quilting fabric, the little bits of batting we all have?

These can all be recycled and come back to life in various forms, such as industrial wiping rags and mixed fibre filling for pillows.

photo(59)

These two bags represent a few weeks of sewing snippets.  With my determination to get my scraps under control, I gathered these up along with some gently used wearables and knick knacks and we headed to WIN, Women In Need, a local Victoria organization that operates a thrift store, recycling clothes, housewares and furniture.  They are able to accept CLEAN mixed fibres such as these offcuts and sell them to companies that recycle them.

photo(58)

Here’s a shot of their parking lot.

This is worth checking out — please make sure that the charity you plan to help can in fact accept textiles for recycling.  One of Oxfam’s biggest expenses is paying to get rid of the stuff people donate that the charity can’t use, and I believe Goodwill has a similar issue.  Also, if it’s old clothing you would wash it first of course!

What’s your best tip for keeping stuff out of the landfill?  Please share!

Things that get me in trouble

In a recent post about process I asked:

Am I just more of a verbal person than a visual one?

My career has dealt with the written word: translating, editing, writing, researching — things that were always encouraged, that came naturally without a lot of struggle.  Certainly no one ever urged me to go to art school, nor did I think of it for myself.

My birth family placed great store on social activism, awareness of issues and politics.  Although with a different perspective, so does Grandpa X, who was watching the news on TV when we first met.

My visual approach to life has made me look like a total airhead on a number of occasions.

When I was out with my father, I saw a line of clothes drying, stretched along a roof line between two chimneys.  To me this was a very impressive image in itself, my father just said “How difficult it must be to raise children in those circumstances.”

Grandpa X and I were watching CNN one day and an interview with a turbaned Iraqi cleric came on.  I immediately blurted out “I’ve already seen this the other day, I remember that wall!”  (The wall in question was worn stucco with amazing weathering on it.)

But now I’m resolved not to feel inadequate because of this tendency.  It’s just who I am, and really not to be taken as proof that I’m someone that doesn’t give a bleep.

Celebrating Freedom with installation art

The hours from Thursday morning to Friday lunchtime were among the most exciting and nerve-wracking of my life.

Since the unrest in Egypt began, our family has not had a moment’s tranquillity.  Even without cable TV (a deliberate choice on our part) we have been following broadcasts and blogs online and trying to stay in touch with Egyptians we know around the world, including the relatives in Egypt who were completely cut off for several days as the regime tried to put a lid on the popular uprising.

On midday Thursday (Pacific time) Mubarak was supposed to give a speech.   It was 40 minutes late, meaning that our prayer time came and went before he even started (although we prayed right after so it still counts).  This is 10 p.m. Cairo time, so it was after 10:30 when he finally spoke.

The speech began with patronizing platitudes about “I am speaking to you as a father to his children.”  Then, “the blood of the young people killed and injured in the unfortunate events will not be wasted because I have ordered a complete investigation and I will hold the guilty ones accountable.”   (I’m paraphrasing here and based on what the interpreter said since my Arabic is less than basic.)  At this point I’m thinking, no, wait, this is not good, this is going the wrong way.  After a couple more minutes the crowds in Tahrir Square started growling and waving their shoes, which by now everyone knows is like giving the finger only worse.

At one point the interpreter started one sentence over three times.  I thought it was the interpreter stumbling, but it may have been Mubarak because one commentator said he seemed to be disoriented.

Important to note that in Egypt, State television showed the speech and not the reactions in the square.  And we had to phone our relatives in Alexandria to tell them to watch, because they didn’t know the speech was scheduled.

We were left absolutely fearful that he had outdone Machiavelli, that everything would end in a bloodbath with hundreds killed as they marched on presidential palaces (there are many to choose from), Army bases, and the television building, and that the regime would spin this as foreign agitators and inflamed students.  On the other hand if the people just packed up and went home (as if!) the regime would say that there were no problems.

I left a window to a breaking news blog open and kept refreshing it to watch developments.  Although we’ve probably had a lot more sleep than friends with cable, who have been getting by on two or three hours, I actually stayed up most of the night as I had to work.  Frequent breaks to check on what was happening, e.g. “The Pyramids are open.  But there are no tourists.”

Finally on Friday morning Pacific Time a relative called to say Mubarak had stepped down.  After jumping up and down and shouting and crying we headed out for candies.  No one had dared to hope for any kind of celebration, especially after the disappointment the day before, and of course red, black, and white don’t match the colours of any North American celebration, so we had to improvise.  The white candies had to be hand picked out of the Valentine’s mix (Wearing a plastic bag as a makeshift glove).  It’s installation art because they were loose in the dish, meaning it couldn’t be carried anywhere, except very carefully around the apartment.  It’s currently disassembled but sorted by colour.  I’m hoping for a party or get together of some kind that I can either reassemble it there or perhaps make sheet cakes and stick the beans on with butter frosting.  We’ll see.

Umm Sprout improvised a bag for the candies we took to prayers, using a Body Shop bag which originally said “thank you Canada.”  This is more exciting than a planned celebration where you have time to either buy or make decorations and favours, and it’s unrepeatable.  Everyone is so euphoric, and yet calmer at the same time.  I really see and hear a change in the people I know.  Abu Sprout sweetly said that he felt sorry that I’m not Egyptian, but right now I almost feel Egyptian!

The Skype’s the Limit ~ Egypt

Since I signed up for the Post A Week challenge, every day WordPress emails me prompts and recent one was, What one piece of technology can you not live without?

There’s a companion post on my homeschooling blog, which is more personal, and said how important it is to have a laminator for homeschooling.   But this is important enough –history is being made, so I’m putting a textile related post here.

Up until this week, I would have said the iron.  If I didn’t have a sewing machine I would still sew by hand, doubtless making more placemats and table runners than king-size bed quilts.  And doubtless being exceedingly grumpy, too!  But without an iron you really can’t quilt, and the old fashioned irons I’ve seen at museums just wouldn’t cut it.

However, now that the Egyptian government has shut down internet, cell phones, and land lines, I would have to say Skype.  With Abu Sprout’s parents there we are in touch on a daily basis.  Now no one can get through, news crews are unable to gather information, and it’s a big black hole.  We just have to have faith.

Several years ago when Umm Sprout was in grade school our then family survived a major ice storm which left millions of people with no electricity.  We were lucky that ours was only off for five days and that we had a natural gas fireplace and stove.  But that was at least man against nature; this is man against man and much harder to accept.

So to me the most important technology is everything that connects us and lets ordinary people share what is really happening, be it Mounties Tasering an immigrant to death, tanks mowing down peaceful protesters in Tian An Min Square, or any other abuse of human rights.

a neeeeeeewwwww low?

I’m as enthusiastic about Dumpster diving as the next person and I’ve had some wondrous finds.  But this is one I’m leaving behind…

and considering we live in a rental complex, some do it yourselfish neighbour or unscrupulous contractor had to lug it in from the street and across the parking lot so our fellow tenants and I get to pay the tipping fee.  And our hardworking apartment manager gets to deal with it.  Tacky, tacky, tacky.

Am I the only one to notice?

Okay, so how do you use the scissors if you don’t already have scissors to cut the plastic loop that’s holding them all together?