otherstuff

Block 1 of 4 in my "Going Slightly Blind Miniquilt"

I thought it would be a good idea to convert one of my favorite graphs that I’ve stitched on paper a few times into a mini quilt. I’m still irrationally frightened of the sewing machine, so I’ve decided to hand sew it.

I’m not rushing to finish this — I want to take it slow and now that I have one block down, I’ll be moving back to embroidery very soon. I have a busy June and July planned for myself.

Seems like everyone has an English paper piecing project in the works. In the past, I’ve dabbled with hexagons, but sort of gave up after a little bit. I just wasn’t feeling it for whatever reason.

Things around my place have been busy the past few weeks. We took a little trip to Florida, my daughter had her 7th birthday, we’ve had softball games and all kinds of stuff happening. There has been precious little time to really dig into a project that will take a good chunk of time. So instead I’ve been doing some little things. A few tiny buttons, a little bit of crochet (which is totally new for me) and a little paper piecing.

I’d remembered that I wanted to make a little ball — a dodecahedron, to be technical about it. It’s 12 pentagons put together and stuffed. I had seen it flipping through a library book months ago, and only sort of remembered the instructions, so I just jumped in and winged it.

Naturally, the result was a bit of a disaster.

Majorly wonky but I learned a lot making this. I prefer to learn the hard way I guess...

But it taught me a few things about how to construct the polygon, and so the second time (and I also went back to the library and got the book again) Surprise! when I did things “right” the result was much better.

Dodecahedron number 2 and I'm much happier with the result.

The kids are quite fond of the first attempt, so it’s getting some use being tossed around the house. The second one will become a traveling pincushion.

sketch

I have been working on various things over the past few weeks.

First, I finished up a swap piece for the latest Phat Quarter swap. Here’s a tiny peek. I am tremendously pleased with how the whole thing came together. The completed piece is just about as I had envisioned it in my head. I cannot wait until my partner receives it and I can share the whole thing with you all.

I also got a little crochet lesson from my mom and it took some time, but I’ve gotten a decent feel for it. I’m not sure what exactly I will do with this skill (perhaps a blanket) but it’s been handy to have a ball of yarn and a hook in my purse as I’ve been spending lots of time at the softball field with my oldest these past few weeks (and that will continue into June).

All of this momentum is good. I’ve got plans to start on Alice Paul’s portrait in the next few days and to start on sketching out some more specific ideas on the thing I want to do next.

The what I want to do next involves old family photos and other pieces of personal ephemera that I’ve saved over the years. In the process (and after seeing Olisa’s stitched poem fragments), I pulled out all of my old poems. I think I might have touched on it when I did my Dickinson piece, but I started out college as an English major, wanting to be a writer. I wrote poems like a mad-person back in those days — and I saved everything. Things that I had written when I was 10 all the way through college graduation. Some of it is so precious (and so is my handwriting). Here is my very first poem, I remember writing it in 5th grade (and then I wrote six or seven quickly after):

Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes
They wave their grassy hands
As people walk in their sands
The sand dunes.

And then, naturally at age 12-14 they are cringe-worthy. Unrequited love. I have no real friends. (One acrostic that spells “hypocrite”)

But eventually, they started sucking a lot less (and obviously I was influenced heavily by Dickinson).

It’s frightening
That a
word
can change the world
when
All you see
reflected back —
That Word’s
reality

[1:10 pm 19 Oct 1999]

 

They never
teach you
in Biology
how to
dissect
yourself.
Fumbling
with the scalpel
I bleed —

[10:59 am 18 April 1999]

 

I was so obsessive, I used to track the dates and times (and maybe also where I was) of every little thing I wrote. I was convinced that a pattern would emerge, but yet, I don’t think I’ve ever examined the data. (Perhaps it is time!)

I’ve been holding off starting to work on a second suffragette portrait for several reasons. First, the photo of Alice Paul I had been thinking of using just didn’t seem to be quite right for this project.

Alice Paul

Alice Paul

I certainly think it’d make for a good portrait, it just seems to be lacking in oomph.

And second, I’d signed up for an embroidery class (taking some sort of class has been on my list of things I want to do for a while now) that was scheduled to start next week. It was going to cover creating embroideries from photographic images. However, as there weren’t enough people enrolled (I was the first and quite possibly the only one signed up), the class was cancelled. Would I have learned a new technique or two? I can’t say, but I’d have loved to find out.

I was pretty bummed when I got the official cancellation email this morning. I have decided though not to linger on my disappointment. Just the other day, I picked up a few books on the suffrage movement at the library. One — Jailed for Freedom — I had started on my nook, but the free ebook is riddled with OCR errors and made it difficult to read. A hard copy is much easier. The other — One Woman, One Vote: Rediscovering the Woman Suffrage Movement — is a book of essays that was right next to Jailed for Freedom on the shelf and I figured why not. As luck would have it, as I was flipping through One Woman, One Vote, I came across what I think is the perfect photo for me to use of Alice Paul. I haven’t been able to find a digitized copy of the photo — either at the Library of Congress (my usual source), or at the Smithsonian archives, but I think my scanner will do the trick. I like it when things seem to fall into my lap. It makes me feel like they were meant to be. 

The prospect of the class, which was entitled “Embroidering Life Stories”, also got me thinking about some of my favorite old family photos and about my experiments with transfers to fabric. There’s a good chance something along those lines will come next. Eventually. I’ve had some good brainstorms while riding the commuter bus to and from the office and have scribbled down lots of notes.

It feels good to be excited about things.

Back before the basement flood happened last year, I had made myself at home in the basement. After the flood, I reclaimed some space on the other side of the basement where I had been keeping a small desk. Plus, I scattered threads and bits of fabric around the house. That worked fine until my husband started taking his brewing hobby quite seriously. Then, it started looking more like this:

encroachment

That closet there is what I like to call the fermenting room — it’s full of beer that’s having a yeast party. Not to mention that soon after this photo, he added even more equipment and ordered several 50 pound bags of grain. That meant I was officially kicked out of this little nook. We installed some lovely wire shelves and all the grains and various pots and kegs are organized and neat. It’s a nice little set up actually. (And I love having all the beer he makes around. It’s good stuff.)

I decided that I’d move my things into the room that served as nursery for both the kids (they now share a bedroom with bunk beds and everything) which is now our guest room. It still held a lot of baby bits/memorabilia that we haven’t used in ages.

before

It needed a good bit of organizing, some new curtains, and then I had to go around the house and gather up all of my supplies and fabrics and hoops and whatnot.

This is the end result for now. A lot of the baskets on the shelves are just hiding things: soccer trophies, porcelain dolls, and other little items that need to be gone through. Still, I’m much happier to have all my things in a single place.

panorama

All my crafty books, inspirational books and books for chopping up.

bookshelf

My mother’s sewing machine that I keep meaning to re-remember how to use.

sewingmachine

And all my little bits and pieces that I have become so fond of.

I was so happy to have the space that I got started on a new piece. (And of course I am sure that I’ll just have to move yet again in a year or two when the kids need to have separate rooms again!)

Love love love this hand dyed floss.

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