ATC Swap – Not Going According To Plan

I recently signed up for another ATC swap – ‘Small’ (thank you VeryBerry).  I had a good idea & most of the supplies I would need & the other bits I got last week (I have quite a while before it needs to be sent).  I got started a couple of days ago – I got my lettering picked out & arranged on the computer, I had my lace ribbons out to check spacing & I found the right kind of needle for sewing on fine-ish linen.

I got the first of my two ideas sorted pretty easily – I just did the word in small cross-stitch.  I was then going to cut a rectangle around it & join it to the lace to make it the right size with insertion stitching.  I didn’t want to cut it straight away so I started on the other idea.

This one, the plan was to do the letters in Hardanger, which basically means you sew some bits then cut some of the threads of the fabric.  You pull the special threads out & it leaves a pattern of holes.  Then you do some more stitching.  I got as far as the second set of stitching & it just looks awful!  You can’t tell the letters, they just merge into a block & it looks really clunky, so I abandoned that & did another in cross-stitch.

Now I have two the same, I did some mini-stitch samples to work out how to join the lace differently and it just isn’t working.  I need to go back to the drawing board & try some more things.  But I’m really pleased I tried the Hardanger, I have been meaning to use this technique for the last couple of swaps but just couldn’t make it work.  I’ve done a kit before & like the effect – hopefully I can find a way of using it next time.

As for this swap, I shall put the lace away & go look at some books for inspiration.  Hopefully without losing my nice needle down the sofa in the process!

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November 2, 2017 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment

Towards the end of a weekend…

This is all probably going to be a bit back-to-front. It is kind of getting close to being time to cook dinner, but not quite, so I thought I’d unpack, as I got back from a fabric stencilling weekend a couple of hours ago. Getting started with some Alabama Chanin-style garments.  My aunt started a jacket and my Mum and I started a skirt each.

Anyway, normally what happens is the suitcase gets abandoned somewhere in the house. The laundry gets taken to the laundry pile and much of what is left gets, er, left.

This time I was determined to do something about it before DH and Monkey get back from their trip to the Great Western Brick Show in Swindon in a few hours. However, as usual I was distracted. The fabric I used for my skirt, well there is quite a lot left so I’ll need to find space for it on a fabric shelf. Then I remembered that. All my jersey fabric is in a pile on the floor from when I was deciding which to take for the weekend. So I’ll need to sort it out properly at some point. But then I don’t really have room to store it all, so I may as well use it. I get into a circular argument about what to spend the time doing – finishing the skirt I started, or a different project which is ongoing (like one of the quilts) or tidy up.

So I wrote a blog post instead. It was going to be about an idea I had for tidying up, but I just decided it wasn’t a very good idea. The new plan is to finish this post, sort dinner out, then go do a little tidying up before I eat. I can then watch a video or something and do some sewing before the boys get back.

Wow, decisiveness! Of course we’ll just have to see how far I actually get with it…

October 8, 2017 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

Creative Identity for Journals

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front – I seem to do that a lot these days. I’ve been making quilts mostly. Ordinarily I’d have then moved back to knitting, and I did (mostly) finish a project but I can’t seem to get back into it. I’ve tried to tackle a few things but I’m just not clicking with it at the moment.

In an effort to organise ourselves a little more, we’ve start journaling.  DH and I do something like bullet journaling and Monkey’s is just a way of keeping track of how much computer games he gets.

We didn’t get the ‘proper’ bullet journal – DH is using an A5 lined notebook, I found a nice plain A5 notebook for Monkey (although the outside is decorated) and I’m using a couple of A6 notebooks in a special folder thing. I think it is Travel Journal style, although I’ve looked at so many folksy/easy items and pinterest ideas that I’ve almost lost track.  Anyway, its a little binder thing that fits in my shoulder bag with a notebook in it for the day’s to-do list, and one for ideas, shopping lists etc.

Sometimes I go looking for ideas of things to do to make it a bit more interesting – I’ve been trying to ‘work on my sketchbook more for maybe 15 years. Almost always without success. Occasionally I get fired up and do stuff like take a notebook on holiday and make notes/draw stuff. Then I get home and the impetus is gone. Also I can’t find the notebook.

As we are planning a couple of trips over the next few weeks I’m trying to get my brain in gear to do something arty/notebook-ish so I was browsing pinterest for ideas. I’m trying to discover what kind of journaller I am.

I looked at some ‘smash’ journals and they just looked chaotic to me. I have looked at Becky Higgins/Erin Condren and they feel really prescriptive. So I’m probably somewhere in between really organised and really disorganised. Or maybe vaguely organised, with room to go off on a tangent. As in journaling, so in life, right?

I want to keep up with the notebooks while we’re away, but don’t have much space in either the notebook or the luggage to try loads of new stuff.

Whatever I end up doing will need to fit with how we travel – public transport, lots of stuff crammed into a day, and the high likelihood that I’ll spend a good chunk of the holiday sitting to one side while Monkey explores the Science Museum or wherever we end up going. Not conducive to super creativity. And there won’t be time or space to do stuff in the evenings – we’re staying in a Youth Hostel and they don’t usually have desks in the rooms. Could collect stuff and save it till we get home? See losing notebooks, earlier in this post.

Right, I’m back off to browse pinterest, otherwise it’s two notebooks and a biro, and where’s the fun in that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 11, 2017 at 6:06 am Leave a comment

Identity Tag – Part 1

I tend to think of us as having not much routine at home but we probably do.  Just not the usual out to work/school stuff. One routine we have is Monkey’s bedtime. Once he’s ready for bed he has a story unless he’s been messing around and runs out of time.   Then there is sometimes time for a chat. About all kinds of things.  Sometimes things we’ve done during the day, or maybe things about when I was his age.

Recently we were talking about toys, I think, then we ended up at the ‘pink for girls, blue for boys’ statement. From him, not me, I hasten to add. Inside I thought ‘yay, here’s a chance to discuss gender stereotyping and some of the stuff I’ve learned over the last few years about pronouns and non-binary attraction’.

The first problem with all this is that I have a limited amount of ‘not-train stuff’ before he gets bored and starts telling me things about London Underground.

So after pointing out that the pink/blue thing doesn’t always work I reminded him about one of DH’s friends from uni who prefers to have sex with men, and one of my friends (who has a son a bit younger than Monkey) who prefers to have sex with women. That is where it got a bit complicated.

Monkey stumped me momentarily with a sex question. That doesn’t happen very often hence my unpreparedness. He asked me how does that work (as in ‘straightforward’ homosexuality).  I can’t remember most of what I said but probably something along the lines of ‘Oh, er, well using different parts of the body’, whilst thinking ‘argh I’m making a mess of this, what do I say next…’. I can’t remember what the next question was but I think I said I don’t know.  Then probably changed the subject, whilst cringing that I didn’t make a better job of it.

I’m hoping that at some point it will crop up again and I can improve on my less-than-ideal performance. Maybe there’s a book for it – we have ‘Where did I come From’ for basic sex-ed (when he doesn’t want to talk about it). I need something that talks about LGBTQ+. I want him to know that there’s different ways for people to love each other. And a whole spectrum of differences between people (actually that might be how I finished off the conversation, now that I think about it – that all these differences were so interesting and amazing). The problem is I don’t know enough about it!

So if anyone has any recommendations of non-CIS explanation books which are appropriate for an 8-year old to read with a parent and/or alone I’d really appreciate it!

June 15, 2017 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

So Many Ideas

Not only is my head so full of ideas I can’t decide what to do first, but I can’t decide how to write about it – this being the second attempt.

I got the twin quilts finished so I have a pile of fabric scraps to turn into hexagons.  Alternatively I have the fabric (but no definite plan) for another two quilts. I’m finding the Linus Project useful as it means I have a home for all the quilts I am doing while I learn techniques and find out which work for me.  Otherwise we would be up to our eyeballs in quilts.

Another option is that I start the tunic I’m planning.  I got the fabric for it while I was in London and although it is quite happy perched on the shelf, it would be more useful perched on me.

The other projects whizzing round my head at the moment all seem to need other input.  There is a quilt top which is finished so I could work on the back but I can’t finish it as I need more wadding. I can pick that up when I drop the twin quilts off but I can’t do that until Monday.

I’ve been looking at lovely quilt patterns on Pinterest which need lots of hexagons. Which I have. All hemmed and ready to sew together. If I want to spend hours arranging hexies I’ll need the living room floor which I can’t have until the boys go out to Sheldon tomorrow.

I’m probably just going to have to have a look at stuff. I’m sure something will stand out as a fabulous next-project. Or I could just go back to browsing Pinterest 🙂

March 18, 2017 at 5:46 pm 1 comment

Here’s Something I Made Earlier

It has been a busy few weeks.  We got back from London and Monkey promptly came down with a bug, then had a cold and cough which seems to have dragged on.

Last weekend we were at Keighley Model Railway Club’s annual exhibition which seemed to be well received. DH and Monkey set up their Lego trains and were kept busy for the whole two days supervising people ‘having a go’ driving the trains around the loops they’d set up, with the added bonus of DH getting to talk to people about his Lego constructions.  Trains, obviously.

I’ve been busy too – I got the hexagon quilt finished (yay! – here’s the front and the back) and took it in to Barleycraft Fabrics for Project Linus.

I have mostly finished the mock-up of the dress I’m going to wear for a friends wedding.  It isn’t quite done as the top needs a little adjusting. It either fits my chest or my coat-hanger shoulders, but not both.

I’ve also been working on a quilt I had put to one side. I have 8 large blocks and Monkey has told me definitively that the two colourways (green-with-purple and purple-with-green) should be kept separate. I now just have to decide whether they should be two quilts of four blocks (with the backs plain) or just one quilt with four blocks on each side. I should have enough matching fabric to do the backs as well but I need to finish off and join up the purple-with-green blocks first which might be a couple of days work.

At the same time as all this is going on I’m having fun dyeing fabric samples for the quilt I’m planning on mentoring into the competition at this years Festival Of Quilts. I’ve planned the main idea and for once I’m doing things properly, with a notebook and these samples and stuff. So far I’ve done tea, coffee, avocado and walnut-ink. I’m hoping to pick up some interesting teas or similar when we go to Skipton on Friday as mostly what I have so far is brown, brown, pink and brown. If the colours are too boring I’m not going to be very inspired!

March 16, 2017 at 5:49 am Leave a comment

Old Friends

I met up with my brother and his family yesterday.  We don’t see each other very often (we don’t always get on as we often fall back into being annoyed teenagers) but we made an effort as they are soon going to be moving to the USA.  It got me thinking about the (very few) people from college and Unit that I’ve managed to keep in touch with.  And more than that, the people I’ve lost touch with along the way.

I went to a University reunion a couple of years ago.  It was a bit weird seeing how little some people had changed. Mostly though, it was awkward because I don’t have a great deal in common with them.  I don’t work so I can’t talk about how great/tiresome my job/employer/colleagues/commute is.  Monkey doesn’t go to school so that’s another topic gone (he’s past the ‘babies keep you up at night’ stage and isn’t yet old enough for the ‘teenagers keep you up at night’ one).

Many of them are employed in our subject or a related one but I don’t remember enough about it to ask much.  Geology and textiles don’t connect much.  I’m often shy and awkward which makes me less of a conversationalist.  “Hi, everybody here including you knows I had a huge crush on you for like ten years, let’s have a hug.  My kid is here but my husband is at home.  Oh you got divorced and your kid is with your ex this weekend, I am sorry.  No, I don’t work, I mostly make stuff then don’t finish it.  Oh you got your PhD, that’s great.  And you just got a job doing something interesting and innovative.  I’ll take a card – I know someone who might be interested in your product.  I’m sure you think I took your card because I think you think I still fancy you and although I don’t I still see that you are nice to look at which makes me even more awkward because I don’t know what to say.”

Sorry for the even longer than usual sentences.  Some of the above paragraph was paraphrased, some of it I just thought, but it was really awkward.

I’ve also managed to lose the gist of what I was trying to say but I think it was something along the lines of how difficult it is to keep in touch with people when you don’t have anything in common but the past.

This post is for my three old friends (in order of first meeting) Lorna, Ed and Giles.  I’m sorry I’m not better at keeping in touch.  I know we don’t have as much in common any more but I do love you all and miss you.

This is also for my brother – another person I’m not in touch with much.  Good luck, bon voyage and we’ll see you in May.

February 25, 2017 at 12:23 pm 1 comment

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