Monday, July 28, 2014

Sewing with the one who taught me

I spent a few days visiting my folks in southern California. One of the more fun things I did was to sew with my mom. She's in her mid-80s and has Parkinson's, but she's determined to keep stitching.
She does seem to have a knack, however, for picking complicated projects. When I got there she had been working on a bag that had some really bad instructions and was feeling frustrated. I helped her finish it (and could certainly understand her frustration when I read the methods used in making the bag). Fortunately, she was happy with the end result (below).
Another afternoon we went to a quilt shop we'd visited previously in Orange, the Orange Quilt Bee. They have a great selection of fabrics and patterns and I wanted to find some patterns to try that had more clearcut instructions. We also got fabric to make pillowcases. Here's the one she made while I was visiting, and when I called tonight she said she's been making more.
We also stitched up an iPad cover, the Pocket Portfolio by Swirly Girls from some wonderful, traditional blues and were delighted with the pattern instructions and the result. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of the finished piece.
I liked the fabric she picked for her pillowcase so much that I'm planning to make Cindy Taylor Oate's Sit and Stitch Pincushion from the same combination—when I left, my mom hadn't started this yet. I'm hoping to make mine while we're on vacation in a couple of weeks. It was fun to sew with the one who taught me. Wish we lived closer so we could do it more often.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

String Piecing

Back in March I decided to try some string piecing. Not sure just what got me going, but I was having a good time of it. Over the next few weeks I plugged away, and wound up with 16 blocks. It got put on the back burner for awhile as writing projects intervened, but yesterday I got back at it and did another 8 blocks. (I must have done a few more in there somewhere because I have 43 blocks total.)

While I'm using true scraps—and having so much fun remembering just which projects the strips originally appeared in—I'm trying for a little consistency by including red and/or turquoise and/or black in every block. I'm piecing on newsprint, with a white strip diagonally centered on each square.
I'm using a 9.5 inch square ruler, so my blocks will finish at 9 (it's the biggest one I have) and I'm trying to decide how big to make it. If I make it 7 blocks both ways, I'll wind up with a 63" square, but I might go with 8 blocks one way to make it long enough for a tall guy (like the one I'm married to) to cover up comfortably. I'm not even sure I'll be keeping it though. 
Do you have a favorite/most useful size that you tend to make?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Back at It and a Slovenian Round-up

Yes, I am actually back at work and have been for awhile. Book edits occupied some of my time, and a birthday party for me (yay!) took up another chunk. We also had my aunt visiting from Minnesota and enjoyed touring Amish country with her.

My vacation to Slovenia (to visit our daughter) and Spain (where my husband had a meeting and my daughter and I tagged along) was grand. I honestly don't believe I've been to a country with more natural beauty than Slovenia. The Alps, the Adriatic Sea, forests, caves, rivers—it's all there.

Lake Bled
On the hike to SLAP (waterfall)
Slovenian wine country
Wildflowers in the Alps
Bobbin lacemaking in Idria
Ljubljana at night
Up and over the Julien Alps, heading down into Italy
I've been itching to sew, but it hasn't happened in quite some time. I'm wearing my Sorbetto tops again, now that the weather's warm, and really want to make more. I work Wednesdays at Home Ec Workshop and for the past two weeks the workshop has been filled with sewists working on the Oliver + S Weekend Getaway Blouse and I've got my eye on that one, too. And then there's that quilt that's partially done in my sewing room...hoping maybe this weekend to do a bit of stitching. Is that on your calendar for the 4th of July (along with fireworks, of course)?