Wednesday 30 June 2010

Thinking about neighbourhoods

If someone told me I couldn’t move to a posh neighbourhood because I couldn’t afford it, I’d understand that. But if they said I couldn’t live there because my parents had no connections there, I’d think they were spouting nonsense.

So it makes me wonder, why do I think it’s normal for nations to do this? What is so fundamentally different between a neighbourhood and a nation? I can fully accept that as an immigrant, I’ve got more of an emotional investment in this issue than many people, but still, it makes me wonder.

Sunday 27 June 2010

Finished Quilt!

Now that the hottest weekend is here, I've finished the quilt!

And though it isn't the weather to use a quilt in, it is good for drying it after the first washing it's had since 2007.

The good: warm, love the soft textures and colours of the fabrics. I like how the fabrics are all re-used, from clothing or curtains, and the stuffing is from an old pillow. And it is a finished project- woo hoo!

The bad: why did this take SO LONG? Definitely have negative feelings towards it because it was in my to-do pile for 3 YEARS. It would be different if it was a difficult project, but really, it was easy to put together, just hard to stay motivated to finish it.

The ugly: the zigzag stitch around the edge. Grr. The design gives a crenelated edge on the sides, so I'm not going to even think about binding it. What I'm considering is another line or two of the same zigzag stitch in different colours of thread, maybe a green and a white. Or maybe as the edges fray they will look better.

The quilt has cleared out a bit of my fabric stash, but with almost perfect timing my parents sent me more, 1 lb 8 oz according to the customs tag. (I especially like the pumpkin-orange fabric, so this isn't really a complaint.)

Last weekend, I went to the big historical quilt show at the V&A which did help with the motivation to finish my quilt. It was a stroke of luck: in a "what are your plans for the weekend" conversation on Friday, a friend at the office mentioned how her man was going to move a truck instead of accompanying her to the show, so she had spare tickets to the show and to London! We had a great time.

from the V&A quilt show

Rather than writing a boring essay on how I'm not into fancy quilts, I'll just stick to my favourite things:

  • Matching of pattern to shape- especially the patterns of the animal aplique on the quilt they used for the tea towel print, but also diagonal patterns on squares giving the impression of more, smaller triangles

  • Building up images (birds, butterflies, pinwheels, roses, etc.) from small bits of several different fabrics

  • Using cross-stitch to stitch on aplique, as on the Australian prison ship quilt, or large-ish straight stitches to add detail to the edge of the leaves like on the quilt featuring Aesop's fables

  • Gathered border around scallop-shape blocks, brilliant solution to matching all those curves but also a lovely additional texture

  • Machine stitching in the "white space" of letters, so the text is all puffy (This was from a modern quilt, but as per usual, I forgot to note who made it! I'm awful.)

Friday 25 June 2010

Buscraft Envy

This morning, the kid sitting next to me was drawing on the bus, and doing a good job, too. His pencil was dull with no eraser, but he made a great dalek caught in a power beam and a Dr Who holding out his sonic screwdriver- the perspective was great, with the hand held out being the size of the Dr's body, but I'm not sure which Dr it was. The kid's mom lectured him that big boys get up early to get to school on time.

My copy of Moby Dick has a classic library smell, just lovely. I like the way it starts with etemology and extracts.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Eek! Its back!

I've finished the darning on the heart patch. These are pictures of the bag turned inside out. The shame. I know it's a good idea to keep the reverse side of embroidery neat, but I've been a bit negligent, especially with that pink thread- it's just all over the place! It means I've got to line the back before I start using it again, and it still needs the patches put on. So, at the moment it is sitting in my crafting pile, waiting until I get the energy together to finish it. The buscrafting stage is over. I'll put up a picture of the front of the embroidery when I actually finish the entire mending project.back of the blackworkback of the heart

I'm a bit dispirited that my buscrafting has resulted in another half-finished project. Today, I revisited another half-finished project, the clanger, and only have to cast off to finish the knitting. The 192 has been a bit empty this week, so I didn't feel so awkward waving the knitting needles around. Tomorrow I hope to do the crochet for the fingers, then that too will go into the crafting-at-home pile. I'm off work at the start of next week, so maybe I will finish a few of the projects that have been hanging around.

I'm planning to just read on the bus for a bit. Possibly because of hearing Mr Scruff's "Shanty Town" so often, I've checked out Moby Dick. It's one of those classics I have no idea about.

Thursday 10 June 2010

Pigeons, buttons, but not comics

Don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before, but pigeons are my favourite birds, and I do mean the ordinary kind, commonly seen on our streets. I’ve been a bit distressed, or maybe jinxed, this week because there are two dead pigeons on my walk to the bus stop. But today I had a cheerful pigeon moment: I was walking through the shopping precinct in Stockport, and noticed a bus heading along the road about to run into two rather slow-on-the-uptake pigeons. But the driver slowed down and they had the chance to fly away. I’m glad about that.

Another thing making me happy is the darning on the Make do and Mend bag. There was a point, about a third of the way in, when it seemed to be all wrong. Now, with just under a quarter left to go, I’m loving the way it looks.

Progress has been made on the stash busting project, too. A friend at the office needed a little red riding hood costume, and took a sizable weight of red fabric off me to make one. Yay!

blackwork buttonThe guild meeting last weekend was really good. Angela did another button workshop, and despite having missed the materials list at last month’s meeting, I made this rather spiffy fabric button. The embroidery was done in the blackwork workshop, and it had just been hanging around in my embroidery bag since then. Lucky for me, it was the perfect size to fit the plastic snap together buttons that Angela was demonstrating. Super easy. She pointed out that a button is an excellent way to show off a small bit of embroidery, something like a practice piece that worked out nicely. Must say, she’s absolutely right!

The only bad thing going on is the comic book. My drawing energy has leaked away. Some ideas about what's going wrong:

  • I'm tired

  • I'm disappointed that I can't draw in the classic comic book style which is how I imagined it

  • Daunted by the idea of scanning, redrawing and figuring out how to print it

  • It's a bigger project than I thought it was going to be, and I have a feeling it will just drag on and on.

Back to happy notes (sorry, this post is getting to be like the Sound of Music): my lunch today was cereal in a bento box. Yogurt, milk and raisins in one part, wheat flakes and flaked coconut in the other. Worked well and was very tasty. Now, off to watch Ponyo.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

I heart Jane

I stopped darning early on the way home, so I was staring out the window at the roundabout and saw a jeep decorated with the Serenity logo. Cool. Reminded me how much I enjoyed the whole Firefly thing.