Saturday, August 30, 2008

More Dollys

Look who showed up! Isn't she lovely? I predict that she will have many sisters.
Here is her sweet doodle face. I drew quite a few, many more elaborate that this, but I found that I was most charmed by the simple drawn features.
Here are some of the quilt girls. I cracked under the pressure of all those naked foreheads and have been embroidering hair and some do dads on the babushkas and skirts.
Luckily, since I have not embroidered in years, I was able to re learn using my left hand instead of my poor right hand. If I am careful, I may eventally be able to learn to hand sew again.

Here they are, flung over a salvia that has turned shrub like. The sashing is red with pink dots. I am finding sewing the sashing to be really boring and slow. It has been a few days slog, and I have four girls left By contrast, I machine appliquéd all of the girls in only two days. I t makes me realize that my usual high speed piecing is about being completely entertained and absorbed. I think the sashing will be worth the trouble. If it is not, I am not taking it out. I am hoping to work in a series with these girls, because I love them so much. SO this first effort may not be the best one. They really are fun. The embroidery goes slowly, of course, because I am learning it in the other hand.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Polish Dolls

Yes, I know that the rest of the world thinks of these as Russian dolls, but they make them in Poland, too, and that's where ours come from. My Grandma brought them back from a trip she took there in the 1970's to look for relatives that might have survived WWII. There are a bunch of the dolls , and they nest, one inside of the other. We have a Father doll, too, but I haven't made him in fabric yet.. I will have to ask my mom how the name of the dolls is spelled in Polish- she's the last one who speaks or reads any Polish. Phonetically, it is ma- trush-ka, emphasis on the middle syllable.

ANYhooooo, are they not cute? I have to work on getting the faces rounder. If someone tells me how to post the pattern of the cut outs, I will, but I don't know how to do that, yet. I left the edge of the babushka ( scarf) raw so that it will fray in the wash. If I stirred myself to embroider, I could do the faces, but as you see I just used pigment markers. I machined appliquéd, as usual. It would be a fun pattern to embellish. I am using it as a scrap bag pattern.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Egg Day!

Well, we're very proud of our city chickens! Only one egg, so I'm not exactly sure who's the dud, but hopefully, tomorrow there will be two eggs. We shall see.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What is this couch you speak of?

Look who got busted, being up on the couch! Cute, yes? I have a lovely week off work- I had planned to paint the kitchen, but the arthritis has other plans. I did put a little paint up on the wall, to see what I thought of the color. I think my days of doing my own painting are over. I only worked for about five or ten minutes, and I'm still icing my wrist. It's odd that that makes me sad, because I really never enjoyed painting. I enjoyed the results, though, and the cheap thrill it can be to put color on the walls. I guess I have to figure out how to hire a painter, as my husband doesn't know how and doesn't want to learn.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Not too bad from far off. (Scroll down a few posts to see the link to Tonya's fungly challenge.) I like how the half square triangles combine to make a bigger pattern of sorts. Of course, we kept it from being too consistent. My friend and I laid it out on my Design Floor. She ironed, I sewed. If you don't have a friend who finds ironing relaxing, I recommend you go get one. ( I also have a husband who can untangle yarn. Don't hate me.)
BUT close up, oh my. I have to say, when the call went out to work from ugly fabric, I thought to myself, self, we have no ugly fabric. We have fabric that is best used sparingly, or in really small pieces. Really small. The clock fabric...what was I thinking? Was it free? I don't remember. I bought the stained glass stuff at the LQS, just because other quilters were being mean to it. The daisies...hmmm. The strawberries, well, not so bad.
The frogs, well, my six year old has a pair of pants made out of that. I thought they were to be pajama pants, but they were so beloved that he wears them as pants. A lot. He's also agitating to own this quilt. At least he won't be able to wear it out of the house.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Darling

Oh yes, Mr Woolly, too, but hey he can talk on the phone. I'm not so far gone that I asked to talk to my sewing machine. She is beautiful, yes? 1956, a fine year to be born a Singer. The week before I left, my niece was visiting, and as she is a newly minted teenager, I tried to not always be walking into the sewing- err- guest room. That left me casting longing glances at the machine while either waking her up or making her turn out the light. Then, of course was the family reunion, which was better than I thought it might be but took me into a craft unfriendly zone. Hardly the kind of thing that one drags ones sewing machine too. In fact, I was in the same shopping center as both a fabric and a yarn store, and was not able to convince my family that even a five minute stop was do-able.

I cut some fabric and started working on Bonnie and Tonya's Fun plus Ugly quilt challenge. Perhaps I will manage a photo. Perhaps I will just go sit in the yarn store, and then lie on the couch. Nice to be home.

Remiss in my duties

(posted by Mr. Woolywoman)

Woolywoman returns today. She handed me the keys to the blog prior to leaving and requested that I guest post (except she took the camera). She has reportedly survived the trip intact and the visit was reasonably successful (no thanks to USAir - our new worst airline in the country surpassing Southwest Airlines which held that title for 10 years after trying to send our 8 month old infant to a different city than his parents on a return flight and then charging $200 to change the ticket and then threatening dad with arrest when he raised his voice - no obscenity - just a frustrated increase in volume. Whew, tried to get that all in there. Imagine what USAir had to do to beat that!), but our kids are not good travelers which surprises me since I have always been. It's not that the trip was ruined or anything, just that some of the more trying parts of their personality were more prominent; son #1 can be overly impulsive and son #2 can be overly rigid. Not really a good combination when those qualities are the strongest element especially with no moderating influence of a second parent (Woolywoman having to do all the parenting by herself), the inevitable grandparenting interference (the poor dears should never have to suffer criticism or discomfort), and unfamiliar territory.

There must be some fabric arts metaphor in there about some really good fabric with some stimulating undertones that should NOT be emphasized in the final product and a border that did not do the job of pulling it all together in a project where you are trying a new technique.

Give us your worst airline story in the comments. You know, the one that you can laugh at now or make a great story at a party, but was close to making you homicidal, suicidal, or both as it was happening.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Let me start by saying that I am uncomfortable even thinking about this family stuff, so it's amazing that I have the chops to write about it. I am a firm believer that childhood is just a time in life, not necessarily the one true best time in life. I am fortyish, and I have been an adult longer than I was a child. I am also blessed with a wonderful, fulfilling life, and I give myself some credit for having made it here, as well as some really good luck. So, onto the painful part: my family.

No, no, not my real family, not my husband and my boys and my friends and my friends who are like family and like that. The other family, the one I came from. My mom is having a family reunion next weekend, and I and the boys are flying cross country to go. We leave on a Friday and return on a Monday, and it took all my will power to go at all. They are all nice enough people, but they don't mean a lot to me. I was talking to my brother about this, and I realized it boiled down to two questions I wish I could ask.

For those of the generations older than me, I have this question:
"Remember when my dad walked out on my mom and she had to pretend to her boss that she was still married and she had to work full time and finish school full time and keep up the house and me and my brother were left a lone a lot and had to play by ourselves with the door locked and the curtains down so no one would know we were alone and no one was allowed to play with us anyway, because we came from the broken house? Remember how I had to wear a lot of hand me downs from my brother and how he was sick in the hospital a lot and when we left the milk out and it spoiled it was hard for my mom to buy more? Remember then? Where the hell were you?"

For those of my generation:
" You know how the economy of this state has been horrible for as long as anyone can remember, and it's really hard to keep a job or make a living and it's hot as hell in the summer and cold as hell in the winter and the sun doesn't shine for more than sixty days a year? Why are you still here? Are you stupid, or something?"

I suspect it would put a damper on the small talk, though, so how about those Tigers? ( Oh, wait, the sports teams are losers, too...)

edited to add: non of them knit, quilt, crochet, rubberstamp,scrapbook or anything else. No beaders, no sew-ers, nope, nope, nope. Grim. I should have DNA testing done...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Fun plus Ugly equals Fungly

Tonya and Bonnie has been on a secret giggle mission. They mixed their oddest combinations of fabrics in really big blocks just for the hell of it. Go see, I'll wait.

Ok, so the knitting world has been free of Knitting Police ever since, I think , Elizabeth Zimmerman. For those of you who who are not knitters and not quilters why the heck do you read my blog again? Oh, right because you love me. Any way, EZ was the knitter who told us all that we were smarter that we thought, that we could be the boss of our own knitting, and that there was no wrong way if we liked our results.. She was a genius for coming up with methods that served as a canvas for the individual's creativity, while still producing very wearable garments. Quilting doesn't have that.

Quilting has a stuffy, holier than thou, perhaps well meaning at one time but currently waaayyy over the line of civility vibe. There are lots and lots of people out there who feel perfectly justified in saying that there Is One True Way to make a quilt, and it's there way or the highway. They are not a subtle group of critics. These are people who will comment unfavorably on the color combination of the fabrics as I am buying the fabric. These are people who feel your binding ( the edge of the quilt) and say, shaking their head, that you need to put more batting, or less, or that your stitches are showing. Right while I'm standing there. These are mean people, and they are somehow deeply ingrained in the culture of quilting. This is the reason that I am not involved in a guild on a local level, and that I rarely take classes. I just don't need the crap, and there are a million reasons why the Quilt Police are wrong, not the least of which is it's mean!

Now, the whole world of quilting is not like this. Gwen Marston, Freddie Moran, Mary Lou Wiedeman, Mark Lipinski, Lisa Boyer,Tonya and Bonnie all spring to mind as kind voices in the quilt world. Good artists, too, and good quilt makers. These are the fellow artist who fill my cup, and I try to hang out with the good guys, at least virtually, as often as possible. And now, we have a new strike against The Quiltzillas: The fun plus Ugly quilt challange: Let the clashing begin!!

I have to wait until tomorrow to post a photo, as I am away from the home computer. That's ok, though, it will give you time to purchase some sunglasses. You're gonna need them!

Friday, August 01, 2008


My own little bit of spiderweb, making a corner square. Alison at SpinDyeKnit has waved a shawl pattern in front of me- I am helpless, of course, to resist. Fortunately, we have a guest and the swift is in the guest room. So I am slogging heroically on the hairy nightmare of a shawl, made in weird colors that I plan to over dye. I won't make the garment first, again. I'll dye the yarn and then make the garment, as this is so ugly that it is hard to work on. And, even though I have dyed yarn hundreds of times, I have nagging doubts that the shawl will still be ugly.