Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Online stores of painfully cute proportions

Nora over at Black Dog Knits has my back. I mean, really. She made sure I didn't knit an overpriced baby coat, she redirected me to a delicious adult coat option instead, and then offered a coat-along to boot. Then. Then! She gave me not one, but TWO heads-up about online stores with crazy cute Japanese fabrics.

First, she alerted me that the unbelievably adorable Kitty Craft shop has re-opened. Great! I've been waiting and waiting for them to re-open! I promptly zipped on over there, only to find that many fabrics were sold out. I was very sad about this.

Then! Knowing I was sad about this development, she sent me a link to SuperBuzzy.

Now. Pay close attention here. (I'm particularly talking to you PIC, B-SNAK, SIL, and Mue.) Super. Buzzy. Has. Awesome. Shit.

Safety disclaimer/advice/aside #1: Go get your teeth protectors. Put them on. As much as I'd love to help, I can't really do anything from here if you bust your teeth from all the cuteness that you're about to behold. (Even if I were there, it's not like I'm a dentist or anything, so fat lot of good I'd do anyway.)

Aside #2: That safety disclaimer reminds me of a poster that my boyfriend in college had in his dorm room. He'd gotten it from his high school's nurse's office. It said, "Safety is a constant battle. You can never relax." This always cracked us up. You can never relax! Isn't that hilarious?

Ok. Enough with the asides. Everybody ready? I'm gonna give you some highlights. There are many, many more cute things. Go check them out after viewing this sampler.

(This is not meant to hurt you. It's only out of love. All love.)

Notions & Trims, bitches!

BEES???!! On cloth ribbons??

Yup. Now look at this little brown dog sniffing white flowers:

Don't like flowers, just like dogs? Well:

Love girls?

Ok. Now. The killer.

Sit down all over again. Are you re-sitting?

Lammies. A doggie. A little fellow with a cap and red pail. And a little saying.

"Wake up on the grass."

Wake up on the grass?! But, safety is a constant battle! I can never relax! Waking up on the grass doesn't seem safe. Can that be safe? Waking up on the grass implies you either (1) accidently or on purpose fell asleep on the grass/were relaxing or (2, and even worse) you fell asleep elsewhere but somehow ended up on the grass! "Wake up on the grass" could mean all kinds of things. None of them safe!

Well, while this doesn't seem like sage advice, it's a ridiculously cute piece of trim.

So! Stick any of these trims on a piece of cardstock, and you've got yourself a greeting card. Double it over, sew it up, and you've got yourself a bookmark. Or, add it to some fabric item, and you're rocking some serious flair. Trims!

Go into the world. Explore the glorious cuteness. And if you can find some way to both relax and be safe, I encourage you to do so at this time.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Oh, Artoo.

You know what's fun? Embroidery.

You know what's even more fun? Embroidering something pleasing.

But, what is pleasing? What what what... Oh yes, of course. Star Wars.

I have a friend who really appreciates hand-made gifts. Seeing as it was this friend's birthday, I was going to embroider some tea towels for him using the completely adorable patterns from Sublime Stitching. In particular, I thought spaceships with little creatures in them would be great.

Enter my wasband, who kindly accompanied me to the local needlecraft store to get more colors of embroidery floss.

WASBAND: It's too bad you don't have enough time to knit him that Star Wars hat.
ME: I'm gonna embroider these tea towels for him. They'll be great.
WASBAND: But he loves Star Wars.
ME: I know.
WASBAND: You should embroider C3PO and Darth Vader on those tea towels.
ME: What?
WASBAND: He'd love it!
ME: But I have these iron-on patterns --
WASBAND: We'll go on the internet and find a pattern. It'll be great! Come on! Here's some bright blue embroidery floss for R2D2 right here! Look!

My wasband loves to come up with things for me to make. Loves it. And when he locks on an idea, he gets really enthusiastic and kinda can't stop mentioning it and how awesome it is. He's all good ideas, my wasband; however, he rarely realizes what's involved. ("You should make a rocketship so we can go to the moon! The moon is awesome! You could totally do it! It'll be great! Do it!") There have been many times I've crafted into the wee hours of the night in order to finish one of Mister Big Ideas' projects. This was one of those times. (Proof? The wee-hours lighting in these photos.)

In all fairness, my wasband did help me find and re-size a drawing from the world wide web. I then traced the drawing onto the tea towel with a pencil and hand-embroidered it. Backstitch for all the outlining. Satin stitch for the colored-in parts. And a few french knots for the red and white dots on the front top part.

I also machine-sewed a little "Made with Love by Dr. B." cloth label on one of the edges (labels courtesy of my SIL).

I particularly like the back of the towel:

I think it looks like a cool drawing.

Hey! Wouldn't it be great to have a whole set of these towels? You know, with tie fighters, and the Death Star and all that stuff? That would look so great in a dude's kitchen!

Oh God. That last part sounded a lot like my wasband. Only it was me.

Huh. Well.

That was awkward.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Heating pad cover 3.0

These are the prints I want to use for my next heating pad cover. I think they're all from Purl. Sweet, sweet Purl.

Don't they look great? I have a few other fabrics in mind to go with them. But it's tricky, and I'm not sure I have enough solids.

My beloved Denyse Schmidt says she uses 70% solids/30% prints in her quilt designs. She also says smaller prints can "count" as solids -- like little calico and small checks -- since they can look like solids from a distance. Maybe the mustardy one up there would qualify. (My novella The Mustardy One will released next fall by Random House, and you will read it in your book club, and then I will be rich.)

Oh, wait. Speaking of books, let me be clear. Denyse Schmidt did not tell me any of those things about fabric. I read it in her book. I realize I mention her and her book about every two seconds, but you should know I'm not confused about the nature of our relationship. I just love her, that's all. And not in a stalker-y way. I swear it.

Here's the point: Since heating pad covers are basically functional mini-quilts as far as I can tell, solid-to-print ratios and other design basics seem important.

I'm no math whiz, but the first square I've made looks more like 50 solid/50 print than 70/30.

It's the first of nine squares I plan on making. And since it's the overall balance that we're interested in, I think it'll all turn out just fine. Fine!

(My nose just spontaneously wrinkled itself. I may have to go buy more fabric.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Half-Fetching review

One Fetching mitt. My left hand. Meh.


1. As promised, this mitt knits up quickly and requires but a tiny speck of yarn.

2. It matches my brother's hat, and that makes me happy. I realize that may not be an up-side for you, but it's worth noting that it's leftover yarn from that hat -- the yummily soft Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted (100% Superwash Wool) in color 102. Mineshaft!

3. How can Mineshaft! be anything but an up-side?


1. Tiny cable needles. I wanted to try making the cables without a cable needle, but I didn't. This was not Fetching's fault. This was Slime Corner's fault for having another outage in my area, preventing me from going online for the awesome Grumperina tutorial. So I had to wrestle with the little cable needle, and that was tedious.

2. Stripes and cables. Again, not Fetching's fault. I went a different direction from the solid yarn it called for, and maybe it works, maybe it doesn't.

3. My apparently super-long thumbs. As written, the pattern's thumb part is a little short for me, not providing the thumb coverage I desire. My lower thumb is all exposed, making me look like a real floozy.

Hey! Sidebar: Just now, as I was trying to think of something really long to compare to my thumbs (e.g., giraffes' necks are long, spaghetti noodles are sometimes long), I got stumped for a good one. So, I Googled "long things." Yes I did. Unfortunately, this yielded results for "how long things take." Not helpful. So I tried "list of long things". Yes. Maybe this could help... Oh, no. Not what I was looking for. But I do now know that the record for "Beard - female" is 11 inches.

Never let it be said that Dr. B. doesn't use every resource at her disposal to bring you quality content.

I'll test out the no-cable-needle method on the Right Mitt for my next fun adventure.

What? So I used "adventure" when I should've used "geeking out." And? What is your point?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hey! Fetching mitts! Shiny!

Everyone but every last everyone has made these Fetching mitts from Knitty:

And yesterday, it became very clear that I too must make these mitts (MustMakeMitts!). While I should've been taking care of applique business, I was figuring out what to knit. Who's with me?

Everyone says these mitts are really fast. And I like fast, especially when coupled with yarn. And especially especially when every other work-in-progress around me is of epic quest proportions.

So in wandering through my yarn stash, I saw that I have the exact yarn that's called for in the Fetching mitts pattern, only in powder pink.

Ahhhh. Lovely, soft powder pink. Isn't it pretty? Now, can you imagine mitts in this color? What would begin as delightful, angelic hand-coverings would assuredly become crappy, dirty mitts in about half a second. Awesome!

Well, I guess if you're willing to walk around with your hands in the post-scrub, pre-op surgeon position all day, you could do it. And, if your lifestyle allows for that, then you should! "Excuse me. Would you mind opening that door for me? I've got these powder pink mitts, and I really can't." "Would you be a dear and carry this purse for me? It's just too dirty for my mitts." "I'm gonna need you to pour that latte directly into my mouth. Yeah. Mitts!"

Not having that lifestyle, I realized I'd need to go a different direction. My lifestyle is less of a soft powder pink, and more of a this:

It's more of an elephant-foot, multi-colored, who-can-tell-what-you've-been-up-to lifestyle.

So, I'm making these mitts, thinking the heating pad cover is great as is, and fantasizing about my next heating pad cover.

Dude, heating pad covers are so the new scarves.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hubris Never Pays: The Applique "Tutorial"

You hear me? Hubris never pays. It seems so self-evident, so why take it up? Heavens to Betsy, why?

I think it must creep up on you slowly. It must. Because you're not gonna see it walking down the street and think, "Gimme some of that!" I think it starts out as perfectly reasonable self-confidence. And next thing you know, zip, zap, zop! You're on the Hubris Express straight to hell, leaving handbasket after motherloving handbasket in your dust. That's gotta be how it happened....er, happens.
hubris -- exaggerated self pride or self-confidence, often resulting in fatal retribution. (Wikipedia)
I'm gonna level with you. I was pretty confident I'd found THE BEST WAY to get those flowers onto that heating pad cover. I did research on applique. I made prototypes. And it wasn't too far into it that I was ready to name my findings after myself: "The Best Way to Applique: A Technique for the Full-of-Themselves."

But Dr. B., you did research and tested things out. You can't then accuse yourself of hubris, what with the research.

Yeah, maybe. But no. Here's why. In the prototype phase:

MY INSIDE VOICE (kind of quiet and sinister): This is the best. Really the best! I've taken all the best parts of everyone's ideas and created a super-technique to rival even the most expert applique-master ever! I will rule the world!!

Ok, it didn't go that far. But I did think I was onto something quite good.

With my super full-of-it plan, I was going to avoid:
  1. the painstaking process of tucking the edges of the flower under as I sewed it onto the heating pad cover (a technique known as needle-turning);
  2. raw edges of the flower being left exposed, a look that our research showed many seem to despise; and
  3. a glue stick, even though this seems to be popular.
My plan looked a little something like this:

With the right side of my fabric to the paper side of my Wonder Under (we'll just call it WU), I traced my pre-made flower onto the WU. I cut the shape out of the WU, same size as the flower.

I sewed the two things together with a pretty small seam allowance.

I trimmed the corners.

Then, I got everything ready to turn the flappin' thing right-side out.

I pinched the WU, to avoid cutting the fabric when I sliced it.

I cut a slit in the WU -- not in the flower -- big enough that the turning wouldn't be horrible.

I turned the whole thing inside out.

And I pushed all the corners out so that I had this:

With a dry iron, I pressed it for about 5 seconds so that the sticky-ish sticky stuff between the paper and the fabric would adhere to the fabric.

And then I carefully peeled off the paper backing to reveal said sticky-ish stuff.

Fine. On my prototype it worked great -- I took my "flower", placed it on my "heating pad cover" and pressed it in place with a dry iron on the highest setting for a handful of seconds... maybe 10. Voila! Everything was tucked under, no raw edges, no glue stick! Just a stand-in flower stuck to a stand-in heating pad cover, ready to be blanket-stitched on for cuteness and stability!

I guess technically there's no reason it shouldn't work.

But I don't think it's the best way. It doesn't seem like there is enough sticky stuff on the edges. There are threads showing from where I sewed around. And I accidently pulled a thread out of the fabric in my zeal to remove the paper backing which, as you can imagine, yields less-than-appealing results. (I can't really blame the method for that one, though.)

I'm going to go on record as saying that I am reluctant to proceed in this manner. Maybe it's just the fear of "fatal retribution" that has me so skiddish. Maybe it's my inner wisdom telling me to turn to another technique. Hmm.

Me scared.

(In hell, if you're a grown-up who talks like a little kid, sometimes they let you eat popsicles. Other times, they don't look kindly on it at all. Using all my inner wisdom, I'm hoping for popsicles.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Renovations are more fun than laundry

I realize this is a very low bar I'm setting -- the _____-is-more-fun-than-laundry bar -- but, you know what? Sometimes it's important to state the obvious.

Playing with new layouts and colors on the blog is fun. Laundry is not. You could also express this in the following form: fun > not fun. (Even math seems fun compared to laundry!)

So, I'm tinkering around a bit. We'll see where it gets us. Let me know what you think! (Unless you think laundry is fun. And in that case, I'm not gonna hate on your hustle, but I will not be persuaded. So please, if you are a "I heart doing laundry" person, just keep it under your [very clean] hat. I thank you.)

Oh, also! Do the hipsters call it "blog-o-vations" instead of "renovations"? Or do they say "I'm getting a blog-over"? Or, "I'm going from bo-ring to cha-ching?" I'm sure the kids are saying some cool thing out there, but I sure don't know what it is. Meh. Get off my lawn!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What do you think it means

...when you're sleepy in your dreams? I had a dream this morning that I'd called B-SNAK and was leaving her a message, and I was so sleepy I was confused about who I was talking to and said, "Ok, baby, I love you. I'll talk to you soon. (sort of catching my error) I mean, I hope you have fun on your trip." And then I hung up and fell asleep. (Please invoke David Caruso voice for the following reiteration:) Fell asleep. In my dream.

...when Blogger is thwarting every effort to post my delicious photos? Are they too delicious?

...when it's perfectly lovely and warm outside, but -- despite having the heat on -- it's freezing inside? Freezing!

Hmmm... taken individually, each one of those kind of makes you go, "Aw." But together? I tell you what. You see that lady coming? You walk the other way. Don't even pretend you don't.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Shrinking flowers

Don't you think it's fun when you do a lot of planning and then that planning just isn't quite what it's gonna take to do the job? Yeah. Me too.

The flowers are getting smaller, and that's ok. They're really cute. We'll discuss this more.

In the meantime, enjoy a photo from what may or may not become an applique "tutorial". (I really can't emphasize those quotation marks strongly enough.)

Friday, January 12, 2007

The cutest stamps you ever saw

Brace yourself, people.

Are you bracing?

I give you a rubber stamp from the genius that is The Small Object.

Check. Out. These. Stamp. Sets.

Yeah, boo hoo hoo is right.

(I'm getting ever-nearer to a completed heating pad cover, one flower at a time. Why must I make things so difficult?! WHY? I thank you for your continued patience and support.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

So far, so scary

Never having done applique of any kind before, I figured I should probably have a strategy so I don't actually ruin the heating pad cover I've spent so long making. Because even if the mistakes would be hilarious, the comedy just wouldn't be worth it. Not at this juncture. We've come too far.

So, here's the scientific approach I took today in an effort to avoid flubbing it up like a real turkey.

(Feel free to use this approach for any new challenge you might be facing.)

Applique Trials - Day 1 Procedures

I. Consult the internet.
  • Read manufacturers' sites for applique products on-hand.
  • Read blogs of people with actual sewing skills.
    • Notice some people substitute used dryer sheets for more traditional materials.
    • Remember that huge pile of laundry that needs to be done.
    • Use giant brain power to conclude that traditional materials are superior, as they don't require doing that huge pile of laundry.
  • Wrinkle brow a great deal. Scrunch face. Experience mind-burning confusion.
  • Look for diplomas to reassure self about level of education and ability to think logically.
  • Consider taking up drinking or using drugs to ease crushing pain of confusion.
II. Look at materials on hand.
  • "Wonder Under"
    • A sheet of something I bought at the fabric store. Has a paper side and a rough side. Supposed to be an adhesive when used with an iron.
  • Freezer Paper
    • You know, from the grocery store. Apparently, also used to adhere fabric to fabric when heated. Somehow.
  • Scraps for trials
    • Odds and ends of fabric I was saving because, "I'm sure I could use this for something!"
III. Dive in.
  • This is the step where, if you're thinking clearly, you're not only learning something new, but you're also doing dry runs for your own crafting show. A lot of talking yourself through things takes place here, and now is as good a time as any to get cracking with the talking-it-through skills.
  • My crafting show is going to be called Ok. Now. What? As in: "O.K. (focus) Now. (more focus and a deep breath) What??!!" (wrinkle, scrunch, mind-burn)
  • Notice time passing. Stay calm. Patience is a virtue.
IV. Revel in the glory of the completed prototype!

  • Evening will have fallen by this time. Do not be discouraged by the poor quality photograph you take of your prototype.
  • Be proud of learning something new today.

I learned that on the world wide web, everyone who does applique is a crazy genius of mind-frying proportions. If I really have figured this out, I'll post a blow-by-blow of how I did it, because I had a hard time finding instructions that didn't make my mind seize up. I'm just kinda slow when it comes to these things, so I promise to hold your hand through this like you've never had your hand held before. Unless it's insulting. In which case, I'd just ask that you not pity me.

Oh! I also learned that wishing the laundry was done does not make it so.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

De-lurking Week

Before I had a blog, I read a lot of blogs. A whole lot of blogs. Blogs written by seemingly nice, very talented people. And I never -- let me be clear: never -- commented.

I felt like people who commented were already in some kind of club, and I was too late to get in. I didn't really know what to say, either. In some cases, I worried I'd be all "Your paintings are really amazing! I'm impressed!!!" and then it would turn out to be Picasso's blog or something. Or worse, "Hey, Ansel. I'd love to see some of your color photos!" That would be mortifying.

(I'm gonna call myself "Picasso's Blog" when I take up spoken-word poetry. And it's gonna be slamming!)

Let me assure you that I am no Ansel Adams or Pablo Picasso. And, now that I have a blog, I realize that it is really nice to know someone has come by.

Apparently January 8-12 is De-lurking Week -- the time to leave a comment wherever you go. For those of you who already do, know that here at old Dr. B.'s, we're very pleased and grateful. For those of you who haven't or don't, test it out. See what you think. It will likely make someone's day.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

An open letter from one sock to another

Dear Sock Tube # 1,

Hey there. It's me -- the sock that used to be a cuff (I put a picture up there to remind you of who I am.) Even though we weren't part of the same pair, we spent quite a bit of time together, you and I. You always had so much to say about how small and skinny I was. You insulted me when there was no cause for it. I reached out to you with forgiveness and understanding, and maybe I lashed out once. But, I was just defending myself. Mostly, I thought we were friends.

Then, the minute I got this heel, poof! You're out of sight. And not in a good way, like, "I really dig you. You're outta sight!" Like, you're just not around me anymore. Yes, you don't have a heel, but no, I don't think that makes you a bad sock. You're just a sock-in-progress. I wish you could see that.

I don't understand. Have you moved on to another cuff somewhere because it's cuter or funnier? Or is it just smaller? Should I have been quieter? Should I have my heel removed because it makes me seem like a show-off? Wow. I just don't think so. But, why oh why would you just not come around anymore? It's gotta be the new heel. But I need a heel to be a sock!

I guess I'll just forge on. Crazy how I could think I should be a sock without a heel. But, when someone important takes off right as I start coming into my own, it makes a sock question things. Like, what is a sock anyway?

Anyway big bully sock, I hope you're well, wherever you are. Just wanted to let you know I'll have a foot and toes soon. And I was hoping you'd come back around sometime. You know, for old times' sake.

Your other belated-Christmas-present friend,

The dark grey sock
(nee "Sock Cuff")

P.S. Who's a stubbit now?!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Say when.

The heating pad cover might be done. But, as I mentioned yesterday, it also might not be. Let's take a closer look and evaluate together.

The back? Sewed to the front and all hemmed up. Good to go.

This part?

See all those raggedy, unsightly strings right at the join where the hem comes together? That there is your Locus of Authenticity of a Handmade Item. Proof positive that a human made it. Look for it on all your fine goods. Done and done.

The innards? Well, here's what the heating pad will see as it enters its new snug quarters:

Looking good.

But now, here's the part we just can't know for sure. All we can do is discuss and then decide using a little imagination and our best judgement.

The front in its current state:

It's fine. (It actually doesn't look as jacked up in person. The light was just hitting it funny.)

But don't you think it's missing something?

Like say... these?

If I go this route, I plan to blanket-stitch around the flowers and leaves in white, so I added those in to the photo digitally to give a sense of what it might look like finished.

I did the same below. Oh, but you have to imagine a third pink flower in the lower left-hand corner.

Imagine I'd also stitch around this flower and all the leaves:

I kind of lost steam there at the end with the options, because I kinda think there's a clear winner now that I look at them.

But what do you think? As is? Two flowers? Three flowers? One flower and a cluster of leaves? These are your options.

Let's hear it. I won't know for sure until I hear from all of you.

(Oh, you could also say I should start over and scrap the whole thing. But, why would you do that? That couldn't possibly be one of your new year's resolutions, could it? Telling people to scrap their items? No. I shan't even think it.)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Squaring up

Yesterday morning I was "squaring up" my beloved heating pad cover. This is the part where you trim your item so that you have a true rectangle made of real-live 90 degree angles. It requires measuring, lining things up exactly right, and for me it also requires being really patient and slow.

As I was doing this, I was thinking that I should play some music to facilitate said patience and slowness. And just as I had that thought, the sun came through the window in this really beautiful way.

Oh, hey! I didn't see you there. What do you know? It's my brand-new Nano.

You might be asking yourself the question: "How small or large is that music-playing device? I just can't tell from that photo."


It's tiny.

(Answer appears courtesy of the Department of Obvious Observations.)

The Nano is tiny, and I love it. I also love the heating pad cover. Together, they're an unstoppable team of warmth and joy.

After these photos were taken, I performed various sewing procedures, and some could argue the heating pad cover is finished.


Others could argue it needs just a little something else. (Like applique.)

Hopefully, that lovely sun will return tomorrow morning, and I can take photos of the options I'm toying with and post them here. Then, how about we all decide together? It'll be all: Better here? Better here?

Then, depending on how that goes, either the heating pad cover will go in the mail to the East Coast, or hilarity will ensue as I try new techniques and possibly ruin the whole thing. It's a win-win!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Heating pad covers are the new scarves

Opening presents at my house this Christmas went a lot like this:

Family member (holding a wrapped gift): A present from Dr. B.! (unwraps gift. pulls out ball of yarn. looks puzzled.)
Me: That's gonna be a hat.
FM: Oh.
Me: Yeah!
FM: Um.
Me: Just give that back to me.
FM: So... it's a placeholder? Or... am I really getting a hat made of this yarn?
Me: I thought I'd use that yarn.
FM: Oh.
Me: No?
FM: I was hoping for a Star Wars hat.

Well. That was just my wasband. Other family members got other gifts in various states of completion. Sock tubes for some. Half-made heating pad covers for others. People really got the hang of it after a while, and I didn't even have to tell them to give the stuff back to me. They would just say, "Wow! A sock!" and hand it right back over, needles sticking out and all. I think it went swimmingly!

One of those gifts-in-progress was for my crafty SIL. I've been showing you bits and pieces of it for a little while. I can now reveal more, since she has kindly performed the requisite oohing-and-ahhhing-and-returning-it-to-me ritual.

Here's a full (pre-quilting, pre-applique) shot of the top:

This is my second "interpretation" of the Denyse Schmidt "Hold Me Close Heating Pad Cover" from her book. The last time I made one, I vowed not to wing it the next time. I think I said I'd be much better off just using the pattern.

You know what I rarely do? Learn.

A couple of months ago, on an episode of Simply Quilts, a genius lady was demonstrating how to make these log-cabin style flowers that are all wonky. No pattern. No measuring. Just easy. Addictive. And, if done well, the perfect heating pad cover.

(That last one was all me. She was making actual quilts.)

So, I went back to Denyse's basic specs for the size of the back. But, rather than follow her pattern for the top, I used that genius lady's technique and made a pink "flower" in the center and then surrounded it with "leaves." See that up there? Beautiful! I cut the top to size, per Denyse's instructions. And, so far so good.

But when it came to the quilting part, I was stumped. The customary stitch-in-the-ditch didn't seem right here. So, I poked around and came across this. See all the irregular circles in the stitching there? Well. I thought that'd be perfect. Uneven circles with maybe some leaf-type shapes would be awesome. If Denyse can do it, why can't I?

Oh, yes. I took another step that could've proved disastrous. Faced with indecision about what marking tool to use for said circles and leaves, I decided to quilt freehand. I stitched right into the quilt sandwich (in this case: pieced fabric top, batting, and muslin) without any lines drawn on to follow.

One woman's brave is another's lazy. Please don't be confused. This was all lazy.

Oh, and any real quilter will tell you that my stitches are about twelve hundred times too long. The real quilters make tiny little stitches that you don't even really see. But I'm not a real quilter. I'm but one woman.

My limitations aside, some of the circles didn't come out that uneven -- which freaked me out, frankly.

Ok. Let me be clear here. This project should've taken about three and a half seconds. But, with this kooky idea of quilting circles and leaves all freehand-like, it's taken a great deal longer. Look. Here's the back:

One piece of fabric. Marked with that Hera marking tool I told you about (which is great, by the way!). Hand-quilted along the lines. Super quick. You could very easily make the front and back simple, and you'd be cranking these things out fast, mister!

So, the next step for me is to sew the front to the back and see how I'm feeling about the applique part. That would be the part wherein I would use things I've never used like "Wonder Under" and "needle-turning" and who knows what, adding that extra cut-out flower and leaves to the top. I may skip that part. We'll see.

Here's what I'd say, though. Who doesn't need a nice new heating pad cover? Think of your own. Do you even have one? How does it look? Well.

I think it's the gift to give in '07. There. I said it.

Unless of course, everyone in your life wants Star Wars hats. In which case, I can't really help you with that one.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Rules of the road and cute items to behold

Being relatively new to this blogging thing, I'm still learning some of the rules. Some are pretty obvious -- cite sources, don't identify people who don't want to be identified, don't be a jerk, and the like. (You know what I want to bring back? Calling people "turkey" -- for example, I could've just said, "...don't be a turkey, and the like." Can't seem to get it off the ground, though.)

Anyway, there's the whole "don't steal stuff from other people" rule. Pretty straightforward. I'm not gonna copy and paste someone else's blog post and call it my own. (That one always shocks me.) I'm not going to steal bandwidth; I learned all about that here. But the images rule always confuses me. If I make really clear that the image is from elsewhere and not my own, and I link the image to the site of the person/place/thing that the image came from, is that ok?

The reason I ask is because I just got the Yarn Market newsletter, and I wanted to show you this particular item, but then I got all nervous. So, instead of posting the picture, I ask that you go look at it and come back. Let me just say that that item is so crazy great, I'm tempted to spend the $90 on the yarn to make it. I won't. But I'm tempted.

I guess the good news is, if I had posted the picture of the item here, you might've blamed me for you shoving your computer screen and saying, "Get out!" at the sight of it. Now, at least there's a little distance between me and it. Bright side!

What I know for sure I can show you is the following. Look at what my brother, my SIL, and her 9 year-old niece got me for Christmas:

I'll give you a closer look. But first you must know that they hand-selected each of these fabrics, folded them all cute like that, and tied them up in ribbons to make these adorable little fat-quarter bundles (which I've taken to calling "bundules"). This was no hop-on-over-to-Purl-and-grab-the-pro's-bundles. Nope. They themselves are the pros here.

Marvel at their skills:


I am in awe. And I can't wait to start making things. THINGS!!

(Hey, should I make that little coat? No, right? That would be ridiculous. Huh. In fact, now that I think about it, I'd be a real turkey if I made a $90 coat for a baby.)