Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Cranky Classmate

The cranky classmate would be me.

It was the day of the monthly Underground Railroad class, something I always enjoy.  But the glitches began in the morning.

I rebounded quickly when one friend, at the last minute, had to cancel meeting for lunch before class.  She was fine, she just wasn't making it to town.  I'm glad I found out before hitting the freeway myself.

I took a breath and quit racing around my apartment in order to leave on time.  I rebooted the brain:  I wrote a little.  I practiced my Spanish.  I prepped some snacks to take with me.  All was well.

Once in class, another friend, who is usually plenty early, was late.  And later.  And not responding to texts from our mutual friend, the teacher.  I managed to make 16 HSTs (half-square triangles) for the first block while, in the back of my mind, I hoped my friend was not in a car wreck.  Leave it to me to catastrophize.

She finally texted; she was sick.  Boo!  Hiss!  Sorry she was sick, glad she wasn't in a wreck.  Things could be worse.

I sew-ldiered on.

There wasn't enough time in class to finish the first block, Bear's Paw, before we all moved on to the 2nd, the Basket.
Or, rather, there wasn't enough time for ME to finish.  SOME people finished their first block in plenty of time.

Then they finished their 2nd block as if this were the sewing Indy 500.  I kept telling myself, "Compare and despair!  Run your own race, dear," in as calm and soothing an inner voice as I could, but myself was replying, "Nope, I'm slow.  It's pathetic.  I should be better and faster."

Never mind that I wasn't the only one who wasn't finished.

It was doubly annoying because I had already made these blocks out of scraps at home.  I thought I should be faster because I already knew how to do it, sort of.  More or less.

I even complained about myself aloud.

Dear Teacher said, "It's only because you're being so careful and making it perfect."

Yeah, right!  But very diplomatic of her to say that, doncha think?

The annoyingly fast students were already packing up to leave class early.  Maybe they have been sewing more years than I have, but I didn't think of that at the time.  I just felt competitive and down on myself as I finished the Basket and went back to the Bear's Paw.  I really wanted to finish both so I could move on to another project at home.

I was using some less-than-satisfying fabric, anyway, and I was also annoyed because I had lined up my pink paws in a certain way, as I had done with my first Bear's Paw block.  Instead of piling everything together as outlined in the book, I had just done it my own way so I could make sure the subtle pattern of the fabric was facing the way I wanted.

But in class I wanted to try it the way the book said to do it, so things got unlined-up, as it were, and the paw fabric was not all going in the same direction, but danged if I was going to rip out all THOSE seams.

Meanwhile, I could see I had probably sewn part of one paw-to-sashing seam too scant (scantly?  scantily?), so the sashing in one row was not matching up to the other row.  But I had already pressed the seams, and was having trouble finding that one little spot where I would need to rip out and resew, so I tried forging ahead and pinning the rows together in spite of my better judgment, figuring I could fudge a little, because I was in a hurry.

Always a mistake, to be in a hurry when sewing/knitting/crocheting/spinning.

The original offending partial seam
So I sewed the seam.  I knew better, but I did it anyway.  I hate it when I do that.

So now things REALLY didn't match up correctly, so more ripping out was clearly required, and I was feeling rushed and frustrated, even though there was plenty of time left in class.

Dear Teacher came over and began telling me how to pin the *!#$ row, and how to sew with the smaller row on top of the larger (excellent advice) and telling me how using a walking foot for piecing can be a real boon as well (more excellent advice) but that didn't change the fact that the previous seam allowance was wrong to begin with, and I seemed incapable of expressing that coherently.

By this time, I was just whining and mumbling grumpily, possibly just grunting wordlessly.  In fact, I was doing the very thing I can't stand when I'm teaching and a student does it:  they start being really hard on themselves.
Repinned and ready to sew

Sometimes you have to admit defeat and retreat.  Live to sew another day.  Sometimes there are just too many glitches in one day.

I packed up, went home, went for a long walk, then finally, gently ripped out the offending seams, saw where the material had not matched up in just one little partial seam on one little piece.  Ripped that out.  Repinned, resewed, DONE.

Finally done

Wasn't this hobby supposed to be relaxing??!!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Crossroads Quilt Block

Yes, it's another block for the Underground Railroad sampler quilt.

The square pictured in the book is made with just two fabrics, a red with a small print, and an off-white print.  It's a nice-looking square, very traditional, and that is not a criticism, but… would you believe I spent at least three or four hours choosing fabric for mine?

That's because I used scraps, and when there aren't enough scraps of one color and/or another, and when some you like are not big enough, and others you don't particularly love are big enough, but you certainly are not going to use anything you don't LOVE, you have to get creative.  (Not obsessive.  Oh no, not me.)

All the scraps with red in them came from the Trash and Treasure Table at our local guild!  Yippee!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour 2015: FYI


We are gearing up for the Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour 2015, which is coming up May 29th through the 31st this year--YIPPEE!

A quick word to the wise:  probably most of us know that The Cotton Ball in Morro Bay has moved to 2830 Main St.  The directions in the flyer, however, are for the old location, which was at the corner of Surf and Main.
Batiks in the old location

Now the shop is further north on Main, between San Joaquin and San Jacinto streets.

I called The Cotton Ball and spoke to someone, and they are aware of the misprint.  I don't know if they will post anything on the website, but here's my take:

If you are coming from the north, you're taking 41W.  Turn right onto Main St. instead of left, as you would have for the old location.

If you are coming from the south, you're taking Hwy 1 North, and there are a couple of different exits you could take to get on Main, so I recommend googling directions and picking the one that suits you.

I love The Cotton Ball--oh, heck, I love all the shops--so I am hoping this will save some hassle for somebody out there!

See you buzzin' along the coast, fellow fabric fanatics!

(This pic is not of Morro Bay, but you catch the drift.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Crochet In!

Hooray!  Yesterday I got an email saying the two crochet patterns I submitted will be included in an upcoming 101 One-Skein Wonders book.

One is the Zucchini Cocoon and Matching Hat.  This is actually for swaddling a baby, although bears apparently find it comforting too.

Bear-Bear, all comfy and cozy
Next is the Christening Cloud, a little floaty baby blanket.

Little Bear, all tucked in
My knitted baby blanket pattern, Tuck Me In, will be in another book in the series of One-Skein Wonder books.  That book will be coming out this August, I'm told.  I will be sure to let everyone know when it's available.

As for the crochet book, I don't know the publication date yet.  More will be revealed!

In the meantime, it seems Tuck Me In appeals to bears as well.

The One-Skein Wonders books always have lots of great patterns.  But if you just can't wait, my patterns are available singly through my Etsy shop, YIYO Designs.

Happy knitting and crocheting!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Basket Block

Another scrappy square for one of my Underground Railroad quilts.

Coming together

When I made the half-square triangles, I didn't know that there's apparently a trick to getting a directional fabric to point the same way in all your triangles.

Note that the wavy lines in the turquoise fabric are not all pointing in the same direction.  Alas.  But I still like it.

Adding the base

Ready to trim!

I love the fact that the turquoise and red scraps came from the Trash and Treasure table at our local guild.  Hovering like a vulture over that table every month has really brought me some treasures!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Day at the Fair

I took the shuttle to the local fair, on my way to spend a couple of hours staffing a Guild booth.  Walking up to the Home Arts building from the drop-off point was the best part!  I saw these guys (or gals):

Baby goats.

Almost got a pic of some baby pigs until this (ahem!) got in my way.

More butts.  In this case, alpaca butts.

Personality to burn.
 Doesn't this one look happy and friendly?  Maybe a little mischievous?  (How much am I projecting here?)  [Lots.]

Their faces really do look different, especially live at the fair.

Doesn't it just make you want to rush home to your spinning wheel and spin some fiber?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Bear's Paw!

One of my latest quilt blocks, the Bear's Paw pattern:

I love using up scraps this way!  Here's what it looked like, with just the "claws" pieced, and everything laid out on the ironing board.

Leave it to me to fuss over which way the little leaf-like motifs were pointing in the purple "paws."  I feel it adds energy and motion!  (Does anybody else really care?  Probably not.  Never mind, I did it for me.)