Monthly Archives: March 2011

Scrap Bag Rollup

I cut out a couple of aprons today (Janice, I haven’t forgotten) and pulled out the sewing machine for the first time in almost a quarter! Where does the time go?

You’ll see the Warrenville Zoolander modelling aprons later this week, but I didn’t use the Kenmore today for apron production. I cleaned its tiny parts with its tiny brush , threaded it up, and whipped up a roll for my crochet hooks. When I started “C & C” I had higher, more practical and more philosophical goals — bleach, fireflies, striped Swedish cupcake papers — but I’ve noticed that it’s leaning towards a fabric/paper/crafts blog. Bear with me for awhile: it’s just that folding and hooking and sewing is what I’ve been about while I’m trying to lose this cold.

I have crochet hooks stashed in three different spots (four, counting my father’s house,) and I’ve replicated sizes because I had no motherlode of aluminum in one place.  I’ve been reproached daily by a stack of Log Cabin pieced place mats I’d made in early December, thinking to give them to my father for Christmas. Har. They never got past the pieced tops before we left for Ottawa, but they were the right size and shape to turn into a hook roll.

So, with the important needlework done four months ago, it took about half an hour to produce this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two solid rectangles would of course work just as well, but the vertical “logs” of the piecing were good guides to sewing the slots for the hooks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sewed the ribbon into the seams, nice and tight. This silly thing, my welcome back to my sewing machine, would work as well or better for knitting needles, sketching pencils, watercolor brushes, pencil crayons or chopsticks. You, my cherished apron patrons, may recognize some of the scraps.

 

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under About a buck, Needlework, Yarn

Furoshiki:A New Japanese Good Thing

How odd that I decided I’d write about a classic Japanese folding technique last night, before I woke up to the God awful news about the earthquake today. My extended family and friends in Japan are just fine, thank God, but it’s impossible not to think of the loss of life and the material destruction to so many.

I don’t believe in reincarnation, but if I did I’d guess that I was a Japanese lady in a former life. I love the engineering elegance of the everyday: the gardens, the paintings, the crazy Baby Doll outfits young ladies wear around Tokyo, Hello Kitty, woodblock prints, tempura, washi paper, manga, ikebana, quilting, bonsai and — of course — origami. I know I’d love their whack toilets. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJazvumHNyk&NR=1

Back to Canada and Canadians, a subject I know better than I know Japan and Japanese. Canadians don’t travel or shop without their reuseable fabric shopping bags — I felt dirty admitting to the checkers that I’d need plastic grocery bags. (And pay twenty five cents per bag.) My father is so kind and so Canadian that he’d take only the Metro bags to Metro and the Loblaws bags to Loblaws. When I asked why he was such a dang fool he said:”Well, I don’t want to hurt their feelings.” Oh Daddy, I roll my eyes.

Well I discovered this week that the Japanese have the reuseable tote bag nailed, with a square of fabric. That’s it: a square of fabric — silk, rayon, polyester or cotton. It needs to be thin — so the knots don’t get too knobbly, and strong. The fabric square can be a wall hanging, a picnic tablecloth, gift wrapping, a book cover or —  a shopping bag.

Please click: Don’t you want an apple carrier? http://furoshiki.com/techniques The double wine bottle carrier is soooo cunning.

What you have to do is name your corners:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then you have to find a big, light strong square of fabric. The lightlbulb went off and I checked out my scarf drawer.My late mother had it covered: a yard square hand- painted silk scarf from Japan. Merci Mummy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I grabbed some random objects and dumped them in the center of the scarf:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tied corners A and B in a square knot, likewise corners C and D. Mes amis, it made a tote, related to the bundle that the Depression hobos toted on a stick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It totally fits in the hand. It works! If I were picking up a few items from the supermarche or Walgreens all I’d need to do would be to unfold the scarf I’d been wearing, French Lady style, tied around the strap of my purse.

I like this twist on the basic tote: Pull one handle through another and you have something tighter and cooler:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This isn’t like trying to remember the intricate fold pattern of an origami model that I’m not quite up to — Furoshiki seems organic and practical.Check out that link and have some fun.

Furoshiki : another gift I’ve received from Japan.

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under A yard of fabric, About a buck, Cool Japanese Stuff, How Cool is That?

Twenty Second Tulip

My cold whomped my week. I remember a couple of trips to Walgreens for OTC meds that did exactly jack, blinding coughing jags and ears that haven’t cleared since I walked onto the tarmac two Thursdays ago. Oh yeah, there was that awesome Cooks Illustrated coffee cake I made a week ago.

What crushed me was my lack of ambition. Blog? Eh, about what — Kleenex? Start that apron I’m so excited about — a commission? Sorry, Janice, much as I’ve longed for my sewing machine, the thought of standing at the table, pinning and cutting seemed as likely as running a 5K. Pitching that book idea? Puhleeze.

I got comfy on the couch with John Le Caree,  Laurie R. King and Margaret Maron. It sounds like more fun than that it was.

I found a lovely thing, only two days ago, when I could lift my eyes to the stack of mail on the hutch : a teeny magic package of origami paper — maybe an inch and a half square. He said:  “Um, I think Priscilla sent it to you.”

Today I felt well enough to eat apple pancakes and sausage. I still can’t hear and cough too much, but I took on The Times Sunday puzzle, and played with those adorable paper squares. This tulip model has many creators, the stem’s from Gay Merrill Gross’s Minigami.

My pix are so bad that that these tulips might take you more than twenty seconds, the first time. I’ve included the stem pattern, but if you don’t want to fuss, pull out your green pencil crayon and draw your stem and your leaves.

 

 

 

 

Fold the square in half horizontally, then turn one side up slightly higher than the original point. Fold the left side up to match.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flip the flower over and fold in the points.

Turn it over, et voila: tulip. Twenty second tulip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the stem: use a bigger square than you used for the tulip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fold the paper in half, then unfold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn the sides into the fold line, then do it again:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is fun: fold the bottom point up :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then fold the model in half vertically, left to right. This is fun too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then flatten it, and pull the stem out to the right. Stem and leaf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you grab a glue stick and a blank card what do you get? A card with a tulip pasted on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I like it. Thank you, Priscilla.

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under About a buck, Art, Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Cool Japanese Stuff, Origami, Paper

Shine on Bright and Mysterious Object: French Sewing Table

I’m home and all’s well. I was accident prone in Ottawa — (I haven’t mentioned that a Valentine’s Day candy pulled out a tooth,completing the Ottawa Trifecta of pain and humiliation.)

But apart from a broken toe, crochet elbow and the hillbilly smile, I was healthy like horse in Ottawa. I took a mile walk, on average, every day, and several of those days were a windy minus 20.  I shivered at bus stops. I bought a scarf, and remembered the true purpose of a scarf. I made myself — the beginning of my elbow prob — a cap. I lived through a Canadian winter and felt great.

Then I got on an airplane and I got sick. Flying does that to me — the ears don’t drain, the sinuses fill, post nasal drip and within a day I’m coughing up green pea soup, deaf, feverish and languid. Too languid to write a proper blog post.

So I’m going to show you my mother’s French 1820s sewing table. My parents got smart fast about buying antiques: they went to the same auctions their dealers attended and profited from the etiquette that precludes dealers bidding against customers. This table was an exception: they payed retail, mucho retail, at a shop. My father provided the explanation for this pricey purchase: “Your mother said if I didn’t buy it she’d never talk to me again.” (Note: After a day of shoulder-turning, my mother would have had plenty to say!)

It was, and is, the only table in the house that’s banned from plates, coasters and ashtrays because the original finish is still superb. It’s about a meter tall.

The pale green moire silk work basket is in perfect condition.

I just know that no Amish work table would feature a mirror on the inside of the lid, but those genius needlewomen had no cause to fiddle with a ringlet or practice a moue.

The interior. That pale green kid leather pincushion flips out. Please note the little bundle of slats, which fit into the slots at the upper edge of the table. Would the little compartments have held thread? Beads? Earrings?

I love the French bourgeoise who bundled her sewing into that silk work basket, admired herself in the mirror (or checked it for the entrance of a jealous husband) and I love the family who saved it so my mother could buy it and I could use it.

If I had her maid I’d tinkle a bell and ask for a poached egg on toast and afterwards loosen my stays and recline somewhere. As it is, I’ll poach and toast and pass out in front of the news.

1 Comment

Filed under Cheap and Cheerful Object of the Day, Collections, History, Home, How Cool is That?, Needlework, Worth it anyway