Monday, July 26, 2010

Green Hornet

Last weekend Michael and I were walking back from the movies when we did our usual dialogue:

--Should we stop at the thrift store?

--I don't know, do you want to stop?

--I don't know, I was just there...

I'm sure you have these conversations too. But it was my lucky day, because we stopped and I spied this distinctive small green case,

and sure enough, there was a pristine Singer 185 J. Because it was half price day, it was $10.00.

This machine is 3/4 size, so in addition to being green, it's cute. It was made in 1954, and my machine was made in Canada. The 185 Js are Canadian, and the 185 Ks are American made.

Although it's diminutive, it weighs 30 lbs, and can double as a boat anchor, so I had to come back with the car to pick it up. I've been very lucky with my Singer collection (I've got a 127, a 201, a 301 and a featherweight) to find machines that have been little used and that have spent their years in someone's nice dry hall closet, as opposed to the damp garage, or even in the shed or barn. Greenie wasn't at all dirty. I just wiped her down, oiled her up, changed the needle, and she was almost ready to go. I had to get her a new belt. The Singer repair man saw me come into his store with the green case and right away exclaimed: it's a 185! She inspires excitement.

I've got Greenie parked on my kitchen table, which she matches, so you know how much I like this color. I'm piecing some strip sets to finish the border on a UFO. She makes the happiest sound.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Micro Fiber Laptop Case from a Women's Suit

I needed a laptop case, and decided to use a micro fiber women's suit I picked up for $1 at the thrift store. It's a nice soft yellow, though it photographed a little paler than it is in real life.

Actually, I started out making a messenger bag like I did here, but you know, sometimes projects have a life of their own.

Micro fiber looks and feels like suede, but it's polyester, so it's machine washable. It also doesn't fray. It sometimes is labeled Ultrasuede. The skirt has a lot of usable fabric.

And the jacket had these nice pin tucks that I cut across for some interesting textured strips.

It's the simplest sewing: you make a big rectangular envelope. Since the skirt was lined, I didn't need to add lining, though I did add a big pocket cut from the suit fabric. I used the strips like bias binding to hold all the layers together. The cool buttons are dollar store finds.

I could have used this laptop case on some of my summer trips. In May I was at the Getty Museum in Malibu, which has spectacular grounds

I fell in love with the windows in the parking garage.

And earlier this month I was in Albuquerque. Here are some shots of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

They know how to do skies in New Mexico.

Now that I'm back home, I can take my laptop case into the redwood forest.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Starts and Finishes

I finished piecing the Bee Quilt top. This has been a slow quilting year for me. I've been looking at this top in progress all year it seems. I settled on borders, sewed the whole thing together, and was glad to get it off my design wall.

I'm not thrilled with the border, but done is done and I used up almost all of these fabrics.

So now on to something new. While dawdling about finishing Bee, I've been combing through my fabric stash and cutting up everything smaller than a FQ into strips (3", 2.5" and 1.5") and squares (5"), some of which are fussy cuts of charm fabrics. I'm freeing up a lot of storage space, and I've got lots of nice piles of scraps to play with.

It was very freeing to come up with this:

...and then this:

I'm sewing together the individual blocks. There will be sashing. Maybe black...with skeletons.

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...