Lately I’ve been on a sewing kick. I’ve set aside the knitting for now and am working on making a few quilted placemats out of the nine-patch squares that I sewed over the weekend.
It rained last night and all morning. Given California’s current drought, this was a big deal. I stayed inside most of the day and sewed nine-patch quilt blocks. It was very satisfying to go through the stacks of 4.5″ squares that I’d cut several months ago, play with combinations of colors and patterns, and piece together these colorful arrangements. I’m thinking about making more placemats, maybe a couple of table runners, or even a small quilt. In the meantime, aren’t they pretty?
Sean is the breakfast maker in our household. He always cooks my eggs exactly the way I like them, over medium. This morning’s eggs were so pretty that I had to take a picture of them. As I was framing the shot, it occurred to me that a lot of objects in the photo tell you a lot of things about us. There are the quilted placemats that I made, along with a luchador cocktail napkin that I sewed. In the background to the left are an aqua chair that I upcycled (I should post a blog entry with Before and After photos of that project), along with a white side table that I also painted. And Sean’s t-shirt tells you who he’s supporting in Major League Soccer.
Our meal is also reflective of our backgrounds: you take a Filipino girl from Hawaii and a Southern boy from Florida, have them living in coastal California for a dozen years, and you’ve got a breakfast of rice, eggs, vegan sausage, and unsweetened iced tea. Total Hawaiian-Californian-Southern fusion. And it was good.
A few months ago, I bought this Japanese printed cotton at my favorite local independent fabric shop in Ventura. I thought it would be perfect for luncheon napkins.
Last Saturday, I finally got around to making those napkins.
After washing, drying, and pressing the fabric, I used my rotary blade to cut squares.
I pressed the edges to make neat hemlines, and then I marked off the corners to miter them.
Right after I took the above photo, I realized that I made a mistake. I would have to rip out a few stitches so that I could fold the hems under.
Other than that, I didn’t have any more problems.
The napkins turned out pretty cute, I think.
I almost hate to get them dirty… even though that is kind of the point of having napkins, right?
As you know from my last few posts, my mom has been visiting from out of town, and I’ve been putting together for her a project that she started back in 1987.
I bought a yard and a half of the yellow cotton. I was able to cut enough rectangular strips, but then I didn’t have quite enough for the squares. The bummer is that I would have had exactly enough fabric if only I’d been a lot more careful with my measuring before slicing away with the rotary cutter.
Luckily, I had remnants from another yellow cotton print and was able to use that fabric to fill in for the squares.
I sewed each horizontal row into a long strip and then sewed the strips to each other. I tried my best to match up the corners. (When my mom started this project 28 years ago, she used scissors and not a rotary cutter to cut each blue square, so they weren’t all exactly the same size.)
I finished sewing together the strips and– Ta-da! Completed quilt top.
Yesterday I shared a couple of photos of my new project in which I am piecing together 10″ x 10″ blocks of appliquéd motifs that my mom hand-stitched starting in 1987. Originally, she just wanted me to sew the blocks together side by side, but I wanted the motifs to stand out a little more. I went to the local independent fabric shop and selected a yellow cotton print that I thought would go well with the blocks. I did some measuring and cutting, and the quilt top started to take shape.
Back in 1987, my mom started this project of blanket-stitched appliquéd motifs on 10″ x 10″ blocks.
I guess the figures are like those time-out kids that were sold at craft fairs and country stores, except these are supposed to be Asian.
Anyway, she only stuck with the project for about a year before abandoning it. Many, many, many years later (like, last year), she came across her pile of old materials and tackled the project with renewed enthusiasm. Especially after I told her that I would sew the blocks together for her.
Now that she’s here for her annual visit, I am being true to my word. Initially, she just wanted me to sew the blocks side by side, but they looked too boring that way. I told her I had another idea. So I have been cutting fabric and sewing and piecing, and I think the completed project will look really nice.
Sean’s birthday is next week. When I asked him what he wanted for a gift, he said, “Can you make me a laptop sleeve?”
So that’s what I did today, pretty much all day.
First I found what appeared to be a fairly simple laptop sleeve pattern through Google. Next I measured Sean’s laptop, did some math, and cut the pieces that I needed. Then I started sewing. Everything seemed to be coming along all right, until I got to the part where I needed to sew the lining into the sleeve. Then it became a frustrating cycle of sewing by guessing, inevitably messing up, subsequently ripping out the seams, and then trying again only to have the same results.
There was even a dark portion of the afternoon there, when Sean recognized that I was quite frankly pissed off with him and the world, and he said, “Today’s blog entry: I hate my husband.”
Finally, after a couple of temper tantrums that involved screaming as loud as I could, flopping on the couch and sulking, I got up, discarded the instructions, and figured out my own way of putting the whole damn thing together.
Now that it’s finished, I’m actually a little pleased with the final product.
And there is a part of me that’s thinking, Hmm. Maybe I could make another one.
Remember this fabric I purchased the day I was dismissed from jury duty? I made them into cocktail napkins!
Back in November, I took a napkin sewing class at Picking Daisies and learned how to sew fabric napkins with mitered corners. It was on a Saturday afternoon, and Sean drove out to meet me for lunch. He came into the classroom at the back of the shop just as I was finishing the second napkin.
“Look, Sean!” I held up the square of fabric to show him the neatly hemmed edges and mitered corners. “Check it out.”
He reached for the napkin and grinned. “How did you know? I was just feeling like I had to sneeze.”
We went to lunch, and you can guess who picked up the tab.
* * *
On a separate note, today’s adventure involved driving out to Los Osos to look for the County’s community toilet recycling center, to dispose of the old toilet that Sean replaced yesterday.
Here is a photo of Old Broken Wing, posing for the blog at my request. The broken elbow didn’t need to be set in a cast because it wasn’t a displaced bone, but he is supposed to be wearing a sling on that right arm. Then again, he is supposed to be resting that arm, and not doing things like changing out old toilets and lugging them to recycling centers.
I returned to the courtroom this morning for jury duty, just as the judge ordered last week Friday. He informed us that both parties had decided to settle out of court. So he was dismissing the case, and we were free to go. Hooray!
On the way home, I stopped at Picking Daisies to check out their fabric sale. I saw this pre-cut fabric and immediately thought of this fabulous placemat I recently made. Of course I had to bring these bad boys home with me. They’re the perfect size for napkins and will make for the most badass dining companions.