Monday, September 7, 2009

Idle hands are the devil's workshop

I don't have any idea what it is REALLY like to have idle hands. What I mean is, I'm always busy. I love my teaching job (6th grade) but I often find myself longing for the days when I was a stay-at-home mom with 5 little kids. Looking back at that time in my life, I'm amazed at what I was able to accomplish. Now, it seems that I accomplish a fraction of what I used to do. (PLEASE do not attribute this to my age! I'm struggling with the nice round number approaching in May) Anyway, in an effort to produce more, I started knitting dishcloths. It all began in late June when I was recruited for a part in a Pioneer Days play. Knowing how there is lots of wait time in these productions, I began knitting while waiting in the wings. So far, I've knitted my way through one big spool of cotton yarn and about half-way through two other spools of different colors. (I had to keep switching colors because I was bored. Big spools are way cheaper than the little skeins, but you do have the boredom factor.) Here is a picture of my handiwork.

30 dishcloths and counting. My mom keeps asking me what I intend to do with them. I'm thinking Christmas presents. Who doesn't appreciate these handmade cloths? Even if you don't do dishes, they are great in the shower too.

After the Jolly Green Giant experience, I signed up for a beginning quilt class. Yes, I already know most of the basics, but the teacher, Shirley, promised that I would learn something anyway. Besides, I need to move past the basics and I figure this class might get me off high center. The first class was on Thursday evening, and bless her pea-pickin' heart, Shirley is MORE anal about fabric than I am! I knew right away that I'd found a sewing soul mate. Our first task was to buy our fabric. The instructions were to pick out three fabrics; one bold print that we love, one neutral fabric (I'm queen of neutral...zzzzzz!), and one fabric that was different than the other two. Shirley taught us the "squint test" for determining if the fabrics will go together nicely. Basically, you put them side by side, stand back, and squint (un-focus) your eyes. If it looks okay, then you have the right mix. I'm all about that since the mere mention of a color wheel makes me break out in hives. So, today being a school-free day, I went to the local fabric store to buy my stuff. First off, I'm wearing my glasses today instead of contacts. Being far sighted makes me look like Mr. Magoo anyway, but I wear the glasses when I'm too lazy to mess with the contacts. Just imagine this...Mr. Magoo standing several paces away from strategically placed fabric bolts, SQUINTING. Yes, I'm SURE I looked idiotic. Whatever. Here's what I came away with:

A bold print that I love. Say ooooh to fall colors.

A neutral. The picture doesn't do it justice, but it is a beautiful small print in ecru. And last of all, something different from the first two.

You KNEW it was going to be a green. Sorry. I can't seem to help myself. Now, do the Mr. Magoo and see if the squint test doesn't really work.

The second task Shirley assigned was to straighten the fabric. In case you haven't been to the fabric store lately, a "straight" cut is not necessarily straight by sewing standards. This bugs me, but there isn't much you can do about it except buy more fabric than you think you will need. I do that anyway, but still, you ought to get what you pay for. None of the pieces I bought were straight. Here is the result of straightening.

In some cases, I lost one-and-a-half inches of fabric by straightening it. Like I said, I'm anal. I was ripped up when I saw this pile. Get it? Ha Ha, you rip the fabric to get a straight edge. Just a little fabric joke. I crack myself up sometimes.

I had so much fun walking around looking like Mr. Magoo, I decided to pick out some additional pieces, since I know that I will be needing them sometime and my fabric shopping time is limited. Besides, I had a 10% off coupon! Try the squint test on this. Also notice the limited amount of green! Stay tuned for pics of my first project; a nine-patch-nine. Shirley says this will be an orphan piece, but I'm planning to use it to make a little topper for my dining room table.


  1. This takes me back to my sewing class in high school . . . graining the fabric. Ripping the fabric - thinking you just destroyed it! I have thought about your earlier comment about doing an international quilt. Sounds fun, except I don't know a thing about quilting! They do have a Seattle Quilt Company in Aberdeen that I have been meaning to check out. They also have one right outside the shire here. I just won't have time until after Jake's wedding. Your colors look good!

  2. So fun. I'm impressed with all the great stuff you are doing. You are so talented!