Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Mourn

It was stacking up to be a perfect Sunday morning. With my monthly volunteer obligations nicely tucked away a couple of days early, I had the weekend free to tie up loose ends. And I mean that literally - I needed to snip loose ends from my craft fair quilts, wash the second-to-last one, sew the last one, make a few more gift tags, photograph four quilts and my latest hat creations and post them on Etsy.
And…washing machine drum roll please…the washer broke Saturday morning. It had an error message that read OE, flashing incessantly with a full load of whites. Why do washing machines always break down with full heavy loads of towels? Never with just a little quicky load of rags, no, machines must come to a crashing halt with at least seven or eight sopping wet full-sized bath towels. After restarting several times hoping the OE would just go away and things would start spinning in the right direction, it was time to call in the expert. But before that, my husband looked at it. After Googling what OE meant, (it appears to mean that there is a washing machine full of sopping wet towels going nowhere) he set to work trying all the easy fixes. First we drained the machine out, mostly into a bucket. The hope was that what Ernst fondly calls my “quilt kr@p” was clogging the filter. Nope, it wasn’t that. Next was draining the hose, hoping we would find the nasty clog of fabric fuzz. No fuzz, clean as a whistle.
Now came the really fun part - Googling how to take your washing machine apart in 47 easy steps. Thankfully Ernst is super good with tools and broken things and not getting too worried about 8 sopping wet towels being held hostage by a flashing error message that makes no sense. OE? We still don’t know what it stands for. Overworked Engine?Outrageous Expectations? Is it Korean for Get a Different Hobby, Anything But Making Rag Quilts, You Fool? A call to our expert friend who owns River City Appliance moved Ernst on with confidence to Step #48, removing the pump to see what was stopping up the works. And what do you know, quilt kr@p! Putting the washer back together of course took 53 steps, but it appears all is well and I promised on a stack of folded white bath towels that I’ll clean the filter every time I finish a rag quilt. Every. Single. Time.
Moving on to Sunday morning. Perfect, a rainy day in the forecast, the big Sunday paper waiting to be delivered to me in bed by our adorable dog, some serious puttering ahead, including postponed laundry and all the things sidelined by the Attack of the Giant Quilt Blob. Then the phone rang at 5:20ish am. Ernst got it and mumbled “San Juan” as he handed it to me. Oh, the joy of being a substitute anything. The money is unexpected and always welcome. But that moment of lying in bed, trying to remember What day it is? Where I am? What am I supposed to be doing today?  Trying to sound perky to my desperate coworker who just wants to hear a definite Yes, of course I can come in! I decided a bird in the hand is worth two quilts in the bush, so I said yes. I made two travel mugs full of coffee, threw on some clothes covered in threads, put together a pathetic but healthy bag of food and stumble/drove into work. I decided against hauling in my sewing machine, the fabric fuzz would be a dead giveaway. On this perfect Sunday morning, I don’t want OE to stand for Ousted Employee.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Target practice with needle and thread

Puffy Quilt - Kim Kardashian style.
' know...
My quilt making is at an impasse right now. Since discovering the new option of making a puffy rag quilt, I'm in quilt confusion and not sure in which direction to go. The traditional way of making rag quilts, if you can call a relatively new craft traditional, is to sew a piece of batting into each square with an X and then sew all the squares together. Another option is using flannel and not sewing the Xs, but they don't seem to have the same personality and charm. The newest option, the puffy type, removes the whole step of cutting out the batting, and the time-consuming X sewing process. The downside?

They take up so much room!

In prepping for the craft faire, I have four regular quilts waiting in a suitcase, and two puffy quilts bulging out of a giant blue IKEA bag. Too much fluff!

Another plus of the puffy quilts is that they don't sew an X across the pattern of the fabric. This doesn't matter so much with stripes, calicoes, polka dots and checks - but when there's a pattern involving people or animals, I run into trouble. I have no choice, I have to sew that X right down the middle of the square, and if I wasn't gauging things right during the cutting-out phase, I have to just cringe and sew right through and apologize later. Here have been the latest casualties.

Mr. Scarecrow got it in the arm and face, and the crow croaked too...
...a side of beef anyone?...

...ribs perhaps?...

...Ugh, right in the chest...

...and then the rear...

...makin' bacon...
...Veal? That's so wrong!...

...the bears are not safe...

...neither are the children on the beach...

...poor puppy...

...I killed two birds with one sewn X.

Staying out where it's safe.

Friday, November 7, 2014

It's not fair. It's faire.

Craft fair, craft faire, whichever way you spell it, I've been wanting to do one. A real one, that is. Along with my neighbors who knit and crochet, I've done two craft fairs. The first was on a rainy day at a retirement home. It was a dud. The other was on a hot day at a school carnival. It was not quite as bad as the first, but it was not great. For a craft fair to work the weather needs to warrant your goods, (no scarves and quilts when it's 90 degrees), there has to be a lot of people, and they need to be in the buying mood. Selling to seniors who have just downsized a lifetime of stuff into a small apartment is a bad idea. Kids at a school carnival have no money and wouldn't buy a quilt even if they had it. So we're hoping that the weather, the crowds and the mood are just right for this, our first real craft fair(e).

Holiday Craft Faire
December 5th, 2014
Sierra 2 Center
Rooms 10, 11 & 12
2791 24th Street
Sacramento CA 95818
(916) 452-3005

First of all, it's on a Friday. That's good. And it's at the beginning of the month before people have spent all their money on things like food and other non-essentials. It's inside. That's great because who wants their quilts blowing all over hin and yon, not me. They provide the table. That makes my shoulders so happy. It is a good price, and with sharing the table with my friends one good hat sale will cover the cost. Let's see, what else? It's near the DMV and the organizer assures me they get lots of lunch time traffic and there is a neighborhood event there that night that hopefully will bring in some crowds. That's what I want - crowds of freezing people with lots of cold hard cash, looking to warm up with some quilts and crocheted hats.

So, here we go, between now and December 5th I'm going to be a sewing machine. As in a person who is sewing a lot at her machine. Sewing and cutting, and planning and snipping and washing and labeling and hoping my hands don't fall off from exhaustion. If you need to contact me, you'll find me in the pile of fluff we call our house. Bring fabric.

Besides the three quilts I have remaining on Etsy, this is what I have worked up this week.

I cut out and sewed up a Farm to Spork quilt...'s got scarecrows and cows!!

I just cut out a Geek Chic TV themed quilt with tie dye! Groovy, man.

My one-eyed Minion guy will be there...

...with Swirly Hat One...


...and Three.
I need more stuff.
This is so not faire.