Saturday, December 23, 2023

String blocks

A couple of people asked about the quilt blocks I helped Shelly work on. They are called scrappy string blocks, and a bit of search turned up a nice tutorial: Scrappy String blocks. I found a decent picture, too.

When I made them for Janice, they were on a paper foundation. The paper was telephone book pages. These are less common these days, but yellow page books are fairly available. Shelly used parchment baking paper from an enormous box of same she had acquired. Whatever works for you.

The foundation paper must be a square, for these blocks. I built a supply of these by tearing out one phone book page, folding it diagonally, and then folding the excess at the bottom to produce a square. I used a ruler on the short bottom fold to tear off the excess paper. 

Open out the square. From any box of your many precut strips, put one strip centered on the fold. Secure with a pin, top and bottom, so it doesn't slip.

Set the sewing stitch very small. This makes the paper tear away more easily. Put the next strip along the first and sew with a quarter inch seam. Press with your thumbnail, and sew down the next strip. Press down and continue to the end of the square.

Reverse the block to sew a strip to the other side of the first strip. Thumbnail press, and continue. The blocks need pressed, trimmed, and the paper torn off. Then set together as you please.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

A lovely sight!

I longed to finish that dratted towel warp this weekend. I wove whenever I could last week, and spent most of today weaving. Yesterday saw a couple of hours in the morning, before my daughter Shelly came for lunch and with  a project of her own.

She had a tote of quilt squares sewn on paper and the paper needed torn off. These are the very same squares I used to sew for Jan and she would turn into little quilts for children in need. Shelly and I tore off all the paper backings of her stash of squares.

The gist of this story is, now she has Shelly sewing single bed tops and Jan is donating them to a group called Good Knights. This group's mission is to give a bed to children who do not have a bed.

And there are thousands of children here in Northeastern Ohio, who sleep on the floor for want of a bed. The single bed quilt tops Jan is making now go to this project. A bed and a quilt.

I smiled, remembering all the bags of scraps left behind my sewing chair by Jan's quilting customers. I asked Shelly if the quilting customers were still leaving bags of scraps at Jan's studio, and the answer is Yes. She probably will never run out of material for quilts.

But I digress. I really hoped to reach the end of the warp today. I wove an entire tube of the blue, but didn't trust the warp to last for one more tube of blue, so I went to my usual end of warp ploy, cream towels.

And I wove and wove and wove all day today. I did not take off the blue towels because that would involve tying the warp back to the front beam, and wasting many inches. I just kept weaving the cream.

Every time I looked at the back beam, there were still a couple of turns of warp left. Until suddenly one section had just one turn left! It was that wonderful event that happens to weavers on occasion. One bout is short!

The length of towels is still on the beam. I am too tired to take them off and secure the ends. A job for tomorrow afternoon. As soon as they are finished into towels, they will go on the web site and that will be the end of towels.

My next project is much more complex. I can weave a 36" width of fabric on this loom, and that will be my next undertaking. It won't be plain fabric; the surface will be a textured pattern very like the leaves of the Hosta plant named August lily.

This is what is called an overshot pattern. Every row is separated by a row of plain weave, the over and under of potholder weaving. I'll use the rest of the towel colors. I'm looking forward to this, but it will be some time in coming. There will be 18 bouts to wind on and then thread through the heddles!

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Adjusting again

At supper last night, Rose busted me for missing another bingo game. "Why weren't you at Bingo?" was the second or third thing she asked. I replied it was the same as ever, "No quarters!"

"Why don't you go to the desk and get a ten dollar roll?"

"I've lost every quarter I've invested. I even thought I'd break the cycle when Lisa counted out the quarters in the stamp box and there  only were seven dollars. I told her not to look for any more, I'd take that magic number and compound it. I lost it in one week."

Rose rummaged in her Rollator seat and thumped this tiny purse near my plate.

It was deceptively heavy and rattled suspiciously. "Did you pay in pennies?" I asked, because she did owe me for towels. I opened it.

"No more excuses!" It appears to be two or so weeks of Bingo. I thanked her, and will play. No one makes a living from Bingo here, and no one goes broke. It takes four dollars to play, and all these damn quarters just circulate among us. No where to spend them. No vending machines. Once I bought a stamp!

Bingo is subject to statistics. I had discovered a card with frequently called numbers, and made sure to select that card for every game. It worked, until a newcomer with a long bingo background made sure to learn my card's number and made sure to arrive early enough to select that card thereafter. The first time she had it she won the jackpot. The card was due. Now I need either to find another "good" card, or get to the game early enough to secure that card.

I turned over another new leaf in December. When I finished the last loaf of Heinen's bread I put the toaster away in the cupboard and began going downstairs for breakfast. It means getting up half an hour earlier, to be sure Kitty is properly cared for. Not an onerous undertaking, but my schedule is jumbled. Sleep and shower are in disarray. A first world problem, to be sure. Nevertheless, more adjustment is required.

I prefer a shower in the morning. All the years I was on the road I showered at night, after a long, dusty day in the sun. The shower generally happened even before dinner, giving my hair as much time as possible to dry before bedtime, which was around midnight, with the alarm ringing around seven.

Now I sleep nine or ten hours a night, and generally wake with a start when the alarm rings. Several mornings a week I shower and wash my hair, then dress and dry my hair, prior to all the other morning obligations. Now it's looking as if my only option is to return to showers at night, and drying my hair before I go to bed. As I said, first world problems. However, preferable to getting up another hour earlier 

It is that time of year, again. I took the holiday ribbon from its shelf and put it on my door again. I will find a larger storage bag at the end of this season, so less fluffing will be required next December.