Wednesday, March 23, 2011

joining the madness!

If you have been stalking sewing on flickr or blogland, you have probaby heard about Mug Rug Madness...

It is 10 days of tips and tutorials on the latest sewing trend - mug rugs. How cool are they? Mini quilts that can be as simple as you wanna be, or used as an opportunity to try more complicated bits of sewing. And mostly immediate gratification - and who doesn't like that? They are called mug rugs but they can also be potholders or small table pieces incognito.

I was inspired by the hubbub to try my own mug rug. I was able to use the teeniest snippets of flea market fancy fabrics by
Denyse Schmidt - I confess that I find it kind of thrilling to use this hard to find fabric, but I also feel like it needs to be savored and spread as thin as possible.


I used an english paper piecing template and tutorial found here. I reduced it to 33% and shazaam - mug rug.

Monday, March 21, 2011

good things...

I received my {Urban} Home Goods swap package last week from Strawberrylicious...


Isn't this piece a-maz-ing? It was created based on the folded table centerpiece pattern here. It is so intricate - I could have cried when I opened it - so much effort for me, shucks, that feels pretty special. I am thinking I would like to try this technique...on a much smaller scale...using this potholder tutorial. It is always exciting to have something new to try.

This weekend was the Madison Knitter's Guild Knit-In. The highlight for me was that Christine from near Boston and Carolyn from near Chicago came to my hood and we stayed in a swanky bed and breakfast that had many perfect places to knit. And then the icing on the cake was The Plucky Knitter had a booth FULL of fantastic yarn at the event. I was able to help set up and get a pre-look at every skein, self serving as it was, it was fun to get up way too early to fondle all of that yarn. num.


Christine and Sarah, the Plucky Knitter


What I won't show you is a picture of my sitting my sweats all day today - I took a vacation day to recover from the weekend, cause knitting and enjoying the company of friends is real tough work. The best kind.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

come, sail away...

The State Street Tote by Bari J.

I finished this tote bag yesterday - I was inspired by this one over at Fashioned by Meg. She made it for her partner in the Urban Home Goods swap - so I stalked the pattern and all of the supplies. And then I finally used my coveted Heather Ross Far Far Away 2. The fabric is canvas-like, which seems perfect for a tote - but then two layers of fusible fleece, and 4 layers of fabric - my sewing machine was straining a little. I decided to trim away what I thought was extra fabric and after the fact, realized I cut a part that would show - so i had to get creative and the bag ended up a little bit smaller than it should have. I could have cried - but it has turned out okay in spite of my near epic disaster. I love the owl and the pussy cat sailing away...


My mom admired it last night, repeating several times "I really like that bag, I really like it". She is funny and kind of shameless that way. We'll see, mom - mother's day is around the corner. Meanwhile, my sewing machine probably needs some TLC.

Thank you for the kind words about my last post - and the stressors of being amidst a messy battle over union rights/ benefits in WI. The situation took a negative turn this week when the the bill got rammed through in a what appeared to be an illegal manner. The protesting continues - Susan Sarandon spoke at the Capital yesterday. Even if all of the protests don't make a difference in the end, it has been exciting and gratifying to know that people are willing to fight to be heard.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

to heck and back...

me and a fellow agent protesting in Madison, WI.

Wow - this last month has been tough. I am a State Worker in Wisconsin - for some, that might be enough information. But in case it isn't - the public sector has been amidst controversy with the new governor. As part of his budget repair bill, it will cost me $400 more a month for health care and pension benefits. I am not excited about that, but I am okay with it. The State is in a tight spot and we need some checks and balances. However, in addition to this lifestyle modification, the governor is trying to take away collective bargaining rights. I have never been a huge pro-union person, even though I have been a member for almost 20 years - but where is counts for me is my physical safety on my job. The union bargains for me - that after I handcuff an inmate in a prison or jail, I can sit in front of a glass partition with my eye on them - instead of sitting next to them like we used to have to do. I am a relatively small person, and I used to have to snuggle in the back of a transport van with much bigger men in the name of safety - um, really? And I could lose that bargained agreement. So all that said...the month has been kind of long. I haven't felt like doing much of anything outside of the necessity stuff. I have been sad that 20 years on the job, and I feel like I am being forced to take many steps back. It's truly not a partisan, political thing for me. Generally I am pretty positive about my job - so this has sucked. I have found myself eating at my desk so I can avoid the other apathetic souls sitting around conjuring up "what ifs". no fun. I have heard my dad and father-in-law both proclaim that State workers are getting what's coming to them. wow, really no fun. I have had friends say they hate unions and democrats on facebook...really, totally no fun.

I think it is exciting Michael Moore was at our Capital yesterday. wow!

I recently decided enough of that. I have been having fun with co-workers naming what fun and free things we can do to keep our spirits up. It has encouraged a lot of ridiculous conversation - I mean, fun and free encompasses a lot of things - some unmentionable in this public forum, em...So I feel better - I love my co-workers - I am truly worried for some who are single parents or the only breadwinner in the family. however, I hate worrying in advance - time will tell what will happen. WI is in utter stalemate right now and the governor's disapproval rate is at 67+% in his second month in office.


So fun and free, I figured I had better practice what I preach...since I have a nice stash of fabric and yarn, crafting has been sort of free for me lately. I have added a few pieces to compliment other fabrics for the latest swap round of {Urban} Home Goods - a Modern Swap. What a talented bunch, I am humbled to be included. I made my partner 4 placemats and a trivet-y thing with insul-brite lining to protect the table from hot food. I hope she will love it.

I used a string quilt tutorial here...
see the toasters in there?

I have really enjoyed spending some quality time with my sewing machine. I think it needs a trip to the dealer for a good cleaning as a treat. It has served me well for over 12 years, aint that something? (fun and free)

Now onto a sock that has been eluding me. I am involved in a single sock swap among friends - I was halfway done with my socks foot when lo - I found an error mid-leg. It took a week to stop feeling sorry for myself and to get up the nerve to pull it back - now I have to conquer this stinker!

Have a great week!