Thursday, January 18, 2018

Early In the Morning or Late at Night?

Happy Thursday!

One of the things we need to do in our job as Grampa's Day Care Center is get Miss A out of bed for school in the morning (and me out of bed to get to my home office!).

Some days it's no fun.  Other days it's not so bad.

I am reminded of my own days as a kid at home, and my poor mother having to get any number of her seven offspring up at various times of the morning.

She used to sing a little song to us, maybe you've heard it before:

In addition she might do something like pull up the shade to let in the sunshine, or pull the blankets off a particularly lazy kid who wasn't responding.  I even remember once she used a squirt bottle of cool water that was on the ironing board to convince one of the boys to Rise and Shine.
Some of use might be risers but shining in the morning was not in our wheelhouses.

One of my brothers was a night owl and was perpetually dragging his sorry butt out of bed at the very last second.  Like the rest of us would be in the car ready to back out of the driveway and he would be saying "wait, wait!".

Not that I mind getting up early, if I get a good sleep.  I was never good at staying up late.  I don't watch late night TV on purpose -- what happens to me is I'm waiting for my turn in the bathroom and I fall asleep on the couch with a cat (or knitting) on my lap.  Then I am jolted awake by the crink in my neck, and some silly talk show is on, and what the heck, I have lost an hour or more! 

I get up, wash my face, brush my teeth, go to bed, and then I can't drop off immediately (I'm sure it's the face-washing) so I read for anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour.

Then my hubby says "you were up late last night".  Ha ha!  Not so much... it doesn't count as staying up late if you're sleeping on the couch!  I have stayed up the equivalent of a half hour longer than he did, appearances notwithstanding.

Tonight I plan to do it differently.  I will go to bed first and fall asleep second.

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Years Resolutions

A few things I've heard about the New Year period are to end as you began, to begin as you intend to go, and when making resolutions try to make them achievable but not too easy... that's IF you are going to make any at all.

This year one of my resolutions was to finish some of the things I've started before starting new things.

Does un-knitting a project qualify as finishing?  It's no longer a UFO at that point, right??  LOL!
I was sitting in my normal knitting spot on the sofa and looking at what was around me.  Before Christmas I moved some things into the closet of the spare bedroom to make room for the Christmas tree room rearrangement, and I didn't have a lot of things sitting around me.  So I went on a search.
I found the green lace sweater that I started eons ago.   Well, in 2016...

This time of year it's nice to have a big knitting project in your lap in the evening!  Also a cat, but as I discovered this week, not a knitting project and a cat at the same time.
  1. Too hot.  Yes, even when the weather is freezing, it's too hot to have both in your lap while sitting on the couch.
  2. Cat does not appreciate knitting action.  She wants stillness.  If your leg cramps up from sitting in the same spot too long, too bad.
I digress.  I pulled out the project.  It was on the waste yarn I used to store the sleeve stitches while I knit the body of the sweater.  I went on a hunt and found the right sized needles.  But the cord options for the circulars I wanted to use were either too long or too short.
Too short was the better option, so that's how I started.  After a few rows it wasn't too bad but every time I put it down I was worried the knitting would slide off.  Off again I go on another search for what I did with the mid sized cord.

I found a couple of projects stuffed in knitting bags.  I peeled off a mitten that the intended recipient told me she would never wear, and put that ball of yarn back with its litter mates. 

I found a hat that was about five rows in but was not started with ribbing and I could not identify what pattern I was using.  I unraveled that and low and behold, the mid sized cord.  Victory!  Then I went back to the green sleeve and knitted about a dozen additional rows.

The sleeve is going to be very wide.  I might have to do something I have no experience with and that is alter a knitting pattern this complicated.  Note to self:  Whatever you do to one sleeve you must do to the other, so for goodness sake, write it down!!  Knitting the sleeve on the body of the sweater is different than knitting the sleeves separately, where you can knit them simultaneously.

I might have to consult the experts at my local yarn shop, or email the Yarn Harlot in Canada...

One thing I started in December is done.  I bought some Malabrigo yarn from The Loopy Ewe and started a Feather and Fan scarf before Christmas.  This is also a lace pattern, but it only has one lace row, the rest is stockinette.  For some reason it was easier to follow than the sweater, (and smaller) so I finished it.

Here it is blocked and drying on the ironing board:

The board is 54 inches long.

The cast on row is three peaks and two dips.

The bind off row is two peaks with a
big dip in the center.
I didn't notice the blues so much while knitting, but they really show up in the photo.  I wore it to church with a teal sweater.  It's very light and thin, but also very warm around my neck.

My third project that is ready for finishing is a quilt top.  I pulled the blocks from my parts department.  Yeah, that pile of stuff that had no purpose but was fun to do... 

Four patch blocks that ended up at 3.5".

Paired with 3.5" blue blocks.
I picture this top finishing at about a laptop size, 48x54 or thereabouts, and I would love to set them on point if I have the right quantity of blue for background in my stash.

So two UFOs started back up and one new project started and finished.  Begin as you intend to go...

Sew and knit on!


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Thank You, Whoever!

Quilt guild was a lot of fun this week... We had a demonstration of antique sewing machines and the history of the invention of the sewing machine.

Googling "sewing machine" will get you about a bazillion hits.  You need to get more specific, like "Gibbs antique sewing machine" or "crank sewing machine".  Even using the word "Antique" gets a multitude of returns.

Many people think the inventor of the sewing machine was Isaac Singer.  Not true!  His name is probably the most easily associated with the sewing machine, mostly because he was an opportunistic scoundrel and took advantage wherever he could, although he is responsible for a lot of improvements in early machines.

The first candidate for inventor of the sewing machine was a German mechanic working in London.  His name was Charles Weisenthal purportedly in 1755.  it was meant to do embroidery but didn't go too far. 

An industrial machine supposedly
built by Charles Kyte before
1893, inventor unknown.

Somewhere in this time frame someone decided to try to set up a factory with machines to sew in Paris.  The Tailors Union discovered it and decided it was going to put them out of business, so they pushed the machines out of high windows to smash them and burned the factory down. 

Early industrial Singer.
Next came an English cabinetmaker named Thomas Saint but his patent was registered  in 1790 using multiple categories as was the practice at the time, and thus it was filed under the category of GLUE, bookbinding for the use of. 

William Newton Wilson discovered this about a hundred years later while doing research.  He built a replica from the patent drawings, and it worked.  He took it to the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia where he tripped over a display by Elias Howe, claiming that HE invented the sewing machine in 1846.  Surprise, surprise, surprise! 

Howe had invented a machine and patented it.  He may have been a good inventor but not funded sufficiently, and there is doubt as to whether his machine actually worked.  He went to England and you can google him or go to and read articles to find out his sad story.    He eventually came back to the US, found out that people were manufacturing a 'sewing machine' and proceeded to sue everyone and their uncles for patent infringement, and winning. 

Enter Singer.  He chose to fight Howe in court about the prior use of the technology that Howe patented, and through inefficiencies and errors Howe prevailed through many years.  He is even sighted by the Smithsonian Institute as The Inventor of the Sewing Machine.

What Singer did very well was improve the technology, and sell machines.  He is credited with allowing free home trials, and inventing the time payment system. 

I have my husband's grandmother's Singer treadle machine, purchased about 1929 for somewhere around $49 if the paper tag I found inside one of the drawers is to be believed.  It still works, and I cleaned it and had a new belt installed when I got it about 35 years ago.  It takes coordination to run, and has been preempted by a White, several Vikings, a Babylock and a Janome.  It has been used as a school photo repository for the past 10 years.

At one time there were many, many local manufacturers of sewing machines, many of whom were making them for distribution by others, and putting the distributer names on them when they made them.  Thus you may find the names Jones, Miracle, and many others on machines that are almost identical!

I for one am grateful to the many inventors and scoundrels who contributed in any way to the invention of the machines I so dearly love and use so often!

Sew on...

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Quilt Kits and Symbiosis

I miss sewing... I said something one day about missing sewing and the husband of one of our quilty ladies said "but you're doing all this quilting!"  What I explained to him is that the act of sewing is putting two or more pieces of fabric together and fastening them with thread.

What I do for the quilt guild at church is the opposite of sewing - I cut up stuff!

Each one of us in the guild, and in life, has different skills.  What makes life so delicious is that the combinations of those skills often add up to something wonderful that could not be done on your own.

You know about the symbiotic relationship between flowers and bees, they need each other to complete their various tasks.  That's how I view our church quilt guild.  Someone chooses fabrics and makes up kits.  That is me.  Someone or a lot of someones takes those kits home and makes the quilt tops.  They're brought back to the group and many someones make quilt sandwiches and find the bindings to match, and a final someone takes them home and quilts them.  Oh, not a final because we added last year a someone who takes the quilted quilts and sews on the bindings, because she can do that while keeping her health-challenged hubby company.

So while I'm a worker bee, doing my part, which I love, sometimes I miss sewing!

I cut small chunks into strips if they're width of fabric (WOF).  I had a big bin of 2.5 inch strips, and made a blue jelly roll.  The strips on top are for binding.

Then I cut up a bunch of kits - over the holidays, not all at one sitting!  Some were patterns we are familiar with, and some are for a new pattern called Oh! So Sweet and Simple, using strips and squares.
This is another part of the pile, a pattern using only 2.5 inch strips, called My Favorite Strip Quilt, a gift from our local quilt shop owner.
And this bin is full of matched sets of fat quarters for a pattern called Yellow Brick Road.  They require further cutting, although the pattern calls for cutting as you go.  The first part of prep is pressing, and cutting the first set of strips.  More cutting happens after the first round of sewing.  It's a pattern  I love but it does require a certain level of attention as you're working.

So I was very happy to find time to make this:

a small three yard quilt, using strips and blocks.  The name escapes me oh duh!  It's in the photo of the kits... Oh So Sweet and Simple! -- and I was supposed to turn the striped blocks sideways on every other row, but forgot.  Oh well, it's pretty.

And this table runner for my kitchen table.  It's a quilt as you go, all strips.  Kid of a simple project but so pretty on the table.

That was a couple of  weeks ago... I need to find more machine time.  Although my main machine may have to go to the hospital, she decided not to go in reverse anymore!

Isn't it always something!!

Sew on...

Saturday, January 6, 2018


This is post number 515.  I guess that's better than giving my age, or calculating the days to my retirement.

Numbers.  Some people have a affinity - like me, I can remember addresses and phone numbers, my grandmother's phone number was Atlantic 2 - 9508.  That was back when exchanges had names, not numbers.  We lived at 1724 Poe Street in Minnesota.  There are 5,280 feet to a mile and 12 inches to a foot.

No, no, I will not make you do the math!  People hate math, especially some women!  I've seen tee shirts that say

I have to laugh because there are so many things that keep us from doing math in our heads anymore...calculators on our phones, registers that give the change amount so you don't have to count back, no one HAS to do math unless they want to.

My youngest granddaughter can do math in her head.  It's funny because you can actually see her face change when she does it.  Her sister will look at her and say something like 'oh for goodness sake, just use a piece of paper'.  Her face is kind of glazed over for a minute and then before a pencil can be produced she's got the answer.

I don't understand the new math, or Common Core or whatever way their teaching now, but she certainly does.

When my daughter was in school she took algebra, and she always said there was never going to be a time when she would use it after she graduated.  Many people are of that same opinion.  But now, ask her what a pitcher's ERA is, or how many man-hours a project will take and she can tell you.

I don't tell her it's algebra.

Come to the math side, we have pi.

Add on...

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The 2017 Wrap Up

I just wanted to post this picture laden reminder of all the things that DID get done in 2017... I didn't do them all myself but I did have fingers in each and every one of them.

Dori's pillows

Dori's other pillows

The confirmand

Doll coats and mittens

New quilt patterns to teach

Knit hats

Crocheted hats

The parrot quilt

Night shirts

Yellow brick road in blue

The Brown Thing


Apple paper piecing

Pastor Mike's quilt

Baby sweaters!

Charity quilts

More dolly clothes

Auntie's quilts

baby gifts

The pony tail hat

And many more not captured for posterity... I need to resolve to 1. Get the UFOs finished and 2. Get better at documenting the finishes!  Oh, and 3.  Maybe not start as many things as I finish this year.

Good luck with that...  Happy 2018!