The Grand Machine

Haven't yet had time to try out the basting stitch method for creating gathers. Am sure it will work. Unfortunately, I don't think I can set my stitch length lower than "6" - this might mean I'll be hand-basting. There are worse things...

Too much going on here at the end of summer. You might not believe me but I've seen trees with leaves that are starting to change. Insanity! Today kicked off the Minnesota State Fair and I say halleluiah!

This year my dear friend, Jules, and I have retained the services of an expert guide, Peter Haakon Thompson. We, ourselves, are devoted to the State Fair and might even be considered to be semi-pro but this year wanted to raise the bar and find an innovative way to experience one of the best events of the year. Will keep you posted.

Didn't enter anything in the Fair this year. Last year I entered (and had accepted) "Cheesecloth", this photograph of the soon-to-be Farmhouse Cheddar that Julie and I made. We aged it for 6 months and then ate it up. Two gallons of milk yield shockingly little cheese - not much to share. I look forward to making more cheese. Next up: fresh mozzarella and goat cheese. Yum! Maybe someday I'll be bold enough to enter the actual cheese into the Fair :-)

Other terrific news for me, here in blogland, is that the illustrious Dons has agreed to swap with me. She'll send lovely vintage fabric and in return I'll make her some of those little japanese lunch bags. Those of the "bags-that-got-the-whole-thing-rolling" fame. She's got another great crafty blog too.

She turned me on the this great addition to the trading universe.

Lastly, if you haven't already - it's not too late to sign on for the 5-4-3-2...etsy! challenge.


For crying out loud...

My plan is to create this astonishingly beautiful bag
(same pattern book as the lunchbags).

Studied the pattern (what a great visual decription)
and deciphered it's meaning.

Found the perfect fabric - strawbag, who would believe it.

Made temporary patterns from the sport section
(I really like the sports section now :-)

Embarked on the execution...

Well... The "gathering" thing is giving me a little bit of a fit.

Let's investigate:
1) Sewed a slim margin along the top of each body piece
3) Left the 8cm buffer on each side of the body pieces as indicated by the pattern
2) Attempted to "shimmy" the fabric along to create the gathers
3) Realized that the two body pieces needed to be EXACTLY the same
4) Matched them up - as they were when I cut them from the cloth
5) Attempted to "shimmy" (yes, that is the technical term) the fabric in synchronicity
6) The thread broke - yes, broke

Deep breath. I'm going to painstakingly remove the edge I've sewn and try it again but would appreciate any advice.

I really can't wait to have this bag.
I need to have this bag. I will have this bag...


The joy, the joy, the joy of swaps

One of my recent discoveries, here in the 21st century, is Swapping. Have enrolled in a couple and have received some great packages.

First was "Cooking with Kids". Thanks to Lexi for such a treat! The handsewn apron is truly beautiful. Also included were a recipe booklet, a teddy cookie cutter, and a jar of all-powerful vegemite. Can't wait to try it out!

Then on to the "Used Cookbook Swap". Recieved inspiring book on Soups, Salads and Breads.

Lastly, for today, I've also pledged on to the 5-4-3-2-etsy challenge. Check it out!


Don't lose faith

I've been out of town but will return by this weekend and have lots to post. How I love swaps! Kids Cooking, Prints, Cookbooks, and Yarn. Yipee!


Faithful postings

Another bit of counsel is to keep things active here so...

A project interrupted by the allure of the japanese bags are these baby socks. The brother/sister sock will follow, hopefully, not too far behind. I've always enjoying knitting these from a classic sock pattern that I got at a shop on Cape Cod. One of my goals for the coming year is to branch out on the sock patterns. I'm completely happy with these but would like to learn more more more! Redbird Knits has a genius "sock of the month" club that would be so fun to join.

Or maybe a sock knit-a-long. Anyone done the sockapalooza thing?

Knitty also has some beautiful patterns to try. I might try Hedera. Anyone made any yet?


Results - Japanese Lunch Bags

Things I'm happy with on the completed lunch bags:
  1. I followed the pattern
  2. Construction seems solid
  3. Fabrics look wonderful together
  4. I've learned a lot already
Things to improve:
  1. Tops edges on handles didn't really "round" well
  2. The exposed seams on the inside bother me. I think I'll do another set with a lining and see how that goes
  3. Stop burning my fingers when ironing down the edges to turn them under before sewing :-)
I've been thinking about to what purpose I've created this blog and I think the answer is quite simple. I'd like to have a forum for communicating with and learning from other people who are involved in creating things. I need to figure out how to get in the loop. How do you get folks to read your blog?

Ali H. has already given me some great advice on creating and structuring the blog. Thanks Ali! It's nice to have virtual friends.


Finally - a blog!

I've been lurking on so many fantastic blogs that have been of great inspiration and have decided to take the plunge. I feel so contemporary (Hopfully once this is posted the feeling will continue. I have deep fears that everything will go terribly wrong once I click on "submit!")

Most recent crafting includes the "lunch bag" from a lovely japanese pattern book. Using some beautiful batiks gotten at the local quilt shop in St. Croix Falls. Perhaps I'll figure out how to post photos today too!