Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sausage Pillowcases Part 2

Turn the sausage tube inside out. Voila! The cuff encloses the raw edges of the body fabric on both sides.

Sew the long side seam with a French seam, or serge it, or stitch and then zig-zag the edge so it's a neat finish.

Now just sew across the bottom, and it's done! Very slick. After you've made this once, you can make one start to finish in just a couple of minutes.

Sausage Pillowcases, Part 1

My favorite quilting teacher, Judy Hasheider, taught some of us how to make a pillowcase with a cuff in a jiffy -- and nicely finished inside. Here's how it's done:

You will need 3/4 yard fabric for the main body of the pillowcase, and 1/4 yard fabric for the cuff. Square up the cut ends of each piece of fabric (on the grainline). Each piece will be approximately 42" - 44" inches from selvedge to selvedge -- cut them the same length, trimming off the selvedge at the same time.

Lay out the cuff fabric right side up, and lay the body fabric on top of it, matching the cut edges furthest from you. Beginning with the cut edge closest to you, roll or fold the body fabric up in a sausage considerably narrower than the cuff fabric.

Now fold the bottom cut edge of the cuff fabric up over the sausage so you have a three-layer sandwich of cuff, body, cuff:

Pin and sew the long seam, keeping those three cut edges matched up.

Blogger won't let me put any more photos in this post, so -- to be continued in the next one!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Little Pleasures

What could be nicer than reading the morning paper with a helper?

And there's nothing more luxurious than clean sheets from the solar-powered dryer, smelling of fresh air and sunshine -- complete with wren song.

A poem I wrote years ago:

"Hanging Out the Sheets"
An emerald insect, long, thin,
marquise-cut, beetles in the grass under the clothesline;
the mosquitos are fierce, hungry;
tiny green worms dangle from branches;
webs droop after last night's rain, torn lace.

Yesterday a doe stretched her neck here,
chewed lilac leaves, blew --
stood so near my spying eyes, oblivious,
poked at her nose with a black hoof.
A shot of sunlight touched
the soft inside of her ear, golden, white.

It's a quiet day here, but not for long:  Next week Olivia (age 8) and I will be studying entomology (bugs) at Grandparents University (University of Wisconsin) and on the weekend the California kids and grandkids arrive for an extended stay.  Then the roller coaster will be full throttle until October.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Home Town Visit

Yesterday we went to the Dregne family reunion at the farm just outside Viroqua.  Amazing how many progeny derive from the three original Dregne siblings and their spouses.  I enjoy seeing the little ones and talking with those of my generation -- we are now the matriarchs and patriarchs.  That in-between age group, those just graduating from college and getting married, are not very interested in us old fogeys -- never fear, they'll get their turn!

My sister-in-law and I went into town so she could show me a couple of interesting places I haven't seen.  

First we went to Main Street Station:

This was the old Buick car dealership building.  It's now an indoor town square, complete with fountain and benches.  All around the sides are booths selling antiques, local art and locally-made lotions, clothing, etc.  There's an organic ice-cream shop and a pleasant patio in back for sitting outside.

Then we went to Ewetopia yarn shop:

They sell a lovely selection of high-quality commercial yarns as well as locally-grown, hand-spun and hand-dyed wools.  Also roving and wool for spinning.  The website has pdf files of some nice free patterns designed by the shop owner.  I'm going to make the Bicolor Spiral Cap.

In the early 70s "back-to-earth" young people began moving into Viroqua, and the locals didn't want those dirty hippies.  Now, thirty years later, the economic revival of this dying small town is entirely due to the dirty hippies.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Out of the house

Saturday I took The Quilt From Hell to Carla, the long-arm quilter who has been patiently waiting for it.  I am so glad it's in her hands and out of my house!  

Tuesday afternoon I went out to Fran's house for a reunion of my writing group, the first time we've all been together this summer, what with Margaret at chamber music camp and me all over the state.  Margaret's sister Caroline from Hartford, Connecticut -- a cellist -- was here also, with photos of the mama black bear and three cubs who wandered into her front yard!

Tuesday evening the Dump Salad group of quilters came to my house for supper. What a wonderful bunch of women!  Each doing something different:  knitting a prayer shawl, making beautiful (really beautiful) jewelry, knitting squares to felt into a bag, appliqueing a table runner, needle punching . . . there's nothing they can't do.

Yesterday I took three table runners, a wall hanging and another bed size quilt to Linda in Reedsburg, another long-arm quilter, who finally has time to do them.  Two of the table runners are oriental, one is a seed packet floral stack 'n whack-type for spring. The wall hanging is the leaf pattern done with Shiva Paintstix.  It was a lot of fun to do!  The big quilt is from a book called French Market, the pattern is called Rose Trellis, but I'm calling my quilt "French Flea Market" because that's what it looks like  to me:  very La Boheme, something one would find on a treasure hunt in Paris.  It is promised to my oldest (as in longest-term) friend Mary for her birthday; I'll take it to her in Denver over Labor Day.  I'll post photos of all these quilts when I get them back --  which will take a while.  I can see most of the top of my cutting table now.

Meanwhile I'm sewing together five 120 inch strips of teal batiks for a summer-weight coverlet to replace The Quilt From Hell.  Not only is it not really a king-size quilt, which I've sworn off, but without all those seams, it will be truly summer weight.

Returning from Reedsburg yesterday I came via Spring Green, a beautiful drive.  And I wanted to stop at Paradise Teas to get a replacement for my tea infuser, lost somewhere between here and The Clearing two weeks ago.  The amount of standing water in Spring Green, especially as you come in on Highway 23, is heart-breaking.  Homes still sitting in a foot or more of water.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Progress Report

I've sketched the block for the bottom of Iznik: I simplified flower and leaf designs from a Dover book of Turkish designs -- there's no way I can applique such sharp points!

I've loved Bach's French Suites for many years, but didn't know the English Suites at all well. I've had Murray Perahia's recording of Nos. 2, 4 and 5, and wasn't in thrall. This week I got his recording of Nos. 1, 3 and 6 and am enchanted. I have to give the first recording another good, hard listen. Took me a long time to fall in love with the Goldbergs, but now they're very close friends. In fact, I realized a couple of months ago that they are the story of a human life -- not necessarily chronological, and certainly not programmatic, but when that ethereal theme returns at the end, you know you have come full circle from birth to the sublimity of death. (I'm not claiming that the process of dying is sublime, but that death itself is.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I love a good mystery

Which doesn't include "Where did all these ants come from?" and "I cut this so carefully -- what happened?"

I am putting the finishing touches on the quilt from hell.  This was an ill-conceived project from the get-go.  The plan was to get together with a friend, sharing batiks, and make two similar quilts.  Ellen's was a wedding present for a friend's daughter; mine was to be a quilt that wouldn't show cat hair for our king-size bed.  Ellen finished hers a while back.  Mine is too wild for our calm, woodland bedroom.  I thought I'd put a soft color border on to tone it down.  Looked awful.  So I took it off, all 436 inches of it.  Today I cut black fabric for new borders and binding.  872 inches of it.  When I sew it on (including both sides of the binding), it will be 1744 inches.  Crikey.  I hope if I say the words "king size" again, someone slaps me.

This will now be a gift to our son and daughter-in-law, whose house is decorated in sports and exercise equipment (think snowboards and water skis leaning against the living room walls), and whose bedroom is primer white.  It will add some color and pattern and sparkle to their home, and they're young -- it probably won't keep them awake at night.

But what to do for our bed?  Tomorrow I pick up a bedskirt I had made especially to match the first, late border.  If I even whisper "king-size quilt," someone will slap me.