Dad & Janet's Quilt, & A Skirt

Tonight, we had dinner with Dad, Janet and my step-sister Emily to do our Christmas exchange. It was difficult to show them their quilt in at Applebee’s, and I couldn’t send it home with them yet since I still need to finish it off. I’m trying to decide what I want to bind it with, and if I should tie the centers of the blocks or do more machine quilting in them.

It’s another very simple design, as I knew I couldn’t possibly get anything fancy done before Christmas – and indeed, couldn’t even get this one completed! This one is all done by machine.

Here’s their quilt thus far, beginning to present day. The fabric is Kansas Troubles Kansas Winter for the top, and the pieced stripe on the back is Kansas Troubles Snow Blooms.

Also, I *so* hate Flickr’s newish policy of not having the ability to “copy image location” from the main page. It makes photo-intensive blog posts an ass-pain. Thus, some photos are the little ones.

The squares, ready to go.

A first attempt at layout:

It’s only a couch-sized throw, so I wasn’t using all the squares. Since their couch is green,  I brought more green into it. Here’s the final layout. Once again, I managed to sew a row together the opposite way it should have been, and two red squares ended up on the same side. Grr. I embroidered “2009” in the bottom left square, hopefully far enough from the edge to not be covered by the binding!

Basting this one wasn’t nearly as torturous as basting Mom’s. It’s a bit smaller, and I learned a lot the first time around. Additionally, I made sure to have music – soothing, Egyptian music to distract me from the aches in my knees and back as I crawled around the taped-down pieces. It was very handy being able to reach the center of the quilt without having to crawl out upon it.

I don’t want to talk about what happened with the back, but I’m including the photo for amusement value:

Instead of seven hours of back-breaking, soul-destroying work, this was done in just short of two hours. Sweet.

I did a simple, double-line quilt across each edge of each row.

This of course leaves far too much unquilted space in the middle, though, so I need to decide what to do in there.

The back seemed too plain with only brown, and I might have ended up a bit short on the Kona solid, so I pieced a very simple stripe on the back, which I really like.

One little pucker snuck into the back side, darn it, but the top isn’t free of flaws, either. Some of the rows don’t line up, and some of the straight lines aren’t so straight. Alas!

I think it’ll look very nice when I’ve got it all done – not bad for a noob, anyhow. 🙂

Last week, I got a bug to start the utility skirt I’ve been thinking about. Barbara has a skirt I totally covet – a nice denim/canvas in an olive drab color that looks both comfortable and attractive. While I’m not up to the level of skill replicating it would entail, I figured I could try something in a similar color and find an easy pattern to follow for starters.

I’d bought this heavy cotton canvas (clothing weight, not like tent canvas,) thinking it would be Just The Ticket, but of course, it’s heavy cotton canvas. It doesn’t drape well, it’s somewhat stiff and difficult to work with and comes out of the dryer looking like it’s been wadded up in a closet for weeks on end. Also, I don’t know how to do pockets yet, so that’s a fairly severe shortcoming for a “utility” skirt.

I wanted something very long, because I like the look of long skirts. I wanted something simple, too. Looking about for a suitable pattern, I found Angry Chicken’s 5-Minute Skirt Tutorial. You guys have gotten to know me a bit here, so you can be certain this took me far, far longer than five minutes. A significant time sink was drafting the pattern itself, using The Math. Also, I was using something called “craft paper,” which I bought for this express purpose. However, that stuff is BULKY. It isn’t easy to pin at all. Coupled with the thick canvas, it was a recipe for bloodied fingertips and harsh language. But I conquered and laid out:

That stinking paper didn’t even want to fold up properly.

With both the skirt and the loungy pants, I had the worst time fitting the pattern to my actual measurements – even following the math for the skirt pretty closely. I hope that’ll come with time and practice, since right now, I’m largely blind and in the dark.

I cut out and stitched front to back and discovered I had far too wide a waistline (I am nothing if not inconsistent.) Improvising, I restitched one side:

Chicken’s tutorial calls for an elastic waist using fold-over elastic. She has an excellent tutorial on FOE right here, and despite my inherent dislike of elastic waists (my ample girth needs no additional bulk from gathers, thank you,) I decided to give it a shot. I had to wait until today for the FOE to arrive, and I’m a little bummed at how narrow it is. Wrangling it isn’t a whole lot of fun, and the fabric escaped its narrow grasp in a couple of places. I didn’t stretch it anywhere near its limits, hoping to cut down on the bunching, and the end result is all right on the whole, although it looks terrible just lying on a table.

Part of the appeal of FOE is one needn’t make a casing – one simply folds the elastic over the top edge and zig-zags it into place. My zigs and zags are far from consistent, but no one will likely ever see that part. I hope. It has a “glee club” and a “non-glee-club” side – one side is very shiny/glittery, and the other is matte. We like the matte, don’t we?

Not the “Xanadu” side, as Chicken calls it, or the “Glam Rock” side, as I’m thinking of it:

The skirt fits, its lines are far from perfect, and I could never wear a tucked-in shirt with it (as if I ever would wear a tucked-in shirt with anything.) It hits right at my ankles, and while I could stand it to be an inch or so longer, it’s not bad. I’m leaving the hem raw to see what it turns into (and because I didn’t feel like hemming, ugh.)

This photo is hideous, because we have no mirrors with sufficient after-dark lighting, sorry. Still, you can get a general idea (and you can certainly see the wrinkles:)

I think the twisted sock is a nice touch, accessory-wise <facepalm>.

Also, my god I need to lose weight. Two good things about this skirt are that it was indeed relatively quick and easy to make, and I can always rip/cut the seams out and re-use the enormous swaths of fabric for something else entirely if it doesn’t work out. If I want to make it into a gardening skirt, I could rip the elastic off the waist, learn how to install a proper button-up fly closure and add on some pockets fairly easily – I think.

I’d forgotten how comfortable skirts can be in all sorts of situations. What I’d really like to make is a mid-shin-length Utilikilt, but that will have to wait for considerable time. Ladies, even if you aren’t interested in a Utilikilt, per se, you may wish to click the link to witness the men wearing them. I’m just sayin’.

Come spring, perhaps before, I’m going to need to acquire some good, solid Work Boots. While I probably have my ranch boots packed away somewhere, they may not be suitable for use anymore after so long without care. I should dig them up. These are they:

And now, Stephen King’s “On Writing” calls to me. I read this book when it came out and I’m re-reading it now, as I bring writing back into my life in a more permanent fashion. It’s a fantastic book, and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in writing well, or to anyone who simply enjoys King’s voice.

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