I’m happy to report that my Christmas crafting 2010 was mostly on time. I delivered the table runner on time but didn’t have a good pattern in mind for the fiber I purchased so I made a gift certificate and presented it with the fiber. I also finished socks for Jason on Christmas Day. I didn’t wrap them but I did let him try them on so I knew how much further to knit. He only wanted another inch or two added so I have yarn leftover to make Boo a matching pair of socks or two.
Well, planning will only get me so far. During nap time today I was able to knock out most of the male cardinal block. When Boo woke up he needed much comforting because I was running a sewing machine when he woke up so I didn’t hear him immediately. I don’t really know how long he was in his crib awake and unhappy. Once settled, I recalled that Grandma L. is able to put him in a highchair while she cooks and he seems content. I wondered if I pulled him next to me in his chair while I sewed if he would find it interesting. I discovered that he is only interested in watching me sew if he can have his own bits of fabric.
Luckily for both of us I accidentally sewed and cut the wrong pieces so I had some extras that I could give him. I sewed them into a small block when Jason got home and turned Boo loose. He toddled around with it like it was treasure. Then I was able to finish the first block. While looking it at I realized that I originally wanted it set on point but designed it square.
We had family dinner tonight, so when we returned home I started work on the female cardinal. I wisely cut all the background squares Thursday when I was cutting the pieces for male block. I changed the color scheme again, the picture doesn’t do the female justice, she’s got a little purpley-pink tuft on her head and the tail doesn’t look that dark. I went to work cutting and then piecing. I am so chuffed with the results, most of my points line up, the ones that don’t sort of look like tail feathers and perhaps it was on purpose. The blocks look as good if not better than they did in my head, which is saying something. I’m not the best with color and I’ve never designed a pieced pattern before. I looked at a lot of different pieced cardinals and then combined what I thought were the best features into my own. The only thing that I wish I had remembered was that I wanted the birds to be mirror images of each other rather than duplicates. I should have flipped the female on paper instead of thinking that I would remember. You’ll notice they are both facing to the left, not one left and one right, I’m not redoing it. What Granny doesn’t know won’t hurt her.
Now I have to rework the center blocks in my head because I designed everything in my head on point with triangles. Luckily for me I only have squares now, much easier, I hope. I also have a knitting project to do as well. I had planned a cowl, but tonight she asked for a Calorimetry like mine. I assume I can pick different colors. I’ll do that first and then the cowl if there’s time.
Progress, of sorts, was made today. I was able to finish the basic shapes in Inkscape and then cut paper templates using SCAL and my Cricut. Originally I had thought I would put all the fabric through the Chricut, but when I looked back at the pieces of fabric I chose they are not large enough for any error with the layout. The Cricut is wasteful at times because it needs extra to cut through. I’ve packed up my drawing, my fabric and am seeking color matching advice tomorrow. I kinda like how it looks, but I’m not sure how pleasing to the eye it actually is. Here are the pics.
Every year for Christmas, my husband’s family pops names into a bowl and each of us selects one person to give a Christmas gift to. We are encouraged to make it if possible. This year I have Granny again. I last had her in 2006, where I cross-stitched a stocking that took me a few years to actually complete. In my defense, I started the project too late and had a very busy next year.
As the following is super secret, please, for the love of everything good, don’t tell a soul. It’s why I’m putting it here, to keep it under wraps.
I have been contemplating this year’s present since we drew names. I have finally settled on a couple of things, the largest being a Northern Cardinal table runner. I have hunted high and low for the perfect pattern and not finding it I created one with Inkscape with the goal of cutting all the pieces with my Cricut. I couldn’t get things lined up just right so last night I sat down with paper, pen, and a ruler to draw. I’ve taken measurements of my drawing, made copies to color and am ready to head back to the computer for more drawing. I’m pleased with the results so today my goal is to size all the pieces with a seam allowance and get it back into Inkscape for cutting. There are entirely too many pieces to cut by hand. By next weekend I hope to report that pieces have been cut and I have started sewing them together. There will be a male cardinal at one end and a female at the other. I will use neutral border colors and center mounting squares so that Granny can use it any time of year. I haven’t decided on the quilting yet, but there’s plenty of time.
The second part of my gift is a handspun, knitted cowl (neckwarmer). I didn’t purchase enough fiber, so I’ve ordered more to be dyed but it won’t ship until the 19th. I was able to spin 50 yards in an evening, so my hope is that I can spin the rest (150 yds) the week it arrives and then knit. Merino-tencel is a difficuly blend for a newish spinner. I’ve received lovely advice that I think I’ll follow when I get the rest of the fiber-spin over the fold.
The last part of my gift came about as a a compromise on an earlier idea. I thought to make a fabric wallhanging of her family tree, but I do not have access to an embroidery machine for lettering. It would take me too long to hand letter as my handwriting leaves much to be desired and too expensive to have the work done by the companies in the area that specialize in those kind of things. I found a neat poster that maybe she will enjoy filling in and then we’ll mount it somehow and hang it when she’s used her beautiful handwriting to complete it.
The first year I moved to Michigan was an election year for governor and many other offices. I moved in mid-June and spent the next several months scrambling for work and trying to feel settled. Election day crept up on me and I have never felt so clueless before or since about what choices to make. I had always prided myself on taking time to see who was running for what office and where the candidates stood on the issues that were important. I think I know who I voted for for governor, but it wasn’t because I knew where that candidate stood. The next time I headed to the polls, I did my research first. I used a search engine to find a site that would show me all the candidates running for all the offices as well as all the referendums listed on the ballot. I came from states where if we had referendum, we rarely used it in the years I was eligible to vote. This year I turned to my search engine of choice once again and found the Mlive Voter’s guide-all the issues, all the candidates, all over the state of MI. I selected my choices, sent myself the email and will print it off when I head to the polls on Tuesday. I have to say, I do love technology when it works. I even found a voter guide of sorts for NY and a few other states, though not as nice as the MI one. The NY one does not let you select the candidate and print off your selections at the end. You’d have to print it and then mark the candidate you want.