All posts by farvino

About farvino

Decided to uplaod a protrait of a troll. She and I have very similar hair.

D’oh!

Or: Some mistakes are just too daft to be photographed.

 

I recently finished a bed spread for my Mum. The one I wrote about before, yes. The pattern part should cover the top of the bed, and a border along one side and one end should make a nice finish.

The pattern part turned out just as I wanted it. There’s a centre part with so-called fat quarters measuring 20 x 20 cm. which are old denims. Around those are squares of 5 x 5 cm. pieces of calico in blues, and they are arranged in diagonal lines.

The quilting is done with buttons in random pattern on the denim part and in few, diagonal lines on the ends of the small squares part.

The bedspread is for my Mum’s guest bed in her sewing room. Being an old seamstress, she of course has a sewing room. She had one in her old flat, and she has one in her new, smaller flat.

In the old flat – my childhood home – the guest bed was in the far right corner looking in from the door. In the new flat it’s at the far left corner looking in from the door.

And now I don’t know wether I thought of the old flat or just didn’t really think at all. Fact of the matter is that I sewed on the edges to fit the bed as it was in the old flat. Not in the new one.

Mum was kind to me, praised it in high tones and left it with the top border folded in.

Yes, you’re right: I love my Mum to bits.

Those cards will have me in shards

Here’s a confession: I hate German grammar. Mind you, I’m not overly fond of any grammar and if pressed I’d probably say Latin grammar is worse than German.

The thing is: I’m trying to cash in on German grammar. Together with a German friend I have a project to make teaching material about it. The material involves two sets of cards, and today I got done designing those cards.

I use Excel for want of a proper graphics program and it works sort of alright. My wrist tells me I did more mouse work than it really prefers but I can ignore it.

What really got me hugging the desk in despair is the sheer number of variations in especially pronouns. Of several kinds. Small wonder that my hatred is common among learners.

And now for the happy note: If this material makes the grand transition from project to actual, published and buyable aide, it will change the way pupils and students battle with grammar.

Think I may go for the name “Deutsch ohne Tränen”: German without tears.

Kisses from Peter Pan

I like patchworking. For some time it’s been small(ish) things I made, and only few required quilting.

I like once in a while to make something big, though. So when my Mum talked of buying a new bedspread I jumped at the chance to sew her one. Heaven knows she made plenty of clothes for me as I grew up harbouring a strange notion that I could not wear jeans, only corduroy trousers. I have no idea how many pairs came out of her sewing machine. I just know I loved every pair and wore them all out.

I generally don’t mind quilting big things either. Granted the first fem lines or knots are a bit of a hassle to get done. The rest of it is plain sailing because I dutifully baste together the three layers including the stuffing before I start quilting.

And that part is the biggest obstacle. Bacause as I have no table big enough nor any frame I have to lay it on the floor, sit down with straight legs under it and baste with one hand over and one under. Even though I stitched together more than 400 patches by hand that process feels as if it takes far longer time. My lower back screeches in pain, I stab myself constantly with the needle, and I have to wear my thimble which I otherwise never do for want of feel of the needle.

At least I’m done and can start quilting. This time it’ll be in points, strewing buttons on the pattern at random.

Hence the kisses from Peter Pan: Buttons and a thimble. Oh, how I wish they felt as good as my husbands’ …

 

Stan Dup or Ben Dover?

Yesterday was St. George’s Day. It may not be of much significance to most people. One exception are English patriots and churchgoers as St. George is England’s patron saint.

Another exception is scouts. As steady readers of this blog know I’m a scout, and though I belong to a non-denominational scout corps we still celebrate St. George’s day. We hear or re-enact the story of George before he was a saint and just was a soldier. He slayed a dragon and so saved not just a village but also a fair princess about to be sacrificed to the dragon. And then he turned down her father’s offer of half the relam and her hand in marriage because a good man does not help for personal gain. He helps because it is his duty to help his fellow man (and princess!)

So we tell the scouts that story and remind them that helping others should always be second nature to a true scout.

Then there’s the part they all look forward to: The handing out of stars.

When I was a girl scout in the YWCA they were real, metal stars. Nowadays they’re just embroidered material that you stitch on to your left uniform pocket. On the star the number shows how many years you’ve been a scout.

My new star says 8. And in my group there’s a custom that once you get that you get no more stars. Instead you just tilt it to show the sign of eternity.

So: Should my star stand up or bend over?

Think I’ll leave it standing. And next year break group consensus and swap it for my old “6”. Upside down, of course.

Big frustrations

While it’s all well and good that someone wants to sell my patterns it also means that I have to make cut-out-sheets with all the different parts. Which is far from easy. And all the while my neighbours’ moronic son plays extremely loud, extremely rotten “music” going right throuh two walls, a hedge and several yars of garden.

I tried the Brian Wilson-cure. No good. Instead of Good Vibrations it was more like

“(I’m picking up): I’m seeing these big frustrations / it’s being exasperating” – repeat ad nauseam.

Only when I pain-stakingly made grid after grid in the different sizes of some of the parts did it help. In part. Because I obviously can’t get two grid next to each other in spite of ample room. And I can’t draw up all the parts because a grid does not allow for a diagonal line.

It seems it’s back to hand-drawing, scanning and clip-art. A hassle, in other words.

Oh yes and of course I just got a rejection from one of the two still possible publishers. I see more grids looming.

Perhaps I should just call up the other publisher, ask him straight out and then start selling those patterns individually.

Some of them are actually easy to draw up. And an opening in one shop could be openings in other shops too.

And once those pattern pieces are made I just need to store them safely. Yup, I could be cathing a few Good Vibrations too.

Patience, chance

I write. Not just this blog (and another one in Danish) but also fiction. Sometimes I write non-fiction too when I describe some of the patterns et c. I make for various craft projects.

And when you write you get – at least some people get – the notion that someone might want to publish your writing. So you send off a manuscript to veraous publishers, big and small.

And then you wait. Watch your mail box for at least an auto-reply that tells you that your heart and soul reached their destination. And you wait some more.

From time to time you loose patience, often as not only to wish you didn’t because the long-awaited answer is a refusal.

And then just once in a while you get a chance. This just happened to me even if it was in disguise: I wrote up descriptions with lots of snaps of a select number of patchwork patterns and looked for publishers specialising in the field. Then I wrote to those publishers. Finally I posted in a patchwork group on Facebook if others had good suggestion of “never fail always good books” from a specific publisher.

That was when chance entered the equation. A group member with a shop wrote to me because she could well want to sell my patterns in her shop.

The lesson I learned from this? Just the usual: Timing is what makes chances occur.

You have to haggle!

Or: How I bartered my nice neighbour for laminated copies of dead currency

Scouts are an odd bunch. I speak from knowledge as I’ in my eight year as a scout, and that’s just counting my adult scout years.

So let me expound on odd: We pay good money just to be allowed to be with other peoples’ children in our spare time. Often as not away from our own families. We volunteer to stand post at night even in winter and rain. We think woodsmoke is the best perfume imaginable. We walk our feet sore beyond belief for a tiny badge to show off on our uniforms. And just to top it we know no greater joy than adhering to a concept for an entire week-end, using a story frame to play silly buggers.

So this week-end I spent with the scouts. Nothing we did was any surprise to me as I volunteered to help plan the whole thing.

We set the story frame to be ancient Rome: The rooms in the cabin were adorned with signs saying “culina”, “dormitorium”, “triclinium”, “vestibulum”, and “cubiculum”. Not one cub had a clue why. The older scouts either asked about is a dozen times – each –  or overlooked it.

Friday evening the 10-12 YOs built role play weapons and shields while the 12-16 YOs built an acquaduct out of discarded plastic tubes from a carpet store.

Saturday saw the arrival of the cubs. They set to work adorning triclinium with columns (more tubes) and stick-on mosaics while the others practised weaponry / built a steam hut to double as a “caldarium”.

Saturday afternoon saw all scouts invade European regions to spread Roman civilisation. In Slavia they had to crawl belly-up, crab-style over odds and ends to feel for their patrol tote animal. They fired a catapult in Bohemia to get a very silly dining rule: “Always top your neighbour’s glass”, “Always stand while Ceasar sits”, “Make sure potatoes and meat DO NOT touch” etc. Had to give up conquering the Gauls. That kind of thing.

Saturday evening late saw the 10-16 YOs meet the red tape of Roman civilisation. The idea was to turn the rule democratic. My post was one as a slave keeper at the Colosseum. They had to haggle with me to buy free my enslaved neighbour, and I was tough on those scouts.

Yesterday I felt great again after a 12-hour night’s sleep. So now I’m ready to go again next Saturday.

Yes, we are an odd bunch. But the badges are neat!