A shiny new coat

Bird houses for Burundi. It actually makes sense if you hear the whole story:

A retired Dane went into his garage out of boredom, emerged with five identical bird houses and hung them on his fence. He ran out of space in the garage. While making some more he was disturbed by a rap on the door. How much did those bird houses cost? He said he had to ask his wife.

The wife was – still is – a woman of business and compassion. She told her husband to ask ca. 50 dollars apiece but paint them first. The surplus would support a development project in Burundi, a country riddled by mines and other scars of war.

By now they have turned a tent camp into a regular village complete with a soap factory, a tailoring shop, a school, an bicycle ambulance et c. All on the proceeds of bird houses. They have different people paint them and sell / auction them off.

In between a man with a gardening program with lots of wievers heard about it and made half an hour’s TV about it. And I saw it. Convinced my fellow scout leaders that we should paint and sell bird houses with our cub scouts to perform duty to others.

Today I gave them a final coat of lacquer to preserve the paint in rainy weather. I spent 3 hours in boredom and fumes, and it felt great.

Because when the parents buy those houses, we’re helping a couple more families get home, jobs and education.

I love being a scout!

The things we do for love

I’m not sure how much it reveals about me that I – often as not – think of titles of songs or movies when writing a title for a new post. This time it’s 10 CC.

The thing I currently do for love is basting. Usually when I sew my box of pins is all I need. To me basting is just a way to waste time sewing seams twice. Yet now I do precious little but baste.

The reason is the bedspread that popped up in two posts already. But hey – since I hand-sew my patchwork I have to baste them into correct size first. Which takes time because there are 468 of them.

Bringing me back to things we do for love: It’s for my darling Mum. She deserves all the love I pour into the work.

 

Snip, snip

Do you know the feeling? You found all your patchwork material, spread it over half the living room and cut piece after piece for a specific project.

Then the minute you sigh and begin to re-fold everything to put it away you think of other patterns. Leave the mess, take up pencil and paper – in my case a standard checkered pad – and begin to draw. Come up with brilliant ideas. Or remember old and equally brilliant ideas not yet put into colours and cloth.

Lean back with sketches on the pad, smile to yourself and fetch the thick paper used for clich´s and begin to cut those. And then finally go on to cut the material for those patterns.

That’s what I did this past week. Well, not all of it, some of it. And now that I finally put all the material away to stop myself getting further ideas I have not only the 468 pieces for my Mum’s bedspread but also 2X5 for two canters, 15 pieces for one experimental pattern, 11 pieces for another experiment and finally 177 pieces for a square pattern. Because I stopped myself before I began to cut a hexagon cliche’e which would have meant countless other pieces.

Oh and did I mention I always hand-sew? Seems I have my work cut out for me very literally.

CDM

Cake, dinner, midnight.

Calculation, dedication, mass production

Chaos, disaster, moping

What have I been doing?! Well you might just ask. The answer is that Saturday my Mum came to visit to see the progress on her bedspread (see last post) and decide what should go on it now. We talked back and forth for a bit, thought a lot and finally decided to reduce the number of denim pieces and add a simple patchwork design of only squares.

A lot of them as it turned out. 468 to be precise.

We sighed a bit, then she began to cut out the squares, I began to edge them, and my daughter collected them in bundles of 10 to ease counting. All was well, we took a break for coffee / tea and cakes, another break later on to finish cooking a pot roast already simmering.

Time wore on but around 11 PM we “just” needed 80-odd squares and went on cutting to get it over with.

Minutes later disaster struck. My trusty old sewing machine decided to play up, eat material and make snares of the thread. 44 squares are un-edged, and all of them still need sewing together.

I really need the one CDM I didn’t have: Cadbury’s dairy milk.

My mother was a seamstress, she gave me old blue jeans

Remember The Animals? If not, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgTSfJEf_jM

My Mum never learned how to make her own patterns, Taht never stopped her sewing and repairing scores of garments including worn blue jeans. Her sewing machine is sturdy and was only sold because she missed being able to make buttonholes easily.

She’s now 91 and recently moved to a smaller flat than before. This move prompted a clean-up, and because I bought her old sewing machine and make things out of cast-away scraps including patchwork, I also took home a bagful of jeans letftovers.

So when she talked of getting a bed spread for the guest bed I stopped her saying I’d make her one. And here’s the beginngs of it:

mors-sengetaeppe

12 patches sewn together, 12 more cut and ready to be added. Depending on accumulated weight the restwill be either only regular calico patchwork or more Jeans pieces + calico. And I’ll be dot-quilting these pieces with some of all the buttons she gave me over the years.

So did anyone guess what animal I am? Yup, that’s right. The hoarding squirrel.

A friendly pat on the back: Well done, cubs

ulvepote

This weekend was spent with “my” cub scouts and co-leaders. It was the yearly long weekend with two nights away, a walk in the dark Friday evening and a long walk – some 7 kilometres – Saturday. As a recognition I print a wolf paw on their uniforms. They are after alle only 7-9 years old and find the weekend to be a challenge in different ways.

The problem is it’s a challenge for me too: I get far too little sleep. And Saturday afternoon I had a screeching pain in my sinuses from fatigue, had to lie down for just half an hour before I could face the stack of 26 uniforms.

But now it’s done. With wear and sun-bleaching those paws will become more and more visible. Just like mine in the snap above.

Twisted stitcher or: The art of tinking

drejet-ribkant

Know the feeling? You select the appropriate size circular twin pin, remove the paper band from a fresh, new ball of yarn, cast on stitches for what seems like forever and finally join to start knitting. Oh, the joyous moment of beginning a new project in sweet dreams of just how great it will fit you, how nice it will be to wear et c.

And then sometimes this happens: Several hundred stitches further on – here that’s just some five rows – you discover that you twisted it despite all efforts to avoid it. Instead of a waist band you’re knitting a Möebius band.

That is the point at which you sigh, perhaps swear a bit, and then begin to tink.

And no I don’t mean think. Because the thing to do is go back stitch by stitch to at least not have to cast on anew. And what is knit in reverse?

TINK!