chaos in the craft room

All That Glitters…

It’s always special when the human female’s mother visits.  She’s a very kind person, a really good cook, and very, very creative.  She always brings along some bit of hand work to keep herself busy.  Sigyn is excited because this time, the project is Yule ornaments and she hopes to learn how to make them.

They appear to be constructed of folded ribbon.


Sigyn likes the red ones.  (Is that burlap?)


While I consider the green ones to be superior.


Uh, oh.  Sigyn, back away from that sparkly blue one! you know what that IS, don’t you?


THAT IS GLITTERWe have discussed this before. GLITTER IS THE COMMUNICABLE DISEASE OF THE CRAFT WORLD!  The merest touch, the tiniest brush against that ribbon is going to unleash a staticky, nigh-unsweepable shower of sparkly particles that will defy the laws of physics and instantly disperse themselves over all surfaces in the house–all the furniture, all the floors, all the clothing, the CAT, and the human female’s poor bandaged foot.  The humans will never, ever get rid of it all, and the memory of this visit will linger down the ages.


On second thought, brush away!


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Pee Ess

I… I was a teensy bit mistaken.  It seems that the first image in my previous post was somehow reversed (Space Boy’s balloon should be in his left hand, and the young misses with their Geiger counters should be facing the other way.) So the embroidered blocks are correctly placed.  But all of the other faults remain!

As well, the gold-colored thread seems to have run ever so slightly in the washing of the blocks.  Such that if one peers very closely at the center block, it appears as if Space Boy may have peed his pants…

The human female is hoping no one will notice this wee problem.

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“Q” is for “Quilt.” “O” is for “Oops,” Part V: All’s Well That Ends. Well…

She did it. She finished the quilt top–and managed to do it without sewing her fingers together or burning up the motor on the antiquated machine.  Let’s have a look.

For starters, she has sewn the embroidered blocks in the wrong places. Compare with the original plan.  That’s not good.

finished top

It’s possible no one not privy to the original sketches will know, but it will bother her forever.  Which makes me happy.

What do you think overall, Sigyn?  Personally, I find it unsatisfactory.  The embroidered squares are too pale and the dark blue are too dark.   It’s very “meh.”  She says it’ll look better once it’s quilted, but I have grave misgivings.  It’s not going to get any better.

However, upon, closer inspection, I can see that, as far as my work on this project is concerned, it’s a small masterpiece.  Look here, Sigyn–all the little rocketships in the smaller dark blue squares are meant to be pointing inwards.


This one is actually headed off-quilt.  Hardy explorers, in that one.

And look at the larger dark blue squares. They’re the right size.  Now.  But that’s only because she had to re-cut them.  They were all too big!


I have the trimmings to prove it. (Told you the math was vague!)

The back is no better than the front.  I don’t know much about sewing, but I can tell that this is a good corner seam:

good corner

See?  It lies flat.  Now look at this one over here:

Bad corner

The first seam was sewn down in the wrong direction, so the second won’t behave.  Appalling!  Again, the human female swears it won’t be noticeable in the finished quilt, but I feel sure that with all of the poor execution, all of the frustration and despair, all the wonky cuts and mis-measurements, all the false starts and swearing-laden stops, this particular textile will be so imbued with negativity that the infant recipient is sure to bawl like Thor when he was a baby and would have his pudgy little fingers swatted for making grabby hands at Gungnir.

And we haven’t even gotten to the basting yet!


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“Q” is for “Quilt.” “O” is for “Oops,” Part IV: If You Make Something Idiot-Proof…

As I have noted before, the human female’s sewing machine is older than she is.  Kinda dinged up, some of the finish peeling, no fancy whistles and bells, no clever electronic brain, no fool-proof safety features–and the machine is pretty basic as well!   Still, it manages to turn out a pretty good seam.

foot up

Providing she remembers to lower the presser foot.  Tsk, tsk.  It’s a good thing that Mister Seam-Ripper is our friend.


Let’s try again!  Edges aligned, foot down, and…go!


The human female is pulling at her gray hair and muttering.  What’s that?  Oh.  Well, why didn’t you TELL me you needed me to hand you the pieces right-sides-together?


There!  Pat yourself on your pointy little head, mortal!  You successfully managed a three-and-a-half-inch seam!

sewn right

Or you would have, if you had remembered to check the bobbin…


I can see that it is going to be a looooong afternoon.  I shall have to supervise your every action carefully.   Take a deep breath and calm yourself, lest you fill this quilt with so much negative energy that the tot cries every time he sees it.

Here, let me help.  Tell you what:  I’ll match up the pieces, right-sides-together, pin them, and hand them to you to sew.  You can manage that, can’t you?

Proper pinning is essential. Most people don’t use enough pins, and the work slips.


No chance of that happening today!   Hogun’s topknot, woman!  Quit your crying!  Here–I’ll even feed it through the machine for you!  Do I have to do everything myself?


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“Q” is for “Quilt.” “O” is for “Oops”, Part III: Making Little Pieces out of Big Pieces

Time to cut the rest of the quilt pieces!  The fabric has to be ironed first.  Rats!  The human female has forestalled me by owning an iron that shuts itself off after sitting unused for five minutes.  I was hoping for some interesting scorchy smells.

This speckledy red fabric will be in the body of the quilt and is meant to be the binding as well.   Long, precisely-cut narrow strips are needed for that, so it is crucial that the ruler not slip during the pass with the rotary cutter.


Oh, too bad!  I assure you, I had no idea a sneeze was coming just then!  There is extra yardage, is there not?  (And Jotun snot washes out.  Mostly.)

Not so the yellow fabric.  No, you will have to cut most carefully.


You really are appallingly bad at this, aren’t you?

Sigyn, be careful!  The human female’s almost done, and I’d hate for you to be swept up in the tidying process.


There.  All the quilty bits are cut.  Norns’ nighties!  Look at how much fabric is left over!  I think there is more than we started with.


I shall have to get into the craft room later and hide it all, just in case the female has the least inkling of a notion to make me anything with creepy sputnik space babies on it.

Although that darker blue fabric isn’t too hideous, and I understand that lucky rocketship underpants are a thing.

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“Q” is for “Quilt.” “O” is for “Oops,” Part II: Cutting Out and Cutting Up

Having finished the embroidered blocks, washed them, and pressed them, the human female is preparing to “square them up” to just the right size.  Let’s start with this flying saucer.


After all the hard work of doing the embroidery, it is critical to trim the blocks correctly.  The motifs must be centered top to bottom and side to side. This is to be accomplished with the use of a cutting mat, a ruler, and a wicked-looking rotary blade.


Loki likee…   Here–I’ll show you where to cut.


Um, you DID remember to account for seam allowance, didn’t you?


No?   Eheheheheheh!  Brilliant!  First cut on the quilt and it is WRONG!  A block that will be nine inches across must be cut nine-and-a-half inches in either direction.  Look at how close those “zoom” lines are to the edge!   The human female has enough fabric to get the nine and a half inches she needs, but that poor saucer will never be centered now!

Hmm, how can we torture Space Boy…?


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“Q” is for “Quilt.” “O” is for “Oops,” Part I: Doomed From the Outset

The human female, in what in retrospect has proven to be a miscalculation on her part, made a baby quilt with hand-embroidery for the first grandniece. I’ve never understood the Midgardian fascination for cutting up perfectly good cloth, only to sew it together again in a different fashion, nor spending countless hours on an object that will be dragged about and subjected to a wide array of bodily effluvia, but at least the results were colorful.


This quilt Established a Precedent, so she was compelled to make one for the second grandniece.  That one featured three anthropomorphized ursines and their adventures with a small, blond, vandal…


When the grandnephew made an appearance, she once again set about creating a quilt with what she terms a “period kitschy” style.  That one had circus animals.  It must have been forgettable, though, because I can’t find any photos of it.

Well, apparently, there is another grandnephew, so there is yet another quilt in the works.


That’s it?  This is the great future heirloom and repository of toddler drool?  Vague scratchings and even vaguer math.  This could be bad.  Very bad.


The first quilt featured animal designs from the 1920’s.  The next two featured 1930’s prints.  The featured fabric for this one… Oh, Sigyn, look away!  It’s TOO HORRIBLE! 


Creepy Sputnik-era Space Babies!  Sigyn thinks the kitten in the space ball is cute.  I think this is going to give the child nightmares.  I must stop this monstrosity from coming into being—but how?

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