Thursday, May 30, 2019

I did it. Again.

And I hate it when I do that. But it happens to me all the time. When I finish a quilt, and it is not immediately destined to be shipped somewhere, I neglect finishing the tunnel. At least most of the time I have finished the binding/facing to take it to be photographed. And the tunnel is at least prepared. But the finishing stitches, they can wait… and then I forget about it, and when it comes to shipping I get into a situation when it is time to send it off and I realize that I still need to finally finish the quilt.
Just these past days I worked myself through this again. I entered two quilts for the WQC, and then the tunnel situation happened. Shapes 29 still had to have the tunnel and the lower facing attached. 

(And I just realized that that one isn't even on the website yet, I really need to get that updated...)

And the Jacob’s Ladder quilt I only finished a little while ago hadn’t even been meant to be put on a wall, so a tunnel wasn’t even prepared for. 

But both of them are done, I hope they will be accepted and it was worth the while - …
But tunnel making certainly is not my favorite part of quilt making. I take detours to distract myself easily.
Such as this one: I have finished my piece that I am donating for the SAQA Benefit Auction this year and will sign it up later today and ship it tomorrow.

Ready to be shipped for the SAQA-Benefit Auction: Shapes 41

And this morning I cut a few pieces of organza that I refound on my cutting table from which I want to make vegetable and produce bags to take along when going shopping in order to avoid using plastic bags.

 I have been using some for a while, and at first people looked at me strangely. Cashiers even unpacked the produce to put it on their scales so they would not weigh the bag. Made from organza, however, they are very light. Then I gave some away as presents and my stack dwindled. By now bags are being sold in various places. So the idea is catching. At least with produce and fruit. But as I am following various organizations on Instagram that are concerned with collecting plastic waste from the ocean I also notice more and more plastic wrappings in the stores. I wonder… 

There are still three more tunnels for me to finish, because I signed up "A Scrap a Day" for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham. So these need to be finished very soon, too.

In any case, I will finish these Tunnels and then these little bags soon, and once again I have sworn to myself that next time I will complete the tunnel for a quilt right away. Let's see whether that happens indeed. If only I had somebody who would check on me for that!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Matters of Mending: self-experiment part 3

Before the publication of the book review in the magazine of the German Patchwork Guild in the middle of June I want to show the third part of my self-experiment in the spirit of Katrina Rodabaugh's book 'Mending Matters'. Again, it is a mend of a pair of pants in the much-stressed area between the upper thighs. Somehow that is the only area (so far) where my pants need mending. But don't worry, after this instalment I will not show any more repairs of that particular area, if I decide to show other mending activities of mine they will be slightly more original or on other types of garments.
So one of my favorite pair of jeans was worn through on both sides of the upper inner thighs, and I had been saving it ever since I saw the announcement of Rodabaugh's books because I was planning to use it as a test items.

Different from the light colored pair of pants earlier I decided that this challenge could not be met through a patch from the inside. Instead, I chose Katrina's 'outside patch'. Edges were fold-ironed before stitching them over the threadbare area.

With the first patch, I chose a grey thread and first stitched all around the circumference of the patch before filling it up.

For the second patch I decided to be bit more daring in terms of color and used a red thread instead.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to take a picture yet of what it looks like when I am wearing the jeans and I don't want to ask my son to do it ... but I hope there will be a chance to find somebody who will do that for me. Because I am curious myself how much of the mend will be visible.

There are still more mending issues on a stack that need to be tackled in the near future, for example the light trousers I started out with definitely need more work in other places. And the whole thing will be a further process of learning. But I do agree with Katrina Rodabaugh that it is a kind of state of mind to be doing that.
I can't really say how long the life span of my clothes will be extended through this. I don't usually 'wear through' anything but these areas of pants, and yet I usually wear my clothes for many years. And if I do give them away, which does not happen often, I give them to a second hand store, so keeping them out of landfill is not one of the issues why I would be mending. Mending has not been a necessity, but it certainly is an interesting addition to my range of textile activity. I had had the idea of mending visibly myself, before ever hearing of Katrina Rodabaugh or any of the 'sustainable fashion' people, or slow sewists or mindful menders or whatever name, and if you can sew basic stitches it might now be necessary to buy Katrina's book purely for the techniques of mending. But it certainly holds a wide range of ideas if you feel uncertain about how to go along, and it would be a great gift for a textile friend!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Little escap(ad)e: Stockholm

We are having another reunion this weekend for our year as exchange students in Charlotte, NC (as in 2013 and 2017) and Thomas had asked me whether I would like to come to Stockholm two days ahead of time to hang out together without the others a little bit because we haven't seen much of each other lately. So on Wednesday I traveled to Stockholm (delays, canceled train, security measures on board the plane which was a reason for late boarding) and we met at the airport and took the bus into town. Thomas had taken care of the hotel booking on board the former yacht Lady Hutton, which is now the hotel Mälardrottningen and well to be recommended for a special kind of hotel feeling! We had a room with bunk beds, but if you look at the website there might be slightly more luxurious suites available, and it is in walking distance of the Old Town.
We spent one morning at the Abba museum which is pretty good, given the fact that this is a group without any scandals or breaking news during their years of success. Just a bit of story of how the they got together, how they took their first steps, then a lot of success, and how they are now 'taking a break away from each other'.

I really liked this re-creation of the view from the little hut on an island in the sounds outside Stockholm where the guys wrote many of their songs.

In the afternoon we went to the Fotografiska museum, which currently has 4 different exhibitions going on, namely by Jessica Silversaga, Rahul Talukder, Jesper Waldersten and Alison Jackson.
Rahul Talukder photographed a whole series on the collapse of the clothing factory in Bangladesh with over 1,000 people dead and his works are very moving. Jesper Waldersten has an interesting kind of humor, but it helps if you know a little bit of Swedish for some of the pieces. This one is in English, though:

Jesper Waldersten, in his exhibition "All Over"
And I was fascinated by the simplicity of this one.

Jesper Waldersten, in his exhibition "All Over"

The restaurant on the top floor has a magnificent view across the water to the Old Town and after a little bit of waiting we even managed to secure ourselves seats right in front of the window.

The next day Thomas and I took a boat tour through the islands outside of Stockholm and picked our dream mansions. This would be mine (although it is not so much a mansion):

Stockholm is a city on the water, and reflections abound, especially when the sun is out, so I am back to taking photos of reflections on water.

And amongst other inspirational sights,

some found art is around as well.

By now the others have arrived from Norway, China, Venezuela, and the real reunion is on. So good to have friends around the world, and reasons to go somewhere to see something new!

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Matters of Mending - self-experiment, part 2

When I went on vacation early April, I took a bit of work with me. For one thing, I had to finish the article on and translation of one chapter from Katrina Rodabaugh’s book “Mending Matters”,
which will be published in the German Patchwork Guild’s magazine in June. As I had started before,
I wanted to do a few sample/self experiments before the publication in the magazine (although not before it was being sent off to the editor…), so I also packed two pairs of pants that desperately needed mending, this time my own. 
The one I started with was a light colored pair in jeans style, which I have had for several years. And, although I would never have called it a ‘favorite’ pair of pants of mine, obviously I had worn it enough to get it to the point where it was thinning in seriously important places (i.e. interior upper thighs). They hadn’t been worn through entirely, but it was getting dangerously thin. And some fraying at the back of the seam of the right leg, and a bit of a hole on the inside of the bottom leg.

Basically my thoughts behind taking this pair of pants to be an object for my self-experiment were that, because I did not consider these pants anything like a favorite, it wouldn’t hurt terribly if the mending didn’t turn out right, or did not feel good wearing them after mended. Now I know, a big part of Katrina’s philosophy is to not throw clothes away, and I wasn’t planning to do so, since of course I was expecting this to be a very successful experiment. But if it hadn’t turned out totally successful, the tears on my side wouldn’t have been flowing for very long.
So I started on the frayed backside seam and - for lack of sashiko thread, which Katrina uses -  stitched over that with one of my hand-dyed threads from when I was still dyeing threads with the fabric club.

Then I went on to fix the small hole on the inside of the leg, and that turned out nicely indeed.

First I stitched a piece of light-weight linen onto the inside of the leg.

Then I flipped the extending part of the linen to the outside, affixed it and...

then the sides of the mending fabric were secured with buttonhole stitch.

And then I took up the challenge of the thinning place on one side of the upper thighs. Of course, I had not really brought the exact right fabric to use. That linen I was using for the hole was a scrap I found in the box for "A Scrap a Day", that I was also working on during those days. So I cut up a longish strip of linen and placed three pieces of it next to each other on the inside.

Then I stitched them in both directions, first in one direction, then perpendicular to the first direction, and it turned out like this.
One direction only, on the inside.

One direction only on the outside.

Two directions done, on the outside.

Can't take a picture of myself from behind, so I don't know how much you actually see of the mend.It is a rather large area indeed, and basically the whole pair of pants needs reinforcement. So it is a question of dedication in terms of how much time does one want to put into a single pair of pants to prolong its lifetime... I guess I just will keep working on this one as long as it takes.
Stitching the mending fabric into the leg from the inside was a bit of a nuisance, having to turn the whole piece, trying not to prick oneself  with the pins that were keeping everything in place etc. But overall it worked well, and when I tried it on it seemed to fit alright. And the next day, when I wore it, it felt quite alright. So I figured I would probably go ahead and mend the other leg back home a few days later, too, when I had more fabric at hand that was of the correct weight.