Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Charlottesville Rambling

I spent a few days last week visiting my oldest son and his wife in Charlottesville, Virginia. I had a wonderful time...
  1. I really like my son.
  2. I really like my daughter-in-law.
  3. She knits.
  4. Really.
  5. He doesn't mind walking long distances.
  6. He walks really fast and I'm shorter than he is.
  7. A lot shorter.
  8. They read.
  9. Charlottesville is a nice place to live.
  10. They have a cute dog.
  11. Our dogs get along. 
  12. Mostly.
  13. She invited me to her knitting group.
  14. Her knitting friends are lively and lovely.
  15. Thomas Jefferson knew how to pick a building site.
  16. He walked all over town with me on a self-guided walking tour.
  17. My son, not Thomas Jefferson.
  18. Thomas Jefferson is dead now.
  19. The Spice Diva is a nice woman.
  20. I sleep on their couch when I visit alone.
  21. It used to be my couch.
  22. Feast is an awesome place to eat and shop.
  23. I still get a little weepy when I leave. 
  24. Privately, in the car.
  25. On my day of being a tourist, I logged THIS MANY steps on my Fitbit:
  26. It was great.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ed the Barber's Wife

I have waited to open this shoebox for a few months. It's just a box full of someone else's sewing supplies, but that someone is gone, and I have her stuff. It seemed that I needed to give the box my attention, or maybe intention, before either incorporating or donating its contents. So it was set down in my sewing room, glanced at now and then, and moved out of the way until today.

Carol was Ed the Barber's wife, and I never met her or her husband. Ed is my brother's friend, barber, and fellow business owner in a small community and yes, we refer to him as Ed the Barber. After his wife's death Ed gave my brother her sewing machines and supplies, and a machine and this box passed on to me. Carol sewed for many years and was by all accounts accomplished at her craft.

My brother and his wife kept a sewing machine in a beautiful furniture-quality cabinet. I have her 1962 Singer slant-o-matic - the Rocketeer! -  which I am in the middle of cleaning and oiling, and will share when it's ready for its close-up. It is pretty awesome.

Back to the box.

I opened it this morning, with my coffee, and discovered that Carol was a lot neater than I am. Every single loose end of trim is either secured with a pin or thread. Elastics are wound around cardboard, opened hem tape is pinned and reinserted in its original package. I am embarrassed by the contrast to my jumbled drawers of supplies: tangled black and white elastic of all lengths and widths, ends of bias tape looped around odd pieces of cord and piping.

Wide trims are secured by two pins. I am in awe.
Red is a theme in this box.
There are lots of thimbles, needles, zippers, trims, and elastics. 
This thing, I love. I wonder if it was a small part of a box or kit, because two of the sides are squared, as if it was inserted into a larger piece. The top comes off and can hold needles and thimbles; the stems will hold bobbins. Right to the sewing room.
There are no unfinished projects here to give one pause, as when I opened boxes of my grandmother's sewing and crocheting. Instead I smile at how neatly stacked the worn thimbles are, at the rainbow of zippers, and the pennies-per-yard price of the trims. I will add her supplies to mine and will know where they came from when I use them. It's a continuation. For years I'll be able to say, "Hey, the hem tape on that skirt was from Ed the Barber's wife."

Thanks, Carol.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fiber Arts Friday: Diaper Man

I've made friends with my super-cute 18 month old neighbor, who lives in his comfy cloth diapers and knitted wool soakers. The long pants version of soakers are known, appropriately, as "longies". Last week I offered to darn the knees of a pair after I noticed the thinning (one knee popped a hole the moment after I spoke!) and was intrigued by the gusset. Of course I am making a pair.
I based the measurement on an existing pair that fit him well and made a foldover waist that will have an inside drawstring. Next time (notice that, next time?) I'd like a ribbed waist with a threaded draw.
Half of the diamond-shaped gusset.
One skein of Cascade 220 was used from the waist to about two inches below the crotch, if that helps in your own planning. I have yet to adjust the join, so you might be able to pick it out on the leg. This is one of those perfect projects for movie-watching and knitting group, requiring nothing more from me than moving fingers!

Need more Fiber Arts Friday? Wisdom Begins in Wonder has got you covered.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cover for the Cover

Some things are meant to wear and show distress marks as they age, like the table in these pictures or my favorite wallet, and look beautiful the whole time. Other things, like ipods or cellphones, are meant to be eternally scratch-free and are instantly encased in high-tech protection the very moment they are opened. Or so it goes, if you are me.
My Kindle Touch cover doesn't fall into either of these categories. For one thing, it is the protective cover. It's a nice shade of green, the Kindle is tightly nestled into the wired recess with its built-in book light, and it protects the screen. All good. But. What protects the cover itself?

And this, I know, is where it gets weird. There's some kind of line one crosses when considering protecting the protective apparatus. 

My Kindle (nicknamed Star Trek Reader) is on my nightstand 95% of the time. The rest of the time it's traveling with me, in my purse or suitcase. The cover is getting a little scratched in spite of my care when transporting it. It's not the kind of leather that's going to wear and soften; it's just going to look beat up. I decided the cover needed a cover, so I made this sleeve out of one of my favorite fabrics.
Insert a triumphant "ah ha!" here.
Along the way I decided it really needed a little pocket for a mini Moleskine, to be used for jotting down books for the TBR list, and a pencil sleeve. I raided the box of vintage buttons and found this dusty black one. It is fasted with a narrow black elastic loop.
I love it.
It is lined with another of my favorite fabrics.
Pretty cozy in there, yes?
While I caught some flack from family members about my aversion to scratches and dings, I might put one on etsy for the "others" out there.