Sunday, March 5, 2017

Random Weekend Thoughts

Of everything in my house I think my bed is my favorite. Beyond the obvious - it is comfy and sleeping is awesome - it is a perfect melding of my skills and my husbands. This weekend it is also causing me some philosophical mental ramblings.

You see, Husband made us an absolutely gorgeous headboard. He works for a company that makes custom live edge furniture. One week he had to go absolutely above and beyond to complete a project on time and as a thank you his boss gave him a piece of wood. For those of you not familiar with wood pricing, that is a much more generous gift then it seems. Neither of us really particularly cares for the aesthetics of live edge tables so he was thinking about just selling the wood, but that weekend Nick Offerman posted a live edge headboard on his Instagram and I actually liked it so I asked Husband to make me a headboard.

I love my headboard. It is beautiful and unique and suits us and our room. I adore it. I want that to be really clear.

I think I am jealous of the headboard.

Husband and I just moved so we have been giving a lot of the "grand tour" as people see our new house for the first time. Often when we have guests they ask "can I see the bedroom? I want to see the headboard." Or "Is this the headboard?" Which is great. I want Husband to get the praise and acknowledgment that he deserves because woodworking requires a great deal of knowledge and skill.

But just once I wish someone would walk in and ask "is this the wedding quilt?" Or "Did you knit this blanket?" Or even "did you make your pillows?" See, Husband made the headboard, but I made our bed skirt.

And our pillows.

And a quilt.

And a blanket.

And our curtains.

But I feel like my contributions to our household go largely ignored. Even though, hour for hour, I've got somewhere between twice to four times as much invested in our bed, that damn headboard steals the show. Today I've been thinking about why that is. I know that some of it is that most of our guy friends are also woodworkers so they are just straight up more interested in the headboard. Also, most of them are manly men who don't feel like beds need to be made pretty with pillows and blankets. However, that doesn't explain why our non-woodworker friends who like well decorated houses are more interested in the furniture then the soft goods. What might explain it is:

quilting and knitting are considered grandmotherly and apparently we no longer have respect for the skills of our grandmothers. I've been told more than once that I am too young to knit. Conversely I have also been told that it's a shame I don't want children because it's clear from my love of sewing that I would be a great mother. I don't even known how to follow the leap of logic on that one. My point is that my crafts are inextricably linked to maternity for a lot of people and being maternal isn't really highly prized. It should be, but it just isn't. Therefore the traits associated with maternity are also not highly prized. They aren't seen as real skills because being a parent isn't seen as a real skill ("any idiot can have a baby"). Never mind that sewing and parenthood are in no way actually connected skills.
Knitting and sewing are seen as a waste of time. No kidding, I got into an argument with a total stranger in a bar a couple of months ago because he told me asking for more than $20 for a hand knit hat was "Insane" I told him that a basic hat would take me a minimum of five hours and didn't I deserve to be paid for my time? He argued no, on the grounds that I "would be knitting anyway." Turns out he was a professional welder so I asked him to spend five hours welding me something because he would be welding anyway. He said no because welding was a "real skill. And beanies can be purchased for $2, so $20 was more then generous." He was an ass, but he also demonstrated two great points. Because knitting is portable and often done while multitasking it is seen as a way of wasting time. It is perceived as entertainment not work and no one is going to pay you to watch TV.
And cloth goods are cheap. The monetary value of woodworking has been driven down in recent decades by places like IKEA and other cheap sources of furniture, but not as much as cheap Chinese goods and fast fashion have driven down the perceived value of blankets, pillows, sweaters, clothes ect. When I look at the quilt on the foot of my bed I see a useable link to my grandmother, I see a continuation of skills that have been practiced for hundreds of years. I see memories from my wedding. What other people see is a pile of fabric you could buy at Sears for $60. I am often ask why I bother making anything myself when it can be so cheaply purchased.

So I shouldn't be surprised that the headboard is the show stopper of my bedroom, but every once in a while I want someone to ask me if I knitted the blanket on the bed and gasp "Wow, how many hours did that take you?" Without implying that it was a waste of all those hours because I could have just bought one.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Log Cabin Quilt

My Grandmother passed away a couple of years ago now and I inherited several unfinished quilt tops from her. I am not really much of a quilter so I've been a bit afraid to do anything with the quilts. I don't want to ruin them. But having them sitting around taking up space in my craft room isn't a good use of them either, so in November I got up the gumption to actually work on one of them.

I started with my least favorite (although I still like it) of the tops, it a log cabin style made from truly awful double knit polyester. The fabric just screams 70s, but I do really like the colors. I felt like the quilt was busy enough on it's own that I didn't want to distract from it with quilting, so I decided to do a tied quilt instead.

I've never actually made a tied quilt before though so I enlisted my mother-in-law to help me out.

On our last visit to her house I brought the backing, some poly batting and the top and laid is all out and pinned it on her dining room table.

She has awesome curved safety pins that made the whole process much easier. 

And then we started tying it all together. The poly batting that I chose required tying or quilting every 5 inches and naturally I had 6 inches in between the center of each square so I decided to tie in the center of each little red square as well as the corners between each block. 

Although it didn't take anywhere near as long as quilting it would have, it was still a fairly time consuming process. But I got it done. I bound the edge using white bias binding left over from my last quilt. 

Ta-Da! It's a twin size quilt so it doesn't really fit on my bed. As I get more of these tops quilted I would like to display them on a quilt ladder or something like that. Most of them are twin sized and thus not going to work on my queen size bed, but I don't mind. It's a nice way for me to stay close to my grandmother.

Friday, February 3, 2017


Wow, it's been a while since I wrote anything. I've been super busy but not getting a lot of sewing done recently. I just finished moving and I am very happy to say that I now have an entire room for my crafting supplies. Living the dream y'all! Tomorrow I will be reveling in that craft room sewing curtains for the house. In the mean time the only thing that I have sewed in the last two months that I haven't written about yet was new pillows for the bed to go with the beautiful headboard that my husband made for us.

Isn't it a great headboard? My husband is just the most wonderfully talented person on the planet!!!

But I was going to talk about the pillows. I'm pretty happy with them. The fabric came out of my stash. I already had the pillow forms but the old cases on them did not look good with our new quilt. The white fabric came from my grandmother originally and has a wonderful white on white check pattern. I like the nice subtle visual interest. The longer middle pillow is a blue and white check that one of my knitting friends gave me when they moved. And the small pillow is the same floral cotton left over from my self drafted a-line skirt. It is also in a couple of the triangles in the quilt. I feel like it all ties together pretty nicely.

So, one of my personal preferences for pillows is that they not have visible seams. For these I did French seams on two long and one short side (because even though they will never be visible I wanted them to be neat and tidy seams). For the remaining side I hand-stitched the pillow shut using what I think is most often called a ladder stitch. 

I like it because you work from the outside but it is invisible. 

I was going to post a little photo tutorial about how I did it, but apparently my phone doesn't feel like cooperating because I can't get the photos to load. Oh well. They were not good pictures anyway. It's really hard to take a picture while also using both hands to sew. One of these days I might have to invest in a tri-pod and a video camera instead.