Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Bag and The Wallet: A Tragicomedy Love Story

Still haven't finished catching up on my blog reading but this story happened a few months ago.  It's very wordy, because I love to be wordy (and had a blast writing it), so feel free to just skip to the pictures. Hah! 

Voiceover from the Trailer:
I used to love my old bag. But time had beaten it up and my needs had changed.  It was heavy and not that suitable for work. I was taking a separate tote, in addition to my purse, and that was taking its toll on my shoulder and sanity.

Act 1: Girl Meets New Bag
But I couldn't find one I liked.  Then I spotted the ByeByeLove Bag.  And needed to make it. It would hold all the things I wanted to hold - shopping bags, wallet, keys, sunglasses, headphones, clipboard, iPad, my pencil case of teacher supplies... yay!

I tinkered with the pattern.

I added a darker bottom and put feet on it, just to give it a little protection from the floor, and I changed up the pocket flaps.  I'm just not a rounded pocket flap kinda girl.  You understand.

It was a marriage of linen and cotton. I lined it with foxes.

I carried the bag for a couple of weeks.  It was glorious!  It was suitable for work, it looked professional, and it also didn't seem out of place for the rest of my life, either.  I got compliments galore, folks asking where I got it, and they were floored when I proudly said I made it. All was well.

Act 2: The Accident
And then one morning, at work, a flustered staff member knocked her entire cream & sugared coffee all over it.  And in it.

I did the mature thing, or at least I *appeared* to do the mature thing. With students around, I didn't want to give them a poor example of how to handle a first-world problem so with said co-worker being very apologetic and even more flustered, I was calm and proceeded to dab at it with paper-towels, wiped the coffee off the floor, saying all the while, "It's okay, it's just a bag, these things happen...."  Inside I wanted to cry and was trying to figure out whether it could be washed and whether the stains would be set before I even had a chance to TRY to get them out.

The second I got home I consulted the experts. I decided I could chance washing it. I soaked it liberally with the stain remover, crossed my fingers and held my breath, pushing fears for shrinking and other calamities as far out of my mind as I could.  Oh, the subtle ironies of a pattern's name....  Bye-Bye, Bag I Loved!

Act 3: Insult to Injury
While the bag hung on the drying rack, and I waited to see if the stains had indeed been removed, I also needed to meet a deadline. I needed background and foreground for a quilt I had to finish.  I needed to plunge myself into a project to distract me from the laundry coma my beloved was lolling in...

I went to my safe haven - my Cheers, to drown my sorrows in bolts and fat quarters, carrying the wallet that matched my old bag, the one I'd forsaken, in my hand.  I ran errands, and had quite the handful by the time I'd hit the quilt shop so I'm not sure if I'd dropped the tattered green beast in the parking lot beside my car or if I'd stupidly left it on the front seat and had the door not lock properly when I hit the button.  I don't know. But I didn't have it in my hands when I went to pay.

It wasn't in the store - all the patrons and staff helped me look.

It wasn't in the car or beside the car.  It had only been twenty minutes.

Gone. (Bye Bye Wallet!) I went straight to the bank on the corner to cancel my credit card and get a temporary debit card so that I could at least pay for all the fabric I'd had cut.  I was not incredulous when, after I'd explained my missing wallet situation and tried to cancel my cards, the bank clerk asked if I had ID.  Seriously???  I do have the app on my phone (always in my back pocket, thank heavens!) so I could list off the account numbers and last transactions...

I paid for my fabric at the store with the hand-written temporary card (with that big, white, shameful label that screams to everyone "I was careless with the real one") and trundled off home, heart sinking as I made a mental list of all the ID I would have to replace, and those departments and bureaus I would have to call on Monday, and all because of a stupid cup of coffee, if not for which I'd still have my bag, wallet inside, and not missing/stolen/otherwise AWOL.

I prayed that whoever had it, merely took the money and dropped the ID in the mailbox or turned it in somewhere claiming to have found it.  The money (though I certainly can't afford to just drop money in the street) really didn't matter if I could avoid calling the ministry of health, replacing my social insurance card, my driver's license, vehicle registration....  Someone could be going through my receipts and information and stealing my identity.  Yuck.  I felt violated and icky. AND! What if they cashed in my full loyalty card at the yarn shop - nooooooooooooooo! - and made a break for Belize with my Air Miles?  (Okay, in reality, the miles wouldn't get them farther than Edmonton, but still...)

Late afternoon on the Sunday, the doorbell rang and I ran to find a man holding my ID-laden wallet in his hands.  Before either of us spoke, I nearly burst into tears, thanked him almost a thousand times, and gave him a huge hug.  I had nothing to offer him in terms of a reward, other than my gratitude.  Anything immediately valuable had been stripped, of course, including my hidden small note euros and pounds.  (I live in the hope that a spontaneous scavenger hunt or some other impromptu excursion will take me overseas where that ten pound note would save valuable time or at least avoid calamity...) They even took the pennies. Canada phased them out of currency, but they hadn't yet been phased out of my wallet.  As my conversation with the ID rescuer continued, red flags went up and I began to suspect that he might have been involved in its disappearance as well, but I dismissed the idea as unimportant, in the grand scheme.  Again, I expressed my sincere delight at having my license and certificates and health card and social insurance card and all the other little bits that would have taken ages to list and replace back in my hands with hours of phone calls and running around now off my to-do list.

Act 4: Can't Even Look At It
So now I have the wallet back and, while I'm relieved, it feels tainted. Someone rummaged through the whole thing. It had betrayed all my secrets and didn't even put up a fight. I can't bear to put the new temporary debit card in it, no matter how temporary and laden with the still-stinging sense of recklessness. I surrender to the awkwardness of a sandwich-sized ziploc bag to carry my cards.  The wallet's gotta go.  It's beat up anyway. It was as old as the bag it matched which was now in the bottom of the closet.  It's time for the light bulb idea that our protagonist comes up with - new bag is lonely.

Flash to a furious digging through the notions box for hardware for a long-intended, never started project.  Cut to woman with rotary cutter and flying fabric.  Cue 80s-style sports montage or woman at sewing machine: close-up of foot pedal to the metal, iron pressed up-down-up-down, brow wipe.....

Act 5: Hello, Hello, Love!

They meet in the hallway, introduced by clunky best friend, Keys O'Lanyard.  "This is Necessary Clutch Wallet."  And you know what, these two?  Cut from the same cloth.  A matching set.  They belong together.

Add in one of those cheesy camera masks that zooms in a heart-shaped focus on the pair before the heart turns pink with the words...

The End

End Credit notes:
In all seriousness - these are great, well-written patterns, though not necessarily for beginners.  Use a denim needle and some WonderClips. Take your time and enjoy it.  And no, this isn't product-placement.  I haven't been asked or paid to put these things in my "movie." :-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Framing Curved Log Cabin Blocks Tutorial

Once again, I fell off the internet.  That's life.  Especially lately.  I don't seem to be slowing down, folks.  I am making, quite intensely in fact, but stopping to blog about it seems counterintuitive somehow and when I don't blog, I don't read. However, I miss the realm.  So while I'll probably never be a regular schedule blogger, I always find my way back.  That's why there're RSS readers. :-)  Anyhoo...

Framing Curved Log Cabin Blocks:

Back in April (wow!) I posted a tutorial on making Improv Curved Log Cabin blocks.  And then I intended a follow-up on framing them. Here it is.

Grab your cabin pod, your rotary cutter, your background fabric, a straight edge ruler for squaring up, and, if desired, a curved edge ruler.  You can also freehand, and if your curves are large, you probably will need to freehand them anyway. Starch your fabrics - if you made your cabin without starch, starch it now. The larger the piece gets, the more important it is to keep a stable edge.  Bias is a tricky, shifty beast!

Cut a chunk of background fabric at least a long as one of your sides.  The width is variable and you can use strips or triangles.  Triangles work best for setting them "on point" but you can use strips and put things on point later if you choose.

** Note: This isn't a precise technique - it's based on the same principles used to make the blocks themselves, just with the goal of having straight, right-angled sides at the end.  As such, it's readily adaptable to whatever shape or size you need.  So I'm not giving exact dimensions here.   If you cut your background too narrow or too short, just add more fabric around after.  If you are using a solid, easy peasy.  I don't recommend using a fussy print that doesn't blend well at the seams.  To minimize seams, start with pieces much larger than you think you need and trim down.  Save the larger trimmings and use them to frame other pieces.

Lay your cabin pod on the background fabric so that the curve of the side is entirely on top of the background.  Using your rotary cutter (and your edge, if desired) cut along the curve of the cabin so that the cabin curve and background curve match.  Sew the background to the pod as you did for the sewing the log cabins.  Press with the seam towards the outside edge.

Cut another chunk of background long enough to cover the side of the pod, plus the new piece you've just added.  Lay the pod on the background as before but be aware of where the edge is - you'll have to angle your curve to end somewhere and you don't want it to be too sharp or straight at the end point.  Ideally, your curve will end where the top of your pod and the background fabric intersect. It doesn't always happen that way but that's what trimming and extra fabric are for!

Cut your curve as before and sew.  Press.

Repeat the process until you have background on all four sides.  Using your straight edge, square your block to the desired size, or simply trim straight.  At this point, it's easy to see if you need to add more fabric to corners or whatnot.

And there you have it.  I chose to leave my blocks irregular sizes so that I could play with the setting but have fun with it and see what you come up with!

I've added a ton of photos of this process to a flickr album so feel free to flip through if you need a little more help - I've even done some using triangles.

Okay, as usual, I have over a month's worth of blog reading to do. So I'm getting back to it starting now. :-)