Archive for ‘Musings’

August 21, 2015

Banjos, trombones, whales

A few days ago I conversed with a stranger while waiting for banjo class to start. I do that now – play the banjo. Sitting on a bench, he was waiting for his jazz ensemble to begin. With a white beard, he looked to me like a sea captain or George R. R. Martin. We talked and he proceeded to tell me how he was forced to learn to play the banjo when he was young. He hated it. All I could picture was this man on a deck of a boat chasing whales and calling to them with his trombone.

Banjos whales and trombones

May 7, 2012

Modern Embroidery

All of this burp cloth making has had me thinking about embroidery.  Maybe if I’m going to be doing more of it I should learn more than one stitch. Maybe I should even try my hand at a sampler, because I think I need more hobbies typically associated with 80 year old women. Maybe later we can drink tea and can something together.

I found this pretty sampler pillow case from Purl Bee while looking around.

Source: Purl Bee

And these pretty samplers from Craftzine.

Source: Craftzine

You should also check out the amazing stitches here and here.

P.S. You know what you find when you search embroidery on Flickr?  A lot of fallopian tubes, that’s what.

November 2, 2011



I have a confession to make.  I am in possession of some seriously beautiful fabric that I have no idea what to do with.  This is not a recent thing, I’ve had this fabric for years and am afraid to cut into it. What if I make a wrong cut and ruin it!!!

It all started here in 2006 when I spotted some fabric that I had to own.  Wouldn’t you know, mom made that dream come true. (Just like with the thimbles!  She is like a magical fairy princess!)  So, since the winter of 2006 I have had in my possession yards of this fabric.  I’ve
thought about making it into a duvet cover, table runner with matching napkins, or sofa pillows.  I could frame it and hang it on the wall or upholster a side chair in it.  Guess what, I can’t decide. Someone must help before a few more years go by and I will have had this fabric for a decade.  I welcome your suggestions.

Fabric by Mairo

October 12, 2011

Christmas Sewing


 I have an announcement to make.  Christmas sewing has commenced!  I have never been this on top of things before.  Ever.  I have a few projects I want to get done for Christmas, some of them are super secret until later.  One of them is that super cute baby quilt with that beautiful fabric from a few days ago.  Fabric has been purchased, washed, ironed, and some of it has even been cut.  It’s going to be a good Christmas.

May 26, 2011

To A Sewing Machine


Image from the Elna Lotus instruction manual via


My mom’s sewing machine is brown and cream and much older than I am.  It is heavy and solid and has seen some things.  This sewing machine doesn’t mess around. It has panels that fold up and click into place to protect the delicate sewing bits inside. There is a secret compartment on top lined with fuzzy stuff for seam rippers, bobbins, and the like. (The best things always have secret compartments.) I learned to sew on this machine roughly 19 years ago. It’s not made of plastic and it doesn’t jam up with tangled bobbin thread for no reason. I miss this sewing machine.  So really, I’m just writing to say, “Hey, sewing machine. How’s it going?”

May 4, 2011

On Hand Stitching


Simply put, I love it. I like the slowness and the perfect imperfectness of it. Hand stitching requires time. Glorious time to sit in the quiet (or not so quiet) with a thimble, a needle, and a cup of coffee. I hand sew all of my quilt bindings and it is my favorite part of the quilt making process. It’s like I’m imbibing the quilt with my story. It sounds a little silly that way but it’s true. I like to think that whoever gets the quilt will think about me sewing it and wonder what I was thinking about when I was making it.

There is also the old time-y appeal, that practically forever women have been sitting around stitching things with their hands, making things. I like that.

When I hand stitch things I one of the thimbles in the photo above. I didn’t used to use a thimble, I would put up with the pain of sore fingers. Then one day I said this is ridiculous and started looking for a thimble. All I could find in the stores were cheap and plastic and an unusually bright shade of yellow. This was not acceptable. I kept thinking of my moms thimble and its heavy bronzy-gold metal. It is defiantly not yellow plastic. I mentioned this problem to my mom who promptly put in the mail this Altoid tin with these two beautiful thimbles. They belonged to my Great-Grandmother Mabel Emily and they are perfect. So now when I sit and hand stitch I think about all the things this thimble has already made and what Mabel Emily was thinking about when she made them. And that’s about right. The joy of hand stitching.