Monday, September 8, 2014

of cabbage and not kings...

in which our plucky heroine considers progress made and imagines future improvements...

I started this quilt top about ten years ago. It is my interpretation of the "Moody Blues" design by Kaffe Fassett, done in a low contrast combination of indigo blues with accents of warm chocolatey brown...  his original quilt was made with more colorful fabrics. I am not much of a quilter, since the repetitive work I enjoy in my embroidery and knitting is instead intensely dull when piecing patchwork.

Indeed, I have made only two quilts in a long life of handwork and stitchery. I made a double monkey wrench quilt back in the early seventies, before I went away to college, and I made a log cabin photo quilt for my parents 50th anniversary.

This quilt top is only about a quarter completed, and once I find the many heavily curated fabric pieces I cut out for it, my current plan is to send it off to my online pal Cricket, who loves to quilt the way I love to embroider... She will turn it into a delightful thing for me, and in exchange I will make something for her that she will find equally a joy to have in her home...

(and just to keep a note of it here, I really like the simple border this woman chose for her version, with the narrow inner border with occasional triangles, and the plain outer border...)

At the beginning of August there was the first glimmer of how the small bedroom here at Acorn Cottage could be improved... This past Sunday Kateline and I made a start on phase one, which will involve a vast amount of decluttering and reorganising. Each time a room or space is worked on, the things that don't belong end up either in their proper home, or in one of the two bedrooms. The proper home for fabric and the concomitant notions is in the small bedroom which is intended as a guest room/sewing space. It is obvious to me that to reach the level of function that I desire, there will need to be not only sorting and improved access, but a fair amount of culling of "material objects"

In the interest of documenting "before and after" improvement, these pictures will show more or less where the starting point is... though after our efforts on Sunday four grocery sacks went to Goodwill and two went into paper recycling... The state of the room is not very pretty right now, though there is room to deploy the guest futon, which has been moved to under the window wall on the north side of the room, which means that this is what you see when you open the door:

If you sit down on the futon, you see the closet wall, and the small bit of wall space next to the door. The closet formerly had a random assortment of sewing notions and "things" in the wire baskets in the white shelf unit. I don't know what wire baskets are actually intended for, I find them powerfully annoying. Kateline suggested that they be used for storing bedding for the guest futon, which makes a lot of sense, and that when guests are there they can store clothing in the empty baskets if desired...
The lower portion of the white closet unit has nice shallow drawers... I think that they will work well for storing a selection of small fabric bits, which I do use for things like bias binding and clothing embellishment. Looking online, found a clever way to fold fabric using a template; while the fabric bits are not nice regular fat quarters and yardage, but rather "cabbage" (collective noun for textile scrap), it should be possible to do something similar, and the intention is to store the pieces vertically, so as to have all the bits visible and contained neatly.

The west wall has some useful shelves and thread racks, but the entire wall (aside from the threads) needs emptied and sorted, as the space is being very poorly utilised. The older computer, needs to have my useful data removed and stored. The "desk", which is only a hollow core door, will be removed; the goal is to have only wall shelf storage here, for things like notions and possibly sewing patterns and other supplies and maybe more fabrics. I hope to have nothing piled or stored on the floor, and to be able to keep the folding sewing tables and ironing board corralled against this wall, under the shelves and in the corner of the room. That will allow easy access to one of the only two electric outlets in the room which is centered on this wall.

The east wall is partially quite functional, it has sturdy shelving that is currently holding lengths of fabric large enough for whole garments. The futon was formerly tucked underneath the shelving, which blocked the other of the two electric outlets. I would like this wall to hold most of my useable fabric collection, and hope to add another narrower shelf, at waist height, to store my sewing machines and serger when they are not in use. As is obvious, there is quite a way to travel before this space is clear, functional, and beautiful... as I keep telling myself, incremental progress is still progress.


today I am grateful for the internets, which allow me to keep in contact with friends and family near and far, and which allow me access to "the reference library that never sleeps"...

may this gratitude counteract despair


  1. I loves the blues and browns in the quilt - so serene and restful!

  2. The quilt is absolutely lovely. I suspect I would have stopped and made it into a cushion, so well done for sending it to a friend instead.
    Good going on the sorting. I must admit I use the drawers in a similar unit for storing my huge quanties of thread spools and keep the other notions in pretty ikea cardboard boxes, with a label on the front and stacked on shelves. I also have (or had as its currently all packed away) a large shelving unit with a curtain rail and long curtain. This was both to protect the fabric from fading on the folded edges as the sun is strong in that room plus to hide the fabric shelves from view with something a bit less distracting.
    I would suggest a table under the shelving but know you don't like to sew looking at a wall! Fantastic progress and i just love seeing it. Best regards Ruthie

  3. Ms Cricket is a wonderful wiz at creating things,i can't wait to see what the two of you make for each other.