Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A-tisket, A-tasket, A Little Fabric Basket




So I undertook something I've been thinking of undertaking for a while now, a little fabric "basket" made according to Kristel's generous tutorial. However, her dimensions were all given in centimeters, and because all my sewing equipment is marked only in imperial, I did some translation. And a little fudging. Along the way I took some pictures - and considering the gore of my last post, and how I cringed every time I clicked on my own site, I hope this is a little easier on the eyes.

Please go visit her tutorial, and take a look at her lovely finished products. She makes some beautiful things!

Oh, and her seam allowance was 1 cm, more like 3/8", but I used my standard 1/4" quilting seam.

So, the orange stripe is my Fabric A, and the blue-green print is Fabric B.

I cut two strips, 3"X9", of Fabric A, and a 9"X8" Fabric B.

Pin the A's to the B, right sides together (my A was same both ways), and stitch.

Open seams and press. The completed panel was then 9"X13"

I cut a lining of Fabric C, the same size (9"X13"). I applied a medium/heavy-weight fusible interfacing (don't know which it was, sorry), and then trimmed it all around.

I then folded both pieces in half with their 9" sides matching, and stitched along both edges on both pieces.

(N.B. Purely for your convenience and edification I purposely left my machine threaded with navy cotton, just so you could easily see the seams I'm describing. It was NOT because I was too damned lazy to change threads for something more closely matching. Absolutely not. Far be it from me to take such an easy way out when I could easily have walked across the room to my sewing cupboard, opened the canister, and found something else. Not me. Don't listen to my husband. What would he know about the iron, though somewhat, er... springy, principals of a seamstress?)

Now, this is a little trickier to describe than do. Take your lining, fold the corners out, measure up 1.5", and draw a 3" line across. Pin and stitch along the line.

Trim it off to about 1/4". This is what you get. Do it to the outer fabric "pocket" too.

Turn the outer shell right side out, and slip the lining into it. Then fold the edges in towards each other and pin all the way around. Top stitch close to the edge.

(Note the matching topstitch thread. Can you see the navy inside? No, neither can I.)

This is what you get!

Kristel put some little handle-tabs on hers, but I didn't have any suitable twill-tape, so I made do without.

I think next time I'll cut a 2-7/8" X 5" piece of stiff cardboard and set it in the bottom between the shell and lining layers before stitching them together at the top, to give it a sturdy base that you could load up with bits and pieces without having it sag.

I think I'll make several for Christmas. Yes, I said that. By golly, I know how busy I'm going to be this winter between school and business and pushing snow. The time for Christmas prep is NOW!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Quality of Mercy is Somewhat Strained

When I announced that we were getting chickens this year, a lot of people asked me if I thought I'd be able to do the butchering myself.

Apparently I can.

But I don't like it.

This poor bird was so sick, laying there with its head in the dirt... Yesterday at least it looked around every now and then. Today it was nearly comatose, and was having so much trouble breathing. It's been a very cold, and recently wet, spring. I think it was pneumonia.

So I got the axe. And after apologizing profusely, I dispatched it.

I don't want to talk about that part anymore.

You know, there I was apologizing to this animal, and I think it bothered me more that I'd called it into being on my farm and its life went for nothing, than the killing itself. It died because I'm inept at raising chickens, not because it was ready for the next stage, sustaining my life.

But I felt worse just watching it die slowly. When I killed it, I suffered a bit, but it didn't. And I think that's the important thing. I think. It's all got me a bit flustered.

Then a couple hours later I heard this horrible little skreeing from the area of the back porch. I opened the door, and there was the kitten with a mouthful of struggling baby chickadee. Mercy. I shut the door again.

Wherever I look, there's the Janus-face of life and death.