Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sheet Music Competition

The Caterpillar and I have each entered a piece to the yearly Sacred Sheet Music Competition at Free LDS Sheet Music.  We both submitted arrangements of Christmas tunes.  There are many beautiful entries.  Check them out, and vote for all your favorites!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Radiant Mantelet

When I ordered this yarn I had no idea that Radiant Orchid would be selected as Pantone's Color of the Year for 2014.  I felt pretty fashion-forward when I found out.  That is not natural for me.  It was definitely more characteristic for me to not really wear it until new colors had come out.  Twice.

I used it to crochet Lizzy's Lace Mantelet, from Austentatious Crochet.  Sadly, this pattern gave me more trouble than its sisters have.  I had gauge problems, as usual, and tried a few different hooks.  Then I took the project on a trip, where it comforted several idle hours.  Some distraction made me skip a round early on, and by the time I noticed the problem, the product looked like a hat, not a disk.  I took it out and tried again, increasing hook sizes as I went.  Eventually, I completed the final round and tried it on.  And it just didn't hang right.
Most of the interest is in the layers on the back, you see.  It wasn't really layering on me.  So I took it out again, all the way back to the armholes.  I set the armholes closer together for my narrow shoulders, and tried again.  This time I was happy when I finished. 

I tried wearing the mantelet a couple of times, but it didn't really go with the outfits I selected.  A little over two years after choosing the yarn, I have sewed myself a simple gray dress.  It supports the soft, warm, lacy radiance quite well.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Christmas Quilt for Valentine's Day

A few years ago, Grandma O and I visited a local quilt shop.  A beautiful sample quilt caught her eye.  I admired it, too.  She made inquiries, and went back to the shop later to buy the lovely Christmas-themed fabric and the pattern.  She was already ill at that time, and I wondered if she would be able to make the quilt.
I have to admit this project was one of the things I hoped to find in her sewing room when she'd left it behind.  And I did, neatly bagged up.  The block pattern is basically a disappearing nine-patch.  Grandma O had sewn the nine-patch blocks together, and cut more squares for the border.  A year after I brought the fabric home (about a year ago, in fact--I guess I do quilts in January and February), I sliced the blocks up, rearranged them, and made new blocks.
I added sashing and borders.  I found some wide material for the back, and sandwiched it all up.  I used the walking foot to quilt along the sashing, then tried free-motion quilting inside the blocks.
That was hard.  Even when sewing on the big dining room table, the weight of this queen-sized quilt was difficult to work with.  I tried to keep the quilting simple, but I didn't make my big loops very smooth.  I should have practiced more before diving into a big project, but I was excited to quilt this blanket.  After I quilted the blocks, though, I was tired.  I contemplated trying a holly leaf pattern on the border, but I had to think about it first.  I also had some cloth for the binding, but wasn't sure if I really liked it.  And then some other projects came up that were more urgent, important, or interesting.  I set the Christmas quilt aside, with the vague notion that I ought to finish it before the next Christmas.
That certainly didn't happen.  Last Saturday I pulled it out again.  I decided that straight lines in the ditches of the borders would be fine.  And that the fabric I already had would make a good binding.  And even though, to my dismay, I found that I'd missed quilting two of the blocks, I sat down and finished it all that day. 
Now it's ready to keep us warm next December.  Though it does look nice with my chicken-scratch heart pillowcases, doesn't it?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tolo Tie

A week or two ago, I ran across this stunning peacock feather bowtie online.  Go ahead, take a look.  Look at the price, too.  Yikes!  I showed it to Dandelionslayer and the Caterpillar, who were suitably impressed.  But not with the price.  "Feathers are a renewable resource," Dandelionslayer pointed out.  And it's true.  The elegant birds molt every year, just like other fowls, and their keepers can just pick up the feathers and sell them to pricey designers or ordinary craft stores.

I took it as a challenge.
I found feathers at JoAnn's, two for about $4.  I used some black peachskin fabric and bowtie hardware I keep handy and made a pretied bowtie.  I trimmed the feathers and glued them in before affixing the knot piece.
Ta-da!  Peacock feather bowtie, 98% off.  In hindsight, and for your benefit, I see that Gorilla Glue was probably not as good a choice as a high quality fabric or craft glue would have been.  And maybe there's a better way to attach feathers.
But the Caterpillar was happy with it, and it was ready for him to wear to Tolo.  What is Tolo?  Tolo is a Chinook Jargon word, "from the Calipooia language (of western Oregon,) meaning to earn, control, convince, overcome, or triumph. Now used . . . as a term for a ladies'-choice school dance." (From the White River Valley Museum)  This usage came from a fund-raising (and eyebrow-raising, in 1910) dance put on by the Tolo Club, a ladies' honor society at the University of Washington.
When the Caterpillar's friend, S, invited him to the dance, she also invited him to go dress-shopping with her.  It was an arduous process, as she tried to find something pretty, well-fitting, and modest.  I guess the Caterpillar has told her enough about our standards that she wanted to fit them, too.  Good boy, nice girl.  And they found a lovely dress. 
It seemed appropriate to put a little effort into the Caterpillar's outfit.  He already has the tuxedo for band (S has one, too, actually), so I was happy to add a feathery touch.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Ponderizing Psalm 1:1

Blessed is the man that walketh not 
in the counsel of the ungodly, 
nor standeth in the way of sinners, 
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Rollo chose this verse for us.  It's a great list of what not to do.  God is a loving Father who wants what is best for us.  "The ungodly" must be opposite.  Whose advice would you rather follow?  Isaiah describes the Lord as a "Wonderful Counsellor"(Isaiah 9:6).  I'd rather walk in His paths.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  (Proverbs 3:5-6)
"Standing in the way of sinners" sounds doubly dangerous.  Joining with sinners and doing what they do is obviously not the way to be blessed.  "Getting in their way," available to be a victim, doesn't appeal, either.  I'd rather "stand . . . in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come" (Doctrine and Covenants 87:8). 

"Sitting in the seat of the scornful," though.  That could be more of a trap.  When we're avoiding sinners and the ungodly, are we tempted to label them, to scorn their foolishness and unrighteous behavior?  It's easy to find others' faults, and to gloss over our own.  Even in our loving home, sometimes we doubt each other's intentions, criticize, make fun.  But it doesn't help.  We need to persuade, to lead others to righteousness with example and love.  And with repentance for our own sins, because we do have them, even when we're trying to be good. 

Let's watch how we sit, stand, and walk, so the Lord may bless us with wisdom, righteousness, and joy!