Category Archives: sewing

twins but different

Last year at one of the Kirstenbosch markets, I met Corinne. She was planning a trip to New Zealand to see her family this year, and wanted to have bedspreads specially made for each of her 10-year old twin granddaughters.

A bit of sorting and printing and fabric painting later, here we have vibrant purples and pinks for Erin and gentler greens and greys for Sami (if you look, you can see the squares with their names on).

Corinne line 2100_3139

Corinne line 1

Unfortunately, the New Zealand trip is off because Corinne has been undergoing serious back surgery and has a while to recover, but the girls should get them within the next 12 months.

Corinne’s friend came to my house to collect them on Sunday afternoon and, since she and I have had many conversations by phone and email, I had expected to hear from her quite soon. Sunday, nothing. Monday, nothing. Tuesday – well, by Tuesday I had convinced myself that she loathed the bedspreads but couldn’t bring herself to tell me.  I had visions of removing and replacing certain squares, or even making entirely new ones. Tuesday evening – phone call! The friend had been too busy with his work and other commitments to get them to Corinne until then, and SHE LOVED THEM BOTH, especially that none of the fabrics were “kiddy-ish” or old-fashioned. Ah, the relief!

I never used to get stressed unnecessarily like this (the customer had approved all fabrics and colours via whats app pics before I even touched a pair of scissors), so I’m wondering if it’s an age thing, or an anxiety thing? Or both. Or neither. I’ll try not to spend too long thinking about it…..

evidence

Work in progress: bedspread with 14cm-squares. Taking a bit longer than usual.

14cm

Experiments in fabric pots. Yes, pots. That is the word I have chosen.

fabric-pots

The view from my sewing machine. Note the little pile of bird seed on the tiles. Yesterday I had three sparrows, two pigeons and an olive thrush. I am happy with these humble visitors. If the sunbirds want to spurn me, it’s no skin off my nose.

bird-seed

and, lastly, some growing things: the clerodendrum had to be relocated because it was getting more shade than I’d realised (like 99%). After two weeks it was close to death. Peter replanted it in a sunnier spot and I have hovered over it every day since, even giving it a side dressing of bonemeal. It seems to have found some inner strength.

clerodendrum   plectranthus   osteospermum   dietes-grandiflora

What’s the equivalent of bonemeal for humans?

mixed blessings

The good news is that Andrea loved her bedspread, this is the picture she sent me of her guest bedroom.

andrea-guest-room

She has now asked me to make cushions with guinea fowl on them, and some pillow cases. She brought her friend Ruth (also Swiss) along on Saturday morning to the Country Craft market, and she has ordered a patchwork bedspread for her guest room (luckily the bed is more realistically sized than Andrea’s). I love Swiss people.

Other good news is that the gooseberry bushes are doing well – one better than the other, since it gets more sun, but good to know for next season. (All grown using grey water, fyi).

100_2773

After Friday’s big rain, we had two hot days, and then another good rain during the night. February is usually the hottest month in Cape Town, but we at least have some water saved up now. I have had to relieve the tomato plant of her two offspring: she is completely drained and withered, and these girls clearly used up all her energy. Mothers of young children may remember this feeling well.

100_2774.JPG

They are kind of beefy and dark and, let’s face it, are unlikely to end up in a salad. But they are something, and as such will sit on the kitchen counter for a while.

Other news: yesterday, at Kirstenbosch Market, a dog urinated on my leg. I was standing on my side of the table talking to a woman about pillow cases, when I felt a warm liquid running down my right leg. She had two dogs, on leads, and one had nosed under the tablecloth and, well, just made use of me. She apologised profusely and handed me her bottle of sparkling water to wash off my jeans and foot and sandal (I used it all!) and then we all sort of laughed. Her mother came along and told us that the dog had once lifted its leg against a woman’s shoulder while she was sitting on an otherwise-empty beach with her husband. Dogs. This is why I can live without them.

And not-so-good news: my phone got disappeared yesterday, while I was at the market. I’d either left it on the table (for maybe two or three seconds) or it got removed from the pocket at the front of the body bag I always wear. If something had to get nicked, I’d rather it was the phone than my cash, but it’s disheartening all the same. First errand of the day: get into nearest Vodacom shop and get a new sim card. I would hate to lose my number, I’ve had it for fourteen years.

 

When in neutral…

Andrea’s bedspread: this afternoon I finished stitching the panels together (12 by 13 of them, to make 300 by 280cm) and topstitching, and tomorrow I’ll tackle the back. I had to spread it out over the dining table and chairs to get it all in one photo, and even then I couldn’t manage it.

andrea-1

There are some guinea fowl in grey, and some in brown, and a few proteas, and a bit of other handprinteds here and there, the rest is a combination of light to medium weight upholstery fabrics, mainly cottons.

andrea-2

This is for Andrea’s guest bedroom, and she specifically wanted neutral colours. Did I mention she is Swiss? Am I the only one who finds this amusing?

andrea-3

scrappy sew-up

To differentiate between my usual squares-only patchwork, I have come to think of this as the Random Threesomes. See how nicely those first six grew into a respectably-sized couch throw?

tues

tues-2

I might end up keeping this one. On the other hand, if anyone is keen, I’ll sell it!  I once heard a customer at a craft market tell her friend that Jews will even sell you something from their own home if “the money’s right”. “Yes,” said the friend, “Indians do that, too.”  Classic!

donkey work

I enjoyed playing around with those bits of left-over fabric more than I realised. And when it comes to enjoyable sewing, nothing beats the simplicity of straight lines. Someone I knew would have called it donkey work, in which case I’m having an Eeyore week.

bedspread-2

The colours don’t show up that well in the pics, but they are a gorgeous mix of blues and creams and teals and greys and browns.

I like random, so I’ll never be one of those clever quilting ladies whose exquisitely thought-out fabric mosaics I admire so much! But I still felt I deserved a rotary cutter and a proper cutting mat – an early birthday present to myself :-)  My squares are so much squarer now!

bedspread-1       bedspread-3

rotary       eeyore

coverlet

So, my bedroom desperately needs a facelift. It will have to wait a good while, however, because nothing pretty can be done until (1) the penetrative damp from outside has been dealt with, (2) the bathroom next door has been made into an en suite, and (3) the walls have been replastered and treated. Oh yes, and the floor needs sanding and polishing. Sigh.

A quick and colourful stopgap was required. And if it cost next to nothing, even better :-)

bed 1

I chopped up an old cotton tablecloth that I’d paid R20 for at the charity shop,  and used up some of the leftovers that Suzette gives me when she’s finished making her cushions, (bags and boxes of the stuff, I tell you! I love riffling through them….) to make what I think is best called a coverlet. It’s not a quilt, obviously, ‘counterpane’ is too Victorian, and ‘bedspread’ seems a step too far for a random patchworky piece of fabric with an old cotton sheet used for backing.

bed 2

bed 3

Not sure if this qualifies for Kate’s ScrapHappy, because those clever quilting ladies make very beautiful fabrics from teeny morsels of left-overs, but Kate can let me know :-)