Thursday, 7 May 2015

Latest Sewing

It might seem like I've just been out sightseeing in recent weeks but in fact the sewing machine is out and has been putting itself about.

The quilt top I found complete but neglected a few weeks back has been quilted, backed and bound and is ready to go off for the Hands2Help Charity Drive.
Yellow Quilt
Initially I just stitched in the ditch (tech term referring to using invisible thread on the front and something that blends with the backing on the back to sew along key seams evenly over the quilt so as to ensure your sandwich of front, batting and backing is securely held together at regular intervals) and then sat back and gave it a good stare intending to quilt it further. Those are my cat pj bottoms and cat slippers you can see in the photo - good staring clothes. In fact after a week of staring I concluded it was good as is. Any more quilting would have detracted from the pleasing uneveness of the hand stitching so I added a yellow binding...
Yellow Quilt Binding
...(the edging on the quilt) and now it just awaits a label (to say who made it and when) before it gets posted to Layers of Hope. From the Hands2Help website (link in left sidebar):
Quilting 911’s mission is to enhance the lives of 911 Telecommunications Operators (911 Dispatchers) and their families during times of illness, disaster, loss and tragedy by inspiring hope, faith and optimism with a quilt of warmth and comfort in order to make a positive influence in the lives of those who make a difference everyday, one quilt and one stitch at a time.
So that's good.

Then a certain best friend of Pooch's. who is a dedicated Superdry addict (brand of clothes) and who had voiced regret at their not doing a baby range, and who is expecting his second son to arrive any day now, is soon to be in receipt of this.
Superdry Baby Grow Front
Superdry Baby Grow Back
It is made from a second hand Superdry t-shirt and is my first time using popper tape. I used this free pattern which does not include seam allowance but even a non-mother like me can see the neck is too wide. I'd definitely change that if I made it again, plus I added feet to the pattern. The pattern is in german but I used an online translator - if you've sewn a bit before it's pretty obvious what is happening.

Then, I've been making a batch of One Hour Baskets. It's a free pattern and very easy. This one went off to a friend in London for her birthday.
These two are made from some of the rescued upholstery samples I picked up when I went here.
One Hour Baskets
I've also made two others but no photos yet.

I also found time (still no job) to make the basic mini quilt for the #handpiecedmini swap on Instagram.
EPP Handpiecedmini Swap
I do love the hexagons. There is hand stitching to be done on this but it is coming along nicely. In the background you can see some nine-patch blocks in flower fabrics (I was doing a pile of craft-ironing). I came across these when I was unpacking the things I had stored with my Mum but not taken to Japan. It occurred to me that I could use these to make my own proper contribution to Hands2Help (I don;t count the one I just finished off). That meant that my plan to make a Drunkard's Path quilt which I talked about in this post went out the window, at least for now. Which is a shame considering my major achievement:
First successful curve sewn
All thanks to my Craftsy Sewing With Curves course. Ah well, the knowledge won't go to waste.

That, apart from my finished EPP Feels Like Spring Pouch which I sent off without photographing (doh), is it. Except for one secret project which I started putting together yesterday. These are the fabrics.
Palette for Secret Project
It's not something I've done before so is very fun and I am quite excited to see how it will turn out!

Pooch just found out yesterday that he has to do a work trip back to London for a week, leaving on Friday! The jetset schedule of the super-technical. At $2k per ticket I won't be joining him so I'll be home alone to craft up a storm. Expect more finished objects soon!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Lowriders in Mission

I had read about this in SF's FunCheap Newsletter and, with find memories of Eddie Guerrero nestling in my brain, I made my way there on Sunday with a hesitant Pooch in tow. "You don't even like cars." he tried telling me as we walked there. That is true, in that I wouldn't sit down and read an article about the latest Volvo, but I do like craft - and customisations like these can only be done by true craftsmen. And craftswomen.

From wikipedia:
lowrider (sometimes low rider) is an automobile or other vehicle modified so that its ground clearance is less than its design specification. 

Yes, I can imagine that is the minimum requirement. However, it goes on to say:
Such modifications ...alter the vehicle's performance by changing the vehicle's aerodynamic properties, to lower its center of gravity, or to change the effective gear ratios of the drivetrain.
This is where it gets interesting. You see the car in the background of the white one, to the right? That's not just jacked up to display its underparts.
Well it's not, they actually drive around in that position. Not stuck like that, but dynamically moving up and down and jigging up and down and so on. There is a video here. Not all of them do that - some are more about the custom paint, accessories and dashboard. So impressive.
And of course there were a few other vehicles. Apparently (now this is according to a WWE commentator so is quite possibly not true) in poorer areas where a car is out of reach you get Lowrider Bicycles.
The back cart of the this one is purely for the sound system.
And who can forget this little pedal car.
Children's Push Car 2
Children's Push Car
I can just imagine my ickle niece cruising the neighbourhood in that!

This event was held as a fundraiser for the school whose playground it was in and there was a real community feel to it. San Francisco definitely has a much stronger neighbourhood/community feel to it than similar areas in London. But then people also manage to shoot each other more. Pros and cons I guess.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

More Oakland, More Cats

I was early for my cat appointment this week so I took a tootle around Oakland. Actually I was looking for a cash machine, but en route I found a huuuuuge lake. 
Oakland Lake
There weren't any ducks visible but there were geese flying about and also the usual urban birds. A blackbird had found a chunk of bread and was about to fly off with it when something slightly bigger - possibly a Thrush? - strong-armed it away from him. To add insult to injury, the Thrush didn't even fly off but just sat there munching on it. 
Oakland - Two Birds
The poor blackbird was left hanging about waiting for a chance to get it back. Can you see him on the left? I felt so sorry for him!

Next to the lake was the Cathedral of Light. It looked fairly impressive from outside - quite like Liverpool Cathedral. 
Cathedral of Light, Oakland
Artistic close-up. 
Cathedral of Light, Oakland
There was a service going on or I would have explored inside too. 

As often seems to happen, a block or two away from the money buildings, you get the run down houses and homeless living on the street. 
Spooky House in Oakland
This weird house reminded me of The Munsters! The van outside is a phenomenon I've become familiar with since moving here. It seems like white vans and trucks are fair game for graffiti artists, judging by how many of them you see covered from top to bottom. I have no idea how the owners feel about it but you certainly see a lot of them. You also get the wall-based graffiti although it tends to be murals rather than the tagging you more often see in London and Tokyo. 
Oakland Graffiti

After a good perusal of the area I was ready to catify myself, and I was not disappointed. 
Ginger Cat
He later moved from the 'bagel' to the 'baguette'. 
Ginger Cat Sleeping
Then there was a guy called Pilgrim who I just read was adopted this morning. 
Sleeping Black and White
So adorable. Then a different ginger boy was curled up with his mouse. He had assumed more of a 'croissant' position. 
Ginger Cat Sleeping with Rat
And then there was the little 8 month old who was my best buddy on this trip. I didn't get his name but he was so adorable. He was very curious about anyone going past outside. 
Black Cat Looking Out of Window
I started off sitting in that chair and he came over and jumped up in my lap and was adoring the strokes. Anytime anyone went past he'd put his paws on my shoulder to get a good view out. 
Black Cat Paw with Claws
He really was instantly loveable. I can't wait until we're in a flat that allows pets so that I can actually leave one day with my adopted cat. This little black cat was just the latest in a list of cats I've longed to be able to take home with me!

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