Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Thanksgiving Tie

Eric, my soon to be ex-cousin-in-law, was invited by my grandfather to the Thanksgiving shindig at his assisted living facility, Avita (read: hotel-like elegance).  With this older crowd - my grandfather is 91 - these things tend to be more formal.  As Eric was in management in another life, he has a wide array of ties, but none that were fall-themed.  Unfortunately, a trip to Wichita revealed that none of his usual tie-wear apparel shops were going to be of any assistance.  They had Halloween ties.  They had Christmas ties.  But nothing for Autumn.

Eric related his tale of woe to me as he returned  from Wichita to Newton and I was driving back from a work-related jaunt in Western Kansas.  I told him, "You need to go to Charlotte's.  That quilt store will have a nice variety of Autumn fabric.  I can make you a tie."  (I'd never made a tie in my life.)

As luck would have it, I would drive through Newton on my way back to Wichita, and we would arrive about the same time.  We agreed to meet at Charlottes.  

Charlotte's is a fabulous store!  Any time I am in Newton, I try to make time to stop in.  And as predicted, the shop had a lovely array of Fall fabrics.  It quickly became apparent that the question wasn't IF there would be an appropriate fabric, but which one to choose.  

As we were both pressed for time, Eric quickly made his selection, paid for the 3/4 yards of the Hoffman (yeah, he has good taste), handed it to me, and we hurried off - me hoping that I wasn't blowing smoke about being able to make a tie.

My first step in the project was to take apart a tie I had to use for a pattern.  We had bought some interfacing, but inside the original tie, I found a rather substantial thickness of..., I hesitate to use the word fabric, because it is far too thick for that.  (If anyone knows what this is called, please let me know.)  In any case, I decided my tie-making life would be much easier if I used it inside the new tie.  It was already cut to the right size and length.  Plus, I rather liked the weight of it.

As usual, Max helped.  Eric said Max was imbuing the tie with kitty magic.

Eventually, we arrived at this:

After sewing the three lengths together, putting in the linings at either end (in the original tie, the linings were made from a different fabric than the outside of the tie, but I chose to do the simplest thing and use the same fabric), and pressing in the raw edges, I laid in the thickness that would give the tie its shape and weight.

After that, it was just a matter of hand-stitching it closed.

Oh, and I learned something very valuable for any future tie-making endeavors I might have.  The tag I took off the back of original tie that I thought was well, just a tag?  No, it has a dual purpose.  It is used to tuck in the skinny end of the tie, so it all hangs nicely.  After Eric and I both laughed at my lack of tie knowledge, I hurriedly sewed it on, so he could be perfectly attired for the Thanksgiving shindig with my Grandpa.

If you want to read Eric's version of events, go here.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spicy Spiral

A lot has happened since I last posted.

In 2013, I did my best to live up to the Jypsy Quilter name.  I have changed residences twice AND changed jobs twice - both times within the same week.  (Both times I doubted my sanity.)  However with this last move, I bought my new residence - a somewhat dated condo from the 70's with some quirky features that I love.  I won't be moving again any time soon.  And I really like my new job as a financial consultant with AXA Financial.  The work is both interesting and challenging.

Despite the Jypsy Quilter name, which I took on after leaving Nevada and becoming somewhat of a nomad, I find it very difficult to focus on quilting when I'm not feeling settled.  For the last three years, I have very little show to in the way of quilting - although my beloved tubs of fabric have moved with me each time.

Now, having been in my new place a little over three months, it is time to quilt!

My mom and I signed up for a class called Spicy Spiral Table Runner at one of our local quilt stores, The Picket Fence.  It was the first quilting class I have ever taken, and the first time I've used a wedge ruler.  On both counts, I'm hooked!  I had a blast!

After you pick 8 colors, your first step is to cut them into strips (the strips are different widths) and sew them together.  We did this part at home before the class.

Max helped

Next, cutting using the wedge ruler.  While not difficult once you get going, it was immensely helpful to have a quilt teacher at this juncture. The wedges get increasingly shorter.

Eventually, you end up with a pile of wedges like this:

Then we started sewing.  I'm guessing it took us about an hour and a half to sew this:

The points still need to be trimmed to make a smooth edge before adding the batting and backing.  The teacher recommended that instead of binding the edges, we treat it like a pillow and turn it.  As I am not eager to do a curved bias binding, I am going to try the teacher's suggestion.

Hoping to eke out some time soon to finish it.