Saturday, March 26, 2011

Garlic - Small But Perfectly Formed

This year our garlic has been more of a famine than feast. The little bulbs formed perfectly but are on the small side of things. I love the look of little cloves, like bubbles on glass and just the slightest hint of pink to the papery skins. To give sense of scale, they are no bigger than a 50c piece and I mean the newer, smaller, 50c. I’m looking for recipes where I can just slice the bulb in half and throw it in to roast. This double halloumi potato bake seems to fit perfectly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crafty Book Review – Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter

Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter

First impression:
This book is beautiful in both it’s simplicity and elegance. There are no fussy details or over the top embellishment. I love the clean lines and fabrics used throughout this book.

The book contains 24 project divided in sections headed cook, go, nest, organize. There is a very brief glossary at the back and a comprehensive index.

What I like:
Above all else, I love the simplicity of this book. It has me wanting to search out more from Lotta Jansdotta. I am very tempted to try her book on printing.

What I’d pass on:
Some the designs just don’t look practical, but could work with a little tweaking. The cell phone pocket on the yoga mat tote just needs a closure to make sure you don’t loose your phone the first time you pick it up. The garden tote looks handy, but given the dirt bound nature of gardening, perhaps oil cloth would be a better material. As with any design, it might just pay to think through each project before you start.

What I’d like to try:
I was excited about the hat. I had seen references to it over at Hazelnuts. So I consequently gave it a try. While the pattern is marked level 3, it would need a few more diagrams for the beginner sewer to tackle it. I found myself needing to notch and ease the connection between the brim and crown. It’s a great looking hat and would probably look great made out of a simple linen print. Sometimes it can be a little tricky to peer out from under. I found the brim too wide and next time would make it a little narrower at the back.

The other pattern I’d love to try is the door stop. It really is time that I retired the olive oil can that holds the laundry door open. Amongst my friends who pored over the book with me, at least two were also keen to try this pattern.

Would I buy it?
In this case, no I wouldn’t buy it, but it does have me looking out for other great things by the same author.

Who I’d recommend it to:
I’d recommend it to someone beginning to sew who had access to friends that could help when things get stuck. There is not enough detail for some of the techniques to stand alone. I would also recommend it to someone returning to sewing, who wanted short and simple projects that will inspire them to stick with it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Almost the Slowest Quilt

On Monday, we started making quilts for Christchurch. As a group, we cut gossiped and stitched. I cut strip and strips of blue and green to make something. The something kept changing shape in my mind until I really didn’t know what I was making. By the time I got home, I realised that I didn’t need to make a new quilt for Christchurch. I had already started one. I started it six years ago.

This is Moni’s Wedding Quilt. The blocks are signed, in sharpie, by the guests at the wedding. The blocks had been waiting for me to get around to them. It’s all ready to go together in a rail fence pattern.

I have a new idea for the front*. I have a bundle of 0.3m cuts of Amy Butler Fabrics and I’m looking for a pattern. It has to be simple and quick because I don’t want to break my momentum in getting this finished. I saw something a few days ago. The title was along the lines of “open doors and window” but I can’t for the life of me find it. If you have any suggestions. Please le me know.

Now Moni’s house is shaken. Every brick has either fallen off, or been removed as a safety precaution. It’s time to get this quilt finished.

*The front was going to be a Tivaevae pattern based on native plants. I managed to complete one of the panels before my shoulders began to groan at the mere thought of if. I was miffed to see a similar quit on the cover of NZ quilter just weeks after I had cut two of the panels out. Looking back I was just ahead of my time.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Three Things

I’m back from Christchurch. I’ve been back for about a week now, just mulling things over before letting myself write anything down. I haven’t any photos. I was there for work, not as a tourist. It felt obtrusive to raise my camera for anything other than essential records. It was a busy week and I am glad to be able to go home. As I talk it out with my family, I can see the way I saw that week changing. If I was to use one word, it could only be sobering.

If I was to boil my impressions down to three things it would be these:

Everyone I spoke to feels fortunate.
Those who have left their houses, those who have sent family members out of town, those who had close calls. None of them saw themselves as being the worst off.

Sometimes feeling fortunate can be hard.
There are a lot of people thinking – What if? What if I hadn’t run? What if I had been on a different bus? What if I had been in that car?

It’s not going to be the same.
People are talking about a new normal. I hadn’t spent more than a few days in Christchurch since I lived there as a student. It was a city that I left home for, met many of my best friends in, fell in love in, and I spent a lot of time growing and learning there. It doesn’t look the same. For those that live there, much of it doesn’t feel the same. It’s going to take some time for it all to get to normal and when it does, it will be a new normal.