Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not the usual programme

Hi everyone,

Whilst this has nothing to do with my usual yarns, I found this video so powerful and moving that I just wanted to share it.

Be warned, I’ve just gone through two handkerchiefs on this one. Fllloooooods of tears.

Danny & Annie from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tomato, tomahto – let’s call the whole thing off

Or not. This is my favourite sewing “gadget” – of the extremely low-tech variety.


It’s a tomato… with a strawberry! Random? Well the strawberry, yes… the tomato as pincushion…. not so random.

Widely considered poisonous until only a couple of hundred years ago – even though the Aztecs had cultivated and consumed them for a long time before that – tomatoes were viewed as a symbol of good luck, with many families placing a tomato on their mantlepiece to invite prosperity within the home. The problem with that superstition is that in most parts of the world tomatoes are not available all year round and this lead to the replacement tomato – a ball of red fabric, stuffed with sawdust or sand… ta-dah! Good luck and prosperity: ensured. A safe place to store your precious, pointy, dangerous pins: created.

More useless tomato facts anyone? It’s scientific name lycopersicum means wolf peach and comes from German werewolf tales, which declares the tomato’s family tree of the deadly nightshades to be the dog whistle for werewolves.

I also like the etymology of the Aztec’s tomato name… xitomatl = plump thing with a navel. Hehehee!

Sure, mine is looking a little Hellraisery right now…

hellraiser … or a strange, spiky red Saturn but I love it and just might put it on the mantlepiece anyway just because it’s so darned cute! :0)

As for its strawberry emery earring… there’s not a lot of information on why it’s a strawberry but my guess it’s a convenient colour for your leftover tomato scraps and an easy shape to make up – and small enough to be economical to fill with your emery grains. Yep, the same emery used on emery paper for sanding and emery boards for… well, sanding your fingernails. Jab any blunt or rough pins and needles in your strawberry to sharpen them up a tad.

There’s a sentence I never thought I’d use. I don’t usually advocate strawberry violence… I like them… especially when dipped in dark chocolate!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

The most troublesome skirt I’ve ever made

Hula Bob is a friend of mine… he’s been hanging around for about five or six years now but he had recently developed a problem… his skirt was disintegrating in the sun… which isn’t great for a hula guy.

When we first met, his skirt was made of a lime/fluorescent green hair-like material… which lasted about… oooh… five or six years before crumbling into nothingness…

He had also developed a bit of jaundice, looking decidedly yellowish instead of tanned… so a quick paint job and it was onto the skirt.

The crumbling hair stuff just had to go and so I purchased 10 metres of green raffia… and that gave the stingiest, thin skirt you’ve ever seen – you could totally see his spring and everything! I should add at this point that Hula Bob is about 20cm tall and sits on the parcel shelf of my car, wobbling at fellow motorists, not some odd dude who likes being painted and wearing disintegrating hair skirts…

Anyway… raffia is a right witch to sew… you get it nice and thick and even and it squirms around and lets itself get flattened out by your presser foot and… ugh… it’s not fun. Bob’s undercarriage, where his spring meets his torso, has a little stepped in section, so that first ugly spare skirt was tied on that under section and glued up the wazoo… not Bob’s wazoo… I’m just sayin’ I used a lot of glue.

I then bought another 10 metres of raffia, folded it over and over a million times to get the right lengths, sewed a straight stitch through them and then encased the ends in a grosgrain ribbon… except of course the raffia kept moving and slipping out of the ribbon and… ugh… it’s not fun.


For something different and so I could say I had used the stitch on my machine, I picked the stretch stitch that kind of looks like a vine with leaves. Much like Marilyn Monroe, Bob was then sewn into his skirt, given a trim around the bottom and tah-dah… just like new…


Yep, there are two black lines of stitching peeking out from under his ribbon waistband which would ordinarily give me the twitches but honestly, I just wanted to see this project done and have Bob wobbling in his rightful place in the car again… so they stay and become “a design feature”… much like I say there is no such thing as a wrong move in dancing, there are just new ones… unless it involves pain and/or blood, then it is definitely wrong.

So that’s Bob’s story… a new skirt – this time closer to grass than his previous one. Here’s hoping he’s good for at least another five years.

hula bob

20 metres of raffia in that little skirt… I know, ridiculous, right?? I can’t imagine how many you’d need for an actual person-sized one. I just know I won’t be volunteering to make them anytime soon! :0)