Friday, October 21, 2011

Updating ...

These last few weeks have found me trying to implement projects that are the reason that I am here in Colombia. They are vast and time consuming. What I am finding however, is that the women's group in one of the communities keeps me pretty well occupied. In order to have a project for them on a weekly basis, I have to first do the project to ensure that it is easy enough to teach in a 2-hour spot and then have the project examples done in various stages of completion for demonstration. This takes a lot of time, especially when one is hand-sewing.

To date we have done a make-up bag: this to see where their skills are and how they use their imagination; a purse: this provided instruction in various techniques; and now we are into learning cross stitching. All the members of the group wanted to learn how to cross stitch. We started with plastic rafia (easily obtained), plastic canvas and no pattern. I wanted them to learn the stitch first. This next class will have a small picture of balloons on strings to introduce the basic techniques to following a pattern. The young girls picked it up fast whereas the older ones took more patience and time. It turns out that there are women in the group who already know how and I tried valiantly to tap into their knowledge. They were, however, content to sit and listen, doing what I said and then completing the exercise quickly. I acknowledged that they already knew how to do it, asked if they would mind helping others with learning (NOT) and then explaining that I understood their desire for the patterns that we have talked about. Making them feel welcome I had hoped to utilize their skills - hopefully they made themselves available during the week when I wasn't in the community and some needed assistance. The next class will certainly show if it happened.

As a result of having to do all these projects, I have not had a lot of time for projects of my own, especially those Christmas presents that I wanted to do. With that in mind, I have been on the look out for a cheap utilitarian sewing machine to buy. Last week Saturday I discovered one in Pricesmart and quickly, without qualms, purchased it.

The following Sunday I was in heaven: I sat and sewed my project that was needed in, but a fraction of the time, and then pieced a lap quilt for us. I call it "Stairway to Dreams" as it is a nappy lap quilt for my hubby.

Now to use the wonderful find of polyfil batting (not the 80/20 that I like) and put a backing on it so that it can be used. A simple bit of hand quilting, then the binding, and it will be done. Maybe even a pillow case to go along with it, to use up the left over strips.

One of the projects that I wanted to do, as I thought that I could do it by hand while traveling, was a Rainbow Dear Jane quilt. To this I joined a BOM group and I faithfully order my monthly blocks. However, when I started to travel here I discovered that the bus traveling was definitely not conducive to handsewing. The buses are small and overpacked, with no room to maneuver let alone play with small pieces. So I decided to go with the flow and make the blocks as I did other things. That makes for a very long process sewing a piece at a time, between other sewing. This so that I only have to turn the iron once instead of 2 or 3 times. Hence, I have 3 separate things on the go and sew each until I need to iron and then turn it on. Working well, although, as I said, slow.

So today I finally finished my first Rainbow Jane block, A-1. I had read the book, tried to figure out the software, copied out the foundation piecing, and started. The software is complicated, but for now, I have learned how to print the foundation piece and I will learn how to update the photo on the right after each completed block. But to get back to the block. I got it all sewn together and pressed, and then ...

when I matched it up with the photo of the square within the quilt, mine looked different. Of course the colour is different but it was something else. What? Ah no, mine is turned around. Thinking through the process, I double checked the foundation piecing, yes it was correct. I double checked the way that I put it together, yes it was correct. So why is it turned around? Back to the book I go and to one of the websites with tutorials for the blocks ...
What is this? Mirror image? Mirror image of what? oh, somehow you are supposed to print a mirror image of the foundation piecing. So why isn't this already done in the software, it was expensive enough. I wonder if Jane would notice the difference, but for me, it will stay forever reversed. What is done, is done. Can't remember which culture it was, but in their culture you couldn't make anything perfect as only God is perfect. So a mistake must always be included in your work. Sounds good to me.