Mend it, fix it, froggit

So, the coral top is done.

I’m pleased with how it came out, but the process was not without hiccups. Isn’t that always the way? You have a simple job to do, and then the blind animosity of inanimate objects gets in the way. I’ve written about this before, but effectively it’s Murphy’s law, made personal. This time, it was the overlocker (serger). I serged one of the seams, cut the thread, turned the garment over and started on the other side. Nothing. No overlocking. 45 minutes and a 20 minute perusal of the manual later, I had thread 4 back in its correct path through the bottom looper arm. I love my needle-nosed tweezers…. Anyway, I got the job done, stitched down the seam allowance with a decorative stitch, pressed it, and it looks perfectly acceptable.

As I sat editing the above photo, I glanced up and saw the stems of my lemongrass clump (now 12 feet high) waving through the window. There were strange lumps on the stems…. Was this some dreaded new tropical pest? Nope. It was an army of frogs. Apparently, ‘army’ is the collective noun for frogs, although these little chaps, at barely half an inch long, are not terribly intimidating. It’s a battalion of our little tropical tree frogs, and why they’re hanging out in the hot sun instead of in the shade is beyond me. Click on the image to enlarge. There’s at least a dozen of them…


I feel a mend coming on…

I had a wardrobe disaster yesterday.

During my Tai Chi class yesterday, doing Hands Through Clouds, I felt a strange creeping sensation in the middle of my back. It passed, and I forgot about it until I took off my top. Aaargh! A tear down the back of one of my favourite hot weather garments 😦  It’s old, and the fabric has worn rather thin, and obviously all that arm waving made it give way. I love the colour, and the fabric is light and very soft. There was no way I was going to recycle this into something else just yet.

Just now, I have a lot of oranges and pinks in my stash. This top is neither; it’s coral/geranium/watermelon/papaya. Or something. Anyway, I had nothing to match exactly. But what I did have was a shade of it, a lighter version in a 2½ inch batik print strip. Even the print was perfect! It mimics the broad band of white print around the neckline, hem and cuffs, whilst at the same time echoing those flowers or mandalas or whatchamacallits.

I’m going to cut the whole tunic from neckline to hem, removing the torn section in the middle. I’ll stitch in the strip, serge/overlock both the garment and the strip edges and hem the top and bottom. A spot of pressing, and voilà. Fixed, and with a bit of extra arm-waving room.

I’ll even be able to Stroke the Peacock’s Tail without risk to my outfit!

ScrapHappy November

Welcome once again to ScrapHappy Day!

It’s the day my friend Gun in Sweden and I host ScrapHappy, a day for showing something made from scraps.

This month, my scrappy focus has once again been on making hexie flowers from the scraps generated by Days for Girls. You’ll maybe remember this box full of 2½ inch scraps…? Well, it has now been joined by about the same again, and I’ve had to put the brakes on a little, as my output can’t keep up with theirs! Others in the DfG team are now joining in, so future ScrapHappy posts may also show their work – the more, the merrier, right?

To the flowers I showed you last time…

I have now added these!

The quilt is a memory quilt, composed of fragments the sewing team has turned into the Days for Girls kits. I thought it only appropriate, therefore, that the quilt will be named Days Gone By, particularly given the lovely vintage look of the ‘Grandmother’s Flower Garden’ design of this future quilt. The flowers will all be separated by black hexies, either plain or black-based prints, which should make all the colour pop beautifully. I have about 50 flowers now, so it’ll be time to start sewing them together soon.

ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Either email me at the address on my Contact Me page, or leave a comment below. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).

Kate (me!)Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, JanKaren,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean, Johanna,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen and Connie

See you again, same time next month!

SAL #71: a bit of progress, for a change!

Another 3 weeks, and amazingly, I’ve managed to make some fairly decent progress!


And after:

There’s a bit more at the top and another petal on the left. I’ve moved over far enough now that I’ve had to fold the pattern to make space for the new work. And of course, more grey background filled in.

Do click on the links below and go and look at what everyone else is working on. If there’s no post up yet, try again later, as we’re a scattered bunch, all in different time zones.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnn, JessSue,
CindyHelenStephLindaHeidiJackie, Sunny,
HayleyTony, MeganCatherine, DeborahConnie
and Clare

The next SAL will be on 2nd December. See you then.

SAL 70: another petal

Another 3 weeks not spent stitching very much, sadly.

Bet you’re getting a bit tired of that old refrain. I’ll try to do better next time, I promise 🙂 And now, the results.


And after:

I’ve managed a little more on the petal at far left – it was a good job there was a fair bit of white and grey background to do, so I could just crack on with that instead of having to confetti stitch 5 different colours. It’s my own fault; I have too many other things on right now, all coming due at the same sort of time. If I can just get one or two of them squared away… But isn’t that always the story with hand crafts? Never mind, the usual links are below so you can go and check out all the people who do have some decent progress to show.

Do click on the links below and go and look at what everyone else is working on. If there’s no post up yet, try again later, as we’re a scattered bunch, all in different time zones. This week, we’re welcoming Clare, a new member of the SAL.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnn, JessSue,
CindyHelenStephLindaHeidiJackie, Sunny,
HayleyTony, MeganCatherine, DeborahConnie
and Clare

The next SAL will be on 11th November. See you then.

SAL 69: nibbling at the edges

It’s Stitch Along time again.

I’ve done a bit more work along the left hand edge, in case you were having trouble seeing where I’ve been 🙂 Not a huge amount, but still, a bit of progress.


And after:

That bit of grey background is version 2: I had to frog a lot because I miscounted. But it had to be done… It’s nice to be moving on past the first quarter, but I’ll need to move everything next time; the chart over a bit, or entirely to the other side, or rolling everything up.

Do click on the links below and go and look at what everyone else is working on. If there’s no post up yet, try again later, as we’re a scattered bunch, all in different time zones.

AvisClaireGunCaroleLucyAnn, JessSue,
CindyHelenStephLindaHeidiJackie, Sunny,
HayleyTony, MeganCatherine, Deborah, and Connie

The next SAL will be on 21st October. See you then.

Days of opportunity

It seems to me that for some, this world has taken a step backwards.

From the bright and hopeful start of women’s work towards social equality with men, I am seeing darkness creeping back. Abuse, sexual harassment, tacit approval of rape as a ‘weapon of correction’, violence towards women offered as entertainment, workplace bullying, suppression in the name of tradition and family pride, marginalisation and dismissal of our ideas and contributions in a way that men would not be expected to tolerate.

So when I hear of an organisation dedicated to opening horizons of opportunity for girls and women, even in a personal and private way, I’m interested. And when that contribution makes an unspoken but shattering difference to millions of lives over dozens of years, I want to know more.

If you’re a man, this may make uncomfortable reading. With all possible goodwill: Toughen up, princess. This is something every woman has to deal with, for most of her life.

The organisation is called Days for Girls, and its strapline is Every Girl, Everywhere. Period. It seeks to ensure that every girl and woman has access to adequate, healthy and sustainable sanitary protection. It offers dignity, hope, freedom from stigma and the ability to keep attending school and work instead of losing days, weeks and months of their lives, stuck at home and often ostracised as ‘unclean’ because it’s their time of the month and they have nothing to help them deal with that. From early beginnings in 2008, the organisation has become international, and to date it has helped over 1,000,000 women in more than 124 countries. That’s a lot of new freedom, a lot of new opportunity.

Yesterday, I joined my local branch, and came away with ‘homework’. Many volunteers work together once a week, others take work home and bring finished items back when they are done. I have piles of fabric to assemble into one element of the kit each girl and woman receives. Each kit is estimated to take 8 woman-hours: a gift from one woman to another, one day spent to give another woman days and days of a better, richer life. The design has been refined and re-refined in the 10 years it has been in use. A lot of thought has gone into creating something that is sensitive to the widest possible variety of local ideas, traditions and taboos. Girls receive a discreet bag filled with the sanitary necessities to take them through each month and to last for years to come. Some of the kits have been in use for more than 5 years already. I am incredibly proud to be a small part of this chain of hands held out to our sisters, who receive not only these necessities, but also basic instruction on their use, plus hygiene and sex education. Co-ordinators go in person to deliver hundreds of kits and the education. Where this is not possible, the kits are passed on to the volunteers on Mercy Ships to deliver together with education, where they are making port and offering medical care.

I think a lot of men are bored with hearing about ‘women’s issues’. When you’re at the top of the food chain, you maybe don’t feel the need to pay attention to those at the margins – and make no mistake, women as a whole are still at the margins despite decades of knocking at the door and banging our heads on the glass ceiling. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still such a long way to go… So it’s down to women to help each other. I am glad to help offer freedom and dignity to young women, so that they can enjoy as much opportunity as their circumstances permit, and travel in life as far as their imaginations will take them.

I expect some umbrage to be taken about my opinions. It is human to hold differing opinions and to believe different things, based on our experiences. If you wish to express your disagreement rationally and without abuse, your comments are welcome. Trolls and anyone using abuse to make their point will be deleted.

But nothing will convince me that this concept is not a shining light of compassion, rationality and sisterhood.