20 Jan

The Dog Ate My Homework

OK, I know, lame excuse. And it’s not even true. The real reason I did not finish my Color & Composition exercises last week like I had planned was because I was in power tool heaven making this:

Sewing Table 1

Sewing Table 2

I picked up this old treadle machine base a few years ago for about 5€ with the intention of making a mosaic top for it. The more I practiced machine quilting, however, the more I wanted a sewing table. I don’t really like the looks of most tables, although I admire their functionality. I can’t wait for some company to make a mission style, solid wood sewing table, but if anyone ever did, I probably wouldn’t be able to afford it anyways. So, I’d been mulling over how best to construct a top with a sturdy, recessed box for my machine. I’m no carpenter, so I even went so far as to take the base and a suitable top piece to the carpentry shop on post. The guy that runs the shop is a major flake though, so nothing happened. Then my dad arrived for his annual visit (que clouds parting and heavenly singing). Master metalworker that he is, he offered to make a tray for the machine that we could bolt right on. Why hadn’t I thought of this? Because there were no holes in which to bold anything directly to the base! Good ol’ dad mailed me appropriate drill bits along with the custom tray and I spent last weekend drilling into cast iron, sanding with my trusty “mouse,” shopping for bolts, and painting, painting, painting. I’m still amazed that it all actually worked. Not having lived near my dad for the past 12 years or so, I often think that my confidence in the power-tool arena is waning. Apparently not. Perhaps my favorite part of this table is the T-Nuts I got so that when we move (which we will, again, and again) we won’t strip the wood screwing and unscrewing the top from the base.

So, now that I am done with that project, I was able to focus on the next Color & Composition exercises I’m doing with with Gerrie, Karoda, Vickki, and a few others. We were to go back to our contour drawings (I used the final orchid one) and enlarge a small section. Then we were to use that as a template for achromatic and monochromatic compositions. I did the achromatic first and like the swirly “background” fabric, but the rest lacks focus.

Achromatic exercise

Next time around, I reversed the lights and darks and I think my monochromatic composition is much better. It probably has something to do with the business of the fabrics as well. There might not be such a difference if these were four or more times larger. As it is, they are a little larger than 6 x 9 inches. Here’s the really crazy part: me, maker of the 800+ piece hexagon quilt, found cutting out all those little pieces of fabric for the excercise to be rather fiddly and tedious! I’m glad I did the two versions though, as I would have been disapointed with just the first one, even though the fabrics are cool.

Monochromatic Exercise

Sorry about the wierd lighting on these. I tried to replace the one ceiling mounted fixture in the room with a trés european track lighting thingy, but I couldn’t drill through the kryptonite in our ceiling and had to replace the old fixture. That pretty well burst my power-tool high. To make matters worse, the original fixture is probably 30 years old and the plastic part the bulb screws into broke. So I switched to a cast off laying around and it was broken too (no doubt that’s why it had been cast off). So I got the one from the kids’ room which the previous inhabitants had replaced with a ceiling fan, and used it. Now the light in my sewing room doesn’t work. I’m not sure if it’s because fixture #3 is broken in an invisible way, or if I just suck at poking wires into tiny holes above my head. The pictures were taken with just my color-corrected drafting lamp pointed at them (in an otherwise dim room), but I guess that’s just no substitute for a well-lit room.

And, finally, I leave you with a picture of TS&WGH ready to take the streetcar downtown for a few drinks with the boys. Note the mittens with integrated pocket for his iPod that my sister knitted him for Christmas. He had found a pattern for a glove version on the internet and pleaded me to send it to all the knitters I knew.

Mitten Mann

4 thoughts on “The Dog Ate My Homework

  1. Really cool mittens. How long have you been living in Germany, he has become one of them!!

    I am so far behind on the C & C exercises, but I shall catch up eventually. You are right, the secong composition has better value change.

  2. Kristen,

    I am SO impressed….You know how to use a power tool! You are so resourceful and smart. Your sewing table is not only functional, but attractive AND portable! Your father is the best…does he read yourblog? Maybe he can help you out with the lighting.

    Your husband looks so ready to face the harsh 21st century…..love the mittens AND the hat!

    The shapes and fabrics in your bl & wh exercises are beautiful!

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