Monday, January 30, 2023

another book sleeve...

Last week the hubby travelled to Ft. Worth, Texas for work.  I stayed home.  And did no quilting.

Well, sort of.

Instead, I read and sewed cat hammocks and slept late and was lazy.  (Shhh...don't tell him!)

But I also made a third book sleeve.

As you may recall, last week I mentioned that the two I had made weren't quite large enough for hard-cover books.  So I had to fix that before I got to the next book in the stack, right?  (Though it's no longer a stack and we'll cover that debacle shortly.)

I had seen some Kawandi/Kantha stitching projects online and was intrigued with the idea of using that technique to make a book sleeve.

I could use up some of the bits in that bin of fabrics I just can't bear to toss, maybe add in a few of the 2.5" squares from that bin AND learn a new technique.

The internet did not provide me with the easy answers I was looking for (God forbid I have to SCROLL - old joke from a former boss there), but I got enough of an idea that I could wing it.

And we're going to call this "inspired by" okay?

Monday, after an early trip to the airport (we left at 5am), chores and lunch with friends, I started.  I didn't get far, but that was okay.  No rush yet.

Then, as I was sitting in my QUIET FOR ONCE house (no TV blaring), I realized my toilet was refilling the tank, just for a few seconds, about every 15 to 30 seconds.  Uh oh.

So more conferences with the internet told me I needed a new "flapper" to repair my incontinent toilet. Yeah, that's what it's called.

But I had to work Tuesday and wasn't going to tear apart my only toilet after the hardware store in town closed.  So I turned the toilet water off, to keep it from using all the water on earth overnight, and went to bed and then work.  (I turned it on to allow it to fill to flush as needed, but this was no big deal.)

Coworkers convinced me the process was easy, but my flapper looked nothing like the flappers all those handy folks on the internet were working with.

I talked to my dad, who as an engineer is very good at figuring out how stuff works and also very good at eliminating those parts you don't really need.  Sure, off might now be on and hot might be cold, but you get what you pay for, right?!

Anyways, my dad had me concerned that it was a harder job than the internet told me.  Not the first time the internet has lied to me, so I decided to call the plumber.  They've been here before and are great.  Cat-friendly, considerate with shoe covers, their pants cover their behinds, etc.

Wednesday was the day.  Good thing I had a hand-stitching project I could work on downstairs, in hearing distance of the plumber (though when he got out the saws-all, I was a little worried).

I got about this far when he showed up.

And yes, I used the pliers, but not before creating a blister on my thumb out of stubbornness.

(To start this, I sewed all the edge pieces on backwards with the sewing machine, then flipped them right-side-out and started the hand-stitching process.  I wanted a good, secure start - which is something one tutorial showed me, but also where my -inspired started.)

I continued to sew around and around while he sawed apart my toilet.

And when he came in and told me it could use not only a new "flapper" (which he did not call a "flapper" to my dismay...stupid internet), but also all new innards, I said go for it.  He told me my toilet was old (it's been here as long as I have and surely before - so it was probably older than him, competent wielder of saws-all that he is) and it would just make more sense to replace it all.  Sure, what the heck.  Take my money.

Anyways, about the time I got to the point where I needed to add patches, he was done.  Whew!  I needed to go upstairs and iron some of them flat, so that timed out nicely.  (Though my sewing room is just at the top of the stairs and the bathroom just at the bottom, so communication would not have been much hampered with my new location.)

I decided to just keep sewing the day away.  I binged the rest of "The Crown" (most recent season) on Netflix and was pleased that the stitching lines were going faster because they were getting shorter.

I went through almost two entire skeins of DMC floss to get this done, but that's okay.  When surveying my stash of said thread, I had five skeins plus one wound on a bobbin of this color.  Not knowing how much it would take made that an easy choice.  Plus it's a pretty purply-blue color, so what's not to love?  (Perhaps the color choice was wrong for traditional styles of this technique - again, -inspired.)

(Also, I'm wondering why I had SIX skeins of this color?)

Next came a problem.  Some of those edges were not well-caught with the big stitches.  They were turned under, but for an item that will be used, how long will that last?

Out came the regular sewing threads and a smaller needle - time to do some applique-style stitching to hold those edges down securely.

That took FOR. EVER.

(Okay, maybe not, but I was impatient to be done.)

But it was worth it.

Then I turned the non-tapered end in 3" and did a ladder stitch at the edges to make the pocket for one side of the book to fit into.

I love that large gingham print.  I was so excited when I remembered I had it...much like the fox fabric, this drove me to a faster start than otherwise might have happened.

But it barely fit my book.

Apparently I am TERRIBLE at math when sewing book sleeves.

But this one has a fair amount of give thanks to the bit stitching and I got it in.

I'm so happy with this!  There are some tidbits on here that are all that's left of that fabric and I'm so glad to have it being used in a way that I can see!

No on to the non-stack book debacle.

Those of you who have been here for a while will remember that I have had book stacks in the past.  I go to used book sales (library fundraisers) and come home with more books than I can carry by myself.  I sort them nicely into stacks, largest on the bottom, smallest on the top (because otherwise they tip over more easily) and read from the top to the bottom, letting the stack guide me as to my next book choice.  Seeing that stack diminish is so satisfying.

But then I got The Cart.

I love The Cart.

But it has totally messed up my stacks.

I tried to keep them in order, somewhat, but fitting them onto The Cart in order was not going well since they're not all the same size and some take up more than their share of half the bin-shelf.

And then I had an IDEA!

Inspired by my mom's current UFO challenge, where you number them and a random number is chosen every month as your assignment (some of you will remember I participated in those years ago and now no longer have enough UFOs (we're not counting the to-be-quilted Rack of Shame, okay?) to do it any more), I decided to number all of my books and draw a random number to determine my next selection.

I only had to go to the store once for this project.

(That's a reference to my dad fixing things.  It always takes him three trips.)

But it's okay because the hubby wanted ice cream (he was back home by this point), so my need for office supplies was acceptable.

I used sticky tabs to number all the books.

There are 59 books on this cart.

I used some scrap paper to make the drawing numbers.  I even had fun with colors because I ran out of pink tabs (what you can see) and moved on to blue ones (they're on the bottom shelf).  So I just started my numbers over at 1 with the new color and the drawing numbers are written in matching colors!

(This is what happens when you have a large pack of many colored Sharpie markers.  And someone lets you loose with office supplies.)

You can see the little box of drawing numbers in the middle of the cart.


I finished a book last night so I got to draw the next book already - the same day this glorious idea came to fruition!

And if all of this nonsense didn't prove to you enough that I'm a nerd, here is my favorite pie chart from my StoryGraph right now.

It will likely never look like this again.  I had purchased quite a few non-fiction, science nerd books about this time last year and their turn finally came up in the stack at the beginning of this year.  I generally don't buy non-fiction at the used book sales, mostly because the selection is dismal.  (Unless you want to read about political and business stuff, then you're in heaven.)  And so, the fiction part of this graph will grow faster.  (I do have two more non-fiction books on the cart - maybe more but I'm not aware of it because sometimes books surprise me - so both sides will grow, just one will grow faster.)

Not a very photo-filled week, but it was a nice break to be home alone for a few days.  Makes you appreciate your significant other when they're gone a bit.  (He had fun too.  Apparently there are staged cattle drives (because no cowboy in their right mind would lead wild longhorn cows down a busy street) every day and lots of places to eat and shop and the guys he was working with were good to him.  He claims to have learned a lot, too, but I can't vouch for that!)

Time to go find something to sew or bake or read.

Happy quilting!


A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Glad you got your toilet fixed - those can be such a pain! LOVE your book sleeve - your numbered books - and your graph - ;))

---"Love" said...

Best you got your toilet replaced. I had to replace one a few months ago too, and went with the taller version, which I love. Your book sleeve turned out really pretty. I need to try to make one of those for my Bible. Your husband was no doubt in Fort Worth last week during the "Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo", a BIG event in this area.

Nancy said...

Your book sleeve is so fun. It looks time-consuming to make but well worth the time!
Using the cart for books is a great idea. It's good you figured out a way to make it work for you.
Who is your mom and what about her UFO challenge?
I always find it hard to know who to trust when we have problems in our house. So glad you got your toilet replaced.

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

That is a great book sleeve. I have been thinking about making a kawandi style quilt too. And nerding out on books is just wonderful. Sounds like you have come up with a great plan.