Waggons West Etsy Shop

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Wee Model

A wee hoody.  A wee pirate.  A wee baby G.  All in all a good day.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


image from Graphics Fairy.

I have no intention of jumping into the copyright laws and fair use argument again.  I have already said, quite clearly, that artists deserve compensation for their work.  I have also said I respect the right of artists and fabric companies to require a license for use of their fabric in products for sale.  Granted, that means that I won't knowingly purchase fabric with that requirement if I intend to use it for sale items.  Not as any sort of protest  or rebellion, but because I simply do not have the time to chase after a license to use a snippet of fabric in a tiny project I might want to sell.  I also have to add, I still have serious concerns about the inadvertent use of such fabric in the form of  small cuts, precuts, swaps and scraps. 

Which brings me to today's story.  I have been making some small projects to add to my Fall festival events.  I try very hard to work with upcycled goods, remnants and scraps.  Sometimes the lure of fresh fabric is pretty strong and I supplement my re-use stash with my quilting stash.  Today I grabbed a large print that is a series of vignettes from an old but ever popular theme.  It is one that I was going to use in my challenge quilt this summer.  Something to make entirely for myself.  I didn't get to it and still had the fabric so I made one mini quilt out of it today.  I was quite pleased with the way it turned out.  As I was getting ready to cut out another block for a second quilt, I saw the dread notice or at least what was left of the dread notice.  "License requi".  I immediately stopped what I was doing.  Set that fabric aside and started looking around for other ideas.

My search lead me to my favorite Graphics Fairy website.  She has old copyright free images for use in projects for home and for sale.     I was looking for fun images to print onto my own fabric.  'When what to my wondering eyes should appear????'  The exact same images from the 'licensed' fabric.  A wee bit of further looking shows those same images being reproduced by as prints and in digital and derivative works all across the internet.  Two more seconds of research shows that those very images are well over 100 years old and solidly in the public domain.

To say that the fabric is derivative and thus worthy of a unique copyright is overly generous.  They are the images found on the web arranged across a yard of fabric with a neutral color in between.  Now perhaps some where on the missing selvage is the disclaimer saying that the images are unique in some special way that I cannot identify from those in the public domain and that the artist and the fabric company have special permission, a license if you will, to use them.  Maybe through the vagaries of electronic color representation this fabric embodies a unique and therefore copyrightable color pallet.  I don't know.  I only have a small cut.  I can't tell.  And yet, I am expected to ask permission to use it in my work for sale. That seems, some how, not right. 

Update:  To be fair, some further research shows that there is an external license on the fabric to an entity outside of the US.  Further reference shows that an American entity purchased the rights to the same images almost 100 years ago.  The more I look into it, the murkier it gets.   It has used up enough of my time and energy.  I'll just add the fabric to my give away pile and move on. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Working out the knots

Very busy making badges for an upcoming show.   It is not a blog-rich environment.  Spud 1's friend was over to help get things organized.  She saw the craft in public badge and asked for one that said Knit in Public.  I set one up for her.  It is 3.5 inches in diameter.  Probably the largest one I've made.  I will have to think about adding it to the shop. 

It is appropriate to make such a badge as I am hosting a wine and yarn event this week to kick off a charity project.  As part of that, I've found myself untangling and rolling up the donated skeins of yarn.  Not a thing I particularly like doing, but definitely something I can do mindlessly while carrying on a conversation. Since  ask the expert (otherwise known as my sister) came in for a brief visit, it was something to work on. 

It was fun going through all of the old badges I've made.  I realized there are a lot of them that have not been added to the shop yet.  I'll have to get on that soon.  Sadly, all I really want to be doing at the moment is quilting.  I have projects I want to finish.  More I want to start.  I need to finish a steampunk piece.  It has been sitting for more than two weeks because I managed to knot the thread, on the front and I haven't been able to figure out how to get past it.  I think I finally have a plan but it involves finding my notched needles and seeing if I have one small enough for the job. 

What do you do when your thread knots and there is no way to get it undone? 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Buying an Embroidery Machine

 A new craftster friend has been looking at getting an embroidery machine and has been asking lots of questions about models and types and what to look for.  I remembered to save a copy of some of the messages I sent her about materials and things.  This is the first one where I randomly spell out some of the things to consider when looking at machines.  I thought it might be helpful to some of you who are also interested in investing. 

1.  Hoop size is really important.  A 4 inch hoop looks enormous, but it is really small when it comes to choosing designs.  I use my 5x8 inch hoop the most.  I love the ability to use the big 10 inch hoop.  I make purses, do multiples and do large designs on shirts on that one.  I could live without the 10 inch hoop but I would not use my machine much at all if I didn't have the 8 inch.

2.  Classes.  I consider myself an experienced sewist.  I didn't think I needed the classes.  I did.  I would make sure free lessons are a part of the deal.

3.  Thread.  I'm not quite sure how to explain this.  I don't have any idea how other machines work, but my machine works best with only one kind of bobbin thread.  I've tried others and it just doesn't work.  Check to see if your brand/model is fussy about thread.  That said, I use just about anything for the top thread and it is fine if I use the top thread in the bobbin.... I've even made lace using cotton thread in top and bobbin.  I just mention it to let you know it might be an issue.

4.  Designs.  This should be higher on the list.  Make sure you can use a jump drive or hook the machine directly to your computer.  You need some way to get downloaded designs onto your computer.  I don't own, won't buy any of the little cartridge thingies that sell for big bucks and only have 10 cutesy designs.  I've only purchased one disk of designs at deep discount and wasn't impressed.  I get virtually all of my designs as downloads from on-line retailers or I digitize myself. 

5.  Format.  Make sure you know what format your machine reads before you buy or download free designs.  It will save you headaches later. 

6.  If you can work a design viewing program into the deal go for it.  Your computer won't be able to display your designs without some sort of program.  The design programmers use weird numbers and letters unrelated to the design to name their files.  Not helpful in trying to find what you are looking for.  I work with some free editing programs but I would love to have one of the commercial things that lets you see all of your designs and organize them. 

7.  Screen on machine.  I would look for a machine that has a decent screen that lets you see the design.  Some brands have little tiny screens that are a big pain to scroll through.  Spend some time paging through the screens and looking at how you choose and modify the designs on the machine.  You may find the small 2 color ones work for you.  I needed the big screen.

8.  Needles.  get what they recommend and buy in bulk. 

9.  Stabilizers.  Take the class.  Ask the questions.  Get a sample pack.  Spray glue works wonders and is ultimately cheaper than peel and stick.  When you get that far, I'll tell you what I buy and why I don't scrimp and stitch scraps together any more.  It is expensive but the right stabilizer makes the difference between a project and a disaster. 

today's t' day

It be international talk like a pirate day. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

100 Days!

Yesterday marked the start of the 100 days of holidays.  I just love posting that milestone each year.  I don't know why. It always inspires panic and ire.  It is dreadful to know how close the holidays are and far away from being ready I am.  I am determined to do some decorating around the house.  But... these first cold days in September are too early for Halloween and not long enough for Fall before Halloween, but I could start with some Fall that I could convert to Halloween and then if I put greens in the Thanksgiving.... and ....  And yes.  I'm already behind, paralyzed with indecision.  I can't even post the start on the start!  This candy corn patch is the closest I've come to getting anything done for the holidays. 

 The new Science Series of Badges.

 bleeding or speeding heart
 na na na na na na na.....

and a few old school computer patches

Now that I have my machine back in full working order, I am spending all my time on it and still not so much on the bloggy end of things.  I have a couple more events for the Fall and then I can slack off for a bit.  My speeches were OK.  At least I didn't embarrass myself or my organization.  We are doing some tree planting and water quality testing in a couple weeks.    Then.... I can get in gear for the holidays!  Or better yet, I can actually finish one of the quilts in my huge pile of WIPs... and I only count as WIP the ones where I've actually cut into the fabric.  If it is just sitting there with an sketch or pattern or just a collection of fabrics it DOES NOT COUNT as a WIP.  I have to measure progress in little steps. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What do you think?

I'm in full badge making mode.  I am wondering what I should do next.  The ones above have never been made in bulk.  Do any of them speak to you?

Here a a couple new ones... the heart and BIFF.  

This one is really big.  It is a test patch with some issues.  It would be best for patching jeans.  I won't make ones this size to be iron on.  (Ignore the tension and attention issues....)

Another test patch using an Urban Threads Alice (caterpillar) design.  Also very large. 

What do you think?

I know... still not much to say.  I will get back to some quilty posts and some recipes one of these days.  For now, I'm doing my best to put some sentences on the blog.  I have a post about scientists crafting  or crafting scientists or something like that rolling around in my head.  The words are stuck.  Any of you have any thoughts about that?  There seem to be a fair number of crafting/sewing/yarning types who have careers or training in science.  Coincidence?  Experiences of crafting while doing science?  Or doing science while crafting? 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Falling Silent

The change in seasons seems to have left me in a funk.  You may not have noticed I've been absent.  But I haven't been myself lately.  I have not been upholding my part of the conversation.  I read your blogs.  I am as amazed and inspired as always.  I think in superlatives when I see your projects.  I laugh at your funny stories.  I relate to your troubles.  I smile.  I sympathize. 

And yet I cannot comment. 

I type but have nothing to say.  It has all been said.  So I delete. 

Perhaps it is the looming speeches that have my words twisted up unable to be free.  Perhaps it has been the long slog through the summer of events and issues.  Perhaps it is all the words coming at me.  Perhaps I am overwhelmed by the need to catch up.  Perhaps it is just time for a rest.  Perhaps I simply need to take a moment to catch my breath.  Perhaps all I need is a thesaurus. 

I don't know where my words have gone. 

I do know that I am missing them.

I am looking for them.  If you see them shuffling about under the fallen leaves, tell them to return home.  I have things to say.   

About those vampires...

Look closely at those two in the middle on the bottom.  You'd think I was holding a mirror up to them. 

(Getting ready for Halloween.)

Church in the Round

Another shot from our weekend retreat.  This is the children's sermon.  It is an amazing service.  We have church sitting around the campfire in the woods. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Camping Retreat

 Here is my little cabin in the woods.  It was a beautiful setting on the ridge overlooking the river. (I did sacrifice a bit of scenery for the luxury of being next to the brand new shower house and potty!) 

Most of the buildings on site were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 30's.  There is beautiful stonework all through the park.  The spud and his friend occupied the lodge next door.  It has a fireplace facing in and another one on the screen porch.

Unfortunately, economic woes in the State have prevented a lot of maintenance and many of the buildings need some work.  Although the dated graffiti in this cabin goes back a lot further than the current budget crisis.  Although it looks pretty nasty, most of the writing is simple names and dates, people staking a claim on wonderful experience.  I can't really complain about that too much.  After all, I've been seen Independence Rock and petroglyphs.  It is an interesting question.  When does it stop being vandalism and start being part of the historic record? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I have been neglecting my blog and my bloggy friends this week.  It has been one of those weeks when I have been working non-stop but I don't seem to produce much of anything.  Now I am preparing to go on our annual weekend retreat: an opportunity to pick apples, sit around the campfire and find salamanders like the one in the picture above.  I will take my stitching with me and hopefully I will have some things to show you next week.  Too bad some of the spuds will be left behind.  It is great that they are doing their own things.  I will miss them

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Skipping September

An altered image of one of the spuds from a few years ago.  A perfect day on a September beach.  I call it "Skipping September".  I recently had it printed on canvas by cafe press.  It turned out OK.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pillow finished

This pillow has been a long time in the works, but it is finally ready to put in the mail.  It is a commission and destined for a trip overseas.  The bleeding heart design is from Embroidery Library.  It is stitched out on silk and pieced into a raw silk, envelope style pillow.  I make the 'flange' by doing a standard quilting binding with the two sides - wrong sides together.  I probably should have made it much wider, but I am programed for a 2 inch binding strip and cut them before I even thought about what I was doing. 

It is nice to finally be able to be working on my projects again!

Saturday, September 1, 2012