Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Alignment is Everything! - Felt Food 101

I made some orange slices today.  Orange you glad to see me?

Perhaps I should rename this blog Puckleberry Loves to Procrastinate.

Anyway, when I first made some orange slices a few years ago, they turned out like shit.  I was so concerned with making sure my stitches were nice and even that I didn't notice the orange centers and lines were totally wonky and nothing matched up.  Now granted, they were probably the second felt items I ever made, but still.  They've held up well over the years and the shorties still play with them.  My poor kids, they get stuck with all the first articles of items; and other kids get the benefit of better appearance.

When you're making slices of felt food items, like watermelon, it's important that all your details match up.  It may not look like a big deal while you're making them, but when they're finished, you'll kick yourself if you don't.

So the orange slices.  Note the orange has 3 stripes on the orange center.  And the orange center is on a cream background and stitched to a skin.  Let's work on the stripes first.

Now here's some geometry at work.  Here ye have ye olde arc, folded in half.  Since I am too lazy to find a degree symbol, I'mma use a * instead.  Work with me, folks.  Arc is 180*.  Folded in half is 90*.   As always, please excuse my dishpan hands and freaky double jointed thumbs.

Mark off the center line with a disappearing ink pen. 

Now, we have to mark off the arc into thirds.  1/2 of 90* = 45*.

And now you have an arc marked off in equivalent increments.

Full disclosure: I got a C in geometry in high school.  I liked geometry; having dyscalculia, it was the only math I understood at that point (calculus came later).  I liked drawing a stupid diagram and making "proofs" for everything, it made the world a bit more discrete to me. (Discrete does not mean discreet, yo.)  Besides being a math nerd, I'm a bit anal about grammar...although you'd never know from my mangled syntax here, right?

Here was the problem: my peripatetic parents liked to get up and move cross country with a single week's notice, so I missed an entire quarter of 10th grade.  During that two months, I lived like Eloise in an Embassy Suites-like hotel, sitting in my own hotel suite ordering fried chicken off room service, trying to sneak into the cargo area of BWI Airport for kicks, and watching TV.  My dad started back to work, and who the hell knows where my mom was.  They farted around looking for a place to live intermittently (who cared, my dad's company was footing the bill for the lodging and relo, including my fried chicken room service binges) and finally ended up right back in the same stupid town we'd moved from 2 years prior.  W...T...F....

We finally moved out of the hotel after 2 months into a former, very famous New York Yankee's house.  He left his pool table behind because it was too large to move, and the house had a full wet bar, an in-law apartment, a breathtaking view of the river, a pool, a dog kennel for our extremely stoopid pit bull that was being air freighted from San Diego, and a gigantic long pier.  It was amazing.  Amazingly 1970s.  The house was like a time warp.  Think carpeted master bathrooms and weird low toilets.

Naturally, the huge pool turned swamp green under my parents' supervision (my dad's idea of pool maintenance was dumping in a bottle of Clorox every now and then), the dryer was separated from the washer by a story because my parents put their own functional dryer in the basement living room, and the washer in the laundry room, and I think my psychotic brother punched a few holes in his bedroom walls.  And it became a random storage area for my sibling's friends.  It was a superweird scene.  Then again, any scene with them was a weird scene because like the whole parenting schtick wasn't their bag, man.

I got stuck in a kiddy bedroom with Holly Hobby wallpaper, and an avocado green bathroom (in which I later taught my friends how to use tampons).  It was pretty strange having all my Depeche Mode and The Cure posters hung up with Holly Hobby in the backdrop.  I do remember hacking up some carpet by mistake when I was sitting on the floor cutting out material from a pattern I was sewing.  But that was minor compared to the rest of the damage done.  I don't think my parents ever had a security deposit returned in any house they ever rented.  They are the tenants from hell.  I sure as hell wouldn't rent one of my properties to them.  Yep, Puck is a slumlord in addition to a lousy blogger.

ANYWAY.  The 'rents finally got off their lazy asses and enrolled me in school (before I dropped dead of sheer boredom) and I tested into honors geometry.  I walked in the first day and everyone was on chapter 5 in the book, and I'd never ever cracked a book on geometry.  "Ge....om...etry?"

On the other hand, with all this moving around, I somehow took pre-algebra twice after moving from one school district to another because the guidance counselors couldn't interpret my classes at the other school and didn't really care either.  Unfortunately, I did not realize "hey, this shit sounds familiar!" until it was too late to switch; they called pre-algebra some other fancy name in that district.  My second pre-algebra class was great though.  I had this teacher, Mr. Salas, who taught us how to swear in Spanish and had a CD player in his classroom.  Towards March or so with several months to go, he covered the whole text book and quit teaching.  He didn't teach and we didn't rat him out for smoking in his classroom, so it was a good deal.  I swear he was stoned when he taught.  I met my BFF Samantha in that class.  I didn't learn any new shit about algebra (again) but he did allow me to bring in an REM CD and towards the end of the year. I stood on a table and sang "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" for the entire class to great applause.

Apparently 2 years of As and Bs in pre-algebra does not prepare one for geometry, go figure (okay, I got a D at the third quarter of the first year with a stern warning, but finally managed to clock in with a B- at the end).  After a month of floundering in this honors class and spending most of my time in class reading The Far Side and staring the hair of the field hockey girl in front of me, it became blatantly obvious that having missed two fucking months of school finally caught up to me, never having studied anything beyond algebra at that point, so they dropped me into a regular geometry class and I never again caught up in math in high school or undergraduate college.  (golf claps for my dilettante parents)  Actually, when I first started college, I tested into calculus, but hell, I was going for a liberal arts degree so I kicked it easy and snored through college algebra my freshman year, and that was it for undergrad math.  Graduate school was another story....

Grunt.  Back to sewing.

So now you have 3 points marked in your arc.  Geometry!  Here we come, uh...half circle!!?

Now you can sew the details.

Ensure everything is aligned before you sew. 

Nice and even.  So now measure up the backing.  100% wool felt will stretch and rebound, unlike eco-fi crap craft felt.  You can tug it a millimeter or two if necessary.

Sewn down.

Even as you're sewing, ensure everything is aligned like it needs to be.  The devil is in the details!

Ta da!

Remember parents: letting your kids miss two months of school due to sheer laziness can fuck up their schooling permanently.  Duh!


  1. LMAO. I cut my fingernails with a toenail clipper, and my right index finger is deformed. Fortunately, that's mah picture takin' finger so you never see it.

    If I had to choose between a manicure and a root canal, I'd pick root canal in a heartbeat. At least you get nitrous for that.

  2. Hi, I did a google blog search for felt foods and found your blog. I love your orange slice! But most of all girl, you so crack me up! Thanks for making spew beer all over my keyboard, lol...Elaine


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