Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sewing Night Fun

After work on Saturday, I had errands to and out of the car a few times. Frozen and longing for my warm robe! We got to nestle into the sewing room, full tummy and sewing machine lights blaring. Monica, Johanna and I had just settled in when Therese and Joel arrived to join the fun. Now...if you are someone on our Christmas list, don't get your shorts in a twist if you see something that will be a gift. I'll try to be discreet...won't show you the Minkee boxer shorts I am making for you or the way I am weaving a new cell phone out of the leftovers of metallic threads (I am toying with you here).

Indeed, Joel is getting into sewing too. He recruited the three girls to help him start his toothbrush rug. (Sure hope he is making one for his favorite mother-in-law.) They had a blast using Aunt Phillie's method of tearing strips...tearing nine yards of fabric in less than ten minutes. Doesn't it make you want to join our sewing fun?!

Monica is having a great time creating a purse from Amy Butler for her roommate, Ann. Monica tells that the Sophia Carry-All is going together very nicely. She tells that Ann has bought several purses looking for the perfect one but to no avail. When Monica saw this one, she knew it was perfect. We have all been loving the new Free Spirit heavier fabrics we have in the store. These are wider goods and have a durable hand to them and wil hold up great as purses. We also think they make fabulous skirts but have to admit none of us have done them yet. With winter blowing into Iowa, no one is real motivated to make a skirt presently!

I had a great time building pillowcases from the Wilmington collection, Cookie Cutter Christmas. I love the welcome of a bed with lots of pillows on it. Because I can't really get a quilt done for every bed in the house to be in Christmas style, I still want my expression on the beds when they come home. Pillowcases are fabulous and fun and they are really slick with the pattern we have in the store.

When I am cutting past my rulers, I don't like to use the lines on my mat. That is likely the most inaccurate way of cutting any measurements. The lines on your mat are reference lines. When I cut the larger sizes, I use what my Geometry teacher, Mr. Downing, taught me...mark two or more marks on your measurement and then line up the dots for cutting. (See my p.s. on Geometry class for those of you who know that I am math challenged.) While I use a chalk marker, you COULD use a Pigma pen for a really sharp point. Don't wig out that it is a pigma pen and is permanent, you are cutting the line OFF and any remnants of marks will fall within your seam. I know some people use a ballpoint pen but there is some risk of that ink shedding into your work.

I keep my pattern UNDERNEATH MY CUTTING MAT. That way I always know where it is because I need it regularly and I hate digging around for it. So, if you come into the store to buy the pattern again (because you lost the first one), I will ask you if you looked underneath your cutting mat. I love this pattern because it shows how to create the pillowcase with all encased seams. It is one of those sewer's details that really makes us shine like professionals. However, I find that as many pillowcases as I make, I always need the pattern to remind me how to do it again.

Invariably, I get to be a smarty pants and think I can remember how to sew it together; and I always sew together the first one wrong and get to un-sew it. The other thing I find is really important when I am sewing pillowcases is that there IS a need to pin. I like using a stripe for a cuff and I like that it matches up with the stripe front and back. While this adds time to the process, it is LESS time than un-sewing and re-sewing.

I love the kits of the pillowcases because the pieces are all right there for me to not have to figure out. I really love these kits because they aren't too Christmasy and they respect the colors I already have in the room. Call the store or stop in and see what Karen has been cutting up for some fast kits. These are really classy!

I know I feel great about getting something I have been on a kick of what can I sew in one hour. Two pillowcases took me one hour. Sure, you could get lots more done if you sewed them with a serger, but this (for me) is like my sister-in-law Susie who bakes bread. She doesn't do it because it is faster or cheaper, she bakes the best wheat bread because it makes her happy. Sewing these pillowcases with French seams and an encase cuff makes me smile. I went to the extra trouble to take my skills and make something nicer than I could get at the store. It makes me happy to share my love with my family.

And sewing with them makes me feel the same way. I love getting older because it makes me not drive myself with deadlines for anything but to express love. We are not more loved because we sewed for everyone. I sew out of love not responsibility. I make things because I want to make them and it makes me happy. If I have a deadline looming over get that hand-appliqued quilt done for my sister's co-worker's daughter's neighbor, I have done myself in for a number that isn't mine. I sew pillowcases because it is my chance to interact with some amazing fabric before it is all gone. It is my chance to put a greeting on the beds of my kids when they come home for Christmas. It even makes Henry smile to go to get into bed and see a Christmas pillowcase on the bed.

So, my journey for today is working on making Table Toppers out of charms packs. Before I dug into my favorite method for this (out of two charm packs), I started RECYCLING some Christmas stockings I started two years ago that didn't quite turn out. I will take more pictures of how and why I did that for my next blog. Just know that this was a dead project in my bin of projects that made me sad everytime I saw it. Now, I love what it is becoming. And....if you are a member of my husband's family, THIS will be my exchange gift this year. Yes, that is legitimate. You CAN give a recycled gift. This is technically NOT one that has actually ever been gifted to anyone else. (Oh, and that is my is legitimate only IF the person you are gifting to will actually appreciate the gift more than you did.)

Here's a sneak peek of my next project....and I had better get to the sewing room. The girls and Joel are already there working away. While they all growl a bit when I pull out the camera, you can see that they always seem able to muster a smile.

All the Best to You....REALLY! jill

p.s. Yes, I am math challenged. While I don't make light of disabilities, I like to let people know that I have a challenge and that accepting it has helped me immensely in coping. When I was in elementary school, I struggled with lots of math concepts. However, in the long run, when I became a teacher, my focus was on learning disabilities. I found it incredibly freeing to take what I knew about how we function and find ways to make life functional and enjoyable. For me, geometry was the BEST math class. I loved art and creating. Geometry made a lot of sense to me because I could apply it quite directly to my creating. I am ever grateful to Mr. Downing who didn't know that his tolerance of my incessant questions and a fabulous sense of humor made me realize that being math challenged wouldn't impair me forever. In fact, as a teacher, while I have inabilities to understand some components of mathematics, my ability to apply math to my creative nature opened me up to know how to make a lot of topics palatable to all kinds of learning. I love that I still get to teach every day, even though my title isn't teacher, I think I still have chalk dust in my veins!


Theresa said...

I enjoyed seeing the purse as a purse and not a baby bonnet. Nice colors.

NancyB said...

My Mom died suddenly just before Christmas, but instead of going to my machine, I look at it with sorrow and regret. Reading your blog makes me want to "get where you are" - to give myself permission to sit down and sew when I need time to heal. Thank you for inspiring me yet one more time. I sorely needed it. :)