Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Next Up

As I sat down to write this post (which will eventually be about an upcoming project I hope to start soon), I started to recall a dream I had last night.  It involved a strange thrift store display—more like a sculpture or art piece—comprised of dozens of vintage sewing machines welded together in a circular pattern, kind of like a gigantic mobile or chandelier made of many different makes and models, colors, etc. 

The piece was suspended from the ceiling (the store itself was like a very big pole shed or barn or maybe an airplane hangar, someplace with a high industrial-type ceiling).  Everybody else in the store seemed to be ignoring it completely, going about their usual shopping, but I was fascinated and intensely curious.  I looked around again and realized my mom was there (this is the second dream I've had this week about my mom and something sewing related; she passed away in 2009, but it's always a nice surprise to see her in my dreams).  I asked the people in charge of the store about the sculpture and found out they actually wanted it taken down, and if we wanted to remove it, we could have it and all the machines that were part of it. 

My mom didn't seem all that interested at first, so I had to fill her in that since she'd been gone, vintage machines like those had become more popular with collectors/sewists, and that I bet we could separate them and sell them on eBay.  I did a quick mental tally and somehow came up with a figure of 10 grand in machines suspended above us (yeah, right...in my dreams!).  Of course, there was the issue of whether or not any of them were in working order or even had motors and/or their requisite parts, but I was willing to take a chance.  All we had to do was come up with a plan for removing them.  Mom was always a good problem solver, and I was confident that between the two of us, we'd figure something out.

The next thing I knew, I was lying face up on an open moving platform lift, rising higher and higher toward the ceiling and the monstrosity of machines.  Did I mention I'm not particularly keen on heights?  And that this was an open platform, as in no side rails?  And that it was wobbling?  Which explained why I was apparently frozen flat on my back, feeling that I did not dare even sit up to get my bearings lest the thing start swaying more, and I sure as heck didn't want to look down.
High Steel Heroes, c. 1932
Maybe I underestimated the logistics involved in accomplishing this feat.  Just a tad.

Things got fuzzy after that, but it was with relief that I woke up on the low platform of my own bed, safely back on terra firma.

* * * * *
Well, there is little more down to earth than men's plaid shirts, and I've been up to my armpits in them this past week. 

Specifically, I have been cutting them apart for a quilt project I'd like to get started on.

Over the past couple of months, I've been picking up a few men's plaid shirts here and there at the thrifts, having in mind to make the string quilt, "Dad's Plaids" from this book by Elsie Campbell.

I first saw this quilt on Pinterest and tracked down the pattern and book from there.  It is one of my most re-pinned pins (trumped by Ian Somerhalder, however), so apparently a lot of other people are enamored of it as well.  If any of you have made this quilt or are planning to, I'd love to know about it in the comments.

Anyway, I think I have enough shirt fabrics now to get started, although I haven't taken a complete inventory (oh yes, there are more in the stash) and something tells me I may still be in need of light colors.  But I'll sort all that out in due time.

Did you know there is a lot of fabric in a XL or XXL men's shirt?  As far as the deconstruction process, some may find it a tedious proposition; fortunately, I am one of those people who has always loved cutting things with a good sharp scissors.  After all, I apparently remodeled my mom's best girdle into a "cheerleader skirt" with a pair of her sewing shears and gave myself my first self-haircut by age three, so I think it's fair to say it's a predilection I was born with.

And because I am in a tangential mood, and I like this song, and the heights dream reminded me of it...


  1. Cutting shirts apart - I don't know how you do it, but I just saw how Bonnie Hunter does it in about 7 minutes/shirt. Seems fast to me!


    And that's a super pattern. Looking forward to seeing it progress.

  2. I'm going to have to look for that book and for that pattern , because I think it may be too wonderful to pass up! I thought I would never do machine quilting, but this is just too wonderful!

  3. Bugger !I wanted to know how much you got for the dream machines...

    LOVE the pattern you’re using for the shirt quilt. That’s going to be freaking awesome! After my last foray into the world of using shirts for quilts I might sit this one out , but I cant wait to see your progress on this.

  4. That's a beautiful quilt! And I was so blessed to have a bored niece staying with me who deconstructed all my stash of men's shirts while watching movies, so now I'm ready to start working on one too!!

  5. It is going to be so much fun watching you make this. Do you save the shirt buttons?

  6. Oh wow! We were made for each other with the shirts in quilts!!! Love that pattern, can't wait to see how that turns out.

    Love the mom dream. I hope you did end up with a lot of money!

  7. Cannot wait to see progress on this, looks amazing! I love scissors too but none are ever sharp enough when I need them to be.

  8. I can see why you are drawn to that string quilt! Lovely. And it looks like you have quite the stash of plaid shirts. Looks like an auspicious start!


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