Monday, August 16, 2021

Puttering and Decluttering

I've been puttering in the sewing room this past week, mostly on non-sewing, organization type stuff.  I'm waiting for a pattern and fabric to arrive that I ordered from Etsy for my nephew's quilt.  I'm still rehabbing my left finger/hand and not up to free-motion quilting just yet, so it felt like a good time to tidy things up in the sewing room.

 I finally (FINALLY!) put away all the thrifted shirt fabrics that had been stacked on the corner of a sewing table for years (yes, YEARS!).  Of course, in the meantime, I'd added more shirts to the pile.  I think I was afraid they wouldn't all fit back into the large three-drawer rolling cart they came out of and that I'd need to rethink storage (or, you know, make a quilt or three), so I put it off and put it off.  But lo and behold, they all fit into the drawers just fine, and I was able to roll that cart under my sewing table and free up some precious floor space.  Woo-hoo!  

Then I sorted the rest of my mask-making supplies and put them into a much smaller, shoebox-size plastic tote.  I'd been using t-shirt strips for the mask ear loops, so whatever was left of the t-shirts got cut up for dust rags.  That felt good, too.

I hung some 12-inch cork squares on my wall.  Another long procrastinated on project (again, YEARS) that took me all of 15 minutes to do.  Why do I procrastinate on these things? I wondered.  I was never going to have the "perfect" spot for them, so I just stuck them to a "good enough" place on the painted concrete wall of the basement.  Now I finally have someplace to pin things (pattern directions, sample blocks).  I was skeptical whether the adhesive would hold to the concrete, but I slapped them up anyway and if they fall off, they fall off.*  They were doing me no good in the package. (*Unfortunately, between the time I started writing this post a day or two ago and now, they did indeed fall off the wall...wah-wah-wah...but at least now I know what doesn't work, I guess?)

I also decided it was time  to deal with the vintage '60s or '70s fabrics I've been collecting over the past 10 or so years.  They'd been just sitting on a shelf, waiting for who knows what.  

Was I going to sell them? Make something with them? Donate them to the local community theater for costumes? Drive them back to Goodwill?.  

I love the neon bright colors and wild patterns, but they're all synthetics/poly and not something I'd be able to quilt with.  

Call me sentimental, but I wanted to remember them after they were gone, so I draped them on my headless mannequin, Dolly, so I could take some photos.  On a lark, I posted them on Facebook where a friend fell instantly in love and asked if she could buy all of them!  I told her she could have them for the cost of postage.  

So I packed them up in a large flat-rate box and shipped them off to North Carolina.  She's already received them and is so excited.  That makes me happy!  Another thing that languished for years on a shelf, but is now finally moved on to a fellow vintage fabric aficionado.  

I think there is something about clearing out and making space for other things or energy.  That sounds kind of woo-woo, but for me I know that when my clutter/stuff/disorganization threshold edges toward its upper limit, my creative mojo takes a dive.  Clearing things out gives me a more balanced feeling and like I'm making space for creativity and new opportunity.  Does that resonate with you, too?  

Where things kind of ran aground was when I was sorting through old many vintage patterns from my mom and other relatives, friends, and those I've picked up at thrift stores and garage sales.  In the past, I've shared some with other sewers whom I've met through blogging, and I've sold some online.  At this point, I was just taking stock of what all was there in the bins and drawers that I might want to do something with to whittle down the collection.

(Glad I missed out on this "fun fad.")

Well, that ended in a case of the giggles!  The more I looked, the sillier some of the old patterns struck me!

(1970-When dressing like a naughty nurse in junior high was all the rage.)

Thank goodness some things have "chubby sizes" for girls (or "husky" for boys).

(Always a good idea to read the fine print...)

(Ah, the 1960s, when fat shaming was all a part of growing up.)

Culturally and societally, this was the water I grew up swimming in.  Now I look back at some of the stuff that was "normal" and have to laugh, or, in some cases, shake my head. 

(Never fear, this one has plenty of breathing room...and pockets!)

I remember thinking I looked more like the "chubby size" pictures in the catalog, and I was heavier than my older sister growing up.  But mom just worked her magic when she sewed the same pattern for us, and they fit each of us to a tee.

Anyway, I didn't make any decisions on what to do with the patterns at this point.  I'll have to revisit them again another time.  Would you be interested in seeing more of them in future blog posts?  Let me know in the comments.

As far as my nephew's quilt, I took stock of my low-volume and other neutral fabrics and came to the conclusion that I really didn't have that much to work with.  Browns, beiges, grays, etc. are few and far between in my stash.  

Waverely Quilt Kit via Etsy

I did some looking online and found a cool quilt idea that came as a standalone pattern or a kit; ultimately, I decided to get the kit.  I really liked it just as it was shown, and I think it'll be perfect for him.  I've always wanted to make a Storm-At-Sea quilt, so this will give me the chance to check that off the bucket list.  

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Crocheted Cuties

My daughter Michelle has taught herself to crochet this summer.  Today I'm sharing some things she's made right out of the gate as a "beginner." 

They look pretty advanced to me—and cute as cute can be!  

Crocheting is something I just never got the hang of.  I did learn to knit when I was a teenager and made some basic things like scarves and even attempted to make myself a sweater.  Crocheting, though?  Not my thing.

Michelle has taken to it like a duck—or whale—to water.  Look at this fun blue guy!  Amazing!

Here's the book it came from.

Next she made a little turtle from the same book.  So adorable.

She gave both of these to a sweet little boy, her boyfriend's nephew, who loved them.  Another nephew got this cute little Baby Yoda.  Awwww...

Some more progress pictures:

I loved seeing each of these creations take shape.  Well done, Michelle!  I hope you'll have more to share sometime.  Oh, and we kids-at-heart like crocheted cuties, too...just sayin'.  ;)

Do you crochet?  Is there a craft you never quite got the hang of?

Monday, August 2, 2021

Redwork Baskets

Last week I put together a donation quilt top from some beautiful redwork embroidery blocks by Evelyn (Evie) in California.  You may recall she also embroidered the animal themed blocks in this quilt.  Her work is meticulous! 

This time it was 12 basket blocks that I worked with, each one a little different, but all very beautifully done.  

I'm still trying to use my stash whenever possible, and sometimes that leads to interesting fabric combinations.  I went back and forth between some of the options I was considering, but hopefully I've done her blocks justice in the end.

I wanted to make this lap quilt size, so I needed to add as wide a border as I could eke out of that outer red print fabric.  With a little creativity, I was able to cut an 8-inch border.  The top measures around 49x59, which seems like a good size.

As far as the quilting goes, that will have to wait until my hand is a bit further along in its recovery.  Or I may send it off to be quilted and donated.  We'll see.

I'm four weeks out from surgery as of tomorrow.  I'm supposed to start squeezing exercises, beginning with a sponge and progressing to a stress ball.

The bruising on the tip of the finger is almost gone.  The scar is healing, but still a little scabby especially at the crease of the joint.  The finger still tends to swell during the day, so I wrap it when it gets too sausage-y.  The therapist gave me a sample of a support tube (think compression stocking type thing) for the swelling, but it doesn't fit well so I just use the stretchy wrap.  

I can make a loose fist, and I'm typing this post with all 10 fingers, so there continues to be steady progress.  Hopefully by next month, I'll be able to squeeze the brakes on my bike so I can go for a ride!