Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sewing for Others, Blogging for You and Me

This is a post that I have been writing in my head for several months now and it has taken this long for me to sit still and type.  Nothing that dramatic, I promise, but the dual topic got me thinking.  So let's start with the sewing projects and leave the ruminating for the end when you can move along as you like.  
Back in the autumn months I spent my sewing time doing some "sewing for others."  Nothing dramatic like so many quilters and charity sewing people do.  (Aside:  I always loved that Nancy Zieman featured so many sewing for charity groups and projects on her show Nancy Zieman Sew to Give and in her book "Creative Kindness")  But I like the sewing process and since I was doing some very tedious fitting and pattern work at the same time, it was nice to have sewing machine time that actually produced a finished project.  

My blogging is my own memory jogger so here from the fall are the dozen pet mats  I sewed after the first of numerous natural disasters had US animal shelters struggling with new arrivals from those devastated areas...floods in Houston, the hurricane in Florida/Puerto Rico and fires in CA.  Mr. Lucky and I seem to be the harbingers of natural disasters since we have intimate connections with all of those places.  My 12 pet mats were returned from one shelter so I sent them out again and haven't heard back so I assume they were put to good use.  Quilt Pattern Magazine Kennel Quilts
Kennel Quilts

I am also part of a Baltimore team who sews for "Days for Girls" each month.  I have been traveling a great deal so I haven't made many of the scheduled meetings this past year but once again, when I do it is nice to have productive sewing projects and in this case fun sewing time with other local women.  

Not directly sewing related but it did involve sharing what I had been taught.  The year before last a multi-talented, creative woman in my Maryland sewing group taught us how to do eco-dyeing with natural materials.  I loved the results and offered it as an afternoon workshop for my church auction in the fall.  Four wonderful friends paid for it and  a small lunch that I made and we had a fun afternoon selecting materials, rolling them onto purchased silk scarves and waiting for them to reveal themselves after an hour boiling in their mordant and water combination.  What was funny for me was seeing their exact same reactions as I had the prior year..."So, what leaves and petals produce what colors and designs?"  Me: "Sorry, there are people who understand the science of all the possible combinations but I am more an impressionist.  We will have to see what happens."  Turns out accomplished people can struggle with that concept...do the work and turn over the result...(ask me how I know) but I think all four of them liked their first result and learned something, too.
Eco-dyed silk scarves
Last completed sewing for others project was a gift for our 30th wedding anniversary this fall.  I had bought a luscious cotton, from Fabric Mart, of course, and thought it would be a nice preview of our winter Florida trip.  I don't know my clothing brands but when FM advertised a Tori Richards cotton for $6.99 a yard I had to google the designer and saw these wonderful tropical prints Tori Richard Shirts....and then when I felt the soft, high thread count, silk like fabric I knew I had to make one of these for Mr. Lucky.  

I've made this Kwik Sew 3422 pattern many times now but used a slightly different technique to get those collar points nice and sharp in this thin fabric.  Worked like a charm.  
Here's one of the nice videos that Jamie Kemp made to show the process. 
And here's the shirt without Mr. Lucky:

And yes, I will share our quiet local celebration.  We have had so many trips this year, anything big on our actual day would definitely have been overkill.  He gets handsomer and more wonderful each year.
So now let me ruminate out loud a bit.  These are pics and projects from months ago and quite simple ones at that.  The blogging world has grown exponentially since I finally joined in about seven plus years ago.  Other social networks have arrived on the scene and I even gave one of them a try.  In November I participated in Bimble & Pimble's Sewvember 2017 Sewvember prompts  I participated actively for about half the month.  I enjoyed connecting through Instagram since my younger cousins and their children are active participants.  I liked the idea of learning something new since I can be a Luddite when it comes to my smart phone and computer.  But I gave in around halfway through the month.  My "old" iPhone is too tiny to enjoy reading and seeing pictures and definitely a PITA for me to use for posting.  Let's face it, I am a woman of words (my close friends and family are howling with laughter as they read this)...I use them, I love to read them and I admire people who do the same.  I appreciate the power of images and in some ways respect their power so much that I want to keep some distance from too many images so that I can absorb and think more than just react.  So yes, blogging is now considered so old school.  And yes, my blogging is old school old school.  But I was touched that three non-sewing friends asked me in January about my blogging status.  And even a few sewing friends remarked on my long dry spell.  That shows me that my blogging does what I want it to do...create links with people whom I don't get to see in person often enough.  I started blogging to give back in my little way to a very generous community of early technology adopters who shared so much free, useful, encouraging info and inspiration.  I'm continuing, albeit at a far, far slower rate for my own accountability and for deepening those relationships that I have developed.  Thanks, sweet readers, for coming along.   
Next up I will share what some of that pattern work lead to in the winter.