Monday, November 15, 2010

IRL I am...

...a sister/friend, a wife, a mother and an employee. This past week was in that order.

Caution: This is not a fiber related post!!!

Sister/Friend: My lil sis arrived from Austin last Wednesday and I took days off to play with her and her best friend and our "adopted brother" Gary. We went to Pike Place Market one day, Whidbey Island the next, Snohomish's quaint shopping district on Saturday and then all too soon, Sunday and the airport. It was fun and sad. She's only been in the Austin area for 3 years. She hates it and didn't want to go back. She loves her husband and home, but hates the heat and humidity, misses her family and friends. She has had a difficult life at times, and it breaks my heart that she is so unhappy there. Even so, it was wonderful to see her, fun to do things I wouldn't normally do and I enjoyed spending time with Gary as well.

Wife: DH told me he missed me. He didn't join us for our play days as he isn't a social type and it's just as well. We probably had more fun with him NOT joining us :) But it hit me how dependent we are on each other for our well being. We enjoy each other. We, despite swearing this would NEVER be the case, NEED each other. It warmed me to hear him say this. I missed him too.

Mother: DD and DS are not the center of my world any more but I found myself talking about them quite a bit this past week. It wasn't the frenzied worried chatter of the past, just funny stories and status updates. Both texted me several times asking where I was and wishing us good times. The best status update, by the way, was DD calling to tell me that DBF's latest MRI shows no tumor regrowth. Funny, I feel like bursting into tears just typing this, the relief is so palpable.

Employee: Bottom of the list. I logged on Friday to perform a task, spent an hour and a half undoing a mess and reminded myself how lucky I am to have a job, how good I am at it and much I am ready to ditch it and live poor LOL! In reality, I will probably have to work for another 5 to 7 years since DH left early, but that's nothing really. What struck me the most this week is how much damage I did to myself and my relationships by letting this category sit at the top of the list for over three years, dominating the rest. I need to really keep on top of this and keep reinforcing the importance of down time.

I am home again today, alone with DH and puppy. I have some things that need to be done, I'll help him with a project, go to my doctors appointment, get groceries and head back to the Big House tomorrow.

I hope to get the outer shell of the Verona jacket cut out today. DD arrives NEXT Saturday and wants my help doing some alterations on a few things as well doing some sample sewing for a community service project she wants to start so I need to set up her sewing station. And I need to decide what to put on the loom next as Christmas really is right around the corner.

IRL I am also a stitcher and weaver. IRL I strive for happiness and balance.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Slow Sewing

The current issue of Handwoven Magazine is dedicated to Slow Cloth. The projects are designed to allow the weaver to savor the weaving as much, if not more, than the finished product. It encourages taking the time to enjoy the process, the journey that is weaving...

 I am not going to be a fan of Slow Cloth any time soon. While I understand the principle and desire to weave this way, I am still too new at it and well... I want it warped, woven and OFF so I can start all over again!

That said... I will be putting some dish towels on next, as soon as I decide on what pattern to use. I'd like something like the handtowels I just made, where a long warp and a variety of treadlings yields multiple patterns.

This whole idea of slow cloth got me thinking, though. How does this apply to my sewing? I am very much a "slow sewer". And not because I can't stitch quickly. I can. I did it for years when the children were little and grew out of pants quicker than I could make them. I did it before vacations when they needed jackets or matching outfits for Disneyland. I did it when I was smocking for picture day, embroidering for a Christmas gift on Christmas Eve.

Now it takes me forever to complete something and again, it is not because I am slow. I love the process. I love straightening the grain. I love tracing the pattern pieces . I love finishing seams, sewing by hand, grading and clipping and understitching, topstitching and hemming. I haven't had the time until lately to start something that I could savor all of the way through the process and I think that is why I haven't sewn much lately. I don't WANT to be rushed.

Now that my work life has calmed down to a doable pace (50 hr weeks hallelujah), the desire to slow down and enjoy a project is front and center.

Today I set up the laptop on the cutting table and watched the Claire Schaeffer Tailoring DVD while tracing off the SW Verona pattern pieces. Alterations are complete (length was the only thing of concern to me ~ the jacket was too short and the coat was too long) and I even got the lining cut out.

I took me over 2 hours to do this because I would frequently stop and gaze out the window, play with the dog or sort through a pile of things waiting to be stowed away in my new cabinet. I think this is the equivalent of Slow Cloth.

And one day, when I'm done rushing through a set of towels or placemats just to rush to the next project, I think I will be able to appreciate the slow joy of cloth as well.


P.S. The cabinet is this:

Organizing Essentials Creative Cut Center

 It's not all that sturdy, but for $119 @ Joann Fabric, it does what I want. I have all my rulers on top, all my scissors, cutting and marking gear in the top drawer. I have makeshift trays in the slots for other storage. Projects in work are in the two shallower drawers and the bottom drawer is empty. Empty....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


... well I learned a lot.

I cringe when I start out a critique with that statement. I did learn a lot. I did an AWESOME job planning, setting up the loom and following the pattern. But I did 2 things wrong.

1.) I got cockey and stopped measuring my pics per inch about 3-1/2 mats in. As a result, I have 2 the same size, one slightly longer and one about an inch longer.

2.) I did not get a good enough machined stitched line between the mats before cutting them apart and laundering. I should have used a narrow zig zag and left more space between the two lines. As a result, one end of ONE mat came unraveled enough that hemming is going to be a challenge. This happened on Sunday. I have fallen asleep every night thinking about the right way to fix this. I have 2 ideas and an extra mat to try out one idea on each end :) When I get this figured out, I'll post pictures.

Other than these two things, they are lovely. I am so glad my mother in law loves me and will be thrilled with whatever I present to her on Christmas morning. I know I'll be able to salvage them in some fashion.

I will be working on Saturday (good thing, Fabric Mart back shipped my plum colored knit and the bills are rolling in HA) so I won't be getting a whole lot done. My lil sis arrives from Austin, TX a week from today, so not much getting done next week. My delightful daughter arrives 2 weeks after sis leaves. Happy days ahead!

I decided not to do the "What I weigh and what I'm doing". I really am not accomplishing anything with a public flogging based on an abitrary yardstick. This is about trying to get healthier. I need to remember weight is a number. It's about changing my diet to be healthier, excercising to be stronger and improving my mental state as a result of both changes. I'm still struggling with getting back on track but won't give up. Thanks to BetsyV for reminding me what the focus really should be.