Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sewing the retro satchel

Okay, if we assume that by 'this week' I meant 'next week' when I promised to show the latest sewing project, then we're still good. Here it is:

Yep, another child-sized hiking satchel (tutorial here).  I am telling you, these things never get old: they are just the right size even for an early reader or graphic novel, with a pouch in the back for snacks or pencils or both, and plenty of room left over for juice, more snacks, a notepad or sticker book, and a little stuffy or some toys for long car trips.  Or, you know, you could use them for storing treasures found on an actual hike.

This time I ran into sooo many problems though, mainly because I was feeling sewing-averse at the time.  For a start, I'd already given a bag made exclusively from the vintage bedspread I wanted to use for a main fabric to a friend of the girl I made it for, and my only other option was this super dark denim that kinda drabbed it down. 

Compensation: lining made from a mostly unstained cut from a very old linen tablecloth my mum hung onto long after it was stained beyond whitening and worn into holes to boot.

Thank you mum!  It's so washable and incredibly soft to the touch - perfect for a project like this. My young friend will never have trouble finding the last ladybug-shaped chocolate in the bottom of her bag.  Also, I managed to use more bedspread for the pocket, and, having tracked down a white button with holes from the button stash I was able to use matching embroidery thread to make a shank version for the loop closure that ties in more of the pink.

(side note for anybody thinking of using a similarly ancient textile: I had to double-seam the linen lining because the fibers were so weak by the time I got to them.)

You can see where I messed up a lot of the topstitching, having procrastinated on making this till two nights before the birthday, but worse than that was a huge problem with the flap.  I deviated from my pattern thinking I could make the bag roomier by putting on a longer flap, and for some reason - hysteria induced by exhaustion? - I thought it would be cool to make the back part of the flap out of more denim.  Once I'd gotten it all ready to sew on I noticed I would now have to put the button down on the bottom of the bag, so I had to stitch it into the usual place, a pointless long flap hanging down the back of the purse.

Well, I thought, maybe she could wear the bag backwards in crowded airports - this girl's dad is a pilot, so she travels a lot - as a kind of teaser to thwart pickpockets.

Then I had a better idea and stitched on a very basic heart with my very basic machine, and because it looked as bad as that sounds I handstitched on a very basic heart with more of the pink embroidery thread.

For once, I think more is more, don't you?  She liked it, anyway, so I call it a success.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Recovery in progress

Hello there!

I see I haven't posted here in a few weeks... I do write about knitting every weekday of course, but two things have kept me quiet at the Diary:

not much Procrastinate-y has occurred to me

that I have had the energy to write about let alone prep photographs for.

Reader, I am completely wrecked.  Two years of hard slogging in the emotional mines, topped off recently by quite a bit of physical labour, have left me quite happy to do nothing more ambitious every day than eat foods my body likes (as opposed the ones I like) and stay on top of the laundry situation.  I actually washed the vintage teatowels that pass for curtains in my kitchen this week, and while ironing them (!!!) to hang back up again considered taking a picture of them in all their strawberryness to post here, but... too lazy.  Welcome to the new normal.

Some small delights:

I wrote a few lines the other day in a book my writing mentor gave me to aid in Not Losing Ideas.  The only reason I didn't have to dust it off before lifting the cover was that it was buried under a lot of other things that caught the dust first.  The only reason I wrote the lines down instead of committing them to my mental compost pile was that I found the book while digging through the other things to find something that proved not to be there, or anywhere else I could see.

I seem to have mostly reset my perception of 'sweet' such that I can bear drinking tea with about a third as much honey as usual.  This is a good thing for the local bee population.

I reorganized my textile supplies in a showcase sort of display that I adore looking at in spite of not having the least desire to sew.  It's so beautiful I keep thinking I must take pictures of it for the Diary.  On the other hand: lazy.  Plus, there is the terrible interior lighting factor (next on the to-do list.)  Perhaps you can imagine taking every cute vintage storage container you own, from old cookie tins and handbags to china bowls or crystal wineglasses, and putting bits and pieces into them before setting them out in some sort of dust-resistant furniture. 

Another not-picture-taking detail:  I am officially in love with an elusive tea blend, Scottish Breakfast.  I found it at the local Posh Grocer's and adored it, bought a second tin that was the last on the shelf and was not restocked, found it in loose tea form at a more distant Posh Grocer's which then stopped stocking it, then secured it in bag form again at the first PG's.  Each version has enormously pretty packaging but you'll have to imagine that too I'm afraid.

There are a few leaves from the third purchase shifting gently in the tea at the bottom of my cup right now, reminding me of Auntie Bert.  Auntie Bert told fortunes with tea leaves and she was Never, Ever Wrong, mainly by virtue of predicting things she knew were about to happen.  She was a very good Aunt (my great-aunt, actually, in name as well as deed.)

It being June, the garden is growing.  I spent exactly one weekend wresting weeds out of the ground and setting in a very few new plants and ever since the constant cycle of rain and sun has been working wonders on it all.  There are a lot of blossoms, all very pretty, but not as fragrant as the lilac bushes at the hospital (about which the less said the better.)

I am loving Blogger.  I may not write here often, and I may be less often interesting, but writing here has been a great way to keep writing at all and following other people's blogs has been a great way to catch inspiration.  Today's bright spot:  the ever-talented Lucy at Attic24, who possesses the view voted most likely to be coveted by me and is generous about posting frequent photographs of it.  It sounds like Lucy is having a pretty lousy time of it too but my goodness, she is smart.  Three words, folks: flowers, chocolate, magazine.  How could I forget the medicinal powers of that particular combination? 

I am totally getting up the energy to acquire the magazine she's reading.  By which I mean, getting somebody else to pick it up for me.

(I did sew something last week, and I took pictures, and I'll post them in a few days.  Promise.)