Sewing Bucket List

She’s been a little busy.

Since ‘retiring’ a year or so ago, she hasn’t been taking client work. That means she doesn’t have to quit in the middle of creative juices flowing and then try to get back to it later; she can just keep with a project uninterrupted.

She’s finally gotten to her sewing bucket list. The first one on her mind was a patchwork quilt. As a child, her mother started her three girls doing them for rainy day projects. It has been a thing she has wanted to revisit ever since.

The bucket list seems to increase rather than diminish. This ‘toothbrush rug‘ one of the increases.

A yo yo quilt has long been on the list. She seems to cater to the 40’s style of things. Doesn’t it seem that each generation seems to like what was popular in the era of their mother’s youth?

This T-shirt yarn, Tarn, scrappy rug didn’t turn out well. She couldn’t keep it from ruffling no matter how she tried to do the increases. It’s in a drawer awaiting another life.

A long time on the sewing bucket list was to make a Canadian Smocked pillow. She mastered the smocking but failed to sew the seam before doing the smocking, so the two ends couldn’t be matched. Somehow she failed to do a row that would have made it right. She may turn it into a square pillow. It was supposed to be a bolster.

The thing about researching”how-to’s” is that you run into other fun stuff along the way. This scrappy rug was inspired by a lady on Etsy that makes hats and she was trying to find a tutorial for her technique. She ended up working it out on her own. It’s not easy crocheting with knots, she learned.

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Once in awhile she gets housework done or a project that makes sewing easier. She finally turned these lollipop display stands into thread and bobbin holders.

If you remember, her career was mostly working with clients, in their homes, helping them design their furnishing and window coverings. She had a little stint of trying it on her own and accumulated scores of fabric sample books to help her do that work. While she still had an electric washing machine (she now does all her washing by hand), she tore apart a big bunch of them, washed them and arranged many of them into ensembles she imagined could become something wonderful together. Many, many more books she simply gave away. Well, she is finally taking one box after another to work these imaginings out.

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Art to wear.

She never knows where it will end up when she starts out. She lets the fabrics tell her what to do. Above image is the front. Below image is the back. It went through many gyrations getting to this point. Still more to complete.

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Trapunto detail on the rose.

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The plaid pocket accommodates a small flip phone.

The “Tiny Purse” is the latest project, started with the intention of making a credit card holder for a friend’s upcoming birthday. She got carried away when the fabric told her to do otherwise.

She spent a great deal of the Summer trying desperately still to get her food to grow in the southeastern desert of Arizona. It’s a big challenge, but she did make progress and learned lots of new things.

Now that the cooler, shorter days are here, she will be working inside, spooling around a lot more.

She hopes this post makes up for her long absence from the blog, that you are well and headed toward an enjoyable Winter season.

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Product Development Deployment

Boho drapery sample patch purse

The idea of developing a product is to come up with something that can be sold…at a profit.

For the most part, she enjoys the whole process; but two days and probably sixteen hours into it, she wonders why she puts herself through this grueling process. 16 hours times $10 an hour (her minimum mentally acceptable labor rate) is $160. Debra Dorgan wouldn’t hesitate to ask this much, but Ms. SpoolTeacher is not of that caliber, at least not yet. As a matter of fact, it was viewing Debra’s lovely things on Etsy that had gotten Ms. SpoolTeacher’s muse all jazzed up to sew. That and the weather. And that most of her winter seeds had been sown. Oh sure, there were lots of projects available to do on the First Do No Harm Front Yard Farmacy agenda, but it was time to start thinking about earning more income.

During the summer monsoons, all of the sample books on the top shelf under her patio cover had gotten wet from leaks that occur along the joint where the cover meets the house. She had pulled them all apart and was washing and drying them to use for projects such as this one that got in her mind to do.

This day, two days ago, she was sorting samples that had finished drying suddenly two samples got her muse activated so she started work immediately.

Making a pleatThe front and back of the bag would be two colors of the same print and the sides would be a stripe piece cut in half.

She decided to make a pleat at the bottom edge to add interest and keep it from being a boring rectangle.

Her design plan was to utilize as much of the sample piece as possible. two inches up, one inch in

To make the pleat, she measured two inches up and one inch in and stitched the line. Then the pleat is pressed so that the middle meets the seam.

pleat detailThe next design decision was which side would go with the red and which with the blue. These things are more important than you would think. yellow, red, blue, yellow

Yellow, red, yellow, blue. That way the sides separate from the main body, visually.

She had sewn them together so that the bottom edges were all even so she measured all across the four pieces to make them even at the top as well, then seamed the final two edges together to form a rectangle.

The next decision was what to use for the bottom.

She laid the “rectangle” on a stack of clean samples and started flipping through them until one “felt” right.deciding on a bottom

The lining was made using all of the same measurements she’d just done making the shell.

She intentionally made all of the seams on the right side of the fabric because she wanted to use a ragged edge as a feature. As it turned out, she realized she’d rather have stitched the lining to the shell pieces before seaming them together as then the lining would have also shown in the ragged edge. This is product development. Next one, she will use that technique to improve the results.  The lining was all cut from one big piece of satin she’d ordered a yard and a half of for her store years ago. Orange with dots woven into it.

Lining made and stitched to the outer shellIn the process of building the lining, pockets were added and as it turned out, they seemed too close to the edge so a decision was made to add a top piece that would increase the height as well as cover the raw edges.

Picking a piece for the top edgeThis piece was cut into three sections and seamed together. Again, you learn through the process. When she went to make the handles, she realized that a bias joint would have been better. It shows less.

bias join rather than a straight joinIt’s very hard to explain the labor steps involved in constructing anything that is sewn. There seem to be a million little steps that are taken that are invisible to the final product.

Ms. SpoolTeacher was thinking through the whole process, “Maybe it would be better to hold a ‘build-a-bag class’ rather than try to sell them already made.” But, that has a whole ‘nother set of problems.

She’ll just make a few more and see where it goes. The first one is always the hardest. A lot of the “bugs” get ironed out in the process.

Ragged edge after washingFor instance, this little side pocket that seems rather lacking in function now that the whole thing is made; but even so, it adds interest. Maybe a place for a little list for the store, something that wouldn’t be devastating if it were lost.

She was real happy with how the ragged edge turned out. To make a secure seam, she used her stretch stitch so that even after clipping close to the seam, there were still plenty of stitches securing it. It sure would have been pretty with the orange showing. Product development deployment can sometimes have disappointments. A lot to be happy with though, as well. Slouchy angle showing lining

Product Development Deployment

Now she thinks she will add some decorative buttons to secure the straps to the top band. After adding elastic to crinkle it up, the top folds in some getting in and out of it.

Sixteen hours and counting…

When the muse gets a hold of her, it can sometimes turn into madness.

A Magnificent Obsession kind of madness.

Magnificent Obsession

Muse: Madness
Deploy: bring into effective action; utilize.
“they are not always able to deploy this skill”

Little Red-Haired Girls “New” Wheels

Little Red-Haired Girl taking her new wheels out for a try. Gertie taking the lead.

The first time Ms. SpoolTeacher met Little (Old, Senior) Red-Haired Girl, she was just a puppy of about 6 months. She had taken a trip from California to Arizona to visit her sister. This time, she was sharing a ride with her boyfriend, who was continuing on to New Mexico to visit his sister and would come back a week later for them to make the return trip home together.

Ms. SpoolTeacher had a roommate in her big (mansion to her) home in CA; so she left Stevie Weevie at home in good, loving hands. Here roommate was a life-long friend and animal lover extraordinaire, so she felt comfortable doing so.

The trip to AZ took several hours. As they pulled up to the gate in front of Ms. SpoolTeacher’s sister’s house, out ran a herd of doggies. Trailing among them to the rear was the cutest little red-haired puppy she’d ever seen. It was love at first sight. What struck her was how the little red-haired girl’s ears flapped as she darted to the gate. It looked as if she would go airborne at any time. “ar, ar, ar, ar, ar!….ar, ar, ar, ar, ar!” There was a string of about 5 of them. One of which, by then a senior, her sister had had for many years, Princess. Princess had gone to live with Mr. Pits for a time, several years actually because Mr. Pitts loved her so very much. But Mr.Pitts, in his retirement, decided he had to go to Hawaii and didn’t want to put Princess through the plane ordeal and quarantine at her advanced age, so Ms. ST’s sister acquired her back. Ms. SpoolTeacher loved princess with her old tattered nose and missing teeth. Her little growling rumble when she parsed her lips just so, was so very cute. “Awr, awr!” Still part of the pack. Princess had a lot of funny smells but it didn’t matter. She was adored.

So, while Ms. SpoolTeacher was there, she paid a lot of attention to this little red-haired girl whom her sister had named Faith. Faith had little Christmas tree-shaped teeth that she liked to show and if you put your hand anywhere near her such as to pet her….”ar, ar, ar, grrr, arr, grr!” For some reason, Faith liked Ms. SpoolTeacher too and wanted to crawl down into the covers where she slept; but if Ms. ST even dared try to reach down to pet her…”arr, grr!” Out came the Christmas tree-shaped teeth.

Ms. ST noticed Faith sneaking morsels of kibble from the dog food dish and scurrying off to a hiding place to eat it. Back to the dish for one at a time, stealthily, and then back away to eat it. She was skinny, then, but she was just a growing puppy. Later she would be a food hound, as if she couldn’t get enough. Little piggy.

Ms. ST spent a week loving her sister and her sister’s menagerie and then the boyfriend appeared at the gate to pick her up. By that time, Ms. ST had implored her sister to let her have Faith, “I’ve fallen in love with this little dog, Sis. Can I please take her from you?” Her sister said yes, that she had not liked her so much anyway. So they decided that it must have been meant to be for Faith to go to California. The next issue though was to convince Boyfriend to let her take the dog in his truck. He didn’t mind, but no sooner did they get on the road than Faith threw up all over the floor boards. I guess she hadn’t experienced motion like that before. She never did it again, but was never a restful traveler.

Fast forward…Faith turned into Gingersnap, into Mudgie, into Bungee, into Little Red-Haired Girl and has been a light of love in Ms. SpoolTeacher’s life for about 12 years now. Stevie Weevie and LRHG lived with Ms. ST in her big house for a couple more years and then they all went up to Northern CA for a month on a venture to develop a property that didn’t pan. They, and two cats, lived in a two room tent and the back of her truck for the duration and then headed back down to So. CA again to try to pick up where she had left off. She couldn’t make herself content, so decided to join her sissy in AZ to start a new life.

They (several fur people and Ms. SpoolTeacher) bought a little house and started anew. Stevie Weevie went to heaven about 3 years ago. Ms. SpoolTeacher’s sissy followed just a year ago and now Ms. SpoolTeacher has another of her sissy’s doggies, Gertis The Mertis Turtle. They all get along just fine.

Little Red-Haired Girl has gotten quite old and has trouble getting around as well as when she came raring out to the gate all those many long years ago. Stevie, LRHG and Ms. ST used to all trapse around the neighborhood on daily walks. They went quite far. First Stevie started stopping mid way and it wasn’t unusual to see Ms. SpoolTeacher lugging a 36 lb. Queensland Heeler/Beagle in her arms the rest of the way home. Soon, she realized they would have to keep the strolls to a minimum. Sometimes they just went to the park to sniff the grounds for other dogs.

Then, not long ago, LRHG started favoring certain legs and eventually would be quite lame by the time they got home. Ms. SpoolTeacher stopped their walks and just took them to the Park now and then; but Gertie was still frisky and it started grating on Ms. ST that they were all missing something.

Three wheeled throne for Little Red-Haired Girl to ride around the neighborhood on.

No sooner did she think about getting something for Little Red-Haired Girl to ride around the neighborhood on, then did she go to her local thrift store and find this contraption for two measly dollars. $2!! However, the handle clasp broke right away and she put it back together with spit and wire. It isn’t holding well and she will have to rig it up another way somehow. It is the perfect thing for them all to get out with and smell the roses (and a little dog poo too for The Girls).

free at last, free at last

Freedom run at the park…

"Come on you guys!"

“Come on you guys, hurry up, this is where the good stuff is!”

Okay, I'm with ya

Gertis The Mertis Turtle is a reluctant free person dog. She looked up at Ms. SpoolTeacher for permission to venture off. What a good girl. She’s a great walker. Just strides along, peacefully, happily.

So after they get home, Ms. SpoolTeacher checks their garden, plucks something for dinner and then does some more sewing.

how does your garden grow

All is well with the garden. Things are growing good….tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupe, beans, squash, cilantro, chard, beets, peppers, zinnias, marigolds and bees.

Happy Hour at the Bee Trough Bar

Happy hour at The Bee Trough Bar.

first beets of the seasn

These beets were the first of the season and were steamed for 15 minutes to so tender they didn’t need their skins removed…num, num! The tops will be sauted tonight with some other chard greens.

two little aprons flying in the breeze Apronology 101

These two little aprons were made for a friend to give as a gift to two little girls.

all is well, all is well with my soul

“All is well, all is well with my soul.”

Girls sleeps outside sometimes on hot hot nights

Little Red-Haired Girl sleeps outside sometimes on hot hot nights. She’s got clover to sleep in too, but she chooses the dirt. Grounding herself, must be. She comes in eventually, she doesn’t like to be very far from her pack for very long.

Gertis The Mertis Turtle

Gertis The Mertis Turtle, “Come on, let’s go for a walk.”

We’ll catch ya on the flip side.