Sunday, July 12, 2009

Three day weekends and the joy of the sewing machine

You heard it right. Three day weekends, every weekend. At least for 4 more weeks, when my summer job as VISTA volunteer with Kalamazoo Public Schools ends. Until then, I've been enjoying a nice schedule: 4 days of work, which leaves me drained but fairly happy, then three days of time to craft, bike ride, cook, and play with my dogs.

And have I ever been crafting. I seem to come out of my knitting slump with a vengeance: now all I want to do is knit. And sew. And crochet. And spin. Today saw a good 7 hours straight of crafting, photographing, and generally maintaining a consistent level of productivity that I haven't had for a long time.

It's great! I love getting into that zone, where 7 hours can go by, and not only am I not tired, I'm enthused and ready for more. A bit like a zombie on yarn fumes, I suppose. It's the kind of focus that sat me down at a sewing machine with a pile of old jeans, ripped t-shirts, leftover fabric scraps, and an ugly tweed jacket last weekend. And the same productivity that produced these five patchwork squares in a little over two days of focused work:These five squares will be paired with squares of felted turquoise cashmere (from a recycled sweater, of course!), backed with a magenta flannel sheet (also recycled), and made into a wonderful, funky, and completely upcycled baby blanket. If only I had a baby to give it to!

The idea came from a jacket my mother made me: about 10 years ago she discovered a book on crazy quilting, at the same time my grandmother was going crazy for silk ribbon embroidery. The two were a match made in heaven. Using old scraps of fabric my grandmother had, my mother made a funky and completely decadent jacket. All sort of silk, velvet, and colorful prints of fabric went into the body of the jacket. Then, using beads, buttons, old jewelry and anything that glittered she embroidered the jacket to the nth degree. Of course, I was 12 and had to be forced to wear it. Now, 10 years later, I'm wondering if I can get her to overnight it to Kalamazoo!

The technique she had used stuck in my mind: take any piece of fabric and cut it so it has 5 sides. Sew a strip of fabric to one side; trim; turn; repeat. Continue until you have a big piece of fabric, and trim to be square (if you desire). And so I sewed, trimmed, and turned, using every scrap of fabric from the pile of clothes up.

And I couldn't be happier with the results! I'm not sure I'm going to embroider this blanket. I think the colors are loud enough that anything else might be overkill. And, I tend to like simplicity, even if it is funky,loud simplicity. That being said, this blanket is going to be fantastic. Anyone have a baby in need of a blanket, cause I'm going to have a blanket in dire need of a good home probably, oh, tomorrow at this rate! I'm so happy that my first major sewing project on my new machine is turning out so well!


Trina said...

Wow, that looks amazing! I love crazy patchwork - my friend ran a craft day and showed us how to make crazy patchwork elephants! Mine's nearly finished :) Lotsa fun! (PS - so jealous about your 4-day weekends!)

Catherine said...

Thanks Trina! They're addictive, aren't they? Can't wait to see your elephant :)