The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Learning to Sew (Part I)

Welcome to the chaos of my latest endeavor:

Yep, I’m taking up a new hobby: sewing! My good friend, Kelli, participated in this thing called Backtack a couple of months ago. She’s a big ‘crafter’ and found this activity on-line through one of her crafting websites. Basically she was paired up with another crafter and had to make her a project and send it to her anonymously. She, in turn, also received an anonymous project. Anyway, she had been talking about how fun it was, and I’ve always wanted to learn to sew, so I decided to join in for Backtack II. This time, the project is to make a bag any way that you like (sew it, knit it, macrame it out of bubblegum wrappers, if you choose) and fill this bag with crafting items you think your recipient might enjoy. So it does entail a bit of sleuthing. I was given the name and blog address of a gal in California. I signed up for a fake email address and sent her a list of questions about what she likes and doesn’t like, and now my task is to create a bag. It all seemed very simple in theory.

I started out at the fabric store around the corner on Friday. I picked out a pattern of a bag I liked (while Ben, the boy-genius, chatted the ladies who worked there up about King Tutankhamen and how he was king at nine years old, etc.) and got the sales lady to help me get everything I needed to make it. I’m starting out with super-cheap fabric from the half-off room so that I can make a prototype of the bag just to make sure I can actually do it. So that little hour long trip to the store started to make me think about how little I know about sewing. Sure, I have a sewing machine, but I’m not totally sure what all those settings do…

Yesterday, I sat down with the pattern and the fabric and spent most of the day cutting. I think there were three reasons, OK, no FOUR reasons why it was so difficult and time consuming:

1. I can’t actually work on the bag unless little Mr. Gray is sleeping. The Living Tornado has a radar for what he could ruin that would really upset me and also what might injure him. So I basically had to spread it all out on the floor in the living room and work for a bit and then clean it all back up three times yesterday.

2. I’m an exceptionally slow cutter. The biggest problems are my left-handedness (I cut right-handed, but it still throws me off) and the fact that my hands naturally shake like I’m a meth-addict. It’s a problem I just have to learn to live with (the shaking hands, not the meth-addiction, I swear, I don’t have one).

3. I spent the first half of the day using the little scissors I’ve had in the junk drawer for the last three years and have used to cut everything from packing tape, to wrapping paper, to stubborn food wrappers. They were a little dull. Jason showed up from a trip to Home Depot with a nice long, sharp pair of new ones about mid-day. They helped SO much.

4. Um, I picked a really complicated pattern. My grandma (master seamstress that she is) showed up this morning to check out my progress and help me a bit. She gasped a tad at the bag I’d chosen to do. “You’ve picked a really tough one, Dear. You could have started with something a little easier, you know.”

Yeah, I guess I could have, but that’s just not me. When I learned to cook, I started with homemade lasagna. It took me four hours, but it tasted pretty good! So hopefully this will be OK too. I’m hoping to finish the prototype this week and start the real one next weekend… I’ll let you know how that goes.

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