gay goobers in sweaters: a souvenir
Sunday, April 12, 2009
The whole downtown pretty much shuts down on Tuesdays, which is why a thrift store was a highlight of our sightseeing. And I don't mean vintage (though T or C has lots of those, too.) I mean thrift store.
There, we found our favorite souvenirs of the trip, a collection of 1950s and '60s knitting pattern books.
Behold a sample, a little slide show I call Gay Goobers in Sweaters. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
name that craft
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Ruth said this about that:
I'm pretty sure you're on to an interesting new market, Sophie -- passive-aggressive versions of stuffed animals that will scare kids or undermine their self-esteem. Now all you have to do is come up with an appropriate name for it.
when cute crafts go bad
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
My friend Jenna sent me the pattern for Huug the Hug Monster and I loved it immediately. I wanted to try something different for the face, though. I decided to wing it and invent something else, take a completely different approach.
And that’s when things went horribly wrong.
The basic shape of this little fella is cute and huggable.
And the little face I embroidered is sweet, isn’t it? Happy, loving and unthreatening.
But put them together and the result, I’m sure you’ll agree, is deeply disturbing.
Jenna says, "It's like an Aztec god is trying to burst out of a statue..." Which is interesting but not huggable.
I'm going to rip that face off and invent a new one. I knew it was too small when I was making it, but I didn't know how creepy it would look. The next one will be stitched directly onto the body.
i am not worthy
Sunday, March 2, 2008
My brother has shipped down to me my mother’s sewing machine, accessories and sundry sewing room detritus. It’s been sitting around in boxes in my office because I haven’t time to go through it nor space to store it. The sewing machine will stay in its box until I can get a new cabinet for it. After some discussion, Nick and I decided Mom’s old sewing machine cabinet, though steeped with deep nostalgia for us, was barely hanging on and wasn’t worth shipping.
In some ways, Mom’s sewing supplies are her most intimate possessions. They were an extension of her. With her hands, she molded fabric and thread into crisp suits, fluttery skirts, dainty smocking. Knitting needles were extensions of her fingers—they twinkled magically and intricate webs spun out.
Although Mom did teach me to do crewel embroidery (it’s been a long time…) needlepoint was a complete mystery to me. Mom would sit for hours on the couch with a large frame perched on her knees, a magnifying glass balanced on her chest from a cord around her neck, a sheet of graph paper with a complicated pattern of miniscule dots and x-s lying on the couch next to her. Her needle flew up and down, sometimes making a tiny “pop” as it penetrated the tightly woven and stretched canvas.
No, I didn’t have patience for that kind of work.
Nick and I agreed to give the needlepoint frames and other needlepoint accessories to our childhood friend Jean, who also does needlepoint and counted cross-stitch and who worshipped Mom’s artistry. She will use them with love.
I got the sewing stuff, which has been sitting around for weeks until this morning. I am excited that sewing has finally “taken” for me and will probably keep me entertained for years to come. I know Mom was happy about it, too. I am thrilled to have Mom’s sewing machine and iron (who knew an iron could be so good?) but didn’t know what I would find in the rest of the boxes, beyond a Ziplock full of tired looking thread and some grubby pincushions.
But as I started unpacking the box, I saw Mom through refreshed eyes.
Mostly, I thought, “Wow, she knew how to use this stuff?”
I opened one box and it was full of sewing machine needles, a multitude of sizes and types, most made by a German company. Different types of needles work best in different kinds of fabrics; for example, you need a ball point needle for knits. I am only beginning to master and appreciate the nuances of needles and was overwhelmed by the selection Mom has collected. In a small scrap of fabric, she had carefully pinned a row of used machine needles, for later use. Clearly, she knew by sight the exact purpose of each needle.
This grimy box of bobbins has been around as long as I can remember. I’ll keep it for sentimental value, even though I also am nurturing my own grimy box of bobbins.It’s a treasure trove. If Mom owned a sewing gizmo, chances are excellent it’s a genuinely useful sewing gizmo and of good quality. I haven’t rummaged through this box yet but I’ve already identified a special ruler thingy for measuring out buttonholes. Sweet. I hope I can figure out all the other gadgets. I have no idea what the red thing or the white triangle are for but I’m a believer in the right tool for the job and if I can puzzle them out, I’m sure there are lots of great tools in here.
I picked up a plastic box thinking it was storage for the kind of little useful chazzeri that one keeps next to the sewing machine—stitch rippers (I found three among the flotsam) and thimbles (just one) and stray buttons.
But upon opening the box, I gasped and fell to my knees:
These are all sewing machine feet, each for a different type of stitching. I’ve used a zipper foot and a zig-zag foot and a buttonhole foot, but this…
I’m in way over my head. And my respect for Mom grows.
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