Tag Archives: sewing

A storm and some coffee

I just ate an entire bag of chocolate covered pretzels. No regrets.

There is no clock in my bedroom. In fact, I never even look at the time before I go to bed. I retire for the day when I become tired enough to go to sleep. I wake up after whatever amount of sleep I need in order to awaken naturally. Let me take that back. I pretty much wake up when my feline daughter, Marley, joins the dog and I in bed and fidgets so much that I can no longer fall asleep. It’s usually about 6 am by then.

The connection between the pretzels and the lack of a clock in my bedroom is by now rather obscure. Ha yes. I was going to segway from talking about how I ended the day (pretzels in hand) to how I started it.

The day began to the sound of a chainsaw. It has been raining freezing rain all weekend and fallen limbs a few houses away required management by the electric company crew. There is a crust of ice so pure on everything that it looks as though the entire landscape has been dipped in liquid pearls. Silvio took these fantastic photos earlier today.

I spent the weekend helping out at Brown & Jenkins. I normally handle the website maintenance and social media activity for this Cambridge, VT Coffee Roaster, but an employee who was on duty this weekend had an injured arm so I helped out with filling orders and moving heavy coffee bins from shelves to the packaging table. I also went in early to brew and set up the to-go coffees, since this would have been tricky for her to accomplish with only one arm.

It was a good weekend. We had a nice production line going between the two of us and it felt good to be of service to someone else. Funny how the simplest things can give us a sense of purpose, or usefulness.

The place was very busy, in spite of the icy conditions. This morning, many people did not have power. I lost power also, just moments after getting up, but drove over to the coffee shop anyway since I knew these outages can be quite localized. We debated whether we’d stay open, but after a while people began showing up at the door for a warm cup of coffee and a change of scenery from their cold homes.

And a funny thing happened. Often, we complain about the weather, even when it is only a bit windy or colder than expected. This weekend, however, no one complained. At least not at the coffee shop.

Is it possible for the setting to influence the tone of the conversation? Do people complain about the weather more naturally at the laundromat, but less so at a coffee shop? There was even a man who came in saying that a tree was likely going to fall on his house today, there was no avoiding it, but for now he wanted a good coffee and “Ho well. We’ll deal with it if it happens,” he announced calmly, with a smile. He was utterly serene. We create so much drama. It was nice to witness acceptance.

Three more pouches sit on my table, waiting to be sewn and assembled. That will be it for this year. I’ll sew until I feel tired.


Embracing Imperfection

I am not a seamstress. I own a sewing machine, but have never turned it on. My sister kindly offered it as a gift one year, thinking that it would be a good tool to add to my arsenal, so I could produce more items faster. I had every intention of learning to use it, but there is just something about sewing by hand that I find utterly captivating. It relaxes me so much that I can work for hours never thinking about eating a bite.

I am most pleased with what I make when it is spontaneous and slightly flawed, and I am not comfortable with mass production. I usually make three or four of one item at a time, no more, and I make only one paper mâché animal at a time, occasionally two.

ps - 0516As I mentioned above, I am not a seamstress. I create patterns on a whim, often just in my mind. Some end up on paper later, after I have made a first item and held it in my hands so we get acquainted, so to speak. If I am pleased with it, I figure out approximate dimensions and make a pattern from there.

Since my patterns are based on freestyle drawings, or simply on a concept in my mind, they are not perfectly symmetrical. This leads to errors. It is often these errors that spark new ideas; a different use of buttons, a new style of collar and so on. In fact, I just realized that I meant to use the yellow fabric with the green vest. Ho well!

ps - 0516 2I have been working on three Messenger Dolls, off and on between writing assignments, for my display at Silvio’s Ornament Studio. When it came time to cut fabric for the vests, I made a mistake and ended up running out of the fabric I wanted to use. So now I will make dolls with two-tone vests.

Since my patterns are improvised, sometimes when I put the clothes on a doll they fit funny. This, I think, is where the reason for my love of sewing by hand is revealed. I have found that I am thrilled with the imperfections. Without them, the dolls would not come out with the right personality.

This is a great contradiction for me, because I am otherwise quite bent on perfection in other areas of life and when I write. I will review this text several times before I click on the publish button, even though this is my personal blog. However, because the imperfections of my artwork inspire me so much, doing this work, it seems, gives me permission to let go of obsessive perfection. That’s my theory anyway.

Tonight, I set the dolls aside to begin working on new square pouches. Silvio nearly sold out!

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