Well hello there! How do you do? My name is Edith and it's so nice to meet you! I'm guest posting today for my friend Elizabeth as she's kindly asked me to share a bit of my sewing with you. (She's busy tending to her mission as nurturer of sports injuries and overseer of major home improvements.)
To tell you the truth, I was a little suprised when Elizabeth asked me to fill in for her today. I mean, I've only been sewing for a little over a month. Maybe two? I'm a knitter, you see, and my girls and I, we're just beginners in this craft of pulling needle and thread through fabric.
But oh, how we love it already!
My story began not so long ago when I asked Elizabeth to suggest a place for a beginner like me to, well...begin. Without hesitation she directed me to Deborah Moebes' Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time. (As I'm sure you know, Elizabeth's written all about this book.) So that's where I find myself in this new world of needles and threads. My daughters and I, learning to sew, one project at a time.
We read through the introductory chapters, taking in every footnote and caption. We spent a few weeks gathering all the necessary supplies and worked through all those mini projects - the ones you're tempted to skip so you can just get on with all the good stuff. All those stitch samplers and thread drawing lessons? They've paid off indeed!
The girls and I have since moved on to the real lessons, the learn to sew one project at a time kind of lessons. What fun it's been!
Like a few weeks ago, when we gathered around the family table and admired our dinner napkins with neatly mitered corners.
And those picnic placemats with bias bound edges in lesson two? We didn't see much use for them but were ditch stitching adorably quirky knitting needle cases in no time.
This week we've been working on the reversible, flat-bottomed tote. Oh my! I know exactly what I'll be elving this year for handmade Christmas gifts! These totes are the perfect project for an aspiring sewist. (And my husband's hopeful that my success in creating them will aid in greatly reducing my Vera Bradley purchases.)
Yes, my dear, I think they will!
I loved every step of this project, from creating the flat bottom to that voila moment when I pulled the outer bag and straps through the lining and realized I'd create a fully lined bag. Happy crafting moment, I tell you.
This tote here is my new knitting bag, embellished with hand-carved buttons from Wooly Moss Roots.
I'm not ashamed to admit how much I love this tote. And yes, I fully confess to standing before the mirror with it thrown over my shoulder, admiring it until the girls caught me and laughed silly. They're wondering if I'm going to wear it while I sleep.
Don't tempt me, I told them. I just might!
Creating with needle and thread. I think it's safe to say I'm smitten. My knitting needles aren't going anywhere, mind you. But it sure is nice to create a little pretty something out of fabric to go along with all those beloved hand knits. We plan to keep learning to sew, one project at a time. (However I must admit that lesson 5, the hipster belt, gives me pause. The mother of more than a half dozen children, I'd sooner wear this birdie tote on my head than leave the house with a hipster belt buttoned around my belly. But I digress.)
And I suppose this post isn't complete until I weave my current reading in here somehow. With all this crafting it's mighty hard to do a lot of reading. That's why I invested in a subscription to Audible. (Money well spent!) Right now, I'm listening to Bleak House by Charles Dickens. (And the knitting needle cases I crafted above, they were inspired by the book. Those bird cages in the second case bring to mind the eccentric character Miss Flite, do they not?)
This unabridged Audible edition of Bleak House, the version read by Sean Barrett and Teresa Gallagher, is such a treat! Barret reads for the omniscient narrator while Gallagher reads the parts narrated by the character Miss Esther Summerson. The readers are truly gifted. Somehow they have the ability to bring each character to life. Delightful!
In the spirit of Elizabeth's 31 Days on Mission, I leave you with a thought from Dickens' character, Miss Esther. Perhaps you remember the scene? Having just arrived at Bleak House, Esther's guardian Mr. Jarndyce asks her to share her impression of Mrs. Jellyby, the misdirected philanthropist. Her cause, the African project that "employs all of her time" - her mission to "educate the natives of Borrioboola-Gha" - she lives that mission at the expense of her pittifully neglected husband, children and household.
"We thought perhaps," said I, hesitating, "it is right to begin with the obligations of home, sir; and that, perhaps, while overlooked and neglected, no other duties can possibly be substituted for them."
-Miss Esther Summerson, Bleak House
Yes, my sweet Elizabeth. This is your Africa, this lovingly tended home of yours. This pouring out of yourself -- tending twisted ankles and creating a peaceful nest for your family.
The whole world's a better place for it.
Does autumn call you into your sewing space? Are you thinking flannel pjs or cozy quilts? Or are you embroidering? Pulling a needle with thread through lovely fabric to make life more beautiful somehow? Would you share with us just a single photo (or more) and a brief description of what you're up to? Will you tell us about what you're reading, also? Would you talk sewing and books with us? I'd love that so much.