A Little Sick of Sewing

The mask marathon continues! I did do some other things, including running an errand and working on some tedious writing chores. But the day mostly felt like it was all about masks. I have now made 17. But meanwhile, I’ve had more requests from family members and I’ve also figured out how to improve the mask design. Naturally, it’s a little more time consuming, but the result seems to fit better. So this evening I cut out 10 more using the new design. I’m hoping that’s the last of them!

However, I have been facing a dilemma. Most of the masks I’ve made have used ¼-inch wide elastic ear loops. For a few I’ve been able to use elastic cord, because I actually used up all the ¼-inch elastic on hand. I have ordered some more elastic, but it won’t get here until the middle of next week—and I need to finish several of these masks by Saturday.

This evening as I worked in my sewing room, I noticed a clear plastic storage box and I stared at it for several seconds before remembering that I have a backup elastic stash. And there was enough ¼-inch elastic in there to at least make the masks that have to be done by Saturday! It’s this kind of experience that serves as justification for the hoarding of massive amounts of crafting supplies. Who could have predicted years ago that in 2020 everyone would need ¼-inch elastic?

Parting Shot:

I love it when my daylilies are blooming. I think they look like they’re smiling.

Mission Accomplished

If you’ve been reading this journal for long, then you may have noticed that I tend to sew in spurts. I can’t seem to find time to fit in a few minutes of sewing in my daily life, so every now and then I work really hard on a project for hours or days until I get it done.

Because I start teaching again next week, and because I’ve done so much traveling recently, I knew today was going to have to be a sewing day if I was going to do what I had committed to do—make some sheets for the baby bed I took to Flynn and Tiffany last month.

I had all the materials. All my fabric had been prewashed. Still, I had other things I had to do this morning, including running a couple of errands, so I didn’t even get the table all the way cleared for cutting out until noon. And I still had to do all the math to figure out what size rectangles I needed to cut.

Since this bed takes a cradle-sized mattress, I had to measure the mattress, figure out how the sheet would cover it, and add seam allowances, etc. Fortunately, I have a mattress here that goes with the cradle, because it would be really hard to fit the sheets properly without it.

The first sheet was a prototype and fit a little too snugly, so I made adjustments before cutting any more out. Once I had it all figured out, I could form an assembly line of sorts. Cutting out, ironing, serging, sewing, etc. I had to take several little breaks because nonstop sewing is really hard on my back and shoulders these days. During my breaks I worked on vocabulary for my students.

My goal was to get six sheets cut out and sewn today, and I did it. Whew! I know it doesn’t seem like much. Sheets are not complicated. These particular sheets are designed like an envelope with an overlap on the bottom, so they can’t come off the mattress no matter how wiggly a baby might be. But simple or not, it still took me all afternoon and much of the evening to get them done. I made four flannel sheets and two that are plain cotton.

In addition, I cut out a blanket and 8 burp cloths which I hope to assemble soon. I felt I had to take advantage of having the table cleared off, and cut out as much stuff as possible.

So for once I feel like I had a pretty productive Saturday. Meanwhile, Jasper did some blacksmithing with a couple of friends this morning and then helped fix a car and went out for coffee. Lucy and Tanner went to a wedding and then went out for coffee too. Walter did some work around the house this morning, but he is still pretty sick so he spent most of the afternoon napping. I think this illness is dragging on so long because he doesn’t get enough rest, so I’m glad he was able to today. Now that my sewing is done, I am looking forward to resting my aching back . . . .

Rainy Relief

Watering our yard yesterday worked like a charm! It rained this morning, and again for a few minutes this afternoon! The temperature didn’t hit 100 degrees either, so it was a double win.

I have put aside my academic work briefly to work on the sewing I really feel I have to do. This morning I worked on drafting the final pattern for the dress I’m making. I hate drafting patterns so much, but I can’t figure out any way around it if I know what I want and no one else has had the same idea!

I did take a break this afternoon to go hang out with my friend Donna:

Donna is in town to visit her dad, and I try to see her when she’s here since she lives in Virginia and I don’t see her often. So we met up at Panera and spent some time visiting before we both had to get back to our responsibilities. It is always so good to see her.

Jasper had a rough day today and woke up sick, but he felt it was more of an upset stomach than more colon trouble. He slept away the morning and then took some activated charcoal and felt much better. By this evening he was up to going to youth group.

After supper I had finished my drafting and was able to do the cutting out. I cut out the dress, a skirt, and reshaped the hem of a dress I bought because I didn’t like it the way it was. Tomorrow, I hope to get most of the actual sewing done. And a lot more school work too.

It’s Saturday AGAIN?

Today felt like our third Saturday in a row, since both Walter and Jasper have had the time off from their regular jobs.

Since Walter and Jasper did their yard jobs yesterday. Walter and Lina had this morning to finish up the floor job and put everything back in place. Those daycare kids will have sparkling floors when they return on Monday.

I had a very long to-do list for today. Even though I was busy all day, I feel like I didn’t make much headway.

I had a bunch of sorting and putting-away to do, to clear off something we are giving to Lina when she moves out in just a few days.

I took Jasper to Walmart as he had something to return and I needed a couple of things too.

Looking at the way the day was shaping up this morning, I gave up on making crumpets and instead made sourdough ham-and-cheese crepes for lunch. I hear they were tasty. And in case you’re interested, when I make savory crepes with meat and cheese filling, I make a spread to go on the crepe before I add the meat and cheese. I mix together two-thirds mayonnaise with one-third Dijon mustard, then I stir in as much Parmesan cheese as I can and still have it be spreadable. The spread really seems to enhance the flavor of the meat and cheese.

Whenever I needed a break from whatever else I was doing, I knitted for a few minutes. I made some progress, but didn’t get to where I wanted to be by this evening.

I finally cut out my dress. This isn’t even the real dress. This is a practice dress I am making from a couple of sheets so I can see if I like it enough to make it for “real.” I am modifying the pattern and am not at all sure that the result will be as attractive as I hope.

I spent hours going over book lists and doing some planning for the next school year. My “regular” classes start just six weeks from Monday! I have SO MUCH to do to get ready! And still three summer classes to teach too!

Starting Over

How was your Independence Day? Ours felt kind of like a Saturday. Walter went to work on floors. I cut Lina’s hair, then later took Jasper to Walmart to get some work pants, since he ripped the ones he was wearing yesterday.

I also did a bunch of knitting while waiting for Jasper to get up—on the project I started last night. And just as I used up the last of the first skein of yarn, I realized I had been following instructions for the wrong size and in fact had cast on the wrong number of stitches. Grrr! I had to rip out all my hard work and start all over again. I hate it when that happens.

Lina and I watched some Netflix while I worked on re-knitting what I had already knitted, and she worked on sorting all of our playing cards. We had a drawer full of card decks left over from chai party days. She was able to put together 17 complete decks of cards! I think some of them will be going to a thrift store. I certainly can’t imagine ever needing that many again!

I made homemade ice cream and corn on the cob and cauliflower “potato” salad. I chickened out of grilling the sausages out in the heat though, especially as there were only three of us. Spencer and Jade had other plans, and Jasper was invited over to a friend’s house for the evening.

We finished up by watching a video while Lina and I knitted, and then I cut out some pattern pieces in hopes that I’ll be able to cut out fabric tomorrow. I have an idea for a dress design but I needed a pattern to base it on. Of course, I still have a jillion things to do before I start teaching again next week . . . .

More Bee Business

After the good news on Jasper’s bees yesterday, there was more bee news today. There is a swarm residing on our neighbors’ property (the ones who bought our old house). What makes it kind of amazing is that their son is Jasper’s buddy who got a hive this year, only to have his bees abscond like Jasper’s did last year. And now there is a big swarm living in a tree right in their yard!

The boys checked it out and Jasper even borrowed my tripod so they could take pictures inside the tree. It looks very busy in there. It sounds like an expert is going to be called in to handle this one.

Meanwhile, Walter verified what Jasper had heard, that there is yet another swarm on the campus at the moment. Jasper would kind of like to capture it, but that would require buying a new hive, and they are not cheap. I’ll keep you posted!

Today, when not helping Jasper with school, I was going through my sewing room and looking for something—a pattern I had misplaced. As always, when I look for something I end up getting a lot of cleaning and organizing done. Don’t get me wrong—my workspace is far from pristine, but it’s a lot better than it was this morning, and I DID find the pattern I needed, which led to a cutting-out spree, which will lead invariably to some sewing. I hope I can keep my momentum going for a while. My sewing list is very, very long.


Yes, I know that is the answer to life, the universe, and everything, but it has other significance too. Forty-two is the number of cloaks I have made since I made the first two for Flynn and Lina some twelve years ago. I have at least four more on my list too! Number forty-two was Jasper’s belated Christmas present. He is obsessed with camouflage, so I made him a camo cloak.

1-24-15 Jasper's new cloak

He is happy with it. When he gets taller, he will need a new one. This one is actually a bit of a disappointment to me. I could not afford the nice camo fabric at the fabric store, so, since I knew this would not be a long-term cloak, I immediately thought of using sheet material, as I have so many times before. I could not find any camo sheets locally, so I looked around online until I found a great sale on a set of camo sheets. I was a little leery because they were microfiber rather than a cotton blend, but I have seen plenty of microfiber that did a pretty good cotton imitation, so I figured that’s what I was getting.

I never even pulled the sheets out of the packaging until late November, only to find that the microfiber is very thin and flimsy. I had to use it anyway, but I’ll never buy a synthetic again unless I get to see it in person first!

Most of today was spent on a task I thoroughly detest. Sure, I dislike cutting out fabric. Not enough to trust anyone else to do it for me (well, almost anyone), but I really don’t like it. However, I loathe tracing patterns even more. I have several patterns for the charity sewing project that I have to trace so that I can make each one in multiple sizes. One pattern in particular I bought online because it has been discontinued. It is perfect for this project but since there isn’t even a hope of getting another copy, I carefully traced off all four sizes. Another pattern I traced three sizes of. It is such tedious and meticulous work.

All day I kept telling myself, if I just get all this tracing done I can still have time to cut out some cute dresses and maybe sew a couple. Nope. I did cut out one dress, as my family sat around tapping their feet and waiting for me to clear off the table so they could have supper. I really hope that tomorrow I get to do some actual sewing!

Parting Shot:

1-24-15 Jasper's cloak from behind