Lots of pockets

I’m unbelievably tired this morning, so much so that I’m having green tea with my breakfast (usually caffeine is barred from my routine!). I think it’s because I had a crazy dream last night about being on the run from some evil former friends (dream friends, not real ones!), and I kept having to dodge them by jumping out of the windows and down flights of stairs, climbing roofs and the outsides of buildings, and just generally parkour-ing my way around a crowded (but beautiful and historic) city. On top of that, there was also a cute boy singer who fell in love with me, and I had to run away from him because the bad girls figured it out. It was kind of amazing because all this strength and agility were just natural to me in the dream, but I couldn’t enjoy it because I was so terrified of what the baddies would do to me if they caught me. I don’t know why it should be that athletic dreams tire me out in real life, but they always do; I always wake up feeling as if I really had been running and leaping all night. Luckily I haven’t yet throttled Erik in my attempts to evade dream capture. 😉

Well, that’s what I get for playing Millennium 2 and reading The Widow Ginger before bed!! Too much adventure!

I’ve had a very busy couple of crafting days, followed by enjoyable (and much-needed) nights out, which is why I haven’t clocked out here. There’s so much I could show and tell you, but I’ll try to keep it short — I have to leave in a bit for a huge rummage sale anyway!

Thursday: inserts galore, and fabric match-making

seafoam insert On Thursday I finished the removable pocket inserts for all the omiyage pouches in my shop and for the Craft Happy inventory. Relatively speaking, they took no time at all, but they add so much more value and use to the pouches. I realize now that these inserts have been weighing on me for long weeks, ever since Tina first gave me the idea to make them back in January. If I’d known that making them was going to be so simple, I ought to have done it a long time ago and saved myself the burden of anxiety about having them on my action lists! Maybe that’s a lesson for me: prioritize by urgency first of course, but after that, get to the quicker tasks first. Unfinished tasks (what David Allen calls “open loops”) all take up huge amounts of psychic energy, and in the case of something like these inserts, that amount of worry is completely disproportionate to the amount of time it would take to actually complete the task. So it’s better to do the quicker tasks first.

After finishing all the inserts, I wanted to try making a similar thing for my floppy tote bags. floppy tote insertI love these totes, but I never put pockets into any of them because they were reversible, and I didn’t want the pockets on the outside. Then it occurred to me that an insert would take care of this problem. At first I was going to do a bottom insert, but the bag isn’t huge, and if the pockets were at the bottom I’d be constantly irritated when I tried to put in a magazine or notebook and it caught on the pockets. So I attempted to hang an insert from the straps instead. It looks all right, but it doesn’t work perfectly. It’s too floppy (even with a heavyweight stabilizer), and because it’s only attached at the upper corners, it sort of bows to the middle instead of sitting flush against the side of the bag. Grrr. I’m not sure how to fix this problem, so this product is shelved for now, until I have more time (post-show) to think about it.

After the inserts, I decided to select fabrics for some zip pouches, so I pulled out all my possible exterior fabrics and all possible interior fabrics, and started match-making. I really enjoy putting fabrics together; I get into a fierce state of concentration and the finished combinations bring me such joy. I kept feeling a sense of déjà vu, and eventually came to realize that matching the fabrics reminded me of matching tutor and students as a literacy coordinator! It’s an odd parallel, but the activities really feel similar to me. Making matches was one of my favorite parts of that job, because a good match always felt like such perfect, magical alchemy. A functional but spark-less tutor/student pairing will never have the same kind of impact on people’s lives as the right match will, and likewise, a bad pattern, color, or texture combination basically ruins both fabrics.

At first I wondered if it was flippant to compare fabrics to people, but soon decided it wasn’t. Of course they’re not the same, but I do take fabric-matching extremely seriously, as I do all my crafting supply choices. A piece of fabric isn’t just a textile to me; it represents thousands of hours of labor, acres of land, gallons of water, and significant use of energy and natural resources. As a crafter, I feel an ethical obligation to respect the history of the materials I work with — this is partly why I feel honor-bound to use recycled or secondhand supplies whenever possible. So matching fabrics isn’t just aesthetic, it’s also part of my commitment to use everything as thoughtfully and non-wastefully as possible; getting the best combination of fabrics helps ensure the fabrics and the finished product will be put to the best use I can manage.

Friday: experiments with zippered pockets

yellow zip lining For the custom cash apron I’m working on, I knew I’d have to learn how to make zippered pockets. Knowing my past history with zipper education, this made me very apprehensive. But it was surprisingly easy, far easier than making zippered pouches! I used this tutorial, and I only messed up once and it turned out to be rather easily fixable. So now I have a happy spring-colors lining — with zip pocket — all ready for a tote. If I have time before Craft Happy, I’ll make the tote for the show, otherwise it will go into my shop eventually. Yay!

After my positive experience with the first zip pocket, I plunged in and began a test apron, which would be a run-through of the basic design for the custom apron. I wanted to make something with a totallyfirst zip apron different feel than the custom apron will have, so I picked out some cheery checked fabrics and some of the yo-yos I made earlier this week. I probably shouldn’t have used such lightweight fabric, because I had to stabilize them and now they don’t hang as smoothly as I’d like, but overall I’m very happy with this apron. I like the look, I like the surprising pattern combination, and I’m very, very happy that I figured out how to do the zip pocket on it.

first zip apron on tableOf course I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mess up several times while figuring out the design — I spent lots of quality time with my seam ripper — but it did work out in the end, and now I’m ready to begin the custom order. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll list this apron in the shop or save it to bring to Craft Happy (will people get what it is? should I just save it to show vendors in case anyone inquires about mine? how would I display it?), but it’s done at least, and that’s an afternoon’s work.

I was going to tell you about the evening outings that lifted my spirits and helped me avoid sewing burnout, but now it’s time to go rummaging. Happy weekend, everyone!