sewing, sewing patterns, vintage fashion

Where I’ve Been and Other Stuff

Well, I’ve been gone for a while and it’s not been fun. I’ve been fighting a terrible case of tendonitis that has just left me miserable. I did something stupid that I knew would cause problems, and now I’m paying the price. I decided to start doing some gentle workouts but historically, I cannot do any type of upper body exercise at all, or it flares things up. This is the worst it’s ever been. Stupid is as stupid does. I’m trying to figure out the name of the chiropractor I went to several years ago. She adjusted my elbow, which I didn’t even know what possible, and it was the first time in my adult life that I went six months without elbow pain. I need to find her again, but I’m having problems.

I’ve also been to rheumatology and she is going to start me back on infusions for my rheumatoid arthritis, because I’ve developed a nodule. It makes my right index finger go numb, as if pain in every joint of my body isn’t enough. Sheesh. I’m getting a lot of relief from my paraffin bath (scored for $5 at Goodwill!), and recently bought these mittens and these compression gloves, so I can settle in with my mittens and my lavender neck roll and look like the mess that I am. At least it smells nice.

So I haven’t been listing much for almost two weeks because yeah, pain. Severe pain. I did power thru and have the horror quilt almost done. I do the final class today and whilst it looks kind of wonky and she will have to help me straighten it out, I’m going to tell my son that the chaos is just part of the theme. The quilting teacher is looking for help, so I may finagle some lessons from her in exchange for some social media love. Either way, I’ve learned a lot (you learn more from your mistakes, right?) and am going to probably try this again in the future. I’m going to use some of the leftover fabric to make my son’s girlfriend a horror-themed floppy hat that she can wear when they go to horror marathons at the drive in. I’ve never made a hat before, other than knitting, so I’ll probably use McCall’s 8254 and use View B.

I have plans to do a jumper dress for the grandgirls after this, but I think I have to learn to do buttonholes. That’s where either the quilting teacher or YouTube comes in. It’s insane to think that I have sold sewing patterns for nigh on 25 years but have never learned to sew other than basic seams. I’m going to keep plugging away though.

There’s a 25% off sale on all of my venues. Click here to access all of my shops. Sale ends at midnight tonight.

sewing

Horror-fying

It’s getting colder, which means I’m getting ready to go into my winter foray of sewing (poorly). I’m trying not to actually pull out my sewing machine for a while, because at the moment the sunroom table where I sew is literally covered in patterns and Aunt Martha’s transfers, and hubby will have a fit if I put more on there. It is, for the record, in his direct line of vision whilst he is on the couch (which is all day and night), so I do try to keep the pandemonium down to a minimum.

Our little town recently got a fabric store. This is a huge bone of contention between me and my husband because its been my dream to open a really good fabric store. Indiana is a fabric desert, with the sole exception (that I know of) being The French Seam, in northern Indianapolis. It’s small, but it has beautiful fabrics, and isn’t just a dearth of fleece and quilting cottons, a la Joann’s. I’ve been saying for years that I want a fabric store, and would love for it to be something like Vogue Fabrics in Chicago. We are, after all, just off the interstate. Hubby has been quite firm in saying it would never fly in our little town. He’s lived here much longer than me, so he might be right, but don’t kill my dream, man.

Then I saw that someone beat me to it. DAMN.

I haven’t been in there yet, but have been watching their Facebook page to see what they’re about. Kind of wondering if I could drop off some cards to point people my way, but haven’t decided. Then I saw that they are having sewing classes and thought, eh, maybe. Then I saw that they are doing beginning quilting classes and thought what the heck, I’ll do it. My only foray into quilting was making T shirt quilts for my husband’s boys out of their mom’s Race for the Cure shirts. They weren’t particularly well made, but at least one son appreciated it (the other threw his over the fence at me in a fit of anger. He won’t be getting it back. He’s a 50 year old brat.). I thought oh well, I can go take a class on a couple of Sunday afternoons and see what I can do.

I tried to figure out what the heck I was gonna do. The last thing we need in this house is more blankets. We have SO many. I had a memory quilt made for me last year out of my mom’s clothing, and love it. My daughter doesn’t need any more either, so making one for the grandkids was kind of out, at least for now. So I decided to make one for one of my boys. I have a bunch of my youngest’s T shirts from back in the day, and plan to make him a quilt from them, so that just left my oldest. But what kind of theme do you use for a 33 year old bachelor who is a complete free spirit who loves movies?

Why, a horror quilt, of course.

Horror is his favorite genre, so I picked out a ton ton of horror themed fabric (think: The Shining twins, Chucky, old school Dracula and Frankenstein, Freddy Krueger) for the front. The background? Blood spatter. The borders are creepy trees and more blood. I am SO creeped out by it all. I don’t like scary, even less do I like horror. The people in this class are going to think that this crazy old lady is insane, but I think it’s hilarious. Our town is super, super conservative in all of its thinking. Me? Not so much. I may need to video the reaction people have when they see what I’m doing. My friend, an expert quilter, thinks the whole concept is absolutely wonderful. This, coming from someone who goes to yarn conventions for excitement. Maybe I’m on to something?

Then I had a conversation with the Heir to the Throne, who doesn’t know I’m doing this at all. He was talking about The Sandman. Raving, in fact, about how it’s one of his favorite pieces of literature, and how Death is his favorite character. Well, now I had the back of the quilt figured out. It’s going to be quotes from The Sandman. I bought it on Spoonflower, here. See some of my other crazy choices here, here, here, here, here and here.

I’ll post pictures when I’m done. Class isn’t until the last two weekends of November.

sewing

Bittersweet

McCalls 7817, ©1981

My brother died at age 59 from colon cancer. He has been gone for several years now, but there’s not a day goes by without me thinking of him. He was such a voice of wisdom. He just knew things, and knew when to listen and when to speak. To say that i miss him is a gross understatement.

He loved gardening. He studied landscaping, and he was good at it. His backyard in Seattle was a thing to behold, with blooms in every season and in every corner, arranged so beautifully it could’ve been in a magazine. His favorite flower was irises, especially purple.

After he died, I started noticing irises on days that I missed him particularly badly, or when I really, really wished I could talk to him about something. This was no fluke. It wasn’t that I just hadn’t noticed them before. They appeared. For example, the week of Thanksgiving, in the third week of November the year he died, I was having a really sad day. It had been a really hard day, and I was wishing that I could talk with him about it. Later, I opened Facebook, and one of my friends said “look what I saw at church today”, and lo and behold, there were purple irises blooming at my old church in Indiana in the third week of NOVEMBER. That just doesn’t happen here. They are a spring flower, and are gone by June. I smiled. Jeff was saying hello.

This continued to happen over the years, then one day I got a call. I had been having back problems that had gotten really severe, and they had finally done an MRI. The doctor called and said there was something there. They didn’t know what, because the MRI had only caught the bottom, but I needed to have another MRI done higher up, and immediately because it could be a bleed, or a tumor, or God knows what. I was driving home from work thinking about the impending MRI and wishing I could talk with my brother, because he would’ve calmed me down. I missed him so much at that moment.

I went to have the MRI done. They put me into a dressing room where I changed into the uber-stylish gown. They started walking me down the hall to the MRI room, when suddenly I realized that there was a painting of purple irises ahead of me. I looked around, and they were on each side of the hallway beside me too. It was like my brother was hugging me. I felt his presence so strongly, and I knew that no matter what, I was going to be ok. It still makes me cry to think about it.

I went on to be diagnosed with lymphoma, with a large tumor that was pressing on my spinal cord, as well as chest and abdominal tumors and one under one of my arms. I had surgery. I had radiation. I had two and a half years of immunotherapy to put my Stage III cancer into remission, but I never once wavered in knowing that everything would be fine. And it is. Though B-cell follicular lymphoma is never cured (it lurks), I rolled through all of my treatment with only a bit of fatigue, and now have zero evidence of disease. Thanks, Jeff. I couldn’t have done it without you.

So when I came across this pattern of a quilt of irises, I did what I do whenever I see his favorite flower and say “hi Jeff.” If it wasn’t uncut, I would probably try to make it, and Jeff would watch me from above and laugh at how hilariously bad my quilting skills are. But I’d also sleep under it every night so he could give me those hugs I miss so much.