Thursday, February 07, 2013

Sweet & Super-Quick Table Runner - and "fitting it all in" with needle and thREAD

Good morning sewing friends! A warm welcome and a piece of chocolate to those of you popping by from Elizabeth's needle and thREAD! How goes the sewing? Are you fitting it all in? This has been a sub-theme on Elizabeth's blog and in her comm box lately which I can relate to. Been thinking about it. I have to say, sometimes its overwhelming because I have so many ideas, from pinterest quilting boards, children's patterns I want to sew, skirts for myself I want to finish ... and progress is necessarily slow. I say necessarily because it simply cannot be a priority for a homeschooling momma like me, with toddlers and teens and middles and music classes and Young Explorers and Junior Scholars and hockey and showchoir and and and.  You know?

And yet, I need this hobby for my own sanity. How can I explain that it feeds my soul somehow? I don't know why it makes me happy.  It's as much the process as it is the product, even if it involves challenge and frustration and a seam ripper.  I do know that many other women feel the same way, Sewing Summit taught me that.

For now,  it's enough that I get to it as much as I do. And don't get me wrong, I work hard to fit it in. I sacrifice sleep, like I'm doing to write this post. Because day-time sewing during the week is not an option. So I book it in the schedule to sew with my friends once a month and plan for that and everyone in the family knows its coming up 'cause I do my prep work for it here and there. Other times, my husband is gracious enough to let me have a night off parenting duties to go to my space and sew; he knows I need it.  That is, if I'm not too exhausted from the day that I actually have the energy to go get busy ...

I think it helps to have a project cut and ready to go. I'm more likely to grab a half-hour in the evening if I don't have to face the prospect of tracing and cutting. But if I've gotten that done during the day somehow, when I'm more perky, and stick everything in a shoebox ready to go, then its much more exciting to go sit at the machine and get to work. Everything is in its place and waiting for me, right down to the machine being threaded with the right thread!

It also helps to be really excited about the final product ... if I have a brand spanking new pattern I'm dying to sew and the dedicated fabric, then I'm easily able to muster up the energy while the getting's good.  But if I'm humming and hawing, or not loving my fabric choice, then ... that project sits on the backburner for a while. Sometimes forever.

Remember that black and red polka-dot dress I made for my daughter for Christmas? I totally procrastinated that one. Brittany had to keep reminding me that Christmas was getting closer and I had promised her a dress.  Once I got busy with the dress, it went so fast, and her excitement over it made me so happy. That made it worthwhile. So it helps to have someone keep you accountable, even if its a group like needle and thREAD; or a sew-along (but don't be a slave to it - its okay to miss a week here and there!!).  Right?  (Aside: I am a bit of a slave to it).

I have a love-hate relationship with having a fabric stash. Oh my goodness. Twenty years ago I went nuts in fabric stores. In the name of the stash. Gotta have a good selection of the color wheel, different variations, plaids & polka-dots, fashion fabric and quilting fabric ... and go crazy on patterns when they came on sale.  Lots of dreams and plans there. But guess what? Some of that fabric went untouched for years and years and many patterns remained unsewn. What a surprise. Its easy to get caught up in what you think you might sew, but these days I am much more prudent about the stash.  For me, I have come to see the wisdom in buying what you need for only a couple of projects at a time. Unless you absolutely unequivocally love love love that fabric, don't buy it. But when you are ready to buy, buy everything you need to complete a project - the fabric, the zip, the buttons, the trim, the whatever - and put it in a container ready to go for when the mood strikes.

This week I'm sharing a table runner I've had on one of my pinterest boards for some time and I just love it. It was so easy to do, and quick too. This is from a tutorial by Melissa over at Polka Dot Chair and she calls it her "Skinny Simple Table Runner."  Its just big squares, but that's the beauty of it - its just BIG SQUARES! I like the dimensions Melissa provides for cutting. One tip with this - use fabrics you LOVE.  Not just like. Because you are going to be seeing this little eye candy day in and day out, so make it count. My fabrics are Amy Butler, are you surprised? I think this runner also does well when you use larger scale prints because it really shows them off. And on that note, I kept the quilting simple, just 3/4" lines with the walking foot. I have a guide that attaches to my walking foot to keep the measurements consistent.  It doesn't take long at all.  But, if you look ultraclosely, you'll see I have yet to bind it.  I'll finish it, I promise!!  I really enjoy the fresh, spring colors, especially here in Calgary where I still have a blanket of white snow in my yard and I'm pining for Phoenix.

What am I reading this week? Well, I was intrigued by a book described in our Catholic Dioscesan newsletter called "The Spiritual Challenge of Midlife: Crisis or Opportunity" by Anselm Grun.   I'm in my early 40s, and if you are beyond 40 then you can relate to how things change up a bit.  So I was intrigued by the topic. I checked to see if it was available on the handy dandy kindle, and indeed it was! Download.

I've only just begun, but how the book even came about is quite interesting. It seems that the author's monastic community noticed that a number of the brothers over the age of 40 would just leave, presumably due to midlife crisis. They left their vocation and community, so the remaining men were prompted to hold a day of theological study to consider the issue of midlife.  And how to cope with it. They looked at the literature from a spiritual point of view, especially that of German mystic Johannes Tauler.  They read essays. Shared personal experiences. Other religious communities showed interest. Eventually this small book was written.  It's definitely geared more toward the religious than the housewife ... but there are some interesting tidbits so far.  For example, Tauler believes that only after forty do all of our spiritual efforts bear fruit; that it represents a turning point in people's lives. That there are many scriptural parallels to being 40 in the Bible (the number 40 is everywhere and Tauler believes it a sign of spiritual progression).

"God works in us through life and through the experiences that life itself brings. God empties us through disappointments, exposes our shallowness through our failures, and works in us through the pain he expects us to endure. These experiences of being emptied are intensified during midlife. It is at this point, then, that we must allow God to take over all of our spiritual strivings."

So, I'll let you know on the book.

Until then, God bless your sewing and reading efforts, and have a great weekend!


  1. A very nice idea for a table runner! I've been telling myself to make one, and I'm going to have to do it - I keep seeing nice ones everywhere. Good job! (I found your link at Elizabeth's)


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