Monday, August 20, 2012


I've been away from blogging. First of all, it's work related. We've had a huge project that required a lot of my time; overtime and driving thither and yon. (Hmmmm. I should do a post on old words I still use.) I come home from a drive or an overnight or a day at the office and collapse into the recliner. Up go the feet, recline the back (Whoops. Move it away from the wall first.) and settle in for an hour or hour and a half nap. Usually, that would delay the onset of the sandman, but I'm quite worn out at the end of a day so slipping into sleep hasn't been a problem.

And, I'm unsettled with my RA meds. I'm supposed to be cutting back on the Prednisone but I'm scared that the driving I've had to do will take more than a little toll on the joints so I have not gone from one whole pill to a half pill. I have one more trip, I hope only one more, and then I can start cutting those pills in twain. I don't feel like cooking when I'm tired like this so cereal and oatmeal are staples. What did our prairie ancestors do when they worked 10 hours in the fields in August? There wasn't a Subway to make them a sandwich. They couldn't pop open a can of tomato soup. I often feel guilt in chugging down a mug of soup because I'm too tired to do any "real" cooking. My great-grandmother didn't do this. I'll bet she ate better than I.

So, blogging has been something of a second or third after-thought. There are so many photos uploaded to my Flickr account with the idea of a post behind them. This past week, I haven't considered writing anything other than the reports I needed to get done. Those are sitting to my left, finished and ready to be delivered with tomorrow's jaunt. I have time to consider blogging again. My goal is, always, a post a day. I am quite behind. Let's get somewhat caught up, shall we?

One of the trips of the past week was to Iowa for a meeting with clients. My boss was on vacation and this was a "What can we do for you?" kind of meeting. Instead of my boss having to pay overtime and mileage, I decided to stay overnight with my mom. I haven't been back to see her since March. When I called, I said, "I'm going to bring that box back." You should have heard her cackle.

"Oh good," she laughed. "I have a box you can take back with you. More fabric I found."

Pilchard's box was put in the back seat of the Jeep and dropped in the living room where mom could find it to fill for the next time I come back. In return, she handed me a smaller box with fabric scraps. When I got home, I took the scraps out to see what she'd found. It was like looking backwards in time. Witness these two squares found in the bottom of the box.

The fabric on the right is from the very first item I ever made. It was a skirt and it was required in Home Economics class in 7th grade. When I pulled it from the box, I actually had to sit down. I turned the piece over and over in my hand. It's a cotton, but it has a shiny finish to it. I remember, back when I started sewing, that fabric, while on bolts, was not always made evenly. Edges would often be angled and pinning pattern pieces onto non-square fabric resulted in awkwardly hanging clothing. You'd take a thread and pull it through the edges to form a line. Then, you'd cut off the extra fabric of this line, thereby squaring the edges. I remember how the thread of this broke, constantly, because of the sizing applied to the fabric. I remember that it took an hour or more to get the fabric square in order to pin the skirt pattern onto it.

It was a very simple skirt; two pieces; a front and a back. The waistband was elastic and there were no pockets. I remember being so pleased with this and desiring to make more clothing. We couldn't afford much at that time so "current" fashion was not something I was a party to. But, by being able to sew, I could have the latest trends in clothing for a fraction of the cost. My mother sewed. It was kind of expected that you learned, at some point during high school. I don't remember her sewing as much as I did but she probably didn't have the time.

The blue on the left is from something she had made. I cannot, for the life of me, remember what that was. I'm thinking a dress or a jumper, perhaps. I look at that swatch now and think, "Wow, I'd like that fabric now. It would make a great camp shirt." I love the sort of watercolor pattern in the vibrant blues with green accents. I"m pretty sure she bought the fabric and the material and I made whatever it was she wanted. We often did that as she just didn't have the time to sew.

Looking at these pieces brings back the hours spent looking through the fabric and the pattern books at the dry goods store in town. You had to order patterns back then, as they didn't have a way to store everything in every size. It took about a week to get them. You'd mark the fabric you wanted and they would hold it under the counter until the pattern came in. Fabric was laid out on long tables with everything from upholstery to special occasion to cottons to knits all mixed together.

Later, when an actual fabric store opened two doors down, you got to sit at tables and look through all sorts of pattern books. Fabric was organized by type and color. It was, and still is, to some extent, a magical time to be able to look through the pattern books and run my hands over the myriad of fabrics in their textures, prints and sizes.

I don't know what happened to the two items made from these swatches. I'm sure we gave them away. They really would be vintage now, if we still had them. I have been sewing a long, long time.

Beverage:  Huckleberry tea


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