The One That Didn’t Get Away

Sometimes things work out just fine.

A few short weeks ago, I was loudly lamenting that I had not bought a sewing caddy I found at a garage sale. But that recent experience with hesitation and regret left me primed for the sewing box I found two days ago, at yet another garage sale.

While the one that got away was whimsical and handmade and fun, this one is staid and handsome and sensible.

The case I left behind made me smile out loud, but I think I knew that, if I owned it, I wouldn’t really use it. I have other similar cases and I have never pressed them into real service. They are a little tippy and awkward to move and, I don’t know, not really aligned with my organizational style.

I knew this case was really much more suited to my needs; I loved it the moment I saw it.

This is not to say that I paid the asking price for it! It was priced at three times as much as the box I didn’t buy and I would not have gone that high. But the seller wanted it to be loved and appreciated and was willing to accept what I could pay, she said, because she believed I would love and appreciate it.

She was right.

It belonged to the great-grandmother of the seller; great-grandma’s name was Violet.

Violet, and others in the family who came to use the box, left the case filled with the bits and bobs and flotsam of daily sewing. I spent a happy hour or two sifting through their treasures.

Wooden spools of thread, clothing patterns from the 1960s, needle books given away at stores. Pin cushions. Many, many buttons. I will think of Violet whenever I use the case.

But this isn’t Violet’s sewing box any longer. It’s mine now, and I just know she’d want me to use it and make it my own.

I’ll put most of the old stuff away and fill the box with the flotsam of my daily sewing. It will hold the things I use to sew yo-yos together, to embroider my redwork squares, to organize me through projects as yet unimagined.

I will pick it up and take it with me to sit by the lake on these perfect summer days. In autumn, I can carry it to a spot sheltered from the wind and savor the October sun.

I will transport it next to the fireplace when winter arrives and the lake freezes and the north wind blows cold.

And I’ll be awfully glad I didn’t let this one get away . . .

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The Endless Project . . . Is Ending

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Have you ever had a project that seemed endless . . . and you liked it that way?

I have been making fabric yoyos for just about two years. It began as a portable project, born from a long airport delay when I had nothing to do.

I hated having nothing to do so I created a little kit to make yoyos, with no long-term plan for them.

The fabric yoyos became a constant in my everyday life.

The yoyos have gone on many trips with me.

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They have become part of my evening routine, as I did my stint of 10 a night, every night.

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Many of them were sewn at a table with members of my weekly sewing group, a project that could be done amid lots of chatter and snacking and pleasant distractions.

Somewhere along the way, as people continually asked me what I was going to do with the yoyos, I decided I would make a coverlet for a daybed we have on our porch. I made a diagram on graph paper and did the math and found I would need over 1300 yoyos.

That number was daunting but I liked it that way. I liked making yoyos and didn’t really want to stop. The yoyos were a comforting part of my daily life.

I figured 1300 yoyos would take me far into the future . . .

But then, recently, I made an assessment.

I had reached my goal of 1300 and surpassed it.

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I was dismayed! Truly, I was a bit undone.

So I measured the daybed again and found that what I needed, really, was to make the coverlet bigger! I needed more yoyos after all!

But, now, I’ve completed even those. I have about 1500 fabric yoyos.

They weigh over 3 pounds.

They are cute and perky and . . . finished.

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Ick.

I’ve been working on a system for sewing the yoyos together and it’s slow going.

In sewing the yoyos together, the project becomes less portable, more unwieldy, altogether less fun.

I miss making yoyos.

I suppose I could simply keep making them and piling them up but the practical side of me scoffs at that idea. They need to be made into something; they need to have a purpose in life.

So I will keep sewing them together and make the planned coverlet and report back to you when it is done.

And I’ll be on the lookout for the next comforting, soothing, endless project . . .

 

Tools, Glorious Tools: The Sewing Caddy

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RESPITE

noun re·spite \ˈres-pət also ri-ˈspīt: an interval of rest or relief

These days are hectic. Not bad-hectic; in fact, they are quite pleasant-hectic. But hectic and busy and stressful nonetheless.

Most evenings provide me with a respite, however–an hour or two of quiet time, when I indulge in an adult beverage and some simple, soothing hand sewing. It’s a homely sort of ritual—a fire in the fireplace, a cat or two snoring nearby, a husband strumming the guitar, and the sewing.

This time would not be restful, though, if I had to go searching for my needle, dig around for my thread, and then wonder where, exactly, I left my scissors. So one of my favorite tools is a tool that holds my hand sewing tools.

This small sewing caddy was handmade locally, by the husband of the woman who owns a local quilt shop. It is aesthetically appealing in its own right but its value comes from the tidy way it corrals my basic needs.

The thread holder can be configured to hold the spool vertically or horizontally, according to what suits me.

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My small scissors fit neatly into the slot on the end.

My favorite mechanical pencil and thimble have their places.

And a super-strong magnet is set into one end—I just need to fling my needle somewhere close to that magnet for it to be snagged.

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So, when I turn my back on candy making for the day or finish the deep cleaning that the upcoming holidays necessitate, when I come home from running errands and turn off my computer for the day, my quiet place is ready and waiting. It’s easy.

I pick up fabric circles and my yoyo gizmo, reach for my sewing caddy, and settle in to my respite. Ahhhh . . . .

Do you have a tool that makes relaxing more relaxing for you?

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