Jams for Bea and Other Distractions

I haven’t really sewed in ages.  When my girls were younger I sewed them lots of dresses, and mostly enjoyed doing so.  But in the years since my little boys were born I have found sewing to be too much trouble.  I don’t have a space to keep things out and handy, lest they be destroyed (by my little boys) and it is just so much easier to pick up a knitting project.

But lately I’ve been kind of antsy, wanting some faster gratification.  I am less and less mobile and not being able to do housework is making me a little crazy.  I need to do something that feels productive!  And Beatrix needs shorts.  Shorts are pretty easy, and I have a good bit of fabric stashed away from my sewing days.  I pulled out my copy of Carefree Sewing for Girls, because it has an easy pattern for making pants or shorts.  It didn’t take long to sew a couple of pairs for Bea last week.  Jonny was quick to point out that what I made are not actually shorts, but “jams.”  Just like the ones his grandma used to make for him when he was a kid.  Yeah, I guess he’s right.  I totally remember jams, though mine were store bought.  At any rate, while our memory of jams is that they were dorky, ours weren’t made from linen blends.  Linen blend jams are surely quite stylish.  At any rate, Beatrix likes them.

I’m still distracting myself with yarn dyeing, though that process is slower.  Right now, it is looking like I will have a shop update next week.  Wednesday, I think.  I did a huge outdoor indigo vat last weekend, my best yet.  I feel like I learned a lot, and I am really happy with how my skeins turned out.

New for this update, I will have a handful of sets of fingering weight mini-skeins.  I used all plant based or natural dyes and created a pastel rainbow.  These sets are really cute!  Jonny is also promising to finish up some more bird shawl pins.  We’ll see!

I am hoping to do more sewing in the coming weeks.  I bought the Dottie Angel Child’s dress pattern, planning to make one for Bea, and maybe Larkspur too if I can size it up a bit.  Larkspur is also requesting a skirt.  I made this one years ago, and think I will try that pattern again.  I have turned my bedside desk into a little sewing spot, and that is working well for me.  We recently moved the little boys out of our bedroom (!!!!!) and now I can actually have some privacy and quiet after they go to bed at night.  It feels like such a luxury and not one I am accustomed to!  Not for long, or course.  Though I am actually looking forward to sharing my bedroom with a baby again, so that will be just fine as well.

Fourteen Year Quilt


Job's quilt-9824

Sometime before we had children, or possibly shortly after Seth was born (we can’t remember!) Jonny decided that he wanted to make a quilt.  I think it must have been after Seth was born though, because it was only after his birth that I was given a sewing machine and started learning to sew myself.

I recall that Jonny was given one hundred dollars for his birthday.  Like any typical guy in his early twenties, he wanted to spend the money on quilting supplies. (Was this before or after he crocheted all those granny squares?)  We visited the fabric store where he bought a rotary cutter, a cutting pad, a special ruler, a basic guide to quilting, and a completely random bunch of fat quarters.  Over the next few days he carefully cut all those fat quarters into perfect squares.  We admired them together and then stacked them up.  I’m not sure what happened next, only that those squares remained single.  Maybe this was just before Jonny started commuting two hours one way to work, leaving at 6 a.m. and returning near 8 p.m.  Most likely, every bit of free time he had was occupied by our fussy infant, while I struggled to finish my own degree.  For many years, those quilt squares languished in a bin, brightly colored reminders of the quilt that wasn’t.

A couple years ago, Keats came across Jonny’s squares of fabric, and decided to sew some of them together.  He sewed five or six random strips of similar lengths, strips that ended up back in a bin.

I’m not much of a quilter myself, mainly for lack of time and know how, but I have facilitated small quilt making projects for these last babies of mine.  Keats and I teamed up to make Beatrix a first birthday quilt, and Gabe and I made Silas one.  As Job’s first birthday drew near, the thought occurred to me that it would be really neat to use those strips of Jonny’s quilt squares as part of a quilt for him.  I did do just that, though I only completed the quilt top in time for Job’s birthday.  The finished quilt ended up being a Christmas morning gift for Job.  I think it was his second favorite, after the striped vest.  Of course one year-olds adore both quilts and handknits, so were I to press Job to choose his favorite, I’m sure he’d be conflicted.

Anyway, as I said, I’m not much of a quilter.  This one is a little wonky, but it’s almost a rectangle in shape.  It’s bright and cheerful, but most importantly, it’s made of memories.