Thursday, April 05, 2007

Meanwhile, on the fabric front....

I've shared my 'materials' obsession before so it should be no surprise that I am working my way through this fabric jungle. Considering the title of this little weblog, I should be focused more on the yarn that looms in three massive storage bins in my den but the fabric has been calling...and calling...and calling

I have a series of built-in drawers in the den, which houses my fabric, wrapping paper, fabric dying supplies and patterns. The only problem has been that the wrapping paper is next to impossible to get to and wrapping a gift involves moving the yarn, and wrestling with the sticky drawer. When you have limited mobility, this is a bitch. Trying to open that drawer has landed me on my tuckus more than once! My solution? To hang the paper, of course.
It probably doesn't look like much but the long green pockets hold rolls of wrapping paper; on the other side, I've put 2 smaller pockets for gift bags. Two of these holders now hang in my huge downstairs closet. I love a cool storage solution. I'll try to write it out at the end of this post - drop me a line if you need more clarification

Because today was the day to dig the garden, it snowed. Not a lot but enough to harden the ground and to make it impossible to wedge a shovel into the soil. ARGH! It looks like Monday will be the only day that we (actually, "I" not "we" - K the elder is working that day) will get the chance to do this... we figure that we can put the plants into heavy garbage bags and tuck them into the crawl space until we can get the new beds dug. I'm a little worried about the cold, about disturbing the roots at this sensitive time of year, about the health of these plants and shrubs. Why do I worry about my plants? They're 'only plants', right? Not to me, for whatever reason, just like my dogs or cats are not 'just dogs' or 'just cats'. The day before we were about to euthanize my beloved Ilka (her cancer had spread and she was in such pain, I cannot imagine living through) I went to work. My colleague asked why I was so withdrawn and I explained my sorrow, the loss that I saw coming and that I needed a little space so that I could make it through the day. Her response was , 'well, it's just a dog - what's the problem?' - yeah, I know... I was at a loss for words and left the room before I boxed her ears. My Ilka was not 'just a' anything, she was my companion, a 3rd child in our house and a loving member of our little family. In some respects, our long-lived garden plants have fit into a niche of sorts, too. Maybe not family members but companions, of a sort, beautiful living creatures under my stewardship. When I read articles about whether or not plants 'feel' or 'hear', I'm hard-pressed not to believe that they do. Maybe not in a human sense of being sentient but as a living organism, their own reality must have some form of experience, of feeling. But hey, who knows - maybe I'm just a nutty old lady? Get ready for me to start loading my pets into a shopping cart and roll around town, talking to myself as I dig through the garbage. If this experience doesn't push me to an extra-wacky state of mind, nothing ever will.

Back to the wrapping paper hanger!
I've overloaded this pocket, so it is saggy. Once I had made the second set of hanging pockets, I unloaded half of this stock and there is less strain on the pocket, the paper is hanging nicely and these pockets should live a long, long time.
They're very simple to make up and I should have drawn up a tutorial (and taken better photos). In a nutshell, the process is very short.
You will need:
1 metre of fabric for the body of the hanger (I used sheets that I picked up a Wally-World for $4.97 each - because of their size, they go a long way)
1 meter of fabric for your pockets
A sturdy clothes hanger
Matching thread
Paper for your pattern (I use brown parcel wrapping paper) and a sharpie or marker
A long straight edge, like a yard or metre stick

1. Lay out your wrapping paper (I found that I needed to hold it down with weights as it had been tightly rolled and wanted to spring back every time I rolled it out flat)

2. Take your hanger and lay it at the top of the paper, leaving enough space for a seam allowance. Trace around your hanger top, leaving an opening for the hook. I left a 3" opening and left a hem allowance so that the top was neatly (for me) finished. Continue tracing along your hanger - where the hanger curves to form the bottom rail, keep going down the sides until your pattern is as long as you need to be. At this point, I laid out my rolls of paper to see how long I needed it to be. Mine are 36" long, plus hem length. Use your straight edge to make a nice clean line all the way from the place where the hanger curves to the bottom hem, making sure that you include a minimum of 3/4" seam allowance.

3. Once your pattern is ready, hang the hanger and pin your pattern to it to make sure that it will work. Ready?

4. Lay out your main fabric, doubled and pin your pattern. Cut out your 2 main fabric pieces.

5. Time to draft your pocket patterns - measure the length of your wrapping paper rolls and the width of your main fabric pieces (minus your seam allowances). My large pocket is 26" X 16", plus seam allowances.

6. Lay out your pocket fabric, doubled (if you want 2 large pockets) or single (if you only want 1 large pocket). Cut your pocket. Press and sew top hem. Press edges under and pin to 1 piece of your main fabric. Sew, taking care to reinforce your stitching at the top of your pocket. This will ensure that your pocket survives the strain of heavy rolls of paper. Repeat the pocket application for side 2.

7. Once your pockets have been attached, take your 2 main pieces and hem the opening (where your hanger will poke through to hang your hanging pockets). It pays to reinforce this stitching with a little piece of interfacing and extra stitches.

8. Lay your 2 main pieces, right side together and pin along the top of the hanger and sides. Stitch, reinforcing your stitches along the hanger edge, where the fabric may wear against the clothes hanger.

9. Once you've finished the main stitching, turn right side out and press. Place your hanger inside and poke hanger top through. You're almost finished (mine took less than 30 minutes, including time to consider the idea and draft the pattern!. Now you need to finish the bottom hem. Turn up the hem, press and pin and stitch along the bottom. Clip your threads and hang it up! You are done!


Knitting Mama said...

What a great idea - you are a genious!

Bumbershootska said...

Nah, just really, really neurotic!!!!!!

Zia said...

Oh sweety I know exactly how you are I told you before, I went through exactly what you're going through with Ilka - same diagnosis too and I feel your hurt and pain. Savannah still lives in my heart and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her and how gorgeous she was. And they are NOT just animals, they are part of the family for sure. (maybe you SHOULD have clobbered your workmate over the head for saying such an awful and unfeeling thing) :)

Beebee Mod™ said...

Good idea --thanks for visiting my world! I think a good glass of wine would be nice right now. Um...maybe not this early!

Bumbershootska said...

Thanks, Z - they're as much a part of our lives as the people that we love, aren't they?
Ilka was our dog when we moved 'here' to the County and we lost her about 6 years ago. She was like my daughter and challenged me in so many ways (too smart for me, that girl). If I knew then what I know now about dog intelligence, I would have been a different 'human' to her. She found ways to tease me and always managed to escape the yard and 'visit' the neighbourhood. I thought that she was 'bad' but I now see just how clever she was...

Bumbershootska said...

BeeBee Mod - it's always time for nice glass ;)