current projects

School has been in session less than a week, and it's going well for the kids. Daniel is enjoying kindergarten very much, and Anya is adjusting to preschool just fine. As I predicted, having two kids in two different schools, one only part time, doesn't give me a whole lot of free time, but it's definitely more than I've ever had. I was a little overwhelmed at the idea of all the volunteer hours, but now that I've figured out I really can't do much work for pay until two years from now when Anya's in school, I've embraced it. Yesterday I spent an hour in Daniel's class helping with math activities, and tomorrow I will participate in a rather more unusual activity: chopping kohlrabi!

One of the parent volunteers is spearheading a healthy snacks initiative, and she got a local organic farm to donate 90 lbs of kohlrabi to the school, and they need volunteers to chop it up and distribute it to the classrooms, so after school tomorrow I plan to set my kids loose on the playground and head to the teachers' lounge to join the kohlrabi chopping party. Kohlrabi, if you've never had it before, is a funny-looking vegetable, but it's delicious. It was one of my Grandpa's favorite things to grow in the garden and eat with his dinner. To eat it, just peel off the tough skin and slice into sticks, much like you would a carrot or a turnip.

Anyway, today in between dropping off one kid and picking up the other, I had a full three hours by myself, which felt amazing. I spent part of that time eating lunch and running errands, but I also squeezed in a couple crafty activities. First, I took a picture of Anya's sweater in progress:

I've got about half the hood left to knit, plus the i-cord edging (which, if you look carefully, you can see I've already done on the sleeves in a cream color). I didn't have time to do any actual knitting on the sweater, alas, but at least I got the picture taken. I spread the sweater out in the front yard and quick snapped a photo before running back inside. For some reason, I felt less self-conscious about doing that than taking the picture in the back yard while the next door neighbor mowed the narrow strip of grass in her driveway wearing only a swimsuit and yelling at her dogs...

But I digress. The other thing I accomplished was cutting out a jacket for Anya:

I don't know if you can tell in the grainy natural light, but I did all this on the floor of our newly finished basement. I have all my supplies down here now, where it is spacious and well-lit, especially in the afternoons, and I'm just tickled pink to have a workspace.

When I was a lass in 4-H sewing (the coolest extra-curricular activity in town, of course), we learned to cut out our patterns by first checking the grain line, then painstakingly pinning the paper to the fabric and cutting out the pattern slowly and meticulously, being extra careful not to let anything slip. In the last year or so, I've discovered what I think is a better way: weighting the paper pattern pieces down and marking the pattern directly on the fabric with a tracing wheel and wax-free transfer paper. It's a brilliant method. You preserve your pattern pieces, which comes in handy especially if you have growing children and want to preserve multiple sizes, and with the line traced directly on the fabric, you don't have to worry about anything slipping out of place and screwing up the project. I mean, there are so many ways I can screw up a sewing project, it's nice to have this one crucial step go a little more smoothly.

You know, it's possible everyone already does this and I'm the last one to the party, but I don't care. I'm having fun anyhow. My favorite pattern weights are coffee mugs:

Sewing takes a lot of patience for me. Once I get going, I can make fast progress on a project, but finding time to work uninterrupted can be an elusive process. I should have a couple hours Friday afternoon while my kids are in school (it still feels a little weird to say that - or blog it - out loud!). We'll see what the rest of the week brings!


Anonymous said…
oooh, I like the idea of the pattern cutting technique - will check the local Joann's for the supplies. I learned to sew in the dark ages too! :)
Jessi said…
I never thought of that, but it is definitely brilliant!
u15 lolita said…
i like it....

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