Monday, August 8, 2011

Textile Baby Blanket

First trick to tackle this week?  The SEWING MACHINE

I always begin my crafts with a story, so I will tell you about my life with a sewing machine.

I learned to sew at a very young age.  In second grade as a matter of fact.  I was enrolled in a summer program where I did two classes, computer programming (of all things) and sewing.  I was going through a very rough time actually.  Little did I know, that was the last summer I would ever spend with my parents.  My mother has bi-polar schizophrenia and my father has some brain damage caused by an accident.  They wanted a child (they had me) but honestly, they were not in the best situation to have children.  I think the biggest obstacle for them was the financial burden a child would incur.  They barely had enough money to take care of themselves, so taking care of me as well was nearly impossible.  I think my dad finally realized that being with them was probably not the best of places for me.

I had many teachers in grade school who wanted to help as much as they could.  My gym teacher would fit me with new tennis shoes and coats, and my teachers would give me school supplies.  Because they knew otherwise I'd be left behind.  The most touching moment was that Christmas when we opened the door to 3 large black trashbags FULL of Christmas gifts, all for me.  I was used to getting my one to two meager gifts, and I was happy about that!  But this was just amazing!  We had no clue who brought these things.  Someone had even bought me a bicycle.   A pink Huffy bicycle.  It wasn't until I was well into high school, where I saw one of my great elementary school friends that I found out.  She asked me how my bike was coming along.  She announced that all of those gifts were given to me by my classmates that year!  It was unbelievable.

That year, a teacher noticed that I needed more in school, so she enrolled me into further classes.  That summer, she enrolled me into summer school, where I picked up computers and sewing.  The classes were filled with children much older than I, but I actually fit right in.  The teacher set me up with a sewing machine, needle, thread, you name it.  Now that I remember....she used to get after me because I would pull way too much thread from the spool on the needle....ALWAYS and I'd end up getting myself into knots.  But I learned to sew that summer.  I remember making a teddy bear (I wish I still had it) and I made some dice.  My dice came out very lopsided, but I was so proud of them!

I didn't touch a sewing machine again until I was in middle school.  8th grade to be exact.  I had been in foster care at that point for 5 years already.  So, 5 years before I touched a sewing machine again.  But I was a natural.  Pulled that thing out, and my teacher was amazed.  This time, I made (neon green this time) dice and they came out so well...again, I wish I had kept them.  All of my friends just couldn't figure it out, so I had to teach pretty much the entire class how to spool the sewing machine, prepare the name it.

So, my sewing expedition actually takes a large hiatus.  At this point, I had been living with the same wonderful foster family for 4-5 years.  They loved me very much, and still do to this day.  They are more parents to me than my real parents (although I still love them very much).  They took fantastic care of me, loved me when I felt no one else did, and treated me like their child.  No one would have ever guessed that I was just in foster care.  Many other children came and left in their care, but I stayed.  My "Grandma Dot" was very much into crafting, in fact she's probably in heaven smiling really hard today at my success, and she inspired me to do many projects.  I didn't do any sewing with her, but I did help her from time to time.  We made these beautiful bell angel ornaments one year together.  I might make a few of those this year, because they are easy, but very special to me.

So, now, I am taking out my sewing machine again!  I did a few times in the past, but I made aweful curtains once LOL, and I yelled and screamed at my husband because I couldn't figure out for the life of me how to get the needle to accept the bobbin!  It just made me so mad....

My sewing machine actually belonged to my mother in law.  I am not sure why she had it to be honset, because she is the farthest from crafting/sewing than anything else I know!  She's awesome and funny, but not into crafting one bit.  So, she gave me her sewing machine a few years back, since I had borrowed it from her so many times for my "expeditions" that usually ended up failing :).

So, today.  I pulled my machine right back out :).  With so many babies coming this winter, I wanted to spend some time making some things for them!  Today, I was going to attempt something simpler, a textile blanket.  You can find templates and tutorials here.

I was surprised how fast things were coming back to me!  I got the fabric a few weeks ago, and my only mistake there was I got way too much fabric!  So, instead of making one blanket, I decided to make two of them.  One for my sister and the other for my girlfriend (its ok, I'm only attempting one ball, so my sister gets that part).  I was able to create the bobbin without one hitch and I was able to get the needle to accept the bobbin.  I didn't even need to yell at my husband just for it to work this time!  He wasn't even in the room with me!   I pinned the two pieces of fabric and pinned the ribbon on the edges.  And I was sewing what seemed like a PRO!  Of course, this is such an easy project compared to some of the other things I'm going to attempt, but I did that on purpose to familiarize myself with sewing again before doing harder projects.  Tomorrow morning will be the matching ball to this set.

So, here she magnum opus!

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