Before I wove, before I quilted, before I even knitted, I have loved fabric. Before I learned to sew, I cut scraps of fabric Mom gave me and wrapped them around my dolls. I think the reason I hate shopping so much is--besides snotty, unhelpful store clerks--I know I can make the same things so much better, so much less expensively and just to fit me. I love the smell of the sewing machine, that slightly hot oily smell. With this machine, there's a tiny high-pitched whine from the computer inside. I have to sit very close to it, because my contacts and glasses have too many blind spots. It's better to just leave my eyes naked and look very closely, so my machine and I are very intimately acquainted.
The therapy of making fabric is nice, and fine, and quite magical. But clothing myself is more immediate, more personal. And making something to clothe people you love is even better. Shirts and jackets to keep them warm, swirly bright skirts to wear on date night (sigh), a blouse with pleats and tucks and the sexiest buttons possible, have all come from this machine. It's the third machine in my lifetime, and I have considered being unfaithful and throwing it over for a new model. But it does exactly what I need it to do, and it's very well behaved and easy to take care of. I don't embroider or quilt or want six alphabets. I want a sturdy, dependable, well-behaved machine that I can not think about while I work. This is it.
I went to Textiles in Nashville this weekend, the closest REAL fabric store to Knoxville, and had a lovely time, fondling fabrics of all fibers, smelling that unique fabric smell, listening to the conversations of other sewers. I had a budget of $100, which only made it more fun, to try to fit what I wanted within that amount. I thought I wanted silks, but ended up with cotton, linen and some amazing fabric for a skirt of I don't know what, but a border of flocked black flowering vines running up to the waistline!
I've got a busy week, and I really need to focus more on the fiber forum organizing, so sewing may have to wait, but the room will be ready when I have time.
Also in the works is the turned overshot:
Two motifs are done, and two sticks have fallen, It's a short warp and should go quickly, but the shafts are being problematic. They stick to each other, and since 5 and 6 are holding all the tabby threads, they're quite heavy. I'm pondering as I weave a way to set up the turned overshot with the shafts turned around, 1 and 2 carrying the tabby threads. I will try it on the next warp, the one for the kitchen curtains. I love the way the overshot pattern is surrounded by tabby, and have been thinking about all kinds of possibilities for this method. Fabric for sleeves on a blouse, or the hem of a skirt would be a perfect use of this! So much better than embroidery!
At work, I've been learning new things, too. I made my first batch of barbecue sauce. It smelled so good at first, just as all savory things smell good to pastry chefs when we get so very tired of sweet smells. But by the end of the batch yesterday, it just stunk, and so did my clothes on the drive home. We always laugh at people who tell us we smell so good, always bringing the smell of cookies and bread into the room, but we can't wait to get out of those stinky bake shop clothes and wash our hair! This barbecue sauce made me smell of vinegar and garlic, and in my tiny car, all the drive home, all I could think was, Yuck!
But here it is, bottled. Which was another challenge. The lids are heat-activated, which is no problem with the jam. I simply keep the jars hot while the jam is cooking, fill the jars and flip them over to heat the lids. But with these jars, if I flipped them over, they'd tip over, being so bottom heavy. I filled 8 at a time, screwed the lids on tightly and hoped for the best. By the time I left yesterday, they had all become concave, a sign of good sealing, so I breathed more easily. Oddly enough, though, they had all contracted to about one inch from the top, rather than the quarter inch you see here. I didn't expect that.
So, new lessons learned all around this week: Guard my heart more closely, move the tabby to closer shafts and barbecue sauce isn't scary. I get an assistant at work next week, which should be interesting after a year and a half of having the kitchen to myself. I haven't yet trained anyone at what I do, since I had to teach myself all this jam making stuff, so I will be learning to train while Abby learns to jam. Tonight is roasted chicken and g & t's on the porch with Amy, followed by a weekend of strawberry jam and more marmalade. Have a good weekend, yourselves!