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Adventures With the Concrete Sequential Sewist

I hope you all are enjoying the blog tour. My fellow bloggers have made some really spectacular bags! There is plenty of time to leave a comment on the previous post to be entered into the drawing for a free copy of the Gizmo Garage pattern from ChrisW Designs. I'll have the drawing for the patterns (I'm giving away two) on Tuesday, November 21. 

If you're a new reader to the blog, welcome! I hope you'll continue to visit. This is where I talk about life in Montana on a farm(ette). My husband and I raise pigs and chickens and have a large garden. He owns a construction company and I work from home as a medical transcriptionist. Depending on the time of year, I blog 3-4 times a week about quilting, sewing, sewing machines, animals, farming, and general observations on what's going on around us. 


I am a bit annoyed with myself. I completely tanked that Molly’s “Grab and Go” bag pattern that I was working on—the one that required that a couple of pieces of fabric be quilted before cutting out the pattern pieces. I was trying very hard to follow the directions, but honestly, after making the Gizmo Garage pattern, I am a bit spoiled. The instructions for the Grab and Go bag aren’t nearly as clear. There are illustrations instead of photos, which I don’t mind, but in order to save printing costs (this was sold as a printed pattern), the instructions are rather crammed together. I sewed two entirely wrong pieces together. If I had caught my mistake right away, I could have unpicked the seams and salvaged the pieces, but the instructions call for another pattern piece to be laid over the top of the two pieces that were sewn together and then cut out. I cut them. There was no going back. I am just going to have to start all over. For now, the pattern is in time out. I don’t know how long it’s going to stay there. I have plenty of other stuff to work on. If I do go back to it at some point, though, I have a note on the pattern about what NOT to screw up.

This is why I think I would be a great pattern tester.  If I were giving feedback on this pattern, I would note that it would be helpful not to jump around to different parts of the bag. Make the construction as linear as possible. Give the instructions for the one section first, then move on to the next section. Assemble the gusset all at the same time so that part of the gusset doesn’t accidentally get sewn to the front pocket, because those instructions were stuck in between making the strap and the front pocket. (Yep, that’s what I did, being the severely concrete sequential person that I am.) The pieces did have labels, but not any labels that made any sense to me. 

Sigh. I’m not trying to hold myself up as some kind of paragon of pattern writing—I have yet to write a knitting pattern completely devoid of mistakes, which is why I had a tech editor—but there are some best practices for pattern writing. 


I fixed the husband’s insulated Carhartt overalls. I used a much stronger thread than the original thread, so I hope the fix lasts for a while. 

The Necchi industrial performed like a champ once I wrestled the crotch section under the presser foot. Yay me. 


We got a lovely e-mail from Margaret this week. She is settling into her new home in Goshen, Indiana. She got an Indiana driver’s license. Her brothers live nearby and they came over to help her celebrate. Margaret loves parties. She is one of the most gracious and creative hostesses I have ever met. Any party she throws is going to be totally Pinterest-worthy. It must run in the family because she said her brothers brought balloons and they had ice cream. We miss her.

Margaret’s niece, Elaine, just moved back to our community after serving as a pastor at a Mennonite church in Minnesota for many years. (Margaret’s husband and Elaine’s dad were brothers.) We knew four years ago that she was going to be retiring and moving back to live in the house she grew up in. I’ve been waiting eagerly for her to get here, because Elaine is one of my favorite people. Last Saturday, we both worked at the fair trade festival hosted by our church every November. It was slow in the morning—the weather was crummy all three days and that cut down on the attendance—so she was knitting and I was sitting there trying not to make her lose count. Elaine loves to knit. She didn’t get the sewing and quilting gene. She does like to make comforters for a ministry program, though, so she buys large pieces of fabric with large-scale designs and ties them with heavy cotton thread instead of quilting them. After some back-and-forth discussion about our preferred tasks and methods of working, we decided that she would make the comforters and I would put the binding on them and sew it down. I need to have some handiwork projects to work on in the evenings when I don’t feel like sewing, and I love to sew down binding. She brought one of the comforters to church on Sunday. I got the binding attached Sunday afternoon and now I am sewing it down. It’s a beautiful comforter—so bright and cheerful. 

We were supposed to have a church council meeting last night but several people couldn't make it. Rather than have a meeting with just three of us, I canceled it (because I am the chairman and can do that). Dinner was leftover spaghetti from the night before* which left me with several hours of free time. I used it to do the prep work for a few more projects. I said to the husband that the second week of November is always when I tell myself, in a fit of delusion, that I have plenty of time to make all the Christmas presents this year. I don't. I never do. That doesn't stop me from trying.

[I am not going to talk about those projects in case I don't get them finished. I've often thought that gift exchanging should be pushed back a couple of weeks until after New Year's, because I usually have all the gifts done by then. There is just too much to do before Christmas to get the actual presents made. Oh, the irony.]

I have a whole shoebox full of 5" squares of various prints that have accumulated as part of scrap control. Whenever I finish a project, I cut the larger pieces into 5" squares and then put what is left—usually strips—into the scrap bag. I looked at those 5" squares yesterday and decided that they could get sewn into basic patchwork comforters for Elaine to tie. They need a solid, though, to tone them down and unify them. White is the obvious choice, but I don't know where these comforters are going to end up and I would like them to be easy to care for. I rummaged around in the Kona stash and pulled out a couple of lengths of a nice medium blue. It took about half an hour to slice them into 5" squares that I can alternate with the prints. I have no idea when I'll get to that, but at least it's done. It's all about the forward progress. 

*I could eat whatever pasta and pizza I wanted to when we were in Italy. I never got bloated and had digestive upset like I do when I eat wheat here. I still haven't nailed down the exact reason for that. I have various theories. I might be reacting to the glyphosate. I might be reacting to whatever is added to fortify/enrich grain products here. My friend Tera can't eat bromated wheat (she makes her own bread), so that could be a possibility. A few weeks ago, I picked up a package of Montebello pasta at the health food store and brought it home to try. Amazingly, I didn't get sick after eating it. The package says "Imported from Italy," so I can only hope that it is bypassing all the systems in the US that turn our food into Frankenfood. I don't go overboard with the Montebello pasta, but it's nice to have a plate of real spaghetti again. 

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Reader Comments (2)

Impressive crotch repair!

November 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHusband's mom

Let's hope it holds up.

November 16, 2017 | Registered CommenterJanet Szabo

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