Being a person who makes a lot of things out of fabric, I occasionally (or all the time) find myself with pieces and usable scraps that are too little for my projects. Being a person who is a Mennonite and a Midwesterner, I have a pretty hard time throwing away a perfectly good thing that could potentially have another use somewhere, someday.
The wonderful ladies at our church make stuff year round for MCC--bags for kits, quilts for auction, comforters for people in need. I've been able to recycle perfectly beautiful pieces of fabric, clear out some space in my workshop, and help out the sewing group with my small pieces.
And then this happened:
Of course I'm not surprised that the ladies at church can make a beautiful blanket. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Ora and her friends made this for me and my family: these are, after all, some of the same people who welcomed us so warmly into the congregation (and fed us so much non dining hall food) years ago when we were visiting college students. But you know, I was totally surprised, and in the best possible way.
Sometime in the summer, the Babykid, the Big Guy and I took a trip to a the quilt shop in Charm. The Babykid came upon a big basket of pretty little fat quarters, all folded up and looking all eye-candy there on the end of an aisle. Stealthily, she selected one... and then two... and then three, and she carried them all around with her until my mission had been accomplished. (This would have been the Madrona Morning Glory outing.)
I suppose it's important to mention that two of the fabrics she had selected were actually lovely, very pretty coordinate prints to the one I had selected (complete coincidence, promise), and one was an ocean scene. Dolphins. Very happy looking dolphins.
Who am I to judge? I'm certainly not going to stand there and tell a kid she can't have the dolphin fabric if that's the one, in her heart of hearts, that she wants--and anyway, even if I did say that (and gently highlight the winning qualities of the other 2 fat quarters she had been carrying around), there's no changing her mind. And anyway, why should her mind be changed? My tiny kid likes fabric! So we settled on the dolphins.
No fat quarter has been loved more, let me tell you. We talked about what her plans for the fat quarter were, and for a few weeks she used it as a blanket for a variety of her toys. And then I mentioned something about minky.
Yes friends, I volunteered to make a tiny minky blanket from the dolphin fat quarter.
The astonishing thing here is not that I told my kid I'd make her something, nor that said thing was going to be out of the most ridiculous fabric in the house. It is that I have 1) never made anything with minky, and 2) more or less gave up on making blankets YEARS ago.
Sometime in junior high, a friend of mine taught me how to sew. From her lessons, I figured out how to cut and piece 4 or 5 inch squares. For the next several years, a little handmade blanket would be my go-to gift for friends leaving for college or families expecting babies. Fast forward to my mid 20s, when the Big Guy came along.
I left my teaching job then to stay home with our little man. (He never actually was that little... 8.5 pounds, thankyouverymuch, though that's a story for another day). I decided, once life consisted of more than sleeping and feeding and changing diapers, that I needed something creative to do. So I made a few blankets, with intentions of selling them at craft shows. (I also enrolled in grad school--again, another story.)
Three or four blankets into it, I had the very important--even life-changing revelation--that I LIVE IN AMISH COUNTRY. Everyone around here makes better blankets than I could ever dream of making, and I had no choice other than to be pretty okay with that. I decided I'd make purses instead. After a couple really important years of fumbling around and crying over the sewing machine and generally figuring things out, SOMP became something close to what it is today.
I build a pretty awesome bag, but I'm not much of a blanket maker. But let me tell you: the Babykid loves this thing so much that it has gone to school and to bed with her all of last week. It had lunch with her today (and tried to steal her cheese quesadilla). So it's worth the awkwardly pointy corners and the ridiculous happy dolphins and the residual minky fluff stuck to everything, I suppose.
by the Seat Of My Pants...
the stories behind the bags and beyond.