Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

My Many Things

My Many Things

I have had some private correspondence about the commenting feature. I do have it set up for “anonymous commenting,” which (theoretically) does not require you to set up an account to comment. I am not thrilled about the account requirement, either, but having anonymous commenting enabled appears to be the only way to get around it. I think you should be able to comment anonymously and identify yourself within the comment if you prefer to do it that way.

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One of the Facebook groups I belong to has an ongoing thread called “My Three Things,” where people are supposed to list the three things they want to accomplish that day. I admit to being a bit baffled by this. I am not baffled by the list making; I am baffled that it consists of only three things. I could understand if it were three really huge projects and you wanted to make some progress on them every day, but these lists seem to be populated by items that might only take a few minutes each. Also, I am stuck on the idea that I need multiple lists of three things. I need at least three lists: one for administrative tasks, one for church stuff, and one for sewing.

I think I need to watch that thread more closely. Perhaps I am missing something.

I am still struggling with quantifying my productivity every day. I went from a job where I had a defined daily quota of production to a literal vacuum where no one but me is monitoring what I do every day. Yesterday morning—it being Monday—I decided to write down everything that I did on a piece of paper, no matter how small and insignificant it seemed. For instance, I had to send half a dozen e-mails, which to me do seem to be small and insignificant tasks, although almost every one of those e-mails was intended to lay the groundwork for larger projects down the line. By 10 a.m., I had written 15 things down on my list, some of them big and some of them small.

[I’ve had a bump in pattern sales recently and that always comes with an associated bump in hand-holding. I had an e-mail from one lovely lady who wanted to make one of the patterns for her husband, but she wanted to make it with long sleeves, not 3/4 length sleeves, and could I tell her how to do that? I haven’t ever written a pattern with 3/4 length sleeves, especially for men, so I had to ask her which pattern she was making. It turns out that she was looking at the picture on the cover of the pattern, which is a picture of the husband modeling the sweater with the sleeves pushed up. (I consider that to be sweater abuse, but he looked good in the picture so I left it.) I assured her that the pattern was written with instructions for long sleeves and because it is a sweater knitted from the top down, she should have her husband try it on as she went to make sure the sleeves were long enough for him.]

I’ll keep working at this. I’m just surprised at how hard it is to keep at bay the guilty feeling that I am not doing enough. There seems to be a whole lot of baggage wrapped up in there.

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I worked on the Bohemian Carpet Bag project yesterday afternoon. The big stumbling block on that pattern (for me) has always been sewing on the vinyl accent pieces on the bottoms of the exterior. I’ve now got a Teflon foot and an industrial machine and was hoping that process would be easier. It was, sort of.

I am happy with how even the topstitching looks—happy enough not to take it out and redo it:

CarpetBagAccents.jpg

I had my machine set to the longest stitch length, because I like that for topstitching. The material still seemed to be getting hung up, though, and the stitch length ended up shorter on the bag than it was on the test piece I ran through the machine. I think the issue was the fusible fleece, which was on the side with the feed dogs. I tried putting some tissue paper underneath and it helped a bit, but not much.

And this part is hard to describe—the accent pieces didn’t quite fit correctly. This is the exact same problem I had on the first two bags I tried to make with this pattern, and it has happened in exactly the same place and the same way on all three bags. That makes me think it’s an issue with the pattern and not with me. I did some searching afterwards and ran across a review of the pattern where the maker said that she concluded that the two sides of the bag pattern were not precise mirror images of each other. She ended up cutting the pattern piece in half and cutting on the fold. I checked my pattern piece and couldn’t see a difference. If there is one, it’s a subtle one, but enough to cause a problem. Also, the markings on the pattern piece for the placement of the handles result in the handles being sewn over the accent pieces. On the photo of the finished bag, however, the handles sit between the accent pieces. I am still thinking on that one. If I sew the seatbelt webbing so it sits between the handles, the two pieces of webbing will be closer together than I like. I am not sure I want to sew them over the accent pieces, though.

This will be one of those projects that—if I make it again—will have some significant hacks added. It might be better to sew the accent pieces onto the exterior of the bag before putting the fusible fleece on, although that would require some testing to make sure the vinyl doesn’t melt in the process.

The exterior pieces have to wait for the seatbelt webbing to arrive before I can finish them. After I sewed on the accent pieces, I dug into my precious Tim Holtz stash for something to use for the lining. This is a big bag and his fabrics tend to have large-scale prints, so linings are a good place to showcase them.

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Our friend Elysian snapped a picture of a couple of coyotes running through her neighbors’ yard the other day, in broad daylight. That explains Lila’s howling in the middle of the night. I am glad to see the coyotes back in the neighborhood. We’re all hoping that they have some babies this spring to feast on those $%&# ground squirrels. I am convinced that decline in coyote population (due to trapping) is the reason the ground squirrels were able to reproduce unchecked. That’s precisely how ecosystems work.

Janet Versus the Juki

Janet Versus the Juki

Avoiding the Swamp

Avoiding the Swamp