Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Sewing Day

Margaret thinks they are cozy!

It’s been a while since I chatted with you, Dear Reader, but I feel like I have been sooooo busy!  Doing what? Mostly procrastinating, I fear.  And I have had a lot to procrastinate about.  Before Christmas, I took Becca to the fabric store where she was buying material to make pajamas as a gift for Rachael.  She encouraged my to buy material to make myself a pair so that we could have sewing communion, but I demurred.  Too time-taking, and then not any money saved by making your own.  There was, however, some nice flannel which appealed to me.  It had cute little sock monkeys all over it. I am very fond of sock monkeys.  But not worth the trouble. Pajamas are a lot of work to sew, and as I said, making your own does not save any money.  A day or so later, I realized that my pajama wardrobe was getting slim.  Actually, I had realized this for quite a while, but was in a state of denial. But the truth could no longer be denied.  My aunt, after a shoulder injury, recently went from being a nightgown girl to being a pajama girl when her nighties were too difficult to get on.   So naturally, I gave her a pair of mine.  Three other favorite pairs are seriously aging, and will very soon end their days.  In fact two of them should have been put to rest long ago, but I keep wearing the tatters.  Do you think this inspired me to get the sock monkey material?  Not at all.  I had purchased a pair PJ’s as Christmas gift for both my aunt and Becca from the Vermont Country Store.  Did I get myself a pair at the same time?  No.  Too expensive.  Shortly thereafter, I realized how foolish I had been, especially when I saw how nice my aunt’s new PJ’S were.  The flannel was fluffy and thick – thicker even that the sock monkey material, and the pockets were just where I like them – at the waist, instead of breast.  Alas, the free postage period was over. So even more expensive! Well, LLBean always has great pajamas and free postage, so Rebecca and I looked at what they had to offer.  Not much!  Once again, I had waited too long, and all the ones I liked were already sold out.  Sigh!

You would think that after all my enthusiasm for sewing, as demonstrated in the two previous posts, I would be anxious to take up my needle, but as demonstrated in this post, I had really not come to grips with my new sewing machine, and still viewed it as the enemy.  Rebecca needed to go to the material store again, so I took her, and once again, the sock monkeys sang their siren song to me.  This time I capitulated.  Then I fretted and thought up all kinds of reasons not to start sewing.  I couldn’t get my material nicely folded after pre-washing it.  It was too cold in my sewing room.  I was too busy.  Finally, in despair, on the day I had promised myself to start sewing, I decided that the leaves which had been languishing in my yard since November, simply had to be raked up that day.  That shows the depth of my desperation – preferring to rake leaves in frigid weather than to get busy on the task at hand. Well, I am happy to say, that once the leaves were raked, I finally started.  I knew that once I got going, I would not stop until the PJ’s were done.  Now I sit here typing in my new nighttime outfit, and am planning the next pair.  They will be red flannel.  Another happy note – my sewing machine and I have more or less made friends.  The button hole feature is sadly lacking, but otherwise, we are getting on well.  So I won’t have to work quite so hard at putting off starting the next pair.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Visiting Sewing Day

In the previous post, I promised to show you some of the wonderful needlework done by the Episcopalian women in their state of the art sewing studio. One enters the “private” part of the house, where the sewing is done, via a door with this charming Old Curiosity Ship door knocker.  

By “state of the art,” I don’t mean that they have latest super-sonic sewing apps to use, but that they have an astonishingly beautiful and serene place in which to pursue their art.  Modernity does not seem to have invaded their work area. 

  The sewing room, which was Eliza Leary's bedroom, has a panoramic view of Lake Union and much of Seattle.  And also the fireplace shown in the previous post, of course.

Some of the state of the art tools and supplies.

A work in progress on its frame.  When finished, the linen backing will be part of the vestment.  It will be cut away, as has been another embroidery made on this same piece of linen.

Just preparing the material for embroidery looks like a lot of work.  

Closer-up of the back of the embroidery.  

An almost a century old color card of the silk thread.  Many of these colors are no longer  available.  The sewing guild provides matches to other churches needing them to do their own vestment repair.

They also make new vestments to order.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Visiting Day

The carved wooden front doors include portraits
Of Eliza and her husband.

It has been a really fun filled week, despite the fact that, or maybe because, I generally had no idea what day it was.  This was, of course due to being  on vacation, and also to the confounding factors of Christmas and New Year’s Day seeming so much like Sundays, but actually being Tuesdays.  Very confusing.  So every day, I have worried that I forgot some commitment, and have had several times to check the newspaper to reassure myself about what day it was.  Yesterday, Corinna took Peggy and I on a needle woman’s field trip.  Sadly, poor Maria, who was anxious to see the displays of ecclesiastical embroidery and stitching, was chained to her desk.  

The Great Hall -- the fireplace is at least 12 feet tall - just to give you some perspective. 

I had planned to show you some amazing examples of splendid needlework, but the house itself – Diocesan House, headquarters of the Episcopal Church in Washington, was worth the trip.  The house was built by some fabulously rich guy for his beautiful new bride, Eliza Ferry, daughter of Washington state’s first governor.  Sadly for him, (the husband, not the governor,) he didn’t survive till the completion of the house, but his young bride carried on for many years without him – living a graceful and luxurious social life in this astonishing treasure - to which I have paid no heed  in the six zillion times I have driven by it.  No longer…. Now I will have memories of a fun day and an incredible architectural gem every time I go down 10th Avenue.

There were wonderful tiles everywhere.  This is the fireplace in Eliza's bedroom.

This nymph was originally skinny dipping.  Her swimsuit was painted on later.  

One of the guest bathrooms had a cattail theme.

Next time - ecclesiastical needlework!