I have made


Today's task was to roll out wee woolen balls, later to become beads for simple necklaces to fill out some birthday goodie bags. The Boy, while dipping bits of roving into warm sudsy water and rolling them through his palms remarked on the novelty of working on a project and getting his hands washed at the same time. How nice it would be if more projects had such a cleansing by-product.


Finished the latest sashiko swatch. I've got no idea what this one, and hopefully a slew of similarly alphabetic motifs, will conspire to be. Likely, it will just hang on the boards for a few months gathering dust while interest in other projects waxes and wanes.


Just a belated little something I finished up and shipped out today, cobbled together from strips and bits remaindered from past and on-going projects and the thread already wound through my machine. It's May. No time to dwell on any single haphazardly assembled project. Especially if it should have been completed a month ago.


There's a birthday in the house today, and that means that, unless we're in the middle of a cross-country move or it's my birthday, little cakes get baked into jars. They also get a healthy coating of soy cream cheese icing (why, what would you top your vegan carrot cake with?), but somehow that always happens after the camera gets put away.

More baskets



I would have liked, this Easter, to whip out a wee menagerie of stash-busting springtime critters or a sticky-chewy batch of enamel-teasing sweets. Instead, I treated myself to a shopping excursion and played Easter bunny with my credit card at our favorite asian bookstore/grocery/housewares purveyor. I'm ok with that. There are plenty of other partially-completed projects occupying my figurative craft table these days that I needn't wallow in guilt about not making every little thing to brim-fill the kids' baskets. We decorated our requisite wooden eggs, over-indulged in store-bought candies, participated in the spectacle of a mass egg hunt, and staged our own little home-based search party that had the children, all giggles and bounces, trouncing over couch cushions and window ledges and blanketed nooks and each other in the quest for eggs that we had no worries would go rotten in some undiscovered corner.


And to go with our low-key festivities, I probably could have just pulled out baskets from Easters past and filled them with our pre-packaged goodies, and the kids would have happily filled them up all the same. But nestled in my browser bookmarks was this basket, so elegant and cute. And I, professed lover of bags and baskets and buckets and generally things that hold other things, found my opportunity to finally make it. 

So I spent a night drafting up a pattern, a squarer, slightly stouter version of its inspiration. Simplicity being paramount, it's no more than a flat shape, to be folded up and fastened into basket-ness. A one-bobbin project. It took longer to make fabric proper selections than to run it through the sewing machine.


I settled on burlap for that farm-industrial-chic, but more because I've got a happy little surplus of coffee sacks tucked into a box at the bottom of my craft closet (which is screaming for a major reorg, btw), and a lining of green wool felt, because wool felt is a welcome addition to nearly any crafty/sewy project. And it's just about the easiest thing to sew with. And, of course, handles were cut from that IKEA fabric left over from my chair redo.


The second, a smaller basket for Bear, materialized with the Echino laminated linen I'd scored from the remnant bin. Sturdier than your run-of-the-mill laminated cottons, a much more pleasing hand than straight-up oilcloth. And, of course, bright pink with a fun motif. Paired that with the wool felt as well, and it might just be my favorite thing I've ever made. And every time I sew with laminates, I get to snap on the Teflon foot (read: non-stick), further justifying the purchase of that esoteric little accessory.

Of course, turning a flat, albeit lined, piece of fabric into a container of things requires some kind of sturdy fastener, a button perhaps, and beyond the utilitarian (and uber-sharp) safety pins rattling around my tool box, and my paltry mish-mash of buttons, I didn't have the right notions to finish this job. The fabric store did have these bloated fasteners labeled skirt/kilt pins, and while I've never seen such a thing in use, even in this utilikilt-happy town, it makes for a tidy non-sew fix for a burlap basket. The little pink basket required more permanent fixture, a puncture of any size through the lamination would be a lasting one, and to that end, a handful of buttons did the trick. Button-sewing, so you know, is not one of those things I burn through quick and easy. I labor over it, agonizing over my substandard technique, never sure whether criss-cross is the answer or a tidy little equal sign. And how many times to pass through each hole? So attaching the four simple buttons to this little basket took longer than the rest of the fabrication, including the pre-cutting hem 'n haw. 


And these might be the last Easter baskets I make for a few years. Because I'm pretty sure I've just built the perfect ones. Of course, I love these so much I might have to make many, many more. Like a ton more. Like assembly-line style and hand them out at Halloween and Christmas and pack them up with the kids' lunches and first day of kindergarten supplies and all the little things around the house that have not yet been placed into boxes and baskets and buckets and crates. The mere fact that I'm still going on about these baskets more than a week after the reason for their existence has passed is probably good indication that this won't be the last we'll see of this particular pattern.


The problem with making things for people not living with you is that your access to those things for photographic exploitation is severly limited. And when you're flitting around, fighting to get out of the house for a 12:15 birthday engagement on the other side of town, and can only rattle off a handful of uninspired shots before tucking the object into its gift packaging, sometimes those pictures, when you download them ten hours later, turn out to be a mostly blurry, fragmented documentation of the thing you spent the last couple days' worth of naptimes making. Then again, this little tutu, a deviation in fabric from the tulle-laden master copy outlined in this book, was just a first draft for the one Bear will eventually twirl her little heart out in. So hopefully there will be better photo ops later.


One easter basket done. Except that I still haven't figured out what I'll use to attach the sides. Some kind of button configuration, probably. Still contemplating fabric combinations for Bear's basket. More burlap would be standard. And prudent, seeing as I picked up a huge lot of burlap bags pre-christmas for bucket-making and only used up one. Or I could cut up the funky laminated hotpants-pink linen I snagged from the remnant bin.