Monday, September 16, 2013

One old sheet

Trying to re-thread my serger makes me think of this silly quote: "Like Sisyphus, I am bound to Hell." My serger was a hand-me-down from my MIL, who bought a new one in the last year or so and gave me her old one. (She was under the impression that a new one would solve some of the frustrations she had with the old one, only to find out that, no, those are simply serger frustrations and had nothing to do with the age of the machine.) I'd pulled it out a few weeks ago determined to get some of my projects done, only to end up (45 minutes later) frustrated and angry with the machine, with not a single thing sewn. I put it away for a bit, knowing that my MIL would be in town this weekend, for my baby shower, and that I could ask for her help re-threading it then.
Well, thankfully it wasn't just me. I mentioned the serger problems to a friend who does quite a bit of sewing and she commiserated with me about what a pain in the butt sergers are to thread. So I felt a little less incompetent. And my MIL did help, which took about another 45 minutes of threading and re-threading and re-threading...until we finally got it working properly. Then we had to rush off and get her to the airport. :)
Even after all of that, I only managed to do about half of what I wanted to get done before one of the spools ran out of thread. Shane wanted to go across town to the beer supply store anyway so he could start a new brew, and it happens to be right next to the craft store so we went together and I got new thread. (I even had a couple of 40% off coupons which I got to use!) Which meant having to re-thread the serger, again and again and again.... I got it working and a few small items later, another spool ran out of thread. I'd seen it coming, though, and bought several spools of thread, so it was no big deal except for the re-threading. Shane was in the living room working on his bike (the derailleur cable broke, so he was putting in a new one) while I was re-threading the serger and he kept laughing at me while I was cursing the machine and yelling at it. "You're threaded, dammit, WORK! Oh, you sonofabitch machine...." Not that Shane was really any better, either, muttering to his bike and sighing over the cable. But we both prevailed and got our things working.
In any case, though it took most of an afternoon, I got the projects I'd had waiting finished. Wooo! All of them came from one old, queen-sized top sheet. The bottom sheet had ripped horribly (Shane's fault, of course) several years ago and I kept the top sheet because it might be useful "someday". And it has been, don't get me wrong. When we had to cage our cat after he broke his femur last year, we used this sheet in the bottom of the recovery palace. When we've needed a dropcloth for non-greasy projects, this sheet has been pulled out. But it's nothing that I feel bad about cutting up, either. So about half the sheet has now been cut into small-ish pieces for several different projects.
The first is that I wanted to make reusable cloth baby butt wipes. If we're going for cloth diapers, might as well go all the way and use cloth wipes, right? And it's not like they're hard to make. Even for a beginning sewer such as myself, these were ridiculously easy. I cut out squares of fabric and simply serged the edges. That's it. We now have a nice stack of baby wipes, which can get washed along with the cloth diapers. As for what goes on them and makes them wipes, from what I've read all you need at first is just a bit of water. (After all, it's more than we adults do for ourselves!) You can add a bit of baby wash to the water as well, but it's not totally necessary, especially for newborns. We'll figure out what works best for us once she's here. But this is one less thing that we need to buy.
And to be clear, I'm certain that there will be times and circumstances for which we'll buy disposable wipes and diapers. I've accepted that fact. But with all of this planning and prep, we'll have to buy far fewer of those items than the average family, which will not only save lots of money but will prevent garbage as well. I like both of those things.
The second item I made was a rice heating pad for my back. It's not aching as much as it was at one point, but I figure it's hard to go wrong with having a heating pad on hand. Apparently a lot of nursing mothers end up with aching backs too, and, well, life causes aches and pains. Now we can fix ourselves. [Picture to the lower left is halfway through making the heating pad. I sectioned it so that the rice doesn't all fall to one side.]
I used a lot of rice yesterday. Not that it's terrible, since rice is so cheap, but I still cringed a little. The final item I made was a rice draft dodger for under the front door. There's a decent sized gap and in the winter we can feel a draft at foot level. We had a towel that we put in front of the door, but this is a more elegant solution, and easier to deal with. Since it was so long and I knew I'd use lots of rice, I also stuffed it in a few places with fabric scraps from my earlier projects. It's not much, but it displaced a little bit of the rice and, again, kept me from throwing that fabric away.
I'm so excited to have the serger working that I'm wondering what other things I can make? Beginner projects only, of course. One idea is to make a couple of baby changing pads for around the house, but for that I need to buy some towels from Value Village first. (Also, if I don't get around to actually making a cute little changing pad and instead just have towels on the floor, it's not a big deal to us, so this isn't a priority.) We also don't have anywhere to put said cloth diapers and wipes yet, so I'm thinking of going to the craft store and finding some water resistant/waterproof fabric and an embroidery hoop to line an old pillowcase (we have lots of those, too). It would look something like this and I could just throw the whole thing in the washing machine with the diapers. Also, since it would hang in the closet, it would keep things off the floor and out of temptation range for the dog.
In the meantime, I'm going to work on making some baby socks. I'll post the pattern later, if I can get it to work, but I'm basing it roughly on the sock pattern I used for my Forty-Below Socks (which are the knee-high socks in one of the Stitch 'N Bitch books). Of course, I'm using much, much thinner yarn and size two needles for these socks, rather than sweater-weight yarn and size 5 needles as I did before. We'll see how they turn out. If it works well, I know I'll have plenty of yarn leftover so I'll make a few pairs as gifts for friends and family who are having babies.

No comments:

Post a Comment