Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Getting Crafty

I now have sixteen crocheted bookmarks off the hook and waiting to have their tails tucked and their wardrobe (ribbons and beads) applied. I've been saying since the twelfth one that its time to stop starting new ones until I get the de-hooked ones tended to. The problem is that the crocheting step is so much more portable than the dressing up steps. I can often keep a project on the hook in a pocket or very small purse and pull it out when I've only got a minute or two of free time. Like waiting on the microwave to heat my tea water, during commercials, waiting on a page or podcast download, waiting on an IM response and so forth. The wardrobe step entails having a place to spread out the ribbons and beads; having excellent lighting coming from over the left shoulder; and time for thoughtful concideration and dithering, experimentation and fiddling.

I have set myself to the dressing up step several times since I arrived back in Phoenix two weeks and two days ago. The first time I ended up having to reorganize my ribbon box. The second time, which I blogged about here, Merlin used the tray I had laid out the bookmarks and dozens of beads as a launching pad to get to his window perch. Big mess.

The third time, last Thursday, I discovered the in-waiting bookmarks were all curling at the corners and edges and needed to be blocked and dampened. Pinning the corners of over a dozen of them was a time-consuming and tedious job. While I waited on them to dry under the fan, I got out the ribbons and beads and put together a portable kit for bookmark dress-up.


I began by measuring out and cutting one to several lengths off each of the ribbon spools of either 10 or 20 inches. The 10 inch lengths are for the simple, usually beadless bookmarks with a single ribbon threaded through the center row of holes. The 20 inch lengths are for the doubled over ribbon with a large bead in the top loop and sometimes small ones on the bottom tails.

I lay these lengths of ribbon in a clear plastic bag long enough that only the 20 inch ones needed to be folded over. Later I placed the waiting bookmarks in one corner of the same bag.

There were also several cards of rickrack scavenged from my mom's sewing remnants not shown in these pictures which work like ribbons.

Then I selected several dozen of the large beads and two snack baggies full of smaller beads and key rings and charms. I lay the beads and rickrack in the small tray (aprox 5x7 inches and half an inch deep) and lay the tray on top of the bottom end of the bag holding the ribbon and bookmarks and then folded the top of the bag over the tray. This prevents creases forming at the five inch mark on all the ribbons.


Then I slid that package into the portable pouch:


This was one of the pouches the shams I bought for 99 cents at the liquidation store in Longview came in. I bought them just for this purpose--for holding portable craft projects. I wouldn't have bought the shams if they hadn't been in these pouches. But now they are holding a quilt and comforter for the summer and serving as props for reading or watching TV in bed.

I think I need to learn how to make pouches like this so I don't keep buying things I don't really need just to have their packaging. :)

The pouch is approximately the size of an average hardback book if filled to capacity which this one isn't. Yet.

My primary motivation for preparing that pouch last Thursday was to take the bookmark project to the dirt track races on Friday. After I'd spent hours getting my bag of books and crafts ready to go, Ed told me I might want to reconsider because they didn't call it 'dirt track' for nothing and proceeded to describe blowing dust and flying mud clods. But instead of scrapping the plan entirely, I repacked the bag so that the seven or so spools of crochet thread were protected from the blowing dust and flying mud clods.

I put all the spools into one large plastic bag and pulled the end of each thread through the top before sealing all but a small hole at the top of the bag. That bag represented over fifty percent of the volume of the big bag containing crafts, books, binoculars, camera, waterbottle, white cane, visor, clipboard and notepad, etc.

One of the books was a crochet stich bible with how-to sections for beginners. I spent some time looking at it and studied how to change thread color mid project so I could start the bookmark I'd been designing in my head for a week--a red, white a blue one. What better time to be making it than July 4th weekend.

I had finished four of its seven rows before the announcement that the lights were about to go out for the fireworks and I had to speedily put it away and pack my bag. There was one race after the fireworks but I didn't get it out again. I read instead.

I never did get the dress-up pouch out Friday. I was holding off until I finished that red, white and blue bookmark but I spent more time reading, watching the races while taking pictures and notes. and watching the crowd. I was there partly as field research for a story afterall.


When I got home Friday night, I had to unpack the big bag as there was no place to keep it while that big. But I didn't unpack the thread spools as I couldn't until I'd gotten that bookmark off the hook so I could untangle all the thread and rewind the spools. So the bag of spools got set on top of the open drawer the spools belong in where I was forced to stare at it whenever I was at my laptop workstation.

So Monday I finally picked it up and finished the last three rows, blocked and misted it and then got the thread wound back onto the spools and the spools back in their drawer. That is the middle of three drawers in my sewing chest. The top and bottom drawers are currently serving as jumble drawers. Not junk drawers as its all sewing and craft related but it is all stuff I DID NOT take with me to Longview and thus did not get sorted and organized. The bottom drawer is almost entirely empty bags while the top drawer does have some actual supplies and tools but is largely empty containers I've imagined useful for organiaing.

So much of the fairly well organized stuff is taking up space elsewhere:

Like on the high shelves behind me on Ed's side of the bed. I have to stand on the bed to get them down or put them away and needless to say I can't do that when Ed is sleeping or set up in that corner with his laptop on his lap.

Thus even here in my own room, it behooves me to have small portable projects.

There are several I currently have in portable condition and which are also high priority. Check in on tomorrow's post for a list of them and some pictures. I'm hoping that maybe by posting my intentions I will hold myself accountable to get most of them finished in the next six to eight months.

0 tell me a story:

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