29 December 2009

Unfinished Business

I tried very, very hard to get everything done in time for Christmas. And I had some big plans. And almost everything got finished or substituted so that I was on top of everything come Christmas morning. The exception was an apron for my mom. It's true that this is the 4th apron I've made for my mom this year. (A Mother's Day gardening apron and two utility aprons account for the other three.) But it is the first kitchen apron. Back in October, she came with me to my church's women's retreat at a convent in Maine. And one of the nuns had an apron with an appliqued sheep on the front. My mom mentioned that she really liked it and that she wanted one like it, which I stashed away in my little Christmas brain.

So I started making an apron for her from One-Piece Wearables, which contains a ton of patterns that I love and would wear. This apron was one that I've been excited about for some time, and I figured that my mom's sheep apron was the perfect opportunity to try it out. But of course, I can't follow a simple pattern, and I changed it because the pattern had three large gathered pockets on the front, which are really just unnecessary in a kitchen apron. So I got rid of the pockets, made it a little longer, flared the bottom a bit, and added my own ideas for decoration. The basic shape of the apron came together pretty easily, even with my modifications. I edged the entire thing in bias tape I made using this handy-dandy tool, which I love love love. And I added straps that cross in the back and are strung through little loops on the sides. So the basic construction was a huge success despite the late-night/early-morning hours at which it came together. If I had to do it over again, I would choose fabric that is a little more my mom. But these choices seemed appropriately sheepy, and I had them on hand the night I was inspired to start. So there you have it.

So the apron was complete except for the sheep, which were the whole point of the thing. And I mean sheep plural rather than sheep singular. I decided to have three sheep on the top (representing her three girls) jumping over a flower and a mama sheep pocket on the bottom. And this is where I got hung up. Because the shape of a sheep is nearly impossible to applique. It's true. It's just not possible to turn the fabric under where the little woolly bumps come in. And I still haven't figured it out. So my mom's sheep apron remains unfinished. I gave it to her on Christmas morning with the sheep pinned to the top so she could envision what it would look like when someday it is finished. Which hasn't happened yet because 1) Christmas making did burn me out quite a bit, 2) the deadline has passed, which means that all my adrenaline energy is gone, and 3) I still can't figure out how to do it. I think that the solution probably has something to do with fusible webbing, which I have never used and know nothing about. I'm hoping that someday soon, inspiration will strike and I will schlep the 700 miles to Joann fabrics, buy some webbing, figure it out, and finish the little sheepies so my mom can have her Christmas present back. In the mean time, it is sitting under my adorable, newly acquired (free, found by the dumpster) ironing table. Here it the apron in its still unfinished state:
Amy's and Megan's birthday presents are also on my unfinished business list. Megan's birthday was in November. She's getting a little felted gnome sitting in a little copper beer stein. I've already felted his head. He just needs a hat and a body, and he's done. And Amy's birthday was in December. I crocheted a bag for her that is nearly completed except for the fabric lining and two simple seams to assemble it. I don't know what's holding me back aside from the aforementioned Christmas making burnout. But again, I'm hoping someday soon, inspiration (or a sugar high) will strike at just the right moment, and I'll finish those, too.


  1. #1- fusible webbing is a wonderful thing. it lets you do new and magical things. lately i've been using it to applique all kinds of crazy shapes onto tea towels...then i just hand stitch around the edge of the shape to finish it. i love the stuff.
    #2- you inspire me to crafty greatness!

  2. hmmm i seem to have forgotten that i posted a comment and then posted another very similar yet slightly different comment. but both of those are things are true and worth repeating. i should also say your updates have given me something wonderful to do at work this week!

  3. No worries. I deleted the first one, so we're all set and streamlined. Thanks for the tip about fusible webbing. I can proceed with greater confidence now. I'm so glad you're enjoying the updates. I'm very impressed that you've read them all. It's been quite a blogging barrage. I've really been enjoying your blog, too. I'm just a really bad commenter. :o/ I was so excited when you posted about craft hope and angry chicken. This whole crafty blog world is so interconnected and glorious!!