How’s that for a catchy title?
You’d think that we’d be off camping after that last weekend of woodland misery, but, no, we are not. Well, we ARE, but we already had trips planned so even though we are DONE with camping we are not, in fact, done. This is likely a good thing, however, since our last camping trip was a blast.
We made a trip to Lake Pepin with some friends which should sound familiar if you are a fan of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. This, my friends, is Laura’s birthplace and a replica of the Ingalls cabin of Big Woods fame. The woods are gone in favor of acres of corn fields. It was amazing to see how small the cabin was, considering a family of five lived here. I’m not amazed when I think of how few possessions they had, but when I consider keeping three small children busy in such a small space through a long and cold winder? I stand in awe. What did those kids DO with their time? My memory of the books suggests that they weren’t outside an awful lot, and sewing nine square quilts can only hold a five year old’s attention so long, so how on earth did they stay out of mischief? Do you know what my kids do all winter? They run after each other, whooping and hollaring, from one end of our house to the other. Our house is not big by modern suburban standards, but it’s a heck of a lot larger than this diminutive cabin. I stand in awe of Ma. She is a golden example of tending the kids and Getting It Done. As a mother and as a student of history, I don’t know how she did it.
In other news, I’ve started learning to sew. I had some experience sewing when I was growing up, both in my middle school Home Ec class, but it’s been 20 years or more since I’ve really put myself to following a pattern. My mom tried to teach me, but it was something that she had so much experience in that it was hard for her to watch me fumble about and more often than not she would end up finishing the projects I would begin.
Today I made Anna a sleeveless version of a pioneer style chemise.
As you can see, there’s a drawstring around the neckline, which creates the only way in and out of this dress. It turns out I bought the wrong size pattern and so I had to make the 5-6 size. I don’t know that the larger size would be any better, but I do know that the arm holes on this thing are pretty snug. BUT, it works!
From this simple project, I learned that I need to learn about hemming in a circle. The hem around the bottom and the hem around the arm holes are a bit wonky, as you might be able to see. I can’t figure out how to get it to lay flat when I’m sewing “round”.
I might never get to be a great seamstress, but it’s fun to try something new from time to time and to expand what I’m able to accomplish. The next thing on my list are pants for the boys, especially Henry. As he gets bigger I’m finding fewer and fewer hand-me-downs from Thomas for reasons I don’t quite understand. The upshot of this is that he needs more clothes than I can find in storage and the thrift store doesn’t always have what I need. Just last week I decided that Henry really needed a couple more pairs of shorts to keep him covered between wash days. The thrift store had nothing in the boys’ section so I ended up raiding the girls’ section for gender neutral shorts. If I’d had time, I would have been able to sew something up.
A sane person might suggest going to Target and just buying what we need, but I find that the stores are half a season ahead of where I need them to be. I don’t like to buy a pile of clothes at the beginning of the season because it’s had to know at that point exactly what we’re going to need. In May it really looked like our shorts situation would be fine. It wasn’t until we tried it out that I realized that we were short on shorts. By now the stores have swept away their summer gear and are parading out their Back-To-School stock. Sometimes it’s just more convenient to just do it myself. It’s the same principle that keeps me buying flour, milk, eggs and butter instead of biscuit mix, cans of cream-of-whatever, cookie dough, bread, pancake mix, muffin mix, pie crust, or what have you. The basic ingredients can go in any direction if you have a need and with a little know-how you can keep your life a lot simpler.
I suppose that’s as good a reason as any for building up an enormous fabric stash. I’ll keep it in my yarn room.