Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cloth Napkin Bonanza

In my nesting efforts I have been finishing little projects that have been on my list for, oh let's say, the last two or three years. Today I moved some books from one shelf to another. I pass this shelf of books at least 10 times per day and every time I think it looks messy and needs to be moved or straightened. It took me all of 4 minutes to do today.

We've been doing a lot of home decorating as well. Talia got a bunk bed and Alex got Talia's old bed. I bought bedding and lamps and curtains for both. We ordered an entirely new living room from the nicest furniture store in Madison. Yesterday I bought a pillow for the new couch for $150. I could have totally made it myself-- if I didn't mind stealing a local artist's ideas. Today I bought coordinating fabrics and pillow forms so hopefully I can make a bunch of pillows to match. I also have been looking for an awesome tablecloth (for our new dining room table, gifted to us by my in-laws as they have recently downsized) and haven't found one I loved so I bought some fabric and fabric paint and am hoping to hand print one a la Lotta Jansdotter. I know, a lot of projects with a baby coming in less than a month-- especially considering I have totally stalled on her quilt...

Another thing I did today was sew up 22 cloth napkins. I've been wanting to use cloth exclusively for a long time but you really need a lot of napkins to make it work. I decided to take an entire collection of fat quarters and serge the edges. This is a collection I got at Joann's and I totally love it but... it's not the highest quality fabric. I made one or two quilts using this type of collection before and I think the fabric is too thin and slightly see-through so I don't want to go through all that work again and be disappointed with the final result. Now I get to look at this fabric collection every day anyway so I'll get to enjoy it! Truthfully, all I did was serge the edges of the fat quarters so if I change my mind and need a quilt, the fabric is still completely intact. Hopefully the serged edges will hold up to repeated washings.

Most importantly, I threaded my own serger today! Originally, a friend did it for me (by tying on new thread to the old thread's ends- I got a used and therefore previously threaded serger) and that worked fine. Then when I had a problem with it I took it to the repair shop. They didn't charge me but they did keep it for two weeks. A few days ago one of the needles came unthreaded. I tried to re-thread it but it kept coming undone. It worked fine as a three-thread serge, especially since I was just finishing edges-- not using it for actual construction. Today it just messed up completely in the middle of the cloth napkin project so... I got out my manual and re-threaded the whole thing. It took about 30 minutes and Alex was really trying to "help" me but I did it and I can DO IT AGAIN! I pride myself in being skilled at following written and pictoral directions. I think that's why I was able to teach myself to sew, cook, put furniture together and I'm great at reading maps. Taking on the serger, however, always scared me. Now I know I can do it. I love having a serger and would be lost without it. Imagine double hemming 22 napkins = that's 88 edges (meaning you would have to press them each twice for 176 edges). Even if the serged edges do not hold up after repeated washings I should still only have to single hem them. Isn't that great?

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