Zippity do dads

Last winter I picked up another sewing basket full of goodies at an antique mall in the sticks.

zippity-basket

I spotted the basket first, thinking it might be Gullah/South Carolina sweetgrass, then saw it was full of sewing notions, then saw that it was priced something ridiculous like $6, then it was in my hands and going to the cash register.

Some of the contents were lovely – I’m not much for over-the-top femininity, but I love the package designs of the things for “women’s work” of yesteryear.

zippity-hooks

And there were the usual odd spools of thread, mismatched buttons, bindings and zippers.

I disassembled the contents of this one into its like parts to display the basket elsewhere, so I actually don’t remember what exactly was in this one…

zippity-boning

But I’m fairly certain it was in this one (or one of the estate sale cigar boxes I unpacked around the same time) that had a little wrapped bundle of steel boning.

I thought that the wrapper might have been a quilt square for a crown pattern…

zippity-pocket

…but it ended up being a very sweet scalloped pocket either made for something, or removed from something.

(I don’t know what I’ll do with either yet – I can’t see myself ever using boning, but the pocket will go with my little collection of vintage fabric I’m loath to cut into and/or sew, but it’s mostly scraps anyway so maybe a quilt will come of it one day…)

zippity-more zippers

And the zippers made their way into my stash of packaged zippers…

zippity-zippers

…and wad of unpicked loose zippers.

I love the old zippers with nods to art deco design, sturdy teeth and strong but faded cotton.

I do re-use the old (used and new) zippers for bags and the very occasional skirt, but I’m doubtful I’ll ever make much of a dent in the small stash – mostly the more delicate garment ones. I’m also on the fence about artistic use of them – like buttons, they can appear very “crafty” – I don’t have a desire to make zipper roses and things. Sometimes they can look interesting as trims and whatnot, but not on bags where they can be grabby or scratchy against a bare forearm.

But first, more research on that basket…

 

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Green[bean]sleeves and more deturtling, desleeving

I don’t like wearing tank tops in public – I feel too naked – and our garden is on the side lot facing the street, so it is a bit too public once the neighbors and walkers are out and about.

But I also don’t like tan lines on my arms – a rare petty personal pet peeve of mine.

So I decided to increase my almost-but-not-quite-tank sleeveless shirt pile – now I have 3, and yes, they’re all in the wash, so I’d like to make a few more…

The last time I went a’thrifting, I picked up a couple of thin, lightweight, close-fitting but not too tight, long-sleeved t-shirts for a buck or less for the purpose of desleeving before I started chopping up shirts I already have in case it was an utter failure.

I used that shirt I overdyed last year (that hasn’t faded as much as I thought it would) as a guide for cutting the neck depth of the one to be deturtled.

greenbeansleeves-before

And stitched up the bagginess at the armhole with an ad hoc bust dart.

greenbeansleeves-during

And I have to say, the fit is good – maximum sunage with minimal neckedness – and the fabric (though evil and mass-produced likely in a sweatshop) is comfortable.

I didn’t finish the edges, and I don’t think I will – they roll slightly and it looks intentional.

greenbeansleeves-on

And I realized the cut off sleeves (with pit width reduced and stitched up) would make perfect bean rash guards.

greenbeansleeves-sleeve

They just look a bit silly when worn together, and they’re not perfect – the knit fabric snags the little bean prickles a bit more than the old man’s woven long-sleeved shirt I usually wear (the shirt is a button-down meant for a man and many years old, not a shirt off an old man’s back) but I can wad up these sleeves and leave them in a handy spot whereas the shirt is often on walkabout…

The turtle became a headband.

greenbeansleeves-headband

And the moon sliver left of the upper chest became an impromptu hair tie but will eventually make its way to the garden.

greenbeansleeves-scrap

The second shirt was a tighter fit, so no sewing was necessary, only satisfied snipping.

greenbeansleeves-2 before

And I’m left with a spare pair of beansleeves and more needed plant ties.

greenbeansleeves-2 after

I’m starting to think that none of my old favorite, but slightly too tight, t-shirts will be safe from the snipping now…

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More reused old sock-ish things…

I try not to generate much trash – I’m not aiming to fit a year’s worth in a mason jar – but I get itchy if there’s more than one small bag per week. Having a dog who generously marked in the house the first month challenged the trash quota, the paper towel quota, and my patience for all three. (I mostly use rags instead of paper towels, but I just can’t get past putting bodily fluids in the washing machine.) Add in my current desire to purge, and I was feeling trashy about having too much going into the landfill. (I think it’s a landfill…? I haven’t learned where it goes here yet.)

So I cut out the butt sides of blown out underwear to use as wood staining rags, unraveled that pair of socks, and put to very good use a few pairs of old tights, so what remained was just a fist-sized wad of flaccid waistbands and trimmings.

The tights were a mix of cotton, cotton blend, and synthetic.

july-tights ties

I cut them into loops thick and thin, used the thick for hair scrunchies, and the thin were snipped again to become plant ties.

july-tights ties bag

They’re working well with the plants (but they aren’t necessarily biodegradable though one pair was mostly cotton, so they’re not perfect) and I’m hoping they’ll hold up well enough to be re-used – the mostly cotton ones are stretching out a bit but can easily be re-tied.

tights-tomatoes

(I’m still cursing the former owners who used plastic zip ties on their tomato plants that were still left for us to tear out the following April – another example of their assholerly/cluelessness/dumbshitness that we had to clean up – and I’m still finding the occasional bits of plastic in the dirt two years later.)

tights-squash

And I need to do another sweep of the tights and stockings drawer to see if any can become squash slings now…

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Randomly at the start of another July…

I’ve got 19 posts started – all waiting for images, things to be found and photographed, projects to get underway or completed, or thoughts to round out or solidify.

Ongoing, but sometimes intermittent, wrist pain has substantially curtailed my knitting, and brain fog has kept me from working on a couple of sweaters that are both at the point of needing close attention to the pattern and/or modifications and deviations… But I’ll knock out a few rows on the thick socks, and regular socks, and wash cloths from time to time.

july-socks

It’s looking less and less likely that I’ll participate in the Tour de Fleece this year – the last few were failures anyway and the room I keep my wheel is hot as balls. But I started a little bit of spinning a month ago – one or two of you might recognize the significance of the colors – but now I’m not sure I’ll finish more than a bobbin or two – it was a flash-in-the-pan idea for bringing in a little cash, but I’m not feeling it on various levels anymore, and again humidity and wool don’t mix.

july-spin

The last month was pie/cake/italian ricotta tart season for both of us and that was a happy diversion.

july-tart

(Sadly, these weren’t our own blueberries – we’ll need another couple of years for a pie’s worth.)

july-pie

And with that came a new tablet with an okay enough camera for Instagram participation, so join me there – it may or may not relate to things here, and will likely have an excess of garden pics…

Of which will also be here – the garden is getting the lion’s share of my otherwise making something time for better or worse – some of it squishing bastard cucumber beetles, some of it trying to keep up with picking the bounty – most of it good times.

july-beets

(Unfortunately the spring carrots didn’t take well, so our beets will have to be paired up with another farm’s carrots for some tasty fresh juice.)

july-peas

I threw in some peas for shits and giggles expecting them to get scorched too soon, but now I wish I’d planted more…

july-garlic

N’s garlic crop has been good overall – he tried 5 or 6 different varieties with mixed results.

july-garlic in basement

The basement utility room now smells lovely, or like a giant head of garlic (and we’ll consume all of it well before next year’s appears).

july-beans

I love good old trustworthy basic (Provider) green beans. My worst gardens have always produced enough of them to land at least some extra in the freezer – but we won’t be pickling and canning anymore ever again – I absolutely abhor a mushy bean.

july-bean rash

I also hate that picking them always gives me a rash and I’m at times too lazy to go back in the house for a long-sleeved shirt before doing so…

july-catbird

There are a few more friendly catbirds keeping me company in the garden this year – let’s hope that they’re taking care of some of the peskier bugs and not just warming up for a potential fruit harvest.

And I’m slowly assessing and cleaning and repairing my old sewing machines – turns out one was a different model than I’d thought which doesn’t mean much except that I can’t use it for parts after all but the condition is good after all too, I’m attempting to turn another into a hand crank, and one or two others might leave the herd.

I’ve got a bit of a garment sewing fever building, so let’s see if anything comes of it…

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From foot to face

I have a lot of socks – many, and the most frequently worn, are wool, and an equal number or more are cotton which I don’t wear much except the “sport” style for summer walking, more aged ones for home improvement/yard tasks, and a few decent ones for those scarce days that are too cool for bare feet but too warm for wool and perfect for thin wool (but I have the fewest of those). Most are leftover from work and my days of living without a washing machine wherein quality of life meant fewer trips to the laundromat.

But I’m getting more and more organized and for shits and giggles konmaried the whole lot. Folding*, that is – socks don’t spark much joy so I keep them until they’re 100% unwearable/unmendable so I haven’t had to buy new ones in ages, and I still appreciate the broken-down ones.

But I was left with a couple of pairs of 25+ year-old cotton and wool socks that have never quite served a purpose – too much cotton for cold outdoors activities (cotton can kill and/or loose toes), but too thick for warm ones, and not enough wool for warmth and elasticity. (The wool is the thinner grey-brown strand of the marl.)

So I finally decided to kill, rather than darn, a pair with blown-out heels.

foot face-before

But the yarn of the cuff felt nearly perfect still, and useful for something

foot face-unraveling

So I cut it above the worst of the heel, and it unraveled well from the bottom up.

foot face-elastic

(It also had an annoying near-invisible thread of elastic that I painstakingly picked out.)

foot face-balls

And I was left with a couple of good-sized balls of enough yards to become something.

I didn’t want it to be socks again, nor any other wearable thing, but it hit me that the blend would be perfect for washcloths/dish cloths.

So I cast on for Grandmother’s Favorite dish cloth and knit to 68 stitches wide on US 4 needles

foot face-during

The fabric ended up being better than I’d expected – lovely natural colors and good drape.

foot face - after

So I started on a second, and will try to salvage some yardage from the worse for wear (mostly pilled) feet for a third.

They might be too “nice” for the dishes now though…

*The folded socks ended up returning to their more fluid balled state shortly thereafter – if the drawer isn’t overstuffed, it doesn’t really matter how they go in as long as they’re paired.

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Creeping madness garden tour

I am filled with disgust for my country these days – we’ve often been on tenuous terms, but the politicians (especially the oddly coiffed asshole), some law enforcers, and a few everyday folks are creating this entirely horrific trifecta of ignorance and madness and triggerhappiness…

I think about making things as a response, or a way to process, some of the news, but by the time I put needle to cloth, another something terrible happens and I retreat to less loaded projects.

The garden is back to serving as a place where I can zone out while pulling weeds and waging a calmer, natural war.

I just called in 1,500 ladybug troops to neutralize the aphids.

garden-ladybugs

Releasing them was ticklish.

And reminded me of this book:

garden-creeping madness

Or rather, the cover – it’s a narcotics education book I inexplicably had as a kid.

(I’ve also been mildly interested in dunking my feet into a tank of flesh-eating fish to clean up the dead skin – but while a few creepy crawly nibbles don’t bother me, a dozen or so might. But never, ever centipedes and millipedes – I must admit, I’ll occasionally jump and scream at little at those – especially when they charge.)

And yes, the vast majority of the ladybugs flew away, but a handful stuck around – no noticeable reduction of the aphids, yet…

garden-gooseberry

The gooseberry bush is fruiting away and I tried one at the first blush rather than waiting for it to fully redly ripen – it was pleasantly tart and tasted nostalgic.

We’re eating so much lettuce and greens that our blood and guts seem laden with chlorophyll – I’m expecting a bud or tiny leaf might appear from a popped pimple.

But I was overjoyed to indulge in one of my fleeting favorites recently – garlic scape pesto – followed by a few pickled scapes sprinkled on salads and sandwiches.

garden-beanpole

N disassembled parts of one of my old (large) wooden sculptures from college to create an industrial-strength pole bean teepee. I’d clung on to the still semi-unfinished piece for more than 20 years – seems ridiculous now – and the rest will become warmth and marshmallow fuel in our fire bowl.

garden-lots-o-zukes

And I don’t want to jinx it, but this year, the ladies have finally taken over in the zucchini patch – last year it was mostly dudes – tasty, short-lived dudes.

garden-baby toms

I don’t think we’ll get a lusty red ripe tomato by the 4th of July this year, but hopefully it will come shortly thereafter. And the heirlooms are way ahead in the race – the sauce tomatoes might end up flirting with the frosts again.

garden-seats

And N pulled a slightly rotting outdoor settee sort of thing out of the trash, and with a few new pieces of wood and a fresh coat of paint, we can now sit and watch everything grow.

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Minimal failure

Perhaps it was because Spring came and went, or for a bit we thought we might have to move again, or because we had to dog-proof the house, or my recent life changes inspired me to take greater control over things I could, but I’ve never felt the pull of minimalism as strongly as I do now.

I’m tired of not knowing where things are – if I use/enjoy something, it should be in a place, not buried in a poorly-labeled box, otherwise I shouldn’t have it… right? This is my mantra of sorts, and is working for me (sort of) now. I’ve blathered on about spending most of my life living in a cabinet of curiosities, so now I’m aiming to cull and contain my most prized pointless objects to an actual cabinet.

Once a year our town has a junk week wherein you put what you don’t want, or what was too big to throw away without paying extra, out on the curb. What follows is a mildly pleasant time of encountering previously un-met picking and promenading neighbors, and scavenging jalopies with faulty mufflers that clatter by at dusk and dawn but disappear the worst of the worst – busted motors from ceiling fans, a single broken shutter, planks from a floating floor that ReStore refused – and by the time the Goodwill truck comes followed by the bulky trash truck, there’s very little, or nothing, left for them to claim.

For the last couple of years I have avoided going on the junk walks – not that I didn’t want to meet more neighbors, I just didn’t want to haul something rusty and broken and utterly useless, but devastatingly beautiful home. I am not acquiring any new [old] things unless they serve a purpose, right? But we wanted to see if we could find anything for the garden and yard – old windows for cold frame beds, bricks/pavers/flat things for stepping stones, or all-weather tchotchkes for whimsy.

orange fabric unfurled

Instead I scored a massive bolt of blaze orange upholstery fabric and a couple of pieces of extra thick canvas.

Do I need them? Nope.

Can I use them? Of course.

Will I use them? Eh…..

orange fabric detail

I haven’t tested the orange fabric yet for content – I’d say it’s likely to be at least mostly cotton and feels nice in the hand. I could make a new cover for the old basement sofa with it, or complete hiking-during-hunting-season in a globally warmed climate ensemble for a family of four, or a helluva lot of tote bags.

(I justify many a cheap fabric purchase or acquisition in the name of tote bags…).

Or perhaps I should sell it.

But I’m thinking of dabbling with painted floorcloths for the canvas – the weight is perfect – perhaps it would make a good runner on our map stairs.

In my defense, when folded, the new fabric takes up less space than the items we discarded – including an extra old microwave oven I’ve been clinging to for purposes of craft or unrealistic thoughts of second workplace abodes…

But I have absolutely no room left for fabric and for now, it’s in the shed where fabric, except tarps and garden stuff, should never be.

But I’m making headway in other areas – a childhood’s worth of seaside souvenir shells have become landlocked in the garden (except for a few extra special ones), I disposed of a cubic foot of (some decade-old) tights, and 4-H trophies have been reduced to parts and donated to the art/craft supply place. The prize ribbons, however, are fiber after all, so I feel obligated to make something from them, but then what? I’d have another thing with memories and then extra making memories I’d want to keep but not store…

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