Crafts ‘R Us

So a few years ago, my sister in law got pregnant with her third son.  We were all in seminary together and lived just a block away from each other.  We were also dirt poor.  We weren’t like “Old Mother Hubbard” poor, but pretty dang close. 

I was racking my brains, trying to come up with a great, useful, inexpensive, but do-able gift.  I came across a blue and white gingham curtain that someone was giving away.  It had never been used.  I got to thinking, and whipped out my handy dandy scissors and before I knew it there was a whole pile of perfectly squared blocks.  I hunted around all the baby gifts I had been given (I had just had Emma) and pulled out a white receiving blanket, still in the wrapper (for real, how many receiving blankets did I need?) and a white sheet.  Cutting the sheet required a little more finesse, but I cut veeerrrryyyy ssssllllooooowwwllyyy and did my very best to cut straight.  I went to Walmart and bought a spool of white hand quilting thread and a needle.  And I got to work. 

It was actually very easy.  And turned out pretty dang cute, if I do say so myself.  It never, ahem, got any use because my sister in law is a “saver” meaning it found it’s way into a box into her closet “for the future”.  She probably meant, I hate this ugly quilt, please let’s stick it out of sight and just tell her we don’t want it to get puked on.  It didn’t matter.  I was hooked on quilting. 

I’ve lost count on how many baby quilts I’ve made for friends who have had babies.  I’ve only made one full-sized quilt for a friend (hello, it was queen-sized and I will NEVER do that again).  A friend took pity on me when she found out I was making quilts by hand and brought me over an old, metal sewing machine that just made one kind of stitch.  It was crazy scary to use at first, but man alive-once I got the hang of it, I was whipping out those quilts. I even moved on to bags; day bags for Emma to use when I just needed to carry a couple of diapers and some wipes, purses, bags made out of pillow cases, purses made from place-mats…you name it, I tried it. 

Now, after all that machine sewing, I still prefer to hand-sew.  Is it because I’m crazy?  No, it’s because I feel like I have way more control over the stitch.  And I’m a big believer in using handquilting thread, it’s super strong. 

Last year, a friend of mine found out she was pregnant with her first child.  I, of course, immediately started planning a quilt.  But I didn’t just want to do a quilt, so I made a teddy bear.  I’ve made other teddy bears, but those were just two pieces of fabric, cut to the size of a teddy bear.  I wanted to see if I could try a bear with actual arms and legs, so I found a pattern online and here’s the final product:

Handmade quilt and matching teddy bear

Handmade quilt and matching teddy bear

 

Here’s a kind of close up, so you can see the bear better:

Teddy bear close up

Teddy bear close up

 

Now, I’ll be very honest and say that lots of my creations end up looking butt ugly.  I once knitted a hat for Lance (I totally didn’t know what I was doing as I was just winging it) and it was THE ugliest hat EVER and he told me in no uncertain terms he would NEVER wear it, but thanks for the gift. 

BUT, Lance also thinks I’d make a killing if I sold quilts and matching baby blankets.  I don’t think I’ll ever do that, though, because really making blankets and bears are a labor of love.  There is not much I am really good at, but I have no fears whatsoever of picking up a needle, thread and some fabric and at least TRYING something.  It keeps me sane, this creating.  Maybe it’s a control thing.  Life is chaotic, I can’t control how lots of things turn out, but if I’m holding the tools, I can at least attempt to control the outcome of this creation.  It works in theory, at least.  I’ve also discovered through this creating business, that I am not afraid of mistakes.  I mean, don’t get me wrong-that quilt and teddy bear are as flawless as my flawed hands can create, but if something isn’t just perfect, I don’t go ballistic and chuck the whole thing in the trash.  Instead, I think mistakes kind of give it character.  Which is another reason why I won’t sell quilts and blankets, because most people don’t want to buy character, they want to buy perfection.  To that I say, head to your nearest Target or Walmart then, because you won’t find that perfection with me.

Anyways, still at work on crafting fodder for etsy.com.  Phew, it’s hard to find time to be a full time employee, full time parent, full time wife, and a part time crafter.  But I sure do love it.

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14 responses to this post.

  1. Okay, I literally gasped (out loud and everything) when I saw the quilt and teddy bear combo — THAT is a GREAT idea, and those are SO CUTE! Whatever you make, handmade = personality, and that includes any “oopsies” that may happen. You are so talented. Of course, that comes from someone who can’t even sew a button back onto her favorite pair of capris, so take it for what it’s worth, but I still think you’re amazing!

    Reply

  2. Posted by itsjustmythang on August 19, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    WOW! Kearsie! I love it! I wonder if I have the whole needle and thread thing in common with ya there! I have a intimadation thing with sewing machines and they really do feel out of control when hemming. I should try quilting! The kids would totally dig that! They keep asking to learn whenever I bust out the ole needle and thread. I hope people get back to home made things for the very fact that they are a labor of love. Commercial perfection is so impersonal and cold!

    Reply

  3. My grandmother made all of her grandchildren a quilt with their name on it when they were born. I still have mine.We sat on it Saturday night watching the laser show at Stone Mountain. She misspelled my first name, but that’s ok. Her quilts were always patchwork; whatever she had around. Most of it has a red, white, and blue theme to it, but there are other colors. It’s a bit tattered, but it’s as old as I am, and I think it’s holding up better!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Candy on August 19, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    so cute kears I looove to sew I will have to post my latest sewing projects I am scard of the quilt thing don’t know why I do purses and clothes for me and the girls, pillows, curtains, and recently made Greg a pair of clemson shorts he loves them truely… I might have to try the quilt thing..

    Reply

  5. Posted by Kamryn on August 19, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    Make bears and blankets and charge a buttload. If you sew it, money will come. As far as perfection goes, don’t forget about the folks who love shabby chic, or those who buy tables that have been beaten with chains and scortched with torches. People like character. And people like your crafts. Let me know when you need a PR person!

    Reply

  6. Posted by soundsliketomatoes on August 19, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Hmm, perhaps that should be my motto: If I sew it, money will come…if I sew it, money will come…if I sew it, money will come. Or perhaps an old baseball team will show up in my cornfield and save my little girl from choking on a hotdog…wait, this sounds too familiar…

    btw, has anyone else noticed a tee tiny smiley face on the bottom of the page? Cool beans.

    Reply

  7. Posted by fivemoreminutesplease on August 19, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    AWESOME is all I can say!!! I love them…take it from me…you would not want to see my rendition of a teddy bear and quilt! It would probably look like a sick elephant with a tissue…

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  8. Posted by Mom on August 19, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    What smiley face at the bottom of the page? Or is it in the bottom of the corn field? LOL you are too good with your turn of phrases! As to your sewing skills, I think you must get it from your Grandma, “Mrs. Sew-n-sew”. For sure you don’t get it from me. I am the one that hems my skirt, stands up and I’ve managed to sew the skirt to the knee of the jeans I was wearing while putting in the skirt hem. My motto is “When God said ‘Sew’ I said No!” and I’ve been shaking my head no ever since. I’m so glad you did not get your talant from me, ‘cos your bears & blankets would then look like Poop! Tell Emma & Addie I said poop again, just for them:)

    Reply

  9. Posted by Tiffany Davis on August 20, 2008 at 1:31 am

    I love the quilt and teddy bear! I personally think you are very talented !!! Sophie LOVED the minature quilt you made for her … me too 🙂 I eventually put it up in one of her memory boxes 🙂 I would love to learn, yet just need to make time ….

    Reply

  10. Posted by Aunt Melissa on August 20, 2008 at 3:33 am

    okay, I’ll admit, I’m jealous. Even though I came from this family, my claim to fame is not “sewing.” I’m with your mother on this one. Good job babydoll. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

  11. Posted by Alice Wiggins on August 21, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    WOW! Kears that really is cool. And I agree about the shabby chic. Selling your stuff does take the joy out of the production…but hey, when the money hits the bank, not so bad!

    Reply

  12. Love it! You are so creative. I stink at sewing- never got past the sampler in Home Ec… I love the Etsy idea.

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  13. Posted by Cristy Finucane on August 22, 2008 at 2:52 am

    That is great! You really could make money, but that is one of those things that takes on personality when you have an actual person in mind for it. Hmmm, I must have misplaced my quilt from when Olivia was born… oh, no. that’s right I don’t have one. Hmmmm. you might have to do something to make up for that;) Just joking.

    Reply

  14. Posted by Auntie Vam on August 23, 2008 at 7:54 am

    I promise to post my latest quilt soon on my facebook page! Meanwhile, I’ve just positioned the squares for a queen-sized quilt, finished a baby quilt last month, finished knitting (today) a beret to be felted, and cut some more squares for the next quilt. This all between running our fish camp..

    Reply

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