Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Does anyone really use these, and what I made for Christmas.

Sometimes I am mystified by the things that are suggested we make for gifts.

Every single everywhere, for example, has a pattern - knitted, crocheted, sewed, whatever - for an eye pillow. I took a little survey. It turns out:

I don't know anyone who uses one.

I don't know anyone who has EVER used one.

None of them knew anyone who used one, either.

Now why do we need 75 gajillion patterns for something no one seems to need or use?

Even more places have patterns for tissue pack covers. Now I will say I have, in my lifetime, known one or two people who use these. However, compared to the number of people I know with noses, this is a very small number. I have never used them myself. I have no anticipation of ever using one myself. I own several. If I am ever stuck in a grab-bag situation with people I don't particularly care for, I suppose I am all set. Other than that, pointless.

I think I am going to keep a running list of things that I find patterns for which no one uses. But I am not going to mass-produce these things for gifting.

I have, I will admit, just done a pretty much handmade Christmas.

I started out with a plan for myself and the older son which was about as large as the Library of Congress, but scaled back continually over the 60 or so working hours that included all the sewing time I got. Travel organizers made way for tea wallets and little purses, hand painted pictures made way for patches sewn on tote bags. New ideas were born out of thin air. (I know how to free motion embroider? Apparently, I do, at least on a primitive level. I discovered this by accident. Go figure...)

What did I make?

Fleece cowls. Fleece cowls with embroidered patches on them. Last, desperate fleece cowl sewn, none too neatly, by hand.

Tea Wallets. Tea wallets in Osnaberg and a black linen blend, with a Zen aesthetic. Tea Wallets made from Orientalist print fat quarters. Tea wallets made with a sort of polka dot fabric in brilliantly bright colors against black. Tea wallets cut on the straight of the printed pattern, rather than the straight of the grain, since it was one or the other and the pattern was geometric. Tea wallets I can't even remember...

Little purses. Little purses with three pockets for folding money or various cards, and a velcro closing, that simple. And even so, I sewed one semi-inside out. Surprise, that worked too... Last little purse sewn by hand, including the velcro...

ONE travel organizer. I would have liked for it to have been three. Maybe more. But frankly, that one took a lot longer than I expected, and there just was not the time. Maybe if I start now, for next year...

Tote bags... The bags were premade, but had to be cut open along the side seams so I could sew on the postage stamp like machine embroidered panels, then sewn back together. I used my fake serging stitch and my overcasting foot. I broke a needle or two, forgetting to change needle position correctly, but these are the breaks...

A Hat. This hat matched a cowl I made. I made the tube longer and sewed up the top, straight across. Then I turned it inside out and met the two corners of the seam, and sewed them together. It is very warm. He does not like it. He doesn't like much, though, so...

All of these were nice things, I would have been happy to have gotten any of them. They were all useful. The tea wallets intrigued some of the recipients who decided they would put little notepaper and a golf pencil in there, or a cell phone, and may have mystified one, but I had one full I showed them, and I explained that It could also take instant coffee packets, the energy drinks in the long packs, etc. I decided to let the 21 year old find out for herself what else that comes in foil packets will fit in there...

No tissue holders. No eye pillows. Anything else you think it is likely my audience was happy I spared them???