Archive for The Rumpelstiltskin Challenge

Rumple Recap

When I set out to challenge myself to not buy any new fabric for a few pennies shy of a full year, it seemed BOLD and DRASTIC and DELICIOUSLY RESTRAINING and possibly IMPOSSIBLE.  A year seems such an unimaginably-large chunk of time, too big to wrap my arms (and hence my brain) around.  But, oh, if I could do it, wouldn’t the results be BOLD and DRASTIC and DELICIOUS?

Well.  Turns out a year is but a blink of the eye.  Turns out that what I was really after, with regards to the management of my studio materials and the output of said space, was the giant reconsider-every-last-bit-in-here purge that I have more recently completed.  But it is important to point out that the groundwork laid by the Challenge set the stage for a monumentally successful purge:  if I didn’t make x in the past year, when my attention was focused more keenly on what was in front of me, well, then it likely wasn’t ever going to be made by me, so why not give someone else a crack at it?

And now, as I peruse the archives for those things that I cranked out of the stash-at-hand, I’m immensely underwhelmed by the volume.  I actually didn’t make all that much.  Out of fabric.  But my garden exploded, as did my flock of sheep, their bounty of wool needing processing, and a myriad of other sewing distractions.  It’s clear that the bandwidth allotted to sewing has shrunk consistently as new, exciting ventures are added to the mix.  It is as it should be, I’m satisfied, and now my studio reflects this.  The fabric cubes have been tamed to a manageable size, making room for the introduction of wool into the studio.  There’s a lot of spinning to be done, folks.  Of wool into yarn, not straw into gold.  So with this, I hereby conclude the Rumpelstiltskin Challenge officially, though the basic tenets will stick with me indefinitely.  Use what you have.  Limit your possibilities so that you can stretch your designs further.

But enough about me.  What about you?  There is a wealth of lovely projects captured in the flickr pool.  How did the Challenge fare for you?


Comments (2) »

Sewing my way out of this mess

My studio is in a state of emergency.  Fibers are everywhere – the woven kind one uses for sewing, the fluffy kind one uses for spinning and knitting.  Patterns are everywhere – the kind that comes nicely contained in an envelope and the kind that manifests on scraps of paper in the midst of a creating binge.  Thread ends and seam trimmings and snippets of fabric float about like dust motes.  Christmas gifts, too, have begun piling up in this place which has become a de facto repository for gifts waiting to be tucked into fabric gift bags.

I can find only one reasonable way out.  To start sewing.  The bulkiest bits are prioritized for their (larger) ability to open up real estate.  First up – a replacement shower curtain.  The lovely crane-filled curtain made in a previous flurry of sewing (blathered on about here) has unfortunately not withstood the intense pressure of soap build-up (it became faded and discolored) nor the pressure of the washing machine,  (defective, I think, and since replaced) which chewed the bottom hem to bits.  Our showers, while still quite functional from a utilitarian standpoint, had lost all of their aesthetic ambiance quite a while ago.  This natural-color large piece of what I presume to be linen/cotton was spotted among the standard polyester fare of a thrift store.  I printed the lovely motif with an wood block I scored at my favorite local-ish antique store.  I salvaged the upper white portion and added then new skirt and done.  Seems ridiculous that it sat around so long.

Now that I had a discolored hemp former-shower curtain to deal with (because you can’t just throw that out – it’s HEMP and crazy-expensive) I didn’t really gain anything in the Clear-Space-in-my-Studio department, did I?  I quickly cut and sewed that former shower curtain bottom into two nice drawstring sacks with which to contain some of the renegade wool clogging the studio’s arteries.  Ka-pow!

This sack is currently moonlighting as a gift bag.

This cutter quilt was taking up nearly a full cube of my fabric wall.  I hemmed and hawed and agonized over what to do with it, until I decided that the very best thing to do with it is actually the very opposite of the Too-Precious-To-Cut-Up-So-Let-it-Wallow-on-the-Shelves-For-Years approach I had been taking:  I made it into three dog beds.  Now it sits in a lovely quilted bundle under the tree.  The pugs won’t know what hit them on Christmas morn – they haven’t received gifts from us since we upended their social status by procreating.

Another cutter quilt – this one has now been cut up and used in about 5 different ways.  The most dramatic is not shown – I’m waiting for it to magically float up to the wall where it will hang in our bedroom.  That magic is pending.  The bottom hem, however, is shown above in its new incarnation as a dresser runner.  So, so lovely.  Hand quilted.  I hope she who crafted such a lovely quilt is not too terribly mad at me for cutting it up – the all-over wear is evident and comforts me that it was overwhelmingly loved in its previous life as a quilt.

Now.  Off to keep digging myself out.


Comments (2) »

The Rumple Report: Prodigal Edition

Well, now!  Remember that little challenge I issued at the start of the year?  I do, vaguely.  Seems I’ve be a bit remiss in keeping my own participation up-to-date.  Sewing, knitting, and other such stash-bushing activities seem to be furthest from my mind while wrenching newborn lambs from their uterine enclosures or wresting jungle-gauge weeds from the garden beds.  (insert your own excuses here too, if you wish)  But after last week’s grand cannonball back into sewing, I thought it might be time to see if I can coax a few more of you back into the sewing-what-we-got game.  It’s August already, and time for a new theme.

Back to School.

Am I the only one out there who is frantically ticking off the days till the school bus arrives and brings a little peace to the house?  Has anyone else thought about dropping off the almost-X-grader at the school to wait out the last days till the first bell rings in a new school year?  Is anyone else on the verge of going crazy? Please, humor me and tell me I’m not alone.  And then let’s all channel that energy (empathetic or real) into making some things for the kiddos to wear while they’re mercifully Not. At. Home.

I’ll start.

Isadora requested a skirt in the midst of a skirt-making frenzy, so I swiftly obliged.  Its former job was as a strapless dress for a waif.

And while I’m playing catch-up, I thought that I’d also share some more views of the dress I made for myself in last week’s sewing orgy.

Here it is, straight from the hamper, only slightly unrolled from its balled-up heap.




Comments (3) »

Sewing like a Banshee

Three down, one to go.  It’s the largest one yet, but I’m now something of a genius with setting in collars and sleeves.  Well, I’m at least quite competent at it.  There is no scheduled childcare to facilitate the sewing process today; I fear this will be a day heavy with video-watching.  But it’s nap time now for the bearer of the wee plaid shirt, so time’s a-wasting.  Sew like the wind!

Comments (2) »

Reason #247 Why We Shall Not Have More Children

Because then there would be absolutely NO WAY IN HELL I’d finish sewing each of us a new garment by this weekend’s annual Sugar Maple Music Fest.  As it stands, the idea of finishing four sewn-from-scratch garments that are currently (on Wednesday) only 60% cut out is some kind of crazy crack-smokin’ talk.  Yet I persist.

It’s sounded like a good idea for awhile now.  I declared my goal publicly and even included the “probably smokin’ crack” disclaimer a week or two ago.  Then I thought about starting, even cut out the pieces for Errol’s shirt.  Then I cleaned out the fridge, rediscovered my love for knitting, clipped my toenails.  Only last night I told The Mister that he’d probably not get his shirt by Friday or Saturday.  Then I proceeded to measure him.

This morning I rallied with a good cup of coffee and a pair of kids distracted in front of some PBS show online.  I cut out my dress.  I started putting fabrics together for Isadora’s and realized that I could finally live out that dream which is the birthright of every mother:   to have matching Mother/Daughter outfits.  Yes.  How I’ve resisted that sadistic impulse so long is beyond me – probably some form of laziness on my part.  It’s not like I haven’t had the opportunity.

And then I realized that I could do the same sort of thing for the boys.  With this, my jet pack has been ignited and I’m kicking it into High Gear.  You heard it here first: (You too, Dear!)  we will be matchy-matchy. (Isn’t that a GREAT IDEA?)  And we will be unmistakable at the Sugar Maple this year as “That Weird Quirky Family Dressed Alike But Strangely Not Performing.?!?”  If I get these all sewn, that is, which we all know has a snowball’s chance in hell.  But you never know…

See last year’s Sugar Maple, including the handmade Boy/Girl ensemble here.

2009 is here. No handmade clothes that year.

2008 here. None that year either.

Comments (4) »

How to make a skirt

Errol demonstrates the best way to cut out a skirt.



So easy even a two-year-old can do it.

Side note:  perhaps this flutter of sewing activity means a Rumpelstiltskin Challenge report on Friday.  I’ve not forgotten about it – have you?


Comments (2) »

The Rumple Report: May Theme

It’s May now, isn’t it?  For those of you joining me in the Rumpelstiltskin Challenge, it’s time for a new theme.  As always, use it as much or little as you like.  Let it be a jumping-off point if you need a creative push or a Hell No! if you’re already swimming along nicely.

May’s Theme:  Making for Kids

Next week kicks off Elsie Marley’s KCWC! (Kids Clothing Week Challenge)

Join me in committing to working an hour each day of next week on clothes for the kiddos.  Mine need them, badly.  Yours too, I’ll bet.  On my list are appropriately-sized pants, pjs, a Woodlands Shirt or 3, and some Wishful Thinking Big Boy Underwears. (I don’t remember exactly why, but in this vernacular, the underwears are always plural.  And that’s how they’re going to stay.)

To facilitate all this crazy making, I’m reissuing the Measure Up Cheat Sheets that I designed last KCWC.  Print ’em up, measure the kiddos, and fire up your scissors.

* Special thanks to Anie for lightening the literary load of “Rumpelstiltskin” and offering up the pocket-sized “Rumple.”  I am generally disinclined to nicknaming, (it’s Isadora, not Dora and most definitely not Izzy) but this just works so well.  Thank you.

Comments (6) »

%d bloggers like this: