Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Great Java Jacket Debacle

Crafting Liberally NYC has been around for several months now, with our merry band of crafty liberals taking over The Tank (in Tribeca) one Sunday a month. We have knitters, crocheters, scrapbookers, jewelry makers, quilters, needlepointers, generally creative people, and folks who just enjoy stopping by for the conversation.

The knitters are working on a group project of sorts, and we decided to try something new for folks who want to sew: making “java jackets,” or reusable cloth sleeves for paper coffee/tea cups. H/T to my friend Robyn for introducing us to the idea and sending the pattern! It LOOKED easy enough…..

I trekked over to my favorite quilting store and eagerly picked out supplies, including some nifty fabric of cartoonish New York City icons.

And then the fun began.

First, I’d had to reschedule our May meet-up from the 4th to the 11th- Mother’s Day. I knew that was risky, but hey, my kids and I had had an early brunch, so I was free! But sadly, turnout was lighter than usual (although I have high hopes for June). On the other hand, it meant that we had enough supplies (cutting mat, scissors, etc) for everyone to use easily.

But then I discovered that I hadn’t actually bought and paid for the nifty NYC fabric, which I’d assured everyone was perfect for this project. We only had a limited selection of muted, solid color fabric (that I’d bought to use as backing, actually). But we decided that we could use the blue, gray and black as our test run anyway, even though our finished jackets wouldn’t be likely to turn any heads as a fashion-forward must-have accessory.

Cutting the fabric (teaching folks how to use a rotary cutter and quilting ruler) was OK, but then, real disaster struck: I’d bought impossibly small needles! There was no way that even the folks with much younger eyes than mine could thread them, so I promised to bring some better ones for June, and we all turned to watching the SNL Hillary Clinton intro from the previous night (thanks to Matt having thoughtfully brought him laptop for us). Of course, now that we have the hang of it, finishing up our java jackets should be easy peasy….. I think!

Moral of the story? First, it’s great to be with a group of folks who can laugh about and forgive small sewing needles – that’s one of the reasons I helped start CL, actually. The Living Liberally community comprises some of the warmest, smartest, happiest, funniest, most committed people I know, and it’s great just to be able to regularly hang out with them, even when things don’t always go according to plan.

Second, I hope that other CLers will start to bring in their own project ideas; please!

And finally, I WILL remember to bring some new fabric and needles for June. I really don’t have any excuse not to pick them up: see, when I went to the quilting store, I also signed up for a quilting class that starts today! Can’t wait to show folks my progress---


UPDATE: Ah... now I remember how handy those needle threader gizmos are! See y'all in June!

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