Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pot of Honey

Success is sweet, especially after a long effort.  Thirty years qualifies.  It wasn't hard work all those years--more like on-again, off-again with years of inattention in between.  But one day a person looks at a project and has to say, "What was I thinking to start this?  And how much more time do I want to put into it, if any?  And if I stop now, what happens to this that I've finished?"  Good questions.

I'm a big Winnie the Pooh fan.  In the 1970's I was in bliss with a yearly series of Pooh calendars published with all the marvelously charming Ernest H. Shephard decorations (no Disney for me).  I became inspired to make a quilt, the thought being to embroider a map of Hundred Acre Wood and 12 scenes from the Pooh books circling it.  I started stitching with the individual scenes--black thread on ivory broadcloth--to look just like the books.  Now some 30 years later, ten of the small pictures are done (three completed in the last two months).  When I looked at the huge map, I could feel my heart drain away--another 30 years?  I no longer wanted a quilt.  But what would I do with these ten dear sketches in black embroidery.  Sell them on ebay?  Frame them?  Ugh.

Then the thought came. The images would be used to decorate aprons.  The aprons could go as gifts to close friends and family who love Winnie the Pooh.  My mind's eye saw the exact fabric for the completed project.  The fabric store would have it.

Brown, black, cream yielded 3
handsome aprons

The process was anything but straightforward.  I wanted a bold stripe in black and ivory.   A store that claims to have a world-class selection had one yard (2 aprons) of what I needed.  Second best was a busier brown, black and cream (3 aprons).

Cute, but not going to work

Then there were several unsuccessful purchases.  I simply could not move forward with the remaining five.  When I sew, it is for my own pleasure only.  If I don't like the fabric or workmanship, it's a dead fish in any case (don't ask me the precise definition of that phrase).

Next trip yielded several yards of unbleached muslin.  Horrible--don't even need a picture of that.  Enough already!  Time to bite the thimble and drive to the far, far side of town to a real giant--Fabric Depot.  I could picture the exact yardage draped all over the store.

What I discovered was that polka dots are in this year.  Stripes are not.  But I needed only one bolt with about 3 yards on it--surely in the store with "the nation's largest fabric selection," one and a half acres of bolts to choose from, my stripe could be found. Right now one of the Things I get to do today is crisscross the length and width of the store several times, just hanging loose, waiting for the my fabric to jump out.  I was three threads away from picking out another disaster when I drifted off to the far corner where a stripe in bold black and white (not ivory) finally flagged me down.  Only a moment's hesitation before I knew I could take edge off that bright white.  Minutes later I was driving home with enough yardage to complete the final 5 aprons and a package of ecru dye.

One of the embroidered quilt "squares" 

Pooh visiting Piglet's house at the base of a big tree.
 Tonight I'm wrapping the completed aprons. It's funny that once I would no longer settle for inferior design and fabric, everything fell into place and it became a pleasure to do.  The nearly ancient project is finished with more-than-respectable results.  Thank's, Pooh, for the Adventure in which this grown up finds the honey pot and says it's time for a little something.  Sweet!


  1. Very clever way to complete UFOs.

  2. Pooh and his friends have come back to life with this project.

  3. of course, i love your solution; how could i not? makes me wonder if all the UFO's the litter my house as knits-in-progress couldn't have a similar solution. then i think: felt the wool ones; you could do something with those, i bet. I bet!!! look out poor old wash machine: you are going to run cycle after cycle of low low water as i add in boiling water from my teapots to felt some uncompleted projects. i've already decided to gather up the branches that the recent storm tore from my trees, put them in the empty flower pots brought in for the winter, and decorate them with my christmas decorations, saving a tree but getting to see my beloved decorations.

    hmm, now about those semi-written short stories....