Monday, March 19, 2012

Down Side of Down*

Sometimes there's no turning back.   This is one of them.  I'm not fond of making a mess, and I have to admit, right here at the beginning, that had I been able to undo what I had started on this project, I may have done just that.

The down comforter that covers our bed, and us at night, makes me swoon.  It's light and warm and fosters a feeling of cuddled bliss even if the bed is cold on the first edge of the nightly plunge.  I love it.  Except of one little (big) thing.  The pockets of down across the top, that part that is over our neck and shoulders, seem to be really skimpy on fluff stuff.  They are totally stitched around so nothing has migrated with the geese when they went south last fall.  However, regardless of the thin covering, we've certainly survived the winter.  Spring is nearly here.  It could easily be set aside until next winter.  But wait!

A 25-year-old down vest hangs--unused for the last  20 years--in a distant closet.  So many reasons this garment is no longer in active service--too short and too fat are the main ones.  "Too fat" makes it the precise antidote for the "skimpy" comforter.

Vacuum container emptied into plastic bag.
Vacuum filter still totally clogged with down.
My Handy Andy head has been circling the situation and the Things I get to do today looking to find the best way to funnel the down from the vest-flown-south to the top pockets of the comforter.  This blog will spare you the painful, long version of all that happened next.  Short version: slit open down pouches in the vest. Vacuumed out the down.  Plugged up vacuum with down.  Transferred down to large plastic bag.  Down is expanding more and more.  Down must be condensed to be stuffed into small seam opened in the comforter.  Stop to "think" this through again.  Cleaned up vacuum and put it away.

Inside of eviscerated vest.
Down escaping.

Begin again.  Gather vest, comforter and myself to my sewing machine. Open a comforter pocket seam to receive the down.  Slit a pouch in the vest.  Thrust my hand in, forcing down to the end of its pouch.  "Grab" as much as possible.  Slowly extract my hand.  Hold my breath so as not to cause more movement of the down "cloud" surrounding my hand.  Insert hand into comforter.  Release.  Very sl-o-w-ly extract hand.  Repeat.  Sew up the seam pocket.  Turn head away. Breathe.

Finished, puffy-pocketted comforter
I now understand how geese and other birds fly so easily.  Their downy covering is so light it floats up and away.  The birds just flap their wings and use their tails to direct their flight.  Their feet/toes hold on to the branch to keep them from drifting up and away when they are intending to stay put.

*"Down" should really be called "up."  I couldn't get any of it to come down.

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