Well, as those who follow my Instagram may be aware, I'm not only a writer, I'm a crafter. I knit, bead, work with wire, do a little bit of crewel embroidery, and sew.
Since I was a kid, I've had a fascination with softness. Silk and velvet (velour, too) would make me halt in place. Even now, I love to stop and touch things that look soft (with permission, of course, when applicable). Bits of ribbon, of lace, of velour and velvet, and even of satin overflow from the craft shelves in our living room.
Source. Though I only have two shelves, and it's not this, um, tidy.
I'd had many of my scraps for years--some, for over a decade. A stint in theatre camp while I was in elementary school (grade school, as it's called outside Canada) bright me quite a few opportunities to save little scraps of fabric from the art projects we worked on. With access to a box of leftovers from the theatre projects the university students would run, I ended up with a small pile of treasures. Still others came from doll clothes, old projects of my own sewing, and even rummage boxes. There were even a few bits from old velvet roses from chocolate boxes, Christmas ribbons, and a Halloween costume's cape.
I saved these bits and fragments, positive that some day I'd make something useful from them. I worked on other projects, repaired skirts, modified others...and the scraps sat in a shoebox, waiting. I tried to sew them into a tiny quilt, but the stitches were too crooked. I soon gave up and shredded it. The scraps sat, waiting, a tiny pile of soft memories. I'd made a few other strangely-shaped and unusual scarves, some with trims. They challenged my skills, but I'd learned to be bolder.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, the lightbulb moment I'd been waiting for arrived. I realised I could use bits of the ribbon to frame the scarf and could arrange the patches so they'd roughly fit together and form a rectangular shape. By using a flatter, larger piece of fabric to back it, I wouldn't have to deal with the rasp of the seamy edges of my neck or craft something that looked good from only one side.
I arranged my patches, shifting and flipping them, coordinating colours. I sewed with whip-stitch and flat-stitches, layering some sheer fabrics over others. The scraps puckered a little, creating a ruched effect all over the scarf and adding even more texture.
Finally, it was finished.
Source: me! The scarf is folded in half.
I'd worked on special and challenging projects before, but the one I've just finished is probably one of the best. It's a way of visualising a lot of my life--bits of things I worked on when I was a kid, growing up in the back of my parents' medical clinic, to scraps from old doll's clothes that fascinated me, to more recent acquisitions. It's not perfectly even, but bits of lamè, velvet, netting, velour, satin, and rayon mix and mingle in long stretches. Bursts of colour like fireworks.
I don't think I could be happier about this. I can think of a few personal lessons I learned from sewing it, but they matter less than the pure joy of having this abstract mosaic, this map spanning from my childhood to now.
Sometimes, the end result really is more important than the journey.
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