Just so you know, you can get most of the Rit dye off your hands with a bar of Lava soap. Of course, wearing rubber gloves without undetected holes in them might have been a better approach.

I was over-dyeing a pair of jeans, so the dark blue gives my cuticles a pleasantly goth aspect. If I want to be a zombie this year for Halloween, I now know how to do my hands.

On intimidation and failure

Last weekend I was reading the craftiness folder in my blog reader, and as I caught up on everyone’s blogs I noticed I didn’t feel encouraged, or impressed; I felt overwhelmed, intimidated and like a fake. I started to feel inferior to all these great blogs with all these great projects, and I didn’t want to go to my sewing room and sew – I wanted to never sew again.

A funny thing happened about last Friday’s post. I had this great plan to make the plum sauce and share this cool recipe with you all, and maybe a picture of my newly-filled canning jar. Then I actually tried to make the stuff, and it all went to hell in a hand basket. I thought, well, forget that plan. Then, in a moment of actual insight, I realized that a post about how it all didn’t work could be just as interesting as the perfect post I had planned. After all, I’m not the first person who’s cooked something that didn’t work out. (In fact, it happened again last night – I made banana bread and took it out of the oven when it looked and smelled done, only to have the middle ooze all over the counter when I put it on the cooling rack. It still tasted good. It was kinda like a banana version of molten chocolate cake, actually.)

I need to get better at failure. More than that, I need to get better at being less than perfect at things. Maybe I need to get better at listening less to other people, at judging my efforts by other people’s. I get stuck in this trap of perfection a lot, and I don’t think it makes me do better work; it makes me do less work and more inhibited work. I know it doesn’t make me happy.

It’s not surprising that most of us write blog posts about the things we completed, and the things we did well. We talk about our successes, and less about our failures; it’s just human nature to want others to be impressed with us and our work. It’s one of the ways that a blog, or any online presence, can be somewhat misleading – we can tell the story we want to tell, and it’s not untrue, but it’s not the whole unvarnished truth either.

I think I want to tell the truth, even if it makes me sound like an idiot who can’t cook plums or make banana bread or sew anything more complicated than a t-shirt. I think it would be better for me, and who knows, you might like reading it too.

Well, that didn’t last long

After wearing once, during their first wash (as a garment – I’d prewashed) my one-seam PJ shorts have died spectacularly. When I pulled them out of the washing machine the center back seam had sheared from the waistband halfway to the crotch. I’m not sure what happened, because I’d pinked the seam allowance and there shouldn’t have been that much raveling all at once. It looked more like a seam that had given under strain than a seam that was unraveling in the wash – maybe it got caught on something else in the load and got torqued during the spin-dry?

I guess that’s why people don’t make PJs out of rayon. I’m glad I didn’t make something like a skirt out of it – that could have been a serious wardrobe malfunction in public.

Anyone want to cheer me up and tell me about your catastrophic sewing fails?

Laura and the amazing technicolor sweater coat

Last weekend* I was sitting in my sewing dungeon, having completed the mixer cover and my mending. I wanted to sew a bit more but I knew I shouldn’t get stuck in with a whole new project. In a supreme act of valor I went over the pile of unfinished projects and pulled out a likely prospect; in other words, something I could work on without having to change the thread in my machine.

It was a sweater coat from an Onion pattern. Once I reminded myself of what was going on with this thing – seriously, I hadn’t looked at it in years – it was pretty easy to sew all the main seams together. Everything went together well and the fit wasn’t bad. But the fabric, yeesh – what had I been thinking in that day on September 2007 (according to the tag I’d written, back when I was that organized)? It was like Missoni and a cheap women’s clothing store – Dots! Is that still around? – got together and had a wacky sweater-knit baby. It’s pretty awesome, in a “plastics are the future” kind of way, but I can’t imagine actually wearing it out of the house. So now it sits, mostly constructed, waiting for me to decide what to do with it. Maybe I’ll turn it into the world’s most colorful bathrobe.

And no, there will be no pictures.

*Two weekends ago now, to be accurate.