Yesterday, my Brother and I navigated uncharted waters with fastenings of all kinds: buttons, zippers, snaps, and elastic. It was quite the educational experience. I even got to change my J foot for the first time and swap it out for three different feet a.k.a. “robot claws.” I felt really proud of myself when I got in the groove of poppin’ ’em off, and poppin’ on new ones. (Oh, the small delights of a beginner!)
I have been collecting buttons for the last several years in part because I used them in a special poetry activity with my freshman English students. Each student would choose one button from my button box and create an imaginary character as they pondered the question, “Who did this button belong to?” Eventually, they partnered up with a classmate, and the two characters’ stories were intertwined. My favorite aspect of this project was the mystery of it all. I only gave students one step at a time (which they loved / hated), until, three days later, they reached the grand finale assignment: to transform their elaborately developed narrative into a poem in the style of e. e. cummings or Robert Frost or Lucille Clifton or Eavan Boland. Those poems were some of the strongest pieces of writing I got out of them. And it started with just one button.
(Props to Professor Maura Gouck at N.Y.U. for introducing this activity to me in the first place.)
Anyway, after getting all nostalgic about my poetry unit, I dove into exploring three different ways to hand-stitch buttons, and even managed to machine-stitch a button without breaking a needle. My favorite part was watching my machine work its magic in creating a perfect buttonhole at lightening speed.
I think the most miraculous feat of the day was successfully shortening and installing a zipper. I can hardly believe it actually zips! Now, when the contestants on Project Runway lament about still needing to sew in a zipper before time runs out, I can nod my head empathetically and talk to the T.V., saying, “I know, child. I know. And you’d best get on that because it certainly ain’t going to install itself,”…like I’m part of the club now.
Snaps were by far the easiest fastening to install! No needle, no thread, no machine – – just a hammer, block of wood, and a little show of force. Something about the pearly finish on those snaps makes me want to stitch up a country western shirt and quote John Wayne.
“I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on.” –The Shootist
This last one took us past sundown (hence the less-pretty picture). I ran into a few troubles with my first type of elastic. My machine’s feed dogs seemed a little weary and slow at moving my fabric through while I stretched out my elastic. So, please don’t look too closely at those stitches. Just be distracted by the pretty polka dots…you are getting verrrrrry sleepy….
I’m proud to say that after today’s fastenings extravaganza, the only thing I have left to complete in Raechel Myers’s Sewing 101 course is the market bag itself! I’ve had my fabric since September, so it’s high time to put it to use, doncha think?
And before I say “over and out,” there were just two more photos I wanted to share with you, lovelies.
First, Mark came down to the dock while I was taking pictures and showed me the new nylon string he bought…it’s rainbow colored! How cool is that? (I love that when given a choice, Mark opts for rainbow over a solid. That’s my kinda man.) They sell this string at Hobby Lobby.
And lastly, because I resolved to share more honesty, more mess here at The Thinking Closet in 2013, I present to you my workspace at the end of the day yesterday:
As the saying goes,
“Creativity is messy, and I’m VERY creative.”
Welp, I guess it’s clean-up time!
Over and out,