Do you have Gremlins too?

I have had the sort of spell with my sewing (and knitting!) that makes me think that there are forces at work to prevent me from making progress. Bits of pattern seem to walk off alone, instructions go missing, and knitting patterns go missing from the bag. It would be nice to blame someone else but I suspect it is happening because I feel so disorganised at the moment. I have been trying to be organised, but clearly not hard enough.

My workroom usually looks OK as it has to be ‘within bounds’ for when clients come for fittings and such. Not so my ‘back room’. OMG it is a mess. This is where all of my fabric, patterns, magazines, and frankly anything else I can’t find a home for tends to lurk. I know that I am better at starting projects than finishing – and that tends to get as far as the planning stage where I have got the pattern drawn/copied, found fabric and notions, and….. ground to a halt with it all in a pile. Add multiple projects into the mix and you can see why it has gotten into a state.

Well, I decided that it couldn’t carry on. Inside every Mess Monster is a tidy beast who really wants to get out. Or so I decided.

Pattern pieces, paper and fabric

Pattern pieces, paper and fabric

Tidy pattern and finished hat

Tidy pattern and finished hat

Digging through a pile of papers (a very wobbly pile it has to be said) I discovered the pattern pieces for multiple projects still in my dreams, and also the paper pieces and fabric pieces for a bucket hat that was cut out before we went to the USA. I found the pattern on Rhondas blog, but it was from a site called ‘Lost in Paris’ and the link to Rhondas tutorial is HERE .I did take two of these with me and this one was clearly left behind with not enough time to make up. I abandoned the mess and spent less than an hour sewing this into a hat, and also putting the pieces (all sizes – now correctly marked) into an envelope and into the right place. Score! Multiple stray pieces now turned into a tidy pattern and a hat that can be worn. That can live in The Managements car – he has a sporty two seater which has a roof which folds off and when it does I inevitably end up with the sun in my eyes.

Seam guide

Seam guide

One thing I was reminded of while I was making this hat was how I mark seam allowances that aren’t standard – or just aren’t marked on your sewing machine. It isn’t particularly clever, and I’m sure loads of you already do this, but this is so simple it’s almost not obvious. I use Post It notes (Sticky notes) with the sticky edge along the point that the fabric slides against. I already have a magnetic seam guide which is brilliant on my old Singer machines but not quite so amazing on modern machines. I sometimes use the ‘quilting bar’ thingy to guide wider seams but sometimes that isn’t wide enough. Again, the Post It comes to the rescue. And they are dirt cheap so I’m happy to throw them away once they loose their ‘stick’.

I have an enormous pile of pictures pulled out of magazines and newspapers of garments/outfits I like. I could probably use Pinterest or some other clever electronic way of storing these to good effect but I actually enjoy just leafing through a pile of these pictures from time to time to see what jumps out. Sometimes it’s not obvious, or something has past its ‘sell by date’ and can be thrown away. If I had just put all of these straight into the folder where they live there wouldn’t be half the problem – but it seems quicker sometimes just to drop them on the pile in the right room. More haste less speed?

I also have boxes that my magazines are meant to live in. The copies of Burda are mainly in their box – but occasionally I do get one out just to check the actual picture against my interpretation of the scanned sheet from the magazine. Again, it would be so easy just to put it straight away rather than just adding to the pile. Are you getting a theme here?

If I can keep up the sorting and tidying I am sure it will make me more productive. I could never ‘Kondo’ but I can certainly see the benefit of getting shot of some of the clutter in here. There are projects (with pattern and fabric at the ready) that I had totally forgotten about. It’s truly shameful. The client work is thinning out a bit – although there has been a tendency for some of my clients to come with a ‘shipping order’ now that they know that time is limited. That certainly wasn’t part of my plan!

If I can actually plan my sewing as an extra ‘client’ I am more likely to actually shift some of these. I have always said that I don’t have UFO’s – do these count? If they do I have LOADS of UFO’s! Oh dear.

Larry has a hole!

Larry has a hole!

Larry front

Larry front

As it has started to get colder here now I have started to dig out my jumpers. I do wear them during cool summer evenings rather than a coat, but as I am a fairly warm person they have been tucked away for a little while. Imagine then my horror when I got my lovely brown Larry out the other day and discovered a hole in it. Right in the centre of the front. No hiding that! It is a fairly neat hole so I wonder if I have actually cut one of the loops whilst I have been sewing and not noticed. I have checked all over and can’t find any more so I don’t think it’s moth. I loved this sweater but it had got a bit large (I have shrunk a bit but not too much so I think it has grown), and it was a pretty expensive Rowan yarn so I am thinking of pulling this out to re-knit. Kate from Fabrickated has been knitting lately, and seeing all of her posts relating to knitting has been making me want to start a new project so maybe I should concentrate on this.


Tea and warm crust. Yum!

Tea and warm crust. Yum!

Thankfully not everything has been working against me. My sourdough starter, from which I make bread and cakes, has been behaving beautifully. I may just be imagining it but I find sour dough bread easier to digest than store bought bread – maybe something to do with being allowed to take ages to go through the making process? Anyway, my loaves came out of the oven in fine shape, and since The Management wasn’t around I got first dibs on the still warm crust with butter. Delicious!

So, maybe I just need to be better organised and that darned Gremlin will move out!

23 Comments on “Do you have Gremlins too?”

  1. Roxane says:

    Do I ever have gremlins! I could just about contain my fabric when I was mostly quilting, but now that I am sewing again, the fabric is falling out of the closet and burying things, including knitting project bags and pattern envelopes which haven’t been filed because I need another pattern box. I have pieces from random patterns that I haven’t been able to find tacked to a bulletin board.And I have two projects I want to finish before Christmas before I can really clean it up, which I have to do by Christmas because my sewing room serves as a second guest rooom with the addition of an inflatable bed. I think we may have downsized a bit too much when we retired and moved.

    • Oh boy, the guest incentive! My cutting room is also meant to be a guest room but it would be hard to put into service!
      We plan to downsize at some point. I will bear in mind your comment when looking 😉

  2. Fadanista says:

    I am constantly amazed at the way pattern pieces, tools, cut out fabric pieces can disappear in quite a small space. I really do hear you, and sympathise. Congrats on finishing a UFO, and may your tidying continue!

  3. Oh yes, those gremlins have stolen the two new twin needles I bought and I can’t finish something I’m making. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I agree re the sourdough. I’ve had three weeks of store bought bread whilst I’ve been recuperating and it makes me bloated although it doesn’t fill me up. I read somewhere that many people who believe they are gluten intolerant are really more allergic to the super fast processes used to raise bread sold commercially and not the flour.

    • Rotten gremlins!
      I remember reading something about food with little nutritional value leaving you hungry as your body is still craving nourishment. Makes sense to me. I hope you are feeling much better now 😃

    • I was going to leave the same comment about the bread. Chorleywood bread makes me feel awful. Sourdough is just joyful. I hope you’re feeling better too x

  4. Oh the gremlins! They are sneaky little critters. I’m hoping to stave them off when my sewing is finally cleared out for me. Re the sourdough, years ago I discovered that sourdough was the only thing I could eat when tummy troubles arose. You may be on to something with your statement about the long process. Love that little hat!!!

    • Thanks! I’m hoping they will move out when I’m retired. My idea is that I will be able to concentrate on one thing at a time then.
      Sourdough does have a big fan zone with people with tummy troubles. I like the taste but not everyone is a fan.

  5. jay says:

    I reckon I spend longer looking for things than making anything. I can organize pretty well, as a one off. How does one get the habit?

  6. I don’t have a sewing room just a wheeled sewing table that I push from one end of the room to another so I have to have everything in its place or put away. Oh how would I love to have a sewing room that I could spread out in and make a real mess of!!

  7. tialys says:

    I’m lucky enough to have a whole room for sewing and last time I let it get in a mess it took me over a week to sort it out which meant no sewing for a week so that taught me a big lesson – I never want to go there again – now I am religious about putting one project away before I start another one.
    I use the seam allowance trick for the quarter inch seam on my patchwork – I stick a bit of masking tape down because it is easier to see than the mark on the machine.
    We had a sour dough culture going on at one time but, to be honest, I’m not that keen on the taste of the bread so we let him go black on the bottom shelf of the fridge and then eventually threw him away (his name was Martin).
    Gremlins abound in my house at the moment. We’ve had trouble with the internet, my washing machine gets stuck at the rinse stage, my overlocker died and the seal on the oven door keeps hanging off. If you find out how to banish them, please let me know.

  8. sewruth says:

    I hear you! I was about to start a dress this week that I know I printed and tiled the pattern for but I can’t find it anywhere! Is it at your house?

  9. fabrickated says:

    I like the idea of sewing for yourself being another client! And yes I lose things from time to time and it makes me really angry with myself. I am glad you are going to do more knitting. Luckily mine has slowed down and I am sewing again.

    On the sour dough the bread is much better for you compared to bought bread (98 per cent of all bread eaten) due to the large amount of protein in it. Much better flours are used and the slowness of the process means the bread does not bloat you. I can’t eat anything else now (mainly because the taste and smell of factory bread is so horrible).

    • We had a white sliced loaf for my daughter last weekend (by request) and it was vile. Making bread is true alchemy!
      I have sewn for myself all day today pretending I had a client (me!) deadline. Almost finished Nell 😃

  10. Thimberlina says:

    I was in the same place, so disorganised and it make me quite unhappy and finding it hard to be productive. I organised all my stash using the Cora app on iPhone and that really spurred me on to organise everything else too. I’ve pinned the hat – it looks a good stash buster and useful for golf too! 🙂

  11. mrsmole says:

    I too have 2 sewing rooms…one to see clients and do the main sewing and the other for cutting out and storage. One is immaculate, the other I can barely walk through passing 4 mannequins, a professional steamer, 2 vacuums and 2 cutting tables. If it weren’t for all my projects and patterns in huge zip lock bags, I’d have gremlins too. BUT…the big butt, if I ever can retire I’m buying plastic boxes and a label maker and starting from scratch. That second room, the annex, used to be the guest room with a real bed etc…now it could never go back to that as everything was given away to charity. There just never seems to be enough time in the day to get anything positive done towards more organizing. I remember having a sourdough starter back in the 80’s and the wonderful smell of baking bread filled the house. Sourdough bread made San Francisco famous when a Frenchman brought a starter there during the gold rush of 1849.

    • I didn’t know that about sourdough! I agree, the smell of baking bread makes the effort well worthwhile.
      Your boxes and label maker sounds like a very good plan. I am slowly creeping through some of the drawers and corners that haven’t really had attention in some time and clearing away debris. I am finding it very cathartic 🙂

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