Saturday, July 12, 2008

Camp was Sew-Sew

Caleb & Rachel are in their third day of project book boot camp at Ms. Cindy's. They are doing intensive work focused on finishing the 4-H project books that were ordered at the beginning of the 4-H year (September) but were left ignored in notebooks for a majority of that time. 2 different horse books. Fishing. Gardening. Farm Animals. Arts & Crafts. Microwave Cooking. Sewing.

Now, "finishing" a book doesn't necessarily mean they are done with the book, just that enough work has been accomplished in it so that it can be turned in for some recognition/credit for the current year. Many of these books have close to 30 activities from which a minimum number can be chosen to complete the book OR a certain number can be done to work towards completing the book in three years. It all depends on how much you want to accomplish each year.

Cindy asked for an adult to lead each of the projects. I mentally considered my full plate (especially at that time of the year!), smiled and happily let others volunteer. :-)

Q. Did ALL those adults DO what they volunteered to do?
A. Does a frog have feathers?
(Yes, a chicken DOES have lips. Don't ask me how I know.)

SO as camp was in the final planning stages last weekend, Ms. Cindy mentioned that perhaps I could do something for the sewing part of the project books - a small cross stitch piece or crocheting a potholder. I checked my cross stitch supplies stash and came up with ( I thought) a quick, easy & creative project, & sent Stan off to work with a simple alphabet pattern, requesting a few copies. Then I looked at Rachel's sewing project book.

Cross stitch? Not there.
Crocheting (not that I can do it!) Also not there.

Nope, this book focused primarily on sewing with a machine.

Now, I have a machine. And I've sewn with it. Got one the first year Stan & I wed (1985) so I could make curtains for our first house. More recently, I made an Easter costume for Jacob (spring 2004? Photo is 2006 with Andrew as King David - no, I did not sew that!). When I dug it out, I had to scrub off a layer of dried-on dust which much of our stuff got covered with after hurricane Frances in 2004 (thus my Easter sewing guess) when our electricity was off for over a week and we lived in humidity soup.

I liked using my sewing machine until it developed some problems that cause mangled stitching. I've traced down the trouble but haven't been able to fix it: TENSION. So sad for a machine to be dealing with debilitating stress...

Still, I hated to let the girls down. I looked through the book and found EIGHT things we could do and we only needed SEVEN for the year. Hurray!

At camp, we went through my sewing box (actually a large floral hat box that produces a nice contrast on my bookshelf) identified & discussed how to use the various tools ("Yes, they look like craft scissors, but pinking shears were actually designed for use when sewing."), practiced threading needles (large & small eyes - wink, wink) and tied some knots. Check, check, check.

After we examined & identified sewing machine parts, the girls drew and labeled a picture of my sewing machine in their books (Has your machine ever sat for a portrait?). We looked through the Singer handbook and discussed how to fill a bobbin then each girl threaded the machine starting at the spool all the way to threading the needle AND inserting and raising the bobbin thread. Woohoo! Check, check, check.

Only one more needed item: Reading the directions on laundry detergent. Ms. Cindy came through by providing a bottle. FINAL CHECK. With a flourish.

Yes, we did it in one day, two sittings. And we didn't really make a thing.

Mission accomplished. Sewing project battle completed for this 4-H year. I'm hoping a different general volunteers next year. My sewing machine is still stressed.

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