Sewing in the Kitchen

I suppose I can be a little stubborn sometimes. Maybe ‘determined’ is a better word. You see, the moment I saw that funky 1960’s Tasmanian fabric in an antiques shop in Hobart, I imagined a mutton-sleeved jacket… and I just couldn’t get that notion out of my head. Admittedly, though I’ve done plenty of quilting, I’m relatively inexperienced when it comes to complicated clothing sewing. I’ve never used interfacing or lining. I’ve never made pleats or used the buttonhole stitch features on my sewing machine… I’ve never really followed a pattern through to the end. Basically, this wasn’t the most practical project for my experience level.

With my family gone on vacation this weekend (no, I wasn’t abandoned; I opted to stay home to focus on my new job), I decided I’d make use of the free time and big empty house to realize my Tasmanian jacket dream. Fortunately, my mom was there to help me with the initial pattern-laying and cutting. After that, I just took it slow. I ripped out stitches, I Googled every other instruction… I was determined. I also took over my mother’s otherwise clean and beautiful kitchen and turned it into a sewing factory (don’t worry Mom, it’s cleaned up already)! I brought down the iron, ironing board, my sewing machine and supplies. It was certainly a sewing adventure—and it certainly did not go smoothly the entire time. But I’m proud to announce that a couple of hours ago I completed this fully-lined jacket:

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And a few detail shots:

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Sometimes miracles happen. It’s exactly what I’d had in mind. Rare are those times when projects are so close to what you had anticipated. I have to admit, it’s extremely gratifying. I’m particularly fond of the contrasting red lining; I even made covered buttons with matching fabric to complete the look. Too bad it’s a smoldering 90 degrees in Boston. Ah well, fall will come soon enough, and I will be living in this.

It may not be all that original of me, but I couldn’t resist making this week’s nine-patch an homage to my feat. In the end, it’s quite appropriate, because not only did I spend two full days working on this jacket, it brewed in my mind all week long. I even read through the pattern in the evenings to psychologically prepare myself. If anything defined the week for me, this project was it:

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Since I’ve been living in the kitchen, I figured I might as well cook in it as well. And since I’m only feeding myself, I decided this would be a good time to experiment. First of all, I should say that last week’s Anadama bread was, to be honest, only so-so. I come from a family of salt-lovers and this just didn’t meet our flavorful standards:

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No worries, I’m going to give it another go using a different recipe. But this will have to wait for next weekend; my jacket didn’t leave me enough time for lots of kneading, so I’m currently making a yeast-free orange-walnut loaf, again from Bernard Clayton’s book. The oranges and honey are turning into syrup as I write.

I’m also in the process of making a red currant fool, using a beautiful little bunch of red currants from my mother’s garden. At this moment, they are red currant-butter-sugar mush which I will soon be folding into whipped cream. I feel like I should take this opportunity to explain that I’m a total fool for fool (sorry, this pun never gets old to me). It’s underappreciated dessert. True, it’s basically just whipped cream, but you’d be amazed how delicious that can be. Punctuated by these tart little berries, I’m hoping it will be divine…

 As a lover of colors, I can’t help but note that cooking can be a delightfully hue-filled process. The kitchen is a beautiful place. Just look at this lovely fruit:

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And these gorgeous tomatoes, straight from the garden. I keep trying to think of something brilliant to make with them, but for not I’m enjoying popping them in my mouth when they’re still warm from the sunshine.

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I’ve also decided that this week will be full of pasta patchworking (I swear, every good word begins with the letter ‘p’). This began last night with an improvisational pasta that I’m calling “Cream and Crunch.”

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Basically, it’s a cheesy sweet potato sauce, chicken-apple sausage, raisins, candied walnuts, and spinach. The nuts gave it just the amount of crunch. It was absolutely delicious, if I do say so myself. Sometimes the components of a dish are so good, you can’t really go wrong. Another wonderful thing about pasta? Well, just as I prefer the more free-wheeling approach to my quilting, pasta requires minimal measuring and precision. You simply add as you go, a pinch of salt here, an extra glob of cheese there… you can feel it out as you work without major disasters (this is not so true of bread- or jacket-making; sometimes rules are worth following).  Anyway, I’m looking forward to another week of this patchworky cooking. It’s true that this means I’ll be eating a lot of pasta (though I think I’m going to try to make only half a bag this time so I don’t feel guilty making a new one every night) but, like I said, fall is approaching so a little insulation couldn’t hurt.

And as long as I’m hiding from the oppressive heat and enjoying this pseudo-fall in my air-conditioned kitchen, I’ve picked up an old project that I started last summer and I have a confession… it’s a scarf! I know, I know, I admitted that I have far too many already. But in my defense, I already had this glorious yarn (it’s a multi-colored 100% cashmere yarn, Obsession by Classic Elite), and I’m trying to finish all those little projects that I’ve started before spending more money. Also, it’s actually a scarf/hood (this will make more sense when I’m done), and check out the cool honeycomb cable pattern:

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Finally, speaking of kitchens, I finished my patchwork tablecloth. Here it is, lying on the table that I’ll be taking to my new apartment (which is currently stored in our garage so forgive the mess):

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So in conclusion, the kitchen is a fabulous place to pass your time—particularly when you’re alone in the house. It’s avery life-filled room, especially when there are sauce pans simmering, and a sewing machine humming along at the same time.

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2 Comments

Filed under clothing, cooking, knitting, quilting

2 responses to “Sewing in the Kitchen

  1. Your jacket is beautiful! I would love to make one. What pattern did you use?

  2. Your jacket is great. The Food looks great too! I don’t like tomatoes except for some small yellow purple ones I get here… OMG your knitting too!

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