Productivity with American Gods

While sewing, I have been listening to audiobooks on Hoopla. I used to think I couldn’t do audiobooks, I was wrong. Good thing too, I like to read while I craft. Reading a book with text is not something I can do while I sew! I’ve tried, and failed spectacularly at both tasks. Last week I listened to Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, its 19 hours of narration, give or take. Had I no responsibility, I would have wanted to shirk life and devour the content in a day or two. It is conceivable that had it been a physical text, I would have completed it much faster. I have been on a non-fiction kick with a lot of information and gravity, so a fiction book to escape was totally in order!

(affiliated link)

American Gods was my soundtrack as I finished up what seemed like a million face masks (I had 64 total, 25 that were already done). It made the task fly by- literally some days I lost track of time! I’m not going to review the book, just let you know I loved it. I also listened to it while supervising the kids outside, with headphones on. The text is not appropriate language friendly for early elementary school crowd, IMO (but you do what you want).

Here’s a couple other non-mask things I finished this week.


I finished my project dubbed the HPW Stripe Sweater this morning while my kid was doing virtual school. Just a basic top-down raglan with no formal pattern. Steps were: Cast-on, rib, increase, divide off sleeves, body, rib, cast-off, pick-up sleeves from their holders, work sleeve for a bit, rib, bind-off, repeat for second sleeve. I measured gauge to get an approximate number of stitches required for a torso measurement of greater than 23″. When I first envisioned the project, I underestimated the amount of yarn required, and didn’t think I would need the light green. My kid has a longer torso than I thought! In retrospect, I had enough yarn to make the body 2″ longer- NOT going to go back now.
I used up partial ball stash for this. Its 4 colors of Cascade Sarasota: a cotton/acrylic blend. I cast-on the project back in May, but didn’t actually start working on it in earnest until last week.
Final measurement: 29″ in diameter. Body: 10″ in length. Sleeves: 11″ at the fullest. Sleeve Length: 5.5″. Needle size: US6/4mm.

Over the weekend, I stitched up a runner for the Media Cabinet we put in the living room last month. My spouse does not often request that I craft something for him. So when he does, I am ON BOARD. He had previously mentioned wanting a runner to cut back on glare, but never mentioned knit, crochet, or sewn. I’ve been bouncing some ideas around in my head, but hadn’t started anything. After I completed ALL those masks, I mentioned one morning that I missed getting up and sewing, something I had done most mornings for over a week. That’s when he mentioned that I could make a runner for the living room if I really wanted to sew something.

While constructing masks, I discovered that I had a sizable amount of my favorite fabric purchase of all time left. Honestly, I think its too pretty to be a mask. The fabric is from 2003-2005 era. I bought it to line some knit purses… but only needed a little. Over the years I used little bits here and there. By and large, I was afraid to use it all because I’m not the best seamstress. I didn’t believe my skills would do the fabric justic. I purchased it from Joann Fabrics, so its not like its some ultra-rare hand-dyed work of art. Irrational craft material hoarding alert!! I bit the proverbial bullet and used the remaining fabric to construct the single prettiest thing I’ve ever sewn.

Saturday I took measurements, gathered my materials. For the back: some weird brown pastoral scene fabric I purchased from Walmart. Reasons unknown- likely from 2000-2006. I didn’t have any batting left from my last runner, I improvised with some BRIGHT ORANGE fleece leftover from Halloween 2016 or 2017. I had used it to make a shift dress for my Mommy Pig (from Peppa Pig) costume. For the top, the Batik I’ve been admiring on its pedestal. The fabrics were all 43″ lengths. I cut the Batik in half, measured, then cut equal width pieces from the back and the batting. Sewed the ends together to make a continuous length. I stitched the batting to the back, I don’t have any quilters spray adhesive on hand. Freehanding (with copious clips and pins) a hot pad presented me with lots of shifting fabric sandwich situations- lesson learned! I used LOTS of clips to secure my fabric sandwich. I stitched the top and bottom long sides to further prevent shifting. Spoiler: It worked!!! Then I quilted on the diagonal to the center, eyeballing the width and slope of the lines. I flipped it over and worked the opposite side. I made my own Bias Tape on Sunday, a task that I’m not fond of. I used a continuous strip tutorial. I get it now, but the first attempt was too narrow, 1/4″ wasn’t going to work. My second attempt was 1/2″ double fold.

Lessons learned: measure twice, cut once (re: bias tape), try winding the already quilted side around a paper towel roll to keep it under control (I folded it on itself and it was still unwieldy). Live dangerously and use the pretty fabrics. I’m so excited that I get to see my favorite fabric ever every single day. All I had to do was wait until the right project came along.

Excuse me while I go admire my console runner some more.

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