Here it is, December 22nd, and most of us are in the middle of the last minute, how am I ever going to get this done, Christmas Project Panic. I am speaking, of course, about those darn sewing projects that you plan on giving as gifts. You know the ones; you start out in July with the best of intentions. As the Summer slides into Fall, you keep telling yourself, “I really should start on that wall-hanging/quilt/tote. Now here it is, ten days before Christmas, and not a single project is done.
So in lieu of working on the current project, I’ve decided to procrastinate (again) and revisit the projects of Christmases Past.
The gift that keeps on giving
I remember when I was first married and decided to make my husband a shirt. Not just any shirt, but a warm wool shirt he could wear in his woodshop. As usual, I bought the fabric and pattern early. And it sat. And sat. And collected some dust and sat some more. Finally, Christmas was upon us and I hadn’t even cracked open the pattern envelope. I really really wanted to give him this shirt for Christmas. So I wrapped up the fabric, notions, and pattern and put it under the tree. I can honestly say he was surprised Christmas morning when he opened that gift!
But the story doesn’t end there. During the course of the next 12 months, I managed to make the shirt. It was in the style of a dress shirt (meaning a collar, placket, cuffs, yoke, everything!). Once again, the shirt got wrapped and put under the Christmas tree. Again, Christmas morning, my husband was surprised. Yes, he was surprised to see the shirt was complete, but the surprises didn’t stop there. When he tried it on, we discovered three things.
To start with, the sleeves were too short. I should have realized someone 6’ 3” tall needed longer sleeves. Then when he went to button it up, we discovered the buttons were way to small to be handled with ease. And to top it all off, I had put the sleeves on the wrong sides! The left sleeve was on the right side of the shirt and visa versa. So not only did he have to endure short sleeve with teeny buttons, but he had to do contortions to get the cuffs buttoned. Try it sometime, put a shirt on backwards and see how easy it is to button the cuff!
I’ll give my husband credit, he wore (and still wears) the shirt today. In fact, he has it on today!.
The best gift I ever made
I still remember the best gift I ever stitched up. When my daughter was 4 years old (she’s 17 now), she decided her favorite planet was Saturn. Don’t ask me why, I have no clue. When she would come home from pre-school, she would have in her possession drawing paper covered with crayon sketches of Saturn. Being the loving mother, I decided to make her a stuffed Saturn (think stuffed animal here). I don’t recall how I managed to figure out the construction. And making the ring around the planet was like stuffing sausage, or what I assume stuffing sausage would be like. But come Christmas morning, my daughter was the very happy recipient of a blue and silver Lame’ planet. She absolutely loved it and still has it to this day!
The gift that just made it on time…NOT!
A friend of mine related this story to me when I told her about my Christmas Project musings.
“I made my brother and his wife the paper pieced birdhouse quilt a few years ago. I worked on it constantly through the fall and even more frantically as Christmas got closer. My brother didn’t have much vacation, but he was off for Christmas Day and I wanted the quilt to be there. At last, I finished it on December 23rd and ran it over to FedEx moments before their shipping deadline for that day. It was all set for December 24th delivery, and I went home feeling very successful! That evening, there was a huge ice storm in the southeast – particularly affected was Memphis, TN (FedEx’s shipping hub) and all air traffic was grounded. Nothing was moving in Atlanta either (where my brother lives). My quilt didn’t arrive until December 26th.”
But that’s enough procrastinating for now. I need to get back to this year’s projects and see if I can get them done. I think I’m going to adhere to Nancy’s sage advice (Nancy being the head of QuiltWoman.com):
“Don’t promise anything to anyone! Let them be surprised if you get it done and let it be next year’s gift if you don’t.”
So to all my gift recipients, if you get a gift card Christmas morning, it’s probably because this year’s gift to you just became next year’s!
On that note, we’ll just say Happy Holidays to everyone from the Christmas Project Panicked staff at QuiltWoman.com!