Join Delores, MotherOwl, and me as we wrack our brains for something to write about this topic . . . or is that just me who had to root around in my brain like a kid looking for all the pieces to a small toy in a full-to-overflowing toy box??
made of stitches and cuteness
There are so many kinds of stitches . . . sewing, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitch, crewel work, stitches that doctors use to sew us up, getting a stitch in your side if you run too long, being "in stitches" over something funny, and being without a stitch of clothing.
What to write about?
Having an interest in sewing (which you may have guessed from last week's post), I should be writing about sewing stitches. Instead, I decided to talk about the dark side of sewing -- unpicking stitches. This is the most boring, frustrating, time-consuming, and apt-to-go-sideways part of a sewing job, in my opinion. I need to have a good rant about it, and now I have the perfect excuse :)
Why would a person ever want to unpick stitches? Well, if you make a mistake while sewing, or if you want to let out a seam or hem to make a piece of clothing bigger or longer, or if you want to take apart a garment in order to re-make or repair it, you're going to need to rip out the old stitching first.
Here's the tool you need when you're unpicking stitches:
the handy seam ripper
Looks harmless and effective, right?
Well, the same little pointy part that is supposed to slip under a stitch can also easily slip under a thread of the fabric, especially when the thread and fabric are the same colour -- which will result in a hole in the fabric -- and also especially when you get older and your eyes aren't quite as sharp as they used to be. The sharp blade can also put a neat little slice in the fabric if it slips.
And if you have carpal tunnel problems? Holding that tool makes your hand go numb in less than a minute, which isn't enough time to unpick one average seam.
Enough, enough! I can rant just as well in rhyme!
The Horrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Sewing Day *
I sewed a seam so straight and true
But then those jeans did not fit you
. . . So I ripped it out.
I sewed two pockets to the butt
But then I saw I'd sewn them shut
. . . So I ripped them out.
I sewed the hems to their new length
They were too short -- Oh! give me strength!
. . . So I ripped them out.
I sewed the zipper (what a chore!)
It opened upside down. (I swore.)
. . . And then I ripped it out.
The drudgery of sewing seams
Was lessened by machines, no doubt
But what I wish for now would be
An automatic ripper-out .......
*Apologies to Sesame Street's Grover and his book "Grover's Bad, Awful Day", which is the version of the story I'm familiar with, and also to Judith Voirst and her book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" which I suspect inspired the Grover version . . .
Wishing you a week wherein you have more than a stitch of clothing to wear, you are in stitches at something funny in your life, and you avoid medical stitches.
Love your poem. Coincidentally what you know as a Seam Ripper I know as a Stitch Ripper.
And yes, if you have to use it for long your fingers and hands will tell you about it.
I have two of those stitch rippers because I lost one and didn't find it until I'd bought another one (*~*), but you're absolutely right about the carpal tunnel syndrome. I bought two beautiful doona covers at a secondhand shop, with the idea of taking them apart and using the pretty sides to make curtains for doorways and the plain sides to make tablecloths. Well! I got one taken apart, months ago now, and my hands still haven't recovered. The resting night time pain is harsh and the doona covers sit in a drawer.
"Even as ye sew, so shall ye rip."
I read that in the Reader's Digest when I was a kid.
I had 13 stitches in my chin right before the start of seventh grade, and one in my eye after my second cataract surgery.
Also, I've pretty much always repaired my clothes, and occasionally my shoes with stitches, and once had a job hand sewing fine carpets.
I like your poem, but don't know how much I'd trust an automatic ripper...
-Doug in Oakland
I had a row of stitches sewn neatly on my rump
Now I have a lovely scar and vaguely purple lump
The hips recovering very well but the damaged nerve just hurts like h*ll
So I'll take a needle and some thread and sew a patchwork quilt instead
I'll make it soft, all pink and rosy and back it then with something cosy
Dear Jenny every time i read your post and learn something !
How amazing to give this topic such amusing turn :)
I grew up seeing mom sewing clothes ,crochet and knitting though i had no interest in any
until when my younger both boys came to the world and i don't know how and why i found myself in love with sewing
so i start sewing their clothes and the joy and achievement i felt when i saw the wearing those is indescribable
as new sewer my most annoying job was unpick the stitches
as mistakes were often but unpicking was sooo boring ,sometime i would try to just rip it off and cloth would tear
i use to unpick stitch little scissor and i still wonder how mom was able do it by her tiny needle and far quicker than i do
incredible post and wonderful poem my dear Jenny!
i soooooo enjoyed it :)
Oh i forgot to say that CAN I HAVE THIS CUTE LITTLE DUCK PLEASE!!!!
your creation reflects the magnificence of your soul as creating such adorable thing takes lots of LOVE and SWEETNESS indeed!
just to let you know that I am going to resume blogging but making this for other authors only, this should stop spam and any other unwanted readers. sorry for messing about. This means other bloggers like yourself will be able to read but general public will not.
Your poem is very good, Jenny. I had forgotten about that handy-dandy little tool that I used quite often when I did sew. It did make quick work out of undoing all the work that I had put into the original item. If only we had a tool like that to fix other things in our lives.
I also always liked using the seam ripper though I hated to take out a seam.
Spoken like someone with experience :)
I knew you were having pain but didn't know what had brought it on so badly - I'm sorry to hear that. My father had severe pain with his carpal tunnel and had the surgery to release pressure on the nerve. It was a huge improvement, and a quick recovery. I'm keeping it in mind in case I end up needing it too. For now I just avoid the things that make my hand worse, as much as possible. Have you ever considered surgery?
That's a clever take on the quotation!
Good for you for being a man who can sew. It's not rocket science, is it?
Yeah, an automatic ripper might end up being as bad as an automatic sewing machine :)
I feel like we've gotten two takes on the topic for the price of one, Cherie - medical stitches AND sewing stitches! I'm glad your hip is recovering but that nerve damage is something else, from the sound of it. I hope that comes along more quickly as time passes.
It's wonderful to make clothes for other people and then seeing them wear your creation, isn't it, baili? I think it's great that you started sewing for your boys when they were little. You mentioned little scissors and that's something I use sometimes as well.
I have to confess that I borrowed that picture from Pixabay (site for free pictures) - I love it and wish I could make such a thing! My knitting days are over for now at least, due to carpal tunnel issues. If I could knit this, I would definitely make one for you :)
Thanks for the heads up, Briony - I'm happy to hear you're going to start blogging again!
Ah, yes - I agree!
Perhaps I could take all my ripping out over the Strait to you, Marie! Just kidding of course. It would keep you busy for years :)
I love your poem! Unfortunately I am all too familiar with seam rippers. In fact my last use of one was just yesterday while working on a quilt. You are right - they are hard on carpal tunnel although I do have one with a fat handle and that helps a bit. This is a great topic and I love the different ways stitches are seen by others.
I used to sew (I know, not very cool), and I have several of those seam un-pickers. Or whatever they are called. I know it sounds a bit sad but I quite liked using them, kinda therapeutic.
Ooo, I'll have to look for a fat-handled seam ripper, or alter mine - thank you for that bit of info.
I guess even the best of sewists need a seam ripper from time to time :) Do you have a blog, Bonnie? I don't see one under your profile information. If not, have you ever thought of starting one? I would love to see your quilts.
I think it's VERY cool to sew! My dad knew how to knit, and my grandad crocheted - you'd be in good company :)
I know what you mean about seam unpicking being therapeutic, actually, but I wish my hand wouldn't go numb. It spoils the zen-ness :)
There are a few ergonomic seam rippers out there. I have one from Fons & Porter but there are a few others. I've had carpal tunnel surgery on one wrist but it came back so I never had the other one done!
I don't have a blog but yes, I have thought of starting one but you could call me a chicken! I don't know if I have enough to say or the willpower to keep up with one. I do have some of my quilts on an instagram account if you are on that. My account is under: bonnied9 If you click on it I'll be happy to let you into my account.
Oh yes, I know all about seam rippers ripping threads of fabric.
The nice thing about a blog is that you can post on your own schedule, so don't let the thought of keeping up with it deter you. I'm not on instagram, unfortunately. If that changes, I'll contact you somehow - thank you for the offer. I may have to re-think my reluctance to open an account!
I didn't know carpal tunnel surgery wasn't a final solution to the issue! Eeek - that's not good . . .
And . . . ?? You left us hanging, Andrew! Did you ruin something good?
Oh Boy..can I ever relate to that...ripping it out...oh yes. This is a fun poem Jenny even if it is about frustration.
What can ya do but laugh, eh? lol
Dear Jenny, since my heart surgery in 2006 and cancer surgery in 2018, I too consider myself "made of stitches and cuteness". I love your poem! Incidentally and importantly, we have read Judith Voirst's fine book to our children and grandchildren.
That was great! I can't believe you came up with something so good on this topic. Impressive :)
I'm sure we all (and especially Norma) would agree with your conclusion in the first sentence, Geo. :) You have been having an extended season of pain and heartache, my friend.
I haven't read Voirst's book, only the Grover one, but I'll have to rectify that situation soon, and send the result to my grandsons far away.
Desperation is a great motivator, Martha. I still didn't know what I'd be writing, two hours before publication . . . eek!
My hat is off to you in that you can sew at all! The last person who tried to teach me to sew made me promise to never touch a machine again. Maybe i'd be as good at ripping seams as i am at killing plants and therefore at weeding gardens?
It might be your hidden talent, Mimi! ha ha
I'm laughing, but ruefully. Your poem reminds me of many, many sewing projects. And my seam ripper doesn't have the little protective ball on the little end, so it can also be conveniently used as a finger-stabber. I don't think I've ever accomplished a sewing project that didn't have at least one drop of my blood in it somewhere!
"conveniently" - lol Yeah, I draw blood far too often as well, but it's usually from those bloody straight pins!
Oh, those, too! And I once sewed through my finger, just for variety. That's not an experience I want to repeat.
OH NO! *shudders* Just the thought of that makes my legs go weak . . .
I liked your stitching poem very much. I also liked your wish as well and I wish you the same, jenny_o. Enjoy that weekend.
Thanks, Mr. S :) So far, so good!
I love your poem! At least you can put in a zipper!
Grade 7 Home Ec! Otherwise, I wouldn't have a clue :)
Wonderful poem. Now I'll never rip any stitches without thinking of you and wishing for an automatic rip-outer.
If you ever find one, please let me know! hah
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