Friday, October 31, 2014

Tidings of Comfort and....

(This blog entry is published a day early. I am presenting a Writer's Forum in the morning & heading off to the big city for the entire afternoon.)

I've made a number of French-Seamed Pillowcases in the last few years, and am never sure how recipients like them. Quilting cotton fabric is not the same as the luxurious Egyptian cotton with higher thread counts that provide a fine softness to the touch. Egyptian cotton is milled on Italian Cotton Looms that employ a satin weave of the speciality threads of four over and one under; so very fine that its almost invisible to the eye. While quilting cotton works for quilts, it wraps around our bodies more than our faces the way pillowcases do in the night. And it wrinkles.

The French-seam itself provides a clean, concealed look to the edges on the inside and prevents raveling. Its an easy process many tutorials call a sausage roll which simply means how it is pinned, rolled up to the raw edges, and stitched. This one is an extra-long King size folded in threes side-to-side and in half the long way. The fabric makes it cute, and if its not used as a primary pillowcase, it could work as a decoration in the bedroom. Its the only one I plan to make this year.

Personally, I am pretty picky about my bed pillows. I own two pair of feather pillows, and even prefer one set of them over the other. I will bold-facedly admit that when guests are here, I will take my favorite set of pillows with me to sleep on the futon, and they are welcome to spend their vacation here on my Sleep Number Bed.

Because I have traveled a lot for work over the last few decades, I've slept on many beds, used many pillows and bedding and have some strong ideas about my personal comfort. There is a reason why we tell the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, so we grow up understanding that comfort means different things to all of us.

The other project I worked on is a couple of healing-scented rice bags. The pattern was a free digital download from Craftsy. It is made with 10" squares and some channel stitches about 2" apart, then filled with 2 cups of white rice. I did sprinkle some essential oils of Eucalyptus and Rosemary into the rice before adding it to the bags. It is also a holiday gift that will come with some safe microwave heating instructions. (I haven't owned a micro for years by choice...about the same time I decided not to own a TV, come to think of it.) I made two bags with this fabric, and still need to clip threads and put them into heavy weight plastic bags so that the scent holds for awhile. The pattern I followed suggested using 20 drops of each kind of essential oil to get that feel-good scent. Its just a little over-powering to sprinkle enough for both batches in one small space.

I've got a lot of scrap fabrics that will work and have several bags of rice to make a few more of these micro bags.

While I personally like using the greasy Vicks gunk on my chest and throat when I feel a cold coming on, a lot of folks do not. This combo smell really works in a neat and clean container. My note will let my Minnesota / Wisconsin recipients know that the bag should get tossed after the cold season is over. 

I liked this style more than most other patterns I saw for a number of reasons. First of all, I look for my own comfort in creating them. They need to be easy for me to make as well as seem reasonable to give. They do work as feet warmers, back warmers to take in the car, and will even wrap around the back of the neck, so again, they can bring comfort to others.