19 July 2013

When it ceases to be fun, it ceases to be

Although no one but me's keeping track, it's been four years since I started this surcoat. And it is still not finished, although it's way closer than it was this time a year ago.

So, what happened to this obviously ill-fated project?

This surcoat was always intended to be hand sewn. That's not a problem; I hand sew a lot of things. But for some reason, and I don't even remember why, I decided that I was going to sew this with the same threads that the fabric was woven from. Maybe I had trouble getting a decent color match, maybe I just wanted to try working with a wool thread, but I decided I would get my thread by unraveling small sections of the main fabric. I know that other people have done this successfully. But for this project, it was a Bad Plan. A Very Bad Plan.

You see, this is a very fine lightweight wool. And the singles from which it is woven are also very fine, too fine and too weak to sew with. So they had to be plied - roll the ends between your fingers to build twist (but not too much, or it will break), fold it in half on itself and allow it coil. This is a lot of work, and I'd be lucky to get an 8 inch length to sew with. Even then, it might snag, or break, or untwist while I was sewing. It should be easy to see how, before much progress at all was made, this project began to sit in the basket untouched for longer and longer periods of time.

Friends, when a project inspires such dread of working on it that you'd rather pretend it didn't exist, it is well past time for the project to change. And so I made a simple change: I started over with different thread. A plain cotton thread in a contrasting light grey color. It's still handsewn. It's still the same pattern. And I still have more frustration than love for the project (have I mentioned that the fabric frays extremely easily, even when you're not trying to unravel it?), but at least it's going to get done. Someday. Maybe even someday soon. And if I want to sew with wool thread, I'll find a commercial source for something that's made for that purpose.

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