Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Gift for a Gift

Many months ago, Robb and I received a wonderful early wedding present: a gift card to buy fabric at Purl Soho. Sigh...

The gift was from Melanie, which she spontaneously decided had to happen after a phone conversation we had one day where I told her about my dream of having handmade napkins at my wedding. More specifically, I asked if she had heard anything about Purl having a moving sale, because my wedding budget was getting a little tight. (At the time, Purl was packing up to move from their tiny beloved little shops on Sullivan Street to the glorious behemoth shop they've now opened on Broome.) She said she'd give Joelle a call to find out, and then promptly called up the shop and ordered up a gift card for me and Robb to buy our napkin fabric.

When I did finally manage to make my way into the shop, I thought that choosing fabric would be the hardest thing on the planet. Almost every fabric that Purl stocks is tip-top gorgeous. Cute, bright, fresh. It just makes you feel good to look at it all together. But when I walked in, my eye immediately went to the left wall, three shelves up, where I found Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley range. But which colors and prints to choose?? I wanted them all! I left the shop without buying a thing, befuddled as to how one can even begin to narrow down her options within such a pretty range.

When I told Melanie about my predicament--that there were just too many options--she very nonchalantly informed me that she had a fat quarter stack of every color and print in the Hope Valley range in her office. Marveling at the fact that Melanie is apparently some kind of magician, I took the stack home so that Robb and I could play with the options. We finally settled on the floral prints in every color.

For such a wonderful wonderful gift, I decided that Melanie needed to be thanked with a gift. While flipping through Joelle's Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts one day, I spotted the pincushion and couldn't believe my luck. What better way to showcase the eight floral fabrics in one tiny, bright little package? And Melanie loves to hand-sew! And doesn't she need a pretty little pincushion?

I got to work right away. And let me tell you, Joelle doesn't lie--it's quick to make, and it really does belong in the "2-4 hour gift" chapter. I snipped out the leaf-shaped pieces from some spare fabric and sewed each one together (attempting to keep the points straight). Once the pieces are attached and turned right-side out, it makes this sad, deflated-looking hacky sack. But a few good handfuls of stuffing, and you've got yourself quite a rotund little pincushion!

The book advises you to loop embroidery floss around the pincushion seams in order to make a nice, uniform shape. Unfortunately, my seams were so sloppy that I needed something a little thicker to cover them up--that's why you'll find Rowan's All-Seasons Cotton yarn delineating the sections in mine. A little chunkier than floss, but better than sloppy seams any day of the week.

Once I spend a little time making a gift for someone, I find it impossible to just shove it in a gift bag and hand it off. So to wrap it up, I grabbed one of the leftover wedding napkins (washed, of course!), and did a little improvised furoshiki.

First, I laid out the napkin in a diamond shape with the cushion in the middle. Then I folded in the corners to meet the cushion.

Next I folder over each side of the napkin.

I then folded up the bottom, folded the top into a point, and pressed it down envelope style.

Since I didn't have a card on hand, but I DO have a sewing machine, I zigzag stitched around a piece of cardstock with hot pink thread...
Wrote a big note of gratitude, and pinned it on top.

Voila! And that's what I call a gift for a gift.

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