Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Saris into Thread...Thread into Hope

Be warned, this is a proud Mamma blog post...but I think you will find it interesting and on topic just the same.

My eldest son is about to graduate from Samford University in Birmingham, AL. (Sam not Stan) His team took top honors in the Brock School of Business social entrepreneur business plan competition and they advanced to The Neely School of Business International Social Entrepreneurship competition. You can read about it in the Samford Belltower. They took fourth Place out of 28 teams.

My son is top row, on the left.

The team is in the process of importing their first product, thread made from recycled saris. How cool is that. I can't wait to get my hands on some of their yarn. They have samples in Birmingham but I am all the way over in Augusta. I guess I'll have to wait until graduation in mid-May to run my fingers through the silky goodness. But this is not just about beautiful yarn, it is about improving people's lives.

Now, you may be thinking this is such a wonderful project for a group of business students, but it's not just a project. They have more irons in the fire and plans to help more people escape poverty and earn a fair wage. Please go check out the website for Work of Worth International and read more about the exciting things they are up to.

They are also looking for more boutique needlework/fibre shops to carry this product. If you have any suggestions or requests, please leave me a comment and I'll make sure the info gets to WoW.

Now, for the latest...The team is in another competition. The Regions New Venture Challenge. They have once again advanced to the final round!


Sew Fresh Quilts

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Sew...as I said before I have pretty much been sewing all my life. I started out as a HUGE fan of lacing cards. My first grown-up try with a sharp needle and scissors came when I tried my hand at Barbie clothes. I was about five and it was a 100% independent project. That is when I realized that the seams go on the inside and just tracing Barbie's shape onto fabric doesn't quite make an outfit that works. This was back in the pre-bendable days when Barbie wore a curly bob and a black and white swimsuit.

My Grandma Wilson was my main source for domestic craft instruction. She introduced me to crochet, knitting and embroidery. She also taught me how to sew on her beloved sewing machine. She was very protective of that machine and I was in fear of destroying it every time I stepped down on that pedal. To this day I hear her voice reminding me never to turn the balance wheel backward whenever I touch my machine.

My instruction was rounded out a bit more in middle school Home-Ec. We made ringer style T-shirts in intro. I liked it so much I took the next class. I made an adorable kaftan that defied my skill level and looked 100% store bought. It looked so good that I came home from school one day to find one of my sister's friends wearing one just like it. I said, "Hey, I have one just like that." My sister and her friend exchanged looks and I said, "Hey, that's mine!" (I have to share a little secret here...I do not like to borrow or loan out clothing. I have no problem eating off a second hand dish but I will not wear second hand clothing.) Well, needless to say they talked me into letting her borrow it and she returned it with a huge stain on the chest!

In high school my sister and I got a little Kenmore for Christmas. I think my sister may have used it once but I put out a lot of stitches on that baby. It disappeared while I was away at college.

After college my boyfriend's mother let me use her machine. It looked pretty much like my Grandma's machine. The biggest difference being that my future mother-in-law seemed so relaxed when I was at her machine. Grandma was just as uptight about her Toro lawnmower. She loved her power tools.

My fiancee would purchase another Kenmore for me just before our wedding. I made my flower girl's dress on it. Over the next 10 years it would see a bit of home dec projects and then move on to costumes for our boys. Then it started sewing seams that looked right but would just pull out with a little tug. So, I started looking for a new machine. It was around 1995 and I ended up with a year old Viking 1100. I still sew on this machine.

I have always sewed in fits and starts followed by a period away from my machine. So what is so different about how I am approaching my sewing today? A change of focus in my life.

I home schooled my two sons from start to finish. After my second graduated I floundered for a year wondering how I could fill the void left when all the lessons and activities were no longer my main focus. I maintained a leadership role in an academic club for an extra year but when it was handed over to a new generation I knew I needed a new direction.

That direction came when my in-laws visited for Thanks Giving in 2012. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law have been avid quilters for years. I had taken a class in the late 1990s and had a prepared quilt sandwich that I had tried but given up on quilting. My SIL has a long arm so I gave the sandwich to my MIL with the request that my SIL quilt and donate it. That got us looking at a table runner pattern and stack of fabric that I had bought with my MIL a few years earlier but had never tackled. She realized I was short a bit of fabric so we headed to our local quilt shops to pick up what I needed so that she could do the project for me.

Needless to say, I was intrigued. I started surfing and shopping and sewing as soon as she left. I had a number of small projects under my belt by Christmas. I haven't slowed down yet.

Another huge life change coincided with the end of home school and it gets in the way of my creative time. I'm sure I will add snippets of info here and there about that over time.

Sew...my sewing is really quilting.

Next up for the blog--my projects and some belated shout-outs to all the blogger/quilters out there who have shared their knowledge with me. Next up for my weekend--major bike maintenance to get things in order for spring riding.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Name

I chose Pedal Sew Lightly because it combines two things I love to do...bike and sew. I know, it has a somewhat "Breakfast at Tiffany's" ring to it but I am not a fan of the movie. I have never viewed the entire movie...just snippets. Kind of unexpected from someone who absolutely loves pre-1970 movies. Unfortunately, I had to give them up when my boys were little because they didn't like them at all and I couldn't convince my husband that they were wonderful so he would watch them in the evening with me. I have missed out on twenty years of black & white and technicolor pleasure.

Biking and sewing have been a part of my life since childhood but I have been pursuing them with more gusto the past few years. My bicycling picked up after I had to give up running due to a major bout with plantar fasciitis that was and is still exacerbated by my apparent mediterranean heritage. My husband and I rode for pleasure in our twenties but I would not describe us as "cyclists" at the time. Then we started our family and I remained an occasional pleasure rider and he went bike crazy. So, it was a natural transition when I quit running to turn to biking. He gave me a beautiful Egyptian Blue Cannondale Synapse for our anniversary and now we enjoy our biking passion together. Well, sort of together...he is much faster than me so we go out together but rarely stay together an entire ride.

Now, just so you don't get the impression that I am some sort of lycra-clad racehorse, here's a photo of me from a charity ride:
As you can see I am just a standard fifty-some year old woman in a homemade tutu.

This is getting long so I will move on to "sew" in my next post.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New Start with the Help Of Erin

This new blog is being created with the help of Sew at Home Mummy's "Beautify Your Blog" series.

Sew at Home Mummy

I want to thank Erin for giving of her time and talent to support inexperienced bloggers, like me. I have been steadily quilting for almost a year and a half and have been enjoying all the varied blogs I find. I have well over 100 linked to Bloglovin! So much great support and knowledge is shared by such wonderful people. I love it! Since so many of the blogs invite others to join in the fun I decided to start chronicling my progress too. I thought about resurrecting an old one I had started for a cross country RV trip we took a few years ago. Unfortunately, the name I chose, Ether Bourn, has since become associated with a gaming character. Did they think of it on their own or steal it from me? Who knows or cares, but I am not a "gamer" and so I decided to come up with a new name. BTW, Ether Bourn was the result of plugging Air Stream into the Thesaurus. So, my next post will explain the reasoning behind my new name.