April 20, 2018
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New year inspires a spate of hoeing out the craft room cultch

Mrs. Mary Neal, 81, of Sherman Mills, who is visiting her daughter, Mrs. Kenneth Springer of 145 Elm Street, Bangor, has an unusual apron of white organdy which was made by another daughter, Mrs. Jerry O'Roak of Sherman Mills. Embroidered on the apron are the names of Mrs. Neal's 112 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO BY CARROLL HALL
By Ardeana Hamlin, BDN Staff

The advent of the new year always inspires in me an impulse to organize and clean the room where I stash my sewing, knitting and craft stuff. This is no small calling given the fact that a lot of stuff has accumulated in that room over the past 12 months.

The treadle sewing machine is nearly buried by bags of quilt batting scraps too big to throw away, but too small even for a crib quilt. I saved them because I have visions of creating fabric postcards or small works of fabric art.

The big shelving unit on one side of the room is bulging with lengths of fabric, which once were neatly folded and arranged according to color but now are rumpled and scrambled as if some crazy animal had rooted around intent on making a nest. (Actually, an animal has been in there messing things up — ME!) This is always a tough area to tidy up and hoe out because I hate to discard fabric more than 1 yard in length.

There are bags of yarn lined up along the walls — a bag of Lopi Light, a bag of novelty yarn, another of yarn I want to use for mittens, another for socks. I know I will use most of this yarn eventually, but I estimate that point won’t arrive until I am at least 90.

A stack of photos that needs to be sorted and assigned to albums takes up a corner of the table — bear in mind this table is useless as work space because so much other stuff has been piled on it. Photos, of course, can’t be discarded, but they can be organized in albums, a task that is always in progress for me. I’m getting to the point where I store on the computer the most recent photos I have taken.

Sewing patterns are stacked more than a foot high because I don’t have room for them in the four-drawer storage unit where such things are kept. I’ve learned not to discard patterns — I’ve also learned not to buy any more — so if I can get that stack put away somewhere, that’s one less pile I’ll have to mock me every time I glance at that corner of the room.

Several small bins of crewel embroidery yarn are stacked awkwardly, blocking access to the shelving unit where I keep albums of family photographs, rubber stamps and supplies, and other odds and ends. Those will have to be moved elsewhere, if I can figure out a way to free up a spot in that big shelving unit.

My New Year’s resolution — the same one I make every year — is to hoe out the cultch that has accumulated in this room and make it functional again. I started that task the day after Christmas, I’m happy to say. I made progress. I cleared the floor so that I can walk in there without risking banged shins or sprained ankles.

The room contains half a dozen plastic bins that must be gone through. Some of the bins hold fabric scraps either too big or too pretty to throw away; one holds short lengths of cotton fabric and another holds wool fabrics.

Another bin holds wool yarn and still another holds mohair yarn.

I must sort through the stuff in these bins and determine what I should keep and what should be donated to a good cause.

Luckily, I enjoy sorting and organizing, so the task ahead of me isn’t one I dread. It’s a task I will work on a little at a time, knowing that a little effort applied daily adds up to a task completed in a few weeks’ time.

My goal is to make the room serviceable again, a place where I can sew using the treadle machine. I want a spot for the dress form I plan to acquire later this month. And I would like the top of the table to be clear enough so I can sit there and write postcards or thank-you notes.

I’ll also have to make an auxiliary New Year’s resolution — once the room is clean and functional, I resolve not to let it get all junked-up again.

Wish me luck.


• Blast from the past — this item appeared in the Feb. 4, 1960, issue of the Bangor Daily News: Mrs. Mary Neal, 81, of Sherman Mills, who is visiting her daughter Mrs. Kenneth Springer of 145 Elm St., Bangor, has an unusual apron of white organdy which was made by her daughter Mrs. Jerry O’Roak of Sherman Mills. Embroidered on the apron are the names of Mrs. Neal’s 112 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

• The Bangor Chapter of the American Sewing Guild will hold a Beginning Sewing with a Serger lesson 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, at the Hampden Community Center, Western Avenue in Hampden. Learn to use overlock, flatlock and rolled hem stitches while making simple fleece projects. The cost is $10 for guild members, $15 for others. For more information, call 944-6873, or e-mail Chris Fraga Thornton at FragaC@aol.com.

• Two free knitting classes for children 6 years and older will be offered 3-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10, and 3:30-5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, at Gibbs Library in Washington.

In the first class, children will learn the basic knit stitch and how to change yarns to add color. After practicing, children may attend the second class to get additional help. Needles and yarn will be provided.

The classes are taught by the Washington Handcrafters. Preregistration is requested, but not required, by calling the library at 845-2663.



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