Saturday, January 30, 2010

Almost wetting pants with excitement...

...beacause I'm about to head into the city for the day, sans kids and husband, for a Japanese patchwork hand-quilting course at Kimono House.

Can't say more now, must go catch the train. After grabbing that spare pair of underpants.

Let the quilting madness begin!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My creative space...

I'm so glad Kirsty's got the creative spaces back up and running for the year... now I will have more impetus to both create and blog! It is quite clear to me now just how much participating in this meme last year kept up my enthusiasm for both.

Today I'm up to my ears in shades of green...

Ugh, I feel a little ill looking at it all. These bits of fabric are supposed to be coming together in a slightly-haphazard-but-mostly-symmetrical 12 block quilt top for my sister. Siffice to say she likes green. We picked out the fabrics for her last year and tried to figure out together what she would like.

 Naturally, I launched in late last year without really planning, as I tend to work better as I go. Problem is, I now don't really know what I'm up to, and I've spent the morning so far ironing these kind-of-log-cabin squares and attempting to calculate sashing requirements. Not that we really agreed on a size, either!

I think I've learned from this that, in quilting, I really DO need to visualise a little more clearly where I'm going prior to cutting and sewing. It is a little harder though when I'm trying to visualise on behalf of someone else, and I don't really have full ownership of the project...

Meanwhile, I'm trying to save my eyeballs from green-overload, and shock myself into cleaning the bathroom, by wearing my favourite apron, this whacky bright smock number (and hiding unwashed hair under old t-shirt, classy!). I'm showing you because I want to make something similar for a friend, but I need to ask whether making an apron for someone to clean the house in would be considered demeaning?!

Anyway, after I've tackled the soap scum I'm going to come back and check out what YOU'VE been up to. Join in here.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Learning to receive.

When I came back from holidays last week I found the most embarassingly large package awaiting me.
I had found out before Christmas that I won Lyn's giveaway over at From One Mum. So I was anticipating the arrival of this book...

... but not the arrival of:
a stack of vintage trims and buttons
a copy of Mixtape
an amazing array of vintage and new fabric squares and scraps
TWO moda charm packs
some fabulous and hilarious vintage craft magazines

Lyn, my girl, that was a massive haul! It only strengthens my resolve to craft from my healthy stash this year and make some great stuff with what I have. I've been getting particularly excited about making a scrap quilt with all the mismatched patterns, colours and styles of scrap-sized material I have, and Liz' contribution will feature strongly there. (I think the challenge of a scrap quilt is to somehow harmonize all those disparate elements... I think it's cheating when someone's "scraps" are from the same coordinated line of designer fabrics!!)

I don't know how you feel when you are the recipient of someone else's generosity, but I actually find it hard! I find giving without expectation of repayment sits easily with me (It is more blessed to give than to receive, Acts 20:35). But when I receive stuff, I start feeling indebted, and assume I'm meant to repay in kind or I'll be letting people down.

My lovely and perceptive craft-blog-friend Sally chastised me about this when I made noises about 'making something in return' after receiving her amazing package of goodies a few months back. Of course, sometimes we DO give in order to get back, but sometimes gifts are just that - a gift. Not swaps or barters, not ways of 'buying' my loyalty or seeking my custom. Sally asked me to take her package graciously and treat it as an exercise in receiving.

Well thanks to Lyn I now have another opportunity to practise the act of receiving graciously. Ouch, it hurts! But thank you so, so much.

Friday, January 15, 2010

decluttering my approach to craft, 2010

How do you go about setting creative goals? Is it all about completing a list of projects? Learning new techniques? Maybe setting up a stall or shop?

I don't think I've ever really set creative goals before. I often make life resolutions around the new year (vague and sweeping, helpful but not binding) , and have done so again this year, but for the first time I've decided to nut out what I want to do creatively in a more specific way.

Part of my bedroom 'inspire wire', on which I've hung items with textures, colours and patterns I'm drawn to

First, here are some things I learned about myself as a crafter during 2009:
- I love trying different creative techniques, but am most drawn to fabric-related craft;
- I am prone to creative 'attention deficit', which has resulted in lots of unfinished or badly-finished items, as well as a few too many craft/stash related impulse purchases of which I am ashamed;
- I'm more naturally interested in the aesthetic side of sewing (exploring textures, layers, designs, embellishments, originality) than the technical side of sewing (following patterns, making complex items, using fancy sewing gadgets or finishing things properly);
- I like the idea of making clothes for me and for the kids, more than the reality of making them! (This has a fair bit to do with the lack-of-technique thing as well as the time-consuming factor);
- I have decided I have no interest in selling things, but I would like to work on making some 'signature clutterpunk' items to swap and give away.

Having identified these things, here's where I'm heading in 2010:
In general I would like to...
- Narrow my creative focus and go for a bit of depth and technique instead;
- Think through projects first and execute them more carefully to help avoid frustration and waste;
- Use what I have already and make few, if any, craft purchases.

And I hope to do this more specifically by...
1. Focusing on quilting
I have done some very simple piecing and quilting, by both machine and hand, and I have loved it. There is so much scope for playing and expressing yourself in quilt-making, and yet there is a simplicty that I'm drawn to as well. I have plans for a lap-quilt, a wall-hanging and an already-mentioned bedroom quilt (on which I would like to experiment with all sorts of techniques!).

A very simply-hand-quilted lap quilt I made for a friend's wedding, using plain linen on one side and this patterned echino double-gauze on the other.

2. Making ONE garment in 2010, and doing it well!
Yep, I'm really lowering my ambitions here... but I'd like to hang up the 'Hack Refashionistaapproach for a bit and work on making something that will fit me well AND LAST. I am going to do this with the help of Thread Den Sewing Lounge, who run a heap of classes from basic techniques to pattern drafting. My Christmas gift this year was a voucher to cover a few classes here, and I'm VERY excited! I've not had any professional sewing help and I can't wait to check out the timetable and decide which classes to take.

3. Developing a 'clutterpunk line' of simple things to make for gifts and swaps
OK, so this is the most vague of my goals. I haven't made many repeat items in my time (apart from Swineys, but that joke was over a while ago...). I guess I would like to have several 'something up my sleeve' items to make for friends and crafty types which is useful for them, fun for me, and at least a bit unique. Hmmmmmm. At the moment I'm thinking about aprons - but kind of more wear-out-of-the-house-if-you-dare aprons than clean-the-bathroom types. Hmmmmmm again. Thoughts?

OK, so writing this down is clearly of more benefit to me than to you. But if you have read this and drop in regularly, perhaps you'll be able to prod and poke me during the year, to say 'hey, how's that garment coming along and are you fudging the seams there missy?', or 'boy you need to do something other than quilting, it's getting boring', or 'hey, if that decoupaged-macrame-scrapbooking thing isn't part of your quilt/garment, drop it NOW!'. Because that's what creative friends are for, right?

Monday, January 11, 2010


Poppy's Cottage B&B where I spent a peaceful night with my Beloved (and NO KIDS!)

I have just enjoyed three weeks...

ignoring my blog
ignoring your blog
avoiding sewing, crafting and thinking
shirking as many domestic and child-rearing duties as I could get away with...

and now I'm ready to be back.

And I'm really looking forward to 2010.