Thursday, January 29, 2009

History of a sewist

This week I've had a project accepted for publication by an Oz magazine-submission of the project is in May but it won't be published until October-that's a long way ahead they work. Would appear that if I want to submit for the Christmas edition it would have to be in in July! Even the MOTH was impressed, finally realizing that all the time spent up in my sewing room is not my way of avoiding him all weekend!LOL I think he was even pleased for me.

This is not the first time I've had a project published, but it is the first time I've submitted off my own bat & been accepted & I'm the one that will get paid for it-getting paid for doing something you really enjoy, is wonderful!
Two years ago I had a bag published in Jenny Haskins's magazine & I am still getting requests for my Egyptian Goddess tote- readers had to email me direct for the instructions-I was really surprised at the response I had from that publication, it was a single page photo.
My real break came when I was asked to fill in a slot that the person had not submitted the project for in another magazine and I produced another handbag with the instructions & managed & 5 page spread in the magazine-I wasn't the one that got paid for this but I felt it was wonderful just to be published at the time. Funny I never even expected to be paid I was so astounded that anything I made would be good enough to be published!LOL.
I sent these new project pics to the editor, hoping that it would be a project that would appeal to them & they accepted it- what a surprise for I'm thinking, what else can I make?

Sewing to me has not always been the passion that it is today. In fact, I hated sewing early on & was removed from the sewing class for a year.
All school children back in my day were either taught to sew (the girls) or craft (the boys) & never the lines shall be crossed!
I was taught to sew & knit from a very early age- it being considered a beneficial thing for a young lady to know how to do.
At school we were started off in Kindergarten threading embroidery thread through huckerback to make pretty patterns & sew we moved on through the years adding to our repertoire each year. I mucked up from the word go-I really wanted to learn to basket weave & build things & I figured I did enough sewing & knitting at home-but NO....there was no way I could do 'boy's crafts"- I should have been born 10 years later.
By the time I was 11 I was pretty disruptive, my mother mortified at my behaviour, as the sewing teacher, Mrs smith, was a good friend & lived up in the next street-so she told my mother what I got up to. I was persistent in my desire to learn to basket weave & do woodwork & the education system was determined I should sew a fine hem!
The year started out pretty much the same for me but I refused to pin & tack side seams before using the sewing machine- I whizzed up seams on my own at home! I felt there was no reason to do french hems by hand when a sewing machine could do it far better than me....Mrs Smith after all those years finally told me I could not join the boys craft class & I could leave the sewing class- I grabbed the opportunity & said I want out of here! I spent the rest of the year in the quiet class room, on my own- I had the best books in the grade & I didn't care I had finally escaped sewing class!
When I reached high school, not only did I have to continue to sew, but they added cooking & household knowledge to our essential 'girl' knowledge- those damn boys got woodwork & metal work & I still wasn't allowed to join!
At about this time I discovered boys, parties & going out My mother, most unfairly, would not provide me with a new outfit each time I was invited to a party, what was a young social butterfly to do? I pulled out the sewing machine & started to make my own clothes, my own way & I never pinned & tacked a seam before sewing it- ever! So through necessity I started to sew-my babysitting money was used to buy fabrics & I had the wardrobe I mother was astounded & I bet you anything she told Mrs Smith who was left behind in Primary school.
My sewing continued through my years of nursing & then when my children came along I started sewing for them- we couldn't afford 5 designer outfits so I'd copy them & make them at a fraction of the cost.
Enter the era of stretch sewing & my sewing took off again- now I even sewed for DH-he had tab front tops, T shirts & track suits....who could believe I was doing all this sewing? At one point I even taught stretch sewing-me the teacher after being the most horrendous little brat for all those years in sewing class!
When the twins were about a year old I enrolled to do Developing Creative Craft at the local TAFE-I wanted to learn to tat & smock....I ended up doing just about the whole course over a couple of years-what fun I had! My mother shook her head in disbelief- saying Mrs Smith would be rolling in her grave if she could see me now. (she, unfortunately, died from a malignant melanoma when she was not all that old).
The sewing has continued & I've made everything from bras to lampshades- I never did get to learn to basket weave or do woodwork, but I seem to have found my own niche along the way.
These days I have an embroidery machine that keeps me busy & what fun it is to play with-I still don't pin & tack my seams or do a lot of those fiddly hand finishes that I was told I had to know- but lots of what I was taught holds me in good stead even today, with today's much more relaxed methods of construction.

Yesterday I was out pegging the laundry on my little clothes airer & looked in the tree that is near the back door.....and thought...what has DH hung in the tree? On closer inspection it was a snake skin-a complete skin from head to tail. Now, where has the occupant gone is what I'd like to know? There are great advantages to having cats it seems as we never used to have snakes that close to the house before! I now find it all a bit un-nerving when I venture up the back yard to water, hoping some slippery, legless thing isn't going to drop out of the tree onto me! I phoned DS no4 to come over & get it down for me (it was too high for me to reach & I've given up climbing trees)-I now have it sitting in the kitchen & every time I go down there it gives me a start as I forget its there!LOL I have decided I'll post it to my Grandson- he should enjoy taking that to kindy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Does fabric breed like rabbits?

Through the week I worked out if I sewed 10 metres of fabric a month, on average, & I bought no more fabric, (that's impossible), I could sew up my stash in 7-8 years! My fabric stash is getting out of hand, again.
The last time I felt that it had bred uncontrollably, like rabbits, in my sewing room, I purged the stash & gave about 30 kg away! It hardly made a dent.
I spoke to myself harshly at the time & told myself that I would control my fabric buying & only buy what I really needed....thing is I always need it! Its a compulsion & it seems that every time I go into my favourite fabric shop- I buy more fabric. I rarely come out of there with out something. Usually its a huge bag full which I hide in my car until DH goes out & I can sneak up to the sewing room unobserved & hide it away, bit like 2 of my sisters with their shoes! I thankfully missed that compulsion.
At one point I even tried to avoid going in & looking as I knew I would have to buy something. I lasted 3 weeks.....I needed a fabric fix. Is there something they put in the fabrics that is addictive, that wonderful new fabric smell & it works on our brains telling us to buy it?LOL

This shop now sells roll ends- you have to buy what's on the roll- they won't cut it & its upholstery fabrics- really good quality fabrics & boy haven't I picked up some great bargains for $4 & $5 a metre-I know I don't need 4 metres of it, but at that price who cares? And so the stash grows.....and grows!

Now for all this huge stash of fabric when I went to find fabric to make some boomerang (V) pillow slips I had nothing in enough length that was suitable. So what's a gal to do? just HAVE to go to the fabric shop. In my defence I was very good & only bought what I went in to get-fabric for the pillowcases. Mind you I over estimated what I needed & had enough to make myself a nightie out of the left over fabric from one lot!

Before I got the embroidery machine I used to sew less & use more fabric. These days I sew more & use very little fabric, but I keep on buying it.....I may just need it.

This weekend I made myself a winter robe (so who cares that its 35*C outside- it WILL get cold again!)-from stash fabric- bought on sale at Lincraft at the end of last winter for this very purpose. That used 4 metres. 6 V pillowslips- that was about 12 metres- not from stash, I had to buy fabric to make these, so no reduction there and the nightie from left over fabric. At least I managed to sew up what I bought within the week-to me that's a bonus.

So, after sewing all weekend I have managed to reduce the original stash by 4 metres- hardly a dent in the 13 crates I have stashed away.

I was even nice to DH & took up his jeans that he asked me to do.....mostly he gives up & wears them long! Mind you with all his snoring he did last night he was lucky not to be strangled by his jeans-sheesh give that man a curry & a few beers & can he snore! There is much to be said for separate rooms as you get older!

The scarf is now finished-I am so glad I got to the end of it after all the problems I had doing the pattern- I hope my DIL likes it! DD liked it as well but I'm doing a different pattern for her.There is no way I'm knitting that pattern again! This was a freebie from Lincraft- I did a knit stitch each end on the purl rows so it wouldn't curl.

I started the Mockery socks from wired for fibre this week-have done 3 pattern repeats ,I think I should have checked the yarn's tension (I never check tension) as the yarn I'm using is a little finer than the ones in the original pattern. They'll stretch. Hopefully.

I'm one of these people that has to finish one project before starting the next-if I stop & move on I know I'll never go back to it....I don't have a cupboard full of UFO's thankfully.
Since joining Ravelry I notice my yarn stash is increasing as well- I hadn't really bought much yarn for years. I did the odd edge around something or baby item, even did 4 pairs of socks, but I bought the yarn for each project as I needed it.
I now find I'm looking at more yarns & buying them as well-heaven help me if I end up with a yarn stash as big as my sewing one! I think I can control this one a little better than the fabric obsession!
This year my resolution is to use up at least 120 metres of fabric from stash & not to buy anymore unless I need it to complete a project & only to buy what I need.

Well, that's the goal.....we'll have to see!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New year,new projects, new ideas

Visitors have gone, the house is back to its Darby & Joan status, the tree & trimmings away & Christmas is done & dusted for another year.
DH prior to Xmas kept on commenting on the itouch every time it came on as an ad on TV- I thought he was dropping a huge hint as he had extolled its virtues after seeing a mate use it one day. So, from a lack of knowing what else to buy him I purchased him one & stuck it under the tree.
Christmas day arrives & DH is handing out all the parcels & he hands me one & says "if you don't like it, I'll have it". Moments before this DS no2 had mentioned reading an article that a lot of couples buy the other the gift that they really want......I thought I hardly want some electronic gadget & pack of 5 undies.......

I opened his gift & you can imagine my surprise when I itouch....hmmmm....right, this is, um, just what I, I don't think so. DH is already saying how wonderful it is & how I can use it. Truth be told I'm flat out using the laptop most of the time.....but he was excited.....& I'm thinking this is going to be hilarious when he finds wrapped up in his undies the exact same present for him!
I must say he showed much more excitement than I did when he found his & mine has been returned as I knew I wouldn't use it...bit like all the gadgetry on this laptop that he said "I couldn't be without!"- we won't even go back there!
Now after using his itouch for the past few weeks it has just rekindled his total dislike for anything apple & my guess is it won't get used that much either- but thankfully we only have one in the house!
I am still waiting for something for Xmas.
I did get 2 really neat from the kids who bought me a set of DPN from knitpicks- their harmony ones- I had bought the interchangeables last year & love them, so now I have all the DPN's as well!

Also a surprise gift- I won a competition. I never win an argument, let alone a competition! Its a hank of yarn a month for 12 months from the yarn cafe -this is much more useful than an itouch any day! Now why couldn't DH buy a gift certificate for something like this!? I was much more excited about this than the itouch as well! DH just didn't get my excitement, but then no one who doesn't knit, would either.

I was also given a bottle of Baileys- I love a Baileys every once in a while & had none so this will go down very nicely!

It was wonderful having a little one in the house for Christmas- they had so much more to it all by their sheer delight in it all & the excitement over a pack of pencils & the fact that half the carrot & cookie was missing. 4 year olds are a delight- especially when they aren't calling you Mum!LOL

Have been knitting the past few weeks-started a scarf in alpaca & have progressed quite nicely but I seem to rip more than I knit most of the time. AND I'm not sure why. It's a super easy 9 stitch repeat pattern- done over 4 rows & both pattern rows are essentially the same only one start knit3 & the other knit 2, but I keep messing it up & have to keep pulling it friend who was staying at the time I started it said she's have tossed it the second time I made a mistake-one thing I do do is persevere.

last night I started a bow tie scarf- a one ball project & thought it would be perfect for the gorgeous jelly dyed yarn I got in the Xmas stocking swap-but there wasn't quite enough yarn- so much for one ball.....I have ripped this back to the beginning & will try again on larger needles-its such a quick little project & I love the idea of making something from 1 ball of yarn.

On the sewing front- all the towels I made for Xmas for gifts & for others to give as gifts were received very well & it has given me an order to do 8 towels for someone else. I've done 2 of them already but am waiting for final approval on the designs of the other 6.

Also did a gorgeous towel for a workmates new grandson who arrived through the week-Charlie-this may well be my new baby towel for 2009.
This weekend I've been test sewing designs for a friend- can't wait to share with you, but I have to wait until the set of designs go up for sale......not even a sneak peak at this stage!
This year when I return to the USA have been asked to demonstrate a class at a local sewing store. I taught a handbag class last year- it can't have been all bad if they have asked me back again!
While looking in the post Xmas sales I came across the most stunning bath towels with the most jaw dropping price- $69 for a guest towel & $89 for the bath mat- $139 for a bath towel! After a (very) close inspection I came home & had a go at my own idea on this theme & have decided if the store thinks this will be well attended then this will be my class (no, not how to rip off designer labels for a fraction of the cost!).....more on this later as it progresses into something you can follow. How do they justify these prices & more to the point who pays them?Someone must as they wouldn't stock them otherwise.
After 2 days relief from the stinking,hot weather we now look like we are back to stinking ,hot again- at least I managed 2 decent nights sleep in the week- this is how summer is! Hopefully it won't be too bad tonight & maybe my cough may give up so I don't bark all night either!
More next time....happy crafting