Monday, 27 February 2012

Quilty pleasures

I’ve been having such a great time crafting that I’ve not had a chance to update the blog.  I’ve finished a second quilt, again a really simple set of squares with diamond quilting which I plan to give to my niece, and am currently plotting a larger quilt with a saw tooth star motif in the centre.  Over the weekend I also had a dabble, admittedly after a glass or two of wine on Friday night, with an alternative log cabin style pattern.  There may well be a name for it, and I’ll take pictures once I know more where it’s going, but the block will be made up of four sections and a central square (turned on its side).  So far, it looks really interesting as I’ve not been cutting straight and using slightly wonky off cuts to make the edges with a view to squaring the block once it’s sewn together. 

The jumper is taking shape but I’ve slightly lost motivation at the end of sleeve one and as spring starts to thaw given I know the jumper won’t be wearable until next winter.  I’m also halfway through a baby cardigan – pattern from MillaMia – and have completed the tension swatch for a skirt I’m planning on designing then knitting.  Am having fun and games with Excel trying to figure out how to make graph paper based on my own gauge and the resources on the internet have been less than helpful.  I’d ask for comments/suggestions but honestly, if I get one more comment from a Russian Mail Order Bride service, my blood will boil and leak from my ears.  Don’t know why it makes me so cross but SERIOUSLY, what benefit can they possibly think they’ll get from spamming a craft blog.  Some people, pah. 

Prioritising the creative writing has also been a struggle but I’ve started blocking twenty minutes in my lunch breaks to do writing and hopefully that will get me to the forthcoming assignment deadline.  I had several ideas for stories I wanted to write but the tutor’s feedback (on a short piece I’d submitted for comments) was so helpful I’ve decided to develop that – will be a good change for me too, pushing past the first 750 words and actually developing an idea, narrative, story and characters.  Literally, I love the abstract.

My first submission for the Writers’ Hub is nearly finished so I hope that will go up soon and my little blurb about vintage is now on (and I wasn’t kidding, I love that yellow tank top).

Does anyone else (not mail order bride websites please) find that the more they know about something the less confident they feel?  In some ways, when I started doing crafty things a couple of years ago (not knitting, I’ve always been a knit(ter)) I would just have a play.  Now, I tend to research myself into total paralysis and then have a sudden spurt.  So it was with embroidery until I just realised that, the worst that can happen, is that someone else says it’s rubbish.  It really spurred me on and I’ve been motoring along now.  I am thinking of investing in a stand for the slate frame though as the best place for me to get comfortable with my current home set up is to sit backwards on the sofa resting the frame on the back.  Not great for the lower lumbar at my age.  Anyway, I’ve attached a couple of pictures of work so far. 

"From a distance... la la la" etc

The detail ...
... and with the original image
 It was very slow going but think I’ve now spent about eight hours in total on the whole thing, with about three of them totally on my own without the wonderful Lizzy who's been teaching me; albeit I have admittedly been faffing about, unpicking things, stepping back to look from a distance, threading needles (tricky), choosing colours, tidying stuff and other displacement activity. 

I took that to an extreme yesterday when having spent an hour sewing I went to get started on writing before deciding that my embroidery thread could be tidier.  I attach a picture of four hours of labelling, tidying and sorting by colour/value etc.  No writing was done.  Satisfying but much as I resisted leaving the house for the office this morning, I also realised the value of being out in the world and not being at home alone during the day to go more quietly OCD.

From two boxes and threads everywhere, to order wonderful order
Saying that, I potentially have two craft classes of my own to teach – subject to lease regulations at the venues – and am pulling together work sheets on paper piecing and learning to knit.  If they don’t come off, I might just post them on the blog for people who might be interested (again, no mail order shenanigans – see, that’s the OCD side of me coming through again).  And from a learning perspective have signed up to a creative textiles course to start in April - hopefully that will be some compensation to not being able to do the RSN course this year.  Am really disappointed but with a full-time job there's just no way I can give it the attention that I want to.  One for the future though ...

Ongoing projects include craft room blinds, the Colette Ginger Skirt and the Sewaholic Renfrew top for which I bought the most lovely John Kador fabric primarily because I thought it was in the sale.  It wasn’t.  A good lesson learnt – always check all the tags and not just the one that you think tells you what you want to hear.

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