Rib as decoration: SABA AW 2011

I love knitting, so I’m always keeping an eye on knitwear in the shops. I guess the shops I’m walking past each day would be classified as the Australian ‘high street’ (whatever that term really means) or perhaps contemporary designer? Must say the knitwear I’m seeing has improved, compared to around 5 years ago when I first started taking note. I’m not seeing so many knits stretching and sagging off the hangers, these days.

Clever knitwear always makes me smile. Here, I like the idea of ribbing used as contrast and decoration, not just as utilitarian edging. The ribbing’s curved, even along the shoulders in a kind of boatneck style. I often appreciate fashion ideas that might be somewhat awkward to wear … but this isn’t one of them. The ribbing gives a little more style to an otherwise simple, neat jacket.

The photo is from SABA, about a month ago. The next day they covered the mannequin with an even bigger scarf, so I couldn’t see the knitwear detail anymore. I suppose the jacket’s probably on sale now or even sold out (I can’t see it in their online store).

Crafting together

I went to a Crafternoon, and made this little skull. But it’s not the important bit… I loved it, the chance to talk with some great women.  About adult things.

I didn’t know anyone else there, except the hostess.  So it could have been really akward. Instead, it was affirming, to find out how much we had in common. To explore where our perspectives met, and where they divered. We talked like adults, I’ve missed that! We didn’t talk in the coded way parents must, when they know children are nearby, listening. And yes, we did discuss our children, amongst other things.

Best of all, we were able to move from the personal to the political. So often, with mothers I know well, who I see everyday, we just swap anecdotes and personal stories. Without drawing the political conclusion, making the link to what’s going on in society. I’m sure we all see it, but we don’t say. This Crafternoon, it was refreshing to say it.

I spent quite a while deciding whether my skull badge should have googly eyes. It looked cute with… but scarier, more real without.

Yes, I’ve changed the blog again. New background, new name.

First quilt strip

Most crafts I like take time.  Handmade generally does.  Even cooking dinner from scratch seems to take longer (but maybe not always?).  True, I could probably sew a couple of garments in a day’s worth of uninterrupted time (if I ever had an uninterrupted day…).  I might also knit a hat or cowl in a day, with thick wool and bigger needles (probably…).  But most things I want to make I calculate as taking almost a month, if I can only craft for an hour or so each day.

So often, I get distracted.  By life, by study or by other crafts with a deadline attached.  Or I get stuck, and realise that sorting out the problem, recalculating and redoing are going to take even more time, so I stop.  I’m rather pleased that didn’t happen this week, I actually worked on what I said I would.  This is the first pieced strip for my kitchen table cushions.

It did take me rather a while. Because I’m learning. And because my sewing machine was cheap, not good, and takes time to coax into sewing neatly.  At the moment, I can’t wait to piece the next strip, and the next, and the next … but I can’t promise I won’t be distracted again by next week!!

And welcome everyone from Kirsty’s creative space, I’ll be visiting your blogs today, too.

Quilting: rather nice, actually

I’m finding the cutting part of starting a quilt rather meditative, with a rotary cutter.  I know that doesn’t sound meditative … and yes, I am keeping my fingers well out of the way!

It’s my first time using a rotary cutter, and I’m enjoying the sameness of about 100 tiny triangles, all squared off with a ruler, cut nice and straight down the sides.  (I made more after I took the photo – and even managed to finish before the children came home).

I’m using this pattern for a kitchen table cushion.  And 2 random packs of fat quarters from Lincraft.  I actually don’t love the fabric, particularly.  I think I’ve seen it too many times before.  And the pattern is fine, too, but really I chose it as suitable for a beginner.

I think the combination of focus on learning to use a new tool, and not caring much about the outcome: that’s what I’m finding so calming. Hope it continues.

Fat quarters for quilting: should you pre-wash?

I guess not, based on this experience.  At least not in a washing machine/dryer.

I know for garment sewing, you really, really do need to pre-wash fabric (or calculate shrinkage).  And yes, I’ve heard of hemming fabric before you wash it (and even done it, for a few precious fabrics). But fat quarters? They’re so small, I thought hemming before washing was a bit other the top.

So what do you do in quilting? Not worry?  Maybe I should have cut with pinking sheers?

By the way, no sympathy needed: I don’t mind detangling and they’re all separate and neatly folded now.