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.

In which I solve a quilting problem, without making a quilt

You see, I’ve been planning to learn quilting for some time.  Properly, following traditional patterns. With exact measurements.  And seams lining up precisely and neat corners.  At least to begin with.

It’s a skill I think I should have. And something I can really imagine enjoying, once I get good: playing with colour and pattern, within geometries and repetition.

But after all this time thinking, I still haven’t started yet.  Something’s slowing me down.  A worry.  I’ve finally worked out what it is: the product of quilitng … is a quilt.  I don’t have room for a quilt!!  Well, maybe one.  Two at the most.  Possibly three, but what if I really enjoy quilting and want to make more?  There must be more than 3 techniques I’d like to try.

We live in a really small apartment, with four people.  I have trouble enough storing the Winter doonas and blankets.  And everything else.  I don’t really want to add to our storage problems.  I could throw a quilt or two over the sofa (to be dragged on the floor by the kids?), perhaps give one or two as presents (gift the storage problem to someone else?).  I could put a quilt on the wall, but I don’t fancy drilling into these walls than I have to.  And then I’m stuck.  I do like to justify to myself that most of my crafting is useful.  Knitting produces gloves, scarves, hats, jumpers… sewing produces dresses, skirts.  But quilting?  Just produces more storage problems.

And then it hit me: cushion covers!  Lots of finicky little mini quilts.  Different fronts and backs.  We’ve at least four chairs.  And we’ll need a change of covers – eight.  And at this age, with the rate kids spill stuff – twenty!  Or more!  Plenty of opportunities to explore pattern & technique!

So here is my inspiration, courtesy the library:
– an encyclopedia of techniques;
– a modern quilt reference (I’m always drawn to modern looking quilts);
– the quilt book recommended by the librarian;
– an apartment therapy, for storage hints!

Our apartment is rated “small”.  Pity the other examples of small apartments don’t seem to include children.  And their toys.

And welcome everyone visiting through Kirsty’s creative spaces.