A five year gap: what happened?

So what happened in the 5 years since I last posted?

A lot.

Nothing much.

The kids grew, I still made things, I finished my IT degree, also a Diploma in Textile Design. I became way more interested in quilting than this blog would indicate. I’ve been working in textile design & design sales.

Any rate, I’m starting this blog up again.

I’ve always struggled with the purpose of this place – I’m generally a private person so posting things on the internet for no real reason always seemed strange. But I think I’ve found my purpose, so expect more posts. Soon.

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.

SS2011 fashion weeks, introduction

I’m not one of the people who dismisses all fashion as irrelevant.  I don’t think it is.

I mean, there’s clearly a lot of interesting stuff that could be said about fashion from a sociological point of view.  And fashion, at least high fashion, is often about experimentation with shape, proportion, colour, pattern.  It’s the playing with shape, colour and pattern I enjoy most when crafting or making things for myself.  And fashion is an industry.  I absolutely adore understanding how industries work.  I don’t know why: I like having an overview, I guess.  You could talk to me for hours about the beer industry, for example, and I’d still be fascinated (I hate the taste of beer).

I used to subscribe to some of the myths about the fashion industry.  For instance, that gay male designers make clothes only suitable for skinny boys to wear, clothes that are totally unwearable for real women.  But then I thought again. There was a time when I was much younger, skinner and went out more.  I could fit, and have fun wearing, a lot of those “unwearable” “impractical” clothes.  At the time, I didn’t want to wear the latest fashions, but I could have.  It’s perfectly reasonable for designers to make clothes for people like I once was.  True, I’ve always been rather curvy.  Genetics, I presume.  But not everyone is like me, and why shouldn’t designers make clothes that look good on people other than me?

I’m not saying there isn’t a grain of truth in criticisms of the fashion industry.  There definitely is. Particularly the intersection of the fashion, magazine and adverting industries. I’m not denying that.  But I’m training myself not to reflexively greet the newest fashion with: “Ugh, that’s totally stupid and unwearable!”  I try to think over my initial responses, without ignoring them completely.

So this is by way of introducing a series. On Wednesdays, I’d like to review my favourite bits of recent big fashion weeks (NY, London, Milan and Paris).  You might have seen the clothes before, but I hope to add my own twist in the commentary.  And I don’t think those fashion weeks are irrelevant, even to us far away in Australia.  A few months ago, the shops in the city all had dresses similar to those in the Mad Men inspired Prada Autumn/Winter show.  (Yes, funny how her Autumn/Winter designs got used for Spring).  And there are so many clogs in the shops now, like Lagerfeld designed for Chanel in Spring last year.  Actually, I like clogs and hope to buy myself a pair soon (but not Chanel ones, obviously!)