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I haven’t decided what it’s going to be yet!
I just discovered this draft blog post from a while ago – I was ‘cleaning’ up things on my laptop – I can’t believe I missed posting this. I guess at the time my blogging practice was poor or the internet signal failed and I just didn’t remember to press ‘send’ . What a fail!
Well, this lovely piece of patchwork turned into a sewing machine cover. I have been sewing quite a lot over the last two weeks and every time I reveal my machine it brings me a little delight.
I have a Juki HZL-e80 machine purchased a few years ago from World of Sewing in Bromley, Kent. https://www.worldofsewing.com
Yesterday, whilst sewing with a friend – a lovely day spent together quilting – more to follow on my next post about that – we were chatting about what we like about our machines and why we bought them. For me, it was several things – the automatic needle threader, thread cutter attachment, the use of a stop/start button as an alternative to a foot pedal, the fact you can slow the sewing speed down (from hare to a tortoise!), the selection of embroidery stitches, the weight of the machine – at the time it was a huge leap up from my second hand old Singer which had been struggling on for eons! I guess, you can make more with the correct tools. I was so fed up with my old machine grabbing the thread around the bobbin spool and it was clunky and so heavy to move from the cupboard to the table.
I am so inspired by what I see friends make and from the online world, either through blogs or Pinterest (there’s how to lose a few hours!). I have been loving my latest creative weeks – there are not enough hours in the day to sew and to knit! I am between ‘real’ jobs and it’s been marvellous to just enjoy creating and trying to use some of my fabric and yarn stash.
I love to see what others make – even considered eventually opening my own Etsy shop, but that’s a long way off.
At a recent trip to a local craft fair – a recce to see what sells (!) – there was a fantastic textile exhibition. I loved one person’s work in particular, which included a mini hexagan patchwork quilt (no photo here), embroidery of the most colourful kind, and other embroideries on reclaimed antimassacars ! Adding just a few photos – on this occasion real snapshots only.
I hope you like what you see here.
A treat of a weekend – I actually knitted for myself! I have the back and half a front of a chunky pink cardigan just for me, yay! I had been putting other projects first for a couple of weeks. If I switch between little hats to sell and this one big project I might actually finish it in time to wear this winter. I love the colour but I am not loving the wool, sadly. I hope it grows on me as it grows on the needles. It was a reasonable priced yarn and I thought I would give it a try based on the colour alone, not something I would usually do (Cascade Pacific Chunky). That’s the one thing with shopping online for yarn and textiles. I like the convenience of shopping on line and do it a lot, but I also like visiting stores to stroke and squish wools and fabrics. Thank goodness I am lucky enough to be able to do both (and often do which leads to a stash to rival knitting and haberdashery shops!).
This weekend also confirmed I don’t much like knitting on long, plastic needles. I haven’t knitted on plastic needles regularly for years, usually opting for bamboo or rosewood from my collection. The pink yarn cast on needed quite a long needle and at the cast on stage these 35mm Pony needles were just handily poking out from one of my needle rolls (having had a slight accident knocking the needle roll off the shelf the day before). I quickly switched to birch for both the smoothness, weight and also these ones are very pretty too, being a rosy pink to match the yarn! The yarn just didn’t travel along smoothly for me on the plastic needles. Knitting needles are an item of choice for everyone and it is not for me to tell anyone to avoid them, however I know I will not choose plastic ones if I can help it for future projects.
So, no photo of the pink one yet but here’s a taste of a current hat – this one will be for a 6-12month old baby, rather vintage don’t you think? Using a Knitpro circular needle here.
Today I thought I would have a go at redesigning a wearable garment by getting out my hardly used sewing machine. Recently I joined a local sewing group. I met a nice bunch of ladies who sew many different things, garments, accessories, cross stitch, embroidery, quilts, we all have ‘sewing’ in common in one way or another and many have been inspired by the recent fabulous tv show, The Great British Sewing Bee. What a great programme that was! I watched all the last four episodes back to back and I was in awe of everyone’s skill and confidence. Recently I’ve bought a few summery garments in charity shops that don’t fit or suit me properly in their current style and have grand intentions on changing them all (!) so I can wear them or use them. So, with that in mind, my first sewing project was to amend a lovely blue and lime green dress. It was my size, fitted perfectly from the waist down, but was too wide at the shoulders. I decided to take out the side zip, chop it in half, add a waistband and ta-dah I now have a skirt. I just went for it, without too much hand-wringing! I realized the ‘skills’ used (I use the word ‘skills’ loosely as I can be a bit of a bodger) were those I learnt as a 12 year old at school. I could still remember the teacher patiently explaining how to cut, pin, tack and stitch. How important was that tacking – I used to think it was a huge waste of time! Little did I realize then that I was learning something that would come in handy x years later. I really disliked our textiles lessons and didn’t take them after that year at school.
Then, another coincidence came later today. I made macaroni and cheese for dinner (a bit of an easy dinner, but I am on ‘holiday’ this week!). I melted butter, added flour, gradually coaxed in milk, with black pepper and mustard, just a simple cheese sauce. I have made this many, many times. I realized I learnt how to make this the same year at school, when I was 12. Again, I gave up Home Economics the following year.
The ‘life’ skills I learnt that year (there were probably many more, and in previous and subsequent years of course) have obviously brought fruition. I wonder what ‘life skills’ today’s 12 year olds are learning. My own son has passed that age. He goes to a mixed sex school, and I was pleased they all had a chance to try textiles and cookery. Textiles was a bit of a disaster – I have a book bag that says ‘M’ on it, instead of MUM – he ran out of time making it, bless him, and it is something I treasure. With the cookery, most lessons went ok, apart from the chicken pasta bake which gave me severe food poisoning! Yes, really!
Most kids today seem to spend their days on electronic gadgets, unless they are particularly sporty. Are life skills for this era going to be ‘quick fingers on keypads’, ‘text talk’, ‘how to ignore the world around you’ ?? Just wondering what life skills my own son will look back in years to come and think ‘I learnt that when I was 12’…