12 Nov

When you know it’s going wrong, but keep at it anyway.

I’ve been wanting to make a messenger bag for ¬†loooooooong time, based on one of my daughter’s drawings. Nearly a year ago, I found the perfect pattern via You SEW Girl, and it’s taken me this long to get around to making it.

I was intimidated by my vision for the drawings, but finally having my hubby home so I could dive deep into experiments and problem solving without worrying about homework or lunch got me through that. I was also intimidated by the pattern which actually required that I read it! Once into it though, I realized it’s thorough, but not difficult.

What was difficult however, was using thick Peltex interfacing rather than the batting called for in the pattern. It made the whole thing cumbersome. My seams and top stitching suffered from the extra bulk and the lack of maneuverability. But I pressed on because over-all, it was looking like my vision. Certainly it would pass the galloping horse rule. Which would be fine if I wanted to carry this around as an everyday purse.

But no-oo, I have this vision in my head of a gallery-worthy collection of textile pieces inspired by my kids’ art. And that needs Craftsmanship with a capital C. Frustrated, I was ready to ditch the whole thing last night. Instead, I slept on it, and realized this morning that yes, I’d never use the bag — because I was disappointed with it. I also realized that I could salvage more from it than I had originally thought — like the whole interior. And the base with the cool feet. So, today will probably see the deconstruction of the bag, but not it’s permanent demise.

26 Oct

Some Crafty Stuff

Sometimes the crafty community just blows me away. First it’s just that there’s so much totally cool stuff out there, but then there’s the connections and generosity too. I’m not very demonstrative, so you won’t see me jumping into lots of swaps or give-aways, so that makes random generosity even more amazing.

All I did was comment on Art Spirit’s Flickr photo that I loved her little mushroom pins and look what she sent me! How cool is that?!

In other crafty news, I wanted to try making my own machine embroidery for a patch, so I used a scrap of the fabric I made with my kids’ drawings as a base, and gave it a whirl.

I thought it turned out so well I had to make something out of it. Now it’s a little voodoo daddy pin cushion.

05 May

A New Resource

I’ve forgotten if I posted this swatch before or not.

There’s been a lot of buzz about print on demand fabrics lately. I think Spoonflower was the first, and right now, they are definitely the best known place for printing fabric with your own design. I heard about it when they were in Beta phase, but didn’t really know what I would need my own fabric for since I am already a huge fan of new and re-purposed commercial fabric and all the connotations and stories they hold. There¬† are so very many colors and patterns out there already, how could I possibly be lacking?

Completely unrelated, I’ve had a drawing my daughter did a few years ago that looked to me like it needed to be an embroidered patch. A patch, of course, needs something to go on, so I’ve had in my mind to make a messenger bag. Recently I found a pattern for just the bag I want to make, and decided that the original drawing, plus more would make a perfect lining for my bag. Back to Spoonflower — here’s the perfect way to incorporate the kids’ drawings.

I ordered the swatch, then adjusted the colors, and now I have my own fabric! I messed up a few of the repeats (scatter designs can be tricky when you need a portion of something on one side of your repeat to match up exactly with the rest of the image on the other side), but it wasn’t due to any defect on Spoonflower’s end. For my purposes here, I doubt anyone but me will notice anyway. I’m excited to make the bag and my own patches, but I’ve got a few other things in the works I’m excited about too, so it may take a while.

04 Feb

Forest Pillows

I’ve been reading Susie Monday’s blog and gaining interest in her “Sensory Alphabet;” those elemental things we respond to. Wondering what mine is, I’ve noticed that I love, love, love to pick out fabrics. When at the Arts & Crafts Center on post in Heidelberg I was always jumping in and grabbing fabrics for people whenever I overheard anyone say “I don’t know what goes with this,” or “Do you think this color works?”
Recently, I bought a pack of fabrics from Pink Chalk just because I liked them (and I had a coupon). When I got them, I realized that they had the same colors as my living room rug, in inverse proportions. I made a pillow from the deer and trees fabric and then couldn’t wait to pick out all the colors for the coordinating patchwork pillow. I think there are only four half squares that use fabric from the collection, and the rest are from my scrap bin. I had great fun sorting through, pulling out bits that worked and arranging them in color families. So I’m guessing color is part of my personal sensory alphabet.
The embroidery is a drawing my son did several years ago. I used it on a gym bag, but since that never gets used, I figured I could give the drawing another go. I wanted to use something that “went” with the forest fabric, but my kids draw mostly race cars and princesses. I figured a bird was good and zip-lining spiders just adds to the intrigue.

This project brings up one more question. We could use a lap quilt for the couch. We’re using one of my house quilts now, but the Hawai’i Quilt Guild is having a “One Block Wonder” class in a few months, and I actually like those. I generally don’t have any interest in patterns, but this is sort of like Log Cabins or 9-Patches — in that you can make the blocks following basic rules and then do whatever you like with them (like group by color, which is apparently one of my strengths). Anyways, I could do it on my own, or not at all, but it could be a nice social opportunity to do it with the Guild and I’d get a utilitarian quilt for the couch out of the deal. My plan would be to use the deer fabric. Since most One Square Wonders are done with florals, this is kinda out there and even I can’t quite imagine if it would look good with relatively clean blotches of color, or if it would be dull, dull, dull. Any thoughts?