Sewing and not

I don’t love sewing in the same way that I love knitting and crochet, but I do find satisfaction in making useful things. And so, over the past few days I have slowly been working on a gardening apron. I am using the same pattern ( the Beatrice pinafore) that I did for my two kitchen aprons, but this version is lined, so the edges didn’t need binding, and I made the pockets deeper because gardening requires much more transportation of random stuff than cooking does! The benefit of making garments from scratch like this is that I know it wasn’t made by workers who are being exploited and I am able to source fabric that is organic/fairtraded. It’s akin to cooking from scratch, it’s just that it requires more concentration! The downside is that I usually always have to unpick something and I am never 100% satisfied with the result. However, it is finished now, and I’m hoping that the dark purple chambray (which is a rather nicer colour than the photos suggest) that I chose for it will hold up to the rigours of the garden and that I won’t be too sad that the lovely bee fabric is mainly hidden away as the lining (although it is reversible if I don’t mind having the pockets inside).

I do, however, wish that I liked sewing enough to make gorgeous quilts and other complex constructions. That said, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the yarny things that I want to, so I mainly just look on in awe at the creations of my fabric-oriented fellow crafters. However, I do occasionally get my hands on a beautiful piece of sewing to treasure, and this has just happened.

Over the weekend there was an online auction to support the Sixty Million Trebles project and I was lucky enough to submit the highest bid for the most fabulous handmade work bag.  Barbara, the lady who made it, sent it straight away and so I already have it… and I’m just blown away by her skill. Look:

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the skill!

Not only did it arrive beautifully gift-wrapped, but there was a rustle from inside and I opened it to find a matching ‘mug rug’ and a little pouch of sewing goodies. Internally, and somewhat difficult to photograph, there are all sorts of pockets, including some very narrow ones that will be perfect for hooks and knitting needles.

Oh the joy of owning a wonderful creation like this… I am in awe.

 

The Sisterhood…

Some of you will have heard of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook and some of you will not… a few of you are part of the sisterhood.

Last year, Anne Lawson decided to start a project to draw creative people together around the world. She made a book and invited fellow bloggers to contribute… all the folks who volunteered were women, and so the sisterhood was born.

This week the book arrived with me – the eleventh contributor on the list. From Australia, it went to the US and recently it has been travelling in Europe:

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the journey of the sketchbook

It contains drawings, paintings, quilting, stitching… words and visuals… love and creativity. It has its own blog and I encourage you to take a look here at the posts from the contributors, where there are beautiful pictures and lovely thoughts. Here is a little taster of some of the contributions to date:

Sadly one of our sisterhood, Viv, passed away before the book reached her, but some of her words have been included in the book.

I’m currently working on my contribution… news will follow.

Cake and craft… and more cake

A good spread

A good spread.. and this was after we’d eaten quite a lot!

So, today we had our first Cake and Craft session at Denmark Farm. We are raising funds for the Shared Earth Trust, an environmental education charity, by meeting up to eat cake and have a lovely sociable time whilst using our craft skills to create some things that we can raffle off in the autumn. It all started with my masterpiece blanket… I thought – if people round the world want to contribute to a community craft project, why not people in my local area?

Everyone hard at work

Everyone hard at work (if you look carefully, you can see the Masterpiece lurking in the background!)

And so, we planned a few afternoon get-togethers. Today ten ladies arrived full of ideas and enthusiasm… and many of them brought cake. So, we chatted and we ate cake and we had some ideas: a blanket of six-inch squares; a community quilt; a needle-felted tree of life with all sorts of embellishments. Then we did some crochet and knitting and patchwork and ate some more cake (there was quite a lot of cake).

After two hours, we’d made a few things for our blankets, some of us had improved our crochet skills. And we’d had a lovely creative afternoon, full of positive energy and cake (did I mention, the cake?).

Some of the afternoon's creations

Some of the afternoon’s creations

We’re meeting again next month and we’re setting up a Facebook group so that we can share ideas in the interim… oh and we will probably have a stall at the Lampeter People’s Market, to get word out about our project and try to engage with lots more people.

Much of the impetus to do this has been because of you… all you lovely blog-readers out there who were so enthusiastic about my first community craft project and made my masterpiece into such a special creation (I took it with me this afternoon and it was much admired). So thanks to all of you… it looks like I’ve found a real way to build community and build a better world!

A work of craft

Recently I have been absolutely blown away by some beautiful pieces of craft work that I have seen on various blogs. There are some genuine master pieces being created by some genuine masters (mistresses?) of their respective crafts and so, I thought that I would share a few of these with you.

First is the Twisted Yarn’s rainbow stained glass window afghan. This is truly beautiful and a real labour of love.

Second is Kate Chiconi’s tree of life quilt… a gift for her brother that she’s travelling half way round the world to deliver.

Third is Nana Cathy’s crochet squares blanket… all her own work, unlike my own blanket.

Fourth is The Grange Range’s baby boots… so detailed!

Fifth is Dani’s Bavarian crochet, which I have to include because I know it is even more lovely in reality than in the photograph.

And, finally, for now Mollybean’s slouchy blanket, which she is very modest about, but I think is beautiful.

I don’t want to infringe anyone’s copyright, so I haven’t posted the pictures here, just the links. You can see them all if you go to my Master Pieces Pinterest board, which I will be adding to from now on. For this page, you’ll just have to make do with my Masterpiece in its current form:

My Masterpiece

My Masterpiece

 

An Australian Gem

… no, I’m not referring to an opal, but to Kate Chiconi – http://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/

This morning, the postman delivered a package from her containing such wonderful goodies:

What a collection!

What a collection!

Kate had promised me a square for the masterpiece, made from hand-dyed Australian merino wool, but also sent the remainder of the yarn for me to use myself. In addition, she had asked if I would like some seeds from the Diggers Club – who sell Australian heirloom seeds – and I had chosen a few of those:

Australian heirloom seeds

Australian heirloom seeds

But, there was a special bonus… The Snail of Scrappiness:

The Snail of Scrappiness

The Snail of Scrappiness (front)

The Snail of Scrappiness (reverse)

The Snail of Scrappiness (reverse)

Made from scrap fabric and remnants from the roots of her tree of life quilt (see this post for some pictures).

When, about six weeks ago, I had the idea of the masterpiece blanket, I had no idea what a positive response I would get and how keen my friends (yes, that’s all of you out there) would be to contribute. But the thing that has surprised me most is the generosity – of which Kate’s seeds, yarn and quilting are just one example.

I know the blanket is going to be a real work of art, but the greatest output has been all the love and friendship, now being documented in my masterpiece scrapbook, which also includes written contributions from those who aren’t able to knit, crochet or felt.

Thank you everyone! I can’t wait to see what other squares arrive in the next couple of months.

Red Centre (the downunder square) inspired by the poem My Country by Dorothea Mackellan

Red Centre (the downunder square) inspired by the poem My Country by Dorothea Mackellan

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