Saturday, 23 February 2013

Stashbusting Sewalong

I've mentioned before that I like challenges. Sometimes the more the merrier. I know I'm not always going to complete them, but I'll at least have done more than if I hadn't done the challenge.

Enter, The Stashbusting Sewalong. I came across this challenge while reading Verdant's blog post on it. I wanted to do it. But given it was such an open ended challenge, in that you state how much stash you're going to use, I wanted to make it something I would totally achieve. So I've been sitting on it, mulling it over, trying to work out what would be a good achievement, a bit of a stretch to do, but not so much that I wouldn't complete it. Because sometimes life (aka, small child) really get in the way of my good intentions and crafting. But tonight I think I finally worked it out, using up 12 pieces of stash, one a month. Which is awesome, as I've already used up two piece of stash fabric this year. Plus I've used one of the pieces I bought myself, and the other two I've bought are for my course, which starts this coming week.

So, here goes....

I, Holly,commit to using 12 pieces of stash fabric in 2013. 
Additional: I also commit to using at least two thirds of all new fabrics that I buy myself this year. 

I thought about my additional being using up at least half of fabrics that get added to my stash this year, but I decided not to. Mainly because I get given fabrics that I love, but that I'm not yet sure what to make with. So they're fine, but not spending money on something unless I know what I'm going to make with it. Only using two thirds of the fabrics I buy, is because sometimes you decide that the fabric isn't going to work for what you bought it for. 

Anyway, now that I've written all that down before I forget it, and before I can chicken out of public accountability, I'm going to go work on an unfinished project, made from stash fabric (I'm still cutting part of it, it totally counts, right?). Might even manage to finish it. 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

My 30th present - a new sewing machine

I recently had my 30th birthday. My husband was looking at getting me a new cellphone, as mine is getting to the limits of what I can do with it. He was talking to a friend of his about this, and complaining that he wanted to get me something that would last, as it was a significant birthday. However he had no other idea what to get me. So a cellphone was bought, and returned as it was faulty. A replacement was purchased, and returned as he was unable to install recovery software on it. After a phone call to the seller to check that recovery software could be installed, a third cellphone was purchased. This is now sitting on my husband's desk, while we try and get the seller to accept a return (Consumer Guarantees Act states a product must do what we were told it would). I was a bit down over not getting anything and my husband was annoyed at the hours he'd spent trying to sort out a new phone for me.

Then last Friday, I was getting something out of my car when he arrived home from work. He told me to stand behind the boot. When he popped the boot there was bouncing and spinning and squealing from me, as I saw a new sewing machine there for me. Not just any sewing machine, but the sewing machine that I had looked at last year, had seriously considered buying, but had decided I couldn't justify buying when my old machine was sufficient.

This is my gorgeous new sewing machine:
The limited edition that Singer brought out for their 160th Anniversary. It sews like a dream. 
I have spent the past week trying to work out why I'm so happy with this, I'm still bouncing over it, above being bought a new sewing machine. I've worked it out. I learnt to sew on my mum's treadle Singer. I've always wanted a singer. My first machine was a second hand Bernina record, that my parents bought me when I moved out of home. The first machine I bought myself was Bernina Bernette that I purchased 5 years ago. I wasn't getting myself anything other than a Singer or a Bernina, and the Bernette was the cheapest. What can I say, I was a student at the time. 
So what it all comes down to, is I now have my dream machine, literally. Sure, I've got a treadle Singer, but it's not operational, needs a new belt, who knows what else as well as whole lot of love before I can use it. This is a sewing machine I can use to create amazing things on, expand my skills with, teach my daughter on and hopefully pass on to her one day. This is William Morris at it's finest, as it's both beautiful and useful.

My first project using it is a new apron for myself, using a panel for an owl apron bought in the post Christmas sales. 
Here is a bad photo of the body of it.

I'm having issues with the pockets. They're meant to be lined, but the pocket and pocket lining printed on the panel aren't symmetrical. Which means when I put them right sides together, they don't fit properly. So I'm having to kinda fit them together. It's not all bad, as I'll be turning them through then stitching them down to the body of the apron, I might just run two lines of top stitching to secure them, so that it looks good and so that nothing falls out. If you look closely at the photo, you can see that the right side sticks out further. 
You can also see the pile of straps, 2 x neck and 2 x waist, that I'm having to turn through. Anyone know any good ways to do it? Because it's taking me ages. It's taking long enough that I'm tempted to stop and go work on something else. But I'm determined to get this project finished before moving onto something else. Actually, I'm determined to get better at finishing projects in general. 

But it's late, I should either go work on turning those straps through, or I should head to bed with a book. But first, here is a photo of the pile of fabric I need to sort that I mentioned yessterday. I should get onto it, I'm sure there are a few bits that could go into the 'Swap your StashThat pile really is taller than I am......

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Sewing Room Rearranged

Well, it's rearranged, but it's by no means finished. I still have to declutter and organise it all.

My sewing room has never quite worked for me. Sure, I love having a space to throw all my stuff and hide from people, but the furniture and the layout has never been conducive to my creative processes.
Yesterday that all changed. Last year I had spent quite a lot of time thinking about and writing down what I wanted to use my room for, what storage I needed and what work spaces I needed.

The result of all that reflections was realising that the storage I had didn't work, as it was mainly drawers, and I dislike drawers for storage, especially for fabric. I can't see at a glance what I have, it gets messy when I rummage trying to find something, which means I then forget I have fabrics and buy more.
I also didn't have the work stations I needed, as my worktable was partially taken up by the shelving on top of it. I also just didn't like the table I had as my sewing table.

A friend gave me two shelves recently, which nicely replaced the Scotch chest that I did have (some of) my fabric stored in. I also got a proper sewing desk at the start of the year. I don't use the recessed platform, as my daughter likes hiding inside it too much, and also my new machine is slightly too big for the platform that recesses.

So back to yesterday. While Guinevere was at daycare a friend came over and he helped me pull out all the stuff that was covering the floor, the tables and various other surfaces. We rearranged furniture, putting my cupboard against the wall rather than where it had been hanging out in the middle of the room, the table got pulled out from the wall to form a worktable accessible from all sides in the middle of the room. Turns out the carpet in here is green.... I haven't quite moved everything back in from the lounge yet, but I'm working on it.

This is everything that got moved into the lounge....

All of which I somehow have to try and fit back into my sewing room. 

This is what the room looked like part way through the process
View looking in from the door (with my shiny new Singer sitting on the desk, but more about that once I've tried it out).

Right hand wall of the room. My computer desk, shelving unit with a bunch of my fabric in it and a shelving unit with books, bits and more fabrics on it. Including some on the bottom shelf that need new homes.  

Left hand wall of the room, the small wardrobe unit is shelved, and is full of unfinished projects. Spinning wheel (mother in laws as mine is broken) is sitting out of reach of small hands, as is the iron. The white cupboard you can see is one of those 180cm high ones with a double door on it. Now on the far side of it is a stack of big boxes and bags full of fabric to sort, that is nearly as high as it is, no exaggeration  the stack is taller than I am. 
I forgot to take a photo of the wall beside the door, which has a set of underbed drawers, a small dresser (8 drawers), both of which contain random crafting bits. One entire drawer is ribbons, trims, elastic and bias binding. I think I need to separate it out, as I have to cram it in to close the drawer.  Sitting on top of this is a small glass fronted cupboard unit which is full of yarn, actually, it's only full of the natural fibres. On top of the book bookshelf is a box of 8 ply given to me to make baby blankets, and a box of 8 ply acrylics I use to make stuff for small ones. 

I think you can imagine just how cluttered the room was before I moved everything into the lounge. Really need to do a good cull of the fabrics, I think I have too much to use in any reasonable time frame, plus some I'm sure are no longer to my tastes. Once I've made up and moved up the skinny cupboard from downstairs, which is going where the stack of boxes/bags is, I'll have to go through them. And I know it won't all fit in.