Inspiration, Activation, … Frustration…

I love to create something from nothing. In fact I love to create something from something else, something that was not intended to be what I would like it to become! Re-purposing fabric from clothing has been a small passion of mine for some time now. I could never be a serious patchworker so making quilts etc.. does not excite me however, creating an item of clothing or an accessory from something that had a different purpose is really fun. I am not patient enough to make sure all seams are the accurate and precise – I want to see the finished item!

If fabric is a little frayed or worn then it can bring a little character to your project. If you don’t have the correct thread – then contrast and compliment – make a feature of of the differences. It is lovely to add some embellishment using the buttons or belt loops of a pair of trousers or jeans. Use the old zips to make flowers or a top stitched feature. I am not patient enough to be careful to match completely the colours or patterns of fabrics – I just cannot wait to see the finished item!

Recently a friend of mine brought me a challenge. Her mum had been given a lovely tea-towel for Christmas but didn’t want to use it as it might spoil. It was a Fortnum & Mason linen tea-towel in a gorgeous green colour and just too nice to leave in a drawer. What to do…. what to do….IMG_20150122_132905

Action time, this tea-towel is going to regenerate into an apron! I had some similar colour fabric in my stash of used fabrics. I think it was part of a bedding set that never got used. I could add panels to the sides of the tea-towel and also across the top so that the correct shape could be achieved. I could also use some herringbone tape to create the ties and the neck strap. Here we go… remember – I am not that patient….

I set off with my scissors, seam ripper and pins. the bobbin was wound with thread that was pretty close to matching the fabric, in fact it couldn’t be better to be honest. Halfway through winding the bobbin it looked like I might run out of that colour, it was getting a bit thin on the spool (rummages desperately through the sewing box – unsuccessfully). Ah well,  I think there will be enough to finish the project (eternal optimist takes over the thought process at this point). IMG_20150122_132932

The seams of the tea-towel are taken apart using the seam ripper… oh dear. The print on the tea-towel is clearly not going to look good if I just do a normal seam, it is going to need to be a sealed seam, after all it is a Fortnum & Mason tea-towel! Slight change of plan coming on… French seams to be used. Will the thread last? Of course… optimism wobbles a little!

I plough through the task now – pinning, tacking, sewing. Shape the bib of the apron by removing a small amount of fabric from the edges of the tea-towel.

Things are looking really good – the apron is taking shape… I am getting very excited and cannot wait to see the finished item! Remember… I am not patient!IMG_20150122_132830

Alas the anticipation cascades into frustration as I drive the sewing machine down the final seam triumphantly, only to come crashing down when I realise that I have run out of thread… I cast a quick glance up at the bobbin on the top of the machine and see that it is dangerously close to being empty as well! What to do… what to do… then I realise that I have a shade of thread that is a little paler than the one I am using. Think…. well it is being used on the seam that is at the back. In fact it is being used on the ties! Actually – if anyone notices this is a different shade then they must be on their knees peering around the back of the wearer! Perspective returns – and breathe…

Job complete – very happy customer! IMG_20150122_133419

To Inspire…

PHD 2Before I opened my little crafty store I used to shop in other ‘little’ stores to get my inspiration. I would browse, chat, explore the products, ask questions and generally try very hard to glean a little idea then I could develop it at home. The problems occur once it has gone wrong!

All this happened before the arrival of Social Media and its lovely, almost endless, supply of ideas. Today we can visit Pinterest, Facebook and even look at the websites of micro businesses that Tweet their web details to us via Twitter. We share via Instagram and Google+. Whilst my background as an IT teacher would welcome that situation I have always felt that I had a grounded attitude to the IT world. On a number of occasions my class would debate ‘bricks & clicks’. Often the outcome has been that there is a place for all aspects of communications in the world.

As custom in my shop has increased I hear more comments from customers that show me they love to communicate face to face. Crafters love to see, touch and feel the results of several hours creative work. I find myself still encouraging people to have an exploration of the Pinterest pages etc but then so do I. I do so love to see the ideas that I could never find just by looking in the shops. What we seem to be achieving is a balance between the two worlds. The opportunity to share inspiration both physically in our workshops and virtually in the social media world.

This weekend we have had our regular Projects Half Done (PHD) workshop. It was a full session with 8 lovely crafters bringing in projects that are not finished for one reason or another. Some of these people are regular attenders at what is a crafty version of a ‘Knit & Knatter’, some of them were new. At the time the ‘regulars’ were the new people there were similar statements made about the projects – “I must get this finished”,  “I started this when my child was small – now an adult” and even “No idea where to start to get this finished”. You don’t always find the answers to these statements on social media.

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This week of our new attendees we had a retired lady that had just had a go at knitting a jumper for the first time in quite a number of years and a lady that had mentioned she had a tapestry that she had found that was around 25 years old and that she decided she should really complete. As the afternoon developed I loved listening to the chat and the stories that the group work their way through – whilst sipping tea and munching delicious cake. One of the most ‘profound’ comments came from our retired lady – ” I cannot remember the last time that I talked as much as this!” …and there we have it! The art of conversation, the ability to communicate and the desire to share… both the new visitors decided that they were now ‘inspired’ to carry on with their projects and that they would be finding another PHD ready for next month!

Inspiration is a wonderful thing….

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