By Hand

by_hand

I am making a quilt by hand. This means I am sitting outside in the sun, with the poodles and the If Walls Could Talk album by Justin Johnson playing.

There is something incredibly soothing and therapeutic about hand stitching. My breathing and my heart rate slow down, I am feeling useful, productive and relaxed. I don’t need electricity or the internet, and if either/or both of those go down, I’ll still be sewing.

I do have a sewing machine, but it freaks the dogs out, interferes with listening to music and although I COULD conceivably take it outside, I’d rather not. My neck tenses up and my shoulders ache after using the machine.

Not so with hand stitching.

A square or two a day, and I’ll have a quilt when I need it most, next winter…

Saturday sleeve seaming

sleeve

I’ve reached the point in the Hitofude directions where it is time to seam the sleeves.

The lace pattern has a rhythm that I have found both therapeutic and in keeping with the slow fashion movement.

Now for the ingenious part of the sweater construction….after the sleeves are seamed, the sweater then gets a ribbed waistband and a skirt is knit onto that, creating a seamless garment.

Writing continues apace, and despite some full moon Friday the 13th family drama, I’m on target for my goals this month.

How about you?

 

Core pieces 1&2

core_12

Here are the first two pieces of my 2017slow fashion core wardrobe.

1 is a Hitofude cardigan, knit in Scrumptious yarn from Fyberspates. With a 45% silk and 55% Superwash Merino content, this promises to be an elegant everyday classic cardigan.All of the supplies for this project were procured at YarnFolk.

2 is a pair of classic khaki, navy and cream striped pants. I’ll be using the Pants No1 pattern sown in the last post, although I do not think I will crop them as short as they are designed. I have a favorite pair of chocolate brown moleskin pants that are JUST the right length, so will riff off of those. Fabric was purchased online from ImagineGnats.

You’ll notice that both of these pieces are neutrals. I’ve spent most of my yarn/fabric hunting and gathering career collecting purple/green/blue bits that make my heart sing, but in terms of wearable pieces, I really need some basic CORE wardrobe staples. This is the year…

Goals for 2017

goals

As promised, here are a few more of the patterns I intend to make clothing from in 2017 as part of the slow fashion movement.

I have also planned a Storm at Sea quilt and have a few cardigans in the knitting lineup for the upcoming year.

Writing goals include finishing the edits and revisions to the 2016 NaNoWriMo book and getting two other books out to editors and agents.

By far the biggest goal is to become more proficient at promoting my own work by giving talks at conferences relevant to the subject matter of my books.

Wishing you and yours a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year in 2017!

 

This entry was posted on December 31, 2016. 2 Comments

My Creative Process…

I spun the wool for this project, fully intending to knit a dolphin.

Really, I did.

When I was ready to knit, a pattern popped up in Ravelry for (wait for it…)

THIS!

It is an excellent pattern, very clearly written, but I left it at home after I had completed just a portion of the creature’s face.

I was impressed by the math of the shaping, and thought I remembered most of it, so I just happily kept knitting, scribbling down my math and checking it twice…

I was writing a section of the new book which involves seals that might be mistaken for mermaids if one is so inclined, and then we went out for a sail and I came face to face with the most marvelous seals, and my brain apparently set about recreating THOSE creatures…

which is how I ended up with this:

img_2707

As a good luck gift for a friend with a lovely new boat….

A Mermaid Seal.

Which is to say, that if you are like me, and you trust the creative PROCESS and ignore most of the rules along with way after you have learned them, sometimes

MAGIC happens.

 

This entry was posted on December 14, 2016. 2 Comments

You have to start somewhere…

As promised, I have started the hunting/gathering phase of the goal setting for the New Year.

Voila, the first pattern and fabric have been chosen:

dress2

The pattern is Dress No 2 from Sonya Philip at 100 Acts of Sewing. She is a great inspiration to me, as both a style icon and an artist.

Fabric is by Kaffe Fassett , a wonderful artist I have had the great good fortune to take both knitting and quilting classes from over the years. He is a genius, and encourages his students to “work like there is a War on!” which is advice I’ve pinned to the wall in my writing cave.

Thread for constructing and embellishing the dress is from the collection of shiny things I’ve acquired, like a magpie.

The intent of this dress, is to wear it to a reading of my latest book.

Which I’d better get back to revising and editing.

I’m at the stage in the process where, years ago, I would have thrown in the towel. Probably with a whiney, overly dramatic, “I’ve worked so HARD on it, and now there’s still SO much work to do…It is a Sisyphean dilemma I’ll never solve.”

What I’ve learned since then (the hard way) is that the only way to solve those dilemmas is to simply Keep Going. Work through it, not around it. Dive back in and do the work….like there is a WAR on!

Does this resonate with you?

This entry was posted on December 8, 2016. 4 Comments

Setting goals

I’m a list maker, a goal setter.

This blog was primarily set up as a link to the slow fashion movement, which I admired, albeit from a safe distance. (Also known as procrastinating by scrolling through Instagram and Twitter…)

“Look at all of those lovely outfits, made lovingly by hand…”

Ahem.

So, just to formalize things, and to kickstart my brain into actually SEWING instead of just thinking about it…did I mention that I am an over thinker? No? I always forget to put that on my resume.

One of the characters in my latest novel has taken the handmade pledge, and seems pretty happy about it. People compliment her on her “Interesting” fashion choices.

So, technically, this little adventure down a rabbit hole (did I see a squirrel?) is Very Important RESEARCH for a novel.

Right.

I hereby declare that 2017 shall be the year of actually sewing my own clothes that are wearable, functional, and relatively sustainable. Although it is tempting, I am not going to weave the cloth myself from flax grown in the backyard. (Reminder to self: Setting limits is an important part of actually Getting Things Done.)

Breaking down the Big Goals into easily achievable small steps (critical for success):

  1. Pick six patterns that work for a capsule wardrobe.
  2. Don’t pretend I am going to be wearing fancy dress up clothes with hand tailored details that the dogs won’t appreciate from under the desk while I am writing.
  3. Start with the fabrics in the stash.
  4. Set a reasonable amount of time aside each day to do some sewing.
  5. Reward myself by wearing my handmade clothing out into the world to procure coffee, chocolate and other essential supplies.
  6. Blog about it.

 

This entry was posted on December 6, 2016. 2 Comments