Monday, 12 January 2009

First things first...

OK! So I got my new sewing machine and then suddenly thought- "Oh... what am I going to make!?" My trusty old dressform (and I mean OLD, 1940's stock) was back home on the Wirral, as were all my threads, tools, fabric stash, buttons etc. Not ideal...

But I have this Burda style account that I've never really used, being mostly down to my not having a digital camera because (guess what) it's on the Wirral, and partly because some of the stuff on their is made by truly skilled and talented people and I felt a little bit like a poser... Nevermind, it's time to make use of it somehow, someway! I owe it to myself and I have to justify having bought this gorgeous sewing machine.

Obviously I quickly experimented with figuring out what all the buttons did and made myself a needle booklet and a pin cushion. Nothing marvellous, just made out of some craft felt that I had lying around in a colour I knew I probably wouldn't use for anything else. Now onto something clever!

But what?? I had lots of cushion fillers hanging around the flat, so that seemed like a fairly obvious first move. My stash was reasonably limited so I had to formulate a plan! I wombled off to the local fabric shop and got some olive green cord which is just so soft and has this really nice sheen on it when the light shines on it. "Olive green cord?" I sense you think, it's not as dismal as it sounds, honest! Because as I say, I'd made a plan.

I had recently been to visit my boyfriends parents and his Mum (who is notoriously creative and always learning a new craft) gave me a weaving lesson. Her loom takes up most of their lounge and is 100% worth it, she produces the most wonderful cushions, bags, scarves, fabrics etc. It was a little odd trying to think of colours that would go together because as you are making the fabric, it can look quite awful (in my case anyway!). It only comes into it's own once you've finished it. I used a golden brown, and various pinks and greens. I had no set pattern in mind, I just wanted to try out some different techniques and patterns.

The patch I made was only small about 11" by 11". I felted it up as per my instructions and then spent a long time thinking "Oh but what can I do with it?". I wanted to do something special because She also gave me a really nice button to go with it in a sort of orange colour that really complemented the brightness of the pinks, and the depth of the greens. 

Surely you can see the natural train of thought from here on in proceeded rather rapidly along a fairly traditional route! A cushion cover!

So here it is, my special felted, woven-cord cushion! and the first proper creation with my new sewing machine.

I used the large button on the back to hold it together which I rather like because now it has a feature on the front and the back!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Porcini Designs

It's my birthday today, so I am starting a blog for the first time ever, to go with my current life plan of having no life plan for the first time ever!

I'll hopefully use this as a log of random creative, crafty adventures but I can be a bit of a butterbrain so I might forget sometimes. 

The name Porcini was inspired by my Oh-so-adorable cousin Ruby Rose (Isn't her name perfect for a craftster? But I couldn't use it, it would be theft!) she loves mushrooms and everytime I see her she wants me to draw thousands of mushrooms which is where my little mushroom came from. Porcini (or Porcine) was just my favourite mushroom name.

To set the scene a little, I intended to study Chinese language and culture at university and to go on to be a teacher (because I love teaching and I love China!), but honestly, there are enough native Chinese speakers out there willing to teach Chinese that it seems kind of silly. Plus, I was getting serious withdrawal symptoms from not being within 30m of a sewing machine, with knitting being my only remaining link with the craft world.

So I quit. Applied for transfer to a Design Technology teaching course (because I still want to teach, I always have, I just want to teach something more creative) and bought myself my first ever sewing machine. 

I had always used my Grandma's or Mum's sewing machines before, but after having made several roman blinds for the new flat I'm living in, I couldn't bare the sight of those machines. I spent most of my time unpicking stitching and correcting it by hand as the machines would just jam and plough through my material with no consistent tension or quality. Those days are behind me now and as I type this, I can look at my beautiful Janome DC3050 glinting proudly in the sun and smile!

I'm renting a reasonably big room in Edinburgh at the minute, which I have now packed with 2 desks (one for working, one for sewing), my clothes (mostly in a chest of drawers but pretty much all over the place in boxes), several shelving units piled on top of each other brimming with my craft supplies and books, my trusty (only slightly temperamental) iron and ironing board, and a disproportionately large amount of chairs that I don't really want but that seem to migrate back to my room every time I remove them.

I have no idea what I'll end up doing design wise (or indeed in real life) and I don't get my decision about my teaching course until sometime in March. Nevermind, who needs a plan these days anyway?