Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Crafting traditions

People shouldn't tell me to take my time. The customer who ordered this skirt set did just that, and I took her literally. Thank goodness she was so patient. The Sewing Gods toyed with me on this one. My applique foot broke, necessitating a trip to get a new one. My bobbin wound unevenly, causing me to skip stitches. During final construction, my serger made funny noises. I fretted, and worked on developing worry lines around my eyes.

But despite these little mishaps, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. But then I always enjoy sewing and with the completion of each project wonder why I don't do it more. So I've decided to start making more time to make some of the Things on my growing list of Things To Make.

Doing so could save a life; stacks of fabric sit at odd angles on my sewing shelves, threatening to engulf a passerby in a colorful avalanche. I know I should use what I have before buying more, but Joann's keeps sending me these coupons. I'm weak. I cannot resist.

I can find any number of excuses to buy fabric, and can justify it to some extent by selling handbags and skirt sets at prices that more than pay for labor and materials.

I don't use patterns. Patterns are boring, and what's the point of sewing something that looks like what everyone else is wearing. I was really psyched to discover a whole niche for handmade, Bohemian clothing a couple of years ago. I especially enjoy doing appliques, which are time consuming but certainly an art form in their own way. This owl above was one of my favorites. I'm planning a wall hanging for my sewing area with about four panels, each depicting a different owl.

My friend Barbara spins and weaves, which I'm studying right now. Barbara is amazing because she taught herself everything she knows from books. She didn't even start spinning and weaving until after retirement and now sells her handiwork. Isn't that awesome? I love her.

Barbara uses the fiber and wool from her sheep, goats and llamas. I love to watch her work; it's so hypnotic to see the ropes of carded wool leave her hands and wind themselves onto yarn on her spindle. She also has two looms, and makes all kinds of things from vests to rugs. The last time I was there, she pulled a throw from the back of her couch and pointed out the different strands of wool and fiber she'd woven it from. She could identify each animal that had contributed to it, just by pointing out the texture and color of the strands.

That's how I met Barbara - by looking for help for my sick llama. That's him at the right. His name was Kusco and he was an impulse buy. But he had a lot of health issues and I spent far more money keeping him alive than I did buying him. Barbara helped me get him on a llama-appropriate worming schedule and dietary supplement and showed us how to set up a misting system so he'd stop getting heatstroke. But he was still a bit too high maintenance. I eventually got him healthy enough to resell, and to give him a better chance for survival, selected a couple of veterinarians as his new owners.

I hated getting rid of Kusco; he was really neat and unlike any livestock we've ever had. He was aloof, and had beautiful long eyelashes. If he got agitated, he would hum. He never spit at us, only at the horses. I'd love to have another llama. But I probably won't get one. If I need a llama fix, I'll just go visit Barbara's. She's got loads of llamas.

Maybe I'll get some sheep. The corgis would love that. We used to have goats, but had to get rid of them because they got out and ate all of Larry's ornamental plants. Sheep are easier to keep, and probably as easy to herd, which would make the corgis happy. It wasn't hard to get rid of the goats; we only had them so the corgis would have something to herd. We're probably one of the few families that buy pets for our pets. And the corgis did love them, and miss them still. Sheep would do just as well, are less mischevious and I could shear them.

Yes, I'll definitely have to get some sheep.


thimscool said...


I'm afraid you haven't thought this skirt thing through thoroughly.

If the owner of such a beautiful garment we to wear it in a public location, she might arouse the adulterous thoughts of heathens and, sadly, even Christians.

I hope that you can channel your industrious nature in a way that will be less likely to promote sin. Perhaps you could use that sewing machine for making flags and burquas, instead of such eye-catching attire.

Thank you for your consideration. I know you will ultimately choose to do the right thing, or I will be forced to harp on you in other blogs.

Morgan said...

You have started my day with a laugh.

How shall I respond? OK. Here you go:

I make such tempting skirts with the expectation that they will only be purchased by married women who will wear them *only* for their husbands. However, I cannot be responsible if the "wrong" kind of woman buys one of my skirts and wears it to a heathen event Bonoroo or a Phish reunion concert.

But to be safe, perhaps I should make flags or burquas. I'd probably use less fabric!


Morgan said...

"Thank you for your consideration. I know you will ultimately choose to do the right thing, or I will be forced to harp on you in other blogs."

I'll be looking for an "evil hippie clothing" thread to suddenly surface on a VP discussion about economics. ;-)

Mia said...


You do beautiful work - love the owl too.

Morgan said...

Thanks, Mia!

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