Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy new year (for the tenth time)

DH has pointed out that in March 2017 I will reach my 10-year anniversary on this blog. The end of the year seems an appropriate time for looking back. I think I have kept this blog up week after week more for myself than for anyone out there who might take the time to read my ramblings.  It's a once a week health check on my creativity and output, as well as a record of what I've achieved (or not). It establishes a timeline, so  later on when I wonder when I actually started or finished a project, I can look it up. It's motivational because when things aren't going well or it feels like I never get anything done, then I can look back over my posts and realise I do actually finish things - sometimes a very long time after I started them, but eventually nonetheless. It's also motivational because I will make a push to finish something in order that I can photograph it for the blog. It's a record of things I've given away as gifts or sales. It's even a record of some of the ups and downs of our lives: changing jobs, moving house, empty nests, holiday craft shopping.  Thank you for joining me on this journey - some of you have been here since the beginning (Hi Swooze!) and I appreciate the company.

Last night I sewed the final piece into my Night before Christmas knitted advent project, designed by Frankie Brown and free on Ravelry (donations encouraged to Children's Liver Disease Foundation).  I really enjoyed this project, which was a crossover between my knitting and dollshouse hobbies, and also a great christmas project to work on through December. The designer has even included a basket of knitting next to the chair.

I've now cast on for the Fairwinds Hat by Tanis Williams, a pattern I picked to go with four balls of Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester that I got for £2 a ball at the Mega Sale at Threads and Patches in Fenny Stratford in Bletchley on Wednesday.  This was my first visit to the shop and I was impressed with their broad range of stock.  There were more fabric bolts in one of the two sale rooms than I think my LQS has altogether.  It's not that close to us but I think would be worth the trip if I was looking for a particular fabric.  I only bought two fabrics in the sale, a honey gold print to go with the Morris fabrics I bought a while back at Duxford, and another Morris fabric that was only £5m and very pretty so an impulse buy.  I also bought some more Bosal (not in the sale) to replace what I used on the Honeycomb Basket, and the gingerbread men buttons on the cover of my knitted book above, and some more acrylic yarn at £1 a ball for my toyknitting stash.

As well as driving me to the quilt shop, DH took me into IKEA (very noble as he hates it there) to pick up a few things. I  bought two hanging fabric shoe organisers which I am using to store my knitted shawls which had outgrown the box under the bed. I feel very organised now and hopefully I will wear them more often. And I got some cheap plastic tupperware-type boxes to store my various dollshouse terrain in (turf sprinkle, foliage clumps, 'dirt' etc.) which was getting in a bit of a mess in their various bags.

It was time for the monthly sew-in I go to, and I decided to tackle some of the Japanese fabric I bought on holiday.  In an unusual-these-days burst of creativity, before I went I designed a simple strip quilt for the six fat quarters I bought AND a setting for the geisha panel.  This is the strip quilt which I put together with a border from some yardage I also bought in Tokyo. The colour balance has gone weird in the photo, it's a bit more accurate in the close-up but still not great. The fabrics are in pretty pastels. This is sized to be a wallhanging for an alcove in our study where I like to hang small quilts. The strips are 4x16". As the fabrics are so busy, I thought the setting needed to be kept simple.

For the geisha panel, I had the idea of setting it to look like one of the decorative scrolls that we saw hanging in many alcoves in Japanese historic houses and in restaurants.  For example, this is an antique scroll I saw in a museum.

And here is my fabric version, using the panel and two coordinates I bought in Tokyo, and some pale batik background. In order to stick to the scroll theme, I have turned it through pillowcase style without any wadding, and I will be adding some stabilising stitching to it. This will also be a wallhanging.

My big mouth

Once again I have opened my mouth when I should have kept quiet.  I've been made uncomfortable in the past at this monthly sewing group I go to because almost every meeting someone whose project has been admired offers to photocopy her purchased pattern (often purchased at the actual shop we are meeting in) and hand around the copies so the others can make the same project.  But today one woman was actively lobbying for the group of some 10 women to decide what patterns they want to buy from the shop, chip in funds to buy one copy, then photocopy it for everyone.  I just couldn't believe they were sitting in the very shop actively planning to defraud both the shop owners and the designers, so my mouth opened of its own accord and out came "But you do know that's illegal?".  I earned a disdainful stare from the woman (who has very decided opinions) and then a short lecture from her which finished with "and anyway, everyone does it." To which I couldn't resist responding (my mouth again) with "Well, I don't, because it is ILLEGAL. and also it's happened to me in the past when someone photocopied something I designed and gave it away and it really hurt me" or words to that effect. I got another short lecture about how everything is on the internet these days free for people to take anyway. I was conscious that the room had fallen silent while our discussion escalated so I ended it by saying that just because it's out there doesn't mean you have to take it, then I stood down. When she went off later for drinks, I apologised to the rest of the group for starting it in the first place. But I did feel like I was on the naughty chair for the rest of the afternoon.  I felt like asking if they would wander into the shop and just pocket some thread or a charm pack without paying, but I luckily kept my mouth shut on that one.  I am really wondering if I want to keep going. I do find it motivational to have to plan projects for the day, and to have the dedicated sewing time, and I like to see what other people are making even though for the most part I have very different tastes (probably outdated, lol). But they are fairly cliquey because they see each other at other clubs and some of them are personal friends or neighbours. And now I feel like I am in disgrace.  Also I know I am a hypocrite because I have copied patterns from books that I've borrowed from libraries, and in years past I did copy some patterns from American quilting mags to run group projects where we all made our own version of the pattern - because I was the only one who subscribed and at the time you couldn't buy them on the newsstand in the UK the way you can buy some American mags now. And I've watched YouTube videos of American TV shows I couldn't get over here etc which were very likely pirated.  Hypocrite, but I suppose we have to draw a line somewhere and I want the quilt shop to stay open and not go out of business due to outright theft by ungrateful, thoughtless customers.  Hmmm, perhaps I do need a time out...


swooze said...

Happy New Year. Yes that is a tough position to be in with your group. I rarely buy patterns but I do from time to time to help keep designers designing.

Continued success with your crafting. Sounds like you're getting organized a bit too. That's always my goal to get a bit more organized.

Daisy said...

Happy New Year! Good on you for speaking up at the group. Could you maybe have a quiet word with the shop owner about it another time - do they realise what's going on. Maybe they could come and talk to the group about the implications for shops etc?

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