THIS week is Thanksgiving in the US. There are a lot of preparations underway as we gear up for this holiday. There’s a turkey in the freezer, menu planned, and divided among the family members who will be coming and the house being cleaned within an inch of its life. For our family this is a loud, noisy time to eat too much and laugh and play games or music or whatever. Our celebrations are very informal.
As you might know from A Reason to Celebrate I firmly believe we need to celebrate. And often. I believe this so much that we find extra excuses for celebrating. For example, although we are a very normal-looking (don’t let that fool you ) working class family living in the midwest, we also spent 8 years living in China. So we usually get together for Chinese New Year and eat all our favorite homemade Chinese dishes. Sometimes I think we look forward to that party more than Christmas.
But Thanksgiving also marks the one month countdown before Christmas. As you know, I love the handmade lifestyle, so many of the gifts I give will reflect that. Here is a picture of the current state of my studio:
Between now and Christmas these scraps and pieces will be transformed into some (hopefully) well made gifts that will prove both useful and beautiful. I have several ideas for this fabric.
There will be Scrappy Potholders. I’m also looking for a good cupcake template to make cupcake potholders for my recently married daughter to match the apron she has that says “Happiness is just a Cupcake away”.
Also some placemats, and perhaps another apron or two. I have a friend who really needs a Wine Bottle Tote. I might need one of those too. Because wine.
In the past several months I have been focusing almost entirely on knitting and yarn dyeing, so although I really enjoy sewing, my fabric and sewing machine have languished quietly in the background. Recently, however, I have had the urge to focus some of my creative energy on sewing.
A little backstory: Just as with knitting, I have taught myself how to sew for the most part. Books, tutorials, and picking the brains of knowledgeable friends. At one point a friend, who is an excellent seamstress, had talked about giving me some lessons, but alas, that never came to fruition. So I started with extremely simple projects to build my confidence. One year I gave relaxation eye pillows to my co-workers. The next year I made several small zippered bags based on the pattern from Noodlehead and gave them as Christmas gifts. The extra ones became project bags for my smaller knitting projects, such as socks. I also made a bunch of tote bags and gave them to a local secondhand book store in exchange for store credit. Because books!
When I decided to dust off my sewing skills I decided to warm up by making a project bag to hold my larger projects. One of my resolutions this coming year is to knit a spring sweater for myself, so this bag will be useful when I’m ready to start that project. I’m really pleased with how well it turned out.
I really love the Gothic Literature theme of this fabric. I might have to make more. 🙂
Frequently, when I return to something that I enjoy after time away from it, I get just a little excited. My excitement in the finished object led to pattern surfing, which led to stash searching, which led to excitedly pulling out some favorite prints, which led to the studio floor looking as it does now. Sorry, not sorry.
Last night I put together 3 squares for potholders, with the plans to make 7 more for gifts and even more than that for my own use. I will post pictures of the completed projects when they are finished. With the upcoming holiday I have some extra days off so there will be at least one dedicated studio day to make a start on these plans.
Continuing on with my desire to live a more handmade life I have the rather ambitious goal of eventually moving to my own handmade wardrobe. But I’m giving myself a lot of time to reach this goal and in the meantime I plan on doing some simple around the house type projects to add skills and practice. I cannot WAIT to show you my first successfully completed garment, but don’t expect that for a while.
So. For the second week in a row I have no completed knitting objects or new cast ons to show. I blame the impending holidays and my creative ADD for that. But fear not, like Sara from the Yarns at Yin Hoo podcast I like to spend a good amount of December knitting for my own personal satisfaction (she calls it “self-care knitting) so I will have more to share very soon. I’m still eagerly awaiting the first issues of Taproot Magazine and Interweave Knits in the mail, both of which I received as birthday gifts this month. Happy day! I’m sure both of these will give me all sorts of additional inspiration for things to make.
For those of you in the US I hope you have a very enjoyable holiday. For my readers in other lands may you find your own reasons to celebrate and enjoy.
P.S. As a disclaimer I just want to say I do not receive any money, gifts, income of any kind from the magazines or people I have linked to in my blog. These are simply things I have come across, enjoyed and felt deserved a mention.