The finished wren softie

nutmeg done2
Put the wings on this morning. Nutmeg is done.

Did I say something about the wings being “the easy part”? Hah. I was cursing and swearing, and nearly ruined the embroidered wings when I tried to turn them right-side-out. You can see the rough patches on the front of wings, where the machine stitching came undone (all that pushing and stretching opened it up) and there were no seam allowances left to stitch back up after I’d gone and clipped them with pinking shears (Doh!)

For a while there I really thought I would have to embroider the wings all over again. But I managed to whip-stitch the openings, and he looks a bit ruffled, but still cheeky.

And this is just the prototype! Now I have to go back to the start and make up the real one. *sigh*…when the only thing I’d truly like to make at this moment is a martini…)

nutmeg done3

nutmeg done1


The juggling act

a stack of rainbow felt from Bumble Bee Crafts

I think I might have piled too many projects onto my plate, these days…which is why I haven’t been posting regularly, or keeping in touch with friends, family, and people whom I owe things to. Most are small projects (imagine the sort of person who tries to make a meal out of the hors d’oeuvres at the opening ceremonies of a new wing for the local hospital) but even the little things require time, energy, and a disciplined method for bringing several things to fruition at roughly the same rate…three resources I don’t have an abundance of.

WIP strawberries and kiwis

There are 8 project models to be finished for my new class at the CSC Adult Night Classes, which I have named—for better or for worse—“Felt Sew Funny(*groannn* Hey, I know, okay? But it’s more vivid than the very dry “Felt Sewing Projects”.)

We’ll be making 8 small, cute, quirky projects—

  • a pair of baby shoes,
  • a zippered pouch,
  • a bird softie
  • a triangle clutch (so sue me if it’s a touch hipster, yeah?)
  • a wee mouse softie,
  • an ice-cream sandwich (that is also a little trinket box)
  • a biscornu pincushion,
  • and a mustachio necklace (for those times when you need to sport a mustachio right away!)

—using felt, a bit of embroidery, and hand-stitching. The idea is to be able to work on these items easily: in your lap, at home, in front of the television, during your commute, among friends or while waiting in the doctor’s reception—no need for special sewing skills, nor sewing machine, nor a special room or block of time devoted to sewing.

Term 3 at CSC’s Adult Night Classes begin August 8th.

For some reason (well, okay, for the money) I have accepted a job sewing curtains for a friend’s big motor vessel, The Shiralee. Because the fabric is pre-lined, and posh friend Salty 🙂 wants both sides of each curtain to look good, I am doubling up and working with 4-metre lengths, 1.5 metres wide. The largest of the curtains weighs 4 kilos (8.8 lbs.) And here’s me, with my little avocado green vintage Singer sewing machine, and a cheap plastic-bodied overlocker that rattles when you use it. On a boat with a small room and one writing desk for a sewing table. It could be “character building”. We shall see.

When I had unrolled the full 13 metres of upholstery-weight fabric out on deck for cutting—great rippling lengths of coarse yellow-grey hessian-ey weave stretching out like the wheat fields of Nebraska—my spirit balked and I had a little panic attack. I’m  recovered now, thanks in part to my godmother’s dog-eared copy of Reader’s Digest’s Complete Guide To Sewing, and to having picked the brilliant mind of a really lovely elderly German lady, who runs the most successful curtain and drape-makers shop in Darwin: Thode Interiors. Salty and I bought the necessary hanging bits at Thode yesterday, and now that I know what I have to do, I just have to find the time and make room on deck to do the from The Reader's Digest

I’ve never actually done curtains before, though I’ve mucked around with the rudiments of general home and garment sewing…and one kind of sewing’s not so different from the next, I figure. It’s one helluva way to learn…say “Sure I can do it,” and then scramble about trying to figure out how.

WIP allium on coarse linen

I‘ve also applied to join about a dozen local craft fairs, from now till Christmas, and so I’m trying to put together a big bunch of journals, as well…some painted, some embroidered, some leather ones. Here I’m embroidering yet more allium journal covers, in perle cotton on circles of dyed crepe. The ground fabric is an off-cut from the curtains I mentioned above…it has a nice coarse-weave look to it, and the colors have sort of grown on me…I’m starting to love this grey and flaxen straw combination.

Nutmeg. Wings coming soon.

Nutmeg, my homegrown wren softie, is yet to be finished. I’m working with version 1.3 at this point, having taken the first two apart, and dismissed 1.4 as a dead-end. Nutmeg 1.3 is far from perfect: I messed up on his legs and feet (he doesn’t balance), I’m not happy with his furry beak, and I have yet to make his wings (but that part’s easy)…but the act of putting him together yesterday was all the ‘research’ I needed to iron out these problems. So now I am excited to be done with v.1.3, and start on the final version of my little wren, because I know how I’m going to do it, and I can see the finished wren in my mind, already.

Nutmeg. Wings coming soon.But the wren softie is only half of this project…I also have to draw up the list of materials, re-draw the pattern pieces, write up instructions, photograph the steps, move everything to digital format…then submit the whole package to the publisher that asked me to develop this project for their magazine. And then cross my fingers…

so far...
lowSly getting my ass into gear for an exhibit at the DVAA in November, too. Working title is Random Acts of Crewlty (& Bondage), and it will feature crewel embroidery and bookbinding, will explore loneliness, possibly human suffering, maybe even cruelty, though at this point I don’t know any more about the exhibition than you do. It may even include the above embroidery, which I have been telling everyone was to go into the show. Now I’m not so sure it fits, or that I want to even finish it.

When I do the work, and only then, do I get what the piece…and the entire show…is about. Until then, it’s all just vague ideas, false starts, wild goose chases, mysterious images, and compelling urges…