Tuesday, 9 June 2009

powered by community

Often when I come home from craft camp I waste a lot of time trying to explain to people what it's all about. This time we had a couple of craft camp virgins and listening to just a few of their words is perhaps the best explanation.

I am always surprised. Surprised by how much I enjoy myself, by how much I get done, but how time out refreshes and renews, by the things I will turn my hand to when inspired by the skills and work of others. Thrilled by the collaboration, of watching and hearing about and learning from others, honoured to be able to share what I know and help others a step further on the crafting journey.

For me the time out of everyday life is super fertile, and with an extra day this weekend and a commensurate lessening of the manic drive to get stuff done fast I found myself making fewer mistakes and working at a more relaxed and more productive pace.

I ticked all the boxes on my to do list and stash busted projects that have been lying around for months and months. A few right nows and a bunch for hotter days, some kids stuff, some fun. A stack of old favourites and reliables as well as some more experimental and adventurous projects.

To say I am inordinately pleased with myself would be a massive understatement. I feel very very happy. Thrilled and bursting with pride.

Would you like me to show you?*
Up top is my new lap top bag. The exterior is super lush wool in the most brilliant shade of red from Tessuti's (wouldn't I love a coat out of this? If I wasn't going to Darwin...), the interior a lovely cotton Ellen sent me from Japan nearly three years ago (just proving that every fine fabric has its day...). The black handles and closure tab is felted black wool from a jumper I knitted for myself about 20 years ago that was a dismal failure. It it awaiting a lovely big button. Underneath is Amy's new travelling art pack made with gorgeous Kristen Doran dandelions and ladybugs and two pieces of Japanese linen from Ellen and Corrie.

Clothes for kids - up top are new elastic waist jeans/shorts in super cute Japanese linen for Wil and a pair of lovely croc PJ shorties for sweaty nights. The spotty linen made great knee length shorts for Amy and I added the pocket detail to girly them up for her.

Accessories. The top two are pics of Amy's first pincushion. I was a test sewer for Nicole's new pattern and kit for the Apple pincushion. I am afraid to say I certainly didn't earn my keep on that assignment - I couldn't find a single useful thing to say to her because the pattern is freakin PERFECT! I did what she said, which was all really easy and astonishingly quick, and the finished product looked exactly the same as hers right down to the last detail. I thoroughly recommend it, it would especially make a great gift for a beginner crafter since all the steps were so straightforward and because the finished apple is really superb. Middle row are the hair ties I made for Amy's fundraising stall (and there is another one already absorbed by the house somewhere) and a second cashmere sock monkey so the kids can play with twins. The bottom row is a super fast and easy red jersey scarf inspired by Nikki's one and a lovely new wheat pack using scraps of the organic denim and Croc fabric.

And last but most certainly not least is the clothes I made for me.
The top row are front and rear views of my new jeans, made with organic denim from Tessuti's. I am exceptionally pleased with these. Aside from some minor slackness in the back of the waistband, the fit is great and they weren't even mind bending to make. I took the pattern from Ottobre (link is to the aussie site crafty mamas where I subscribe but they have their own website here), and once again felt really glad I subscribe to that mag. Having a store of patterns at your finger tips during a sewing frenzy is invaluable. It is a testament to the reliability of their patterns that I cut up my organic denim and did all that work without testing the pattern first - something I would never do with any other brand of commercial pattern. Over the jeans I am wearing a grey T-shirt (bought) and a cream and grey striped wool/viscose/cotton jersey knit in a 3/4 length sleeve also made on the weekend.

The pants in the second row are the same pattern, and while you can't see because the mosaic maker cut off the legs, they are capri length. The first are made from black woven cotton with a two way stretch - a really lovely and hitherto unseen by me fabric - and the second are a grey marle linen/cotton/spandex. These are from an Ottobre pattern called jazz pants, and in the mag they are made up as sweat pants, in heavy knitted jersey. Although they are pull on pants, they rely on a jeans like cut and the stretch of the fabric to keep them up rather than having an elasticated waist. The pattern had a wide straight fold over waist band, which I modified to be curved and shaped to sit flatter on me. They are insanely comfortable and look much better than you would expect. I love love love them. On the left I am wearing a tunic vest made from the scraps of the black cotton pants, and although you can't see the detail too well, the front has a pin tuck detail instead of front darts that works really well, perhaps if you head over to Flickr you'll be bale to see better. I made this pattern up and I am very very pleased with it. It is fitted and flattering and still extremely comfortable - I'd love a few more so I could wear one every day. On the right is a short sleeve T-shirt made from a really funky little pebble print I bought last summer.

The third row has me in the same tunic with a really light summer skirt made from lovely Tessuti's embroidered cotton. This worked out much better than I expected - I was concerned the pattern would be too directional to sit well in the a-line, but it is fine. It has an almost shimmer which is quite magnetic in real life. On the right I am wearing a very light sundress (not designed to be worn with the pants but it was just too bloody cold for that level of nakedness today), also made from a geometric embroidered cotton. This will be my Darwin house dress for slobbing around, of which I expect there will be much.

The fourth row is the third pair of pants made with the jazz pants pattern, this time full length and in a wonderful bengaline. The colour defies description - not quite grey or brown or taupe or olive, but something of them all. On the left is an olive/grey mesh top for jazzing up plain long sleeve Ts, or singlets in hot weather and on the right is a short sleeve shirt made from the chocolate version of the linen/cotton/spandex I used for the grey capris. It's a bit cheeky including this int he tally for the weekend, since the shirt was almost finished before I came, but I did get the last bit done, so I'm including it!

The bottom row is just a few more combinations of the above.

So just in case you missed it the final clothing tally was 1 pair of jeans, 2 pairs of capri pants, 1 pair full length pants, 1 skirt, 1 dress, 1 long sleeve T-shirt, 1 short sleeve T-shirt, 1 overtop, 1 tunic, 1 shirt, 1 wheat pack, 1 scarf, 1 monkey, 3 hair ties, 1 pincushion, 3 pairs kids pants, 1 art folder, 1 laptop bag. I also made a hat for Ellen, but I didn't get a photo of it.

And I still managed to get good sleep (a big thing for me), eat plenty and talk way more than my share.

Now I have spend all my unpacking time on photos and blog posts I had better run. there are children to be collected and dinner to be made and a newly weaned toddler to be cuddled. Speaking of which anyone got tips for preventing mastitis after weaning?

Added - On the weaning thing. Amy self weaned very gradually. I've had mastitis twice with Wil, both times treated with anti-biotics, both times as a result of reduced sucking when he's had a cold. We dropped the night feed a week or so ago and replaced it with a special new bed time routine. All good and not too much protest. Since I was away for three mornings at craft camp I figured I'd roll with it and stop the feeding. He's been OK about that so far, but I am not a good expresser (from the boob that is - mouth I do fine), compounded by it seems having lent my pump to someone ages ago. No idea who. And while I don't yet have mastitis I am sure I will given the paltry amount I can hand express. So prevention of the inevitable would be very cool.

* the mosaic maker has cropped these photos and some good details have been lost. For a better view of anything, head over to my photos on Flickr and check out the full sizes of all the pics.

31 comments:

thornberry said...

Oh my goodness. Please tell me that you had everything cut out before you went away. So prolific - and so fantastic!

Kirsty said...

WOW...you got through so much.

I think you've hit the nail on the head with the whole collaboration and learning thing.

I always come away from these in-the-flesh events just overflowing with enthusiasm and ideas.

Glad you had such a great time.

Alby Mangroves said...

Thank you so much for your friendly and easy attitude, just being around and listening was a learning experience for me! You made amazing things, and I particularly love the dress! You look wonderful in all the things you made - well done x

Alby Mangroves said...

btw, I still expressed for a while even after Peanit weaned herself, and heat packs were great too.. I hope you're OK!

Stitching At Stone Cottage said...

OMG!!! how many days were you away, you accomplished sooo much...

Wendy said...

Wow, it'a amazing what you achieved in one weekend! And your clothes look fantastic too!

greatbalancingact said...

I got great advice on weaning to help prevent mastitis: plan way ahead when to stop and reduce feeds gradually until weaning day. Start by reducing the number of feeds per day, then the amount of time per feed, e.g. 10 mins for 3 days, 8 mins for 3 days, etc. It gets a bit annoying when you want to focus on the emotional experience of weaning, but you're too busy timing feeds. But it worked for me. The other good advice I got was to replace the intimate time you'd normally spend breastfeeding with your child doing something comparable, like cuddling. That also made the whole thing a lot less traumatic for both of us. The Aust Breastfeeding Association also has excellent telephone and email counselling services
Good luck!

Gail said...

OMG that's power sewing! I like your neutral pallet and layering for the clothes.

innercitygarden said...

Congratulations on the amazing output!

If you've got mastitis you'll need to see a doctor because you might need anti-biotics. Otherwise express just enough to relieve pressure, the amount you need to express for relief should decrease every day. And hot showers pointed directly at your breasts are apparently a good idea.

Stomper Girl said...

Your output was prodigious and even more impressive when you consider the time you gave helping others.

It was a fabulous weekend, inspiring and refreshing.

Melanie said...

Holy mackerel woman you are a speed demon. I aspire to such heights of craftiness!

No helpful tips on mastitis, as I have (so far) weaned so slowly that it has not been an issue. I always did want to try that cabbage leaf down the bra thing though :)

Tania said...

Sneaky of you, going off on a crafty weekend for SIX MONTHS! Honestly, how did you fit in the eat, sleep, talk bit?

Will be back lurking, sussing out the weaning thing for not-so-distant-future reference...

Michelle said...

You did so much! You're amazing!

Sounds like a wonderful weekend. I'm off on a craft retreat in a couple of weeks and I can't wait!

Ali said...

Oh my word - that's about a years worth of productivity! And everything looks stunning.

Good luck with the mastitis - I tried many things, but in the end, it was always the antibiotics that did it.

Duyvken said...

Oh my gah!!! You seriously got that all done this weekend? I bow before the power of the craft weekend. Sounds like you had a blast!

nikkishell said...

Bloooody hell! I'm lost for words!

nicole said...

Yeah, Tania I agree, more like a 6 month craft retreat ;-) I'd never be able to sew that much in a year, but that's because I have no idea what I'm doing when I'm sewing...

About expressing.. Well, I can't express a lot myself either, but it works better under the (fairly hot) shower for me. You're not trying to get the breast empty just relieve pressure. Make sure to _lightly_ massage any harder spots to help empty them... And maybe one of your friends has a pump you can borrow, just in case?

Eleanor said...

It really was quite astonishing to see your creative genius and crafting know-how throughout the weekend. But you forgot to mention those fig scones which were the BEST scones I have EVER tasted. In my LIFE.

Also, you're actually not scary at all. Hehe.

P.S. It's so great to see the photos of you wearing the clothes, they look fabulous on you!! I totally missed out on seeing the laptop bag...did you do that in the last hour of the weekend??!!! Unbloodybelievable!!

eeloh said...

Are you on SPEED?????!!!!!

jac said...

I am totally impressed. And I also have that croc fabric and I love it so much I can barely bring myself to use it. Their expressions! In the bath! I luff them.

sue said...

Obviously the extra day made you enthused to finish off a lot of wonderful projects. I am loving those kids pants, and your clothes look fantastic too.

Alison said...

So you sewed in a few days what I sew in a year, no, two years.....man you're like superwomansewer!!

Frogdancer said...

Did you find time to sleep when you were there?

That's insanely productive! Awesome. (In every sense of the word.)

Emma said...

You are such an inspiration and your work is just amazing.

Lisa said...

freakin' amazing. The word 'prolific' doesn't even do that justice...

habitual said...

Were you at craft camp for a year? Was it like summer sleep-away camp? I mean, WOW! That's a tremendous amount of results! I'm not sure I make that much all year, even if I really try.*starts looking into craft camp options*

I love the idea of craft camp. My friend goes to cabaret camp every summer for a week and he really catches endless hell for it (can you imagine all the joke potential?). I suppose he could have sweet revenge if I tell him I want to go to craft camp. I don't even know if we have such a thing here, but I hope so. Do you bring your own sewing machine? Tell me more....

seed said...

What a fantastic weekend.

Weaning, I was always successful with a light bind and cabbage. Mind you usually my feeds had been limited to 1 or 2 per day by then.
I had to stop feeding abruptly last year, a diagnosed heart condition and some bloody awful drugs made the decision for me. She coped quite well, as I introduced a bottle as a substitute, something I had never done before, she being child number 4. As it was a stressful situation for her the hospital staff helped with organising a bottle and I snuggled up really close pretending it was a boob.

I bought your flirty skirt pattern, and will take this project with me to Queensland for the upcoming school holidays, I hope it turns out as beautiful as yours.

Suzy said...

OMG, you're a one woman sweatshop! I can't believe you got so much done, it all looks fantastic.
Good luck with the weaning / mastitis, at least it will be the last time.
x

jenny said...

I am so inspired by the weekend and can't wait to get some free time to get some more sewing done. Stealing a few moments here and there is not quite the same and it does feel like stealing as the washing piles up and the children need feeding.
Loved your show and tell.

kim at allconsuming said...

Wait.

You made all that? In one long weekend? Surrounded by other women, food, and alcohol?

I am deeply intimidated.

Fig scones? Did someone say fig scones? Recipe please.

Anonymous said...

About the weaning thing, it seems terribly taboo to speak about, but if you can't express, and you are getting uncomfortable, you could ask your partner to suck a little (obviously quietly in private) to relieve the pressure/lumps a little and prevent risk of mastitis happening. It is just human milk after all. I understand if you want to delete this comment, some people don't like this concept, but I know many mums who it has worked well for if they had a willing partner to help out. Good luck!