Thursday, 31 December 2009

the threshold

A fair bit has gone on in the last 12 months. Some of it obvious, visible, discussed and picked over. Some of it proudly displayed and crowed over. Some of it puzzled out loud, some of it regretted and grieved. And a whole lot more of it invisible, imperceptible, perhaps hinted at. Sometimes deliberately hidden, sometimes just beyond words.

While I have on occassion been poo-pooed for failing to get into the spirit of Christmas and the annual stuff a thon, the new year is always a time of great meaning for me. A time to review and look back and summarise and count up and contemplate and imagine things which may have been, which may have gone differently. To think about what is to come, how it might be, how it should be, what choices I have, which paths I choose.

Never does a year go by in which I do not have much to be thankful for and this year has been full to the brim with good fortune and happy times. Wonderful experiences, travel, precious time spent with the people I love. And a deepening of that love - a renewed appreciation for a partner in this crazy game, for children who daily bring me face to face with that thing that goes so far beyond words. For an extended family whose mere existence sometimes seems like a complete miracle and who at their various stages in life bring home a bigger picture, a past and a future wrapped up with my own. The opportunity to reflect on their preciousness, without the kind of loss that generally prompts such thoughts is a really wonderful gift.


And perhaps because so much of this year has been spent apart from the people who normally constitute the everyday, not just family, but friends and neighbours and colleagues and the incidental people whose lives rub up against mine by virtue of where we shop or which tram we catch or where our children go to school, because of this they have been so much more present in mind. Their lives, their news, the sounds of their voices, the things they have made and done and moments that have been frozen into pictures arrive like care packages full of sweet things in a time of rationing and we receive them with the greatest possible excitement.

New friends too have joined the feast. New bloggers I have come to know beyond the post, friends from older past lives returned through facebook of all things and new creative work and enterprises have brought with them great people with whom I now collaborate (and tweet and skype and chat) instead of just admiring from afar. There are some people who were once mere acquaintances and now are fixtures in my life and the life of my family. On this front in particular it has been a boon year and on this front in particular I feel like fortune has found me. Wonderful people prepared to put up with my various faults and idiosyncrasies, willing to listen to my apparently bottomless spring of words, people generous with their time and humour and preparedness to see the finery of this emperor's new clothes. Good people who I appreciate deeply.

I would be lying however to say there has been nothing but good. Good fortune is made all the better by the persistence of human frailty, the failings of ourselves and those around us, and the sadness and disappointment of things gone wrong. And there has certainly been some of that this year. Some relationships have faltered, there have been misunderstandings, differences of opinions and the recognition that not all people were made to get along. And while these things cause confusion, pain, frustration and anger, and have the capacity to rent the inner peace so central to life's ongoing sustenance, they too are inevitable.

Which doesn't mean they don't provide much pause for thought, that they are not opportunities for questioning oneself, one's behaviour and thought. Indeed they so often find oneself lacking. Human discord, whether it be in traffic, in the workplace, in the circle of friends or in the home provides the perfect stage on which to act like the idiot from our own worst nightmares - where all choices open are flawed and compromised beyond belief. And while in theory discord can be handled in a positive way, it doesn't seem to me that human emotions lend themselves to that very often. As is generally the case, this year managed to surprise and sadden me in this regard. Sadness that stays with me, surprise that springs fresh no matter how often I pass this way.

It would hardly be a news flash to say bad things happen, but in the second half of this year as we have been outside of our normal lives in this sabbatical bubble I have thought about things I normally stack on the shelves for another day. The less stressed, less rushed, less cluttered, less distracted life creates space for bigger thoughts and in that space the role of bad things seems clearer, if no less awful. And whether it is relationships on rocky slopes or people growing older, sickness, infertility, loss of jobs or homes or treasures, bushfires, trauma...there is no end to the number or variety of ills that can befall us. Most of the time we devote good energy to either avoiding thinking about it or convincing ourselves that we are somehow immune. But we are none of us immune and sometimes the denial feel likes a whole new level of pain. Middle age is really the end for such delusions and now that I am at the top of that hill, it seems the view is worthy of contemplation.

When I look back over 2009, both its highs and its lows, the constancy of the making stands in high relief for me. While I have always made stuff, the more I age and the more I experience of the joy and sadness of life, the more consistently I seek solace in creative work. I'm not talking about some highfalutin notion of art and self expression, but of a much more mundane mediation between me and the vagaries of the world. The sewing and knitting and cooking and dyeing and cutting and pasting have been constant companions and I am supremely grateful. It's funny to think, but I am used to feeling happy about the stuff I make or the time I have spent making it or the people I have met with whom I share the making, but it has taken me a while to get how fortunate I am to have something which provides me with a kind of rudder to navigate through the emotional landscape. And quite literally something in which to wrap myself in order to better face the world.



So now that I am looking forward to another year and I am starting it in the way I intend to continue. I had planned on proudly announcing I had completely vanquished the mending and alteration pile I had accumulated in the last year. I was looking forward to that clean slate and had in mind all kinds of new projects once it was gone. There is a list I am excited about that has been brewing and fermenting and getting ready to be made. In the last few weeks I have done pretty well at getting to that slate clean, with only only a few things lingering.

But now suddenly my clean slate and new ideas are not nearly as important as helping out with other people's needs and my mending pile has been tossed back in the cupboard along with the drafting gear and fabric stack so I can pull out the quilting fabrics. While we lay about on this last day of the year I'll get piecing and knitting and thinking about other ways I can use my making to help. Help family members in need of things and embraces and gestures of love and caring. Help me in getting onto a path I want to follow.

I will be feeling keenly my own good fortune, feeling the sadness and feeling the responsibility to use my time and resources at least in part to pursue ends more noble than my own whims. I will be doing my level best to meditate on the balance between good and bad, on embracing the good that comes from bad and accepting as best I can the bad that appears to have no upside.

I don't make resolutions as such on new year's eve, but I do plan to try and make this year one in which I am more mindful, more in mind of the bigger picture and important things. One in which I work more towards making more but having less, in which I am more creative of mind as well as practice and in which I live in a way that is less in conflict with what I believe. I hope, as always, for less conflict both near to me and far away but not at the price of participating less, and for the conflict I do experience and help create to at least serve as a lesson for doing better next time.

And to all you who have made it this far with me I thank you and wish you all spectacular new years too. For whatever reason you find yourself here, I hope sharing in my adventures is worth the time you give to the reading. I hope you find something of which you seek and at least something more you didn't know you wanted until you saw it. And rest assured that now we are on the threshold of the change of years all seriousness will shortly be over and trivial programming will resume again.

time to get making

Last night the family grapevine was working hard and when the news finally came it was not as terrible as it might have been, but way more terrible than we had hoped.

My cousin and his wife live in Toodyay. From there he runs his amazing design business and is building an awesome, innovative, sustainable house. They have been living in a big shed while they are building, along with all their personal possessions, all Mike's tools and an enviable collection of native timber that he has collected over the years to age and use in the future for his design work.

He was at home when the fire came on Tuesday. He didn't see it coming, he was heading out for a swim when the fireballs started to rain down. With his much loved dog and his laptop and his bathers he got out and I can't tell you how happy I am about that. His wife was at work in town so we knew she was safe too but not even they knew what state their temporary home was in, nor the partially built house they had slaved over.

At first light on Wednesday he snuck in to check on his land and found the shed they call home was gone. Everything they called theirs gone with it, including Mike's car. A fallen tree lay smouldering on the build and if he hadn't gone there so early and managed to get help to remove it, the new place would have gone up too.

When I managed to talk to him last night he was astonishingly upbeat. He's totally confident about their ability to rebuild despite how impossible that seems to me, and doesn't care so much about his possessions. He's all too aware of how much worse it could have been and he's very thankful.

But I know his positive attitude won't be enough to keep him going as the reality of having nothing at all really starts to bite. It's one thing to feel unattached to your possessions, it's quite another to try and get building with no tools or materials, or to face a winter with no warm clothes, no books to read and nothing to cook with.

I can't sew them a whole new world, but there are a few things I can make for them to get them started and keep them from feeling like the bare essentials is all they get. A quilt is the very first thing - a safe and soothing place to sleep is something everyone should have. The shawl on my needles I think is destined for them too, and knowing how cold their winters are I'll be working up some hats and scarves as soon as we get back to Melbourne and I can unearth my heavy wool stash.

I'm not running a major appeal for them or anything, I'm sure they wouldn't want that but I do encourage anyone to give to the Toodyay bushfire appeal that has been launched by the Bendigo and Adelaide Banks' philanthropic arm, Community Enterprise Foundation and the Salvation Army. Donated money would be used to fund a recovery day and allow local volunteers to speak with counsellors and support one another in the wake of the fires. Donate money to the Toodyay Fire Appeal at any Bendigo Bank branch or visit www.bendigobank.com.au/foundation/toodyay to donate online via credit card.

I am sure there will be some local organisation who can handle other kinds of donations and if you are a making kind of person I hope you will consider doing a spot of making as well as a cash donation. I am sure some practical and useful things like quilts, warm hats and scarves, tote bags and storage solutions will be helpful to people living in temporary housing, as would books to read.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

I is a big boy now



he didn't sit still



and he wouldn't let me use the clippers or a comb



and he took fright more than once



but the mad professor is no more.

Friday, 25 December 2009

the big day

























And to all a good night. Hope there was much joy in your day and tomorrow is not too daunting.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

catch up



Last night I stayed up way too late, sewing the last of the Christmas gifts that needed to make it into the post today.



It's definitely been a skirt kind of Christmas for all the family younguns. A chance to use some nice fabrics and to test out the larger sizes on the everyday kid skirt pattern.



And the odd bit of other bits of making, again using up those scraps I can't bear to part with. And to celebrate birthdays aside from the bearded dude.



As soon as Christmas is over I am going to start on an advent calendar - going on past records my only chance of actually having one next year is if I use the momentum of this year's adventless disappointment to get me working on it right now. And I do have a plan and it will involve scrap useage.



I've also been doing some homework. Reading and looking and learning (full pics of the current reading preoccupations over on flickr). Some contemporary inspiration and some revision of the classics.



Ready for the next lot of pattern making enterprises.

And somewhere in the background some thinking about a Christmas lunch. Something to please everyone, involving minimal effort and use of heat. Something light and celebratory and special, but not fussy or over-thought. Amy would be happy with pumpkin soup and apple crumble, but I think we may work a few less pedestrian dishes in too.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

iconic



We haven't ventured far in the time we've been living up here. Just another thing to puzzle me and confound my expectations.

But this weekend we set off in the car to visit one of the great icons of Queensland tourism. I had friends at school who had holidays in Queensland and talk of the landmarks is etched deeply in memory as the banter of 'regular' kids. I guess I wanted to visit for all the same reasons their parents took them, and the same reasons tourists and travellers the world over go to see famous stuff.



Landmarks mark out the land we visit, but they also serve to mark out our memories of those visits. Sometimes the landmarks themselves are indeed awe inspiring, and we go to marvel at the glory of nature, or wonder of engineering or beauty of artistry. Sometimes the landmarks are little more than the chimera of cultural creation and a way of making occasions and memories more permanent. Sometimes they are ageless or utterly cutting edge and visiting them humbles us in the face of history and progress and provides pause for reflecting on the nature of permanence and the transience of life.


The great big pineapple was pretty much what expected. If it ever had claims to grandeur, it doesn't anymore. It dates from the early 70s and just like the real estate touts may say, it is in original condition. If like my classmates I had come up here in the late 70s and gone again today I possibly would have been shocked by how much the same it all was.



I can imagine when it first opened it would have been quite the real deal and people would have marvelled at both the technology of its construction and the window it opened into the production of a strange and exotic fruit (especially for the Southerners).


These days the highway has been diverted, the trade is slower and the car park is a reminder of what a crowd might look like. You can tell the place needs a lot of cash to halt the decline that I am guessing started a good ten years ago and has been gathering pace ever since.


The grove of exotic fruits has more than one dead tree and quite a few specimens that in this day of heightened mutlticultural cuisine are quite commonplace.


Though I was particularly fascinated by the sausage tree - what do you reckon they taste like?


The supreme highlight for Wil was the wee diesel locomotive which clapped along at about 3km an hour



and could only have been improved in his mind by getting going quicker and not stopping. Ever.



D and I were pretty impressed by the grove of 200 year old bamboo and Amy liked all the animals.


She was also keen on pretty much all the junk in the extensive and terrifyingly awful gift and souvenir shop and cried beyond reason when we didn't let her buy any of it.



This is increasingly becoming part of family outings, and both D and I are horrified.

But I drove the whole weekend, in rain and heat and busy town and speedy highway alike and that's a landmark all its own.

And the first draft of the teen size everyday skirt got two thumbs up so it's full steam ahead on that front too.

Friday, 18 December 2009

arrrr

dread pirate wil

Dread pirate Wil, the rascal's rascal.
Sailing in for Christmas.

Super special thanks to Melissa for the arrr stripes.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

a winner we have

Congratulations Kylie! A lovely lace fans in olive skirt kit will be winging its way towards you any day now. I hope you enjoy making it!

I also wanted to take this opportunity to respond to the really helpful suggestions you all left in the comments section about what patterns you would like to see next. While sifting through your thoughts the thing I keep coming back to is that I want to make patterns which offer something new - not just in terms of design but in terms of helping people advance in their skills and confidence.

I am working on larger children's sizes for both the skirt and shorts right now. As my previous post on fit explained this is involving quite a bit of testing because as kids get older their bodies get more complicated and I want to keep the patterns simple but the fit good. A first draft version of the finished teen skirt should be landing on my niece's doorstep today (Hi Jess!) so I'll be checking it out via Skype and moving on to the next refinement post haste. I am less well endowed on the boy child relative front so the larger shorts might take a little longer.

But I also wanted to say that with existing sizes you can VERY easily make the shorts into full length pants (or shorter shorts). This means that the existing sizes could work for slim-ish boys as old as 5, though the pants would be a slimmer fit than you see on Wil. The sizing is generous and the fit is loose. There is lots of room for play! If anyone has the kit or is buying the kit and needs advice on how to lengthen or shorten I am happy to provide it.

I hear you on the girl dresses/tops front and the multi garment kit pack for the everyday skirt and top is well advanced. I am very excited about a single pattern kit that will make dresses and tops of varying sleeve length, so it should be very useful!

I admit to being a bit stumped on the boy shirt/top front though. Shirts are complicated garments to make and fit well, and personally I wouldn't tend to make this kind of garment for younguns. Because I am, well, frankly, a bit lazy about it. It's a lot of work to make and then you need to iron them and such. I do tend to be more a T-shirt kind of mum for boys. I thought about a kaftan style top for boys - but is that too daggy? Would boys above the age of 3 go there?

On the adult pattern front I am still thinking through the how, but I am keen to combine a basic skirt pattern with some really detailed info on how to make a skirt that really fits, and how to use that base pattern to make a range of skirts. I think a lot of experienced sewers would do this - find a good base and work off it. I remain completely convinced that heavily customising a basic pattern is not a hard thing to do and totally worthwhile, but I hear you that lots of people just aren't interested in going there and fair enough. Because this is a complicated thing I'm trying to do, this pattern will take me a little longer, but I hope you'll get to see it soon.

An adult version of the everyday shorts is something I have had for a while - I make shorts for D - but he is slim and buttless, and I am not at all sure how this would translate to larger sizes and different shapes. I am not nearly as experienced with men's patterns as women's and children's. And I am not sure there is demand there for this kind of pattern - do many people sew clothes for the men in their lives?

An adult version of the everyday top and dress are further down my priority list but definitely possible and something I will try out in my size as a first step and see where it takes me. I'll keep you informed.

And perhaps winter will see a pinafore and coat or jacket pattern...but right now being cold seems like an entirely theoretical proposition.

Thanks again to everyone who has so generously offered their insights and who seem to be enjoying sharing this process of development.

Monday, 14 December 2009

It is all about the fit

I have spent a lot of time in the last few months thinking about fit and measurements and sizes and patterns and shapes. Widespread dissatisfaction with the way commercially made clothes and patterns fit is by no means new and a big part of why I buy so few clothes and use so few commercial patterns.

As I have been designing patterns for myself, and now ones for sale I have been thinking through how you solve this problem. There is a set of standard sizing measurements and even if they did reflect the average or majority of people, pattern makers also add their unique take on 'ease' - that's the amount of extra room you add to a person's measurement to make a garment comfortable. Some designers add more ease if they like a relaxed looking and feeling garment, other less if they want a more formal, fitted look. So we can start with the same set of measurements and through variations in ease turn out patterns and garments that fit really differently.

But wait there's even more to it than that. Measurements are one thing, but shape is another. Along with those standard measurements come standard interpretations of how they work - this size bust means this size waist, what percentage is out front, what's in the back, how far down a leg the knee is, how far from the waist the hips are and so on. But you don't have to look far to realise people come in wildly different shapes. I might be a size 10 bust and a size 14 hip, and those hips might be wide on the side to side or the front to back and for all of these variations a standard set of measures and shapes might be hopelessly inadequate.

Maybe all this is really obvious and you are wondering why the hell I am writing it all down. Well it's because as I look at taking my patterns out of the small kid range and up into the larger sizes - including, maybe, gulp, adult sizes - I am trying to get my head around how I can improve on a standard approach to making patterns based on the mythical average size and shape. Somehow I want to include in each pattern all the things I have learned about fit as I have made clothes and patterns over the last couple of decades. In fact I want to include all the things I have learned and more!

But my aim here is to make simple accessible patterns - patterns beginners can approach with confidence. For little kids clothes this is really so much easier. Afterall, most kids are pretty shapeless and happy to wear loose and forgiving clothes. But now I am taking measurements for girls where the difference between their hips and waists are getting to be much greater as puberty reshapes their bodies. Making clothes for more complexly shaped bodies, with all manner of sticky out bits is by its nature a more complicated task. There's a lot more angles in the adult human body than the child version and getting clothes around all these bits with a minimum of bulk and discomfort requires some nifty engineering. Like going from 2D to 3D.

Worse still, this process happens with such an enormous variation in timing that where one 13 year old can happily be in an upsized version of the everyday skirt, for others this simple pull on style is just way wrong for their shape. More hippy girls really need zips or other kinds of closures to allow them to get a big enough opening to get the skirt over their hips, but to close it up when on so they don't have masses of bulky gathers at the waist. Zips seem to scare some people so it would be good to avoid them in patterns designed not to scare people! But a simpler closure like a button or velcro or snaps can be uncomfortable or bulky or gapey - all things a self conscious teenage girl really doesn't want.

I am sure most of us can remember incidents of embarrassment and confusion when confronted with the reality of our bodies in stark contrast to someone's expectation of how it should be, whether friends or parents or clothing sizes or construction. Wishing to god we didn't have boobs or that we did have boobs or the our tummies were flatter or that we were taller or that the front didn't open up like that every time we reached for something or whatever. I so don't want some poor hapless mum or aunt whipping up a garment their eager teenage daughter tries on only to feel completely wrong in it. Like it is too childlike, or like their bodies haven't matured fast enough to fill out the thing that is designed for their 'size' or 'age'.

And while as adults we may have left some or all of our body issues behind, we can still be bitterly disappointed when a designer has made a garment we love the look of on the packet but which clearly just wasn't made with us in mind. The frustrating part for me is knowing that getting that garment to fit may not be a big deal at all - a few cm here and a few there can dramatically alter the shape and fit of something - but that is very hard to capture in a pattern.

So I'm interested to hear what you think about this. Take for example the everyday top or a basic A-line skirt. If you were to buy a pattern would you rather:
  1. a standard style multisize pattern where you could make something that approximated your measurements and take the chance that it would work out to fit you (or that you could fiddle it enough to make it so), or
  2. a basic pattern outline with an explanation of how to make it fit you. This would involve the pattern coming with a picture of the garment on a model, you knowing the model's measurements and how much ease was added to the garment. You would have to take your own measurements and then draw up the pattern using step by step instructions so that you ended up with a pattern designed specifically for you with the same amount of ease as pictured.
It strikes me that option 2 is great for someone who not only wants a garment that fits them better (especially is you are less like an 'average' than some) but who also wants to learn more about about how it all works and how patterns are made and altered.

But of course option 2 is way more work! I figure lots of people, especially beginners and people who have less problems getting a good fit from standard style patterns won't want that hassle, and may be really put off by the process.

What do you think?

Saturday, 12 December 2009

more everyday



Amy is really loving the first prototype of the new everyday top.

I'm going to make a few changes to the fit and to simplify a couple of elements of the construction, but in essence this one feels like a keeper. It's a variation on the everyday dress and if we were in Melbourne I'd also try out a version with long sleeves, but I think that will have to wait. It's way too hot up here to think about so much clothing.

Anyway I think a few more drafts and then this one will be a really good multi garment pattern with both tops and dresses in various sleeve lengths.

edited to add: I will let you know here on the blog when the pattern is ready and I am so glad so many of you are excited about it! I am also amazed at how many people have expressed interest in an adult sized version of this top. I will think about the adult version and let you know.

list of participants

Updated to add - we've reached 47 participants! Wow!!

The tea towel swap is going brilliantly! You will need to check back here from time to time to see what's going on and I've put a little jigger in the sidebar so you can find relevant posts quickly and easily. I'll post new links there as I put up any new info about the swap.

Last night I discovered to my horror that my spam filter has been chewing up a few emails meant for me, at least one concerning the tea towel swap. So I figured I should perhaps post the current sign up list here with the hope that anyone who signed up reads this blog and can tell me if their name isn't here and should be! If you know others who are signed up (or think they are signed up) can you send them over here too? Thanks.

Carly Schwerdt http://neststudio.typepad.com/moopy_me/
Caroline http://stompergirl.blogspot.com
Christie Fowler http://pigeon-pair.blogspot.com
Claire Bryan http://www.littlefishcreations.com
Claire Waring http://craftschmaft.com
Di Jones http://clementineshoes.blogspot.com
Ellen Waters http://reallyturningjapanese.blogspot.com
Gina Denholm http://clutterpunk.blogspot.com
Ginevra http://www.ginevra.org/blog/
Grace Mitchell http://noonewatching.com
Iona Annett http://froginthepond.wordpress.com
Jac http://siximpossiblethings.net
Jane Riches, www.richesstitches.blogspot.com
Jill Brown
Jo Ely http://www.jellybabyblog.blogspot.com
Justine Telfer http://mixtapezine.com
Kate Clifford http://innercitygarden.wordpress.com
Kate Dixon http://oneflewover-oneflewover.blogspot.com
Kate Henderson http://www.neverenoughhours.blogspot.com
Kate McLoughlin http://craftastrophies.wordpress.com
Kim Berry www.allconsuming.blogspot.com
Kirsten Johnstone www.assemblage.typepad.com
Kristen Doran http://cheekybeaks.blogspot.com
Kylie Gusset http://gusset.net
Kylie Hunt http://kylie-3sheets.blogspot.com
Leah C http://pugglelogic.blogspot.com
Leah Godde
Magdalena Franco http://thecraftrevival-magdalena.blogspot.com/
Meagan Genovese
Melinda Newton http://quirkygranolagirl.blogspot.com
Nicole Vaughan, http://craftapalooza.typepad
Nyssa Rae http://surrealdesign.squarespace.com
Quynh Nguyen http://nha22.com
Rachel Challis www.waitinginthecapital.blogspot.com
Rebecca Shulman
Robin Gadient http://fakeham.blogspot.com/
Roisin Fagan http://bespokeuprising.blogspot.com
Sam Tassie http://whizzme.blogspot.com
Sara Carkagis http://inthelightofthesun.blogspot.com
Sonya Mcnellee
Sudi-Laura G. Overstreet http://adventuresofafabricjunky.blogspot.com
Suzie Fry http://soozs.blogspot.com
Suzy http://floatingworldviews.com
Tania Ennor http://myrtleandeunice.com
Tanya Holt http://www.appleandtangerine.blogspot.com
Verity Heath http://brownhairblueribbon.blogspot.com
Wendy Klassen http://corvidarium.blogspot.com

Friday, 11 December 2009

spam spam spam spam

Ok I seem to be experiencing a range of technological spaz outs right now.

My blog seems to have spontaneously changed the colour of my links and no matter how hard I try to change it back, it just won't play nice.

And I have discovered yet another loss of email to spam. So please, if you have emailed me and I never responded when I should have, can you please drop me a line again? From what I understand if your email has links it's more likely to be filtered away, so if you are havng repeated problems, try sending me something totally vanilla.

Thank you and let's hope things return to normal soon.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

mixin' it

So at the moment I am thinking about what I'll write for the next issue of Mixtape zine.

A few weeks ago it seemed all of blog land was buzzing with the release of issue 11 and while I received and (as usual) loved my copy I wasn't quite sure I had anything to say that was any different from anyone else, so I said nought.

But when I get to the time when I start to think about what I want to put in the next issue, that's when all the stuff I think and feel about mixtape comes up for me. I contribute to pretty much every issue of mixtape, just like I was forever making and swapping mixtapes in the days pre-CD.

I love that Justine, and in earlier days Nichola too took everyday accessible life stuff and brought it together in a great little low tech package. I love that they just did it, that they worked like crazy on it and took it to the world. And as it continues to grow and Justine continues to expand what mixtape is and does it has never lost it's handmade appeal. It gets better and better but it hasn't left its past behind.

So for issue 12 I'm going to put a tutorial together. The tutorials in past issues have always been favourites of mine and it's time I contributed to the how to. Now all I have to do is work out what I will be how to-ing about...

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

they're here!



So very very pleased and excited to point you all to the online Ink and Spindle shop where the kits with my patterns are now available for purchase.



You can buy just the kit - which has the full size pattern, instructions and all the bits you need (like elastic or lining or interfacing or straps and snaps), or you can buy the kit and the printed fabric too (in your choice of print) and get the fabric at a discount.



Totally brilliant!



They would make excellent Christmas presents either as completed projects or in kit form for someone who might be looking to try something new in their summer holidays.



And during said summer I will be hard at work trying and testing some new additions to the range so no doubt you'll be hearing more about that as I go too.

As a special thank you to all you lot who have been so generous in your praise about this little venture, the lovely ladies at Ink and Spindle are offering a free kit to one of my readers!



The winner can choose either a skirt kit with the lace fans in olive fabric or the shorts kit with chalk in snow (these are the two fabrics pictured above). To enter the draw all you need to do is leave a comment here telling me which kit you'd like and what patterns you'd most like to see added to the range by midnight Wednesday 16 December (that's Aussie time) and then I'll get my capable assistants to draw me a winner. Please please please leave your email address with your entry! Thank you so much Lara, Tegan and Bianca!