I live with my husband and our two teens. I love working with fabric, yarn, and paper; and I love bright colours. I have been sewing and crocheting since I was a child. I developed a love for working with paper when I was in my mid-20’s, and after the birth of my second child in my early 30’s I finally learned to knit! Or rather, during the fourth or fifth time my mother tried to teach me, I finally “got it.” 😀 I love dreaming up unique pieces to craft (for giving and for selling). Because I wanted to stay home with my kids when they were born, I learned much about frugality during those early years. (many thanks to Amy Dacyzyn of The Complete Tightwad Gazette fame!) This translated into crafting frugally, so thrift store sheets and clothing became my fabric sources. I also loved making various toys for my kids when they were young. I home-educated them (and still do), and in the process I’ve been educated myself (who knew that skills in reading, grammar, and composition could be so interesting to learn?!). I’ve turned some of this experience into home-based tutoring of other kids, which has been fun!
Craft fair display from April 2013:
Currently I am enjoying creating bags and hats. Why those particular items? I didn’t really know at first; I just knew I was attracted to colourful photos of them on the internet or in library craft books. The more detail that went into them, the more interesting they seemed to me. The detail is what made me curious about different types of craft skills.
In recent years I began experimenting with making up my own bag patterns that used general sewing and pattern principles. I was pretty excited to figure out how to make a reversible bag that had a flap! And in the summer of 2012, I stumbled upon an unbelievable deal on pieces of cotton batik fabric at a discount surplus store, so I bought a bunch and decided I was going to make bags to sell. That store also yielded low prices on elastic, zippers, and polyester batting, so I bought those, too. And thus were born my first reversible, padded cotton batik bags; and my lined, zipped, padded wristlets. I drew out the patterns for them on legal-sized file folders, figuring out everything from the dimensions to how to make the gussets the size I wanted them. Not only did I use the batik pieces to make bags, but also I found cotton pieces from my stash of thrifted cotton sheets.
After my initial run at making from these basic patterns, I decided I wanted to branch out to more decorative bags instead of just relying on the fabric design for decoration. This is where the fascination with detail comes in. I like ruffles and pleats, and I’ll experiment with those. I like decorating with sequins, beads, embroidery thread, and separately-made embellishments such as flowers or shapes. I also want to start digging into my stash of thrifted linen, silk, and wool felt fabrics to incorporate into bag designs. As well, I want to experiment with crochet designs for bags – I have lots of brightly-coloured cotton yarn which I also love working with! As I’ve mostly used up my stash of batik fabrics, I collect more and more thrifted fabrics such as cotton sheets, linen and silk and wool clothing, and such. I LOVE making unique products with thrifted materials!!
It’s pretty much the same story for hats. I look around at photos, and then get my own ideas for designing a hat with materials I have on hand. I experiment with different crochet stitches for the hats, and then embellish them with different edgings, beads, and separately-made motifs. With motifs, at times I just start crocheting for fun and just play around with math and the design and shape to see what pleases my eye at the moment. The results have been some pretty interesting shapes, stitches, and colour combinations. I have far too many ideas in my head and not enough time to do them all!!
So I figured out why bags and hats attract my attention. It is that they are all useful items. We use bags all the time, we wear hats for warmth or decoration, we like to accessorize ourselves at times. And I would rather make a useful item than a purely decorative item (although I appreciate purely decorative items). But I also love the artwork and intricate detail that expresses beauty. So why not express beauty on useful items?
So how about you – tell me about yourself in the comment section below!