Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Serendipitous Crafting

Wow. The sickness has finally left our house and it feels really good to get back to normal. You know, just the molar teething and summer allergies....without the poop factor. Thank god. Anyway, I have had a bit of time here and there to do little projects and I realize that it really has become a definitive factor in my life, this creating/crafting. I am not one to be an original creator, I mainly find and follow patterns that I love or crave. But I must be doing some craft at some time during the day. Otherwise I feel not complete, not whole.

I have been reading The Creative Family, a book by the lovely Soulemama. I anticipated this book for a long time but did not pre-order. Books seem to fall further down on the list of things that fill my 'me' time. So when I finally did receive my copy I told myself to sit and read, put down the needles and read. So very glad I did. She writes about creating and the need to do these wonderful and engaging things with her children. The thing I loved was the feeling of permission that she bestows on the creator/crafter.
rock star II
That we have to nurture that part of our selves and let our children learn to create also. I always feel vaguely guilty for crafting these days, as if the time should be devoted to something more important. But my boys already love the sewing machine, are fascinated with the gorgeous colors of embroidery thread and want to hold my knitting needles. I guess that is a good start to the future invitations I would like to extend for them to be involved in these things I so love. And just because they are boys does not mean I would limit this exposure, rather encourage it (between all the make believe sword fights and car pushing that I know will ensue).
rock star I
But for now this is them wearing the fruits of some very satisfactory labor on my part. I love these little shirts and find that a small project like this can go outside with us, they run up and touch the hoop and the stitches and really try to go for that needle. And I get little bits done here and there. Fun for all.

I had a moment of true serendipity this week. There is a book, Weekend Knitting, that I have owned for years. All of my first projects came from this book, I would pore the pages, dreaming of learning this or that technique. One piece always held my attention. It is the Cache Coeur Bergamo by Veronik Avery. I have always loved Avery and her unique designs and innovative construction.

The first time I read the pattern it was pure gibberish. Slowly it began to make sense, then I finally understood. But then I never had a chance to actually do it. This weekend I was cleaning out a stash of long forgotten yarn and found bags (yes, bags) of yarn from a sale at the Yarn Lady.
bergamo yarn
My first sale, when I knew very little about yarn and its properties. So I bought bags of yarn I have barely even touched. And this was at least four years ago (might be having a giveaway round these parts soon).

And then it clicked....that bag of purpley pink Bergamo yarn...hmmm. Where have I seen that name before? Pulled out WK, turned to the pattern....oh, look....Cache Coeur Bergamo made with Bergamo yarn...I had exactly 7 balls, exactly the amount needed for the size I would knit up. Ah, Serendipity. How I love it when you visit. Sufficed to say all other projects fell to the side and today I have the back and sides done,
cache coeur
waiting on a very lovely and intriguing border to be tried, and I have a feeling this will all come together just right. Whether for myself or another, it feels good to make an adult piece and a beautiful one, at that. Stay tuned for finished pictures.

And, (jeez, this is stretching it out a bit, don't you think?) I have a very old project that I wanted to show because I recently realized how very much I love it.
This afghan was a labor of months of love. I learned the very simple stitch from the wife of a patient, right before I left my job to travel to South Africa with Tim and a few others. I actually brought it with me and carried it for months in my cramped backpack. It grew and grew and I crocheted and crocheted. The bulk was done in Portland, Oregon while Tim and I snuggled under its growing dimensions, freezing due to lack of proper heating in our Victorian building. It has been passed back and forth from our bed to my brothers' room (they seem to really love it) and recently back to us.
afghan detail
Perfect summer weight when laid over our sheets. Made up with good old Red Heart Soft, 100% acrylic. Has lasted an unbelievable amount of use, abuse, washing and wear. Still looks pretty good, wouldn't you say? I anticipate it will last a little longer. Hope so.

The final thing I've got is this great bag from Bend the Rules Sewing (from here on out BTRS, I have a feeling you will be seeing more from Amy's great book).
Pleated Beauty bag
The pleated Beauty Bag caught my eye on Flickr and I had to try it. Love it. Still working on the sewing part. But I love the roomy nature of this bag (It is BIG, people) and find it can stand in as a diaper bag/purse quite easily. Fun and easy sewing, very pretty.
Bag detail
I used linen and some more Heather Ross fabrice for the bag then glanced at my 'real' diaper bag and realized it is the exact same color scheme. Predictable, am I not?

So, apparently, though I used to feel a little guilty crafting, it sure did not stop me. And now with full license to craft, who knows how much more I can get out. Just kidding. I think. There are a few more cute pictures of the boys here and here. In action, you know. Mason looks like he is on the war path because of his teeth. Owen is just stinking cute (though not literally anymore now that the pooping has stopped...1 box of Costco diapers in a few days, people. That is a lot of diapers.)

Oh, learned a great tip for diaper rash. Put the cream on then sprinkle with powder. Holds it there better. Thanks, Gina.

And as a little teaser....someone might be getting a little space of her own and a little personal redo this week. We shall have to wait and see, eh? Hope all is well out there in Blogland. Leave a hi if you have a moment, been feeling a little lonely round here.


Bea said...

You're so awesome! I love the Bergamo shrug, I love that pattern too, that was one of the first patterns that I tried and failed due to novice gauge issues.

Ok..your boys are just SO precious, I love those little tanks, did you just embroider those designs freehand? And did you have to have knots on the backside? I totally feel the molars/summer allergy thing, Robby's molars are coming in too, coupled with lots of green booger summer allergies, it's been a heck of a time, with not much sleep!

That diaper bag from Bend the Rules is awesome too, I did manage to make 10 of those foldover clutches for Teacher Appreciation Week at Robby's school, I love that book! I may have to make one of those bags for myself, I've got some leftover linen, from our favorite sling that has a big hole in it now :(

It's so good to see you blog, I really need to get off my butt and blog!

Goddess in Progress said...

Ooh, I'm jealous! I was just thinking today how much I miss quilting. But I have no idea how or when I'd do it with two 10-month-olds running around. I don't even have a good place to put my sewing machine anymore. Must find a way... I was even inspired by your talk of French knots and thought I'd try to learn them at least enough to put their initials on their quilts. I really want to finish them by their first birthday, but it feels pretty unlikely at the moment!

Dawn said...

Those shirts are ADORABLE! I love that you give yourself permission to use your time for crafting because it's obviously an important part of who you are and takes care of YOU.

I did a lot of crafty things when I was a teenager because I had mom to teach me but I was never able to understand patterns and directions on my own so it's all in my past now. Such an important part of my childhood was that my mom made so many of my clothes, doll clothes, etc. That I made my senior prom dress. I know that your little men will grow up to appreciate that as well. And hopefully they will follow their artistic hearts and never doubt that we all have an artist inside. You are instilling such important virtues in them with your decision to craft. Craft on I say!!

ashidome said...

I'm sooo jealous of your prowess! I need to pick up that book and dig out some embroidery floss. Bravo on all your work!

Meredith said...

simply adorable. where did you get those tanks and did you draw the guitar/drum kit? i'd love to copy you for my 10-month-old. it's getting so hot here in oakland and a tank like that would be perfection!

LauraC said...

I think your comments about crafting can apply to any mom out there with an interest. It's important for our kids to see us as people with interests and learn they should develop interests. Our lives can not be 100% about our children. I found it hard the first year with twins to work myself into the mix with everything else and have just been getting back into things.

I love to lay around and read books, and it makes me happy to see the boys enjoying books.

I love to be out in my garden, looking at my little plants grow. I show them to the boys and they help me get water from my rain barrel to feed the plants every morning.

I love to cook special meals and let the boys get messy while helping. I laughed out loud when they said, "I cook ice cream!"

mames said...

hi meredith...could not get to your blog but maybe you will get this.

the tanks are from american apparel, i always buy mine at amazon from a seller called christian anderson (i think). great prices. you can find the iron on stencil in the latest 'sublime stitching' booklet. so fun, so easy...go get it, girl.

Sereknitty said...

Love the shrug ... gorgeous colour! BTW, made the Portugese chicken for dinner tonight and used hot italian sausage instead. Very yummy! Thanks for the recipe.

Nonnahs said...

Oh these are all such wonderful projects! Truly, I love them all- thanks for sharing! :)

Sarah said...

I love the shrug, too! Have fun crafting - you deserve it.

Supabloggasuprememama said...

I saw your blog on mikes, and thought, oooo she must be another crafty mama! and I just have to say your children are adorable, and your work is so pretty! love it. I am the same way about creating things as well...its just something I'm constantly doing, no matter how busy I get! Just thought I would say hello!

Nikki said...

Great to meet another crafty mama - I can identify completely. Thanks for comments on my blog.

LOVE the embroidery and am quite awe-struck by your skills with a ball or two of yarn!! Craft ON!! xx

Gabrielle said...

Wow, so many wonderful craft projects in one post - so beautiful and inspiring. The embroidered shirts are incredible and so original, your knitting is delicious, and that amazing afghan, I really can't believe the work and love that went into that, it is just gorgeous, I hope it lasts for years and years to come.

gleek said...

those are some seriously cute tops! and i love the afghan. great color choices and stitch pattern.