The days are flying.
Each week is coming and going, quickly, like a runaway train. I stand at the platform and look back on the last seven days and wonder what happened.
It's 7:30 on Sunday morning, the last of this month. Later today I will go to a Guild Play Day workshop being taught by Kevin Tobin on Gel Skins and Transfers using Golden Products. For now the sun is just rising and I seek coffee and the clarity of consciousness.
I miss writing. I miss sharing my thoughts and visions.
So much has changed since I started this Blog. It will be 5 years in Oct. Must do some sort of celebration, where is the time to think, plan, do that? Remind me, OK?
To explain my absence I would have to back up to January, or maybe even December, when my friend Debra received a serger sewing machine from her parents as a Christmas present. She and I had been drooling over recycled sweater coats (or swoats) that Katwise sells and after failing to purchase one we decided to try to make our own. I never dreamed that it would change my life!
I met Debra at my first Atomic Holiday Bazaar Show back in 2006. First I learned to spin art yarn. Then I learned to crochet and finally, begrudgingly, gave in to learning to knit. I knew that if I started knitting it would leave less time to sew or create other things and there is so much that I want to make that it seemed unwise to take on yet another craft.
Well, I don't have to tell you how it has changed my world- I started another blog, just for the fiber stuff (I don't keep it up very well either, it seems!) and have tried to share my enthusiastic journey into processing wool, dyeing and spinning and knitting it into one-of-a-kind somethings. But now, I find that I don't have time to even do that. Because of the "swoats".
Yes, the swoats.
In Florida the thrift shops are overflowing with sweaters and wool coats. The perfect solution is to recycle, upcycle, reuse, transform these tired old sweaters into something new and fun and there are plenty of examples to be found on the internet. I was blown away when I saw the Katwise collection because she has made the most fabulous dream coats that any modern day elf, hobbit, fairy, pixie or witch girl could ever imagine.
This is Katwise on her porch. She is lovely and so talented. I am a fangirl. If I lived nearby I would seek her out and beg to be a minion. I love her work and am delighted when she posts a collection on Etsy for sale. I will never be able to buy one of her creations because they are gone in a matter of seconds! It's phenomenal!
I usually make everything from my own imagination. I don't intentionally copy other artist's work because I know what that feels like and I have plenty of my own ideas. But, how else to obtain a coat like this? When you Google sweater coat or elf, pixie coat you will see lots of versions of Katwise inspired coats. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? If it's a good idea then everyone is going to be doing it. The thing is, if you want something so badly, but are unable to buy one and have the capability to make your own then why not give it a try? So I did.
Deb brought in sweaters from home and we also used some knitted yarn samples from her shop (Picasso's Moon Yarns) and I began cutting. It was fun. No, it was exhilarating! To play with the pieces of knit fabric and create a whimsical, magical garment was really cool. I wanted Debra to have a "swoat" and she loved it! That made me happy, but I had discovered a new love- I was a woman obsessed and then the hunt for sweaters was on!
Yes, Goodwill Hunting. See that sweater Robin is wearing? It would look so much better cut up and sewn into a coat! There are so many unfortunate sweaters out there it seems. Really- you've probably owned a few yourself. It is an adventure to search for and then find the perfect sweater!
Customers to Deb's shop have been donating sweaters to us and it's lovely to imagine moments captured and embedded in each sweater. Like the first kiss sweater or last time in San Francisco sweater memory. I want to retain those dream fragments in each "swoat" I create.
This is an apron I made using leftover sweater pieces. You should know how I love aprons and it was a forgone conclusion that I would make one as soon as I could. I made a pair of arm warmers and a tote but don't have pics to share.
This is Debra modeling a vest (or swest I suppose!) that I named Beyond The Sea. It is trimmed with my handspun scrumbled crocheted yarn in the front and has pockets that are made from beaded sweaters and a silk collage that I made a while ago and never finished. I have lots of small art quilts that I never finished that would work in one of these creations. The vests are an excellent compromise for Florida's climate and each garment is unique and one of a kind.
I look forward to each day, going to the shop to sew. Going to a job.
I have my own little work space with everything I need to sit and sew. (I have to thank Debra for partnering with me on this project- it's a collaboration of creativity and I couldn't do this without a dedicated space- it's too messy and takes up way too much space!)
This one is named "Disco Stardust" and has silver knit with some 80's type sweaters and embroidered bits from dresses. I need to get some better photos- it's difficult to find the time, I swear, to just stop sewing and take pictures!
I am loving the distruction of chopping up dresses, tops and skirts to create these clothes and I have always loved the seams on the outside look. Is it called Deconstructed? I think they have an air of the apocolypse about them. I imagine a melancholy girl walking through the woods collecting abandoned nests and tiny pine cones to use in her Joseph Conrad inspired boxes filled with shadows and dust.
I imagine a woman wearing one of my coats to meet with her lost love, tear stained tissues crumbled in one pocket, letters in the other, worn and torn at the folds from being read a million times. She sits at a wrought iron table, near a terra cotta pot of gigantic proportions, petunias cascade and reach for the wild as she looks around searching with her eyes for the sight of him. Has he gone gray with age, she wonders, as the day lengthens into sorrow and shadows.
I imagine making these clothes with joy and satisfaction that comes each time someone buys one and says they love it! It's rewarding and challenging to work without a pattern and just let the pieces assemble themselves into garments that tell a story with color and mood and feelings evoked after you put one on and twirl about; spinning like a little girl in her brand new fancy dress.
I want to thank Katwise for the inspiration and ask her indulgence as I explore the door she opened in the upcycled sweater genre. I will be sleeping a whole lot less and am definitely planning on getting more organized and spending time doing what I love instead of what I feel I must do. Who cares if we live in a dusty house or if the bed's not made! I don't! Not when there are vests and bags and scarves to make.
February 1st marked the advent of the 3rd publication of Apronology Magazine, which I was so proud to be in with an apron I made using handtatted lace from my collection.
On the 13th I turned 50 and celebrated by sleeping most of the day. I plan to go ride go-carts someday soon to be "wild and dangerous" to celebrate!
I will probably be celebrating this half century mark all year!
Our Guild participated in a 4 day show at the Art Center called FAB and I sold a handspun and knit shawl. I have so much to catch up with that I feel like it's just not going to happen. This post is already dangerously long and who cares anyway?
I just miss this. I miss the interaction. There are DAYS that I don't even turn my computer on. I can't believe it myself! What has happened? That is indeed a calamity for me- no time to surf or play plants vs zombies. No time.
Turning 50 made me face the fact that I only have so many years left to make all those things I have and might dream of.
I still have plans to do an online magazine with my friend Elizabeth but it will happen when it happens, as I have said, there's no time. We are putting our talents together to work on a new springtime window display for the shop and it will involve Cinderella and her spinning and knitting her dreams come true.
I will probably end up taking my laptop to work so that I can blog or Flickr or perhaps Facebook stuff more often- Just know that I am happy and excited and joyful at the prospect of fulfilling my wearable art clothing dream even if I have to forfeit some time away from my beloved sewing room at home.
So, there you go. I am well. Not kidnapped, marooned on a desserted island or abducted by aliens.
Just living my life to it's fullest possible expectation with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.
Thanks for coming along on the ride.