I often hear “wow, you must have an incredible amount of patience to make the things you do” or “yeah, I could never [knit/crochet/sew/etc...], I don't have the patience for it”. While it's true you need a certain degree of patience for any craft you pursue, I promise you I'm anything but a patient person. Not one of my natural talents whatsoever. Most things I want to happen NOW! In fact the only reason I finish half of my projects is because I love it and can't wait to wear it, I'm super excited to start working on another idea I came up with part way through my current project, or I have a deadline someone else set. (That last one applies to my daily life as well. It's amazing what all I can accomplish an hour before the deadline, or when I'm doing everything except the one thing I'm supposed to be doing. ENFP problems, Lol!)
So here are 4 ways I keep from getting bored/impatient while crafting:
I love reading! There isn't nearly enough hours in a month to read all the books I want, and my books-to-read list is ever growing. Thankfully, we live in the day and age of recorded books! It's a combination of two joys in my life, reading and contemplating fantastic literature while crafting. Listening keeps my mind busy when crocheting/knitting the same sequence over and over. I choose books that are easy to listen to and imagine, such as Tarzan, A Tale of Two Cities, and Brave New World, avoiding things like Shakespeare or Plato. Shakespeare wrote plays, which are difficult to following along audibly with all the stage directions and scene changes. And Plato becomes a long, on-going lecture that I start to tune out. These types of books I prefer to read myself, when I can give them my full attention. Another aspect to consider is the reader. There are several books I love, but couldn't finish as an audiobook because I found the voice of the narrator irritating or the tone with which they told the story didn't fit quite right. For example, I'm a huge fan of the Percy Jackson book series (all of Rick Riordan's modern mythology) but cannot stand listening to it. I dislike how the actors read these stories. It boils down to personal preference and taste.
When working on projects that take days, I enjoy listening to thick books that are hours long. What better way to knock out Les Miserables? ;-) Though my personal go-to favorite is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It has several story-lines happening all at once, which eventually connect together as the plot evolves. You love, hate, and mourn numerous characters, experience cultures during the early 1800's, and consider different ideas on morality. I could go on and on discussing books, however, this is not a book discussion blog!
2. Audio dramas
I have a few friends who dislike listening to audiobooks. They prefer to hear their own voice telling the story, which I understand. For those of you who feel the same way, my alternative is audio dramas. I highly recommend audio things so your eyes can focus on your work. Before tv, people sat around listening to radio dramas and knit. If you're interested in hearing old radio shows, some libraries have them recorded on CD. Other options are audio dramas based off of books. Shakespeare's plays sound much better in this format! Also, I'll admit I still listen to Adventures in Odyssey :) I will never be too old for Mr. Wittaker, Connie, and the gang at Whit's End! The Novacom saga remains my favorite Odyssey adventure to this day.
If I'm not working on a terribly complicated project, I enjoy watching tv while crafting. Glancing back and forth between your hands and the screen takes practice, but after awhile most people are able to find the rhythm. This is the perfect excuse to watch through every season of your favorite series in one weekend! ;-) Just be careful to not get too distracted or later you may have several mistakes to fix. Furthermore, I don't suggest watching foreign movies. (Sadly this means no Bollywood...) Your brain will overload trying to keep up with the subtitles and what your hands are doing. ONLY when I know what I'm doing with my eyes closed can I knit while reading text. I've managed it twice because I was making something basic, and will not even attempt it when sewing. If you're a brave soul, be my guest and give it a try.
4. Group Crafting
Crafting is actually a very social activity. It was made to be shared with others! Growing up, my friends and I participated in different kinds of craft days with our homeschool group. Some times it was charity work (making blankets, hats, and Bottles of Hope for hospital patients) and other times an excuse for socializing. We would each bring whatever we were currently making (some of us knit, crochet, sew, quill, make cards, etc..) and talk for hours, occasionally laughing more than crafting. This is also how I celebrated one of my best friend's birthdays. As we watched Divergent, she knit and I crocheted while carrying on a lengthy dialogue about the differences from the book vs. the movie. It's an incredible way to bond with others! You'd be surprised by the variety of conversations that come out when crafting.
And there you have it, 4 things I do while crafting. Hopefully now you won't dread working on your double wrapping, infinite scarf or other time consuming projects. It's simply a matter of keeping your brain active and engaged.
Do you ever get bored working on projects? Let me know in the comments if you like to do any of these things when you craft. Also, feel free to share some of your favorite books or movies with me. When creating, I'm always searching for new choices to listen to or watch!
After many technical difficulties, I'm now on Bloglovin! (Still working out a few bugs...) If you don't know what it is, Bloglovin is an easy, convenient way to stay up to date with all your favorite blogs (think of it as the instagram for blogging). I look forward to seeing you there!
Hard to believe it's been a week since ASE! Enjoyed a long weekend with plenty of sewing fun, education, and inspiration, as always. My absolute highlight was meeting new acquaintances and reconnecting with old friends :) Helping my siblings and cousin get signed in and their garments on, I felt strange being on the other side of Innovation Generation. Now I know how my mom felt all the years I was competing! They all did very well, if I do say so myself. Can't wait to write a post about what all I wore over the weekend!
Earlier this year, January-February, I participated in a different contest with my mom and grandma called Runway Repurposed, a fundraiser for the Howell Opera house. The purpose of the contest is to upcycle old, used items and turn them into modern day fashions. A local resale shop donates tons of clothes and occasionally other items, like shower curtains and pillows. We are given one month to create an outfit based off of the theme.
Registration opens in January for 3 days. We got there as soon as possible, a whole hour before doors opened, such was our excitement. We were lead into a room filled with ample amounts of dresses, pants, jackets, and tops and could choose up to 6 pieces. We were there 4-5 hours deciding which clothes to take!
I ended up picking 2 large, woman's pants (one denim, the other cotton), 3 dresses (A long, sparkly, & black with an empire waistline. One almost identical to the first, only in silver sparkles with a black netting overlay. A gorgeous, floor-length, blue beaded evening gown.), and a black leather jacket. When choosing pieces, I specifically looked for things with big portions of fabric, avoiding garments with lots of seam line designs. My intention was to cut everything apart and use them as material and embellishments.
This year's theme was “It's a Party”, a rather broad spectrum. You could basically create anything, from pool party wear to Oscars gowns. When I arrived to pick out my materials, I was hoping something would catch my attention and speak to me. For some reason, as I lay my chosen pieces out at home, the textures and sparkles kept bringing Indian saris to mind. I was inspired by the use of different patterns and textures incorporated in their garments. I especially love the beautiful choli tops! My other inspiration was the blue, beaded evening gown, which I grabbed last minute. Originally, I only thought I would need a few beads to add a little extra detail to whatever I designed. Never thought I'd end up pulling tons of them off and making hand-beading the focus of the bodice!
After cutting apart the pants, I used them to make the bodice. As someone recently pointed out, the bottoms are now living another life as a top, Lol! Very carefully I disconnected the neckband from the blue evening gown. Many beads were falling off or missing, so it took awhile fixing the bead pattern. Then I began pulling beads, which were already falling off, from the dress and weaving them into strips. Before this project, I'd never done any bead weaving, I only had a generic idea of how to do it. With a few Google and Youtube searches I was set and ready to go!
The most time consuming part of the project was definitely hand-beading. I was torn between wanting to sew an elaborate bead design and the reality that I only had a few weeks to accomplish it. Therefore, I bid farewell to my more intricate ideas and chose a simple one instead. Thank goodness I did! I spent days stitching bead after bead...
When I needed a break from beading, I began working on the second garment. Right away I knew I would use the sparkly, black dress to make a long, slit skirt. I love how the material glitters when the light catches it! That being said, it was slightly see-through, so I used the leather jacket's lining to make a mini, build-in slip. Now I could walk the runway with no worries! Finally, I took elastic from the back of a dress and secured it in my waistband.
With a week to spare, the bodice and skirt were completed. Taking that time to use whatever else I could of the remaining clothes, I quickly whipped together a couple accessories. From the leather, which I sadly hadn't gotten to use in the outfit, I made a geometric clutch and with the extra beads I created a matching bracelet.
On the day of the contest/fashion show, as we stepped out into the frigid outdoors, I questioned why I hadn't made something with sleeves. Michigan chose that day of all days to drop below 0 degrees..... It didn't help that the room we had to wait in was just as cold. Thankfully, I warmed up some while walking the runway.
Despite the cold, the contest was a blast! I cannot wait to compete again next year (the dates are already set). If you're in the area and looking for a fun sewing contest, I encourage you to give it a try. It doesn't matter if you are beginner or advanced, this is the perfect opportunity to put your creative skills to the test!
American Sewing Expo starts tomorrow for me! Feeling bittersweet as I prepare for it, this will be the first year I haven't participated in Innovation Generation... (sigh). However, for the first time in 11 years attending I will simply relax and enjoy myself! No pre-contest stress, just classes, shopping, and cosplay!
Since it is that time again, I felt now would be an appropriate time to write about my Chainmaille Leather Jacket.
This creation has been in the works for quite awhile. Flashback to my childhood, when we studied the middle-ages for history. I always had a vague idea about chainmaille, some metal, hoodie-like thing knights wore. It wasn't until learning about the different fashion styles through the centuries that I actually understood.
In a nutshell, chainmaille is a bunch of small circles linked together by hand in a specific sequence. There are a variety of patterns (and so many more just waiting to be created) which evolved through different cultures and countries. The most commonly recognized is the 4 in 1 European. It's usually the first pattern you learn how to make when building chainmaille and is the foundation of other intricate maille designs. Before plate armor was invented, knights and other warriors used chainmaille tunics, hoods, and skirts to protect themselves when fighting.
Thinking my brothers would enjoy making it, my mom bought two tutorial kits for them to try. On the contrary, I was the one who ended up loving it; eagerly picking up the pliers and easily understanding how the rings linked together. (Thank you knitting! The 4 in 1 European is formed similarly to the garter stitch in knitting, but that's a blog post for another day.)
Since then, I've been trying to find a way to integrate maille into my clothing designs. In the 21st century, you rarely see it except as jewelry or at Renaissance festivals. I do not want this beautiful, elaborate craft to die out- its techniques forgotten! So I contemplated how to use it in modern day fashion.
Two years ago, while standing at a concert with some friends, the idea struck me. A chain by the player's hip, though now I believe it was really a mic cord, kept bouncing back and forth as he moved on stage, distracting me. For some strange reason this movement triggered chainmaille thoughts. Have you ever had that moment during a concert when you zone-out? Not that I wasn't having fun, my brain just took a second train of thought while listening. I couldn't wait to get back home and begin sketching!
I wasn't entirely sure how it would come together, but I was confident I'd find a way.
Thanks to our modern day technology, rings in several different sizes, metals, and wire thickness are available. In my jacket's maille piece, I used stainless steel and 7 different ring sizes. (No, I didn't coil my own rings. I considered it for about 2 seconds then realized I'd never finish in time if I did.) The smaller rings allowed me to form a more precisely pointed triangle at the jacket's back top, and the gradual enlargement of the circles added an interesting texture element. It took 2 re-do's and 3 extra ring orders before the chainmaille was completed the way I desired.
The red leather I used to make the body of the jacket was once a large, lady's coat, which my uncle found at Salvation Army. (An extremely rare find!!!) Gotta love upcycling! Without it, I could never afford to purchase enough leather. Plus there's an extra thrill about ripping apart an old, trench coat and using its material to create something new. I also cut up the old coat's lining to line my jacket.
Once the body and chainmaille were done, here began the long and boring task of hand-sewing them together...
I originally used normal, all purpose thread to attach the links. Unfortunately, this was too thin and allowed the rings to slip out when the jacket moved. (Thankgoodness nothing came out until after I walked the runway!) So later I sat down and restitched everything, this time using thicker, quilting thread. Many a Star Trek episode was watched during these long sewing periods..... Lol!
Because it was my final chance to participate in Innovation Generation, I wanted to go out with a bang! However, I was nervous about entering the chainmaille jacket for several reasons. 1) I wasn't sure if I could finish it in time and 2) the judges would possibly hate it. In the past, they haven't liked it when I mixed fibers and textures that “technically” do not go together. Thankfully my ambition and enthusiasm for the project out-weighed my desire to win. The first pattern draft to the last snip took 3 ½ months, finishing only a few days before the mailing deadline.
I cannot begin to describe the excitement and joy I felt being named the 2014 Grand Prize winner! Honestly, I was surprised how much other people loved my jacket. What a blessing and honor!
I've been asked how will I top this??? And I have no clue, but as my brother would say, challenge accepted!
More pics of the Jacket on my Portfolio
P.S. I'm always told how the rhinestone/crystal zipper is the perfect touch, and everyone wants to know where I got it. I received mine as a special gift from some very dear friends at fabric-creations.com. They come in several different colors and lengths. To purchase your own zipper and add a little bling to any creation, click here! I can't wait to use them in another design! :D
I knit these well-loved pants back in the winter of 2012, finishing them midway through January 2013. They are knit using stranded/fair isle knitting and made in the round. Translation for those of you who are not knitters- 1) they are made using two different colors of yarn, meaning I had to form the cheetah print myself, and 2) they are made seamlessly.
“How did you come up with this idea?”
The Holy Spirit and boredom.
Seriously, my best creations have always come from God. Since I was young, I've prayed He would pour His creativity into me and use my talents to bring Him glory. When ideas strike me from out of nowhere and appear in my mind (like the sudden desire to start a blog, even though you've said no way!), I know it's Him.
So there I was one day, making my first knitted bottoms (a pair of shorts) and drifting off to sleep. The tedious cycle of simply knitting around and around and around was like counting sheep! Dreading how long it would take to finish, I was incredibly bored and ready for a nap (reasons why not to craft in your bed). That's when it hit me. What could I do to make similar projects more exciting for my hands and mind? I remembered a cheetah print pattern in the back of my old knitting book. I had been wanting to use it for some time, but hadn't found the right project. With a few more minutes of brainstorming the Cheetah pants design was born!
I've learned a lot from making them. Most importantly to ALWAYS swatch, gauge, and block before jumping right in and knitting the actual garment. Fellow knitters (and crocheters), pleeease remember this! I know it seems pointless and you're excited to get started, but I promise it will save you a ton problems and time in the long run. Otherwise, next thing you know, your pants have grown 4 inches longer and you're exclaiming, “yes, of course! I purposely made the pants to go with my 6 inch pumps to walk around in during Michigan winters!” ;)
More pics of Cheetah pants in my Portfolio!
I'm Jasmine, a young designer passionate about creating! I hope my work inspires YOU to think outside the box and use your talents to do amazing things!