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Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Nosy Parker Answers

I've just stumbled across Diary of a Flutter.kat blog, which looks like a lot of fun.  She currently has a linky party called Nosy Parker in the Neighbourhood, in which she asks questions about our sewing history.  I'm happy to oblige.

1)  How long have you been sewing? Are you a first generation sewer or was the knowledge handed down to you? Basically tell us about your journey...

I started sewing (on the machine) at age 8.  I had been handstitching things I called doll clothes before that - with scraps from my mom's projects.  I think Mom decided it was time to get me actually doing something useful with my enthusiasm.

I came from a sewing tradition - my mom, her sisters and my grandmother all sewed.  I have an aunt who was 6ft 1.  You can imagine how impossible it was for her to find clothes that fit in the 40's and 50's.  She sewed all of her clothes until specialty stores for tall women opened in Canada.  We didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up, and my mom was an expert at re-designing clothes out of hand me downs and thrift store finds.  However, she also purchased fabric to sew clothes for herself and us kids - believe it or not, back in the 60's it was a LOT cheaper to sew your own clothes.

My first project was a little green skirt and lined vest.  I don't have much memory of the actual sewing, and I suspect Mom did the hard bits.  But I do remember the outfit and how proud I was to wear it.

I progressed from there, sewing inset seams and zippers by the time I was 12.  As I got older, though, I became less pleased with my sewing.  I would choose a pattern I loved, and fabric I loved, and spend hours making the item - then find it didn't look as good on me as I had imagined.  My sewing waned a bit.

Having kids inspired me again, and I sewed LOTS of clothes for them.  I also did some home dec sewing, and was pleased with that.  But my daughter started school and decided she wanted to wear sweat pants every single day, and my son - well, boy's clothes are not as fun as pretty little dresses - and my home was all dec'd out, so again, my sewing waned.  Then, I wandered into a quilt shop and fell in love with quilts.

Now, my home needs new curtains, my hubby's pants need mending... but I only have time for quilts!  I've been quilting for 12 years, and I'm still loving it.  I'm not a fast quilter - only two or three a year - but it is a hobby I don't think I'll get tired of any time soon.

2)  Where do you sew?

When we finished our basement, about 10 years ago, my hubby made me a sewing room.  It is about 10 x 10 feet, and at the time, I thought that was huge!  Turns out it's not. But it's warm and bright and has everything I need in it, so I think it is perfect.

3) What does your sewing room/area look like today in it's real state. Take a picture of it if possible and show it to us real :)

I really, really planned on doing this.  I took the camera down to the room today, and noooooo!  It is just too messy.  So, here are some pictures from a few years ago when it was much tidier.  Just imagine a lot more fabric than you see, but don't imagine water bottles, magazines or dust, and you'll have a pretty good idea of what it looks like today.  Really!  No, quit imagining water bottles, magazines and dust - I tell you, there are none of those in my sewing room.

My hubby made the bookshelf.  His hobby is woodworking - and he approaches it like I approach quilting.  He doesn't produce a lot, but he loves doing it.  He promised me a bookshelf when we got married, and I think I got it at about the 15 year mark.  But, it was worth the wait.

This hutch was made by my BIL as a University graduation present - so it's about 27 years old.  It's got a big cupboard on the bottom.  That holds a lot of fabric.

To the right is my design wall.  My hubby made the holder at the top.  You can move the clips from side to side to hold whatever size of fabric you want.  I usually have my flannel table protector clipped on there - which is what I use as a design wall.  $10 or so at Walmart, and it works great.

The rainbow is a latch hook project I made back in... maybe 1981.  I still like it.  Rainbows are a sign of hope for me.  The bags down at the bottom hold projects.  I thought I was pretty clever at the time, buying 5 matching bags for my UFO's.  Who would ever need more than 5 UFO bags, right?  Well, I won't tell you how many bags I have stacked there now.  And not all matching, that's for sure.

4)  What is the first thing that you made which you were really proud of? Show us pics of your favourite project.

I can't show you the first thing I made that I was really proud of - that was way too long ago.

But I will show you my favourite project, which is a miniature quilt from a kit from Traditional Pastimes.  This was the first miniature - well, the only miniature I have made.  It is about 18 inches square.  I added the red inner border, as those blocks in the outer border turned out a titch too big.  I quilted it with gold thread (not metallic) and I was really pleased with how the quilting looked.

5)  Do you always stick to the "rules" when you sew, or are you more improvisationally minded?

No, I stick to the rules.  I really admire art quilts and improvisational quilts, but I'm really a pattern following kind of person.  I cook the same way - I almost always follow the recipe.  I'm sure many others would think that is incredibly boring, but to me it is calming and makes the process much more pleasurable.  If I was improvising, I would be stressed that it might not work, and that would not be fun for me.  Just the way I am.

Thanks for doing this Kat.  It's been thought provoking for me, and reading others' answers to the questions!


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for linking up Colleen! It's been fascinating to read your story. I love the rainbow wall hanger. And I don't think your way of following patterns is boring at all. I mostly do improvisations because if I try and follow a pattern my head explodes. Unfortunately I can't follow other people's instructions to save my life. LOL...

Anne said...

Coming over from Kat's post to say thanks for sharing your space with us. It's been really interesting to read your story. :o)