xmlns:fb='http://ogp.me/ns/fb#' OriginalStitch: Graffitea

Monday, January 25, 2010


It's Sunday, and we, being English, have just had Afternoon Tea.  In our house we generally fall into one of two camps - you either get really, really dressed up, as did Isla, or you take tea in your vests and tights as did Hetty.  You must of course remember to bring your sunglasses and to sit nicely, even The Husb who actually stole MY chair.  Hmph.  During the taking of afternoon tea, we like to watch absolute drivel on television, of the reality show type, or those hilarious programmes with people falling off things and into things.  On this particular occasion, Hetty had been busting some moves in response to some sort of Dance To Win programme or something, hence her garb.  Isla de-robed herself and threw some shapes on the dancefloor later, including handstands on the sofa - but during tea she was demure and fully resplendent in her tiara. 

After my very daft previous post on tea, I felt it incumbent upon me to furnish our Lolly over at LollyChops.com with some tea leaves.  And then of course I couldn't just send it in an old plastic bag now could I?
Ah, do you see....
There is the downside to all this crafty bloggy business.  If we were in the motor mechanics blogging world I'm pretty sure we'd just send each other copper sprockett nuts or alternating truckle hinges in a mucky old rag.  With a stamp on; stuck on with chewing gum maybe, or axle grease.   But in a world where even our envelopes take on a degree of crafty flair, and we can't resist the urge to prettify even such prosaic processes as parcelling something up, we suddenly find our itchy little fingers are wriggling for ribbons or tinkering about in boxes for sequins or punches or pinking shears and we're up there in the workroom a-rummaging in our stash like a deranged squirrel.

I'm going to interrupt myself here a little, to show you some photos of how nice my workroom can look.  You know, when it's tidy.  That rare state of being it sometimes finds itself in...

See how neat?

Ooh look, and things in labelled boxes, where they're meant to be, yes?
And that is just gorgeous.  Folded, ironed for heaven's sake even, and just soooo pretty.  Who doesn't just love a pile of fabrics?

But this is me, remember, so don't get too cosy in your seat, because I will show you the horror of my workroom after my creative energies have been unleashed in it a little later.  It's not nice.  At all.

Anyway, I wanted to make a bag to put Lolly's tea in.  At first, I was just going to run up a quick rectangle envelopey thing, you know, one piece of fabric, a little ribbon to tie it in a bow.  But then a few more bits of fabric sidled up to me and flirted till I relented and included them, and then a naughty bit of teal coloured fabric threw itself off the shelf and elbowed its way into the sewing machine, and before long the simple envelopey thing turned itself into a proper, strippy patchwork, lined bag with two casings for the straps.  I'm telling you, there was very nearly a pocket in it and everything.

But I stood and put my hands on my hips and waggled my finger and commanded a bit of authority in my own workroom.  I fiercely resisted the pocket. It sulked for a while and fidgeted up on the shelf with a moody look in its knap, but I can out-stubborn anything. 
Anyway.  Now when it comes to handles, I am getting a bit fed up with the time-consuming method of putting two long thin straps right-sides-together and then turning them inside out, using a safety pin, or even a rouleau loop turner.  Frankly, it's too much of a faff.  And I'd made such small casings for the straps that I knew they were not going to slide easily through unless I used a silky sort of fabric.  And silky fabrics are the absolute curse-mongering devils to sew.  So, I went for my favourite type of handle-making technique and plaited scrappy bits of fabric.
But wait a moment....I promised Lolly I'd post a picture of just how mad the fabric was before its plaiting makeover.
...and just check it out!  Oh it's just bonkers.  Actually, it looks quite nice as a photo but in real life it bellows in your face orangely and gives you quite a shock.  And it feels absolutely revolting - it is from a fabulous bag of furnishing remnants I got from freecycle.  I can't imagine what it would be used for because it has that feel to it which makes you recoil - you feel as if you've had a brush with the 1970's, in all its man-made velour-covered polyester triple weave static electric glory.
But when cut in to strips (during which process it wriggled and jiggled under the rotary blade like it was actually flinching.  I felt like a butcher trying to chop off a live animal's tail or something - it was all getting a bit surreal in there)...and plaited it looked super duper and didn't feel half so, um, eeuuoo, I believe is the word.
I can't vouch for its fire retardancy, mind.
Those puppies could go up in flames at the mere word 'kindling' for all I know.  Still, that's a nice piece of fabric upcycling for you, from scrap to strap...

But brace yourselves.  The unleashing of creative juices when supposedly 'whipping up' something out of fabric results in workroom armageddon.

Come on, you know what I'm saying.

I am so focussed on the task at hand that the nice tidy baskets might as well be a pure figment of my imagination.  Forget their fancy labels giving me clearly allocated homes for every conceivable size or potential use of fabric you can think of.
No, I lob bits of fabric everywhere.  I rummage.  I scramble.  I throw things willy-nilly on the floor.  I leave scissors, pins, rotary blades, sewing gauges where I can't find them.  If the pin-cushion is 1 yard too far away from my hands I use whatever IS to hand.  Which in this case was an old nappy I'd been experimenting with for wadding.  Yes, I'm not kidding.  An old terry towelling nappy from our happy nappy days.

At one point I needed to scribble down some dimensions before I forgot them.  Did I have a piece of paper and pen within 1 yard of me?  Of course not.  It was 2 yards away.  So where did I write 'em?  Yes, that's right.  On my sewing machine.
Seriously - what a disgrace.

But on the plus side, the graffiti on the sewing machine does at least pale into insignificance when you take in the whole vista of my workroom....
So, in the style of some sort of therapy workshop - let's divide you into two groups shall we?  Those who are nodding vigorously and saying oh yes, I'm just the same, aren't we just so creative....
For you, here is the dreamy messy workroom....ahh, lovely....the colours, the creativity...

And for those of you who quite rightly think this is a national disgrace and I need a jolly good ticking-off, here is the gritty crime-scene photo.

I grudgingly acknowledge this more honestly captures the heinous abuse of my poor workroom.

And hands up who thinks I have since tidied it?!


Mairi said...

Oh good Lord woman!! I am going to start charging by the hour for my organisational skills missy! I suspect you're waiting for me to get there and succumb to the need to tidy and label and organise and redistribute etc etc!

I know what you mean about fabrics feeling really horrible. I have the same reaction to a couple of vintage bits here, and also whenever I touch the bottom of an earthenware pot, like I make my crumble in, it's just 'Yeuch!' I am genuinely shuddering in remembrance of it!

Catherine said...

Yeah but I'd like to see it after YOU'D had a manic 2 hours making something, Missy right back atcha!
Plus, you know I'd only pay you, like, in chocolate biscuits;-).

Amanda Jane said...

You gave us very civilised impression with your sunday afternoon tea shennanigans! But now we can all see from your crafty detritus that you are really a workroom slut like the rest of us!

LollyChops said...

I want to come over for tea this Sunday... what time shall I be there? Those delights on the table looked fantastic and your rendition of the girls activities had me laughing..

BUT the sewing play-by-play was by far the best part of all!

The crime scene photos... so grisly. hahahahaha

You are so silly.

FullertonRegan said...

Catherine, this is so funny! I must confess that *every* *single* *time* I see a bag of Earl Gray in my office's break room, I think of you and one for the pot!!!! I want to have tea with you!!


Catherine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
V said...

If it makes you feel any better, my room is a bigger disaster. :) Oh, and the 70's fabric monstrosity...they don't burn with technicolour flames, they melt into an unholy pile of goo. Quite frightening, really.

The tea, however, looks charming. I miss English tea. (sigh)

Liz of Wool Boutique said...

I just dare you to come and steal my craftiness...

"Hello? Security? Yes, please stop that dark haired lady walking out with my bridal bouquet. Thank you!"

Ha. I'll send you a buttonhole if you want to be an honourary member of the bridal party though, if you want.

Lynne said...

I called over from Kath's blog re your elongated hexies. I hope you show what you'll be doing with them.
When my children were young, in the run up to Christmas we used to sit round the TV at the weekend to watch the children's drama, (Box of Delights or Narnia), with a proper tea, (sandwiches, cakes and choccy biscuits) on the coffee table. I think I used to enjoy it more than the children did.

white o'morn cottage said...

So organised! Lovely!