xmlns:fb='http://ogp.me/ns/fb#' OriginalStitch: 5 Things I Love About Sewing....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

5 Things I Love About Sewing....


These days, I don't have a lot of time for sewing - it's become something of a rare treat, because I mostly have my sleeves rolled up to the elbows and my hand shoved up the front or back end of websites.  Metaphorically speaking of course, but you get my drift.  Although I'm not physically wrestling with some kind of giant stitchery cow, my poor brain does feel like I'm a vet getting stuck in with big rubber gloves on. 
Um.  Ok, at this point even I'm raising my eyebrows at myself.  Er, hello, Catherine - vets?  Rubber gloves? Metaphorical cows?  Shall we move on?  Shall we?

Anyway, obviously I like sewing, or I most probably would NOT have launched OriginalStitch, I'm thinking......so here's my 5 Things I Love About Sewing.  
Come join in - tell me, what do you love about sewing?  
And also - a better title please than 5 Things I Love About Sewing, which is very dull indeed and gets no better for typing it twice.

1 Making something new...
You know why?  Because it always surprises you.  I mean, I'm always making new things - this whole company is built on the premise that I am rrrrrrrrubbish at making the same thing twice, hence needing a Stitcher Network - but I'm talking about making something outside my normal realm.  And in this case it's this little fella.  

If you recall, it was Isla's big fat 5th birthday recently, and having taken our turn at the bar and thrown a party for her whole class, including entertainer (I bow down to thee, O Oscar), I was not then going to fork out for some giant piece of plastic princess thingness.  I sent her into my Workroom, and told her she could choose a pattern from my many books, and then some fabrics, and I would make something for her.   And this is what she chose.

Do you know, I have never made a stuffed toy.  I think I anticipated that it would be a chore - that I should be working instead, should be using sewing time to invest in a new OriginalStitch prototype.  And therein lies the krux of the matter - it's very easy when you make your living from what you love, to forget to add some of what you love in how you live.  I made this for my daughter, and made it doing what I love.  

So, by making something new, and different, I had a moment of clarity in my life.  In a cluttered busy world, we don't always have room for clarity. 

2 The fabrics others choose...

And this little elephant brings me to another thing I love - I love seeing the fabrics other people choose.  In this case, Isla, who is, as we all know, Big Fat 5.  And look at the fabrics she chose - she really surprised me.  I mean, they go very well together, but I was not expecting such classic heritage fabrics from a 5-year old.  I thought she'd zoom in on some gaudy candy pinks, like I have with number 3, but no, this is what she chose.  Maybe she's an old soul.

When we did our first 'workshop' back when I was looking for stitchers, I let my now co-OriginalStitcher Amanda loose on my fabric stash.  We were making the backpack, and I said, ok, here's the recipe, now choose the fabrics.  She hovered, overawed at the fabric dresser, and said, really?  Anything?  And I said, yes anything.  Well, except this (whisked it away) oh, and not this either (wwhhhisk...).  And, um, you're not having this either, lady...(wwhhhhoooooosh.....)
Anyway, after she had chosen, I was so surprised at her combo - she chose greens and yellows and yellow thread and green thread; and I have NEVER in my life used yellow thread.  Not once.  I suddenly realised I'm a real reds/blues person, or a red/pinks person.  Red is a big one for me.  Green and yellow?  Naaaahh....

I love how our brains, housed in heads which have taken millenia to evolve and are basically the same, can choose such different things.  Now that makes me smile.  And is very handy, or there'd be enormous fights breaking out over fabric stashes the world over.  Thank heavens.


3. Unique, never-seen-before fabric combinations
Ok, so again, I know this is the whole foundation of what is lovely about OriginalStitch, and all you folksyiers and etsyiers and boutiquers out there - the combining of fabrics, but seriously, it gives me such a thrill every time.  It's like language.  Every day we utter sentences never before heard.  I'm pretty sure no-one has ever said "I'm not physically wrestling with some kind of giant stitchery cow" in the whole history of spoken or written language before, and likewise, I'm prepared to bet not a single soul on this planet ever put these three precise fabrics together.  
Now that's a bit awe-inspiring isn't it?
Like when you look up at the stars and go, but how?  How can space just go on and on and on?  Where does it go to?  What's at the edge?
Well, I think a new fabric combo is pretty astronomical too.  Cosmic.

4. Pins.  But more importantly, pin cushions.
Don't you just love 'em?!  I don't even use pins as much as I should - I'm too lazy and naughty, but when I do use them, I love grabbing 'em out of their pin-cushions, and I love stabbing 'em back in mid-foot.  (I'm talking about my foot, on the sewing-machine accelerator, speeding along a heady zig-zag.  See that odd little zig-zag kink up there in the pinks?  Bet you that was when I was putting a pin away.  Bet you twenty-seven dollars.  That's £18.50, people.)

My mother claims every time I see her, and she sets eyes again on this hat pin-cushion, that I stole it from her.  That it was hers is undoubtedly true, but I didn't steal it.  Or if I did I've forgotten.  So I might have done.  "Well, take it then, if you want it back..." I say, but she just shrugs and says, no you can keep it if you like, and then I say, we have this conversation every time you know, and she says, I'm pretty sure you stole it from me, and I say well why would I have it on display then, bold as brass, and she says, maybe I gave it to you, and I say, or maybe I stole it, I can't remember.  Neither can I she says.  And then we have a cup of tea, probably.


5. Thinking time....
I should actually sew far more than I do.  You know why?  Apart from the obvious answer - "Um, duh, because that's kind of the basis of what you DO for a living, Catherine...".  Which is enough in itself really, but let's look at why....
Because when I sew, I think.  When I'm working on PR, or marketing, or if I'm injecting fresh images into a website with my metaphorical veterinary syringe of creativity (seriously, what the....?) there is no room for thinking, because I'm already on high intensity thinking as it is.
When I'm sewing, even though I'm concentrating and following a pattern, there is room for a little sneaky bit of thinking.  
I have discovered that when I sew, I get ideas.  Or answers to problems that have been vexing me.  Or suddenly I will see the big picture of an issue I'm working on and realise I'm looking at it from the wrong angle.  Or I will suddenly hear a voice in my head (no kidding, you're thinking, that's becoming pretty clear from this post, lady...) - something someone said which I had forgotten, and which has quietly come out of the brain's filing cabinet in answer to a problem.
Sewing is freeing - it frees my mind, because it's mainly my hands and feet and eyes that are busy, and my mind has a little free space to fidget in.  
I never forget now to take with me my notebook, and it sits there, waiting for me to scribble in it, because what my mind frees up, I grab and write down, before I forget it again.


17 comments:

Izzy said...

This is lovely, reminds me why its great to be creative and have 15 projects on the go at once.

One thing I love about sewing is remnants, especially bags of offcuts, then going through all my fabric stash to find the perfect piece to complement it. Hours of fun!

Izzy x

Mairi said...

Um..."metaphorical veterinary syringe of creativity"...pretty sure that should be going in to your jar of magical thinking there.

You can see why so many of the first scientific breakthroughs often happened (so history would have us believe) at a time when the big brain (Archimedes, Newton, Faraday) were having downtime. Archimedes, sitting there trying to work out how to prove that a crown was or wasn't made of gold. He hum and hawed and probably gave himself an ancient Greek headache. Then he decided to have a bath, sit and relax and PING! the answer was there. It's not that he had some divine inspiration, he just allowed his brain to work on it and in doing so, came up with the solution. The naked running in the streets and shouting of Eureka goes to show that scientists aren't really on the same planet as the rest of us!

antmee said...

Loved this post! Was very impressed with the fabrics your daughter chose and the elephant turned out a winner. The fabrics used in your drawstring bag aren't actually inspiring or look at me types on their own but together they look so yummy and make a bag that has plenty of the eye candy factor.

Why I sew is simple fabric addiction I think. I love getting the stuff and to justify buying it to my husband I have to use it lol. Plus the satisfaction of completing a project that looks amazing and can say "I made it myself"

Amanda Jane said...

I have fabric which is waiting for the perfect project.Its always too good to waste! When will I be worthy of using this perfection? It will probably be the Holy Grail of creative satsfaction but it serves as my driving force, always practising, searching, striving... sigh...

Amanda Jane said...

Forgot to suggest you make another hat pin cushion for your mother...? I loved this post.

Catherine said...

Ha ha! Laughed at yours Amanda with the saving up fabrics...gives me an idea - ok, I definitely need to follow up with 5 Dilemmas of Sewing, or 5 Things I DON'T Like About Sewing! x x x

Regan Rothery said...

I love the whole saving money thing. I pinch a penny until Lincoln screams.

curlyrip quilts said...

I totally agree I am always wonderfully suprised with the choices my girls make in relation to colour and I often turn to them for input when somethings quite not working.

Zen moments while stitching ...There is something comforting about the noise of the machine rata tatting away and when I get in the zone making something .... well its a lot better than yoga !!! or Tai chi !

Breda x

cheekyhandmades said...

I love love love creating whilst I sew, I am crap at designing things beforehands and then rigidly sticking to the design, I love it being quite meditative and providing a little peace in a stretched little world, I love giving my creations to people and watching their faces light up (erm, or not!), I love the excitement of it soon becoming my bread and butter (scary..), and I love any excuse to shop for more yummy fabrics

Liz of Wool Boutique said...

I can't do without my notebook and lists. I just forget absolutely everything. Brain is too full.

djStoreRoom said...

I love sewing too.. The process of actually moving the needle and thread across the project is so amazing.. And, I think more about sewing then actually sewing.. I should sew more...

Katie said...

Ribbon....ribbon.... more ribbon....

Plus the five minutes to myself every once in a while.

Catherine said...

I reckon that might go in my next post too - thinking about sewing more than doing it...! So true dj - and yes, ribbon! I did a post on that once. Mmmmm, ribbon....
x x x

Bev R said...

I absolutely love love love the elephant! My Isla would adore it:) Really happy I've found other people as mad about sewing as me to chat to.
I think just ignoring the people who say what goes together and what doesn't is the way forward...and it's very eco-friendly too!
Hopeing I can join your team of sewers, although I'm not sure if I'll want to give any of it away :)

Catherine said...

Ooh yeah, good point Beverley - that's the downside about using fabric up - using fabric up when really you just want to keep it! I can be very selfish with my stash, even with Amanda, my business partner. It's daggers at dawn when it comes to our stashes let me tell you, partnership or not...!!!

Liz of Wool Boutique said...

Yes i will definitely go for something nice and bright next time. You just wait. I'm buying something new and squishy next week, i have decided. YES.

Liz x

white o'morn cottage said...

Hi, I saw your feature in SEW HIP. Fabulous, well done! Pam