Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Crafty, or Just Crazy?

So, in the last six months or so, I have tried out several new crafts and some have become bad habits.
  • Waldorf doll making--I made five dolls as Christmas gifts for my kids, niece and nephews. Here's the one I made for Annabel. I also made several small (3" and 4" tall) dolls as angel ornaments. I want to make one of these for Abba's birthday.
  • Wee Folks doll making--Never finished any, didn't like wrapping embroidery floss around pipe cleaners so much. Also, these dolls don't stand on their own and that annoys me. (Yes, for an additional $2.50, one can buy wooden feet that would help them stay upright, but I'd already lost interest.)
  • Needle felting--OMG I love this! So sculptural! I have made two very respectable hummingbirds (one went to my dad for his birthday, the other with go to my mother-in-law for hers), a lovely robin, with nest and eggs, some Easter eggs, and itty-bitty chicken eggs for a small chicken I sewed with wool felt.
  • Hand piecing--I am currently working on a doll quilt. I enjoy this--it goes a lot more quickly than I would have thought and is much more portable than machine piecing.
  • Embroidery--I took a class a couple weeks ago and found a lot of inspiration in some Japanese embroidery books the instructor brought for us to look through. I subsequently went to Uwajimaya with my friend Chrissy for the sole purpose of buying Japanese embroidery books. Found one I especially like...it's called Needle Work and has designs for herbs and flowers and I just love it. Deciphering books written entirely in Japanese has been interesting, to say the least. Now I want to take up silk ribbon embroidery as well.
  • Finally, last Saturday I took a "make a pioneer era dress in a day" class at Newell House with master dress maker Kim Demlow, owner of Lavender's Green. Soon, I'll be able to volunteer at Champoeg Park's living history events.
I feel conflicted about all these new crafts. I'm enjoying them, but feel I should focus on one, say for more than a week at a time? There's a part of me that feels like I am making up for lost time, learning all these skills now, when I "should" have learned to embroider, hand sew, and make simple dresses as a child or adolescent. In fact, I did learn to embroider when I was younger, but as I recall, I gave up in frustration over French knots.

Well, I am forced to focus on the dress making for now. We are supposed to get as much done as we can before the group meets again on March 22nd for the second and last class. I hope to at least get my fabric cut out and determine if the bodice will fit me correctly (there's a question as to whether the sleeves will fit my, ugh, flabby arms). After that, I will need to get working on Abba's doll, if I'm going to finish it by her birthday. Oh, and she'll want a dress like mine the moment she sees me in it.

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