Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Busy Little Beaver

So many things have happened! I think I'll start with the trivial and work my way up to the 'wow'.

I cancelled my subscription to Handmade Magazine. I really should have checked it out at Mag Nation before I subscribed. Lesson learned! They put out three Christmas editions in a row, and I don't do Christmas. Even if there had been one or two generic projects in it, I would have been happy. There's a big emphasis on patchwork, quilting and beaded jewellery-making as well - again, things I'm not interested in. I saw a special Spring issue in the shops a few months back, but I was never sent it as part of the subscription, so I don't know what was going on there. Although, after I called up to cancel it, I received the final issue and it had a couple of nice embroidery patterns in it. But only a couple out of about 40 projects. So schnyeh. I'd rather have the back issues of Craft: Magazine. I love that mag - I always want to do every project in it! How many magazines can you say that about? I really wish there was a local equivalent. Speaking of cool mags, I asked for a subscription to Frankie Mag for Christmas. If I don't get it then I will definitely subscribe this year. I went to buy the latest issue last week from Mag Nation, but the guy said it wasn't there yet and was maybe coming out late. His indifference was inversely proportionate to my distress.

I used the refund I got from Handmade to buy a membership to Brown Owls for 2009. I'm not too sure about this. Don't get me wrong - I went to one session this year and it seems to be a lovely group with fabulous people. However, I pulled out of three Etsy meetups in a row due to extreme shyness and a sense of inferiority. (No, I didn't really hurt my back.) So I don't know how many sessions I will actually make it to. I feel really silly now thinking back on those last-minute mind-changes, but meeting new people is for me like public speaking while someone is running their fingernails down a blackboard for other people. It's multiplied by 100 when my crafts are involved. I wish I could blog at people, or something like that. I'm so much better at writing than talking. When I have the time to think about what I'm going to say I do much better. If it weren't for the internet I might not have any friends! And I probably wouldn't have a job either.

Anyhoo, now I will talk about my new book, Beginners Guide to Braiding: The Craft of Kumihimo by Jacqui Carey:

Book cover

I bought it as a reward for myself for reaching my first weight loss goal. It explains how to make kumihimo braid using the marudai, which is the frame used traditionally. Here is a picture of one:

Marudai frame (not from book - stolen from interwubs)

One of the first things I realised is that my foam disc can only be used to make one type of braid. There are many other types (square, flat, etc.) and patterns that can be made on the frame. These involve sliding the cords back and forth around the frame as you work. This would be a massive pain if using the disc, as the cords are all stuck fast in the slits around the disc, plus you'd really need a frame so you can use both hands to move the cords around. Also, you can attach weights to the braid to control the tension and make it looser or more dense, which you can't do with the disc. Thankfully, the book explains how you can make your own marudai from cardboard. Cool! Literally hundreds of different colour and patterns combinations are shown. The instructions are very clear and are accompanied by useful diagrams. The pictures have that special grainy, off-colour look that you see in books from the 70s and 80s, but I think this just adds to the charm!
Now I just need a whole bunch of this:

Bunches of biron - Japanese silk threads - from the careycompany.com website

Interestingly enough, when I did some quick Googling I found the author's online shop: Carey Company. Unfortunately, the prices are a bit too much for me. Thank goodness for cotton and cardboard!

A few days ago, I started this embroidery:

I saw the pattern on a blog (sorry, I read so many, I don't know which) and just fell in love with it. I know I've said I don't do Christmas, but it combines 3 of the things I love best about it - Christmas trees/ornaments, reindeer and sausage dogs. I know sausage dogs aren't particularly associated with the season, but they are so adorable, I just want to associate them with everything! I'm hoping to incorporate him into a pouch somehow; I'd like to make up 2-3 embroideries and then break out the sewing machine and make a bunch of pouches and bags in a big batch (well, big for me, anyway!).

Last but not least, I sold my Kokeshi Doll 1 after it being on Etsy for 9 months. Here's a reminder photo of it:

Turns out, the buyer is the owner of a shop in Northcote. Turns out, he and his partner are really cool and they want to stock my work! :0

*pause to let that sink in*

So if I can make about 10 dolls, they would be interested in seeing them. Ten is a huge amount for someone with as little spare time as me! I have a second finished one which I'm not happy with and never posted about cause I think it looks like a stubbie with a face, and a third one I'm nearly half way through that I was never really satisfied with either. Perhaps I will get them out and try to see them with less critical eyes.

Speaking of, the other day I wrote a list of New Years' Resolutions / Goals For 2009. I've become strangely interested in self-improvement the last few years and it always gives me a feeling of optimism to write a list of goals. Some of them are crafty and some not, but they are all to do with improving my life. I will have a look and think about the current year's list next week perhaps.

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