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Always a Maker

I consider it a blessing and a curse growing up with an artist for a mother.  My mom has been crafting since long before I was born, focusing on stained glass when I was young, and venturing into other avenues throughout the years.  From a young age, I wanted to make things.  I learned to sew when I was 8 or 9, and wanted my first project to be a sweatshirt.  I’m sure my mom tried to persuade me to make something easier, like a pillowcase or something, but I wanted a sweatshirt, so I was making a sweatshirt.  Which I still have, up in the attic.

My mom taught me a phrase that’s haunted me throughout the years…  Oh, you could make that!  And thus begun my journey to make ALL THE THINGS.  When I was young, it was little animals out of clay.  Then sewing bags, notebook covers, and pencil pouches for school.  After college, those long four years I was devoid of my sewing machine, I learned about a little thing called Pennsic.  Pennsic is an event run by the Society for Creative Anachronism, a group that reenacts the Middle Ages with battles, arts, cooking, and comradery.  Pennsic itself is a two-week reenactment event, which meant I had an excuse to sew again!  I needed two weeks worth of garb to wear!  I was finally inspired to start making things again.  I taught myself chainmail and started making my own jewelry.  I researched period clothing styles and tried to recreate them.  I taught myself how to crochet – knight helmets, stuffed dragons, stuffed animals for baby gifts.  I learned how to use an industrial sewing machine and started sewing yurts for my friend’s company.  New projects don’t worry me, I enjoy teaching myself new skills and new crafts.

Last Pennsic I discovered inkle weaving, and in the months since I have been weaving every day.  I’ve made belts and trim as gifts, woven straps for archery quivers, and even started making camera straps for a few people.  I’ve loved the challenge that weaving provides, and I’ve taught myself a lot of skills through the different weaving methods I’ve found.  One of which is patience.  Another is how to pay attention to what I’m doing so I can figure out how to fix it when I mess up.

I’m not just a weaver though.  I’m not just a crocheter.  Or a seamstress.  Or a jeweler.  I’m a maker.  I make a lot of things.  If someone asks me, “Can you make…” I usually cut them off with a “Yes.” before they can finish the question.  When someone asks me what I make, I usually answer “… yes?”  I make a lot of things.  If you can think of a thing, I’ve probably made it at least once.  This includes spear throwing catapults, 8-foot-tall yurts, and a chainmail shirt for a stuffed dragon.

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Weaving

Inkle Looms and Stringy Things

My interest in weaving began as I approached the age of 13, preparing for my Bat Mitzvah, my mother and I decided to weave my tallis, or prayer shawl.  I would wear it on the day I became a Bat Mitzvah, literally Daughter of the Commandments, in a special ceremony at the synagogue.  I had seen my mom weaving in years prior to that, and I wanted to give it a try myself.  We chose colors that had a special significance to Judaism and she embroidered sections of fabric that would be added to the woven tallis.

Fast forward a few years, and the SCA brought me right back to weaving, this time on an inkle loom.  I had seen friends weaving on them leading up to Pennsic last year, and figured I’d invest in a loom and see what I could do with it.  As soon as I finished my first plain weave piece, I was hooked.  My loom is much more portable than my sewing machine, so I was able to bring it to work with me (nannying a lovely baby girl) and weave a bit every day.

After a few months, I challenged myself to progress to card weaving, also known as tablet weaving.  Card weaving allows for much more intricate patterns than plain weaving.  It also leads to more complicated weaving methods, such as double-faced and brocade weaving.  With these, I can create custom pieces in whatever designs people like.

sewing

Garb and Fairy Coats and Yurts… Oh My!

A long time ago I realized I could pick up crafts abnormally fast.  While drawing portraits in art class baffled both my mind and my hands, if I was in front of a project I could “make” I was a happy camper.  The first craft I remember learning was sewing.  My mom sat me down at her old sewing machine and let me sew some straight lines.  Soon after that, straight lines were no longer good enough, and I decided to sew a sweatshirt (because why do something easy like a pillowcase, right?).

Since those early days, sewing has become my primary craft occupation.  While I may venture off into other crafts periodically, I always have piles and piles of sewing waiting for me.  When I discovered the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, medieval reenactment) my sewing took on a new level of importance.  I research period-accurate sewing and pattern techniques, and then do my best to recreate them.  I have also learned to love linen, and that Vikings were very good at creating clothes to keep themselves warm.

In this section you will find posts about my most exciting sewing adventures.  And loving tirades about industrial sewing machines, pattern creation, and sergers becoming my new best friend.