Friday, 21 February 2014

Loving the machine

I suppose if I have one new years crafting resolution at all, it's that I want to become better at using my sewing machine. I find hand embroidery relatively easy and satisfying. I feel really in control when I stitch with needle and thread, even when I have absolutely no plan as to what stitch comes next, where it should go and what colour it should be. For some reason, this process causes me no stress, and is instead immensely relaxing and satisfying (barring the odd knot and tangle of course).

However, my relationship with my sewing machine is a little more...complex and fraught. I place no blame on my machine here. In pretty much most situations it has performed well and done exactly what I have asked of it. Every broken needle and angry seam-ripping event I blame entirely on myself. I think I just don't have much patience for it - which is weird considering I think nothing of spending hours on one little area of embroidery! This year however, I vow to repair our fractious relationship, and take this partnership to new heights. I have a whole new house to sew for after all!

I confidently started the year by setting my machine up in my new crafting space, ready to be used...and you know what? I HAVE BEEN USING IT! So far this year I have completed several small projects for around the house, here are three that are already in use.
Shopping bag repair

This old shopping bag (for a wonderful local organic farm cafe and shop) has been very useful, but over the years the handles had started to crack and fray. A linen blend napkin picked up at a charity shop soon sorted that out! I even made the handles longer than previously so I could use the bag over my shoulder. It is now in regular use again, whenever I need to nip to the shop.
Draught excluder

Having just moved into a big old house, there were of course, draughts to plug.
I didn't try a fancy pattern, I just sewed up a sausage shape with a loop handle for hanging, and stuffed it firmly with toy stuffing I already had. Now it lies here, and has been very useful, stopping the cold Scottish winter air from getting into the hall.

Child's seat cover

This was a biggy for me. My four-year old has a small ex-school wooden chair. It's a lovely thing, but I've been promising her I would make her a little comfy chair cover for months. I had already purchased and cut the foam, and so buoyed by my small successes above, I went for it. I didn't have a pattern to follow, but I have similar pads on my kitchen chairs, so accurate measuring was really all I needed. I even added sewn-in cute ribbon ties which you can see below. 

I was so chuffed I had completed this, with no mistakes, and that it actually looked good, that I instantly summoned the child and the husbandbot to survey my handywork and demanded praise. 

To me, this was a really challenging piece. It was the first time I had sewed one piece of fabric to another in a curve, which took a lot of careful pinning, and slow, thoughtful stitching. Now I've proved to myself I can do it, I feel like all of the other projects in my many crafting books are no longer 'too tricky', and might actually be achievable. As I always knew, the key to getting better at the machine is practice, and the more I sew, the more I want to sew. I'm already hungrily stalking the house looking for more machine projects that need doing!

Do any of you have similar feelings towards their sewing machines? If you do, feel free to join me in 'loving the machine in 2014'
Machine now in a permanent place on my desk, ready to leap into action!

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