When I first started blogging with Bec all those eons ago over at Glamorouse (which is doing very peculiar things in terms of its ‘look’) we were part of a little community of bloggers which was bizarrely very craft focused. I blame Bec. Apart from being a huge braniac and loving riddles she can also sew. Or is it knit? Or probably both.
Anyway. It was a bit weird really because I had not sewn anything or been particularly ‘crafty’ for years. Decades even. In fact, doing craft activities at home with my children positively makes my neck itch – all that setting up, all that mess and what? All for three minutes of mayhem and an hour of cleaning up? Meh.
But when I was at school I did do a fair bit of craft-type stuff. Not dress making mind you – I’m still damaged by family members who make outfits in floral stretch cotton with elastic waists and cowl necks – but stuff like cross-stitch. I like cross-stitch. All that order I guess. In fact, when I was on bed rest during Oscar’s pregnancy I started a mammoth one of cute little elves playing musical instruments in the forest. I know. WTF. I blame pregnancy hormones on that one TOTALLY. Anyway, it’s about one quarter finished and now has some great stains on it from the hoop and where I’d threaded the needle. Oh I’ve pulled it out over the years and thought, I must finish that and maybe put each of the boys’ names and their date of births along the bottom. Curiously each of those times probably coincides with being pregnant. Funny that.
I kind of rebelled against this bizarre cohort of bloggers for a while – in a ‘what the hell am I doing hanging with this knitters when I don’t even know how to knit* let alone want to – and headed off to find my like kind – the cooks.
But you know what? The food bloggers are a bit of a weird bunch – apart from Smitten Kitchen and The Pioneer Woman who I check in with daily – there are very few I ‘connected’ with. It just seemed more competitive, less of a community and more of a bake-off.
And so I found myself drawn back again to the world of crafting bloggers. Goddamnit.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I never left some of the crafty buggers but their world just seemed so mysterious to me. I mean, Suse can twitter and knit. AT THE SAME TIME.
And I’ve sort of got that fan idolisation for Sooz who seems to whip up highly complicated things in outrageously short spans of time. I won a hat made by her a few months back and while it doesn’t fit my Halloween-pumpkin sized head it fits my mum and as summer approaches I will be able to marvel at her remarkable sewing more days than not. She also made me a great (or what some in the crafting world would call a ‘darling’) little grab and run bag that just holds my wallet, sunglasses and phone. I drag that bag everywhere.
Don’t even get me started on Alison over at 6.5st – her blog is as stunning as the creations she produces. Intimidated? MUCH.
But it was Pip at Meet me at Mikes which I think made me think there were projects I could do – her world is as much about craft and creation as it is about imagination and creativity. Suddenly what all these wonderful women do so easily seemed a little bit more accessible? That’s not the word – but I guess she was doing things that weren’t just sewing or knitting or crotcheting and that just opened my craft-bigoted mind.
I would stand staring at her book in various book stores unable to justify the outlay in our current church mice financial status. Then through good luck or planetary alignment I won a copy through her website.
And I guess just owning such a book unlocked one heck of a door because first there was this:
Which technically I still haven’t finished (it needs a varnish on it because it feels like you’re standing on a wall. You know, because it is technically wall paint.)
And then there has been the purchasing of fabric from Ikea for no other reason than I.liked.them.
Then there was yesterday.
Yesterday I made something called a ‘softie’ – a cute soft toy. OH YES I DID.
The pattern and instructions came from Pip’s book. The project was by Fliss Dodd for an “Udderly lovely cow” and it was suitable for “the confident beginner”. It should take about three hours to make.
So naturally I thought – how hard can it be!
Let’s just say that cutting out the pieces took me a good hour and a half.
I re-learnt how to fell stitch (I really wanted to blanket stitch but I couldn’t find a YouTube video showing how to do one around the edge of something which is attached to something else – the only ones I found were on the edge of something on its own.) I did some French knots. I DEVIATED FROM THE PATTERN. Just a little.
I had to use a sewing machine. Behold the Beast:
My mum bought this in the early 60s. She still has the operational book (in pristine condition) and I learnt to sew on it in the early 80s. It is all steel and subsequently weighs a tonne. It’s quite intimidating.
Anyway. I got to bed at 2am because with GOD AS MY WITNESS I was going to make this FUCKING COW in one day.
Behold, the Fucking Cow:
See those ears? They’re backwards. But do you think on realising this at 1.30 this morning I was going to unpick them and fix it? Correctamundo!
Jasper saw it this morning and immediately claimed it as his own.
There was quite a violent exchange between Jasper and Grover under the dining room table for ‘Moo’. And I really was beginning to think it was a fucking cow.
Until Jasper saw the pattern by Jhoanna Monte Aranez for “Zing the polite cat”, threw ‘Moo’ the Fucking Cow to Grover and said he wanted a purple cat. NOW.
* This is technically not true it’s just been so long since I have knitted that I just find the whole process incredibly tedious.