Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teaching Self to Make Things

The situation in this part of the world is such that it is possible to buy clothing for next to nothing (we all know that this is because there are people who are willing to make them for us for even less than that). Fabrics and equipment for making clothes are not easily available any more. While I admire the handiwork my grandmother used to do, it was out of necessity more than anything else that she and other women made things for their household. However, my grandmother never stopped making, even when situation improved and she was able to buy things in shops. I am glad I feel the way I feel about craft and making, creating even. I have been buying clothes most of my life, shopping was my passion for a long time until it was time I could no longer find anything I liked in shops. I remember looking at a garment in a shop thinking along the lines of "this is not bad, if only it fitted better, and didn't have this bit here or wasn't this long or short or wide or narrow or had at least a bit of natural fabric in it rather than 100%polyester... Until I became really excited when I decided I am going to try and MAKE it myself since. And I began trying teaching myself the basics of sewing, embroidery, researching the fabrics market, suppliers of equipment... This process is ongoing and it feels unbelievably right - designing, crafting and making. There is still loads to learn but how lucky I am to be able to do it! It no longer matters that clothes and some other things for the home for instance are in abundance in shops in a variety of styles and price tags. It is no more satisfactory to just pay for an item! Let's put some time into design, sourcing materials, making. The pleasure from using a self-made item will be a thousand-fold.. Here I made a list of things I would like to learn-how-to and make, like my grandmother used to: 1. A night gown or a pajamas for my daughter. I already have 1m of organic undyed flannel fabric. I should be able to do this by next winter! 2. Something crocheted like this pretty panel from a 1976 Crochet Projects brochure I bought in a charity shop recently: 3. Knit jumpers and hats/scarves for all the family. 4. This item is most important: Generally, design and make rather than buy things whenever possible.

Something about my grandmother

I would like to publish some photos of a few things made by my grandmother. Here is a big crocheted table centrepiece (a fruit bowl goes in the middle). This is gigantic (over 1m in diameter). My grandmother has made a number of these on request from family and friends. She soaks them in salt which crystallises to keep their shape! I call them octopi. And these are my first ever tiny socks she made:
These are a couple of embroidered cotton and linen towels made in 50s-60s (part of my dowry:):
This one is my favourite, the work is so intricate. Huge amount of time has gone into it, no doubt:
And here are some of the things much needed in this part of the world where it's almost always cold enough to wear something wooly (these are recent and made by my grandmother out of remnants found at home as she can't go shopping for wool anymore). The slippers are for me and the vest is for my daughter :
The green crocheted shawl is my favourite. Here it is taken with a cushion I made for my etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/kaftansarafan
It is seldom that I don't remember my grandmother when I am making something.