Monday, February 15, 2016

UFOs and Phds....

My name is Anna and I'm a crafter.... mostly sewing, but sewer looks like something the drains empty into and let's not go there! (I don't feel as though I qualify as a seamstress - to me it implies a level of professionalism I don't have)

So why the Alcoholics Anonymous style start? Well if you don't know you're unlikely to be a crafter of any sort! There aren't many who can take up such a past time without a level of addiction creeping in, whether it is collecting the most amazing stash of fabrics, wool, threads, buttons, paper, inkstamps etc. or simply keeping every little last scrap of something 'to use later'. There is no question about whether it might be useful, you already know it will be, and can probably list several examples as to how! Whether you'll ever get round to doing any of them however is an entirely different matter indeed.

I decided ages ago that I wasn't going to buy any new fabric for as long as I could hold out. Re-purposing old clothes etc was fine, but having read a couple of articles about the environmental impact of new cotton I wasn't going to buy anything new when I had such a huge stash already in my cupboards. The theory was this would also help me reduce the size of my stash as I was determined to use what I had already in hand for projects as they came up, another aspect of my downsizing. This was going really well, and I made a plaited rag rug out of a big bag of old clothes for a Christmas present which cleared a considerable amount of space in my cupboard. But then someone saw what I'd made and said longingly how they'd always wanted a rug like that, and they had just the place for it, but they'd prefer different colours.... they'd get around to making one one day. Well when that person is a friend who has done so much for you it is hard to resist the idea of making them one for their birthday, but I don't wear the colours in question very often so don't have the right coloured old t-shirts etc, so a bundle was bought from the Salvation Army 50c box and the gap in my cupboard is full again! At least until I've finished the next rug anyway.

I recently completed my mission to get rid of the plastic in my sewing cupboard - well the boxes and bags the fabric was in anyway, I'm not planning to ditch my quilting ruler and such like in a hurry. The bonus of making fabric bags to hold the stash being I used up some of the aforementioned stash in the process and the bags fit in the cupboard better than boxes etc so I can fit more in. So the pile of material that had been in a bag in front of the cupboard now fit inside it, woo hoo! And that bag could now get repurposed to hold the overlocker which really needed something strong with handles, excellent. But that bag was also my work-in-progress bag, my collection of UnFinished Objects and Projects Half Done which then needed a new home.

One of the PHDs in question was the makings of a fabric basket with a hand pieced patchwork panel that I'd started on just over a year ago. I'd originally intended it to be part of a duvet cover, but then decided the colours didn't really work with what else I had in mind to use. So when various fabric baskets I'd made for presents over the last year or so had proved to be a success I decided I'd incorporate it into one for me. But finishing a project for me has kept falling down the 'to do' list in favour of assorted birthday, Christmas presents etc and had just sat there along with several other similar tasks. So with a new year, and on a mission to clear my backlog of UFOs I got on with it. After all I can't leave a pile of UFOs sitting loose in my room, I'm bound to lose something crucial if that situation lingers!

But you know how it is, good intentions and all that. Well I got sidetracked. But what I got sidetracked by were all the other UFOs and PHDs, who once they were out in the light of day got new life. So now I finally have that new duvet cover and pillowcase made with the other fabrics that the piecework panel didn't work with! A couple of things waiting to be mended have been, a few projects that had only got as far as being a pile of material and a pattern have been put away again until such time as they are actually needed, a pair of old silk trousers has been repurposed into a summer nightie, and a fabric 'bucket' has been finished and found a use for (the original intended recipient having long since got something different for their birthday!). And now I'm back to my task basket and it is almost completed, with only a couple of UFOs left on the pile to go in it when it is done.

So, my goal is to make those up too before starting anything new, and not to let the pile get so big again. It has been quite rewarding clearing the clutter. A different kind of clutter, but certainly a very visible sort given where the pile usually sits. It has been an insightful process too as I can see how my priorities have changed over the time the UFOs etc had built up, for example several of the projects I simply put away again (having not reached the stage of putting scissors to fabric) were clothes I was planning to make. I probably will make them still, but not until I need them! I've reduced my wardrobe volume considerably in the last 12 months, and I've yet to find myself stuck for something to wear. Others were for 'things' that I don't especially need, but I'd really liked when I'd seen the idea in a magazine or Perhaps they too will get made one day, but not until I have a need for them. It has been reassuring to find I was putting stuff away without feeling as though I was giving anything up or being sacrificial. It just didn't feel like it was important to make those things in the near future, and I probably got just as great a sense of satisfaction in clearing them away as I did from getting the stuff that had been started finished!

It all feels like another step towards proving to myself that Tiny House living is an achievable option. Although when it comes to laying out material to pin on patterns, or pinning the layers of a quilt together I'd still need a big floor space - another reason to live as part of a community with some large communal space!


Anonymous said...

When I looked at a house with nearly all wooden/lino type floors I did think "but how would I block my knitting"? Currently it gets pinned to a large clean towel and the pins go through that into the carpet and it works well - but that would have been an issue!

The priorities that crafters have may be different to the rest of the world

And I am so impressed with you for not only aiming to downsize, but also working through your UFOs. I'm about to go and tackle the spare room clutter which is mainly craft stuff plus a bit of stuff that came direct from mum's rather than into storage.

Anna Dunford said...

I've looked at various Tiny House plans, videos etc and thought that's all very nice but there's nowhere to use a sewing machine! Whilst I could happily live with a breakfast bar for eating at it just isn't going to work for sewing - how can you use a foot pedal when you're perched up on a stool with your feet off the ground?! I suppose I could use a box to put the pedal on etc, but I think I'd rather have a proper table. Sewing at the dining table is one thing, but at a worktop doubling as a kitchen bench just seems like accidents waiting to happen....

Good luck with sorting yours and Joan's stuff out ready to move - that's quite a mission!