Friday, January 06, 2006

My First Blog Post - The Lion, The Seam Ripper, and the Sewing Room

This is an experiment for me- I don't know if people are so interested in my thoughts and what projects I am working on, but I am challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone and do new things this year. The main things I plan to share about are the creative processes of my quilting. I got a new digital camera, so I plan on sharing pictures along the way once I figure things out!

I have a free day today so after fooling around on the computer for a bit it's off to my sewing room. I have had my sewing room for only a few months now and I am loving it! One of the perks of our nest being closer to empty. I really was shocked that I still can't fit all my stuff in one room, but at least I can find what I'm looking for now in a reasonable amount of time. I still have a twin bed in there in deference to my daughter - (she's still in shock that it changed so quickly), but eventually there will be another sewing table in place of that.

Sewing plans for today - work on small art piece. Cut out 6.5" squares of clothing for a memory quilt project for someone. Maybe redo some of the paper pieced squares of a miniature lighthouse project. As I was sewing the squares together I found about 6 or 7 mistakes (imagine that!). Contrary to popular notion I am not perfect, nor does every project go together perfectly! I am just picky and get it right eventually!

I have a funny story of a project that really was a challenge! Early in December I was contacted regarding making costumes for a play. I agreed, but with other commitments was unable to start the project until almost Christmas. One of the costumes is a lion. Not just any lion, but Azlan - so it has to look right, no cheesy looking lions allowed. I cannot find appropriate materials for a lions mane. The wearer of the costume has an inspiration and calls a taxidermist. No, he cannot come up with any lion fur, but he has a bear skin he would be glad to donate to the cause.

In a moment of temporary insanity I agree to work with the bear skin. I suppose I was hoping it would be a brown bear skin and not look too bad. Well, it was a black bear. Very black. No, that's not going to work, maybe we can dye it. After an unsuccessful e-search I decided that regular hair dye was the way to go. So, I sewed the hood together first. It really wasn't too bad to sew, just butted up the edges and zig-zagged them together. But it's really heavy and bulky. Plus, there is now bear fur all over me, the floor, the table, and everything else. It smells a little funny, but not too bad.

Now comes the dying part - I unsuccessfully tried to dodge that part, but couldn't find a volunteer hair dresser to help me out (imagine that). Up to the tub go me and the bear fur. 2 boxes of dye later it's starting to turn dark brown. I dry it with a hair dryer, but it's still way too dark. I tried another box and it looks a bit better, but it is still really dark, and I am done. This is just way too hard, and I do not want to go any further. Plus that by now the skin is drenched, too and it is twice as heavy as it was before. So I drape the thing over a laundry basket and set it out to dry. It doesn't help a bit that it is pouring down rain and the humidity is so high!

The wearer of the skin took it with him, and he dyed it next. 2 more boxes of die later, it's quite a bit lighter, though still not great, but we are both done with dying now! Needless to say, I was quite relieved when the project was finished and picked up on Wednesday! I'm curious to hear people's comments when they see the play. I will continue to volunteer to sew for the local productions, but no more animals - I'm sticking with real clothing pieces!  As you can see, it doesn't look too bad, and the play was successful.

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