Tuesday, February 21, 2012

modest beginnings

I haven't had a lot of words inside me lately. This...is not usual.

image via qf8

Partly, I'm sure, it's because of the season, and partly because the kids have been sick, but I also have this new theory that I have limited pools of creativity. I never expected this: I thought different veins of thinking drew from different wells. Now I'm not so sure.

I've become obsessed with sewing.

Oh, this? I'm just hand quilting some happy deer to make an iPad case. Wait until you see the fabric I have for the interior lining -- but not yet, because I'm going to install a zipper pocket, so I couldn't quilt the lining to the outside fabric.

I have these grand plans, despite having no technical knowledge whatsoever. But in the age of Pinterest and YouTube and modern quilt guild bloggers, does that matter? I've decided: no. I'm going to become a self-taught-with-internet-assistance sewist. It's how I learned everything I know about cake decorating, and I'll never open a pastry shop, but I can impress my kids. So I assume it's a good model for learning to sew.

I am having dreams about fabric. I am thinking in ways my brain has never worked before: I see a cute skirt and instead of wondering how much it costs, I think: oh, a little interfacing for the waistband and an invisible zipper and I could make that!

And this is a problem, because let's be clear: I cannot (yet) make that. But I'm learning about the elements of construction and I've been to Jo-Ann fabrics three times in the past two weeks on my lunch hour to pick up some Gutermann cotton thread in another color and do you even know how many colors zippers come in? Let me just tell you that my iPad case will one day soon boast a vertical 6-inch lime green zipper on the small pocket that will hold cords and adapters, and a 9-inch fuschia zipper for the main opening at the top. Whee, colored zippers! And I've never installed a zipper (yet) in my life, but that's why we have  Pinterest tutorials.

Some of my earliest memories are color. Maybe that's true for everybody, but I remember the deep red velvet of the movie theater seats when my dad took me to see a Muppet movie when I was two; I remember staring at the aura of sunspots through ginkgo leaves while feeding ducks at the park when I was three; I remember the thick luminous gray of a raindrop stuck in a square of window screen when I was four. I studied English and art history in college: English for words and art history for color and the 'history' part because I can be a wordsmith but not an art maker, so I've always thought, because I don't have that innate talent. But in sewing the beauty is already in the fabric, and the making comes in the construction, and I can't remember the last time I was so excited to learn a whole new talent.

That's entirely untrue: the last time I aggressively pursued a new talent it was this space. It was blogging. I am comfortable here, now, entirely aware of my personal goals and what I do and don't want to pursue. But sewing: who knows? I could quilt or make clothes or dolls or aprons and pot holders or mobiles wall hangings or iPad cases. I want to try it all, and figure out what thrills me. (Paper piecing!) And I'm so occupied with thinking visually that I haven't been thinking verbally. Isn't that interesting?

I'm signed up for a sewing class at a huge local fabric shop for this Sunday and it'ssofrustratingIcan'tbelieveit I'm waitlisted. Waitlisted! What? I need this class to give me a technical foundation with using my machine so that I can go on to teach myself. I might never stop dreaming in fabric if I don't start working more with it. That registration needs to open up, stat.

Source: amptoons.com via Pam on Pinterest

Also, are there any sewists or quilters among you? Show of hands, please, because you-the-collective-you are not going to want to hear about all this. I think I'm going to have to make some new friends just so I don't make you all crazy.

I promise I'll show you my iPad case, though. I'm smiling shyly at you -- can you sense it? Because I might not (yet) actually know what I'm doing, but I'm pretty excited about it.

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