Saturday, March 17, 2007

More Pros Than Cons?

You are totally going to laugh. I found out how I got that headache yesterday — I forgot to put tea in my teapot! The worst part is that I drank several cups of it without noticing. I thought it was a bit weak but really, how could I have gone all the way to mid-afternoon without seeing or at least tasting that there was no tea in my (admittedly tea-coloured) cup? Just shows you how out of it I really am. And how dependant on at least some caffeine. I drink really weak tea (not plain water usually!) and can get several cups from one normal teabag. Not that I often use teabags. Usually I use loose tea so I can adjust the amount and not waste as much and at the same time use yummy and expensive high-quality leaves. But no tea at all is just ridiculous! And no, I have no plans to give up caffeine altogether. It doesn’t keep me awake, make me jittery or otherwise have any negative side effects. The only negative is if I don’t get at least a small dose every day I get a guaranteed migraine. And it took a while for the headache to go away once I figured out the problem. I’m I stupid or what??

On another subject entirely, I was thinking about sewing (even though I should be actually doing the sewing instead of thinking about it) and I’ve realized there are definite pros & cons to sewing your own clothes. The biggest disadvantage is you can’t try the garment on before you buy. You have to have a good imagination to be able to picture the style (including any mods you wish) in your chosen fabric and on your body. If you make it up and it looks awful on you, you can’t just put it back on the rack! And it’s pretty hard to chuck it if you have time and money invested in it. Occasionally it can be salvaged but not always. It’s not necessarily a monetary savings in either. Sometimes sewing your own costs more than ready-to-wear, especially if you use pricier high-quality fabrics. Or buy Vogue patterns at full retail! And that’s not even counting your time and effort. The biggest advantage is that you get something that doesn’t look like anyone else’s. If you are experienced enough at sewing it should fit you better than anything you can buy. You can express your own style and use fabrics and shapes that are unique to you. Even stamp, dye, print and paint your fabrics either before or after sewing. Hey, if you really want to go overboard, weave your own fabrics. Yes, I’ve actually done this. Some of the clothing is actually even still wearable.

Speaking of weaving, I’ve signed up for a workshop for the first time in absolutely ages. I haven’t actually woven much of anything for even longer than ages. However, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to learn more about woven shibori with Catharine Ellis. I love her work! A number of years ago one of my friends took a workshop with her and produced some very interesting samples. I cribbed her notes and did a little sample and then wove and sewed a shirt-jacket using a simple form of the technique. Later I used it again for front flaps on another loose shirt. I think those were the last 2 woven garments I’ve made! I also attended a seminar with Catharine in 2002 when we had Convergence here in Vancouver. But she has experimented more since then and developed some new techniques. I have her book but it’s so much more inspiring to take a workshop. We will be using our own looms (no round-robin, yay!) and working with either a wool, cotton or silk warp, our choice. We have choices in threading as well which will make for some interesting samples as we check out what others are doing in the class.

I’m planning to use wool since I’ve done cotton and silk is just, well, too pricey for experimentation. At least until I get some more experience. Also with wool you can use fulling to add to the effects. And perhaps an overtwisted weft and maybe even try some yarn I have in the stash that’s wool and Elité (stretchy). I have a whole cone and a half of 2/20’s that fulls OK so hopefully that will be acceptable. It’s a bit finer and a bit slower in fulling than the recommended superfine merino but it’s in the stash. I’m not ordering new yarn when I’ve got practically my own yarn shop already! Luckily the workshop isn’t until May so I’ve got time to wind the warp and get it on the loom without clashing with the zillion and one other things I’m supposed to be doing. Did I mention that I have to knit a sock for a moose? For next month? Oy.

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