Signed, sealed, delivered.

TimBL-bw-big-notie-400I really enjoy learning new skills and thanks to the internet you have no excuse not to.
The inventor of the internet Tim Berners- Lee, chose not to monetise his creation, because he was so committed to the “levelling of knowledge”. He had a dream that with the wonder of the world wide web, the hierarchy of knowledge could be deconstructed and we would all live in a democracy of information, as our  intelligence was volunteered into cyber space.
I am pretty sure this utopian foresight came at moment when he was trying to do a french seam and didn’t know how or wondering what swear word was the most appropriate when his bobbin went to shit. I mean look at the fella, he’s definitely purled when he should have knitted.

I am truly grateful to all of the sewists and crafters who take the time to explain and teach via youtube, sew alongs, webinars and the like. However sometimes it can be hard to have to motivation to do a craft you know, let alone have the to capacity to pick up something new. There is a feeling I get and have seen repeatedly on sewing & craft blogs, of guilt when you don’t use your spare time for making. I had a free Sunday recently and have produced this pie chart to illustrate how I allocated my time.

js1 sunday

photo 1Although it was a much needed weekend of relaxation, still at the end of the day on Sunday I felt bad that I hadn’t used the day to scope the local fabric shop, make a muslin for a three piece lame tuxedo, alter five vintage charity shop finds and make a handful of stash busting hemlock tees to boot.

When you watch Great British Sewing Bee or Project Runway it does make you realise how much you can achieve in a very short space of time- but I can’t live all my evenings and weekends as if Claudia Winkleman were shouting “SIX MINUTES LEFT!” at me (however I COULD live all my evenings and weekends with Patrick Grant analysing my garment construction, if you know what I mean)

Sorry I digress…for my Birthday I was bought a membership to Crafty Creatives. This is a nifty service that delivers a neat little kit to your door and every month the kit has goodies and instructions for a new craft.

photo 2My first delivery taught the art of Kumihimo. This “is a Japanese form of braid-making. Cords and ribbons are made by interlacing strands. Kumi-himo is Japanese for “gathered threads”. (thanks Wikedpedia for keeping the spirit of web utopia)

As previously blogged I have been making friendship bracelets for the better part of 20 years and Kumihimo definitely felt like a grown up upgrade, like the move from ASOS to Net-a-Porter. If 10 year old me had known how to Kumihimo, I would have been very rich pedalling my wears in the playground.

The kit came with the materials and instructions for two variations, one in knotting silk and the other a beaded version.

The kit included a Kumihimo wheel, two colours of knotting silk, beading braid, glass beads and the findings and glue to make two bracelets.

The instructions are pretty clear and any confusion generally came because it’s quite a fiddly skill anyway with the swapping and numbering of 8 strands.

photo 3I shan’t try and do an online tutorial, as there are already plenty out there from less mumbly people than I.

I picked it up quite quickly and was pleased with the result. What I like about Kumihomi is that once you are in the rhythm, it is quite therapeutic and can be done on a train or in front of a QI repeat on Dave. I feel you need these kind of crafts for the days when looking at a silk screen or grading a sewing pattern is just too much to handle.

I am still to do the beaded version and might wait until I have some less ‘pink’ beads- the pink silk version is on the wrong side of girly for me already and I think the pink beaded version might be a step too far.

photo 4Future Kumihimo plans…

– a stack in neon to go all the way up my wrist
– a daintier black version with metal bead details
– turquoise beaded version to wear with gold bangles
– a long versions with tassel ends to be a belt for a Mexican style smock
– skinny ones to use as straps on summer dresses

I am eagerly awaiting my next Craft Creatives box and whatever new technique it brings.I think this is a great gift for crafters- I have been given a few months and if I am still enjoying it then I can extend. My only worry is that at some point they will hit a wall and have trouble finding easily box-able and explainable crafts, not to mention crafts that can be readily applied. The craft sphere is already vast and with such a massive selection it is natural that there are areas I am not so keen on (felting, papercraft and of course bunting) and it is a very difficult task to filter. Sometimes when I say ” I like crafts” I can see people’s faces screw up as they imagine scrap books full of pictures cute cats or every item in my house having its own bespoke crochet cover as they place me under an increasingly outdated umbrella.

What Crafty Creatives and the web and every crafternoon is doing is giving people the opportunity to learn and find a skill that suits them and their style- Sure, not everything I make is suitable for the pages of Vogue, but everything I make has been designed, constructed and finished by my little podgy hands.



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