It won’t be long before I can start a few seeds indoors under grow lights. First will be the peppers and onions, followed a few weeks later by the tomatoes and brassicas. But in the meantime what’s a gardener supposed to do?
Well this winter I decided to rediscover my sewing machine. For as long as I can remember I have always liked to sew. As a child I made soft toys using remnants from the local fabric store. As a young adult, I enjoyed using the same source of remnants to design my own clothes and as a new home owner I made items for my home. But once I became a mum, my life became hectic and wonderfully busy; the sewing machine made way for books, toy trucks, paints and crayons.
So it’s been a while since my sewing machine has been used and it needed a bit of dusting off, not to mention some sharpening up of my sewing skills; I needed something not too difficult to get me started.
Aprons, I thought. Yes, aprons would be a good place to start. I rummaged through my stash of fabrics and added a few more from elsewhere and got started combining patterns and colours to make some retro style aprons. It wasn’t long before I was enjoying myself and I soon had quite a collection of reversible aprons ready for the Christmas Markets.
OK, so what next? I had purchased a great little book The Artful Bird: Feathered Friends to Make and Sew by Abigail Glassenberg with patterns for a number of different birds and clear instructions on how to make your own patterns. But none of my fabrics were suitable, they all had large prints which would have been lost on smaller items. In my cupboard, I had a number of white cotton sheets that were never used, so I decided it would be fun to create my own fabrics. Using fabric paints, I brushed, splashed and dropped a variety of colours onto the sheets and ended up with some amazing results. The effects of combining colours is further enhanced by sprinkling salt on the wet fabric.
The salt acts by pulling and distorting the pigments of colour and the finished result is different every time, depending on how wet the fabric is and the humidity of the room.
So using these ‘new’ fabrics I started with Abby’s pattern for a Rooster. Next I moved onto the Owl, making a few changes to the original pattern. The books introduction encourages readers to make their own designs, so inspired by the way my first birds turned out, I followed the book’s instructions and made an attempt at designing my own patterns.
Here are some pictures of what I ended up with: