This blog is back in public view, after its little hiatus when I limited it to about 5 people. I had become shy, and worried about my professional life clashing with my leisure pursuits. Did it send an odd message, I told myself, if I paraded my various crafty bits in an area potentially read by those you know me as a Prof — and particularly my students? It then occurred to me that endlessly presenting myself as the driven achieving academic wasn’t necessarily terribly emancipatory to other women trying to function in that field, and possibly doing a better job of balacing it all than I am. After all, I do end up pretty much ever end of term on antibiotics for one reason or another… So here’s to allowing ourselves space to play too, even when work deadlines call. Otherwise where’s the fun of it all? Plus I am feeling good for finishing another book chapter, so my guilt is somewhat diminished.
So, spurred on by Amanda Jean’s “little projects” invitation, I got down to play. Actually, I never got round to publicly announcing what my list might be — but that was at least partly because the top item of my list would have been “Stop making lists (even in your head) and putting pressure on yourself at the end of a busy term”! Second on the list should be “Qui(l)t the guilt!”. So then in the absence of any real list, I just picked up things I wanted to do in the past couple of weeks. It’s finally been hot here in Switzerland, so making children’s clothes was getting urgent as — inevitably — nothing much fit from last summer. I made three such dresses in the past week, and with another two are cut and awaiting some sewing.
This little polka dot dress was the second of many, the first being this one made from what one would have called an old-second-hand–scruff-sheet-picked-in-a-charity-shop and might now be called a “vintage sheet”. But whatever it’s name, it was dirt cheap material, and gloriously thin and cool. Maybe I need one too? But somehow I suspect this easy little shape wouldn’t look quite so great on me…
This probably looks rather more like a nightie than a dress, but it’s certainly quick to make and light to wear. The pattern was adapted from this French book. I made a simplified version of the basic pattern, and put a button at the back to let the head through. This is size 10 years — and Miss R is not yet 6. I made another in green / white gingham yesterday for one of the many birthday parties Miss R seems to be invited to these days. I’ve got it down to a fine art and I can make the whole thing, including cutting, in less than an hour. Just my sort of project! (Note the guinea pigs’ quilt in the background on the balcony! This is a quilty family indeed.)
Then this Sunday morning, as Mr T and the children were out in the park cycling before the rain came, I finished Mr A’s quilt made from material picked up in New York at the City Quilter when attending a conference (now of course it’s not as if I chose to attend scientific conferences based on their proximity to quilting shops, is it? Is it?). I added some favourite bits and pieces to a little charm pack they had put together, and together with bits from a white sheet, I came up with this:
Artistic it is not, but cheerful. As this little Three-year-old has just learnt to play I Spy (“… something beginning with q, q, q…”), it seemed just the right sort of project to keep him amused. He chose the back which is made from the same old sheet as the back of the shorts he is wearing in this picture.
Rest time offered the perfect time to pile himself high with quilts (“I want three…”) and have some quiet time.
Thanks Amanda for a nice incentive to play and get things done. Now I just have one more little dress to make before 5pm this afternoon, and then I can go back to playing with oranges and slushy browns to make a quilt for one of my doctoral students who (whopee!) has just finished writing her dissertation.
Happy week! JJ