RSS

Tag Archives: cycling bandanna

this whole creative thing

It’s possibly weird, and probably because the things others regard as creative I regard as just part of everyday life, but when I think about my own creativity, it extends to what I do musically and not at all to the sewing, knitting, crochet and the like.

The music? I take a song and make it my own. The words and the notes provide direction but the interpretation is mine. I think about it even when I’m not actively singing. I plan how I should best approach certain technical aspects and ponder what story the words are telling and, therefore, how they should be delivered to impart maximum impact.

The knitting? I’m just following a pattern to make something that looks like what the picture says it should. I don’t necessarily consider that clever. Maybe if I were a more adventurous knitter, I’d have a different view of things but, you know, what I knit is easy stuff and pretty yarn does a lot of the work. Mostly, there’s a need for something and I have the skills to make the something to meet that need. It’s usually the case that someone else has already done the hard work of nutting out the pattern. And that some other knitter could follow that pattern and come up with a very similar result.

The sewing, specifically making clothes? I arrive at having something functional and necessary that possibly – even probably – fits better than RTW and is better made (I don’t, however, make many clothes because, frankly, I don’t see the need for a new dress each day of the week; and I wear my clothes for a long, long time). I understand about the cleverness some people bring to their sewing, cleverness that is decidedly creative, but I simply don’t sew enough and certainly not enough clothes.

A very old, very well cared for and much worn guernsey that's almost as good as new. You don't need a new jumper every day!

A very old, very well cared for and much worn guernsey that’s almost as good as new. You don’t need a new jumper every day!

I make lots of lavender bags and simple things like shopping totes and bandannas and toobs for cyclists but they’re neither terribly clever nor at all spectacular and, in many cases, not truly my invention. Someone else came up with the idea for a toob, for example. I merely re-created something similar when necessity dictated because YoungB was fed up with having a cold face and something that got dragged down his face each time he put his helmet on. You might call that an improvement, I suppose, but the basic idea wasn’t mine.

I have a book that describes making pyramid-shaped juggling balls for kids (to stave off boredom during holidays) and I saw some dashing pyramid-shaped paperweights (filled with rice, I think the seller told me). I’d spent a lot of years making little, ravioli-shaped lavender bags, completely handsewn and extraordinarily time consuming, so I was looking for something simpler and faster. I merely adapted those two similar ideas to come up with my pyramid lavender bags (look on Etsy and you’ll see that plenty of folk make pyramid lavender bags). Original? Hardly; though perhaps the mix in mine is one nobody else uses. Creative? Not to my mind.

Is it all about the mystique that nowadays attaches to these once mundane tasks? Time was, and it really wasn’t that long ago, when every woman and quite a few men did these sorts of things as a matter of course and necessity. It is probably true that there have always been some who took it to better levels – tidier stitch definition, neater seams, precision finishing – but it wasn’t anything exceptional and/or special. My Dad used mattress stitch to mend everything; not always neat but always effective! My Mum, who’d been taught by her own mother who was a tailoress, had the right stitch for each mending job: always tidy, even when she apostrophised it as “cobbled together”. She would often add in such cases that, “A blind man would be glad to see it.” Quite so.

Time was, we were a more musically literate society, too. I grew up in a family where everyone sang, everyone had piano lessons and it wasn’t at all weird to gather for a sing-song. I’m of an age and system where the recorder was standard issue at school (or fife if you went public system, like Youngest Aunt; a much trickier instrument altogether) or perhaps there was even a school band where you could have a good time blowing your own trumpet (or possibly trombone, if your arms were long enough). I’m not necessarily suggesting we have to bring back that era or those values or that older system. But when I grew up and everyone knitted and sewed and a lot of people played piano and sang, to bring excellence to the music was special. You had to have something extra to do that.

Maybe that’s what I mean when I say music is where the creativity is, because there were many fine, skilled pianists and singers, too; but only some of them made you sit up and listen and really pay attention to their performance. By and large, the other things – the sewing, knitting and crochet – don’t grab your attention as anything out of the ordinary. They’re part of life and that’s about it. And if they do, then perhaps they’ve gone past that utilitarian stage to being something beyond. Perhaps then they truly are creations.

And perhaps you should now go and read Karen’s post!

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

effective even if inelegant

Today Dr B has gone out motorcycling with an old schoolmate. He’s wearing his RST jeans with their armour inserts. The replacement pocket I made works beautifully, he said. Great. And because he couldn’t find his own toob and YoungB isn’t using his, he’s also wearing that black toob I made for YoungB. Warms the cockles of your heart. They take it very much for granted that I can and/or will do these things for them but I don’t mind being an everyday, functional part of their lives. Yesterday, I did a spot of handsewing for Dr B, repairing a couple of splits on his motorcycling inner gloves. It’s not classy stuff and perhaps the sewing could have been neater – I mean, black thread on black fabric and small seams with a tricky curve combined with ageing fingers! –  but it does the job.

By way of a little footnote to yesterday’s post, that fabric I used for the replacement pocket is some of the leftovers from two of Dr B’s cycling bandannas and there have been several lavender bags made from it as well. Not a lot goes to waste in our house, unless it’s so old and worn it’s not worth recycling (even then, I’ve been known to chop it up to use as stuffing for door stoppers and cushions). Ideally, you would hope I might have made that pocket out of an old, white, cotton sheet. Any of those that we have are very old indeed (we’re talking in excess of 50 years).

I thought that, as long as it was sturdy cotton, then what it looked like when it was inside the jeans mattered not. Who was going to see it to comment? Dr B is delighted. He asked, in fact, if I could make some pockets for YoungB to attach to his Draggins, which don’t come so equipped. That means I’d have to put velcro on the jeans as well as the pockets. That would mean sewing four lots of velcro! I’ve passed on that for now; but if I find a good way of sewing velcro, I’ll bump it up the priority list. There’s no harm at all in providing motorcyclists with as much protection as possible.

Meanwhile, it’s Australia Day and I have the house to myself for a few hours. Aha! This might be just the opportunity for a spot of sewing for me! How do you plan to spend the day?

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 26, 2013 in Cycling, Motorcycling, Sewing

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

slightly off-square bandanna

Cycling bandanna number 2 is made and I can only say that, as with the grey sweatshirt and its green prototype, the original was better. Number 2 is slightly off square. Obviously somewhere I measured wrongly or pinned crookedly – the sewing is all right given one or both of those initial mistakes – but across the diagonal I don’t think there’s much loss of size and Dr B was happy with it. Therefore I now have the orange fabric on my cutting table.

Summer having returned with some enthusiasm, for a couple of days anyway, I think his third bandanna might just have to wait until I’ve magicked up a new top for me. My need is reaching the point of desperation that his for a bandanna had reached and now he has two and I – well, I just need one (top, let me be clear; I’m not into bandannas at all). Should I dig out the pattern now or let the fabric sit there for a bit longer?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Cycling, Sewing

 

Tags: , ,

fifty things

I’m sure there are at least that many chores awaiting my immediate attention. I am, however, far too tired to attempt any of them (it’s not wise to sew when you’re tired). I bought some fabric for Dr B’s bandanna and brought it home to approval from both him and YoungB. This is what it looks like:

Fairly wild, isn’t it?

We were discussing size of finished article and I was attempting to explain that I’d have to make a different calculation depending on whether I used a flat hem or a rolled hem. Dr B wanted a flat hem because a rolled hem wouldn’t be flat, would it? I gave up at that point. Obviously I’m incoherent. In any case, I was able to convince him that the hem wouldn’t dig in either way because he’d be wearing the square of fabric with the diagonal across his forehead. Oh, yeah. That’s right! But not tonight he won’t.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on October 5, 2012 in Cycling, Sewing

 

Tags: , ,

white fluff on a blue jacket

Today I managed to do a row and a bit of my White Caps Cowl while I was on the bus. Darn it all, the yarn made such a mess of my blue jacket that I’m revising my plans with regard to knitting on the way to work. I don’t mind so much messing up clothes when I’m on the way home but I’m supposed to look presentable for work. Hm, I might have to find another little knitting project to keep me busy.

And in the way that other people sometimes throw my plans into disarray, Dr B asked for a bandanna. He wasn’t necessarily asking me to make one, but he was hoping he might be able to find one with funky fabric for cycling purposes. In the end, I offered to make it. I spent my lunch break checking out fabric at the local Spotlight store. The restrictions related to not having flowery fabrics (or music that wasn’t Dr B’s own – no, there’s no fabric with his music on it, I promise you! – which ruled out quite a lot of options that I would have thought might be passable otherwise) or anything green (which he doesn’t much like, probably because I do) or too thick or with too high a polyester content. Ideally I wanted to find a pure cotton fabric. Quilting fabrics offer a good range but they’re generally heavier than might be desirable for a bandanna that has to go under a cycling helmet. I found some that I thought might be all right, anyway.

YoungB pointed out that cyclists wear some fairly wild bandannas (we know this to be true) but even he vetoed some of the options. His words were to the effect that, if Dr B were to wear that fabric as a bandanna he (YoungB) would have to laugh at him (Dr B) to save everyone or anyone else having to do so. Oh, how did I manage to get the boys to “audit” the fabric? (Neither has the patience for fabric shopping, I tell you from long experience, unless it’s for themselves and even then their attention span is, well, short.) Why, phone camera, of course. I might be technologically inept – I am; just ask YoungB about how I alway mess up trying to set up the TV unless he’s there to tell me how – but I have my moments.

Sure, there are plenty of bandannas available but Dr B wears his out with amazing rapidity so the idea of my making a couple for him is far from silly and, once I’ve tracked down a fabric he’s prepared to wear, shouldn’t actually take very long. A square of fabric with a rolled hem – he’s not after the fancy shaped sort you can buy. He has a couple of those and while they’re good, they don’t provide quite as much protection for his head as the cotton numbers that he already owns – should be a reasonably quick sewing projection, don’t you think? And then I can get back to my aprons and my knitting!

Sorry, either my computer is playing up or our Internet connection is but I’ve had a few crashes in the writing of this post so plan to send it as is without photos or links. Soz, as the kids these days would say. 🙂

 
3 Comments

Posted by on October 4, 2012 in Cycling, Knitting, Sewing

 

Tags: , , , , ,