I am part of a group on Ravelry called “Odd Ducks Swaps”. This is a group that put together Swaps following different themes each month, and allow people to join in. The Swap that caught my eye this time was Games, Games, Games! So I signed up “yes please” and then waited to have my Swap partner assigned to me. When I received my partner’s name I then went to see what was on her “Wish List”, and also everyone in the swap answered lots of questions about their favourite games.
I made some presents for my swap partner (as well as bought some other bits and pieces). When I posted her parcel I put inside a bag inspired by her favourite game, Settlers of Catan. I also gave her two “battle helmets” that she and her husband could wear whilst playing Risk, another favourite game. Then, because she likes Steampunk, I knit her a lace choker that she could wear with her Steampunk outfits.
One of the helmets (the other one was in two shades of purple):
Part of the lace choker:
The Settlers of Catan bag:
The bag had on it some sheep buttons (on the other side) and I was really proud of myself for lining it – I even managed to put in a pocket! So there is some good use of my lovely sewing machine too. I have just noticed my feet in the bottom of this picture, how odd.
Generally with these swaps you send to one person and receive your gift from a different person, but much to our surprise we were matched up and sent to each other! She sent me lots of lovely things, but I particularly wanted to show you the handmade gifts.
A Cthulhu dice bag:
Wonderful fingerless mitts:
See how well they fit?
Another dice bag, this one with Carcassonne Meeples on it:
And a handmade project bag made of Carcassonne fabric! More sewing machine fun!
Yes, you can see she sent me yummy treats too and some beautiful yarn. I love doing these swaps – the last one I did was around August last year and was Doctor Who themed – I finished it and posted while we were on our USA road trip. I’m hoping to do another one later this year, there is a Jim Henson one and some other themes that I like the look of too!
I am a firm believer that craft and hobbies are about enjoyment, not about chores, and so to make a New Year Resolution about this kind of goes against that. So for a start, I don’t have a list of “must complete” projects as such. But let me tell you a story, and I hope I’m not repeating myself.
Just over twelve months ago, my Mum asked me what I wanted for Christmas that year and I told her that I had been thinking about taking up sewing. I asked if she would mind putting some money towards a sewing machine. Dave’s Mum asked me the same question and I gave her the same answer. Silly me was not thinking about the fact that both my Mum and Helen are extremely generous, and I’m sure you now are about to realise what happened on Christmas Day. I opened a parcel from my Mum in the morning and it was an entire sewing machine, brand new and shiny. Full of glee and excitement I was. Then we drove (three hours) from Mum’s place to Dave’s Aunt & Uncle’s for his family Christmas and there under the tree was another big box from Helen. Another entire sewing machine, and I was completely in awe and feeling a bit embarrassed and greedy.
One of the machines was exchanged for store credit, and of course I spent this on yarn and other knitting goodies as soon as I could. My year of craft and hobby was consumed with knitting, and I’m sure you are now thinking: “Where were all the Blog posts about the sewing projects?” I feel even more embarrassed and greedy to tell you that the sewing machine did not get used in 2013.
I’m aware of how ungrateful this is, and so I am now taking myself by the shoulders and giving myself a shake. This year I will be sewing, as well as knitting, as well as crochet, as well as whatever else takes my fancy. My Mum gave me some Christmas money this year and I was determined it would not be spent on yarn supplies. There are Boxing Day sales happening around the place, and so yesterday morning I spent an enjoyable hour browsing sewing patterns and fabric and came home with all of this:
I have patterns for some bags, and I think enough cute “fat quarters” there to think about some sort of beginner quilt. I also bought a pattern for dolls, because when I used to sew many years ago as a teenager I did enjoy making dolls and bears. Today I sat down and traced out all the pieces of the doll pattern onto interfacing and cut them out. This took ages, and baffled Dave completely – why didn’t I just cut out the ones from the packet and use those? Well, I do remember some things from my youth – Mum always traced out all patterns from the flimsy tissue paper onto interfacing because the tissue starts to tear very quickly once you start playing with pins. Now the original patterns are still perfect and can be traced again if needed. But goodness me, it did take some time! I then cut out enough doll parts to sew up two rag dolls:
So I am already so close to my New Years Resolution of using my sewing machine. I have realised I don’t have any oil for it and want to make sure it is okay, having been packed away for a year, so I will go and pick up some tomorrow. Then I will thread her up and see if I can make myself a doll or two! I also think I had better make myself a pin cushion, as I was concerned I might spill that plastic box of pins today as I worked.