The Jackie Gauntlet
Today I began a new 30 day challenge. One of my favourite blogs, The Jackie Blog, has thrown down the Gauntlet – a challenge to do something every day for 30 days which will make an improvement in some area of your life. Fortunately this challenge does not have to begin on the first of the month as I would have missed that for the challenge I have chosen.
I have chosen a creative challenge as that is what I most want to do and find hardest to stick to. I have other areas of my life which might need improving more urgently, but I am hoping this one will improve my mood and thus make me more inclined to manage other things as well. One reason I have not posted much lately is I have been feeling quite low. I don’t want to spread that around so it has been easier to keep quiet. Creativity is a good therapy for depression, so I hope it works!
Two weeks ago today I attended the Hobbycrafts Fashion Embroidery and Stitch show with my Mum. We had a lovely day, saw loads of inspiring crafts, chatted to interesting people and bought a few crafting supplies. I also bought an embellisher, a machine for needle felting. I mentioned the needle felted penguins I made recently (still no photo of them, sorry!) and the hand held felting needles are great for having a go and for making 3D objects, but ever since I discovered there was a machine for it I have desired one. I didn’t get one sooner for 2 reasons:
1) if I was going back to my PhD I would have no time to use it.
2) the husband would moan about me bringing in another bulky item (it’s the size of a sewing machine) that would never get used (even if I say I will use it he would not believe me. To be fair, I did buy an old hand cranked sewing machine (I love those!) which I was sure I would use and haven’t (yet), but it is not in his way at all).
So when I had to give up my PhD I promised myself one as a consolation gift, as I would have plenty of time to use it instead of writing a thesis. I researched online which might be a good one to buy, but I would not want to take the plunge without trying it out, so I was glad to see one being demonstrated, and they had a good offer, so I treated myself with half of my life savings that I have been keeping for such a time as this. I have been so excited waiting for this day when it was due to be delivered! I have been pinning even more maniacally to my Felt and Fibre Art Pinterest board for inspirational ideas.
Therefore the arrival of this exciting present coincided well with the Gauntlet challenge, as I can begin today, the 4th of April. I challenge myself to use this machine every single day for 30 days. If I can complete something each day so much the better, but I shall be needing to practice and experiment, to make samples – I may not be able to make usable items straight away! Also my imagination knows no bounds and I would love to make garments, which I expect would take more than one day. It would be a nice bonus if I can post a pic here each day of what I have done, even if it is a disaster! But this is a needle felting challenge, not a blogging challenge, so I might not manage that. I shall post a summary at the end for sure though.
The machine arrived at midday and I set it up and tested it right away. Then I had to go out to meet some friends for coffee, but when I got back I played some more and made a small round knotted k rune! You should recognise this from my background picture 🙂
It was not easy to control both the speed, with a foot like a sewing machine, and the direction of the fabric under the needles as that is different to sewing because you can move it in any direction. It would be like free machine embroidery, but I have never done that either. I found the foot pedal a bit fierce, because my sewing machine has a two speed foot so when doing fiddly bits I can slow it right down. It is the same brand so I am wondering whether it might work if I swapped the foot pedal for my sewing one, but I will not risk it until I hear back from the company who I emailed earlier.
It is a lot of fun and I look forward to learning and trying more!
In other news, I went to the doctor for a blood pressure test and I was glad I took my crochet. I cast this on just to give me something to do in the waiting room and this is how long I was waiting!
Crochet is truly a wonderful thing for the blood pressure as mine was normal despite this extremely long wait in an environment I find quite stressful! (They had made a mix up with the list, it is usually better than that). The stitch is Tunisian honeycomb. I have done more since, it can be a short scarf to button round the neck I think. I will have to finish it now I have started of course…
I haven’t finished anything else, unless you count reading books. I’ve finished a few of those, but I don’t really count them as I don’t find it hard to finish them. The bathroom is a big improvement, but not yet finished as I have to source a new bit of furniture.
OK this is getting too long now so I have no space for other things! But if I can manage to share a pic of whatever I needle felt tomorrow then I can waffle on some more I suppose.