Friday, September 7, 2007

Projects Old and new

As a newly budding Artisan, I need to watch for any and all opportunities that come up. I'm willing to try and make almost anything, and know that almost anything can be made with a little time, patience, and perhaps a class. Enter the Stitch Cafe in Valley Village (formerly known as North Hollywood).

Stitch Cafe is well spoken of within my fiber arts circle. It's known for it's friendly ambience, supurb and unique stock, and wide range of classes. I've been meaning to check it out for years, but had never actually made it there. Until yesterday.

I needed to learn how to work with leather in order to pursue a potential lead. But had no idea where to even find a class. And then one came to my e-mail! "Learn to make a leather bag..." it proposed. And I was very excited. Until I realized that the class was held the day before I had actually opened this particular piece of information. My bad. But a couple of calls first to Stitch Cafe, and then the fabulous teacher Shelley Neimorow, garnered what I needed. A class! And they were very accomodating; scheduling it during the week and a private session to boot.

Leather is way easier to work with than I would have imagined. In my mind there were huge rotary blades to cut it with, and awls to make holes, and an industrial sewing machine to hold the pieces together. We used none of that.

The first thing we did was cut out the main pieces of the bag. That was simple as choosing a piece of garment leather (very soft) and cutting it with a pair of sewing shears.

Once the pieces were cut, we punched holes with a Gromet Punch.

We laced the bag up using a thong that we also had cut from the leather.

Then it was time to embellish the piece. The glue we used, surprisingly, is available at JoAnne's Crafts.

A shoulder strap was cut, braided, and attached, then we realized that "Chameleon," a necklace that I just happened to be wearing, fit the piece beautifully. I quickly made the decision to cut it up and use it on the purse. And that, sadly, was the end of the class.

But not of the project, of course. I came home, cut Chameleon and glued it to the piece, and now I am beading the edges of the embellishment leather. The beading is a long process, mainly because it's hard to sew beads on such a tough fabric. I actually ended up buying a new thimble today, just because i think I'm close to fully penetrating the index finger of my right hand with the needle. And now I have a quandry.

There's nothing better that I'd like to do than keep on working on my handbag. At this point, I'm sure it's going to be absolutely gorgeous, and probably worth a fortune too, if I'd ever sell it which I wouldn't. (I can envision future bags for sale, though.) And since I won't sell this piece and it's therefore not revenue generating, and since I can see that the beading may take several days to complete, can I justify working on this piece when I have commission projects to do? I even have one that is about half way done!

And then, of course, there's that mountain of laundry awaiting me in my closet.

That also has to be attended to. So how to budget my time? And I can't just put it off until tomorrow. I have yet another class to attend, this time with Myra Woods at the Southern California Handweavers Guild. We will be learning freeform bead embroidery. It will take the better part of the day.
So I think I'm going to have to start with a list. Figure out what's pressing and when each item has to be finished. And how many hours it will take to complete, and budget my time from there.

Who would think that, in my world, there would be too much to do?

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