Crafting With Pain Series – My Advice

This might sound a little strange but I have enjoyed sharing my experience of crafting with pain and disability on the blog. Thank you to everyone who has commented on Instagram on my personal Facebook page (sorry I keep my Facebook friends private) I do believe that there a lot of people out there who are in a similar situation to myself. You may not necessarily have the same conditions or issues that I have but many people do have issues that I wouldn’t say limit but more result in them having to do their crafting a little different to other people. I am by no means an expert but I would like to share some advice with people.

Seek Help
If you find you are developing pain when you are crafting seek professional help. Have a chat to your Doctor they may suggest you see a occupational therapist or maybe another trained professional who can help. My personal trainer is brilliant as he is very knowledgeable in areas outside regular fitness. He helps with posture and stretching, he integrates exercises to build up strength in my muscles so that I can craft. We work on the smaller muscles in the hands and feet that sometimes get overlooked. For me it is important we work the small muscles and not just the larger ones.

Buy The Best Tools That You Can
I know how easy it is to jump into a new craft, buy the top end equipment then decide you don’t like the craft and you have wasted your money. We’ve all done it. If you find you are sticking with a craft and you enjoy it then buy the best quality equipment that you can. Think of it as a long term investment. If you want to be doing the craft for a long time then get some comfortable tools so you can continue doing it. You might build the tools up slowly over time but it will be worth it. When people ask “What do you want for your birthday/Christmas” tell them that craft item you really want as it is something you can actually use.

Adapt Your Space
You need your craft space or area to work for you. Change your area around so that everything is convenient for you. Raise a table up on blocks if you need it higher, change your storage solutions so you’re not having to lift heavy crates if you can’t move anything heavy, rearrange your furniture so that you can move about and craft easier. If you need to sit when doing the ironing lower your ironing board and move a chair over to it.

Take Regular Breaks
It is easy to get so focused on the project you’re working on and forget to take breaks but you really should. To minimize pain I need to keep taking regular breaks to give my body a rest between tasks. Use your break times to stay hydrated or read your pattern or just sit for a few minutes and think about the upcoming tasks you’re about to do so it is more clear in your mind. Regular breaks can also stop brain fatigue, we all know when tiredness kicks in is when you start making those silly little mistakes.

Stretch And Move About
Do basic stretches of your hands and feet. If your craft involves a lot of sitting move your legs and feet about to keep the circulation moving in them. Stand up if you have been sitting or the opposite sit down if you have been standing. You can find some great stretching exercises online if you do a google search. Even just simple movements like rotating your wrists or ankles around or just clenching a releasing your fingers. These all get the muscles moving.

Its Ok To Say No
Don’t feel pressured to take on a project for someone if doing so is going to cause you pain or discomfort. Yes you could spend hours on an item so someone could have it in time for a deadline but if as a result you will be in pain for a week then it isn’t worth it. Say No sorry I can’t make that for you and don’t feel bad. You deserve to put yourself first

Set Yourself Realistic Deadlines
If you are making a gift or you want to enter a piece in a competition give yourself adequate time to make it including buffer time just in case things go wrong. Don’t leave it to the last minute rushing to get it finished as you will be less inclined to take breaks and cause yourself pain. Plan ahead, start things early and if you miss a deadline its ok just relax it isn’t the end of the world. If it is a gift you could always show the person the project you making them and they will still adore it.

Get To Know Your Body
Learn the signs your body is telling you of when it is getting tired, when it needs a break. Work out what you body needs you to do to reduce your pain and discomfort. If your body needs you to stop every 10mins when crafting then stop every 10mins. If your back gets sore after standing for 20mins then only stand for 15mins before taking a break. If crafting and all of a sudden you feel a pain or twinge then stop and take a break, if it is still sore after that maybe your body is saying that is enough for today. Learn to understand your bodies limits so you don’t push yourself too much.

It Is Ok Not To Be Crafting
Don’t feel bad if you’re not crafting all the time. If you need to take a break from crafting for a day or a week or however long your body needs it is ok. Don’t force yourself if you are in pain to craft as crafting is meant to be fun. We all have times when our body needs us to stop and do nothing. When your body is up to it you will get back to crafting and you will enjoy it. If you still need your crafting fix during that time read a craft magazine or pattern book, write your “to make” list or do some online shopping for any supplies that you need.

Don’t Hide Your Pain
It is really easy to put on the brave face and act like it doesn’t hurt but you don’t have to. Be open about your pain. Pain is a very isolating condition which I think more people suffer from than we realise because it isn’t talked about. You don’t actually have to be disabled to suffer from pain you may get it from a long term injury, medical condition, it could develop from repetitive motions or sometimes it seems pain just develops for no reason. You may suffer from pain short term or long term either way pain is pain. Life doesn’t stop because of you have pain and you do have to learn to manage but that doesn’t mean you need to hide it away and pretend it doesn’t exist.

There is no rule book when it comes to crafting with pain as each person suffers from pain in their own way. Don’t compare yourself with others just do whatever works for you. Discovering how you need to do things sometimes comes with trial and error but don’t be afraid to try things. Once again a big thank you to Gillian for inspiring me to share my story about the way that I craft with disability and pain.



Crafting With Pain Series – Yarn and Needlework

I am a multi craft person aside from machine sewing I also like hand sewing, needlework, knitting and crochet. Just as I have to be mindful of what I am doing when I am sewing I need to also be mindful when I am doing these other crafts. These crafts are more sedentary crafts but I can still get a lot of pain and discomfort from them if I am not careful. I have sprained a finger from crafting and have had bouts of carpal tunnel flare ups. My day job includes a lot computer work and typing combine that with needing to use my left hand to grip around the crutch when I walk means I am using my hands and fingers all day. When I get home I usually just want to sit on the lounge and do a simple craft project in front of the tv where I can just relax and switch my brain off from work, mindless knitting, crochet, needlework projects like that. The issue is that I have just been using my hands all day and then I want to keep using them to craft. I am not one to just sit in front of tv as I can’t keep still so I just have to watch what I am doing.

The hypermobility I have means sometimes my joints move in a way they shouldn’t. My knees and knuckles lock backwards, my hip moves out of its socket a little at times, my joints are forever needing to be cracked or are cracking as I move. In the past whilst stuffing a toy ball with my pinky finger I sprained it. It was great that my finger could get in the small area and push the stuffing into place but not so good the next day when I couldn’t then move my fingers properly and needed to strap them for a couple of days.

I have a fantastic personal trainer who knows about the conditions I have and also understands my love of crafting and how many hours I spend doing it (I made him the above blanket for his wedding) He is always including activities in my training sessions to improve the strength in my hands and fingers. Last year I had my worst carpel tunnel flare up at work. Out of no where the base of my thumb just swelled up and froze, I couldn’t move it properly. Luckily the last couple of hours of my day I had meetings and didn’t need to type. Fortunately when I got home and placed a bag of frozen veggies on it for a couple of hours my hand went back to normal. It was a wake call because I don’t want that to become a regular issue. I spoke with my trainer about the episode and has taught me a series of stretches which I do whilst crafting but also at work. It is a lot of forearm and wrist stretches. I do them all the time now, I do get odd looks at work sometimes if someone walks past my office and I am standing there using my body weight to stretch my forearm against my desk like the person in this clip is doing. It is benefiting my body so I don’t care. If you haven’t realised from reading my previous posts I don’t care if people stare at me, if you are taking the time from your day to stare at me and think I am odd then you have the bigger issues than I do.

No matter how much I try I am a tight gripper I try to relax my hands but I can’t help myself. Last year I switched crochet hooks I had been using a regular straight metal set which were working ok but then I tried the Clover Amour hooks and my hands loved them. My hands just seemed more relaxed using them, I wasn’t gripping as tight. They are smooth and I am not fighting the yarn as much. You can get other types of ergonomic crochet hooks but these work for me. I still have my old set of straight metal hooks which I do use if I don’t have the size Clover I need but I don’t use them if I don’t have to. When crocheting I take lots of breaks to stretch my hands, clench and release my fingers, rotate my wrists. With regular breaks I can crochet for longer.

When I am knitting I prefer using circular needles even if I am doing something that isn’t in the round like a blanket. I seem to only use straight needles now if I am doing a dishcloth or something that is very narrow. The cable on the circular needles take the weight of the project so it doesn’t feel so heavy. I have a set of bamboo circular needles and I love them but on certain projects like when I made my socks it felt like the bamboo was maybe a bit too grippy and I was fighting the yarn. I have a few metal circular needles and I think will invest in a set of them but I just don’t know which brand to choose. For sock knitting I will be using metal circulars even I do thicker yarn which requires a larger needle like than regular socks. All the leg warmer I have made were on metal tips and they were so easy to knit. Last year I learnt continental knitting and I actually found it to be very comfortable, my hands felt fairly relaxed. I need to practice it more and work on my tension before I start doing it on all my projects as I know my tension is a more loose this way.

I like to do a lot of hand stitching and embroidery. I take constant breaks do the same type of muscle stretches as I do for crochet and knitting. When I am doing any type of needlework my main issue tends to be my left hand that I hold them piece with, I have the tightest grip on it. I try and relax my grip but for some reason I can’t. Recently I had to hand stitch the binding on a skirt similar to how you do the binding on a quilt. I decided to use the lap app that I brought last year. This made a big difference which really surprised me. The lap app is essentially a small table that sits on your lap. It took the weight of the skirt off me so it didn’t feel heavy on my arm and shoulder. I was resting on it as I stitched and I noticed my left hand started to relax, it was really comfortable. I was expecting to be in a fair bit of pain binding this skirt as during the day at work I was also doing a bit of intense computer work then I was coming home to bind the skirt but I had very minimal pain. The pressure the lap app took off me really had an impact on the pain I experienced.

Just as standing too much can be an issue for me so is sitting too much. I am guilty that when sitting in an office chair or on the lounge I don’t sit up straight all the time, I hunch over, I slouch. I find that when I do remember to sit up straight I actually feel better. As I am typing this now I just realised I am hunched over again and that I need to be sitting upright. When I am doing any type of more sedentary craft I like to stand up and take regular breaks from sitting. My joints do stiffen up if I sit too long. Sitting on the lounge I tend to slouch and hunch over putting my neck and shoulders in odd angles which can cause pain over time. I need to have my knees slightly bent if I put my feet up on an ottoman otherwise they lock backwards, if I have them in the same position for too long they stiffen up even if bent.

I fully admit I don’t stretch as often as I should. Since my carpal tunnel scare last year I do stretch more often but I know I should do it more. Crafting is a big part of my life and I want to be doing it long term. I am sure there are areas I can improve on to reduce the pain that I get but at the moment I am doing what I can.



Crafting With Pain – Sewing

I mentioned that my disability is mainly based around my hips and my joints are also hypermobile. The main area that I get pain in is my hips but I also get it in my back, knees, ankles, wrists, hands, shoulders. I can get it from standing, walking, sitting, holding things, carrying things. I am not in constant pain like some people however most days I do have a level of pain that I am used to putting up with. Just like anyone I have good days and not so good days. When it comes to crafting I just need to be mindful of what I am doing and how I am doing it. I love sewing (if I have my sewjo that is) but sewing is more than just sitting at the sewing machine feeding fabric through it. If I am not careful by the time it gets to actually sitting at the sewing machine I can be in so much pain that I don’t want to do it.

Tracing and cutting out patterns and fabric on the floor will never be an option for me. Occasionally I have had to pin things on the floor and it is just to hard to get up and down off the ground not to mention the pain caused by leaning over to pin. I have a Horn cutting table which I use. It is higher than a regular dining table so I don’t have to bend as low to trace or cut things out. It does fold down but I always have it out extended as I have the space to do so. If needed I do pull it out from the wall so I can access all sides of it, this saves me stretching over to reach if I don’t have too. This table was my mums and I can remember going shopping with her to buy it years ago. Unfortunately they don’t make this table anymore so I am glad that I was able to get mums. This is known as my “craft” table as it gets used for not just cutting and tracing of fabric but I use my overlocker on it, my snap press, I cover it in plastic table cloth when I want to paint fabric, I photograph projects on it. It is a really good height for me.


When I am at my craft table or ironing board I do have to watch how I stand. On carpet I can be barefoot but any other surface I need shoes that have some sort of cushioning or support. When standing I need to make sure my knees are always slightly bent as the hypermobility I have means they can lock backwards if I am not careful.  I have to limit how long I am standing taking breaks between tasks to sit down. I don’t have a timer or magic number to say time is up but more just iron a few pieces of fabric or pin / trace out a few pattern pieces then go and sit for a few minutes. Some days it may be 20mins standing (that can go very quickly if you don’t realise) other days it may only be 10 mins of standing. Drinking lots of cups of tea helps as an excuse for sit down time or sitting down to read your pattern is another. If I have the tv on maybe sitting down to watch a segment of a show. Sometimes you’re on a roll and it is hard to stop and think you need to sit now but I know if I don’t take regular breaks my body will stiffen up and I will be in pain. The pain may not necessarily hit at that moment it may occur later in the day or even the next day. With my body I find if I take this regular breaks then I don’t get as sore.

I would love to be a person that in one day can pull out a pattern, iron the fabric, trace it, cut it, sew it. That is just not me and my body. I have to plan out projects and tasks. If I have a really big project I might plan it over a week to get things done. One day will be my ironing day, one day I will trace out all the pattern pieces, one day I will cut all the pieces, the final day I might sew it or the sewing might get done over numerous days. Even just a smallish project I could push myself to do it all in one day but I know what pain my body will be the next day. Yes it is nice to finish a garment or project in a day but health wise it isn’t worth it is going to result in extra pain for 2-3 days maybe even a week. I’m not sewing to a tight schedule so I can take thing easy and enjoy what I am doing. It does take some planning but it is worth it.


My sewing machine lives in my lounge room. Before I use to push an office chair from the study to my machine each time I used it. It was annoying and inconvenient so I invested in a Koala sewing chair. I love my chair! It is fully adjustable, it raises up very higher than a regular office chair so perfect if I am doing free motion quilting where I need to be higher than my machine to ensure my shoulders are relaxed. The back is wider and higher than my old chair and the seat is also wider. For sitting any period of time on this chair is very comfortable. I don’t just use it at the sewing machine but at the craft table too if I am doing a task that I can sit for or using the overlocker (I do have to put the foot pedal on a phone book to reach it) The support this chair gives takes the stress off my joints, I have been tempted to buy one for my office at work.

So when it comes to actually sewing I do have a few machines. My first ever sewing machine my mum insisted that I got one that was light weight. I don’t live on the ground floor so I needed to be able to carry it up my stairs myself. I now use this machine as my travelling machine. I keep it in the garage in a pull along travelling tote that has wheels and carry straps which was my friend’s mum’s, the tote fits my machine like a glove. Having it in the tote allows me take machine and the accessories that go with it in and out of taxis easily when I travel as I can just pick it up with the handles. I can rest a bag on top securing it over the pull along handle too which takes pressure off my shoulder as well.

My heavy sewing machine I don’t move unless I have too. If it needs a service I have someone come to the house and pick it up save me trying to take it to the shop. When I’m sewing I try to sit up right and not hunch over. I again take regular breaks so I’m not in the same position for long periods. I use the knee lift that is an accessory on my machine. The knee lift mean I don’t have to keep reaching over and lifting the presser foot so I’m not always having to twist my body around my project. If I am doing a lot of repetitive sewing I will switch which foot I am using to control the foot pedal. I’ll stretch the non use leg so my knees and ankles don’t get sore.

It is not just when I am sewing at home or at retreat sewing that I have to be mindful what I am doing it also whilst shopping for fabric. If I am at the shops I’m instantly one handed as I am using the crutch with the other hand. Trust me when I say you can carry a lot in one hand but you probably shouldn’t. Carrying more than one roll or bolt of fabric can be tricky. Even just one can be very heavy, especially if you have had to dig it out from under others. If the store has shopping trolleys I use them if not I have been known to borrow them from other stores to use from within the same shopping centre. Sometimes you do get odd looks if you have borrowed a trolley from another shop but I don’t care. I want to move around the shop easily and enjoy my time there just like everyone else and the shopping trolley is helps me do that. There is no point causing yourself pain doing something that is meant to be fun. Just because you have a shopping trolley doesn’t mean you will fill it up completely, you may only purchase a few metres of fabric and some sewing notions but by placing them in the trolley you have saved yourself the pain.

Sewing is an enjoyable hobby which you can do it even if you have pain a physical disability or pain. I generally know how much activity I can do in one day or session without it causing too much pain. Do I always pay attention and remember this?… No I do forget sometimes and I push myself too much but I am reminded afterwards. I want to be sewing for many years and to do so I just need to do things my way.



Crafting With Pain Series

Recently I have started to listen to sewing podcasts in particularly the Love To Sew podcast. I’m currently listening to all the older episodes including one where Gillian from Crafting A Rainbow was interviewed. Gillian talked about her experience with crafting and pain and after I read her blog post I had all these ideas ticking in my head about my own experience of crafting with pain and disability that I knew I wanted to do a blog post about the topic. By the time I wrote down all my notes I discovered I have enough for a 3 part series!

I’m not a doctor or an expert in the field of pain.. I’m a crafter who has a disability and accommodates their crafting around the issues they have. I’m putting myself out there and if one day someone stumbles across this and can relate to the experiences that I have had or can get an idea from the ways that I do things then I really hope it helps them. Pain and disability can be a very solitary thing and its is good to know you are not alone.

I have broken the series into 3 topics.

  • Fabric and needlework crafts
  • Yarn crafts
  • From my experience I recommend

I don’t think I have mentioned it on the blog before but I have a disability which effects my mobility and for the last 20 years have used the aid of a canadian crutch to walk with when I am not at home. I was born with what used to be termed “clicky hips” but is now known as Congenital Hip Dysplasia. I have arthritis in my hips and my joints are also hypermobile. So what does this all have to do with crafting? I have to be mindful when crafting of the way that I am actually doing things so not to exasperate any of my conditions. I thankfully am not in constant pain every day, however I have good days and bad days. If I am not watching what I am doing I can cause myself unnecessary or avoidable pain.

So join if you like as I share my experiences of crafting with pain and disability. If anyone wishes to share their experience I would love to hear about them too.





2017 A Crafty Year In Review

I am not ready for it to be December 30th and the time of year I look back and reflect on the items I have made. This year has gone way too fast!

The obvious thing to notice this year is that I have spent a lot of time on yarn crafts such as crochet and knitting. I have made a couple of crochet toys this year. They were a lot of fun to make although you do have to count more than I am used too. I would like to do more of these, I don’t have any on the cards planned for 2018 but sometimes I can be spontaneous so who knows what I will end up actually doing.

I finally put together my Sunny Log Cabin blanket this year which was made of crocheted squares which I had completed in 2016. This is blanket looks brilliant when you look down on it. The yarn for it was purchased as a kit. The yarn is acrylic but for under $50 with plenty of yarn leftover the kit is worth getting. The blocks are easy to make and putting them together happened so quickly I don’t know why I put it off for so long. This blanket lives on the back of my lounge and gets used whenever I am cold.

Another crocheted item I am proud of this year is the Virus shawl that I made. The Virus pattern is a pattern that you either understand it within minutes or hours later you are a still wrestling with your yarn trying to figure the blooming thing out. I picked it up pretty quickly. The Bella Coco tutorial is very useful but I think that you need to watch it twice. The first time watch it in full so you see the entire pattern get created, the second time grab your hook and work along with the video. I wore this shawl a lot this year. Each time I wash it the yarn is getting softer.

My knitting skills have increased this year. I learnt continental knitting which is where you hold the yarn with your left hand. I have made a couple of pieces knitting this way including my Grain shawl. I haven’t really worn this yet but I am looking forward to it. I am starting to follow patterns now and do things other than basic squares.

Did I mention I am now a sock knitter 🙂 These socks I am probably the most proud of yarn wise this year. Sock knitting had been on my list for years so I was really excited to finally take the plunge and learn. I had finished socks within 2 weeks!! I can’t guarantee that will happen all the time but at least in the back of my mind I know I can finish a pair of socks. Sock knitting isn’t as complicated and as scary as it once looked. I have plans for more socks in 2018…. By that I mean I have brought yarn already for them so I need to start them.

Even though it does feel like I have done a lot knitting and crochet this year I have been sewing. Probably the most used item I made this year is my Giant Laundry Bag. I use it at least once a week not only just for washing the manchester that I originally made it for but also fabric, woolens, kitchen linen etc. Anything that is more delicate in the washing machine goes in this bag. The bag is really simple to make and would be useful to anyone so I highly recommend making them.

On the toy front I don’t normally pick favourites but one toy I made this year stands out as my most favourite ever. Brutus which I made over the Easter break is the most complicated toy I have ever done. Even though he wasn’t easy I enjoyed the process of making him right from the start. I had an idea of what colours I wanted him so I carefully choose the fabrics, cut and assembled him over a number of days. I took my time and made him slowly. I think he is adorable and I am so proud of him.

Not all toys went to plan this year. I accidentally stitched another toy the wrong way around and had a Hunchback of Notre Piggy when sewing Gertrude. It was learning curve and allowed me to stop and figure out a way to overcome the problem. After a few extra stitches her hump was removed and she turned out well.

I have done some clothing making for me this year. The summer sleep t-shirts I made are getting a work out. They are really comfortable and I am actually wearing this one now. Besides pj’s I have made myself tops and skirts this year plus the 3 pieces of my Frocktails outfit which I haven’t blogged yet. I enjoy wearing me made items and feel proud of them. I’m still wearing the me made items I made last year and the year before too.

The bags I made myself this year have all gotten a workout. Each time I went away (I went away a lot this year) I used my toiletry bag. I used the same pattern to make my project bag. Both bags fit a lot in them. My project bag hasn’t been empty since I made it with different yarn projects in it.

This year I haven’t blogged as much as in previous years. Just because I’m not blogging doesn’t mean I am not still crafting. I have missed not blogging 2 or more times a week which I have done in the past. I want to share with everyone the things that I make and how I did them. I also want to share the things that went wrong as nothing is perfect. In 2018 I’m still aiming to blog once a week like I have done every week since April 2013. Looking ahead to 2018 using my sewing calendar from Sew DIY I have sat down and written out my gift plans for the year. My day job is going to continue to be a little stressful like it has been this year for a good chunk of 2018 which is also one of the reasons why I haven’t blogged so much this year. I have simplified the gifts I am going to be making for both Christmas and birthdays. I am making very basic items but items the kids will like. I want to continue making my gifts because I enjoy it. I love it when a child pulls out every toy I have ever made them each time I am at their house. It sparks memories of me choosing the fabric and stitching it. I have always jokingly said I get more out of the gifts I make than the recipient does because I enjoy it. Crafting is my stress release and I think in 2018 I am going to need that more than ever.



2018 Gift Organisation Plan

Organisation has not been my strong point this year. I make so many gifts and in previous years I have been on top of things but for some reason all 2017 I have been scatter brain. I am determined that in 2018 I will be on top of my gifts again. My biggest problem this year is that I forgot about dates I needed to have things finished by and also how old the child was I was making for. Some of the kids I make for aren’t little kids anymore and I forgot they now needed a tooth fairy pillow as they are loosing their baby teeth when only it feels like 5 mins ago they were babies themselves.

Beth from Sew DIY has kindly created a free 2018 calendar on her blog that you can print out. This calendar is so pretty, it is designed for those who love to sew as each of the backgrounds has a decorative sewing machine stitch (you know all those fancy stitches on your machine that you never use) Even though it is a sewing theme it isn’t obvious it is created for sewing, there are no pictures of spools of thread or sewing machines so if sewing wasn’t your thing you could still use it for any craft you enjoy. Each month is a separate page with the calendar on it. Underneath the calendar is are lines in which you can write your sewing plans for that month plus the date started and completed. There is a check box next to each one so you can tick them off as you go. At the bottom of the page there is an area to write any events for that month.

This calendar is great. Beth gives you a tutorial on how to make it into a calendar on cardstock but I just printed mine out on normal printer paper. I’m going to keep mine in a plastic sleeve and keep it on area so I don’t lose it. I’m going to keep track of all my gifts on this so mine will have a combination of yarn and sewing projects. I’m not going to keep track on my personal sewing or knitting on this I want it just for gifts. I’m going to mark up all the birth dates for the year and the postage deadline if I need to mail them to the child. All the kids I make for fall within similar age groups so in a couple of weeks time when I meet some good friends for our Christmas catch up I’m going to pick their brains for the year the different kids were born so I can always work out the child’s age, this was something I meant to do at the start of this year. I have a separate diary which I have birth dates written and I will write the years in that. On this calendar I will just write how old they will be this year. Sometimes I change my mind with what I will make but there is plenty of room on each page for me to write all the information including pattern names, if needed the back of each page is blank so I can write on that too.

I’m going to use the printed calendar in conjunction with my diary. I will write up all my postage dates at the start of the year. In previous years I have really followed my diary where as this year I didn’t look it at that much and missed things. I am a list person and I am going to write myself todo lists and stick to them. Each Sunday morning I will check my diary for the following fortnight and therefore I won’t miss things.

As for the gift themselves I have a few ideas in mind for different kids. At the start of the year someone asked “Are you still having fun?” For the most part I would say yes, when things are going wrong when sewing or you just can’t work out how to do something then no that is not fun. 2018 will be busy for me in my day job so gift wise I want to make simple items that don’t involve a lot of stress as I want my gift making to be fun. The gifts may not be as fancy as in previous years (everyone may just get tote bags or pencil cases) but I still want to continue making the gifts. I do still enjoy it but I don’t want to place pressure on myself. I want to be selfish and also make some clothing for myself but I don’t want to feel guilty because I have gifts I should be making instead. I want my craft time to be my stress release and not a stress in itself.

If I am organized and feel on top of things then I am going to enjoy my 2018 gift making.


Built In Wardrobe Make Over

The built in wardrobe where I store the majority of my dress fabric and yarn has been bugging me for a while, it had gotten way out of control. I’d get something new and just dump it in there. At times I’d move one thing and everything would fall out. I had some non craft stuff hanging in there and the big white box is my finished gift box. At times this had so much stuff on it I wouldn’t even bother trying to get in it I would just put the next finished gift on top… I know what is the point of having the box then if I can’t get to it.

The middle blue tub is where I stored all my wool I use in WIRES pouches so I was forever going to it to grab another ball. That was a nightmare to get into as I would have to try to open it without toppling the pile of things that surrounded it. Just by the weight of everything the lid had broken and I was almost cutting my hand as I was pulling the yarn out. I may of even pulled yarn out through the crack in the top which wasn’t good but it worked kinda…

Something had to be done as it was making going into the cupboard not fun. Recently in a facebook yarn group someone showed a picture of some new storage boxes that Kmart has that are stackable and flip open at the side so you don’t have to remove the lids to access the contents. Yesterday I measured my space after checking out the dimensions online and today I picked up 3 containers. I cleared out everything from the side space and the containers fit perfect. The bottom one has all my cottons that I use for dishcloths. The middle one has WIRES yarns as they are all 100% wool. The top one is my everything else yarn. There are half a dozen cottons in there but they will be made into a scarf. I’m currently venturing into new different types of yarns so they are all in there. If I run out of space in there I can’t buy more yarn so an incentive to start knitting and crocheting!

As I moving my fabrics about I was looking at each one and thinking if realistically I would use it or not. I culled a lot of fabric from my stash. In October Sydney Spoolette’s are having our Spring Fabric Swap day and this lot will taken to that. Some of it is offcuts that I know I won’t use again. Some of it is fabric I purchased new but it isn’t screaming make me into something. Some of it I have brought second hand or gotten at previous swap days. There is no point of it sitting in my wardrobe when it might be perfect for someone else.

I noticed as I was sorting through was I had a lot of things in plastic bags. I only have one thing in a bag now and that is a set to make a tank top everything else I took out of the bags. These bags will now be sent back to my local supermarket tonight for recycling. I think I am less likely to use it if it still in the bag. Another thing I have to remind myself just because it is blue doesn’t mean it has to come home with me. I have both some yarn and fabric that I don’t really need and I know the only reason I’d gotten it was due to the colour.

The wardrobe is better now. I culled some other non craft stuff from it. I’ll be honest and say it is not ideal but for the time it will do. I basically have the fabric stacked in the open container that used to have the WIRES wool in it. On the other side of the room I do have some fabrics in containers but I don’t really want to put the fabrics in containers in here as I know I will never bother to go into them. The fabrics I do have in containers are really specific like fleece or felt. All the stuff in here is dress fabrics – some knits, some wovens, some heavier fabrics. If I am going to make clothing this is the pile I am going to head too. I can still access it all in here. Maybe I might look to see at some point if I can fit some narrow shelving or something in there but for the time being this will work.

Now I just need to get my sewjo back and start sewing again!