Tuesday 28 December 2010

Secret project revealed: Pac-Man Ghost T

Pac-man ghost t-shirt

It does look good. Unfortunately, the project is actually a failure. It doesn't matter how good a shirt looks if it doesn't fit. Either I need to invent a shrink ray and test it on my man (which would be inconvenient as I use him to reach the top kitchen shelf) or I need to remove the applique and put it on a slightly larger shirt. Both seem equally improbable at the moment.

The idea had been in my head for a long time, inspired by the tile graffiti by Invader. The project only really got started when I gave up on trying to figure out an easy way to do it and just started in on it using the English paper patchwork technique. Seeing the work at the V&A show was probably the tipping point into using hand working techniques.

The squares were made around 1.6 cm wide squares of thick paper, I'm guessing 90-100 gsm. I did do some maths early in the project and figured 1.5 to 2 cm would work, but the exact 1.6 came about because I bought a square hole punch that cuts to that size. Just lucky there. Because I knew the paper would be removed, and because I wanted it to stand up to working on the bus, I opted to use thick paper rather than tissue and it worked fine. If you try something like this, do remember to mark the fabric grain on the back of each paper square.

It was a slow project, mostly because I was keeping it a secret. On a good day, 2-3 squares would be sewn on during the commute, and I'd make up 2-3 more squares on my lunch break. I couldn't manage to baste the fabric onto the paper squares on the bus, but sewing them together was fine. The biggest problem was rethreading the needle- I'd wait until the bus was at a stop.

After months of working on it, it was really gutting to have it not fit. P is really sweet and said it was nice anyway, but I'm still irked by it. I know I should just get another t-shirt, make sure it does fit, then carefully remove the applique and put it onto the new shirt. I know it won't be that hard. But I'm still disappointed.

Monday 13 December 2010

My prerogative, or something like that

On the bus this morning, a kid was teaching his younger brother how to spell ‘apple’:

Elder: Ah-puh-puh-luh-eh,
Younger: Puh-,
Elder: No, Ah-puh-puh-luh-eh
Younger (eventually):  Ah-puh-puh-luh-eh
Elder: That’s right, Ah-puh-puh-luh-eh.
Younger:  Can you spell tangerine?
Elder (after a pause): Well, no.

I thought it was hilarious.

My patching idea for the Make-do-and-Mend bag has changed a bit. I did some darning on two corners, which I’m really not good at. And now, I’ve started a patch on a third, but not with fabric from the old friend’s umbrella. I had thought it would be nice to use a fabric that had a personal meaning. Like an old-timey patchwork quilt, where every fabric had a different story. But that umbrella has a powerful floral pattern, and I've got a lot of mixed feelings about losing that friendship. It all just made me reticent.

That's actually a phrase from that friendship. I can't remember how it originated with us, and it probably involved a few other friends, but if there was something we knew we ought to do, but didn't want to, and couldn't quite put into words why we felt that way, we'd just say, "I'm reticent." So much fancier than saying "lazy".

Anyway, I'm using scraps from a plain black umbrella instead. (Someday, I'll explain to the world about Manchester and umbrellas, but not today.) My issues with lost friendships can stay on the shelf for now.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Extra Gift

mended topWhen I picked up my shirt at the Mending Project it came with an extra gift: a saftey pin that was holding the name label to it. A nice, reusable exta! Lee Mingwei's mending was also much admired in the office on Monday.

On the way to Liverpool I was working on another secret project (yes, that does mean the other secret project is done!). It struck me that my fellow passangers who were using their phones had much the same pose as me, attention focused on small movements of their hands. Interesting.

Once this second secret project is done, it's back to mending the Made Do and Mend bag. Then it will be the mermaid story. Both before the holiday break. I feel tired already.