Thursday, 28 June 2007


With my first blog post I thought I'd introduce myself and my crafts. I'm 28, living in Edinburgh in the UK with my 8 year old son and my partner Grim. Grim is my sons step dad. My other two partners, Nicolas and Andrew, live together a couple of miles away. We're one big extended family. Grim, my son and I have lived here for nearly 4 years now, but I was born and bred in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

I grew up in a family where all the women could knit, sew, crochet and embroider. Every female relative, on both sides, crafted in their spare time. I was lucky enough to have that knowledge and resource to fall back on as a child and teenager, although I was unable to take full advantage of it at the time, as I was struggling with several undiagnosed learning disorders.

I have a condition known as Dyspraxia which is "an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement" which leads to problems with language, perception, thought and the classic 'clumsiness'. I only found out I was Dyspraxic when I was 20, after spending my younger life struggling in school and in trying to learn new skills. I also have SAD linked with Bipolar. I get depressed in the winter and I have mixed states and rapid cycling Mania and Depressive episodes in the spring and summer.

These conditions both limit and inspire me. It's unlikely I'll ever be able to work for someone else, but the mania makes me very creative in short bursts. My Dyspraxia makes learning new skills a huge challenge, with practice of over 6 hours a day for several months necessary. But the satisfaction I get from knowing I can do things, make beautiful objects and garments, makes every small victory over my limitations even sweeter.

I started out in my craft career making clothes for my Barbie dolls. One week when I was 11 I was off school, ill and bored. My mum was (and is) in the habit of buying old craft books from the local library. She had bought a book of doll's clothes patterns for Barbie and Sindy, published in 1972. I still have it. I spent that week, and many more after it, tracing off patterns and making clothes for my dolls. My first attempts were terrible, but I persevered though my teenage years (having an excuse to hang on to my dolls) until I decided I wanted to make clothes for myself.

I was a Teenage Goth. Being a UK size 18 at age 13 made buying any clothes that I wanted to wear a challenge. Goth clothes at that time were only available in sizes for the thinnest of girls. I wanted flowing velvet dresses, drainpipe jeans, frilly white poet shirts and that epitome of Gothic clothing, The Corset. My quest for The Corset became a (so far) life long obsession.

I was lucky enough to become the Saturday girl for a one woman business in the village where I lived when I was 13. She specialised in weddings and alterations, as well as selling haberdashery and fabrics. I ended up spending most of my spare time making wedding dresses and evening wear, as well as ripping out zips from jeans and learning to sew them back in. I did that until I left home at 16.

I made some appalling mistakes, broke many needles and wore some awful outfits, but I learnt so much about pattern cutting and construction through my teens. I also started making beaded jewellery, working cross stitch and different types of embroidery, make candles and use essential oils to massage and make toiletries. My parents indulged my hobbies, and I had a happy time making a big creative mess.

I taught myself to knit and crochet 3 years ago. Again the sheer amount of time and effort it has taken to learn the basic skills has been discouraging, but now I can knit! I can crochet! I can make yarn based shinies! This makes me very happy. I belong to Edinburgh's Stitch and Bitch (every Wednesday night at Chai Teahouse from 7pm onwards. Details here, blog here) . I've made some great friends and learnt an awful lot from all the other members.

I've carried on making corsets and clothing. I've made custom items for different clients over the years, but I'm on a semi permanent hiatus now. It causes me so much stress to make things to a dead line that it's just not worth in. Now I make things to sell on my etsy(but get too scared to photograph them and get them online), write patterns to sell on my blog (but worry they aren't good enough to post) and learn new techniques and craft skills (but worry that I'm too obsessive and anal) I also worry a lot. It keeps me occupied..

I'm hoping to post random ideas and writing, some of my craft projects and links I find around the web. Pretty much like any other blog then really!