Sunday, June 30, 2013

Google Reader is Going Away! Plus, How I Practice Sewing Straw Braid

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Yes, the Google Reader is going away tomorrow, July 1; so if you enjoy reading my blog and use Google Reader for your blog feeds, please follow me on Bloglovin to continue receiving them. 

How I Practice Sewing Straw Braid

The image to your left gives you a glimpse into how I practice sewing straw braid.  Yes I practice, still I practice.  As a matter of fact, I practice (play) more than I actually produce anything.  I call it meditation.

So how does this meditative process start.  I start from scratch.  What I mean is that I screw up the tension (there are two), the presser foot adjustment, the position of the thread (small or large spools); type of thread, and just about everything else I can destroy.  The result, I always wonder why I would do such a thing.  But I learn so much.  A funny thing about learning is that we are always rewarded by the amount of effort we put into learning something.

Since braid is expensive, I make small hats.  I use a thread color that enables me to see and study the stitching.  You know what, sometimes I don't remember what I did to achieve a result, except for that time my finger wanted to incorporate itself into the design, OOOOOSH!  But not really forget because practice is imprinted on our brain, not another person's practice but our own individual practice and exploration. No matter how much public domain (free information) we come across, nothing will impact us more than our own efforts.

If you enlarge the image above, top left, it's easy to see the results of my play.  Notice the spacing of the braid.  What you may not see is the skipped stitches from over/under adjusting the tension and/or varying the pressure foot adjustments.  In the end, things always work out.

Oh, finally, how do you find techniques to practice, by observing others' work, especially the work you like.  If you can't do something, practice until you can.  But remember, when you design your own hat, design your own and don't copy another person's design.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Millinery Classes: Call for Serious Inquiries

Hi all, below is the message I left on my Facebook page concerning possible future classes in July and/or August.  Please only contact me if you know you will do this. I have a vast range of millinery skills that I have acquired over almost 30 years.  I do not enjoy giving "drive-by" classes in which a student walks away with the same skill level he/she walked in with--been there, done that.  You need feedback on your work giving over a period of time, especially beginners!  Location:  Torrance, California, Los Angeles County, good old sunny Southern California!

The hat to your left was constructed using a hand blocked parisisal straw hood and hand-sculptured sewn straw braid for the crown.  The brim was constructed of vintage four-inch straw braid, hand sewn (each row separate, not spiral), and wired and hand weaved where straw is joined at back. 

"I get many class inquiries through my email address and one ever once in a while on the Hatstruck Class site; many times these inquires are just that.  If you are serious about taking a class, I will consider giving one or more in July and/or August.  I don't have a regular schedule because I'm retired from my regular job, and I will never have a full-time job again, no matter how much I love it. 

In order to weed out those wanting to know how much it costs (too expensive I'm told), the cost will be between $180 and $245 (more for machine sewn straw, $575)--two, four hour days, preferably Saturday and Sunday, unless the class does not call for a break ($55 nonrefundable fee for cancellations within a week). 

I will consider doing semi-private couture classes, as my place is small, and I will not do drive-by couture classes for beginners; you will have to do the time--two hours each visit (same price) so that you will have a chance to bring your work back for critique.  I refuse to let you leave if your work looks worse than mine :)

So, if you are in Southern California or would like to travel to take a class, and you are serious, please let me know the class you are interested in taking and I will pool the class depending on what type of class the majority wants to take.  For me, because I do not have a studio, classes are expensive to pull off and I personally don't like hauling so many supplies around
[but I will for these group classes if there are enough students], only send an email or message me if you are doing so to commit to a class.  Thanks"