Some time back, I signed up for The Alchemist’s Apron. It’s an online class taught by India Flint in which you begin with a thrifted shirt and end up with an apron. Along the way, there is plant dyeing and mordanting, pocket creativity and embellishment, practical tips on all things textile; not to mention wisdom and wit. The class has been accompanied by a facebook group of excitable dyers, each moving at their own pace and all creating aprons, dyes and questions aplenty.
Now it has long since been clear to me that the shortage in my life is not dyestuffs, or fabric, or ideas, but time. So, I did not do everything exactly as the course proposed. Pretty often if I can switch steps and get the time consuming at-home step completed over the weekend so I can dawdle through the steps I can carry, pick up and put down, or do in front of the TV during the week–I will wickedly switch steps and face the consequences. That is, when I realise I am not following the instructions! And, although it was studying with India that gave me, or maybe gave me back, the pleasure of hand sewing, I machine sewed some steps in this process and allocated saved time to the parts I preferred to linger over.
India offered strategies for embellishing manageable pieces of fabric (just as portable as knitting a sock, hooray!) as well as for embellishing the final completed object. I’m not much of a one for embellishment but it may be that I am learning what I can enjoy and appreciate ever so slowly and with help from you, lovely readers. I started out with the customary acknowledgement of the owners of the land where the garment was made, and then a line of poetry, and then just kept going…
India is, famously, a lover of pockets, and I am also a lover of pockets. So I had great fun with those and learned new techniques for having things go the way I want them to–with pockets and embellishment and all. So I have camouflaged pockets, visible pockets and secret pockets. Open and closed pockets, large and small.
I tried new threads. And some new dyeing strategies. I understood how to do things I’d only seen, previously. I understood why some things work instead of just knowing that they work.
And, I ended up with a rather lovely apron. Those hanging shells happen to fall right where my hand hangs on that side and they get riffled though quite a bit in passing. So there’s a happily ever after–which has spawned any number of further apron ideas, needless to say!