Saturday, June 17, 2006

Diagnosis: Crafter's ADHD

I don't need a doctor to tell me I have a problem; I've known it for years. I have two sewing machines (they're both hand-me-downs: I know how to make buttonholes on one, and the other sews more nicely without causing me tantrums over the tension), a dress form, a knitting machine that hasn't seen the light of day for at least two years, loads of jewelry-making tools (all small tools, but they add up), beads, a table loom, piles of knitting needles, and ridiculous stashes of yarn, fabric, embroidery floss, and the like. There are craft books, sewing patterns, binders full of tearsheets, saved issues of Threads and Marie Claire Idees, and my binders full of MSL articles. And I still have all my notes and books from design school, which I use frequently.

Now I'm considering dyeing fabrics using natural dyes. And I'd like to try spinning sometime. Plus my Grandma has a fantastic floor loom I'd love to have someday, but when would I use it? And where would I store it? And what about that serger I'd love to buy?

So with all these projects and craft types, what have I been doing with myself lately? Well, not sewing the baby dress, making baby gifts, finishing my sock, or sewing any of the other piles of cut-out clothing on my sewing machine. No, not me. I decided I just had to make myself a t-shirt. Why, I don't know. But I liked the silhouette of a shirt I bought at Anthropologie a while ago and decided that two XL t-shirts which were destined for the thrift shop or the garbage just had to become a little fitted t-shirt. I've never sewn knit fabric before, but it was easier than I thought. Still, I don't like the neckline or the sleeve cap or the shape of the armholes and will almost certainly never wear it. And the fabric was a bit stiff and heavy for this particular style, I think. Those Beefy T's weren't meant for Anthropologie styling.

old tshirts before recycling
It was an interesting experiment, and I'd like to say that I've gotten it out of my system and can return to the previously planned projects. But something tells me that there will be more t-shirts in further attempts to solve the fit issues I had with this one.

Great. One more new craft direction. Now I suppose I'll be building a stash of knit fabrics or old t-shirts? There must be a cure for this illness, and I'm sure I'm not the only one with the problem. Perhaps we should start a support group for Multi-Crafting Disorder? We could call eachother when the urge to try a new craft hits and talk eachother down. But knowing you crafty types, you'd just encourage me, wouldn't you? Some help you are. Enablers is what you are, the whole lot of you. Humph.

MSL natural dyeing: pillows
Oh, and regarding those natural dyes? Cristina sent me the Martha article and lots of information regarding the dyes and the dyeing process. She really knows what she's doing and was extremely generous with her expertise. Thank you so much, Cristina! Are these colors just screaming "YOU MUST DYE YOUR OWN FABRIC...NOW!" or is it just me?


  1. I have the same problem, my machine count is now at 7 + a serger ( if you're going to sew knits you have to have serger, you'll never look back!) actually only 4 of the machines are in working order, and I do use them for work. However the newly aquired spinning wheel was not planned ( a donation from a friend) unfortunately it has led me to purchasing large amounts of merino top, which I now have to find a home for! (who needs an underwear drawer anyway)
    I have finally started my lornas laces sock #2 love the way they stripe. look foward to seeing yours on your blog soon?

  2. Um, I rather like your tee. You, and a few others from the Wardrobe Refashion have me inspired to try my hand at refashioning tees. I just have to convince my husband that I really do ned a sewing machine. May I ask, what kind do you use?

  3. yes, youre right about it all. i would tell you to do it, buy the tools, make a stash and go for it. speaking of, have you been collecting dandelions from the pea patch and teas from chinatown for your dyes right?

  4. I think that tee is divine!

  5. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that I am not the only one! YAY!

    Love that new shirt. Can not wait to see the fabrics!

  6. you don't like it? It looks absolutely wonderful on you.

  7. Marsha7:25 AM

    I can't believe this post! I have a favorite t-shirt by ellie tahari. I bought it a couple of years ago and it cost way too much. But now I wish I had several more in white and other colors. The brown one I own has been washed a thousand times!! I've been thinking about trying to make a copy. Then I read your blog and my little OC brain goes into hyper mode.

    I share your illness. Currently learnign to knit and that has gone over the top. Projects on four needles, purchasing countless books and mags. Sick I say!

    In cataloging your obsessions I recognized it all. I have ALL the jewlry making stuff. I've got every kind of paint made. Collage, not problem. Do you own a tumbler for pique assiette? Or a dremel for whatever?

    What wet off this whole knitting thing is the new sewing machine I bought a few months ago. I woke one morning, sat straight up and said to myself, I'm going to buy a sewing machine. Then somehow I ended up with Kirsten Nicholas' book aobut Color, then embroidery, then quilting, then knitting. And it's is all still going on at once.

    The only thing left is to do my own blog, but how do you find the time???????????????

    Beets and blueberries come to mind in dying fabric. I've not clue. I did dye some wool felt with cool aid. That was fun!

  8. i think we can all relate! I love your t-shirt.

  9. Marsha7:27 AM

    Note to self, should use spell check.

  10. I can totally relate. Except for the number of sewing machines - I adore my little Elna lotus, and have never met a machine that satisfied me the way it does. (Although it won't do heavy machine quilting, so once I get back into quilts I may need another machine.....)

  11. Well, this is what we do instead of drink!

  12. Ha! We have the exact same stuff getting the exact same treatment, except you've one-upped me with the extra sewing machine and table loom. I like how your repurposed shirt came out -- and you didn't use a serger?

  13. i LOVE your t-shirt... i think it fits nicely....

    what is it w/ "new" craft projects?? if i only had more time, energy and money....

  14. Those are gorgeous dyes, you're right. You're also right in that blogworld is super enabling. I can really identify; I'm a really good project starter, and have always thought nothing of having 10+ projects going on (sometimes all scattered around my apartments) at once. I have 2 knitting machines under my bed, a ridiculous amount of yarn, an ever-growing fabric stash... sometimes I'm embarrassed about the consumerism of it all! But there you go. Addicts, all.

    Your t-shirt is really cute. I wonder if some washings would get rid of the beefy-T feeling you're having? Cuz the look of it is darling.

  15. In a strange coincindence, I too re-fashioned a tee this week.
    And it too was a Hanes beefy tee...and it was hard to work with.
    I'm not crazy about the neckline or the sleeves - and I MIGHT wear it.
    We'll see -
    and so shall you

  16. The T is superb! I totally get the ADHD thing, though I think I am getting to the stage of being able to pass on a few crafts now. I won't go back to spinning, even though I did it for a while and used to have my own wheel. But I think I could get into a knit machine :-)

  17. Thanks, all, for the comments!

    Robyn, I use a 50-plus-year-old Singer that was my Grandma's and a 40-plus-year-old Pfaff that was my mother's. Someday I hope to actually buy one for myself, but for now they do the trick.

    Dacia, I guess I'd better get busy with picking stuff for my dyes. Although, being in Manhattan, it will take a long time to find enough dandelions!

    Kim, no serger. Just a small zigzag stitch for the seams and a straight stitch for the topstitching. Works pretty well!


  18. i love the t-shirt. so glad to have such talented company in the crafter's adhd club.

  19. Crafters ADHD - sign me up! I just thought I was a craft tart....

  20. i am loving the teeshirt! and yes, crafting ADHD is widespread and unrelenting. at least it's better than smoking crack (though probably just as least crackheads probably have more storage space...).

  21. i've seen some re-inventing of old T's lately and i'm starting to want to try it.

    i don't think it looks bad at all!

  22. The tee looks great!

    I'm way ahead of you on the craft ADHD - I've already got the floor loom and spinning stuff, as well as all of the other things you mention. Go ahead and get it all - you won't sleep until you do...;-)

    I only have two sewing machines, though, an older Brother and an older White serger. No need for the fancy new machines - my tried and true workhorses are just fine.

  23. OK - I googled ADHD crafter and found you...
    join our club of crafters with too many directions in Massachusetts...
    beading, art dolls, stained glass, sewing, silk painting, felting, minimal knitting, and the other constant experiments...

  24. Anonymous9:37 PM

    Well if you are interested in learning to spin I am a total ADHD enabler. I taught 2 people and they now have wheels! I have just added sewing to my ridiculous list of crafts I don't really have time for. Your baby dress was an inspiration for me to soup up the basic pinafore dress I was making my 2-year old. (who loves capers, olives, sardines, ginger chew candies and other totally weird food for kids)


  25. I would love to see your organizing solution to your multi-crafting disorder :0
    I'm in the same boat as you... I'm willing to part with several of my 9 sewing machines now that I've been on a sewing hiatus since I met my husband (7 years ago). But, not the fabric!!