Sewing

Hi everyone! I've been super quiet on here lately and I've been meaning to tell you why:

A) I'm still sick as hell. I'm actually working on getting comfortable with the word disabled and the reality of the situation, since my doctors have essentially given up on me and told me this isn't getting better. Of course, I'm still going to continue advocating for myself and trying to get at least somewhat better, but I am also focusing more on how to have a fulfilling day to day life despite this reality, which brings me to...

B) Bruno and I built a website, it's called Textillia! We've been chipping away at it as time and energy allowed for over a year and finally launched it in mid-November - a super early Beta launch - lots yet to do but we wanted to let people start using it! For anyone who knits, the easy explanation is that it's a sewing site like Ravelry... Or maybe more accurately like what Ravelry was 8 years ago when it started out! Textillia is still a fresh-baked little website, but we have big plans for it!

Textillia homepage

Over the last couple months I've had two really wonderful opportunities to participate in some advocacy projects for chronic illness and disability. One is a written/photographed interview for As We Are, and the other an audio interview for In Sickness + In health. I wanted to document them here for posterity, and to share both of these amazing projects. They go beyond looking at the illness itself, and dig deep into what it's like to live with chronic illness and disability in a world that often wants to sweep people like me under the rug.

As We Are

Ariane in purple dressBack in September a mutual friend put me in touch with an amazing young woman, Zoya Jiwa who has started a project called As We Are: style strategies to navigate health conditions. Zoya is a university student who has been living with chronic illness since she was a teenager, and started this project as a way to talk about how style and fashion can be supportive tools when living with disability, and chronic and/or mental illness. She's also been kicking major advocacy butt - she just did a TEDx talk at my alma mater, Simon Fraser University, won the university's Terry Fox award for community engagement, and was named one of this year's Fellows for both RADIUS and The Next Big Thing Foundation! You can tell she's a passionate advocate for both herself and the larger chronic illness community.

(Photo by Zoya Jiwa)

Hi nice people! I had a really crazy December and January, dealing with a family emergency and then working on recovering from the terrible health flare that it set off...one of the worst bits of which is my hand/finger joint pain went through the roof, making typing something I've been having to moderate even more than usual. But just the last few days I've been starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel, something I always find uplifting after a long slog through flare-ville.

Lots more to catch up on, but for now I just wanted to share some neat stuff I've come across recently in the textile and sewing world...

The last post might have made it sound like it, but fortunately 2014 was not all about health problems. On my better days, I slowly but surely worked on my creative projects, and looking back I actually made a lot of things! Making these things made me really happy, and let me get back in touch with myself and my creative passions. In 2013, I learned to sew clothes, and in 2014, I continued to hone my garment sewing skills, but I also learned pattern drafting (how to design my own custom fit patterns), drew a lot, published a second issue of my zine, created eight Heartgirls, and took about a zillion photos!

The moral of the story is I spent a lot of happy time here:

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Just as March's course on line drawing with Lisa Congdon was wrapping up, Creativebug announced they were going to do another month-long course in April with Cal Patch teaching pattern drafting! I was legitimately gleeful. I'd been wanting to learn pattern drafting for about six months, but I couldn't find any local courses on it available to people who aren't in a fashion design program. And let's be honest, me trying to attend college courses at this point is still pretty unrealistic thanks to my super unreliable wellness levels.

This course couldn't have come at a better time, as I'd recently finally designed my own underwear pattern that actually turned out (third try's a charm) and was eager to learn more. I've also really started to love how accessible online courses are - they let me do the work at my own pace from home, so feeling unwell a lot of the time has virtually no impact on my ability to keep up with the course content. Winning combo!

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Last year, I learned to make clothes. Despite being a long time sewist of things like bags and pillow covers, I had never really delved into clothing. If I ever sewed anything wearable, it would have been in grade school. But as my my right index finger became more and more debilitated by inflammation, I've had to mostly stop knitting, and it felt natural to start sewing more in exchange. So I decided to buy a bunch of fabric and patterns and try it out!

Finishing on the yoke

I had great intentions to take pretty pictures and write detailed pattern reviews for each one, like I did for my Tova top, but that never really happened, so I'm going to compromise and do little wham bam catch up post here, using the photos I have on hand. Starting 2014 with a fresh slate and what not.

A while back, I was hit with this sudden urge to sew - I know, that's nothing new. But what was new was that I really wanted to sew clothing! If I've sewed clothing before, the last time would have been before I moved to Vancouver, so 15+ years ago. I've sewed a fair bit since then, but mostly things like bags or pillow cases... this was a whole new challenge.

Placket

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