Monday, December 27, 2010

The Handmade Pledge

Back in October, I read a post on the Etsy forums that sounded interesting.  The poster wanted to know who was taking The Handmade Pledge this holiday season.  I was intrigued, and decided to make that my gift-buying goal this season.  So nearly all of the gifts that I bought for my family this year were purchased directly from the people who made them.

My mother-in-law has recently rediscovered the pleasures of crochet after many years absence.  I'm tempted to take it up myself after seeing this yarn bowl!  And the yarn is all recycled from discarded garments:  unraveled, washed, measured, and labeled.    It was a sampler set with all different types of yarns.

My aunt has a small yard maintenance business, and her hands take a beating.  Those are 3 solid lotions in different scents.  And the fingerless gloves are handy for working in cooler weather.  They're cotton and washable.

This adorable wind chime (also for my aunt) came from our neighborhood craft market.  The metalsmith who made it lives in our neighborhood, too.  The recycled silverware at the bottom tinkles delightfully!  (I'm definitely going to get one for myself.)

 My husband is an engineer who loves to bicycle.  And he loves T shirts, so this bike-powered steam machine print T was perfect for him.  I was surprised when the package arrived and I saw the return address of the Etsy shop that makes these:  about 1 mile from my home, in the business district of my neighborhood!

Sorry for the blurry picture.  An assortment of silly buttons for my son, who enjoys such things.  The one at the bottom left says, "some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints".  (I quite agree)

My dad has been long overdue for a new quilt.  This came from a local quilter--ME.  It's 62" square, perfect for covering up while on the couch.  I chose the colors specifically to look nice in his house, which has a lot of green plus neutral colors.

This quilt ended up being an important project for me.  Not because of the pattern , which is pretty basic.  But I decided it was time to grab Free Motion Quilting by the horns and Just Do It.  So all of those plain unpieced squares got a different quilting pattern--stipples, clamshells, swirls, anything I could think of. I used invisible thread (that's why you can't see the quilting in the picture) and by the time I got to the last few blocks I was feeling like I Can Really Do This.  I've been struggling for awhile with fmq so it was great to have a non-commercial project to build the confidence and skill that I needed.

My conclusions from The Handmade Pledge:  sign me up for a lifetime membership!  My gifts this year were more unique, interesting, and beautiful than anything I could have found at a large commercial store.  Shopping was easy and fun and of course I didn't have to go farther than my computer for most of it.  Cost-wise, I didn't spend any more than I would have elsewhere.  I feel like I got a lot more bang for the buck!

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