Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My new courses at CIT!

So this semester I've started two courses at CIT (Canberra Institute of Technology) as part of a Certificate IV in Clothing Production. Since I'm only doing it part time, two evenings a week, I'll be doing my Cert4 for about three years!  Full time students finish in one year.  But I've got to pay the bills (which I now have, living in an actual rented house)!

The two courses I'm doing this term are Fibres and Fabrics, and Clothing Production 1.  We started three weeks ago now.

In our fibres course, we learn about different types of fabrics, what they are made of, and their qualities.  We also learn about the production of fibres and fabrics.  Last week we all had to present some research on any natural fibre of our choice (I chose cashmere), and it was really interesting.  That session was great because I got to learn about bamboo, angora, abaca, jute, hemp, ramie, mohair, and more.  I'd never even heard of abaca or ramie! I also learnt that just because something is from a "natural" source (plant or animal), does not mean it's environmentally friendly or cruelty-free. Bamboo is a good example - it's very renewable because it grows so fast and in such quantities, but to make soft delicate bamboo fabric they use harsh chemicals which are very damaging to the environment. The same is true for cotton.  And there was a lot of talk about cruelty to Merino sheep, which I had no idea about.  We need to think about where our clothing comes from if we want to be environmentally responsible.  It doesn't just appear in the shop!  Does anyone remember that song from Sesame Street, Bert's Blanket?  That's what this class was like.


Also last week, we did some felting with unspun wool! I thought I'd put up a tutorial on how to do that when I've done some at home.  I don't want to be a felter, because I don't really like the results, but I'll do some experiments and see if I can do something good.

In Clothing Production 1, we have been learning how to operate the big industrial sewing machines. We've only had two classes and the first was entirely talking about OH&S, like don't put pins in your mouth, tie your hair back, etc. There were so many horror stories about people swallowing pins and getting scalped by the machines and it was scary!  This week we actually did some sewing - on practice sheets, but at least we got to do it!  The industrial machines are quite different from your home machine.  They do one thing - go in a straight line.  Fast.  They are SO fast!  The teacher gave the analogy of going from driving a Barina to driving a tank. They're pure guts!  The sewing we did was all in straight lines to get used to the speed and how to stop without massively overshooting.  I think we're doing practice stuff for a few weeks before we get to start on real fabric.

Otherwise in my life, I've started reading Overdressed, because I saw some other sewers talking about it on their blogs, and I have a (bad? good?) feeling that it's going to drastically change my shopping habits!

And that's what's going on!  It's also why I'm so crazy busy!  But I got some yarn in the mail today from Bendigo Woollen Mills (it feels so nice and smooth, it's going to be so nice to knit with) and I'm going to start a new cardigan - because that's what I like to make and wear!

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