Sunday, May 09, 2010

Not Knitting

This is not knitting. It's not even crochet.
But in a way, it is inspired by knitting.
It's also inspired by Project Runway. I am Project Runway junkie. The current season is not enough, I have even been watching the seasons I missed on DVD.
I keep watching Project Runway wishing I could do that, wanting to come up with fabulous dresses. And in my fantasy world, I even run off to fashion school. Or at least take a class at the sewing store.
But that's not how I learned to knit, and I'm awfully good at knitting these days. (Sadly, Project Runway: Knitting would be fairly boring to watch.) In fact, I'm self-taught (-1 point in the Project Runway fantasy game). Nope. I started with scarves. Horrible, acrylic scarves with lots of holes in them, that had approximately the same number of stitches on each row, give or take five.
And then I made slightly better scarves, and maybe a hat or two. I gave people weirdly shaped clothing for Christmas. I made mistakes, I took on projects way over my head, and I improved slowly. I kept trying something just a little bit harder, and I didn't start with minuscule lace. I started with really bad worsted weight acrylic. I wasn't scared of it, I didn't worry that I'd never be able to knit an Alice Starmore sweater.
I'm a little bit ahead on the sewing front. I sewed when I was a kid, I even made a whole dress at one point. I can sew a straight line. I have a nifty new sewing machine that does embroidery. It's time to sew.
When I have sewn before, I have run into some problems with fitting. If you just buy a pattern, and pick a size and follow it, it's going to fit about as well as an item off the rack, which in my case is generally not well. The whole point of sewing, as the whole point of knitting, is to find something that fits perfectly, and blindly following a pattern is not going to do that for me. I need to learn how to fit things properly. But first, I need to make ugly acrylic scarves. That is to say, I need to start with something simple where I can make a few mistakes when it comes to exact dimensions.
Luckily, Jo-Anne Fabrics has these really simple little kits. They whole pattern is printed onto about a yard of cotton. You cut it out, try to interpret the directions, and sew it together.
And you wind up with this.

Or this.

The first are called Stash Sacks. They're simple little drawstring cases. The smallest two have appliques on the front. The kit came with 5 or 6 appliques, I only liked these two. I've saved the others for future purposes (because I am a pack rat and save nearly everything), but I'm pretty happy with the big on as is. And the best part is that I'll actually use them. I think they're perfect for packing in luggage. The smallest one is about the right size for some jewelry, maybe. The biggest one might be big enough to hold some dirty clothes. The middle one is damn cute, and I'm sure I'll find a purpose for it. But it's great, I'll actually use them. And they're obnoxious colors and prints that I actually love. I would buy things like these.
The second is a "reversible" tote, that has obviously immediately become a knitting bag. I put reversible in quotes, because it's sewn inside out, and turned through a small opening, which is then slip-stitched shut. I am not so great at slip stitching, it would appear, so that side will probably remain as lining.

I'm really happy with these. Luckily the patterns are pretty straight forward, and I can see how the pieces is fit together. The directions sound like they were written in Italian, translated into Russian, translated again into Japanese, and then finally into English. Actually, I think they just assume a bit more sewing knowledge than I have, which seems like a bad move on what is clearly a beginner kit. But I have made useful things!
Expect more sewing from me in the future, but with far less details than the knitting. Really, it's just an excuse to show pretty pictures.

No comments: