How to drive someone crazy from 1100 miles away

26 January 2008

Look! I can be taught! (But only by myself...)

Do we ever have news! And pictures, to boot!

First up, the blocking board came in the mail. Hurrah! These are the pillows I took that entrelac class for (way back in September, I know. Shut up.), stretching themselves into 14x14 squares like little yogis. And breathe....

No, I haven't stitched them together and put in the pillow forms yet, what's it to ya? You can see I decided on single row stripes for the top right one and some mitering while carrying two yarns together for the bottom left, for anyone who recalls me wondering what I wanted to do with them.

Also, I can scratch "First Sewing Machine Project" off my goals for the year. Next up is "Second Sewing Machine Project".

I chose to make a tote bag. Mostly because I wanted a fancy pants knitting bag and couldn't find one in my price range that I actually liked. However, can you classify a large tote bag with no interior or exterior pockets as a fancy pants knitting bag?

If it has some kicky beaded fringe, you can.

Here I am basting something.

Here I am machine stitching something.

And here's the finished product. Tres chic, non?

Fringe detail. I was a little camera happy for a change. I am thinking of slip-stitching the fringe a little tighter, but for now I'm just happy it's done and that I learned.

Yes, there are mistakes, and no, I'm not telling you where they are. Let's just say that someone who doesn't know what they are looking for won't be able to find them.

So I hear a fully lined and interfaced bag made of slicker-than-snot brocade and poly-silk* with a decorative band and beaded fringe detail is not actually a beginner's sort of project, but the last time I listened to the "rules" about that sort of thing, I failed miserably (can anyone say first garter stitch scarf that ended in divorce?). I say, if the end product is something you are going to enjoy using and showing off to your friends (which I already have to many oohs and aahs), then you should go for whatever strikes your fancy. I think I learned a hell of a lot more from trying to figure out what the frack interfacing was and how one works with it than I would have if I'd tried stitching straight lines on paper. Don't get me wrong, I practiced plenty of straight lines and curves (I stole a pile of cotton napkins from work, shhh, don't tell), practiced pivots, read books and blogs and instructions until I thought my eyes would fall out. I bought an entire sewing box full of the recommended goodies and taught myself the use of them all. Then I figured "to hell with all this research" and found myself a lovely book from which to teach myself hands-on (my preferred method of auto-didacticism). If you are thinking of taking up sewing as a hobby, this book is freaking awesome. Diana Rupp writes with personality that never makes you feel like you're being taught as much as guided (very similar to Debbie Stoller's style in Stitch n Bitch). She has a voice that talks to you rather than instructs, and this book never reads like a textbook. She's got some cutey patootey patterns included with the book (one of which is going to be the above-mentioned Second Sewing Machine Project), and her instructions are very thorough. She makes no bones about how the prep work is going to take a lot longer than the actual assembly, and has given me a new appreciation for Martha Stewart's task-mastering with her little tips in a box labelled WWMD? (What would Martha do?). Those little boxes made me giggle while keeping myself organized and neat.

I just want to know, why doesn't she have a show on DIY Network yet? Why isn't she on Styleicious?

*not a real fabric, but slippery-ass polyester blend woven to look like raw shantung silk that I took the liberty of re-naming. You're welcome.


Blogger Mary Beth said...

Great bag! My mom & many sisters are all self taught in whatever craft they do & we all go to craft shows & say, "I can do that myself!" We then proceed not to buy the lovely item we admired & may or may not go home & make it. The awesome thing is that we could & that we'd be able to do so thriftily. I have a knitting bag & needle case on my "to make soon" list. I am glad to have found your blog & look forward to your sewing adventures. (You posted a comment on Yarny Old Kim.)

11:56 AM

Blogger Kim said...

Nice bag! I'm jealous of your new blocking board.

12:56 PM


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