Thursday, March 3, 2011


Even though I think most of us tend to shy away from learning/trying new things, I enjoy the process immensely (that's not to say that I don't have my own "But I don't wanna!" moments. Just ask Phil how long he's been trying to get me to try kite skiing). If it's something I'm genuinely interested in, I'm totally there. There's just something about those "A-HAH!" moments that gets me, you know? When the lights come on and the previously rambly bits and bobs suddenly come together and you just get it?? I love that. Can't get enough of it. Bring it on.

Last night I finished my second EVER sewing project, the Patchwork Fabric Basket. Now that I'm over the requisite "Squealing with delight while forcing encouraging each and every person I come into contact with to look at it and offer appropriate accolades for it's absolute cuteness" phase, I think I can take a step back and focus on the lessons I learned while completing this friggin' adorable little basket that I can't believe I made all by myself. Whoops. Ahem. Sorry about that. Yes, lessons learned! Here we go:

1. It gets easier with practice

When I first started working on this project, I spent an unbelievable amount of time cutting up the 24 little 2x2 inch squares for the patchwork bands. I would look at the fabric, measure, straighten, measure again, cut, and - let's be honest - I mostly managed my own interpretations of squares rather than, you know, actual squares. This despite having the use of a mat, a quilter's transparent ruler thingie, and a roller cutter doohicky (yeah, clearly I need to learn the lingo). And yet last night, I was zipping along, no worries, and my pieces were mostly actually cut straight and to the proper measurements. So there you have it. If you practice, the skillz will come.

2. There's still lots I don't know about sewing (but at least I know that)

A few times in this project, the designer would casually refer to something that apparently everyone who sews already knows and I would scratch my head, say "Whaaaaaa?" and promptly Google it. Thank God for my mad Google-fu.

3. Sewing is just like knitting, only quicker

OK, before the non-sewers out there rise up and lynch me with their DPNs, let me just clarify that a bit. Obviously, knitting and sewing are two COMPLETELY different crafts. What I mean is that, just like in knitting, sewing has those "Ooh! Pretty!" moments and, yes, those "Crap, I goofed" moments as well. I find that sewing is more about the product so far, while knitting is chiefly about the process for me. I'm betting that's due to the fact that I'm mostly making small-ish projects for now. Which leads me to lesson the fourth!

4. Perspective is everything

Once my patchwork sections were assembled a few weeks ago, I remember thinking "That's IT? I've been working for 2.5 hours for two dinky strips? This basket is going to be miniscule!". Last night too, when I had the body assembled, Phil and I looked at it and couldn't help but giggle at how tiny it was.

Turns out that size is all a matter of perspective. Sure, I may think it's small, but this guy? He thinks it's the mother of all baskets.

Photo idea totally pilfered from Carol Browne's fabulous advent calendars)

5. Phil has bad juju

OK, I don't really mean that. He showed me how to work the sewing machine, showed me how to thread it and wind the bobbin and so on, and was there in a snap when I ran into trouble (and really, how many women can say that about their husbands?). HOWEVER. Both times he actually picked up the basket while I was making it (presumably to deliver the accolades he knew I'd be peskering him about later), he found mistakes. They were MY mistakes of course, and I totally know that it had nothing to do with him, but I just couldn't help asking him (after he pointed out something that had gone wrong with the project) "Honestly, dear. DO YOU HAVE TO KEEP DOING THAT????"

6. Linen frays

After I had sewn the lining into the bag a third time (don't ask), Phil took a look at it and pointed out that the fabric had frayed at the bottom corner of one side. Apparently I cut the ends too close to the seam, and it frayed. Which leads me to lesson the seventh:

7. I suck at handstitching

'Nuff said.

8. The phrase "Curious Cat" is, it would seem, based on actual fact.

9. I think I like this sewing thing =)

Happy Sewing, Everyone!


sapphireblue said...

Way too cute!!

Alrischa said...

It is very cute. I get it about the hubby, too, helpfully pointing out mistakes. Mine is a master at bad compliments! Drives me nuts, esp when he says, "What? It's a compliment!" hehe.

Mrhide said...

hey ! I'm just trying to help :(

Big Girl Feet said...

VERY cute!! It turned out great!!
I can't wait to see what you make next! :))

Laurie said...

I AM squealing in delight at the absolute cuteness of that basket. Ok...I may stop hounding my husband for an iPad and begin hounding him for a sewing machine. Maybe... ;-)

Sinéad said...

Love it. Love everything about it, the colours, the handles, the lining and even the wobbly hand sewing bit. That's what makes it unique! You are coming on in leaps & bounds!

Jennifer Lori said...

Cutest big/little/dep on perspective basket EVER! Now you know what to do to make a huge, knitting-bag-sized one!

Knit and Purl Mama said...

Very cute patchwork bag! Even it's little imperfections, make it handmade! :) Love the fabric you chose to make it with!