crafts · knitting · quilting · Sewing

expensive habits

One thing I find amusing is when people tell me “Oh, you must save so much money knitting your own sweaters and making your own clothes.”  Well… not so much.  I think I get better quality things (certainly sweaters are terribly overpriced in stores) but none of my hobbies are really very thrifty.  I mean really… you don’t even want to know what I’m willing to spend on a lustworthy yarn, and adding a new lust for fabric into the mix… well, it ain’t pretty.

But I will say… knitting has nothing on sewing, at least not when it comes to basic equipment.  I bought a set of Knitpicks Options needles when they first came out, and they are still all that I use.  Occasionally I get a new set of cords or something, but that’s about it.  I do have a knitting machine, but I consider that a totally different animal.   Sewing, on the other hand, requires actual machinery.    A decent machine with accessories, a table to put it on, and perhaps a serger, if you want to sew knits often.

After 2 months or so of sewing nearly every day on my Viking Huskystar 219, I’ve decided to buy a new machine.  This was prompted by sewing on my nearly completed Mod Sampler quilt, and the Simplicity dress I’m making.

This is my Mod Sampler quilt.  You will note that while I did finish the free motion quilting, it does not yet have a binding (the outside edge that holds everything together.)  Free motion quilting on the Huskystar was a bear – it doesn’t have much room between the needle and the machine body, so it was hard getting the whole thing done, but I did it – and I loved the process!  It’s like drawing with thread, and oddly zen.  I also have some bobbin tension issues with the machine, and kept getting strange stitches underneath that I would have to pick out.   I’m not even going to try to do the binding yet – the machine does not handle thick amounts of fabric well – anything over 2 pieces tends to cause major problems. The binding will wait for the new machine.

I’m currently making simplicity 3835, and it’s nearly done, but I cannot deal with this machine anymore.  I have been waiting, wanting to see if my enthusiasm for sewing was a temporary fling, but it seems that there is room for two true crafting loves in my life.   I love quilting – it speaks to my love of color.  In fact, my next quilting project is going to be the color wheel quilt, from Last Minute Patchwork gifts (yes, by the same author as Last Minute Knitted gifts.)

Isn’t it beautiful?  I ordered the kit from Purl, because I don’t even want to think about how long it would take me to accumulate all the colors for it.  Mine has different fabrics from the book sample of course, but it’s going to be so beautiful!

I love making clothes, because I have a hard time finding clothes I love that fit me in stores.  I fit into junior sizes, however I already have issues with people thinking I’m way younger than I actually am (culminating in at least one adult student quitting because “I’m too young to teach her anything” when in fact I was older than her.) Junior clothing is also very poorly made in general, and uses materials that I don’t love (nothing like having to buy prom dresses to go out to the opera because none of the adult formal dresses fit, buying the one you think looks least like a prom dress, feeling self-conscious, and then having the dress rip apart after one wearing.)  The idea of making my own vintage clothes appeals to me as well, as I love vintage but sometimes feel guilty wearing the often fragile items.  After reading knitting patterns, sewing patterns seem remarkably clear to me now, unlike my previous attempts.  Plus, I have my trusty simplicity guide (from the 60s or 70s) to help me out!

I love this book so much… I’m glad I thought to buy it several years ago at an estate sale (well, the fact that it came with a bunch of vintage knitting patterns helped!)  Sewing patterns haven’t changed so much, but I will say this is extra helpful trying to interpret some of the vintage patterns I have.

I find that I go in cycles – several times a year I have a frenzy of knitting and turn out most of my sweaters, and at other times I knit much less and want to work on other hobbies.  Oddly, this time of year is always a down time for me – I think I can’t concentrate on knitting when I have so many holiday things to attend to!    I’m usually lucky if I finish a single sock between Thanksgiving and New Years.  I have tried to reassure my knitting that I am not cheating on it (“really, that wool crepe meant nothing to me, and of course you didn’t see a stack of Amy Butler fabrics sneaking out of the closet the other day.  ‘Twas the cat.”)  My knitting is not convinced, but I am making progress on all my projects.  Currently I am slowed down by making baby socks – my sister-in-law requested some for my niece, as they live in snowy Wisconsin and her poor little feet are cold!  If anyone has a favorite baby sock pattern do let me know… she’s 6 months old, and I want them to fit for awhile, so newborn patterns won’t work.

I’m also lusting after Kelmscott, from the new Twist Collective.  Honestly, I think it’s one of the prettiest designs I’ve seen this year.  The new IK is all right but not exciting, so I’m really glad I found something to love in Twist this time!

I have laryngitis pretty bad right now, which as you can imagine is  tough for someone who needs her voice for a living.  I think it’s a minor cold that seems to have settled in my throat.  I get sick rarely, but when I do it’s a doozy!    I am going to take Marc to the sewing machine store tomorrow to see what he thinks (hopefully that I need one!)  Then he’s helping a friend move house, and I will stay home to try and feel better!  Luckily I don’t have any gigs this weekend.  If I had gotten sick last weekend it would have been pretty tragic, so I’m very grateful that the cold held off this long!