Knifty Knitter

One husband, two kids, lots of pets, little time to knit. Yet I find time anyway.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Einstein ain't got nothing on me

Sometimes I have to laugh at my own genius-seriously. When I was growing up, I always wanted to learn to sew. My paternal grandmother was an excellent sewer, but by the time I was really ready to learn in my teens, she was unable to manipulate a sewing machine due to her arthritis. As the years passed and she eventually was unable to do anything more than write her name with her right hand, I never did learn to sew. As much as she longed to help me, and tried (in vain) to show me how, it only frustrated her at how limited her abilities had become. Now more than ever, as my hands bring me so much joy with being able to knit with them, I can really appreciate her feelings. The disappointment at having to abandon something that you loved to do. She passed away a little over 7 years ago, but not a day goes by that I don't long to talk to her. So why I am a genius? Well, as life sometimes opens a door when another is slammed shut, I still got that lesson on sewing. As it were, my mother-in-law is a master seamstress, and sews just about everyday-mostly for charity now but will sew up the occasional bridesmaid/flower girl dress (even a wedding dress!) every so often. The downside is she lives about 3 1/2 hours from us, so it is not like I am going to run over to her house everytime I get stuck. Fortunately there are so many resources out there to help me along that usually I can muddle my way through a tough spot, and when I see my MIL I ask her what she would have done or get some nice insider tips from her. She went to college in the 50's, and she actually majored in Home Economics, which included several advanced classes in sewing. Wow.

So a few summers ago, on my birthday, I asked Adam for a sewing machine. He delivered, like a good husband does, and I set out to teach myself. With the few lessons my grandma had given me, as well as the instructional books I had (the type with 'idiots' & 'dummies' in the titles), I figured it out. I made a few simple shorts and tops for the kids, and of course a couple of pillows and tote bags. When we went to visit my in-laws, I had all sorts of questions about patterns and materials, and we talked a long time about all the time saving tips and little things she had picked up with her years of experience. It was August, and I felt confident enough in myself to make Miss V's Halloween costume. She decided she wanted to be Dorothy from the 'Wizard of Oz', and I went out, got the pattern and material, and on Halloween Miss V was the cutest little Dorothy I had ever seen. She even walked my parent's Cairn Terrier, who is a dead ringer for Toto. All together now, "awwwwww..."

This is the costume. I do not want to talk about the lack of picture of her in the costume. It involves the computer and smoke and unretrievable data-so that is all I have to say about that.

I was quite pleased with myself, and could only explain my success as good genes and better teachers. For some reason, I have not sewn any clothing since then, just purses and dolls. Although the costume was a success, it had a several pattern pieces, and lots of fussy details. I suppose I could have skipped over many of the little things in the pattern that were not vital to its construction, considering Miss V was only 6 and she would not be the wiser, but I wanted to see the whole thing through. It burned me out though, and kind of put me off of sewing clothing. So when I signed up for the Sew?I knit! along, I was a little worried when the first project was to be a skirt. However, this is why I am a genius:

That's right- 1 hour sewing time, and just 3 pattern pieces. Three. Total. Granted, I do need to insert a zipper, and there is interfacing to be applied, and a button even, but all in all a pretty straightforward pattern.

Oh Albert-you never let me down!

Project Spectrum is exploding all over the 'net, including right here at the Knifty Knitter. Since all over I am seeing this fantastic capelet, I am going to be making up one myself. I have one hank of Knitpick's Sierra in Wild Rose, and for emphasis (and to throw in little red) I am also using some wool that I picked up at a second hand store. There was a couple of hundred yards for a few bucks, and the original color was a blah tan-so out came the cherry kool-aid. Can't wait to get this knit, and plan on wearing both the skirt and capelet on Easter. Hurry up Spring!

Miss V has her annual 'Fun Night' over at her school Friday, and this year each grade is presenting a basket to be auctioned off in a silent auction. All the proceeds are going to the school for books, etc., and the first grade basket theme is reading. So I made this shawl/throw that is very cozy out of some stash yarn-both without labels. The solid color is acrylic and sort of 'spongy'(yes, that is a technical term), and the variegated is a very thin wool off a spool that I picked up ages ago at a garage sale. I use it everyone once in awhile when a project that needs a little extra oomph and warmth-nice to carry along with something solid. Anyhow, it makes a nice little something perfect to wrap up with when reading a good book. I also made some bookmarks as well-in reds of course!

The grade whose basket receives the highest bid gets to have an ice cream party, so Miss V was biting at my heels to donate something. Either way, she is still gonna get ice cream-as long as mommy gets some too.

Looky what I got in the mail yesterday! My postcard for the Postcard Swap! Jennifer over at Craftylilly's Garden of Yarn and Beads did a fantastic job-I just love this kitschy card-and I am a huge fan of old monster movies (Kong is my fave, then Godzilla, and of course Mothra!). This brought a huge smile to my face-thank you Jennifer!!

Finally, make sure to check out the Project Spectrum flickr group. This is a wonderful way to see all the fantastic projects and pictures of all those involved in one place. There is some great inspiration out there!!


  • Your Dorothy costume is ADORABLE!! You certainly have some good genes and teachers, but I'd say it's a lot of good smarts and talent on your part that tips the scales in your favor. ;-) I can't wait to see the finished and modeled skirt! It looks like a great pattern with clean and flattering lines. Seeing your sewing and Lolly's sewing has me itching to get my own machine out. I keep saying I will, but I think this is the final nudge I need to actually do it! Your shawl and bookmarks are fantastic! I bet Ms. V's class gets an ice cream party for sure, thanks to her mama! ;-) And what an AWESOME postcard from Jennifer!! So creative. I really need to get moving on mine, yikes. Looking forward to seeing your Easter wrap- take care, Teresa! :-) Love, c.

    By Blogger candsmom, at 3:45 PM  

  • You certainly CAN sew - I wanna be Dorothy now!!!!!

    By Blogger christine, at 4:13 PM  

  • Hey sweet T! Look at your handiwork! I am very impressed with the whole Dorothy costume. I hope to be able to sew that well one day! *so cute* I bet V was the cutest thing ever with the little dog too ;)
    I am definitely planning some more time with my machine - I need to do some more simple projects to become familiar with the process, and then, we'll see!

    The capelet is a beauty - one of the participants in Project Spectrum is the girl who adapted the Anthropologie pattern on Crafter - Julsey at Peony Knits. She has a PDF on her blog. I was thinking about making this capelet in May (I want a green one!)

    Your postcard is the first one I have seen - It is great to see that you received it!! I still have to get mine out too! Time is running out - yikes. Better do that soon.

    Hope you have a good weekend, sweety. Great post!! ;)


    By Blogger Lolly, at 7:37 AM  

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