Friday, May 11, 2007

Lest You Think All I Do Is Play with Flickr Toys

So, here's my first pincushion! I used this fantastic tutorial from The Purl Bee. She is not so flat on the top. In point of fact, she is rather lumpy. But I like her. The tutorial directs you to stitch the wool felt onto the top. I could not make that look nice and tidy, because essentially I do not know how to sew, so I sort of satin-stitch embroidered it on. It's completely made-up and incorrect from a technical point of view, but I think it looks OK.

The fabric is from a toile fat quarter that I bought in the prepackaged-fat-quarter section of the craft store, because I am too intimatidated to Approach the Cutting Counter. It's funny, being a newbie sewer* reminds me of how I felt in yarn shops when I first started knitting. It's the feeling of not-belonging. And also that feeling of deep fraudulent inauthenticity, like the non-Spanish speaker who nevertheless calls those Central American countries Hwah-teh-mah-lah and Nee-cah-rrrah-hwah. You know what I'm talking about.

This is the beginning of a Patchwork Purse from The Crafter's Companion. Clearly, asymmetry is where it's at in my craft room. One of these days, I will sew a straight seam. And that will be a very good day. Several people commented about my silly little sewing machine. It was purchased at Target, for about $25, and only does straight stitch. It has no guides for seam allowances (this may be part of my problem). It is extremely flimsy and can actually run on batteries. (Just in case you need to sew while camping, or maybe at a ball game? That would bring a whole new meaning to "Stitch and Pitch.") If I get obsessed, I'll get a real machine.

Having become seriously disenchanted with the ripple afghan I was working on, I have moved on to granny squares. I have to say, this is fun. I am also working on some knitting ... suddenly, I find myself obsessed with socks. But I'll save that for next time since this is already a very long post.

In the meantime, I have an important question. To paraphrase Hugh Grant in Love Actually, who do I have to screw to get into this or get some of this yarn? Just kidding!!

*Seamstress? Would that term make me sound like a heteronormative gender fascist?

Labels: , ,


Blogger knitography said...

oooh...I feel your pain on the Ravelry! I want to play too!! And I admire you for your sewing efforts. My mother is a good sewer and tried to teach me, but I feel very inept at it. It is probably a bad approach to want to be flawlessly good at it immediately.

1:27 PM  
Blogger melissa said...

i like your pin cushion! and the purse too. that's such a cute pattern, isn't it? the best lesson i've learned so far in my feeble attempts at sewing is that cute fabric makes up for many sewing sins, so you've at least got that going for you, and you don't look like you're doing too bad in the actual sewing skill department either. :)

1:43 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I'm waiting on Ravelry too. :( So far only the cool kids get to play.

I can help you out on the yarn though. How do you feel about the Culture Club color? I could be persuaded to make a trade of some sort... :)

1:50 PM  
Blogger Olga said...

Oh, no seam allowance guide! Well, those seams look pretty straight to me, lady. Good for you for getting your feet wet! That pincushion is adorable (and if you got it to stay on and look cute, that that would be the correct way). Granny squares! Love them! Hate the yarn ends! I love your colors, though.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Jodi said...

Your pincushion is so cute! I also love the colors on your granny squares.

I'm a newbie seamster/stress, too, but I don't have anxiety about the cutting counter. I just march up and ask for a yard. I have anxiety about just about everything else, though, like dealing with the produce dept at the fancy "European" groc. store where the special produce guy weighs and labels your produce for you.

BTW, I'm feeling your pain on both the ravelry and the yarn pirate.

You can run tape across your machine to improvise seam allowance lines. I have used the thin quilter's masking tape for this before.

2:16 PM  
Blogger Jillian said...

I totally hear you about being a newbie sewing. I'm attempting to make my first top out of a knit fabric and it really isn't going well. I have to keep reminding myself that I wasn't great my first year of knitting either and that I just need some practice!

2:22 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...

You've clearly been busy with far more than Flickr toys!

2:23 PM  
Blogger pamela wynne said...

Yay for newbie sewing comradery! We can take the quilt leap together. :) The pincushion is great -- thanks for the tutorial link.

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

I'm waiting on Ravelry as well - obviously not hip and cool enough to get in early. The pincushion looks lovely - as a (born-again) newbie sewer I know exactly what you mean about fabric shops!

4:53 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I'm totally jealous of all the cool Ravelry kids too. But I was lucky enough to score some yarn pirate a few months back (I just typed screw some yarn pirate - yikes!)

4:56 PM  
Blogger Yarn Thing said...

Dude! That is one of my favorite lines in a movie!

I have a knitting bag made out of the same stuff your pin cushion is made out of! Crazy, I tell ya :-)


6:11 PM  
Blogger sparkli said...

i'm dying for an invite to ravelry too... pffft. i do not have friends in high places. i like your granny squares!

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Rachel said...

Fortunately, I don't think most actual heteronormative gender fascists would be able to put that series of three words together, so I think you're safe. Although I'd appreciate it if you'd call them grandparent squares instead of granny squares.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Push it all the way though: go with "sempstress"--it's so 18th Century.

All your sewing efforts are totally adorable! I need to make a pincusion--and I've had my eye on that patchwork purse too. Supercute.

Don't be afraid of the cutting counter! And use tape to mark off a seam allowance.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Mama Urchin said...

I need a pincushion but I'm afraid to make one. Yours is cute.

10:08 PM  
Blogger The_Add_Knitter said...

You are so funny with your whole 'inauthenticity' thing...I believe the hip hop term for that is 'fronting'!

10:51 PM  
Blogger Mintyfresh said...

I feel exactly the same way about sewing; when Pam (FlintKnits) and I went to Purl Patchwork I felt as though I had a big sign on my back that read "Has the most rudimentary sewing skills! Do not bother with this woman!"

However, I am sure that I'm going to be venturing in there more often, now that everyone's making these way-too wonderful patchwork projects!

oh, and I have a bowl (not a mug) of starlight mints, too. They were a gift from a friend ;)

7:45 AM  
Anonymous marjorie said...

Before I had the money to upgrade to a decent sewing machine, I used a hand-me-down that went in one direction only and was a lot less sophisticated than the one you got. You can use the foot to help you gauge the seam allowance, especially if you baste your seam before you sew. If the foot itself doesn't give you the correct seam allowance, just watch the distance from it to your basted seam, and your seams will be straight.

When I put topstitching on something, I never measure or mark. I use the foot as my only guide.


9:46 AM  
Anonymous jennie said...

your pin cushion rocks! and if it helps, I've been sewing since I was six and *still* can't sew a straight line on a sewing machine.

Wish I could help you with Ravelry. I don't seem to have any invites (I guess that's 'cause I was invited myself). Can't wait to see you on there!

11:36 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Your pin cushion is so cute!!! It's fun to see how much sewing is popping up on blogs lately. I think you are a natural!!

8:30 AM  
Blogger yarnmaniac said...

Laura, you are tagged for a meme if you would like to play. See my meme on

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Sulafaye said...

Would it be blasphemous to suggest that with that last question you've just given the Yarn Harlot some competition for that name? ;)

I am excited to see if you take to sewing. I think the improv pincushion top is great, if you wouldn't have told me I'd have thought it was supposed to be that way. I'm trying to learn to sew too (like someone else up there my mom is a talented "seamstress"). I did just find the Reader's Digest "New Complete Guide to Sewing" for $10, and it seems like a really great resource. Unfortunately I'm still more in need of the "for Dummies" book myself. Cutting scares me!

3:32 PM  
Blogger Laura Sue said...

I'm so uncool, I don't even know who the Decembrists are, so I'll NEVER get in! But I DO have a solution for your seam allowance prob! Decide how big you want your seam allowance to be: garment sewers do 5/8", quilters do 1/4"--you choose, or split the diff! With your needle in the down position, measure out that far with your trusty tape measure, then stick a piece of masking tape parallel to the needle at that distance. When you sew, Voila! You follow the masking tape with the edge of the fabric and you'll have at least a fighting chance at a straight seam!

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Roxanne said...

LOL @ your Hugh Grant paraphrases. I'm just finding out about it really that amazing?

6:16 PM  
Blogger Knitting Bandit said...

I'm holding my breath for a Ravelry invite, too. Then I think, "Are you nuts? Like you have time for that!" Yarn Pirate. Vesper. Georgia Knits. I dream about them too.

9:05 AM  
Blogger knitannie said...

Laura I hope you don't mind but I've tagged you for a meme. If you've already done it, how about 7 facts that aren't true about me???

2:49 AM  
Blogger knittingphilistine said...

I heart your sweet heirloom tomato pin cushion. :) You should patent and market those babies.

5:16 PM  
Blogger The_Add_Knitter said...

I think the commenting function isn't working on you most recent post...

3:44 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home