One Last Hurrah?


First things first: The weather was supposed to be 74 and partly sunny today here in Michigan. So for Self-Stitched September, I dressed in my Patchwork Skirt, knowing full well this may be the last time I put on a summery skirt until next May. I wore it with my thrifted Mossino top.

Today my arts and crafts friend Kathryn is coming to play. She is mostly arts and I am mostly crafts. Today we are going to have a “Studio Day,” which I hope is the first of many. We were discussing recently (ok, last night on Facebook chat) how we don’t have (don’t make?) time to design anymore. And we lost our passion. We used to be fearless! We designed knitted sweaters and vests; we drafted our own skirt patterns. What happened?

My Flower Power design.

For me, I think it’s that I have developed an overly snooty outlook. When I started out as a sewist and knitter, I didn’t notice how shoddy my workmanship was. I was so thrilled to have created something all my own. I was tickled that I deviated from the pattern to change the collar, or the cable pattern, or the suggested color. I could not believe when the owner of my local yarn shop told me that something like 90% of knitters make the garment, not only in the same yarn but in the same color as the pattern photo. What? But I don’t look good in lavender. Whenever I tried something new, I marveled at my cleverness, simply overlooking that part where the seams didn’t match right or the collar stood up funny.

Flower Power undone. I thought it didn't look "good enough".

However, as I became better, I came to have higher standards. This can be good, but it can also be crippling. I started to notice all my imperfections, and it ruined the fun for me. I would look at a Norah Gaughan pattern and think, “I could never do something so amazing.” So I stopped trying anything at all. How sad!

I am also impatient. Very Impatient. I didn’t want to have to swatch. I didn’t want to have to reknit a part that came out wonky. I wanted to make it perfect the first time out of the gate. Which, mind you, is in stark contrast to the things I say to my frustrated child: Be patient! Nobody is born knowing how to do these things. Practice makes perfect. Blah blah blah, not taking my own advice. Gee, and I wonder why he was such a perfectionist?

Enough! In the last year, I have started kindling that creative spirit again. I drafted a simple skirt pattern (see above), and I made two scarves (here is one) with Firefly yarn using a pattern I improvised from an old stitch dictionary.  In August, I took a Designing Triangle Shawls class at Stitches Midwest. And I have been glued to my Google Reader, following (ahem) dozens and dozens of blogs admiring all of your determination, skill and creativity.

I imagine Studio Day would be a regularly scheduled play date where we actually work. Not stitch and bitch, not order lunch, not finish up tying in ends while we gab. We will help each other work out a design idea. We will help swatch or test drive a pattern. We will pull out our design books and our notebooks full of dreams. We will critique construction methods and design details. We will share secrets that make the job easier, such as using spreadsheet software to chart our patterns. (Duh. Thank you Brooke Nico for that idea.) Do you want to play?

Boy, maybe I should figure out how to make a badge for Studio Day!

I added this shot at the end of the day… it was a touch chilly for my outfit so I added a cardigan (from Kohl’s). Husband says he isn’t sure it works. I probably won’t have a good reason to wear a cardigan with a summer skirt in the future, so it’s probably not an issue.


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