Personal Thursday: Things I’ve Learned as a Sewing Noob

Oct 02

As my tag says, I knit because the needles aren’t sharp. Dexterity is my dump stat — I’m an astoundingly clumsy person and to be honest it’s only my high pain tolerance and solid durability that account for the fact that I still have all my limbs and most of my organs.

Kitty and Kenmore

Kitty and Kenmore

However, there’s been a gap in my textile skills that’s been itching at me for a long time: sewing. Sharp needles, unforgiving machinery, it pretty much spells disaster for a person like me. And yet, with the help of books, the internet, and my mom (who even gave me a vintage 70s Kenmore sewing machine), I’ve embarked upon this path of folly. And now that I’ve been sewing for like a whole two weeks now, I figured I’d use this Personal Thursday post to share some of the lessons I’ve learned so far.

  • Don’t forget to put the presser foot down.
  • You might have been laughed at in college for owning an iron and ironing board, but who’s laughing now?
  • Hang some scissors on a retractable badge lanyard and wear it every time you work on sewing. It is your new best friend.
  • Put the presser foot down.
  • A clear grid ruler is also your new best friend.
  • Cheap cotton muslin makes trying new things less scary.
  • Having a borrowed manual for a different model of sewing machine is not helpful at all when you’ve never threaded a machine before.
  • Put the presser foot down.
  • Pillowcases and napkins are the best thing ever for practice, because it’s super hard to fuck them up so bad they’re not usable.
  • Sewing books always assume the reader is a woman who wants to make feminine clothes for herself. Always. In the 21st century we’re still doing this sexist bullshit.
  • Michael’s doesn’t have a lot of sewing supplies, but it does have a few colors of thread and some cheap bundled fat quarters.
  • Have I mentioned the presser foot? Put it down.
  • Sometimes even the simplest patterns are wrong. Mock it up with paper and fix the measurements.
  • Cats love to help.
  • Your friends (besides the scissors and grid ruler) will patiently put up with you when you keep IMing them yelling “I MADE A THING!”
  • Presser foot. Down.


You think I’m joking about that presser foot?

I’m pretty sure I get distracted too easily to ever be good at sewing. But maybe I’ll get passable at it.

Read More

First string post in the new blog!

Nov 07

Another day, another theme. I like this one a little better, don’t you?

And to keep my momentum rolling, here’s a new blog post to go along with the new theme. Today’s Topic Nobody Gives A Crap About But Me is: what I’m knitting!

Right now I’m forcing myself to use up the huge Smaug-like stash of yarn I’ve acquired, and not buy any new yarn. As a string addict, this is tough, but I’m digging in with the four(!) sweater-sized piles of yarn I acquired for various sweater ideas.

This bad boy is Aidez, a free pattern from Berocco, made with Berocco Peruvia Quick. Thickass yarn = faster sweater! Except “fast” is a relative term when there’s this much freakin’ cabling. This is the back of the sweater, and I’ve just gotten to the bit where the armholes are gonna go. The rest of the sweater should go faster.

There’s two screwups in the cable crosses, can you see them? I don’t cable stuff often enough to catch these things until it’s too late. Luckily I don’t really care much, it’s one of those “nobody will notice unless you point it out, and then they won’t care” sort of things.

You can’t tell from the crappy iPad picture there, but the yarn itself is kind of a decent olive green that sort of matches my eyes. Got it on closeout, booyah.

The nice thing about having a low cold tolerance (or rather “cold”, considering where I live) is that I can always use more knitted things. If I ever moved somewhere with actual weather, I would knit my fingers right off my hands trying to keep up.

P.S. No, I will not knit you a sweater. Do you have any idea how long these things take to knit?

Read More