When trying to decide which DIY projects to include in my upcoming posts, I wondered whether or not to include knitting projects. I love to knit. It was something I taught myself how to do many years ago when I was between jobs and had some spare time. The Stitch n’ Bitch books, along with Vickie Howell’s television show at the time, Knitty Gritty, were great resources putting all of the instruction in a language I understood. However, while there is a big community of knitters (especially on the web), it’s not something everyone knows how to do. Would I drive people away from my blog by including knitting projects? After all, this isn’t a blog primarily for knitters. It’s more about using different resources to create a personal style. Would I be alienating certain readers because knitting just isn’t their thing?
This brings me to my own personal confession. I can’t sew—at least not using a sewing machine. Sure, I can embroider, attach a button, or close up a hole, but all by hand. Believe me, I’ve tried to do it. Trying to wind the bobbin and thread the machine through the various nooks and crannies feels like being lost in an unfamiliar, sketchy neighborhood without a GPS. And I always recall the time when I tried to machine sew denim without knowing any sort of sewing machine basics, and I broke five of my mom’s sewing needles. Sewing machines scare me. If that’s the case, then why do I own these books?
I bought them while I was in grad school when I neither had the time nor the inclination to learn how to sew. I mostly bought them because I was a fan of Wendy Mullin, of Built By Wendy fame. I first began to notice her work when some of my favorite bands wore her guitar straps and fell in love with her simple, indie fashions. She published the Sew U books and corresponding Simplicity patterns a while back. She includes instructions even a beginner who just purchased her first sewing machine can understand, but that wasn’t enough to help me overcome my fear. And the patterns included in the book weren’t even nearly my size. Sure, I’ve had to resize a few knitting patterns which usually involves measuring and simple math that even I can handle, but I have no clue where one would even start to size up a sewing pattern. That being said, what was I doing with these books?
The answer, they inspired me. When I shopped, I began to keep my eyes open for similar dresses, tops, and pants as those I saw in the books. Most crafty projects, whether they are needlecrafts, jewelry-making, or anything else fashion related, are usually based on things people can buy somewhere. Usually, someone who has a given skill sees something in a store, a magazine, or online and says, “I can make that.” I know that’s been the case for some things I’ve knit. But if you can’t knit it or sew it, rest assured, you can probably buy it. Keep that in mind when I throw anything your way that might not be a part of your skill-set. Remember, too, if you can’t make it, someone on Etsy or in your circle of friends can. Barter or trade or have fun craft parties where you and your buddies can share your talents and your wares. Also, if you wish you could DIY so you can make garments for your size and shape, remember there are places that can do this for you. I just found out about eShakti, which custom-makes dresses, tops, and skirts to your measurements. I’m waiting on some dresses to come in from them, so I’ll give you all a report when I see how they fit. Don’t forget your local seamstress either who can make clothing or do alterations.
I’m not giving you any of these suggestions to dissuade you from learning a new craft or hobby. I remember it took me months to knit anything that even resembled a rectangle, but I stuck with it, and I would say my skills are now on the intermediate level. I’m good with cables, knitting in the round, and reading patterns, not so good with lacework or anything that requires a lot of counting. And who knows, maybe there will be an upcoming blog series titled “Becca Learns How to Sew.” Just remember, we all have our things we can do. Knitting just happens to be my thing, and you should use whatever your thing is to add to your personal style.
Oh, and there is cool knitted hat in my next Style Study! Pop in on Monday to see it!